Genre: Werewolves

Life’s Too Short – Vox, Pack, Cross Her Heart

September 20, 2018 Bonnie Book Reviews, Life's Too Short, Read in 2018 10 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 – Vox, Pack, Cross Her HeartVox by Christina Dalcher
Published by Berkley on August 21, 2018
Pages: 326
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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dnf

Set in an America where half the population has been silenced, VOX is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.

On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than 100 words daily, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial—this can't happen here. Not in America. Not to her.

This is just the beginning.

Soon women can no longer hold jobs. Girls are no longer taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words a day, but now women only have one hundred to make themselves heard.

But this is not the end.

For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.

DNF @ meh? There was a lot of scan-reading.

I haven’t read many of the recent feminist speculative novels cropping up that are clearly taking inspiration from the newly renewed popularity of The Handmaid’s Tale, but I requested this one and I honestly wish I hadn’t. The issue with Vox, in particular, is it doesn’t seem to be written to show society the dangers in an attempt to right future wrongs, but rather to capitalize on the fears of many. In the beginning of Vox, we’re introduced to a world where all females are fitted with a metal bracelet which delivers a shock if the individual goes over their allotted 100 words per day. Paper, pencils, books, all banned. Jean is a mother of three boys and one girl and she mentally contemplates what she could have done differently to avoid the outcome of the world she finds herself living in. The flashbacks she has regarding her grad school roomie warning her against inaction amid the rise of fundamentalism, how religions are wholly evil, and the indirect references to our current president were all a bit too on the nose. It also didn’t help that the second half turned into some blockbuster thriller and if I couldn’t take the novel seriously before, I certainly wasn’t able to at that point. I’m all about driving home the importance of voting but lines like:

“My fault started two decades ago, the first time I didn’t vote … was too busy to go on [a march].”

I mean criminy, talk about subtle. Voting is incredibly important and I believe that everyone should exercise their right to do so. A single vote might not be the decider in a race, or it could, but at the very least you’ve gone out there and made your opinion known. Dalcher was trying to make a good point, that women’s rights are precarious at best, but maybe don’t wrap up your cautionary tale in the cloak of a thriller simply to make it more exciting.

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.

Life’s Too Short – Vox, Pack, Cross Her HeartPack by Mike Bockoven
Published by Talos on July 3, 2018
Pages: 272
Genres: Paranormal, Werewolves
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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dnf

From the author of FantasticLand comes a supernatural thriller set in a sleepy Nebraska town that mixes the novels of Ann Rice and the pulpy, bloody works of Donald Ray Pollock.

Cherry, Nebraska, population 312, is just off the highway between the sticks and the boonies. It’s where Dave Rhodes and his friends have lived all their lives. They own businesses, raise families, pay taxes, deal with odd neighbors and, once or twice a month just like their fathers before them—transform into wolves. It’s not a bad life, but when one of the group members goes astray, it sets in motion a series of events that will threaten to destroy the delicate balance that has kept Dave and his clan off the radar. Between a son getting ready for his first transformation—called The Scratch—a wife with sordid secrets, a new sheriff who knows nothing of the creatures in his midst, and a mysterious man in a bow tie with a shady agenda, the middle of nowhere is about to get very dangerous.

Interspersed with historical documents and newspaper clippings, and court documents that reveal the past of Cherry, Nebraska, a past informed by spirits, the devil, and crooked cops. In the vein of Donald Ray Pollock and Glen Duncan, Pack is at its heart is the story of family’s survival in an unforgiving world. Mike Bockoven’s second novel moves at breakneck speed with prose that hits like an injection of battery acid. Raw, real, and funny, Pack exposes the horror and tenderness that festers in the forgotten corners of the American Dream.

DNF @ 17%

Pack is described as a supernatural thriller and is likened to Anne Rice (Interview with the Vampire) and Donald Ray Pollock (The Devil All the Time). I am typically not a big werewolf story reader, but my brain went a little wild with excitement over the idea of combining Rice and Pollock, two of my favorite authors. First of all, a supernatural thriller this is not. Small town, werewolf family drama? Absolutely. The characters weren’t very memorable and the storyline itself just felt uneventful and it took me many weeks to even get to the measly 17% I made it to. I know that publishers request lines not be included from review copies, so I won’t, however, the state which the review copy was in absolutely played a part in preventing me from finishing this. Maybe that’s unfair, but this read like the very first draft before a single change was made and before spell-check was even run. There were so many glaring errors (spelling, grammar, you name it) that it was unfortunately too distracting. Here’s hoping the finished copy got a high coat of gloss applied with all the errors buffed out.

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.

Life’s Too Short – Vox, Pack, Cross Her HeartCross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough
Published by William Morrow on September 4, 2018
Pages: 352
Genres: Mystery
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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Also by this author: Mayhem, Murder, The Language of Dying

dnf

Lisa is living a lie and everyone is about to find out.

Lisa lives for her daughter Ava, her job and her best friend Marilyn.

But when a handsome client shows an interest in her, Lisa starts daydreaming about sharing her life with him, too. Maybe she’s ready now. Maybe she can trust again. Maybe it's time to let her terrifying secret past go.

But when her daughter rescues a boy from drowning and their pictures are all over the news for everyone to see, Lisa's world explodes.

As she finds everything she has built threatened, and not knowing who she can trust, it's up to Lisa to face her past in order to save what she holds dear.

But someone has been pulling all their strings. And that someone is determined that both Lisa and Ava must suffer.

Because long ago Lisa broke a promise. And some promises aren't meant to be broken.

DNF @ 24%

After reading (and loving) both Mayhem and Murder, Pinborough was immediately inducted into my auto-read author hall of fame list. There was a brief setback with The Language of Dying (magical realism either REALLY works for me or REALLY doesn’t, there is no in between) but Behind Her Eyes brought me right back to what I love about this author. Which brings me to Cross Her Heart. What’s strange about this one is I read the first 1/4 of this book in a single night and then proceeded to set it down and then completely forgot about it. The storyline alludes to the concept that Lisa and her daughter Ava ran away from something (I’m sure it was all disclosed later in the story) and the story was full of bits and pieces about Lisa refusing to date and how much of a helicopter mom she is and how the mother-daughter duo led a quiet life, but then strange things start popping up from her past that leads Lisa to believe their quiet life isn’t as peaceful as she thought. There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with the story, there just wasn’t anything particularly great. It also didn’t help that it reminded me quite a bit of another mystery I DNF’d earlier this year. I’ll still be keeping my eyes peeled for her next story.

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Book Review – Prudence (The Custard Protocol #1) by Gail Carriger

March 20, 2015 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2015 4 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.

Book Review – Prudence (The Custard Protocol #1) by Gail CarrigerPrudence by Gail Carriger
Series: The Custard Protocol #1
Published by Orbit on March 17th 2015
Pages: 368
Genres: Steampunk, Vampires, Werewolves
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
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Also by this author: Timeless

two-stars
Introducing the Custard Protocol series, in which Alexia Maccon's daughter Prudence travels to India on behalf of Queen, country...and the perfect pot of tea.

When Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama ("Rue" to her friends) is bequeathed an unexpected dirigible, she does what any sensible female under similar circumstances would do -- she christens it the Spotted Custard and floats off to India.

Soon, she stumbles upon a plot involving local dissidents, a kidnapped brigadier's wife, and some awfully familiar Scottish werewolves. Faced with a dire crisis (and an embarrassing lack of bloomers), Rue must rely on her good breeding -- and her metanatural abilities -- to get to the bottom of it all...

Ah, the first not fabulous review of this book. Well. Isn’t this awkward?

 Having read (and loved) Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series I’ve been dying for this new spin-off series. Prudence! Their metanatural daughter all grown up, wreaking all sorts of havoc on London! How freaking fun is this going to be?!?! For me? Not so much. Not so much at all. This was such a chore for me to read and took me a whopping 25 days to get through. 25 days!!! I can’t even begin to explain how sad this makes me.

The first installment in The Custard Protocol series has Prudence acquiring a dirigible that she proceeds to paint to look like a ladybug and she takes off in it on an adventure to India to acquire some rare tea blend for her adopted father Dama. Here lies my first issue with this story: where the hell is the plot? Wait, that’s it? Based on the writing style you’ll know first-off that this is not one to be taken seriously, but it all felt a bit too willy nilly. But hold up, let’s back up a touch to the writing style. Now I read the Parasol Protectorate series so I have already been introduced to Carriger’s floral writing style but holy hell, she cranked it up in Prudence to the point where it was all just so absurd. Like here:

‘One could not blame people for disliking vampires. Vampires were like Brussels sprouts – not for everyone and impossible to improve upon with sauce. There were even those in London who disapproved of Dama, and he was very saucy indeed.’

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this one:

“Rue was further delighted. She twirled. She’d even left her hair down. It felt very wicked. “Is it possible I have a bad case of the spotted crumpet?”

And there were several times when she would refer to facial hair as facial “topiary” and she officially lost me. Add to that was the constant focus on dressing properly and reputations. Prim’s involvement in the story consisted solely of her constant complaining. “Oh! I wore a walking dress, not a carriage dress!” Then there was the time when she wore a traveling dress instead of a visiting dress and they had to leave for India earlier than intended because what a travesty. Stop the presses. I know you don’t have to tell me this is meant to be set in Victorian times and these were very serious issues but it felt so overly focused on that dresses and styles and changing and matching hats all became the entirety of the story. A plot did actually end up appearing, a very serious one actually that not only came out of nowhere but just felt out of place. Also out of place was the odd attempt at a romance that fell completely flat due to absolutely no chemistry.

I’ve wrestled with the inability to describe how and why this story went wrong for me. I found it all a bit pretentious, trifling and frivolous. But there was one particular line uttered by Prudence that completely summed this book up for me:

“When all else failed – overwhelm with inanities.”

Because that’s exactly what this book felt like it did; it completely overwhelmed me with inanities.

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Book Review – Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #4) by Maggie Stiefvater

November 14, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2014, 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 – Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #4) by Maggie StiefvaterSinner by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #4
Published by Scholastic Press on July 1st 2014
Pages: 373
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Werewolves
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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Also by this author: Shiver, Forever, The Raven Boys

two-half-stars

A standalone companion book to the internationally bestselling Shiver Trilogy.

Sinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Everybody thinks they know Cole's story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole's darkest secret -- his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel's life. Can this sinner be saved?

The Wolves of Mercy Falls series

Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) by Maggie Stiefvater {PurchaseReview}
Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #2) by Maggie Stiefvater {Purchase}
Forever (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3) by Maggie Stiefvater {PurchaseReview}

“I can’t change the way I’m made. I’m a performer, a singer, a werewolf, a sinner.”

In this new companion installment in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, Cole St. Clair, the bad boy you can’t help but love, travels to Los Angeles to seek out Isabel for a fresh start and to jump-start his career with a new album. Cole signs on with an Internet reality TV producer (think TMZ) named Baby North who intends to tape his daily life in hopes of being able to get his anticipated relapse caught on tape.

‘It was the first time I’d really realized I’d lost my soul and that the beauty of not having a soul was that you couldn’t seem to care that you no longer had one.’

Sinner was a book that no one expected to ever exist. The Wolves of Mercy Falls series was completely and sufficiently wrapped up years ago, and if you’re of the same opinion as I, it never should have actually gone past book one. No installments following the first were anywhere close to the caliber of Shiver but they were still enjoyable enough and worth the read. Sinner is indeed a stand-alone/companion novel, and even though it has been years since I read the series I was able to quickly catch up following the brief backstory Stiefvater provides to get her readers up to speed. Cole and Isabel’s story and how it was left in Forever, while a bit open to interpretation and not given a concrete finish, didn’t exactly warrant an entire book. I believe the level of enjoyment of Sinner is going to be based solely on whether or not Cole and Isabel were personal favorites of yours from the series. Cole and Isabel’s story is finally given a solid conclusion, albeit a very neatly wrapped up one. Considering the two are quite a damaged duo, I wasn’t expecting that in the least. I also wasn’t expecting this story to involve more about the ‘hazards of fate’, what with Cole being on a reality show than about the romance between our two main characters. It was an interesting inclusion but not exactly a welcome one because it felt more superfluous than anything in an attempts to make this a full-length novel.

All in all, unfortunately, I think we could have done without this installment. I’ll always retain fond memories of Shiver though.

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Book Review: Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #2) by Maggie Stiefvater

April 15, 2012 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2012, YA 4 Comments

Book Review: Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #2) by Maggie StiefvaterLinger Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #2
Published by Scholastic Press on July 13th 2010
Pages: 360
Genres: Fantasy, Werewolves
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
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four-stars

the longing.
Once Grace and Sam have found each other, they know they must fight to stay together. For Sam, this means a reckoning with his werewolf past. For Grace, it means facing a future that is less and less certain.

the loss.
Into their world comes a new wolf named Cole, whose past is full of hurt and danger. He is wrestling with his own demons, embracing the life of a wolf while denying the ties of a human.

the linger.
For Grace, Sam, and Cole, life is a constant struggle between two forces--wolf and human--with love baring its two sides as well. It is harrowing and euphoric, freeing and entrapping, enticing and alarming. As their world falls apart, love is what lingers. But will it be enough?

The Wolves of Mercy Falls series

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Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) by Maggie Stiefvater {PurchaseMy Review}

‘This is a love story. I never knew there were so many kinds of love or that love could make people do so many different things.
I never knew there were so many different ways to say goodbye.’

Grace has never been sick a day in her life since the wolves attacked her when she was a child. Lately, she’s been plagued by a constant headache and a fever that burns deep and has her fearing that this is much more than just the flu. Sam, now human despite the brutal Minnesota cold, still feels as if it’s too good to be true.

Cole is one of the new wolves that Beck turned before he changed for the last time. Cole was an interesting and multi-faceted character. An ex-rock star in his pre-wolf life that was a junkie on the road to disaster. When he was approached by Beck he agreed to the change seeking a respite from the life he had created for himself. Sam and Grace shared the stage with the introduction of the growing attraction between Isabelle and Cole. I found the two couples to be vastly different yet managed to complement each other in the story wonderfully.

Maggie’s writing remains vibrant and beautiful. There’s really no other way to explain it… simple yet not. She’s an amazing writer. I especially loved the small snippets we were given of Sam’s poetry/song writing abilities.

‘I’m an equation that only she solves/these X’s and Y’s by other names called/My way of dividing is desperately flawed/as I multiply days without her’

The ending of Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #2) left me with little doubt that I needed to start Forever immediately. I needed to know the ending to the story even though I have a distinct feeling that it’s going to break my heart. Here’s hoping I’m wrong. 🙂

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