Posts Categorized: Release Day Feature

Release Day Feature + Giveaway! Gone Without A Trace by Mary Torjussen

April 18, 2017 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Giveaways, Release Day Feature 3 Comments

I received this book for 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.

Release Day Feature + Giveaway! Gone Without A Trace by Mary TorjussenGone Without a Trace by Mary Torjussen
Published by Berkley Books on April 18th 2017
Pages: 352
Genres: Mystery
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher
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A jaw-dropping novel of psychological suspense that asks, "If the love of your life disappeared without a trace, how far would you go to find out why?"

Hannah Monroe's boyfriend, Matt, is gone. His belongings have disappeared from their house. Every call she ever made to him, every text she ever sent, every photo of him and any sign of him on social media have vanished. It's as though their last four years together never happened.
As Hannah struggles to get through the next few days, with humiliation and recriminations whirring through her head, she knows that she'll do whatever it takes to find him again and get answers. But as soon as her search starts, she realizes she is being led into a maze of madness and obsession. Step by suspenseful step, Hannah discovers her only way out is to come face to face with the shocking truth...

Hannah Monroe comes home from work expecting her boyfriend Matt to be waiting for her but instead, she finds all trace of his presence in their home to be erased. His artwork is missing from the walls, his clothes, his furniture, and even his TV has been replaced by her old TV as if he was never there at all. She tries to call him only to find that his number has been erased from her phone, all of their text messages, e-mails, as well as every single picture from their four-year relationship. They were happy, they never fought, and life was good. Hannah doesn’t understand why he would up and leave like that without even trying to talk to her about it and all she wants is for him to give her a reason why.

‘I knew that if I were to just see him again, just talk to him, he’d remember how much he loved me. And then he’d come back.’

Desperate to find answers, Hannah begins to search for Matt any way that she knows how and she starts by contacting him at his office only to find that he had quit the week prior. She tries to get in touch with his mother only to find she moved months before Matt had left and nothing was ever mentioned to Hannah. Social media is also a dead-end and she quickly becomes even more determined to find him. She contacts his barber, any and all hotels in a reasonably distanced area, she stands outside the pub he used to frequent, and she only gets worse as time progresses. She starts keeping a notebook and post it notes to keep track of places she’s contacted hoping to uncover some connection to Matt during her research.

‘For a moment I didn’t know what to do; I knew that if I didn’t write (the) details down somewhere noticeable, I’d forget them, so I picked up a red marker pen and made a note on one of my glossy cabinets.’

Months pass and her obsessiveness over finding him only increases. She spends so much time looking for him that the job she used to pride herself on begins to suffer and she can’t seem to keep up with the workload anymore. She has trouble sleeping, she drinks far more than normal, and her appearance, physical (and mental) health quickly begins to deteriorate. And to make matters worse she’s started receiving unsettling text messages from unknown numbers, letters in her postbox, and she thinks someone is coming into her house when she’s gone.

‘I wore the same clothes as I’d worn the day before. They were my lucky clothes now. And I’d lain awake all night in them, too, so that the luck didn’t wear off. I couldn’t risk that.’

Hannah was quite the unlikeable character because of how exasperating her obsessive tendencies became. She became absolutely delusional but you couldn’t help wanting more for her, for her to be stronger, especially when you begin to realize just how much time has elapsed where she’s let this obsession take over her life. What I found most alarming yet fascinating about watching everything unfold was trying to uncover what motivated her, what possessed her to take things to such extremes. One can expect heartbreak from being left alone, but Hannah’s supposed heartbreak transformed into something terrifyingly destructive. In addition to all this, other facets of Hannah’s life are slowly revealed and we’re given glimpses into a troubling childhood and a best friend whom she shares a toxic relationship with. As the story unveils itself, you begin to question everything because there’s clearly something missing from this elaborate mystery. Admittedly, these scenes where she describes the feeling of being watched were so thoroughly unsettling that I began to feel one with Hannah and her paranoia.

Gone Without A Trace is a psychological thriller brimming with anticipation and tension that will make this an impossible read to put down.

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The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins [Purchase|Review]
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough [Purchase]
Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse [Purchase|Review]

Thanks to the wonderful individuals over at Berkley/Penguin Random House, I have a copy of Gone Without a Trace to share with one lucky reader! Leave a comment expressing your interest in this story to enter.

This giveaway is open to US residents only and will end on May 2nd, 2017.

Good luck!

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Release Day Feature + #Giveaway! Heartless by Marissa Meyer

November 8, 2016 Bonnie Book Reviews, Giveaways, Read in 2016, Release Day Feature 10 Comments

I received this book for 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.

Release Day Feature + #Giveaway! Heartless by Marissa MeyerHeartless by Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel & Friends on November 8th 2016
Pages: 464
Genres: Fantasy, Fairy-Tales/Retellings
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
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Also by this author: Cinder

four-stars

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.

Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

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‘She would be queen, and queens… queens did not open bakeries with their best friends. Queens did not gossip with half-invisible cats. Queens did not have dreams of yellow-eyed boys and wake up with lemon trees over their beds.’

Catherine, the Queen of Hearts, before she became the crazed monarch of Wonderland,

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was a girl with hopes and dreams of living a quiet life, making delicious foods, and happily loving someone that loves her just as much. Being the daughter of a Marquess though, the life she envisions for herself is far from what is expected of her. When the King of Hearts begins showing an interest in obtaining her hand, Catherine fears that she won’t be able to say no even if saying yes will banish her hopes and dreams permanently. But when the man with the yellow eyes from her dreams makes an appearance in her waking hours, she dares to hope for that unattainable future once again.

‘It had been a hazy, beautiful dream, and in it there had been a hazy, beautiful boy. He was dressed all in black and standing in an orchard of lemon trees, and she had the distinct sensation that he had something that belonged to her.’

We’re first introduced to this jubilant girl with a zest for life which is such a stark contrast to how we know her character turns out in the end. While we all know the inevitable outcome, I was most interested to see how she came to be. My initial concern with this story was simple: that she became this bitter, enraged woman solely because of a broken heart. I needed the reasoning behind her considerable transformation to have a little bit more substance. While there were some lagging sections near the middle of the story and some obscure mysteries that didn’t fully make sense until the end, I was actually quite pleased with the end result and felt that her drastic alteration in character ended up flowing well and wasn’t quite as drastic at first glance. The outcome, while expected, still made for an enticing story just to see how all the pieces fell into place.

Before this happens though, we’re taken through her tumultuous roller coaster of emotions where she’s discovering her growing love for one man whilst being forced into the marriage of another. It was all fairly devastating to witness and very Romeo & Juliet. She continuously found tranquility through her baking and the joy she had for her delicious concoctions was infectious and will leave you with many a craving.

‘This was why she enjoyed baking. A good dessert could make her feel like she’d created joy at the tips of her fingers. Suddenly, the people around the table were no longer strangers. They were friends and confidantes, and she was sharing with them her magic.’

The obstacle with retellings is that everyone knows the story yet you’re tasked with trying to come up with your own unique interpretation. Change things too much though and you’re no longer being faithful to the original tale. It’s a fine line between the two, but Meyer had the benefit of being able to create a backstory for this character from scratch. I can say with complete aplomb that her imaginative backstory felt authentic and suitable not just to the Queen of Hearts character but to the entire Wonderland world.

One to be a murderer, the other to be martyred,
One to be a monarch, the other to go mad.

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I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of this story from Feiwel & Friends and now would like to share it with one of my readers!

Leave a comment expressing your interest in this story to enter!

This giveaway is open to US residents only and will end on November 22nd, 2016.

Good luck!

 

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Release Day Feature + Giveaway! The Widow by Fiona Barton

February 16, 2016 Bonnie Adult, Giveaways, Release Day Feature 3 Comments

Release Day Feature + Giveaway! The Widow by Fiona BartonThe Widow by Fiona Barton
Published by NAL on February 16th 2016
Pages: 336
Genres: Mystery
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For fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, an electrifying thriller that will take you into the dark spaces that exist between a husband and a wife.

When the police started asking questions, Jean Taylor turned into a different woman. One who enabled her and her husband to carry on, when more bad things began to happen...

But that woman’s husband died last week. And Jean doesn’t have to be her anymore.

There’s a lot Jean hasn’t said over the years about the crime her husband was suspected of committing. She was too busy being the perfect wife, standing by her man while living with the accusing glares and the anonymous harassment.

Now there’s no reason to stay quiet. There are people who want to hear her story. They want to know what it was like living with that man. She can tell them that there were secrets. There always are in a marriage.

The truth—that’s all anyone wants. But the one lesson Jean has learned in the last few years is that she can make people believe anything…

About Fiona Barton

Fiona Barton lived for many years in London where she worked as a senior writer at the Daily Mail, news editor at The Daily Telegraph, and as chief reporter at The Mail on Sunday, where she won Reporter of the Year at the National Press Awards. Since leaving her job in 2008 to volunteer in Sri Lanka, Barton has trained and worked with exiled and threatened journalists all over the world. Born in Cambridge, England, she now lives in southwest France with her husband and is currently at work on a second book.

I love when mysteries are told from numerous points of view and The Widow definitely does this right. Told from the point of view of many individuals involved: The Detective, The Reporter, The Husband, The Mother, and of course The Widow. The ending didn’t manage to be a massive surprise, yet this is still one riveting story from a most promising debut author.

Thanks to the wonderful individuals over at NAL (Penguin Random House), I have a copy to share with one lucky reader! I’m opting to keep it simple: leave a comment expressing your interest in this story to enter!

This giveaway is open to US residents only and will end on March 1st, 2016.

Good luck!

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Release Day Feature + Giveaway! Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart

September 1, 2015 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Giveaways, Read in 2015, Release Day Feature 35 Comments

I received this book for 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.

Release Day Feature + Giveaway! Girl Waits with Gun by Amy StewartGirl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on September 1st 2015
Pages: 416
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
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Also by this author: Lady Cop Makes Trouble

three-half-stars

From the New York Times best-selling author of The Drunken Botanist comes an enthralling novel based on the forgotten true story of one of the nation’s first female deputy sheriffs.

Constance Kopp doesn’t quite fit the mold. She towers over most men, has no interest in marriage or domestic affairs, and has been isolated from the world since a family secret sent her and her sisters into hiding fifteen years ago. One day a belligerent and powerful silk factory owner runs down their buggy, and a dispute over damages turns into a war of bricks, bullets, and threats as he unleashes his gang on their family farm. When the sheriff enlists her help in convicting the men, Constance is forced to confront her past and defend her family — and she does it in a way that few women of 1914 would have dared.

About Amy Stewart

Amy Stewart is the author of seven books. Her latest, Girl Waits With Gun, is a novel based on a true story. She has also written six nonfiction books on the perils and pleasures of the natural world, including four New York Times bestsellers: The Drunken Botanist, Wicked Bugs, Wicked Plants, and Flower Confidential. She lives in Eureka, California, with her husband Scott Brown, who is a rare book dealer. They own a bookstore called Eureka Books. The store is housed in a classic nineteenth-century Victorian building that Amy very much hopes is haunted.

He looked up and said, in a loud, plain voice, “She’s not a regular lady.”

Indeed, Constance Kopp was quite a woman for her time. Constance Amelie Kopp was born in 1878 and as an adult was recorded as being six feet tall. Yes, Constance Kopp was a real-life woman and is credited as being one of America’s first female deputy sheriffs. Little is known of the women but what is known paints a most interesting picture. Amy Stewart gathered as much information as she could and the necessary enrichment truly brought her and the people associated with her to being. Girl Waits With a Gun starts off Constance’s story with a buggy accident involving her and her sisters, Norma and Fleurette, in 1914. The individual responsible for causing the damage and irreversibly damaging their mode of transportation, was one Henry Kaufman, a wealthy silk factory owner. Constance sends him repeated notices of the amount of damage he is responsible for, $50, and when he fails to respond to her goes to collect from him personally. This sets off a long year of harrassment from Kaufman and his associates where they suffer through having bricks thrown through their windows at night to letters threatening to kidnap their youngest sister Fleurette and sell her into white slavery. Not willing to lay down and accept this, Constance goes to the police with the hope that she can put her trust in them to put a stop to the menace in their lives.

Girl Waits With a Gun was an unexpected delight for me but was much more slower paced than I would have figured. I went into this expecting some sort of crime fiction with a historical flair being that it’s set in 1914. This was decidedly less focused on the crime itself but of Constance and of the story behind her becoming a deputy sheriff, and how it was nothing but a complete accident. This story leaned more towards  historical-fiction/cozy mystery territory but is unmistakably the smartest story of the genre I’ve read. It took me a solid week to read this and while I had to pace myself, I never lost any interest in this charming tale.

Constance-KoppConstance was a fantastic character and imaginably a remarkable individual in her own right. On Amy Stewart’s website she lists a quote from Constance where she said: “Some women prefer to stay at home and take care of the house. Let them. There are plenty who like that kind of work enough to do it. Others want something to do that will take them out among people and affairs. A woman should have the right to do any sort of work she wants to, provided she can do it.” That was the kind of woman she was, one who refused to fall into typical social expectations of the time. In her earlier years she expressed an interest in pursuing a career, as a lawyer or a nurse, but her mother inevitably discouraged that and kept her at home. The story touches briefly and only occasionally on her past when she was around eighteen years old and what truly molded her into the woman she is today. While I loved her take no crap attitude in her mature years, I really loved seeing this younger part of her that was still coming into her own and learning the ways of the world. The situations she found herself in for that time may have been irreversible and life-changing but not only was she strong-willed but she had a supportive family to back her up. She was quite an inspiring individual and I do hope we haven’t seen the last of Constance Kopp.

“…if I could give her one silent gift […] – it would be this: the realization that we have to be a part of the world we live in. We don’t scurry away when we’re in trouble, or when someone else is. We don’t run and hide.”

Thanks to the wonderful individuals over at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, I have a copy to share with one lucky reader! I’ve decided to move away from Rafflecopter again and am opting to keep it simple: leave a comment expressing your interest in this story to enter!

This giveaway is open to US and Canada residents and will end on September 15th, 2015.

Good luck!

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Release Day Feature + Giveaway! The Uninvited: A Novel by Cat Winters

August 11, 2015 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Giveaways, Read in 2015, Release Day Feature 7 Comments

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

Release Day Feature + Giveaway! The Uninvited: A Novel by Cat WintersThe Uninvited: A Novel by Cat Winters
Published by William Morrow on August 11th 2015
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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Goodreads

Also by this author: In the Shadow of Blackbirds

five-stars

From the award-winning author of In the Shadow of Blackbirds comes a stunning new novel—a masterfully crafted story of love, loss, and second chances. Set during the fear and panic of the Great Influenza of 1918, The Uninvited is part gothic ghost-story, part psychological thriller, perfect for those who lovedThe Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield or The Vanishing by Wendy Webb.

Twenty-five year old Ivy Rowan rises from her bed after being struck by the flu, only to discover the world has been torn apart in just a few short days.

But Ivy’s life-long gift—or curse—remains.  For she sees the uninvited ones—ghosts of loved ones who appear to her, unasked, unwelcomed, for they always herald impending death. On that October evening in 1918 she sees the spirit of her grandmother, rocking in her mother’s chair. An hour later, she learns her younger brother and father have killed a young German out of retaliation for the death of Ivy’s older brother Billy in the Great War.

Horrified, she leaves home, to discover the flu has caused utter panic and the rules governing society have broken down. Ivy is drawn into this new world of jazz, passion, and freedom, where people live for the day, because they could be stricken by nightfall. But as her ‘uninvited guests’ begin to appear to her more often, she knows her life will be torn apart once more, but Ivy has no inkling of the other-worldly revelations about to unfold.

The Uninvited is an atmospheric, haunting, and utterly compelling novel.

About Cat Winters

Cat Winters is an award-winning, critically acclaimed author of fiction that blends history with the supernatural. Her young adult works include IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS, THE CURE FOR DREAMING, THE STEEP AND THORNY WAY, and the forthcoming ODD & TRUE (Sept. 2017). Her adult novels are THE UNINVITED and YESTERNIGHT. She has been named a Morris Award finalist, a Bram Stoker Award nominee, and an Oregon Spirit Book Award winner, and her books have appeared on numerous state and "best of" lists.

Winters was born and raised in Southern California, just a short drive down the freeway from Disneyland, which may explain her love of haunted mansions, bygone eras, and fantasylands. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two kids.

“Some spirits get stuck in the places where they died. […] Some struggle to complete a task they didn’t finish when they were alive. Others, they roam the earth, unsettled, restless, unsure what to do or where they belong. And then there are the lucky ones…”

In the midst of the final days of World War I, there is no peaceful end in sight in the town of Buchanan, Illinois. The hatred towards Germans continues to grow and the recent outbreak of Spanish influenza has many blaming the Germans for releasing the sickness. Most German residents have been ran out of town, but two brothers who own a furniture business still remain. One night, the violence escalates and one of the brothers ends up murdered.

“The world’s about to end. I can feel it in the marrow of my bones. I’m worried I’m about to miss out on a few things in life that shouldn’t be missed.”

Recovering from her own bout of influenza, Ivy sees the ghost of her grandmother only to discover a short while later that her father and brother have killed a young German business-owner. The women of the Rowan family are known for being able to see the ghosts of loved ones, but only when death is imminent. Ivy has remained at home, up until the age of twenty-five, in an attempt to shelter her brothers from their fathers violence. When her older brother Billy enlists and dies in battle, their fathers violence cannot be restrained. This recent act of violence on an innocent human being is enough to compel her to finally leave her childhood home and live her life. She takes up residence with a charismatic war widow by the name of May Dover and begins to drive an ambulance for the Red Cross. Her instincts keep telling her to seek out the surviving brother and do whatever she possibly can to free herself of the guilt her family has brought down upon her shoulders.

“Out there” – he nodded toward the window – “is chaos. In here, it’s paradise. We found paradise, Liebling. But you have to keep coming back to make it stay.”

When Ivy Rowan first approaches the furniture shop, she finds Daniel Schendel on his hands and knees scrubbing blood from the floorboards. His attempts to run Ivy off fall on deaf ears but instead their lonely souls find peace with one another. Together the two form the most frenetic of bonds, similar to the jazz music that flows through his bedroom window well into the nighttime. Within the walls of his apartment, they find freedom regardless of their heritage but when Ivy begins to see the ghost of her brother Billy, she begins to fear that the small life she’s built for herself is about to come crumbling down and she worries who around her is about to end up dead.

I could not have been more pleased with this book. Most definitely a new addition to my favorites shelf, The Uninvited is achingly lovely and possesses a most unexpected twist that is both harrowing yet hopeful. While the romance is a major factor in the story, it also touches on the more serious aspects of the time. The racism, the hatred, the narrow-mindedness, the deaths. It accurately portrays the difficulty in adapting to the times, living in a society that forces your hatred of a culture or constantly risking your own loyalties to be put into question. Her role as an ambulance driver makes Ivy a most memorable character and I loved this addition to her fascinating story. Truly a wonderful historical fiction tale with a most interesting dash of paranormal that will delight adult readers and Winters’ existing YA fans.

Thanks to William Morrow, I have a copy of The Uninvited to give away to one lucky reader!

This giveaway is open to US residents only.

Ends August 25th, 2015

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Release Day Feature + Giveaway! Damage Done by Amanda Panitch

July 21, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Book Tour, Giveaways, Read in 2015, Release Day Feature, YA 5 Comments

I received this book for 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.

Release Day Feature + Giveaway! Damage Done by Amanda PanitchDamage Done by Amanda Panitch
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on July 21st 2015
Pages: 336
Genres: Mystery
Format: Hardcover
Source: the Publisher
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository
Goodreads


three-half-stars

22 minutes separate Julia Vann’s before and after.

Before: Julia had a twin brother, a boyfriend, and a best friend.

After: She has a new identity, a new hometown, and memories of those twenty-two minutes that refuse to come into focus. At least, that’s what she tells the police.

Now that she’s Lucy Black, she’s able to begin again. And her fresh start has attracted the attention of one of the hottest guys in school, a boy who will do anything to protect her. But when someone much more dangerous also takes notice, Lucy’s forced to confront the dark secrets she thought were safely left behind.

One thing is clear: The damage done can never be erased. It’s only just beginning….

In this deliciously twisted contemporary thriller, family can be a real killer. For fans of We Were Liars and readers who love unique multiple perspectives that leave clues like breadcrumbs until they reach the stunning conclusion.

About Amanda Panitch

Amanda Panitch grew up next to an amusement park in New Jersey and went to college next to the White House in Washington, DC. Amanda now resides in New York City where she works in book publishing by day, writes by night, and lives under constant threat of being crushed beneath giant stacks of books. You can follow her on Twitter @AmandaPanitch, and visit her online at www.amandapanitch.com

‘I only did what I did to protect myself. I didn’t have any other options.’

Julia Vann had the seemingly perfect life before the incident. She belonged to a happy family, had a twin brother she was incredibly close to, close friends, and a boyfriend she thinks she could love. The incident took that all away and left her and her family packing up their belongings to move to a new town with new names where nobody knows who they are. Lucy Black has a chance to start over, to start fresh, but her past proves to be a bit more inescapable than she thought.

Julia/Lucy was a very surprising character and her first-person narrative which carefully entwines the past and present was written extremely well. She was quite a distorted character that at first appears to be like any normal teenager, but the subtle glimpses that begin to leak through her façade tells a whole other story. Was it the incident that transformed her or does her past provide the real answers? The side characters weren’t as impressive: the dutiful boyfriend that comes over to make her homemade soup when she isn’t feeling well, the devoted best friend that asks no questions, and even the absent parents that we see very little of. The legal technicalities did manage to raise some eyebrows as well, however, despite these issues that could have brought down the whole story, Panitch still impressed me with an incredibly riveting tale.

Damage Done is quite the twisted mystery and the summary does little to prepare you for what’s in store. I think it’s best kept that way, seeing as the reveal was quite the impressive twist, even if it was foreshadowed early on. The first twist isn’t the only twist though and this is one engrossing mystery that will keep you speculating. Panitch has another YA psychological thriller coming up in 2016, Never Missing, Never Found that will most certainly be on my TBR.

Thanks to Random House Books for Young Readers, I have a copy of Damage Done to give away to one lucky reader! This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only.

Ends August 4th, 2015

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Damage Done satisfies the ‘Face on Cover’ bingo square!

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Paperback Release Day Feature + Giveaway! I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe

September 2, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Giveaways, Release Day Feature 7 Comments

I received this book for 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.

Paperback Release Day Feature + Giveaway! I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabeI Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe
Published by Broadway Books on September 2, 2014
Pages: 336
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback
Source: the Author
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository
Goodreads


four-stars

An extraordinary novel about a strong-willed woman who disguises herself as a man in order to fight beside her husband, inspired by the letters of a remarkable female soldier who fought in the Civil War.

Rosetta doesn't want her new husband Jeremiah to enlist, but he joins up, hoping to make enough money that they'll be able to afford their own farm someday. Though she's always worked by her father’s side as the son he never had, now that Rosetta is a wife she's told her place is inside with the other women. But Rosetta decides her true place is with Jeremiah, no matter what that means, and to be with him she cuts off her hair, hems an old pair of his pants, and signs up as a Union soldier.

With the army desperate for recruits, Rosetta has no trouble volunteering, although she faces an incredulous husband. She drills with the men, proves she can be as good a soldier as anyone, and deals with the tension as her husband comes to grips with having a fighting wife. Rosetta's strong will clashes with Jeremiah's while their marriage is tested by broken conventions, constant danger, and war, and she fears discovery of her secret even as they fight for their future, and for their lives. Inspired by more than 250 documented accounts of the women who fought in the Civil War while disguised as men, I Shall Be Near To You is the intimate story, in Rosetta’s powerful and gorgeous voice, of the drama of marriage, one woman’s amazing exploits, and the tender love story that can unfold when two partners face life’s challenges side by side.

About Erin Lindsay McCabe

ERIN LINDSAY McCABE studied Literature at University of California, Santa Cruz, and taught high school English before completing her MFA at St. Mary's College of California in 2010. She has taught Composition at St. Mary's College and Butte College and resides in Northern California with her husband and son and a small menagerie that includes one dog, four cats, two horses, ten chickens, and three goats.

I’d like to thank Erin for allowing me to showcase her debut novel today, I Shall Be Near to You. Today marks the official paperback release for this book and it is a must read! I hadn’t read a good historical fiction book in a good long while and this one is quite the memorable tale. Erin also wrote a Guest Post and has also offered up a giveaway for one lucky reader. Enjoy!

On My Nightstand (which is a dresser)

My dresser, which was my great grandma’s, gives me a nice wide surface for stacking books, which is good because pretty much all our bookshelves are already double-stacked (and neither my husband nor I can bear to part with books).

The stacks on my dresser have reached pretty ridiculous proportions, because my husband and I just can’t stop buying books (his dresser looks very similar to mine, only messier). I mean, you can’t even see our wedding photo hidden behind the books and you can only just see the top of the jar that holds my dried wedding bouquet (15 years and going strong!).

Despite what may look like a chaotic hodge-podge, my stacks break down into categories, which originally happened purely by accident. Hidden in back (underneath the green sparkly horseshoe fascinator my mom made me as a semi-joke) is the Old Books I have Borrowed For So Long They Might As Well Be Mine (I have to hide them in case the person I lent them to comes over). At the top of that stack is Watch For Me On The Mountain by Forrest Carter, which I have been procrastinating on reading (for years!). The book belongs to my mom and she told me it made her so angry she threw it across the room. Then she lent it to me because it was so good. Honestly, I’m a little nervous to read it, which is why it has languished there so long.

The next stack is Book I’m Waiting To Be In The Right Mood For. Almost all of them are books I’ve dipped into and had to put aside–not because I didn’t like them, but because I wasn’t ready for them yet. Many of them are dark–books like The Man in My Basement by Walter Mosely and The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh–and so I feel like I need to be in the right mental space to tackle them.

Then there is the stack of Books I Want to Read Sooner Rather Than Later. Most of these are books that came highly recommended and I want to be able to chat about the book with that person. Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, Doc by Mary Doria Russell, and The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers top that stack.

And finally there’s the stack of Books That Have Deadlines Attached To Them, usually for my book club but sometimes because they’re ARCs. Right now that stack is topped by The Untold by Courtney Collins, which was my pick for my book club and which I’m so excited to read because the protagonist reminds me of Rosetta, the main character of my novel I Shall Be Near To You. I adore pretty much any kick-ass female character, especially those who chafe against gender roles. It doesn’t hurt that The Untold also has horses on the cover and in the first pages–I’m a sucker for any book with horses.

And of course, there’s my mental Books I Must Get My Hands On stack, at the top of which right now is Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt which I opened up at the bookstore to see if I was going to like it (I often give books the “first page” test before buying them). I devoured the first page and then proceeded to read the entire first two chapters while standing there in the aisle. I immediately fell for the quirky voice of the main character and felt enormous sympathy for her and her best friend/dying-of-AIDS uncle. I don’t know why, but I love a book that will break my heart. I didn’t buy it because I had a moment of will-power thinking about everything already stacked on my dresser. But I will be picking it up again one way or another.

‘Laying there on our bed is Jeremiah’s work shirt where I left it, the map unfolded beside it. And then like a hornets’ nest in the hot dust that you almost don’t see until it’s too late, but once you have, you can’t not see it for the buzzing in and out of the crack in the dirt crust, the idea of it just comes to me.’

It’s 1862, and the country is in the midst of the Civil War that goes on for another 3 years. Jeremiah Wakefield, a New Yorker, has dreams of someday owning his own farm and being able to take care of Rosetta and their future family and the Army’s enlistment bonus would be exactly what he needs to do that. Rosetta is a tomboy and helps out on her fathers farm but when she finds out that Jeremiah is leaving her for the war, she insists that if he’s intent on going off to war that he’s going to marry her first. They end up marrying and Jeremiah leaves shortly afterwards. Rosetta finds that life just isn’t the same with him gone and sitting alone in their house day in and day out worried about his safety is more than she can take. So she chops off her hair and enlists in her husband’s unit as “Ross Stone”.

Rosetta was the most incredibly memorable and courageous character. I Shall Be Near to You showcases one woman of this time period that defied gender expectations but Rosetta was not the only woman out there fighting alongside husbands, brothers, or fathers. In the Author’s Note, McCabe states that “…the fictional Rosetta’s experience as a soldier is an amalgamation of the experiences of the more than two hundred women who are known to have enlisted […]”. It’s an aspect of war, not just during the Civil War either, that is not often explored and it was so fantastic to read this beautifully written story bringing these women’s stories to life, women who put their lives on the line when they didn’t have to.

McCabe’s time spent researching this period is evident from her descriptions of the camp sites set up, to the foods, and of the deep seated feeling of dread these men (and women) were experiencing when marching into battle. Rosetta’s sacrifice and dedication to her husband is truly inspirational and you’ll be hard pressed to forget their ardent love story. Skillfully constructed and masterfully executed, if you are a fan of historical fiction novels and especially Civil War centered novels, this is a must read. A most impressive debut novel, I eagerly await more from McCabe.

Thanks to the author I’m able to offer up a copy of I Shall Be Near To You to 1 lucky reader!

Open to U.S. residents only
Giveaway ends September 16th, 2014

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Release Day Feature – Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

August 14, 2014 Bonnie Release Day Feature 1 Comment

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If you loved Dangerous Girls, you’ll love Dangerous Boys. If you haven’t read Dangerous Girls, what are you waiting for? If you’re looking for a book that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat, you’ve found it. Dangerous Boys is the type of YA thriller I’ve been waiting for and what a thrill ride it was. Want to read more about Abigail Haas’ books? Check out my review of Dangerous Boys and Dangerous Girls!

Three teens venture into the abandoned lake house one night; hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Chloe drags one Reznick 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?

Chloe 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…

Purchase Now!

Amazon: amzn.to/1wrph3u

iBooks: bit.ly/1mS0PXB

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dangerous-Boys-Abigail-Haas/dp/1471119165/

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1AYM77B

Early Praise

“Dangerous Boys is a taut, compelling thriller balanced on the razor’s edge of suspense. I could not put it down, and could not stop grinning wickedly as I raced through the pages.” — Leah Raeder, USA Today bestselling author of Unteachable

“Abigail Hass is a master at her craft! This is a special book and a special author. This is the kind of storytelling and writing that stick with you no matter how much time passes.” — The Book Geek Blog

“As with Dangerous Girls, the closing left me with a huge, admittedly rather twisted smile on my face. I don’t know how Haas manages to turn me into such a gleefully evil creature.” — Dahlia Adler, blogger.

“Dangerous Boys was an intense, psychological read which was full of suspense and drama,…Abigail Haas has a way of writing books which reel you in and keep you there, hooked and addicted until the very last page.” — Goodreads.com

About Abigail Haas

Abigail Haas has written two adult novels and four young adult contemporary novels under the name Abby McDonald. Dangerous Girls is her first young adult thriller. She grew up in Sussex, England, and studied Politics, Philosophy & Economics at Oxford University. She lives in Los Angeles.

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Release Day Feature + Giveaway! Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough

January 14, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Giveaways, Read in 2014, Release Day Feature 28 Comments

I received this book for 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.

Release Day Feature + Giveaway! Mayhem by Sarah PinboroughMayhem by Sarah Pinborough
Series: Mayhem #1
Published by Jo Fletcher Books on January 14th 2014
Pages: 400
Genres: Historical Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Murder

four-stars

A compulsively readable story that starts as a conventional murder mystery and morphs, by degrees, into a horrifying supernatural thriller,” The Guardian said of Mayhem.

A virtuoso fantasy writer, Sarah Pinborough has won numerous awards including the British Fantasy Award for Best Short Story. In Mayhem Pinborough turns her attention to one of the most baffling and notorious crime sprees in Victorian times. A new killer that newspapers have dubbed “The Torso Killer” is terrorizing the streets of London’s East End, his crimes obscured and overshadowed by the hysteria surrounding Jack the Ripper’s Whitechapel crimes. The victims are women too, but their dismembered bodies, wrapped in rags and tied up with string, are pulled out of the Thames–and the heads are missing. The murderer likes to keep them. Mayhem is a masterwork of narrative suspense: a supernatural thriller set in a shadowy, gaslit London, where killers stalk the cobbled streets and hide in plain sight.

About Sarah Pinborough

Sarah Pinborough is a critically acclaimed horror, thriller and YA author. In the UK she is published by both Gollancz and Jo Fletcher Books at Quercus and by Ace, Penguin and Titan in the US. Her short stories have appeared in several anthologies and she has a horror film Cracked currently in development and another original screenplay under option. She has recently branched out into television writing and has written for New Tricks on the BBC and has an original series in development with World Productions and ITV Global.

Sarah was the 2009 winner of the British Fantasy Award for Best Short Story, and has three times been short-listed for Best Novel. She has also been short-listed for a World Fantasy Award. Her novella, The Language of Dying was short-listed for the Shirley Jackson Award and won the 2010 British Fantasy Award for Best Novella.

‘What I seek – the thing I seek – brings mayhem and wickedness in its wake, spreading it like this choking fog across the city. It runs in the water of the river and it will destroy men’s souls.”

It’s the late 1800’s and London is being terrorized by the murders by a man dubbed Jack the Ripper, although recent murders have succeeded in overshadowing even those horrific crimes. These new murders are gruesome and appalling. The victims are all women, they are all dismembered postmortem yet their heads are never found among the remains. Dr. Thomas Bond is a police surgeon but is unable to stop himself from seeking out evidence to uncover this killer. He succeeds in uncovering far more than he thought possible and it is more monstrous and nightmarish than any imagination could concoct.

Jack the Ripper has always been a subject matter of interest for me and just the thought of another killer overshadowing the work of Jack the Ripper was enough for me to pick up Mayhem. I had never heard of ‘the Torso Killer’ before but Sarah Pinborough successfully brought his macabre story to life. Frightfully disturbing, these murders are described in vivid detail and the slight addition of the supernatural aspects were added almost proficiently and were not overdone.

The story is told mainly from the point of view of Dr. Thomas Bond but we’re given an occasional glimpse through a few other side characters. Each character was alluring and were each integral to understanding the story as a whole. Dr. Bond himself was a perfectly imperfect character who frequented opium dens in order to deal with his bouts of insomnia. He’s such a flawed character yet made the story all the more real and satisfying.

I found this to be an extremely solid story with writing that was incredibly engaging. Mayhem is quite the page-turner with very little filler or sections that felt inconsequential. Mayhem is a well-written thriller that I would highly recommend for fans of mysteries, of historical fiction and for those who like just a little bit of horror.

Thanks to the publisher I’m able to offer up 3 copies of Mayhem for 3 lucky readers! I’m mixing things up and trying out my new WordPress giveaway plugin instead of Rafflecopter so all you need to do to enter is leave a comment!

Open to U.S. residents only!
Giveaway ends January 28th, 2014

Drum roll, please.

The 3 winners are:

Ang @ Ang Writes
Rachel @ Paper Cuts
Kara @ Great Imaginations

Congratulations you three! Thanks so much for entering everyone!

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Release Day Feature + Giveaway! Bold Tricks (The Artists Trilogy #3) by Karina Halle

October 15, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Giveaways, Read in 2013, Release Day Feature 11 Comments

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

Release Day Feature + Giveaway! Bold Tricks (The Artists Trilogy #3) by Karina HalleBold Tricks by Karina Halle
Series: The Artists Trilogy #3
Published by Forever on October 15th 2013
Pages: 226
Genres: Contemporary, Diiiirrrrrrttyyy, Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Come Alive

three-stars

The Faster They Live, the Harder They Fall . . .

Raised by con artists, Ellie Watt has a lot of crazy childhood memories-but none crazier than being scarred with acid by the demented crime boss Travis Raines. Now Ellie is a full-grown woman who lives for revenge, and Travis is a full-blown drug lord who kills for pleasure. The sadistic bastard has kidnapped her good friend Gus as well as her mother, whom he's been holding as prized possessions in his heavily guarded lair. And Ellie has only one chance in hell of getting them out alive-using two dangerous men who love her to death . . .

One is Camden McQueen, a talented tattoo artist who's made a permanent mark on Ellie's heart. The other is Javier Bernal, her fiery ex-lover who's busted more than a few heads in his time. From the crime-ridden streets of Mexico City to the predatory jungles of Honduras, this unlikely trio forms an uneasy alliance in the deadliest game of all-a gun-blazing battle to the finish that will pit enemy against enemy and lover against lover. And Ellie must choose the right man to trust . . . or die.

About Karina Halle

Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and the USA Today Bestselling author of Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, and other wild and romantic reads. She lives in a 1920s farmhouse on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.

The Artists Trilogy
On Every Street (The Artists Trilogy, #0.5)Sins & Needles (The Artists Trilogy, #1)Shooting Scars (The Artists Trilogy, #2)
 

Following the disastrous outcome of the events in Shooting Scars, Javier, Ellie and Camden are forced to team up to right the wrongs. Having the three thrown together forces Ellie to finally choose between the two men that stole her heart.

Bold Tricks is the final installment of The Artists Trilogy where we finally get to see how everything culminates. Told from the sole point of view of Ellie, Bold Tricks maintains the violent and thrilling complexity we’ve come to expect. All loose ends are tied up sufficiently but without that picture perfect ending because that’s the least you could expect with a cast of characters like this. Is there a happily ever after? Well… I suppose that depends on which Team you’re on. I will say I was a bit disappointed at the portrayal of a certain character though, but won’t reveal who. My guess is it was a way of making Ellie’s choice a bit easier but that person’s actions seemed too out of character and didn’t fit as well with what we’ve come to expect.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this is not my normal genre and if I didn’t adore Karina Halle’s writing from her Experiment in Terror series then I likely would have never picked this up. Contemporary Romance is not my go-to genre, but the fascinating cast of characters is what truly makes this series shine. They may be written in such a way that makes them incredibly realistic, but they are in no way average nor predictable. I’m incredibly sad to see this series come to an end and despite my slight disappointment, Bold Tricks is still a satisfying enough end and a fantastic trilogy overall.

1  WINNER: iPad mini pre-loaded with all three digital Artist Trilogy books (SINS & NEEDELES, SHOOTING SCARS, & BOLD TRICKS) preloaded, and ON EVERY STREET novella included!
5 WINNERS: A signed print Artist Trilogy (SINS & NEEDLES, SHOOTING SCARS, BOLD TRICKS) prize pack!
 
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