Source: a Giveaway

Audiobook Review – The Voodoo Killings (Kincaid Strange #1) by Kristi Charish

July 21, 2016 Bonnie Adult, Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Read in 2016 10 Comments

Audiobook Review – The Voodoo Killings (Kincaid Strange #1) by Kristi CharishThe Voodoo Killings by Kristi Charish
Narrator: Susannah Jones
Series: Kincaid Strange #1
Published by Audible on May 10th 2016
Length: 11 hrs and 43 mins
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Format: Audiobook
Source: a Giveaway
Amazon | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Lipstick Voodoo

four-half-stars

For the first time since we launched Bitten by Kelley Armstrong, Random House Canada is thrilled to announce the debut of a new urban fantasy series. Kristi Charish's The Voodoo Killings introduces Kincaid Strange, not your average voodoo practitioner...

For starters, she's only 27. Then there's the fact that she lives in rain-soaked Seattle, which is not exactly Haiti. And she's broke. With raising zombies outlawed throughout the continental USA, Kincaid has to eke out a living running seances for university students with more money than brains who are desperate for guitar lessons with the ghost of a Seattle grunge rocker--who happens to be Kincaid's on-again, off-again roommate.

Then a stray zombie turns up outside her neighbourhood bar: Cameron Wight, an up-and-coming visual artist with no recollection of how he died or who raised him. Not only is it dangerous for Kincaid to be caught with an unauthorized zombie, she soon realizes he's tied to a spate of murders: someone is targeting the zombies and voodoo practitioners in Seattle's infamous Underground City, a paranormal hub. When the police refuse to investigate, the City's oldest and foremost zombie asks Kincaid to help. Raising ghosts and zombies is one thing, but finding a murderer? She's broke, but she's not stupid.

And then she becomes the target...As the saying goes, when it rains it pours, especially in Seattle.

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The Voodoo Killings is a brand new Urban Fantasy series by Kristi Charish which introduces Kincaid Strange, a voodoo practitioner living in Seattle, Washington. Struggling to make ends meet after losing her job with the Seatle PD and now that raising zombies is technically illegal, Kincaid resorts to making the rent by performing seances. Her roommate, a deceased Seattle grunge rocker by the name of Nate Cade, occasionally assists her with these but it’s often difficult for her to persuade him to stop playing video games to do so. When a local bar owner calls to inform her that an abandoned zombie was discovered in his alley, Kincaid Strange becomes his temporary guardian while she tries to not only find out who turned him and why but to keep others from finding out, mainly her ex-boyfriend Aaron who still works for the Seattle PD.

This book didn’t even make it onto my radar (and I compile an entire list of book releases on my blog so I don’t know how I missed this) but thankfully a blogger friend (Thanks, Tammy!) brought this to my attention and I’m so very glad. I knew next to nothing about this story or the author, only discovering it was about zombies (and ghosts!) and I immediately was all on board. With an intriguing form of magic in addition to a fascinating mystery and a most charming cast of characters, The Voodoo Killings was enticing and incredibly entertaining.

“I mean, there’s hell freezing over, pigs flying, and then there’s me and responsibility.”

It’s so refreshing to read about a heroine that is not only a total badass but has flaws and power limitations and isn’t some perfect superhuman, and that’s exactly how Kincaid Strange is written. She’s brazen, headstrong, and isn’t afraid of handling business. In addition to a lead character that can hold her own, her roommate Nate is all that was needed to make up the perfect dynamic duo. But wait, there’s more! The zombies practically adopts, Cameron, fits right into the group. Kindcaid is constantly finding herself in a bind (or three) and her two sidekicks have her back and are constantly keeping her out of trouble. And even better, there is zero romantic inclinations, just pure, unadulterated friendship.

I loved the characters far more than I expected, but I really relished the intricate details of Charish’s magical world. Rather than your typical post-apocalyptic world where some virus has been unleashed causing the existence of zombies, these zombies only come alive because a voodoo practitioner makes it so. The added details regarding the dead being brought back to life to solve land disputes or to discover who murdered them was an amusing concept. Just as long as they consumed a steady supply of brains (animals brains worked in a pinch but human brains really did the trick) they remained fairly coherent for the most part. Additional interesting tidbits included details about different bindings as well as much discussion about Otherside or the energy Kindcaid draws from which comes from the land of the dead.

It was an incredibly compelling story and I enjoyed every minute of it and I do mean every minute in the literal sense. I listened to the audiobook and Susannah Jones’ narration was absolutely brilliant. I am not a night owl at all but I found myself staying up till 1:30am one night because I couldn’t stop listening. Her various voices and accents for both male and female was phenomenal and she no doubt made this already fantastic story into something even better.

Urban Fantasy fans, don’t let this one go unnoticed! The Voodoo Killings possesses a mystery that will keep you guessing, a cast of character you wish you could call friends, and a unique magic system. The ending will leave you hoping there was a second installment ready and waiting. Alas, there isn’t yet. I definitely wont be letting that one fly under my radar though.

It’s a bit difficult to find a copy of this one considering it was published by Random House Canada and currently the only format that can be purchased in the US is the audible version (but I highly recommend the audio!)

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Book Review – When We Were Animals by Joshua Gaylord

April 23, 2015 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2015 4 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 – When We Were Animals by Joshua GaylordWhen We Were Animals by Joshua Gaylord
Published by Mulholland Books on April 21st 2015
Pages: 336
Genres: Coming-of-Age, Gothic, Horror
Format: ARC
Source: a Giveaway
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads


four-stars

A small, quiet Midwestern town, which is unremarkable save for one fact: when the teenagers reach a certain age, they run wild.

When Lumen Fowler looks back on her childhood, she wouldn't have guessed she would become a kind suburban wife, a devoted mother. In fact, she never thought she would escape her small and peculiar hometown. When We Were Animals is Lumen's confessional: as a well-behaved and over-achieving teenager, she fell beneath the sway of her community's darkest, strangest secret. For one year, beginning at puberty, every resident "breaches" during the full moon. On these nights, adolescents run wild, destroying everything in their path.

Lumen resists. Promising her father she will never breach, she investigates the mystery of her community's traditions and the stories erased from the town record. But the more we learn about the town's past, the more we realize that Lumen's memories are harboring secrets of their own.

A gothic coming-of-age tale for modern times, When We Were Animals is a dark, provocative journey into the American heartland.

‘We live our lives by measures of weeks, months, years, but the creatures we truly are, those are exposed in fractions of moments.’

Lumen Fowler recounts her childhood growing up in a small town in the Midwest that is anything but ordinary. Children in this town, once they hit puberty, they go through what is called “breaching” where they let go of all social constraints and literally run wild and naked in the streets at night when the moon is full. Lumen is a bit of a late bloomer and believes herself to be different from the other children until she inevitably succumbs with the need to feel the night air on her skin.

First and foremost, this is not a werewolf story despite how the summary seems to allude to it. There is no physical transformation that these children undergo, only a surrendering to the madness that we’ve all felt stirring inside us at one time or another. The fact that this all occurs beneath the light of the full moon seems to be pure happenstance. When We Were Animals brought to life the horrors of coming of age and learning to navigate the trickiness betwixt childhood and adulthood.

‘…she was some nightmarish inversion of the person who had played in the sprinklers with me years before. This girl was raw, viperous, glutted on nature and night. They all were. Like coyotes, they made mockery, with their bleating voices, of those who needed light in order to feel safe.
And yet they were all too human.’

This was one of the most exquisitely written books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Vibrant and completely full of (animalistic) life. It’s not a traditional horror story, however, it is a very simplistic horror that we’ve all suffered through in life. It details a savageness; a rawness. It was incredible. The plot itself is quite meandering, just as growing up seems to take forever to get through. Also, like a typical teenager that can’t wait to grow up and for life to finally happen (of which it never seems to meet your expectations), this story never amounted to anything. I kept anticipating something monumental that never came. Still, this story of growing up is well worth the effort.

‘In the daylight you scoff at the shadows you cowered from the night before.’

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Book Review – Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield

June 20, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2014, YA 6 Comments

Book Review – Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat RosenfieldAmelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield
Published by Dutton Juvenile on July 5th 2012
Pages: 288
Genres: Mystery-Contemporary
Format: ARC
Source: a Giveaway
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads


four-half-stars

An arresting un-coming-of-age story, from a breathtaking talent

Becca has always longed to break free from her small, backwater hometown. But the discovery of an unidentified dead girl on the side of a dirt road sends the town--and Becca--into a tailspin. Unable to make sense of the violence of the outside world creeping into her backyard, Becca finds herself retreating inward, paralyzed from moving forward for the first time in her life. Short chapters detailing the last days of Amelia Anne Richardson's life are intercut with Becca's own summer as the parallel stories of two young women struggling with self-identity and relationships on the edge twist the reader closer and closer to the truth about Amelia's death.

“That girl, dead and gone, her spirit trapped forever just inside town limits—she’d come from someplace, was going somewhere. Until destiny had stepped into the road in front of her, stopped her forward motion, drawn a killing claw against the white, fluttering swell of her future. Whispering, ‘Oh no, you don’t.’

When you made plans, the saboteurs came out to play.”

The night of Becca’s high school graduation brings her one step closer to leaving small-town life forever. The following day brings dreadful news of a young girl that was found beaten to death on the side of the road. The death of this unknown girl stirs Becca’s doubts and causes her to become fearful of this outside world that she’s received her first glimpse of. Was this girl killed by an outsider or is the one to be feared someone from her own town?

I was warned that Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone isn’t a book for everyone. I was warned about the prose. I was warned about the excessive descriptions. But those warnings were clearly not meant for me. The intro line managed to grab me instantly. Hook, line, and sinker.

‘The night before Amelia Anne Richardson bled her life away on a parched dirt road outside of town, I bled out my dignity in the back of a pickup truck under a star-pricked sky.’

You couldn’t tear this book out of my hands after that. I worked reluctantly. I slept reluctantly. I couldn’t stop reading until I had completely devoured this book. The author is so adroit with the English language that I wish it wasn’t her debut so I had a full backlog of her work to go back and read. Rosenfield’s descriptions are excessive but felt completely necessary for this type of story. The additional wording added a heightened sense of what was truly happening, a heightened sense of dread. The continued investigation into this girls death never succeeded in actually getting any closer to solving but it did succeed in completely unraveling the town and each of its inhabitants.

Amelia Anne centers primarily around Becca who after having sex with her boyfriend James was unceremoniously dumped immediately after. The death of this anonymous girl and the effect that her death has on this small town is actually more of a side story. The story alternates between Amelia’s final days and Becca’s transformed days following the discovery of the mysterious body. As the story unfolds, the reader is shown the similarities between the girls despite their differences. The mystery in how the two came to be connected seemed to be an impossibility. Seeing the pieces of their stories slowly merge and form the bigger picture was a revelation as I managed to remain in the dark until the very end.

‘In a place so insulted, where lives are so small and gone about so quietly, violent death hangs in the air – tinting everything crimson, weaving itself into the shimmering heat that rises off the winding asphalt roads at noon.’

Certain details of this story really stood out for me. Firstly was Rosenfield’s portrayal of a mature teenage love in its genuine form with all its unnecessary complexity. Her descriptions of this small town and its inhabitants were completely on point. Not surprising, the author grew up in a small town in New York with a population of less than 3k people. And lastly, her ability to write such an intricate and alluring tale in less than 300 pages.

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone is an exquisitely written debut novel that’s flawlessly layered and incredibly captivating.

Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn {Purchase}
The Night She Disappeared by April Henry {Purchase}
The Secret History by Donna Tartt {Purchase}

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Book Review – Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

February 6, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2014, YA 11 Comments

Book Review – Paper Valentine by Brenna YovanoffPaper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff
Published by Razorbill on January 8th 2013
Pages: 304
Genres: Ghosties, Horror, Mystery
Format: Hardcover
Source: a Giveaway
Amazon
Goodreads


three-stars

The city of Ludlow is gripped by the hottest July on record. The asphalt is melting, the birds are dying, petty crime is on the rise, and someone in Hannah Wagnor’s peaceful suburban community is killing girls.

For Hannah, the summer is a complicated one. Her best friend Lillian died six months ago, and Hannah just wants her life to go back to normal. But how can things be normal when Lillian’s ghost is haunting her bedroom, pushing her to investigate the mysterious string of murders? Hannah’s just trying to understand why her friend self-destructed, and where she fits now that Lillian isn’t there to save her a place among the social elite. And she must stop thinking about Finny Boone, the big, enigmatic delinquent whose main hobbies seem to include petty larceny and surprising acts of kindness.

With the entire city in a panic, Hannah soon finds herself drawn into a world of ghost girls and horrifying secrets. She realizes that only by confronting the Valentine Killer will she be able move on with her life—and it’s up to her to put together the pieces before he strikes again.

Paper Valentine is a hauntingly poetic tale of love and death by the New York Times bestselling author of The Replacement and The Space Between.

Hannah Wagnor is struggling to cope with the recent death of her best friend, Lillian, and the details surrounding it. There is also the fact that Lillian’s ghost now follows her everywhere. While trying to overcome her guilt at not being able to help Lillian when she was alive, Hannah is also trying to understand how to go on with life without her. In addition to Lillian’s ghost which haunts her are several other ghosts that start appearing and they are all victims of a recent serial killer in her small town.

This is actually the first story I’ve read of Brenna Yovanoff’s and I definitely enjoyed the story and her writing skills but Paper Valentine didn’t wow me as much as I’d anticipated. The storyline itself was a tale full of emotional resonance but the combination of the ‘coming-of-age’ tale of Hannah finding herself after the death of her best friend AND the serial killer taking out locals was a strange yet engaging mix that managed to work for the most part.

The narrative is told in the first person from the POV of Hannah from which we are able to see just how deeply rooted her depression is. Hannah is a compelling character yet I found many of her actions to be extremely unreasonable especially when it came to the expeditious love for the local bad boy, Finny Boone. Like the time Finny suggested they take a shortcut through the dark park? When there’s a serial killer on the loose? Or when Hannah leaves her younger sister home alone and her and Finny go off to swim in the lake? The overwrought lines regarding him were also treading on ridiculous:

“And then we’re looking at each other, and it’s a look that goes on and on, stretching across space and time. Across galaxies.”

The insta-love was there but was subdued enough to not be too bothersome. Seeing Hannah’s progression throughout the novel in finding her individual identity separate from who she was when Lillian was still alive was the most satisfying and convincing aspect of Paper Valentine. While this book had its flaws, it was a somewhat satisfying of a read and succeeded in capturing my interest for the authors previous novels.

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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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Book Review – Tempest in the Tea Leaves (A Fortune Teller Mystery #1) by Kari Lee Townsend

August 30, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2013 1 Comment

Book Review – Tempest in the Tea Leaves (A Fortune Teller Mystery #1) by Kari Lee TownsendTempest in the Tea Leaves by Kari Lee Townsend
Series: A Fortune Teller Mystery #1
Published by Berkley on August 2nd 2011
Pages: 294
Genres: Cozy, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: a Giveaway
Amazon
Goodreads


one-star

Sunny is a big city psychic who moves to the quaint town of Divinity, NY to open her fortune telling business in an ancient Victorian house, inheriting the strange cat residing within. Sunny gives her first reading to the frazzled town librarian and discovers the woman is going to die. When the woman flees in terror, Sunny calls the police, only she’s too late. The ruggedly handsome, hard-nosed detective is a “non-believer.” He finds the librarian dead, and Sunny becomes his number one suspect, forcing her to prove her innocence before the real killer can put an end to the psychic’s future.

I rarely give one stars, but this was bad and I feel the need to rant so spoilers beware! You’ve been warned.

The main character is Sunny Meadows (Nope, I am not fibbing. She changed her name because she was CLEARLY not a Sylvia. And Sunny is much better.) and wants to start her own Fortune Teller business. She decides it’s time to move out of her parents house and has chosen Divinity, NY as her new home. She is 29 years old after all and wants to take care of herself… with her handy-dandy trust fund, of course. She buys up an old Victorian, which she promptly names Vicky, and plans to remodel and redecorate it herself so she can reside there and run her business out of it as well. This is all very shocking considering the degree of genius we’re dealing with.

“Shivering, I realized how cold it was in the house. The thermostat read fifty-five degrees. It was a wonder the pipes hadn’t burst.”

We’re obviously dealing with Einstein-level genius here.

So her business gets started and she has her first customer and she gives her a tea reading and reports that she sees a deer which of course means a dispute with a man and also a flag which means danger! (again, with a man) But then! THE KETTLE. Which means the man won’t be making her tea… he’ll be killing her soon.

 

DUN DUN DUN.

Okay so dramatic business aside, in addition to the eye-rolling storyline this was very poorly written with the most ridiculous set of characters. She was extremely immature for a 29 year old and was so very unrealistic. This entire book was honestly unrealistic. Cozy mysteries have an air of silliness as a standard, however, the few I’ve read have managed to still at least make sense and been funny and entertaining. But when Sunny is made the prime suspect in the death and then is promptly recruited by the police department to aid in the investigation… I’m sorry, what? Plus, she acted like a teenager half the time and couldn’t control herself from blurting out case details at the most highly inopportune times. Then there was the nonsensical romance between Sunny and the cop and her parents showing up to also assist in the case and then there’s Morty the magic cat and Sunny’s ongoing absurdity like when she broke into a suspects house but ends up having to hide in the closet while the suspect and her boyfriend watch porn….

This was clearly not my cup of tea. (ha-Sorry. I couldn’t resist.) I manage to somehow possess more willpower to keep going when I’m reading a crappy book as a buddy read so that’s my only explanation for actually finishing this ridiculous mess of a book. As ridiculous and unbelievable as this book managed to consistently be, the ending and answer to the whole mystery was infuriating. I will definitely not be continuing this series.

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Short & Sweet – The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley

August 17, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2013, Short & Sweet Reviews 7 Comments

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

Short & Sweet – The Shadowy Horses by Susanna KearsleyThe Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark on October 2nd 2012 (first published January 1st 1997)
Pages: 432
Genres: Ghosties, Historical Fiction, Mystery
Format: Paperback
Source: a Giveaway, the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Rose Garden

three-half-stars

THE INVINCIBLE NINTH ROMAN LEGION MARCHES FROM YORK TO FIGHT THE NORTHERN TRIBES. AND THEN VANISHES FROM THE PAGES OF HISTORY.

Archaeologist Verity Grey has been drawn to the dark legends of the Scottish Borderlands in search of the truth buried in a rocky field by the sea.

Her eccentric boss has spent his whole life searching for the resting place of the lost Ninth Roman Legion and is convinced he's finally found it--not because of any scientific evidence, but because a local boy has "seen" a Roman soldier walking in the fields, a ghostly sentinel who guards the bodies of his long-dead comrades.

Here on the windswept shores, Verity may find the answer to one of the great unsolved mysteries of our time. Or she may uncover secrets someone buried for a reason.

Shadowy Horses is centered around Eyemouth, which is an actual fishing port located in south-east Scotland. The story references actual places and events including The Ship Hotel, the fish auctions and the Herring Queen Festival. While it hasn’t actually been verified that Eyemouth is the last resting place of the Ninth Roman Legion, this is what the fictional character Verity Gray is drawn to. Actual evidence had yet to be discovered, only the protestations of an eight year old boy that claims he’s seen and spoke with someone who walks the fields… a Roman soldier that died over two thousand years ago.

description

The Shadowy Horses is my third read by Susanna Kearsley and while it’s not my favorite, it still managed to guarantee that this is one author I will be reading everything she writes. This gothic tale felt more subdued than I had anticipated based off the enticing summary but was still wonderfully intriguing. The main character Verity was a strong and intelligent character that was a joy to read about. While I didn’t see the necessity to include a budding romance into this potentially enigmatic story line it ended up being a lovely addition making this an extremely well-rounded story. The ending was strangely dramatic and felt out of place from the way I thought the story was going but still left me altogether satisfied. I will most definitely be seeking out more from Susanna Kearsley.

(Picture Sources 1/2)

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Early Review + Giveaway! Everbound (Everneath #2) by Brodi Ashton

January 15, 2013 Bonnie Early Review, Giveaways, Read in 2013, YA 0 Comments

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

Early Review + Giveaway! Everbound (Everneath #2) by Brodi AshtonEverbound by Brodi Ashton
Series: Everneath #2
Published by Balzer + Bray on January 22nd 2013
Pages: 358
Genres: Fantasy, Greek Mythology, Romance
Format: ARC
Source: a Giveaway, the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Everneath

three-stars

Nikki Beckett could only watch as her boyfriend, Jack, sacrificed himself to save her, taking her place in the Tunnels of the Everneath for eternity — a debt that should’ve been hers. She’s living a borrowed life, and she doesn’t know what to do with the guilt. And every night Jack appears in her dreams, lost and confused and wasting away.

Desperate for answers, Nikki turns to Cole, the immortal bad boy who wants to make her his queen — and the one person least likely to help. But his heart has been touched by everything about Nikki, and he agrees to assist her in the only way he can: by taking her to the Everneath himself.

Nikki and Cole descend into the Everneath, only to discover that their journey will be more difficult than they’d anticipated — and more deadly. But Nikki vows to stop at nothing to save Jack — even if it means making an incredible sacrifice of her own.

In this enthralling sequel to Everneath, Brodi Ashton tests the bonds of destiny and explores the lengths we’ll go to for the ones we love.

Everneath series

Everneath (Everneath, #1)Neverfall (Everneath, #1.5)

Everneath (Everneath #1)
Neverfall (Everneath #1.5)

**Spoilers to follow for those of you who have not yet read Everneath!**

Everbound was quite the adventure! I wasn’t the hugest fan of the first installment was this one was fun, entertaining, and even a bit exciting. Everbound picks up where the last left off with Nikki desperately trying to come up with a plan to rescue Jack. Once she realizes that she requires Cole’s help for this to ever be possible, she also realizes she has to put more trust in him than she ever has before. He’s never given her a reason to trust him but she’s not left with much choice if she ever wants to see Jack again.

Over 100 of the first pages is wasted on Nikki and her planning on how to save Jack. I understand the need for developing but I can’t help but feel some of it could have been cut out because once the action really started, it was quite the interesting story. Everbound took bits from several mythological stories: Persephone and Hades (Greek), Orpheus and Eurydice (Greek), Inanna and her descent into the underworld (Sumerian), Daedalus’ labyrinth (Greek), and Dante’s Inferno (Italian). The entire plot of the story was heavily based on these myths and it was interesting to see how these myths were altered to suit the story.

Everbound put major focus on the development of Cole and Nikki’s relationship which continued building that love triangle that I knew was inevitably coming. Considering I was a bigger fan of Cole than Jack, this wasn’t too big of a gripe for me. It’s a sure bet readers will end up liking Cole a lot more as the story progresses, as he shows a noble and honest side to him that wasn’t evident previously.

This was an extremely close to a 4 star read for me… until the end. The ending really ruined any fun I had over the course of the previous 350+ pages and made me confused and irritable and other related adjectives. I know I will now have to read the final installment in the trilogy and hope that all the time I spent on this series ends up being worth it. As it stands right now though I’m not impressed and I’m crossing my fingers for a big finish at the very least.

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Early Review – The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

January 11, 2013 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Giveaways, Read in 2013, YA 27 Comments

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

Early Review – The Madman’s Daughter by Megan ShepherdThe Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
Series: The Madman's Daughter #1
Published by Balzer + Bray on January 29th 2013
Pages: 432
Genres: Fairy-Tales/Retellings, Gothic, Horror
Format: ARC
Source: a Giveaway, the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads


two-half-stars

In the darkest places, even love is deadly.

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father's gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father's handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father's madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island's inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father's dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it's too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father's genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Inspired by H. G. Wells's classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman's Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we'll do anything to know and the truths we'll go to any lengths to protect.

‘Dead flesh and sharpened scalpels didn’t bother me. I was my father’s daughter, after all. My nightmares were made of darker things.’

I feel the need to start off by saying I didn’t dislike this book but obviously considering my rating I have some explaining to do. There was creepiness, there was a decent story line, but the pacing was so incredibly slow that it had an adverse effect on my overall opinion on this gothic retelling.

Let me tell you guys, the beginning of this story had so much creepy going on it was amazing. I remember starting this book, finishing the first couple of chapters, stopping for a second and saying to myself, “This is going to be so awesome.” Juliet seemed to be a very promising main character and I couldn’t wait to hear her story. But the gothic thriller aspect seemed to be put on the back burner and definitely became less of a focus. What did it end up focusing on? Romance, of course.

There was so much emphasis put on the romance and her being torn between two men, her swooning and constant need to fan herself that I would go so far as to consider this ‘historical-romance-lite’. If not for the creepy and exceptionally gruesome bits in this story I don’t believe I would have finished this. As it was though, the romance didn’t feel fitting in this type of story, like an irregular puzzle piece.

I had been forewarned that the middle dawdled but that the ending was a big shocker so that gave me hope. The pacing was definitely off for the vast majority of the middle portion and didn’t actually start picking up until almost the very end of the book. The big reveal happened and it was definitely the most interesting aspect of the entire story but it happened a little too late for me. There wasn’t a slow build-up to the grand finale which would have made this immensely better. Instead we received a storyline that plodded along, lacking in intensity, never quite gaining enough steam, and then we’re hit with the big ending. The middle section certainly required something more for me to still be invested enough in the story to be excited for when the big conclusion finally did happen.

Oh, and there’s a cliffhanger. Naturally. I think my response to that final page was something along the lines of, “Dude. For real?” Considering I was more than a bit bored through the majority of this story I was at least hoping we’d get some answers. I had still considered giving #2 a shot since sometimes it takes the first book to build the story (in a series) and book 2 is where we can finally get to the meat of the story. But my understanding was that this was a retelling of the Island of Dr. Moreau, however, the summary for book 2 states it was written: with inspiration from Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘THE STRANGE CASE OF DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE’ and I’m not sure I feel about the mixing of multiple retellings.

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