Book Review – Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind

August 9, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 1 Comment

Book Review – Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick SüskindPerfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind
Published by Penguin Books on September 12, 1986
Pages: 272
Genres: Classics, Horror, Literary Fiction
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Pigeon

five-stars

The year is 1738; the place, Paris. A baby is born under a fish-monger’s bloody table in a marketplace, and abandoned. Orphaned, passed over to the monks as a charity case, already there is something in the aura of the tiny infant that is unsettling. No one will look after him; he is somehow too demanding, and, even more disturbing, something is missing: as his wet nurse tries to explain, he doesn’t smell the way a baby should smell; indeed, he has no scent at all.

Slowly, as we watch Jean-Baptiste Grenouille cling stubbornly to life, we begin to realize that a monster is growing before our eyes. With mounting unease, yet hypnotized, we see him explore his powers and their effect on the world around him. For this dark and sinister boy who has no smell himself possesses an absolute sense of smell, and with it he can read the world to discover the hidden truths that elude ordinary men. He can smell the very composition of objects, and their history, and where they have been, he has no need of the light, and darkness is not dark to him, because nothing can mask the odors of the universe.

As he leaves childhood behind and comes to understand his terrible uniqueness, his obsession becomes the quest to identify, and then to isolate, the most perfect scent of all, the scent of life itself.

At first, he hones his powers, learning the ancient arts of perfume-making until the exquisite fragrances he creates are the rage of Paris, and indeed Europe. Then, secure in his mastery of these means to an end, he withdraws into a strange and agonized solitude, waiting, dreaming, until the morning when he wakes, ready to embark on his monstrous quest: to find and extract from the most perfect living creatures—the most beautiful young virgins in the land— that ultimate perfume which alone can make him, too, fully human. As his trail leads him, at an ever-quickening pace, from his savage exile to the heart of the country and then back to Paris, we are caught up in a rising storm of terror and mortal sensual conquest until the frenzy of his final triumph explodes in all its horrifying consequences.

Told with dazzling narrative brilliance and the haunting power of a grown-up fairy tale, Perfume is one of the most remarkable novels of the last fifty years.

‘Perfume’ tells the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille a boy who grew up on the streets of Paris. Jean-Baptiste was no ordinary boy, he had a gift… a sense of smell that could not be rivaled. Naturally he found his niche by becoming an apprentice to a master perfumer who teaches him the art of making perfume. He excelled at this and people were scrambling to buy his product. As he branched out and started searching for new scents to include in his perfumes, his fascination with trying to find the “ultimate perfume” takes a morbid turn when he finds that ultimate scent is coming from a beautiful woman, and he has to capture it by any means necessary.

I picked this book up on a whim at a used bookstore one day simply thinking that I’d like to read something different for a change. ‘Perfume’ managed to root itself so deep in my mind that I still remember this novel in vivid detail to this day; I must have read it at least ten years ago. The story is disturbing in so many ways yet so unbelievably brilliant and fascinating that you can’t help but be enthralled.

The novel is extremely graphic at times but that’s what really makes the story. Highly recommended, I love this novel it’s one of my absolute favorites.

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Early Review – Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

August 8, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2011 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.

Early Review – Ready Player One by Ernest ClineReady Player One by Ernest Cline
Published by Crown on August 16, 2011
Pages: 384
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Sci-fi
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Armada

four-half-stars

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune--and remarkable power--to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday's riddles are based in the pop culture he loved--that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday's icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes's oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt--among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life--and love--in the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

When I first heard about this book, I was intrigued but I wasn’t running to read it because I don’t think I was expecting a whole lot out of this. Once I started reading it though, I realized how fascinating it was and how I certainly did not expect it to be as intricate as it was. Wow. Talk about world building.

The summary of the book to me sounded like a cross between the Tron concept (of people being able to insert themselves into video games) and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (where the purpose was to find the golden ticket and compete against the others to win the big prize). But the ‘quest’ in RPO was waaaaay better than Willy Wonka could ever dream of being.

The complexities of the virtual world named OASIS that Ernest Cline created in Ready Player One are astounding. It was so elaborate yet easily understandable and also completely believable. Set in the year 2044, OASIS has become a sanctuary for humans to escape to allowing them to be whoever and whatever they choose. Considering how destitute the real world is, many people spend almost their entire lives plugged into the OASIS.

The creator of OASIS, James Halliday, dedicated his life to his creation. When he dies, he leaves everything he owns including the mass worth he’s accumulated over his lifetime to the single individual who is able to solve the puzzles and acquire the ‘egg’. Sounds easy? A lot of people thought so and many proceeded to dedicate their lives to finding it. Years later no one has been able to decipher any of the clues James Halliday left behind. Wade is the first person to figure out the puzzle and obtain the first key and this is his story.

This sets off a wild chain of events that totally makes you strap on your gear and go on your own quest. I loved the characters and the relationship that they shared with one another. I loved how the author’s writing style had the ability to completely suck you in to the story and almost made you feel like you had your own avatar in the OASIS. I loved everything about this story.

This is highly recommended for video game lovers, lovers of anything 80’s, and anyone who’s looking for a highly enjoyable book!

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Book Review – Crave (Crave #1) by Melinda Metz and Laura J. Burns

July 31, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011, YA 0 Comments

Book Review – Crave (Crave #1) by Melinda Metz and Laura J. BurnsCrave by Laura J. Burns, Melinda Metz
Series: Crave #1
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on September 21st 2010
Pages: 288
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


one-star

Shay has had a rare blood disorder since she was born. In fact, her mother married one of Shay's doctors, Martin, who left his world-renowned leukemia research to try and figure out exactly what the disorder is and how to cure it. When she turns seventeen, Martin begins to give her new blood transfusions that make her feel the strongest she has ever felt. But she also has odd visions where she sees through the eyes of a vampire. At first, she thinks she must be imagining the visions, but when she begins to see Martin's office in them, she knows she has to check it out. That's when she finds Gabriel, a sexy, teenaged vampire, imprisoned in Martin's office. The connection she has built with Gabriel compels her to set him free. But when he kidnaps her in an attempt at revenge on Martin, their lives become deeply intertwined. She doesn't know the half of it.

FYI, there are spoilers in this review. Wait, scratch that. There are spoilers in this rant. I don’t think this even constitutes as a review.

Holy crap! Where do I even begin? This book was the biggest load of crap I’ve read in a good long time and I don’t feel I’m being overly critical. I’ve read my fair share of YA; I went through a phase where that is all I read. But what shocks me the most about this one was the outrageously positive reviews it got.

Crave is about Shay, a 17 year old (she’s 17 right? Shit. I don’t even remember.) Anyways, she has a blood disorder that of course no doctor can figure out. Shay’s step-father, Martin, gives her blood transfusions at home and at this point they are the only thing that is keeping her alive, but they only succeed in making her feel ‘fine’. That is until the day Martin gives her a transfusion and it makes her feel better than she has ever in her life. So she decides to live.

“If you get there, you’ll be famous,” Lai-wan said reverently. “Everyone will know.”
“That’s worth it,” Shay said. Worth any danger. Worth drowning. Worth trying.

And that pretty much sums up the stupidity of Shay. Once she begins to feel better, stronger, after being sick for so long she decides to “live” as she likes to call it; otherwise known as being a complete and total idiot.

She decides to take up running when she’s never run in her life. She decides to make her first kiss be with her best friend’s boyfriend. She decides that it’d be an awesome idea to swim out to the middle of a river to go carve her name on a big rock. In other words, she takes her good health for granted and acts like a total brat to anyone and everyone and ended up causing me to pretty much hate everything about her.

Oh but it gets better! There’s the instalove.

There was of course nothing funny about this instalove, but I felt I deserved some comic relief.

So Shay finds out that the blood that she was receiving was coming from the vampire that was being held hostage in her step-fathers doctor’s office! So what does she do? Well she busts him out of course and runs away into the night with him. So they spend about two days together where she spends approximately half that time as his hostage… she slowly begins falling in love with him. Mm-hmm. Slowly. Over the course of two days.

This book was so ridiculous. It was predictable, it was total cliché with the instalove, the characters were IDIOTS and I hated every single one of them (which is rare…usually you find SOMEONE to like, even a little), and then there was the dramatic cliffhanger that at first made me think that I must not have the entire book because the authors couldn’t possibly have ended the book at that point. That wasn’t an ending. That was an end to a chapter, maybe even the end to a sub-section of a chapter. Stupid.

I have the 2nd book ready for me to start reading. But you know what? I’m not going to do it. I won’t do that to myself. Book number one caused enough pain I don’t expect miracles from book number two. Shay was one of the most imperfect, ridiculous, unlikable, and ludicrous book characters ever. I won’t be reading any book that she is in in the future.

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Book Review – Seven Deadly Sins by Corey Taylor

July 31, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 0 Comments

Book Review – Seven Deadly Sins by Corey TaylorSeven Deadly Sins: Settling the Argument Between Born Bad and Damaged Good by Corey Taylor
Published by Da Capo Press on July 12th 2011
Pages: 256
Genres: Funny-ha-ha, Memoir, Non-Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven, House of Gold & Bones, You're Making Me Hate You: A Cantankerous Look at the Common Misconception That Humans Have Any Common Sense Left

five-stars

For the first time, Slipknot and Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor speaks directly to his fans and shares his worldview about life as a sinner. And Taylor knows how to sin. As a small-town hero in the early '90s, he threw himself into a fierce-drinking, drug-abusing, hard-loving, live-for-the moment life. Soon Taylor's music exploded, and he found himself rich, wanted, and on the road. His new and ever-more extreme lifestyle had an unexpected effect, however; for the first time, he began to actively think about what it meant to sin and whether sinning could--or should--be recast in a different light. Seven Deadly Sins is Taylor's personal story, but it's also a larger discussion of what it means to be seen as either a "good" person or a "bad" one. Yes, Corey Taylor has broken the law and hurt people, but, if sin is what makes us human, how wrong can it be?

“The seven deadly sins are bullshit.”

And so it begins… the book I’ve wanted to read the second I found out about it. And I’m so very happy to say that I wasn’t disappointed, displeased, or dissatisfied in anyway. This book is not; however, for the masses. For starters, this book is not an autobiography of Corey Taylor’s life and is not some in-depth heartfelt retelling of his life of sin. It may be a retelling of his life of sin, but it’s far from heartfelt. It’s honest, straightforward, brutal, and in your face. It’s definitely off the wall and all over the place; but that’s what makes it great.

“This book is a few parts flight, a handful of fancy, and a lot of why there is such a thing as freedom of the soul.”

This book is not only entertaining and funny as hell, but Corey Taylor’s thoughts and opinions were pretty damn great. This is where the honest and in your face comes into play. His thoughts and opinions totally go against every typical conformist belief and will more than likely succeed in offending many. I on the other hand, think he’s brilliant.

“So the misguided acts of my past have brought me to the virtues of my present and will hopefully lead me to the grace of my future. But I do not consider them “sins.” I consider the mistakes, capriciousness in the face of youthful abandon.”

The few reviews I have read on this book show people complaining about the lack of depth and how he’s one big narcissist and needs to be more socially responsible. Number one, this is Corey fucking Taylor and he’s wearing horns, smoking a cigarette, and drinking on the very front cover. What’d you expect? Number two, the man is only speaking the truth. He may be a little crazy and may not be the socially responsible human being you’d like him to be, but personally, I’ll take this Corey Taylor any day. He’s hilariously entertaining and I hope he continues writing in the future.

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Book Review – Tighter by Adele Griffin

July 30, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011, YA 1 Comment

Book Review – Tighter by Adele GriffinTighter by Adele Griffin
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on May 10th 2011
Pages: 224
Genres: Contemporary, Ghosties, Mystery
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


four-stars

When 17-year-old Jamie arrives on the idyllic New England island of Little Bly to work as a summer au pair, she is stunned to learn of the horror that precedes her. Seeking the truth surrounding a young couple's tragic deaths, Jamie discovers that she herself looks shockingly like the dead girl—and that she has a disturbing ability to sense the two ghosts. Why is Jamie's connection to the couple so intense? What really happened last summer at Little Bly? As the secrets of the house wrap tighter and tighter around her, Jamie must navigate the increasingly blurred divide between the worlds of the living and the dead.

Brilliantly plotted, with startling twists, here is a thrilling page-turner from the award-winning Adele Griffin.

I love a good ghost story. One of my favorites of all time is Heart-Shaped Box. Now that is one freaky book. I was a little skeptical about going into this with high expectations since it is YA and all; it turned out to be one of the darker types of YA books.

Jamie is a very disturbed 17 year-old with an awful pill addiction. After suffering a back injury she hasn’t been able to quite kick the habit. Her mother, concerned with her recent behavior and thinking she may be suffering from depression, helps set her up with a job as an au pair for an old friend on the island of Little Bly in New England. Jamie is skeptical about taking this job but thinks it may in fact be a good idea; that maybe by the time she got back, they’d be gone. They being the two ghosts that haunt her, her Uncle Jim and second cousin Hank… both individuals committed suicide. Jamie has seen them both ever since the night she personally contemplated suicide.

Upon arriving at Little Bly Jamie finds out that the child, Isa, her last au pair Jessie was killed in a plane crash when her boyfriend Peter was flying. Jamie’s unsettled to see how the town residents stare at her… because Jamie is the spitting image of Jessie. It doesn’t help matters when Jamie starts to see Peter and Jessie, ghosts, just like her Uncle Jim and Hank.

The book was certainly a tad unnerving, as can be expected with ghost stories. But the author… her writing style was crazy. Jamie would be in the middle of thinking something and right in the middle she would say something else and have seemingly zero awareness of what she just said For example:

“I knew I needed more socializing than just interacting with Connie and Isa and Milo; even a daily phone call with Mags would have helped, but the longer I stuck with just myself, the more messed up I might become rapping at the windows crying at the locks and it was beginning to bother me how much.”

Crying at the locks? What the hell are you talking about?! What’s going on?? But the writing was great; I loved how it always kept me guessing. And guessing you do… right up until the very end; I gasped. It’s one of those books where when you finally realize what’s going on it makes you have to stop, think, and look back at all that’s happened… makes you rethink everything.

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Book Review – The Train by Georges Simenon

July 29, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 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.

Book Review – The Train by Georges SimenonThe Train by Georges Simenon
Published by Melville House on July 12, 2011
Pages: 162
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads


two-half-stars

Against all expectations Marcel Féron has made a “normal” life in a bucolic French suburb in the Ardennes. But on May 10, 1940, as Nazi tanks approach, this timid, happy man must abandon his home and confront the “Fate” that he has secretly awaited. Separated from his pregnant wife and young daughter in the chaos of flight, he joins a freight car of refugees hurtling southward ahead of the pursuing invaders. There, he meets Anna, a sad-looking, dark- haired girl, whose accent is “neither Belgian nor German,” and who “seemed foreign to everything around her.” As the mystery of Anna’s identity is gradually revealed, Marcel leaps from the heights of an exhilarating freedom to the depths of a terrifying responsibility—one that will lead him to a blood-chilling choice.

When it first appeared in English in 1964, British novelist and critic Brigid Brophy declared The Train to be “the novel his admirers had been expecting all along from Simenon.” Until The Train, she wrote, the dazzlingly prolific novelist had been “a master without a masterpiece.”

The Train is a poignant novel about Marcel Feron and his pregnant wife and young daughter living the “normal” life he had always hoped for in the French suburb Ardennes. On May 10, 1940 they woke up to find that the Nazi’s were coming and they were being forced into leaving behind all that they held dear. Marcel packs his family up and they get on the train meant to take them away from the danger. Throughout the train ride Marcel relives the day when him and his wife first met, their first train ride together, and all that she represented.

“For me, she was not just a woman; but the symbol of a normal regular life.”

The morning of May 10, 1940 did not result in panic for Marcel, rather he had always felt that this was bound to happen, that he would be forced to leave behind everything, and that he was going to confront the “Fate” that he has been secretly awaiting for years. When he becomes separated from his wife and child he finds himself surrounded by strangers but as the train travels further away from home their faces start to become familiar to him; and that’s when he meets Anna.

The panic and urgency of everyone leaving their homes and being separated from their family’s causes them to change and feel ‘outside ordinary life and its conventions.’ The affair he ends up having with Anna becomes the sole focus of the book and it seemed at first to be quite strange and peculiar, but it transpired as a result of the shock from leaving their ordinary lives behind. It may not have been acceptable under normal circumstances, but the circumstances were far from normal. He continues searching for his family but stays with Anna till the very end. It was quite sad when the two finally parted ways.

“I hope you’ll be happy, Marcel. I’ve been happy with you.”

The author’s writing style felt choppy and stilted. I’m not sure if this was in fact due to the author’s writing style or if it was simply because of the translation between languages. Overall, this was an interesting reflection of WWII but also of the human response to traumatic situations and the bonds that we create with individuals out of the instinctual need to grasp at life.

“For the first time in my life I had said ‘I love you’ like that, from the depths of my heart. Perhaps it wasn’t she that I loved, but life?”

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Early Review – Ashfall (Ashfall #1) by Mike Mullin

July 29, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2011, YA 4 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 – Ashfall (Ashfall #1) by Mike MullinAshfall by Mike Mullin
Series: Ashfall #1
Published by Tanglewood Press on October 14, 2011
Pages: 474
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Ashen Winter, Sunrise

five-stars

Under the bubbling hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park is a supervolcano. Most people don't know it's there. The caldera is so large that it can only be seen from a plane or satellite. It just could be overdue for an eruption, which would change the landscape and climate of our planet.

For Alex, being left alone for the weekend means having the freedom to play computer games and hang out with his friends without hassle from his mother. Then the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, plunging his hometown into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence. Alex begins a harrowing trek to seach for his family and finds help in Darla, a travel partner he meets along the way. Together they must find the strength and skills to survive and outlast an epic disaster.

Ashfall was one of the most well written books I’ve read in a long time. I was so enthralled with this book that I read it a little bit at a time because I wanted to relish this book and all that it was about.

Ashfall is the story of Alex, a teenage boy learning to survive on his own after the Yellowstone super-volcano erupts. With the electricity out, the sun hidden behind a cloud of ash, and the obligation to remain indoors to keep from breathing in the deadly ash, Alex has to learn quickly what it takes to survive on his own. He takes shelter with his neighbors after his house becomes uninhabitable; however, after witnessing an intensely traumatic event he takes off on his own in hopes he can get to where his parents are: over 100 miles away. Alex doesn’t blink at the prospect of traveling 100 miles until he realizes that he’s going to need to do this on foot.

The Good
Everything, and I mean everything, about this novel was spot-on amazing. The relationship between Alex and Darla was so heartbreaking and realistic. At the point in the novel where Darla joins him on his journey to find his parents, they have become emotionally dependent on each other because they’re slowly realizing just how lonely the world has become. Watching Alex grow and develop in the novel was also pretty moving. Here’s a kid who at the beginning of the novel who was excited because his parents had left him home alone for the weekend for the first time in his life and he could do whatever he wanted. By the end of the novel that ‘Alex’ is long gone. The one thing that I found so incredible about this book was the complete and utter realism of the book. There’s no fluff to this story and you can truly imagine every single scenario actually happening. Overall, the story of survival and strength is a beautiful one.

The Bad
I was so overwhelmed by the end of this novel that I couldn’t express my opinions and views into sentences. This is not bad. This is me explaining that it took me about a month to finally be able to sort through all my thoughts in order to write my review and to be able to determine wholeheartedly that I enjoyed everything about this novel.

I loved at the end that the author Mike Mullin included information about the research he had done and how he had combined several scientific findings to create what he believed to be a realistic possibility if a Yellowstone super-volcano were to actually happen. Yes, it freaked me out a little (okay, maybe more than a little) at the prospect of something like this really occurring (and yes I totally freaked out at my complete lack of preparation for the end of the world). In the end though, this will now be one of my favorite books ever and I’ll be waiting anxiously (but not patiently) for the next chapter in the Ashfall series.

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Night of a Million Books

July 29, 2011 Bonnie Uncategorized 0 Comments

World Book Night is coming to the U.S.! Mark your calendar: April 23, 2012.

Imagine being given 48 copies of one of your favorite books for free to give to anyone you want. That’s the basic idea behind World Book Night, which was held for the first time in the U.K. this past March 5. Participants chose one of 25 titles, and then received 48 copies of the book and gave them out to anyone they wanted.

To read more about this event click the following link below:

Night of a Million Books

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Early Review – Unclaimed (Turner #2) by Courtney Milan

July 29, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 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 – Unclaimed (Turner #2) by Courtney MilanUnclaimed by Courtney Milan
Series: Turner #2
Published by HQN Books on September 27th 2011
Pages: 426
Genres: Historical Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads

Also by this author: Unlocked, Unveiled

four-half-stars

Her only hope for survival...

Handsome, wealthy and respected, Sir Mark Turner is the most sought-after bachelor in all of London and he's known far and wide for his irreproachable character. But behind his virtuous reputation lies a passionate nature he keeps carefully in check...until he meets the beautiful Jessica Farleigh, the woman he's waited for all his life.

Is to ruin the man she loves...

But Jessica is a courtesan, not the genteel lady Sir Mark believes. Desperate to be free of a life she despises, she seizes her chance when Mark's enemies make her an offer she can't refuse--seduce Mark and tarnish his good name, and a princely sum will be hers. Yet as she comes to know the man she's sworn to destroy, Jessica will be forced to choose between the future she needs and the love she knows is impossible.

Beware of Spoilers! 🙂

Sir Mark Turner, a Victorian-era ‘rock star’, has done the impossible: he’s made chastity popular. After writing ‘A Gentleman’s Practical Guide to Chastity’ he himself becomes practically a celebrity and is loved by many but certainly not all. Hating his popularity he seeks to get some peace in the country. Jessica Farleigh is a courtesan who agrees to seduce Mark Turner for the sole purpose of ruining his spotless reputation. She is to seduce him and share the story of it so that it can be published for all to read about in London. When Mark meets Jessica, his plans to get some peace in the country are blown out of the water because soon enough she’s all he can think about.

I absolutely loved this novel. LOVED it. Not quite sure what it was about it specifically but it was one of the best romance novels I’ve read. Considering I haven’t read a ton of them so my opinion may not be worth much, but this is my review, so I can gush all I want! Haha Maybe I was really in the mood for a romance novel… maybe this novel really is that good… maybe it was both.

Neither Mark nor Jessica should be taken at face value because both individuals have a secret depth to them that was quite intriguing and really made the story. The author did an amazing job of rather than revealing all the secrets and laying them all out immediately but uncovered them layer by layer. It really made the change in emotions of the characters, their thought processes, and overall actions… well, you understood them. They made sense. It wasn’t whimsical. You came to conclusions with them and their actions became ones you would make and it made me feel so involved and wrapped in the story that normal. Okay so re-reading that, it sounds like total bullshit, but that’s the best I can explain it. Lol

I loved the characters… eventually. I thought Mark Turner was a pompous ass at first but then you discover more about him and it made him totally lovable. I loved Jessica immediately but my love for her kind of resembled a roller coaster. I kept changing my mind about her if she actually did go through with seducing him and telling his private story to the world. I breathed a sigh of relief when she finally told him the truth but then my heart broke for her when he walked away from her. And then I almost hated her again when she sold the story… but then it turned out to be a completely different story. Not the story of his private life.

I was totally trending on giving this 5 stars because I loved it so much. But then it’s almost like the end turned into the total typical kind of romance… Where she knows she loves him and then someone sends a threatening letter and she keeps it from him even though if she told him he’d be able to fix it and then she starts treating him super awful to the point where you want to slap the bitch because she’s trying to run him off … *yawn* But I can understand why it had to be included, still didn’t like it though.

All in all, by the end, I was still plenty happy and really enjoyed this. Will definitely be looking for more Courtney Milan in the future.

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Cookbook Review – Quick-Fix Gluten Free by Robert Landolphi

July 28, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011 0 Comments

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

Cookbook Review – Quick-Fix Gluten Free by Robert LandolphiQuick-Fix Gluten Free by Robert Landolphi
on August 23, 2011
Pages: 184
Genres: Non-Fiction
Format: eBook
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads


three-stars

Gluten-free professional chef Robert M. Landolphi proves that a gluten-free lifestyle doesn't have to be bland and boring, labor-intensive, or time consuming inside Quick-Fix Gluten Free. In preparation for his follow-up to Gluten Free Every Day Cookbook, Landolphi queried fans about their biggest gluten-free challenges and created Quick-Fix Gluten Free in response to the dishes.

Divided into nine sections delving into everything from appetizers and breakfast to hearty, internationally inspired dishes, fan favorite comfort foods and decadent sweets and treats, Quick-Fix Gluten Free offers 100 fast and easily prepared recipes for crave-worthy dishes like Cinnamon Dusted French Toast, Kickin' Paella, Gnocchi with Roasted Garlic Butter and Parmesan Cheese, and Aunt Lil's Rich and Creamy Cheesecake. With a focus on fast, fresh and flavorful, these contemporary dishes are simple enough for everyday meals and delicious enough to serve to anyone--whether they are on a gluten-free diet or not.

Whether your choice to live gluten free is driven by the desire to lose weight, comply with a celiac diet, the need to avoid wheat because of mild allergies or the suspected link between gluten and autism, Quick-Fix Gluten Free proves that once-taboo foods like crusty breads, creamy pastas and indulgent cakes are no longer off-limits.

This cookbook is a Gluten-Free recipe guide with foods that actually sound good; something that you might actually want to consume! Which, take it from me, I’ve searched high and low for decent sounding gluten free dishes and this one definitely gets your mouth watering. Only problem that I have is, and it’s a total personal problem, is that these dishes are sometimes very labor intensive and aren’t exactly quick. I have a pretty busy lifestyle and sometimes I just need a recipe where I can throw stuff together, heat it up, and call it done. But considering I’m gluten-free, that’s not always easy for me (read, never). My other problem, personal again, is that I also tend to stay away from dairy and I can’t have eggs, period. So a few of these recipes that I’ve taken note of to make in the near future will take some editing but overall I definitely like the looks of this cookbook, I have made some of these recipes with success, and will definitely keep this on hand to try more of his recipes in the future.

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