Publisher: Picador

Short & Sweet – Half-Blood Prince, The Rose and the Dagger, The Lover’s Dictionary

January 6, 2017 Bonnie Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Read in 2016, Read in 2017, Short & Sweet Reviews 11 Comments

Short & Sweet – Half-Blood Prince, The Rose and the Dagger, The Lover’s DictionaryHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
Narrator: Jim Dale
Series: Harry Potter #6
Published by Pottermore from J.K. Rowling on November 20th 2015
Length: 18 hours and 55 minutes
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
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Also by this author: The Cuckoo's Calling, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 & 2, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

five-stars

"There it was, hanging in the sky above the school: the blazing green skull with a serpent tongue, the mark Death Eaters left behind whenever they had entered a building...wherever they had murdered...."

When Dumbledore arrives at Privet Drive one summer night to collect Harry Potter, his wand hand is blackened and shrivelled, but he does not reveal why. Secrets and suspicion are spreading through the wizarding world, and Hogwarts itself is not safe. Harry is convinced that Malfoy bears the Dark Mark: there is a Death Eater amongst them. Harry will need powerful magic and true friends as he explores Voldemort's darkest secrets, and Dumbledore prepares him to face his destiny....

“It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.”

Once upon a time, I considered Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix to be my favorite of the bunch. This re-read? This is quite possibly my new favorite for how well-paced and exciting the mystery was. There was a reason behind everything Rowling included and when the links become apparent it was nothing short of fantastic. These stories have been quite dark since Goblet of Fire, but this installment added many fascinating angles to it and finally gives us the relationship between Harry and Dumbedore that should have been in place years ago. Technically this is my very first time re-reading past Prisoner of Azkaban (#3) and it almost felt like I was reading them for the first time. Having read Cursed Child has also changed my perception on the story as well by being able to view the characters differently knowing not just how they turned out at the end of Deathly Hallows, but several decades later as adults too.

harry potter

While I haven’t re-read these as much as I should, I have seen the movies several times and those are what has been ingrained into my brain so it’s fantastic to recall the subtle/unsubtle changes that were made. Peeves continues to be absent and Tonks’ major part in this book is left out completely, the destruction of the Burrow didn’t happen at all in the story, a certain someones funeral gets left out, but most missed were many of the memories of Tom Riddle that Dumebledore shared with Harry. Those memories, to me, are what makes Voldemort most fascinating (in the worst of ways) and gives him a much needed complexity which takes him beyond your standard cardboard villain. But yes, I have a vastly different appreciation for this story now and am grateful I’ve finally made time to re-read this series in its entirety.

“Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.”

Short & Sweet – Half-Blood Prince, The Rose and the Dagger, The Lover’s DictionaryThe Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #2
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers on April 26th 2016
Pages: 416
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Format: eBook
Source: Library
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Also by this author: The Wrath and the Dawn

three-half-stars

The darker the sky, the brighter the stars.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.
The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.

“It was because they were two parts of a whole. He did not belong to her. And she did not belong to him. It was never about belonging to someone. It was about belonging together.”

Khalid spends his days keeping his identity secret as he helps to rebuild his demolished city and Shahrzad is doing all she possibly can to break the curse on Khalid so that they can live out their days together in peace. The Wrath and the Dawn only hinted at the presence of magic and I’m pleased to say that the magic is on full display in The Rose and the Dagger. There’s heartbreak and strife galore because is anything ever easy when it comes to love?

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It’s no secret that I absolutely adored the first book. Whether it’s because I loved the first so much and I didn’t expect the second to be able to live up to it or because of my poor track record in regards to final books in series’ but it took me forever to take the plunge and pick this one up. But better late than never, I finally did. This installment focuses less on the romance and more on the conspiracies and scheming going on in the background of the kingdom. Yes, the romance focus was definitely missed since I loved it so, however, there was a maturity to it this time around that was definitely absent from Wrath what with all the passion flying around. There were some intriguing mysteries involving Khalid’s rivals and Shahrzad’s father that I quite liked but one mystery in particular View Spoiler » left me feeling confused what with the unraveled ends that it was left with. While I was not nearly as enamored with this installment as I was with the prior, this still ended up being a most magical story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights.

Short & Sweet – Half-Blood Prince, The Rose and the Dagger, The Lover’s DictionaryThe Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
Published by Picador on January 17th 2012
Pages: 224
Genres: Contemporary
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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Also by this author: The Lover's Dictionary, Every Day

five-stars

How does one talk about love? Is it even possible to describe something at once utterly mundane and wholly transcendent, that has the power to consume our lives completely, while making us feel part of something infinitely larger than ourselves? Taking a unique approach to this age-old problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan's The Lover's Dictionary constructs the story of a relationship as a dictionary. Through these sharp entries, he provides an intimate window into the great events and quotidian trifles of coupledom, giving us an indelible and deeply moving portrait of love in our time.

‘It scares me how hard it is to remember life before you. I can’t even make the comparisons anymore, because my memories of that time have all the depth of a photograph. It seems foolish to play games of better and worse. It’s simply a matter of is and is no longer.’

The Lover’s Dictionary is the antithesis of a love story. But it’s still a story of love. It’s the type that brings to light all the hairline fractures and imperfections of romance. It shows the wondrous, shining moments of first love and the gloomy, dispiriting moments when it comes to a close. It’s both tragic and comforting and it’s an astonishing piece of writing.

flux, n.

The natural state. Our moods change. Our lives change. Our feelings for each other change. Our bearings change. The song changes. The air changes. The temperature of the shower changes.

Accept this. We must accept this.

I read and reviewed this years ago but I recently purchased a copy for myself and have been wanting to re-read just to see if this retained all the same magic that I recalled it having. I quite possibly loved this even more, mainly because while I could appreciate the emotions behind the story the first read, the second read was like a mirror reflecting back all my current emotions. It made my heart ache quite fiercely at times, but reading something so sincere and genuine can be a breath of fresh air, even when it hurts.

abyss, n.

There are times when I doubt everything. When I regret everything you’ve taken from me, everything I’ve given you, and the waste of all the time I’ve spent on us.

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Waiting on Wednesday – The Motion of Puppets: A Novel by Keith Donohue

March 16, 2016 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 6 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – The Motion of Puppets: A Novel by Keith DonohueThe Motion of Puppets: A Novel by Keith Donohue
Published by Picador on October 4th 2016
Pages: 272
Genres: Horror
Format: Hardcover
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Also by this author: The Boy Who Drew Monsters

From the bestselling author of The Boy Who Drew Monsters and The Stolen Child comes a modern take on the Orpheus and Eurydice myth—a suspenseful tale of romance and enchantment

In the Old City of Québec, Kay Harper falls in love with a puppet in the window of the Quatre Mains, a toy shop that is never open. She is spending her summer working as an acrobat with the cirque while her husband, Theo, is translating a biography of the pioneering photographer Eadweard Muybridge. Late one night, Kay fears someone is following her home. Surprised to see that the lights of the toy shop are on and the door is open, she takes shelter inside.

The next morning Theo wakes up to discover his wife is missing. Under police suspicion and frantic at her disappearance, he obsessively searches the streets of the Old City. Meanwhile, Kay has been transformed into a puppet, and is now a prisoner of the back room of the Quatre Mains, trapped with an odd assemblage of puppets from all over the world who can only come alive between the hours of midnight and dawn. The only way she can return to the human world is if Theo can find her and recognize her in her new form. So begins a dual odyssey: of a husband determined to findhis wife, and of a woman trapped in a magical world where her life is not her own.

About Keith Donohue

Keith Donohue is an American novelist. His acclaimed 2006 novel The Stolen Child, about a changeling, was inspired by the Yeats poem of the same name. His second novel, Angels of Destruction, was published in March 2009.

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he earned his B.A. and M.A. from Duquesne University and his Ph.D. in English from The Catholic University of America.

Currently he is Director of Communications for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the grant-making arm of the U. S. National Archives in Washington, DC. Until 1998 he worked at the National Endowment for the Arts and wrote speeches for chairmen John Frohnmayer and Jane Alexander, and has written articles for the New York Times, Washington Post, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and other newspapers.

I read The Boy Who Drew Monsters last year and enjoyed it, although it wasn’t as scary as I had hoped. But this one? Transformed into a puppet? Puppets that come alive?

Sounds creepy!

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 Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue

July 17, 2015 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2015 3 Comments

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

Book Review – The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith DonohueThe Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue
Published by Picador on October 7th 2014
Pages: 288
Genres: Gothic, Horror
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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Goodreads


three-half-stars

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Stolen Child comes a hypnotic literary horror novel about a young boy trapped inside his own world, whose drawings blur the lines between fantasy and reality.

Ever since he nearly drowned in the ocean three years earlier, ten-year-old Jack Peter Keenan has been deathly afraid to venture outdoors. Refusing to leave his home in a small coastal town in Maine, Jack Peter spends his time drawing monsters. When those drawings take on a life of their own, no one is safe from the terror they inspire. His mother, Holly, begins to hear strange sounds in the night coming from the ocean, and she seeks answers from the local Catholic priest and his Japanese housekeeper, who fill her head with stories of shipwrecks and ghosts. His father, Tim, wanders the beach, frantically searching for a strange apparition running wild in the dunes. And the boy’s only friend, Nick, becomes helplessly entangled in the eerie power of the drawings. While those around Jack Peter are haunted by what they think they see, only he knows the truth behind the frightful occurrences as the outside world encroaches upon them all.

In the tradition of The Turn of the Screw, Keith Donohue’s The Boy Who Drew Monsters is a mesmerizing tale of psychological terror and imagination run wild, a perfectly creepy read for a dark night.

“In the dream house, the boy listened for the monster under his bed.”

Jack Peter hasn’t been the same since he almost drowned when he was seven-years-old. Becoming terrified of the world outside, he’s become something of a recluse for the past three years and his parents, and even doctors, have been struggling to find a reason. When the terrifying things that Jack claims to see become visible to his parents, they begin to think they’re going insane rather than realizing that maybe what their son has been saying isn’t exactly a lie. Is there something supernatural astir or is everyone, in fact, going insane?

The slow, subtle build leaves the reader in a constant state of anxiety, unable to differentiate between reality and madness. While not exactly terrifying, despite the depictions of a pale white creature which roams the lands around their home and of the babies that defy gravity by crawling across the walls, this story still manages to leave a slight restlessness in its implications. A comparison to A Turn of the Screw is expected, what with the creepy children and of the general gothic-like atmosphere of panic and terror. Donohue applies an inspirational twist to this tale by granting power behind the monsters to a child. What would cause a child to want to create terrifying monsters in reality? Does he have the power to control their actions or only their existence? And does their existence serve a purpose?

One aspect that could have been dealt with better were the adults. Their continued ignorance of the wrongness of the occurrences is typical yet tiresome. Failing to believe in their young sons seemingly fictitious stories is one thing but it’s a problem when you’re seeing said stories with your own eyes and are still acting oblivious. I would have preferred this story told entirely from the point of view of the children, since their perspective of what was happening left you feeling like a child once again, terrified of the monster under the bed.

Not terrifying, yet still memorable. Donohue impressed me with his prose and capability of maintaining a mysterious edginess. I will definitely be seeking out his earlier works.

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Waiting on Wednesday – The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue

June 11, 2014 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 0 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith DonohueThe Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue
Published by Picador on October 7th 2014
Pages: 288
Genres: Horror
Format: Hardcover
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Boy Who Drew Monsters

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Stolen Child comes a hypnotic literary horror novel about a young boy trapped inside his own world, whose drawings blur the lines between fantasy and reality.

Ever since he nearly drowned in the ocean three years earlier, ten-year-old Jack Peter Keenan has been deathly afraid to venture outdoors. Refusing to leave his home in a small coastal town in Maine, Jack Peter spends his time drawing monsters. When those drawings take on a life of their own, no one is safe from the terror they inspire. His mother, Holly, begins to hear strange sounds in the night coming from the ocean, and she seeks answers from the local Catholic priest and his Japanese housekeeper, who fill her head with stories of shipwrecks and ghosts. His father, Tim, wanders the beach, frantically searching for a strange apparition running wild in the dunes. And the boy’s only friend, Nick, becomes helplessly entangled in the eerie power of the drawings. While those around Jack Peter are haunted by what they think they see, only he knows the truth behind the frightful occurrences as the outside world encroaches upon them all.

In the tradition of The Turn of the Screw, Keith Donohue’s The Boy Who Drew Monsters is a mesmerizing tale of psychological terror and imagination run wild, a perfectly creepy read for a dark night.

About Keith Donohue

Keith Donohue is an American novelist. His acclaimed 2006 novel The Stolen Child, about a changeling, was inspired by the Yeats poem of the same name. His second novel, Angels of Destruction, was published in March 2009.

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he earned his B.A. and M.A. from Duquesne University and his Ph.D. in English from The Catholic University of America.

Currently he is Director of Communications for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the grant-making arm of the U. S. National Archives in Washington, DC. Until 1998 he worked at the National Endowment for the Arts and wrote speeches for chairmen John Frohnmayer and Jane Alexander, and has written articles for the New York Times, Washington Post, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and other newspapers.

I’ve been on a huge horror kick lately and this one sounds phenomenal. Drawings that come to life? Sounds frightening!

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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