Category: YA

Release Day Blitz – Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Posted September 1, 2015 by Bonnie in Book Blitz, YA / 1 Comment

Release Day Blitz – Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. MaasQueen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #4
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens Pages: 656
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Also by this author: Queen of Shadows, A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury

Sarah J. Maas's New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series reaches new heights in this sweeping fourth volume.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she's at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen's triumphant return.

Celaena's epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena's story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

About Sarah J. Maas

Sarah J. Maas is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series (Queen of Shadows, Book 4, will be out in September 2015), as well as the A Court of Thorns and Roses series (out 5/5/15).

Sarah lives in Bucks County, PA, and over the years, she has developed an unhealthy appreciation for Disney movies and bad pop music. She adores fairy tales and ballet, drinks too much tea, and watches an ungodly amount of TV. When she's not busy writing, she can be found exploring the historic and beautiful Pennsylvania countryside with her husband and canine companion.


Admittedly, I’m relatively a newbie when it comes to the Throne of Glass series. I finally picked it up in January of this year and read the prequels and books 1-3 back to back. I couldn’t get enough, it’s truly an amazing series. And Queen of Shadows is now here and I couldn’t be more excited. This book is such a big deal for me that I took the entire day off work. lol If you still haven’t picked up this series… WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! And if you have read it, and don’t yet have Queen of Shadows, check out the first 5 chapters available to read now!

1 winner will receive the first 3 books (in paperback) in the THRONE OF GLASS Series. US Only.
Ends on September 11th at Midnight EST!

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Early Review – Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Posted July 31, 2015 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2015, YA / 3 Comments

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

Early Review – Everything, Everything by Nicola YoonEverything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on September 1st 2015
Pages: 320
Genres: Coming-of-Age, Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Also by this author: The Sun Is Also a Star


This innovative, heartfelt debut novel tells the story of a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she’s ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more.

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

‘Maybe I’m holding out hope that one day, someday, things will change.’

Imagine living your entire life inside your house only ever having seen your mother and your nurse. Imagine never being able to feel the wind on your skin, or grass between your toes. Imagine growing up never having friends, never having a sleepover, and never being able to anticipate going on a date. This is the life that Madeline Whittier has been forced to live due to an immunodeficiency that causes her to be allergic to practically everything. When a new boy named Olly moves in next door, Madeline begins to test her boundaries because conversing with Olly slowly opens her eyes to what she’s been missing all this time.

Everything, Everything, despite the serious topic, read like a breath of fresh air. Madeline was such a wonderful character with such a quirky sense of humor and a resiliency you can’t help but admire. Her constant breaking of rules lacks what you would expect would come as completely reckless, but instead shows Madeline’s tenacity to experience the world for however long she’d be able to survive it. The narrative is told in typical story form but we’re also given snippets of her journal and the online chat sessions with Olly. The writing style flows wonderfully and it’s easy to get completely immersed in it and consume it quickly. Reminiscent of Jandy Nelson, Katie Catugno, and Jessi Kirby’s writing styles.

The romance was shockingly wonderful and I loved the progression that their relationship took. Their cutesy antics constantly put a smile on my face and I just loved reading how he slowly taught her about the world he lived in, that she had never experienced. With this being such a quick read, I was pleased that their romance didn’t feel quick as well. There were some real heart-wrenching moments that left me blubbering just a bit, because you can’t help but feel from the very beginning that there couldn’t possibly be a happy ending in sight. It only helped matters that I kept envisioning Madeline and Olly as these two:

While I won’t get into spoilery detail, the ending does have to be mentioned because it’s been a game-changer for a lot of people and their overall opinion of the book. Admittedly, there is a definite twist at the end that changes everything and is hastily “resolved” and not adequately so in my opinion. For me though, the magic of the book was the heartwarming romance and the incredibly charismatic characters which were both solid enough to withstand a somewhat skimpy resolution. Everything, Everything is no doubt an impressive debut from a promising new author.



Audiobook Review – Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3) by Laini Taylor

Posted July 25, 2015 by Bonnie in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Read in 2015, YA / 2 Comments

Audiobook Review – Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3) by Laini TaylorDreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor
Narrator: Khristine Hvam
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3
Published by Hachette Audio on April 8th 2014
Length: 18 hours and 11 minutes
Genres: Angels, Fantasy, Romance
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Also by this author: Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Days of Blood and Starlight


In this thrilling conclusion to the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, Karou is still not ready to forgive Akiva for killing the only family she's ever known.

When a brutal angel army trespasses into the human world, Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat--and against larger dangers that loom on the horizon. They begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves--maybe even toward love.

From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera, and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone series

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1) by Laini Taylor {Review}
Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2) by Laini Taylor {Review}

‘Once upon a time,an angel and a devil pressed their hands to their hearts and started the apocalypse.’

My first read of the first book ended on a low note. I reread and my opinion changed enormously. Unfortunately, I’m ending once again on a low note and I fear that no rereading will be able to change that. Daughter of Smoke and Bone was a wonderfully inventive story of angels and demons, of romance, and friendship, and something magical. Days of Blood and Starlight was decidedly darker and puts its total focus on the coming war between enemies that has been culminating for centuries upon centuries. Dreams of Gods & Monsters is a passive blend of the two and while the writing never fails to inspire praise, I felt the story left a bit to be desired.

‘Once upon a time, there was only darkness. And there were monsters vast as worlds who swam in it.’

For the most part, my sole issue was the inclusion of a brand new character/storyline that could have benefited from an introduction in the previous books so that her addition in this one wasn’t such a jarring change. There was a vast amount of time spent on her character build and while her presence ended up being an inevitable necessity, it still didn’t make the massive amounts of dialogue and general confusion as to her purpose any easier to handle at the time. It was all the more obvious when it wasn’t something I could breeze through on pages since I was cemented in place by the ridiculously long audiobook (18+ hours).

The other issue that detracted from my ultimate enjoyment was Karou and Akiva. *gasp* I know, but let me explain. We’ve been told from the very beginning of their all-encompassing love for one another in all their lives. They’re in mad, passionate love with one another; we get it. But we don’t need to be reminded of this every time they manage to lay eyes on one another. It got repetitive after a point. Also, the constancy of issues they ran into giving them one reason or another to not fall into each other’s arms and fly off into the sunset together got tiresome. How many roadblocks can one pair stand before they scream in frustration? If I was almost there, they had to be screaming for sure.

‘Happiness wasn’t a mystical place to be reached or won–some bright terrain beyond the boundary of misery, a paradise waiting for them to find it–but something to carry doggedly with you through everything, as humble and ordinary as your gear and supplies.’

Despite my not so fabulous rating, I still remain completely dazzled at Laini Taylor’s beautiful way with words. She manages to imbue a wondrousness in the ordinary and completely transforms it. I might not be completely satisfied with this story/series, however, Taylor still makes it all worth it. I can’t wait to experience more of her writing excellence.



Waiting on Wednesday – Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Posted July 22, 2015 by Bonnie in Waiting on Wednesday, YA / 9 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Salt to the Sea by Ruta SepetysSalt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Published by Philomel on February 9th 2016
Pages: 400
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

The author of Between Shades of Gray returns to WWII in this epic novel that shines a light on one of the war's most devastating—yet unknown—tragedies.

In 1945, World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer toward safety.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.

Told in alternating points of view, and perfect for fans of Anthony Doerr's Pulitzer Prize-winning All the Light We Cannot See, Erik Larson's critically acclaimed #1 New York Times bestseller Dead Wake, and Elizabeth Wein's Printz Honor Book Code Name Verity, this masterful work of historical fiction is inspired by the real-life tragedy that was the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff--the greatest maritime disaster in history. As she did in Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys unearths a shockingly little-known casualty of a gruesome war, and proves that humanity can prevail, even in the darkest of hours.

This tragedy of WWII is definitely unknown to me and I anxiously await Ruta’s brilliant storytelling to bring this to life.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me a link to your post and I’ll be sure to stop by!


Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine



Release Day Feature + Giveaway! Damage Done by Amanda Panitch

Posted July 21, 2015 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Book Tour, Giveaways, Read in 2015, Release Day Feature, YA / 5 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.

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 | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository


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

‘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

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Book Review – Blood of My Blood (Jasper Dent #3) by Barry Lyga

Posted July 11, 2015 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Read in 2015, YA / 2 Comments

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

Book Review – Blood of My Blood (Jasper Dent #3) by Barry LygaBlood of My Blood by Barry Lyga
Series: Jasper Dent #3
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on September 9th 2014
Pages: 480
Genres: Horror, Mystery
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Also by this author: I Hunt Killers, Game


The game is over in this heart-pounding finale to the I Hunt Killers trilogy

Jazz Dent has been shot and left to die in New York City. His girlfriend Connie is in the clutches of Jazz's serial killer father, Billy. And his best friend Howie is bleeding to death on the floor of Jazz's own home in tiny Lobo's Nod. Somehow, these three must rise above the horrors their lives have become and find a way to come together in pursuit of Billy. But then Jazz crosses a line he's never crossed before, and soon the entire country is wondering: "Like father, like son?" Who is the true monster?

The chase is on, and beyond Billy there lurks something much, much worse. Prepare to meet...the Crow King.

Jasper Dent series

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga {Review}
Game (Jasper Dent #2) by Barry Lyga {Review}

‘What’s it like to go looking for your soul, only to learn you never had one to begin with?’

Blood of My Blood is the epic conclusion to the story of Jasper Dent. Picking up from the cliffhangers of Game, Connie has stumbled into the clutches of Billy Dent himself, Howie is in the hospital, and Jasper is grasping at straws trying to figure out how he’s going to save his mother after being shot. Jasper has also fought with knowing who his father is and knowing that his blood runs through his veins. He becomes resigned to the fact that he’s the only one that’s going to be able to truly stop his father and the realization that he must become him to do just that is distressing to watch unfold.

Wow. Talk about sick and twisted revelations. We’ve known from the beginning that Jasper’s a tad bit twisted, but that’s to be expected being the son of a serial killer. But Lyga reeeeaaalllly took the ferocity and perverseness to the next level. While I’ve heard that a lot of people saw the twist coming, I was pleased that the big shocker managed to evade me and when the big reveal happened… whoa.

I read this installment immediately after Game which definitely helped seeing as there is very little to no recapping. In comparison to Game, which took me over 2 weeks to finish, Blood is infinitely more thrilling and I practically swallowed this story whole in under 24 hours. My main issue with most trilogy/series reads is when conclusions lack any sort of final gratification. I’m happy to say that Lyga’s end to Jazz’s story is fulfilling but matches the tone of the whole trilogy without treading into “happily ever after” territory.

Blood of My Blood is a very fast paced wallop of a story and is a most satisfying end to this dark trilogy.



Book Review – Game (Jasper Dent #2) by Barry Lyga

Posted July 10, 2015 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Read in 2015, YA / 3 Comments

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

Book Review – Game (Jasper Dent #2) by Barry LygaGame by Barry Lyga
Series: Jasper Dent #2
on April 16th 2013
Pages: 520
Genres: Horror, Mystery
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Also by this author: I Hunt Killers, Blood of My Blood


The sequel to the critically acclaimed I HUNT KILLERS takes both the stakes and body count higher.

Billy grinned. "Oh, New York," he whispered. "We're gonna have so much fun."

I Hunt Killers introduced the world to Jazz, the son of history's most infamous serial killer, Billy Dent.

In an effort to prove murder didn't run in the family, Jazz teamed with the police in the small town of Lobo's Nod to solve a deadly case. And now, when a determined New York City detective comes knocking on Jazz's door asking for help, he can't say no. The Hat-Dog Killer has the Big Apple--and its police force--running scared. So Jazz and his girlfriend, Connie, hop on a plane to the big city and get swept up in a killer's murderous game.

Both the stakes and the body count are higher in this suspenseful and unstoppable sequel from acclaimed author Barry Lyga.

Jasper Dent series

Book Tour Review – I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga [Review]

I Hunt Killers introduced us to Jasper Dent, son of Billy Dent who is well known for being a notorious serial killer. Attempting to prove that he’s nothing like his father, he decides to track an apparent serial killer in his hometown. His success in bringing down the killer is noticed and in this second installment, Jasper is asked by the NYPD to come to New York City to help them catch another serial killer. Unsure of himself, but wanting to do what he can to help, Jazz goes to New York and finds himself smack dab in the middle of a game that he never wanted to play.

The thing that worked for I Hunt Killers was absent in Game. In Killers, Jazz took it upon himself to hunt for the serial killer and while not completely realistic was still somewhat credible. In Game, the NYPD has requested his presence in solving a murder because they’ve been unable to stop the guy and the murders continue to pile up.

Come on, really? The NYPD. Asked a teenager. The son of a serial killer. Sure, he may have brought down a serial killer in his hometown, once, but that doesn’t make him some seasoned veteran. Highly unlikely in the full scheme of things and my ability to suspend disbelief could only go so far.

Jazz, Connie, and Howie all find themselves on different paths in this book and subsequently all have their own cliffhanger to boot. I much preferred the gang all together, especially because Connie and Howie’s POVs both managed to grate on my nerves. Connie made some of the most idiotic decisions ever. You knew that something bad was going to happen to her because if it didn’t it would have been completely shocking. Her complete inability to think rationally was a complete contradiction from how she was in the first book so I’m hoping she finds her brain in time for the third book. Howie was the same old Howie but his charming immaturity didn’t win me over as it did in the past mostly because his constant sexual innuendos were straight up cringe-inducing. I realize his importance in a gory tale such as this, comic relief, but I would have appreciated a bit more maturity to go with the seriousness of the situation the characters were going through.

I Hunt Killers was a fabulous thriller with a Dexter-like teenager that you couldn’t help but love. I read the first installment back when it first came out, April 2012, and was desperate to get my hands on the next installment. Clearly, as you might notice, I’ve finally read it and it’s July 2015. Yeah, I’m more than a bit late. When early reviews came out, the groaning and moaning about the cliffhangers left me leery so I quickly decided that I’d just rather binge read both final installments when the third book came out. And I’m finally doing just that. I picked up the third book, Blood of My Blood, right away because you can’t not do just that after the ending(s) Lyga gives us. So word of advice? Definitely, have the next book ready to go.



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

Posted July 3, 2015 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2015, YA / 1 Comment

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

Early Review – Trollhunters (Trollhunters #1) by Guillermo del Toro & Daniel KrausTrollhunters by Daniel Kraus, Guillermo del Toro
Illustrator: Sean Murray
Series: Trollhunters #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on July 7th 2015
Pages: 320
Genres: Fantasy, Horror
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Also by this author: The Strain, The Night Eternal, The Hollow Ones


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Book Review – Lion Heart (Scarlet #3) by A.C. Gaughen

Posted June 25, 2015 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Read in 2015, YA / 2 Comments

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

Book Review – Lion Heart (Scarlet #3) by A.C. GaughenLion Heart by A.C. Gaughen
Series: Scarlet #3
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on May 19th 2015
Pages: 352
Genres: Fairy-Tales/Retellings, Historical Fiction
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Also by this author: Scarlet, Lady Thief


The eagerly-awaited conclusion to the Scarlet trilogy delivers another action-packed and romance-filled adventure.

Scarlet has captured the hearts of readers as well as the heart of Robin Hood, and after ceaseless obstacles and countless threats, readers will finally find out the fate of the Lady Thief.

Imprisoned by Prince John for months, Scarlet finds herself a long way from Nottinghamshire. After a daring escape from the Prince's clutches, she learns that King Richard's life is in jeopardy, and Eleanor of Aquitaine demands a service Scarlet can't refuse: spy for her and help bring Richard home safe. But fate—and her heart—won't allow her to stay away from Nottinghamshire for long, and together, Scarlet and Rob must stop Prince John from going through with his dark plans for England. They can not rest until he's stopped, but will their love be enough to save them once and for all?

Scarlet series

Scarlet (Scarlet #1) by A.C. Gaughen {My Review}
Lady Thief (Scarlet #2) by A.C. Gaughen {My Review}

I’ve been quite the black sheep when it comes to the series as a whole so I might as well go out with a bang. I did not like this one. At all. There wasn’t anything seriously wrong with it, however, it was extremely uneventful and didn’t go out with the bang and/or explosive finale that I was kind of hoping for this whole time. Throwing a wrench in the whole Robin Hood tale by transforming Marian into one of the gang was definitely cause for excitement but the story itself continued much on the same trodden path and inevitably failed to live up to its potential. So, let’s break down my issues with this installment.


Scarlet continued to be problematic for me. I’ve gotten past her strange dialect, mostly because it’s not as prevalent considering Eleanor has “taught” her how to talk like a lady even though we all know she’s completely capable of it. She has to begin talking like a lady again because her father, King Richard has given her a bit of land thus making her Lady Huntington. The entirety of the story consists of Scarlet going all “oh woe is me” about nobody liking her. What? She acted as if people were constantly shooting spit balls at her or something. It felt very out of character considering she’s supposed to be some thieving badass yet she’s whining because nobody likes her. Get over yourself, Charlie Brown Scarlet.

And then there’s Robin Hood. So many issues here. First off, the whole PTSD plotline seems to have found its way under a rug or something because it’s never made an issue again. Even though they have many nights sleeping next to each other. Apparently, the “love can heal” message the author was going for in Lady Thief actually worked. Ha. Right. Then there’s the magic trick performed where Robin turns into a spectacular douchebag right before your very eyes! Sure, one of those douchebag moments ended up being a momentary lapse but DUDE.

First DB moment: I don’t know if you recall but when Scarlet was married to Gisbourne, Robin could barely even kiss her because *gasp* she’s married. You know, against her will. To a sadist. And then there was the subtle mentioning of her basically being no longer pure because of said marriage that took place against her will in order to save Robin’s life. But then in this installment, he changes his tune. All those awful things are never mentioned and he acts shocked that Scarlet is ready and willing to marry him. Well, if I was a douchebag like that I guess I’d be shocked anyone wanted to be with me too.

Second DB moment: Scarlet was gifted lands which essentially gave her more power than the other douchebag of this tale, Prince John. It comes in handy when he tries to re-kidnap her for the “crimes” she was already pardoned for. Scarlet keeps this bit of information from Rob until she has to, and why? Well, if you recall, Robin was Earl of Huntingdon before the lands were taken from him. So his lands are now Scarlet’s, not that it should matter… but it does! He has the audacity to actually be pissed about it like she alone stole his land from him. This fucking guy. Way to make her feel bad about something completely beyond her control.

I’ve spent so much time complaining about those two I actually forgot the major reason Lion Heart was my least favorite installment: Prince John. In Lady Thief, John was still relatively villain-y however in this installment he reverted to his animated version.

He became such a non-villain and every time he was in a scene I imagined a toddler throwing a tantrum that didn’t get his way about something. He was a spoiled brat and it was just ridiculous that he still managed to almost best Scarlet and Robin. Eleanor really needed to slap the shit out of that boy though.

Another small issue was the strange side stories going on that were seemingly thrown in there for filler since they lacked any sort of resolution. Please do not tell me there’s going to be a spin-off. And that “ending”! I’m convinced my ARC was missing the final chapter because what is up with that lackluster and completely inadequate end? I mean come on, Sean Connery King Richard didn’t even make an appearance! Boooooooooooooooo.



Waiting on Wednesday – MARY: Unleashed (Bloody Mary #2) by Hillary Monahan

Posted June 17, 2015 by Bonnie in Waiting on Wednesday, YA / 5 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – MARY: Unleashed (Bloody Mary #2) by Hillary MonahanMARY: Unleashed by Hillary Monahan
Series: Bloody Mary #2
Published by Disney Hyperion on September 8th 2015
Pages: 256
Genres: Horror
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Also by this author: MARY: The Summoning

Mary in the mirror.
Mary in the glass.
Mary in the water.

Mary lurks in the emptiness, in the darkness . . . in the reflection. That is, until Jess unleashes her into the world. Now Mary Worth is out and her haunting is deadlier than ever.

No one is safe.

Shauna, Kitty, and Jess must band together to unearth the truth about Mary's death to put her soul to rest for good. Their search leads them back to where it all began-to Solomon's Folly, a place as dangerous as the ghost who died there a century and a half ago. Quick sand, hidden traps and a phantom fog are the least of their worries. To stop Mary, they need to follow a dark string of clues and piece together a gruesome mystery that spans generations.

But time is running out.

As chilling facts come to light, Mary inches ever closer to her prey. Can Jess, Shauna, and Kitty break Mary's curse before it's too late? Or will history repeat itself until there is no one left to call her name . . . ?

About Hillary Monahan

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

Bloody Mary series

Book Review – MARY: The Summoning (Bloody Mary #1) by Hillary Monahan

MARY: The Summoning (Bloody Mary, #1) by Hillary Monahan {PurchaseMy Review}

I think we all go through phases where our genre of choice changes. For the longest time it was Historical Fiction for me. Then there was Urban Fantasy and then a long period where I loved all things Post-Apocalyptic. Then came Horror. The first MARY book was very impressive and definitely left me with chills. Cannot wait for this conclusion story!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me a link to your post and I’ll be sure to stop by!


Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine