Publisher: Harper

Short Story Review – Fracture Me (Shatter Me #2.5) by Tahereh Mafi

March 7, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2014, Short Stories, YA 5 Comments

Short Story Review – Fracture Me (Shatter Me #2.5) by Tahereh MafiFracture Me by Tahereh Mafi
Series: Shatter Me #2.5
Published by HarperCollins on December 17, 2013
Pages: 72
Format: eBook
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Shatter Me, Unravel Me, Ignite Me

one-star

In this electrifying sixty-page companion novella to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, discover the fate of the Omega Point rebels as they go up against The Reestablishment. Set during and soon after the final moments of Unravel Me, Fracture Me is told from Adam's perspective.

As Omega Point prepares to launch an all-out assault on The Reestablishment soldiers stationed in Sector 45, Adam's focus couldn't be further from the upcoming battle. He's reeling from his breakup with Juliette, scared for his best friend's life, and as concerned as ever for his brother James's safety. And just as Adam begins to wonder if this life is really for him, the alarms sound. It's time for war.

On the battlefield, it seems like the odds are in their favor—but taking down Warner, Adam's newly discovered half brother, won't be that easy. The Reestablishment can't tolerate a rebellion, and they'll do anything to crush the resistance . . . including killing everyone Adam has ever cared about.

Fracture Me sets the stage for Ignite Me, the explosive finale in Tahereh Mafi's epic dystopian series. It's a novella not to be missed by fans who crave action-packed stories with tantalizing romance like Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Legend by Marie Lu.

I usually skip on writing reviews for short stories because I tend to think of them as nothing more than filler to tide us readers over till the next installment. But I’m making an exception. Because this short story pissed me off.

Fracture Me is told from the POV of Adam and tells his part of the story that we don’t see at the end of Unravel Me. Adam is still upset about losing Juliette, he’s concerned about what happened to Kenji and he’s worried about leaving his little brother James. All understandable things to be concerned about.

My issue with this short story is it presented Adam in a completely different light than what we’ve come to expect. Adam was crazy with feelings for Juliette. Remember?

“It’s been me and you against the world forever,” he says.”It’s always been that way. It’s my fault I took so long to do something about it.”

There’s even the tagline on the cover! “I WILL NOT LOSE HER.” But in Fracture Me, he’s completely changed his tune. And he’s become a bit of a dick. The scene where Adam, Juliette and Kenji are on the battlefield is when his supposed true colors towards Juliette show.

‘The smart thing to do would be to hide her somewhere. Keep her safe. Out of danger. A weak link can bring everything down with it, and I don’t think this is the time to be taking chances.’

‘Kenji and Castle are always blowing smoke up her ass when they shouldn’t, and honestly? It’s dangerous. It’s not good to make her think she can do this kind of thing when really, it’ll probably get her killed.’

And this is where I get pissed because this is not how his character has been written in the previous two novels and is not what I think anyone would have expected from him at this point. Sure, I get it, this is the first we’re truly seeing things from his POV so there’s always the possibility that we read him wrong. But that’s not it. The issue here is, it all feels like one giant cop-out to solidify the ongoing issue the love triangle caused because clearly she’s gotta pick one. So let’s solve that by turning one of the guys into a total prick who thinks so highly of Juliette. Problem solved. We now have a clear winner.

cat_fail_7

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Book Review – Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2) by Tahereh Mafi

March 6, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2014, YA 17 Comments

Book Review – Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2) by Tahereh MafiUnravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
Series: Shatter Me #2
Published by HarperCollins on February 5, 2013
Pages: 480
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Shatter Me, Fracture Me, Ignite Me

two-stars

The New York Times bestselling sequel to the groundbreaking dystopian novel Shatter Me! Kami Garcia, coauthor of the #1 New York Times bestselling Beautiful Creatures series, says Unravel Me is "dangerous, sexy, romantic, and intense. I dare you to stop reading."

Juliette is still haunted by her deadly touch. But now that she has teamed up with other rebels with powers of their own, she'll be able to fight back against The Reestablishment to save her broken world. With the help of these new allies, she'll also finally learn the secret behind Adam's—and Warner's—immunity to her killer skin.

Unravel Me is perfect for fans who crave action-packed young adult novels with tantalizing romance like Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Legend by Marie Lu. Ransom Riggs, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, raves: "A thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love, the Shatter Me series is a must-read for fans of dystopian young-adult literature—or any literature!"

Shatter Me series

Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) {PurchaseMy Review}
Destroy Me (Shatter Me #1.5) {Purchase}

‘I don’t understand what’s happening or why he seems so uncertain about me and us and him and me and he and I and all of those pronouns put together.’

What. The. Fuck. Just stop talking.

Yeah, I don’t understand why I’m still reading this series either. I’m clearly the black sheep. Baa.

Unravel Me picks up where Shatter Me left off with Juliette trying desperately to get along with the rebel resistance that saved her life. Despite being surrounded by people just like her, she’s never felt like more of an outcast. Her powers are far more dangerous than any of the others and it’s easy for them to fear the unknown. Adam is also acting differently towards her and Juliette fears that the tests he’s been undergoing to determine why he’s able to touch her means their relationship will never be the same.

So my biggest issue with this book is lack of overall development in each and every part of this story. The storyline itself, the characters, etc. Nothing made progress. I think Juliette actually did some backtracking back to the weakling she was when she was alone in her cell. Not having the connection with Adam caused her to become this whiny, sniveling character that drove me absolutely batty. She spent a tremendous amount of time keeping secrets from everyone that obviously would have helped the situation the resistance found themselves in. It was ridiculous.

The love triangle continued, of course, and that was of course the sole focus of Unravel Me even when there were far greater concerns that could have been delved into. I’m sure if you’re into a more romance focused story then this will be your thing but if you’re going to slap a dystopian genre tag on a book I’m going to expect some detailed exploration into the world-building. The drama and angst was great and Juliette was so beyond ridiculous that she stopped caring completely for her future because she was determined to ‘live in the moment’.

‘His right hand slides up my spine and tugs on the zipper holding my suit together until its halfway down my back and I don’t care. I have 17 years to make up for and I want to feel everything. I’m not interested in waiting around and risking the who-knows and the what-ifs and the huge regrets.’

hahaha Just remember to wear a condom!

So by this point I’m obviously in for the long haul so I will be picking up Ignite Me. I don’t have much hope for Juliette making a noble sacrifice and putting her out of my misery but I do retain hope that the dystopian society will be explored in more detail considering this is the final installment. My hopes are not high though.

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Early Review – The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld

January 30, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2014 4 Comments

I received this book 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 – The Enchanted by Rene DenfeldThe Enchanted by Rene Denfeld
Published by Harper on March 4th 2014
Pages: 256
Genres: Fantasy, Literary Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon
Goodreads


two-half-stars

A wondrous and redemptive debut novel, set in a stark world where evil and magic coincide, The Enchanted combines the empathy and lyricism of Alice Sebold with the dark, imaginative power of Stephen King

The enchanted place is an ancient stone prison, viewed through the eyes of a death row inmate who finds escape in his books and in re-imagining life around him, weaving a fantastical story of the people he observes and the world he inhabits. Fearful and reclusive, he senses what others cannot. Though bars confine him every minute of every day, he marries magical visions of golden horses running beneath the prison, heat flowing like molten metal from their backs, with the devastating violence of prison life.

Two outsiders venture here: a fallen priest, and the Lady, an investigator who searches for buried information from prisoners' pasts that can save those soon-to-be-executed. Digging into the background of a killer named York, she uncovers wrenching truths that challenge familiar notions of victim and criminal, innocence and guilt, honor and corruption-ultimately revealing shocking secrets of her own.

Beautiful and transcendent, The Enchanted reminds us of how our humanity connects us all, and how beauty and love exist even amidst the most nightmarish reality.

“This is an enchanted place. Others don’t see it, but I do.”

Underneath the ancient stone prison lies a space called the dungeon. Men that go there are never to return until their bodies are carried out after their execution. A man named York is kept their until his final days, which will be soon he has decided. The Lady is assigned to York’s case to search for lost information that will hopefully save him from his demise. The prison is a dark and violent place yet from one prisoners eyes, the narrator, it is transformed into an enchanted place that only he is able to see.

The Enchanted was an incredibly unsettling story. It’s about the monsters of society, the horror of humanity and its incredibly visceral and at times a bit too gratuitous for my liking. I understood going into this that it involved a prison and its inmates so I knew it wasn’t going to be a peaceful tale, but I loved the idea of the magical realism aspects with the golden horses that charge through the prison. Except that aspect failed to deliver for me. To me, when you incorporate magical realism into a story it needs to be woven into the story as a whole rather than bits and pieces interspersed sporadically throughout. It just made those bits and pieces feel ill-fitting and out of place.

‘I knew that I would never again see the beautiful soft-tufted night birds outside the window, never again sit in the library with the slanting sun through the bars. And that was okay, because I brought those ideas with me, stored in my heart.’

The haunting prose with lines of immense depth was incredibly well-done and was the only redeeming factor of this story. It’s not Stephen King-esque in the least bit but is still memorable. The information on prisons and life as a death-row inmate is incredibly detailed yet that apparently comes from the authors personal experience working as an investigator in death penalty cases. She explores the prison culture of this specific prison with its corrupted guards and all the dreadful things that go on when they turn a blind eye.

The story is told for the most part from the point of view of an unnamed (till the end) death row inmate who acts as an omniscient narrator. The role of omniscient narrator was inconceivable though when you consider this is a man relegated to a cell and wouldn’t have the ability for the information he’s divulging.We’re given information about his dark past, of the Lady, of York, of a priest who is employed by the prison, of the Warden and various other characters as well. I felt this left the story with a scattered sort of feel and would have been better off if York was left as the sole main character. The overwhelming amount of information of each individuals past was only spent on what made them flawed and essentially failed to distinguish them. Everybody has their own dark past yet that doesn’t have to define them is what I have surmised to be the moral of this story.

This is definitely an impressive first novel that I would have loved to love if not for the disquieting subject matter that I felt was overly and intentionally grim.

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Book Review – Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn

January 21, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2013, YA 6 Comments

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

Book Review – Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus QuinnAnother Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn
Published by HarperTeen on June 11th 2013
Pages: 419
Genres: Fantasy, Horror
Format: ARC
Source: a Giveaway
Amazon
Goodreads


three-stars

The spine-tingling horror of Stephen King meets an eerie mystery worthy of Sara Shepard's Pretty Little Liars series in Kate Karyus Quinn's haunting debut.

On a cool autumn night, Annaliese Rose Gordon stumbled out of the woods and into a high school party. She was screaming. Drenched in blood. Then she vanished.

A year later, Annaliese is found wandering down a road hundreds of miles away. She doesn't know who she is. She doesn't know how she got there. She only knows one thing: She is not the real Annaliese Rose Gordon.

Now Annaliese is haunted by strange visions and broken memories. Memories of a reckless, desperate wish . . . a bloody razor . . . and the faces of other girls who disappeared. Piece by piece, Annaliese's fractured memories come together to reveal a violent, endless cycle that she will never escape—unless she can unlock the twisted secrets of her past.

“Confession is good for the soul, they say. I’d imagine this is true. But my sins were too convoluted. And from the little I understand–too damning.” 

Annaliese Rose Gordon has been missing for a year. The last time anyone saw her was when she stumbled out of the woods, drenched in blood. No one knows what happened to her after that. They found her a year later in Oklahoma with no memory as to how she got there from Western New York. The only thing she does know? She may look like Annaliese Rose Gordon, but she’s not. She doesn’t know who she is.

From the very beginning of Another Little Piece, the reader knows straight away that the narrator is completely unreliable and that you would do best not to believe a word she says. That’s the easy part, because nothing she says or does lacks comprehension. Her memories are a jumbled and chaotic mess. She can’t remember her own name because she has vague memories of being known as several different people. We’re given flashbacks to a past, but each fragment lacks any sort of consistency to help things make sense. As the story progresses, we’re given more and more information which only serves to make everything all the more disjointed and confusing. Admittedly, I love a good story that keeps me on the edge of my seat, completely confused, only to leave me gasping in awe when all is said and done. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case with Another Little Piece and I was left with more questions than answers. The ending revelations left me unsettled and unsure as to how I truly felt about the story as a whole. I can appreciate the originality and love seeing more horror in YA though.

Another Little Piece is a tale of fantasy and horror. This is key to setting your expectations appropriately because I wasn’t expecting any supernatural aspects to this story; more contemporary than anything. It’s disturbing, incredibly gruesome and shocking. It is a finely written and incredibly original debut tale of the macabre with an open sort of ending that leaves you contemplating everything that makes me definitely want to seek out more of this authors works in the future.

A huge thank you to The Midnight Garden for hosting the giveaway for this book!

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Book Review – Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tahereh Mafi

January 18, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2014, YA 18 Comments

Book Review – Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tahereh MafiShatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Series: Shatter Me #1
Published by HarperTeen on November 15th 2011
Pages: 352
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Romance
Format: Hardcover
Source: a Giveaway
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Unravel Me, Fracture Me, Ignite Me

two-stars

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

Shatter Me was one of those books that I put on my mental shelf titled ‘Nope nope nope’. I had been warned about the bad metaphors and the strange passages with strikethroughs. But eh, sometimes you just need to experience it for yourself and form your own opinion.

The listed genre for Shatter Me is dystopian, but that’s a big joke. The dystopian aspects of this novel were used solely as a backdrop for what is truly a romance novel. The romance completely overpowers this story and is not only insta-lovey but there’s a love triangle to boot. Juliette and Adam. Juliette and Warner. One big happy freaking family. Adam and Warner both are total stereotypes with their good guy bad guy routine, their tragic pasts and of course the fact that they are in love with the same girl. Oh and they’re completely freaking gorgeous. As is Juliette. Because gorgeous people run rampant in dystopian societies, of course. I’m hoping the complete lack of characterization for these two is expounded on more in future installments (although it’s pretty inane that this isn’t done right off the bat in the introductions to them but whatever). The lack of characterization makes Juliette’s complete infatuation with Adam pretty nonsensical. Infatuation is putting it mildly though. Juliette acted like she was rabid around Adam, because of his total gorgeous-ness.

‘Everything is on fire. My cheeks my hands the pit of my stomach and I’m drowning in waves of emotion and a storm of fresh rain and all I feel is the strength of his silhouette against mine and I never ever ever ever want to forget this moment. I want to stamp him into my skin and save him forever.’

‘His lips are so close to my ear I’m water and nothing and everything and melting into a wanting so desperate it burns as I swallow it down.’

‘He leaves less than a foot of space between us and I’m 10 inches away from spontaneous combustion.’

What made Shatter Me positively dreadful was the writing. Those metaphors you all warned me about? You were not freaking joking. Holy metaphors, batman. They truly did not make any sort of sense, they were excessive and made for a very awkward reading experience. The most entertaining were the metaphors, if taken literally, which had Juliette falling the fuck apart.. Obviously not literally. Maybe. I think.

‘Every organ in my body falls to the floor.’

‘His lips soften into a smile that cracks apart my spine.’

“He shifts and my eyes shatter into thousands of pieces …’

‘My jaw falls off.’

‘My mouth is sitting on my kneecaps.’

‘My jaw is dangling from my shoelace.’

I can appreciate the authors attempt at conveying things in a creative manner but it simply came across as confusing. Confusing and far too grandiose. Thankfully they seemed to ease up towards the end of the story, mainly I think because dialogue became more frequent and we weren’t ‘in’ Juliette’s head as much.

I don’t often continue a series after giving the very first installment a 2 star rating. But I’ll definitely be continuing the Shatter Me series. Why? Well, that’s a bit of a spoiler. I went into this novel knowing next to nothing about it, only the dreadful writing. I didn’t know there was insta-love, didn’t know there was a love triangle and wasn’t aware of the comparisons to other novels that had been made View Spoiler ». WELL. Being the huge nerd that I am if I had known that I would’ve jumped on this immediately. The hint of what’s to come that we’re given at the very end of Shatter Me is enough to pique my interest and give me hope for future installments. So fingers crossed.

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Audiobook Review – Just Kids by Patti Smith

January 10, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Read in 2014 2 Comments

Audiobook Review – Just Kids by Patti SmithJust Kids by Patti Smith
Published by Harper Audio on July 26th 2011
Genres: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Goodreads

Also by this author: M Train

five-stars

It was the summer Coltrane died, the summer of love and riots, and the summer when a chance encounter in Brooklyn led two young people on a path of art, devotion, and initiation.

Patti Smith would evolve as a poet and performer, and Robert Mapplethorpe would direct his highly provocative style toward photography. Bound in innocence and enthusiasm, they traversed the city from Coney Island to Forty-second Street, and eventually to the celebrated round table of Max's Kansas City, where the Andy Warhol contingent held court. In 1969, the pair set up camp at the Hotel Chelsea and soon entered a community of the famous and infamous—the influential artists of the day and the colorful fringe. It was a time of heightened awareness, when the worlds of poetry, rock and roll, art, and sexual politics were colliding and exploding. In this milieu, two kids made a pact to take care of each other. Scrappy, romantic, committed to create, and fueled by their mutual dreams and drives, they would prod and provide for one another during the hungry years.

Just Kids begins as a love story and ends as an elegy. It serves as a salute to New York City during the late sixties and seventies and to its rich and poor, its hustlers and hellions. A true fable, it is a portrait of two young artists' ascent, a prelude to fame.

“‘Nobody sees us as we do, Patti.’ . . . Whenever he said things like that, for a magical space of time, it was as if we were the only two people in the world.”

​Admittedly, I knew next to nothing about Patti Smith or Robert Mapplethorpe before picking up Just Kids. This didn’t prevent me from becoming immediately enthralled in their tale. Patti Smith lived with her parents and slept on a cot in the laundry room until she boarded a bus to New York City with a measly $32 in her pocket. The friends she had planned to stay with had moved but was more serendipitous than she knew because this is where she would first meet Robert Mapplethorpe. Their bond with each other had almost a preternatural feel and was truly extraordinary.

We were Hansel and Gretel and we ventured out into the black forest of the world.​ ​There were temptations and witches and demons we never dreamed of and there was splendor we only partially imagined. No one could speak for these two young people nor tell with any truth of their days and nights together. Only Robert and I could tell it. Our story, as he called it. And, having gone, he left the task to me to tell it to you.​​

​This is a poetic story about a time that I didn’t personally experience. It’s a time period that would be difficult to fathom yet Patti Smith writes with such crisp clarity that allowed her story to truly come to life. Listening to the audio version of this and hearing Patti Smith personally narrate this was a wonderful way to experience this book. (Listen to a clip here.) Just Kids is a poignant story that showcases the innocence of her life before she became​ ​well​ ​​known by the world. ​It’s a stunning yet haunting dirge to everything that once was and everything that was lost.

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Waiting on Wednesday – Closed Doors by Lisa O’Donnell

December 18, 2013 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 7 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Closed Doors by Lisa O’DonnellClosed Doors by Lisa O'Donnell
Published by Harper on May 20th 2014
Pages: 256
Genres: Contemporary
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Death of Bees

A young boy on a small Scottish island where everyone knows everything about everyone else, will discover that a secret is a dangerous thing in this tense and brilliant tale of from Lisa O'Donnell, the bestselling author of The Death of Bees, winner of the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize.

Eleven-year-old Michael Murray is the best at two things: keepy-uppies and keeping secrets. His family thinks he's too young to hear grown-up stuff, but he listens at doors; it's the only way to find out anything. And Michael's heard a secret, one that might explain the bruises on his mother's face.

When the whispers at home and on the street become too loud to ignore, Michael begins to wonder if there is an even bigger secret waiting to be discovered. Scared of what might happen if anyone finds out, and desperate for life to be normal again, Michael sets out to piece together the truth. But he also has to prepare for the upcoming talent show, keep an eye out for Dirty Alice, his arch-nemesis, and avoid eating Granny's watery stew.

Closed Doors is a vivid evocation of the fears and freedoms of childhood and a powerful tale of love, the loss of innocence, and the importance of family in difficult times.

About Lisa O'Donnell

Lisa O’Donnell winner of The Orange Prize for New Screenwriters with her screenplay The Wedding Gift in 2000. Lisa was also nominated for the Dennis Potter New Writers Award in the same year. She moved to Los Angeles with her family in 2006, penning her first novel The Death of Bees in 2010. Published to critical acclaim by Windmill Books in 2012 The Death of Bees will be published in the US by Harper Collins January 2013.

The Death of Bees is a definite favorite of mine and I’ve been eagerly awaiting more from this author. Closed Doors sounds just as fantastic – I can’t wait!

What are you Waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me your link and I’ll be sure and stop by!

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Waiting on Wednesday – Queen of the Dark Things by C. Robert Cargill

December 11, 2013 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 11 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Queen of the Dark Things by C. Robert CargillQueen of the Dark Things: A Novel by C. Robert Cargill
Published by Harper Voyager on May 13, 2014
Pages: 416
Genres: Horror, Urban Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Dreams and Shadows, Queen of the Dark Things, We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other Stories

Screenwriter and noted film critic C. Robert Cargill continues the story begun in his acclaimed debut Dreams and Shadows in Queen of Dark Things, a bold and brilliantly crafted tale involving fairies and humans, magic and monsters—a vivid phantasmagoria that combines the imaginative wonders of Neil Gaiman, the visual inventiveness of Guillermo Del Toro, and the shocking miasma of William S. Burroughs.

Six months have passed since the wizard Colby lost his best friend to an army of fairies from the Limestone Kingdom, a realm of mystery and darkness beyond our own. But in vanquishing these creatures and banning them from Austin, Colby sacrificed the anonymity that protected him. Now, word of his deeds has spread, and powerful enemies from the past—including one Colby considered a friend—have resurfaced to exact their revenge.

As darkness gathers around the city, Colby sifts through his memories desperate to find answers that might save him. With time running out, and few of his old allies and enemies willing to help, he is forced to turn for aid to forces even darker than those he once battled.

Following such masters as Lev Grossman, Erin Morgenstern, Richard Kadrey, and Kim Harrison, Robert C. Cargill takes us deeper into an extraordinary universe of darkness and wonder, despair and hope to reveal the magic and monsters around us . . . and inside us.

Queen of the Dark Things is the follow-up to Dreams and Shadows. D&S was a crazy, horror and fantasy mash-up that was a total thrillride. Fantastically written and highly original. Admittedly, I’ve already started reading it because I snagged it off Edelweiss and I clearly have no patience to actually follow my release schedule. It’s fantastic.

Have you read Dreams and Shadows? What did you think?

What are you Waiting on this Wednesday?

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Book Review – Dreams and Shadows (Dreams & Shadows #1) by C. Robert Cargill

December 6, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2013 13 Comments

Book Review – Dreams and Shadows (Dreams & Shadows #1) by C. Robert CargillDreams and Shadows by C. Robert Cargill
Series: Dreams and Shadows #1
Published by Harper Voyager on February 26th 2013
Pages: 448
Genres: Horror, Urban Fantasy
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Queen of the Dark Things, We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other Stories, Sea of Rust

four-half-stars

A brilliantly crafted modern tale from acclaimed film critic and screenwriter C. Robert Cargill—part Neil Gaiman, part Guillermo Del Toro, part William S. Burroughs—that charts the lives of two boys from their star-crossed childhood in the realm of magic and mystery to their anguished adulthoods

There is another world than our own—one no closer than a kiss and one no further than our nightmares—where all the stuff of which dreams are made is real and magic is just a step away. But once you see that world, you will never be the same.

Dreams and Shadows takes us beyond this veil. Once bold explorers and youthful denizens of this magical realm, Ewan is now an Austin musician who just met his dream girl, and Colby, meanwhile, cannot escape the consequences of an innocent wish. But while Ewan and Colby left the Limestone Kingdom as children, it has never forgotten them. And in a world where angels relax on rooftops, whiskey-swilling genies argue metaphysics with foul-mouthed wizards, and monsters in the shadows feed on fear, you can never outrun your fate.

Dreams and Shadows is a stunning and evocative debut about the magic and monsters in our world and in our self.

‘If you remember one thing, even above remembering me, remember that there is not a monster dreamt that hasn’t walked withing the soul of man.’

Dreams and Shadows tells the tale of two young boys: Ewan, who was stolen from his family by fairies when he was a baby, and Colby, who befriended a djinn that granted wishes which changed his life forever. The fates of both become entwined the second they meet and a battle between magical forces ensues.

This could have honestly been a disastrous affair what with the strange mixture of fairies and changelings, angels and the Devil, sorcerers and genies, and the list goes on. But it’s far from a disaster. This was an absolute delight and the exact type of fantasy that I yearn for. I have to make note that despite the inclusion of angels and the Devil this is far from religious and never digs in deep to that aspect; they were just supporting characters of a sort. The characters were fictitious and fanciful but managed to be extremely well-crafted and developed. The male characters were at the very least. It didn’t occur to me until later that the female characters all seemed to be incredibly weak and only described in terms of their looks with the one exception to that statement being Ewan’s scary-as-hell mother. All in all, it’s easy to overlook because of the thrilling plot.

My least favorite aspect of the book ended up being my favorite. In addition to the story being told from three separate points of view, there are excerpts from a book titled ‘A Chronicle of the Dreamfolk’ by a Dr. Thaddeus Ray, Ph.D. They are surprisingly informative pieces on the factual aspects of this fantasy world but it’s initially unclear as to why they’re included. It’s a vital piece of the puzzle that becomes clear late in the novel so don’t skip these sections.

Dreams and Shadows is a story full of magic and mystery and outlandish horror. I so enjoyed the rawness and twisted darkness of this tale and the unique and unusual world-building that fortunately isn’t lacking in detail. Dreams and Shadows possessed a plot with room to grow and is one instance where I’m thankful for it being a series. Queen of the Dark Things is the next installment which is due out in mid-2014. I cannot wait.

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Audiobook Review – The Neil Gaiman Audio Collection

October 19, 2013 Bonnie Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Middle Grade, Read in 2013, Short Stories 5 Comments

Audiobook Review – The Neil Gaiman Audio CollectionThe Neil Gaiman Audio Collection by Neil Gaiman
Narrator: Neil Gaiman
Published by Harper Audio on August 31st 2004
Length: 48 mins
Genres: Fantasy, Kiddie Books
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


four-stars

Four of beloved author Neil Gaiman's delightfully scary, strange, and hilarious children's tales read by the author, now available unabridged. This collection includes: The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish: An unforgettable story that will take readers on a journey into the murky mind of a young boy and the perils of striking a bargain. The Wolves in the Walls: Lucy is sure there are wolves living in the walls of their house -- and, as everybody says, if the wolves come out of the walls, it's all over. Her family doesn't believe her. Then one day, the wolves come out. Cinnamon: This charming fable of an exotic princess who refuses to speak currently exists only on Neil's official website and has never been published in print or any other format. Crazy Hair: Bonnie tries to comb the narrator's crazy hair -- where gorillas leap and tigers stalk -- and is in for a surprise in this delightful rhyming tale.

The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish
*3 stars*

The unnamed narrator, who is only a child, finds himself in a world of trouble when he trades his dad to his friend Nathan for two goldfish. They were marvelous goldfish, and his dad was wasn’t very exciting anyways, but his mother took issue and sent him off to get his dad back. Once he gets to Nathan’s house he finds that Nathan also thought his dad uninteresting and didn’t actually have him anymore because he had been traded to another friend for an electric guitar. The pattern continued.

A very odd story at face-value but is essentially a sententious story of the hazards of trading and I suppose a lesson in ownership. Will children be able to understand this? I suppose it depends on the age but if it was one of my children reading this, my guess would be their brains would quickly begin to concoct ways on how they could trade me for some goldfish.

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The Wolves in the Walls
*3.5 stars*

When Lucy started hearing noises in the walls that hustled and bustled, crinkled and crackled and knew that there were most certainly wolves inside the walls. Her mother tried to silence her fears by telling her it was more than likely just mice because it certainly couldn’t be wolves because once the wolves come out, it’s all over. But Lucy knew it couldn’t possibly be mice.

Once the wolves come out it’s up to Lucy to save her family. ‘The Wolves in the Walls’ is a tale I believe kids would identify with because of the ‘Boy Who Cried Wolf’ nature of it all and the adults dismissal of her beliefs as simply a case of an overactive imagination. Despite the obvious embellishments to enhance the entertainment of the story I found this to be a cute lesson for kids on learning how to trust your instincts and face your fears.

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Cinnamon
*4 stars*

Cinnamon was a princess and was not only blind but did not speak. Her father’s concern increases until he offers many riches to anyone who could get his daughter to finally speak. Many come and many fail but when a man-eating tiger arrives at the palace no one believes he would be of any help to Cinnamon, other than a help to his appetite.

The night the tiger had with Cinnamon was spent telling her of the land outside of the palace and inevitably spurred her interest and curiosity. Rich in symbolism yet simple in scope, Cinnamon is a perfect lesson in seeing past riches, experiencing new things and finding the true value of life itself.

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crazy hair
Crazy Hair
*3 stars*

Bonnie’s encounters a stranger that has hair that is so incredibly crazy that there is a honest-to-goodness jungle inside of it. Bonnie insists that it’s definitely manageable and just needs a good brushing. As she begins to brush, something entirely unexpected occurs.

Neil Gaiman clearly wrote this story about himself. Crazy Hair is a bizarre imagining of what takes place within hair that is crazy and beyond control. The rhyming rhythm puts a smile on your face and would likely be a fantastic read-aloud to any child.

 

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All four of these stories were the whimsical sort of tales full of symbolism and life lessons that I’ve come to expect from Gaiman. I enjoyed Crazy Hair the most because of the wonderful rhyming style but Cinnamon was the best overall for it’s fantastic message. Would love to check all of these out someday to be able to appreciate the artwork of Dave McKean.

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