Source: Goodreads First Reads

Book Review – M Train by Patti Smith

Posted November 19, 2015 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2015 / 0 Comments

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

Book Review – M Train by Patti SmithM Train on October 6th 2015
Pages: 272
Format: ARC
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads


two-stars

From the National Book Award-winning author of Just Kids: an unforgettable odyssey into the mind of this legendary artist, told through the prism of cafés and haunts she has visited and worked in around the world.

M Train is a journey through eighteen "stations." It begins in the tiny Greenwich Village café where Smith goes every morning for black coffee, ruminates on the world as it is and the world as it was, and writes in her notebook. We then travel, through prose that shifts fluidly between dreams and reality, past and present, across a landscape of creative aspirations and inspirations: from Frida Kahlo's Casa Azul in Mexico, to a meeting of an Arctic explorer's society in Berlin; from the ramshackle seaside bungalow in New York's Far Rockaway that Smith buys just before Hurricane Sandy hits, to the graves of Genet, Plath, Rimbaud, and Mishima. Woven throughout are reflections on the writer's craft and on artistic creation, alongside signature memories including her life in Michigan with her husband, guitarist Fred Sonic Smith, whose untimely death was an irremediable loss. For it is loss, as well as the consolation we might salvage from it, that lies at the heart of this exquisitely told memoir, one augmented by stunning black-and-white Polaroids taken by Smith herself. M Train is a meditation on endings and on beginnings: a poetic tour de force by one of the most brilliant multiplatform artists at work today.

‘I’m sure I could write endlessly about nothing. If only I had nothing to say.’

Patti Smith carries us through her esoteric stories of the past and present in this short story/essay collection. M Train reads like an internal journey, a solo exploration. She recalls cafes visited all around the world, writing or simply sitting and reminiscing while drinking an insane amount of coffee that makes my own addiction to caffeine seem laughable. While Smith seems completely content with her own company and the adventures she undertakes alone, there’s still an underlying sadness when recollecting the loved ones she’s lost and the memories that still haunt her.

-What are you writing?
I looked up at her, somewhat surprised. I had absolutely no idea.

Ultimately, this accurately sums up this non-linear story collection. Random, non-cohesive thoughts that bounce around her lifetime from past to present with no indication of time. It is possible for randomness to possess interest and there is no doubt that Patti Smith has led a most interesting life, such as the descriptions of her trip to Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni in northwest French Guiana to visit the remains of a French penal colony where criminals were kept. Of all the places in the world to visit though, only Patti Smith would decide to visit an old abandoned prison at the end of the world. Nevertheless, it was interesting, but while it was all very informative and her writing is forever fluid, none of it ever felt as if it had much substance. Her descriptions of her trip to Germany to attend a conference with the Continental Drift Club, of which she is a member strangely enough, were fascinating but then she goes on to describe how on her return trip home she decided to stay in London to binge-watch some crime shows on the BBC. Fascinating and then… not.

Just Kids was stunning and poignant and her writing transported the reader back to a long past period of time. While her writing is still top-notch and her talent is undeniable, M Train was simply too meandering and tangential for my liking. The triviality of these stories are clearly meaningful to her since our experiences in life are what make us who we are today, but the importance is easily lost when not experienced firsthand but only recapped from memory.

‘I believe in life, which one day each of us shall lose. When we are young we think we won’t, that we are different. As a child I thought I would never grow up, that I could will it so. And then I realize, quite recently, that I had crossed some line, unconsciously cloaked in the truth of my chronology.’

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Early Review – Black Iris by Leah Raeder

Posted April 25, 2015 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Early Review, New Adult, Read in 2015 / 4 Comments

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

Early Review – Black Iris by Leah RaederBlack Iris by Leah Raeder
Published by Atria Books on April 28th 2015
Pages: 368
Genres: Contemporary Romance, LGBTQIA
Format: ARC
Source: Goodreads First Reads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Cam Girl

four-stars

The next dark and sexy romantic suspense novel from the USA Today bestselling author of Unteachable.

It only took one moment of weakness for Laney Keating’s world to fall apart. One stupid gesture for a hopeless crush. Then the rumors began. Slut, they called her. Queer. Psycho. Mentally ill, messed up, so messed up even her own mother decided she wasn't worth sticking around for.

If Laney could erase that whole year, she would. College is her chance to start with a clean slate.

She's not looking for new friends, but they find her: charming, handsome Armin, the only guy patient enough to work through her thorny defenses—and fiery, filterless Blythe, the bad girl and partner in crime who has thorns of her own.

But Laney knows nothing good ever lasts. When a ghost from her past resurfaces—the bully who broke her down completely—she decides it's time to live up to her own legend. And Armin and Blythe are going to help.

Which was the plan all along.

Because the rumors are true. Every single one. And Laney is going to show them just how true.

She's going to show them all.

‘Scars tell a story. My whole life was written on my body. How are you supposed to leave the past behind when you carry it with you in your skin?’

Laney Keating is a troubled teen questioning her sexuality while battling bullies and a severe drug addiction. She just wants to successfully make it to college so that she can start completely over with a fresh slate. That’s the bottom line, however, that doesn’t even begin to touch the contorted sort of life she leads. Still reeling from her mother’s suicide, Laney becomes intensely close with two individuals: Armin and Blythe. After finding out the details of her sordid story, the two agree to help her get back at those that hurt her so she can finally get the revenge she’s been dying for for so long.

‘I am not the heroine of this story.
And I’m not trying to be cute. It’s the truth. I’m diagnosed borderline and seriously fucked-up. I hold grudges. I bottle my hate until it ferments into poison, and then I get high off the fumes.’

First and foremost, Black Iris is one seriously dark and twisted thrill-ride of a tale. With a sense of being on a rollercoaster whipping you to and fro, the story throws us back in the past and forward into the future with each alternating chapter, slowly uncovering the facts of what caused Laney to become the sort of person she is. It’s such a thoroughly absorbing and well-written tale that keeping your facts straight isn’t ever a chore. And speaking of well-written, this book is simply sublime. Leah Raeder sees this world from a different perspective than the rest of us mere mortals. She sees this world in vibrant colors and intense detail and has the poetic ability to bring it to life for the rest of us.

‘I don’t categorize people by who I’m allowed to like and who I’m allowed to love. Love doesn’t fit into boxes like that. It’s blurry, slippery, quantum. It’s only limited by our perceptions and before we slap a label on it and cram it into some category, everything is possible.’

This book touches on a lot of severely dark aspects of life such as excessive drug use, mental illnesses such as depression and mania and not only the personal effects but how it manages to affect everyone in your life. It also tackles bullying, self-denigration and learning to come to terms with your sexuality despite it not being ‘the norm’. Revenge is a central part of the story as well and I loved how unrepentant Laney is about taking it, regardless of any ramifications. Her actions might not have been the easiest to understand or even to stomach, but her raw brutality still managed to be profound.

Black Iris may not be for everyone because its crudely savage and Laney remains remorseless to the very end without your quintessential self-realization over all the wrong that was done. But that crudeness is what completely ensnared me, shocked me and by the end left me completely stupefied (in the best way possible).

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Book Review – Hammered (Iron Druid Chronicles, #3) by Kevin Hearne

Posted March 28, 2012 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2012 / 4 Comments

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

Book Review – Hammered (Iron Druid Chronicles, #3) by Kevin HearneHammered by Kevin Hearne
Series: The Iron Druid Chronicles #3
Published by Del Rey on July 5, 2011
Pages: 336
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Format: eBook
Source: Goodreads First Reads
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Hounded, A Plague of Giants

four-stars

Thor, the Norse god of thunder, is worse than a blowhard and a bully—he’s ruined countless lives and killed scores of innocents. After centuries, Viking vampire Leif Helgarson is ready to get his vengeance, and he’s asked his friend Atticus O’Sullivan, the last of the Druids, to help take down this Norse nightmare.

One survival strategy has worked for Atticus for more than two thousand years: stay away from the guy with the lightning bolts. Plus things are heating up in his home base of Tempe, Arizona. There’s a vampire turf war brewing, and Russian demon hunters who call themselves the Hammers of God are running rampant. Despite multiple warnings and portents of dire consequences, Atticus and Leif journey to the Norse plane of Asgard, where they team up with a werewolf, a sorcerer, and an army of frost giants for an epic showdown against vicious Valkyries, angry Norse gods, and the hammer-wielding Thunder Thug himself.

The Iron Druid Chronicles series

Book Review – Hounded (The Iron Druid Chronicles #1) by Kevin HearneHexed (The Iron Druid Chronicles, #2)

Hounded (The Iron Druid Chronicles #1) {My Review}
Hexed (The Iron Druid Chronicles #2)

Storyline
Poor Atticus just can’t catch a break can he? Hammered picks up right where Hexed left off and Atticus is fulfilling the promise he made to Laksha: steal the golden apples of Idunn in Asgard. After that near impossible task he also needs to fulfill the promise he made to vampire Leif Helgarson: take him to Thor’s realm in order to battle him.

Thoughts
Okay, enough about the storyline. Here’s what you really need to know: this story/series is HILARIOUS and is steadily climbing up my favorite list. Hammered ended up being quite a bit darker than past installments but was no less enjoyable. I mean how can you not love a book with lines like this:

“Now go and stake some vamps. Especially the sparkly emo ones.”

“There’s a reason Bath & Body Works doesn’t have a line of products called Huge Fucking Squirrel.”

“Is monstrous fuckpuddle,” Perun asserted, and everyone turned to stare at him with equal parts amusement and bemusement. “What? Is this not English word?”

This was naturally my favorite conversation bit out of the entire story:

“Oh noes, kitteh haz major angriez!” I said. I turned around to share a laugh with my companions and found them glaring at me. “What?” I asked.
Leif shook a finger and said in a low, menacing tone, “If you tell me I have to talk like an illiterate halfwit to fit into this society, I will punch you.”
“And I’ll pull out your goatee,” Gunnar added.
“Lolcat iz new happeh wai 2 talk,” I explained to them. “U doan haz 2 be kitteh 2 speek it.”

If you’re like me, this series sat on my shelf for quite a long time and I just never picked it up. Don’t make the same mistakes I did! This series is fabulously fun, incredibly original, and has an incredibly intriguing storyline that I can’t get enough of. The 4th installment Tricked comes out April 24, 2012.

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Book Review – Airborne (Airborne Saga #1) by Constance Sharper

Posted March 28, 2012 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Read in 2012, YA / 2 Comments

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

Book Review – Airborne (Airborne Saga #1) by Constance SharperAirborne by Constance Sharper
Series: Airborne Saga #1
Published by Self-Published on March 31, 2011
Pages: 264
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal
Format: ARC
Source: Goodreads First Reads
Amazon
Goodreads


two-half-stars

Avery knew she had a knack for attracting trouble, but even she is shocked when a six-foot-something harpie shows up on her doorstep. Coping with the existence of a mythological race? Okay. Unwittingly finding herself in the middle of a vicious harpie conflict? A little less okay. Having to rely on an arrogant harpie boy who gets under her skin? Now that is something Avery isn’t sure she can handle.

Storyline
Avery is on summer break visiting her brother in California when she discovers a mysterious shell on the beach. As she picks it up she’s shocked by a sudden pain and when she drops it the shell shatters into dust. Where the shell touched her hand a dark bruise takes its place and starts to spread. Once she returns to boarding school, a harpie named Mason shows up on her doorstep demanding she return the shell. She eventually shows him her bruise with explanation on how she got it after picking up this mysterious shell and Mason explains to her that it was a shell that contained extremely strong magic and it appears to have been absorbed by her. When additional harpies come after her in order to get the shell, she realizes that not all of them are going to ask nicely. And once they find out that the magic is now inside her they’ll stop at nothing to kill her to prevent the magic from being used.

Not So Fab
Highly original and well written, I actually really enjoyed most of this story. The story of course centers around Avery and Mason but naturally Mason is engaged. The love triangle wasn’t overly obnoxious but was enough to elicit a few eye-rolls.

When Avery is first introduced to this new part of her world that she never knew existed she immediately disregards it as bunk and refuses to accept it. Understandable. But once she begins to accept things it happens immediately and lacked any form of step-by-step development. Lacked in authenticity in my opinion.

The writing was as I said well written but considering I had 2nd edition copy I would have expected less grammatical errors. It wasn’t enough to truly impact the writing of the story but it was enough to become a bit of an eyesore. I understand that this is an Indie/self-published novel but I would’ve hoped for a story that didn’t appear to have skipped any sort of editing process.

Final Thoughts
I’m not invested enough to continue this particular series but the writing style was enough for me to consider picking up future books by this author; she definitely showed promise. Recommended for YA fantasy lovers and anyone looking for a new, original take on the paranormal world.

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Book Review – Don’t Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon

Posted July 23, 2011 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 / 1 Comment

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

Book Review – Don’t Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahonDon't Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon
Published by William Morrow on May 17, 2011
Pages: 464
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy, Mystery
Format: Paperback
Source: Goodreads First Reads
Amazon
Goodreads


two-stars

On a soft summer night in Vermont, twelve-year-old Lisa went into the woods behind her house and never came out again. Before she disappeared, she told her little brother, Sam, about a door that led to a magical place where she would meet the King of the Fairies and become his queen.

Fifteen years later, Phoebe is in love with Sam, a practical, sensible man who doesn’t fear the dark and doesn’t have bad dreams—who, in fact, helps Phoebe ignore her own. But suddenly the couple is faced with a series of eerie, unexplained occurrences that challenge Sam’s hardheaded, realistic view of the world. As they question their reality, a terrible promise Sam made years ago is revealed—a promise that could destroy them all.

Okay first off? The summary of this book does not even begin to prepare you for the weird ass, beyond twisted little journey that the author takes you on. I spent the majority of this book so mixed up with trying to determine exactly what the hell was going on.

Bottom line? This book was one big:

Yep. That’s me. Reading this book. In utter confusion.

Now that’s not to say that this was bad of course; I really enjoyed reading this. The first ¾ at least. The author clearly knows how to write a fabulous mystery that grabs you by the shoulders, shakes you, and demands that you continue reading because you just need to know! I also loved how the author would switch back and forth from writing about the past and then to the present. It really kept you on the edge of your seat when every end to a chapter was its own little cliffhanger.

But…

Yes. The inevitable ‘but’. But then the ending happened. If you can even call it that. It really fell apart at the end. Plus there seemed to be a few questions that were raised that weren’t exactly answered. Not sure if the reader is expected to come up with their own or if the author is anticipating writing a sequel? Either way the ending had me pretty repulsed.

But here are a few lessons I learned from this book:
1. Do not feed the fairies.
2. Making promises to fairies? NOT recommended.
3. Fairies do not look like Tinkerbell. Fairies are damn scary.
4. Make sure to pile immense amounts of shit under your bed.
5. That movement out of the corner of your eye? Yep. You guessed it. It’s a fairy.
6. Do not ask to play with the fairies.
7. And last of all? Whatever you thought was going on? You’re probably way off target.

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