Posts Categorized: Read in 2014

Early Review – Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

August 12, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2014, YA 9 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 – Dangerous Boys by Abigail HaasDangerous Boys by Abigail Haas
Published by Abigail Haas on August 14th 2014
Pages: 336
Genres: Mystery-Contemporary, Thriller
Format: eARC
Source: the Author
Amazon | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Dangerous Girls

four-stars

Three teens venture into the abandoned Monroe estate one night; hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Caitlin Kasprov drags one Donnelly brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding; the other is left to burn, dead in the fire. But which brother survives? And is his death a tragic accident? Desperate self-defense? Or murder?

Caitlin is the only one with the answers. As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece together the story of how they got there-a story of jealousy, twisted passion, and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful of faces…

 

‘A heartbeat, a split-second’s whim, that’s all it takes to change your life forever.
But what happens when you get it wrong?’

Abigail Haas has done it again. Dangerous Boys is one seriously twisted and convoluted tale that will have you completely enthralled. Her stories will put you under a spell, desperate for answers to eagerly sought questions. In Dangerous Boys, there is Chloe, and the brothers Ethan and Oliver. The three become complexly intertwined, irrevocably changing the makeup of each other’s lives. A terrible accident occurs involving the brothers and only one brother makes it out alive. But who survived? And what was the sequence of events that led up to that moment? These questions will exasperate you, forcing you to willingly glue yourself to the pages. The one thing you should come to expect with an Abigail Haas book though is nothing is ever as it seems.

Dangerous Boys is a deceptively simple tale of a young girl fresh out of high school who has big dreams of leaving the small town behind and experiencing life. Her life is upended when her father divorces her mother and her mother is thrown into a deep depression, leaving Chloe to take care of her and thus forcing her to put her future on hold. The story alternates between the past before Chloe meets Ethan and Oliver, and the present, after the devastating fire. Piece by piece the story begins to form. Chloe and Ethan’s relationship, Oliver’s involvement, the jealousy and turmoil that takes place… all leading up to the accident that took the life of one of the boys.

What truly made this story shine for me was Chloe’s character. At first glance, she’s just a small town girl with big city dreams but her complexity was kept hidden and begins to blossom as the story progresses. Here’s a girl that has always done what’s right, has kept her grades up in hopes of achieving her dreams. As her life begins to crumble around her and her hopes become dashed, the regret and anger over her circumstances build. The introduction of the two boys into her life changes everything for her and breaks the mask she’s been hiding behind. We’ve all hidden behind a facade of sorts at one time or another and discovering that person that sees through all the bullshit to the very heart of you can be an enlightening and transforming experience.

Abigail Haas is a writer of mesmerizing mysteries that always keeps me second-guessing. A truly talented writer that I eagerly await more from.

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Classic Curiosity – And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

August 9, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Classic Curiosity, Read in 2014 3 Comments

Classic Curiosity – And Then There Were None by Agatha ChristieAnd Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on 1939
Pages: 264
Genres: Classics, Mystery, Thriller
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Hallowe'en Party

five-stars

“Ten . . .” —Ten strangers are lured to an isolated island mansion on an island off the Devon coast by a mysterious host.

“Nine . . .” —At dinner, a recorded message accuses each of them of harboring a guilty secret. By the end of the meal, one is dead.

“Eight . . .” —Stranded by a violent storm, there is no hope of escape. Haunted by a nursery rhyme counting down one by one, the guests begin to die.

“Seven . . .” —As suspicions are raised and accusations fly, secrets begin to surface. But who among them is the killer . . . and will any of them survive?

‘There was something magical about an island – the mere word suggested fantasy. You lost touch with the world-an island was a world of its own. A world, perhaps, from which you might never return.’

Ten people arrive at Soldier Island after receiving invitations from various acquaintances convincing them to make the trip. The island has been much talked about recently after some confusion over who owns it so everyone is intrigued to find out the answer to that question. Everyone seemingly has nothing in common with one another until an announcement booms through the house on the first night from a gramophone bringing each persons secret to light. By the end of that first night, one person has died. After a search has been conducted of the island, the rest of the guests come to the realization that they’re the only ones on that island and that the murderer must be among the nine remaining guests.

Agatha Christie is the prolific author known as the “Queen of Crime” and the “Master of Misdirection”. I have no idea what took me so long to pick up anything of hers, being such a long time fan of mysteries in general, but And Then There Were None was the perfect first choice.

Ten little Soldier boys went out to dine;
One choked his little self and then there were nine.

Nine little Soldier boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself and then there were eight.

Eight little Soldier boys traveling in Devon;
One said he’d stay there and then there were seven.

Seven little Soldier boys chopping up sticks;
One chopped himself in halves and then there were six.

Six little Soldier boys playing with a hive;
A bumblebee stung one and then there were five.

Five little Soldier boys going in for law;
One got in Chancery and then there were four.

Four little Soldier boys going out to sea;
A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.

Three little Soldier boys walking in the zoo;
A big bear hugged one and then there were two.

Two Little Soldier boys sitting in the sun;
One got frizzled up and then there was one.

One little Soldier boy left all alone;
He went out and hanged himself and then there were none.

The guests find the above nursery rhyme that has been framed on the wall curious. As well as the ten little soldier figurines that stand on the dining room table. Each subsequent death results in the realization that the deaths are not only following the nursery rhyme (the first individual died after choking on what appeared to be cyanide) but with each death a soldier figurine is mysteriously removed from the table. While it seems unlikely that the murderer would have been able to plan accordingly in order to remain a mystery and still kill, following the nursery rhyme perfectly, the impossibility was expertly erased by the authors exhilarating storytelling ability. Each person begins to suspect one another until there isn’t anyone left to trust, even the reader is continually left in the dark as to the perpetrator. Just when you think you’ve caught on to what’s going on, Christie is bound to throw a wrench into your theories. I loved this book and loved the constant guessing game and will no doubt be picking up many more Agatha Christie novels in the future.

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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
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads


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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Audiobook Review – The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su & Kate Rorick

August 7, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Audiobooks, Book Reviews, 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.

Audiobook Review – The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su & Kate RorickThe Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su, Kate Rorick
Narrator: Ashley Clements
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on June 24th 2014
Length: 9 hours and 53 minutes
Genres: Contemporary, Fairy-Tales/Retellings
Format: Audiobook
Source: the Publisher
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads


four-stars

A modern adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice based on the Emmy Award-winning phenomenon, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.

There is a great deal that goes into making a video blog. Lizzie Bennet should know, having become a YouTube sensation over the course of her year-long video diary project. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries chronicled Lizzie's life as a 24-year-old grad student, struggling under a mountain of student loans and living at home with her two sisters - beautiful Jane and reckless Lydia. What may have started as her grad student thesis grew into so much more, as the videos came to inform and reflect her life and that of her sisters. When rich, handsome Bing Lee comes to town, along with his stuck-up friend William Darcy, things really start to get interesting for the Bennets - and for Lizzie's viewers. Suddenly Lizzie - who always considered herself a fairly normal young woman - was a public figure. But not everything happened on-screen. Luckily for us, Lizzie kept a secret diary.

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet provides more character introspection as only a book can, with revelatory details about the Bennet household, including Lizzie's special relationship with her father, untold stories from Netherfield, Lizzie's thoughts and fears about life after grad school and becoming an instant web celebrity.

Written by Bernie Su, the series' executive producer, co-creator, head writer, and director, along with Kate Rorick, the novelist, TV writer, and consulting producer on the series, the novel features a journal-entry format, complementing the existing web series, while including plenty of fresh twists to delight fans and new listeners alike. The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet expands on the phenomenon that captivated a generation and reimagines the Pride and Prejudice story like it's never been done before.

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet is a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ that transports the characters from the early 1800s England to 2014 America. Lizzie Bennet is a college grad student that has begun vlogging about her daily life as a study of social media for her thesis. What started out as a simple school project though becomes so much more.

Okay, confession time: I have never read the original Pride and Prejudice. YES, I plan on correcting this, hopefully soon. I have read the movies though (and LOVE them) so I’m at least aware of the storyline. TLBD was constantly popping up on my Twitter feed and when I finally asked I was directed here. WARNING: If you have not yet watched TLBD please make sure you have several hours of time on your hands before clicking on the link. I’m serious. That shit is addicting. And SO fun.

If you’re a fan of TLBD on YouTube, you will adore this book. Yes, it’s the same story for the most part but there are small additions to the story that would have happened off camera that we get an interesting in-depth look into. Plus, if you’re suffering from withdrawals of TLBD then you’re likely willing to take anything you can get.

If you’ve opted to read this via audiobook, it is quite frankly like listening to the YouTube videos with your screen minimized. The lack of actual face time with the characters was sorely missed because they are all incredible in their roles, but Ashley Clements (the actor who played Lizzie in TLBD) did a superb job at narrating the assorted voices and made me glad I opted to go the audio route. For those of you that have not watched the YouTube videos, it is not necessary to fully appreciate the book but you’ll likely want to watch them after getting immersed in the world of modern Lizzie Bennet.

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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
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

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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Audiobook Review – Raging Star (Dust Lands Trilogy #3) by Moira Young

July 10, 2014 Bonnie Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Read in 2014 0 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.

Audiobook Review – Raging Star (Dust Lands Trilogy #3) by Moira YoungRaging Star by Moira Young
Narrator: Heather Lind
Series: Dust Lands Trilogy #3
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on May 13th 2014
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Romance
Format: Audiobook
Source: the Publisher
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Blood Red Road, Rebel Heart

two-stars

Her passion kept them alive. Now it may destroy them all.

Saba is ready to seize her destiny and defeat DeMalo...until she meets him and finds herself drawn to the man and his vision of a healed earth, a New Eden. DeMalo wants Saba to join him, in life and work, to build a stable, sustainable world…for the chosen few. The young and the healthy. Under his control.

Jack’s choice is clear: to fight DeMalo and try to stop New Eden. Presumed dead, he's gone undercover, feeing Saba crucial information in secret meetings. Saba hides her connection with DeMalo and commits herself to the fight. Joined by her brother, Lugh, and her sister, Emmi, Saba leads a small guerilla band against the settlers and the Tonton militia. But the odds are overwhelming. Saba knows how to fight—she's not called the Angel of Death for nothing. But what can she do when the fight cannot be won? Then DeMalo offers Saba a chance—a seductive chance she may not be able to refuse. How much will she sacrifice to save the people she loves?

The road has never been more dangerous, and betrayal lurks in the most unexpected places in the breathtaking conclusion to the Dust Lands Trilogy.

Dust Lands Trilogy

PicMonkey Collage

Blood Red Road (Dust Lands Trilogy #1) by Moira Young {PurchaseMy Review}
Rebel Heart (Dust Lands Trilogy #2) by Moira Young {PurchaseMy Review}

Good grief, what happened to this series? Upon finishing Blood Red Road my response was something along the lines of “OMG ALL THE STARS. YOU GET ALL THE STARS YOU AMAZING BOOK.” There may have also been some arm flailing. And then came the interminable wait for the next installment, Rebel Heart, but as soon as it had released I begin hearing the most disappointing things about it, most especially those dreaded words: “Middle Book Syndrome.” I decided I’m going to binge read the last two when the last one comes out so that I don’t have to deal with that disappointment. Well, let me tell you what. Binge reading (or listening if you want to be specific) Rebel Heart and Raging Star back to back is not the way to go because it was 22 hours of mind-numbingly boring storytelling. For a series to have such an amazing start, it’s really disappointing for the rest of the story to have caused nothing short of narcolepsy.


Me. While Reading.

Blood Red Road was constant intensity and that action was sorely lacking in the final two installments. What happened to girl cage-fighting or the hellwurms or Saba just being a total badass? None of these things happened following book one. The plot ended up shifting focus to lesser important (or interesting) aspects of this world with more focus on the drama and I disliked it greatly. Saba’s character transformation in Rebel Heart continued into Raging Star and we have our ongoing soap opera episode between her and Jack and DeMalo, oh and I suppose Tommo can be included too.

Raging Star is a slow meandering end to the trilogy with a sudden burst of activity at the very end that felt disjointed and unexpected. The action came far too late for me to be emotionally invested in anything that happened at that point. Very disappointing end to a series that started off with major potential.

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Blog Tour – Excerpt + Giveaway – All Four Stars by Tara Dairman

July 8, 2014 Bonnie Book Tour, Giveaways, Middle Grade, Read in 2014 6 Comments

Today is my stop on the All Four Stars tour, hosted by The Midnight Garden! My review has already gone up for the book and if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet you must know that I adored it. It was incredibly fun and definitely a great fit for foodie fiction fans! Below is a delectable excerpt from the book showing Gladys hands on in the kitchen with her neighbor after her parents grounded her from the kitchen. She’s making a delicious dessert for the popular girl at school that she’s not quite friends with in an attempt to win her over.

“There is one dessert I like to make that’s pretty fast, because it doesn’t require baking. Does your friend like nuts?”

“Oh, yes,” Gladys said. “She definitely does!”

“Well, then, let’s give this a try!”

Gleefully, Gladys followed Mrs. Anderson into the kitchen. Mrs. Anderson pulled out a battered brown volume called Street (and Dirt Road) Foods of the Malay Peninsula from her cookbookcase and passed it to Gladys.

“The recipe’s on page twenty-seven,” Mrs. Anderson told her. She was already pulling ingredients out of the cupboard–flour, sugar, peanuts. “What do you think?”

Gladys turned to the page and found a picture of what looked like a pancake folded in half over some kind of filling. It might be risky to serve Charissa an exotic foreign dessert–Gladys had been thinking more along the lines of brownies or cupcakes. Then again, Charissa did just buy a pound of baklava. The heading for the recipe said Apam Balik, which small letters underneath translated as Malaysian Peanut Pancake. That might not be so bad.

“Trust me, if she likes nuts, she’ll love this,” Mrs. Anderson said, lifting the book out of Gladys’s hands and propping it open against the toaster. “Now, we start by mixing a simple batter. Have you ever used a whisk?”

“Um…” Gladys wasn’t sure how much of her cooking experience she wanted to reveal to Sandy’s mom. “Once or twice,” she said finally.

The next few minutes found Gladys whisking eggs, water, milk, and oil together in a large bowl, then adding flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Every time she caught Mrs. Anderson looking at her, she tried to mess up a little–hold the whisk at the wrong angle, or change direction midwhip so the batter slopped over the side of the bowl. “Oops,” she said, hoping Mrs. Anderson was buying the amateur act. So far, it seemed to be working; twice Mrs. Anderson left her peanuts on the cutting board to come over and help Gladys get her technique right.

When the batter was ready, Mrs. Anderson heated a frying pan on the stovetop and splashed a little oil inside so the pancakes wouldn’t stick.

“Ready?” she said, passing Gladys a ladle.

“Ready!” Gladys answered, and gently ladled a scoop of batter into the pan. It felt great to be cooking again.

“Wow, you really have a knack for this,” Mrs. Anderson gushed. “It took me years to make perfect circles like that.”

Fudge, Gladys thought. She would make the next one less perfect.

Mrs. Anderson continued to talk as the pancake cooked. “This was my favorite snack when I traveled in Malaysia,” she said.

“Wow, you’ve actually been to Malaysia?” Gladys said.

“Oh, yes, I backpacked all around Asia before Sandy was born,” she said. “But I spent the most time in India, studying yoga.”

India! Ever since Gladys had eaten at the Singhs’ house, she’d dreamed of traveling there. She had about a hundred questions to ask, but just then Mrs. Anderson handed her a spatula and said, “Okay, I think it’s time to check whether the bottom’s finished cooking.” She winked. “I bet you know what to do.”

The bottom of the pancake was a lovely golden brown, so Mrs. Anderson dropped some bits of butter across the surface and spread a thick layer o peanuts and sugar on top. She instructed Gladys to fold the pancake in half with the spatula and press on it.

“Done!” Mrs. Anderson cried,” and Gladys lifted the finished pancake onto a waiting plate.

While she ladled more batter into the pan (in a much-less-perfectly-round shape this time), Mrs. Anderson sliced up the first pancake. “We’d better do a taste test,” she said. One of the most important rules about cooking is that you never want to serve something you haven’t tasted yourself.” She popped a strip of pancake into her mouth. “Plus,” she said while chewing, “it’s no fun to make something yummy if you don’t get to eat it, too!”

Gladys tasted the pancake and thought it was delicious–the perfect combination of fluffy and crunchy, sweet and savory. But would Charissa like it?

{GoodreadsAmazonB&NThe Book Depository}

Talk about delicious sounding, right? I had never heard of this dessert before but sounds easy enough that I may have to give it a try myself! I found a blogger online that has a fabulous step-by-step instruction for doing just that.


Photo credit: Echo’s Kitchen

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to check out the other fun stops on the All Four Stars Blog Tour!

All Four Stars Tour Schedule

Tuesday, July 1st              The Midnight Garden
Wednesday, July 2nd      The Reading Date
Thursday, July 3rd          For What It’s Worth
Friday, July 4th                 The Spirit of Children’s Literature
                                                  A Baked Creation
Monday, July 7th             Xpresso Reads
Tuesday, July 8th             For the Love of Words
Wednesday, July 9th       Finding Bliss in Books
Thursday, July 10th         Candace’s Book Blog
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Classic Curiosity – Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

July 5, 2014 Bonnie Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Classic Curiosity, Read in 2014 1 Comment

Classic Curiosity – Of Mice and Men by John SteinbeckOf Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Narrator: Gary Sinise
Published by Penguin Audio on 1937
Length: 3 hrs and 11 mins
Genres: Classics
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads


four-stars

Nobel Prize winning author John Steinbeck, one of the greatest American writers of the twentieth century, offers a powerful but tragic tale in "Of Mice and Men". 'Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don't belong no place'. George and his large, simple-minded friend Lennie are drifters, following wherever work leads them. Arriving in California's Salinas Valley, they get work on a ranch. If they can just stay out of trouble, George promises Lennie, then one day they might be able to get some land of their own and settle down some place. But kind-hearted, childlike Lennie is a victim of his own strength. Seen by others as a threat, he finds it impossible to control his emotions. And one day not even George will be able to save him from trouble. "Of Mice and Men" is a tragic and moving story of friendship, loneliness and the dispossessed. "A thriller, a gripping tale that you will not set down until it is finished. Steinbeck has touched the quick". ("New York Times"). Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck is remembered as one of the greatest and best-loved American writers of the twentieth century. His complete works are published by Penguin and include "Cannery Row", "The Pearl", "The Winter of Our Discontent" and "The Grapes of Wrath".

“We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us. We don’t have to sit in no bar room blowin’ in our jack jus’ because we got no place else to go. […] But not us.”
Lennie broke in. “But not us! An’ why? Because… because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that’s why.”

Of Mice and Men is the prominent classic set during the Great Depression about the friendship between two men, George and Lennie. Lennie has a big heart but doesn’t possess the mind of a mature adult and after an incident in the last town they lived in where he was accused of rape after touching a woman’s dress, the two have to travel to find new work.

George and Lennie share big dreams of one day owning their own land and from the very beginning the reader is painted a despairing picture despite their constant optimism. It’s a simplistic and saddening story of day-to-day survival; of individuals forever hoping to achieve their unattainable dreams. The novel, published in 1937, showcases the mindset and struggles of people during this period in history. It explores in depth yet with few pages how the Great Depression affected society and also the prejudices, sexism and rampant racism. The end of George and Lennie’s story brings a loss of hope, a loss of purpose and an abandoning of dreams that is nothing short of a tragedy.

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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
Goodreads

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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