Author: Jenn Bennett

Book Review – The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett

December 4, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2015, YA 2 Comments

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

Book Review – The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn BennettThe Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett
Published by Feiwel & Friends on November 3rd 2015
Pages: 304
Genres: Contemporary, Mental Illness
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Binding the Shadows, Banishing the Dark

two-stars

A mysterious graffiti artist, an anatomy-obsessed artist, and a night bus that will bring the two together.

Artist Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she's spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Da Vinci's footsteps, she's ready to tackle the one thing that will give her an advantage in a museum-sponsored scholarship contest: drawing actual cadavers. But when she tries to sneak her way into the hospital's Willed Body program and misses the last metro train home, she meets a boy who turns her summer plans upside down.

Jack is charming, wildly attractive . . . and possibly one of San Francisco's most notorious graffiti artists. On midnight buses and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who Jack really is—and tries to uncover what he's hiding that leaves him so wounded. But will these secrets come back to haunt him? Or will the skeletons in Beatrix's own family's closet tear them apart?

style-3 review

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart introduces two uncommon artists that meet one another on the Night Owl bus. Beatrix “Bex” Adams is intent on spending her summer perfecting her scholarship entry, an intricate drawing of a cadaver. Jack Vincent is also an artist, but of the more secretive sort, seeing as his graffiti/art goes up on the walls of buildings all over the city. Bex’s focus from her scholarship entry to Jack and his intriguing nature and otherworldly good looks immediately switches and predictability ensues.

I’m a huge fan of this author and her adult Urban Fantasy series, Arcadia Bell. While I’m not a frequent reader of YA Contemporary I was still anxious to see how Bennett did with the switch to YA. Suffice it to say, it breaks my anatomical heart to not have loved this as much as I had hoped. Initially, this reminded me heavily of Graffiti Moon but I failed to fall for Bex and Jack as much as I fell for Lucy and Ed. So, if you’re looking for another love story + graffiti, this isn’t it. At first, I did love Bex. I loved her tales of kids at school calling her Wednesday Addams because of the way she dressed, her affinity for braids, and naturally because of her similar last name. I loved her quirkiness and her desire to do art that was outside of the norm. I loved her conviction and determination to win the scholarship. I wanted her romance with Jack to not completely devour all things interesting about her, but it did. She transformed into a total manic pixie dream girl with Jack fitting in completely as the manic pixie dream boy.

‘When the jacket stood back up, it grew arms and legs and a face that probably competed with Helen of Troy’s in the ship-launching department.
Jack.’

‘He was a walking figure study in beautiful lines and lean muscle, with miles of dark lashes, and cheekbones that looked strong enough to hold up his entire body.’

There is honestly nothing worse than a heroine waxing poetic about a boys looks,  ad nauseam. A sufficient description without going overboard or sounding like a swoony idiot would have been preferable. So Jack goes around the city of San Francisco in his 1958 Corvette tagging up the place. He has a “retro-rockabilly” look and wears mala beads but claims to be a bad Buddhist. As anticipated, he has a mysterious past where something somber happened but he can’t talk about it because sad.

Then there’s Bex and her sudden obsession with all things Jack. There’s one point in the story where the duo hadn’t been talking because Jack was going through his sad things. A new piece of Jack’s art appears with a single word: ENDURE. Bex begins mulling over the meaning and of course immediately made it all about her.

‘ENDURE. Did it mean anything? Was he expressing something about whatever he was going through? Was it a sign that he was ready to communicate again?’

Oh, come on. His art/graffitti/whatever you want to call it clearly has personal meaning for him and he was doing it long before he met you. The answer is the very definition of the word: to suffer (something painful or difficult) patiently. The whole psuedo-mystery surrounding Jack’s past (including his romantic past) could have all been resolved over a nice, simple heart-to-heart. But that’s too rational to actually happen and where would we get the requisite drama? I don’t know, I don’t mean to hate on it so much but it was all just so predictable, pretentious, and overdone.

But before I morph into a complete asshole, I’m going to end on a happy note and talk about the one thing I did appreciate about this story: the sex-positive message. We have two teen characters that actually make it a point to have a discussion about sex before diving straight in. There’s also a parent that’s open about sex talks and brings home mass quantities of condoms… just in case. View Spoiler »

I’m clearly not the targeted reader and sometimes I feel I do books a disservice by attempting to explore these genres that I don’t typically read, just in an attempt to branch out. Nothing wrong with reading outside of your comfort zone but I think it’s time to accept that YA contemporary love stories are simply not my cup of tea.

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Waiting on Wednesday – The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett

May 27, 2015 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday, YA 8 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn BennettThe Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett
Published by Feiwel & Friends on November 3rd 2015
Pages: 304
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: Hardcover
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Binding the Shadows, Banishing the Dark, The Anatomical Shape of a Heart

A mysterious graffiti artist, an anatomy-obsessed artist, and a night bus that will bring the two together.

Artist Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she's spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Da Vinci's footsteps, she's ready to tackle the one thing that will give her an advantage in a museum-sponsored scholarship contest: drawing actual cadavers. But when she tries to sneak her way into the hospital's Willed Body program and misses the last metro train home, she meets a boy who turns her summer plans upside down.

Jack is charming, wildly attractive . . . and possibly one of San Francisco's most notorious graffiti artists. On midnight buses and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who Jack really is—and tries to uncover what he's hiding that leaves him so wounded. But will these secrets come back to haunt him? Or will the skeletons in Beatrix's own family's closet tear them apart?

About Jenn Bennett

JENN BENNETT is an artist and author who writes books for adults and teens, including the Roaring Twenties series (Bitter Spirits, Berkley Sensation) and the Arcadia Bell UF series (Kindling the Moon, Pocket Books). Her first YA contemporary romance, The Anatomical Shape of a Heart, will be released in 2015 (Feiwel & Friends). She lives near Atlanta with one husband and two evil pugs. Visit her at www.jennbennett.net.

Jenn Bennett tackles Contemporary YA (one of my least read genres) however I’m totally on board because I’m really loving the concept of this one.

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 – Banishing the Dark (Arcadia Bell #4) by Jenn Bennett

May 2, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2014 2 Comments

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

Early Review – Banishing the Dark (Arcadia Bell #4) by Jenn BennettBanishing the Dark by Jenn Bennett
Series: Arcadia Bell #4
Published by Pocket Books on May 27, 2014
Pages: 384
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Binding the Shadows, The Anatomical Shape of a Heart

four-stars

The fourth and final installment of a "riveting" (RT Book reviews) urban fantasy series about a renegade mage and the demons who love her.

Complicated does not begin to describe Arcadia Bell's life right now: unnatural magical power, another brush with death, and a murderous mother who's not only overbearing but determined to take permanent possession of Cady's body. Forced to delve deep into the mystery surrounding her own birth, Cady must uncover which evil spell her parents cast during her conception…and how to reverse it. Fast. As she and her lover Lon embark on a dangerous journey through her magical past, Lon's teenage son Jupe sneaks off for his own investigation. Each family secret they uncover is darker than the last, and Cady, who has worn many identities—Moonchild, mage, fugitive—is about to add one more to the list.

Arcadia Bell Series

Kindling the Moon (Arcadia Bell #1) {Purchase}
Summoning the Night (Arcadia Bell #2) {Purchase}
Leashing the Tempest (Arcadia Bell #2.5) {Purchase}
Binding the Shadows (Arcadia Bell #3) {Purchase – My Review}

Banishing the Dark picks up weeks after the explosive ending in Binding the Shadows. Cady is back at home after recuperating in the hospital but there is still much to be concerned about, primarily her violent mother who will stop at nothing to take Cady’s powers. In an attempt to protect Cady and her loved ones, a memory spell is cast that ends up causing even more problems. It’s a race against the clock to find out reverse the spells performed on Cady as a child, before her entire life is taken from her.

I wouldn’t have thought it possible that by the fourth installment the character growth would continue to dig in deep making me love these characters even more and have them ranking right up there with my all-time favorite characters. Lon is such an amazing male lead and ranks right up there with Curran as one of the very best in Urban Fantasy. Cady is such a realistic and strong female lead that I love just as much as Kate Daniels and Kara Gillian. There was also an added bonus with the writing where dual POV’s were used: Cady and Jupe. Jupe has always been a favorite character of mine because of his crazy antics so it was enjoyable seeing a part of the story through his eyes.

The Arcadia Bell series has easily become one of my all-time favorite Urban Fantasy series. And now it’s time to say goodbye.

What I loved most about this one was how everything was sufficiently wrapped up yet didn’t have that perfect cherry on top sort of finish. There were still slight issues that the characters were dealing with and issues that they anticipated having to deal with in the future. They didn’t have a perfect fairytale ending but they did have a satisfying ending and I loved that. While I would not complain about more installments, I must say that in retrospect this was the perfect time to end it. There weren’t so many loose ends to tie up that Banishing the Dark turned into one major info-dump to answer all ongoing questions which is an issue I have with many series enders.

Many bloggers that had the opportunity to read this early were not aware going into it that this was to be the final installment. I was glad to be warned ahead of time but it didn’t make the goodbyes any less sad. All I can say is, as much as I’d love to read more of Cady’s story I can respect the authors decision to end it when she knows it’s right. Cady and Lon and Jupe will all be missed but there’s always re-reads. 🙂

One final note I couldn’t resist mentioning… I got my first review blurb published! It’s in this book and it’s a blurb from the third installment, Binding the Shadows.

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Early Review – Binding the Shadows (Arcadia Bell #3) by Jenn Bennett

May 23, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013 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.

Early Review – Binding the Shadows (Arcadia Bell #3) by Jenn BennettBinding the Shadows by Jenn Bennett
Series: Arcadia Bell #3
Published by Pocket Books on May 28th 2013
Pages: 366
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Banishing the Dark, The Anatomical Shape of a Heart

five-stars

In the third book in this beloved and “riveting” (Romantic Times) urban fantasy series, demon-friendly tiki bar owner Arcadia Bell discovers more about her own evolving, and possibly destructive, magical abilities when her bar is the target of a demonic crime wave.

Renegade mage and bartender Arcadia Bell has had a rough year, but now the door to her already unstable world is unhinging. When a citywide crime wave erupts, Cady's demon-friendly tiki bar is robbed by Earthbounds wielding surreal demonic abilities that just flat-out shouldn't exist. With the help of her devilishly delicious boyfriend, Lon Butler, Cady sets out to find the people who wronged her—but her targets aren't the only ones experiencing unnatural metamorphoses. Can Cady track down the monsters responsible before the monster inside her destroys everything—and everyone—she loves? If she survives this adventure, one thing is certain: it's last call for life as she knows it.

Arcadia Bell Series

Kindling the Moon (Arcadia Bell, #1)Summoning the Night (Arcadia Bell, #2)Leashing the Tempest (Arcadia Bell, #2.5)

Kindling the Moon (Arcadia Bell #1) {Purchase}
Summoning the Night (Arcadia Bell #2) {Purchase}
Leashing the Tempest (Arcadia Bell #2.5) {Purchase}

*No spoilers for any installments*

There are those kinds of Urban Fantasy worlds that are intricately built and detailed that you can completely envision and understand it. But then there are those kinds of worlds that are so easily envisioned that they are almost real. Sure there’s a demon realm and magicians and all sorts of other craziness going on but you could swear it’s really happening around you, Arcadia Bell’s world is just that vivid. It’s a world that manages to suck you in and make you a part of it all. That’s the kind of world that Jenn Bennett has crafted in her Arcadia Bell series.

In my experience, the longer a series goes on for the less likely I am to continue loving it. Characters get old, story lines feel reused… I just prefer stand-alones more often than not. Well, that theory gets completely blown out of the water when it comes to this series. This series has managed to get infinitely better with each new story, and Binding the Shadows is the best installment yet. The character growth continues building, the relationships continue to get stronger and more involved, and I can only sit back and marvel at the complexity of the story lines.

I was in complete awe by the last page. Jenn Bennett isn’t afraid to take the risk and inflict her characters with immense pain and suffering but I believe that risky chance paid off big. These characters may be fictional but they struggle despite their magical abilities and it manages to humanize them. Binding the Shadows leaves you with a jaw-dropper of an ending that will leave you desperately wanting ‘Crossing the Æthyr’. Urban Fantasy fans: read this series, it won’t fail to enthrall you.

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