Source: Edelweiss

Early Review – Reboot (Reboot #1) by Amy Tintera

Posted April 19, 2013 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013, YA / 8 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 – Reboot (Reboot #1) by Amy TinteraReboot Series: Reboot #1
on May 7th 2013
Format: eARC
Amazon
Goodreads


two-half-stars

Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.

The perfect soldier is done taking orders.

I was extremely excited for this debut because that summary could not sound any more awesome. Wren 178 is the strongest and deadliest reboot because she was dead 178 minutes before her body rebooted and she came back to life. Reboots are all stronger and faster and heal faster than ordinary humans. The other main difference is their complete lack of emotions making them the perfect super soldier. So basically reboots are some terminator zombie type thing…yep, sign me up for that.

I’ve seen this time and time again: an interesting and original concept that’s thoroughly lacking in execution. Now, I’m not saying this was a complete disaster but it definitely failed to live up to the anticipation the summary generated. It was all just very ‘meh’ for me.

The first major issue I had was the world-building. The beginning part of the story felt like one massive info-dump that never really succeeded at explaining anything. And there were so many questions I had that were never quite explained. Like why the reboots continued aging even though they’re basically a zombie, how it is that they’re still able to have children (regarding the reference that upon rebooting they’re given a birth control shot) and why in the world they become “attractive” upon rebooting. Strange additions to the Reboot world that I didn’t find made much sense.

But the second and main issue I had was the romance. Wren is supposed to be the most unemotional reboot of the bunch yet she becomes immediately intrigued by the newest reboot, Callum 22. I just couldn’t buy it, period. It was so half-hazardly thrown together, completely lacking in credibility and was extremely ill-fitting with the rest of the story. Wren is supposed to be a super solider. A complete badass. Yet the romance aspect turned her into every other typical girl with zero original qualities. The aspect of the story that she’s been their perfect soldier and obeys all orders until she begins to rebel… perfect. But something other than a corny romance needed to be the catalyst for her rebellion.

Wren’s ‘voice’ felt very authentic to me as she always seemed very monotone and didn’t elicit much excitement when recounting anything. Despite it being authentic, it still felt very tiresome to read. There were some very exciting scenes though and I just wish there wasn’t so much I had issue with since it inevitably ruined the better parts for me as a whole. Reboot fortunately doesn’t leave you with a whopper of a cliffhanger but unfortunately I still don’t see this series and I continuing.

Tags:

Divider

Short & Sweet – Club Monstrosity (Club Monstrosity #1) by Jesse Petersen

Posted April 2, 2013 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2013, Short & Sweet Reviews / 9 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.

Short & Sweet – Club Monstrosity (Club Monstrosity #1) by Jesse PetersenClub Monstrosity by Jesse Petersen
Series: Monstrosity #1
Published by Pocket Star on April 29th 2013
Length: 224
Genres: Mystery, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Eat Slay Love, Shambling With the Stars, Married With Zombies

three-stars

Natalie’s one of Frankenstein’s creations and works in a New York City morgue. So of course she needs therapy. She and her friends—er, fellow monsters—have formed the world’s most exclusive, most dysfunctional support group. What could go wrong?

Undetected in the modern world and under pressure to stay that way, Natalie Grey, Dracula, Bob the Blob, and others (including the fetching wolfman Alec) meet regularly to talk about the pressures of being infamous in the Big Apple. Topics include how long it’s been since their last sighting, how their “story” creates stereotypes they can’t fulfill, and—gasp—sometimes even their feelings. But when their pervy Invisible Man, Ellis, is killed in a manner reminiscent of the H.G. Wells novel, it’s clear someone’s discovered their existence and is down for some monster busting.

Led by Natalie—and definitely not helped by Hyde’s bloodthirsty tendencies—the members of Monstofelldosis Anonymous band together for security and a little sleuthing. And maybe—maybe—if they don’t end up dead, they’ll end up friends somewhere along the way.

In the basement of the Holy Heart church a group of individuals meet for Monstofelldosis (MFD) Anonymous meetings. These meetings are basically the most dysfunctional support group, as all of these eclectic individuals are monsters. Real. Life. Monsters. Natalie is one of Frankenstein’s creations, Alec is a werewolf, Kai is a mummy, and, well, you get the picture. Their support groups leader is Bob, otherwise known as the Blob, and when he turns up missing they all join together to find out what happened to one of their own. When it’s discovered that he died in the same way he died in the books and movies they realize their covers are blown and they have no idea who they’re coming for next.

I loved the highly original idea behind this one, a group of monsters struggling to live among humans? Each of the monsters/characters had their own leading role and they were all entertaining in their own way. A total count of eight monsters made appearances and it’ll be fun to see new monster additions in future installments of this series. Club Monstrosity has humor, a mystery and even a bit of romance. This was a fun, light-hearted read that was an entertaining start to a new series.

Tags:

Divider

Early Review – Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella

Posted March 28, 2013 by Bonnie in 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, Love Your Life

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.

Tags:

Divider

Early Review – An Inquiry Into Love and Death by Simone St. James

Posted March 4, 2013 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013 / 3 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 – An Inquiry Into Love and Death by Simone St. JamesAn Inquiry Into Love and Death by Simone St. James
Published by NAL on March 5th 2013
Pages: 368
Genres: Ghosties, Gothic, Historical Fiction, Mystery
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Broken Girls

three-stars

From the acclaimed author of The Haunting of Maddy Clare —and “a talent to watch” (Anne Stuart, New York Times bestselling author of Shameless)—a spellbinding ghost story set in 1920s England.

After her uncle Toby, a renowned ghost hunter, is killed in a fall off a cliff, Oxford student Jillian Leigh must rive to the seaside village of Rothewell to pack up his belongings. Almost immediately, unsettling incidents - a book left in a cold stove, a gate swinging open on its own - escalate into terrifying events that convince Jillian an angry spirit is trying to enter the house and is haunting the woods around Blood Moon Bay. If Toby discovered something sinister during his investigations, was his death no accident?

The arrival of handsome Scotland Yard inspector Drew Merriken leaves Jillian with more questions than answers - and with the added complication of a powerful mutual attraction. She suspects someone will do anything to hide the truth and begins to discover secrets that lie deep within Rothewell... and at the very heart of who she is.

When Jillian is informed that her Uncle Toby passed away after committing suicide she’s the only family that is willing and able to come and collect his belongings. Upon visiting the quaint seaside village of Rothewell that he was staying at, she finds quickly that there is something strange about this town. Realizing that her Uncle Toby had been staying there working as a ghost hunter she realizes that he may have been right and something is in fact haunting this village. Determined to prove that her Uncle didn’t kill himself Jillian teams up with a gentleman from Scotland Yard to solve the mystery so he can rest in peace.

‘What had just happened between us? He’d touched only my arm, but I’d felt the reverberations of that touch through my body like an echo. I could still feel them now.’

An Inquiry Into Love and Death is comprised of ghosts, family secrets, conspiracy and romance. The romance was the most unexpected addition and I wasn’t sure it was the best addition but it was still nonetheless sweet. It felt very historical romance/bodice ripper to me though and considering I went into this expecting an intricate historical fiction/ghost story it could have been a disappointment. I think the fact that I do enjoy historical romances made this not such a downside but I can see this being a flaw as the marketing on this didn’t hint at this as much as it should have.

There are many spooky moments and the writing was vivid and detailed to heighten the visualization. I found it intriguing that there are not only instances of ghosts but boggarts as well. Having not encountered any boggarts since Harry Potter I thought this was an interesting and fresh concept to the normal ghost story.

This was a well-told and entertaining story but didn’t have anything exceptionally special to garner a higher rating. I think having the understand beforehand that romance plays a huge part in her stories typically will help adjust my expectations prior to starting. Definitely intrigued enough by this author to check out earlier works though.

Tags:

Divider

Early Review – The Burning Air: A Novel by Erin Kelly

Posted February 14, 2013 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013 / 3 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 – The Burning Air: A Novel by Erin KellyThe Burning Air by Erin Kelly
Published by Viking Adult on February 21st 2013
Pages: 336
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon
Goodreads


four-stars

Of course it was love for my children, love for my son, that caused me to act as I did. It was a lapse of judgement. If I could have foreseen the rippling aftershocks that followed I would have acted differently, but by the time I realised the extent of the consequences, it was too late.

The MacBrides have always gone to Far Barn in Devon for Bonfire Night, but this year everything is different. Lydia, the matriarch, is dead; Sophie, the eldest daughter, is desperately trying to repair a crumbling marriage; and Felix, the youngest of the family, has brought a girlfriend with him for the first time.

The girl, Kerry, seems odd in a way nobody can quite put their finger on - but when they leave her looking after Sophie's baby daughter, and return to find both Kerry and the baby gone, they are forced to ask themselves if they have allowed a cuckoo into their nest...

Gripping and chilling, with a killer twist, The Burning Air reaffirms Erin Kelly as one of Britain's foremost psychological thriller writers.

‘Of course it was love for my children, love for my son, that caused me to act as I did. It was a lapse of judgement. If I could have foreseen the rippling aftershocks that followed I would have acted differently, but by the time I realised the extent of the consequences, it was too late.’

The Burning Air tells the story of a privileged family, the MacBrides, and how one small decision changed their lives forever. The story opens with Lydia, the matriarch, in her final days of life looking back on past regrets and one in particular that altered life far more than she had ever thought possible.

It’s funny, but this first came out in the UK and not only does it have a different cover but a completely different summary that, in my opinion, gives away far too much regarding the plot. I’m quite glad I didn’t actually notice this until after I had finished reading and knew less going into this. It made it much more exciting (so stay away from those UK summaries!)

There is much that can be given away, so I will keep this brief. Erin Kelly can really write one twisted, sordid mystery. I actually had a hard time getting into this one at first, I believe because you’re given information in huge chunks that doesn’t make a single bit of sense at first until you continue reading and all the answers slowly unravel themselves. And once those answers slowly begin unraveling and you think you know what’s going on, you’re thrown for a loop, then you find yourself reading at break-neck speed because you have to know what’s going on right now. I was completely captivated. To me, there’s not a better book than one like this.

So why only 4 stars? Wellll…. I was looking for a different ending and was actually looking for ‘evil’ to trump ‘good’. This family is the definition of prominent, however, even they have their sordid secrets and those secrets definitely had the effect of changing your opinion of them. This essentially caused questions as to which side to root for, since neither side is truly ‘good’. The Burning Air is a highly convoluted yet fantastically written tale of family secrets and an obsession that changes their lives forever.

Tags:

Divider

Early Review – The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper

Posted February 12, 2013 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2012 / 3 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 – The Demonologist by Andrew PyperThe Demonologist on March 5th 2013
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Amazon | Book Depository
Goodreads


three-stars

Fans of The Historian won’t be able to put down this spellbinding literary horror story in which a Columbia professor must use his knowledge of demonic mythology to rescue his daughter from the Underworld.

Professor David Ullman’s expertise in the literature of the demonic—notably Milton’s Paradise Lost—has won him wide acclaim. But David is not a believer.

One afternoon he receives a visitor at his campus office, a strikingly thin woman who offers him an invitation: travel to Venice, Italy, witness a “phenomenon,” and offer his professional opinion, in return for an extravagant sum of money. Needing a fresh start, David accepts and heads to Italy with his beloved twelve-year-old daughter Tess.

What happens in Venice will send David on an unimaginable journey from skeptic to true believer, as he opens himself up to the possibility that demons really do exist. In a terrifying quest guided by symbols and riddles from the pages of Paradise Lost, David attempts to rescue his daughter from the Unnamed—a demonic entity that has chosen him as its messenger.

‘Wandering this darksome desert, as my way
Lies through your spacious empire up to light
Alone, and without giude, half lost, I seek…’

‘The Demonologist’ is a sophisticated thriller that focuses solely on John Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ (and I think it should be noted that it’s not a prerequisite to have read Milton before ‘The Demonologist’ either.) It’s not overly steeped in symbolism without sufficient explanation that anyone couldn’t pick it up and understand it.

David Ullman is a non-believer despite the fact that he has dedicated his adult life to studying demonic literature, primarily Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’. When he’s approached one afternoon and asked to be a witness to a phenomenon that requires his professional opinion as a ‘Demonologist’ he accepts the offer and shortly afterwards is headed to Venice, Italy with his twelve-year-old daughter Tess. What David sees in Venice will leave him questioning everything he has ever believed. And when Tess is taken, he has no choice but to accept the things he saw in order to save her from the Underworld.

‘…I am an insistently rational sort, a spoilsport by nature when it comes to the fantastical. I’ve made an entire career out of doubt.
Yet here I am. Seeing the unseeable.’

Extremely creepy and unnerving. The type that really manages to burrow it’s way under your skin. The type that gives you goosebumps. The type that leaves you gasping at it’s intensity. The story line was riveting and I found myself flipping through pages rapidly. I’m not typically a fan of scary stories but this one was incredibly well done (I just made sure I kept to reading this while the sun was still up. But even with the sun there were moments where I feared my eyeballs were about to fall out of my head).

Just like that.

So why only 3 stars? Despite the fact that this book had me completely captivated, I felt the ending was an absolute disaster… to put it lightly. There were so many questions generated throughout the book that it was an exciting race to get to the end to get some answers. But it felt like the ending was entirely way too rushed to the point of it being utterly unintelligible. There were so many loose ends that the author may have possibly intended in order for the reader to interpret individually but that didn’t work for me at all. I even thought for a minute that this was a first in a series because of the abundant amount of unanswered questions but to the best of my knowledge, this is a stand alone. A completely enjoyable book with a less than satisfying ending.

Tags: ,

Divider

Short & Sweet – Frances and Bernard by Carlene Bauer

Posted February 5, 2013 by Bonnie in Adult, Read in 2013, Short & Sweet Reviews / 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.

Short & Sweet – Frances and Bernard by Carlene BauerFrances and Bernard by Carlene Bauer
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on February 5th 2013
Pages: 209
Genres: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon
Goodreads


two-half-stars

A letter can spark a friendship.
A friendship can change your life.

In the summer of 1957, Frances and Bernard meet at an artists’ colony. She finds him faintly ridiculous, but talented. He sees her as aloof, but intriguing. Afterward, he writes her a letter. Soon they are immersed in the kind of fast, deep friendship that can take over—and change the course of—our lives.

From points afar, they find their way to New York and, for a few whirling years, each other. The city is a wonderland for young people with dreams: cramped West Village kitchens, rowdy cocktail parties stocked with the sharp-witted and glamorous, taxis that can take you anywhere at all, long talks along the Hudson River as the lights of the Empire State Building blink on above.

Inspired by the lives of Flannery O’Connor and Robert Lowell, Frances and Bernard imagines, through new characters with charms entirely their own, what else might have happened. It explores the limits of faith, passion, sanity, what it means to be a true friend, and the nature of acceptable sacrifice. In the grandness of the fall, can we love another person so completely that we lose ourselves? How much should we give up for those we love? How do we honor the gifts our loved ones bring and still keep true to our dreams?

In witness to all the wonder of kindred spirits and bittersweet romance, Frances and Bernard is a tribute to the power of friendship and the people who help us discover who we are.

An epistolary novel, or a novel written solely in personal letters mainly between main characters Frances and Bernard. The novel is said to of been influenced by the lives of Flannery O’Connor and Robert Lowell, however, Frances and Bernard are far from a carbon copy. In an author interview with Publisher’s Weekly, Carlene stated, “I didn’t want to write historical fiction, but I want readers to know that it was the temperaments, minds, and voices of these specific people that set me off.”

The beautiful writing was the only redeeming quality of this book for me, and it was quite beautiful. The story was heavily steeped in religious fervor. I found both Frances and Bernard to be quite a bore and their fanatical beliefs and constant discussion of them was really quite tiresome. As much personal details which are given in their letters there still managed to be a lack of connection between the reader and the characters themselves. I would naturally blame the style of writing, however, I was quite fond of the letters back and forth to one another. Reading a certain bit of the authors flawless prose was like a beacon of light, I only wish the entire novel shone more brightly as a whole.

Tags:

Divider

Short & Sweet – The Beautiful Indifference: Stories by Sarah Hall

Posted January 18, 2013 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2013, Short & Sweet Reviews / 10 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.

Short & Sweet – The Beautiful Indifference: Stories by Sarah HallThe Beautiful Indifference: Stories by Sarah Hall
Published by Harper Perennial on January 29th 2013
Pages: 208
Genres: Collections & Anthologies
Format: eARC
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads


five-stars

Winner of the Portico Prize
Winner of the Edge Hill University Short Story Prize
Short-listed for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award

Sarah Hall has been hailed as "one of the most significant and exciting of Britain's young novelists" (The Guardian). Now, in this collection of short fiction published in England to phenomenal praise, she has created a work at once provocative and mesmerizing.

‘A Beautiful Indifference’ is a collection of seven short stories that had been previously published in various forms and have been honored for awards on their own. The first story, ‘Butcher’s Perfume’ was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award in 2010 and ‘Vuotjärvi’ was long-listed for the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award in 2011.

I’ve only recently started reading short stories but I decided to pick this one up and was very pleased. Very raw and disconcerting stories with prose that really packs a punch and manages to leave your mind whirling. Each story is very allegorical. Lacking in a true, concrete conclusion and typically left open to interpretation, they all seem to have some deeper meaning that was unattainable for the most part for me. Despite this, these were some of the most gratifying short stories I have ever read. The writing was truly brilliant and left me always wanting more. Sarah Hall is definitely an author worth checking out.

bonnie blog signature

Tags: ,

Divider

Early Review – Summerset Abbey (Summerset Abbey #1) by T.J. Brown

Posted January 10, 2013 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013 / 2 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 – Summerset Abbey (Summerset Abbey #1) by T.J. BrownSummerset Abbey by T.J. Brown
Series: Summerset Abbey #1
Published by Gallery Books on January 15th 2013
Pages: 322
Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon
Goodreads


two-half-stars

Reminiscent of Downton Abbey, this first novel in a new series follows two sisters and their maid as they are suddenly separated by the rigid class divisions within a sprawling aristocratic estate and thrust into an uncertain world on the brink of WWI...

Rowena and Victoria, daughters to the third son of the Earl of Summerset, have always treated their housekeeper’s daughter, Prudence, like a sister. But when their father dies and they move in with their uncle’s family in a much stricter household, Prudence is relegated to the downstairs maids’ quarters, much to the girls’ shock and dismay. The impending war offers each girl hope for a more modern future, but the ever-present specter of class expectations makes it difficult for Prudence to maintain a foot in both worlds.

Vividly evoking both time and place and filled with authentic dialogue and richly detailed atmosphere, Summerset Abbey is a charming and timeless historical debut.

Rowena and Victoria, daughters to the third son of the Earl of Summerset, have always treated their housekeeper’s daughter, Prudence, like a sister. But when their father dies and they move in with their uncle’s family in a much stricter household, Prudence is relegated to the downstairs maids’ quarters, much to the girls’ shock and dismay. The impending war offers each girl hope for a more modern future, but the ever-present specter of class expectations makes it difficult for Prudence to maintain a foot in both worlds.

Vividly evoking both time and place and filled with authentic dialogue and richly detailed atmosphere, Summerset Abbey is a charming and timeless historical debut.

The year is 1913 and Sir Philip Buxton has passed leaving his two daughters all alone. Placed into the care of their Uncle until the time they decide to marry, their life becomes upended when they are moved from their home to Summerset Abbey. Victoria and Rowena are also separated from their friend Prudence. Prudence was raised alongside the girls their entire lives and they are all three as close as sisters can be. Their Uncle won’t stand for this continued treatment though as Prudence is a governess’s daughter by birth. The question remains why would Sir Philip raise her as his own to begin with?

The big hook for me that got me interested in reading this book was the comparison to Downton Abbey. I am a sucker for anything Downton Abbey and love historical fiction in general so I anticipated liking this immensely While I did enjoy this, I found there to be one huge difference between the two. In Downton Abbey everything is glamorous and you find yourself so envious of the people and this beautiful time period they live in. In Summerset Abbey I found myself feeling rather sorry for these girls and the things they were obligated to do based on customs. I rather think though that Summerset Abbey gives a more accurate interpretation of that time period as it likely wasn’t truly as exotic as it seems on television. For this reason I think many won’t appreciate this as much because, like me, I can’t help but love the glamorous façade.

The writing was entertaining but there were several times where additional descriptive details had been added that felt unnecessary and would have been better omitted. The mystery bit of the whole story could have been done much better as well. Nonetheless entertaining, I still felt I had the mystery solved weeks before these girls did. Considering this is a start of a new series, Summerset Abbey left off at a rather awkward point but definitely leaves you highly anticipating the next installment.

Tags:

Divider

Early Review – Here I Go Again by Jen Lancaster

Posted January 3, 2013 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2012 / 4 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 – Here I Go Again by Jen LancasterHere I Go Again by Jen Lancaster
Published by NAL on January 29th 2013
Pages: 320
Genres: Chick-Lit, Contemporary, Funny-ha-ha
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Tao of Martha: My Year of LIVING; Or, Why I'm Never Getting All That Glitter Off of the Dog

four-stars

Hilarious new fiction from the New York Times bestselling author of Bitter Is the New Black and If You Were Here .

Twenty years after ruling the halls of her suburban Chicago high school, Lissy Ryder doesn't understand why her glory days ended. Back then, she was worshipped...beloved...feared. Present day, not so much. She's been pink-slipped from her high-paying job, dumped by her husband, and kicked out of her condo. Now, at thirty-seven, she's struggling to start a business out of her parents' garage and sleeping under the hair-band posters in her old bedroom.

Lissy finally realizes karma is the only bitch bigger than she was. Her present is miserable because of her past. But it's not like she can go back in time and change who she was...or can she?

Lissy Ryder is that kind of girl in school that is super popular and you can’t help but love/hate her. I know we all went to school with at least one Lissy-type. Her 20-year high school reunion is coming up and shortly before, everything about her life seems to falling apart at the seams. She’s kicked out of her swanky gym for not paying the fees, she gets fired from her job and her husband just asked her for a divorce.

Choosing not to wallow and instead pick herself up and go to her reunion she discovers that the people from high school don’t love her as much as they used. Actually? They pretty much hate everything about her. But what can she do? It’s not like she can change the past or anything… right?

I can’t help but love Jen Lancaster. I’ve followed her on Twitter and on her blog for years, I’ve read all of her memoirs, and she’s one seriously hilarious lady. But in ‘Here I Go Again’ I felt that her sense of humor really shined through in a whole new refreshing kind of way.

I loved pretty much everything about the book. 80’s references were strewn throughout (mainly regarding the big hair bands) and being a personal lover of the 80’s (and big hair bands) this was incredibly fun. I loved the cast of characters that were so completely hilarious, although Deva and her quirkiness was my favorite. But what made this most enjoyable was the fact that Lissy’s ‘change’ into a better person after realizing how wrong she was in the past was truly genuine. The time travel bit was goofy but completely intentional. Did it make a whole lot of sense? No. Was it supposed to? No. But was it entertaining? Absolutely.

Jen managed to write an extremely multi-layered story that was hilarious and incredibly enjoyable. Normally with these stories there’s always the picture perfect happy ending, but in ‘Here I Go Again’, well, as Lissy would say:

‘Karma really is a bitch.’

Tags:

Divider