Posts Categorized: Read in 2013

Book Review – Tempest in the Tea Leaves (A Fortune Teller Mystery #1) by Kari Lee Townsend

August 30, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2013 1 Comment

Book Review – Tempest in the Tea Leaves (A Fortune Teller Mystery #1) by Kari Lee TownsendTempest in the Tea Leaves by Kari Lee Townsend
Series: A Fortune Teller Mystery #1
Published by Berkley on August 2nd 2011
Pages: 294
Genres: Cozy, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: a Giveaway
Amazon
Goodreads


one-star

Sunny is a big city psychic who moves to the quaint town of Divinity, NY to open her fortune telling business in an ancient Victorian house, inheriting the strange cat residing within. Sunny gives her first reading to the frazzled town librarian and discovers the woman is going to die. When the woman flees in terror, Sunny calls the police, only she’s too late. The ruggedly handsome, hard-nosed detective is a “non-believer.” He finds the librarian dead, and Sunny becomes his number one suspect, forcing her to prove her innocence before the real killer can put an end to the psychic’s future.

I rarely give one stars, but this was bad and I feel the need to rant so spoilers beware! You’ve been warned.

The main character is Sunny Meadows (Nope, I am not fibbing. She changed her name because she was CLEARLY not a Sylvia. And Sunny is much better.) and wants to start her own Fortune Teller business. She decides it’s time to move out of her parents house and has chosen Divinity, NY as her new home. She is 29 years old after all and wants to take care of herself… with her handy-dandy trust fund, of course. She buys up an old Victorian, which she promptly names Vicky, and plans to remodel and redecorate it herself so she can reside there and run her business out of it as well. This is all very shocking considering the degree of genius we’re dealing with.

“Shivering, I realized how cold it was in the house. The thermostat read fifty-five degrees. It was a wonder the pipes hadn’t burst.”

We’re obviously dealing with Einstein-level genius here.

So her business gets started and she has her first customer and she gives her a tea reading and reports that she sees a deer which of course means a dispute with a man and also a flag which means danger! (again, with a man) But then! THE KETTLE. Which means the man won’t be making her tea… he’ll be killing her soon.

 

DUN DUN DUN.

Okay so dramatic business aside, in addition to the eye-rolling storyline this was very poorly written with the most ridiculous set of characters. She was extremely immature for a 29 year old and was so very unrealistic. This entire book was honestly unrealistic. Cozy mysteries have an air of silliness as a standard, however, the few I’ve read have managed to still at least make sense and been funny and entertaining. But when Sunny is made the prime suspect in the death and then is promptly recruited by the police department to aid in the investigation… I’m sorry, what? Plus, she acted like a teenager half the time and couldn’t control herself from blurting out case details at the most highly inopportune times. Then there was the nonsensical romance between Sunny and the cop and her parents showing up to also assist in the case and then there’s Morty the magic cat and Sunny’s ongoing absurdity like when she broke into a suspects house but ends up having to hide in the closet while the suspect and her boyfriend watch porn….

This was clearly not my cup of tea. (ha-Sorry. I couldn’t resist.) I manage to somehow possess more willpower to keep going when I’m reading a crappy book as a buddy read so that’s my only explanation for actually finishing this ridiculous mess of a book. As ridiculous and unbelievable as this book managed to consistently be, the ending and answer to the whole mystery was infuriating. I will definitely not be continuing this series.

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Book Review – Love Story (Love Story #1) by Erich Segal

August 29, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2013 2 Comments

Book Review – Love Story (Love Story #1) by Erich SegalLove Story by Erich Segal
Series: Love Story #1
Pages: 144
Genres: Classics, Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


two-stars

He is Oliver Barett IV, a rich jock from a stuffy WASP family on his way to a Harvard degree and a career in law.

She is Jenny Cavilleri, a wisecracking working-class beauty studying music at Radcliffe.

Opposites in nearly every way, Oliver and Jenny immediately attract, sharing a love that defies everything... yet will end too soon. Here is a love that will linger in your heart now and forever.

*I plan to discuss parts of this book in detail so spoilers!*

Oliver Barett IV is a rich jock from a well-to-do family. Jenny Cavilleri is a poor, wise ass sorta chick. This is definitely a case of opposites attract with a touch of Romeo and Juliet syndrome; they were destined to fail from the beginning. But they meet; they fall in love, etc. etc. And as the summary so eloquently puts it: “…sharing a love that defies everything yet will end too soon.”

“What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died?”

That is the very first line of the book so right off the bat you know you’re in for an emotional tale. But that’s the funny thing… it all seemed very impassive to me. Vapid. Insipid. And that’s the furthest from what I was expecting to feel from such a renowned and supposed emotional tale. The thing that really bothered me the most about this story was I never fully believed those two actually loved each other; it felt far too contrived. Oliver’s father’s declaration that he is NOT to marry Jenny otherwise he would basically disown him seemed like the catalyst for Oliver’s proposal and nothing more. To me, it wasn’t a proposal that was emotionally charged but rather a petty attempt to do the opposite of what daddy tells him just because he can.

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

Of course I had to include/discuss the most famous line of the book since I don’t quite agree with it. I think love means you’re more likely to be forgiven but I don’t think that should excuse you completely from an apology. But if love means never having to say you’re sorry, then that would mean that any future actions are automatically forgiven and following that same vein means you could do whatever you want because it’s okay, he/she loves me. Honestly, we all fuck up at one point or another in relationships because this shit is no cake walk but love doesn’t automatically excuse you from wrong. Love means you can fuck up, you can apologize, you can talk about it if need be and you can behave like mature adults and grow and learn from the experience. Love means never having to say you’re sorry? No. That’s a total cop out.

There was also a ton of cussing, which I don’t have issue with considering I cuss like a sailor, but the dialogue sounded like a 6th grader trying to include cuss words in their everyday speech and ends up overdoing it. It was very forced and awkward feeling. Oliver and Jenny even replaced cute nicknames for cuss words as well. At one point he casually referred to Jenny as “my wife, the bitch” and  I think he frequently called him a bastard. Or an asshole. Possibly both? I can accept that they obviously had a ‘different’ sorta love for each other and that’s just how they expressed themselves but it was very off-putting. The other issue I had was with the doctor and Oliver’s decision not to tell Jenny of her own illness, but I realize since this book is 43 years old there are customs that occurred then that I’d never be able to fully grasp and understand.

Erich Segal was the Nicholas Sparks of his era with his tales of epic love. He’s not known for his literary masterpieces but he was a prominent name a few decades back and it was just one of those that I had to try out for myself. Plus, I was told that this book would absolutely make me cry (which books don’t make me do often) so I had to accept that challenge. I won by the way. Will I try more of his works? Maybe. Sappy tales aren’t normally my thing but every once in a while when I’m dealing with a chemical imbalance in my brain it makes me want to pick up this kind of stuff, so maybe someday.

Have you read Love Story or any other novels by Segal? If so, are there any you would recommend?

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Book Review – Magic Rises (Kate Daniels #6) by Ilona Andrews

August 27, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2013 9 Comments

Book Review – Magic Rises (Kate Daniels #6) by Ilona AndrewsMagic Rises by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #6
Published by Ace on July 30th 2013
Pages: 355
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Magic Bites, Burn for Me, Magic Breaks

three-half-stars

Atlanta is a city plagued by magical problems. Kate Daniels will fight to solve them—no matter the cost.

Mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate, Curran, the Beast Lord, are struggling to solve a heartbreaking crisis. Unable to control their beasts, many of the Pack’s shapeshifting children fail to survive to adulthood. While there is a medicine that can help, the secret to its making is closely guarded by the European packs, and there’s little available in Atlanta.

Kate can’t bear to watch innocents suffer, but the solution she and Curran have found threatens to be even more painful. The European shapeshifters who once outmaneuvered the Beast Lord have asked him to arbitrate a dispute—and they’ll pay him in medicine. With the young people’s survival and the Pack’s future at stake, Kate and Curran know they must accept the offer—but they have little doubt that they’re heading straight into a trap…

Kate Daniels series

Magic Bites (Kate Daniels #1)
Magic Burns (Kate Daniels #2)
Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels #3)
Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels #4)
Magic Slays (Kate Daniels #5)

*Considering this is the 6th installment, it’s highly possible there are spoilers for the previous books in the series. Beware!*

 

I’ve been highly anticipating this latest installment forever. I blew threw the first five books practically all in a row and I’ve been hurting since. While this is quite possibly my least favorite of the series it’s STILL good. This series is why I love Urban Fantasy as much as I do and even though it had it’s flaws this is still one solid series. So, now for the details:

What I enjoyed: The inclusion of mythological and biblical aspects was awesome. It might not have been 100% believable (but then again this is UF, so whatevs) but it was an absorbing and fascinating concept and definitely welcome to mix things up.

What I hated: The stupid girl child thrown into the story just to create drama was borderline rage inducing. The drama was rampant in this installment and I ultimately felt it was all just entirely unnecessary. I was enraged for the vast majority of this book and it was a constant battle trying to calm myself.

And another note on the drama: Curran. Dude. You could’ve handled that so much better than you did. And that’s the second thing that bothered me the most… if drama can be avoided and it’s NOT then you’re an idiot and I hate you. Don’t be dumb. Avoid the drama. If I was Kate, your head would have been on a spike. I assumed it was going to end fine but that still didn’t make going through the drama any easier because his actions were so. freaking. irritating.
And my biggest issue with the storyline: Kate and Curran didn’t need to go through this in order to prove their relationship is everlasting and durable and all other adjectives that best describe tupperware. Kate is a badass chick and is supremely confident in herself and didn’t need to be transformed into an insecure maniac for me to believe that their relationship is solid. Again, to repeat myself for the nth time… the drama was supremely unnecessary and I really could have done without.

The ending was exhilarating, shocking and I loved it… if the drama llama hadn’t trounced on the other 300 pages this would have garnered a higher rating from me. As it stands though this is still one of my favorite UF series, ever, and I will be anxiously awaiting future installments.

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Early Review – Just One Year (Just One Day #2) by Gayle Forman

August 22, 2013 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013, YA 4 Comments

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

Early Review – Just One Year (Just One Day #2) by Gayle FormanJust One Year by Gayle Forman
Series: Just One Day #2
Published by Dutton Children's on October 10th 2013
Pages: 336
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Travel
Format: eARC
Source: First to Read Program
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Just One Day, Just One Night

three-stars

The heartrending conclusion—from Willem’s POV—to the romantic duet of novels that began with Allyson’s story in Just One Day

After spending an amazing day and night together in Paris, Just One Year is Willem’s story, picking up where Just One Day ended. His story of their year of quiet longing and near misses is a perfect counterpoint to Allyson’s own as Willem undergoes a transformative journey, questioning his path, finding love, and ultimately, redefining himself.

 

Just One Day series
Just One Day (Just One Day, #1)

‘It was like she gave me her whole self, and somehow as a result, I gave her more of myself than I ever realized there was to give. But then she was gone. And only after I’d been filled up by her, by that day, did I understand how empty I really was.’

Finally. We have Willem’s story. Just One Day left readers contemplating what possibly could have gone wrong, why he never came back to Allyson and if they were ever going to be able to find each other again. Just One Year possesses the same melancholy feel as its predecessor with Willem stumbling around in an apparent daze, unable to trust the stability of his feelings for Allyson because after all… they only knew each other for a single day.

‘…it’s Lulu I miss, and I know it must be displaced, my loneliness a heat-seeking missile, her the heat. Only I can’t seem to find a new source of heat.’

This is a tough one for me to figure out how I feel about. Willem was a tough nut to crack and I went through the majority of the book not feeling any sort of compassion towards him, no pity for his plight, when I think that would have been the regular response. He gave up his search for her very early on and considering we already know what Allyson went through physically and emotionally makes me sad for her. Willem was convinced to start looking for her again by friends and as much as he kept saying he was still looking for her that whole time, it wasn’t an active search. It felt like he was simply sitting back and waiting for something to happen, for her to find him.

‘The truth and its opposite are flip sides of the same coin.’

Willem’s story became less about their romance and more about him discovering things about himself and becoming a better person because he met her. This is actually what I had originally hoped for her in Just One Day; for Allyson to recognize the incredibly transformed person she had become (and she did) but that even though it resulted from her meeting Willem that she didn’t need him to continue to be as such. Willem found the independence and strength their meeting imbued and used it in a positive manner and while I’m glad at least one of them did this, I never quite liked Willem enough in order to root for him. I never saw what appealed to Allyson and I never understood quite why they transformed each others lives in the first place.

While I’m glad to have the closure of Willem’s side of the story, I still can’t help but feel the ending would have benefited from… more. I needed to see Willem and Allyson’s transformations being applied since we as readers were only afforded a quick glance before reaching the final page.

Just One Year is a tale of transformation, of finding happiness, of finding love and finding yourself.

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Release Day Feature + Giveaway! Shooting Scars (The Artists Trilogy #2) by Karina Halle

August 20, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Giveaways, Read in 2013, Release Day Feature 1 Comment

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

Release Day Feature + Giveaway! Shooting Scars (The Artists Trilogy #2) by Karina HalleShooting Scars by Karina Halle
Series: The Artists Trilogy #2
Published by Grand Cen­tral Publishing Pages: 265
Genres: Diiiirrrrrrttyyy, Romance-Suspense
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Come Alive, Bold Tricks, Ashes to Ashes

four-stars

Sometimes the right choice can be the deadliest.

When Ellie Watt made the ultimate sacrifice for Camden McQueen, she never thought it would be easy. But walking away with her ex-lover, Javier Bernal, in order to ensure Camden’s safety has brought a whole new set of dangers. With Javier’s plans for Ellie growing more secretive by the moment, Ellie must find a way to stay ahead of the game before her past swallows her whole.

Meanwhile, Camden’s new life is short-lived. Fueled by revenge and pursued by authorities, he teams up with an unlikely partner in order to save Ellie. But as Camden toes the line between love and retribution, he realizes that in order to get back the woman he loves, he may have to lose himself in the process. He might just turn into the very man he’s hunting.

Told in dual POV from Camden and Ellie.

The Artists Trilogy

On Every Street (The Artists Trilogy, #0.5)Sins & Needles (The Artists Trilogy, #1)
On Every Street (The Artists Trilogy #0.5) {Purchase}
Sins & Needles (The Artists Trilogy #1) {Purchase}

I read Sins & Needles on a whim last year… it’s one of those romantic suspense novels that appeared to be just like all the others but managed to shock the hell out of me with how explosive and thrilling it really was.

And as far as Shooting Scars goes… no middle-book syndrome here! Shooting Scars is an action packed follow-up that takes you on a thrill ride that refuses to let up. It’s intense, exciting beyond belief and has the perfect amount of sexiness. This story is a definite favorite of mine… I love the rarity of flawed characters possessing such a mesmerizing story.

The dual-narrative was perfection and offered us the opportunity to witness Ellie facing head-on the issues that drove her and Javier apart… and how their reunion dredges up the same feelings that brought the two together in the first place. It also allows us the internal look at Camden’s dark transformation and just how deep his feelings for Ellie are and of the things he’s capable and willing to do to get her back. The ending will no doubt leave you anticipating the last piece of their story… it’s bound to be intense there’s no doubt about that. The Artists Trilogy is dark, seductive and extremely exhilarating.

I love this series so much, I wanted to share this with one of my readers. Not all of you have read this series yet so I’m giving you the option of any book in this series, including the prequel!

1 lucky reader can choose ONE of the following Kindle books:

On Every Street (The Artists Trilogy, #0.5)Sins & Needles (The Artists Trilogy, #1)Shooting Scars (The Artists Trilogy, #2)

On Every Street (The Artists Trilogy #0.5)
Sins & Needles (The Artists Trilogy #1)
Shooting Scars (The Artists Trilogy #2)

Open to U.S. addresses only. Sorry international followers!
Contest ends September 3rd, 2013

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Short & Sweet – The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley

August 17, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2013, Short & Sweet Reviews 7 Comments

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

Short & Sweet – The Shadowy Horses by Susanna KearsleyThe Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark on October 2nd 2012 (first published January 1st 1997)
Pages: 432
Genres: Ghosties, Historical Fiction, Mystery
Format: Paperback
Source: a Giveaway, the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Rose Garden

three-half-stars

THE INVINCIBLE NINTH ROMAN LEGION MARCHES FROM YORK TO FIGHT THE NORTHERN TRIBES. AND THEN VANISHES FROM THE PAGES OF HISTORY.

Archaeologist Verity Grey has been drawn to the dark legends of the Scottish Borderlands in search of the truth buried in a rocky field by the sea.

Her eccentric boss has spent his whole life searching for the resting place of the lost Ninth Roman Legion and is convinced he's finally found it--not because of any scientific evidence, but because a local boy has "seen" a Roman soldier walking in the fields, a ghostly sentinel who guards the bodies of his long-dead comrades.

Here on the windswept shores, Verity may find the answer to one of the great unsolved mysteries of our time. Or she may uncover secrets someone buried for a reason.

Shadowy Horses is centered around Eyemouth, which is an actual fishing port located in south-east Scotland. The story references actual places and events including The Ship Hotel, the fish auctions and the Herring Queen Festival. While it hasn’t actually been verified that Eyemouth is the last resting place of the Ninth Roman Legion, this is what the fictional character Verity Gray is drawn to. Actual evidence had yet to be discovered, only the protestations of an eight year old boy that claims he’s seen and spoke with someone who walks the fields… a Roman soldier that died over two thousand years ago.

description

The Shadowy Horses is my third read by Susanna Kearsley and while it’s not my favorite, it still managed to guarantee that this is one author I will be reading everything she writes. This gothic tale felt more subdued than I had anticipated based off the enticing summary but was still wonderfully intriguing. The main character Verity was a strong and intelligent character that was a joy to read about. While I didn’t see the necessity to include a budding romance into this potentially enigmatic story line it ended up being a lovely addition making this an extremely well-rounded story. The ending was strangely dramatic and felt out of place from the way I thought the story was going but still left me altogether satisfied. I will most definitely be seeking out more from Susanna Kearsley.

(Picture Sources 1/2)

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Early Review + Giveaway! Night Film by Marisha Pessl

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

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

Early Review + Giveaway! Night Film by Marisha PesslNight Film by Marisha Pessl
Published by Random House on August 20th 2013
Pages: 602
Genres: Horror, Mystery-Contemporary, Thriller
Format: ARC
Source: Library Thing, the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads


five-stars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Giveaway ends August 29th, 2013!

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Short Story Review – Twittering from the Circus of the Dead by Joe Hill

August 10, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2013, Short Stories 1 Comment

Short Story Review – Twittering from the Circus of the Dead by Joe HillTwittering from the Circus of the Dead by Joe Hill
Published by William Morrow on August 6th 2013
Pages: 39
Genres: Horror, Zombies
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: NOS4A2, The Fireman: A Novel, Strange Weather

three-stars

 

 

Come one, come all. The show's about to begin. Step right up for the Circus of the Dead: where YOU are the concessions. #CircusoftheDead

 

 

 

@TWITTERING It was just a family road trip to Colorado for snowboarding and skiing.
8:47 PM – 6 Aug 13

@TWITTERING The trip home turns disastrous when they stumble upon the #CircusoftheDead
8:51 PM – 6 Aug 13

@TWITTERING Stopping and taking a break sounds like a plan. Might as well take in some entertainment.
8:54 PM – 6 Aug 13

@TWITTERING The special effects are amazing but something is definitely off.
8:56 PM – 6 Aug 13

@TWITTERING Nobody takes it seriously. Those aren’t real zombies after all. Zombies don’t exist.
8:59 PM – 6 Aug 13

@TWITTERING Nothing goes according to plan. Not when you stop at #CircusoftheDead
9:06PM – 6 Aug 13

@TWITTERING #CircusoftheDead Creepy. Gruesome. Eerie. Full of startling horror.
9:10PM – 6 Aug 13

@TWITTERING #CircusoftheDead All too brief. Abrupt. Inconclusive.
9:11PM – 6 Aug 13

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Early Review – This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

August 9, 2013 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013, YA 5 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.

Early Review – This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila SalesThis Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
Published by Farrar Straus and Giroux (BYR) on September 17th 2013
Pages: 288
Genres: Realistic YA Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Once Was a Time

four-half-stars

Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.

‘…I also felt like an eggshell that had gotten a tiny crack. You can’t repair something like that. All you can do is hope that it sticks together, hope that the crack doesn’t grow until all your insides come spilling right out.’

Elise Dembowski is the unpopular girl in school. She’s that girl that eats her lunch in the bathroom. She’s the one that never gets asked to the school dances. She’s the one that shuffles along silently down the halls, never saying a word, never making eye contact with anyone. The invisible one.

Elise decides she’s going to spend the entire summer leading up to the new school year learning how to be just like all the popular kids so that this year can be different. But it’s not. It ends up being just as disastrous as all others, but everything changes the day she goes home and decides to commit suicide.

“I had once thought that I wanted to get revenge by dying. But getting revenge by living, and living well, was much, much sweeter.”

I love how this book has been the conduit for so many shared personal stories. It resonated deep with me too, so I can’t but share my own tale.

The first half of this book I couldn’t seem to connect with Elise’s story and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why. I thought about it, discussed it with others and it finally hit me that the reason was due to how much I could relate and that I was unconsciously trying to emotionally disconnect. While I know I wasn’t the most tortured kid in school, my early school days are not filled with memories that I look back on fondly. I dealt with bullies at the bus stop and being teased for my choice in fashion for years. But what resonated the most with me was that intense desire that Elise had to just be noticed by the popular group of kids. I remember the day the popular group of kids at school finally talked to me, asking me for a quick favor, just to keep something in my backpack for them… saying no never crossed my mind. I remember being called to the principal’s office, having him search my bag and finding pot… apparently my “new friends” had been caught and had quickly decided to pawn it off on someone and I ended up being the perfect one to take the fall.

It took me a long time to understand the full extent of what those girls did to me that day. That incident made me realize that there are some people in this world that may put on a happy face and pretend to be your friend but they don’t have your best interests at heart. They don’t care what happens to you. And they are most certainly not people you want/need to have in your life.

Even if you can’t relate to Elise’s story, I’m sure you’ve known an ‘Elise’ type at some point in your life. But this can truly be a life lesson for everyone, whether you relate or not, because everyone is misjudged at some point in their life. This Song Will Save Your Life is a novel of self-discovery. It’s about finding good people to have in your life that will treat you with kindness and respect. It’s about finding what makes you happy in life. It’s about being shamelessly you… and realizing there isn’t a damn thing wrong with that.

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Early Review – Enon by Paul Harding

August 8, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013 1 Comment

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.

Early Review – Enon by Paul HardingEnon by Paul Harding
Published by Random House on September 10th 2013
Pages: 288
Genres: Contemporary
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
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two-half-stars

 

The next novel by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Tinkers, in which a father's grief over the loss of his daughter threatens to derail his life.

Powerful, brilliantly written, and deeply moving Paul Harding has, in Enon, written a worthy successor to Tinkers, a debut which John Freeman on NPR called "a masterpiece." Drawn always to the rich landscape of his character's inner lives, here, through the first person narrative of Charlie Crosby (grandson to George Crosby of Tinkers), Harding creates a devastating portrait of a father trying desperately to come to terms with family loss.

 

‘I felt like a ghost, listless and confined, wandering in a house that had been mine a century ago, relegated to examining the details of the lives of strangers.’

Enon opens in tragedy. Charlie Crosby misses a life changing phone call from his wife: his only daughter has been hit by a car and died. His struggle to deal with the grief is bad enough but shortly after his wife leaves him as well. Without his wife and daughter in his life he has lost all reason for living. He becomes the very epitome of pain and suffering. He has no one to share this grief with so he internalizes everything and by doing so sends himself on a downward spiral.

Enon is imbued with a suffocating grief that threatens to swallow you whole. The story meanders down a twisting path, lacking any linear pattern but instead forging it’s own self-destructive path. I understand the purpose behind the lack of a solid plot as I felt it was representative of Charlie’s mindset, but I was still anticipating something monumental to happen. A moment of major significance. But it just didn’t happen. The first person point of view gave the book a very monotone feel despite how emotional you would expect it to be.

I think this is a story that will speak to many people, but it almost seems like something you need to be going through personally in order to fully understand, appreciate and relate. Enon portrays just how all-consuming grief can be, especially when you allow it to overtake you.

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