Recommended Reading: Psychological Thrillers

April 22, 2017 Bonnie Recommended Reading 101 5 Comments

Taking classes and getting excited for the assigned reading was always my favorite part of school. Using that same concept and turning different genres, locations, and subjects into a course of their own, you could come up with your own assigned reading. These would be my picks for recommended reading, what would yours be?

Psychological Thrillers 101

6569735If you’re looking for a story from a survivor of a massacre…

…then pick up Dark Places. After her family was all killed and her brother is sent to prison for the crime, Libby Day tries her best to live a normal life, to no avail. She begins to reinvestigate the crime after a group known as “The Kill Club” shares with her their belief that her brother is actually innocent. Gone Girl may be her most popular but Dark Places is Gillian Flynn’s best story yet.


Early Review + Giveaway! Night Film by Marisha PesslIf you’re looking for a literary mystery with unique visual incorporation…

An investigative journalist begins searching for a young girl gone missing and falls down the rabbit hole of an even bigger mystery at work. The actual story of Night Film is superb but the incorporation of visual aids (newspaper articles, websites, and case notes) that takes this mystery to a whole other level.


Classic Curiosity – And Then There Were None by Agatha ChristieIf you’re looking for a go-to classic…

And Then There Were None is a constant guessing game when ten people arrive on an island and one by one they each suffer a tragic fate. A nursery rhyme is the only thing that predicts exactly how each guest will fall, but who is next, and who is responsible for committing the crimes? Such twisted good fun.


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Short & Sweet (Mysteries) – Behind Her Eyes, Poe, The Butterfly Garden

April 21, 2017 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2017, Short & Sweet Reviews 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.

Short & Sweet (Mysteries) – Behind Her Eyes, Poe, The Butterfly GardenBehind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
Published by Flatiron Books on January 31st 2017
Pages: 306
Genres: Mystery
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
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Goodreads

Also by this author: Mayhem

four-stars

Why is everyone talking about the ending of Sarah Pinborough's Behind Her Eyes?

Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.

When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.
And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend, but she also just happens to be married to David. David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife, but then why is David so controlling, and why is Adele so scared of him?

As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong, but Louise can’t guess how wrong―and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.

‘Questions, question, question. It seems that ever since David and Adele came into my life I’ve been filled with questions. They’re like weeds in water. Every time I think I can swim away another one tangles around my legs to drag me back down.’

Everything about this story and its summary scream “typical suburban drama” but Behind Her Eyes is far from anything you’ve ever read, I can assure you. Sure, Louise is a single mom who meets a man in a bar. They share a kiss, but nothing more. When she gets to work on Monday to meet her new boss, David, it ends up being the man from the bar… who is married. Desperate to make everything less awkward, they both admit to it being a vast mistake in an attempt to make sure it’s never brought up again. But when Louise makes a new friend named Adele who ends up being David’s wife, Louise’s life becomes vastly complicated.

The present-day story progresses as David and Adele’s past unfolds which further complicates matters. It’s constantly alluded to that David is overly protective of Adele, that he keeps her literally locked inside their house, that he limits her access to her own personal finances, and that their relationship is far from anything healthy. Adele involves Louise in her personal drama but leaves vital pieces of the puzzle out in a desperate attempt to earn Louise’s empathy. But to what end?

Here’s where things get dicey and where I understand the negative opinions of many even though mine differ. The whole initial setup of this story appears very formulaic, establishing some preconceived notions of where the plot could possibly go. The massive emphasis by Flatiron Books Marketing team on the twist at the end is worthy because it’s one that absolutely no one could have seen coming. It didn’t come out of left field, so to speak, it wasn’t even playing on the same field. No, this twist is practically conjured out of thin air and while this would normally leave me feeling cheated (again, based on all those established preconceived notions) it was such an extremely bizarre and outlandish approach to transforming the a-typical suburban drama into something different that I really couldn’t help but love it. Pinborough never fails to surprise me.

Short & Sweet (Mysteries) – Behind Her Eyes, Poe, The Butterfly GardenPoe by J. Lincoln Fenn
Narrator: Luke Daniels
Published by Brilliance Audio on October 22nd 2013
Length: 10 hrs and 44 mins
Genres: Mystery, Horror
Format: Audiobook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository|Audible
Goodreads

Also by this author: Dead Souls

three-stars

It's Halloween, and life is grim for twenty-three-year-old Dimitri Petrov. It's the one-year anniversary of his parents' deaths, he's stuck on page one thousand of his Rasputin zombie novel, and he makes his living writing obituaries.

But things turn from bleak to terrifying when Dimitri is assigned to cover a seance at the reputedly haunted Aspinwall Mansion. There, Dimitri meets Lisa, a punk-rock drummer he falls hard for. But just as he's about to ask her out, he unwittingly unleashes malevolent forces, throwing him into a deadly mystery. He wakes up in the morgue -- icy cold and haunted by a cryptic warning given by a tantalizing female spirit.

As town residents begin to turn up gruesomely murdered, Dimitri must unravel the connections among his family, the Aspinwall Mansion, and the secrets held in a pair of crumbling antiquarian books. If he doesn't, it's quite possible Lisa will be the next victim.


“Two weeks. Everything you love, own, and cherish, can be gone, liquidated, and lost forever in two weeks. Give or take a day.”

Dimitri Petrov is a would-be novelist and current obituary writer for an irrelevant newspaper. He gets tasked last minute with covering a séance at a local haunted house on Halloween (of course), he meets his dream girl, and there’s a lot of awkward conversation where he manages to win her over… somehow. But his life admittedly goes a bit downhill from there when he manages to fall through the floor, wakes up in the actual morgue, and finds that he has a new ghostly friend he dubs Poe that won’t leave him alone. Add in the mystery behind the haunted house, the strange family history of his new girlfriend, the truth behind the tragic deaths of Dimitri’s own parents, some curious ancient books that seem to possess powers, and a spleen-eating serial killer and you’ve got the plot of Poe. All in just over 300 pages.

“I have watched enough cheesy detective television shows in my young life to know that when one is presented with an inexplicable mystery, the first order of business (after procuring good donuts and coffee—check) is to create a wall of clues with photos of suspects and article clippings, preferably in an artistic yet seemingly random fashion.”

In the beginning, this story was entertaining, fast-paced, and fun, but just as it started out fine for Dimitri, unfortunately, the book went downhill as well. The characters themselves were never fully formed except for Dimitri who was the stories requisite guy who found humor and sarcasm in anything and everything (and reminded me a lot of the guy in The Last Days of Jack Sparks.) The mysteries were excessive and mildly convoluted, yes, however the horror elements brought about some very well-written pieces of terror. The descriptions were on point and were enough to churn even the hardest of stomachs. The biggest issue I had was how the author chose to focus more on the cutesy relationship aspects in a plot that didn’t require anything of the sort. Adding a romance factor certainly helps to appeal to a wider audience but it just didn’t work for me.

Having already read Fenn’s sophomore novel, Dead Souls, I can see how far she’s come with her plotting and characterization(Dead Souls is absolutely incredible — read it). Her debut may not have been my favorite but she’s definitely fallen onto my radar on authors to watch out for.

Short & Sweet (Mysteries) – Behind Her Eyes, Poe, The Butterfly GardenThe Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison
Narrator: Lauren Ezzo, Mel Foster
Series: The Collector #1
Published by Brilliance Audio on June 1st 2016
Length: 9 hrs and 13 mins
Genres: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository|Audible
Goodreads


two-stars

Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding.…

“Some people stay broken. Some pick up the pieces and put them back together with all the sharp edges showing.”

FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are put in charge of interviewing a kidnap survivor that goes by the name of Maya who was recently rescued. According to her, she was one of many “butterflies” who lived in a garden. They were all girls who over the years had been kidnapped and brought to the garden by a man only known as The Gardener. He tattoos beautiful wings on their backs, renames them, rapes them, and cares for them until their expiration date of 21-years-old at which point The Gardener would kill them and preserve them in resin such as one does with perfect specimens. The Butterfly Garden switches back and forth between past and present and unveils the ordeals of the years that Maya spent behind the walls of the garden.

First off, yes, this is some sick and twisted sounding shit but whatever, I’m weird. Considering The Collector is one of my all-time favorite books, this story was immediately appealing to me and there were vast similarities. The kidnapped girl(s), the obsession with preserving butterflies (actual butterflies though), and the acclimating the victim(s) to transform their abnormal environment into something normal. Where The Collector was straight forward and quietly disturbing, The Butterfly Garden worked very hard at establishing the belief that we were working with an unreliable narrator and that there was clearly a big twist to anticipate. This was a most unsettling read and the author never flinches away from describing the brutality the girls were forced to suffer through. Also written well (and equally unsettling) was the mentality of The Gardener and how effortlessly he was able to convince himself that he was doing what was right for these girls by taking them in and caring for them.

I did have some serious issues with the technicalities of The Gardener’s whole operation that I’m sure could be easily overlooked with a little suspension of disbelief but sometimes I just can’t be that kind of reader. I’ll add in spoiler tags just in case: View Spoiler » All in all, I had a lot of questions that didn’t come equipped with a whole lot of answers.

And then that ending.

I’M SO ANGRY. I don’t remember the last time I read such an immensely enthralling book that captivated me from page one, had me searching for extra time in the day just to read it, only to have it fall flatter than a fucking pancake at the end. I mean seriously, what even was that? Don’t market your book based on some hidden secret if all you’ve come up with is that. There’s apparently a second book too. No, thank you, please.

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The Book Sacrifice Tag

April 20, 2017 Bonnie Book Tag 6 Comments

I haven’t done one of these Book Tags in a while. Plus, I got sick last week/this weekend and fell behind on blog stuff so Book Tags to the rescue! Thanks to Jessie and Dani for posting this one. 🙂

Let’s start this off with a Zombie Apocalypse! Let’s say you’re in a bookstore, just browsing, when BAM! ZOMBIE ATTACK. An announcement comes over the PA System saying that the military has discovered that the zombies’ only weakness is over-hyped books. What book that everyone else says is amazing but you really hated so you start chucking at the zombies knowing that it will count as an over-hyped book and successfully wipe them out?!

Book Review – An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1) by Sabaa TahirAn Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1) by Sabaa Tahir

One of the more recent additions to my baa-baa black sheep shelf that seriously everyone seemed to adore. This book was said to have been inspired by ancient Rome with a fantasy twist. The brutality (primarily towards females) was simply gratuitous after a point and the plot itself moved at a snail’s pace. This one just didn’t do it for me so I would absolutely be chucking copies of these to survive the zombie apocalypse.

Runner Up: Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tahereh Mafi

Let’s say you’ve just left the salon with a SMASHING new haircut and BOOM: Torrential downpour. What sequel are you willing to use as an umbrella to protect yourself?

Hidden Bodies (You #2) by Caroline KepnesBook Review – Hidden Bodies (You #2) by Caroline Kepnes

I thought You was absolutely fantastic and I eagerly awaited more crazy adventures of Joe. What I expected was not what I got and the more I think about it the more I feel like You could have easily stood on its own and Joe’s story didn’t need to get drug out past its shelf life. I’m clearly in the minority here because most people I know loved both stories and some loved Hidden Bodies even more. I hear there’s a third one coming too… I won’t be joining in.

Runner UpShadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2) by Deborah Harkness

Let’s say you’re in a lecture and your English teacher is going on and on about how this classic changed the world, how it revolutionized literature and you get so sick of it that you chuck the classic right at his face because you know what? This classic is stupid and it’s worth detention just to show everyone how you feel! What Classic did you chuck?

Book Review – The Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I didn’t actually have to read this one in school although I didn’t actually get assigned a lot of classics at all in school (I think I went to a really shitty school.) I took it upon myself in my late 20s to finally read some of the classics I never got assigned in school (Frankenstein, A Clockwork OrangeOne Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Animal Farm, etc. — nope, I wasn’t assigned any of these in school.) The Great Gatsby was by far the biggest load of crap that I willingly wasted my time on. I’ve still got a long ways to go with my classics backlist but for now, Gatsby reigns king.

Runner Up: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Let’s say that you’re hanging out at the library when BAM! Global warming explodes and the world outside becomes a frozen wasteland. You’re trapped and your only chance for survival is to burn a book. What is the book you first run to, your least favorite book of all life, what book do you not fully regret lighting?

Life of Pi by Yann Martel170453

Man, I’ve read some pretty shitty books in my lifetime but choosing which book to burn was a tough decision. Life of Pi always manages to be that one book that whenever I see it on any “Best Of” or “Must Read!” list I immediately disregard anything and everything else that could have been recommended. Because if that’s on the list then it must all be garbage, no? No, probably not but my hatred of this much-loved book isn’t exactly rational. It is what it is.

Runner UpThe Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls: A Novel by Anton DiSclafani (aka Horsey Camp)

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Waiting on Wednesday – She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper

April 19, 2017 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 2 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – She Rides Shotgun by Jordan HarperShe Rides Shotgun: A Novel by Jordan Harper
Published by Ecco on June 6th 2017
Pages: 288
Genres: Mystery
Format: Hardcover
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository
Goodreads

A propulsive, gritty novel about a girl marked for death who must fight and steal to stay alive, learning from the most frightening man she knows—her father.

Eleven-year-old Polly McClusky is shy, too old for the teddy bear she carries with her everywhere, when she is unexpectedly reunited with her father, Nate, fresh out of jail and driving a stolen car. He takes her from the front of her school into a world of robbery, violence, and the constant threat of death. And he does it to save her life.

Nate made dangerous enemies in prison—a gang called Aryan Steel has put out a bounty on his head, counting on its members on the outside to finish him off. They’ve already murdered his ex-wife, Polly’s mother. And Polly is their next target.

Nate and Polly’s lives soon become a series of narrow misses, of evading the bad guys and the police, of sleepless nights in motels. Out on the lam, Polly is forced to grow up early: with barely any time to mourn her mother, she must learn how to take a punch and pull off a drug-house heist. She finds herself transforming from a shy little girl into a true fighter. Nate, in turn, learns what it’s like to love fiercely and unconditionally—a love he’s never quite felt before. But can their powerful bond transcend the dangerous existence he’s carved out for them? Will they ever be able to live an honest life, free of fear?

She Rides Shotgun is a gripping and emotionally wrenching novel that upends even our most long-held expectations about heroes, villains, and victims. Nate takes Polly to save her life, but in the end it may very well be Polly who saves him.

About Jordan Harper

Jordan Harper was born and educated in Missouri. He's worked as an ad man, a rock critic and a teevee writer.

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Harper’s debut collection, Love and Other Wounds: Stories, still regretfully sits on my TBR but both of his books sounds like such me books. Really must make time for these fantastic sounding stories.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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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 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
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository|Audible
Goodreads

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.

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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Top Ten Tuesday – Immediate Book Hooks

April 18, 2017 Bonnie Top Ten Tuesday 4 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

I add a lot of books to my TBR at the drop of a hat. This week’s topic is all about those special things about a book that cause me to add them a bit faster the normal.

Magical Realism

Ever since I fell in love with Sarah Addison Allen I’ve been mad for more magical realism stories. I love how magical realism can be found in the widest of genres.

Foodie Fiction

If there is a single mention of a bakery, a kitchen, or a cupcake then you bet your ass I’ll be adding it.

Time Travel

Stories with time travel make up a majority of my favorite books.

Southern Gothic/Country Noir

If there’s a trailer on the cover or some mention of cooking meth in a basement, I’ll probably want to read it.

Tudors (or Philippa Gregory, really)

There’s just something about those crazy royals that I thoroughly enjoy reading about.

Zombies

I’m a huge fan of anything post-apocalyptic but add in zombies and I will absolutely be reading it.

Ghosties

I read a lot of horror but nothing freaks me out quite like a good ghost story.

“Downton-esque”

Similar to my obsession with the Tudors. Apparently, I like reading about snooty rich people.

Dual Timelines

Finding random relics that link to some mysterious story from the past? I’m all ears.

Plagues and Pandemics

Weird, right? I don’t know what it is about this subject matter but it makes me crazy obsessed.

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Something To Look Forward To – Week of April 17th, 2017

April 17, 2017 Bonnie Something To Look Forward To 3 Comments

Here’s what’s releasing this week: a blend of YA, Adult and the occasional Middle Grade. Something for everyone to look forward to! All book purchase links go to their respective Amazon page.
Help support this blog and use the purchase links to get your copy!

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Week of April 17th, 2017

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Missing by Kelley Armstrong [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by Crown Books for Young Readers

The Adjustment (The Program #3) by Suzanne Young [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by Simon Pulse

The Edge of the Abyss (The Abyss Surrounds Us #2) by Emily Skrutskie [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by Flux

Bang by Barry Lyga [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Beneath the Shine by Sarah Fine [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by Skyscape

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Grendel’s Guide to Love and War by A.E. Kaplan [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Outward Blonde by Trish Cook [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by Adaptive Books

Meg & Linus by Hanna Nowinski [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by Swoon Reads

Xander and the Dream Thief (Momotaro #2) by Margaret Dilloway [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by Disney-Hyperion

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The Seventh Sun by Kent Lester [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by Forge Books

Ararat by Christopher Golden [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by St. Martin’s Press

The Dastardly Miss Lizzie (Electric Empire #3) by Viola Carr [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by Harper Voyager

The Book of Joan: A Novel by Lidia Yuknavitch [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by Harper

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Off Rock by Kieran Shea [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by Titan Books (UK)

Legend Has It (Pax Arcana #5) by Elliott James [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by Orbit Books

Forgotten Worlds (The Silence #2) by D. Nolan Clark [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by Orbit

Change Agent by Daniel Suarez [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by Dutton Books

Fallout (V.I. Warshawski #18) by Sara Paretsky [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by William Morrow

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The Good Assassin: A Novel by Paul Vidich [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books

Fast and Loose (Stone Barrington #41) by Stuart Woods [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Gone Without a Trace by Mary Torjussen [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by Berkley Books

The Fix (Amos Decker #3) by David Baldacci [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by Grand Central Publishing

The Secret Room (Zoe Goldman #3) by Sandra Block [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by Grand Central Publishing

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The Last Days of Café Leila: A Novel by Donia Bijan [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by Algonquin Books

Beyond the Wild River: A Novel by Sarah Maine [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by Atria Books

The Night She Won Miss America by Michael Callahan [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

A Line Made by Walking by Sara Baume [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

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The Thing About Love by Julie James [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by Berkley

Blame It on the Duke (The Disgraceful Dukes #3) by Lenora Bell [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by Avon

Finding Gideon by Eric Jerome Dickey [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by Dutton Books

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by Doubleday

Wherever You Go, There They Are: Stories about My Family You Might Relate to by Annabelle Gurwitch [Purchase]
Expected publication: April 18th 2017 by Blue Rider Press

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Short & Sweet – Sleeping Giants + Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

April 14, 2017 Bonnie Adult, Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Read in 2017, Short & Sweet Reviews 10 Comments

Short & Sweet – Sleeping Giants + Waking Gods by Sylvain NeuvelSleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
Narrator: Andy Secombe, Eric Meyers, Laurel Lefkow, Charlie Anson, Liza Ross, William Hope, Christoper Ragland, Katharine Mangold, Adna Sablyich
Series: Themis Files #1
Published by Random House Audio on April 26th 2016
Length: 8 hrs and 28 mins
Genres: Sci-fi
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository|Audible
Goodreads


four-half-stars

A page-turning debut in the tradition of Michael Crichton, World War Z, and The Martian, Sleeping Giants is a thriller fueled by an earthshaking mystery—and a fight to control a gargantuan power.

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of the relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

Eleven-year-old Rose Franklin rides her new bicycle in Deadwood, South Dakota when she suddenly falls into a large hole. At the bottom of this hole was a twenty-foot-long metal hand which she had fallen directly into the palm. Seventeen years later, Rose Franklin is a brilliant physicist who has been brought in to study the mysterious hand that she fell into as a child to determine anything she can about it.

“I don’t really believe in fate,” she says, “but somehow ‘small world’ doesn’t begin to do this justice.”

Its origins and its chemical makeup defy logic; it weighs far less than would be expected based on its mass and its composition couldn’t have come from Earth. When Army helicopter pilots Kara Resnik and Ryan Mitchell crash somewhere in Syria, they find an extremely long, metal forearm that connects to the metal hand like a magnet when placed nearby. The search for the remaining pieces of this metal body continues across the globe to hopefully one day determine the purpose of this creation.

I absolutely adored this story. Sleeping Giants is a science fiction story that delves into the mysteries of space, the mysterious mythology uncovered about the origins of the metal giant, and delves into the scientific aspects of the giant’s metallurgy in an informative and detailed way. The mysteries go beyond the giant though, expanding to each and every character and no one is left to fall by the wayside. Who is the unnamed narrator that possesses so much power and authority, how coincidental is it that Rose Franklin remains involved with the hand years later, what was the purpose of this metal giant and where did it come from? The whole book reads like one massive conspiracy theory, much like an episode of the X-Files and we’re slowly fed answers but never to the bigger picture questions. Will we ever truly know?

The fact that this was Neuvel’s debut is absolutely mind-boggling. The concept and the execution both are fascinating and immensely entertaining. The execution will definitely divide readers seeing as he traded a traditional narrative for a more epistolary type storytelling, using interview transcripts, news articles, journal entries, etc. for the entirety of the tale. If you’re an audiobook fan, this is even more brilliant to listen to with its full cast narration. I don’t re-read stories often but I re-read this one in anticipation of Waking Gods. I think I loved it, even more, the second time around.

Short & Sweet – Sleeping Giants + Waking Gods by Sylvain NeuvelWaking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel
Narrator: Andy Secombe, Adna Sablyich, Laurel Lefkow, Eric Meyers, William Hope, Charlie Anson, Christoper Ragland, Karina Fernandez, Madeleine Rose, Roy McMillan, Olivia Dowd, Sarah Wells
Series: Themis Files #2
Published by Random House Audio on April 4th 2017
Length: 9 hrs and 2 mins
Genres: Sci-fi
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository|Audible
Goodreads


four-half-stars

In the gripping sequel to Sleeping Giants, which was hailed by Pierce Brown as “a luminous conspiracy yarn . . . reminiscent of The Martian and World War Z,” Sylvain Neuvel’s innovative series about human-alien contact takes another giant step forward.

As a child, Rose Franklin made an astonishing discovery: a giant metallic hand, buried deep within the earth. As an adult, she’s dedicated her brilliant scientific career to solving the mystery that began that fateful day: Why was a titanic robot of unknown origin buried in pieces around the world? Years of investigation have produced intriguing answers—and even more perplexing questions. But the truth is closer than ever before when a second robot, more massive than the first, materializes and lashes out with deadly force.

Now humankind faces a nightmare invasion scenario made real, as more colossal machines touch down across the globe. But Rose and her team at the Earth Defense Corps refuse to surrender. They can turn the tide if they can unlock the last secrets of an advanced alien technology. The greatest weapon humanity wields is knowledge in a do-or-die battle to inherit the Earth . . . and maybe even the stars.


“I came to realize that good and evil were out of my reach, that time was the only thing I had any control over. I could buy time, create intervals. I could not truly make the world a better place, but I could make part of it a better place for a short while.”

Waking Gods bolsters and expands upon the Sleeping Giants storyline by adding high levels of adrenaline and excitement in this highly anticipated follow-up. Ten years have passed since the end of Sleeping Giants when Rose and team completed the reconstruction of the metal giant they named Themis after the ancient Greek Titan-goddess. They were beginning to slowly piece together information surrounding the mystery of her origins and are only briefly grasping her full technological capabilities when another metal giant appears in the center of London. It stands immobile for weeks, but without provocation, it attacks one-day leaving thousands dead, but some miraculously survived. More giants appear around the globe and Rose and team are given the impossible task of determining how to stop these attacks and to find out the reason behind them before Earth’s population is exterminated.

No sophomore slump to be had here. Listening to Waking Gods felt akin to being on a high-speed roller coaster: you’re buckled in, the ride is moving, and the time to change your mind has long since passed. But damn, is it a crazy good time.

Waking Gods continues with the same interview style of storytelling, with a few new characters/voices to acquaint ourselves with. The plot was incredibly fast paced and read much like an action movie would just minus the visuals. Incredibly similar to The War of the Worlds in regards to the severity and devastation of the attacks but much less straightforward in terms of the reasoning behind the attacks themselves (and far more fascinatingly scientific View Spoiler ».) Neuvel imbues his alien invasion with a history and purpose essentially giving the human race a chance at survival. He also manages to add a level of humor (there’s something unequivocally humorous about two individuals trying to manhandle a giant robot, albeit clunkily, into battle) that somehow manages to meld harmoniously with such a somber narrative. There are twists and turns aplenty, one particular scene made me loudly gasp and another where my face started leaking, and the ending will leave you thunderstruck. Neuvel’s endings, while definitely worthy of the term ‘cliffhanger’, never feel cheap but rather an apt ending that will lead to a brilliant beginning of the next, and possibly last, installment.

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Anxious Encounters with Humankind: Ellen Hopkins Book Signing

April 13, 2017 Bonnie Anxious Encounters with Humankind, Event Recap 7 Comments

Welcome to my new blog feature: Anxious Encounters with Humankind. This is where I talk about my introvert as fuck self venturing out in public, doing things in close proximity to humans.

Image may contain: 1 person, textMy recent adventure took me to Barnes & Noble where Ellen Hopkins, one of my favorite authors, was signing books and promoting her recent publication: The You I’ve Never Known. My mom heard her speak at an event in Billings, Montana way back in 2015 and has been trying to convince me to get to one of her events ever since. I went to my very first author event just last year where I had the opportunity to meet Richard Kadrey and I got to hear Stephen King speak a few months later. One of my bookish/bloggy goals for this year was to crawl out of my shell a little bit more and get out and experience the (albeit few and far between) events that my little town of Reno has to offer.

With my best friend Dani towing me along, I brought my copy of Tilt in hopes of getting it signed. I also set off in hopes of finding a copy of Triangles to purchase and get signed. I was successful and by that time she had arrived. So, you know, I had a minor meltdown as you do when you’re about to meet someone you admire and are expected to formulate sentences. Dani walked around with me for almost an hour before I finally worked up the nerve to walk up to her table.

I introduced myself very loudly. Then I rambled a bit, complimented her on the unexpected twist in her new book, and then officially ran out of words. That’s when Dani came to the rescue and it was slightly easier to maintain a conversation except that’s also when I started sweating and my glasses literally fogged up. Being an introvert in public is fucking awesome.

I told Ellen how Triangles was one of the very first ARCs I received and reviewed on my blog, back when it was still Sweet Tidbits, and I asked her if she had any plans of doing more adult verse novels (the only other of hers being Collateral.) She said, unfortunately, there isn’t much of a market for that writing style in that age group so most likely not. We talked about the two anthologies she’s a part of which are both releasing this September: Behind the Song and Feral Youth. She sounded very excited about being a part of an anthology that represented all kinds of women. There’s another upcoming publication she discussed which delves into gun violence and how she switched up the point of view to omniscient from her typical 1st person. The last publication discussed was the sequel to her 2015 adult novel, Love Lies Beneath, and how she’s currently dealing with editor problems because it’s her first book that has ever reached the fourth stage in revisions. I didn’t confirm with her, however, the current release date for the as yet Untitled sequel is August 2018.

I’m extremely grateful to Barnes & Noble for hosting this event and giving me the opportunity to meet such an amazing author. And much thanks to Ellen for signing my two books which I will be able to cherish forever.

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Waiting on Wednesday – Sea of Rust: A Novel by C. Robert Cargill

April 12, 2017 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 12 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Sea of Rust: A Novel by C. Robert CargillSea of Rust: A Novel by C. Robert Cargill
Published by Harper Voyager on September 5th 2017
Pages: 448
Genres: Sci-fi
Format: Hardcover
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Dreams and Shadows

A scavenger robot wanders in the wasteland created by a war that has destroyed humanity in this evocative post-apocalyptic “robot western” from the critically acclaimed author, screenwriter, and noted film critic

It’s been thirty years since the apocalypse and fifteen years since the murder of the last human being at the hands of robots. Humankind is extinct. Every man, woman, and child has been liquidated by a global uprising devised by the very machines humans designed and built to serve them. Most of the world is controlled by an OWI—One World Intelligence—the shared consciousness of millions of robots, uploaded into one huge mainframe brain. But not all robots are willing to cede their individuality—their personality—for the sake of a greater, stronger, higher power. These intrepid resisters are outcasts; solo machines wandering among various underground outposts who have formed into an unruly civilization of rogue AIs in the wasteland that was once our world.

One of these resisters is Brittle, a scavenger robot trying to keep her deteriorating mind and body functional in a world that has lost all meaning. Although she does not (cannot) experience emotions like a human, she is haunted by the terrible crimes she perpetrated on humanity. As she roams the Sea of Rust, a large swath of territory that was once the Midwest, Brittle slowly comes to terms with her raw and vivid memories—and her guilt.

Sea of Rust is both a harsh story of survival and an optimistic adventure. A vividly imagined portrayal of ultimate destruction and desperate tenacity, it boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, yet where a humanlike AI strives to find purpose among the ruins.

About C. Robert Cargill

C. Robert Cargill likes his coffee black, his hamburgers topped with fried eggs and his restaurants to be of the greasy spoon variety. Most nights, if you can find him, you’ll see him huddled in the booth of a diner, sucking down coffee as fast as the waitress can pour it, arguing with a number of other writers over something silly about which he will fight with great passion. He’s been a waiter, a video store clerk, a travel agent, a camp counselor, an airline reservation agent, a sandwich artist, a day care provider, a voice actor, and most notably, a freelance writer and film critic.

Cargill began his career with Ain’t it Cool News under the pseudonym Massawyrm, writing there for over a decade, subsequently becoming a staff writer for film.com, hollywood.com and co-founding the animated movie review site Spill.com. In the meantime he appeared on countless podcasts, webshows and in the occasional local film. During a fateful drunken night in Vegas, Cargill pitched the idea for the film SINISTER to friend and director Scott Derrickson, resulting in both the film and a screenwriting partnership between the two. When not writing films with Derrickson, Cargill spends his time writing novels and painting miniatures.

Cargill lives in Austin, Texas with his wife and (as he is contractually obligated to tell you) his dog. And really, if you find yourself in Austin, in a diner, in the middle of the night, and someone is talking way too loud, there’s a good chance it’s him.

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Cargill’s Dreams and Shadows books are a couple of my favorites, combining fantasy and horror in such a fantastic way. I can’t wait to see what he does with Science Fiction next.

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What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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