Publisher: Ballantine Books

Book Review – Unravel by Calia Read

Posted October 17, 2014 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, New Adult, Read in 2014 / 1 Comment

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.

Book Review – Unravel by Calia ReadUnravel by Calia Read
Published by Ballantine Books on August 26th 2014
Pages: 324
Genres: Mental Illness, Mystery, Suspense
Format: Paperback
Source: Library Thing
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two-half-stars

Six months ago, I was happy. I was simply Naomi Carradine.

One month ago, I was admitted into a psych ward.

Yesterday, Lachlan visited me. Kissed me. And told me that I’m starting to lose my mind.

Hours later, Max haunted my thoughts, reminding me I’m not crazy and that he needs my help.

A few minutes ago, I drifted further from reality, trying to unravel the past.

And now...everyone thinks I’m insane. But, I know he's real, and I know he needs me.

Do you believe me?

‘Listen closely. Hang on to every word. But most of all, please believe me.’

It’s been a full month since Naomi Carradine was involuntarily admitted to Fairfax Mental Health Institute. She’s adamant that she’s fine, healthy and ready to go home but the doctors are also adamant that it’s going to require more time for her to be ready. Her memories of the past leave her baffled and confused as to why her parents would ever put her in a place like this. As part of her therapy she begins to tell her story, her full story, and slowly the painful pieces of her life begin to piece back together.

Unravel was incredibly captivating from the very start. The story transitions between her present life in the mental health institute and various pieces of her past. I was thoroughly engrossed and eager to find out how Naomi got in the position she was in and with each new bit of information it continued to be intriguing but all conclusions I came to were shrouded in a haze and nothing made sense. I spent the majority of this book in a haze, questioning everything and disliking the character because of her actions.

It wasn’t pleasant, however, it still made for quite the page turner. It feels wrong to complain about the confusion the story causes only to have it all answered in the end, but I can’t help it. There were various instances where I was close to quitting, but as I said, it does make sense when you have the resolution but getting there is half the problem.

My main issue from the very beginning was the semblance of a love triangle that was happening. Naomi has returned home for the summer from college but is staying with her friend Lana’s parents as her parents are traveling Europe. Naomi went off to college, leaving behind Lachlan after the two professed their love for each other. Upon Naomi’s return, however, she meets Max and their tumultuous affair is sudden and instantaneous. It’s incredibly hot and super steamy but it came straight outta left field.

‘…if you listened very carefully, you would hear the sound of a faint tear. That was just the sound of my heart unraveling like a torn ribbon.
All from one touch.’

This is the 2nd time they’ve met.

‘The hunger I had for him was like an addiction. It controlled me. It took away the power I thought I had and controlled every single action I made.’

This is the 3rd time they’ve met.

It was an eye-rolling good time. In addition to their mad infatuation with one another right off the bat, Max was doing things for her that no new boyfriend would ever do, like get crazy angry when something bad happened to Naomi’s friend and subsequently helped her pay rent when she needed to move into her own place. Again, it all becomes justified in the end and makes much more sense in retrospect but there were sections that were so ill-fitting that it made it a tough pill to swallow overall.

Unravel is a New Adult novel that touches on the deep topic of mental illness. Having read books that featured similar storylines, I can’t say Unravel was my favorite or that it was even portrayed accurately. Not being a doctor, I could be completely off the mark but some things just didn’t seem logical. I did enjoy the psychological twists overall though because they were shocking and kept me guessing right up till the very end. Just a heads up, there is one, maybe two incredibly violent scenes of rape that were very hard to read about.

I’ve been very wary about branching out into New Adult because the subject matter never sounds like my cup of tea. Unravel seemed to possess an originality that I would enjoy so I took a leap of faith. While I wasn’t completely disappointed, I did expect more.

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Book Review – The Twelve (The Passage #2) by Justin Cronin

Posted November 6, 2012 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2012 / 1 Comment

Book Review – The Twelve (The Passage #2) by Justin CroninThe Twelve by Justin Cronin
Series: The Passage #2
Published by Ballantine Books on October 16th 2012
Pages: 626
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Horror, Paranormal, Vampires
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The City of Mirrors

three-stars

THE EPIC STORY OF THE PASSAGE CONTINUES...

At the end of The Passage, the great viral plague had left a small group of survivors clinging to life amidst a world transformed into a nightmare. In the second volume of this epic trilogy, this same group of survivors, led by the mysterious, charismatic Amy, go on the attack, leading an insurrection against the virals: the first offensives of the Second Viral War.

To do this, they must infiltrate a dozen hives, each presided over by one of the original Twelve. Their secret weapon: Alicia, transformed at the end of book one into a half human, half viral—but whose side, in the end, is she really on?

The Passage series

I felt like I waited half a lifetime for this to be released and I’ll admit, I’m pretty damn disappointed. The Passage blew me away and is one of my all-time favorites/ The Passage really took some patience and focus because Justin Cronin’s writing is so intricately detailed that it’s incredibly easy to miss something important but it was SO worth it. It all began with several individual story lines that had no apparent relation with one another but as time progressed they started to intersect with one another to form one hugely multi-faceted story. The Twelve brings that writing style back into the spotlight with a new array of characters and new storylines.

There were such an immense amount of characters and intersecting storylines from The Passage that I was more than a bit worried that I wouldn’t be able to understand what was going on in The Twelve. Fortunately, we’re given a refresher in the form of biblical writings from “The Book of Twelves”. I thought that the way it was done in the prologue was sheer genius. (Admittedly, I was a bit skeptical at first by the biblical approach he took and continued to take throughout the extent of the book. It threw me a bit but Justin Cronin is a genius and it managed to work out.)

It’s strange though, because if you really think about it the original story line from The Passage was solely focused on government conspiracies and the creation of a virus that went completely wrong and was unleashed on the world after the virus was given to death-row-inmates. In The Twelve, the story is centered around a city where individuals are utilizing vampire blood in order to achieve immortality. A far cry from the original story, which was a bit of a disappointment because I would have loved to find out more about the original Twelve.

The main difference for me between The Passage and The Twelve is how the multiple storylines inevitably intersected. With The Passage it was seamless and once everything came together there was the big ‘Ahhh’ moment where everything was clear and the light bulb went on. For me, I think when the ‘Ahhh’ moment was intended to happen my reaction was more along the lines of ‘Uh… I still don’t get it.’ Completely riveting story lines, complex and detailed to the max, but ultimately lacked in coming full circle and left me with far too many questions than answers.

The City of Mirrors, the final installment, isn’t due out for 2 years but I will of course be reading it. I’m hoping that questions are finally answered and aren’t left as they have been: a bunch of hypothetical possibilities.

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Early Review – Never Seduce a Scot (The Montgomerys and Armstrongs #1) by Maya Banks

Posted September 5, 2012 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2012 / 0 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 – Never Seduce a Scot (The Montgomerys and Armstrongs #1) by Maya BanksNever Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks
Series: The Montgomerys and Armstrongs #1
Published by Ballantine Books on September 25th 2012
Pages: 418
Genres: Historical Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon
Goodreads


four-stars

Eveline Armstrong is fiercely loved and protected by her powerful clan, but outsiders consider her “touched.” Beautiful, fey, with a level, intent gaze, she doesn’t speak. No one, not even her family, knows that she cannot hear. Content with her life of seclusion, Eveline has taught herself to read lips and allows the outside world to view her as daft. But when an arranged marriage into a rival clan makes Graeme Montgomery her husband, Eveline accepts her duty—unprepared for the delights to come. Graeme is a rugged warrior with a voice so deep and powerful that his new bride can hear it, and hands and kisses so tender and skilled that he stirs her deepest passions.

Graeme is intrigued by the mysterious Eveline, whose silent lips are ripe with temptation and whose bright, intelligent eyes can see into his soul. As intimacy deepens, he learns her secret. But when clan rivalries and dark deeds threaten the wife he has only begun to cherish, the Scottish warrior will move heaven and earth to save the woman who has awakened his heart to the beautiful song of a rare and magical love.

Why have I waited so long to read Maya Banks? This was the perfect historical romance: steamy yet romantic. ‘Never Seduce a Scot’ is the start of a new series entitled ‘The Montgomerys and Armstrongs’ which I will most definitely be continuing!

The summary had me intrigued but I felt that the reference to Eveline being ‘fey’ had me expecting a paranormal historical twist, but… there wasn’t any paranormal anything to be found within these pages.

Eveline though, was a fantastic character and one that managed to light up the pages despite her lack of dialogue (at first). I really love it when authors create imperfect characters since it adds something ‘different’ to the otherwise typical historical romance storyline. Eveline was strong despite her inability to hear and despite the hostile environment she’d been forced into.

‘She twisted his insides into knots he had no hope of loosening.’

The romance was a bit insta-love but still managed to be heartwarming regardless. You can’t help but love Graeme because of his continued support of Eveline despite the fact that he’s being forced to marry her even with their family history. I loved their obvious chemistry and enjoyed being able to see how much he cared for her by the end pages.

This definitely won’t be my last book by this author! Fantastic!

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Book Review – The Silver Wolf (Legends of the Wolf #1) by Alice Borchardt

Posted September 29, 2011 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 / 5 Comments

Book Review – The Silver Wolf (Legends of the Wolf #1) by Alice BorchardtThe Silver Wolf by Alice Borchardt
Series: Legends of the Wolf #1
Published by Ballantine Books on June 16, 1998
Pages: 480
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Paranormal
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


five-stars

Regeane is a fatherless royal relation who happens to be a werewolf. Her guardian, Gundabald, and his venal son Hugo plan to recoup their fortunes by marrying Regeane to a wealthy bridegroom, even though she might inadvertently make him into a bedtime snack. Gundabald forces her into apparent compliance by threatening to reveal her secret to the Church, which would burn her at the stake. As the bridegroom, Maeniel, journeys to Rome to claim her, Regeane discovers allies in her quest to defeat Gundabald's machinations, including some very strong, funny, and levelheaded women. Unfortunately for Regeane, she also has more powerful enemies than Gundabald.
Alice Borchardt brings 8th-century Rome vividly to life. Her language is earthy and sensuously descriptive: "The wolf visited Regeane's eyes and ears. The girl staggered slightly with the shock. The light in the square became intense. Smells an overwhelming experience: wet stone, damp air, musty clothing, perspirations shading from ancient sticky filth to fresh acrid adrenal alarm."

Borchardt is Anne Rice's sister, but she writes a very different sort of tale. Ghosts, the dead, and supernatural forces are here, but so is laugh-out-loud humor and a happy ending. --Nona Vero

The Storyline
Regeane is a half-Saxon and half-Frankish woman without a father; her mother, Gisela is the cause of his death. After Gisela discovers that Woflstan, Regeane’s father, is a shape shifter and is able to take the form of a wolf she is convinced by her brother Gundabald that he must be the devils child and must be killed. Gisela is thankful that her daughter doesn’t appear to have any of the traits of her father; however, when she gets older she gains the ability to change into a wolf as well. Regeane had an extremely hard life as her mother attempted to ‘fix her’ and forces her to drink concoctions, pray for hours on end, and to swear that she would never change into the wolf. Nothing works.

When Gisela dies, Regeane is left in the care of Gundabald and his son Hugo who treat her horribly by keeping her locked in her room, feeding her scraps, and barely passable clothing. Gundabald informs her one day that she is to be wed to a wealthy mountain lord named Maeniel. Scared for her life she runs away from Gundabald and seeks solace in the care of Lucilla, the Pope’s mistress. Lucilla learns of her secret and promises to keep her as safe as possible from having her future-husband discover it as well. As Regeane says regarding Maeniel:

”I don’t plan to love him. I plan to survive him.”

The Characters
The characters were positively vibrant. Regeane was the epitome of strength and smart beyond her years. My favorite though? Maeniel. He has his own secrets just as Regeane and you can’t help but be entranced by him as well. Read it, you’ll see exactly what I mean. 🙂 Regeane and Maeniel didn’t meet until close to the end of the book, but the passion and love that developed between the two was well worth the wait.

Just a Note
I feel the need to write a word of warning for this novel. Many of you who have briefly scanned over the summary of this novel and said, “Oooh! Werewolves!” Stop and listen before you read this, end up severely disappointed and end up rating it all kinds of awful. This is what I like to call a ‘big girl book’. You will not find any melodrama here nor any love triangles. The main character may be a teen girl; however, you will not find any typical YA storylines here. I think a lot of people have the wrong expectations when going into this book. This is like, werewolves being thrown into a Game of Thrones or Mists of Avalon type storyline. Very mature writing, very mature situations, just with a teen girl that turns into a wolf.

This book has been on my bookshelf for YEARS. Being a huge fan of Anne Rice I had always wanted to read her sisters writing as well. Yep, Alice Borchardt is the sister of Anne Rice. But as far as my first experience with Alice Borchardt’s writing? I was not disappointed in the least. This was truly a book to be savored rather than gulped down, so don’t let the fact that it took me forever to read it discourage you.

This was a very detailed and intricate story that was beautiful in its intensity. Alice Borchardt was an extremely talented writer and it’s a shame that she isn’t around to continue creating beautiful stories. I finished this book with a smile on my face and will most definitely be reading more from her soon.

My Favorite Quote
“Love is eternal. That is its terror and its final beauty. Love never ends. The joy may go out of it, and, in time, even the pain may end. But it lingers like a living thing and follows you every moment of your life.”

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