Publisher: Hyperion

Early Review – The Vanishing by Wendy Webb

January 16, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013 10 Comments

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

Early Review – The Vanishing by Wendy WebbThe Vanishing by Wendy Webb
Published by Hyperion on January 21, 2014
Pages: 304
Genres: Fiction, Ghost, Ghosties, Gothic, Occult & Supernatural
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads


two-half-stars

Recently widowed and rendered penniless by her Ponzi-scheming husband, Julia Bishop is eager to start anew. So when a stranger appears on her doorstep with a job offer, she finds herself accepting the mysterious yet unique position: caretaker to his mother, Amaris Sinclair, the famous and rather eccentric horror novelist whom Julia has always admired . . . and who the world believes is dead.

When she arrives at the Sinclairs' enormous estate on Lake Superior, Julia begins to suspect that there may be sinister undercurrents to her "too-good-to-be-true" position. As Julia delves into the reasons of why Amaris chose to abandon her successful writing career and withdraw from the public eye, her search leads to unsettling connections to her own family tree, making her wonder why she really was invited to Havenwood in the first place, and what monstrous secrets are still held prisoner within its walls.

Julia Bishop is left alone and completely destitute when her husband commits suicide after it was discovered he had swindled out all their family and friends out of their life savings with a Ponzi scheme. She’s accused of being a co-conspirator in her husband’s shady dealings and is left friendless as well. Unexpectedly a man arrives on her doorstep to offer her a job taking care of her mother, the well-known but presumed dead author Amaris Sinclair. Accepting this job would also allow her to vanish from her current life issues so she readily accepts not truly understanding why she is being trusted with this job.

‘The truth finds its way into the light, no matter what you’ve done to contain it.’

There is little to say about this novel for fear of giving away spoilers. The Vanishing lacks in complexity but makes up for it in riveting storytelling. It often requires a suspension of disbelief because of the incredulity of much that occurs within these pages. For the better part of this novel, I found myself enthralled. A beautiful house in the middle of nowhere with a story all its own. A group of people with secrets. An unreliable narrator that puts everything into question.  I love a good Gothic novel and I was well overdue. I greedily consumed the pages eager for the much anticipated twist that is a critical part of any Gothic novel. And that’s where I was left feeling cheated and completely dissatisfied. Simply put, my suspension of disbelief was pushed to excess and rationality intervened. As the author states at the end:

‘With my novels, I’m not trying to define a generation, right any great wrongs, or change the way you think about the world or your place init. I just want to craft a good story that will delight you, entertain you, grab you and not let go, and send some shivers up your spine along the way.’

The Vanishing did entertain me and there was the occasional shiver. Unfortunately, the ending was an unsatisfactory conclusion to an exiting tale that left me perplexed and discontented. As a whole, this was a very enjoyable novel and I can still honestly say that I’m glad to have read it.

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Early Review – Rogue Touch by Christine Woodward

June 15, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013 2 Comments

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

Early Review – Rogue Touch by Christine WoodwardRogue Touch by Christine Woodward
Published by Hyperion on June 18th 2013
Pages: 288
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads


two-stars

Twenty-year-old Anna Marie was just fired for the third time--this time from a bakery. Why can't she hold a job? Well, for starters, she dresses . . . differently. She looks like a Goth girl to the extreme, her shock of white hair contrasting with her head-to-toe black garb, her face the only skin she chooses to reveal. But Anna Marie doesn't have a choice. Her skin, her touch, is a deadly weapon that must be concealed. She accidentally put her first boyfriend, Cody, in a coma when they kissed. Horrified, she ran away to Jackson, Mississippi, where she's been living alone in a cramped apartment and scraping by on food stamps.

Then she meets otherworldly James and everything changes. He's just like her--completely alone and also on the run. To elude James's mysterious and dangerous family, the pair takes to the highway. As they cross the country, their simmering attraction intensifies and they both open up about their secretive pasts. James reveals that his true name is Touch and he christens Anna Marie Rogue. But with danger at their heels, they know they can't run forever. Rogue must decide if she'll unleash her devastating powers once again, which she swore never to do, in order to save the only person who seems truly to understand and accept her.

‘What is it that drives a person to survive, even when she has nothing to live for?’

Can you imagine living your life being unable to touch anyone? Having to completely cover your skin even in the middle of summer because an accidental brush of an arm could send someone into a coma? Never being able to let someone touch you? Anna Marie, a Southern girl from Caldecott County, Mississppi, is forced to live like that every day since she put her boyfriend Cody in a coma when he was just trying to kiss her.

The story begins as I would have expected with Rogue discovering her latent mutant powers. But that’s where the similarities end because her story then launches into a completely foreign story where Rogue is being raised by her Aunt and includes mutants that don’t exist in the normal Marvel universe. This newly invented mutants name is James (or Touch) and he also serves as the complicated and awkward love interest. Awkward because, well, Rogue can’t touch anyone so we’re subjected to lines like:

“This time Touch kissed me. On the other side of the wool I could feel his mouth open just the tiniest bit. I had never even French kissed before […], and I knew that if I was normal, that’s what we would be doing right at this moment. But Touch was mostly getting a whole lot of wool on his tongue. He pulled away and picked a strand or two.”

To be clear, Rogue was wearing a hat/mask over her face, thus the picking of the fibers from his tongue. (Awkward, right?)

The romance took up a huge amount of this story and it was severely disappointing considering what I loved first and foremost with these female superheroes was how strong and independent thy were. I’m not saying they weren’t involved in any romances (Rogue and Gambit, anyone?) but there was always an action-backed story going on that added to the awesome. The romance was just way overkill and was emphasized on wayyyy too much.

When I became aware of this books existence, I squealed as loud as I could get away with since I was at work. A little background for you all, I am a HUGE fan of X-Men. Have been since I was real little. I loved the cartoon, I love the movies, I have tons of comic books and I even had huge posters on my walls. One of them was of Rogue. She was one of my favorites so I know quite a bit about her fictional background. For those of you that also have this knowledge may find yourself disappointed in this story. I know I sure was. Personally, I would have loved to see her background involving Mystique being delved into. Back before Rogue even became affiliated with the X-Men she was actually considered ‘evil’ and was a part of the Brotherhood of Mutants and Mystique was her adopted mother. That would have been awesome shit right there, but instead we get Rogue traveling all over the United States trying to evade the police with nothing much else happening. Well, except for some hot make out scenes with a wool mask over her face. Not.

So now that I’ve admitted to being one super giant X-Men nerd, I think I’m done here.

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Early Review – The Innocents by Francesca Segal

June 4, 2012 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2012 0 Comments

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

Early Review – The Innocents by Francesca SegalThe Innocents by Francesca Segal
Published by Hyperion on June 5th 2012
Pages: 288
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads


two-half-stars

What if everything you'd ever wanted was no longer enough?

Adam and Rachel are getting married at last. Childhood sweethearts whose lives and families have been intertwined for years; theirs is set to be the wedding of the year.

But then Rachel's cousin Ellie makes an unexpected return to the family fold. Beautiful, reckless and troubled, Ellie represents everything that Adam has tried all his life to avoid - and everything that is missing from his world. As the long-awaited wedding approaches, Adam is torn between duty and temptation, security and freedom, and must make a choice that will break either one heart, or many.

‘The Innocents’ is a story which delves into a man’s pre-wedding fears and how he wavers between doing what he knows is right and what his heart is telling him. The story which is fashioned after Edith Wharton’s ‘The Age of Innocence’ is a classic that I have yet to read so I can’t be too sure how closely the two stories are. I don’t believe that this would have been a story I would have snagged off the shelf to take home with me; however, I enjoyed it nonetheless. The detail given regarding the tight-knit Jewish community was interesting and informative at first but after some time became hard to swallow. More story and less historical information would have benefited this story in the long run.

The writing itself was superb (especially considering this is Francesca Segal’s debut novel) but the story itself fell a little flat for me. The main issue I had was an inability to connect with the characters and understand their motives, especially the main character Adam. I could understand his commitment doubts or wondering if he’s made the right decision. I could even understand him falling out of love with Rachel because it was apparent that their relationship had become stale/complacent over the years. The one thing I had a hard time understanding was his instant infatuation with Ellie. In my opinion I would have preferred for the story to leave her as the catalyst that really set everything in motion rather than the new love interest. Adam had had his doubts regarding taking the next big step to marriage before Ellie came into the picture but she was the one that really opened his eyes to a different path, a different life. I think making her the love interest made the whole story too predictable.

Regardless, I did still enjoy it and I think fans of contemporary literature will enjoy this. I plan on keeping an eye out for more from Francesca Segal, she definitely has a talent for words.

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Book Review – The Son of Neptune (The Heroes of Olympus #2) by Rick Riordan

October 9, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011, YA 1 Comment

Book Review – The Son of Neptune (The Heroes of Olympus #2) by Rick RiordanThe Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
Published by Hyperion on October 4, 2011
Pages: 540
Genres: Fantasy, Greek Mythology
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


four-half-stars

ONE CURSED DEMIGOD.
TWO NEW HEROES.
A QUEST TO UNLEASH THE
GOD OF DEATH.....

Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon, God of the Sea, has woken from a very deep sleep and come face to face with two snake-haired ladies who refuse to die.

But they're the least of his problems. Because Percy finds himself at a camp for half-bloods, which doesn't ring any bells for him. There's just one name he remembers from his past. Annabeth.

Only one thing is certain--Percy's questing days aren't over. He and fellow demigods Frank and Hazel must face the most important quest of all: The Prophecy of Seven. If they fail, it's not just their camp at risk. Percy's old life, the gods and the entire world might be destroyed...

The Heroes of Olympus series

The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1)

The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1)

Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire the world must fall.
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.

In true Rick Riordan fashion, the half-bloods are once again sent on a quest by the Gods, but this time Percy is on a quest with Hazel and Frank, two half-bloods from Camp Jupiter. Percy has lost his memory and can barely remember anything, and if he does it’s quite fuzzy in his mind. The three set off on their quest to release a God who has been captured by Gaea, the God responsible for keeping dead things… well, dead. With him captured, the enemies on their quest don’t die, which certainly makes things interesting and quite dangerous for the trio.

Thoughts
I’m a huge fan of Rick Riordan and his Percy Jackson series. His books are always lighthearted and funny, although sometimes I’m reminded that these are in fact children’s books when the occasional goofy statements thrown in. Like how Amazons run amazon.com. (Sighing and eye rolling did occur). But there were some funny lines that had me gigglging.

”Um… is that thing tame?” Frank said.
The horse whinnied angrily.
“I don’t think so,” Percy guessed. “He just said, ‘I will trample you to death, silly Chinese Canadian baby man.’”
“You speak horse?” Hazel asked.
“’Baby man’?” Frank spluttered.

I gotta admit, the first half of the book I was pretty much indifferent and I had a hard time staying interested at first. It’s such a confusing storyline because Percy has amnesia, Frank and Hazel have multiple secrets, and nothing is revealed so you pretty much feel like you’re stumbling right along with the characters in the book. The characters were great, as usual, and I loved the introduction of the new characters Hazel and Frank. Once things started coming together, I was completely swept away and will be waiting quite eagerly for the next installment.

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Book Review – Witches of East End (The Beauchamp Family #1) by Melissa de la Cruz

July 16, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 0 Comments

Book Review – Witches of East End (The Beauchamp Family #1) by Melissa de la CruzWitches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz
Series: The Beauchamp Family #1
Published by Hyperion on June 21, 2011
Pages: 292
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


two-stars

The three Beauchamp women--Joanna and her daughters Freya and Ingrid, live in North Hampton, out on the tip of Long Island. Their beautiful, mist-shrouded town seems almost stuck in time, and all three women lead seemingly quiet, uneventful existences. But they are harboring a mighty secret--they are powerful witches banned from using their magic. Joanna can resurrect people from the dead and heal the most serious of injuries. Ingrid, her bookish daughter, has the ability to predict the future and weave knots that can solve anything from infertility to infidelity. And finally, there's Freya, the wild child, who has a charm or a potion that can cure most any heartache.

For centuries, all three women have been forced to suppress their abilities. But then Freya, who is about to get married to the wealthy and mysterious Bran Gardiner, finds that her increasingly complicated romantic life makes it more difficult than ever to hide her secret. Soon Ingrid and Joanna confront similar dilemmas, and the Beauchamp women realize they can no longer conceal their true selves. They unearth their wands from the attic, dust off their broomsticks, and begin casting spells on the townspeople. It all seems like a bit of good-natured, innocent magic, but then mysterious, violent attacks begin to plague the town. When a young girl disappears over the Fourth of July weekend, they realize it's time to uncover who and what dark forces are working against them.

With a brand-new cast of characters, a fascinating and fresh world to discover, and a few surprise appearances from some of the Blue Blood fan favorites, this is a page-turning, deliciously fun, magical summer read fraught with love affairs, witchcraft, and an unforgettable battle between good and evil.

‘Witches of East End’ is the first in a new series by Melissa de la Cruz. Being a huge fan of her young adult Blue Bloods series I was immediately intrigued at the idea of her branching off into adult fiction. Unfortunately I was super disappointed.

This book follows the story of the three Beauchamp women who live in north Hampton; Joanna and her two daughters Freya and Ingrid. All three women reside in North Hampton living relatively normal lives, even though they are actually powerful immortal witches who have been forbidden from practicing magic. Slowly at first, the three women begin practicing magic again hoping that they can successfully stay off the radar and won’t be punished. Ingrid is the first to discover individuals who are complaining of anything from infertility to a block in creativity have a gray darkness in their spirits, and it’s becoming more and more common.

I had a hard time with how the author just simply stated things and failed to explain. I also had a hard time liking the characters. Joanna helps care for this four year old child, Tyler, and the relationship between the two just comes off as not right. It explains how Joanna had lost her son long ago and that taking care of Tyler is like having her son back… I just kept wondering where his mother was and what she felt about that. Ingrid is a librarian and boring beyond all reason, but I did like how she was so willing to help people in need. Shoot, if I got to work with books all day I’d be the happiest person alive. Lol

Possible spoiler… And then there’s Freya… oh where do I begin. So Freya is engaged to marry Bran after a month of knowing each other. Bran and Freya throw an engagement party. Freya is constantly professing her love for Bran and how they were meant to be together. Freya sleeps with Bran’s brother Killian (Killian? Who the hell names their kid Killian?) at their engagement party. Freya continues to profess love for Bran while continuing to think of Killian while having sex with Bran. The whole situation just lacked class in so many ways. Of course there was this big revelation towards the end that made it all okay, but I still didn’t care for it.

And of course the Epilogue offered up a *big* cliffhanger but by the time it came around I found myself not caring in the slightest. I felt like I was dragging myself through the last half of the book… the author kept throwing in random facts and random storylines of past events and I was just bored. I won’t be continuing this series.

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Short & Sweet – Hex Hall (Hex Hall, #1) by Rachel Hawkins

July 16, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011, Short & Sweet Reviews, YA 1 Comment

Short & Sweet – Hex Hall (Hex Hall, #1) by Rachel HawkinsHex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Series: Hex Hall #1
Published by Hyperion on May 28th 2010
Pages: 337
Genres: Fantasy
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Demonglass, Spell Bound, School Spirits

four-half-stars

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father-an elusive European warlock-only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus.

Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect. As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

Okay, so I loved this book… even though it had a total ‘Harry Potter’ feel to it. Only exception was that the main character, Sophie Mercer, always knew she was a witch. She lived in the real world up until she tried to make a friend with a classmate by casting a love spell for her. The love spell went awry and because she made her powers known, she was shipped off to ‘Hex Hall’-Boarding School for the Gifted.

Not only did this book have very likable characters, an intriguing storyline, but it was hilarious. There were so many quotes I could have added as favorites; however, I stopped at 3…maybe 4. Lol

And the incident with Archer and Sophie in the cellar… Ahhhh! That had my mouth gaping. Even though I should have seen that one coming, it still threw me for a loop.

So now I must decide whether to jump right into Demonglass or wait… Decisions decisions. 🙂

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