Publisher: Harper

Review + Giveaway! The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

February 5, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Giveaways, Read in 2014, YA 10 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.

Review + Giveaway! The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia HandThe Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
Published by HarperTeen on February 10th 2015
Pages: 400
Genres: Realistic YA Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Also by this author: Unearthly, Hallowed, Boundless


There's death all around us.
We just don't pay attention.
Until we do.

The last time Lex was happy, it was before. When she had a family that was whole. A boyfriend she loved. Friends who didn't look at her like she might break down at any moment.

Now she's just the girl whose brother killed himself. And it feels like that's all she'll ever be.

As Lex starts to put her life back together, she tries to block out what happened the night Tyler died. But there's a secret she hasn't told anyone-a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything.

Lex's brother is gone. But Lex is about to discover that a ghost doesn't have to be real to keep you from moving on.

From New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand, The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a gorgeous and heart-wrenching story of love, loss, and letting go.

‘Time passes. That’s the rule. No matter what happens, no matter how much it might feel like everything in your life has frozen around one particular moment, time marches on.’

Lexie is an unexceptionally smart student with big dreams of going to MIT. She has a boyfriend who loves her and a group of friends she can depend on. But that was life seven weeks ago. Now? Her grades are slipping, she’s broke up with her boyfriend and she won’t talk to any of her friends. Seven weeks ago her brother killed himself. But now she’s starting to his ghost. A series of journal entries reveal the facts behind Lexie’s grief (and guilt) and the heartbreak begins anew when we are exposed to the truth of her pain.

‘I didn’t know to savor that moment on the dance floor, to understand how beautiful and rare it was, how fragile, how ephemeral, when Ty was happy. When we were all happy, and we were together, and we were safe.
I didn’t know.
I didn’t know.’

Grief comes in many forms as we all handle it in different ways. Lexie’s path of grief led her to shut everyone out and while this storyline has certainly been done before, it still managed to resonate honestly and leave a strong impression. These days, death and grief have become most common in YA novels and while it can certainly come off as a morbid fascination, the existence of these types of novels can be vital for those who don’t quite know how to handle their grief. It can serve as proof to those who have also experienced grief that they are far from alone and that there are people that can help. It’s a sad fact of life that we must all learn how to cope, heal and continue living. The Last Time We Said Goodbye is more of a cautionary tale seeing as the story is told from the surviving sister and inevitably shows the repercussions of suicide and the effects of grief but manages to still leave the reader with a facet of hope to cling to. While this is a work of fiction, the author states that she had a younger brother that killed himself which only made this all the more poignant and truly from the heart.

The Last Time We Said Goodbye is a raw and brutally honest depiction of the various sides of grief. It’s an insightful and admirable story about acceptance and forgiveness that will no doubt leave you heartsick but is an incredibly worthy read.

I was fortunate enough to receive an early copy of this book from Harper Teen and now want to share this book with one of you! To be entered to win, please use the Rafflecopter widget below.

This is open to U.S. residents only! Sorry international followers.
Giveaway ends February 19th, 2015

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Tour Review – Moriarty (Sherlock Holmes #2) by Anthony Horowitz

December 19, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Book Tour, Read in 2014, TLC Book Tours 2 Comments

I received this book free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Tour Review – Moriarty (Sherlock Holmes #2) by Anthony HorowitzMoriarty by Anthony Horowitz
Series: Sherlock Holmes #2
Published by Harper on December 9th 2014
Pages: 304
Genres: Detective, Mystery
Format: ARC
Source: TLC Book Tours
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Also by this author: The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel


The game is once again afoot in this thrilling mystery from the bestselling author of The House of Silk, sanctioned by the Conan Doyle estate, which explores what really happened when Sherlock Holmes and his arch nemesis Professor Moriarty tumbled to their doom at the Reichenbach Falls.

Internationally bestselling author Anthony Horowitz's nail-biting new novel plunges us back into the dark and complex world of detective Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty--dubbed the Napoleon of crime" by Holmes--in the aftermath of their fateful struggle at the Reichenbach Falls.

Days after the encounter at the Swiss waterfall, Pinkerton detective agent Frederick Chase arrives in Europe from New York. Moriarty's death has left an immediate, poisonous vacuum in the criminal underworld, and there is no shortage of candidates to take his place--including one particularly fiendish criminal mastermind.

Chase and Scotland Yard Inspector Athelney Jones, a devoted student of Holmes's methods of investigation and deduction originally introduced by Conan Doyle in "The Sign of Four," must forge a path through the darkest corners of England's capital--from the elegant squares of Mayfair to the shadowy wharfs and alleyways of the London Docks--in pursuit of this sinister figure, a man much feared but seldom seen, who is determined to stake his claim as Moriarty's successor.

A riveting, deeply atmospheric tale of murder and menace from the only writer to earn the seal of approval from Conan Doyle's estate, Moriarty breathes life into Holmes's dark and fascinating world.

Sherlock Holmes Series

The House of Silk (Sherlock Holmes #1) by Anthony Horowitz {Purchase – My Review}

About Anthony Horowitz

Anthony Horowitz is the author of the international bestseller The House of Silk and the New York Times number one bestselling Alex Rider series for Young Adults. As a television screenwriter he created both Midsomer Murders and the BAFTA-winning Foyle’s War, both of which were featured on PBS’s Masterpiece Mystery. He regularly contributes to a wide variety of national newspapers and magazines, and in January 2014 was awarded an OBE for his services to literature. He lives in London.

“But the man had hereditary tendencies of the most diabolical kind. A criminal strain ran in his blood.”

Professor Moriarty is a criminal mastermind and nemesis of the brilliant detective Sherlock Holmes. Moriarty brings to life occurrences following the disappearance of the duo after they vanished into the mist of Reichenbach Falls, Switzerland. Picking up the narrative of this story is Pinkerton agent Frederick Chase who has traveled to Europe intent on following the trail of an American criminal by the name of Clarence Devereux who supposedly intends on taking over Moriarty’s criminal activity now that he’s gone. When the trail leads Chase to Reichenbach Falls where Inspector Athelney Jones of Scotland Yard is investigating the incident, the two inevitably team up to assist one another.

Leaving Switzerland, Chase and Jones travel back to London intent on determining the identity of Devereux but shortly into their investigation, the brutality begins. Their first key witness is brutally murdered as well as his entire household with no apparent reasoning behind the extravagant violence. Unfortunately, this ends up being only a sneak peak as to what’s in store for the rest of their investigation.  Dark and dangerous, the longer the search continues the more mysterious things begin to appear. The mystery felt very jerky and was missing a cohesive flow in comparison to Silk. The evidence that Jones would find which inevitably took them to the next location to search for more clues felt like they were being pulled out of thin air rather than when Holmes would discover evidence and would then rationalize how he came to that conclusion it always led to an a-ha! moment that lacked perfect sense once explained. Jones modeled his life and habits after Holmes and made a decent attempt at learning his tricks of the trade and while he might have transformed himself into a clever copy he was still highly identifiable as far from the real thing.

Watson played narrator in Silk and did a superb job, but in Moriarty, we’re given Frederick Chase and suffice it to say I definitely missed Watson. It’s easy enough to compare the two books (Silk definitely comes out on top) however, the two are so vastly different in several regards that it’s a disservice to do so. When comparing Moriarty to the original canon, it’s bound to disappoint, however, judging on its own merits it’s a fairly solid mystery with an incredibly shocking twist that makes you rethink everything that came before. I had my suspicions that all was not as it appeared, and I was right, but my guesses were still far from the truth.

It’s not necessary to enjoy this story even if you haven’t read all of the Holmes classics, however, I would definitely recommend you’re at least familiar with The Sign of the Four and especially the short story The Final Problem. Moriarty definitely felt less authentic as a pastiche than Silk did but for Holmes fans looking for anything to scratch that itch, this will satisfy it albeit temporarily.


This post was a part of the Moriarty blog tour.
Click the button below for a complete list of tour stops.

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Waiting on Wednesday – Positive by David Wellington

November 19, 2014 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 2 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Positive by David WellingtonPositive by David Wellington
Published by Harper Voyager on April 21st 2015
Pages: 416
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Horror, Zombies
Format: Hardcover
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Also by this author: Positive

In the bestselling vein of Guillermo Del Toro and Justin Cronin, the acclaimed author Chimera and The Hydra Protocol delivers his spectacular breakout novel—an entertaining page-turning zombie epic that is sure to become a classic

Anyone can be positive . . .

The tattoed plus sign on Finnegan’s hand marks him as a Positive. At any time, the zombie virus could explode in his body, turning him from a rational human into a ravenous monster. His only chance of a normal life is to survive the last two years of the potential incubation period. If he reaches his twenty-first birthday without an incident, he’ll be cleared.

Until then, Finn must go to a special facility for positives, segregated from society to keep the healthy population safe. But when the military caravan transporting him is attacked, Finn becomes separated. To make it to safety, he must embark on a perilous cross-country journey across an America transformed—a dark and dangerous land populated with heroes, villains, madmen, and hordes of zombies. And though the zombies are everywhere, Finn discovers that the real danger may be his fellow humans.

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome meets World War Z and I Am Legend in this thrilling tale that has it all: a compelling story, great characters, and explosive action, making Positive the ultimate zombie novel of our time.

About David Wellington

David Wellington is a contemporary American horror author, best known for his Zombie trilogy as well as his Vampire series and Werewolf series. His books have been translated into eleven langauges and are a global phenomenon.

His career began in 2004 when he started serializing his horror fiction online, posting short chapters of a novel three times a week on a friend’s blog. Response to the project was so great that in 2004 Thunder’s Mouth Press approached David Wellington about publishing Monster Island as a print book. His novels have been featured in Rue Morgue, Fangoria, and the New York Times.

He also made his debut as a comic book writer in 2009 with Marvel Zombies Return:Iron Man.

Wellington attended Syracuse University and received an MFA in creative writing from Penn State. He also holds a masters degree in Library Science from Pratt Institute.

He now lives in New York City with his dog Mary Shelley and wife Elisabeth who, in her wedding vows, promised to “kick serious zombie ass” for him.

I haven’t read anything by this author although his books have always appealed to me, but Positive has really caught my eye. Reminds me a of The Passage and the movie Book of Eli which is pretty fantastic. Can’t wait for this one!

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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Classic Curiosity – Hallowe’en Party (Hercule Poirot Series #36) by Agatha Christie

October 30, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Classic Curiosity, Ominous October, Read in 2014 0 Comments

Classic Curiosity – Hallowe’en Party (Hercule Poirot Series #36) by Agatha ChristieHallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie
Series: Hercule Poirot Series #36
Published by HarperCollins on November 1969
Pages: 336
Genres: Classics, Mystery
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Also by this author: And Then There Were None


A teenage murder witness is drowned in a tub of apples...At a Hallowe'en party, Joyce - a hostile thirteen-year-old - boasts that she once witnessed a murder. When no-one believes her, she storms off home. But within hours her body is found, still in the house, drowned in an apple-bobbing tub. That night, Hercule Poirot is called in to find the 'evil presence'. But first he must establish whether he is looking for a murderer or a double-murderer...

While preparing for the upcoming Hallowe’en Party, thirteen-year-old Joyce Reynolds begins boasting about a murder she claims to have been a witness to many years ago. The reason she gives for not coming forward sooner was she didn’t realize it was an actual murder until recently. For the most part, no one took much notice of her ramblings but someone apparently did. At the Hallowe’en Party, Joyce was found drowned in the apple-bobbing tub. The immediate reasoning for her own death seems to be the death that she witnessed.

Tis the season for a good murder mystery and what better than a murder mystery which occurs at a Halloween Party? This was my train of thought going into this one but that thought quickly derailed. This is my second Agatha Christie book (my first being And Then There Were None — it pains me to rate a Christie book so low after that one) and my first foray into the Hercule Poirot series and even though I’ve been told that they all manage well as stand alone’s, that you can jump right in at any point, Hallowe’en Party was clearly a poor starting point. I started reading this in print and was at first enjoying it but once Poirot began his investigation I kept wanting to put the book down in favor of more interesting things like laundry and vacuuming. I tried powering through but I failed when I began to think I was so out of it I was forgetting to turn the pages and was reading the same passages all over again because the many people he interviewed all had the same. exact. things to say about Joyce. Poirot’s investigation seemingly led no-where yet he was able to postulate exactly who the killer was with little to nothing to go on. Good for you, Poirot. I guess that’s why you’re the detective and I am not. It was all very wearisome though. I switched to listening to the audio after a bit so I could multitask and have exciting times in laundry folding as well.

Poirot was quite a character but I haven’t given up completely on him; I do still anticipate reading the earlier installments (Yes, Dani, like Murder on the Orient Express). He was like a quirky, French version of Sherlock. I’m at least thankful that Sherlock isn’t weird about his facial hair as Poirot clearly is.

‘There was only one thing about his own appearance which really pleased Hercule Poirot, and that was the profusion of his moustaches, and the way they responded to grooming and treatment and trimming. They were magnificent. He knew of nobody else who had any moustache half as good.’

I’m not sure I’d call it “magnificent” but it’s certainly something.

For those of you that are looking for a perfect theme read for Halloween night, alas this isn’t one I’d recommend. Not only because it’s one of the least interesting mysteries I’ve read as of late but even though the murder takes place on Halloween and the rest of the book centers around that, the actual “Halloween” aspects of it last only a few short pages.

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Waiting on Wednesday – Fiercombe Manor by Kate Riordan

September 3, 2014 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 7 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Fiercombe Manor by Kate RiordanFiercombe Manor by Kate Riordan
Published by Harper on February 17th 2015
Pages: 352
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Format: Hardcover
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Also by this author: Fiercombe Manor

In this haunting and richly imagined dual-narrative tale that echoes the eerie mystery of Rebecca and The Little Stranger, two women of very different eras are united by the secrets hidden within the walls of an English manor house

In 1933, naive twenty-two year-old Alice—pregnant and unmarried—is in disgrace. Her mother banishes her from London to secluded Fiercombe Manor in rural Gloucestershire, where she can hide under the watchful eye of her mother’s old friend, the housekeeper Mrs. Jelphs. The manor’s owners, the Stantons, live abroad, and with her cover story of a recently-deceased husband Alice can have her baby there before giving it up for adoption and returning home. But as Alice endures the long, hot summer at Fiercombe awaiting the baby’s birth, she senses that something is amiss with the house and its absentee owners. 

Thirty years earlier, pregnant Lady Elizabeth Stanton desperately hopes for the heir her husband desires. Tormented by the memory of what happened after the birth of her first child, a daughter, she grows increasingly terrified that history will repeat itself, with devastating consequences. 

After meeting Tom, the young scion of the Stanton family, Alice becomes determined to uncover the clan’s tragic past and exorcise the ghosts of this idyllic, isolated house. But nothing can prepare Alice for what she uncovers. Soon it is her turn to fear: can she escape the tragic fate of the other women who have lived in the Fiercombe valley . . .

About Kate Riordan

Kate Riordan is a British writer and journalist who worked for the Guardian and Time Out London. She is also the author of Birdcage Walk and is already at work on her third novel. Born in London, she now lives in the Gloucestershire countryside.

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


Book Review – Boundless (Unearthly #3) by Cynthia Hand

August 29, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2014, YA 3 Comments

Book Review – Boundless (Unearthly #3) by Cynthia HandBoundless by Cynthia Hand
Series: Unearthly #3
Published by HarperTeen on January 22nd 2013
Pages: 448
Genres: Angels, Paranormal, Romance
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Also by this author: Unearthly, Hallowed, The Last Time We Say Goodbye


The past few years have held more surprises than part-angel Clara Gardner could ever have anticipated. Yet from the dizzying highs of first love, to the agonizing low of losing someone close to her, the one thing she can no longer deny is that she was never meant to live a normal life.

Since discovering the special role she plays among the other angel-bloods, Clara has been determined to protect Tucker Avery from the evil that follows her . . . even if it means breaking both their hearts. Leaving town seems like the best option, so she’s headed back to California - and so is Christian Prescott, the irresistible boy from the vision that started her on this journey in the first place.

As Clara makes her way in a world that is frighteningly new, she discovers that the fallen angel who attacked her is watching her every move. And he’s not the only one. . . . With the battle against the Black Wings looming, Clara knows she must finally fulfill her destiny. But it won’t come without sacrifices and betrayal.

In the riveting finale of the Unearthly series, Clara must decide her fate once and for all.

Unearthly series

Unearthly (Unearthly, #1)  {PurchaseMy Review}
Hallowed (Unearthly, #2)  {PurchaseMy Review}
Radiant (Unearthly, #2.5)  {Purchase}

*There will be spoilers from the first two books!*

“I’m ready to stop saying good-bye to things. I’m going to start saying hello.”

After making the difficult decision to end things between Tucker because being part-angel means she was forever putting his life in danger, Clara packs up her life in order to start over in California at Stanford University. Coming with her is her friend Angela as well as Christian Prescott, the angel-blood that she’s destined to be with regardless of what her heart seems to be telling her. Shortly after their arrival in California, Clara realizes that she’s being watched again by the Black Wings and her current visions don’t foretell anything but trouble. Clara knows that being an angel-blood means she’ll never lead a normal life. Her life has been leading up to the point where she must fulfill her destiny, but she knows the time has finally come for her to do so.

The resolution was skillfully done (I say skillfully because love triangles can be tricky critters) and managed to not leave you with that ‘too’ perfect sense that most series enders give me. The thing I loved most was seeing Clara’s overall progression as a character. Despite the fantasy aspect of this series, Clara is a practical and sensible girl that I loved for her realism. The love triangle too was also surprisingly realistic and also didn’t overpower the fascinating story with the romance aspects. The storyline itself took a little bit of time to get into gear but once Clara’s vision actually started to play out it turned into quite the page turner. What was most surprising was just how surprising the twists and turns were. Definitely unexpected and far from foreseeable.

After reading Unearthly and Hollowed back to back, I’m shocked that it took me this long to pick up Boundless. It’s been the year I finish up all those series I’ve let fall by the wayside (my 11th finale of the year!) and I must say it’s one of the more impressive ones. I can see where people might say it was wrapped up too neatly but I was nonetheless left satisfied at the unexpected twist at the end that allowed all the puzzle pieces to fall into place. There were a few loose ends that left the reader wondering, but I could see it being turned into a spin-off series. Haven’t heard anything about that but who knows. Boundless is a solid conclusion to a memorable series. Highly recommended.


Early Review – The Terror of the Southlands (The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates #2) by Caroline Carlson

August 28, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Middle Grade, Read in 2014 2 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 – The Terror of the Southlands (The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates #2) by Caroline CarlsonThe Terror of the Southlands by Caroline Carlson
Illustrator: Dave Phillips
Series: The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates #2
Published by HarperCollins on September 9th 2014
Pages: 336
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Also by this author: Magic Marks the Spot


Hilary Westfield is a pirate. In fact, she’s the Terror of the Southlands! She’s daring, brave, fearless, and . . . in a rut. Maybe she hasn’t found any treasure lately. And maybe she isn’t fighting off as many scallywags as she’d like. But does that mean she and her loyal crew (including a magical gargoyle) deserve to be kicked out of the ranks of the Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates?

There is only one thing to do—find a daring mission worthy of her fearless reputation. With the help of first mate Charlie, finishing-school friend Claire, and the self-proclaimed intrepid gargoyle, Hilary sets sail on a swashbuckling expedition that may or may not involve a kidnapped Enchantress, bumbling inspectors, a mysterious group called the Mutineers, and—the most terrifying thing of all—a High Society ball.

Caroline Carlson brings just as much rollicking fun, laughter, and action to this second book of the Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates as she did with the first, Magic Marks the Spot.

The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates series


Magic Marks the Spot (The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates #1) by Caroline Carlson [PurchaseReview]

Hilary Westfield has finally achieved her ultimate goal in life: she’s an official member of The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates. But life as a pirate has been, as of late, not exactly full of thrills. This has clearly not gone unnoticed as she’s just received her first warning from the Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates that her membership is about to be revoked if she doesn’t start acting more pirate-y. Hilary and her crew head off on a search to find the lost Enchantress and she can only hope that this mission helps her reputation as a pirate.

While reading this, the one thing I kept thinking was this would be one adorable Disney movie. We’ve got Hilary, the young girl who wants nothing more than to be a world renowned pirate. There’s her unlikely companion, a talking gargoyle rather than the much-expected parrot. Add to that is the goofy rather than dangerous pirates, the clueless police inspectors, the snobbish patricians that frown upon pirates and the all-together light-hearted storyline that is quite delightful indeed. Definitely a perfect storyline for a Disney movie.

More pirates, more adventures, more magic and of course more gargoyle make this an entertaining second installment in The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates series. There isn’t much in the way of advancement in overall plot but this is such a fun read that readers of this series aren’t likely to mind.


Early Review – The Sea Garden by Deborah Lawrenson

April 17, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013 1 Comment

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 – The Sea Garden by Deborah LawrensonThe Sea Garden by Deborah Lawrenson
Published by Harper on June 24th 2014
Pages: 320
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Also by this author: The Lantern


Romance, suspense, and World War II mystery are woven together in three artfully linked novellas-rich in drama and steeped in atmosphere-from the critically acclaimed author of The Lantern

On the lush Mediterranean island of Porquerolles off the French coast, Ellie Brooke, an award-winning British landscape designer, has been hired to restore a memorial garden. Unsettled by its haunted air and the bitterness of the garden's owner, an elderly woman who seems intent on undermining her, Ellie finds that her only ally on the island is an elusive war historian …

Near the end of World War II, Marthe Lincel, a young blind woman newly apprenticed at a perfume factory in Nazi-occupied Provence, finds herself at the center of a Resistance cell. When tragedy strikes, she faces the most difficult choice of her life . . . and discovers a breathtaking courage she never expected.

Iris Nightingale, a junior British intelligence officer in wartime London, falls for a French agent. But after a secret landing in Provence results in terrible Nazi reprisals, he vanishes. When France is liberated, Iris is determined to uncover the truth. Was he the man he claimed to be?

Ingeniously interconnected, this spellbinding triptych weaves three parallel narratives into one unique tale of love, mystery, and murder. The Sea Garden is a vivid and absorbing chronicle of love and loss in the fog of war-and a penetrating and perceptive examination of the impulses and circumstances that shape our lives.

‘In this present hour, there was time for anything to happen, endless time.’

The Sea Garden contains three separate novellas that slowly intertwine together. The first novella shares the name of the title and is set in present day. The second and third novellas are all centered around the WWII era.

I became an instant fan of Deborah Lawrenson’s after her debut novel, ‘The Lantern‘ completely mesmerized me with its Rebecca-esque gothic story. It was clear she had a talent for the written word and I’ve been anxiously awaiting a new book from her. The Sea Garden presents a somewhat full-length novel, broke up into seemingly separate stories but have more in common than assumed. The Sea Garden novella is the present day story which brings to life a young woman named Ellie who is hired to construct a new WWII Memorial Garden. Her short visit is a disturbing one after the mother of the man that hired her is unkindly to her and after she believes to have seen ghosts in the Garden. The real heart of the story comes in the WWII stories that have an unexpected impact on Ellie’s life even after all that time has passed.

‘Thy word is a lantern unto my feet: and a light unto my path.’

I recognized and enjoyed the authors skillful writing yet found this story lacking in comparison to its predecessor. I found The Sea Garden to be for the most part too convoluted and lacking a clear and concise ending that wrapped up all loose ends. The affinity between the three tales was a little too slack and wasn’t as solid of a connection as I would expect with a multi-narrative tale such as this. Also, the odd supernatural aspects felt superfluous and too extravagant of an addition to this basic tale of history and its effects on everyone it touches. The writing was most pleasing but I would have appreciated this story more if the three novellas had stood on their own without the compulsory connection between them.


Book Review – Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3) by Tahereh Mafi

March 21, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2014, YA 6 Comments

Book Review – Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3) by Tahereh MafiIgnite Me by Tahereh Mafi
Series: Shatter Me #3
Published by HarperCollins on February 4th 2014
Pages: 408
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Romance
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

Also by this author: Shatter Me, Unravel Me, Fracture Me


The heart-stopping conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, which Ransom Riggs, bestselling author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, called “a thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love.”

With Omega Point destroyed, Juliette doesn’t know if the rebels, her friends, or even Adam are alive. But that won’t keep her from trying to take down The Reestablishment once and for all. Now she must rely on Warner, the handsome commander of Sector 45. The one person she never thought she could trust. The same person who saved her life. He promises to help Juliette master her powers and save their dying world . . . but that’s not all he wants with her.

The Shatter Me series is perfect for fans who crave action-packed young adult novels with tantalizing romance like Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Legend by Marie Lu. Tahereh Mafi has created a captivating and original story that combines the best of dystopian and paranormal, and was praised by Publishers Weekly as “a gripping read from an author who’s not afraid to take risks.” Now this final book brings the series to a shocking and satisfying end.

Shatter Me series

Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) {Purchase – My Review}
Destroy Me (Shatter Me #1.5) {Purchase}
Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2) {PurchaseMy Review}
Fracture Me (Shatter Me #2.5) {PurchaseMy Review}

 photo Spoilers-Spoilers-everywhere.jpg


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Yes, I ended this with a smile on my face. But for all the wrong reasons. I was smiling because I would no longer have to subject myself to reading more of these books in hopes that they’ll finally start being worth the time and in hopes it’ll start giving me the answers I’ve yearned for. The end did not give me all of those answers but whatever, I’m done with it.

Let’s talk about Adam. I touched on this in my review of Fracture Me but I’m feeling the need to discuss it further because I clearly missed the part where Adam got hit in the head with a semi and all his brain pieces got jiggled around causing him to transform into a completely different person. That happened, right? Because that’s the only excuse I’m willing to accept. I can’t for one second buy that this has been Adam’s ‘true self’ this whole series because he did a complete 180 from anything I’ve come to expect from him. Ohhhhhh… maybe he was abducted by aliens? I might be willing to accept that too. But seriously, he’s supposed to care about Juliette. I could understand some animosity between the two since they did break up but he still claims to care about her. Something tells me you’re confused.

“[…] Adam-I’m not stupid-“
“Are you sure?”
“What?” I can’t believe he just insulted me.
“I asked you if you were sure,” he snaps. “Because you’re acting pretty damn stupid right now […]”


“No-you don’t understand anything,” he snaps. “You don’t understand me, you don’t understand yourself and you don’t understand that you’re acting like a stupid child […]”


“I was happier,” Adam says, “when I thought she was dead.” […] He finally looks at me. “Thinking you were dead,” he says to me, “was so much better. It hurt so much less than this.”

You get the picture. What made it even worse was there were people standing around while all this is going on. Listening to him verbally abuse her again and again. Kenji KIND OF sticks up for her but for the most part they let him rant and rave and treat her like she’s a piece of trash. Hello? You just going to let that happen? I kept reading in hopes that either someone (or Juliette) would finally stand up to the prick and say:

Now onto Warner. Let’s talk about the fact that every time he called Juliette ‘love’ he only succeeded in making himself sound like a pretentious blowhard. I mean seriously, unless you’re British I don’t think you can really get away with calling anyone ‘love’ and since there was no reference to his British-ness then pretentious blowhard it is. Warner becomes Mr. Perfect in Ignite Me because the love triangle problem needed to be solved suddenly every issue is revealed to have been one giant misunderstanding this entire time!

“…do not presume to understand my actions. […] Because if you do, I can assure you you’ll only be met with disappointment. And if you insist on continuing to make assumptions about my character, I’ll advise you only this: assume you will always be wrong.”

Yes, so basically he was maintaining pretenses this entire time. Naturally. But it was pretty ridiculous that he managed to be as shocked as he was that Juliette thought so little of him. Because really what did he expect? Oh, he just shot his soldier in the head. It was seemingly done for no legit reason. Oh, he just almost made me kill a baby. No explanation given. She was really supposed to surmise that it was all a simulation? Add to that there were so many other things that Warner did do wrong yet because all of his larger misdeeds were explained and forgiven everything else was brushed under the rug? No bueno.

And as a side note, how come we’re ignoring the fact that the only reason he even knows Juliette is because he stole her extremely personal diary? It’s not like they spent quality time together having conversations and getting to know one another. He literally knows nothing about this girl that he claims to love other than what was written in the pages of her diary. And what a terrible invasion of privacy! Even when she tries to take it back from him he claims he’s not done reading and promptly takes it from her again.

I’ve never been Team Adam or Team Warner because I don’t do teams, sorry. But I didn’t expect Adam to start acting completely out of character for no legitimate reason and I didn’t expect a nice, neat resolution to redeem Warner for all his wrong doing. It just felt like a quick resolution and was the ultimate of cop-outs.

Fairly exciting stuff finally starts happening in the last like, 75 pages. They’re going to battle and Juliette is acting like a total badass and I’m loving it. I understand Juliette needed to develop in order to become this newly empowered individual but the last 75 pages of the last book in the trilogy?? Too. Freaking. Late. And that’s what upset me the most and what caused my rock bottom rating: those final pages afforded me a glimpse of what could have been. It was exciting and thrilling with characters I really enjoyed. It made me dislike the other 1,000 or so pages of this series even more than I already did. It could have been an awesome ending to a trilogy and while it was admittedly the best part of the entire series for me, it was still incredibly rushed. If the ending wasn’t quite so rush, if Adam’s character hadn’t been completely razed, if there was more focus on the craziness of the world and not the craziness of Juliette’s ridiculous love-life this could have been an impressive series. If, if, if. I know. But those last pages did showcase the potential that Mafi has and regardless of my opinion of this book or the overall series as a whole I would not be against giving her future novels a shot. I can only hope and pray that the exciting bits happen much, much sooner.


Early Review – Queen of the Dark Things (Dreams & Shadows #2) by C. Robert Cargill

March 14, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013 3 Comments

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

Early Review – Queen of the Dark Things (Dreams & Shadows #2) by C. Robert CargillQueen of the Dark Things by C. Robert Cargill
Series: Dreams & Shadows #2
Published by Harper Voyager on May 13th 2014
Pages: 448
Genres: Fantasy, Horror
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss

Also by this author: Dreams and Shadows, We Are Where the Nightmares Go and Other Stories, Sea of Rust


Screenwriter and noted film critic C. Robert Cargill continues the story begun in his acclaimed debut Dreams and Shadows in this bold and brilliantly crafted tale involving fairies and humans, magic and monsters-a vivid phantasamagoria that combines the imaginative wonders of Neil Gaiman, the visual inventiveness of Guillermo Del Toro, and the shocking miasma of William S. Burroughs

Six months have passed since the wizard Colby lost his best friend to an army of fairies from the Limestone Kingdom, a realm of mystery and darkness beyond our own. But in vanquishing these creatures and banning them from Austin, Colby sacrificed the anonymity that protected him. Now, word of his deeds has spread, and powerful enemies from the past-including one Colby considered a friend-have resurfaced to exact their revenge.

As darkness gathers around the city, Colby sifts through his memories desperate to find answers that might save him. With time running out, and few of his old allies and enemies willing to help, he is forced to turn for aid to forces even darker than those he once battled.

Following such masters as Lev Grossman, Erin Morgenstern, Richard Kadrey, and Kim Harrison, Robert C. Cargill takes us deeper into an an extraordinary universe of darkness and wonder, despair and hope to reveal the magic and monsters around us . . . and inside us.

Dreams & Shadows series

Book Review – Dreams and Shadows by C. Robert Cargill

Dreams and Shadows (Dreams and Shadows, #1) by C. Robert Cargill {PurchaseMy Review}

“This is how it starts.”
“No. Hopefully this is how it ends.”

Queen of the Dark Things is the followup novel to Dreams and Shadows, a novel chock-full of magic and mystery in an alternate reality in the heart of Austin, Texas. The story picks up right where Shadows left off, with Colby reeling from the battle that occurred and the death of his friend Ewan as the result. He’s reverted back to a solitary life but is forced into action again when a friend from his past surfaces, however they are far from friends now and she poses grave danger to not only Colby himself but the very world.

‘The universe tore open and Hell spilled out, for a brief moment becoming one with the field.’

Being back again in this fantasy world of Cargill’s was fantastic. The world in Queen of the Dark Things is no less intense, no less imaginative and still full of that fanciful horror. We’re given new horrors to witness as well: The Seventy-Two, a group of demons and Fallen Angels one can only hope to never encounter, the Kutji, cursed shadows of the dead that suffered a most violent death, and the Queen of the Dark Things herself. But I’ll let the story explain her.

The story’s narrative is split between a new character named Kaycee Looes, the informative excerpts from the books by Dr. Thaddeus Ray, Ph.D. and of course Colby being the main storyteller. Colby’s strength and confidence was subtle in Dreams and Shadows and he only did what was necessary. In Queen of the Dark Things it seems he’s lost that restraint he had and is getting himself in far more trouble than is otherwise necessary. I believe the loss of Ewan truly broke Colby and his inability to save him changed everything about who he was. His melancholy was subdued but it was clear it did exist and it transformed the story and plot in a way that made it lose some of its magic for me. At this point though, I’ve become highly invested in Colby and am still interested to see his continuing character development. It’s clear there is still much more to Colby’s story and I eagerly await it.