Source: Library Thing

Book Review – Unravel by Calia Read

Posted October 17, 2014 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, New Adult, Read in 2014 / 1 Comment

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

Book Review – Unravel by Calia ReadUnravel on August 26th 2014
Pages: 324
Format: Paperback
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads


two-half-stars

Six months ago, I was happy. I was simply Naomi Carradine.

One month ago, I was admitted into a psych ward.

Yesterday, Lachlan visited me. Kissed me. And told me that I’m starting to lose my mind.

Hours later, Max haunted my thoughts, reminding me I’m not crazy and that he needs my help.

A few minutes ago, I drifted further from reality, trying to unravel the past.

And now...everyone thinks I’m insane. But, I know he's real, and I know he needs me.

Do you believe me?

‘Listen closely. Hang on to every word. But most of all, please believe me.’

It’s been a full month since Naomi Carradine was involuntarily admitted to Fairfax Mental Health Institute. She’s adamant that she’s fine, healthy and ready to go home but the doctors are also adamant that it’s going to require more time for her to be ready. Her memories of the past leave her baffled and confused as to why her parents would ever put her in a place like this. As part of her therapy she begins to tell her story, her full story, and slowly the painful pieces of her life begin to piece back together.

Unravel was incredibly captivating from the very start. The story transitions between her present life in the mental health institute and various pieces of her past. I was thoroughly engrossed and eager to find out how Naomi got in the position she was in and with each new bit of information it continued to be intriguing but all conclusions I came to were shrouded in a haze and nothing made sense. I spent the majority of this book in a haze, questioning everything and disliking the character because of her actions.

It wasn’t pleasant, however, it still made for quite the page turner. It feels wrong to complain about the confusion the story causes only to have it all answered in the end, but I can’t help it. There were various instances where I was close to quitting, but as I said, it does make sense when you have the resolution but getting there is half the problem.

My main issue from the very beginning was the semblance of a love triangle that was happening. Naomi has returned home for the summer from college but is staying with her friend Lana’s parents as her parents are traveling Europe. Naomi went off to college, leaving behind Lachlan after the two professed their love for each other. Upon Naomi’s return, however, she meets Max and their tumultuous affair is sudden and instantaneous. It’s incredibly hot and super steamy but it came straight outta left field.

‘…if you listened very carefully, you would hear the sound of a faint tear. That was just the sound of my heart unraveling like a torn ribbon.
All from one touch.’

This is the 2nd time they’ve met.

‘The hunger I had for him was like an addiction. It controlled me. It took away the power I thought I had and controlled every single action I made.’

This is the 3rd time they’ve met.

It was an eye-rolling good time. In addition to their mad infatuation with one another right off the bat, Max was doing things for her that no new boyfriend would ever do, like get crazy angry when something bad happened to Naomi’s friend and subsequently helped her pay rent when she needed to move into her own place. Again, it all becomes justified in the end and makes much more sense in retrospect but there were sections that were so ill-fitting that it made it a tough pill to swallow overall.

Unravel is a New Adult novel that touches on the deep topic of mental illness. Having read books that featured similar storylines, I can’t say Unravel was my favorite or that it was even portrayed accurately. Not being a doctor, I could be completely off the mark but some things just didn’t seem logical. I did enjoy the psychological twists overall though because they were shocking and kept me guessing right up till the very end. Just a heads up, there is one, maybe two incredibly violent scenes of rape that were very hard to read about.

I’ve been very wary about branching out into New Adult because the subject matter never sounds like my cup of tea. Unravel seemed to possess an originality that I would enjoy so I took a leap of faith. While I wasn’t completely disappointed, I did expect more.

Tags:

Divider

Early Review – The Ploughmen: A Novel by Kim Zupan

Posted September 19, 2014 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2014 / 3 Comments

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

Early Review – The Ploughmen: A Novel by Kim ZupanThe Ploughmen: A Novel on September 30th 2014
Pages: 272
Format: ARC
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads


four-stars

A young sheriff and a hardened killer form an uneasy and complicated bond in this mesmerizing first novel set on the plains of Montana.

Steeped in a lonesome Montana landscape as unyielding and raw as it is beautiful, Kim Zupan's The Ploughmen is a new classic in the literature of the American West.

At the center of this searing, fever dream of a novel are two men—a killer awaiting trial, and a troubled young deputy—sitting across from each other in the dark, talking through the bars of a county jail cell: John Gload, so brutally adept at his craft that only now, at the age of 77, has he faced the prospect of long-term incarceration and Valentine Millimaki, low man in the Copper County sheriff’s department, who draws the overnight shift after Gload’s arrest. With a disintegrating marriage further collapsing under the strain of his night duty, Millimaki finds himself seeking counsel from a man whose troubled past shares something essential with his own. Their uneasy friendship takes a startling turn with a brazen act of violence that yokes together two haunted souls by the secrets they share, and by the rugged country that keeps them.

 ​”One thing I always did, Val, was to live my life. It wasn’t a particularly interesting life but it was on my terms. Now in here I’m just living it out. […] Now it’s just waiting. It’s only a life technically because you’re breathing in and out. Putting in the time until you clock out.”

The Ploughmen is a meandering tale that switches point of view between two men: John Gload, a 77 year old that has spent his life as a contract killer but is inevitably caught and his jailer, Valentine Millimaki who is a quiet and introspective man with a painful past and difficult personal issues he’s currently dealing with between him and his wife. These two men strike up a surprisingly quick bond between one another during Millimaki’s graveyard shifts at the jail, reminiscing on their lives, connecting in twilight over their shared bouts of insomnia.

​​​’Then he corrected himself, said no, that’s not quite exactly right, it wasn’t tricking himself but tricking the insomnia, which he imagined as a palpable thing, a kind of shade or haunt that bent over him in his repose, passing rattling hand bones in the air above him to ward off the visitation of sweet slumber.​’

There is violence but little action, mostly reflection, between the pages of this small yet potent novel. The Ploughmen is a somber story about life and hardships and learning to simply survive them. It’s written in such a way without a clear sequence of events, which I attributed to Millimaki’s continued sleepless days and nights, but doesn’t leave the reader feeling groggy but instead with that dreamy weightless feel.

​​’Perhaps she’d stood gazing uncomprehendingly at the emerging stars, in their milky light superimposing the enormous order wheeling overhead onto the map that seemed to hold her life in its obtuse loops and lines.’

Even if the story is not one you would typically read, the skillful writing style that Zupan possesses makes it completely worthwhile just for the experience alone. Stark yet completely stunning, the incredibly descriptive passages tell a story all on their own. The Ploughmen is an incredibly impressive debut and I can only hope that it’s not the last we’ve seen of this talented author.

Tags:

Divider

Early Review – Never Mind Miss Fox: A Novel by Olivia Glazebrook

Posted August 8, 2014 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2014 / 1 Comment

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

Early Review – Never Mind Miss Fox: A Novel by Olivia GlazebrookNever Mind Miss Fox: A Novel on August 19th 2014
Pages: 256
Format: ARC
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads


three-stars

A darkly suspenseful novel about a piano teacher, a secret, and a family on the brink of disaster.

Clive and Martha have been a couple since they met at university; they now have a young daughter, Eliza, and on the surface, all seems well in their family. Then a woman from their past reappears in their lives: the enigmatic Eliot Fox is Eliza's new piano teacher and young Eliza is charmed. But Eliot Fox knows that Clive has a secret--a secret that he is desperate to ensure Martha never finds out, and that could destroy his perfect family.

With shades of Joanna Briscoe, Poppy Adams, and Patricia Highsmith, in prose that is as elegant and vivid as it is surprising, Olivia Glazebrook demonstrates how apparently ordinary lives can contain--or fail to contain--extraordinary acts of destruction.

‘She was a climbing weed that twisted round them, rootless and threading, a clinging twine. She would attach herself to anyone.’

Clive and Martha fell in love during their last year at Oxford. Both became successful, they got married and they had a child named Eliza. Unbeknownst to Martha, a dark secret mars their seemingly perfect life that has surfaced and threatens everything. Never Mind Miss Fox is not only a cautionary tale about keeping secrets and how they will only sit and fester but how past actions will always affect your future no matter how well you keep them hidden.

Never Mind Miss Fox is full of an unlikeable cast of characters with Clive and Martha the most flawed of the bunch. If Clive’s odd personality won’t repel you, his past actions certainly will. Martha is introduced with emphasis on her resentment towards her daughter and the relationship she has with Clive. Neither have any positive characteristics to show for them. As time elapses, we see the changes and the continued weakening of their relationship which leads up to the reintroduction of Eliot Fox, an old friend of theirs from when they were young. She is Eliza’s new piano teacher and she quickly becomes infatuated with her yet when Pandora’s box is finally opened, everything is thrown asunder. While not the most positive examination of a family, it was still a believable portrayal.

‘How, he wondered, could something so familiar to his mind be so impossible to communicate? It was unspeakable; unsayable. Whatever words he used the meaning would not translate. He would be unintelligible. He was not equipped with the skills or the tools that he needed.’

The secret itself was easy to surmise and I kept hoping for an unexpected twist. The secret became less a part of the story and instead, it became more about the after effects and the trouble it caused even after so much time had elapsed. It showed the effects on their daughter, seemingly innocent in all the drama, yet irrevocably impacted. It also showed not necessarily forgiveness but acceptance of the betrayal, and it even had an intriguing albeit unnecessary metaphor involving bats in the attic and whether they should have been disturbed at all. (Clearly, pointing out the fact that that secret had always been a part of their lives, was it truly necessary for it to be made known?) Never Mind Miss Fox didn’t possess a strong resolution but situations such as those are ones you never quite get over; they remain with you always. The strong writing makes this well-worth the read and the story will make for interesting conversation.

Love in Mid Air by Kim Wright {PurchaseMy Review}
Indiscretion by Charles Dubow {PurchaseMy Review}

Tags: ,

Divider

Early Review – World of Trouble (The Last Policeman #3) by Ben H. Winters

Posted July 11, 2014 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2014 / 0 Comments

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

Early Review – World of Trouble (The Last Policeman #3) by Ben H. WintersWorld of Trouble Series: The Last Policeman #3
on July 15th 2014
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads


four-stars

Critically acclaimed author Ben H. Winters delivers this explosive final installment in the Edgar Award winning Last Policeman series. With the doomsday asteroid looming, Detective Hank Palace has found sanctuary in the woods of New England, secure in a well-stocked safe house with other onetime members of the Concord police force. But with time ticking away before the asteroid makes landfall, Hank’s safety is only relative, and his only relative—his sister Nico—isn’t safe. Soon, it’s clear that there’s more than one earth-shattering revelation on the horizon, and it’s up to Hank to solve the puzzle before time runs out . . . for everyone.

The Last Policeman series

The Last Policeman (The Last Policeman #1) {Purchase}
Countdown City (The Last Policeman #2) {PurchaseMy Review}

‘…there are not jostling anxious crowds outside, no frightened people rushing and pushing past each other in the streets. No klaxon howl of car alarms, no distant gunfire. The people are hidden now, those that remain, hidden under blankets or in basements, encased in their dread.’

With mere weeks left before the impending asteroid makes an impact with the earth, Detective Henry Palace is on a last minute mission to get to his sister Nico before it’s too late. Nico is convinced that the group she’s joined up with is going to be able to save the world with the help of a nuclear scientist by the name of Hans-Michael Parry but Palace is convinced that it’s nothing but a farce. One way or another, he intends to do anything and everything he can to ensure his sister’s safety and solve his final case for the brief time that he may or may not have left.

‘They say that just before impact the sky will brighten ferociously, like the sun has burst from its own skin, and then we will feel it, even on the far of the earth we will feel it, the whole world will quaver from the blow.’

The journey to find his sister is a difficult one. The few clues he has takes him and his dog Houdini from New Hampshire to Ohio and upon reaching the abandoned police station in the small town of Rotary, the evidence he sees leaves the outlook bleak. His determination to find his sister despite the knowledge that in a few days it will no longer matter is heartrending but his resolve is truly admirable. Society is crumbling around him and the world is literally about to come to an end yet Detective Henry Palace is doing whatever he can to maintain his morality even in the face of mortality. World of Trouble is an engaging end to a thrilling trilogy that you will want to race through to determine the fate of the earth and its inhabitants. I’ve never been so pleased with a not so happy ending.

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker [PurchaseReview]
The Road by Cormac McCarthy [Purchase]

Tags:

Divider

Book Review – The Circle by Dave Eggers

Posted December 5, 2013 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2013 / 6 Comments

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

Book Review – The Circle by Dave EggersThe Circle by Dave Eggers
Published by Knopf on October 8th 2013
Pages: 508
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Sci-fi
Format: ARC
Source: Library Thing
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads


one-star

The Circle is the exhilarating new novel from Dave Eggers, best-selling author of A Hologram for the King, a finalist for the National Book Award.

When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in America—even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.

In the world introduced in ‘The Circle’, individuals become completely transparent and are stripped of their anonymity even when performing menial tasks. Mae Holland has just secured a position with The Circle thanks to her friend Annie, a high-ranking employee at The Circle. Mae’s involvement in the company slowly begins overtaking everything and without stopping to consider, her entire life ends up being put on display for anyone willing to see.

‘TruYou changed the internet, in toto, within a year. Though some sites were resistant at first, and free-internet advocates shouted about the right to be anonymous online, the TruYou wave was tidal and crushed all meaninful opposition. It started with the commerce sites. Why would any non-porn site want anonymous users when they could know exactly who had come through the door? Overnight, all comment boards became civil, all posters held accountable. The trolls, who had more or less overtaken the internet, were driven back into the darkness.’

So essentially the only people that truly care about privacy in this world are trolls and people who view porn online. Everybody else is fully willing to give up their privacy. Right. Because that’s totally legit. And comment boards became civil overnight all because people’s real names were disclosed thus insinuating that the only thing encouraging people to state their opinions on the Internet was their anonymity? And I loved how the creation of the Unified Operating System, also known as TruYou, which basically took all user accounts and passwords and made them into one all encompassing login, revolutionized the Internet and prevented identity theft. You’d think if you only had one single password it’d be easier rather than more difficult to hack someones information but maybe we’re not supposed to think too hard on these technological creations of Eggers, especially considering his supposed lack of research on the subject. (“There were a handful of times when I looked something up, or asked the opinion of someone more tech-savvy than I am, but for the most part this was just a process of pure speculative fiction.”Source) His lack of research is abundantly clear with the naming of his main invention, Unified Operating System, which isn’t even an Operating System at all. Windows? OS X? Linux? Android? Those are Operating Systems. Computer software that manages the computers hardware.  For someone that decided to write a 504 page book dedicated to technology I would have expected him to know that at the very least.

It’s obvious that Eggers himself harbors a deep dislike of technology and the way the Internet is growing and expanding in society as that’s the way it was written, in a smug and dismissive manner. Each time Mae’s ex-boyfriend Mercer makes an appearance the opportunity is taken to preach his opinions about her job and what companies like ‘The Circle’ are doing to this world. It’s clear Eggers is the embodiment of Mercer and he used that character to push his agenda which is completely fine by me, but the opinions of technological advances were written as black and white where people are either completely for or completely against those advances. Personally, I found myself in a grey area and I’m doubtfully the only like-minded individual.

Setting all that aside I really have to mention the worst thing about this book: the sex scenes. Not only was there a completely unnecessary romance, but the embarrassingly graphic sex scenes told from the point of view of a female were awful (not to mention the scene where Mae walked in on her parents? Served absolutely no purpose to the advancement of the storyline.) Maybe it would’ve been better if the main character was a male and Eggers could have made it sound like he has a modicum of sense in regards to what goes on in the bedroom. The bothersome descriptive words makes me hope someone will steal that man’s thesaurus. Here a few cringe-worthy examples:

‘Then his eyes closed, and he went into paroxysms, emitting a brief squeal before grunting his arrival.’
Squeal? Grunting? ARRIVAL? No, no, no.

“Sometimes,” he said, and breathed fire into her ear.
My. That sounds painful.

‘She could think only of a campfire, one small log, all of it doused in milk.’
Okay, maybe this is a little out of context and hard to understand but there had just been an embarrassing sexual situation where the man was a bit too… quick with it. And Eggers uses a ‘small log’ and ‘milk’ as the descriptive terms. Good grief, NO.

The Circle is at times a bit of a satiric story on the technological advances in this day and age but does manage to bring up some points that would be worth discussing. If it was a non-biased written interpretation on the future possibilities of technology it could have been well received (by me) but as it stands it was written too much like The Circle was ‘Big Brother’ and everything associated with technology is inherently bad. The laughable ending which involves robot drones directed by social media hordes that essentially cause a murder only solidified my displeasure.

Tags:

Divider

Early Review – Simon’s Cat vs. the World (Simon’s Cat #4) by Simon Tofield

Posted September 13, 2013 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013 / 0 Comments

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

Early Review – Simon’s Cat vs. the World (Simon’s Cat #4) by Simon TofieldSimon's Cat vs. the World Series: Simon's Cat #4
on October 1st 2013
Pages: 96
Format: ARC
Amazon
Goodreads


four-stars

Simon's Cat proved his authority in the house. He returned victorious from his adventures beyond the garden fence. He prevailed after the chaotic arrival of a new kitten. Now he takes on the world! Illustrated in glorious full color, this volume explodes from the page with mesmerizing levels of detail. Simon's Cat films have over 280 million YouTube views!

Simon Tofield is an award-winning illustrator, animator, and director at Tandem Films in London. At the age of nine, Simon received his first kitten, a stray rescued from a farmer's barn. He has had cats ever since. When not attending to his cats' needs, Simon likes painting, reading history books, and spending time in the great British countryside. His Simon's Cat short films have garnered hundreds of millions of views, and the book versions have been international bestsellers.

Simon’s Cat began as a series of YouTube videos and quickly turned popular for their hilariousness and how accurate the depictions were of how cat’s truly are. The first Simon’s Cat video was uploaded over 5 years ago, on March 4, 2008. It’s one of my all-time favorites.

While the books aren’t nearly as hilarious as the videos, they are still entertaining and fun to flip through for a good laugh. Simon’s Cat vs. the World are single page illustions detailing various encounters from visits to the Vet, holiday outifts, discovering the vividness of HD TV and even fireworks.


In addition to that, there was also a short section in the back that details how to draw a few of the animals that feature in his books.

And my favorite part? A whole page of adorable stickers.

The best thing about these books is just how realistically the illustrations showcase the shenanigans of cats and what cat owner’s constantly have to deal with. Simon’s Cat is highly amusing and a source of good quick fun. Recommended for any cat lover and anyone who just enjoys a good laugh.

Tags:

Divider

Early Review + Giveaway! Night Film by Marisha Pessl

Posted August 15, 2013 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Giveaways, Read in 2013 / 6 Comments

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

Early Review + Giveaway! Night Film by Marisha PesslNight Film on August 20th 2013
Pages: 602
Format: ARC
Amazon
Goodreads


five-stars

Brilliant, haunting, breathtakingly suspenseful, Night Film is a superb literary thriller by The New York Times bestselling author of the blockbuster debut Special Topics in Calamity Physics.

On a damp October night, beautiful young Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive cult-horror-film director Stanislas Cordova—a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than thirty years.

For McGrath, another death connected to this seemingly cursed family dynasty seems more than just a coincidence. Though much has been written about Cordova’s dark and unsettling films, very little is known about the man himself.

Driven by revenge, curiosity, and a need for the truth, McGrath, with the aid of two strangers, is drawn deeper and deeper into Cordova’s eerie, hypnotic world.

The last time he got close to exposing the director, McGrath lost his marriage and his career. This time he might lose even more.

Night Film, the gorgeously written, spellbinding new novel by the dazzlingly inventive Marisha Pessl, will hold you in suspense until you turn the final page.

‘It’s funny how the night that changes your life forever starts out like all the others.’

The plot at it’s very basic state: Scott McGrath was an investigative journalist until his life was ruined by Stanislas Cordova, a man renowned for his underground films. His obsession over the man has never quite dissipated and when he hears that his daughter, Ashley Cordova, has possible committed suicide, his curiosity of the man is once again piqued. This is such an intricate and in-depth mystery that is so very easy to spoil.

‘Within every elaborate lie, a kernel of truth.’

There is a brilliant incorporation of visuals into the text that may be construed as extraneous but managed to bring the story more to life and added a hint of fact to make it all the more real. This mystery is anything but standard and completely took me by surprise. It has everything: grittiness, hints of the paranormal, a surprising drollness and an intensity that will leave you gasping.

‘Just when you think you’ve hit rock bottom, you realize you’re standing on another trapdoor.’

It will hook you from the first page, of that I have no doubt. It will leave you mesmerized. The mystery will leave you bewildered. The possibilities will leave you astounded. It will scare you. There is a shocking blend of vehemence and subtlety that will mystify you. There is no end to what this book will do to you, physically and emotionally. It’s a story about searching for the truth and realizing that nothing is what it seems. It will leave you in doubt.

Night Film is a haunting and intoxicating story that treads the line between science and mystical that will burrow into your very core and leave you questioning everything.

This is for my personal (ARC) copy of Night Film.
Open to U.S. addresses only. Sorry international followers!

Giveaway ends August 29th, 2013!

To enter use the Rafflecopter form below.
Remember to come back for more entry opportunities daily!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tags:

Divider

Early Review – The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls: A Novel by Anton DiSclafani

Posted June 1, 2013 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013 / 2 Comments

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

Early Review – The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls: A Novel by Anton DiSclafaniThe Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani
Published by Riverhead on June 4th 2013
Pages: 390
Genres: Contemporary, Historical Fiction
Format: ARC
Source: Library Thing, the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads


one-star

A lush, sexy, evocative debut novel of family secrets and girls’-school rituals, set in the 1930s South.

It is 1930, the midst of the Great Depression. After her mysterious role in a family tragedy, passionate, strong-willed Thea Atwell, age fifteen, has been cast out of her Florida home, exiled to an equestrienne boarding school for Southern debutantes. High in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with its complex social strata ordered by money, beauty, and girls’ friendships, the Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is a far remove from the free-roaming, dreamlike childhood Thea shared with her twin brother on their family’s citrus farm—a world now partially shattered. As Thea grapples with her responsibility for the events of the past year that led her here, she finds herself enmeshed in a new order, one that will change her sense of what is possible for herself, her family, her country.

Weaving provocatively between home and school, the narrative powerfully unfurls the true story behind Thea’s expulsion from her family, but it isn’t long before the mystery of her past is rivaled by the question of how it will shape her future. Part scandalous love story, part heartbreaking family drama, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is an immersive, transporting page-turner—a vivid, propulsive novel about sex, love, family, money, class, home, and horses, all set against the ominous threat of the Depression—and the major debut of an important new writer.

The authors childhood fondness for horseback riding sets the scene of this story about teenage angst, boarding school drama and a family scandal that changes a girl forever. Thea Atwell has lived with her family on their Florida farm since she was born but after a recent scandal her parents have sent her to The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls. The back story slowly unfurls as her time at camp passes.

Going in to this novel I had already seen many rave reviews for it and that it was also on several Summer Reading Lists. It’s quoted as being ‘lush, sexy and evocative‘. Entertainment Weekly says ‘…the lovely descriptions of riding and adolescence have a spellbinding effect.‘ Kirkus Reviews called it “an unusually accomplished and nuanced coming-of-age drama.” Suffice it to say I went into this with extremely high expectations. My overall opinion? This is one terribly dull book that is not helped by the attempts to shock and disgust by the author.

100+ pages in and it’s brought to our attention that 2 months have passed but you could have fooled me considering nothing of consequence had actually occurred. (But honestly, nothing of consequence EVER seems to happen. The entire book.) The majority of those 100+ introductory pages felt like a whole bunch of inconsequential filler. It’s also extremely disjointed and lacks a much needed flow. There’s a dance, then they have riding lessons, and now it’s bath time. It’s never a full day though so it’s difficult to grasp exactly how much time has even passed.

‘I knew what it was like, to love horses. But I also knew what it was like to love humans. I knew what it was like to want, to desire so intensely you were willing to throw everything else into its fire.’

Lines like that if read without context would make me think this was a fascinating book about a headstrong and passionate girl. But the rest of the lines spoke of a girl that wasn’t raised around anyone but family and had terrible trouble adapting with suddenly being shipped off to camp. Thea is a terribly awkward girl that seems extraordinarily confused with life in general and her purpose in it. It was not a joyful story to read about.

The writing was at times extremely well done but as a whole ended up being excessively descriptive and made the story feel long and drawn out. This was an extremely lackluster and disjointed story that only managed to keep me interested enough to find out the ‘scandal’ that caused her to be sent to camp in the first place. The shock factor was there, however, it lacked any significance and essentially ended up being overly superfluous and just left a bad taste in my mouth.

Tags:

Divider

Short Story Review – Run From The Reaper by Cristian YoungMiller

Posted September 19, 2011 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011, Short Stories / 0 Comments

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

Short Story Review – Run From The Reaper by Cristian YoungMillerRun From The Reaper on August 6th 2011
Pages: 135
Format: eARC
Amazon
Goodreads


two-stars

It awakens… Summoned by the will of a powerful psychic, The Red Reaper forces its victims to live their darkest fantasies. If they resist, they die.

In a college town during a record cold winter break, Jon, a lonely professor, wonders the empty campus barely holding on to his sanity. Unable to stay awake during the daytime he sees a red hooded creature in the shadows at night; immediately after, his twisted desires come to life.

Searching for answers he finds Clay, a local psychic who is more than he seems, and Sarah, a gorgeous expert on the underworld who has depraved secrets of her own.

Chased by demons and with the Red Reaper at every turn, the three must face their fears, survive its relentless attacks, and find a way to escape from the Reaper.

‘It awakens… Summoned by the will of a powerful psychic, The Red Reaper forces its victims to live their darkest fantasies. If they resist, they die.’

My Thoughts
This was a really quick read and even though I didn’t thoroughly enjoy the story itself, the author can still write an interesting tale. I entered this giveaway initially because it obviously had to do with Grim Reapers, and I’m a sucker for stories involving them. It didn’t end up being exactly what I had anticipated but it was still a well written and interesting story.

Overall
There were black reapers and red reapers and after a point I thought it was a bit implausible. It definitely takes the typical reaper type story and transforms it, I’ll give the author credit for that. There were some gruesome parts that I was totally glad I hadn’t decided to take a lunch and read this while eating!

My understanding of my ebook copy was that this was a finished copy so I wasn’t reading a pre-published version… with that said, I found several grammatical/spelling errors that kind of made my eye twitch. I’m not perfect by no means, I make my own grammatical errors; however, I would anticipate that they be corrected by the time a finished book comes to be. There was this one line where the character was talking about ‘dear’ in the road… I assumed it was intended to say ‘deer’ as in, the furry beasties with horns, aka Bambi.

Bottom Line: Flies are gross, watch out for those dear in the road, and I wanted purple reapers too dammit.

Tags:

Divider