Posts Categorized: Book Tour

Book Tour Review – Christmas at Tiffany’s by Karen Swan

November 20, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Book Tour, Read in 2014, TLC Book Tours 6 Comments

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

Book Tour Review – Christmas at Tiffany’s by Karen SwanChristmas at Tiffany's by Karen Swan
Published by William Morrow on October 28th 2014
Pages: 592
Genres: Chick-Lit, Holiday - Christmas, Romance
Format: ARC
Source: TLC Book Tours
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Perfect Present

five-stars

In the wake of a heartbreaking betrayal, a young woman leaves the Scottish countryside to find her destiny in three of the most exciting cities in the world—New York, Paris, and London—in this funny and triumphant tale of fulfillment, friendship, and love.

Ten years ago, a young and naïve Cassie married her first serious boyfriend, believing he would be with her forever. Now, her marriage is in tatters and Cassie has no career or home of her own. Though she feels betrayed and confused, Cassie isn’t giving up. She’s going to take control of her life. But first she has to find out where she belongs . . . and who she wants to be.

Over the course of one year, Cassie leaves her sheltered life in rural Scotland to stay with her best friends living in the most glamorous cities in the world: New York, Paris, and London. Exchanging comfort food and mousy hair for a low-carb diet and a gorgeous new look, Cassie tries each city on for size as she searches for the life she’s meant to have . . . and the man she’s meant to love.

About Karen Swan

Karen Swan began her career in fashion journalism before giving it all up to raise her three children and an ADHD puppy, and to pursue her ambition of becoming a writer. She lives in the forest in Sussex, writing her books in a treehouse overlooking the Downs. Her first novel, Players, was published in 2010, followed by Prima Donna and Christmas at Tiffany’s in 2011.

Cassie married at an incredibly young age, at only twenty years old, to an older man and her first love. She never got to experience life or travel the world but she was content and satisfied with her life despite all that. After discovering that Gil, her husband of ten years, had betrayed her, Cassie leaves immediately and doesn’t look back. She devotes the next year of her life to doing what she never did before: discovering who she is and what she wants out of this life to make her truly happy.

I could go into some serious detail about this book but it’s all Spoiler-ville and it’s one of those stories that you definitely need to experience firsthand. And what a wonderful experience it was. I’ve been in dire need of satisfying this deep-seated craving for a fluffy read for months now (especially after the 13 horror novels in a row I read for October). Suffice it to say, Christmas at Tiffany’s satisfied my craving completely leaving me with the goofiest grin on my face, all sorts of feels and looking incredibly similar to Sally:

Christmas at Tiffany’s is primarily about Cassie and the dissolution of her marriage, however, even though she’s the main focus there was still the most amazing cast of characters with their own stories as well. Between her trips to New York, Paris and finally London she meets all sorts of new people that color her life and make her realize how much she’s been missing all this time. Cassie was my absolute favorite though and her story was one of heartbreak and I so loved to see her transform and overcome it all.

Don’t let its massive size put you off because this is one story you will not want to have end. Any book that can keep me completely wrapped up and absorbed for 580 pages, STILL leave me wanting more and even make me want to start it all over as soon as I read the final page is certainly impressive. Also, sure, it’s chicklit or contemporary romance or whatever you want to call it, so it was slightly predictable and cliché. (I mean seriously, I wish I had fancy rich friends I was just able to crash with for 4 months at a time in different glamorous cities around the world.) You know pretty much from the get-go who she’s going to end up with but the pages in-between that happening were far from being mere filler. This wasn’t just a story about finding love again, it was about living life and learning from your experiences. It was about finding new passions, about truly opening your eyes to everything and exploring this wonderful world we live in. It was all the things. *sigh* And I’ve just decided this gets the full 5 star rating from me. This was such an incredibly feel-good book that has left such a lasting impression on me I can’t seem to think of anything else. If you’re a fan of the genre, this is an absolute must read. I can’t recommend this one enough.

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This post was a part of the Christmas at Tiffany’s blog tour.
Click the button below for a complete list of tour stops.

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Blog Tour – Excerpt + Giveaway – All Four Stars by Tara Dairman

July 8, 2014 Bonnie Book Tour, Giveaways, Middle Grade, Read in 2014 6 Comments

Today is my stop on the All Four Stars tour, hosted by The Midnight Garden! My review has already gone up for the book and if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet you must know that I adored it. It was incredibly fun and definitely a great fit for foodie fiction fans! Below is a delectable excerpt from the book showing Gladys hands on in the kitchen with her neighbor after her parents grounded her from the kitchen. She’s making a delicious dessert for the popular girl at school that she’s not quite friends with in an attempt to win her over.

“There is one dessert I like to make that’s pretty fast, because it doesn’t require baking. Does your friend like nuts?”

“Oh, yes,” Gladys said. “She definitely does!”

“Well, then, let’s give this a try!”

Gleefully, Gladys followed Mrs. Anderson into the kitchen. Mrs. Anderson pulled out a battered brown volume called Street (and Dirt Road) Foods of the Malay Peninsula from her cookbookcase and passed it to Gladys.

“The recipe’s on page twenty-seven,” Mrs. Anderson told her. She was already pulling ingredients out of the cupboard–flour, sugar, peanuts. “What do you think?”

Gladys turned to the page and found a picture of what looked like a pancake folded in half over some kind of filling. It might be risky to serve Charissa an exotic foreign dessert–Gladys had been thinking more along the lines of brownies or cupcakes. Then again, Charissa did just buy a pound of baklava. The heading for the recipe said Apam Balik, which small letters underneath translated as Malaysian Peanut Pancake. That might not be so bad.

“Trust me, if she likes nuts, she’ll love this,” Mrs. Anderson said, lifting the book out of Gladys’s hands and propping it open against the toaster. “Now, we start by mixing a simple batter. Have you ever used a whisk?”

“Um…” Gladys wasn’t sure how much of her cooking experience she wanted to reveal to Sandy’s mom. “Once or twice,” she said finally.

The next few minutes found Gladys whisking eggs, water, milk, and oil together in a large bowl, then adding flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Every time she caught Mrs. Anderson looking at her, she tried to mess up a little–hold the whisk at the wrong angle, or change direction midwhip so the batter slopped over the side of the bowl. “Oops,” she said, hoping Mrs. Anderson was buying the amateur act. So far, it seemed to be working; twice Mrs. Anderson left her peanuts on the cutting board to come over and help Gladys get her technique right.

When the batter was ready, Mrs. Anderson heated a frying pan on the stovetop and splashed a little oil inside so the pancakes wouldn’t stick.

“Ready?” she said, passing Gladys a ladle.

“Ready!” Gladys answered, and gently ladled a scoop of batter into the pan. It felt great to be cooking again.

“Wow, you really have a knack for this,” Mrs. Anderson gushed. “It took me years to make perfect circles like that.”

Fudge, Gladys thought. She would make the next one less perfect.

Mrs. Anderson continued to talk as the pancake cooked. “This was my favorite snack when I traveled in Malaysia,” she said.

“Wow, you’ve actually been to Malaysia?” Gladys said.

“Oh, yes, I backpacked all around Asia before Sandy was born,” she said. “But I spent the most time in India, studying yoga.”

India! Ever since Gladys had eaten at the Singhs’ house, she’d dreamed of traveling there. She had about a hundred questions to ask, but just then Mrs. Anderson handed her a spatula and said, “Okay, I think it’s time to check whether the bottom’s finished cooking.” She winked. “I bet you know what to do.”

The bottom of the pancake was a lovely golden brown, so Mrs. Anderson dropped some bits of butter across the surface and spread a thick layer o peanuts and sugar on top. She instructed Gladys to fold the pancake in half with the spatula and press on it.

“Done!” Mrs. Anderson cried,” and Gladys lifted the finished pancake onto a waiting plate.

While she ladled more batter into the pan (in a much-less-perfectly-round shape this time), Mrs. Anderson sliced up the first pancake. “We’d better do a taste test,” she said. One of the most important rules about cooking is that you never want to serve something you haven’t tasted yourself.” She popped a strip of pancake into her mouth. “Plus,” she said while chewing, “it’s no fun to make something yummy if you don’t get to eat it, too!”

Gladys tasted the pancake and thought it was delicious–the perfect combination of fluffy and crunchy, sweet and savory. But would Charissa like it?

{GoodreadsAmazonB&NThe Book Depository}

Talk about delicious sounding, right? I had never heard of this dessert before but sounds easy enough that I may have to give it a try myself! I found a blogger online that has a fabulous step-by-step instruction for doing just that.


Photo credit: Echo’s Kitchen

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Be sure to check out the other fun stops on the All Four Stars Blog Tour!

All Four Stars Tour Schedule

Tuesday, July 1st              The Midnight Garden
Wednesday, July 2nd      The Reading Date
Thursday, July 3rd          For What It’s Worth
Friday, July 4th                 The Spirit of Children’s Literature
                                                  A Baked Creation
Monday, July 7th             Xpresso Reads
Tuesday, July 8th             For the Love of Words
Wednesday, July 9th       Finding Bliss in Books
Thursday, July 10th         Candace’s Book Blog
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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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Book Tour Review + Giveaway! Ashes to Ashes (Experiment in Terror #8) by Karina Halle

December 12, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Book Tour, Giveaways, Read in 2013 6 Comments

I received this book free from Book Tour, 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 + Giveaway! Ashes to Ashes (Experiment in Terror #8) by Karina HalleAshes to Ashes by Karina Halle
Series: Experiment in Terror #8
Published by Metal Blonde Books on December 11th 2013
Genres: Diiiirrrrrrttyyy, Paranormal, Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Book Tour, the Author
Goodreads

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

It’s been two months since Perry Palomino and Dex Foray’s relationship reached a new turning point, two months since Perry started a new life in Seattle, and two months since their Experiment in Terror show took on a new partner, ex-Wine Babe Rebecca Sims, and found a new level of success. But whenever there is light in their lives, the madness still has a way of coming back in.

When the team is sent back to the stormy Oregon coast to investigate a haunted school, Perry wants to use the opportunity to reconnect with her family and reintroduce Dex into their lives. Only Perry’s not the only one who’s reaching out – her grandmother Pippa has started appearing to her with disturbing warnings and Perry’s presence at the school has ignited a chilling new wave of supernatural phenomenon. Once used a century ago as a sanatorium to house children dying of tuberculosis, the school’s past residents are slowly coming back to life and with one thing on their mind. They want someone to play with, someone to join them. Forever.

Even when dead, some children get whatever they want.

And they want Perry.

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.

Experiment in Terror series

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Darkhouse (Experiment in Terror, #1)
Red Fox (Experiment in Terror, #2)
The Benson (Experiment in Terror, #2.5)
Dead Sky Morning (Experiment in Terror, #3)
Lying Season (Experiment in Terror, #4)

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On Demon Wings (Experiment in Terror, #5)
Old Blood (Experiment in Terror, #5.5)
The Dex-Files (Experiment in Terror, #5.7)
Into the Hollow (Experiment in Terror, #6)
And With Madness Comes the Light (Experiment in Terror, #6.5)
Come Alive (Experiment in Terror, #7) {My Review!}

Two months have passed since Dex and Perry’s trip to New Orleans and things have never been better. Rebecca has joined their Experiment in Terror team and the show is becoming more and more successful.  Their next haunted adventure takes them back to Oregon, back to where it all began. The location is a haunted school that used to be a sanatorium for children dying of tuberculosis over a century ago. Some of the ghostly children are friendly and only want someone to play with. Others are much more dreadful and have spine-chilling things in mind.

“To the thing that hurts you most. To the paranormal and to never being normal.”
He winked at me. “To us.”

On Demon Wings was holding the crown of ‘my favorite installment’ but Ashes to Ashes blew it out of the water. This was quite possibly the best installment to date. It was an intense page-turner that was thrilling and steamy and swoony and of course scary as freaking hell. Karina’s ability to describe these scenes of intensity in detail completely bring them to life and leave you feeling completely unsettled.

‘I waited, frozen on the spot, until I heard a dull slap, the sound of bare feet hitting the ground.
Someone coming out of the body cooler.
Someone dead.’

The best part of Ashes in Ashes is returning to Perry’s POV. Perry is such a fabulously intricate character and I really missed out on her thoughts and feelings in the previous installment, Come Alive. We’re also able to experience first-hand her dreamy visits to the Veil, her interactions with Pippa and the sense of foreboding that she exudes. Pippa feels as if something bad is about to happen and she hopes to be able to prepare Perry, but the threat is shrouded in fog and she isn’t able to determine who Perry should be fearing. Prepared or not, this is one threat that Perry will never see coming. This dramatic conclusion sets the stage for the undoubtedly exhilarating final installment of the Experiment in Terror series.

Chandler Bing I'm so excited I may vomit

Grand Prize Giveaway
(open to US and Canada):
A signed copy of Perception (a paperback compilation of all the e-book novellas), a signed copy of Darkhouse, a signed copy of Red Fox (with new cover) as well as a signed copy of Ashes to Ashes and an EIT tank top!

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Book Tour Review + Giveaway! The Bride Wore Size 12 (Heather Wells Mysteries #5) by Meg Cabot

October 3, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Book Tour, Read in 2013, TLC Book Tours 0 Comments

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

Book Tour Review + Giveaway! The Bride Wore Size 12 (Heather Wells Mysteries #5) by Meg CabotThe Bride Wore Size 12 by Meg Cabot
Series: Heather Wells Mysteries #5
Published by William Morrow on September 24th 2013
Pages: 400
Genres: Chick-Lit, Cozy, Mystery, Romance
Format: ARC
Source: TLC Book Tours
Amazon
Goodreads


four-stars

Heather Wells is used to having her cake and eating it too, but this time her cake just might be cooked. Her wedding cake, that is.

With her upcoming nuptials to PI Cooper Cartwright only weeks away, Heather's already stressed. And when a pretty junior turns up dead, Heather's sure things can't get worse—until every student in the dorm where she works is a possible suspect, and Heather's long-lost mother shows up.

Heather has no time for a tearful mother and bride reunion. She has a wedding to pull off and a murder to solve. Instead of wedding bells, she might be hearing wedding bullets, but she's determined to bring the bad guys to justice if it's the last thing she does . . . and this time, it just might be.

Heather Wells is set to marry Cooper Cartwright in a matter of weeks but is finding it next to impossible to plan when her life is no less hectic than normal. With freshmen orientation going on Heather has to deal with overly concerned parents and a new “Very Important Resident” that has moved in making things impossibly more chaotic. And then one of the buildings RA’s is found dead in her bed. As if things weren’t bad enough, Heather’s mom makes her first appearance ever since she stole her entire savings and fled the country.

What’s really funny about how much I loved this book was the other installments were only ‘meh’ for me. I received this for a book tour but because my brain refuses to comply when I start a series and the book is not #1 I figured it was best to go back and read them all in order. There’s always this nagging voice in the back of my head telling me I’m missing out on important shit and I’m doing it all wrong. But books 1-4 failed to impress if and if I didn’t already sign up to read #5 I doubt I ever would have got there. I know tons of you have loved this series through and through but in my opinion? This installment is the best yet.

So what did I love so much about this one compared to the others? It’s possible that by book 5 all of the characters kookiness had finally grown on me because at first I found the vast majority of them to be slightly annoying. I also think it could be because I opted to listen to the first 4 installments on audio and I found the narrators voice to be no bueno. It’s also possible that this is simply a better written installment in general. Either way, I loved it.

The Bride Wore Size 12 chock-full of mystery and involves several storylines that may or may not all be linked. It could be said that there was possibly a bit ‘too much’ going on but I understand the purpose in giving that illusion of an easy answer to the chaos. I’d much rather have that than a mystery I guess from the very beginning. Existing storylines are also dredged up in order to be given proper closure, most significant of those is the re-emergence of her long lost mother. This isn’t given a picture perfect ending but it was sufficient enough to give satisfying conclusion.

This series possesses a cast of characters similar to what you would find in a cozy mystery and they’re the type that don’t always do things rationally but are always hilarious and entertaining nonetheless. Heather is a a fantastically imperfect leading character and despite being a teen pop-star, is now leading a somewhat normal yet happy life. She’s engaged to marry Cooper Cartwright who she pined for over the course of the first 3 installments only to realize he’s been doing the same. The two are a perfect pair and completely adorable and seeing them finally get their happy ending was the very best of endings. Despite the title though, the romance and wedding planning manages to not overwhelm the story at all and feels more like an anecdote than anything.

I’m extremely pleased at this series ending installment. A delightful and entertaining story with the perfect balance of mystery and romance.

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This post was a part of the The Bride Wore Size 12 blog tour.

Click the button below for a complete list of tour stops.

Thanks to William Morrow I have a copy of The Bride Wore Size 12 to giveaway to one lucky winner. This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada addresses only. Sorry international followers!

Giveaway ends October 17th,2013
 
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Book Tour Review – The Curiosity by Stephen Kiernan

July 18, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Book Tour, Read in 2013, TLC Book Tours 0 Comments

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

Book Tour Review – The Curiosity by Stephen KiernanThe Curiosity by Stephen P. Kiernan
Published by William Morrow on July 9th 2013
Pages: 448
Genres: Romance, Sci-fi
Format: ARC
Source: TLC Book Tours
Amazon
Goodreads


three-half-stars

Michael Crichton meets The Time Traveler's Wife in this powerful debut novel in which a man, frozen in the Arctic ice for more than a century, awakens in the present day.

Dr. Kate Philo and her scientific exploration team make a breathtaking discovery in the Arctic: the body of a man buried deep in the ice. As a scientist in a groundbreaking project run by the egocentric and paranoid Erastus Carthage, Kate has brought small creatures-plankton, krill, shrimp-"back to life." Never have the team's methods been attempted on a large life form.

Heedless of the consequences, Carthage orders that the frozen man be brought back to the lab in Boston, and reanimated. As the man begins to regain his memories, the team learns that he was-is-a judge, Jeremiah Rice, and the last thing he remembers is falling overboard into the Arctic Ocean in 1906. When news of the Lazarus Project and Jeremiah Rice breaks, it ignites a media firestorm and massive protests by religious fundamentalists.

Thrown together by circumstances beyond their control, Kate and Jeremiah grow closer. But the clock is ticking and Jeremiah's new life is slipping away. With Carthage planning to exploit Jeremiah while he can, Kate must decide how far she is willing to go to protect the man she has come to love.

A gripping, poignant, and thoroughly original thriller, Stephen Kiernan's provocative debut novel raises disturbing questions about the very nature of life and humanity-man as a scientific subject, as a tabloid plaything, as a living being: A curiosity.

‘And what is life but a little row in a small boat, every moment leaving what we know, every stroke unable to see where we are headed?’

The Curiosity tells the tale of a scientific voyage to the Arctic with the intent to find various sea creatures that died encased in ice. Possessing the ability to bring plankton “back to life” the scientists intend to continue studying this process in hopes to actually keep them alive for extended periods of time. Everything changes when they find a man frozen deep in the ice instead.

This story is told from various different points of view, which doesn’t always work for me but was extremely well done in this case. Each individual has a very distinctive voice and character. Daniel Dixon is a very stereotypical, sleazy-type reporter in charge of covering the latest news of the experiment. Erastus Carthage is the boss behind the research and is an incredibly snobby and arrogant man. Kate Philo is one of the head scientists and one of the only people to form a bond with Jeremiah. Jeremiah was born in 1868 and while on an Arctic voyage was pitched overboard and was presumed dead until he was found frozen in ice over a century later.

This was an immensely well-written tale, that was an absolute pleasure to read. The words had a beautiful flow to them and his descriptions were quite impeccable. What I found especially talented was how the author managed to include much of the necessary back story on his characters without it being a massive info-dump. He managed to weave their past into the story without evidence of the stitches.

‘When I pause in my exertions to understand the here and now, and contemplate the severing of that kindness, that mercy, the ache is so acute I half expect to see some place on myself that is bleeding.’

In addition to the beauty of the words and his writing style in general, the story itself was brilliant and original. A man was found encased in ice, had been there for over a century and scientists possessed the ability to bring him back to life. Not only did they restart his heart but he inevitably woke up and began his life anew. The politics surrounding his return to the life of the living was extensive and did become taxing after a while but still managed to ring true for how a situation such as this would be handled in the world today.

Although everything was explained well in a scientific sense, I can’t help but feel it wasn’t given a proper ending. It’s such an ambitious and thrilling plot I felt it was leading up to something that never quite transpired. The final chapter does serve as a sufficient ending, but when questions that arose are only given single sentence answers I found myself hoping for more. Despite this, I am immensely glad to have had the opportunity to read this. The Curiosity is an incredibly unique mix of science, romance, and the paths that simple curiosity takes us in life.

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This post was a part of the The Curiosity blog tour.
Click the button below for a complete list of tour stops.
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Book Tour Review – The Queen’s Vow by C.W. Gortner

July 4, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Book Tour, Read in 2013 0 Comments

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

Book Tour Review – The Queen’s Vow by C.W. GortnerThe Queen's Vow: A Novel of Isabella of Castile by C.W. Gortner
on July 2nd 2013
Pages: 416
Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance, Spain
Format: Paperback
Source: the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads


three-stars

No one believed I was destined for greatness.

So begins Isabella’s story, in this evocative, vividly imagined novel about one of history’s most famous and controversial queens—the warrior who united a fractured country, the champion of the faith whose reign gave rise to the Inquisition, and the visionary who sent Columbus to discover a New World. Acclaimed author C. W. Gortner envisages the turbulent early years of a woman whose mythic rise to power would go on to transform a monarchy, a nation, and the world.

Young Isabella is barely a teenager when she and her brother are taken from their mother’s home to live under the watchful eye of their half-brother, King Enrique, and his sultry, conniving queen. There, Isabella is thrust into danger when she becomes an unwitting pawn in a plot to dethrone Enrique. Suspected of treason and held captive, she treads a perilous path, torn between loyalties, until at age seventeen she suddenly finds herself heiress of Castile, the largest kingdom in Spain. Plunged into a deadly conflict to secure her crown, she is determined to wed the one man she loves yet who is forbidden to her—Fernando, prince of Aragon.

As they unite their two realms under “one crown, one country, one faith,” Isabella and Fernando face an impoverished Spain beset by enemies. With the future of her throne at stake, Isabella resists the zealous demands of the inquisitor Torquemada even as she is seduced by the dreams of an enigmatic navigator named Columbus. But when the Moors of the southern domain of Granada declare war, a violent, treacherous battle against an ancient adversary erupts, one that will test all of Isabella’s resolve, her courage, and her tenacious belief in her destiny.

From the glorious palaces of Segovia to the battlefields of Granada and the intrigue-laden gardens of Seville, The Queen’s Vow sweeps us into the tumultuous forging of a nation and the complex, fascinating heart of the woman who overcame all odds to become Isabella of Castile.

C.W. Gortner is well known for his historical fiction novels and I have been interested in reading his works for many years. This being my first one, I was impressed. His detailing of Isabella is almost sedulous with how painstaking it is. While he painted an extremely detailed portrait of Isabella, I’m not positive he painted her as accurately as she is known for being.

Isabella I of Castile was never expected to amount to anything yet she became known for greatness. Her struggle to claim her true right to the throne after her brother died at an early age is the initial focus of this novel. It also showcases first-hand the initial meeting of Isabella and her future-husband, Ferdinand II of Aragon.

Isabella is known for being a strong, independent queen who was able to reorganize governments and unburden the kingdom of debts that had been crushing for all citizens. She is also well known for her unwavering faith and while we saw moments of faith, I think the focus on her infatuation with a boy she knew for two days is a bit off-base. It’s also unfounded in history as her and her husband did not meet until they were married. The Queen’s Vow focuses heavily on their initial meeting and their subsequent separation after which Isabella pines over him because she’s unable to communicate with him.

I’ve found this to be a common trend with many historical fiction novels (the emphasis on the romance aspect whether it being grounded in history or not) and I can say it often leaves me disappointed. This is especially true when the main character is telling the story of a strong woman in a time when women were constantly impeded. What I also found disconcerting was her disassociation from the corruption and decay that was happening around her. While all this chaos was happening around her she sat silently, biting her tongue and digging her nails in her hands to maintain composure. While I believe this to be done as further proof of her unwavering faith, it actually made her to be a very bland and boring character.

While I wasn’t completely impressed with the representation of Isabella, I was for the most part pleased with the writing style of Gortner and his attention to detail. It’s clear that he researches his topics extensively, I just hope that he doesn’t take too much artistic license in all of his stories.

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Book Tour Review – The Illusion of Separateness by Simon Van Booy

June 27, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Book Tour, Read in 2013, TLC Book Tours 2 Comments

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

Book Tour Review – The Illusion of Separateness by Simon Van BooyThe Illusion of Separateness by Simon Van Booy
Published by Harper on June 11th 2013
Pages: 224
Genres: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
Format: ARC
Source: TLC Book Tours
Amazon
Goodreads


three-stars

Award-winning author Simon Van Booy tells a harrowing and enchanting story of how one man's act of mercy during World War II changed the lives of a group of strangers, and how they each eventually discover the astonishing truth of their connection

Whether they are pursued by Nazi soldiers, old age, shame, deformity, disease, or regret, the varied characters of Simon Van Booy's utterly compelling novel The Illusion of Separateness discover in their darkest moments of fear and isolation that they are not alone, that they were never alone, that every human being is a link in an unseen chain.

This gripping, emotional story intertwines the stories of several compelling characters: a deformed German infantryman; a lonely British film director; a young, blind museum curator; Jewish-American newlyweds separated by war; a lost child on the brink of starvation; and a caretaker at a retirement home for actors in Santa Monica. The same world moves beneath each of them, and one by one, through seemingly random acts of selflessness, they discover the vital parts they have played in each other's lives, a realization that shatters the illusion of their separateness. Moving back and forth in time and across continents,

The Illusion of Separateness displays the breathtaking skill of, "a truly special writer who does things with abstract language that is so evocative and original your breath literally catches in your chest" (Andre Dubus III).

‘In a sense we are all prisoners of some memory, or fear, or disappointment-we are all defined by something we can’t change.’

The Illusion of Separateness tells the story of six different individuals who are all interconnected in ways they don’t even realize. The story begins in Los Angeles, CA in 2010 but goes as far back as 1939 in the midst of World War II. Through these first-person stories and the recounting of past events, it slowly begins to unfold how these seemingly random people are all effected by a strangers actions.

I’m quite enamored with interweaving story lines in movies (Crash, Babel, Love Actually, The Fountain.. I could obviously go on and on) relishing in the stories of many only to find just how interconnected they are to one another. It takes a skilled writer to successfully write several plot lines, connect them effortlessly and at the same time give each of them a proper ending. I was immediately interested in this book once I realized it dealt with multiple plot lines yet found myself leery when noticing how few pages the author gave himself to work with, made me worry that he wouldn’t give each and every one of his characters proper credit or back-story. While I wish I did have more back-story on these characters, what we were given was sufficient enough to make each of them memorable.

‘…finding the candles by heat, and blowing them out one by one, as we, one day, will be vanquished with a last puff and then nothing at all – nothing but the fragrance of our lives in the world, as on a hand that once held flowers.’

While the characters ‘illusion of separateness’ did on occasion feel strained and slightly forced this was still undoubtedly an enjoyable tale. Slow to build with a simplistic way of writing but was ultimately extremely pleasing in the end.

 dvd-pearl
This post was a part of the The Illusion of Separateness blog tour.
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Book Review – All You Could Ask For: A Novel by Mike Greenberg

April 10, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Book Tour, Read in 2013, TLC Book Tours 4 Comments

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

Book Review – All You Could Ask For: A Novel by Mike GreenbergAll You Could Ask For by Mike Greenberg
Published by William Morrow on April 2nd 2013
Pages: 264
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Format: ARC
Source: TLC Book Tours
Amazon
Goodreads


three-stars

Three women are about to find their lives intertwined in ways none of them could ever have imagined...

Brooke has been happily married to her college sweetheart for fifteen years. Even after the C-section, the dog poop, the stomach viruses, and the coffee breath, Scott still always winks at her at just the right moments. That is why, for her beloved, romantic, successful husband's fortieth birthday, she is giving him pictures. Of her. Naked.

Samantha's newlywed bliss is steamrolled when she finds shocking evidence of infidelity on her husband's computer. She has been married for two days. She won't be for much longer.

Katherine works eighteen hours a day for the man who irreparably shattered her heart fifteen years ago. She has a duplex on Park Avenue, a driver, a chef, and a stunning house in Southampton, and she bought it all herself. So what if she has to see Phillip every single workday for the rest of her natural life? Brooke, Samantha, and Katherine don't know one another, but all three are about to discover the conquering power of friendship—and that they have all they could ask for, as long as they have one another.

Brooke, Samantha and Katherine all have established and successful lives, each with their own different definition of success. Brooke has been happily married to her college sweetheart for 15 years. Samantha is a competitive athlete who after a whirlwind marriage finds evidence of her husband’s infidelity 2 days into their honeymoon but it’s the best thing that could have happened to her. Katherine is an extremely successful business-woman who decides to take her first vacation ever after a disastrous blind date on her birthday. All lead separate lives and have never met each other, but they will become forever entwined with one another when they all are forced to suffer through the same diagnosis forever changing their lives.

On my Goodreads shelf I currently have 79 books classified as Chick-Lit and of those 79 only one is written by a male author. This book. Now that’s not to say that he’s the ONLY male author that has ever written Chick-Lit but it’s the only one that I’ve bothered trying out. The fact of the matter is Chick-Lit is not a commonly written genre by males, my guess is because of the difficulty they have in writing a solid and realistic female character. Well, not only has Mike Greenberg managed to write a solid and realistic female character, he was able to write three of them.

I was so very pleased when I first began this book. I loved the humor and I loved the individuality of each of the characters. I enjoyed learning the details of their lives and who they were as people. It was all very realistic and made these characters very distinguishable. Suffice it to say, I loved these characters and eagerly awaited the moment where their lives coalesced. While the second half of the story was what brought these characters together, it was my least favorite part of the book. It took a much too serious turn and I would have preferred to see the lightness that the first half of the story possessed to continue. While I understand the reason behind this since it aided in strengthening the characters further, I simply expected a much lighter read and would have enjoyed it more.

This is a definite must for fans of Jane Green, Emily Griffin, Jodi Picoult and fans of the like. All You Could Ask For possesses seemingly everyday characters with a powerful inspiring story of strength.

dvd-pearl

This post was a part of the All You Could Ask For blog tour
Click the button below for a complete list of tour stops.

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Book Review – Gossip by Beth Gutcheon

March 13, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Book Tour, Read in 2013, TLC Book Tours 1 Comment

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

Book Review – Gossip by Beth GutcheonGossip by Beth Gutcheon
Published by William Morrow on March 5th 2013
Pages: 304
Genres: Contemporary
Format: ARC
Source: TLC Book Tours
Amazon
Goodreads


one-star

The critically acclaimed author of Good-bye and Amen, Leeway Cottage, and More Than You Know returns with a sharply perceptive and emotionally resonant novel about all the ways we talk about one another, the sometimes fine line between showing concern and doing damage, and the difficulty of knowing the true obligations of friendship.

Loviah “Lovie” French owns a small, high-end dress shop on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Renowned for her taste, charm, and discretion, Lovie is the one to whom certain women turn when they need “just the thing” for key life events: baptisms and balls, weddings and funerals. Among those who depend on Lovie’s sage advice are her two best friends since boarding school days: Dinah Wainwright and Avis Metcalf. Despite the love they share for their mutual friend, there has always been a chilly gulf between Dinah and Avis, the result of a perceived slight from decades ago that has unimaginably tragic echoes many years later.

An astute chronicler of all that makes us human, Beth Gutcheon delivers her most powerful and emotionally devastating novel to date. Gossip is a tale of intimacy and betrayal, trust and fidelity, friendship and motherhood that explores the way we use “information” — be it true, false, or imagined — to sustain, and occasionally destroy, one another.

‘Interesting how things change: the people you thought would be friends forever disappear, and others become more and more important to you over time.’

Lovie French is a sixty year old boutique owner living in Manhattan and is the narrator of the story. She is still close to her two best friends, Avis and Dinah, that she went to school with when they were young and over time their families have become family to her. Lovie details how their lives unfolded over time and who they loved and lost and the ongoing gossip that prevailed.

There was a strange detachment in the writing that made Gossip feel very lackluster which  in turn made it hard to connect to any of the characters. It’s written as a retelling of past events and I couldn’t help but think it would have been more interesting and easier to connect to if it was written in present tense and as a form of flashback rather than a long series of recollections which would have lessened the ‘info-dump’ feel.

I felt Lovie was a strange narrator choice even though she was a part of the story she didn’t seem to have as much relevance. The story being told from Nicky or maybe even Grace (or both?) would have been a better choice as their story became the main feature in the end. The focus on the rest of the family formed the story as a whole but I would have liked to see more focus on Nicky and Grace to get a better idea of what led them up to the end events.

There were some beautiful moments of writing and I felt that the story had a lot of potential if not for the loose stitching that bound the multiple characters story lines together. Lacking in depth and a true connection to the characters, this was ultimately quite forgettable.

dvd-pearl 
This post was a part of the Gossip blog tour.
Click the button below for a complete list of tour stops.
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