Posts Categorized: Early Review

Early Review – First Frost (Waverley Family #2) by Sarah Addison Allen

December 5, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2014 1 Comment

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

Early Review – First Frost (Waverley Family #2) by Sarah Addison AllenFirst Frost by Sarah Addison Allen
Series: Waverley Family #2
Published by St. Martin's Press on January 20th 2015
Pages: 304
Genres: Magical Realism
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
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Also by this author: Lost Lake, Garden Spells

three-half-stars

A magical new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Lost Lake, featuring characters from her beloved novel Garden Spells.

Featuring characters from her beloved novel, Garden Spells, Sarah Addison Allen's new novel picks up ten years after that eventful summer when Claire Waverly's wild half-sister Sydney returned to Bascom and Claire met her now-husband Tyler. Things have settled down and Claire finds she has slipped back into a place of tightly sequestered sameness. It's comfortable. She likes it. But when her father Russell shows up he brings with him information that Claire doesn't want to hear and that will challenge everything she thought she knew about herself. Filled with Sarah Addison Allen's characteristic magic and warmth, this novel will reveal how the people who come into your life may not be the ones you expect, but they're there for a reason. And they don't change your one true voice, they make it louder.

Waverley Family series

Garden Spells (Waverley Family #1) by Sarah Addison Allen {PurchaseMy Review}

‘First frost was always an unpredictable time, but this year it felt more … desperate than others.
Something was about to happen.’

First Frost marks the return to the beloved town of Bascom, North Carolina where the Waverley sisters reside. Claire has left her catering business behind after creating Waverley’s Candies. The business itself is lucrative and does extremely well, but the amount of time she must dedicate to the business leaves Claire with little time for her family or anything else. Sydney now owns her own business as well in Bascom, a hair salon that is equally successful, but her apparent inability to have more children is a painful reminder every day. Sydney’s daughter Bay is now in high school and because of her gift for knowing exactly where things belong she knows that she belongs with Josh Matteson, she just needs to convince him she’s right. First frost is an unpredictable time for the Waverley’s and it also heralds the arrival of an old man that brings a story that might change everything for these women.

I really, really enjoyed Garden Spells (the second time I read it at least) but the ending didn’t leave me anticipating that there would ever be a sequel so the announcement of First Frost was quite a surprise, but an exciting one for sure. First Frost centers around the two sisters but includes more of Bay and her struggles to understand her magical gift and coming to terms with it. It was wonderful to see her all grown up and matured, no longer the six-year-old girl that could spend all day in the backyard staring into the branches of the mystical apple tree. The inclusion of the mysterious old man that threw everything the family knew into question was an ill-fitting piece of the story. He was manipulative and conniving and even though he was a necessary piece in order to add drama to the plot, the motivations behind his actions lacked in logic. The majority of the story was spent explaining it to an extent and I would have much preferred to see that time spent telling more of Bay’s story which was my favorite part. While I felt the multiple storylines didn’t mesh together quite as well as they did in Garden Spells, it was still wonderful to be back in Bascom.

The magic of the Waverley’s is definitely back with the characters we all know and love, and even a few new faces. First Frost is an incredibly quick and entertaining read where the pages will fly as if by magic. It’ll be hard to say goodbye this time but personally, I’m now hoping for future Waverley stories to come.

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Nonfiction Review – The Bird Market of Paris: A Memoir by Nikki Moustaki

November 6, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Non-Fiction, Read in 2014 2 Comments

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

Nonfiction Review – The Bird Market of Paris: A Memoir by Nikki MoustakiThe Bird Market of Paris: A Memoir by Nikki Moustaki
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) on February 10th 2015
Pages: 256
Genres: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
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four-half-stars

An avian expert and poet shares a true story of beloved birds, a remarkable grandfather, a bad-girl youth—and an astonishing redemption

Nikki Moustaki, author of The Bird Market of Paris, grew up in 1980s Miami, the only child of parents who worked, played, and traveled for luxury sports car dealerships. At home, her doting grandmother cooked for and fed her, but it was her grandfather—an evening-gown designer, riveting storyteller, and bird expert—who was her mentor and dearest companion.

Like her grandfather, Nikki fell hard for birds. "Birds filled my childhood," she writes, "as blue filled the sky." Her grandfather showed her how to hypnotize chickens, sneak up on pigeons, and handle baby birds. He gave her a white dove to release for luck on each birthday. And he urged her to, someday, visit the bird market of Paris.

But by the time Nikki graduated from college and moved to New York City, she was succumbing to alcohol and increasingly unable to care for her flock. When her grandfather died, guilt-ridden Nikki drank even more. In a last-ditch effort to honor her grandfather, she flew to France hoping to visit the bird market of Paris to release a white dove. Instead, something astonishing happened there that saved Nikki’s life.

​’Birds had filled my world the way blue filled sky, with a wholeness so natural that an existence without them seemed a perverse impossibility.’​

The Bird Market of Paris is a memoir detailing the author’s experience growing up in the 1980’s in Miami, Florida. Her parents traveled frequently for business so Nikki spent the majority of her time being raised by her grandparents. Her grandfather, whom she called Poppy, became a close companion to her at an early age and was the one that shared his lifelong accumulation of bird knowledge with her. He taught her how to properly care for them, how to identify them and most importantly how to appreciate them and love them. He also told her the most vibrant stories of his travels across the globe, but the one story that stood out most for her was his descriptions of the Bird Markets in Paris and she vowed to go there someday to experience it firsthand.

I adored the small stories within these pages. The story of how her Poppy would get her a dove every birthday and that they would release it thus ensuring another year of peace until the next birthday dove. The story of how Nikki obtained Bonk, a baby lovebird that caused her desire to care for all the featured creatures to grow. This part of the tale reminded me greatly of a favorite memoir of mine, Wesley the Owl, which details the tremendous bond that develops between bird and human. Other stories weren’t quite as ebullient though. The story of the devastating hurricane that ravaged her house causing her an all-consuming guilt over the deaths of many of her birds that never quite dissipated. And when she lost her grandfather and her alcoholism quickly earned the upper-hand. The stories themselves were compelling enough but it was the authors’ skillful writing that truly captivated me.

The Bird Market of Paris is an incredibly poignant memoir that explores Moustaki’s deep adoration for her grandfather, for birds and her unfortunate decline into alcoholism. The ravaging effects it had on her were thoughtful, raw and brutally depicted. Nikki Moustaki’s story is an intensely affecting and emotional tale that is quite unforgettable.

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Ominous October – Murder (Mayhem #2) by Sarah Pinborough

October 31, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Ominous October, Read in 2014 4 Comments

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

Ominous October – Murder (Mayhem #2) by Sarah PinboroughMurder by Sarah Pinborough
Series: Mayhem #2
Published by Jo Fletcher Books on January 6th 2015
Pages: 400
Genres: Historical Fiction, Horror, Mystery
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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Also by this author: Mayhem, The Language of Dying, Behind Her Eyes

four-stars

In this gripping sequel to the acclaimed Mayhem, author Sarah Pinborough continues the adventures of troubled Victorian forensics expert Dr. Thomas Bond. Haunted by the nerve-shattering events he endured during the Jack the Ripper and Thames Torso Killer investigations, Dr. Bond is trying to reestablish the normal routines of daily life. Aiding in his recovery is the growing possibility that his long-held affections for the recently widowed Juliana Harrington might finally be reciprocated. He begins to allow himself to dream of one day forming a family with her and her young boy.

Soon, however, a new suitor arrives in London, challenging the doctor's claims on Juliana's happiness. Worse, it seems the evil creature that Dr. Bond had wrestled with during the Ripper and Torso Killer investigations is back and stronger than ever. As the corpses of murdered children begin to turn up in the Thames, the police surgeon finds himself once again in a life-and-death struggle with an uncanny, inexorable foe.

Mayhem Series

Release Day Feature + Giveaway! Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough

Mayhem (Mayhem #1) by Sarah Pinborough {PurchaseMy Review}

*spoilers from Mayhem will follow*

‘I refused to allow my paranoias to root inside me; I knew I must allow them no room to grow during the long, dark nights.’

Six years have passed since James Harrington, the Thames Torso Murderer was finally caught and killed by Dr. Thomas Bond, a Police Surgeon in London. Bond is haunted with the knowledge behind the killings because Harrington was possessed by a violent parasite, the Upir, which drove him to violently murder all those women. Unfortunately, the death of Harrington did not kill the Upir, only left it temporarily without a host. Bond is seemingly moving past the nightmares of his past as he’s fallen in love with Juliana, Harrington’s widow, and plans to propose to her. His life is thrown into disarray when an old friend of Harrington comes to London with a packet of letters from Harrington which implicates him in crimes committed while in the throes of the parasite. In addition to the dredging up of these memories, Bond must also deal with new evidence which points to a new suspect being the famed ‘Jack the Ripper’.

Setting aside the horrific plot, the most amazing thing about both Mayhem and Murder is the vivid atmosphere deftly brought to life. Pinborough’s writing goes beyond creating a movie in our minds; it truly feels like you’re walking the streets of London, visualizing the slums and seedy individuals Bond encounters as he makes his way to the opium dens. The fact that she manages to blend historical fiction with the supernatural seamlessly is even more spectacular. The attention to detail only serves to make the horrors of this macabre story even more unnerving.

Mayhem stood alone as a solid story but Murder adds an extra facet to the tale that I wasn’t sure was necessary until I read it myself. The ending of Mayhem was, in retrospect, far too neatly completed; the mystery too cleanly wrapped up. Simply put, it was too good to be true. And Murder completely proves that to be true. If you thought Mayhem was terrifying and left your skin crawling, Murder completely outdoes its predecessor, ensnaring you in its grasp leaving you hopeless to stop reading until the undoubted heart-stopping ending. This was one superb and truly impressive duology. Bravo Sarah Pinborough.

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Early Review – The Ploughmen: A Novel by Kim Zupan

September 19, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2014 3 Comments

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

Early Review – The Ploughmen: A Novel by Kim ZupanThe Ploughmen: A Novel by Kim Zupan
Published by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) on September 30th 2014
Pages: 272
Genres: Western
Format: ARC
Source: Library Thing
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four-stars

A young sheriff and a hardened killer form an uneasy and complicated bond in this mesmerizing first novel set on the plains of Montana.

Steeped in a lonesome Montana landscape as unyielding and raw as it is beautiful, Kim Zupan's The Ploughmen is a new classic in the literature of the American West.

At the center of this searing, fever dream of a novel are two men—a killer awaiting trial, and a troubled young deputy—sitting across from each other in the dark, talking through the bars of a county jail cell: John Gload, so brutally adept at his craft that only now, at the age of 77, has he faced the prospect of long-term incarceration and Valentine Millimaki, low man in the Copper County sheriff’s department, who draws the overnight shift after Gload’s arrest. With a disintegrating marriage further collapsing under the strain of his night duty, Millimaki finds himself seeking counsel from a man whose troubled past shares something essential with his own. Their uneasy friendship takes a startling turn with a brazen act of violence that yokes together two haunted souls by the secrets they share, and by the rugged country that keeps them.

 ​”One thing I always did, Val, was to live my life. It wasn’t a particularly interesting life but it was on my terms. Now in here I’m just living it out. […] Now it’s just waiting. It’s only a life technically because you’re breathing in and out. Putting in the time until you clock out.”

The Ploughmen is a meandering tale that switches point of view between two men: John Gload, a 77 year old that has spent his life as a contract killer but is inevitably caught and his jailer, Valentine Millimaki who is a quiet and introspective man with a painful past and difficult personal issues he’s currently dealing with between him and his wife. These two men strike up a surprisingly quick bond between one another during Millimaki’s graveyard shifts at the jail, reminiscing on their lives, connecting in twilight over their shared bouts of insomnia.

​​​’Then he corrected himself, said no, that’s not quite exactly right, it wasn’t tricking himself but tricking the insomnia, which he imagined as a palpable thing, a kind of shade or haunt that bent over him in his repose, passing rattling hand bones in the air above him to ward off the visitation of sweet slumber.​’

There is violence but little action, mostly reflection, between the pages of this small yet potent novel. The Ploughmen is a somber story about life and hardships and learning to simply survive them. It’s written in such a way without a clear sequence of events, which I attributed to Millimaki’s continued sleepless days and nights, but doesn’t leave the reader feeling groggy but instead with that dreamy weightless feel.

​​’Perhaps she’d stood gazing uncomprehendingly at the emerging stars, in their milky light superimposing the enormous order wheeling overhead onto the map that seemed to hold her life in its obtuse loops and lines.’

Even if the story is not one you would typically read, the skillful writing style that Zupan possesses makes it completely worthwhile just for the experience alone. Stark yet completely stunning, the incredibly descriptive passages tell a story all on their own. The Ploughmen is an incredibly impressive debut and I can only hope that it’s not the last we’ve seen of this talented author.

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Early Review – Cry Father by Benjamin Whitmer

September 12, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2014 0 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 – Cry Father by Benjamin WhitmerCry Father by Benjamin Whitmer
Published by Gallery Books on September 16th 2014
Pages: 320
Genres: Southern Gothic/Country Noir
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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three-half-stars

In the tradition of Cormac McCarthy and Larry Brown comes a haunting story about men, their fathers, their sons, and the legacy of violence.

For Patterson Wells, disaster is the norm. Working alongside dangerous, desperate, itinerant men as a tree clearer in disaster zones, he’s still dealing with the loss of his young son. Writing letters to the boy offers some solace. The bottle gives more.

Upon a return trip to Colorado, Patterson stops to go fishing with an old acquaintance, only to find him in a meth-induced delirium and keeping a woman tied up in the bathtub. In the ensuing chain of events, which will test not only his future but his past, Patterson tries to do the right thing. Still, in the lives of those he knows, violence and justice have made of each other strange, intoxicating bedfellows.

Hailed as "the next great American writer" (Frank Bill, author of Crimes in Southern Indiana), Benjamin Whitmer has crafted a literary triumph that is by turns harrowing, darkly comic, and wise.

“It’s been a hell of a summer for your drinking.”
“It’s been a hell of a summer,” he says, without looking at Patterson.

Patterson Wells is a tree trimmer in disaster zones and is returning home from a job when he stops off to see his friend Chase. He finds Chase “working on a heap of crystal meth the size of his shrunken head.” He also finds a woman hogtied in the bathtub. He sets her free and leaves Chase to work on his heap of meth but this single incident sets in motion a string of violent events that will leave a horrible and indelible mark on his life.

‘I still feel like I’m telling you stories, like it’s the only thing between you being here and not being here. That’s something I have to hold on to, you being here. If I don’t tell you these stories, I got nothing. if I stop, you’re gone.’

Wells has become a man without a purpose, ambling through life, after the death of his son. In order to ease the pain of his absence, he writes in a journal, pretending that he’s telling these stories to his son. These stories succeed in also providing Patterson’s back story and the sequence of events that brought him to this point in his life. When the writing doesn’t quite work to put him at ease he reaches for the bottle which happens more often than not. Not being comfortable with his solidarity, he becomes friends with a drug runner by the name of Junior that gets him far more trouble than he could have ever guessed. What proceeds is extreme gratuitous violence all conducted through the haze of massive amounts of drugs and alcohol.

‘The thought that he’ll probably end up facing a murder charge if he is pulled over does occur to him, but there’s no stopping it. Turns out there’s no better medicine for heartache than surviving a murder attempt and stealing a car.’

If you’re able to see past the violence (serious, there’s a shit ton of it, including animal violence for those that like to be warned) and not let it blur your vision, you’ll find there’s a captivating and well-written story of a man without anything to live for buried beneath it all. This is one for all southern gothic/country noir fans; fans of Donald Ray Pollock, Cormac McCarthy and Daniel Woodrell.

The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock {PurchaseMy Review}
Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell {PurchaseMy Review}
Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy {Purchase}

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Early Review – The Terror of the Southlands (The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates #2) by Caroline Carlson

August 28, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Middle Grade, Read in 2014 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 – The Terror of the Southlands (The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates #2) by Caroline CarlsonThe Terror of the Southlands by Caroline Carlson
Illustrator: Dave Phillips
Series: The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates #2
Published by HarperCollins on September 9th 2014
Pages: 336
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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Also by this author: Magic Marks the Spot

three-stars

Hilary Westfield is a pirate. In fact, she’s the Terror of the Southlands! She’s daring, brave, fearless, and . . . in a rut. Maybe she hasn’t found any treasure lately. And maybe she isn’t fighting off as many scallywags as she’d like. But does that mean she and her loyal crew (including a magical gargoyle) deserve to be kicked out of the ranks of the Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates?

There is only one thing to do—find a daring mission worthy of her fearless reputation. With the help of first mate Charlie, finishing-school friend Claire, and the self-proclaimed intrepid gargoyle, Hilary sets sail on a swashbuckling expedition that may or may not involve a kidnapped Enchantress, bumbling inspectors, a mysterious group called the Mutineers, and—the most terrifying thing of all—a High Society ball.

Caroline Carlson brings just as much rollicking fun, laughter, and action to this second book of the Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates as she did with the first, Magic Marks the Spot.

The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates series

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Magic Marks the Spot (The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates #1) by Caroline Carlson [PurchaseReview]

Hilary Westfield has finally achieved her ultimate goal in life: she’s an official member of The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates. But life as a pirate has been, as of late, not exactly full of thrills. This has clearly not gone unnoticed as she’s just received her first warning from the Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates that her membership is about to be revoked if she doesn’t start acting more pirate-y. Hilary and her crew head off on a search to find the lost Enchantress and she can only hope that this mission helps her reputation as a pirate.

While reading this, the one thing I kept thinking was this would be one adorable Disney movie. We’ve got Hilary, the young girl who wants nothing more than to be a world renowned pirate. There’s her unlikely companion, a talking gargoyle rather than the much-expected parrot. Add to that is the goofy rather than dangerous pirates, the clueless police inspectors, the snobbish patricians that frown upon pirates and the all-together light-hearted storyline that is quite delightful indeed. Definitely a perfect storyline for a Disney movie.

More pirates, more adventures, more magic and of course more gargoyle make this an entertaining second installment in The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates series. There isn’t much in the way of advancement in overall plot but this is such a fun read that readers of this series aren’t likely to mind.

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Early Review – Never Mind Miss Fox: A Novel by Olivia Glazebrook

August 8, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2014 1 Comment

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

Early Review – Never Mind Miss Fox: A Novel by Olivia GlazebrookNever Mind Miss Fox: A Novel by Olivia Glazebrook
Published by Little Brown and Company on August 19th 2014
Pages: 256
Genres: Contemporary
Format: ARC
Source: Library Thing
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three-stars

A darkly suspenseful novel about a piano teacher, a secret, and a family on the brink of disaster.

Clive and Martha have been a couple since they met at university; they now have a young daughter, Eliza, and on the surface, all seems well in their family. Then a woman from their past reappears in their lives: the enigmatic Eliot Fox is Eliza's new piano teacher and young Eliza is charmed. But Eliot Fox knows that Clive has a secret--a secret that he is desperate to ensure Martha never finds out, and that could destroy his perfect family.

With shades of Joanna Briscoe, Poppy Adams, and Patricia Highsmith, in prose that is as elegant and vivid as it is surprising, Olivia Glazebrook demonstrates how apparently ordinary lives can contain--or fail to contain--extraordinary acts of destruction.

‘She was a climbing weed that twisted round them, rootless and threading, a clinging twine. She would attach herself to anyone.’

Clive and Martha fell in love during their last year at Oxford. Both became successful, they got married and they had a child named Eliza. Unbeknownst to Martha, a dark secret mars their seemingly perfect life that has surfaced and threatens everything. Never Mind Miss Fox is not only a cautionary tale about keeping secrets and how they will only sit and fester but how past actions will always affect your future no matter how well you keep them hidden.

Never Mind Miss Fox is full of an unlikeable cast of characters with Clive and Martha the most flawed of the bunch. If Clive’s odd personality won’t repel you, his past actions certainly will. Martha is introduced with emphasis on her resentment towards her daughter and the relationship she has with Clive. Neither have any positive characteristics to show for them. As time elapses, we see the changes and the continued weakening of their relationship which leads up to the reintroduction of Eliot Fox, an old friend of theirs from when they were young. She is Eliza’s new piano teacher and she quickly becomes infatuated with her yet when Pandora’s box is finally opened, everything is thrown asunder. While not the most positive examination of a family, it was still a believable portrayal.

‘How, he wondered, could something so familiar to his mind be so impossible to communicate? It was unspeakable; unsayable. Whatever words he used the meaning would not translate. He would be unintelligible. He was not equipped with the skills or the tools that he needed.’

The secret itself was easy to surmise and I kept hoping for an unexpected twist. The secret became less a part of the story and instead, it became more about the after effects and the trouble it caused even after so much time had elapsed. It showed the effects on their daughter, seemingly innocent in all the drama, yet irrevocably impacted. It also showed not necessarily forgiveness but acceptance of the betrayal, and it even had an intriguing albeit unnecessary metaphor involving bats in the attic and whether they should have been disturbed at all. (Clearly, pointing out the fact that that secret had always been a part of their lives, was it truly necessary for it to be made known?) Never Mind Miss Fox didn’t possess a strong resolution but situations such as those are ones you never quite get over; they remain with you always. The strong writing makes this well-worth the read and the story will make for interesting conversation.

Love in Mid Air by Kim Wright {PurchaseMy Review}
Indiscretion by Charles Dubow {PurchaseMy Review}

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Early Review – World of Trouble (The Last Policeman #3) by Ben H. Winters

July 11, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2014 0 Comments

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

Early Review – World of Trouble (The Last Policeman #3) by Ben H. WintersWorld of Trouble by Ben H. Winters
Series: The Last Policeman #3
Published by Quirk Books on July 15th 2014
Pages: 320
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic
Format: ARC
Source: Library Thing
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Also by this author: Countdown City, Golden State

four-stars

Critically acclaimed author Ben H. Winters delivers this explosive final installment in the Edgar Award winning Last Policeman series. With the doomsday asteroid looming, Detective Hank Palace has found sanctuary in the woods of New England, secure in a well-stocked safe house with other onetime members of the Concord police force. But with time ticking away before the asteroid makes landfall, Hank’s safety is only relative, and his only relative—his sister Nico—isn’t safe. Soon, it’s clear that there’s more than one earth-shattering revelation on the horizon, and it’s up to Hank to solve the puzzle before time runs out . . . for everyone.

The Last Policeman series

The Last Policeman (The Last Policeman #1) {Purchase}
Countdown City (The Last Policeman #2) {PurchaseMy Review}

‘…there are not jostling anxious crowds outside, no frightened people rushing and pushing past each other in the streets. No klaxon howl of car alarms, no distant gunfire. The people are hidden now, those that remain, hidden under blankets or in basements, encased in their dread.’

With mere weeks left before the impending asteroid makes an impact with the earth, Detective Henry Palace is on a last minute mission to get to his sister Nico before it’s too late. Nico is convinced that the group she’s joined up with is going to be able to save the world with the help of a nuclear scientist by the name of Hans-Michael Parry but Palace is convinced that it’s nothing but a farce. One way or another, he intends to do anything and everything he can to ensure his sister’s safety and solve his final case for the brief time that he may or may not have left.

‘They say that just before impact the sky will brighten ferociously, like the sun has burst from its own skin, and then we will feel it, even on the far of the earth we will feel it, the whole world will quaver from the blow.’

The journey to find his sister is a difficult one. The few clues he has takes him and his dog Houdini from New Hampshire to Ohio and upon reaching the abandoned police station in the small town of Rotary, the evidence he sees leaves the outlook bleak. His determination to find his sister despite the knowledge that in a few days it will no longer matter is heartrending but his resolve is truly admirable. Society is crumbling around him and the world is literally about to come to an end yet Detective Henry Palace is doing whatever he can to maintain his morality even in the face of mortality. World of Trouble is an engaging end to a thrilling trilogy that you will want to race through to determine the fate of the earth and its inhabitants. I’ve never been so pleased with a not so happy ending.

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker [PurchaseReview]
The Road by Cormac McCarthy [Purchase]

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Early Review – All Four Stars (All Four Stars #1) by Tara Dairman

July 4, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Middle Grade, Read in 2014 5 Comments

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

Early Review – All Four Stars (All Four Stars #1) by Tara DairmanAll Four Stars by Tara Dairman
Series: All Four Stars #1
Published by Putnam Juvenile on July 10th 2014
Pages: 288
Genres: Foodie Fiction, Contemporary
Format: eARC
Source: Book Tour
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
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Also by this author: The Stars of Summer

four-stars

Meet Gladys Gatsby: New York’s toughest restaurant critic. (Just don’t tell anyone that she’s in sixth grade.)
 
Gladys Gatsby has been cooking gourmet dishes since the age of seven, only her fast-food-loving parents have no idea! Now she’s eleven, and after a crème brûlée accident (just a small fire), Gladys is cut off from the kitchen (and her allowance). She’s devastated but soon finds just the right opportunity to pay her parents back when she’s mistakenly contacted to write a restaurant review for one of the largest newspapers in the world.
 
But in order to meet her deadline and keep her dream job, Gladys must cook her way into the heart of her sixth-grade archenemy and sneak into New York City—all while keeping her identity a secret! Easy as pie, right?

About Tara Dairman

Tara Dairman is the author of ALL FOUR STARS, which was named an Amazon Best Book of the Month and a Mighty Girl Top Book of 2014 for Teens and Tweens. She is also a playwright and recovering world traveler. She grew up in New York and received a B.A. in Creative Writing from Dartmouth College. After surviving the world's longest honeymoon (two years, seventy-four countries!), she now lives in Colorado with her husband and their trusty waffle iron.

‘Gladys took a bite of her brownie, and a slew of flavors flooded her taste buds. The sweet, melty butterscotch offset the bitterness of the chocolate, and the hint of nutmeg gave the whole thing a kick.’

Gladys Gatsby is a sixth grader that loves nothing more than experimenting in the kitchen. From entrées to pastries, she loves cooking anything and everything. During her latest kitchen experiment involving crème brûlée and a blowtorch, her family’s kitchen curtains went up in smoke and her family finally put a stop to her kitchen shenanigans. When she enters a writing contest in school, her entry ends up in the hands of the Dining Editor at a prestigious New York newspaper and she’s offered a job as a food critic. Keeping it a secret from her family while still completing her assignment is starting to seem to Gladys like an impossibility.

‘…tender duck breast swimming in a lake of tea-infused gravy, with a side of slender asparagus stalks dipping their tips in at the shore.’

Readers will fall in love with precocious Gladys. Her parents prefer take out, rarely using their kitchen, so Gladys never knew what good food truly tasted like. Her eyes were opened to good food when her Aunt Lydia, visiting from France, took her into the city to show her what a real restaurant is. From that point on, she started keeping track of her food experiences (including the bad ones) in a journal. The descriptions of her family’s attempts at cooking were hilarious and cringe-worthy but her descriptions of her more positive food experiences will have you salivating.

‘Their flavors will send your taste buds on a trip around the world: the Moroccan cake features pistachio and cardamom, the Chinese cake has green tea and sesame seeds, and the Belgian cake has chocolate and… well, more chocolate.’

All Four Stars was completely worth all four stars. This endearing middle-grade story will have your taste buds dancing. Much of the story is spent on Gladys’ use of subterfuge in keeping her parents from finding that she’s still cooking (sans blowtorch) but the rest of the pages are full of delectable descriptions of delicious foods that will have you reaching for something tasty to munch on so having something on hand may be wise.

Stop by this Tuesday for my stop on the All Four Stars blog tour! I’ll have a tasty excerpt for you to revel in. 🙂

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Early Review + Giveaway! Landline by Rainbow Rowell

July 3, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Giveaways, Read in 2014 34 Comments

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

Early Review + Giveaway! Landline by Rainbow RowellLandline by Rainbow Rowell
Published by St. Martin's Press on July 8th 2014
Pages: 308
Genres: Chick-Lit, Magical Realism
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Attachments, Eleanor & Park

three-stars

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now.

Maybe that was always besides the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

‘ There’s a magic phone hidden in my closet. And I think it’s connected to the past. And I think I’m supposed to fix something. I think I’m supposed to make something right. ‘

Georgie McCool’s life revolves around her career as a TV show writer. She loves her job but when a Christmas trip with her family goes awry because of work complications, Georgie realizes her job is getting in the way of being there for her family. Her husband is still intent on taking the trip and leaves her home alone for Christmas. Staying with her mom one night, Georgia uses the old yellow landline from her childhood bedroom to call Neal one night. When he answers, she realizes the Neal she’s speaking to isn’t aware they’re married or have children because he’s the Neal she started dating back in 1998.

This seemingly simple story of a marriage on the rocks takes an expected magical realism turn. Georgie is able to take to her husband before he’s her husband and before all the issues that they’re currently dealing with rear their ugly head. Georgie can’t determine whether her ability to speak to him in the past is her chance to correct things in their relationship or her chance to end them before they even start. The ability to go back in time and change things is something I think everyone has wished for at some point or another but will changing things actually be for the better?

Landline is written solely from the point of view of Georgie and I did think the story would have benefited from having both sides of the marriage being told. I felt Neal was a slightly underdeveloped character and hearing his thoughts and feelings on things would have been a helpful addition to understanding it all. The reasoning behind leaving Neal underdeveloped seemed to be because it was meant to be clear that Georgie was solely in the wrong for their relationship issues and he didn’t need to change anything on his end. Georgie’s devotion to her career shouldn’t have been something she needed to feel guilty about and I felt Neal should have been slightly more understanding when Georgie decided to cancel their trip. This was after all a once in a lifetime opportunity for her and it was upsetting that he couldn’t understand that after all their years together.

The story focuses solely on the issues with their marriage and is only going to be understandable if they’re also relatable which I think will be problematic for Rowell’s YA readers that still wish to read anything by the author. The fact that Rowell took your typical chick-lit style novel and added a magical realism flair is really what’s going to set this novel apart from the rest and it’s worth reading just for that factor. The simple addition of a magic phone put a much-needed spin and uniqueness to a frequently told tale.

I was fortunate enough to receive an early copy of this book from St. Martins Press and now want to share this book with one of my readers! All you need to do to enter is leave a comment below!

Since I’m covering shipping costs, this is open to U.S. residents only. Sorry international followers!

Giveaway ends July 24th, 2014!

 

Congratulations to Dani D.! Hope you enjoy Landline.

Thank you so much to everyone that entered!

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