Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

Early Review – The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1) by Renee Ahdieh

May 8, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2015, YA 3 Comments

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

Early Review – The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1) by Renee AhdiehThe Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #1
Published by Putnam Juvenile on May 12th 2015
Pages: 416
Genres: Fairy-Tales/Retellings, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: First to Read Program
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Rose & the Dagger

four-half-stars

A sweeping and lush tale of romance and adventure

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch…she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.

She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, this sumptuous and epically told love story heralds the arrival of an exciting new voice in YA.

‘It did not matter that this world was far from as simple as she might have thought.
And it absolutely did not matter that her heart was… mis-behaving.
She had come to the palace with a clear purpose.
The Caliph of Horasan had to die.’

Shahrzad, sixteen years old, has been battling with her grief since her best friend was murdered by her husband, Khalid Ibn al-Rashid, Caliph of Khorasan. For reasons unknown, he takes a bride each night only to have her killed in the morning. When Shahrzad actually volunteers to marry him, her family and childhood sweetheart, Tariq, are devastated. To everyone’s surprise, she survives the dawn and begins to put her plan into action: to find the weakness of the Caliph of Khorasan that will help her to avenge her murdered best friend. She begins to realize though that his only weakness is Shahrzad herself.

Reading has been a bit of a struggle for me lately and I tentatively started this one not expecting to be able to stick with it. I also had some serious doubts that it would end up being something that lived up to the hype for me, especially after recently reading another super-hyped story that ended up being a major disappointment for me. Imagine my surprise when I couldn’t stop flipping the pages, couldn’t stop wondering what was going to happen next, and couldn’t keep the ridiculous grin off my face watching all the emotions unfold. Oh man, the feels. They got me. For the most part, the story is told from the point of view of Shahrzad, however, we’re also given scenes through the eyes of Khalid and Tariq. All three points of view intertwine to form a most enthralling tale.

“As silver-tongued as a viper.” He laughed. “Tell me, my lady, do you ever miss a moment to strike?”
Shahrzad smiled, and it was brilliant and biting, all at once. “I fear that would be unwise, my lord. Especially in a den of snakes.”

I loved Shahrzad. She was wonderfully snarky and witty and courageous and bold. The addition in her story to being a prowess at the bow and arrow only sealed the deal to my love of her. I had my doubts at first that the story could pull off credibly Shahrzad falling in love with Khalid. I mean come on, she married her best friends murderer with the intent to kill him herself. How possibly could that be turned around legitimately? Well, I’m happy to say that it was done extremely well and I was completely sold. The passion between those two… that’s where that perma-grin I mentioned comes into play.

‘Her lips were hers one moment. And then they were his. The taste of him on her tongue was like sunwarmed honey. Like cool water sliding down her parched throat. Like the promise of all her tomorrows in a single sigh. When she wound her fingers in his hair to draw her body against his, he stilled for breath, and she knew, as he knew, that they were lost.
Lost forever.
In this kiss.
This kiss that would change everything.’

This could have easily been insta-love, but instead, it was a beautiful, slow and steady build up of honest emotion. It was a lovely thing to witness and I couldn’t tear my eyes away. Khalid even won me over at the same time. His pain and grief over what he felt he had to do, was his own personal suffering and it showed. I loved his own path to self-realization and how he became more confident in his roles and the decisions he had to make rather than sitting back and accepting his lot in life. I can’t wait to see how that continues in the next installment.

I had massive love for this book but there were a few aspects that could have made this better for me. First, I wanted to know more about Shahrzad’s family, especially her father, and there seems no doubt we’ll find out more in The Rose and the Dagger. The magical aspects of the novel were incredibly interesting and while I wished there was more of it, I appreciated the subtlety of it all. Second, Tariq’s character was a major low point and I disliked his point of view sections even if I can understand how necessary they were to see things from that aspect, to learn what all was being set in motion. Tariq is Shahrzad’s childhood sweetheart and while I get the whole “do whatever it takes to protect her” he got a bit manic about it, especially once he started realizing she was changing her mind about Khalid. He jumped to the conclusion that something was being done to her to make her change her typically immutable mind, which I get, but could have ultimately done without. Essentially I just wanted more kissy scenes. All the kissy scenes and all the swoons, please.

The Wrath and the Dawn is a wistful re-imagining of Arabian Nights with a forbidden romance that will leave you completely enchanted. I’m both eager and dreading the concluding story, The Rose and the Dagger, and desperately wishing for a satisfying ending that won’t leave my heart in tatters.

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The Stars of Summer Blog Tour

April 30, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Book Tour, Early Review, Middle Grade, Read in 2015 9 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.

The Stars of Summer Blog TourThe Stars of Summer by Tara Dairman
Series: All Four Stars #2
Published by Putnam Juvenile on May 5th 2015
Pages: 336
Genres: Contemporary, Foodie Fiction
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: All Four Stars

four-stars

It’s not easy being an undercover restaurant critic—especially when you’re only twelve years old!

With her first published review under her belt, Gladys Gatsby is looking forward to a quiet summer of cooking and reviewing. But her plans quickly go awry when her friend delivers Gladys’s birthday gift: a free summer at Camp Bentley. As Gladys feared, camp life is not easy: she struggles to pass her swim test and can’t keep the other campers happy while planning lunches. The worst part is she can’t seem to get away from the annoying new “celebrity” camper and sneak away for her latest assignment—finding the best hot dog in New York City. But when it turns out her hot dog assignment was a dirty trick by a jealous reviewer, Gladys’s reviewing career may be over forever.

About Tara Dairman

Tara Dairman is the author of ALL FOUR STARS, which was named an Amazon Best Book of the Month and a Mighty Girl Top Book of 2014 for Teens and Tweens. She is also a playwright and recovering world traveler. She grew up in New York and received a B.A. in Creative Writing from Dartmouth College. After surviving the world's longest honeymoon (two years, seventy-four countries!), she now lives in Colorado with her husband and their trusty waffle iron.

All Four Stars series

Early Review – All Four Stars by Tara Dairman

All Four Stars (All Four Stars #1) by Tara Dairman {PurchaseMy Four Star Review!}

“Find the best hot dog in New York City.

Leave no street corner unvisited, and no dog untasted!”

Gladys Gatsby is now twelve-years-old and there isn’t anything she’s more enthusiastic about than delicious foods. Since that incident with the blowtorch (it really was only a small fire), Gladys has convinced her parents to allow her more opportunities to improve her skills in the kitchen. Gladys also continues to review for the New York Standard even though it’s becoming increasingly difficult to come up with excuses to visit restaurants in the city. Her newest assignment seems to her to be a strange and difficult one: find the best hot dog in New York City. The situation becomes even more difficult when her friend Charissa gives her a summer pass to her parents day camp, Camp Bentley where she ends up in charge of the lunches which she finds to be both exciting and stressful. Will Gladys be able to continue juggling all the things she has going this summer and still manage to somehow the perfect hot dog?

Gladys is back and still just as adorable. The Stars of Summer has our heroine undertaking a monumental task with discovering the perfect hot dog. I thoroughly enjoyed the exploration through multiple cultures from Iceland to even South Africa. Hot dogs are shockingly common in far more places than just the United States! Her descriptions of the exotic foods she gets to sample will once again leave you wishing you could share in her adventure of the taste buds. And while her adventures did often feel a bit lacking in credibility (attending an awards show in New York City minus any parents? She is only twelve…) I admittedly found myself so completely lost in the cuteness of it all that it was easy enough to overlook and just sit back and enjoy. The friendships Gladys has developed since All Four Stars are incredibly touching and most notably was the inclusion of the two boy-girl friendships. With multiple secondary yet still well-developed characters, Dairman has managed to bring to life a full cast of characters this time around that will only enhance future installments in this series.

 The Stars of Summer is once again another addition to my well-loved list of foodie fiction stories. In addition to the most appetizing sounding foods, you’re treated to one of the most adorable children in fiction. In addition, there’s a light and charming sense of humor throughout. Most highly recommended.

dvd-pearl

This post was a part of ‘The Stars of Summer‘ blog tour.
Be sure to check out the other tour stops below!

Monday, April 27: Katie/Bookish Illuminations
Tuesday, April 28: Aeicha/Word Spelunking and Emma/Awkwordly Emma
Wednesday, April 29: Sylvia/A Baked Creation
Thursday, April 30: Bonnie /For the Love of Words
Friday, May 1: Lisa/Fic Talk
Monday, May 4: Lucy/The Reading Date
Tuesday, May 5: LAUNCH DAY!
Wednesday, May 6: Dahlia/Daily Dahlia
Thursday, May 7: Karen/For What it’s Worth
Friday, May 8: Jen/Pop! Goes the Reader
Monday, May 11: Stephanie/Kitchen Frolic
Tuesday, May 12: Brenda/Log Cabin Library
Wednesday, May 13: Michael/Project Mayhem and Wendy/The Midnight Garden

Image Credits
Author Photo/Tiffany Crowder @ Crowded Studios
Blog Tour Button/Kristin Rae
dvd-pearl

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Waiting on Wednesday – The Stars of Summer (All Four Stars #2) by Tara Dairman

February 25, 2015 Bonnie Middle Grade, Waiting on Wednesday 0 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – The Stars of Summer (All Four Stars #2) by Tara DairmanThe Stars of Summer by Tara Dairman
Series: All Four Stars #2
Published by Putnam Juvenile on May 5th 2015
Pages: 336
Genres: Contemporary, Foodie Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: All Four Stars, The Stars of Summer

It’s not easy being an undercover restaurant critic—especially when you’re only twelve years old!

With her first published review under her belt, Gladys Gatsby is looking forward to a quiet summer of cooking and reviewing. But her plans quickly go awry when her friend delivers Gladys’s birthday gift: a free summer at Camp Bentley. As Gladys feared, camp life is not easy: she struggles to pass her swim test and can’t keep the other campers happy while planning lunches. The worst part is she can’t seem to get away from the annoying new “celebrity” camper and sneak away for her latest assignment—finding the best hot dog in New York City. But when it turns out her hot dog assignment was a dirty trick by a jealous reviewer, Gladys’s reviewing career may be over forever.

About Tara Dairman

Tara Dairman is the author of ALL FOUR STARS, which was named an Amazon Best Book of the Month and a Mighty Girl Top Book of 2014 for Teens and Tweens. She is also a playwright and recovering world traveler. She grew up in New York and received a B.A. in Creative Writing from Dartmouth College. After surviving the world's longest honeymoon (two years, seventy-four countries!), she now lives in Colorado with her husband and their trusty waffle iron.

All Four Stars series

Early Review – All Four Stars by Tara Dairman

All Four Stars (All Four Stars #1) by Tara Dairman {PurchaseMy Four Star Review!}

All Four Stars was the most adorable Middle-Grade book ever. Adding in a healthy dose of foodie fiction didn’t hurt matters and I can’t wait to see what Gladys cooks up next!

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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Blog Tour – Excerpt + Giveaway – All Four Stars by Tara Dairman

July 8, 2014 Bonnie Book Tour, Giveaways, Middle Grade, Read in 2014 6 Comments

Today is my stop on the All Four Stars tour, hosted by The Midnight Garden! My review has already gone up for the book and if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet you must know that I adored it. It was incredibly fun and definitely a great fit for foodie fiction fans! Below is a delectable excerpt from the book showing Gladys hands on in the kitchen with her neighbor after her parents grounded her from the kitchen. She’s making a delicious dessert for the popular girl at school that she’s not quite friends with in an attempt to win her over.

“There is one dessert I like to make that’s pretty fast, because it doesn’t require baking. Does your friend like nuts?”

“Oh, yes,” Gladys said. “She definitely does!”

“Well, then, let’s give this a try!”

Gleefully, Gladys followed Mrs. Anderson into the kitchen. Mrs. Anderson pulled out a battered brown volume called Street (and Dirt Road) Foods of the Malay Peninsula from her cookbookcase and passed it to Gladys.

“The recipe’s on page twenty-seven,” Mrs. Anderson told her. She was already pulling ingredients out of the cupboard–flour, sugar, peanuts. “What do you think?”

Gladys turned to the page and found a picture of what looked like a pancake folded in half over some kind of filling. It might be risky to serve Charissa an exotic foreign dessert–Gladys had been thinking more along the lines of brownies or cupcakes. Then again, Charissa did just buy a pound of baklava. The heading for the recipe said Apam Balik, which small letters underneath translated as Malaysian Peanut Pancake. That might not be so bad.

“Trust me, if she likes nuts, she’ll love this,” Mrs. Anderson said, lifting the book out of Gladys’s hands and propping it open against the toaster. “Now, we start by mixing a simple batter. Have you ever used a whisk?”

“Um…” Gladys wasn’t sure how much of her cooking experience she wanted to reveal to Sandy’s mom. “Once or twice,” she said finally.

The next few minutes found Gladys whisking eggs, water, milk, and oil together in a large bowl, then adding flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Every time she caught Mrs. Anderson looking at her, she tried to mess up a little–hold the whisk at the wrong angle, or change direction midwhip so the batter slopped over the side of the bowl. “Oops,” she said, hoping Mrs. Anderson was buying the amateur act. So far, it seemed to be working; twice Mrs. Anderson left her peanuts on the cutting board to come over and help Gladys get her technique right.

When the batter was ready, Mrs. Anderson heated a frying pan on the stovetop and splashed a little oil inside so the pancakes wouldn’t stick.

“Ready?” she said, passing Gladys a ladle.

“Ready!” Gladys answered, and gently ladled a scoop of batter into the pan. It felt great to be cooking again.

“Wow, you really have a knack for this,” Mrs. Anderson gushed. “It took me years to make perfect circles like that.”

Fudge, Gladys thought. She would make the next one less perfect.

Mrs. Anderson continued to talk as the pancake cooked. “This was my favorite snack when I traveled in Malaysia,” she said.

“Wow, you’ve actually been to Malaysia?” Gladys said.

“Oh, yes, I backpacked all around Asia before Sandy was born,” she said. “But I spent the most time in India, studying yoga.”

India! Ever since Gladys had eaten at the Singhs’ house, she’d dreamed of traveling there. She had about a hundred questions to ask, but just then Mrs. Anderson handed her a spatula and said, “Okay, I think it’s time to check whether the bottom’s finished cooking.” She winked. “I bet you know what to do.”

The bottom of the pancake was a lovely golden brown, so Mrs. Anderson dropped some bits of butter across the surface and spread a thick layer o peanuts and sugar on top. She instructed Gladys to fold the pancake in half with the spatula and press on it.

“Done!” Mrs. Anderson cried,” and Gladys lifted the finished pancake onto a waiting plate.

While she ladled more batter into the pan (in a much-less-perfectly-round shape this time), Mrs. Anderson sliced up the first pancake. “We’d better do a taste test,” she said. One of the most important rules about cooking is that you never want to serve something you haven’t tasted yourself.” She popped a strip of pancake into her mouth. “Plus,” she said while chewing, “it’s no fun to make something yummy if you don’t get to eat it, too!”

Gladys tasted the pancake and thought it was delicious–the perfect combination of fluffy and crunchy, sweet and savory. But would Charissa like it?

{GoodreadsAmazonB&NThe Book Depository}

Talk about delicious sounding, right? I had never heard of this dessert before but sounds easy enough that I may have to give it a try myself! I found a blogger online that has a fabulous step-by-step instruction for doing just that.


Photo credit: Echo’s Kitchen

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to check out the other fun stops on the All Four Stars Blog Tour!

All Four Stars Tour Schedule

Tuesday, July 1st              The Midnight Garden
Wednesday, July 2nd      The Reading Date
Thursday, July 3rd          For What It’s Worth
Friday, July 4th                 The Spirit of Children’s Literature
                                                  A Baked Creation
Monday, July 7th             Xpresso Reads
Tuesday, July 8th             For the Love of Words
Wednesday, July 9th       Finding Bliss in Books
Thursday, July 10th         Candace’s Book Blog
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Early Review – All Four Stars (All Four Stars #1) by Tara Dairman

July 4, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Middle Grade, Read in 2014 5 Comments

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

Early Review – All Four Stars (All Four Stars #1) by Tara DairmanAll Four Stars by Tara Dairman
Series: All Four Stars #1
Published by Putnam Juvenile on July 10th 2014
Pages: 288
Genres: Foodie Fiction, Contemporary
Format: eARC
Source: Book Tour
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Stars of Summer

four-stars

Meet Gladys Gatsby: New York’s toughest restaurant critic. (Just don’t tell anyone that she’s in sixth grade.)
 
Gladys Gatsby has been cooking gourmet dishes since the age of seven, only her fast-food-loving parents have no idea! Now she’s eleven, and after a crème brûlée accident (just a small fire), Gladys is cut off from the kitchen (and her allowance). She’s devastated but soon finds just the right opportunity to pay her parents back when she’s mistakenly contacted to write a restaurant review for one of the largest newspapers in the world.
 
But in order to meet her deadline and keep her dream job, Gladys must cook her way into the heart of her sixth-grade archenemy and sneak into New York City—all while keeping her identity a secret! Easy as pie, right?

About Tara Dairman

Tara Dairman is the author of ALL FOUR STARS, which was named an Amazon Best Book of the Month and a Mighty Girl Top Book of 2014 for Teens and Tweens. She is also a playwright and recovering world traveler. She grew up in New York and received a B.A. in Creative Writing from Dartmouth College. After surviving the world's longest honeymoon (two years, seventy-four countries!), she now lives in Colorado with her husband and their trusty waffle iron.

‘Gladys took a bite of her brownie, and a slew of flavors flooded her taste buds. The sweet, melty butterscotch offset the bitterness of the chocolate, and the hint of nutmeg gave the whole thing a kick.’

Gladys Gatsby is a sixth grader that loves nothing more than experimenting in the kitchen. From entrées to pastries, she loves cooking anything and everything. During her latest kitchen experiment involving crème brûlée and a blowtorch, her family’s kitchen curtains went up in smoke and her family finally put a stop to her kitchen shenanigans. When she enters a writing contest in school, her entry ends up in the hands of the Dining Editor at a prestigious New York newspaper and she’s offered a job as a food critic. Keeping it a secret from her family while still completing her assignment is starting to seem to Gladys like an impossibility.

‘…tender duck breast swimming in a lake of tea-infused gravy, with a side of slender asparagus stalks dipping their tips in at the shore.’

Readers will fall in love with precocious Gladys. Her parents prefer take out, rarely using their kitchen, so Gladys never knew what good food truly tasted like. Her eyes were opened to good food when her Aunt Lydia, visiting from France, took her into the city to show her what a real restaurant is. From that point on, she started keeping track of her food experiences (including the bad ones) in a journal. The descriptions of her family’s attempts at cooking were hilarious and cringe-worthy but her descriptions of her more positive food experiences will have you salivating.

‘Their flavors will send your taste buds on a trip around the world: the Moroccan cake features pistachio and cardamom, the Chinese cake has green tea and sesame seeds, and the Belgian cake has chocolate and… well, more chocolate.’

All Four Stars was completely worth all four stars. This endearing middle-grade story will have your taste buds dancing. Much of the story is spent on Gladys’ use of subterfuge in keeping her parents from finding that she’s still cooking (sans blowtorch) but the rest of the pages are full of delectable descriptions of delicious foods that will have you reaching for something tasty to munch on so having something on hand may be wise.

Stop by this Tuesday for my stop on the All Four Stars blog tour! I’ll have a tasty excerpt for you to revel in. 🙂

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Book Review – Legend (Legend #1) by Marie Lu

January 4, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2014, YA 5 Comments

Book Review – Legend (Legend #1) by Marie LuLegend by Marie Lu
Series: Legend #1
Published by Putnam Juvenile on November 29, 2011
Pages: 305
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


three-stars

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.

June and Day lead two completely different lives. June is a Republic soldier and Day is the Republic’s most wanted criminal. After the death of Metias, June’s brother, their lives cross when Day becomes the prime suspect. Finding Day also leads to the exposure of government secrets that cause June to question everything.

Legend is told from the alternating POVs of June and Day. Naturally, they fall for each but unexpectedly I wasn’t too bothered by this predictable turn as Lu somehow manages to make this work. My only issue with the characterization was the lack of differentiation between their two voices. I caught on around halfway through that the sections in bold were Day’s, but based on the writing style alone it often took me several lines to understand who was who in each section.

Big boo in regards to worldbuilding since it was fairly non-existent. What we are given: based in a location known as the Republic, the enemy is another location known as The Colonies, both The Republic and The Colonies used to make up The United States, the poor/slums are dying from the plague and kids are sent to something known as the Trials in order to determine their futures in The Republic. All interesting pieces of the puzzle but lacked too many vital pieces in order to get the full picture. I have high hopes that this will be solved in subsequent books.

I didn’t find anything extremely original about Legend but it was a fairly thrilling and exciting read that I finished in a single day. The bits we do learn about this world do intrigue me and I look forward to finding out more. June is a strong and engaging character and I especially loved the parts of the story told from her POV. I will definitely be continuing this series since I’m forever a sucker for post-apocalyptic stories.

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Early Review – New Lands (The Chronicles of Egg #2) by Geoff Rodkey

April 11, 2013 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Middle Grade, Read in 2013 3 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 – New Lands (The Chronicles of Egg #2) by Geoff RodkeyNew Lands by Geoff Rodkey
Series: The Chronicles of Egg #2
Published by Putnam Juvenile on May 2nd 2013
Pages: 336
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Deadweather and Sunrise

four-stars

This highly anticipated sequel to Rodkey's much-praised debut is funny, heartfelt, and action-packed. Don't miss it!

After a narrow escape from Deadweather Island, Egg and his slightly deranged partner Guts head for the remote New Lands. They’re in search of the lost Okalu tribe, who hold the key to the mysterious treasure map that Egg can't decipher. But the ruthless Roger Pembroke is hard on Egg's trail, and the New Lands are full of new enemies—against which our heroes' only weapons are their brains, their courage...and the two dozen swear words Guts just memorized in the local tongue.

They're going to need help. But who can they trust? Is Kira, the beautiful and heavily armed Okalu refugee, their ally…or their enemy? Is Pembroke's daughter Millicent on Egg's side…or her father's? Why on earth is the notorious pirate Burn Healy being so nice to them? And the biggest question of all: what shocking secret is Egg about to discover in the shadow of an ancient Okalu temple?

The Chronicles of Egg

Deadweather and Sunrise (The Chronicles of Egg, #1)

Deadweather and Sunrise (The Chronicles of Egg #1) {My Review}

After being completely charmed by ‘Deadweather and Sunrise’ picking up ‘New Lands’ was a given. Comparatively, New Lands is less funny and more serious but still so full of heart. Egg and Guts set out on a journey to discover the Fire King’s lost treasure before it can fall into the hands of the wrong man. Their journey is a bleak one and considering what they seek, it’s difficult for them to judge just who is honest and worth trusting.

Guts was once again my favorite character and definitely managed to always make light of a serious situation.

Ain’t nobody calls me cow-ears without a fight.” – Guts

You can’t help but love Guts and his crazy antics.

I found New Lands to be a solemn installment and had a slight shortage of the swashbuckling action seen in the previous installment. Regardless, I think this section of Egg’s story is most vital to his development as a character. His maturity had already begun to show towards the end of New Lands, but considering the trying times he had been through it was completely understandable.

New Lands is a story of perseverance and about digging deep to find that strength necessary to continue. This series has made me a lover of Middle Grade and is one series I will continue to seek out.

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Early Review + Giveaway! Orleans by Sherri L. Smith

January 31, 2013 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Giveaways, Read in 2013, YA 3 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 + Giveaway! Orleans by Sherri L. SmithOrleans by Sherri L. Smith
Published by Putnam Juvenile on March 7th 2013
Pages: 336
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Pasadena

four-stars

First came the storms.
Then came the Fever.
And the Wall.

After a string of devastating hurricanes and a severe outbreak of Delta Fever, the Gulf Coast has been quarantined. Years later, residents of the Outer States are under the assumption that life in the Delta is all but extinct… but in reality, a new primitive society has been born.

Fen de la Guerre is living with the O-Positive blood tribe in the Delta when they are ambushed. Left with her tribe leader’s newborn, Fen is determined to get the baby to a better life over the wall before her blood becomes tainted. Fen meets Daniel, a scientist from the Outer States who has snuck into the Delta illegally. Brought together by chance, kept together by danger, Fen and Daniel navigate the wasteland of Orleans. In the end, they are each other’s last hope for survival.

Sherri L. Smith delivers an expertly crafted story about a fierce heroine whose powerful voice and firm determination will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.

‘The shape of our great nation has been altered irrevocably by Nature, and now Man must follow suit in order to protect the inalienable rights of the majority, those being the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, the foremost of those being Life.’

After Hurricane Katrina ripped through the South, six more Hurricanes followed, each more powerful than the last. Hurricane Jesus hit in 2019 and left the South changed irrevocably. Not only did it come bearing death and devastation but a new sickness as well: Delta Fever. Everyone in the affected areas became infected and The Blood Rules were formed.

Types AB, B, and A
Need to stay away
From O and from each other,
Plus from minus, sister from brother.
O positive can feed
All positives in need, But O neg is the one
For all tribes beneath the sun.

A new form of racism grew from the sickness as skin color no longer mattered, it became all about what blood type you were. AB’s required constant blood transfusions in order to keep the fever at bay, O positives were constantly being hunted and thrown into the blood farms, and it became survival of the fittest for all.

‘My name is Fen de la Guerre… I am an O-Positive. I’ma find a tribe, or let the swamp take me. But one thing for sure, I ain’t never gonna cry again.’

Orleans is told from the point of view of Fen de la Guerre, a fifteen year old girl that has had to adapt to survive in this treacherous world that is the only one she’s ever known. When her tribe’s chieftain dies in childbirth, Fen vows to honor her dying wish: to give the baby a better life. Fen struggles to keep the baby healthy and Fever free so that she can give her a better life, over the Wall. She encounters a scientist that risked exposure to study the Fever in hopes of discovering a cure who ends up being a huge asset to her and the baby.

The medical detailing throughout the book felt well-researched and certainly explained a lot but there was still a lot left unsaid. I attribute this to the fact that neither of the two narrators, Fen and Daniel, had all the answers and they were trying to understand it all too. For that reason I think details were left intentionally vague, because even by the end you still didn’t have all the answers.

This was an intense, realistic story of survival in the bleakest of worlds. Fen was an amazing narrator full of strength and perseverance. Her story of survival in her earlier years is told in bits and pieces and it’s certainly heartbreaking the things she experienced. The bit I loved most was that there was not a single drop of romance anywhere within these pages! Quite rare, indeed. The bit that I didn’t like as much was the dialect Fen uses which she refers to as ‘talking tribe’ was extremely hard to get used to. Reminiscent of the dialect used in ‘Blood Red Road’ this one definitely takes some patience, but there ends up being a reason behind this that you find out later.

Orleans is a very mature and gritty read that I think would be better read by an older YA reader even though it’s tagged as okay for 12+ readers. There were some very brutal aspects of the story that I felt would be inappropriate for a reader that young (i.e. rape and other forms of violence). This is one of those instances where I feel the book is tagged as YA but for no other reason but because the main character is a teen.

The ending didn’t leave off with a cliffhanger (as I don’t believe this is an intended first in a series) but it’s definitely an ending that left you with questions as to what comes next. Orleans is an extremely captivating and entrancing read that fans of the dystopian genre will likely enjoy.

Giveaway Details

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Giveaway ends February 28th, 2013

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Early Review – Deadweather and Sunrise (The Chronicles of Egg #1) by Geoff Rodkey

May 15, 2012 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Middle Grade, Read in 2012 3 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 – Deadweather and Sunrise (The Chronicles of Egg #1) by Geoff RodkeyDeadweather and Sunrise by Geoff Rodkey
Series: The Chronicles of Egg #1
Published by Putnam Juvenile on May 29, 2012
Pages: 288
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: New Lands

four-stars

A stunning middle-grade debut--full of heart, humor, and nonstop action

It's tough to be thirteen, especially when somebody's trying to kill you.

Not that Egg's life was ever easy, growing up on sweaty, pirate-infested Deadweather Island with no company except an incompetent tutor and a pair of unusually violent siblings who hate his guts.
But when Egg's father hustles their family off on a mysterious errand to fabulously wealthy Sunrise Island, then disappears with the siblings in a freak accident, Egg finds himself a long-term guest at the mansion of the glamorous Pembroke family and their beautiful, sharp-tongued daughter Millicent. Finally, life seems perfect.

Until someone tries to throw him off a cliff.

Suddenly, Egg's running for his life in a bewildering world of cutthroat pirates, villainous businessmen, and strange Native legends. The only people who can help him sort out the mystery of why he's been marked for death are Millicent and a one-handed, possibly deranged cabin boy.
Come along for the ride. You'll be glad you did.

‘I knew the world was out there. I just didn’t see a place for myself in it. And even if there might be, I had no idea how to go about finding it.
It never occurred to me that the world might come find me – and that without me lifting a finger to make it happen, one day my life would change, completely and forever.
But it did. And this is the story of it.’

Growing up in Deadweather, Egbert (although he prefers ‘Egg’) always thought that life outside of Deadweather would be more civilized and more respectful. Growing up with his brother Adonis and sister Venus who treated him like an unwanted brother and his father who he couldn’t even be sure really loved him, Egbert didn’t have the easiest of lives. But when Egbert gets a taste of what other people are truly like, even on the illustrious island Sunrise, he realizes that his family may not be as bad as he originally made them out to be. When his family goes missing after his father makes a mysterious discovery, Egg begins to suspect that he had actually found evidence of the Fire King’s treasure (which was a supposed myth) and that it’s somewhere back on his home in Deadweather.

This book was an immense amount of fun and I had trouble putting it down because I was so enthralled in the story. The story was told from the point-of-view of Egg which was different as it seems most books I’ve read are from the point-of-view of a female so it was an interesting but fun perspective shift for me. Guts was my favorite character though, he cracked me up. Guts mopped the decks of a pirate ship but was not a pirate himself. He refused to wear shoes, his hair hung in his eyes so much you couldn’t be positive he could actually see, and he was quite a wild little animal.

“He’d never use that knife.”
“He would, actually. He’s quite violent. And not well in the head.”
“What kind of ‘not well’?”
“The kind that stabs people! Look at this.” I opened two buttons on my shirt and pulled it far enough off my shoulder to give her a good look at the blood-crusted bite mark on ym shoulder.
“Oh, that’s awful! Does he have a dog?”
“No, that was him.”
Millicent’s eyebrows jumped. “Right, then. Good to know. Thanks for the tip.”

One of my kids asked me what the story was about so I told her the basis. Her immediate response was ‘How long until you finish so I can read it?’ She snagged it just as soon as I was done. I found it to be a bit violent but was satisfied that it was kept to a minimum. This is a series/trilogy that I will definitely be keeping an eye out for in the future. The ending sets up Egg and Guts’ next adventure perfectly. Funny and definitely entertaining, this one is a true ‘middle-grade’ gem.

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