Life’s Too Short: The Oxford Inheritance, Bright Air Black, The Burning World

February 16, 2017 Bonnie Book Reviews, Life's Too Short 6 Comments

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

Life’s Too Short: The Oxford Inheritance, Bright Air Black, The Burning WorldThe Oxford Inheritance: A Novel by A.A. McDonald
Narrator: Nan McNamara
Published by HarperAudio on February 23rd 2016
Length: 12 hours and 47 minutes
Genres: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library Thing
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository|Audible
Goodreads


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At prestigious Oxford University, an American student searches for the truth about her mother’s death in this eerie, suspenseful thriller that blends money, murder, and black magic.

You can’t keep it from her forever. She needs to know the truth.

Cassandra Blackwell arrives in Oxford with one mission: to uncover the truth about her mother’s dark past. Raised in America, with no idea that her mother had ever studied at the famed college, a mysterious package now sends her across the ocean, determined to unravel the secrets that her mother took to her grave. Plunged into the glamorous, secretive life of Raleigh College, Cassie finds a world like no other: a world of ancient tradition, privilege—and murder.

Beneath the hallowed halls of this storied university there is a mysterious force at work . . . A dark society that is shaping our world, and will stop at nothing to keep its grip on power. Cassie might be the only one who can stop them—but at what cost?

DNF @ 18% (and some scan-reading to see if I was missing out on anything)

‘All her work had finally come to fruition: the scheming and lies, the sacrifice and risk.’

Cassandra Blackwell is on a mission to discover the secret past about her mother after she died when Cassandra was just fourteen-years-old. Three years ago a mysterious letter arrives from Oxford addressed to her deceased mother: “You can’t hide the truth forever. Please come back and end this for good.” She quickly sets out to discover what the letter could mean but doesn’t uncover anything. She then spends the next three years of her life working to gain enough ground just to gain acceptance at Raleigh College at Oxford in hopes of discovering more information from the inside. It’s her Junior year abroad and she’s finally done it.

Her mother was a terrible human being who was constantly exploding into fits of rage and accusing Cassandra of being the reason she didn’t become a great poet because she got pregnant with her at twenty. She rehashes all the times she had to lock herself in the bathroom to escape her wrath until she had managed to calm down. She inevitably committed suicide and Cassandra ended up in foster care until she was sixteen at which point she chose to live off the grid. A random letter shows up years later and suddenly she decides she needs to show she’s smart so she can get into a college in England just so she can research her mother. Maybe this all seems trivial but I didn’t buy this plot at all and considering it’s the foundation of the entire mystery, I decided to call it quits.

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

Life’s Too Short: The Oxford Inheritance, Bright Air Black, The Burning WorldBright Air Black: A Novel by David Vann
Published by Grove Press on March 7th 2017
Pages: 288
Genres: Historical Fiction, Greek Mythology
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository
Goodreads


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Following the success of Aquarium which was a New York Times Editor’s Choice and garnered numerous rave reviews, David Vann transports us to 13th century B.C. to give a nuanced and electric portrait of the life of one of ancient mythology’s most fascinating and notorious women, Medea.

In brilliant poetic prose Bright Air Black brings us aboard the ship Argo for its epic return journey across the Black Sea from Persia’s Colchis—where Medea flees her home and father with Jason, the Argonauts, and the Golden Fleece. Vann’s reimagining of this ancient tale offers a thrilling, realist alternative to the long held notions of Medea as monster or sorceress. We witness with dramatic urgency Medea’s humanity, her Bronze Age roots and position in Greek society, her love affair with Jason, and her tragic demise.

Atmospheric and spellbinding, Bright Air Black is an indispensable, fresh and provocative take on one of our earliest texts and the most intimate and corporal version of Medea’s story ever told.

DNF @ 7%

Considering Medea was one of my all-time favorite reads from my Ancient and Medieval Cultures class in college, I had high hopes for this one. Alas, it didn’t pan out. Bright Air Black is set before Medea and Jason have children but after Jason has secured the Golden Fleece. Medea’s father, King Aeëtes, is in pursuit of them and in an attempt to slow him down Medea sacrifices her brother, dismembers him, and tosses pieces of him overboard knowing that her father will stop to collect each and every piece.

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The writing is both difficult to read and impossible to put down due to the long-winded narrative style. The chapters are few and far between as well as any actual dialogue making this a monotonous yet grotesque read. At times it was like Hannibal meets mythology.

‘Medea takes a piece of her brother, a thigh, heavy and tough, muscled, and licks blood from it, dark and thick. She spits, licks and spits again and again, three times to atone. Mouth filled with the taste of her family’s blood, and she throws this piece of Helios into the waves.’

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Then after she threw the thigh overboard and her father has recovered it:

‘Her brother gone. She misses him there, far away, in his father’s arms, and yet most of him is here. She kneels in him still.’

Then there was a scene of a man leaning overboard to take a shit and Medea describes how it fouls the air due to lack of wind. I’m sure she ran out of body parts to toss overboard and the men wouldn’t spend the entire book shitting over the side of the boat, but there just wasn’t enough to captivate me in this retelling of one of my favorite Greek myths.

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

Life’s Too Short: The Oxford Inheritance, Bright Air Black, The Burning WorldThe Burning World by Isaac Marion
Series: Warm Bodies #2
Published by Atria/Emily Bestler Books on February 7th 2017
Pages: 512
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Zombies
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository|Audible
Goodreads

Also by this author: Warm Bodies

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R is recovering from death.

He’s learning how to breathe, how to speak, how to be human, one clumsy step at a time. He doesn’t remember his old life and he doesn’t want to. He’s building a new one with Julie.

But his old life remembers him. The plague has another host far more dangerous than the Dead. It’s coming to return the world to the good old days of stability and control and the strong eating the weak, and stopping it will require a frightening journey into the surreal wastelands of America—and the shadowy basement of R’s mind.

DNF @ 13%

I had been heading towards a slump so that may be part of the reason for my complete intolerance and unwillingness to give this a chance, but this just did not work for me. Warm Bodies was an original (and slightly disturbing) tale of a zombie falling in love with a human, subsequently regaining his humanity in the process. It was a moving and touching novel in the unlikeliest of genres. The New Hunger was even more fantastic, well written, and it made me more excited than I had been for The Burning World to release. But before I had even hit double digits in progress, I was already ready to call it quits. This section was at 7%:

‘Her irises are the usual metallic gray, but as I stare into them, they flicker. A brief glint, like a flake of gold in the sand of a deep river.’

Very pretty words. Marion can definitely string some adjectives and metaphors together but then he had to go and mess it all up.

“What is it?” Julie asks in an awed whisper.
“I have no idea. I’ve never had less idea about anything. We’ve been calling it ‘the Gleam.’ Every once in a while it just… happens, and the Dead get a little less dead.”

And that is all we get by way of explanation.

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It was just such a lame and half-assed attempt at explaining the whole plot point. The dead coming back to life after being zombies, being dead… and you give it some fancy capitalized name and that’s supposed to be sufficient? Sorry, but that just doesn’t work for me. I continued reading up to 13% where the settlement is attacked by a rival settlement and it officially became just like all other post-apocalyptic/zombie tales that I’ve already read at least half a dozen times. Does it switch it up somehow and become original and memorable again? Maybe. The introduction into this unexpected sequel was so lackluster that it wasn’t interesting enough for me to stick around to find out.

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Waiting on Wednesday – The Simplicity of Cider by Amy E. Reichert

February 15, 2017 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 8 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – The Simplicity of Cider by Amy E. ReichertThe Simplicity of Cider by Amy E. Reichert
Series: , ,
Published by Gallery Books on May 16th 2017
Pages: 336
Genres: Foodie Fiction, Magical Realism, Romance
Format: Paperback
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Coincidence of Coconut Cake

Fall in love with The Simplicity of Cider, the charming new novel about an aloof but gifted cider-maker whose quiet life is interrupted by the arrival of a handsome man and his young son at her family’s careworn orchard by the author of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake and Luck, Love & Lemon Pie.

Focused and unassuming fifth generation cider-maker Sanna has one desire: to live a simple, quiet life on her family’s apple orchard in Door County, Wisconsin. Although her business is struggling, Sanna remains fiercely devoted to the orchard, despite her brother’s attempts to convince their aging father to sell the land.

Isaac Banks has spent years singlehandedly trying to shield his son Sebastian from his troubled mother. Fleeing heartbreak, Isaac packed up their lives and the two headed out on an adventure, taking odd jobs as they drove across the country from California, pulling up to Sanna’s orchard at exactly the right time...

Isaac’s helping hands are much appreciated at the apple farm, even more when Sanna’s father is injured in an accident, leaving her as his sole caretaker. As Sanna’s formerly simple life becomes increasingly complicated, she finds solace in unexpected places—friendship with young Sebastian and something more deliciously complex with Isaac—until an outside threat infiltrates the farm. Can Sanna save the orchard and her budding romance? Or will she lose more than she knew she had?

From the warm and funny Amy E. Reichert, The Simplicity of Cider is a charming love story with a touch of magic, perfect for fans of Sarah Addison Allen and Gayle Forman.

About Amy E. Reichert

Amy Reichert earned her MA in Literature from Marquette University, and honed her writing and editing skills as a technical writer (which is exactly as exciting as it sounds). As a newly minted member of the local library board, she loves helping readers find new books to love. She’s a life-long Wisconsin resident with (allegedly) a very noticeable accent, a patient husband, and two too-smart-for-their-own-good kids. When time allows, she loves to read, collect more cookbooks than she could possibly use, and test the limits of her DVR.

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Reichert’s debut, The Coincidence of Coconut Cake, was sweet, simple fun. The Simplicity of Cider, her third novel, looks to add a touch of magic mixed in with the romance which is one of my most favorite genre combinations.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Top Ten Tuesday – Steamy Goodness

February 14, 2017 Bonnie Top Ten Tuesday 5 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Today’s topic is, of course, all about the romance.

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Still wanting to participate, I did a variation on the topic. The following are just a few of my favorite books when rating them based on “steam”. For books where I list the first in a series… sometimes the steamy isn’t introduced until later, but it’s well worth the wait. 🙂

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For some sci-fi/fantasy/urban fantasy steamy…
Fortune’s Pawn (Paradox #1)
by Rachel Bach [Purchase//Review]
A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas [Purchase//Review]
Darkfever (Fever #1) by Karen Marie Moning [Purchase]
Wildest Dreams (Fantasyland #1) by Kristen Ashley [Purchase]
Darkhouse (Experiment in Terror #1) by Karina Halle [Purchase]

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For some contemporary steamy…
The Hating Game: A Novel by Sally Thorne [Purchase//Review]
Unteachable
by Leah Raeder [Purchase]
Asking for It (Asking for It #1) by Lilah Pace [Purchase]

For some historical steamy…
Outlander (Outlander #1) by Diana Gabaldon [Purchase]
Some Like It Wild (Kincaid Highland #2) by Teresa Medeiros [Purchase]

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Something To Look Forward To – Week of February 13th, 2017

February 13, 2017 Bonnie Something To Look Forward To 2 Comments

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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 February 13th, 2017

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Ones and Zeroes (Mirador #2) by Dan Wells [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Balzer + Bray

The Last of August (Charlotte Holmes #2) by Brittany Cavallaro [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Katherine Tegen Books

The Valiant by Lesley Livingston [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Razorbill

The Wish Granter (Ravenspire #2) by C.J. Redwine [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Balzer + Bray

A Place of Stone and Shadow (Strands #3) by Jane Nickerson [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by North Loop Books

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Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

American Street by Ibi Zoboi [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Balzer + Bray

Dare You (Nikki Kill #2) by Jennifer Brown [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Katherine Tegen Books

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Dutton Books for Young Readers

Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1) by Vic James [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Del Rey Books

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A Season of Daring Greatly by Ellen Emerson White [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Greenwillow Books

#famous by Jilly Gagnon [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Katherine Tegen Books

MWD: Hell is Coming Home by Brian David Johnson & Jan Egleson [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Candlewick Press

The Luckiest Scar on Earth by Ana Maria Spagna [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Torrey House Press

The Release (The Prey #3) by Tom Isbell [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by HarperTeen

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One Amazing Elephant by Linda Oatman High [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by HarperCollins

The Bone Snatcher by Charlotte Salter [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Dial Books

Last Day on Mars (Chronicle of the Dark Star #1) by Kevin Emerson [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by HarperCollins/Walden Pond Press

The Forbidden Fortress (Omega City #2) by Diana Peterfreund [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Balzer + Bray

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Wolf Moon (Luna #2) by Ian McDonald [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Tor Books

Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Tor Books

Shadowbahn by Steve Erickson [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Blue Rider Press

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Random House

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The Undesired: A Thriller by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Minotaur Books

A Divided Spy (Thomas Kell #3) by Charles Cumming [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by St. Martin’s Press

The Mentor: A Novel by Lee Matthew Goldberg [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Thomas Dunne Books

Blind to Sin by Dave White [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Polis Books

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Racing the Devil (Inspector Ian Rutledge #19) by Charles Todd [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by William Morrow

The Dime by Kathleen Kent [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Mulholland Books

Heartbreak Hotel (Alex Delaware #32) by Jonathan Kellerman [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Ballantine Books

The Shimmering Road (Charlie Cates #2) by Hester Young [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

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August Snow by Stephen Mack Jones [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Soho Crime

The Last Night at Tremore Beach: A Novel by Mikel Santiago [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Atria Books

The Dark and Other Love Stories by Deborah Willis [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by W. W. Norton & Company

The Dark Flood Rises: A Novel by Margaret Drabble [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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Be My Wolff by Emma Richler [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Knopf Publishing Group

The Nearness of You by Amanda Eyre Ward [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Ballantine Books

Their Finest: A Novel by Lissa Evans [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Harper Perennial

We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Viking

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Crown Publishing Group

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On Turpentine Lane by Elinor Lipman [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

The Weight of Him by Ethel Rohan [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by St. Martin’s Press

All That’s Left to Tell by Daniel Lowe [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by Flatiron Books

The Fortunate Ones: A Novel by Ellen Umansky [Purchase]
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by William Morrow

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Stacking the Shelves (162)

February 12, 2017 Bonnie Sunday Book Haul 2 Comments

Recent Posts

New Books

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I finished Pride & Prejudice (narrated by Rosamunde Pike) last week and yes, it was the first time I had ever read it. I enjoyed it FAR more than I thought I would so I’m feeling inspired to pick up a few other classics I never got around to. I have Jane Eyre (narrated by Thandie Newton) lined up next but snagged this version of Madding which is narrated by Davina Porter. I didn’t read a lot of classics when I was younger but I’m finding it’s easier for me to enjoy when I’m actually listening to them instead.

Purchased
Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

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Recommended Reading 101: Office Romance

February 11, 2017 Bonnie Recommended Reading 101 1 Comment

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?

Office Romance 101

28938849If you’re looking for something cute and funny about work enemies falling in love…

The Hating Game is one of the most fantastic debut novels I have ever read. Lucy and Joshua hate each other (but not really because they’ve been secretly falling in love with each other for years). This one has hysterical banter and some seriously hot chemistry.


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If you’re looking for something with more suspense…

Something About You combines a murder mystery with some slow-building office romance between a U.S. attorney and an FBI agent who are working a case together. This one leaned more towards predictable but the chemistry + steamy scenes made this well worth the read.


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If you’re looking for an epistolary novel about finding love in unexpected ways…

Attachments was my very first Rowell and is my all-time favorite of hers. Combining hilarious e-mail banter between friends Beth and Jennifer and a behind the scenes look at the IT man responsible for monitoring work e-mails who slowly begins falling in love with Beth and you’ve got Attachments.


If you joined in for today’s topic, link up below by sharing your blog post link in the comment box!
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Book Tour Review – The Possessions by Sara Flannery Murphy

February 10, 2017 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2017, TLC Book Tours 7 Comments

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

Book Tour Review – The Possessions by Sara Flannery MurphyThe Possessions by Sara Flannery Murphy
Published by Harper on February 7th 2017
Pages: 368
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery
Format: eARC
Source: TLC Book Tours
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository|Audible|HarperCollins
Goodreads


four-stars

In this electrifying literary debut, a young woman who channels the dead for a living crosses a dangerous line when she falls in love with one of her clients, whose wife died under mysterious circumstances

In an unnamed city, Eurydice works for the Elysian Society, a private service that allows grieving clients to reconnect with lost loved ones. She and her fellow workers, known as “bodies“, wear the discarded belongings of the dead and swallow pills called lotuses to summon their spirits—numbing their own minds and losing themselves in the process. Edie has been a body at the Elysian Society for five years, an unusual record. Her success is the result of careful detachment: she seeks refuge in the lotuses’ anesthetic effects and distances herself from making personal connections with her clients.

But when Edie channels Sylvia, the dead wife of recent widower Patrick Braddock, she becomes obsessed with the glamorous couple. Despite the murky circumstances surrounding Sylvia’s drowning, Edie breaks her own rules and pursues Patrick, moving deeper into his life and summoning Sylvia outside the Elysian Society’s walls.

After years of hiding beneath the lotuses’ dulling effect, Edie discovers that the lines between her own desires and those of Sylvia have begun to blur, and takes increasing risks to keep Patrick within her grasp. Suddenly, she finds her quiet life unraveling as she grapples not only with Sylvia’s growing influence and the questions surrounding her death, but with her own long-buried secrets.

A tale of desire and obsession, deceit and dark secrets that defies easy categorization, The Possessions is a seductive, absorbing page-turner that builds to a shattering, unforgettable conclusion.

About Sara Flannery Murphy

Sara Flannery Murphy grew up in Arkansas, where she divided her time between Little Rock and Eureka Springs, a small artists’ community in the Ozark Mountains. She received her MFA in creative writing at Washington University in St. Louis and studied library science in British Columbia. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband and son. The Possessions is her first novel.

‘The fear swirls out of my mind, the last dregs of water spinning and sliding down the drain.
I open my eyes and reach for the cup, swallow the lotus. It barely takes any time before I’m gone.’

Eurydice (Edie) has worked for the Elysian Society as a body for five years where she acts as a conduit connecting individuals with their deceased loved ones. By consuming a lotus pill, it allows the “body” to almost disconnect so as to allow the loved one to once again have a physical form. The physical aspects of the body never change, but their mind returns as if they were never gone. Many don’t survive in the job for long but Edie is well-suited for it, lacking any emotional connections and much preferring to relinquish her body for that brief respite from the past that haunts her. When Patrick Braddock enters the Elysian Society to reconnect with his wife Sylvia who died almost two years ago under puzzling circumstances, Edie develops an obsession in both Patrick and Sylvia. With each visit from Patrick, Edie retains pieces of Slyvia’s memory, helping her assemble the puzzle surrounding Sylvia’s death.

‘I’m overwhelmed by the thought of all the women who would pour out of me if I were cracked open: swarming like insects, bubbling up out of my mouth. The women who have collected inside me over the years, filling up my insides until there’s no room left for me.’

This debut novel is fascinating. Murphy combines a contemporary story with paranormal aspects to create something quite mesmerizing. The entire concept of the Elysian Society and the lotuses is written loosely and never delves into any scientific aspects to explain exactly how channeling is done, but the vagueness still makes it a credible concept. As readers, we don’t actually witness what occurs when the lotus is consumed until later in the story which certainly gets imaginations running wild at the idea of taking a pill and giving a spirit free reign of your body. The lotuses themselves and how it’s described is incredibly reminiscent of the Lotus-Eaters from Greek mythology and the Odyssey. “Those who ate the honey-sweet lotus fruit no longer wished to bring back word to us, or sail for home. They wanted to stay with the Lotus-eaters, eating the lotus, forgetting all thoughts of return.” (The Odyssey, BkIX:63-104) Obviously, this is absent any aspect of channeling the dead, but the notion of becoming mentally absent and “forgetting all thoughts” is rather comparable to the lotuses in The Possessions.

‘My reflection lies trapped in the darkening window. A tree branch cuts through my torso, the spidery limbs fanned like veins and arteries spreading outward from my heart.’

The strongest aspect of this story is by far the author’s skillful writing style. The elaborate and sumptuous style felt often at odds with the emotionally disconnected voice of the narrator. Edie comes across as a character shrouded in mystery that we’re told very little about but this never lessened the strength of her voice in driving the story nor any interest in discovering more about her. The weakest aspect was the parallel mystery that never coalesced quite as natural as it could have but I felt the story would have suffered if it simply hadn’t been included at all.

The Possessions was a story that lingered long after I read the final page. Love, loss, and tragedy play expected roles in this tale that leaves you contemplating if you’re ever truly able to leave your past behind. Sara Flannery Murphy’s debut novel shows incredible potential for brilliant stories to come.

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This post was a part of ‘The Possessions’ blog tour.
Check out the other tour stops below!

Tuesday, February 7th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, February 8th: Stranded in Chaos
Thursday, February 9th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Friday, February 10th: For the Love of Words
Monday, February 13th: Rebecca Radish
Tuesday, February 14th: Books and Bindings
Wednesday, February 15th: A Soccer Mom’s Book Blog
Thursday, February 16th: The Ludic Reader
Friday, February 17th: Leigh Kramer
Monday, February 20th: Art Books Coffee
Tuesday, February 21st: Tina Says…
Wednesday, February 22nd: Kahakai Kitchen
Thursday, February 23rd: Doing Dewey|
Friday, February 24th: Luxury Reading
Saturday, February 27th: Sweet Southern Home
Sunday, February 28th: Thoughts On This ‘n That
Tuesday, March 1st: Stacy’s Books
Wednesday, March 2nd: As I turn the pages

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Short & Sweet – Beyond Shame, Beyond Control, Beyond Denial

February 9, 2017 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2017, Short & Sweet Reviews 4 Comments

Short & Sweet – Beyond Shame, Beyond Control, Beyond DenialBeyond Shame by Kit Rocha
Series: Beyond #1
Published by Kit Rocha on September 15th 2012
Pages: 354
Genres: Diiiirrrrrrttyyy, Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository|Audible
Goodreads


three-stars

All Noelle Cunningham has ever wanted is a life beyond–beyond the walls of Eden, where only the righteous are allowed to remain, and beyond her stiflingly restrictive existence as a councilman’s daughter. But only ruins lie outside the City, remnants of a society destroyed by solar storms decades earlier.

The sectors surrounding Eden house the corrupt, the criminal–men like Jasper McCray, bootlegger and cage fighter. Jas clawed his way up from nothing to stand at the right hand of Sector Four’s ruthless leader, and he’ll defend the O’Kane gang with his life. But no fight ever prepared him for the exiled City girl who falls at his feet.

Her innocence is undeniable, but so is their intense sexual attraction, and soon they’re crossing every boundary Noelle barely knew she had. But if she wants to belong to Jas, first she’ll have to open herself to the gang, to a dangerous world of sex, lust and violence. A world where passion is power, and freedom is found in submission.

“She’d been cast out of Eden and straight into Hell.”

Outside the walls of Eden is complete ruin after solar storms destroyed much of the Earth, but many have found ways to survive and even thrive. Noelle Cunningham, a councilman’s daughter, has lived her entire life behind the heavily regulated walls of Eden but after getting caught in various compromising acts she is thrown out into the Sectors to fend for herself. She hasn’t walked the Sectors long before she’s drugged and is being stalked through the streets when she is rescued by Jasper McCray, an O’Kane lieutenant of Sector Four. When his protective instinct arises, he decides to take her under his wing. The O’Kanes, led by Dallas O’Kane, are the most dangerous gang in all the Sectors and their money is made from distilling alcohol and smuggling it into Eden where alcohol is forbidden. Sector Four is led with an iron fist but for the most part, it’s a non-stop party where regulations are non-existent like they are in Eden. Alcohol and sex are enjoyed without shame and Noelle will be in for an eye-opening experience.

This book has been on my TBR for years because the genre combination of post-apocalyptic and erotica was too intriguing a concept to pass up. Except there were like two sentences that reference the reason the world is the way it is, a chapter or two about conflicts between Sectors, and the rest was basically one giant orgy.

Yes, I know, it’s erotica (or as I like to call it, word porn) so I shouldn’t be surprised at all but word porn can have a storyline too, so excuse me. Anyways, Jasper ends up putting Noelle in the hands of Lex who decides to teach her how it’s done out in the sectors. No, not like, how to work or earn her keep (although I guess it is?) anyways… it was basically, “Hey, I’m Lex, here are some clothes of mine you can borrow because you can’t wear that to the sex party. I’ll introduce you to people later. I’m going to give this guy a blowjob, you should watch carefully because you’re going to also get down here and practice. And later we’ll have dance lessons because you’re going to be a stripper. Welcome to Sector Four!”

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Get a girl a drink first, ffs. So yes, this is definitely erotica, don’t be fooled as I was by the post-apocalyptic aspect thrown in for effect.

Jasper and Noelle of course get cozy super fast and out in the Sectors you don’t get wedding rings. You get collars. Yes, like a dog, oh except it’s tattooed on you. You get collared and you’re supposed to be submissive because you’re owned and… what in the fuck did I read? The one aspect of this story that smoothed all these jagged flaws out was the topic of consent. It wasn’t all about the women because men got “taken care of” way more than the women did but the need for consent was always being brought up. The women were never forced into doing a single thing that they didn’t want to do, which was appreciated, even though half the time I was like

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But if they were cool with it, then you do you.

The actual legitimate issue I had with this story though was Noelle herself. Rules that heavily restrict society in general is bound to cause turmoil and some massive rebelling and that’s exactly what got kicked Noelle out of her home. She comes off as cute and innocent because that’s what Eden instructed her to be but she’s still got that rebellious streak and it comes out through her interest in sex. It seems like an understandable curiosity at first but this chick is either thinking about sex, talking about sex, or bemoaning how terrible she is for being the way she is. You discover not a damn thing about her character other than this. As Navessa put it ever so eloquently: “she’s basically a clit with legs”.

Despite my abundant issues, this was oddly unputdownable. I’m intrigued by the fact that each story in the series focuses on a different couple but I am hoping that the world-building and characterization is built on as well.

Short & Sweet – Beyond Shame, Beyond Control, Beyond DenialBeyond Control by Kit Rocha
Series: Beyond #2
Published by Kit Rocha on March 13th 2013
Pages: 400
Genres: Diiiirrrrrrttyyy, Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic
Format: eBook
Source: Freebie
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository|Audible
Goodreads


three-stars

She refuses to be owned.

Alexa Parrino escaped a life of servitude and survived danger on the streets to become one of the most trusted, influential people in Sector Four, where the O’Kanes rule with a hedonistic but iron fist. Lex has been at the top for years, and there’s almost nothing she wouldn’t do for the gang…and for its leader. Lie, steal, kill—but she bows to no one, not even Dallas O’Kane.
He’ll settle for nothing less.

Dallas fought long and hard to carve a slice of order out of the chaos of the sectors. Dangers both large and small threaten his people, but it’s nothing he can’t handle. His liquor business is flourishing, and new opportunities fuel his ambition. Lex could help him expand his empire, something he wants almost as much as he wants her. And no one says no to the king of Sector Four.

Falling into bed is easy, but their sexual games are anything but casual. Attraction quickly turns to obsession, and their careful dance of heady dominance and sweet submission uncovers a need so deep, so strong, it could crush them both.

Beyond Control centers around the relationship between Lex and Dallas and holy shit, these two be crazy. We learn that Lex wasn’t always in Sector Four, she used to be owned and was something of a sex slave in another Sector so she has issues with submission (as can be expected). Her and Dallas have been something of a thing for years but he hasn’t made her an honest woman and collared her yet so she decides to force his hand one day and gets his name tattooed across her stomach. He responds as she expected and bestows a gorgeous temporary collar on her made of leather and chains. They finally seal the deal by having sex (without an audience either!) because even though they’ve been at it for years, Dallas wouldn’t sleep with her until she was officially collared.

Goddamn, this is some romantic shit.

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As hoped, we do find out more about the state of the world (only a little though) and the politics between Sectors plays a much larger part. Overall though, this one was a bit of a rocky read for me. I never much cared for the dynamic between Lex and Dallas and his continued insistence that she wants to be owned touched a bit of a nerve when you consider her past. Once again, the consent train comes barreling in to the station to make all the crazy shit okay. I just didn’t super buy it this time. And whether it’s because of the lack of characterization or what, but I don’t actually like any of these characters. I didn’t like Noelle’s doe-eyed, innocent act, Jasper was this seemingly brainless brute that just wanted to protect the pretty lady, Lex has clearly got some mental hangups due to her past but goddamn she’s angsty, and Dallas is the king of brainless brutes. Their sex scenes were also not nearly as hot as in the prior book mostly because the domination factor was through the roof and that got old quick.

I continue to have many of the same issues with these stories but they leave me completely riveted. It almost must be said that they definitely don’t read like the self-published books that they are. I may not have any partiality when it comes to characters but I have enjoyed meeting new couples with each story… definitely keeps things interesting.

Short & Sweet – Beyond Shame, Beyond Control, Beyond DenialBeyond Denial by Kit Rocha
Series: Beyond #2.5
Published by Kit Rocha on March 22nd 2013
Pages: 15
Genres: Diiiirrrrrrttyyy, Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic
Format: eBook
Source: Freebie
Amazon
Goodreads


three-stars

Caution: this story is not meant to stand alone.

The Beyond Happily Ever After stories are vignettes and outtakes showing the O'Kanes in their daily lives, in between the adventures and often after their happy endings. These stories were written exclusively for readers and fans of the series, and will probably not make very much sense to anyone not familiar with the characters.

The stories are also available for free at kitrocha.com.

lol Yeah, I’m still reading these.

Beyond Denial consists of just 15 pages, seeing as it’s actually a deleted scene from Beyond Control (so make sure to read that one first). Since each book focuses on a different couple, I was anticipating a book between Ace and Rachel, but this deleted scene is actually between Ace and Jared. And they aren’t having a chat.

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I’m growing to appreciate the openness of sexuality in these stories. The things that go on may seem a little extreme and crazy but I find the general absence of labels, shame, and taboos that we constantly deal with in society to be quite refreshing. I wasn’t sure if I’d be continuing these stories because they’re really not my thing… but they’ve got their hooks in me.

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Waiting on Wednesday – The Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey

February 8, 2017 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 10 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – The Boy on the Bridge by M.R. CareyThe Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey
Published by Orbit on May 2nd 2017
Pages: 400
Genres: Horror, Zombies
Format: Hardcover
Amazon|B&N|Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Girl with All the Gifts

A new standalone novel set in the same world as the USA Today bestseller The Girl With All The Gifts.

From the author of USA Today bestseller The Girl With All the Gifts, a terrifying new novel set in the same post-apocalyptic world.

Once upon a time, in a land blighted by terror, there was a very clever boy.

The people thought the boy could save them, so they opened their gates and sent him out into the world.

To where the monsters lived.

About M.R. Carey

Mike Carey was born in Liverpool in 1959. He worked as a teacher for fifteen years, before starting to write comics. When he started to receive regular commissions from DC Comics, he gave up the day job.

Since then, he has worked for both DC and Marvel Comics, writing storylines for some of the world's most iconic characters, including X-MEN, FANTASTIC FOUR, LUCIFER and HELLBLAZER. His original screenplay FROST FLOWERS is currently being filmed. Mike has also adapted Neil Gaiman's acclaimed NEVERWHERE into comics.

Somehow, Mike finds time amongst all of this to live with his wife and children in North London. You can read his blog at www.mikecarey.net

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I raved about The Girl with All the Gifts but never expected anything more set in that world. The Boy on the Bridge is intended as a standalone story set in the same world and whether or not reading Girl before is a requirement or not remains to be seen. But color me intrigued.

confused adam levine maroon 5 interested intrigued

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Top Ten Tuesday – More Of/Less Of

February 7, 2017 Bonnie Top Ten Tuesday 19 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Today’s topic is a broad one: books that we wish had more/less of X. I could list a multitude of books that need more romance, horror novels that need more terror, so instead of nitpicking specific issues I decided to nitpick quantity. Speaking of quantity, I couldn’t settle on 10. It is what it is.

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Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie & Bob Mayer
I’ve read many, many books over the years but Agnes has always stayed shining in my memory. She deserves more books.

The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan
Levithan’s writing style in this will always be one of my favorites. More stories should be written in such a way.

School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins
I remember when this was supposed to be the start of a new series but then it wasn’t and ended up just being grouped in with Hex Hall. Izzy deserves her own series.

The Awesome by Eva Darrows
Maggie Cunningham is so fantastically snarky that I would love to read about her future antics.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Maybe Ernest Cline could come up with story where a sequel to OASIS was found in some attic like they keep claiming with Michael Crichton books.

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Paradox series by Rachel Bach
MORE DEVI SPACE ADVENTURES. Rupert can come too, please.

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
I mean, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny grow up. They aren’t like those Land Before Time dinosaurs… so let’s have some grown up adventures, yeah?

Brian Froud’s Faerielands series
Each of these books are based off Brian Froud’s art. Each of the four are fantastic and I would love to see more stories based off his art.

Locke & Key series by Joe Hill
Joe Hill has always been one of my favorite horror authors but he knocks it out of the park with these graphic novels. I’d love to see more in this world.

Indexing series by Seanan McGuire
I’m not sure if more books are being planned but I sure hope so. McGuire’s dark fairy tales series is so much fun.

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Newsflesh series by Mira Grant
I adored the original trilogy and the short stories are phenomenal but Feedback was… no.

Fever series by Karen Marie Moning
WHY DIDN’T SHE JUST LEAVE IT AT FIVE. Everything after Shadowfever (Iced and beyond) has been not good (yet I keep reading them). The latest, Feversong, is supposed to be the final installment. We’ll see if that sticks.

All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness
I loved A Discovery of Witches but the following two installments in the trilogy were such an epic disappointment. I’m not sure where the series went wrong but wrong it went.

Me Before You series by Jojo Moyes
While I didn’t dislike After You as a great many did, I can agree that it was wholly unnecessary. Me Before You was a heartbreaking story but was complete and should have been left to stand on its own.

Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
I love this series. But the last one? Holy hell, what a chore to get through. While the history of the time period is fascinating, it seems to be the story instead of the story that Gabaldon creates. I’ll keep reading them because I think the end is near, but I’d love if we could get back to what made these fantastic in the beginning.

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