Publisher: Amulet Books

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 – 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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Early Review – Dying to Know You by Aidan Chambers

January 25, 2012 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2012, 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.

Early Review – Dying to Know You by Aidan ChambersDying to Know You by Aidan Chambers
Published by Amulet Books on April 1, 2012
Pages: 288
Genres: Realistic YA Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads


two-half-stars

Karl, aged seventeen, is hopelessly in love. But the object of his affections, Firella, demands proof, and poses him a series of questions regarding his attitude to the many sides of love. But Karl is dyslexic, and convinced that if Firella finds out, she will think he is stupid, and unworthy of her, and leave him.

So Karl asks a local writer to help him construct his replies - and an unlikely, but extremely touching, friendship develops between the two men. They both come to learn a great deal about about life from a very different perspective, and when an act of violence shatters their calm, they find their respective appraisal of life shifting in profound ways.

“OK. Let me sum up and you can tell me if I’ve got it right. You’ve met a girl you admire and would like to keep her as your girlfriend. She fancies you and she wants to know about your private life, your intimate self, because she believes that real friends – let’s say, lovers – tell each other about their secret selves. And she insists on you writing this. But you don’t like talking about yourself, and writing would be torture because of your dyslexia. So you’ve come to me, who you know nothing about except that I write books Fiorella likes. And you want me to help you by writing for you what she wants you to write for her in proper English. Is that it?”

“That’s about it, yes.”

Alright, I admit it. It was really the cover that made me want to read this book. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a cute goldfish apparently.This is a very simple story that only somewhat managed to draw me in. I prefer that my contemporary novels have an original edge and a storyline that I can’t see from a mile away and this one was pretty straight forward. It’s also tagged as a YA novel but the writing seemed geared towards a more mature crowd.

It was a pleasant read that focused primarily on dialog only. I wanted more explanation about the characters; more detail that wasn’t always conveyed in the dialog. I also didn’t understand the immediate blooming relationship that occurred between Karl and the writer. I can understand his desire to help Karl and set up a couple of interview sessions so that he can find out more about him personally, but shortly after meeting and they’re already taking a fishing trip together? Just seemed a tad unrealistic to me, but maybe I’m just not friendly enough. haha

All in all, I liked it, it was well written, but it fell short of missing the mark.

“Sometimes the course of our lives depends on what we do or don’t do in a few seconds, a heartbeat, when we either seize the opportunity, or just miss it. Miss the moment and you never get the chance again.”

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