Posts Categorized: Early Review

Early Review – The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert

July 16, 2015 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2015 7 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 Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. ReichertThe Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert
Published by Gallery Books on July 21st 2015
Pages: 336
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Foodie Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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Goodreads

Also by this author: The Simplicity of Cider

four-stars

You’ve Got Mail meets How to Eat a Cupcake in this delightful novel about a talented chef and the food critic who brings down her restaurant—whose chance meeting turns into a delectable romance of mistaken identities.

In downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Lou works tirelessly to build her beloved yet struggling French restaurant, Luella’s, into a success. She cheerfully balances her demanding business and even more demanding fiancé…until the morning she discovers him in the buff—with an intern.

Witty yet gruff British transplant Al is keeping himself employed and entertained by writing scathing reviews of local restaurants in the Milwaukee newspaper under a pseudonym. When an anonymous tip sends him to Luella’s, little does he know he’s arrived on the worst day of the chef’s life. The review practically writes itself: underdone fish, scorched sauce, distracted service—he unleashes his worst.

The day that Al’s mean-spirited review of Luella’s runs, the two cross paths in a pub: Lou drowning her sorrows, and Al celebrating his latest publication. As they chat, Al playfully challenges Lou to show him the best of Milwaukee and she’s game—but only if they never discuss work, which Al readily agrees to. As they explore the city’s local delicacies and their mutual attraction, Lou’s restaurant faces closure, while Al’s column gains popularity. It’s only a matter of time before the two fall in love…but when the truth comes out, can Lou overlook the past to chase her future?

Set in the lovely, quirky heart of Wisconsin, The Coincidence of Coconut Cake is a charming love story of misunderstandings, mistaken identity, and the power of food to bring two people together.


Lou owns a small French restaurant named Luella’s in the heart of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She’s engaged to be married, however, she tries to surprise him with a coconut cake for his birthday only to find a woman in his apartment. In lingerie. She doesn’t take the news well and the restaurant suffers from it that night, which also happens to be the night the local food critic visits Luella’s.

Her little restaurant begins a downward spiral after his scathing review but things are starting to look up when she meets someone new. Al is from the UK and has yet to be shown around Milwaukee so Lou agrees to be his guide. She takes him to see everything from the best restaurants to museums and festivals. They begin to fall for each other during their non-dates realizing just how much they have in common, but neither of them knows that Al was the food critic that caused Lou to lose her restaurant.

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake is a delightful, lighthearted romance story that is also a love story to delicious foods and the city of Milwaukee. The food descriptions had me re-declaring my love for food. And also making a raid on my kitchen. And maybe planning a trip to Milwaukee to see all these wonderful sounding sights for myself.

‘He started with the much hailed cheese curds, hot and oozing a little of the white cheddar; the outside was crispy and salty when he bit. A string of cheese dangled from his mouth to his hand as he pulled the cheese from his lips.’

‘Ingredients in baking were mixed in a specific way to create a specific result; a lot like relationships. If people didn’t blend well together, you’d never get the outcome you wanted.’

The requisite drama in this one was palpable and while it all came to a predictable resolution this was still a completely satisfying story. There’s something about the components of a basic foodie fiction book that I can’t help but fall in love with. Delicious food descriptions + quirky characters + adorable romances = me, head over heels. And The Coincidence of Coconut Cake has all the right ingredients.

P.S. There’s even a delicious coconut cake recipe in the back pages that I can’t wait to try myself.

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Early Review – Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

July 9, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Middle Grade, Read in 2015 1 Comment

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

Early Review – Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert BeattySerafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty
Published by Disney Hyperion on July 14th 2015
Pages: 304
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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three-stars

Disney Hyperion presents an exciting new novel for children & adults: a spooky historical mystery-thriller about an unusual girl who lives secretly in the basement of the grand Biltmore Estate.

"Never go into the forest, for there are many dangers there, and they will ensnare your soul."

Serafina has never had a reason to disobey her pa and venture beyond the grounds of Biltmore Estate. There's plenty to explore in her grand home, but she must take care to never be seen. None of the rich folk upstairs know that Serafina exists; she and her pa, the estate's maintenance man, have lived in the basement for as long as Serafina can remember. She has learned to sneak and hide.

But when children at the estate start disappearing, only Serafina knows who the culprit is: a terrifying man in a black cloak who stalks Biltmore's corridors at night. Following her own harrowing escape, Serafina risks everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt, the young nephew of the Biltmore's owners. Braeden and Serafina must uncover the Man in the Black Cloak's true identity before all of the children vanish one by one.

Serafina's hunt leads her into the very forest that she has been taught to fear. There she discovers a forgotten legacy of magic, one that is bound to her own identity. In order to save the children of Biltmore, Serafina must seek the answers that will unlock the puzzle of her past.

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“…our world is filled with many mysteries, things we don’t understand. Never go into the deep parts of the forest, for there are many dangers there, both dark and bright, and they will ensnare your soul.”

Biltmore Estate is large enough to have kept a secret for over a decade: deep within its basement lives a man and his daughter, named Serafina. Serafina’s father is in charge of the building’s maintenance but he would be tossed out in a heartbeat if it were discovered he also resided there. And Serafina is a whole different matter. Curious about the world around her and of her own past, she’s no longer able to keep herself confined to the basement, especially when she witnesses the murder of a young girl. Her body was never discovered and by the following morning, another child was missing. Serafina is determined to help these people find their lost children, even if it means disclosing her secret.

Beatty created a most mysterious girl with Serafina, who is described as having golden eyes and strangely enough, four toes instead of the normal five. Those differences only add to the air of mystery surrounding her and keep you wondering what it is that makes her so special. She’s a girl with a good heart and a kind soul that you can’t help but admire. Befriending the owner’s of Biltmore’s nephew, Braeden, makes this story even more charming. The two quickly hit it off, despite their obvious differences in social class, and they both team up convinced that they’re going to be able to find these children. Through her friendship, Serafina starts seeing the world through a new set of eyes, only seen before through the pages of books. She sees the good in the world but because of the man in the black cloak, she’s also uncovering the bad as well.

‘She was beginning to see how difficult it was to determine who was good and who was bad, who she could trust and who she had to watch out for. Every person was a hero in his own mind, fighting for what he thought was right, or just fighting to survive another day, but no one thought they were evil.’

Serafina possesses a definite horror but isn’t quite as terrifying as it is charming. The unique heroine is definitely the spotlight of this tale with her most uncommon story of her life and how she came to reside in the Biltmore Estate basement. While some parts of the book did seem to creep along very slowly and some aspects weren’t left sufficiently explained, it was still ultimately a satisfying supernatural tale of mystery that will no doubt delight children and adults alike.

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Early Review – Bull Mountain by Brian Panowich

July 4, 2015 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2015 2 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 – Bull Mountain by Brian PanowichBull Mountain by Brian Panowich
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons on July 7th 2015
Pages: 304
Genres: Southern Gothic/Country Noir
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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five-stars

From a remarkable new voice in Southern fiction, a multigenerational saga of crime, family, and vengeance.

Clayton Burroughs comes from a long line of outlaws.  For generations, the Burroughs clan has made its home on Bull Mountain in North Georgia, running shine, pot, and meth over six state lines, virtually untouched by the rule of law. To distance himself from his family’s criminal empire, Clayton took the job of sheriff in a neighboring community to keep what peace he can.  But when a federal agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms shows up at Clayton’s office with a plan to shut down the mountain, his hidden agenda will pit brother against brother, test loyalties, and could lead Clayton down a path to self-destruction.

In a sweeping narrative spanning decades and told from alternating points of view, the novel brilliantly evokes the atmosphere of the mountain and its inhabitants: forbidding, loyal, gritty, and ruthless. A story of family—the lengths men will go to protect it, honor it, or in some cases destroy it—Bull Mountain is an incredibly assured debut that heralds a major new talent in fiction.

‘Cooper Burroughs sat and chewed tobacco while he watched his nine-year-old son dig his first grave. There was more lesson in that than in killin’ any eight-point buck.’

Bull Mountain is located in the backwoods of Northern Georgia where for decades the Burroughs family has successfully evaded the law while making their living running moonshine, pot and eventually meth. Halford Burroughs is currently the man in charge of Bull Mountain while his younger brother and family outcast Clayton is the sheriff of the county. The two have managed to form a precarious truce yet fractures form when Special Agent Simon Holly arrives with the revelation that he’s there to put a stop to the Burroughs family enterprise on Bull Mountain.

‘Clayton knew he would always be welcome, but the badge had no business here at all. If a thing existed up here, it was because it belonged here. And if it didn’t belong, the people who lived here made damn sure it didn’t stay.’

Bull Mountain centers around two brothers, Halford and Clayton, but actions of their father, Gareth, from decades past, is responsible for setting in motion the current catastrophe. When Gareth Burroughs made the transition from moonshine to pot and then to meth, the need to secure his growing empire became more and more apparent. Allying himself with gun producers in Florida is the first step he takes in the wrong direction seeing as the Burroughs have always kept their business on the mountain, never asking for outside help. The alliance continues when Halford takes over, but the Feds have discovered the dealings down in Florida and have successfully traced it back to Bull Mountain. Clayton is the only one with the chance to convince his brother to sell out who he’s working with in order to avoid prosecution and to avoid the firestorm set to descend upon the land.

Hot damn. Every once in a while a book will come along that leaves you completely dumbstruck in how utterly impressive it is. Bull Mountain is one of those books for me. Even more so impressive is the fact that this is the author’s debut novel.

Not only was the labyrinthine plot that ricocheted back and forth in time and between a slew of characters handled skillfully but the brilliance of the twist that managed to alter the entire story was utterly superb. Bull Mountain is a dysfunctional saga about a family that prides themselves on loyalty that begins to be warped by the long line of violence and bloodshed. It’s a story where the line between good and bad is significantly blurred to the point of no recognition. Where even the characters can no longer see how their actions have transformed them.

According to this interview, there’s already a second book set in McFalls County and a possible third to come as well. I couldn’t be more pleased.

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Early Review – Trollhunters (Trollhunters #1) by Guillermo del Toro & Daniel Kraus

July 3, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2015, YA 0 Comments

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

Early Review – Trollhunters (Trollhunters #1) by Guillermo del Toro & Daniel KrausTrollhunters by Daniel Kraus, Guillermo del Toro
Illustrator: Sean Murray
Series: Trollhunters #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on July 7th 2015
Pages: 320
Genres: Fantasy, Horror
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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Also by this author: The Strain, The Night Eternal

three-stars

"You are food. Those muscles you flex to walk, lift, and talk? They're patties of meat topped with chewy tendon. That skin you've paid so much attention to in mirrors? It's delicious to the right tongues, a casserole of succulent tissue. And those bones that give you the strength to make your way in the world? They rattle between teeth as the marrow is sucked down slobbering throats. These facts are unpleasant but useful. There are things out there, you see, that don't cower in holes to be captured by us and cooked over our fires. These things have their own ways of trapping their kills, their own fires, their own appetites."

Jim Sturges is your typical teen in suburban San Bernardino—one with an embarrassingly overprotective dad, a best friend named "Tubby" who shares his hatred of all things torturous (like gym class), and a crush on a girl who doesn't know he exists. But everything changes for Jim when a 45-year old mystery resurfaces, threatening the lives of everyone in his seemingly sleepy town. Soon Jim has to team up with a band of unlikely (and some un-human) heroes to battle the monsters he never knew existed.

From the minds of Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus comes a new illustrated novel about the fears that move in unseen places.

“It’s a terrible thing, isn’t it? To be dragged under?”

In San Bernadino in the late 1960s, almost 200 hundred children went missing in what became known as The Milk Carton Epidemic. Children weren’t allowed on the streets past sunset, but on the day of Jack Sturges birthday, he and his little brother Jim were having too much fun on their bicycles to notice the sun was slowly making its exit. When Jack raced ahead towards the Holland Transit Bridge, Jim quickly lost sight of him. From the shadow of the bridge came a sight so terrifying that Jim could only run away in fear. Black fur, horns, claws, and massive teeth chased him home that day and while he managed to survive, he never saw his older brother Jack again.

Years later, Jim’s son, Jim Sturges Jr. is fifteen years old and lives alone with his paranoid father. Ever since he lost his older brother, his father has been terrified of the dark. Steel shutters cover their windows, ten locks secure their front door, and the flood lights and security cameras pick up anything that lurks outside. Jim never quite understands his father’s paranoia, that is until the day that he’s dragged through a hole beneath his bed and sees his first troll. And his lost Uncle Jack who is somehow just as young as he was the day he went missing. He’s told that the Sturges family belongs to a line of trollhunters, that the battle between humans and trolls has been going on for ages, and that he’s the next in line to step up to the task. Jim’s life is never quite the same again.

“This is the only thing I’m good at. There are times when you have to do the right thing, no matter how scary. […] If I don’t fight now, right now, when am I supposed to fight?”

Trollhunters will appeal to fans of Percy Jackson, The Blackwell PagesThe Kane Chronicles, and the multitude of series’ that center around kids/teenagers burdened with the task of saving the world. Trollhunters is tagged as YA but the goofiness that is typically present in Middle-Grade fiction is flying high in this one. But there are also several instances of profanity (asshole and bastard are two I remember off the top of my head) so it’s clear this author-duo was possibly trying to entice an audience of various ages. I’m just not sure the way they went about it is necessarily a recipe for success. The fact that it’s marketed as horror doesn’t necessarily help either, especially since it’s really not. Children stolen from their beds at night (by monsters nonetheless) should be straight nightmare fuel but it never quite reached the level of terror I would have expected since the intensity was constantly lessened by the presence of goofy humor.

I’m a huge fan of del Toro, so this became an immediate addition to my TBR, but what most intrigued me about this one is the difference in the fantasy focus: trolls. I’ve read plenty of vampire, werewolf, and faerie stories but a troll story? Can’t recall a single one. But these aren’t the trolls of my generation either.

Oh, no. These trolls are nasty, ugly things that like to snack on humans like they were tasty kernels of popcorn. While the horror was somewhat lacking (except for that bit about the troll fetus that takes up residence inside humans for the night? oh. my. god. Wire my mouth shut, I’ll just breathe through my nose, thank you very much), the gruesomeness is actually pretty intense. For a glimpse of what these disgusting trolls actually look like, check out some of the artwork by Sean A. Murray. One thing I have to note about the artwork, and due to the fact that I read an ARC I can’t be certain this is necessarily the case in the finished copy, but the artwork never coincided with what was occurring in the story. A certain scenes artwork would be shown 20 pages later which kind of threw you off from the scene that was currently happening.

Naturally, this is a start to a new series since various questions were left unanswered. I hope that some thought is put into future installments because at this point I can’t see how they can be anything but repetitive. Trolls try to take over, battles happen, people die, good wins. The story often dragged at times and lacked any twists that would have helped keep me (or any reader) engaged. Less goofiness, more horror, and much more excitement are all I’d like to ask for in the next installment. Still worth the read, but not nearly as thrilling as I had hoped for from an author duo like this.

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Early Review – You’re Making Me Hate You: A Cantankerous Look at the Common Misconception That Humans Have Any Common Sense Left by Corey Taylor

June 26, 2015 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2015 0 Comments

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

Early Review – You’re Making Me Hate You: A Cantankerous Look at the Common Misconception That Humans Have Any Common Sense Left by Corey TaylorYou're Making Me Hate You: A Cantankerous Look at the Common Misconception That Humans Have Any Common Sense Left by Corey Taylor
Published by Da Capo Press on July 7th 2015
Pages: 256
Genres: Funny-ha-ha, Non-Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Seven Deadly Sins: Settling the Argument Between Born Bad and Damaged Good, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven, House of Gold & Bones

four-stars

In the tradition of the late great George Carlin, New York Times bestselling author and lead singer of Slipknot and Stone Sour Corey Taylor sounds off in hilarious fashion about the many vagaries of modern life that piss him off.

Whether it’s people’s rude behavior in restaurants and malls, the many indignities of air travel, eye-searingly terrible fashion choices, dangerously clueless drivers, and—most of all—the sorry state of much modern music, Taylor’s humor and insight cover civil society’s seeming decline—sparing no one along the way, least of all himself.

Holding nothing back and delivered in Taylor’s inimitable voice, You’re Making Me Hate You is a cathartic critique of the strange world in which we find ourselves.

“…can’t people just not fucking suck as human beings once in a while? […] People have just as much capacity to be good as they do to be shit. It’s a choice. People make choices. So they need to make better fucking choices.”

Being that this is Corey Taylor’s third book you think I’d be used to his absolutely impeccable way of putting into words all the bitching and complaining that runs through my head, but I am. Like all the times when I’m confronted with the idiocy of this planet be it by their ridiculous purchases, their laughable choice in music or they way they choose to raise (or not raise as the case may be) their children. We’re all confronted with the insanity on a daily basis but we’re forced to suffer through, internally rolling our eyes at the imbeciles. But Corey manages to transform the suffering into entertainment in the form of a hilarious memoir once again.

“Incompetent people don’t know they’re incompetent. They just blithely blunder through their day-to-day with no care for any damage that happens in their wakes. When the mishaps are pointed out, they see the issue but don’t do anything to adjust and fix their ways.”

You know those people you encounter that seem as if they were put on Earth just to make your life miserable? Or how about those times you witness some type of human behavior that causes you to simultaneously stop to worry for the human race while also thinking “What in the fuck is wrong with people!?” If you’ve had thoughts such as those, this is the book for you. If not, back away slowly. Not one to mince words, Corey Taylor points out all the issues in society and human behavior in general without a care for hurt feelings. He’s blunt, honest, and always candid. You gotta love that about him.

“When people suffer under the illusion that their time and attention is more important than everyone else’s, no matter how mundane the occasion may be, I snap like a piece of dried-up driftwood, waiting to be set fire at the pyre.”

Corey Taylor has successfully covered the argument between good and evil, the existence of the supernatural and now the lack of common sense of the human race. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

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Early Review – Swerve by Vicki Pettersson

June 19, 2015 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2015 3 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 – Swerve by Vicki PetterssonSwerve by Vicki Pettersson
Published by Gallery Books on July 7th 2015
Pages: 352
Genres: Horror, Mystery, Suspense
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
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four-stars

In the electrifying tradition of Dean Koontz and Gillian Flynn comes the first riveting psychological thriller from the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author!
It’s high summer in the Mojave Desert, and Kristine Rush and her fiancé, Daniel, are en route from Las Vegas to Lake Arrowhead, California, for the July Fourth holiday weekend. But when Daniel is abducted from a desolate rest stop, Kristine is forced to choose: return home unharmed, but never to see her fiancé again, or plunge forward into the searing desert to find him…where a killer lies in wait.

One road. One woman. One killer.

Sprinting against the clock, and uncertain if danger lies ahead or behind, Kristine must blaze an epic path through the gaudy flash of roadside casinos, abandoned highway stops, and a landscape rife with horrors never before imagined. Desperate to save her doomed husband-to-be, Kristine must summon long forgotten resources if she’s to go head-to-head against this unpredictable killer. And she’d better hurry. Because she only has twenty-four hours…to make one hell of a trip.

‘The heat haze shimmers atop the road, as if what lies behind me is something I just made up. Like my whole life has been a dream, but now I’ve been jolted awake.

Just in time to watch it all fall away.’

On their way to visit her future mother in law for the Fourth of July weekend, Kristine and her fiancé Daniel stop at a rest stop for her to change her clothes where she gets attacked in a bathroom stall. Never seeing her attacker but being knocked out, she awakens frantic to get to Daniel only to find he’s gone missing. Her mysterious attacker calls her, instructs her to get in the car and leave or else he’s going to hurt Daniel. Furious with her inability to help him, she does get in the car and drive away with the sounds of Daniel’s screams still echoing through the phone. But this mystery person that goes by the name of Malthus is far from done with her and the next 24 hours of her life becomes a nightmare thrill-ride through hell and back again.

I’ve read my fair share of “nail-biters” but very rarely has every. single. page. caused a permanent look of complete and utter panic on my face. I absolutely could not tear myself away from this one. Swerve is the very definition of “edge-of-your-seat”.

Swerve reminded me a lot of Phone Booth, where Kiefer Sutherland Malthus knows all about Kristine and the past that still haunts her and is completely using it against her to make her life a living hell. Since the majority of this novel was spent on the highway on the road trip to hell, it had definite shades of Duel as well to make it extra terrifying. It also helps that the bad guy is completely batshit insane and the things he’s capable of doing with a smile still on his face will horrify you. This one is definitely not for the faint of heart.

Swerve is an explosive horror-thriller that is constant and unrelenting. It was horrifying and sickening and I am never stopping at a fucking rest stop again as long as I live. Or at least not without a bazooka.

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Early Review – Lock & Mori (Lock & Mori #1) by Heather W. Petty

June 4, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2015, YA 2 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 – Lock & Mori (Lock & Mori #1) by Heather W. PettyLock & Mori by Heather W. Petty
Series: Lock & Mori #1
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on September 15th 2015
Pages: 256
Genres: Fairy-Tales/Retellings, Mystery-Contemporary
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads


two-stars

In modern-day London, two brilliant high school students—one Sherlock Holmes and a Miss James “Mori” Moriarty—meet. A murder will bring them together. The truth very well might drive them apart.

Before they were mortal enemies, they were much more…

FACT: Someone has been murdered in London’s Regent’s Park. The police have no leads.

FACT: Miss James “Mori” Moriarty and Sherlock “Lock” Holmes should be hitting the books on a school night. Instead, they are out crashing a crime scene.

FACT: Lock has challenged Mori to solve the case before he does. Challenge accepted.

FACT: Despite agreeing to Lock’s one rule—they must share every clue with each other—Mori is keeping secrets.

OBSERVATION: Sometimes you can’t trust the people closest to you with matters of the heart. And after this case, Mori may never trust Lock again.

I love Sherlock. I love anything to do with Sherlock. But this? I wanted to rip my hair out. The frustration was insane between the characterization, the absurd plot, the even more ridiculous ‘mystery’, but the insta-love thing Lock & Mori had going on was beyond foolish. All lumped together, it was positively rage inducing for me. But I’ll try to break it down and explain myself instead of just summing up my review with this gif:

The Mystery: A recent string of mysterious murders catches the attention of ‘Lock’ and subsequently Mori when he enlists her help in investigating. All murders occurred in the same spot and the murder weapon appears to be, strangely enough, a sword.

The Characters: Mori is the oldest of four children who lives with her alcoholic father and her three younger brothers. Her mother recently passed leaving her father a changed man, taking out his grief on his children. Sherlock Holmes? We’re told next to nothing about. He has a brother, and a sick mother and… yep. Basically, this was all Mori’s story, told from her point of view and Sherlock, unfortunately, ended up being nothing more than a supporting character. It would have been completely fine if Mori was a character I wanted an entire story about, and I didn’t.

The Romance: The two inevitably fall into a hasty romance where they seemingly spend approximately half the story kissing and Sherlock is continuously making awkward declarations of love.

“I thought I was more evolved than that. But my obsession with revenge […] with wanting to keep you near me from now on, I fear I’m outing myself as the Neanderthal I never thought I’d be.”

In addition, Mori is a constant angst-ball complaining about having to suffer through life’s tribulations all by herself and telling herself that she can’t tell Sherlock about herself because *gasp* he can’t know about her so she’s trying to solve this mystery by herself. Of course, all along Sherlock is practically a leech in human form and he sleeps on her bedroom floor at night to make sure she’s safe. Yeah. So alone. Poor thing.

But the one thing that bothered me so completely that it dwarfed all previously mentioned issues: the logic of the decision making. Sure, it could be argued that “this is fiction! logic isn’t a requirement!” Well, this is what I have to say to that:

Most of what I’d like to say is just a giant spoiler so I’ll try to be as vague as possible. You know those types of mysteries that have the characters doing the most ridiculous things (like trying to solve murders on their own) instead of being smart and just going to the police? This is one of those stories. You know those stories where the character has friends there for them and instead of allowing them to be of some help they choose to go off on their own and handle it themselves (predictably getting themselves in a world of shit in the process)? This is one of those stories. All these silly, stupid decisions could have all been avoided with a little common sense. Common sense isn’t quite so common apparently, at least when it comes to Mori.

The ending sets up even more future angst and unnecessary drama to come. Considering we know how Sherlock and Moriarty’s relationship typically ends up transpiring, I guess the groundwork had to be laid somehow. However the series progresses though, I won’t be around to witness. Sherlock and Moriarty both are two of the smartest individuals in fiction and in my opinion that shouldn’t change if you switch up their gender and turn their relationship into a love affair. I guess I now need to change my “I love anything to do with Sherlock” to “I love practically anything to do with Sherlock” because I definitely did not love this one.

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Early Review – The Awesome by Eva Darrows

May 21, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2015 5 Comments

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

Early Review – The Awesome by Eva DarrowsThe Awesome by Eva Darrows
Published by Ravenstone on May 26th 2015
Pages: 352
Genres: Funny-ha-ha, Urban Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: the Author
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads


four-half-stars

Seventeen-year-old Maggie Cunningham is tough, smart, and sassy. She's also not like other girls her age, but then, who would be when the family business is monster hunting? Combat boots, ratty hooded sweatshirts, and hair worn short so nothing with claws can get a grip, Maggie's concerns in life slant more toward survival than fashion or boys.

Which presents a problem when Maggie's mother informs her that she can't get her journeyman's license for hunting until she loses her virginity. Something about virgin blood turning vampires into pointy rage monsters. Insides being on the outside and all that.

Maggie's battled zombies and goblins and her fair share of house brownies, but finding herself a boy proves a much more daunting task than any monster hunt. Did you know normal girls don't stuff their bras with holy water balloons? Nor do they carry wooden stakes in their waistbands. And they care about things like "matching" and "footwear." Of course, they also can't clean a gun blindfolded, shoot a crossbow, or exorcise ghosts from a house. Which means they're lame and Maggie's not. Because Maggie's awesome. The Awesome, in fact.

Just ask her. She'd be more than happy to tell you.

After she finds herself a date.

About Eva Darrows

Eva Darrows is Hillary Monahan is also an international woman of mystery. Holed up in Massachusetts with three smelly basset hounds, she writes funny, creepy things for fun and profit.

‘Sure, I was good at a lot of stuff. How many girls my age could kill a dude with her bare hands in under fourteen seconds? That’s a skill, and one that’d get me places in life, but it didn’t help me here. All the combat training in the world couldn’t make being a normal teenager any easier.’

Being a teenager is hard. Being a teenager is even more difficult when your only interaction with that age group is via the television. Seventeen-year-old Maggie has been home-schooled by her single mother who also happens to be a monster hunter (think Van Helsing in the modern age.) Maggie has been trained since she was young to do the job as well and is completely content with the cards that life has dealt her with one small issue: becoming a full-fledged, licensed monster hunter requires her to lose her virginity. Easier said than done.

Okay, not to be totally lame, but this really was awesome. And extremely hilarious. Not only was Maggie fantastically snarky, and sure often times undignified and more than a bit crass, but she was such an amazingly confident character that you cannot help but love her. She’s realistically awkward when it comes to her “first time” but honestly the best thing about it is how awesome the topic of virginity was handled. (Yes, I know, I’ve already said awesome twice. It’s FITTING though.) It’s all displayed in such a non-shaming way and I loved the comfortableness between Maggie and her mother in how the topic broached. There wasn’t any awkwardness and her mother was straight up and honest with her about using protection and about being confident and comfortable with her body. While the summary implies that the sole focus of the story is Maggie losing her virginity, it’s actually so much more and bottom line, the relationship between Maggie and her mother is the very best.

“You’ll go on that date tomorrow, and before you get all pissy-pants over the suggestion, listen to me, Margaret Jane. […] I tell you that because life goes on despite our jobs. It’s too short not to have fun while we can. Sitting at home with guns and silver expecting the worst is no way to live. Trust me on that. I know.”

The relationship/friendship between Maggie and her mom reminded me a lot of my relationship with my mom, except alas, we don’t go out hunting vampires and other night beasties together. My mom was also one of those awesome women that didn’t tread lightly around the topic of sex and seeing how vastly different other parents handle that subject makes me forever thankful to her for that. It’s a natural thing that shouldn’t have a taboo placed around it. It’s something I feel should be openly discussed because having someone to answer those difficult questions will only lead to smart decisions in the future. Seeing the topic of sex addressed in that way and a parental relationship like that is rare in fiction, but shouldn’t be so.

The Awesome takes Maggie on a hilariously snarky, undead adventure that will leave you eager for more. While satisfying enough as a stand-alone, this still has definite room to grow, and I definitely want more.

First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson #1) by Darynda Jones {Purchase – Review}
Croak (Croak #1) by Gina Damico {PurchaseReview}
Bad Taste in Boys (Kate Grable #1) by Carrie Harris {Purchase – Review}

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Early Review – The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1) by Renee Ahdieh

May 8, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2015, YA 3 Comments

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

Early Review – The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1) by Renee AhdiehThe Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #1
Published by Putnam Juvenile on May 12th 2015
Pages: 416
Genres: Fairy-Tales/Retellings, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: First to Read Program
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Rose & the Dagger

four-half-stars

A sweeping and lush tale of romance and adventure

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch…she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, this sumptuous and epically told love story heralds the arrival of an exciting new voice in YA.

‘It did not matter that this world was far from as simple as she might have thought.
And it absolutely did not matter that her heart was… mis-behaving.
She had come to the palace with a clear purpose.
The Caliph of Horasan had to die.’

Shahrzad, sixteen years old, has been battling with her grief since her best friend was murdered by her husband, Khalid Ibn al-Rashid, Caliph of Khorasan. For reasons unknown, he takes a bride each night only to have her killed in the morning. When Shahrzad actually volunteers to marry him, her family and childhood sweetheart, Tariq, are devastated. To everyone’s surprise, she survives the dawn and begins to put her plan into action: to find the weakness of the Caliph of Khorasan that will help her to avenge her murdered best friend. She begins to realize though that his only weakness is Shahrzad herself.

Reading has been a bit of a struggle for me lately and I tentatively started this one not expecting to be able to stick with it. I also had some serious doubts that it would end up being something that lived up to the hype for me, especially after recently reading another super-hyped story that ended up being a major disappointment for me. Imagine my surprise when I couldn’t stop flipping the pages, couldn’t stop wondering what was going to happen next, and couldn’t keep the ridiculous grin off my face watching all the emotions unfold. Oh man, the feels. They got me. For the most part, the story is told from the point of view of Shahrzad, however, we’re also given scenes through the eyes of Khalid and Tariq. All three points of view intertwine to form a most enthralling tale.

“As silver-tongued as a viper.” He laughed. “Tell me, my lady, do you ever miss a moment to strike?”
Shahrzad smiled, and it was brilliant and biting, all at once. “I fear that would be unwise, my lord. Especially in a den of snakes.”

I loved Shahrzad. She was wonderfully snarky and witty and courageous and bold. The addition in her story to being a prowess at the bow and arrow only sealed the deal to my love of her. I had my doubts at first that the story could pull off credibly Shahrzad falling in love with Khalid. I mean come on, she married her best friends murderer with the intent to kill him herself. How possibly could that be turned around legitimately? Well, I’m happy to say that it was done extremely well and I was completely sold. The passion between those two… that’s where that perma-grin I mentioned comes into play.

‘Her lips were hers one moment. And then they were his. The taste of him on her tongue was like sunwarmed honey. Like cool water sliding down her parched throat. Like the promise of all her tomorrows in a single sigh. When she wound her fingers in his hair to draw her body against his, he stilled for breath, and she knew, as he knew, that they were lost.
Lost forever.
In this kiss.
This kiss that would change everything.’

This could have easily been insta-love, but instead, it was a beautiful, slow and steady build up of honest emotion. It was a lovely thing to witness and I couldn’t tear my eyes away. Khalid even won me over at the same time. His pain and grief over what he felt he had to do, was his own personal suffering and it showed. I loved his own path to self-realization and how he became more confident in his roles and the decisions he had to make rather than sitting back and accepting his lot in life. I can’t wait to see how that continues in the next installment.

I had massive love for this book but there were a few aspects that could have made this better for me. First, I wanted to know more about Shahrzad’s family, especially her father, and there seems no doubt we’ll find out more in The Rose and the Dagger. The magical aspects of the novel were incredibly interesting and while I wished there was more of it, I appreciated the subtlety of it all. Second, Tariq’s character was a major low point and I disliked his point of view sections even if I can understand how necessary they were to see things from that aspect, to learn what all was being set in motion. Tariq is Shahrzad’s childhood sweetheart and while I get the whole “do whatever it takes to protect her” he got a bit manic about it, especially once he started realizing she was changing her mind about Khalid. He jumped to the conclusion that something was being done to her to make her change her typically immutable mind, which I get, but could have ultimately done without. Essentially I just wanted more kissy scenes. All the kissy scenes and all the swoons, please.

The Wrath and the Dawn is a wistful re-imagining of Arabian Nights with a forbidden romance that will leave you completely enchanted. I’m both eager and dreading the concluding story, The Rose and the Dagger, and desperately wishing for a satisfying ending that won’t leave my heart in tatters.

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Blog Tour – Undertow by Michael Buckley

May 4, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Book Tour, Early Review, Giveaways, Read in 2015 3 Comments

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

Blog Tour – Undertow by Michael BuckleyUndertow by Michael Buckley
Series: Undertow #1
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on May 5th 2015
Pages: 384
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic
Format: eARC
Source: Rockstar Book Tours
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads


four-stars
*Amazon Purchase links are Affiliate links*

For fans of Rick Yancey and Marie Lu, Undertow is book one in this much-anticipated, genre-breaking, breath-catching new trilogy for teens from New York Times bestselling author Michael Buckley in which a 16-year-old girl is caught in an epic clash of civilizations when a society of undersea warriors march out of the ocean into modern-day Coney Island.

First, we feared them. Then we fought them. Now they might be our only hope.
Sixteen-year-old Lyric Walker’s life is forever changed when she witnesses the arrival of 30,000 Alpha, a five-nation race of ocean-dwelling warriors, on her beach in Coney Island. The world’s initial wonder and awe over the Alpha quickly turns ugly and paranoid and violent, and Lyric’s small town transforms into a military zone with humans on one side and Alpha on the other. When Lyric is recruited to help the crown prince, a boy named Fathom, assimilate, she begins to fall for him. But their love is a dangerous one, and there are forces on both sides working to keep them apart. Only, what if the Alpha are not actually the enemy? What if they are in fact humanity’s best chance for survival? Because the real enemy is coming. And it’s more terrifying than anything the world has ever seen.

Action, suspense, and romance whirlpool dangerously in this cinematic saga!

About Michael Buckley

New York Times bestselling author Michael Buckley was born in Akron, Ohio. He tried his hand as a stand-up comic and lead singer for a punk rock back before attending Ohio University. After graduating with honors he moved to New York City to be an intern on the Late Show with David Letterman which led to stints developing programming for Discovery Networks, MTV, MTV Animation and Klasky Csupo (producers of Nickelodeon’s Rugrats). Today he lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife, Alison, and their son Finn.

‘All of them were in a state of metamorphosis. Tails became legs. Fins sank into flesh. Gills vanished, causing their owners to choke on their first breaths of air. There were elderly creatures, babies, teenagers, and families, all climbing onto the beach, eyeing us with wide-eyed wonder. At first they numbered in the hundreds, then thousands, until eventually I could no longer see the sand for all the bodies.’

Three years ago, a mysterious species of ocean-dwellers emerged from the depths of the sea to take their place on land. Since those three years, the creatures that call themselves the Alpha have set up camp on the beaches of Coney Island leaving the humans in the dark as to their intentions. In an attempt to integrate the Alphas into society and to hopefully suppress the ongoing intolerance they face, the government has negotiated that some of their children attend public schools. Lyric Walker has a secret which has caused her to keep a low profile in an attempt to avoid close scrutiny. The disclosure of this secret could mean her death yet when she’s assigned to personally work with the prince of the Alphas she becomes fearful that her secret won’t be secret for very long.

Undertow is strongly reminiscent of one of my favorite movies, District 9where a race of aliens arrives on Earth in an attempt to find refuge. It’s nothing like you would expect since it focuses less on the invasion itself and more on the prejudices and hatred that these different species face. The injustices that they suffer. Undertow takes a similar route with these creatures that are immediately forced to undergo an intolerance that no species should ever have to endure. It was also reminiscent of the racial desegregation during the American Civil Rights Movement when black students became allowed to attend “white schools”, just with another species of course. Regardless of who the “foreigner” is though it showcased just how rampant xenophobia can become in our narrow-minded society.

‘Its skin is swamp brown and highlighted in eggplant purple; its mouth is a huge gaping hole. Teeth lean in all directions like tombstones in an abandoned cemetery. Its empty eyes are calm and black, offering little evidence of life or intelligence, and a long, wormlike appendage dangles from the top of its head to its bottom lip, ending in a bright, glowing bulb. It grunts and clicks and barks at us.’

The most interesting aspect of this tale was the descriptions and detailing of the sea creatures which only added to their alluring mystery. There are various different clans among the Alphas which are basically different forms of the same species and they’re all interesting (and sometimes terrifying) in their own way. The Alphas were fierce and ferocious creatures and the mystery surrounding their appearance on land remains a mystery for the greater part of the novel. That mystery possessed an interesting twist that I thoroughly enjoyed and can’t wait to see how it pans out in the next installment.

Undertow is more than some science fiction invasion story. It’s a story about family and honor, of respect and deference.  And about overcoming prejudices and not standing for intolerance. Undertow was a most appealing tale and a tenacious start to this trilogy.

5 winners will receive a prize pack that contains an Undertow beach towel, beach bag, bookmark, a finished book. US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

dvd-pearl

This post was a part of the ‘Undertow’ blog tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours.
Be sure to check out the other tour stops below!

Week One:

4/27/2015- Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf– Interview
4/28/2015- Mom With A Kindle– Interview
4/29/2015- Moonlight Gleam Reviews– Book Trailer Post
4/30/2015- Word Spelunking– Review
5/1/2015- Bewitched Bookworms– Book Excerpt

Week Two:

5/4/2015– For the Love of Words– Review
5/5/2015– Novel Novice – Guest Post
5/6/2015– The O.W.L.– Review
5/7/2015Library of a Book Witch– Review
5/8/2015– Literary Meanderings  – Sneak Peek of Book 2 Post

dvd-pearl

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