Author: Simone St. James

Rapid Reviews – Invitation to a Bonfire, The City Where We Once Lived, The Broken Girls, We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other Stories

July 13, 2018 Bonnie Book Reviews, Rapid Fire Reviews, Read in 2018 5 Comments

Sometimes review writing is hard. Sometimes you don’t have a lot to say. Sometimes you’re just lazy as fuck. These are Rapid Fire Reviews.

Rapid Reviews – Invitation to a Bonfire, The City Where We Once Lived, The Broken Girls, We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other StoriesInvitation to a Bonfire by Adrienne Celt
Published by Bloomsbury USA on June 5, 2018
Pages: 256
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
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Short Summary: The tepid tale of a love triangle gone wrong (although do any of them ever go right?) that was inspired by Vladimir and Vera Nabokov’s marriage.

Thoughts: The summary makes it easy to go into this novel with certain expectations (seductive story, spellbinding psychological thriller) but this story is, possibly because it was written as a series of letters, comes off as extremely apathetic and lethargic.

Verdict: Unfortunately, this tale failed to seduce or spellbind me and considering this was meant to be based off the notorious Nabokov’s, I expected that infamous passion to bleed through the page more.three-stars

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.

Rapid Reviews – Invitation to a Bonfire, The City Where We Once Lived, The Broken Girls, We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other StoriesThe City Where We Once Lived by Eric Barnes
Published by Arcade on March 6, 2018
Pages: 272
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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Goodreads

Short Summary: After climate change has irrevocably changed the world we live in, a group of individuals continues to live their day to day lives in the ruins of a crumbling city while struggling under the weight of their memories.

Thoughts: A story that’s eerily reminiscent of the world we live in today, painting a terrifying scenario of not just how the world can easily transform into a nightmare but individuals as well.

Verdict: Many have said that the post-apocalyptic genre has been overdone, but The City Where We Once Lived felt refreshingly different with its in-depth focus on the decline of humanity which also mirrored the downfall of the surrounding world.

three-half-stars

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.

Rapid Reviews – Invitation to a Bonfire, The City Where We Once Lived, The Broken Girls, We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other StoriesThe Broken Girls by Simone St. James
Published by Berkley Books on March 20, 2018
Pages: 336
Genres: MysteryHistorical Fiction
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
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Goodreads

Also by this author: An Inquiry Into Love and Death

Short Summary: Journalist Fiona Sheridan has been unable to shake the mystery surrounding her sisters’ death twenty years past but when new evidence arises, it uncovers the secrets of a much older mystery as well.

Thoughts: This gothic mystery (with a dual timeline to boot) is quite the engaging and well-written tale despite its more implausible bits.

Verdict: Simone St. James’ writing is most impressive considering the fact that I read this over the course of an entire month (not the book’s fault, I was on vacation for 2 weeks as well) and still managed to retain the details of the story and fall immediately back into it whenever I was able to open the pages once again.

three-half-stars

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.

Rapid Reviews – Invitation to a Bonfire, The City Where We Once Lived, The Broken Girls, We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other StoriesWe Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other Stories by C. Robert Cargill
Published by Harper Voyager on June 12, 2018
Pages: 304
Genres: Horror
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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Goodreads

Also by this author: Dreams and ShadowsQueen of the Dark Things

Short Summary: A collection of ten short stories including “As They Continue to Fall”, a man who hunts angels, “Hell They Call Him, the Screamers”, a butcher that liberates souls, “Hell Creek”, dinosaurs that won’t stay dead long, and “We Are Where the Nightmares Go”, a little girl opens a door beneath her bed.

Thoughts: This was a most excellent collection of bizarre and horrific stories that included a short story he had written twenty years ago, effectively showing the evolution of Cargill’s writing from fantastic to superb.

Verdict: I’ve read a few of Cargill’s novels (Dreams and Shadows is absolutely fantastic and 100% worth checking out) but when an author excels at short fiction it always makes me sit upright. More, please!

four-half-stars

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.

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Early Review – An Inquiry Into Love and Death by Simone St. James

March 4, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013 3 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.

Early Review – An Inquiry Into Love and Death by Simone St. JamesAn Inquiry Into Love and Death by Simone St. James
Published by NAL on March 5th 2013
Pages: 368
Genres: Ghosties, Gothic, Historical Fiction, Mystery
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Broken Girls

three-stars

From the acclaimed author of The Haunting of Maddy Clare —and “a talent to watch” (Anne Stuart, New York Times bestselling author of Shameless)—a spellbinding ghost story set in 1920s England.

After her uncle Toby, a renowned ghost hunter, is killed in a fall off a cliff, Oxford student Jillian Leigh must rive to the seaside village of Rothewell to pack up his belongings. Almost immediately, unsettling incidents - a book left in a cold stove, a gate swinging open on its own - escalate into terrifying events that convince Jillian an angry spirit is trying to enter the house and is haunting the woods around Blood Moon Bay. If Toby discovered something sinister during his investigations, was his death no accident?

The arrival of handsome Scotland Yard inspector Drew Merriken leaves Jillian with more questions than answers - and with the added complication of a powerful mutual attraction. She suspects someone will do anything to hide the truth and begins to discover secrets that lie deep within Rothewell... and at the very heart of who she is.

When Jillian is informed that her Uncle Toby passed away after committing suicide she’s the only family that is willing and able to come and collect his belongings. Upon visiting the quaint seaside village of Rothewell that he was staying at, she finds quickly that there is something strange about this town. Realizing that her Uncle Toby had been staying there working as a ghost hunter she realizes that he may have been right and something is in fact haunting this village. Determined to prove that her Uncle didn’t kill himself Jillian teams up with a gentleman from Scotland Yard to solve the mystery so he can rest in peace.

‘What had just happened between us? He’d touched only my arm, but I’d felt the reverberations of that touch through my body like an echo. I could still feel them now.’

An Inquiry Into Love and Death is comprised of ghosts, family secrets, conspiracy and romance. The romance was the most unexpected addition and I wasn’t sure it was the best addition but it was still nonetheless sweet. It felt very historical romance/bodice ripper to me though and considering I went into this expecting an intricate historical fiction/ghost story it could have been a disappointment. I think the fact that I do enjoy historical romances made this not such a downside but I can see this being a flaw as the marketing on this didn’t hint at this as much as it should have.

There are many spooky moments and the writing was vivid and detailed to heighten the visualization. I found it intriguing that there are not only instances of ghosts but boggarts as well. Having not encountered any boggarts since Harry Potter I thought this was an interesting and fresh concept to the normal ghost story.

This was a well-told and entertaining story but didn’t have anything exceptionally special to garner a higher rating. I think having the understand beforehand that romance plays a huge part in her stories typically will help adjust my expectations prior to starting. Definitely intrigued enough by this author to check out earlier works though.

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