Source: the Author

Life’s Too Short – Bonfire, The Wedding Date, Andrea Vernon and the Corporation for UltraHuman Protection

February 16, 2018 Bonnie Book Reviews, Life's Too Short 8 Comments

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

Life’s Too Short – Bonfire, The Wedding Date, Andrea Vernon and the Corporation for UltraHuman ProtectionBonfire by Krysten Ritter
Published by Crown Archetype on November 7th 2017
Pages: 288
Genres: Mystery
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads


dnf

Should you ever go back?

It has been ten years since Abby Williams left home and scrubbed away all visible evidence of her small town roots. Now working as an environmental lawyer in Chicago, she has a thriving career, a modern apartment, and her pick of meaningless one-night stands.

But when a new case takes her back home to Barrens, Indiana, the life Abby painstakingly created begins to crack. Tasked with investigating Optimal Plastics, the town's most high-profile company and economic heart, Abby begins to find strange connections to Barrens’ biggest scandal from more than a decade ago involving the popular Kaycee Mitchell and her closest friends—just before Kaycee disappeared for good.

Abby knows the key to solving any case lies in the weak spots, the unanswered questions. But as Abby tries to find out what really happened to Kaycee, she unearths an even more disturbing secret—a ritual called “The Game,” which will threaten the reputations, and lives, of the community and risk exposing a darkness that may consume her.

With tantalizing twists, slow-burning suspense, and a remote, rural town of just five claustrophobic miles, Bonfire is a dark exploration of the question: can you ever outrun your past?

DNF @ 10%

I’ve become a big dnf-er in recent months, especially when I was working two jobs because my time was oh so very precious. This was one that didn’t make that crucial “worth it” mark. I’ve had Bonfire sitting on my digital shelf for months but in my mind, I was saving it for when I needed something awesome, for when I wanted to read a really great book. I’m not sure exactly how I established such lofty expectations for this book, but I did. This really had all the workings of a book I’d no doubt love: mysterious disappearances, the small-town girl returns home, and possible legal/courtroom drama. It could have been a perfect combination of Sharp Objects and The Fever but quickly morphed into an Erin Brockovich novelization but without the allure of Julia Roberts. There wasn’t anything completely terrible about Bonfire, there just wasn’t anything special about it either.

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

Life’s Too Short – Bonfire, The Wedding Date, Andrea Vernon and the Corporation for UltraHuman ProtectionThe Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
Published by Berkley Books on January 30th 2018
Pages: 320
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads


dnf

A groomsman and his last-minute guest are about to discover if a fake date can go the distance in a fun and flirty debut novel.

Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn't normally do. But there's something about Drew Nichols that's too hard to resist.

On the eve of his ex's wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend...

After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she's the mayor's chief of staff. Too bad they can't stop thinking about the other...

They're just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century--or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want...

DNF @ I don’t even know

This debut contemporary romance has a glowing recommendation from none other than Roxanne Gay on the very front of this cover. I had such high hopes for this mold breaker of a romance novel that includes an interracial couple but there wasn’t even enough of a spark for me to want to see how everything played out. It all starts with a somewhat cliché meeting in a broken down elevator where the duo strikes up a stilted and awkward conversation which leads to him asking her to be his date at a wedding. First things first, there was zero chemistry. No spark. None. I didn’t particularly care for either character but I certainly didn’t care for Drew after my first impression of him.

“Don’t look at me like that! I’m not a girlfriend kind of guy! And when I could tell that she might want something more serious, I ended it.”

Ohhh. Yay. A real charmer.

And I can understand that Alexa’s continued lack of self-confidence was supposed to be something that a normal woman could sympathize with but it was so constant even in the short amount that I read that it was distracting to the actual story.

‘…she was almost distracted enough not to wonder if he could detect the Spanx underneath her dress. Almost.”

See, she’s even distracted.

“Oh, and don’t forget! The hashtag is #jollymosh.” Molly smiled and glided away.

If I ever actually get married, someone please shoot me if I ever have a hashtag for my damn wedding. Especially one as terrible as that.

Warning, bout to get vicious. Bottom line? The writing was stilted and simple, the characters lacked any sort of complexity and originality, despite including an interracial couple Guillory was far from breaking any sort of mold, and even the whole reason for the story, the romance, fell completely flat and wasn’t anything to swoon over. Some serious steam can result in (literary) elevators, but you won’t find that here. Check out The Hating Game for one particularly great elevator scene and Hearts in Darkness for what you’d hoped Alexa and Drew’s elevator meeting would have been like.

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

Life’s Too Short – Bonfire, The Wedding Date, Andrea Vernon and the Corporation for UltraHuman ProtectionAndrea Vernon and the Corporation for UltraHuman Protection by Alexander C. Kane
Narrator: Bahni Turpin
Published by Audible Studios on August 22nd 2017
Length: 8 hrs and 49 mins
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Audiobook
Source: the Author
Audible
Goodreads


dnf

Andrea Vernon always thought she would spend her life living in Paris writing thought-provoking historical novels all day and sipping wine on the Seine all night. But the reality is she's drowning in debt, has no prospects, and is forced to move back to Queens, where her parents remind her daily that they are very interested in grandchildren.Then, one morning, she is kidnapped, interviewed, and hired as an administrative assistant by the Corporation for UltraHuman Protection. Superheroes for hire, using their powers for good. What could possibly go wrong?Lots.Her coworkers may be able to shoot lightning out of their hands or have skin made of diamonds, but they refuse to learn how to use the company's database. She has a swell hook-up buddy relationship with The Big Axe, but he's pushing to go exclusive. Then there's the small matter of a giant alien space egg hovering over Yankee Stadium, threatening civilization as we know it.Will Andrea find contentment in office drudgery? Can she make a life together with a guy who's eight feet tall and never puts down his axe? And will she ever figure out how her boss likes her coffee?

DNF @ 28%

I have a sense of humor, I swear. It’s just… sarcastic and dark. Doesn’t make it any less funny.

Goofy humor? I don’t get. I understand that a joke was intended, but my brain clearly lacks the proper wiring for actual laughter to occur. That’s exactly what it was like listening to Andrea Vernon. Bahni Turpin does a superb job narrating what I’m sure is a very hilarious and entertaining tale about superheroes. But we’re not talking superheroes like Wolverine. No, instead we’ve got Teleporter Joe who can only teleport one way to Roosevelt Island (and only when he has an erection) and anyone that teleports with him gets diarrhea.

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Rapid Fire Reviews – Lightwood, The Weight of This World, Wildfire, The Rules of Magic

December 28, 2017 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Rapid Fire Reviews, Read in 2017 8 Comments

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

Rapid Fire Reviews – Lightwood, The Weight of This World, Wildfire, The Rules of MagicLightwood by Steph Post
Published by Polis Books on January 24th 2017
Pages: 336
Genres: Southern Gothic/Country Noir
Format: eBook
Source: the Author
Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
Goodreads

Short Summary: When Judah Cannon is released from prison and returns to his hometown of Silas, Florida, he finds himself swiftly wrapped up in the troublesome workings of his family once again except this time may not result in prison, but death.

Thoughts: Steph Post has written a riveting noir-style story about revenge and betrayal that switches up the typical Appalachian setting of most Southern Gothic novels and gives us a peek at the dynamic and dangerous world of Florida scrub country.

Verdict: Daniel Woodrell, Donald Ray Pollock, and Cormac McCarthy are all big names of the often lurid genre but Steph Post proves with Lightwood that her name is just as deserving to be listed amongst them.

four-stars

Rapid Fire Reviews – Lightwood, The Weight of This World, Wildfire, The Rules of MagicThe Weight of This World by David Joy
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons on March 7th 2017
Pages: 260
Genres: Southern Gothic/Country Noir
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Short Summary: Aiden McCall and Thad Broom have been best friends since they were children, both trapped by the imaginary confines of their hometown even after a huge amount of money ends up in their possession after witnessing the violent death of their drug dealer.

Thoughts: Joy’s graceful prose is all the more evident when its backdrop is a brutal tale but the two pair perfectly by focusing on the powerful loyalty between two lifelong friends.

Verdict: There’s no sophomore slump to be had here; The Weight of the World is just as fantastic as Where All Light Tends to Go which makes the wait for The Line That Held Us all the more interminable.

four-stars

Waiting on Wednesday – Wildfire (Hidden Legacy #3) by Ilona AndrewsWildfire by Ilona Andrews
Series: Hidden Legacy #3
Published by Avon on July 25th 2017
Pages: 400
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Short Summary: Life is never quiet for Nevada Baylor who realizes she’s in love with Mad Rogan, has to contend with being hired for a job by his beautiful ex, but she’s also dealing with her evil grandmother trying to kidnap her solely because of the power she possessed.

Thoughts: The intricate world-building, passionate romance, and overall excitement of this series continue in this installment that just might not be the last in the trilogy as first presumed.

Verdict: This is the 19th Ilona Andrews story so clearly I’m a bit of a fangirl; however, it never ceases to amaze me the originality of their stories and how I don’t think I’ll ever get enough of them.

four-stars

Rapid Fire Reviews – Lightwood, The Weight of This World, Wildfire, The Rules of MagicThe Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
Series: Practical Magic #2
Published by Simon & Schuster on October 10th 2017
Pages: 384
Genres: Historical FictionMagical Realism
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Short Summary: In Practical Magic we learn about the Owens sisters in the present day and in this unexpected prequel, we learn about their ancestors and the curse on the family that dates back to the early 1600s.

Thoughts: The Rules of Magic is an enchanting story that flows softly, never with any sense of urgency or climax, but delineates on a family that we never quite knew we wanted (or needed) to know more of until this was released.

Verdict: I was worried that this prequel (released twenty-two years after Practical Magic would feel stale and wouldn’t possess the same magic as its predecessor: I was wrong.

four-stars

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Audiobook Review – Deceptive Cadence (The Virtuosic Spy #1) by Kathryn Guare

August 4, 2016 Bonnie Adult, Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Read in 2016 1 Comment

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

Audiobook Review – Deceptive Cadence (The Virtuosic Spy #1) by Kathryn GuareDeceptive Cadence by Kathryn Guare
Narrator: Wayne Farrell
Series: The Virtuosic Spy #1
on March 11th, 2016
Length: 11 hours and 19 minutes
Genres: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Source: the Author
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads


three-half-stars

Meet Conor McBride. He's even more interesting than the trouble he gets into.

A talented Irish musician reluctantly reinvents himself, disappearing into an undercover identity to search for the man who ruined his career: his own brother. On a journey from the west of Ireland to the tumultuous city of Mumbai, Conor McBride's only goal is to redeem the brother who betrayed him. But he's becoming a virtuoso of a different kind in a dangerous game where the rules keep changing - and where the allies he trusted to help him may be the people he should fear the most.

style-3 review

At one point his life, Conor McBride was a successful concert violinist, but he’s reverted back to his roots and has gone home to Ireland to care for his mother and the family farm. This life change came after his brother, Thomas, was involved in an international case of fraud that just so happened to involve Conor after he signed documents that he didn’t bother to review. Thomas disappeared and Conor spent the next several years living a life of simplicity, paying the fines that the McBride family became stuck with. Five years go by and a gentleman from the British intelligence agency knocks on Conor’s door requisitioning his assistance in locating the brother he presumed was long gone. Suddenly, his life of simplicity gets very complicated.

While Deceptive Cadence is a fast paced spy thriller, however, the real essence of the story centers around family and the lengths that you would go for them regardless of history. The idea of a simple farmer (or even musician) being commissioned to become a member of MI6 at the drop of the hat may be far fetched, but Conor McBride is one of those individuals that catch on quick but the fact that he has to do well in order to protect his brother is never far from his mind. His fast-paced training takes him out of the villages in Ireland and thrusts him into a new world. While searching for his brother he experiences religious retreats known as ashrams in Rishikesh India to the cities of Mumbai.

‘For the first time his senses began to register the exotic, heady atmosphere of Mumbai…the odors most insistently demanded his attention. There were layers upon layers of them, all present at once but individually distinct. They shifted in strength and character with the ocean breeze that blew soft, irregular gusts across his face. First came the sharp tang of engine fuel mingled with an even more acrid burning smell, as though something unnatural had been set alight to blanket the city with a smoldering stench. A shift in the air’s direction brought a fresher aroma of salt and brine floating in from the sea. It gave way to the hot smell of spices frying in oil, which in turn incongruously merged with the subtle reek of garbage.’

The authors clear research into this part of the globe takes the reader on a fascinating journey to far off parts of the world and describes Conor’s surroundings in fantastic detail. Conor was an enjoyable character that managed to contribute a dash of whimsy to a story that could have been nothing but dark and mysterious.

‘His instructions for the flight had been unequivocal. He was to remain quiet and anonymous, avoiding unnecessary conversation and making every effort to appear as invisible as possible. He presumed this meant someone had ensured that the aisle seat would remain empty. Surely an intelligence expert of any quality – particularly a British one – would not expect an Irishman to sit next to someone for nine hours without talking.’

In addition to a compelling main character and an enticing storyline, the Ireland born audiobook narrator, Wayne Farrell, only further impressed me with his storytelling ability. If you’re a fan of John le Carré and/or spy-thrillers, Deceptive Cadence could be an unexpected treat.

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Audiobook Review – A Sudden Crush by Camilla Isley

July 8, 2016 Bonnie Adult, Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Read in 2016 1 Comment

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

Audiobook Review – A Sudden Crush by Camilla IsleyA Sudden Crush by Camilla Isley
Narrator: Tami Leah Lacy
Published by Pink Bloom Press on June 26th 2016
Length: 7 hrs and 25 mins
Genres: Chick-Lit
Format: Audiobook
Source: the Author
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads


three-half-stars

Joanna Price is a city girl with the perfect life. She loves her job as a book editor, she just married Liam, high-profile, best-selling author and the man of her dreams, and she's headed to the Caribbean to enjoy two weeks of paradise for her luxurious honeymoon.

Connor Duffield is a gruff, grumpy rancher from the Midwest. He is a country boy who has a no-nonsense approach to life, more scars than he'd like to admit, and he hates city girls.

So it's just a misfortune they have to sit next to each other for a six-hour plane ride. Even more so when their flight is caught in the perfect storm and Joanna wakes up stranded on a desert island with Connor, the very man she hoped she would never have to see again.

Why are they alone on this forsaken island? What happened to Joanna's husband?

When her dream honeymoon turns into a hilarious tropical nightmare, Joanna's first thought is survival. However, she and Connor will quickly discover just how boring paradise can be. As the days turn to weeks, and then months, this mismatched pair will have to learn how to coexist and how to resist the sparkles of an attraction they weren't prepared to feel.

When they are finally rescued, will Joanna's marriage be saved as well, or will the life she knew and loved be in ruins?

style-3-whitebg review

Joanna Price has just gotten married and her and her new husband are flying to the Caribbean for their honeymoon. Everything is going perfect, except they were given separate seats and the guy Joanna is stuck sitting next to won’t give up his seat no matter how convincing her argument. To make matters worse, her new husband is “stuck” sitting next to what appears to be a model and he doesn’t appear to be making much progress in asking her to switch seats either. Things continue to go downhill for her when their plane gets caught in a storm and Joanna blacks out only to wake up to a monkey caressing her hair.

Picture it: you’ve just gotten married and you’re on the plane to your honeymoon and you wake up on an island with a man you don’t even know. You have no idea where the plane is, where this mysterious island is located, and where everyone else could possibly be including your husband. Connor Duffield, Joanna’s seatmate, is a rancher from the midwest and communicates mainly by use of guttural sounds. Joanna Price is a book editor that lives in the city and doesn’t know the first thing about surviving in nature. The two are the most unlikeliest of duos but not only do they manage to somehow thrive on that island but they manage to overcome their pre-conceived notions of one another and slowly become closer.

While the book is called A Sudden Crush, I feel it’s important to mention that there was quite a bit of development to the relationship that matures between the two. Not only that but there’s a definite lack of complete focus on the romance with much time given to Joanna’s personal growth. It was much welcome in a type of story that could have focused solely on the romance and still been a perfectly entertaining story. It gave this a measure of depth that was most appreciated.

The audio narration by Tami Leah Lacy made this an incredibly enjoyable listen. It’s always difficult for female narrators to pull off a convincing male voice but Tami did just that and brought the emotions Joanna was experiencing to life. Thoroughly impressed that this was her debut narration and look forward to listening to more from her! (Check out Audible for an audio excerpt.)

 A Sudden Crush is a humorous and romantic read that is entertaining and full of charm. The perfect summer read.

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Early Review – The Awesome by Eva Darrows

May 21, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2015 5 Comments

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

Early Review – The Awesome by Eva DarrowsThe Awesome by Eva Darrows
Published by Ravenstone on May 26th 2015
Pages: 352
Genres: Funny-ha-ha, Urban Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: the Author
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads


four-half-stars

Seventeen-year-old Maggie Cunningham is tough, smart, and sassy. She's also not like other girls her age, but then, who would be when the family business is monster hunting? Combat boots, ratty hooded sweatshirts, and hair worn short so nothing with claws can get a grip, Maggie's concerns in life slant more toward survival than fashion or boys.

Which presents a problem when Maggie's mother informs her that she can't get her journeyman's license for hunting until she loses her virginity. Something about virgin blood turning vampires into pointy rage monsters. Insides being on the outside and all that.

Maggie's battled zombies and goblins and her fair share of house brownies, but finding herself a boy proves a much more daunting task than any monster hunt. Did you know normal girls don't stuff their bras with holy water balloons? Nor do they carry wooden stakes in their waistbands. And they care about things like "matching" and "footwear." Of course, they also can't clean a gun blindfolded, shoot a crossbow, or exorcise ghosts from a house. Which means they're lame and Maggie's not. Because Maggie's awesome. The Awesome, in fact.

Just ask her. She'd be more than happy to tell you.

After she finds herself a date.

About Eva Darrows

Eva Darrows is Hillary Monahan is also an international woman of mystery. Holed up in Massachusetts with three smelly basset hounds, she writes funny, creepy things for fun and profit.

‘Sure, I was good at a lot of stuff. How many girls my age could kill a dude with her bare hands in under fourteen seconds? That’s a skill, and one that’d get me places in life, but it didn’t help me here. All the combat training in the world couldn’t make being a normal teenager any easier.’

Being a teenager is hard. Being a teenager is even more difficult when your only interaction with that age group is via the television. Seventeen-year-old Maggie has been home-schooled by her single mother who also happens to be a monster hunter (think Van Helsing in the modern age.) Maggie has been trained since she was young to do the job as well and is completely content with the cards that life has dealt her with one small issue: becoming a full-fledged, licensed monster hunter requires her to lose her virginity. Easier said than done.

Okay, not to be totally lame, but this really was awesome. And extremely hilarious. Not only was Maggie fantastically snarky, and sure often times undignified and more than a bit crass, but she was such an amazingly confident character that you cannot help but love her. She’s realistically awkward when it comes to her “first time” but honestly the best thing about it is how awesome the topic of virginity was handled. (Yes, I know, I’ve already said awesome twice. It’s FITTING though.) It’s all displayed in such a non-shaming way and I loved the comfortableness between Maggie and her mother in how the topic broached. There wasn’t any awkwardness and her mother was straight up and honest with her about using protection and about being confident and comfortable with her body. While the summary implies that the sole focus of the story is Maggie losing her virginity, it’s actually so much more and bottom line, the relationship between Maggie and her mother is the very best.

“You’ll go on that date tomorrow, and before you get all pissy-pants over the suggestion, listen to me, Margaret Jane. […] I tell you that because life goes on despite our jobs. It’s too short not to have fun while we can. Sitting at home with guns and silver expecting the worst is no way to live. Trust me on that. I know.”

The relationship/friendship between Maggie and her mom reminded me a lot of my relationship with my mom, except alas, we don’t go out hunting vampires and other night beasties together. My mom was also one of those awesome women that didn’t tread lightly around the topic of sex and seeing how vastly different other parents handle that subject makes me forever thankful to her for that. It’s a natural thing that shouldn’t have a taboo placed around it. It’s something I feel should be openly discussed because having someone to answer those difficult questions will only lead to smart decisions in the future. Seeing the topic of sex addressed in that way and a parental relationship like that is rare in fiction, but shouldn’t be so.

The Awesome takes Maggie on a hilariously snarky, undead adventure that will leave you eager for more. While satisfying enough as a stand-alone, this still has definite room to grow, and I definitely want more.

First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson #1) by Darynda Jones {Purchase – Review}
Croak (Croak #1) by Gina Damico {PurchaseReview}
Bad Taste in Boys (Kate Grable #1) by Carrie Harris {Purchase – Review}

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Book Review – The Last Mission of the Living (The Last Bastion #2) by Rhiannon Frater

December 30, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2014 1 Comment

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

Book Review – The Last Mission of the Living (The Last Bastion #2) by Rhiannon FraterThe Last Mission of the Living by Rhiannon Frater
Series: The Last Bastion #2
Published by Self-Published on August 28th 2014
Pages: 382
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Zombies
Format: eARC
Source: the Author
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: The First Days, Fighting to Survive, Siege

three-half-stars

Vanguard Lindsay Rooney has faced the undead hordes of Inferi Scourge and lived to tell the tale, but she has also suffered horrible losses. Like millions of other civilians, she had hoped that The Bastion would recover after a team of modified soldiers eradicated the undead hordes of Inferi Scourge that infested their valley. Yet the city still crumbles around them, along with any chance of survival.

Lindsey’s growing friendship with Torran MacDonald, an officer with the Science Warfare division, is her only solace as the decline of the city continues. When food riots fill the streets, martial law is enacted, and the upper echelons of government battle for control of the city, Lindsey is conscripted by her superiors to embark on a dangerous mission into the dead world beyond The Bastion. To add even more complications, Torran and the SWD join the squad.

Soon, Lindsey realizes that her mission is more than what it seems, and there are secrets that could both destroy The Bastion and take her life.

About Rhiannon Frater

Rhiannon Frater is the award-winning author of over a dozen books, including the As the World Dies zombie trilogy (Tor), as well as independent works such as The Last Bastion of the Living (declared the #1 Zombie Release of 2012 by Explorations Fantasy Blog and the #1 Zombie Novel of the Decade by B&N Book Blog), and other horror novels. She was born and raised a Texan and presently lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and furry children (a.k.a pets). She loves scary movies, sci-fi and horror shows, playing video games, cooking, dyeing her hair weird colors, and shopping for Betsey Johnson purses and shoes.

The Last Bastion series

Blog Tour Stop + Giveaway! The Last Bastion of the Living by Rhiannon Frater

The Last Bastion of the Living (The Last Bastion #1) by Rhiannon Frater {PurchaseMy Review}

The Last Mission of the Living is the unexpected surprise second installment following the thrilling futuristic zombie novel The Last Bastion of the Living. This installment switches points of view from Maria Martinez to her best friend Lindsay Rooney and is fortunately no less intense than we’ve all come to expect from any Rhiannon Frater tale. The Last Mission is a definitely longer tale but is no less worth the time.

In The Last Bastion, the stronghold and the last group of people that have survived the undead creatures known as Inferi Scourge, a team of soldiers were chosen to be ‘modified’ in order to fight the undead with a higher percent chance of success. That group of soldiers became the last chance for the Bastion to survive but the mission failed and the city is still enduring the threat of the undead that swarms the borders. The political conspiracies and the constant double-dealing going on in the background of the Bastion are focused on more in this installment and it was an interesting switch-up. There was less zombie/Inferi Scourge action as The Last Bastion, however, this is still a solid follow-up and a fantastic expansion to this fascinating world.

In addition to the political tidbits, there is still a worthy romance to swoon over. Lindsay and Torran, who is a part of the Science Warfare division, are on opposite sides of the game at play. When the two are put on a team with a mission to seek out food to bring back to the Bastion, a friendship develops which slowly transforms into something more. Torran had his own secret mission though and it involves bringing Lindsay’s best friend Maria back to the Bastion for experimentation. The ongoing tension between the two was fantastically written.

The Last Mission of the Living is a fabulous follow-up with exciting twists and turns that expand on Frater’s created world nicely. The action is less than the first installment, however, the world-building is on point and will leave you hoping a surprise third installment is a possibility. Would work well as a 2nd installment or even as a stand-alone but of course I still highly recommend The Last Bastion.

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Paperback Release Day Feature + Giveaway! I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe

September 2, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Giveaways, Release Day Feature 7 Comments

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

Paperback Release Day Feature + Giveaway! I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabeI Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe
Published by Broadway Books on September 2, 2014
Pages: 336
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback
Source: the Author
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads


four-stars

An extraordinary novel about a strong-willed woman who disguises herself as a man in order to fight beside her husband, inspired by the letters of a remarkable female soldier who fought in the Civil War.

Rosetta doesn't want her new husband Jeremiah to enlist, but he joins up, hoping to make enough money that they'll be able to afford their own farm someday. Though she's always worked by her father’s side as the son he never had, now that Rosetta is a wife she's told her place is inside with the other women. But Rosetta decides her true place is with Jeremiah, no matter what that means, and to be with him she cuts off her hair, hems an old pair of his pants, and signs up as a Union soldier.

With the army desperate for recruits, Rosetta has no trouble volunteering, although she faces an incredulous husband. She drills with the men, proves she can be as good a soldier as anyone, and deals with the tension as her husband comes to grips with having a fighting wife. Rosetta's strong will clashes with Jeremiah's while their marriage is tested by broken conventions, constant danger, and war, and she fears discovery of her secret even as they fight for their future, and for their lives. Inspired by more than 250 documented accounts of the women who fought in the Civil War while disguised as men, I Shall Be Near To You is the intimate story, in Rosetta’s powerful and gorgeous voice, of the drama of marriage, one woman’s amazing exploits, and the tender love story that can unfold when two partners face life’s challenges side by side.

About Erin Lindsay McCabe

ERIN LINDSAY McCABE studied Literature at University of California, Santa Cruz, and taught high school English before completing her MFA at St. Mary's College of California in 2010. She has taught Composition at St. Mary's College and Butte College and resides in Northern California with her husband and son and a small menagerie that includes one dog, four cats, two horses, ten chickens, and three goats.

I’d like to thank Erin for allowing me to showcase her debut novel today, I Shall Be Near to You. Today marks the official paperback release for this book and it is a must read! I hadn’t read a good historical fiction book in a good long while and this one is quite the memorable tale. Erin also wrote a Guest Post and has also offered up a giveaway for one lucky reader. Enjoy!

On My Nightstand (which is a dresser)

My dresser, which was my great grandma’s, gives me a nice wide surface for stacking books, which is good because pretty much all our bookshelves are already double-stacked (and neither my husband nor I can bear to part with books).

The stacks on my dresser have reached pretty ridiculous proportions, because my husband and I just can’t stop buying books (his dresser looks very similar to mine, only messier). I mean, you can’t even see our wedding photo hidden behind the books and you can only just see the top of the jar that holds my dried wedding bouquet (15 years and going strong!).

Despite what may look like a chaotic hodge-podge, my stacks break down into categories, which originally happened purely by accident. Hidden in back (underneath the green sparkly horseshoe fascinator my mom made me as a semi-joke) is the Old Books I have Borrowed For So Long They Might As Well Be Mine (I have to hide them in case the person I lent them to comes over). At the top of that stack is Watch For Me On The Mountain by Forrest Carter, which I have been procrastinating on reading (for years!). The book belongs to my mom and she told me it made her so angry she threw it across the room. Then she lent it to me because it was so good. Honestly, I’m a little nervous to read it, which is why it has languished there so long.

The next stack is Book I’m Waiting To Be In The Right Mood For. Almost all of them are books I’ve dipped into and had to put aside–not because I didn’t like them, but because I wasn’t ready for them yet. Many of them are dark–books like The Man in My Basement by Walter Mosely and The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh–and so I feel like I need to be in the right mental space to tackle them.

Then there is the stack of Books I Want to Read Sooner Rather Than Later. Most of these are books that came highly recommended and I want to be able to chat about the book with that person. Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, Doc by Mary Doria Russell, and The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers top that stack.

And finally there’s the stack of Books That Have Deadlines Attached To Them, usually for my book club but sometimes because they’re ARCs. Right now that stack is topped by The Untold by Courtney Collins, which was my pick for my book club and which I’m so excited to read because the protagonist reminds me of Rosetta, the main character of my novel I Shall Be Near To You. I adore pretty much any kick-ass female character, especially those who chafe against gender roles. It doesn’t hurt that The Untold also has horses on the cover and in the first pages–I’m a sucker for any book with horses.

And of course, there’s my mental Books I Must Get My Hands On stack, at the top of which right now is Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt which I opened up at the bookstore to see if I was going to like it (I often give books the “first page” test before buying them). I devoured the first page and then proceeded to read the entire first two chapters while standing there in the aisle. I immediately fell for the quirky voice of the main character and felt enormous sympathy for her and her best friend/dying-of-AIDS uncle. I don’t know why, but I love a book that will break my heart. I didn’t buy it because I had a moment of will-power thinking about everything already stacked on my dresser. But I will be picking it up again one way or another.

‘Laying there on our bed is Jeremiah’s work shirt where I left it, the map unfolded beside it. And then like a hornets’ nest in the hot dust that you almost don’t see until it’s too late, but once you have, you can’t not see it for the buzzing in and out of the crack in the dirt crust, the idea of it just comes to me.’

It’s 1862, and the country is in the midst of the Civil War that goes on for another 3 years. Jeremiah Wakefield, a New Yorker, has dreams of someday owning his own farm and being able to take care of Rosetta and their future family and the Army’s enlistment bonus would be exactly what he needs to do that. Rosetta is a tomboy and helps out on her father’s farm but when she finds out that Jeremiah is leaving her for the war, she insists that if he’s intent on going off to war that he’s going to marry her first. They end up marrying and Jeremiah leaves shortly afterward. Rosetta finds that life just isn’t the same with him gone and sitting alone in their house day in and day out worried about his safety is more than she can take. So she chops off her hair and enlists in her husband’s unit as “Ross Stone”.

Rosetta was the most incredibly memorable and courageous character. I Shall Be Near to You showcases one woman of this time period that defied gender expectations but Rosetta was not the only woman out there fighting alongside husbands, brothers, or fathers. In the Author’s Note, McCabe states that “…the fictional Rosetta’s experience as a soldier is an amalgamation of the experiences of the more than two hundred women who are known to have enlisted […]”. It’s an aspect of war, not just during the Civil War either, that is not often explored and it was so fantastic to read this beautifully written story bringing these women’s stories to life, women who put their lives on the line when they didn’t have to.

McCabe’s time spent researching this period is evident from her descriptions of the camp sites set up, the foods, and of the deep seated feeling of dread these men (and women) were experiencing when marching into battle. Rosetta’s sacrifice and dedication to her husband is truly inspirational and you’ll be hard pressed to forget their ardent love story. Skillfully constructed and masterfully executed, if you are a fan of historical fiction novels and especially Civil War centered novels, this is a must read. A most impressive debut novel, I eagerly await more from McCabe.

Thanks to the author I’m able to offer up a copy of I Shall Be Near To You to 1 lucky reader!

Open to U.S. residents only
Giveaway ends September 16th, 2014

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Early Review – Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

August 12, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2014, YA 9 Comments

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

Early Review – Dangerous Boys by Abigail HaasDangerous Boys by Abigail Haas
Published by Abigail Haas on August 14th 2014
Pages: 336
Genres: Mystery-Contemporary, Thriller
Format: eARC
Source: the Author
Amazon | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Dangerous Girls

four-stars

Three teens venture into the abandoned Monroe estate one night; hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Caitlin Kasprov drags one Donnelly brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding; the other is left to burn, dead in the fire. But which brother survives? And is his death a tragic accident? Desperate self-defense? Or murder?

Caitlin is the only one with the answers. As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece together the story of how they got there-a story of jealousy, twisted passion, and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful of faces…

 

‘A heartbeat, a split-second’s whim, that’s all it takes to change your life forever.
But what happens when you get it wrong?’

Abigail Haas has done it again. Dangerous Boys is one seriously twisted and convoluted tale that will have you completely enthralled. Her stories will put you under a spell, desperate for answers to eagerly sought questions. In Dangerous Boys, there is Chloe, and the brothers Ethan and Oliver. The three become complexly intertwined, irrevocably changing the makeup of each other’s lives. A terrible accident occurs involving the brothers and only one brother makes it out alive. But who survived? And what was the sequence of events that led up to that moment? These questions will exasperate you, forcing you to willingly glue yourself to the pages. The one thing you should come to expect with an Abigail Haas book though is nothing is ever as it seems.

Dangerous Boys is a deceptively simple tale of a young girl fresh out of high school who has big dreams of leaving the small town behind and experiencing life. Her life is upended when her father divorces her mother and her mother is thrown into a deep depression, leaving Chloe to take care of her and thus forcing her to put her future on hold. The story alternates between the past before Chloe meets Ethan and Oliver, and the present, after the devastating fire. Piece by piece the story begins to form. Chloe and Ethan’s relationship, Oliver’s involvement, the jealousy and turmoil that takes place… all leading up to the accident that took the life of one of the boys.

What truly made this story shine for me was Chloe’s character. At first glance, she’s just a small town girl with big city dreams but her complexity was kept hidden and begins to blossom as the story progresses. Here’s a girl that has always done what’s right, has kept her grades up in hopes of achieving her dreams. As her life begins to crumble around her and her hopes become dashed, the regret and anger over her circumstances build. The introduction of the two boys into her life changes everything for her and breaks the mask she’s been hiding behind. We’ve all hidden behind a facade of sorts at one time or another and discovering that person that sees through all the bullshit to the very heart of you can be an enlightening and transforming experience.

Abigail Haas is a writer of mesmerizing mysteries that always keeps me second-guessing. A truly talented writer that I eagerly await more from.

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Early Review – Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher

April 3, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2014 3 Comments

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

Early Review – Mud Vein by Tarryn FisherMud Vein by Tarryn Fisher
Published by Tarryn Fisher on April 18th 2014
Genres: Psychological Thriller, Romance
Format: eARC
Source: the Author
Amazon
Goodreads


four-stars

 

 

When reclusive novelist Senna Richards wakes up on her thirty-third birthday, everything has changed. Caged behind an electrical fence, locked in a house in the middle of the snow, Senna is left to decode the clues to find out why she was taken. If she wants her freedom, she has to take a close look at her past. But, her past has a heartbeat…and her kidnapper is nowhere to be found. With her survival hanging by a thread, Senna soon realizes this is a game. A dangerous one. Only the truth can set her free.

 

 

About Tarryn Fisher

I am a real life villain, truly. I drink sick amounts of Starbucks. Most of the time my hair smells like coffee. I was born in South Africa, and lived there for most of my childhood. I moved to Seattle just for the rain. Rome is my favorite place in the world so far, Paris comes in at a close second. I read and write more than I sleep. When I was eleven, I wrote an entire novel about runaway orphans, using only purple ink. I am addicted to Florence and the Machine and will travel to see concerts. I love scary movies and giraffes. I spend way too much time on Facebook. Meet you there?…

‘That’s what it’s like to be a prisoner of anything. You want your freedom until you get it, then you feel bare without your chains.’

Senna Richards leads a life of solitary. Her novels have been on the bestseller’s list but she doesn’t wish to be famous, she’d rather be left alone. She awakes on the morning of her thirty-third birthday unable to recognize the walls around her and outside her windows all she can see is snow for miles. Enough food has been stockpiled to last her months upon months which she considers fortunate seeing as she’s unable to leave the locked cabin. In each of the rooms lies the evidence to who her captor is and private details of her life that she’s told few. Will the food last long enough for Senna to determine how to break out of this mind game someone is playing on her?

‘Fear, light footed, dances around me. She whispers seductively in my ear. We are lovers, fear and I. She calls to me, and I let her in.’

Mud Vein is an intense psychological thriller that I found to be quite fascinating. The story opens with Senna finding herself locked in a cabin in the middle of nowhere and the author slowly gives out details of Senna’s past in order to determine who exactly has done this to her. Senna, a recluse that rarely ventures out in public for anything other than the basic necessities, was a strange yet interesting character. After a brutal attack leaves her irrevocably changed she chances upon a man who nurses her back to health and inadvertently becomes an integral part of her life. Senna’s behavior after the attack was completely understandable and heartbreaking. No one should have to go through the mental trauma that she experienced in such a short time. While her behavior after the attack was conceivable, I had a bit of difficulty understanding how prior incidents caused her to separate herself completely from the world. I think more details on her past would have been helpful to show the emotional impact it had on her.

I don’t typically read a lot of indie because the writing isn’t as polished as I expect from books. Mud Vein was for the most part well-done and while there were several sections that were missed in editing it wasn’t enough to diminish my enjoyment of the book. The story itself was written in such a way as to keep the pages turning, only giving you small snippets of information and always leaving you wanting more. I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump as of late and I read this book faster than any in recent weeks. The conclusion was surprising yet did leave me with questions on the motivation behind it all. I feel that I was so wrapped up in Senna’s confusion that I never took a step back to evaluate what was happening to her. It seems to me now that the answer could have and should have been obvious but I was kept oblivious in the dark until the final reveal.

There are many other details of this book that impressed me greatly but it would be careless of me to share. This is definitely a story that is much more enjoyable knowing as little as possible so as to experience the shock firsthand. Mud Vein is going to be a good read to those that enjoy psychological thrillers.

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Book Tour Review – Donners of the Dead by Karina Halle

February 27, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Book Tour, Read in 2014 15 Comments

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

Book Tour Review – Donners of the Dead by Karina HalleDonners of the Dead by Karina Halle
Published by Metal Blonde Books on February 24th 2014
Genres: Horror, Romance
Format: eARC
Source: the Author
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Come Alive, Shooting Scars, Bold Tricks

three-half-stars

Jake McGraw was unlike anyone I’d ever known. He was brash, rude, unapologetic and arrogant; chauvinistic, close-minded, and terribly stubborn. He was built like a tree, tall with a hard chest and wide shoulders and hands that looked like they could wrestle a bear. He was a cigar-chomping, scruffy-faced, beast of a man. I was pretty sure I hated him. And I know he hated me. But among the flesh-eating monsters in these snow-capped mountains, he was the only thing keeping me alive.

The year is 1851 and pioneers in search of California gold are still afraid to travel on the same route as the tragic Donner party did years before. When the last wagon train to go into the Sierra Nevada mountains fails to arrive at their destination, Eve Smith, an 18-year old half-native girl with immense tracking skills is brought along with the search party, headed by an enigmatic former Texas Ranger, Jake McGraw.

What they find deep in the dangerous snow-covered terrain is a terrifying consequence of cannibalism, giving new meaning to the term “monster.” While the search party is slowly picked off, one by one, Eve must learn to trust Jake, who harbors more than a few secrets of his own, in order to survive and prevent the monstrosities from reaching civilization.

About Karina Halle

Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and the USA Today Bestselling author of Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, and other wild and romantic reads. She lives in a 1920s farmhouse on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.

‘It was more than a sense or a smell, picking up on who was here before. There was a feeling that something terrible happened here and that feeling was snaking up my body, intent to drown me in it.’

It’s 1851 and in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, 18 year old half-native Eve Smith is approached by a group of men requesting her assistance in tracking evidence of the Donner Party. A seemingly simple excursion quickly turns into a nightmare brought to life.

Growing up in Northern California, I learned a lot about the Donner Party early on and even went on a few field trips to visit the sites. The information I read about never bothered me too bad because the issues these people faced seemed like such an alien concept. Donners of the Dead really brought that concept to life and I’m going to be hard-pressed to ever get it out of my mind.

‘It raised its head and looked at me. There was no air in my lungs now, the whole forest seemed to still at that moment, as if it too were chilled by the monster’s presence, the smell of evil. It was when it smiled at me with bloodstained teeth that I snapped out of it.’

The monsters that Eve and her party discover in the woods seemed at first to be some type of zombie but Karina Halle applied the Algonquin based Wendigo legend to explaining these creatures. The following is a line from a website explaining the Wendigo legend which describes these gruesome creatures perfectly: “By eating another human being, even out of necessity for survival, a human can be overcome by these spirits and be transformed into one. The fear of turning into this creature was so strong that it was preferable to kill one’s self rather than resort to cannibalism.” –Source

“We’re still human even in the fact of beasts, even with our lives at risk. When you’re close to death, love is sometimes the only thing that makes sense in life.”

The romance between Eve and Jake was a bit out of left field for me considering Jake’s racist leanings toward Indians due to them being responsible for the death of his family. Seeing him overcome his issues in order to be happy with Eve was touching but didn’t strike me as being very likely especially how quickly his feelings develop. The perilous positions they continued to find themselves in the middle of do enough to justify these doubts though seeing as they needed someone, anyone, to rely on.

Donners of the Dead is an eclectic mix of cannibalistic horror and romance but is an enjoyable, thrilling and unforgettable read.

Open to US and Canada!
(All to 1 winner): Signed paperbacks of Donners of the Dead, The Devil’s Metal and The Devil’s Reprise plus a tote bag AND a one-page handwritten story about the winner in a fight with a zombie!

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