Publisher: The Dial Press

Short & Sweet – Eleventh Grave in Moonlight, My Not So Perfect Life, Deathly Hallows

January 20, 2017 Bonnie Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2017, Short & Sweet Reviews 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.

Short & Sweet – Eleventh Grave in Moonlight, My Not So Perfect Life, Deathly HallowsEleventh Grave in Moonlight by Darynda Jones
Series: Charley Davidson #11
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on January 24th 2017
Pages: 352
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Also by this author: First Grave on the Right, For I Have Sinned, Second Grave on the Left

three-half-stars

A typical day in the life of Charley Davidson involves cheating husbands, missing people, errant wives, philandering business owners, and oh yeah...demons, hell hounds, evil gods, and dead people. Lots and lots of dead people. As a part time Private Investigator and full-time Grim Reaper, Charley has to balance the good, the bad, the undead, and those who want her dead. In this eleventh installment, Charley is learning to make peace with the fact that she is a goddess with all kinds of power and that her own daughter has been born to save the world from total destruction. But the forces of hell are determined to see Charley banished forever to the darkest corners of another dimension. With the son of Satan himself as her husband and world-rocking lover, maybe Charley can find a way to have her happily ever after after all.

*spoilers for previous installments*

“…I’m going to take over the world.”
“The whole thing?”
“Well, I’m going to try to take over the world.”
“And you feel you’re prepared for world domination?”
I lifted a noncommittal shoulder. “I’m taking a business class.”

Despite her new awareness of her God-like state, Charley Davidson strives to continue living as a normal human would. She’s taking a business class at the college (to help her out when she takes over the world), she has a new case which involves the son of the people that kidnapped Reyes when he was a child, and she’s helping the police sort out why and who could be sending Cookie’s daughter, Amber, threatening text messages.

Although I continue to profess my love for this series, it must be said that the plots of these later installments are getting weaker with each new one. I have always loved the incorporation of her day-to-day investigations mixed with the advancement of the Reaper storyline but if I’m being honest, more needs to happen with the Reaper storyline. It continues to be stretched to the limit and we’re given minuscule nibbles with each book which seems like nothing more than a way to continue to stretch the series past its expiration date. For the most part, there isn’t any actual advancement until the final 10% or so, and while it’s a most excellent 10%, it makes one definitely wish there was more to go around. And then as a cherry on top, we’re given a massive cliffhanger that will leave the reader groaning until the next installment.

The mysteries are great, the paranormal aspects are incredibly interesting, the sex scenes are off the charts, and Charley is always a source of amusement. But, Jones, you’re killing me with these cliffhangers.

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.

Short & Sweet – Eleventh Grave in Moonlight, My Not So Perfect Life, Deathly HallowsMy Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
Published by The Dial Press on February 7th 2017
Pages: 448
Genres: Chick-Lit
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Also by this author: Wedding Night, Surprise Me

three-half-stars

Part love story, part workplace dramedy, part witty critique of the false judgments we make in a social-media-obsessed world, this is New York Times bestselling author Sophie Kinsella’s most timely and sharply observed novel yet.

Everywhere Katie Brenner looks, someone else is living the life she longs for, particularly her boss, Demeter Farlowe. Demeter is brilliant and creative, lives with her perfect family in a posh townhouse, and wears the coolest clothes. Katie’s life, meanwhile, is a daily struggle—from her dismal rental to her oddball flatmates to the tense office politics she’s trying to negotiate. The final, demeaning straw comes when Demeter makes Katie dye her roots in the office. No wonder Katie takes refuge in not-quite-true Instagram posts, especially as she’s desperate to make her dad proud.

Then, just as she’s finding her feet—not to mention a possible new romance—the worst happens. Demeter fires Katie. Shattered but determined to stay positive, Katie retreats to her family’s farm in Somerset to help them set up a vacation business. London has never seemed so far away—until Demeter unexpectedly turns up as a guest. Secrets are spilled and relationships rejiggered, and as the stakes for Katie’s future get higher, she must question her own assumptions about what makes for a truly meaningful life.
Sophie Kinsella is celebrated for her vibrant, relatable characters and her great storytelling gifts. Now she returns with all of the wit, warmth, and wisdom that are the hallmarks of her bestsellers to spin this fresh, modern story about presenting the perfect life when the reality is far from the image.

Katie Brenner grew up in the English countryside and has always dreamed of living in the big city. At 26-years-old, she’s finally working her dream job at an ad agency, has a place of her own, and an Instagram account that showcases a life that anyone would envy. Despite her perfect outward appearance, everything is far from perfect. She’s not doing anything terribly creative at her job and is barely making ends meet, she has her own place but she has roommates and her room is tragically small so she keeps all her clothes piled in a hammock, and all those pictures she posts on Instagram is more how she wishes her life was vs. how it really is. When her life is abruptly upended and she finds herself living once again with her dad in the English countryside, she doesn’t think she’ll ever find her way back to London. A new family “glamping” business keeps her busy and her creative side honed, but some unexpected glampers from London have Katie realizing that London isn’t quite done with her.

Katie is an incredible character for many reasons but first and foremost: she’s so realistic. Don’t get me wrong, 95% of the time I love a good story to escape into so I can leave the real world behind but that straggler 5% loves a character that I can feel in tune with, a character that I can truly understand. This story gave me major Devil Wears Prada vibes but instead of the invisible girl that gets a haircut, loses some weight, and is bestowed a gorgeous wardrobe only to live happily ever after we get Katie. Katie didn’t get a haircut, lose weight, or get a new wardrobe. Nope. Katie loses her job, has to move back home with dad, and is often found in wellies because it’s just sensible in the countryside.

My Not So Perfect Life centers around Katie’s personal development and the realization that much like her own Instagram account, people hide beyond a persona that is not always the person they truly are. This is a laugh out loud adventure that despite its slightly unnecessary page length and unexpected lack of focus on the romance, this delightful story will no doubt charm new and old fans alike.

Short & Sweet – Eleventh Grave in Moonlight, My Not So Perfect Life, Deathly HallowsHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Narrator: Jim Dale
Series: Harry Potter #7
on July 21st 2007
Length: 21 hrs and 36 mins
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Cuckoo's Calling, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 & 2, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

five-stars

As he climbs into the sidecar of Hagrid's motorbike and takes to the skies, leaving Privet Drive for the last time, Harry Potter knows that Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters are not far behind. The protective charm that has kept Harry safe until now is broken, but he cannot keep hiding. The Dark Lord is breathing fear into everything Harry loves and to stop him Harry will have to find and destroy the remaining Horcruxes. The final battle must begin - Harry must stand and face his enemy....

*spoilers*


This is officially my very first time I’ve completely re-read this series and it’s quite possible that I love it even more than I did before. Reading all books back to back (I started the first one in October and finished the last one in January) only made it even more apparent what an incredible saga that Rowling gifted us. All the linked parts, the character development, and just how astonishing it was to see it all unfold. Somehow it still managed to leave me awed even knowing how it all ends. While my opinions of the series as a whole didn’t change (other than the fact that my favorite book is now officially Half-Blood Prince and I’ve gotten over my irritation with Dobby) there is one aspect in these stories that I paid a lot more attention to this go around: Dumbledore and Snape.

First and foremost, I’m team Snape (and a Slytherin if you were curious). Yes, I am fully aware that he was a horrible shithead to a bunch of children, primarily Harry, and the only reason was because he loved Harry’s mother and she didn’t love him. Boo-hoo. I’m also aware that he was a Death Eater doing terrible things on behalf of Voldemort before he joined up with Dumbeldore. I’m aware of all these things but I can still appreciate the bravery and risks he took in the name of love, even it was misguided. It doesn’t necessarily make him a hero in my eyes and his actions don’t make up for the wrong he did, but it is still worthy of mention. Don’t agree?

hahaha Kidding. But on to an even more controversial topic: Dumbledore was kind of a dick. Sure, at first he’s that kind, fatherly figure that Harry can’t help but look up to. But when year after year at Hogwarts passes and poor young Harry is dealing with shit that he can barely comprehend, does Dumbledore make it a point to educate him on the ways of the wizarding world? Nope. And when we finally realize what’s been going on this entire time? That he’s known from the very beginning that Harry was going to have to die for the “greater good”?!

Sure, if he had told Harry at an early age he could have lost his marbles at the prospect of an early death so I understand why he didn’t tell him but I definitely don’t agree with it because he didn’t treat Harry like a pawn; he treated him like he was someone special to him. Think of all the times that Harry was touting Dumbledore’s greatness while from the very beginning he’s known the endgame all along.

Leave an infant on a doorstep, don’t even ring the doorbell. They’ll find him in the morning. Know Harry’s living in a goddamn cupboard under the stairs, constantly abused by the Dursley’s–does nothing. Let Snape continue to mistreat him unnecessarily. Blames it on the fact he developed feelings for the reason why he’s lied to Harry his entire life… talk about emotional manipulation. Not letting Harry in on the secret of the horcruxes until after he was doomed to die because his dumbass, for personal advancement reasons, put it on because it was also a Hallow. Dick move, Dumbledore. /rant

Rowling really achieved greatness with this final installment. Each installment has progressively gotten darker as Harry and all other characters take step after step into adulthood. This world that Rowling has created is both horrible and mesmerizing in equal measure. A world where there are creatures that can suck out your very soul, but also wondrous creatures like unicorns and Hippogriffs. A world where you can be struck down with two simple words, but also where owls deliver your mail and paintings talk. But the most wondrous thing that Rowling accomplished with these stories is just how many lives she transformed, mine included. It’s enough to make anyone believe in magic.

Divider

Early Review – Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella

March 28, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013 0 Comments

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

Early Review – Wedding Night by Sophie KinsellaWedding Night by Sophie Kinsella
Published by The Dial Press on April 23rd 2013
Pages: 446
Genres: Chick-Lit, Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: My Not So Perfect Life, Surprise Me

two-stars

Lottie just knows that her boyfriend is going to propose during lunch at one of London’s fanciest restaurants. But when his big question involves a trip abroad, not a trip down the aisle, she’s completely crushed. So when Ben, an old flame, calls her out of the blue and reminds Lottie of their pact to get married if they were both still single at thirty, she jumps at the chance. No formal dates—just a quick march to the altar and a honeymoon on Ikonos, the sun-drenched Greek island where they first met years ago.

Their family and friends are horrified. Fliss, Lottie’s older sister, knows that Lottie can be impulsive—but surely this is her worst decision yet. And Ben’s colleague Lorcan fears that this hasty marriage will ruin his friend’s career. To keep Lottie and Ben from making a terrible mistake, Fliss concocts an elaborate scheme to sabotage their wedding night. As she and Lorcan jet off to Ikonos in pursuit, Lottie and Ben are in for a honeymoon to remember, for better . . . or worse.

I know. It’s shocking. I can hardly believe it myself. ME. Giving a Sophie Kinsella a two star rating. Okay, yes, I know I gave Mini-Shopaholic 2 stars too but that book should have never happened as that series should have already been done. But this? Had such potential and actually started out highly entertaining (even though the character totally reminded me of Becky Brandon but instead of having a lack of control when it came to shopping, this main character had a lack of control for doing anything remotely smart.)

When I pick up a Sophie Kinsella novel I expect light-hearted entertainment with several giggles thrown in for good measure. Yes, there were a few giggles… at the beginning. And then all enjoyment I attained quickly began to deteriorate as the story took a steady downhill path.

The story is told from the point of view of sisters Lottie and Fliss. Lottie was under the impression that her boyfriend was about to propose and after he doesn’t she ends up breaking it off completely. After every heartbreak in her life, Lottie has always done something drastic and spontaneous including new tattoos, the purchasing of new property, and even joining a Cult. But this post-heartbreak decision really takes the cake: she decides to follow through on a pact made with an old boyfriend, and they both get married. (Even though she knows nothing about him and hasn’t even seen him since she was 18… which was 15 years ago.)

Fliss is determined to stop her sister from ruining her life and having to go through the painful divorce that she herself is currently going through. She comes up with a plan to intentionally sabotage their Wedding Night so they’re unable to consummate the marriage which will allow her to simply get an annulment. Because it can’t be possible that Lottie actually LOVES this man… is it?

I have a huge issue with people that take it upon themselves to take action in your life all because they think they know what’s best for you. Even if it’s family. And this story was one blaring example of that. Fliss did anything and everything to prevent them from consummating their marriage because she knew without a doubt in her mind that Lottie just wasn’t thinking clearing and that Fliss was the only one that could help her see the light of day.

All of the roadblocks that Lottie and her new husband Ben continued to run into were mildly humorous.. at first. The TV that blared The Teletubbies that for some reason couldn’t be turned off, when they were put into a suite with two twin beds instead of a king, and even when they were caught trying to complete the task in the airport bathroom. It was all fun and games… at first, but when Fliss advised the staff to give the couple peanut oil instead of massage oil which caused Lottie to break out as she’s allergic to peanuts? That was not funny. Maybe I personally have too many food allergies that are not humorous in the least but having her sister do that to her was not only far from funny but was quite upsetting.

Basically, we have two morals to this story:
Lottie needs to learn not to make such drastic decisions when life gets her down. Maybe if she had given it some thought she shouldn’t marry her boyfriend from when she was 18 because she knows next to nothing about him only a few days after breaking up with her boyfriend.
Fliss needs to learn that she can’t control everything in her life (or anyone else’s). She may currently be going through a hard and bitter divorce but that doesn’t mean that her sister is incapable of falling in love, or getting herself out of sticky situations.

Sophie Kinsella is one of my favorite authors ever and despite my two-star review I still recommend this one to die-hard Sophie fans. Why? Because even if someone had told me this book was a massive time-waster you know what? I still would have read it. Because it’s by Sophie. So please, read this, I’m eager to discuss this with someone.

Divider

Early Review – 12.21: A Novel by Dustin Thomason

August 3, 2012 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2012 0 Comments

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

Early Review – 12.21: A Novel by Dustin Thomason12.21 by Dustin Thomason
Published by The Dial Press on August 7th 2012
Pages: 336
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Sci-fi, Thriller
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon
Goodreads


five-stars

For decades, December 21, 2012, has been a touchstone for doomsayers worldwide. It is the date, they claim, when the ancient Maya calendar predicts the world will end.

In Los Angeles, two weeks before, all is calm. Dr. Gabriel Stanton takes his usual morning bike ride, drops off the dog with his ex-wife, and heads to the lab where he studies incurable prion diseases for the CDC. His first phone call is from a hospital resident who has an urgent case she thinks he needs to see. Meanwhile, Chel Manu, a Guatemalan American researcher at the Getty Museum, is interrupted by a desperate, unwelcome visitor from the black market antiquities trade who thrusts a duffel bag into her hands.

By the end of the day, Stanton, the foremost expert on some of the rarest infections in the world, is grappling with a patient whose every symptom confounds and terrifies him. And Chel, the brightest young star in the field of Maya studies, has possession of an illegal artifact that has miraculously survived the centuries intact: a priceless codex from a lost city of her ancestors. This extraordinary record, written in secret by a royal scribe, seems to hold the answer to her life’s work and to one of history’s great riddles: why the Maya kingdoms vanished overnight. Suddenly it seems that our own civilization might suffer this same fate.

With only days remaining until December 21, 2012, Stanton and Chel must join forces before time runs out.

This is actually the first ‘2012’ type story I’ve ever read and it truly blew me away. Look up the definition of ‘page-turner’ and you should see a picture of this book. It was thrilling, addicting, and I couldn’t put it down. One of those that I was more than willing to sacrifice sleep so I could keep reading. 12.21 tells the story of an infection that once it starts spreading it cannot be stopped and how it could very well be the reason the Maya civilization originally disappeared.

I wouldn’t consider myself a 2012 fanatic but I have seen my fair share of Mayan prophecy shows on the History Channel and the Discovery Channel. I’ve never considered the fact that the world is truly going to end on December 21, 2012, but I think it’s a fair assumption that something may very well indeed happen that changes the world we live in. Or it could be like every other normal day, who knows. I guess we’ll just have to wait a few short months and find out firsthand. But the storyline in 12.21 of one possible outcome was terrifyingly realistic and incredibly convincing.

I loved how this wasn’t just an end of world tale and how it was actually linked to the very reason the Maya civilization disappeared so very long ago. Based on the Authors Note, ‘there is no evidence that the Maya suffered from a transmissible prion disease’, but regardless this was a riveting concept. Dustin Thomason created an amazing yet lifelike end of days story that is hands down my favorite read of 2012.

Divider