Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

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

Posted July 13, 2018 by Bonnie in 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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Book Review – A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas

Posted May 19, 2017 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, New Adult, Read in 2017 / 5 Comments

Book Review – A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. MaasA Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #3
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on May 2nd 2017
Pages: 720
Genres: Fantasy
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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Goodreads

Also by this author: Queen of Shadows, A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury

three-half-stars

Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit—and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.
As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords—and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

A Court of Thorns and Roses series

 

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas

Well, it’s finally here.

 

I’m so exasperated and everyone and their mother has given this 5 stars at this point so I’m feeling like quite the outcast. I liked A Court of Thorns and Roses, adored A Court of Mist and Fury, and A Court of Wings and Ruin was quite possibly my most anticipated book of the year. I took the day off work to read this and while I can’t say that I regret doing so or that the book was bad, it just wasn’t what I was expecting. There were things I liked and things I didn’t like, so I’ll start with the good.

The best parts of this book were, surprisingly, the war scenes. We all knew a war was coming in this installment but I never quite expected it to be nearly as epic and for all the fae and their magical powers to be quite as badass as they were. Savage, brutal, and thrilling (and the war makes up a large chunk of this book). In terms of the best (non-violent) parts, Feyre getting to explore more that the Court of Dreams has to offer was lovely. Her depictions of the city were enough to form magical cities in my mind, but the library carved inside an actual mountain? The shelves built into the stone walls, the reading nooks, the low-burning lamps, the cozy chairs, and the fireplaces.

And lastly, I loved how she incorporates all of the lesser characters that seemed to have minor roles in the conclusion: the Suriel, the Weaver, the Bone Carver, and even a new terrifying beastie.

And now onto the bad.

I’ll do my best.

My first issue: the beginning. The story opens where the ending of Mist left off with Feyre returning to the Spring Court. She’s intent on gathering information about King Hybern and his armies but it turned into this long and drawn out affair that transformed Feyre into this cruel and vindictive person that I didn’t much care for. What she intended to achieve simply didn’t seem necessary to the story as a whole either. My second issue was actually with the writing itself. I’m not sure if less editing was done, or time constraints to get this done and published (or a combination of the two) but this read incredibly uneven. There’s so much to accomplish with a final book in a series and it felt like Maas had a checklist of things that needed to be answered, actions that the characters had to take to set up certain events, etc. and we bounced hurriedly onto the next task on her list just as soon as one was completed. The story lacked a grace and flow that was needed to draw these three stories together in order to give it the final farewell it deserved. And lastly, in terms of farewells, the ending caused the majority of my grumbles. Maas implied throughout the entire book of things impending that never came to fruition and things ended all nice and neat with a pretty little bow on top. Clearly, many (and I mean many) fans were perfectly content, I, unfortunately, was not. But as I said, it wasn’t a bad ending but it wasn’t the ending I expected.

Maas has already announced that there are two additional trilogies to come set in this same world and while I was originally excited, I’d really like to know the focus on those stories before committing to more. What started as a beauty and the beast retelling turned into a fascinating world full of magic and fae. While I don’t give this final installment the highest of marks, this was still a most engrossing trilogy.

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Waiting on Wednesday – A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas

Posted February 1, 2017 by Bonnie in Waiting on Wednesday / 12 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. MaasA Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on May 2nd 2017
Pages: 648
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Queen of Shadows, A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury

Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin's maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.
As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.
In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

About Sarah J. Maas

Sarah J. Maas is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series (Queen of Shadows, Book 4, will be out in September 2015), as well as the A Court of Thorns and Roses series (out 5/5/15).

Sarah lives in Bucks County, PA, and over the years, she has developed an unhealthy appreciation for Disney movies and bad pop music. She adores fairy tales and ballet, drinks too much tea, and watches an ungodly amount of TV. When she's not busy writing, she can be found exploring the historic and beautiful Pennsylvania countryside with her husband and canine companion.

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It’s become a tradition that I take a day off work to read the new release in Maas’ Throne of Glass series but I am absolutely taking a day off for this one.

And holy shit, that cover could not be more gorgeous.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

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Book Review – The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart by Lauren DeStefano

Posted September 15, 2016 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Middle Grade, Read in 2016 / 1 Comment

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 – The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart by Lauren DeStefanoThe Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart by Lauren DeStefano
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on September 13th 2016
Pages: 208
Genres: Fantasy
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
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Also by this author: Wither, Perfect Ruin, Burning Kingdoms

three-stars

Lionel is a wild boy, who doesn’t much like to be around other people. He’d rather be a purring cat or a wolf stalking the woods.

Marybeth is a nice girl. She doesn’t need to be told to comb her hair or brush her teeth, and she’s kind to everyone at the orphanage . . . Lionel most of all.

Different though they are, Lionel and Marybeth are best friends in a world that has forgotten about them. So when a mysterious blue spirit possesses Marybeth—and starts to take control—they know they must stop it before the real Marybeth fades away forever.

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‘Lionel already understood. He could make the chickens lay eggs and he could reason with the most stubborn of foxes. But he had learned years ago that humans were more dangerous than the things that stalked about the wilderness.’

Lionel may be a wild boy and Marybeth may be a nice girl, but these two 9-year-olds are one another’s only friends in a world where they have no one else. Lionel and Marybeth, along with six other orphans, live in the care of widowed Mrs. Mannerd who more than has her hands full. Much of their free time is spent traversing the woods surrounding the house where Lionel especially feels most at home due to the fact that he himself feels more animal than human. He likes to feed the wild animals from his hand and refuses to eat at the dinner time, preferring instead to eat beneath it. Marybeth is a perfectly normal little girl that manages to soothe the rougher edges of Lionel’s wildness. During one of their excursions in the wilderness, Lionel tells Marybeth of a blue fox that he’s currently trying to get to trust him, but to no avail. When Marybeth spots the blue creature from her bedroom window one night, she rushes to get a look at it only to find that it’s not a fox at all but something that ends up possessing and changing Marybeth.

This was such an endearing tale of friendship that will touch hearts of all ages. Lionel and Marybeth are the unlikeliest of duos, however, their friendship becomes vital to both of them. Their friendship helps Lionel to reacquaint himself with his emotions and come to terms with his loneliness at the orphanage which Marybeth also deals with similar feelings of isolation. When Marybeth is no longer Marybeth, having been inhabited by the ghost, it’s up to Lionel to take charge like he’s never had to before in order to help his friend solve the mystery of who this ghost is. The mystery and paranormal aspects were curious yet left me with more than a few questions (unlikely to be a problem with the appropriate age group) but the real story here is the friendship and the lesson in mortality.

The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart is yet another unexpectedly sinister Middle grade adventure from DeStefano. The bleak undertones are paired well with a message of hope and a mystery that will keep any reader in this age group speculating. Lauren DeStefano has definitely found her niche in the Middle Grade genre.

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The Cats of Tanglewood Forest by Charles de Lint [Purchase//Review]
The Thief of Always by Clive Barker [Purchase]
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman [Purchase]

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Book Review – A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas

Posted June 30, 2016 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, New Adult, Read in 2016 / 7 Comments

Book Review – A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. MaasA Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #2
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on May 3rd 2016
Pages: 640
Genres: Fairy-Tales/Retellings, Fantasy
Format: eBook
Source: Library
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Also by this author: Queen of Shadows, A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Thorns and Roses

five-stars

Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas's masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

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I’M SORRY. I CAN’T DISCUSS THIS WITHOUT SOME SPOILERS. BEWARE.

“I was not a pet, not a doll, not an animal.
I was a survivor, and I was strong.
I would not be weak, or helpless again
I would not, could not be broken. Tamed.”

Feyre and Tamlin have survived Amarantha and have returned home, but things are no longer the same after everything they suffered through. Tamlin has taken his protective instincts to a terrifying new high and Feyre is slowly wasting away from her guilt and the nightmares that haunt her even during her waking hours. She wishes to serve a purpose, to learn to fight so that she could defend herself if need be, and to learn the ins and outs of her newly gained powers. Tamlin refuses to allow her to do anything and day after day Feyre loses more and more of herself. When Rhysand shows up to call on the bargain they made with one another when she was near death Under the Mountain, the time spent away from the Spring Court begins to open her eyes once more.

Basically, everything about the first book was injected with steroids and made infinitely better. I talked about what a strong and capable character Feyre was, and she was, and sure she’s fae now so she’s all magical but what an incredible character build. Simply incredible. Maas spends a lot of time detailing the darkness and guilt that had penetrated her mind and that mental strain was so saddening to read. The fact that she suffered through those things to save the one she loved only to have him hinder her healing and actually make it worse because of his own lingering suffering. If I had actually liked Tamlin in the first book I’d probably feel bad for him but I didn’t so I don’t. I have to also applaud the slow and steady build of the grasp on her powers too. It’s always nice in fantasy stories to see the characters have to actual struggle and work at shit rather than waking up and being an ultimate badass out of nowhere. Maas did an equally impressive job with Celaena in her Throne of Glass series so hats off to her.

“He thinks he’ll be remembered as the villain in the story. But I forgot to tell him that the villain is usually the person who locks up the maiden and throws away the key. He was the one who let me out.”

I picked at her and Tamlin’s relationship as well in the first book, noting its lack of depth. Sure, they had some steamy scenes but that’s ultimately all it was: physical. Well, holy shit sticks. Feyre and Tamlin were a complete and utter farce compared to Feyre and Rhysand. The passion and desire… it was palpable and I got so emotional that I straight up burst into tears on the freaking bike at the gym during an especially lovey moment. I’m not a big crier, for the record. I’m really curious if Maas went into this series with a complete game plan in mind in terms of the romance because the second book did a bit of a 180° which I think would have been hard for Tamlin fans to understand. Feyre doesn’t immediately jump to a new relationship though, it’s slowly navigated through for over half of this 640 page story and over many months of mental healing (which Rhysand also helps her with in such a way that Tamlin never did). And then before they even got to the actual romance there was plenty of flirting that had me screaming OH MY GAWD JUST FUCKING KISS ALREADY. Either way, I am all on board the Feyre and Rhysand train. Toot toot. Fun side note: I had a good time imagining Rhysand as David Gandy because why not. 😂

“My friend through many dangers. My lover who had healed my broken and weary soul. My mate who had waited for me against all hope, despite all odds.”

I’ve found that most books that have some an immense focus on the romance tends to slack off on other aspects of the book. I may be talking a lot about the romance because it was truly off the charts amazing, but there are other facets of this book that are equally deserving of note. Most especially would be the descriptions and characterizations of other members of the Night Court. The inner circle: Amren, Azriel, Mor, Cassian. Such comprehensively written characters that never faded to the background. They became Feyre’s family and it was wonderful to see her come back to life not just because of a new, passionate romance with someone that truly appreciated her but because of new friends that became new family. I also enjoyed the exquisite descriptions of the Night Court but most especially of Velaris — the City of Starlight.

Honestly, it’s near impossible sometimes to rationally discuss books that you loved. For a book blogger, I consider myself to be pretty restrained in regards to how crazy I get about books I love. But with A Court of Mist and Fury, there were moments where I felt so overwhelmed at how unbelievably awesome this story was that I couldn’t take it anymore and I started to think I should either take a break or find a paper bag to breathe into just to be safe. I may not have loved A Court of Thorns and Roses but I adored this book. There was excitement and badassery and the most passionate love that managed to make me envious for a pair of fictional character in addition to some of the steamiest sex scenes I have ever read and yes I have read my fair share. Simply put, it was superb and it’s going to be one hell of a long wait for May 2017 when the next installment comes out. Until then, I’ll just be over here.

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Book Review – Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas

Posted September 4, 2015 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Read in 2015, YA / 2 Comments

Book Review – Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. MaasQueen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #4
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on September 1st 2015
Pages: 656
Genres: Fantasy
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury, A Court of Thorns and Roses

four-half-stars

Sarah J. Maas's New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series reaches new heights in this sweeping fourth volume.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she's at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen's triumphant return.

Celaena's epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena's story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

Word of warning: This is a book 4 review, therefore there will be spoilers from previous installments.

‘She was the heir of fire.
She was fire, and light, and ash, and embers. She was Aelin Fireheart, and she bowed for no one and nothing, save the crown that was hers by blood and survival and triumph.’

Just to quickly summarize the devastation that Heir of Fire left us with: Celaena/Aelin is headed back to Adarlan to begin the search for the Wyrdkeys and the war against the King after leaving Rowan behind, Dorian has become enslaved by his father, Chaol has fled and thankfully took Fleetfoot on his way out (or I could have never forgiven him) and in another part of the world, Manon has been made Wing Leader. Oh such fabulously wonderful characters, it was so nice to pick their stories back up. Queen of Shadows picks right up where HoF left off and continues the same steady sort of pace that some loved and some hated. I was a big fan for the sole reason that the story was really deserving of some slow simmering. I’m all for big time action scenes, however, I feel with this series there is not only the fantasy world-building aspect that is key but there is a wide cast of characters that need sufficient time to build them as well. And there are so many intricate details that just add to the elegant complexity of this fascinating tale.

Typically, I find that when I’m reading stories that deal with multiple POVs, there’s always ones that I prefer over the others and almost always one that I just can’t stand. I can honestly say that I enjoyed them all. Aelin’s POV because we’ve seen her come into her power but now we get to see her come into her role as queen (and still with the snarky we’ve all come to expect). We get Arobynn with more of an involvement in the story and they touch on their past (and Sam, *sniff*) which seemed a long time coming after the focus on him from the prequel stories so long ago. Aelin finds a new female friend in (shocker) Lysandra and her story/addition is fantastic. But mostly I loved Manon’s because… well, WHO DOESN’T LOVE MANON. It was great getting a little behind the scenes look at Asterin’s background but we’re introduced to a new character, Elide, who plays a part in the witches story but also has an interesting tie to Aelin’s past.

‘She was a whirling cloud of death, a queen of shadows, and these men were already carrion.’

There were a couple minuscule issues I had though. 1. Chaol continues to look down his nose in regards to the things that Aelin has done and continues to do. It got irritating after a while because, come on, craziness is happening and desperate times call for desperate measures and all that jazz. His opinions caused him to become a distant character in this installment and we honestly didn’t see him as much as I’d like. I wanted them to settle their differences and get on with it. 2. The villain. I’m a sucker for back stories on the villain and while the King was doing some pretty horrifying things, there was clearly an interesting/crazy story there regarding how he got to this point and why and how and why. I would have liked to see this delved into during his brief POV sections to build him up as a character like any other rather than a mini info-dump. 3. I would have also loved more of Kaltain’s back story as well because wow did her role ever get crazy.

The plot itself was incredibly detailed but still actually made forward progress, which I’ve found can sometimes be an issue with fantasy novels. There were slower moments, but there some impressive action scenes that helped balance it out. What I loved most were the small connections that pop up, small references that connect the previous installments and mostly the prequel are such a joy to see when they all come full circle.

The romance was subtle and definitely never made any attempts to high-jack the story, hallelujah. But oh man, the TENSION. It never amounted to much, which did make my eye go a little twitchy but all I gotta say is View Spoiler »

“…if it was death separating us… I would find you. I don’t care how many rules it would break. Even if I had to get all three keys myself and open a gate, I would find you again. Always.”

I appreciated the small amount of resolution we’re given, despite the fact that more disaster is inevitable since this is only installment 4 of 6. But still, gotta love a story with a solid ending rather than an ending that makes you pull your hair out when you realize how long you have to wait for the next one. Throne of Glass is easily one of my all-time favorite series with an amazing cast of characters and an incredibly thrilling fantasy world.

“Let’s go rattle the stars.”

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Release Day Blitz – Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Posted September 1, 2015 by Bonnie in Book Blitz, YA / 1 Comment

Release Day Blitz – Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. MaasQueen of Shadows Series: Throne of Glass #4
Pages: 656
Format: Hardcover
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Sarah J. Maas's New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series reaches new heights in this sweeping fourth volume.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she's at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen's triumphant return.

Celaena's epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena's story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

About Sarah J. Maas

Sarah J. Maas is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series (Queen of Shadows, Book 4, will be out in September 2015), as well as the A Court of Thorns and Roses series (out 5/5/15).

Sarah lives in Bucks County, PA, and over the years, she has developed an unhealthy appreciation for Disney movies and bad pop music. She adores fairy tales and ballet, drinks too much tea, and watches an ungodly amount of TV. When she's not busy writing, she can be found exploring the historic and beautiful Pennsylvania countryside with her husband and canine companion.

IT’S HEEERRRRREEEEEE.

Admittedly, I’m relatively a newbie when it comes to the Throne of Glass series. I finally picked it up in January of this year and read the prequels and books 1-3 back to back. I couldn’t get enough, it’s truly an amazing series. And Queen of Shadows is now here and I couldn’t be more excited. This book is such a big deal for me that I took the entire day off work. lol If you still haven’t picked up this series… WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! And if you have read it, and don’t yet have Queen of Shadows, check out the first 5 chapters available to read now!

1 winner will receive the first 3 books (in paperback) in the THRONE OF GLASS Series. US Only.
Ends on September 11th at Midnight EST!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Early Review – Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse

Posted December 21, 2013 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013 / 6 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 – Before We Met by Lucie WhitehouseBefore We Met by Lucie Whitehouse
Published by Bloomsbury USA on January 21st 2014
Pages: 288
Genres: Mystery-Contemporary
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads


two-half-stars

Hannah, independent, headstrong, and determined not to follow in the footsteps of her bitterly divorced mother, has always avoided commitment. But one hot New York summer she meets Mark Reilly, a fellow Brit, and is swept up in a love affair that changes all her ideas about what marriage might mean.

Now, living in their elegant, expensive London townhouse and adored by her fantastically successful husband, she knows she was right to let down her guard.

But when Mark does not return from a business trip to the U.S. and when the hours of waiting for him stretch into days, the foundations of Hannah’s certainty begin to crack. Why do Mark’s colleagues believe he has gone to Paris not America? Why is there no record of him at his hotel? And who is the mysterious woman who has been telephoning him over the last few weeks?

Hannah begins to dig into her husband’s life, uncovering revelations that throw into doubt everything she has ever believed about him. As her investigation leads her away from their fairytale romance into a place of violence and fear she must decide whether the secrets Mark has been keeping are designed to protect him or protect her...

Hannah has always held herself back from love for fear of becoming like her acrimonious mother after suffering through the divorce from her father. Her uncertainties ceased to exist when she meets Mark; a fellow Brit and a friend of a friend. They fall in love instantaneously and they are married shortly after. A few months into their marriage, Mark is on a business trip to the U.S. and when Hannah was expected to pick him up from his return flight he’s not there. Fearing the worst, she’s finally able to get a hold of him but his excuses only cause her suspicions to grow. As her concerns continue to mount, the cracks in her life begin to appear and nothing is as it seems.

The story alternates between the present and the past, when she first met Mark, and rehashes she knows about him. Hannah’s uncertainties make her realize foolishly how little she truly knows about her husband which causes her to investigate and uncover unpleasant information. ‘Before We Met’ captured flawlessly how suspicion and doubt can morph into a crazed paranoia where you aren’t able to clearly discern what is right before your eyes. The building tension is well-done and turned this into quite a page-turner, however, it was quite clear what was going on before Hannah finally caught up with the rest of us. I kept hoping that an unexpected twist would happen at the end but it never did.

I have always been a fan of psychological thrillers and while I understand that comparisons to other novels of the same genre are bound to occur, I can only expect there to be some semblance of originality. Having read ‘Gone Girl’ last year, the comparisons to ‘Before We Met’ are great and while there are slight differences, it only managed to come off as a weaker interpretation. I did have the same issue with both books though, where so much crazy had happened throughout the novel that by the end it had all become so disheveled and unrecognizable from the beginning. It all ended up being a bit too contrived for my liking.

‘Before We Met’ works that little paranoid nerve in all of us by serving as a reminder that you’re never able to truly know a person completely, even the ones you love and have devoted your life to.

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Audiobook Review – The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Posted October 25, 2013 by Bonnie in Adult, Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Read in 2013 / 4 Comments

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

Audiobook Review – The Bone Season by Samantha ShannonThe Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Series: The Bone Season #1
Published by Bloomsbury USA on August 20th 2013
Pages: 466
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library, the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads


two-stars

It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.

But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.

Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine—a young woman learning to harness her powers in a world where everything has been taken from her. It also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.

Hype: to promote or publicize extravagantly

Bone Season is the very definition of hype. The Marketing team was working overtime to promote the first installment in a proposed seven-book series. Not only was the story itself hyped up but the author herself, being promoted as the next J.K. Rowling. Considering who J.K. Rowling is, that is not a term to be throwing around lightly. The rights to the film have already been purchased as well. Unfortunately, I think in the long run the Marketing team did this book a disservice because I was honestly expecting a masterpiece and while The Bone Season was a magical and imaginative world, it wasn’t as original as it was made out to be.

The premise is not easily to summarize. The main character is Paige Mahoney, a dreamwalker, a rare type of clairvoyant. In the world she lives in, clairvoyants must hide their gifts to survive because the security force Scion forbids their existence. When Paige is captured she believes it was Scion but she finds herself in the lost city of Oxford and that it’s being controlled by the Rephaim, an otherworldly race that enslaves voyants so they can utilize their gifts.

I can’t even begin to explain my disappointment because of how excited I was for this book. I struggled to finish this. I first started reading this in print and had an awful time absorbing the details of the world-building. It’s a serious info-dump and while many people urged me to continue because it got easier to understand, it just never really did for me. In addition to the info-dump style of explaining this vast world, to add further confusion it felt like there was an entire language created for this story. There are 10 full pages of glossary in the back describing these terms and you will need to reference the glossary if you have any hope of this story making any bit of sense. Flatches? That’s money. Bunter? A young woman. Threnody? A series of words used to banish spirits. You get the picture.

Setting aside my vast confusion was my irritation at the writing style and how it’s written in short, choppy sentences. That was one of the main reasons I switched to audio because I was seeing. far. too. many. freaking. periods.The audio still possessed that jerky feel and while the writing itself and the words utilized were fine it lacked a much needed refinement. A few examples:

My vision turned black. I’d just possessed David. Only for a heartbeat, but I’d moved his arm. I had finally possessed a human. David put his hands to his head. I hadn’t been gentle.
and
Maybe I should do it. This was my chance to get rid of him. I’d killed before. I could do it again.”
and
I don’t know. I just want you with me. I had never said those words aloud. Now that I could taste my freedom I wanted him to share it with me. But he couldn’t change his life for me. And I couldn’t sacrifice my life to be with him.

The characters were pretty unremarkable and when a few of them died I was fairly shocked to realize that I couldn’t have cared less. The only backstory given was on the main character, Paige, and while we’re clearly meant to care about several other characters that played a large part I apparently failed to do so. I must give points though, Paige was an appropriately realistic character which isn’t often found in fantasy type stories like this. Most main characters are either extremely stupid or incredibly badass and I found Paige to be an acceptable mix of the two because she was smart yet made mistakes and badass yet was scared when appropriate. She didn’t win any awards as a favorite character of mine but I blame that solely on the unnecessary and ridiculous romance that had to be thrown in the mix.

The Warden. Dun dun dun. The Warden is Paige’s keeper and is responsible for her training in order to become of use to the Rephaim. He’s naturally extremely handsome and he puts himself in situations that forces Paige to save his life and… I’m fairly certain you could guess the outcome. The Warden reminded me GREATLY of The Darkling in Shadow and Bone and once I became set on that thought I realized that the majority of this book felt extremely similar. It can be argued that Bone Season is vastly more detailed but it’s excessively detailed and while I would typically say that I prefer more detail than not enough that is not the case with this story.

This book already has a whole slew of fans so I’m clearly in the minority but this story was unnecessarily busy and overly complicated for my liking. This is the first book in a series and the ending definitely sets the scene for the next installment, but unfortunately I won’t be joining in on that bit of fun once it’s released.

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Early Review – Swimming Home: A Novel by Deborah Levy

Posted September 28, 2012 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2012 / 0 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 – Swimming Home: A Novel by Deborah LevySwimming Home by Deborah Levy
Published by Bloomsbury USA on October 16th 2012
Pages: 157
Genres: Contemporary, Literary Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads


two-stars

Short-listed for the 2012 Man Booker Prize. With an Introduction by Tom McCarthy, author of C. As he arrives with his family at the villa in the hills above Nice, Joe sees a body in the swimming pool. But the girl is very much alive. She is Kitty Finch: a self-proclaimed botanist with green-painted fingernails, walking naked out of the water and into the heart of their holiday. Why is she there? What does she want from them all? And why does Joe's enigmatic wife allow her to remain?

A subversively brilliant study of love, Swimming Home reveals how the most devastating secrets are the ones we keep from ourselves.

“Life is only worth living because we hope it will get better and we’ll all get home safely.”

After spotting this on Netgalley I found myself intrigued but ultimately willing to wait for it to be published. A few days later the Shortlist for the 2012 Man Book Prize was announced and Swimming Home was included, so I decided it was fate that I stumbled upon this book yet again so I went ahead and snagged it.

Kitty, botanist, poet, and part-time exhibitionist suffering from depression, travels to France to meet poet Joe Jacobs who she insists she has a connection with. His wife, Isabel, inevitably gets invited to stay with him and his family and the couple that traveled with them. Isabel Jacobs, a war correspondent, is married to Joe; however, their marriage is in shambles and is obvious to anyone in their proximate vicinity. It is unclear to everyone why Isabel would allow such a girl as Kitty to stay with them, especially considering her obvious fascination with Joe.

“When Kitty Finch took her hand off the steering wheel and told him she loved him, he no longer knew if she was threatening him or having a conversation.”

Swimming Home is a short yet trying read that could almost be considered a novella or even a vignette; a snapshot of that fateful week in France. The writing was intermittently lovely but I found myself unclear as to where the story was going. I can’t help but feel I’m lacking in something by not being able to appreciate these ‘literary masterpieces’ as they should be. Comments were made by the judges of the Booker Prize this year that they’re steering clear of mainstream books and that readability isn’t high on their list of importance. Sir Peter Stothard was quoted as saying: “I felt very, very strongly that I wanted to avoid that thing where people say, ‘Wow, I loved it, it’s terrific’.” Suffice it to say, I did not finish this book and say, “Wow, I loved it, it’s terrific,” so I guess they got something right. I think it’s safe to say I won’t be venturing into anything else this man considers ‘literary masterpieces’, they’re simply not for me.

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