Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Book Review – A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas

May 19, 2017 Bonnie Book Reviews, New Adult, Read in 2017 5 Comments

Book Review – A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. MaasA Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #3
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on May 2nd 2017
Pages: 720
Genres: Fantasy
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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Also by this author: Queen of Shadows

three-half-stars

Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit—and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.
As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords—and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

A Court of Thorns and Roses series

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas

Well, it’s finally here.

I’m so exasperated and everyone and their mother has given this 5 stars at this point so I’m feeling like quite the outcast. I liked A Court of Thorns and Roses, adored A Court of Mist and Fury, and A Court of Wings and Ruin was quite possibly my most anticipated book of the year. I took the day off work to read this and while I can’t say that I regret doing so or that the book was bad, it just wasn’t what I was expecting. There were things I liked and things I didn’t like, so I’ll start with the good.

The best parts of this book were, surprisingly, the war scenes. We all knew a war was coming in this installment but I never quite expected it to be nearly as epic and for all the fae and their magical powers to be quite as badass as they were. Savage, brutal, and thrilling (and the war makes up a large chunk of this book). In terms of the best (non-violent) parts, Feyre getting to explore more that the Court of Dreams has to offer was lovely. Her depictions of the city were enough to form magical cities in my mind, but the library carved inside an actual mountain? The shelves built into the stone walls, the reading nooks, the low-burning lamps, the cozy chairs, and the fireplaces.

And lastly, I loved how she incorporates all of the lesser characters that seemed to have minor roles in the conclusion: the Suriel, the Weaver, the Bone Carver, and even a new terrifying beastie.

And now onto the bad.

I’ll do my best.

My first issue: the beginning. The story opens where the ending of Mist left off with Feyre returning to the Spring Court. She’s intent on gathering information about King Hybern and his armies but it turned into this long and drawn out affair that transformed Feyre into this cruel and vindictive person that I didn’t much care for. What she intended to achieve simply didn’t seem necessary to the story as a whole either. My second issue was actually with the writing itself. I’m not sure if less editing was done, or time constraints to get this done and published (or a combination of the two) but this read incredibly uneven. There’s so much to accomplish with a final book in a series and it felt like Maas had a checklist of things that needed to be answered, actions that the characters had to take to set up certain events, etc. and we bounced hurriedly onto the next task on her list just as soon as one was completed. The story lacked a grace and flow that was needed to draw these three stories together in order to give it the final farewell it deserved. And lastly, in terms of farewells, the ending caused the majority of my grumbles. Maas implied throughout the entire book of things impending that never came to fruition and things ended all nice and neat with a pretty little bow on top. Clearly, many (and I mean many) fans were perfectly content, I, unfortunately, was not. But as I said, it wasn’t a bad ending but it wasn’t the ending I expected.

Maas has already announced that there are two additional trilogies to come set in this same world and while I was originally excited, I’d really like to know the focus on those stories before committing to more. What started as a beauty and the beast retelling turned into a fascinating world full of magic and fae. While I don’t give this final installment the highest of marks, this was still a most engrossing trilogy.

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Short & Sweet (Beauty & the Beast Retellings) – A Court of Thorns and Roses, Hunted, Lost in a Book

April 28, 2017 Bonnie Book Reviews, New Adult, Read in 2017, Short & Sweet Reviews, YA 10 Comments

Short & Sweet (Beauty & the Beast Retellings) – A Court of Thorns and Roses, Hunted, Lost in a BookA Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Published by Recorded Books on May 5th 2015
Length: 16 hrs and 7 mins
Genres: Fantasy, Fairy-Tales/Retellings
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
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Also by this author: Queen of Shadows

four-stars

Feyre's survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price ...

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre's presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

‘I was as unburdened as a piece of dandelion fluff, and he was the wind that stirred me about the world.’

Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairy tales and it’s always so fascinating to see how authors mold fairy tales into a unique story of their own. A Court of Thorns and Roses definitely veers off the standard path making “Beast/Tamlin” a member of the fae court, making “Belle/Feyre” a badass female hunter, and removing the animated furniture entirely. The story still revolves around the curse and the time ticking down before it’s too late, but Maas adds a magical element (and a deviant female villain) to this already magical fairytale that I absolutely adored. What I loved most was the incredibly dark turn she took the tale which gave the added opportunity of adding a new level of complexity and intrigue to Feyre’s character.

“Don’t feel bad for one moment about doing what brings you joy.”

Like spending time re-reading. I occasionally get hang-ups about “wasting” time re-reading when I should be spending my time reading stories that I haven’t yet experienced. But sometimes a re-read is necessary (like when you’re gearing up for the final installment of a beloved trilogy!!) and sometimes the second time is even better than the first. I read A Court of Thorns and Roses for the first time in June 2016 and it was far from love at first sight (mostly because I was never Team Tamlin) but during this re-read I was able to set aside my issues with the romance and focus more on the world building and the fascinating aspects of the story itself that I didn’t pay much attention to the first time. I also decided to splurge and bought the audiobook copies and guys, let me tell you, these are fantastic on audio with Jennifer Ikeda’s narration. I’m pretty devastated that she won’t be returning to narrate A Court of Wings and Ruin but it’s still well worth listening to her narrate the first two installments, I’ll just be reading the third one with my eyeballs instead. 🙂

Short & Sweet (Beauty & the Beast Retellings) – A Court of Thorns and Roses, Hunted, Lost in a BookHunted by Meagan Spooner
Published by HarperTeen on March 14th 2017
Pages: 384
Genres: Fantasy, Fairy-Tales/Retellings
Format: eBook
Source: Library
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three-half-stars

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?


“She wept because she did not know what she wanted, and because she wanted everything.”

Yeva has never been comfortable living among the town aristocrats but instead dreams of the stories her father would tell her when she was younger; of the forest and the magic contained within. When her father loses his fortune and they are forced to move back to his lodge in the woods, Yeva could not be more content knowing she can spend her days familiarizing herself once again with the woods even though she knows it’s not a reasonable way for her to spend her life. Her father also begins spending his days and nights in the woods, mentioning hunting a beast and when he fails to come home after weeks of being gone, Yeva sets out to help him only to be captured by the beast that her father was hunting.

“She moves like beauty, she whispers to us of wind and forest—and she tells us stories, such stories that we wake in the night, dreaming dreams of a life long past. she reminds us of what we used to be.
She reminds us of what we could be.”

Hunted is told primarily from Yeva’s point of view but is interspersed with short snippets from the Beast, showing the constant battle between his animalistic side while he fights to retain a hold of his humanity. Yeva is kept in a cell for weeks on end, telling him stories of Ivan and the Firebird to the one on the other side of her cell door who brings her food every day, having no idea that he is also her captor. The Beast finally shows himself to her and reveals that he captured her for a purpose: she must train to be a more superior hunter than she already is because she’s the only one that can kill the creature responsible for cursing him.

Hunted is a combination of the classic Beauty and the Beast fairy tale with the Ivan, the Firebird, and the Gray Wolf Russian fairy tale and it’s a slow to unfold type of story. There’s also a disassociation from any sort of emotional connection that was key in my own connection with the story. I found it to be a beautiful story in essence of a young girl not knowing what to do with her life, wandering aimlessly, and I really wanted to feel her adversity but I never quite felt like there is much at stake for our young heroine. The significance behind the Firebird plays a huge role in this tale, as well as storytelling in general, and the romantic building blocks were left feeling incomplete in the attempts at focusing on the bigger picture. There is a note at the end Spooner includes regarding the origins of this story and the lengthy process it took to come to fruition was a heartwarming story. Her dedication to all of her readers was unbelievably touching and made me wish I had loved this story more than I did.

‘Male or female, young or old, if you’re reading this book, then you’re also that child reading by flashlight and dreaming of other worlds. Don’t be scared of her, that inner Beauty, or her dreams. Let her out. She’s you, and she’s me, and she’s magic.
There’s no such thing as living happily ever after — there’s only living. We make the choice to do it happily.’

Short & Sweet (Beauty & the Beast Retellings) – A Court of Thorns and Roses, Hunted, Lost in a BookBeauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly
Published by Disney Press on January 31st 2017
Pages: 352
Genres: Fantasy, Fairy-Tales/Retellings
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
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two-stars

Smart, bookish Belle, a captive in the Beast’s castle, has become accustomed to her new home and has befriended its inhabitants. When she comes upon Nevermore, an enchanted book unlike anything else she has seen in the castle, Belle finds herself pulled into its pages and transported to a world of glamour and intrigue. The adventures Belle has always imagined, the dreams she was forced to give up when she became a prisoner, seem within reach again.

The charming and mysterious characters Belle meets within the pages of Nevermore offer her glamorous conversation, a life of dazzling Parisian luxury, and even a reunion she never thought possible. Here Belle can have everything she has ever wished for. But what about her friends in the Beast’s castle? Can Belle trust her new companions inside the pages of Nevermore? Is Nevermore’s world even real? Belle must uncover the truth about the book, before she loses herself in it forever.

“Isn’t that what a good story does? It pulls you in and never lets you go.”

DAMMIT, I WANTED THIS STORY TO PULL ME IN AND NEVER LET ME GO.

Lost in a Book replicates its Disney counterpart where Belle is a captive of the Beast in his castle that still includes Cogsworth, Lumiere, Mrs. Potts, Chip, and more. Beast reveals his library to Belle and she is awed, but instead of the bright shiny room of perfection we all have embedded in our minds:

Belle immediately realizes how much the library has fallen into disrepair and needs to be cleaned excessively. Within this library, she finds a room and within this room a special book which transports her to a world of adventure where anything is possible. She quickly becomes enamored with the book and the world it shows her, despite her understanding that it isn’t actually real, and is constantly sneaking away to be in this world. When she isn’t hiding in the book, she’s complaining ad nauseam about her provincial life.

Good gawd, we get it, you hate your life. Lost in a Book quickly becomes less about the Beast and all about Belle… more scenes from his point of view would have been welcome. Any scenes that showed the Beast’s feelings for Belle grow felt lacking any sort of emotion and instead felt like all it was was a last ditch effort to save his servants. Maybe those parts were left out with the understanding that we knew, based on the Disney production, how Beast actually felt, but I wanted to see it included in the story itself since there were so many changes I felt it should have been able to stand on its own. Especially in regards to the villain: Gaston was absent completely in exchange for a female villain: Death. Yes, Death. You see, the story actually starts with Death and her sister Love.

Indeed. See Death and Love made a bet that Belle wouldn’t be the one to break the spell (Death obviously bet against her) and when she began to realize that Love might actually win, she set out to make sure that didn’t happen. *yawn* This could have been a charming addition to Beauty and the Beast retellings but the story lacked any real substance and most definitely lacked the magic the original tale had.

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Book Review – A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas

June 30, 2016 Bonnie Book Reviews, New Adult, Read in 2016 7 Comments

Book Review – A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. MaasA Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #2
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on May 3rd 2016
Pages: 640
Genres: Fantasy, Fairy-Tales/Retellings
Format: eBook
Source: Library
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Also by this author: Queen of Shadows

five-stars

Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas's masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

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I’M SORRY. I CAN’T DISCUSS THIS WITHOUT SOME SPOILERS. BEWARE.

“I was not a pet, not a doll, not an animal.
I was a survivor, and I was strong.
I would not be weak, or helpless again
I would not, could not be broken. Tamed.”

Feyre and Tamlin have survived Amarantha and have returned home, but things are no longer the same after everything they suffered through. Tamlin has taken his protective instincts to a terrifying new high and Feyre is slowly wasting away from her guilt and the nightmares that haunt her even during her waking hours. She wishes to serve a purpose, to learn to fight so that she could defend herself if need be, and to learn the ins and outs of her newly gained powers. Tamlin refuses to allow her to do anything and day after day Feyre loses more and more of herself. When Rhysand shows up to call on the bargain they made with one another when she was near death Under the Mountain, the time spent away from the Spring Court begins to open her eyes once more.

Basically, everything about the first book was injected with steroids and made infinitely better. I talked about what a strong and capable character Feyre was, and she was, and sure she’s fae now so she’s all magical but what an incredible character build. Simply incredible. Maas spends a lot of time detailing the darkness and guilt that had penetrated her mind and that mental strain was so saddening to read. The fact that she suffered through those things to save the one she loved only to have him hinder her healing and actually make it worse because of his own lingering suffering. If I had actually liked Tamlin in the first book I’d probably feel bad for him but I didn’t so I don’t. I have to also applaud the slow and steady build of the grasp on her powers too. It’s always nice in fantasy stories to see the characters have to actual struggle and work at shit rather than waking up and being an ultimate badass out of nowhere. Maas did an equally impressive job with Celaena in her Throne of Glass series so hats off to her.

“He thinks he’ll be remembered as the villain in the story. But I forgot to tell him that the villain is usually the person who locks up the maiden and throws away the key. He was the one who let me out.”

I picked at her and Tamlin’s relationship as well in the first book, noting its lack of depth. Sure, they had some steamy scenes but that’s ultimately all it was: physical. Well, holy shit sticks. Feyre and Tamlin were a complete and utter farce compared to Feyre and Rhysand. The passion and desire… it was palpable and I got so emotional that I straight up burst into tears on the freaking bike at the gym during an especially lovey moment. I’m not a big crier, for the record. I’m really curious if Maas went into this series with a complete game plan in mind in terms of the romance because the second book did a bit of a 180° which I think would have been hard for Tamlin fans to understand. Feyre doesn’t immediately jump to a new relationship though, it’s slowly navigated through for over half of this 640 page story and over many months of mental healing (which Rhysand also helps her with in such a way that Tamlin never did). And then before they even got to the actual romance there was plenty of flirting that had me screaming OH MY GAWD JUST FUCKING KISS ALREADY. Either way, I am all on board the Feyre and Rhysand train. Toot toot. Fun side note: I had a good time imagining Rhysand as David Gandy because why not. 😂

“My friend through many dangers. My lover who had healed my broken and weary soul. My mate who had waited for me against all hope, despite all odds.”

I’ve found that most books that have some an immense focus on the romance tends to slack off on other aspects of the book. I may be talking a lot about the romance because it was truly off the charts amazing, but there are other facets of this book that are equally deserving of note. Most especially would be the descriptions and characterizations of other members of the Night Court. The inner circle: Amren, Azriel, Mor, Cassian. Such comprehensively written characters that never faded to the background. They became Feyre’s family and it was wonderful to see her come back to life not just because of a new, passionate romance with someone that truly appreciated her but because of new friends that became new family. I also enjoyed the exquisite descriptions of the Night Court but most especially of Velaris — the City of Starlight.

Honestly, it’s near impossible sometimes to rationally discuss books that you loved. For a book blogger, I consider myself to be pretty restrained in regards to how crazy I get about books I love. But with A Court of Mist and Fury, there were moments where I felt so overwhelmed at how unbelievably awesome this story was that I couldn’t take it anymore and I started to think I should either take a break or find a paper bag to breathe into just to be safe. I may not have loved A Court of Thorns and Roses but I adored this book. There was excitement and badassery and the most passionate love that managed to make me envious for a pair of fictional character in addition to some of the steamiest sex scenes I have ever read and yes I have read my fair share. Simply put, it was superb and it’s going to be one hell of a long wait for May 2017 when the next installment comes out. Until then, I’ll just be over here.

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Book Review – A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas

June 24, 2016 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2016, YA 2 Comments

I received this book 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 – A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. MaasA Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
on May 5th 2015
Pages: 416
Genres: Fairy-Tales/Retellings, Fantasy
Format: ARC
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Also by this author: Queen of Shadows

three-half-stars

A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it... or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

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A fairy-tale retelling of Beauty and the Beast in a world made up of humans and faeries. Five hundred years before, humans were enslaved by faeries but following the Treaty, the wall was built to relegate humans to a sliver of land kept separate from faeries. Growing up, Feyre has known nothing but hate for faeries and their kind, hearing the stories of their violence and abuse of power. Her family was once great, living in a manor, with her father being a lucrative merchant. But now, at nineteen years old she is the youngest of her two other sisters, but it is left up to her to ensure her families safety after their mothers death and her fathers inability to care for them any longer. Not wanting to fall asleep another night with an empty belly, she sets out to the dangerous forest and does manage to fell a deer, but also a massive wolf. This wolf though, was actually fae and his master appears soon after demanding retribution by way of her death. Shockingly, she is offered an alternative: that Feyre come live on his land forever, in safety not to be enslaved, never to see her family again. She accepts.

“I threw myself into that fire, threw myself into it, into him, and let myself burn.”

Having lived in fear of the fae, she is shocked to realize that they aren’t quite as brutal as is commonly said. And the one that offered her her life, Tamlin, is incredibly kind to her forcing her to re-evaluate her generalized feelings about his kind. During her time there, she discovers that there is a blight on the land that resulted in the fae being forced to forever hide their faces behind masks, a female fae that everyone seems to be terrified of, and enough secrets to make anyone curious. But by the time she finds out exactly what is being kept from her, will it be too late?

This was one of those that I never got around to reading (even though I received an ARC) because of the massive hype surrounding it. Eighteen months later and look at me, I’m finally reading it! So much time had lapsed that I had even forgot that this was a Beauty and the Beast retelling with a faerie twist! Incredibly fascinating concept so I was eager to love it. Alas, I did not, but it was still an enjoyable tale.

From the very beginning I adored Feyre. She was quite a capable character that was willing to do anything to make sure her family was able to eat. Even though she was the youngest of her two other sisters (with one of them being a royal asshole that I totally would have let starve) and even though her father could have gotten a job but simply didn’t. The fact that she stayed as strong as she was, didn’t let life beat her down, was a testament to her tenacity and I loved her for it. Once she arrived in the faerie kingdom, she got a few points docked for being such an imbecile and running off into danger all the damn time but I guess we have to consider the fact that even though she was being told shit was dangerous, she didn’t really know who to trust. Tamlin was the requisite studly yet brooding faerie that she was clearly meant to fall for from the very beginning. He was interesting but he was no Beast… he was trying way too damn hard and it becomes a little obvious in the end why that is but I won’t spoil that. All in all though he was a pretty boring love interest that lacked a lot of depth.

And now for my biggest issue: the romance. Honestly, the sexy times descriptions by themselves were cringe worthy.

“…ignoring how easily I could see the cut of his muscles beneath his white shirt, the way the blood soaking it made them stand out even more.”

And my favorite that had me laughing like a loon:

“My fingers grappled with his belt buckle, and his mouth found mine again. Our tongues danced – not a waltz or a minuet, but a war dance, a death dance of bone drums and screaming fiddles.”

I mean, seriously? War dance? Bone drums? Screaming fiddles?

I mentioned that Tamlin lacked depth, well, the romance really lacked depth. But then again, if you think about it, seems a bit fitting in terms of Disney fairy-tale comparisons. They make swoony eyes at one another, someone gets put into mortal danger leading the other to make some heroic rescue, there’s some dancing and kisses and just general love stuff going on. Disney romances never consist of talking about feelings and working through issues, it’s just sweet and flawless and they live happily ever after, the end. Fortunately, Maas didn’t leave us with that yawn worthy ending. Which brings me to the question I’d been asking myself almost the entire time: So… who’s Gaston in this tale? Amarantha. Evil incarnate. And yes, a woman. She turns the tables forcing Feyre to be the rescuer in this story and basically, badassery ensues. I will let the rest be a surprise in addition to the character fully introduced near the end that made it ALL worth while.

Maas really had a fascinating concept with her fantasy/fairy-tale hybrid, but I feel that it never quite came to fruition for me. The world-building was superb and I feel with a bit more time delving into the actual characters in future installments we’ll have a real winner with this one. At least one can hope.

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