Publisher: Delacorte Press

Short & Sweet – Sweep in Peace, Feversong, Golden Dynasty,

April 7, 2017 Bonnie Book Reviews, Short & Sweet Reviews 8 Comments

Short & Sweet – Sweep in Peace, Feversong, Golden Dynasty,Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews
Series: Innkeeper Chronicles #2
Published by NYLA on November 13th 2015
Pages: 315
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Format: eBook
Source: Library
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Also by this author: Magic Bites

four-stars

Dina DeMille doesn’t run your typical Bed and Breakfast. Her inn defies laws of physics, her fluffy dog is secretly a monster, and the only paying guest is a former Galactic tyrant with a price on her head. But the inn needs guests to thrive, and guests have been scarce, so when an Arbitrator shows up at Dina's door and asks her to host a peace summit between three warring species, she jumps on the chance.

Unfortunately, for Dina, keeping the peace between Space Vampires, the Hope-Crushing Horde, and the devious Merchants of Baha-char is much easier said than done. On top of keeping her guests from murdering each other, she must find a chef, remodel the inn... and risk everything, even her life, to save the man she might fall in love with. But then it's all in the day's work for an Innkeeper...

“What are you planning?” I asked, as we turned toward the grand ballroom.
“Just a small demonstration for the public good,” he said. “I am so sorry.”
“You’re apologizing in advance.”
“Yes.”
“Never a good sign.”

Dina DeMille runs a Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town but it’s certainly far from normal. She only caters to otherworldly visitors but they are few and far between these days and her only visitor is Caldenia who is actually a permanent resident since she has a price on her head and can’t leave the grounds. When Dina is approached with a dangerous but tempting offer to host a peace summit between three warring groups, she knows that if all goes well this could end up helping the Inn more than anything. But on the other hand, if things go wrong, it could be disastrous and she could lose the Inn for good. Dina takes the chance and hopes for the best.

In Sweep in Peace we get to witness the truly magical capabilities of the Inn and Dina herself and we’re introduced to a large number of new characters but most importantly is my favorite: Orro, the chef she hires to feed the massive group of people now occupying her Inn. She also gets a new cat that remains a bit of a mystery but I look forward to finding out more about him in (hopefully!) the next installment. I read Clean Sweep early last year and felt it was a fun, cozy sort of paranormal mystery. It was a bit forgettable, nothing extraordinary, and I decided that picking up the next installment wasn’t worthwhile.

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I’ve been crazy in the mood for Urban Fantasy lately and Sweep in Peace was literally the only one immediately available for check-out at my library so I decided what the hell. IT WAS SO GOOD. It was funny and exciting and I completely fell in love with these characters like I somehow managed to avoid doing in the first. Now I’m on hold for the third installment and the wait is interminable. That’ll teach me.

“This is blasphemy!” Odalon declared in the same way Gerard Butler had once roared “This is Sparta.” Sadly, Odalon had nobody to kick into a bottomless hole for emphasis, so he settled for looking extremely put out.

Short & Sweet – Sweep in Peace, Feversong, Golden Dynasty,Feversong by Karen Marie Moning
Series: Fever #9
Published by Delacorte Press on January 17th 2017
Pages: 512
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Format: eBook
Source: Library
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Also by this author: Beyond the Highland Mist

four-stars

#1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Marie Moning returns with the epic conclusion to her pulse-pounding Fever series, where a world thrown into chaos grows more treacherous at every turn. As Mac, Barrons, Ryodan, and Jada struggle to restore control, enemies become allies, right and wrong cease to exist, and the lines between life and death, lust and love, disappear completely.

Black holes loom menacingly over Dublin, threatening to destroy the Earth. Yet the greatest danger is the one MacKayla Lane has unleashed from within: the Sinsar Dubh—a sentient book of unthinkable evil—has possessed her body and will stop at nothing in its insatiable quest for power.

The fate of Man and Fae rests on destroying the book and recovering the long-lost Song of Making, the sole magic that can repair the fragile fabric of the Earth. But to achieve these aims, sidhe-seers, the Nine, Seelie, and Unseelie must form unlikely alliances and make heart-wrenching choices. For Barrons and Jada, this means finding the Seelie Queen who alone can wield the mysterious song, negotiating with a lethal Unseelie prince hell-bent on ruling the Fae courts, and figuring out how to destroy the Sinsar Dubh while keeping Mac alive.

This time, there’s no gain without sacrifice, no pursuit without risk, no victory without irrevocable loss. In the battle for Mac’s soul, every decision exacts a tremendous price.


*Beware! Spoilers from the first 8 installments… but that’s to be expected, right?*

Feversong opens to the tragedy that Feverborn left us with: the evil book inside her, the Sinsar Dubh, has finally found a way to take complete control over Mac. Finally possessing a sentient form, the book wastes no time in wreaking havoc on Dublin and its remaining inhabitants. How to possibly destroy the book without also destroying Mac in the process is something no one knows how to do, but stopping the book before it gains, even more, power is crucial to saving the last of the human race. The black holes that were left behind by the Hoar Frost King continue to hover mere feet above the Earth and until the Song of Making is discovered, there may soon not be an Earth to save. Time is quickly running out.

I’m not going to go into plot details because if you love the series, you’re going to read it anyways, but I will say this: There’s a lot riding on a final installment, especially for such a well-loved series that has gone on for as long as it has. There are an immense amount of loose-ends to tie up, deciding how to wrap up the stories of beloved characters (whether they get their happily ever after or not), and trying to find an ending that isn’t predictable but that doesn’t also come out of left field. Series endings have a low probability of impressing me which makes me truly wonder why I embark on as many series as I do. While there were still some questions that went unanswered (not enough to make me grumpy) and a few plot lines that were wrapped up a bit too neatly (nothing’s perfect though), I was overall impressed with how entertaining this final installment was. Have I changed my mind that all installments after Shadowfever were necessary? Nope, but they still gave me more time in a fantasy world that I will always love.

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Feversong marks the (second) end of the Fever series, but I’m not entirely convinced that it couldn’t emerge once again from the ashes like a phoenix. It’s been done once before so I won’t say it isn’t possible. There were a few extra pieces of the puzzle that could most definitely go on to form a new book (books?), but I was happy with the ending in Shadowfever and I’m shockingly happy with the ending in Feversong View Spoiler » so let’s not push our luck, k Moning?

I hope she creates a new wonderfully magical world for me to fall in love and obsess over soon.

Short & Sweet – Sweep in Peace, Feversong, Golden Dynasty,The Golden Dynasty by Kristen Ashley
Series: Fantasyland #2
on August 22nd 2011
Pages: 530
Genres: Fantasy
Format: eBook
Source: Borrowed
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Also by this author: Wildest Dreams

four-stars

Circe Quinn goes to sleep at home and wakes up in a corral filled with women wearing sacrificial virgin attire - and she is one of them. She soon finds out that she’s not having a wild dream, she’s living a frightening nightmare where she’s been transported to a barren land populated by a primitive people and in short order, she’s installed very unwillingly on her white throne of horns as their Queen.
Dax Lahn is the king of Suh Tunak, The Horde of the nation of Korwahk and with one look at Circe, he knows she will be his bride and together they will start The Golden Dynasty of legend.
Circe and Lahn are separated by language, culture and the small fact she’s from a parallel universe and has no idea how she got there or how to get home. But facing challenge after challenge, Circe finds her footing as Queen of the brutal Korwahk Horde and wife to its King, then she makes friends then she finds herself falling in love with this primitive land, its people and especially their savage leader.

A word to the wise about these books: they’re… kinda like crack. Imagine there’s an alternate but magical reality where there’s a different version of you and that it’s possible to swap spots with your other version and live in that very different and magical world. In Wildest Dreams, the first installment of this series, Finnie Wilde made the choice to switch places. In Golden Dynasty, Circe Quinn had no knowledge of this alternate world and woke up in it terrified where she’s about to be set free by a primitive type people and hunted, captured, and raped by men who wish to find wives. It’s an ordeal that she didn’t think she would live through, but Circe survived and discovered that she had been caught by the King himself and was now Queen of these people.

Now, wait a minute!! I know what you’re thinking!!

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But for you Game of Thrones fans out there… how many of you ended up loving Khal Drogo and Daenerys together??

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*cries* Why did he have to die?!

Because Golden Dynasty is a straight up epic Game of Thrones continuation story, taking you on a path that GRRM could never have dreamed up. It takes Khal Drogo and Daenerys’ story to a whole new and amazing level. How could she possibly fall in love with her rapist, you ask? Excellent question; I asked it myself. All I have to say is, Kristen Ashley works wonders in the development of Circe and Lahn’s relationship, generating one of the most intense and passionate romances I’ve read. She also delves deep into the culture of these people without turning it into some excuse for the heinous acts done. Suffice it to say, this entire series has been magical and I can see why Ashley is so beloved in the romance genre.

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Short & Sweet – A Local Habitation, Feverborn, Wildest Dreams

March 10, 2017 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2017, Short & Sweet Reviews 10 Comments

Short & Sweet – A Local Habitation, Feverborn, Wildest DreamsA Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire
Series: October Daye #2
Published by DAW on March 2nd 2010
Pages: 390
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Fae
Format: eBook
Source: Library
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Also by this author: Indexing

three-half-stars

Now comes the second in the series-from a dynamic new fantasy talent!
Toby Daye-a half-human, half-fae changeling-has been an outsider from birth. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the fae world, retreating to a "normal" life. Unfortunately for her, the Faerie world had other ideas...

Now her liege, the Duke of the Shadowed Hills, has asked Toby to go to the Country of Tamed Lightening to make sure all is well with his niece,

Countess January O'Leary. It seems like a simple enough assignment-until Toby discovers that someone has begun murdering people close to January, and that if the killer isn't stopped, January may be the next victim.

“Jan built herself an ivory tower to keep the wolves out; she never dreamed they were already inside.”

Now that Toby Daye has her PI license back, things are looking up for her. After a girls night out that leads to Tybalt carrying her home (!!!), Toby wakes up to a request from Sylvester, the Duke of Shadowed Hills, that she can’t decline. Sylvester has been unable to reach his niece, the Countess January O’Leary, in the Country of Tamed Lightning. Several weeks have passed without word from her and he’s unable to personally check on her without inciting a political war, so he’s requesting that Toby go in his place. She arrives to find that no one has been able to call for help outside of Tamed Lightning, people have been dying, and the killer is still unknown even as more bodies pile up. Toby refuses to back down without figuring out what’s happening to January and her people.

While the storyline of A Local Habitation drug along at the pace of a snail, it’s the awesome characters that really make this series for me. I love Toby and I love Tybalt. Danny, the Bridge Troll taxi driver was, unfortunately, absent but we got to see her two hilarious cats briefly and the recent pet addition: Spike the rose goblin (who apparently looks like a cat made from a rosebush but I missed that in the original introduction so I just imagine it as this small, round rosebush that just bounces around.) The story itself reads like some campy horror film where individuals keep getting picked off, the others rush to see if they could catch the person, they never do, repeat ad nauseam. There are some pretty obvious clues that happen early on, Toby’s refusal to get out of danger was just stupid, and the mystery was drawn out for far too long. Regardless, the characters remain the big appeal to me and I’m still so glad I gave this series another shot.

Short & Sweet – A Local Habitation, Feverborn, Wildest DreamsFeverborn by Karen Marie Moning
Series: Fever #8
Published by Delacorte Press on January 19th 2016
Pages: 512
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Fae
Format: eBook
Source: Library
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Also by this author: Beyond the Highland Mist

three-half-stars

In Karen Marie Moning’s latest installment of the epic #1 New York Times bestselling Fever series, the stakes have never been higher and the chemistry has never been hotter. Hurtling us into a realm of labyrinthine intrigue and consummate seduction, FEVERBORN is a riveting tale of ancient evil, lust, betrayal, forgiveness and the redemptive power of love.

When the immortal race of the Fae destroyed the ancient wall dividing the worlds of Man and Faery, the very fabric of the universe was damaged and now Earth is vanishing bit by bit. Only the long-lost Song of Making—a haunting, dangerous melody that is the source of all life itself—can save the planet.

But those who seek the mythic Song—Mac, Barrons, Ryodan and Jada—must contend with old wounds and new enemies, passions that burn hot and hunger for vengeance that runs deep. The challenges are many: The Keltar at war with nine immortals who’ve secretly ruled Dublin for eons, Mac and Jada hunted by the masses, the Seelie queen nowhere to be found, and the most powerful Unseelie prince in all creation determined to rule both Fae and Man. Now the task of solving the ancient riddle of the Song of Making falls to a band of deadly warriors divided among—and within—themselves.

Once a normal city possessing a touch of ancient magic, Dublin is now a treacherously magical city with only a touch of normal. And in those war-torn streets, Mac will come face to face with her most savage enemy yet: herself.

“What we achieve at our best moment doesn’t say much about who we are. It all boils down to what we become at our worst moment.”

Feverborn is the penultimate installment of the Fever series, but then again Moning tried ending it once before and we see how well that stuck. Finding out that Feversong was the last of the series prompted a renewed interest in finding out how it’s all going to get resolved (except, there is a tenth installment listed on Goodreads but apparently it’s not actually happening. WE’LL SEE.) Iced was a complete disaster, Burned was mildly better, but Feverborn actually started feeling like the series I’d always loved again.

Mac continues to be unsure of herself in regards to the Sinsar-Dubh, not able to tell whether or not she’s living a complete illusion created by the evil book. The entire city is at risk from Black Holes that consume anything and everything which the Hoar Frost King left behind from the absence of his power. And underneath the Abbey, Cruce is slowly trying to figure out a way to escape his prison and rule all Fae. In the opening pages, Mac is still invisible and I did an eye roll and reconsidered my decision to pick this up. If you remember, she was invisible the majority of Burned which got real fucking old, real fast. But craziness ensues and she finds herself fully visible once again for unknown reasons and while I would normally question the whys and such, I was just so damn pleased she was visible again so she could hopefully get back to business. And that she did.

The points of view alternated between Mac, Ryodan, Jada, Cruce, and Lor, which the latter felt completely out of place and unnecessary but I admit he did add some mild (yet highly sexualized) sense of humor to this dark tale. And of course Mac and Barrons continue to be mad for each other.

Every cell in my body comes to hard, frantic, sexual life when he’s near.’

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There were a few serious issues plot-wise that really detracted from the more positive aspects of this installment. First, the scenes from the past between the Unseelie King and Seelie Queen that were supposed to hint at what’s been happening all along but just confused things even more. Second, which is a major spoiler View Spoiler » And lastly, that ending was just weird and random. View Spoiler » And of course, another cliffhanger! BECAUSE WHY NOT. I can’t say I’m excited for the final installment, but I’m definitely curious to see how this unintentional extension of this series ends up playing out.

Short & Sweet – A Local Habitation, Feverborn, Wildest DreamsWildest Dreams by Kristen Ashley
Series: Fantasyland #1
Published by Self-Published on August 15th 2011
Pages: 563
Genres: Fantasy Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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Also by this author: The Golden Dynasty

four-stars

Seoafin "Finnie" Wilde was taught by her parents that life was meant to be lived, every breath was a treasure and to seek every adventure she could find. And she learns this lesson the hard way when they perish in a plane crash when she's fifteen. But she never forgets and when she discovers there is a parallel universe where every person has a twin, she finds a witch who can send her there so she can see her parents again and have the adventure of a lifetime.

But nearly upon arrival in the Winter Wonderland of Lunwyn, she realizes she's been played by her twin of the alternate universe and shortly finds herself walking down the aisle to be wed to The Drakkar.

Instantly thrown into inauspicious circumstances, with years of practice (she did, of course, survive that elephant stampede, if she could do that, she can do anything), Finnie bests the challenges and digs into her adventure. But as Frey Drakkar discovers the woman who is his new wife is not Princess Sjofn, a woman he dislikes (intensely) but instead, his Finnie, a free-spirit with a thirst for venture just like him (not to mention she is his destiny), without her knowledge he orders his new bride bound to his frozen world, everlasting.


I expected Wildest Dreams to remain on my TBR for a very long time, even after it was recommended to fans of A Court of Mist and Fury. It was $0.99 so I snagged it. I have a hard time saying no to most $0.99 books, even though I’m terrible about getting to the actual reading them part. It was hook, line, and sinker when I found out what this story (and series) was about — there is a parallel universe to our world where your twin resides. Finnie, wanting to find adventure, pays a witch to switch her with her twin so she could reside in this fantasy realm for at least a short time. Imagine her great surprise when she finds herself in this new world, minutes from marriage to an angry, brooding man that she’s never laid eyes on before.

First off, these books are long. But fun. And allllll kinds of romance-y. Finnie had some pretty cheesy dialogue that took me a while to get used to (she says cool and freaking entirely way too much) and there’s some serious alpha-male-ness going on, but when it all comes down to it the world-building was actually pretty awesome and the romance was all sorts of cute.

“You are, my wee Finnie, beyond my wildest dreams.”

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Book Review – The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

November 29, 2016 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2016, YA 0 Comments

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola YoonThe Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Published by Delacorte Press on November 1st 2016
Pages: 384
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
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Also by this author: Everything, Everything

four-stars

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.
The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

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“What a difference a day makes.”

Natasha possesses a scientific and mathematical mind that believes in finding solutions. Her current problem that requires one: her family are undocumented immigrants from Jamaica and she’s being forced to return to the country of her birth that night. Daniel is a poet and believes wholeheartedly in fate. His Korean immigrant parents expect him to attend an Ivy League school, become a doctor, and marry a nice Korean girl. Neither Natasha nor Daniel like the looks of the futures that have been mapped out for them. When the two cross paths and end up spending what Natasha believes to be their last day together (which Daniel is unaware of), their chemistry is undeniable. Whether it’s because of Daniel’s belief in fate or Natasha’s belief in chance, their budding romance is certain. But with only a guarantee of a single day, is a happy ending even possible?

‘We’re kindling amid lightning strikes. A lit match and dry wood. Fire Danger signs and a forest waiting to be burned.’

This story belongs to more than just Natasha and Daniel, although they are the stars of the show. We’re given a behind the scenes look at all the puzzle pieces that had to fall in to place in order for everything to happen just as it did. Not just what happens to Natasha and Daniel, but how their presence impacted the others that they crossed paths with. We see how the guard, Irene, causes Natasha to miss an important appointment but inevitably ends up saving Irene. We see how a near miss with a drunk driver results in changed circumstances for another. We see how a broken down train sets Daniel on a path he otherwise wouldn’t have found himself on. Whether or not this is a vote towards the possibility of fate, that’s certainly up for the reader to decide.

“I didn’t know you this morning, and now I don’t remember not knowing you.”

Yoon has said that while this story isn’t autobiographical, it’s definitely inspired by her own personal love story which must be why this story seems to possess so much sentiment. While I’m not typically a fan of anything closely resembling insta-love, The Sun is Also a Star possesses a type of insta-love that I can get behind. These two characters somehow manage to build a meaningful relationship with one another that was not only believable but something to aspire to, albeit in approximately 12 hours. Suspending your disbelief may be a slight requirement but it’s well worth it for romantics and cynics alike.

“Maybe he was just saying that we should live in the moment. As if today is all we have.”

related-reads-khaki

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Just One Day (Just One Day #1) by Gayle Forman [Purchase//Review]
A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall [Purchase//Review]
The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett [Purchase//Review]

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Book Review – Burned (Fever #7) by Karen Marie Moning

October 16, 2015 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2015 0 Comments

Book Review – Burned (Fever #7) by Karen Marie MoningBurned by Karen Marie Moning
Series: Fever #7
Published by Delacorte Press on January 20th 2015
Pages: 512
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
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Also by this author: Beyond the Highland Mist

three-stars

MacKayla Lane and Jericho Barrons return in the blockbuster Fever series from Karen Marie Moning.
 
It’s easy to walk away from lies. Power is another thing.
 
MacKayla Lane would do anything to save the home she loves. A gifted sidhe-seer, she’s already fought and defeated the deadly Sinsar Dubh—an ancient book of terrible evil—yet its hold on her has never been stronger.

When the wall that protected humans from the seductive, insatiable Fae was destroyed on Halloween, long-imprisoned immortals ravaged the planet. Now Dublin is a war zone with factions battling for control. As the city heats up and the ice left by the Hoar Frost King melts, tempers flare, passions run red-hot, and dangerous lines get crossed. Seelie and Unseelie vie for power against nine ancient immortals who have governed Dublin for millennia; a rival band of sidhe-seers invades the city, determined to claim it for their own; Mac’s former protégé and best friend, Dani “Mega” O’Malley, is now her fierce enemy; and even more urgent, Highland druid Christian MacKeltar has been captured by the Crimson Hag and is being driven deeper into Unseelie madness with each passing day. The only one Mac can depend on is the powerful, dangerous immortal Jericho Barrons, but even their fiery bond is tested by betrayal.

It’s a world where staying alive is a constant struggle, the line between good and evil is blurred, and every alliance comes at a price. In an epic battle against dark forces, Mac must decide who she can trust, and what her survival is ultimately worth.

I spent a long, long time deciding whether I wanted to read this and continue to tarnish the memory of the original Fever series. I read Iced last year and was so completely horrified at what this series had become that the thought of any future books had me going:

But, clearly I caved. I completed my second re-read of the original five and loved them even more than I thought possible. And I toyed with the idea that because Burned goes back to Mac’s point of view that it wouldn’t be that bad… right? Well, it wasn’t nearly as horrible as Iced but it still had its own set of issues. But backing up a bit regarding the switch-up from Iced being the first of the Dani O’Malley trilogy to simply Fever #6… seriously, what happened there? The summary literally says “…the first book in her hotly anticipated new urban paranormal trilogy.” You know, instead of “the hotly anticipated new installment in the bestselling Fever series!” A huge part of why I wasn’t a fan of Iced (aside from the pedos of course) was I have never actually liked Dani’s unique use of the English language. There were moments where I thought I was going to lose it if I read feck one more fucking time.

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So, the switch up back to Mac was a bit of welcome news for me, unfortunately it felt like Burned was the bandaid book to all things readers found wrong with Iced because there was honestly very little plot progression. Just a whole lot of expounding on things that were already touched on but were now being explained in even more detail in order to “justify” things.

It was great seeing Mac and Barrons back together again but there’s something definitely missing from the whole thing, or mostly it just didn’t feel like anything fresh but simply re-used material that fans have already pored over in the previous installments. There wasn’t any development in their relationship minus some ridiculous soap opera drama that came completely out of nowhere and was utterly unnecessary. I was at first intrigued by the twist in what we all thought we knew about Mac and Barrons first introduction, but my excitement was short lived to say the least.

And then there’s Mac specifically. Mac has gone through some serious character development since her introduction in Darkfever but it really felt like we did a bit of backtracking in Burned. In KMM’s blog post she says, “I follow my muse and my muse put Mac where she is at this time for reasons. I understand that those reasons are not apparent to others because only I know where the story is going.” First off, KMM, a prolific and accomplished writer, should not still feel the need to justify her stories in such detail to her readers. I may have had issue with where she took Mac in the story, sure, and I may not be able to foresee the outcome she has planned for her, but that’s cool. We’ve all followed fictional characters down mysterious paths and you either are or aren’t along for the ride. So I’m going to reserve complete judgment on Mac’s reversal back to being a meek individual that hides in the shadows View Spoiler ». I still have hope that KMM will turn it around, even if I’m leery about the path she’s chosen to take. So, fingers crossed.

WAVYLINE

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Burned satisfies the ‘Over 400 Pages’ bingo square!

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Early Review – Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

July 31, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2015, YA 3 Comments

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Everything, Everything by Nicola YoonEverything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on September 1st 2015
Pages: 320
Genres: Coming-of-Age, Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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Also by this author: The Sun Is Also a Star

four-stars

This innovative, heartfelt debut novel tells the story of a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she’s ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more.

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

‘Maybe I’m holding out hope that one day, someday, things will change.’

Imagine living your entire life inside your house only ever having seen your mother and your nurse. Imagine never being able to feel the wind on your skin, or grass between your toes. Imagine growing up never having friends, never having a sleepover, and never being able to anticipate going on a date. This is the life that Madeline Whittier has been forced to live due to an immunodeficiency that causes her to be allergic to practically everything. When a new boy named Olly moves in next door, Madeline begins to test her boundaries because conversing with Olly slowly opens her eyes to what she’s been missing all this time.

Everything, Everything, despite the serious topic, read like a breath of fresh air. Madeline was such a wonderful character with such a quirky sense of humor and a resiliency you can’t help but admire. Her constant breaking of rules lacks what you would expect would come as completely reckless, but instead shows Madeline’s tenacity to experience the world for however long she’d be able to survive it. The narrative is told in typical story form but we’re also given snippets of her journal and the online chat sessions with Olly. The writing style flows wonderfully and it’s easy to get completely immersed in it and consume it quickly. Reminiscent of Jandy Nelson, Katie Catugno, and Jessi Kirby’s writing styles.

The romance was shockingly wonderful and I loved the progression that their relationship took. Their cutesy antics constantly put a smile on my face and I just loved reading how he slowly taught her about the world he lived in, that she had never experienced. With this being such a quick read, I was pleased that their romance didn’t feel quick as well. There were some real heart-wrenching moments that left me blubbering just a bit, because you can’t help but feel from the very beginning that there couldn’t possibly be a happy ending in sight. It only helped matters that I kept envisioning Madeline and Olly as these two:

While I won’t get into spoilery detail, the ending does have to be mentioned because it’s been a game-changer for a lot of people and their overall opinion of the book. Admittedly, there is a definite twist at the end that changes everything and is hastily “resolved” and not adequately so in my opinion. For me though, the magic of the book was the heartwarming romance and the incredibly charismatic characters which were both solid enough to withstand a somewhat skimpy resolution. Everything, Everything is no doubt an impressive debut from a promising new author.

dvd-pearl

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Everything, Everything satisfies the ‘Tearjerker” bingo square!

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Release Day Feature – The Third Twin by C.J. Omololu

February 24, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2015, YA 0 Comments

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Release Day Feature – The Third Twin by C.J. OmololuThe Third Twin by C.J. Omololu
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on February 24th 2015
Pages: 336
Genres: Mystery
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository
Goodreads


three-stars

Identical twins. Identical DNA. Identical suspects. It’s Pretty Little Liars meets Revenge in this edge-of-your-seat thriller with a shocking twist.

When they were little, Lexi and her identical twin, Ava, made up a third sister, Alicia. If something broke? Alicia did it. Cookies got eaten? Alicia’s guilty. Alicia was always to blame for everything.

The game is all grown up now that the girls are seniors. They use Alicia as their cover to go out with boys who are hot but not exactly dating material. Boys they’d never, ever be with in real life.

Now one of the guys Alicia went out with has turned up dead, and Lexi wants to stop the game for good. As coincidences start piling up, Ava insists that if they follow the rules for being Alicia, everything will be fine. But when another boy is killed, the DNA evidence and surveillance photos point to only one suspect—Alicia. The girl who doesn’t exist.

As she runs from the cops, Lexi has to find the truth before another boy is murdered. Because either Ava is a killer . . . or Alicia is real.

‘In my mind it’s almost like there was actually a third twin with us. Even when we were kids, Alicia was fun and daring and not afraid to get into trouble now and ask for forgiveness later. “Even though she was imaginary, Alicia seemed to real then.”‘

Lexi and Ava are twin sisters and when they were younger, they both had an imaginary sister named Alicia. Problem is, they’re all grown up and still pretend like Alicia exists but they’ve just changed the rules a bit. Now the girls alternate being Alicia and they dress up and wear makeup far more scandalous than they would normally to go out on dates with boys they wouldn’t normally. It was all fun and games until one of “Alicia’s” dates turns up dead.

The Third Twin is told from the point of view of Lexi who begins to suspect her sister Ava as the mystery continues and more people keep turning up dead. The coincidences become too much and Ava quickly becomes a stranger to her. But could her twin sister, the person she is closer than anyone else in the world, truly be capable of murder? The focus on the mystery took up the majority of the novel with the character development being pushed to the back burner. Lexi and Ava were both of the snobbish, self-abosrbed variety and didn’t manage to garner much interest in me especially when some of the things they would do were just so illogical. With that said, the possibilities of the mystery were what kept the pages turning for me. But mysteries rarely surprise me anymore. It’s usually one or the other: either the outcome is evident from early on or the resolution comes out of left field. Neither one is satisfying, but I would much rather be kept guessing and The Third Twin certainly did that.

The mystery surrounding Alicia became stretched at the seams and took a while to actually get anywhere while the same pattern kept repeating itself regarding more people turning up dead with ‘Alicia’ being the only culprit. While I didn’t predict the ending, once revealed it did seem like the only reasonable possibility and I really should have seen it coming. All in all, even if the ending wasn’t one you would normally see in reality, this was still a pleasurable thrill of a mystery that YA mystery fans will no doubt enjoy.

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield {PurchaseMy Review}
Fury by Shirley Marr {PurchaseMy Review}
Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas {PurchaseMy Review}

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Book Review – Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

September 18, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2014, YA 4 Comments

Book Review – Wanderlove by Kirsten HubbardWanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on March 13, 2012
Pages: 354
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Travel
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository
Goodreads


two-stars

Are you a Global Vagabond?

No, but 18-year-old Bria wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a tour of Central America—the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists are hardly the key to self-rediscovery.

So when Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspoken sister Starling, she seizes the chance to ditch her group and join them off the beaten path. Bria's a good girl trying to go bad. Rowan's a bad boy trying to stay good. As they travel through Mayan villages and remote Belizean islands, they discover they're both seeking to leave behind the old versions of themselves. The secret to escaping the past, Rowan's found, is to keep moving forward. But Bria realizes she can't run forever. At some point, you have to look back.

“See, wanderlust is like itchy feet.” […] “It’s when you can’t settle down. But Wanderlove is much deeper than that… it’s a compulsion. It’s the difference between lust and love.”

Wanderlove is a coming of age story about Bria, an 18 recent high school graduate who is getting over her first bad breakup. Her and her ex had been planning a trip together but after the breakup she decides it’d still be a good idea to go off by herself to gain some much needed independence.

So… Wanderlove. Easily one of those books I’ve been wanting to read forever but because of the hype I had been putting it off. And so two years later, I finally picked it up. Gawd. Was this ever one giant massive disappointment. Baa Baa Black Sheep, I know.

I was initially interested in this because I have a strong desire to travel the world someday, but don’t we all? Given this fantastic opportunity to travel wherever she chose to before going off to college seemed like a dream come true. The one thing I loved about this novel were the vivid descriptions of her surroundings. They definitely made me want to see the sights first-hand. The one thing I did not love was Bria. Bria’s heart was in the right place, having the desire to gain some independence and feel like she could get out into the world and take proper care of herself without anybody else. I could understand and appreciate that need to prove to yourself that you can do it on your own.

The trip started off right, but it slowly morphed into Bria trying to be somebody completely different, somebody that wasn’t even close to her seemingly true personality. It felt out of character despite how little I knew of her as a character. Then issues started coming out about things that she refused to do, primarily swimming, which we’re told had something to do with her ex-boyfriend. I feared the worst, thinking some sort of violence happened to her in the water. No, it was far less dramatic than that.

View Spoiler »

There were other major issues I had and most of them had to do with Bria putting her trust into strangers and going off with them into the mountains of Central America without even informing her parents she was leaving her tour group. Now maybe I’m a little hardened having seen Taken one too many times, but that whole situation was a recipe for disaster. Of course nothing of the sort happened and Liam didn’t need to come save her but the possibility of disaster ruined the whole ‘adventure’ for me. Add to that, as the book progressed it slowly became less about independence and more about the new guy she found.

Overall, I was massively disappointed. I wanted this to be more ‘coming-of-age’ and less ‘romance’ and I definitely wanted to love it like everyone else seems to. Bria’s desire for independence kept me reading in hopes that she’d truly find it but the end result had me wishing I had quit while I was ahead.

Wanderlove satisfies the ‘Road Trip!” bingo square!

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Book Review – Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (Outlander #8) by Diana Gabaldon

September 11, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2014 2 Comments

Book Review – Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (Outlander #8) by Diana GabaldonWritten in My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon
Series: Outlander #8
Published by Delacorte Press on June 10th 2014
Pages: 848
Genres: Historical Fiction, Time Travel
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel

three-stars

In her now classic novel Outlander, Diana Gabaldon told the story of Claire Randall, an English ex-combat nurse who walks through a stone circle in the Scottish Highlands in 1946, and disappears . . . into 1743. The story unfolded from there in seven bestselling novels, and CNN has called it “a grand adventure written on a canvas that probes the heart, weighs the soul and measures the human spirit across [centuries].” Now the story continues in Written in My Own Heart’s Blood.

1778: France declares war on Great Britain, the British army leaves Philadelphia, and George Washington’s troops leave Valley Forge in pursuit. At this moment, Jamie Fraser returns from a presumed watery grave to discover that his best friend has married his wife, his illegitimate son has discovered (to his horror) who his father really is, and his beloved nephew, Ian, wants to marry a Quaker. Meanwhile, Jamie’s wife, Claire, and his sister, Jenny, are busy picking up the pieces.

The Frasers can only be thankful that their daughter Brianna and her family are safe in twentieth-century Scotland. Or not. In fact, Brianna is  searching for her own son, who was kidnapped by a man determined to learn her family’s secrets. Her husband, Roger, has ventured into the past in search of the missing boy . . . never suspecting that the object of his quest has not left the present. Now, with Roger out of the way, the kidnapper can focus on his true target: Brianna herself.

Written in My Own Heart’s Blood is the brilliant next chapter in a masterpiece of the imagination unlike any other.

Outlander series


Outlander (Outlander #1) {Purchase}
Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2) {Purchase}
Voyager (Outlander #3) {Purchase}
Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4) {Purchase}
The Fiery Cross (Outlander #5) {Purchase}
A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander #6) {Purchase}
An Echo in the Bone (Outlander #7) {Purchase}
The Outlander Series 7-Book Bundle on Kindle {Purchase}

​After the dramatic conclusion in ​An Echo in the Bone and the five years it took for this installment to come out, I was expecting to swallow this whole as soon as I was afforded the opportunity. Instead? It took me upwards of almost THREE MONTHS to finish which is practically unheard of for me. When I finally read the last page, I ran joyously through the house a la Liz Lemon style.

But let’s back up and discuss what actually goes down in this book. There will be spoilers for previous installments.

So, there was drama. A lot of it. Written picks right up where Echo left off in 1778 with Claire discovering Jamie is in fact alive and kicking and her marriage (and consummation) to Lord John poses some mighty intense drama. Then there’s William who just recently discovered that Lord John is not actually his father, Jamie is, but raised him since Jamie was unable to. He proceeds to throw a tantrum about said drama for pretty much the full extent of the book making his chapters pretty interminable. We’ve got Ian and his dog Rollo, who have decidedly less drama but since he has become engaged to Rachel and just so happens to be well-liked by William, well there’s your drama for that storyline too. There are various other side stories too that are, you guessed it, full of drama. Oh, and we can’t forget about the fact that the American Revolutionary War is going on in the background of all this. Meanwhile, in 1980, Bree is frantic to find her son Jem whom she fears has been taken through the stones and back in time by an enemy who discovered that Jem knows the location of a priceless buried treasure. Roger has set off to follow them through the stones to get him back but his leaving brings more trouble for Bree back home.

Bree and Roger’s sections were my most favorite but were unfortunately the smallest part of the book as a whole. I’d say they got roughly 20% while the remaining 80% was spent in 1778. All of Gabaldon’s books have been large in size, Written clocking in at 848 pages of extremely tiny print, but this one honestly felt too long. An extreme amount of detail was placed on Claire’s methods for healing with the rudimentary tools available to her and some were extremely graphic and completely unnecessary for the storyline as a whole. There were several chapters spent on her saving Lord John’s brother from an asthma attack, the medical cases from various individuals that were injured in battle, an amputation, Lord John Grey’s eye injury which she heals with her fingers and honey and the worst of them all: the surgery she performs on a slave girl to fix her rectovaginal fistula. FYI? Don’t Google that. It was all super detailed and somewhat interesting for the most part but I wanted more actual story.

Yes, I did give this 3 stars so clearly there was some good to this. Again, like I said, Bree and Roger’s chapters were the best and I loved where their stories took them in this massive puzzle Gabaldon is masterminding. There were some terribly emotional scenes that managed to draw me back into the story: Ian and his dog Rollo, Henri Christian (Fergus’ son) and Jane’s whole sad story. I found the unrelenting drama too much but mainly because it didn’t manage to work my emotions like the other books always seemed to. Even though this one is most definitely my least favorite of the series there is no doubt that I’ll be continuing this series. I anxiously await the next installment (in a half dozen years or so if we’re lucky) especially after everything got set up in the conclusion (but thankfully there wasn’t a dramatic cliffhanger).

Written in My Own Heart’s Blood satisfies the ‘Featuring an Animal Companion’ bingo square! (Ian and Rollo)

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Book Review – Iced (Fever #6) by Karen Marie Moning

April 24, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2014 2 Comments

Book Review – Iced (Fever #6) by Karen Marie MoningIced by Karen Marie Moning
Series: Fever #6
Published by Delacorte Press on October 30, 2012
Pages: 512
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Beyond the Highland Mist

two-stars

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Marie Moning comes the first book in her hotly anticipated new urban paranormal trilogy, set in the world of her blockbuster Fever series.

The year is 1 AWC—After the Wall Crash. The Fae are free and hunting us. It’s a war zone out there, and no two days are alike. I’m Dani O’Malley, the chaos-filled streets of Dublin are my home, and there’s no place I’d rather be. 

Dani “Mega” O’Malley plays by her own set of rules—and in a world overrun by Dark Fae, her biggest rule is: Do what it takes to survive. Possessing rare talents and the all-powerful Sword of Light, Dani is more than equipped for the task. In fact, she’s one of the rare humans who can defend themselves against the Unseelie. But now, amid the pandemonium, her greatest gifts have turned into serious liabilities.

Dani’s ex–best friend, MacKayla Lane, wants her dead, the terrifying Unseelie princes have put a price on her head, and Inspector Jayne, the head of the police force, is after her sword and will stop at nothing to get it. What’s more, people are being mysteriously frozen to death all over the city, encased on the spot in sub-zero, icy tableaux. 

When Dublin’s most seductive nightclub gets blanketed in hoarfrost, Dani finds herself at the mercy of Ryodan, the club’s ruthless, immortal owner. He needs her quick wit and exceptional skill to figure out what’s freezing Fae and humans dead in their tracks—and Ryodan will do anything to ensure her compliance.

Dodging bullets, fangs, and fists, Dani must strike treacherous bargains and make desperate alliances to save her beloved Dublin—before everything and everyone in it gets iced.

Being a huge fan of the Fever series it took me a surprising amount of time to finally get around to reading this. Why, you ask? Well, because I had been warned about the creepy pedophiles. Ryodan? Christian?

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Shame on both of you, you sick perverts. Iced possess the same ramped up sexual energy that we’ve all come to expect from the Fever series but there is that huge issue of Dani being FOURTEEN YEARS OLD. The things that came out of these guys mouths (and all the perverted thoughts too) that were directed towards her was DISGUSTING and she was so completely oblivious to it, you know, because she’s A CHILD. But it’s Karen Marie Moning so I had to read it. Plus, I’ve heard that the next book in the trilogy, Burned, is jumping ahead a few years so Dani will be 19, thank goodness.

Minus the creepy pedo business, there’s the whole ‘Dani is beyond fucking annoying’ factor. But somehow I still managed to like her for the most part. I just would have liked her a hell of a lot more if she didn’t say feck so much. Or dude. Or maybe if she eased up on the exclamation points. Or maybe if she didn’t say shit like this:

‘It’s the freakiest thing I’ve ever felt. Like it’s a sponge and I’m a sponge and for a second there all our sponge parts are one and I don’t just have square pants, everything about me is squarish because I’m part of a wall, then I’m me again and the wall kind of squirts me out on the other side in a completely white room.’

Or this:

‘I choke on the last marshmallow I’m trying to swallow whole. I kick up into fast-mo and try to fast-cough it out but it doesn’t work. Belatedly it occurs to me fast-mo might not have been brightest move. Friction and mucus expand the confection like a waterlogged tampon. It swells in my throat and shuts down my airway.’

I mean SERIOUSLY? But regardless, Dani still managed to be a spunky character that you couldn’t help but like (except for that time when she mentioned having Nicki Minaj on her ipod. Dani. Tsk.) I’m expecting some maturity to go along with the jump in 5 years so I’m really quite excited for Burned.

The most enjoyable aspect of the story was the mystery behind the eerie locations being covered in ice that are taking the lives of humans and fae alike. It’s engaging and thrilling. Plus, there are a few moments of sheer horror. Here’s just a glimpse:

‘With insectlike appendages, she’s knitting their guts into the hem of her dress. As her bony legs click and clack together, the guts sway over the edge, shortening, inch by inch, smearing blood up the brick.’

Knitting guts, yes, you read that right.

Iced didn’t live up to the Fever series at all, but it’s still required reading for any Fever fans anyways. My low rating still comes with a recommendation because Burned is bound to be infinitely better just as long as the pedos don’t make an appearance again.

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Ahh. Problem solved.

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Early Review – We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

March 27, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013, YA 6 Comments

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – We Were Liars by E. LockhartWe Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Published by Delacorte Press on May 13th 2014
Pages: 240
Genres: Mystery-Contemporary
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon
Goodreads


two-half-stars

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

‘We are Sinclairs.
No one is needy.
No one is wrong.
We live, at least in the summertime, on a private island off the coast of Massachusetts.
Perhaps that is all you need to know.’

There is much that one could say about We Were Liars, but would be better off experienced firsthand. But here are a few things you can know: There are some truths but mostly lies. There was an accident. There is love. There is loss. There are secrets. But everything may actually be nothing but one big lie. You won’t know until it’s all said and done.

We Were Liars reminded me much of The Secret History with its collection of privileged people. In We Were Liars, they all spent their summers on an island, owned by their family. They spent their days soaking in their pretension. The main difference is Tartt took a cast of incredibly unappealing characters and made them fascinating. Lockhart did not. None of Lockhart’s characters had me concerned for their fates and while the ending was a bit of a shock despite my suspicions it still failed to generate an emotional resonance with me.

I love unreliable narrators because it typically turns novels into one big guessing game that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The entirety of this book is written in such a vague and elusive style that I never would have guessed the ending would possess such a perfectly wrapped up conclusion. Much too picture perfect. I definitely would have appreciated a more mystifying ending to match the rest of this potentially enigmatic book.

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