Author: Cat Winters

Life’s Too Short – If We Were Villains, Ill Will, Yesternight

June 2, 2017 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Life's Too Short, YA 8 Comments

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

Life’s Too Short – If We Were Villains, Ill Will, YesternightIf We Were Villains by M.L. Rio
Published by Flatiron Books on April 11th 2017
Pages: 352
Genres: Mystery
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads


dnf

Enter the players. There were seven of us then, seven bright young things with wide precious futures ahead of us. Until that year, we saw no further than the books in front of our faces.

On the day Oliver Marks is released from jail, the man who put him there is waiting at the door. Detective Colborne wants to know the truth, and after ten years, Oliver is finally ready to tell it.

Ten years ago: Oliver is one of seven young Shakespearean actors at Dellecher Classical Conservatory, a place of keen ambition and fierce competition. In this secluded world of firelight and leather-bound books, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingénue, extra. But in their fourth and final year, the balance of power begins to shift, good-natured rivalries turn ugly, and on opening night real violence invades the students’ world of make believe. In the morning, the fourth-years find themselves facing their very own tragedy, and their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, each other, and themselves that they are innocent.

Part coming-of-age story, part confession, If We Were Villains explores the magical and dangerous boundary between art and life. In this tale of loyalty and betrayal, madness and ecstasy, the players must choose what roles to play before the curtain falls.

DNF @ 10%

I overlooked the Shakespearean focus of this novel in favor of the comparisons to The Secret History. My mistake. Shakespeare has just never, and I’m resigned to believe will never, be my thing. The opening gives the reader a glimpse at the future, of one of the main characters being released for jail for an unknown crime, and it’s a hook that works. But then we’re introduced to seven characters: Richard, Meredith, Filippa, Alexander, Wren, James, and Oliver. Every single one of these characters, regardless of gender, all blended together without any helpful differentiation to keep track of who was who. The theater kid stereotypes were excessive in my opinion and you practically had to be a theater kid to understand and/or appreciate most of it.

“That was ruthless,” I said, sotto voce.

The author holds a Masters in Shakespeare studies so, being as far from a theater kid as one can get, I can only assume she knows what she’s talking about. Constantly quoting Shakespeare in conversation got old, fast, and by 10% I put on my hipster glasses and called it quits.

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

Life’s Too Short – If We Were Villains, Ill Will, YesternightIll Will by Dan Chaon
Published by Ballantine Books on March 7th 2017
Pages: 480
Genres: Mystery
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads


dnf

Two sensational unsolved crimes—one in the past, another in the present—are linked by one man’s memory and self-deception in this chilling novel of literary suspense from National Book Award finalist Dan Chaon.

“We are always telling a story to ourselves, about ourselves,” Dustin Tillman likes to say. It’s one of the little mantras he shares with his patients, and it’s meant to be reassuring. But what if that story is a lie?

A psychologist in suburban Cleveland, Dustin is drifting through his forties when he hears the news: His adopted brother, Rusty, is being released from prison. Thirty years ago, Rusty received a life sentence for the massacre of Dustin’s parents, aunt, and uncle. The trial came to symbolize the 1980s hysteria over Satanic cults; despite the lack of physical evidence, the jury believed the outlandish accusations Dustin and his cousin made against Rusty. Now, after DNA analysis has overturned the conviction, Dustin braces for a reckoning.

Meanwhile, one of Dustin’s patients gets him deeply engaged in a string of drowning deaths involving drunk college boys. At first Dustin dismisses talk of a serial killer as paranoid thinking, but as he gets wrapped up in their amateur investigation, Dustin starts to believe that there’s more to the deaths than coincidence. Soon he becomes obsessed, crossing all professional boundaries—and putting his own family in harm’s way.
From one of today’s most renowned practitioners of literary suspense, Ill Will is an intimate thriller about the failures of memory and the perils of self-deception. In Dan Chaon’s nimble, chilling prose, the past looms over the present, turning each into a haunted place.

DNF @ 25%

Dan Chaon is one of those literary writers everyone raves about. Ill Will has received many spectacular reviews but I’ve realized that he has a style that is very eclectic and definitely isn’t for everyone and that unique writing style is what ultimately did me in. I understand the reason for writing it this way (bouncing between narrators and time) because it caused a sense of disorientation regarding the mystery already surrounding the crime (when Dustin was a teen, his mother, father, aunt, and uncle were murdered and he accused his adopted older brother). Not only did the story bounce rapidly between narrators and between time but often there were sentences left incomplete and particular chapters where text was written in columns and you had to flip back and forth between pages to finish the one column before starting the next which was very difficult on Kindle. I’m not sure if Chaon was going for some House of Leaves-esque formatting or what but it left me so confused in trying to figure out how to read it that I failed to get lost in the story itself.

I received this book 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 – If We Were Villains, Ill Will, YesternightYesternight by Cat Winters
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on October 4th 2016
Pages: 374
Genres: Mystery, Historical Fiction
Format: ARC
Source: Library Thing
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Also by this author: In the Shadow of Blackbirds, The Cure for Dreaming, The Uninvited: A Novel

dnf

From the author of The Uninvited comes a haunting historical novel with a compelling mystery at its core.  A young child psychologist steps off a train, her destination a foggy seaside town. There, she begins a journey causing her to question everything she believes about life, death, memories, and reincarnation.

In 1925, Alice Lind steps off a train in the rain-soaked coastal hamlet of Gordon Bay, Oregon. There, she expects to do nothing more difficult than administer IQ tests to a group of rural schoolchildren. A trained psychologist, Alice believes mysteries of the mind can be unlocked scientifically, but now her views are about to be challenged by one curious child.

Seven-year-old Janie O’Daire is a mathematical genius, which is surprising. But what is disturbing are the stories she tells: that her name was once Violet, she grew up in Kansas decades earlier, and she drowned at age nineteen. Alice delves into these stories, at first believing they’re no more than the product of the girl’s vast imagination.  But, slowly, Alice comes to the realization that Janie might indeed be telling a strange truth.
Alice knows the investigation may endanger her already shaky professional reputation, and as a woman in a field dominated by men she has no room for mistakes. But she is unprepared for the ways it will illuminate terrifying mysteries within her own past, and in the process, irrevocably change her life.

DNF @ 10%

I’d say that I simply picked this up at the wrong time, mood-wise, except I tried to read this book a handful of times on different occasions and never got past 10%. The pacing was the hardest for me because from the very beginning it’s a slow-build and simply didn’t grab my attention in that 10% enough that I felt the need to keep going. The main character, Alice, was also strangely distant and she never quite captured my interest. Cat Winters is typically a favorite of mine but this one just didn’t do it for me.

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Waiting on Wednesday – Odd & True by Cat Winters

April 26, 2017 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 17 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Odd & True by Cat WintersOdd & True by Cat Winters
Published by Amulet Books on September 12th 2017
Pages: 368
Genres: Fairy-Tales/Retellings
Format: Hardcover
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: In the Shadow of Blackbirds, The Cure for Dreaming, The Uninvited: A Novel

Trudchen grew up hearing Odette’s stories of their monster-slaying mother and a magician’s curse. But now that Tru’s older, she’s starting to wonder if her older sister’s tales were just comforting lies, especially because there’s nothing fantastic about her own life—permanently disabled and in constant pain from childhood polio.

In 1909, after a two-year absence, Od reappears with a suitcase supposedly full of weapons and a promise to rescue Tru from the monsters on their way to attack her. But it’s Od who seems haunted by something. And when the sisters’ search for their mother leads them to a face-off with the Leeds Devil, a nightmarish beast that’s wreaking havoc in the Mid-Atlantic states, Tru discovers the peculiar possibility that she and her sister—despite their dark pasts and ordinary appearances—might, indeed, have magic after all.

About Cat Winters

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

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

I’ve been all about the fantasy lately and especially Fairy-Tales/Retellings. This one sounds all sorts of fantastic and that cover is badass. 🙂

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What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Book Review – The Steep & Thorny Way by Cat Winters

September 2, 2016 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2016, YA 5 Comments

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

Book Review – The Steep & Thorny Way by Cat WintersThe Steep & Thorny Way by Cat Winters
Published by Amulet Books on March 8th 2016
Pages: 352
Genres: Historical Fiction, Fairy-Tales/Retellings
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: In the Shadow of Blackbirds, The Cure for Dreaming, The Uninvited: A Novel

two-stars

Prohibition, the KKK, and Hamlet collide in this richly imagined historical mystery by Morris Award finalist Cat Winters

A thrilling reimagining of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, The Steep and Thorny Way tells the story of a murder most foul and the mighty power of love and acceptance in a state gone terribly rotten.

1920s Oregon is not a welcoming place for Hanalee Denney, the daughter of a white woman and an African-American man. She has almost no rights by law, and the Ku Klux Klan breeds fear and hatred in even Hanalee’s oldest friendships. Plus, her father, Hank Denney, died a year ago, hit by a drunk-driving teenager. Now her father’s killer is out of jail and back in town, and he claims that Hanalee’s father wasn’t killed by the accident at all but, instead, was poisoned by the doctor who looked after him—who happens to be Hanalee’s new stepfather.

The only way for Hanalee to get the answers she needs is to ask Hank himself, a “haint” wandering the roads at night.

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 The year is 1923 and in a small town in Oregon, hate spreads like wildfire. Life is challenging for Hanalee Denney, the daughter of a black man and a white woman, but she has learned to persevere. When her father is killed by a drunk driver, she’s devastated by his absence from her life, especially after her mother quickly remarries. The boy responsible for his death, Joe Adder, is released from prison a mere seventeen months after being sentenced and once Hanalee finds out she takes her anger and a loaded gun to pay him a visit. After speaking with Joe, she leaves with her entire perception changed after hearing a vastly different story about what happened the night her dad died: he didn’t die from an automobile accident and that the man her mom remarried is the one truly responsible for his death.

I’ve read every Cat Winters book at this point but they seem to be hit or miss for me. I loved both In the Shadow of Blackbirds and The Uninvited, but felt The Cure for Dreaming was slightly mediocre in comparison. The Steep & Thorny Way falls in the latter category. Much like Dreaming, I felt that the subject matter was something I would normally welcome, however, overall it ended up feeling incredibly flat and listless. Cat Winters signature style has always been a fusion of stories with historical importance and a flair of paranormal, and it’s something that she does quite well. With, Thorny though, the Hamlet retelling comparisons as well as the paranormal aspects were elements which could have been left out entirely without affecting the story. A story about a half black/half white girl living during the rise of the Ku Klux Klan and a homosexual boy that is struggling to survive in a time where the study of eugenics has many thinking the issue of homosexuality is something that can be “fixed” is absolutely a strong enough story on its own.

I always appreciate the lesser known periods of history being given a spotlight and it’s interesting to see a story focus on the influence of the Ku Klux Klan extending far past the deep South, clear into Oregon. Tackling both race and sexuality prejudices in addition to touching on the topic of eugenics was edifying without feeling overwhelming, except I kept feeling off and on as if these characters were simplistic versions of their true potential. I suppose what it all boils down to though is Winters definitely demonstrates the ugliness of the times, yet it’s covered in a glossy veneer that hides the true grotesqueness doing the seriousness of the story somewhat of a disservice.

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Waiting on Wednesday – Yesternight by Cat Winters

July 20, 2016 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 2 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Yesternight by Cat WintersYesternight by Cat Winters
Published by William Morrow on October 4th 2016
Pages: 400
Genres: Historical Fiction, Paranormal
Format: Paperback
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: In the Shadow of Blackbirds, The Cure for Dreaming, The Uninvited: A Novel

From the author of The Uninvited comes a haunting historical novel with a compelling mystery at its core. A young child psychologist steps off a train, her destination a foggy seaside town. There, she begins a journey causing her to question everything she believes about life, death, memories, and reincarnation.

In 1925, Alice Lind steps off a train in the rain-soaked coastal hamlet of Gordon Bay, Oregon. There, she expects to do nothing more difficult than administer IQ tests to a group of rural schoolchildren. A trained psychologist, Alice believes mysteries of the mind can be unlocked scientifically, but now her views are about to be challenged by one curious child.

Seven-year-old Janie O’Daire is a mathematical genius, which is surprising. But what is disturbing are the stories she tells: that her name was once Violet, she grew up in Kansas decades earlier, and she drowned at age nineteen. Alice delves into these stories, at first believing they’re no more than the product of the girl’s vast imagination. But, slowly, Alice comes to the realization that Janie might indeed be telling a strange truth.

Alice knows the investigation may endanger her already shaky professional reputation, and as a woman in a field dominated by men she has no room for mistakes. But she is unprepared for the ways it will illuminate terrifying mysteries within her own past, and in the process, irrevocably change her life.

About Cat Winters

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

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

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I absolutely adored The Uninvited. Adored. It wasn’t quite as popular as her Young Adult novels, being her first targeted solely towards Adults, but I feel like her books really straddle the line and can be equally appreciated by all. Can’t wait for this one though!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

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

August 11, 2015 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Giveaways, Read in 2015, Release Day Feature 9 Comments

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

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

Also by this author: In the Shadow of Blackbirds, The Cure for Dreaming, The Steep & Thorny Way

five-stars

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

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

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

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

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

About Cat Winters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This giveaway is open to US residents only.

Ends August 25th, 2015

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Review – The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters

March 5, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2015, YA 4 Comments

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

Book Review – The Cure for Dreaming by Cat WintersThe Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters
Published by Harry N. Abrams on October 14th 2014
Pages: 368
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: In the Shadow of Blackbirds, The Uninvited: A Novel, The Steep & Thorny Way

three-stars

Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl-a suffragist-in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It's 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia's father, concerned that she's headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she's able to see people's true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she's drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women. Winters breathes new life into history once again with an atmospheric, vividly real story, including archival photos and art from the period throughout.

‘You will see the world the way it truly is. The roles of men and women will be clearer than they have ever been before. You will know whom to avoid.’

The Cure for Dreaming is set during the early 1900’s in Oregon where the fight women’s suffrage is really starting to gather steam. It won’t be until August 26th, 1920 when the 19th amendment to the Constitution becomes ratified but even at this point, women are determined to speak their mind. Olivia Mead is a modern girl with hopes and dreams of one day being able to wear pantaloons in public, of going to college and getting a job and of one day being able to vote for President. Her mother had these same hopes and left her with her father when she was just four years old to follow her dreams. Not wanting to be accused of being just like her mother, Olivia has kept her thoughts and feelings to herself, for the most part. When her father determines it’s his duty to cure her of her dreaming, he hires a hypnotist, Henri Reverie, to remove any thoughts or feelings that would be considered inappropriate for a lady to possess. Instead of doing what was intended, the hypnotist opens her mind to see the world exactly how it is, showing her the true monsters around us.

“She’s only a bird in a gilded cage…”

What I loved most about Cat Winters debut novel In the Shadow of Blackbirds was the interesting fusion of historical and supernatural elements. She uses this same technique in The Cure for Dreaming, however, it didn’t seem as fitting in this situation. After being hypnotized, Olivia is able to see the true ugliness of people. The mean-spirited and nastiness within causes them to be reflected in her eyes as legit monsters with fangs and claws. Often compared to the descriptions of her favorite book Dracula, suddenly she’s seeing these monsters in real life. The constant references to Dracula made it all seem like a strange coincidence and made it seem as if it was just a product of an overactive imagination. In addition to the monsters, she also begins to witness women throughout town literally fading into existence yet there are other women, those who are in support of the women’s suffrage movement, who shine brightly with their determination to have their voices be heard. I loved the message, but the supernatural elements made the evil villains feel like a caricature and essentially lessened the true strength of it for me.

What this atmospheric story does do extraordinary well is bring the 1900’s to life with a wonderful amount of detail. Cat Winters also incorporated various black and white photographs from the period with fantastic quotes as she did in her previous novel, which I loved. What I also loved, which was a surprise to me, was the romantic element. It was crafted slowly, there was a distinct lack of insta-love and didn’t get overly focused on at all. It was incredibly sweet and touching and I loved that it was all a part of her journey of self-discovery rather than a deterrent. I may not have loved this one as much as her debut, but there’s still something incredibly intriguing about the stories that Winters decides to tell and the way in which she brings them to life.

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Waiting on Wednesday – The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters

April 22, 2014 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 19 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – The Cure for Dreaming by Cat WintersThe Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters
Published by Amulet Books on October 14th 2014
Pages: 400
Genres: Historical Fiction, Paranormal
Format: Hardcover
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: In the Shadow of Blackbirds, The Cure for Dreaming, The Uninvited: A Novel

Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women. Winters breathes new life into history once again with an atmospheric, vividly real story, including archival photos and art from the period throughout.

About Cat Winters

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

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

I was a huge fan of this authors extremely impressive debut novel In the Shadow of Blackbirds and I’ve been anxious for more since. The Cure for Dreaming quite possibly sounds even better. I can’t wait!

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

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

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Early Review – In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

March 7, 2013 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013, YA 8 Comments

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

Early Review – In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat WintersIn the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters
Published by Amulet Books on April 2nd 2013
Pages: 404
Genres: Ghosties, Gothic, Historical Fiction, Horror, Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Cure for Dreaming, The Uninvited: A Novel, The Steep & Thorny Way

four-stars

In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first love—a boy who died in battle—returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her?

Featuring haunting archival early-twentieth-century photographs, this is a tense, romantic story set in a past that is eerily like our own time.

‘Stay still. Smile. And summon the dead.’

Mary Shelley Black is a sixteen year old girl living in a war ravaged world. After her father is arrested she is forced to flee and stays with her Aunt in San Diego. After losing her father and finding out that her childhood love, Stephen, has lost his life in the war, Mary Shelley struggles desperately to cling to a reason to continue living when she’s visited by Stephen, as a spirit who is traumatized by visions of his death that he continues to re-live. Realizing that she’s the only one that can see him and the only one that can help him she begins to seek out information regarding his death and what truly happened to him.

Wowsa. This book was high on my anticipating in 2013 list and I’m so very glad to say that it lived up to all the anticipation. This was a fabulous, and fresh ghost story that fans of the genre will enjoy.

‘I think between the war and the flu, no one’s going to escape getting haunted. We live in a world so horrifying, it frightens even the dead.’

Blackbirds had an amazing story albeit based strongly on actual history. The story centers on the year 1918 when the Spanish influenza has swept through cities and World War I is ongoing. It was quite a dreary time to write about and Cat Winters didn’t hold back or try and make the story any less bleak and I loved that. The black and white pictures that were included throughout the book made the perfect addition to really showcase the mood of the story.

And oh, young love. The love between Mary and Stephen was so touching and quite shocking in its fervency. It may have seemed a tad unlikely that two could love each other so much at such a young age but it was beautifully written and completely believable. Your heart will ache for them.

This could have been like any other typical war story but what really managed to make this something special and distinctive was the focus on the increased interest in a spiritual nature as mourners became willing to attempt anything to assuage the pain of losing a loved one. A truly wonderful story, Cat Winters debut is an absolute triumph. In the Shadow of Blackbirds possesses a subtle intensity that will leave you breathless.

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