Posts Categorized: Short & Sweet Reviews

Short & Sweet – The Beautiful Indifference: Stories by Sarah Hall

January 18, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2013, Short & Sweet Reviews 10 Comments

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

Short & Sweet – The Beautiful Indifference: Stories by Sarah HallThe Beautiful Indifference: Stories by Sarah Hall
Published by Harper Perennial on January 29th 2013
Pages: 208
Genres: Collections & Anthologies
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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five-stars

Winner of the Portico Prize
Winner of the Edge Hill University Short Story Prize
Short-listed for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award

Sarah Hall has been hailed as "one of the most significant and exciting of Britain's young novelists" (The Guardian). Now, in this collection of short fiction published in England to phenomenal praise, she has created a work at once provocative and mesmerizing.

‘A Beautiful Indifference’ is a collection of seven short stories that had been previously published in various forms and have been honored for awards on their own. The first story, ‘Butcher’s Perfume’ was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award in 2010 and ‘Vuotjärvi’ was long-listed for the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award in 2011.

I’ve only recently started reading short stories but I decided to pick this one up and was very pleased. Very raw and disconcerting stories with prose that really packs a punch and manages to leave your mind whirling. Each story is very allegorical. Lacking in a true, concrete conclusion and typically left open to interpretation, they all seem to have some deeper meaning that was unattainable for the most part for me. Despite this, these were some of the most gratifying short stories I have ever read. The writing was truly brilliant and left me always wanting more. Sarah Hall is definitely an author worth checking out.

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Short & Sweet – Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version by Philip Pullman

December 27, 2012 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2012, Short & Sweet Reviews 0 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.

Short & Sweet – Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version by Philip PullmanFairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version by Philip Pullman
Published by Viking Adult on November 8th 2012
Pages: 400
Genres: Fairy-Tales/Retellings
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads


three-stars

Two hundred years ago, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published the first volume of Children’s and Household Tales. Now, at a veritable fairy-tale moment—witness the popular television shows Grimm and Once Upon a Time and this year’s two movie adaptations of “Snow White”—Philip Pullman, one of the most popular authors of our time, makes us fall in love all over again with the immortal tales of the Brothers Grimm.

From much-loved stories like “Cinderella” and “Rumpelstiltskin,” “Rapunzel” and “Hansel and Gretel” to lesser-known treasures like “Briar-Rose,” “Thousandfurs,” and “The Girl with No Hands,” Pullman retells his fifty favorites, paying homage to the tales that inspired his unique creative vision—and that continue to cast their spell on the Western imagination.

Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version are 50 of Philip Pullman’s favorite tales from the original Brothers Grimm. These are ‘retold’ but still mostly maintains the original version of the stories. Being fully aware of the well-told stories of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, ‘Cinderella’ and ‘Snow White’ I found the lesser-known stories to be the most entertaining.

I’d been incredibly excited for this one for a while now after having finished Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy; I definitely wanted to read more of his writings. I’m not sure this would be a good one to start with if you were looking into trying Philip Pullman out for the very first time though.

I have a passing knowledge of the original Grimm Fairy Tale stories, having read only a few of the originals. With that said, I was interested to see just how original this new English Version by Philip Pullman actually was. It doesn’t appear that much was actually changed, however, this is still an enjoyable collection and one that I believe many fairy tale lovers will enjoy.

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Short & Sweet – And All the Stars by Andrea K. Höst

December 6, 2012 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2012, Short & Sweet Reviews, YA 0 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.

Short & Sweet – And All the Stars by Andrea K. HöstAnd All the Stars by Andrea K. Höst
Published by Smashwords on October 1st 2012
Pages: 260
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Sci-fi
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
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three-stars

Come for the apocalypse.
Stay for cupcakes.
Die for love.

Madeleine Cost is working to become the youngest person ever to win the Archibald Prize for portraiture. Her elusive cousin Tyler is the perfect subject: androgynous, beautiful, and famous. All she needs to do is pin him down for the sittings.

None of her plans factored in the Spires: featureless, impossible, spearing into the hearts of cities across the world – and spraying clouds of sparkling dust into the wind.

Is it an alien invasion? Germ warfare? They are questions everyone on Earth would like answered, but Madeleine has a more immediate problem. At Ground Zero of the Sydney Spire, beneath the collapsed ruin of St James Station, she must make it to the surface before she can hope to find out if the world is ending.

Most dystopian’s tend to be the story of what came after, of how the Earth had changed and how lives were transformed. In ‘And All The Stars’ we get a glimpse into the inner-workings of the change while it’s actually happening and affecting people now. Strange clouds have spread across the skies of the city and sparkling dust is emanating from them.

‘The rest, from just below her collarbone down, was an unbroken dark blue, studded with motes of light. Galaxies, nebulae and fiery novae. They weren’t on the surface of her skin, but seemed to float below it, as if she had become a window on a night sky at the centre of the universe.’

As time progresses, Madeleine’s symptoms begin to show: from extreme hunger cramps, all-over body aches, and then the velvet begins appearing on her skin. She has no idea why this is happening and who is behind all of it but she’s determined to survive this.

The story incredibly original and the writing was extremely well-done and descriptive. Unfortunately I still felt that things weren’t as clear as I would have liked and I felt myself getting completely lost in the story. Highly original story that focuses more on friendships than relationships and just so happens to be a stand-alone novel. Recommended for fans of dystopians with a sci-fi twist.

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Short & Sweet – Other People’s Love Letters by Bill Shapiro

December 23, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011, Short & Sweet Reviews 0 Comments

Short & Sweet – Other People’s Love Letters by Bill ShapiroOther People's Love Letters: 150 Letters You Were Never Meant to See by Bill Shapiro
Published by Potter Style on October 30th 2007
Pages: 192
Genres: Non-Fiction, Romance
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon
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three-stars

Fevered notes scribbled on napkins after first dates. Titillating text messages. It's-not-you-it's-me relationship-enders. In Other People’s Love Letters, Bill Shapiro has searched America’s attics, closets, and cigar boxes and found actual letters–unflinchingly honest missives full of lust, provocation, guilt, and vulnerability–written only for a lover’s eyes. Modern love, of course, is not all bliss, and in these pages you’ll find the full range of a relationship, with its whispered promises as well as its heartache. But what at first appears to be a deliciously voyeuristic peek into other people’s most passionate moments, will ultimately reawaken your own desires and tenderness…because when you read these letters, you’ll find the heart you’re looking into is actually your own.

• "i think UR great. wanna have wine & Tequila again sometime?"

• "I can't believe you're real, and I think about you constantly in some way or the other all day. I haven't given the finger to anyone driving since I met you."

• "With you I learned how to fight cleaner, how to talk things out better, and how to make a strong loving family out of nothing. These are priceless gifts that I will carry with me the rest of my life. One more thing you did for me: you left, and I had to get through it."

• "P.S. I look forward to your letters too much to call. Also, where do you stand on chains?"

’You should know…that still my life is consumed by you.’

This was an interesting little book that I was not expecting to like as much as I did. The title of the book may be ‘Other People’s Love Letters’ but they aren’t all your standard love letters. These are rejection letters, text messages, telegrams, breakup letters, letters of apology, but there are also true love letters that honestly had me crying at times. I quite enjoyed how some of these letters even included a postscript with explanations on some of the letters, or of details on what transpired after the letters were written.

’And I shall love you until I draw my last breath, and beyond.’

This was a charming collection of letters although I would have made slight adjustments if it was up to me. I found that there were several that disrupted the flow of the book as a whole because they were written about occurrences that of course we had no knowledge of. I found those in particular to be confusing and disjointed and felt that if they were removed the book would have been better for it.

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Short & Sweet – Mark of the Demon (Kara Gillian #1) by Diana Rowland

July 16, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011, Short & Sweet Reviews 2 Comments

Short & Sweet – Mark of the Demon (Kara Gillian #1) by Diana RowlandMark of the Demon by Diana Rowland
Series: Kara Gillian #1
Published by DAW on June 17, 2009
Pages: 386
Genres: Detective, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
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Also by this author: My Life As a White Trash Zombie, Blood of the Demon, Secrets of the Demon

five-stars

Cop and conjurer of demons, she's a woman in danger of losing control—to a power that could kill....

Why me? Why now? That’s what Beaulac, Louisiana, detective Kara Gillian was asking herself when an angelic creature named Rhyzkahl unexpectedly appeared during a routine summoning. Kara was hoping to use her occult skills to catch a serial killer, but never had she conjured anything like this unearthly beautiful and unspeakably powerful being whose very touch set off exquisite new dimensions of pleasure. But can she enlist his aid in helping her stop a killer who’s already claimed the lives—and souls—of thirteen people? And should she? The Symbol Man is a nightmare that the city thought had ended three years ago. Now he’s back for an encore and leaving every indication on the flesh of his victims that he, too, is well versed in demonic lore.

Kara may be the only cop on Beaulac’s small force able to stop the killer, but it is her first homicide case. Yet with Rhyzkahl haunting her dreams, and a handsome yet disapproving FBI agent dogging her waking footsteps, she may be in way over her head...

‘Mark of the Demon’ is the first in Diana Rowland’s Kara Gillian Series. Kara Gillian is a newbie Detective in small town Beaulac, Louisiana. She’s also a skilled summoner of demons who uses her occult skills in her cases. She’s put in charge of a case of recent murders that appear to be the same killer, The Symbol Man, who killed 13 people but hadn’t killed anyone in over 3 years. All of the victims show evidence of being killed for demonic purposes so Kara attempts to summon a demon to assist her but ends up summoning something else: a powerful Demonic Lord, Rhyzkahl.

I am SO glad that I decided to read this series. For those of you who don’t know, I started out a huge mystery/thriller fan and that’s about all I read. Then I discovered urban fantasy and realized I loved that as well. Well this series combined by two favorites. This had demons, crazy serial killers, hot cops, crazy CSI shit, and a demonic lord to boot… right up my alley. I don’t typically read back to back books in a series, I like to mix it up a bit every now and then, but I’m going straight to book number 2.

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Short & Sweet – Blood of the Maple (Maggie’s Grove #1) by Dana Marie Bell

July 16, 2011 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011, Short & Sweet Reviews 0 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.

Short & Sweet – Blood of the Maple (Maggie’s Grove #1) by Dana Marie BellBlood of the Maple by Dana Marie Bell
Series: Maggie's Grove #1
Published by Carina Press on April 11, 2011
Pages: 236
Genres: Diiiirrrrrrttyyy, Paranormal, Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads


two-stars

A seduction-gone-wrong leaves vampire Parker Hollis with a new vegetarian lifestyle and on the run from a vengeful witch. Moving to small-town Maggie's Grove, Parker meets a redheaded dryad with green, leafy blood that draws him in a way he hasn't experienced in decades. His new neighbor smells divine, and it isn't long before craving gives in to need.

In a unique community of supernaturals, tree-loving outcast Amara Schwedler has never quite fit in. She's scarred by a traumatic incident and feared by the local townsfolk. She's convinced Parker will look elsewhere for a mate once he discovers she's not one of the O-positive set, and can't believe it when Parker finds her irresistible.

When the witch who's been plaguing Parker's life discovers the newfound attraction between Parker and Amara, she takes out her anger on the town. Can the supernaturals of Maggie's Grove accept Amara and band together in time to withstand the assaults of the enraged witch?

I had really been looking forward to this book, I thought it was going to be A LOT better than it ended up being. The story was extremely fast paced, set in this ‘Stepford’ type society, just with supernaturals, including a vampire, Parker, cursed to be a vegetarian. Go figure he finds a dryad, Amara, that solves that exact problem. Anyways, the crazy ex-girlfriend that put the curse on Parker is still trying to come after him and cause problems, and that’s the story in a nutshell. Sorry, this is half-assed.

The relationship between Parker and Amara was a bit irritating… I have read plenty of novels where the characters fall madly in love almost immediately, but these two were married by date number two. Not only that, but there was no real connection between the two other than the fact that Parker wanted to suck her dry. It reminded me a lot of the relationship between Diana and Matthew in A Discovery of Witches , but not in the best way.

Unfortunately I don’t think this is a series that I will be continuing.

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Short & Sweet – Demonglass (Hex Hall #2) by Rachel Hawkins

July 16, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011, Short & Sweet Reviews, YA 0 Comments

Short & Sweet – Demonglass (Hex Hall #2) by Rachel HawkinsDemonglass by Rachel Hawkins
Series: Hex Hall #2
Published by Disney Hyperion on March 22nd 2011
Pages: 359
Genres: Fantasy
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Hex Hall, Spell Bound, School Spirits

four-half-stars

Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch. That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered the family secret, and that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth. Turns out, Sophie's a demon, one of only two in the world—the other being her father.

What's worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will destroy her powers. But once Sophie arrives she makes a shocking discovery. Her new friends? They're demons too. Meaning someone is raising them in secret with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they're using Acher to do it. But it's not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?

Yet another great book.. I think I actually enjoyed it a teensy bit more than Hex Hall; however, I did not laugh as much.

This book continues where the first left off with Sophie deciding to go through the Removal after she finds out she’s not actually a witch, but a demon, and a very powerful one at that. She flies to England with Cal (Love Cal-Archer can go away) and Jenna to meet her dad and spend some quality time with her as he is determined to change her mind about going through the Removal. While in England she finds out she’s betrothed, she meets other demons, and she comes face to face with Archer again.

Once again, another cliff-hanger ending and I’m sitting here pulling my hair out. Can’t wait till the 3rd installment is published. 🙂

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Short & Sweet – Hex Hall (Hex Hall, #1) by Rachel Hawkins

July 16, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011, Short & Sweet Reviews, YA 1 Comment

Short & Sweet – Hex Hall (Hex Hall, #1) by Rachel HawkinsHex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Series: Hex Hall #1
Published by Hyperion on May 28th 2010
Pages: 337
Genres: Fantasy
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Demonglass, Spell Bound, School Spirits

four-half-stars

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father-an elusive European warlock-only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus.

Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect. As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

Okay, so I loved this book… even though it had a total ‘Harry Potter’ feel to it. Only exception was that the main character, Sophie Mercer, always knew she was a witch. She lived in the real world up until she tried to make a friend with a classmate by casting a love spell for her. The love spell went awry and because she made her powers known, she was shipped off to ‘Hex Hall’-Boarding School for the Gifted.

Not only did this book have very likable characters, an intriguing storyline, but it was hilarious. There were so many quotes I could have added as favorites; however, I stopped at 3…maybe 4. Lol

And the incident with Archer and Sophie in the cellar… Ahhhh! That had my mouth gaping. Even though I should have seen that one coming, it still threw me for a loop.

So now I must decide whether to jump right into Demonglass or wait… Decisions decisions. 🙂

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