Publisher: Sourcebooks

Rapid Reviews – Nightchaser, Lipstick Voodoo, Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions, Miss Kopp Just Won’t Quit

Posted January 26, 2019 by Bonnie in 2019, Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Rapid Fire Reviews, Read in 2018 / 6 Comments

Sometimes review writing is hard. Sometimes you don’t have a lot to say. Sometimes you’re just lazy as fuck. These are Rapid Fire Reviews.

Rapid Reviews – Nightchaser, Lipstick Voodoo, Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions, Miss Kopp Just Won’t QuitNightchaser by Amanda Bouchet
Narrator: Susannah Jones
Series: Endeavor #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on January 1, 2019
Pages: 404
Genres: Sci-fi
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads

Short Summary: Tess Bailey and her crew are like Robin Hood and his merry men, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, but after stealing something of enormous value, they’re all running for their lives from The Galactic Overseer.

Thoughts: Sometimes you read a book and get so wrapped in how entertaining it is that you forget to view it through a critical lens, and that’s okay because while this one had its flaws (lack of clear worldbuilding) it was still fun and thrilling and the romance was steamy good.

Verdict: Nightchaser had some key foundational pieces missing in the worldbuilding but there was enough of a story there to be redeemable and some lost ground can be made up for in the follow-up installment that I’ll be eagerly awaiting.

four-stars

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.

Rapid Reviews – Nightchaser, Lipstick Voodoo, Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions, Miss Kopp Just Won’t QuitLipstick Voodoo by Kristi Charish
Narrator: Susannah Jones
Series: Kincaid Strange #2
Published by Vintage Canada on January 8, 2019
Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Format: Audiobook
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Short Summary: Kincaid Strange, voodoo practitioner, finds herself searching for a solution when her roommate ghost, grunge rocker Nathan Cade, comes home bound to a body risen from the dead. Things take even more of a turn for the worse when people from Nathan’s past are being killed in gruesome ways and the local authorities begin to suspect Strange of being involved.

Thoughts: It’s hard for Urban Fantasy to be anything but formulaic, however, Charish manages to incorporate enough unique details to make this feel like something refreshingly original. Between the vast array of paranormal beings and the wide cast of memorable characters, this is one series to be paying attention to.

Verdict: The world-building that Charish laid the groundwork for means that (hopefully) there are many more installments in the crazy life of Kincaid Strange to look forward to. I also desperately hope that Susannah Jones continues to narrate her adventures because she does an absolutely superb job.

three-half-stars

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.

Rapid Reviews – Nightchaser, Lipstick Voodoo, Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions, Miss Kopp Just Won’t QuitMiss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions by Amy Stewart
Narrator: Christina Moore
Series: Kopp Sisters #3
Published by Recorded Books on September 5th 2017
Pages: 384
Length: 10 hrs and 4 mins
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Short Summary: When Bergen County, New Jersey begins to see a rise in young women being wrongly arrested for morality charges, Constance Kopp takes it upon herself to investigate because no one else believes that these girls should be doing anything but staying home and keeping house. But the real test comes when her youngest sister Fleurette moves out to travel with a vaudeville show and Constance is torn between wanting to see her home and safe and out living her life how she chooses.

Thoughts: This installment definitely lacked a certain excitement and intensity that were present in the previous two novels, however, the stories of the Kopp sisters are far from dull.

Verdict: The continued focus on women’s rights in the early 1900s is eye-opening and informative and the fact that this is all based on a real individual makes it even better.

three-stars

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.

Rapid Reviews – Nightchaser, Lipstick Voodoo, Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions, Miss Kopp Just Won’t QuitMiss Kopp Just Won’t Quit by Amy Stewart
Narrator: Susannah Jones
Series: Kopp Sisters #4
Published by Recorded Books on September 11, 2018
Length: 8 hrs and 53 mins
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Short Summary: When Sheriff Heath decides to run for Congress after his term as Sheriff is up, the man running in his place is extremely vocal about his opinion on Miss Kopp and her presence in the jail, but she can only hope that the town will vote against him. The election, unfortunately, doesn’t go as planned and it puts Constance at a crossroads in life.

Thoughts: The fourth installment has the intensity that I was missing with a story still enmeshed in history, still audaciously feminist, and possessing a rousing message about it never being too late to change your path in life.

Verdict: This installment had me falling back in love with this series all over again. The next installment will definitely bring a lot of change to this series, but I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the Kopp sisters.

four-stars

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.

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Life’s Too Short: Feedback, A Promise of Fire, The Girls

Posted December 17, 2016 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Life's Too Short / 12 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.

Life’s Too Short: Feedback, A Promise of Fire, The GirlsFeedback by Mira Grant
Series: Newsflesh #4
Published by Orbit on October 4th 2016
Pages: 496
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Zombies
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
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Also by this author: Feed, Deadline, Countdown: A Newsflesh Novella

dnf

FEEDBACK is a full-length Newsflesh novel which overlaps the events of New York Times bestseller Mira Grant's classic Feed and follows a group of reporters covering the Democratic side of the Presidential campaign.

There are two sides to every story...

Mira Grant creates a chilling portrait of an America paralyzed with fear. No street is safe and entire swaths of the country have been abandoned. And only the brave, the determined, or the very stupid, venture out into the wild.Step inside a world a half-step from our own in this novel of geeks, zombies, politics and social media.

DNF @ 59%

For the record, I’m a massive Mira Grant fan and most importantly a HUGE Newsflesh fan. When I heard that there would be a fourth book coming, there was fully body tingling going on… I was that excited. So in a nutshell, having to DNF this makes me want to cry a fucking river.

Right off the bat, my first issue that had me cocking my head in confusion was the seemingly apparent duplication of the Feed storyline. Sure there were differences but it was the same story for the most part. Politics and conspiracies and of course zombies. There was a brand new set of characters that was meant to spice things up but it was the same sort of crew that consisted of a Newsie, Irwin, and Fictional. And yes, this was quite the diverse group but I even had issues with that. I want to read stories with diversity where it’s treated as a non-issue. Making Mat, a genderfluid character, a makeup/fashion blogger that also likes electronics didn’t do much for modernizing typecasts either. The various forms of diversity are not only not treated as a non-issue but are so incredibly contrived. It all felt like some ginormous lecture and while it may have been intended to be didactic, it was more preachy than anything. Too much focus was placed on characterization and I feel like that was intended to distract from the story itself and the fact that it’s a near replica of the Feed storyline just with different characters.

There were other random issues that only added to the domino effect that led to me quitting. A comment about Governor Kilburn being a secret Sailor Moon fan and that this could be a “girl-power campaign of celestial proportions.” When they visited Congresswoman Kirsten Wagman (an ex-stripper) at a strip club. She called everyone sugar and there was a joke about Ash proposing to her because of her “sexy” security measures. It was an eye-rolling good time. There were also the standard Mira Grant mid-chapter breaks where a quote or blog post is inserted, which those were included, but there were also sections from Audrey’s fictional stories that just didn’t add that much to the story. Even more so were the pages of makeup tutorials from Mat’s blog that really didn’t add anything. Sadly, this was just a massive disappointment and I’m sad it had to be that way.

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.

Life’s Too Short: Feedback, A Promise of Fire, The GirlsA Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
Series: Kingmaker Chronicles #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on August 2nd 2016
Pages: 448
Genres: Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Also by this author: Nightchaser

dnf

Catalia "Cat" Fisa is a powerful clairvoyant known as the Kingmaker. This smart-mouthed soothsayer has no interest in her powers and would much rather fly under the radar, far from the clutches of her homicidal mother. But when an ambitious warlord captures her, she may not have a choice…

Griffin is intent on bringing peace to his newly conquered realm in the magic-deprived south. When he discovers Cat is the Kingmaker, he abducts her. But Cat will do everything in her power to avoid her dangerous destiny and battle her captor at every turn. Although up for the battle, Griffin would prefer for Cat to help his people willingly, and he's ready to do whatever it takes to coax her…even if that means falling in love with her.

DNF @ page 100

I loved the concept of this story, the magic, and the mythos, and I was dying to read more fantasy romance after adoring A Court of Mist and Fury so this read was a highly anticipated one. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work out.

The first major issue I had was with Griffin, the warlord that ends up kidnapping Cat once he discovers the power she possesses. Clearly, this guy is inevitably going to become the love interest and having him introduced as her kidnapper certainly didn’t warm me to the intended romance. Plus, at least for the amount I read, there wasn’t much chemistry going on between the two. He was just always giving her intense stares and she would complain about her “heart leaping wildly” and forgetting to breathe. No, thanks.

The second major issue I had and was what actually had me calling it quits was Cat herself. I loved her magical abilities even though it didn’t seem like there was anything she couldn’t do. She is known as the Kingmaker, able to detect any lie, but the random ability she had of being able to go invisible was a bit much. But mainly, my issue was with her temperament. She’s a twenty-three-year-old woman that is constantly whining (okay, yes, she has been kidnapped HOWEVER her complaints were done in such a way that made her sound childish and immature. This is a powerful woman that has been captured, even if she just so happens to be attracted to her kidnapper, maybe try being assertive rather than sniveling?) Her internal dialogue when she was continually blurting out random knowledge that she shouldn’t be revealing got to be tiresome as well.

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.

Life’s Too Short: Feedback, A Promise of Fire, The GirlsThe Girls by Emma Cline
Published by Random House on June 14th 2016
Pages: 355
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads


dnf

Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.

DNF @ 10%

I was so excited for this one. It sounded fascinating and it was popping up on “Best Of” lists before it was even published. I tried, I really did, but I didn’t even get as far as I normally force myself before I officially call it quits (about 25% is my normal quitting point) but I didn’t even make it past the first chapter. This was a bit too verbose for my liking and the purple prose simply got too much in the way of me actually following/enjoying the story.

‘But then there was Sasha’s voice, whining like a porno. High and curdled.’

‘I responded to her symbols, to the style of her hair and clothes and the smell of her perfume, like this was data that mattered, signs that reflected something of her inner self. I took her beauty personally.’

‘I unwrapped two cloudy sticks from their silver jackets.

Yeah, she’s referring to gum… in their silver jackets. For fucks sake.

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Book Review – The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupecoc

Posted September 4, 2014 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Read in 2014, YA / 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.

Book Review – The Girl from the Well by Rin ChupecocThe Girl from the Well on August 5th 2014
Pages: 272
Format: Hardcover
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two-stars

I am where dead children go.

Okiku is a lonely soul. She has wandered the world for centuries, freeing the spirits of the murdered-dead. Once a victim herself, she now takes the lives of killers with the vengeance they're due. But releasing innocent ghosts from their ethereal tethers does not bring Okiku peace. Still she drifts on.

Such is her existence, until she meets Tark. Evil writhes beneath the moody teen's skin, trapped by a series of intricate tattoos. While his neighbors fear him, Okiku knows the boy is not a monster. Tark needs to be freed from the malevolence that clings to him. There's just one problem: if the demon dies, so does its host.

You want to get my attention? Compare a book to Dexter. Just, you know, make sure it lives up to that comparison. Unfortunately, it did not. The Girl from the Well is not scary. There are moments of creepy descriptiveness but that does not make a creepy story. Especially when they occur briefly and inconsistently. Like this sort of creepy goodness:

‘Something is rising out of the boy’s back–something with terrible, burning eyes, yet are not quite eyes at all, preserved behind a bloodless, decaying mask that hides its face from the world.’

But as I said, it was far too inconsistent and the rest of what the story contained didn’t make the wait worthwhile. Like the style of writing: First person and then 3rd person omniscient all in one paragraph? Talk about wordy whiplash. But seriously, pick one style of writing and stick with it. And if you were going to change it up, at least make it a different section so the reader doesn’t have to backtrack in order to figure out what the hell is going on. It was unnecessarily confusing. Even if the intent was to make the narrator seem all crazed seeming since she’s a deranged ghost, it still didn’t work for me.

Speaking of the deranged ghost. Not only is she deranged but she’s got an obsession with numbers and proceeds to spend the entire novel counting shit. Counting plates. And people. And seconds of silence. Girl needs to get herself a hobby.

‘I spend the rest of the day counting. There are two janitors roaming the school grounds. There are sixteen rooms in the building. There are thirty students in the tattooed boy’s class […]’

It wasn’t thrilling to read about I’ll tell you that much. And then we find out about her obvious dislike for a particular number.

‘Seven, eight. Nine. Nine. Nine bulbs, all bearing strange little fireflies. […] No nines. Not-nine. Never nine.’

So creepy chick doesn’t care for the number nine. Ten is totally cool and her absolute favorite but number nine makes her go all Limp Bizkit on shit. Honestly, since we have no idea the reasoning behind her dislike of the number nine those passages end up being funnier than I think was intended.

As far as other characters go, we’ve got Tark whose mother is in a mental institution after she tattooed him when he was a young child. Pretty nuts and I’d be more likely to feel bad for the guy if he wasn’t such a pretentious poser full o’ emo thoughts who goes around being snooty to everyone because he’s full of angsty goodness. He sees things too but naturally worries about being thrown in with dear old mom.

“And then my mom had to… well, she went bonkers, excuse the political correctness.”

This kid is 15. No 15 year old is going to mention political correctness, or even give a shit about it. He would say mature stuff like that and then turn around and act like a complete moron the next.

“What is it about me that she hates so much, that she can’t even stand the sight of me?”

Well, gee, let’s think about this. Your mother doesn’t get all crazy until she sees you, screaming to ‘get away from him’. So clearly she’s not talking to you. You know there’s this creepy girl in a mask that follows you, staring at you, that you can only see in a mirror. Golly, could she be seeing her too? By Jove! I think we’re on to something!

Bottom line: this could have been a creepy tale of ghosts that hunt down child murderers. It was unfortunately brought down by unnecessary side stories, a horribly jarring writing style, and terribly dull one-dimensional characters.

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) by Kendare Blake {PurchaseMy Review}
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill {Purchase}
The Woman In Black by Susan Hill {PurchaseMy Review}

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Book Review – Darker Still (Magic Most Foul #1) by Leanna Renee Hieber

Posted March 22, 2012 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Read in 2012, YA / 4 Comments

Book Review – Darker Still (Magic Most Foul #1) by Leanna Renee HieberDarker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber
Series: Magic Most Foul #1
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on November 8, 2011
Pages: 336
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


one-half-stars

I was obsessed.

It was as if he called to me, demanding I reach out and touch the brushstrokes of color swirled onto the canvas. It was the most exquisite portrait I'd ever seen--everything about Lord Denbury was unbelievable...utterly breathtaking and eerily lifelike.

There was a reason for that. Because despite what everyone said, Denbury never had committed suicide. He was alive. Trapped within his golden frame.

I've crossed over into his world within the painting, and I've seen what dreams haunt him. They haunt me too. He and I are inextricably linked--bound together to watch the darkness seeping through the gas-lit cobblestone streets of Manhattan. Unless I can free him soon, things will only get Darker Still.

Uhhhhh…..

Final Page Thoughts
Dumb, dumb, dumb! *throws book*

First Thoughts
So here’s the story on how I came to obtain this book: I was browsing through the library stacks and I was intrigued by the title and was even more intrigued when I picked it up and saw the cover girl was wearing this gorgeous purple dress. (If you know anything about me, it’s that I’m a huge sucker for anything purple). Yep. That’s my story. Completely necessary addition to my review, I know.

I start reading it and I’m kind of pleased at how it starts: it’s interesting and original sounding and it’s written in the form of diary entries. If someone would have told me it was written in the form of diary entries I would’ve given them a skeptical look and kindly set it aside.

My experience with journal entry-style books have not been pleasant. Plus, I think of how I wrote in my diary when I was a teen: (“Today, I woke up and ate breakfast and then had to take the bus and it was dumb but the day got sooooo much better because Kenny touched my hand when he went to turn his homework in and I’m going to be happy for the rest of this week. I <3 Kenny. Remember not to wash hand.”) Note: Not actual diary entry. Maybe. You can understand my glee at realizing these were well written diary entries. Maybe I set the bar a bit low in comparison.

The Not So Pretty
Like I said, I found the journal entries to be interesting but they turned out to be a requirement as I’m not sure how else you’d tell a story from the POV of a girl who has been mute since she was 4 years old. This girl writes in her diary A LOT… but not all of the entries seemed entirely appropriate.

“I’ve been captured! I know not where I’m going. I’m in a carriage. Heading north, I think. I can write only a quick note.”

Uhh… you’ve been kidnapped and you’ve decided to write in your diary. I think additional comment is unnecessary.

Obviously you’re able to determine from the summary alone that some type of magic-y goodness is involved with lines like ‘He was alive. Trapped within his golden frame.’ The magic was lacking in goodness in my opinion. The combination of runes, hieroglyphics, dark magic, and elements related to the Saints was definitely original but ended up being a tad far-fetched and basically a big hot mess. And once it really started snowballing there at the end she totally lost me.

‘…I called upon that sacred vow granted me as a baby, a vow I renewed now as a woman in this moment, a vow to reject the Devil.’

Uhh… sure.

And come on. She’s a mute in the real world but she can speak find in picture world.

‘I could speak in Denbury’s world. It was time I started speaking in this one.’

So she just decides that she wants to speak again? And she does. Sure. That makes PERFECT sense. The way she said it was like she was talking about getting the dishes done, that she’s just been a lazy-ass about it, and she’s decided she’s finally gonna get it done.

The Romance… Oh boy, where to begin. Let’s just say I really had a hard time believing their love. Half the book I kept expecting him to turn out to be a big jerk-face who was just using her to help him get out of the portrait, but, okay.. I was wrong. I still didn’t feel the legitimacy there. View Spoiler »

Do I need to say I won’t be reading the next one? View Spoiler »

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Book Review – Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light by Amy Thomas

Posted February 1, 2012 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 / 4 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 – Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light by Amy ThomasParis, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (And Dark Chocolate) on February 1st 2012
Pages: 305
Format: eARC
Amazon
Goodreads


five-stars

Part love letter to New York, part love letter to Paris, and total devotion to all things sweet. Paris, My Sweet is a personal and moveable feast that’s a treasure map for anyone who loves fresh cupcakes and fine chocolate, New York and Paris, and life in general. It’s about how the search for happiness can be as fleeting as a sliver of cheesecake and about how the life you’re meant to live doesn’t always taste like the one you envisioned. Organized into a baker’s dozen of delicacies (and the adventures they inspired) that will tempt readers’ appetites, Paris, My Sweet is something to savor.

*sigh*… Paris.

And pastries. 🙂

What could be better?

‘I guess it goes to show that you just never know where life will take you. You search for answers. You wonder what it all means. You stumble, and you soar. And, if you’re lucky, you make it to Paris for a while. Here’s what happened when I did.’

On top of tales of wonderful sweets, the author shares her own personal story about finding her way in a foreign place, gaining a new perspective on life and simply learning to be thankful for what life dishes out to you. It was quite a delightful surprise that I enjoyed immensely; am so glad that I requested this book.

Despite my attempts to read this only on a full stomach, I still ended up with one serious sweet tooth by the end of this book (or even by the end of each chapter…or page). The author describes in extreme detail the sweets she eats, and makes each and every one of them sound positively heavenly.

’…her signature pretzel-covered, sea-salted caramel that had crackly, salty pretzel bits coating the 66 percent cocoa shell and creamy caramel center.’

Oh… my… gosh. Who makes these and how can I buy some of these goodies? Apparently her name is Rachel Zoe Insler, owner of Bespoke Chocolates. I was drooling so heavily over the descriptions I went so far as to try and find her online… only to find that her business had actually closed earlier this year. I was one seriously sad puppy. (If I had simply kept reading I would have realized the author spoke of the business closure at the end of the chapter haha). At the end of each chapter, she also tells where to find some of the best cupcakes, macarons, truffles, etc. in New York and Paris. Definitely made me want to take note and write down more than a few for when I eventually make it to each city.

I found myself using Google Translate often and searching for Frenchie terms that I had no idea the meaning (Vélib’ is a bicycle sharing system, fish are sold at poissoneries, and there are twenty arrondissements (or districts) of Paris. I think normally this would have irritated me having to stop every few minutes to figure out what exactly I’m reading, but being that I personally have a crush on anything Paris and cannot wait to go there personally someday, having to search for unknown items and words was actually quite a fun experience for me.

I also quite enjoyed taking a look at the author’s two blogs Sweet Freak© and God, I love Paris. If she didn’t do a good enough job in her book describing all the delicious goodies, the pictures she posts on both blogs are bound to get you. Sure makes this gluten-free girl quite sad (but has me definitely contemplating getting off my butt and at least trying to find and modify recipes for goodies that I can eat too. Inspiration! :D)

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