The Moonstone and Miss Jones – an alternate London is unraveling and the Moonstone is the key

The Moonstone and Miss Jones (Paranormal Investigator, #2)The Moonstone and Miss Jones by Jillian Stone
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: The Moonstone and Miss Jones (Phaeton Black, Paranormal Investigator)
Publisher: Brava (September 25, 2012)
ISBN-10: 075826898X
ISBN-13: 978-0758268983
Pages: 320

America Jones makes it back to London without Phaeton, and has no idea where he is, only that he is missing and seems to have deserted her. The only message she has received was a short note that said he had been shanghaied in Shanghai, she did not know what that meant or if she even believed him.

America goes to the flat that she and Phaeton rented, as it is familiar and she is sure Phaeton will return if he arrives back in town. On the way, she is attacked by a strange creature with skeleton arms and legs; she gets away with the help of Edvar, the gargoyle that has been by Phaeton’s side since he was a small child. She is told by the creature that there are many more of them in London. Meanwhile, Phaeton wakes up while still in the bowels of a vessel that he does not remember boarding, he only knows that he is soon to arrive in London and as he easily escapes the ship, he heads to the flat and is happy to see that America has already arrived.

America greets Phaeton hesitantly as she is not sure why he disappeared however she believes him when he tells her that he truly was kidnapped and forced onto this ship returning to London. They find out there are strange things going on in London and it seems some entity wanted Phaeton back no matter how he got here. They soon find out that the reason Phaeton is wanted back in town is because the orb (Moonstone) that was gifted to Phaeton by a Goddess has been stolen from Dr Exeter’s lab and according to several, Phaeton is the only one that can unlock the powers.

With the help of Gaspar Sinclair, a man who has been a thorn in Phaeton’s side for years and his team of Nightshade warriors, they piece together what they believe is happening. They find out there is an alternate London called Outremer, that exists and is unraveling and creating havoc in their current London. The Moonstone is the key to correcting the problems and must be retrieved as soon as possible.

Unpredictable danger follows Phaeton, America and the Nightshades while they travel back and forth between the two London’s following leads to the Moonstone. The story grips you from the beginning and does not slow down until the end as the gang tries to prevent a catastrophe. The ending is startling and leaves you wanting more.

What a wonderful gripping steam punk fantasy. I truly enjoyed the story. This is the second installment in the Paranormal Investigation series however it can stand alone as the author catches you up. I enjoyed both Phaeton and America, the chemistry between them is wonderful, and the secondary characters are a joy, the Nightshades are an entertaining group and I am looking forward to seeing them in future books.

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Fight Club + Lifetime Original Movie = This train wreck of a romance

Beautiful Disaster

By: Jamie McGuire

Genre: Seriously effed-up dysfunctional YA romance

Rating: R (for sex and language)

Coffee Beans: 3.5/5

Spoilers: Nothing major

Favorite Line: “It looks like Vegas threw up on a flock of vultures,” America sneered.

Warning: This is going to be long, but I promise you, it will be interesting and entertaining to make the ride smooth. Also, I will not be commenting on the technical side of the book (writing, etc), I will only be commenting on the story itself. Point 3, this is, 100% a guilty pleasure review, because that’s the only way I could review this book.

Publisher’s Review:

The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby wants—and needs—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.

From me:

I’m learning my lesson this time around and writing my review as I go. Mainly because with this book, there’s a lot I want to say and I don’t want to forget any of it.

I started this book at 7pm last night, read to 11 (past my bedtime) and then sat in my car before work and read as much as I could there, too. Repeat the process for lunch, add in reading under my desk and then in the car on the ride home. This book is addicting, and pulls you through with such force, you’re bound to get whiplash.

But that in no way means that this is a “good” book.

It just means I couldn’t put it down. And based on a lot of the reviews out there, that’s how the majority of the readers felt, too; no matter how slight.

Guilty Pleasure Review

I’m probably going to offend a lot of people out there with this next statement, but here we go!

Any woman who says, that deep down, they don’t have some sort of fantasy of or desire for (on any level), a man to be an Alpha Male around her is lying to herself. Girl Power is all over the place (yay, I support that! I’m all for strong women and doing things for ourselves, etc), but deep down, I think it’s a primal instinct of our sex that we want to have the big, strong, burly, somewhat aggressive/protective/dominant male to single us out, find us attractive, and then defend us against any other encroaching male. It’s also a strange (and somewhat stupid, IMO) desire to find the broken man and be able to “fix” or change him because we’re that special or he loves us that much.

That being said, I want to make it clear that I don’t think that that’s what this book does. AT ALL. I think this book supports more of an abusive, co-dependent, dysfunctional relationship. But that’s obvious, so I’m not going to talk about it anymore than that.

Continuing.

As I was saying, it’s not that this book is particularly well written or has a very strong plot. The female MC is a worse flip-flopper than Kerry during the 2008 presidential election and weak, but for some blasted reason, I couldn’t put the book down, and when I wasn’t reading it, all I thought about was picking it up to read it some more. I think the reason is this: That’s a pretty dangerous/exciting/thrilling life to be living vicariously through Abby. Admit it. Going back to your early college years. The partying, the hooking up, the careless fun with no consequences or responsibility….Psychopathic boyfriend with anger and obsession issues…..Oh, wait….

Moving on.

On a safe, light level, this is probably a life that some women secretly long for or wish they could go back to. And this entire book was one fustercluck of a dysfunctional, twisted train wreck that you couldn’t pass by without slowing down to gape at.

You all know how I feel about books being written glorifying this type of relationship, so I’m not going to get up on my soapbox…much. Instead, let’s break down what’s going on here, in a somewhat light-hearted manner.

The Setting

Okay, really, what college has a cafeteria and an hour lunch period devoted strictly to eating? Any hands? Bueller? That’s right…none. That I know of. I got the distinct impression that this was supposed to be/originally written in a high school setting. Here’s how I pictured the author’s original scenario playing out:

  • Two girls in high school, maybe a private away-from-home school. America falls for an older guy from the nearby college. Abby follows suit with the guy’s cousin. (It would explain why the girls are living in the dorms and the guys are living in an apartment instead of in dorms or in the frat house, like they should be. Which is also why they have lunch hours – to develop the Travis-Abby relationship dynamic and the Travis-gets-to-pummel-the-football-team opportunities.)
  • But wait! If I have it set in high school, then I can’t really have the content in the book that I want to (because, let’s face it, even though “anything goes” in YA, there are some decency limits). And, it’d be weird to be publicly talking about and okaying the fact that they’re sneaking off to their college boyfriend’s apartments and doing the unmentionable (Mare, at least).
  • So I’ll make it college. Voila! Everything is fixed and now it’s okay that they’re dating older guys and there are underground fight circles and I can push the limits EVEN MORE!

The end.

I’m sure it didn’t go exactly like that, but probably pretty close.

The Best Friend Factor

America sucks as a best friend. I’m putting that out there now. She encourages Abby to like Travis. Then tries to protect her from Travis because he’s “scary” and “dangerous”.  Then she doesn’t really give any merit to what’s happening in her best friend’s relationship. BUT, when her boyfriend, Shepley, makes some stupid wrong decision, the world is ending and she breaks up with him. Multiple times.

And what’s up with Shep? Always warning Abby to be patient with Travis and to overlook the “mistakes” he’s going to make. Uh, okay…is that what they’re calling psychotic-anger-violent tantrums now a days?

Then there’s the scene where Abby ends up leaving in the middle of the night. Travis wakes up and freaks out. Tearing down drapes, throwing stereos, punching mirrors, ripping doors from hinges, etc. America actually has the nerve to call Abby and tell her what’s going on, confess that she’s really scared of Travis right now, and then tell Abby that she has to come back.

WTF?????

(Let’s face it, reality is seriously skewed in this book, which is why I can’t give it a serious review.)

Abusive relationships

Yes, there is more than one. For instance, with me. I felt like I was in an abusive relationship with this book. At first, it’s fine. I like the storyline, I like the characters. The book is nice to me. The extreme fantasy of this situation playing out the way it was was okay.

Then, little things started happening. The wrong reaction from Travis, the wrong decision from Abby. The flippant attitude of everyone involved when disturbing things start happening. But then, everything goes back to how it was in the beginning, normal. Gifts were exchanged, smiles flashed, compliments given. It’s all good, right?

Wrong.

I didn’t want to read. What I was reading was wrong. But I was promised everything would get better. And I had to know what was going on. So I read on. Which is the whole point.

Even though there wasn’t any physical abuse going on between Abby and Travis, there was certainly some mental and psychological abuse present. From the outside, this was definitely a relationship that shouldn’t have been explored. But I can also understand how it may not have been so obvious for Abby. But, there’s no excuse for Mare and Shep not to have stepped in with the red flags.

Abby

Oh, crazy, emotional, dysfunctional, blind, inconsistent, Abby. Okay, so I understand why she took the bet and held to it. I mean, she just out of high school and not all that mature. I’m sure that if a lot of girls were in her position, and Travis was a guy they were interested in (because, let’s face it, she was lying when she said she wasn’t interested), they’d totally lose that bet on purpose and claim integrity and honor by fulfilling it. So, for a few people out there, it’s a realistic set up. Sometimes I think Abby’s smart, seeing that Travis is not a wise choice for a boyfriend, and then she surprises me and turns dumb again, ignoring her previous decision.

Lame-ass secret

That’s right, I’ve called you out, “mysterious reason as to why Abby doesn’t want to get close to Travis”. L-A-M-E. I mean, it could’ve been good, if it were executed better, given more weight, and showed up more throughout the story except for where it was convenient to move the plot forward or explain some back-assward reasoning for Abby’s actions.

Nicknames

Everyone and their dog has a nickname! For the love of Pete, can’t we just call ‘em by their names?? Pigeon/Pidge/Abs = Abby; Mare = America; Shep = Shepley; Trav = Travis. Pigeon kind of annoyed me at first, but then it grew on me.

Addictiveness

I’ll admit, I thought this was a completely different book when I started reading it and was a bit confused when I saw it on an end cap in B&N next to 50 Shades and Ann Rice’s old books. (I thought I was starting the YA book Love & Other Perishable Items, the covers are so freaking similar. It’s not my fault). But the more I read, the more addictive it became. And I couldn’t put it down. I stayed up past my bedtime the first night. Sat in the parking lot before work to read. Read on my lunch. Read under my desk. And went to read after work at Sbux, BUT MY NOOK BATTERY DIED!! So yes, this plot is strong enough and fast enough to pull you through the unbelievable crap that’s between the covers (and not the bed sheets kind).

I loved this guy’s review and in particular, this snippet:

“Anyhoo, with all this rambling it may seem like I hated this book. Not at all! Much like a junkie getting kicked out of rehab for shooting up the smack he smuggled in his anus, I continually keep coming back to these type of stories! It’s a love/hate relationship! I just want to see how the story is going to end…even though I sort of already do.”

For me, that’s the perfect description.

The Ending

It sucked. I’m not saying anything else, except: It was a little too cookie cutter of an HEA. I think there should have been a bit more dysfunction in the end. Like maybe a murder (Travis has it in him) or a mob contract, or something equally as interesting (Joking, but only slightly).

There’s Another One

And you can bet your bottom dollar that I’m gonna read it. It’s gonna be told from Trav’s POV so we’ll understand why he acted like he did and all fall in love with him. Awwww! (Every time Travis is in a scene, the song Smooth Operater comes to mind…)

My friend, Tiff, described it as a “train wreck of a romance” and I couldn’t agree more. There are two times when the characters describe the truth of the relationship. Abby says, “We are dysfunctional, Travis.”(amen) and then Shep tells Abby that when her and Travis are happy everything’s rainbows and butterflies but when they’re not, it’s like a tornado is destroying the world.

I think Beautiful Disaster is the perfect mash-up of Fight Club and some outrageous Lifetime Original Movie. In fact, I totally envisioned this as a movie and the success it would have if ever put into one, from the first scene at the Circle. Come to find out, it’s going to be made into one sometime in the future.

In the end, I think this book—as much as some people don’t want to admit it—is believable and a reality to a lot of girls out there. So deal, even if you don’t like it or agree. Overall, I liked it for the mindless, emotional abuse of a ride that it was.

Happy reading!

Never Seduce a Scot. The Highlands come alive with clans, feuds and romance

Never Seduce a Scot (The Montgomerys and Armstrongs, #1)Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: Never Seduce a Scot
Author: Maya Banks
Publisher: Ballantine Books (September 25, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0345533232
ISBN-12: 978-0345533234
Pages: 416

The Highlands are all about clans, feuds and loyalties and the King is worried that some of his valued supporters, the Montgomery’s and the Armstrong’s are at war, which can hurt him in the long run. In his infinite wisdom the king thinks he has found the perfect solution, a marriage in an effort to halt the feud between the two clans. Although there is disbelief amongst the clans, they will both go through with the arrangement because to do otherwise would be to sign their death warrant.

Graeme Montgomery, the clan chief is worried, it is said that Eveline is still a young girl and it is thought that she isn’t right, that she is touched. Graeme would not want to hurt or scare the simple girl so she could never be a proper wife to him. Therefore this marriage would prevent him from having children to carry on the clan’s legacy; and although he does not like the idea, this responsibility will have to go to his brothers Bowen or Teague.

Eveline has not spoken a word in three years, ever since she fell from a horse and woke up several days later. At the time, she was betrothed to another man named Ian McHugh who is the son of a powerful clan leader that the Armstrong’s wanted an alliance with. The wedding had been called off after the accident when it was found that Eveline was not talking and did not seem right in the head.

Eveline is keeping a secret from everyone, she is so afraid of Ian that she is lying to all about what is wrong with her. During her betrothal, Eveline found that Ian was an evil man who enjoyed telling her in great detail of what would happen to her after their wedding, her life with Ian would have been a nightmare and although her parents love her and want nothing but happiness for her, they believed her fears were just normal fears before the wedding to someone she did not know well.

Eveline did suffer from her accident; she has been unable to hear anything and has been unsure of her voice, however she has developed the ability to read lips and is able to follow most conversations. She knows what others say about her, yet with the threat of Ian still around, she is keeping quiet.

She finds out about the marriage with Graeme and at first is shocked that the king would try to unite her clan with their sworn enemy however when the wedding party arrives and she first meets Graeme, she knows immediately that he is the man for her and she is all the sudden smiling. Graeme is taken back by her smile and is amazed that she is a very beautiful woman, not a girl at all. After the wedding, they head back to the Montgomery land where Eveline is introduced to very hostile clan members who do not welcome her and make her life miserable. She is very grateful for Rorie, Graeme’s sister as they form a friendship and bond which helps Eveline deal with several situations.

What a great story teller Maya Banks is, she blends wonderful tales with great romance. The characters are likeable and you enjoy getting to know them, the chemistry between Eveline and Graeme is electric and you see how close they become as the story progresses. The danger that finds both Graeme and Eveline on several occasions is exciting and gripping. They grow to love each other with trust and affection and are pleased when the clan begins to realize that although Eveline was born an Armstrong, she is quickly becoming a Montgomery in every aspect.

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Book burning and other such crazy talk

I’m glad the controversial reading list for Nampa High School has come up (Life Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquirel). It brings to light something that I’ve been working on blogging about, and it’s this: Content in YA books is not inocent.

Gone are the days of The Babysitter’s Club, Madeleine L’engle, and the Redwall series. Today is the day of Beautiful Disaster, Speak, and the Hunger Games. And the sooner that everyone realizes that, the better.

I’m not saying that EVERY young adult book out there is like that, but the majority of them have some sort of real-world issue happening. Dating, violence, love, sex, drugs. Life. That’s what it comes down to. Books are about life.

Often times, these books may seem ridiculous and over the top to us, but to a teen whose life is filled with life or death moments and earth-shattering-I’ll-never-survive-this! events, it’s not hard to believe why they consume books of this nature so voraciously. The story unfolding between the covers may not be your life or mine, but to a teen, feeling like they’re facing the same situation, it’s 100% relatable and real. Don’t downplay that for them.

I don’t believe that parents–or students–should be forced to read that content if it violates their moral/ethical codes. By all means, speak your mind, choose something else. But to act shocked that those books are out there–accessable to yor children–is an incredibly naive stance for today’s parents to assume. In fact, just the other day, I was at Costco and saw an eleven-year-old girl pick up a copy of 50 Shades of Grey, flip it open and start reading it. It’s a scary truth we live with.

Like I said, this controversy over reading material is not new but since it came up, I have been inspired to write this post.

  • Parents should know what their kids are reading and what’s available in the market today. Oh, a book about faeries? How sweet. Open up that cover to see just how sweet those faeries are. Do you want your child reading what the author has to say? It’s your decision and responsibility to choose what your kids are exposed to and when they are mature enough to handle it. You know better than anyone else what’s apporpriate.
  • Instead of taking the easy path and simply saying yes or no without doing your research is an injustice to yourself, your children, and the school system. Read it for yourself instead of jumping on the nearest bandwagon. Understand the environment and the culture from which the story and/or the author is coming from. Read, in context, the “questionable” scenes that come up. Comprehend the underlying theme of what the story’s saying. THEN make your decision, and sit down and explain to your kids why, so they can understand.
Here are the top ten most frequently challenged books of 2011 according to the ALA (American Library Association):
  1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r by Lauren Myracle
  2. The Color of Earth by Kim Dong Hwa
  3. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins (A best selling series, VERY successful movie, and one of my favorite books)
  4. My Mom’s Having a Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy by Dori Hillestad Butler
  5. The Absolutley True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Serman Alexie (I should mention that this book has received quite a bit of recognition and praise and was voted as one of the top YA books for the summer in NPR’s poll)
  6. Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  7. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  8. What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones
  9. Gossip Girl by Cecily Von Ziegesar (popular television series on the CW)
  10. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

But what abou you? What are your thoughts with the books that are in question? What are your thoughts with the content of YA books in general? or the access kids have to them? What role should the schools play in this? What rolls should the parents and/or kids play, if any?

Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed – A great historical romance

Seven Nights in a Rogue's Bed (Sons of Sin, #1)Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed by Anna Campbell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed
Author: Anna Campbell
Publisher: Forever (September 25, 2012)
ISBN-10: 1455512079
ISBN-13: 978-1455512072
Pages: 416

Sidonie Forsythe is a young woman who is desperate to help her sister Roberta get out of a bad situation with Jonas Merrick, a bastard son of a Viscount. Roberta has some large gambling debts and does not want her abusive husband to find out and Jonas has given Roberta a way out. She is scared and a little immature to face her problems so goes to her sister for help. After eight years of marriage Roberta has changed into someone Sidonie does not like however Roberta is still her sister and she would do anything to protect her.

Roberta is the Viscountess Hillbrook and is married to William who is the cousin of Jonas. William gained his title when it was revealed that Jonas’ father and mother were not married. The hatred between Jonas and William is mutual and has a long history, including a time when they were in school and William attacked Jonas and ruining his face before anyone could intervene. When Jonas’ father passed away, he could not give his son the title however he could give his son the wealth, so even though Jonas is considered a bastard, he is very rich while William has not managed the small amount of money he inherited and is almost broke.

Sidonie has been living at Barstow Hall with Roberta and William however in a few months she will be able to go off on her own when she receives her small inheritance. Sidonie decides to take Roberta’s place and goes to Castle Craven to meet with Jonas, who is more than surprised to see the spinster sister.

After the first night, Jonas finds he does not want a martyr in his bed and wants Sidonie to come to him willingly, so they make a bargain, in return for her presence at Castle Craven for seven days, he will consider Roberta’s debts paid. Over the next week, they grow to care for each other and while on a visit to William and Roberta’s a sudden turn of events changes everything.

I really enjoyed this novel; a story about one person sacrificing for someone they love and another person finding how to forgive through years of heartache. Although in the beginning it took awhile for Jonas and Sidonie to grow on me because their connection seems rushed, however as the story progresses their feelings become more real and it broke my heart when Jonas felt betrayed and turned away from Sidonie, I truly knew the depths of their feelings for each other as they found their way back toward love.

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Midnight Rescue – A mission gone wrong in this romantic suspense thriller

Midnight Rescue (Killer Instincts, #1)Midnight Rescue by Elle Kennedy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: Midnight Rescue
Publisher: Signet (May 1, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0451236580
ISBN-13: 978-0451236586
Pages: 368
Rated: Loved It

A mission that seems to have gone wrong has Abby Sinclair in a precarious spot; Abby never makes a mistake and never gets caught, so when her boss, Noelle, is unable to contact her while undercover she gets worried and sends a mercenary team to rescue her. Abby is not pleased with the rescue effort because she was not able to complete the assignment and is determined to go back and finish what she started.

Abby was recruited by Noelle after surviving a horrific childhood; she was bouncing around several government jobs when Noelle found her, knowing about her because she knew Jeremy Thomas, the man who adopted Abby when she was a teenager and knew she was trained well. Now Abby is working with a group of women undercover all over the world as an assassin. Noelle gives her the assignment to assassinate Blanco, an arms dealer and trafficker in Columbia. While undercover Abby finds he is also dealing in other items for sale that she can’t ignore, it seems he has found a lucrative business dealing with human cargo and most of them are young girls. Abby feels the only way to stop the auction is to be a part of it so blows her cover to be taken prisoner in order to save the girls. Abby had it all planned and had a hidden key to use in case she needed it. While being tortured and threatened by Blanco’s main man, Devlin, she gouges out his eye just as the mercenaries are storming in to grab her.

Kane Woodland is a former SEAL and has been working with the mercenary team for several years and is Jim Morgan’s second in command. Abby and Kane find they have an immediate connection and although he would like to pursue it, Abby has closed herself off from all feelings and does not trust Kane enough to support his pursuit. The only thing that is on Abby’s radar at the moment is to heal from her wounds and rescue those girls from Blanco and she will do anything to achieve it. Abby talks both Noelle and Morgan into helping with her plan of rescue the girls, they even bring in a few mercenaries from other places. While planning Kane receives phone calls from Devlin asking about Abby, trying to find out where she is and as soon as he finds Abby is with Kane and the team, he will only talk to her. Devlin obtains past information about Abby, tormenting her with the pain from her past in order to bring her out of hiding so he can get his revenge.

As the team plans the rescue and Abby deals with what to do about Devlin, she and Kane grow closer together and start forming a bond. Since Abby is unable to trust, the bond is stretched thin at times as Abby takes things into her own hands, jeopardizing the rescue of the girls as well as the tenuous relationship with Kane.

A wonderful exciting story that keeps you guessing and engaged until the end as you feel a part of the team. The characters are believable and the back stories keeps your interest as you want to find out what happens in the end. I enjoyed the relationship with Kane and Abby as well as the secondary characters that also seem to have a connection that could be developed in future books, both Noelle and Morgan and Isobel and Trevor all had connections that hopefully will be in the next in the series.

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Gone Girl’s twisted characters and plot will have you gasping for breath

 

Gone GirlGone Girl
Gillian Flynn
Adult Suspense
Rating: Strong PG-13 for language and some mentions of sex
Coffee Beans: 4.5/5

Publisher’s Summary


Marriage can be a real killer.


One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. The Chicago Tribune proclaimed that her work “draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction.” Gone Girl’s toxic mix of sharp-edged wit and deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn.


On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?


As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?


With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.


My Review


As you know, I prefer YA, and when I do read outside my genre it’s usually not suspense. But….I’ve heard so many good things about this book and my friend has been on me for months to read this book. So, I found myself with an extra week on my hands and no particular book that just had to be read and reviewed, so I decided to give this one a shot.


And oh Mylanta, I’m so glad I did.

The book is told from two points of view. Nick, the husband, and Amy’s journal entries, the missing wife. The journal entries are from the past and Nick’s narrative is being told in the present, and as the story progresses, the two meet up.


The thing I found most interesting how completely different Amy and their marriage was painted between what Nick had to say and what Amy had written. It was almost as if they were talking about two entirely different people.


About a quarter of the way through came the first twist. Then, half way into the book, an even bigger twist came. I mean, both of these were completely out of the blue and had me stunned. I had about five working theories as to what happened and how the book was going to end—all very plausible, and I’m happy to say that one of my theories was right.


But I had only scratched the surface. The twist and depth that Flynn put on the story I never could have imagined by myself. The dysfunction in the relationships and the complete twistedness of the characters is fantastic. If you want a read that will drag you along and have you coming up for air, this is the one for you.


Happy reading!

Long Lankin is a fantastically chilling tale just in time for Halloween

Long LankinLong Lankin

Lindsey Barraclough

Candlewick Press (June 2012)

YA Thirller

Rating: PG-13 (for potentially scary content for some readers)

Coffee Beans: 5/5

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for this honest review.

Publisher’s Summary

A chilling, beautiful debut novel inspired by a haunting folk song about murder, witchcraft and revenge. Beware of Long Lankin, that lives in the moss …When Cora and her little sister Mimi are sent to stay with their elderly aunt in the isolated village of Bryers Guerdon, they receive a less than warm welcome, and are desperate to go back to London. But Auntie Ida’s life was devastated the last time two young girls were at Guerdon Hall, and now her nieces’ arrival has reawoken an evil that has lain waiting for years. A haunting voice in an empty room …A strange, scarred man lurking in the graveyard …A mysterious warning, scrawled on the walls of the abandoned church …Along with Roger and Peter, two young village boys, Cora must uncover the horrifying truth that has held Bryers Guerdon in its dark grip for centuries – before it is too late for Mimi. Intensely atmospheric and truly compelling, this is a stunning debut.

My Review

I’m never waiting this long to write a review for a book I love again. It was so good I thought I’d always remember about its detailed awesomeness, but I was wrong. Life intervened and I forgot most of what made this book great except for the blinding fact that it is great.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I hardly ever get scared reading books. I’m more of a visual person when it comes to being scared. But Long Lankin broke that curse. I can’t even tell you how many times that book gave me goose bumps and just that all over creepy feeling. This is one of those books that I will recommend to everyone I come in contact with and it’s one that will be added to The Shelf.

The story is told from the point of view of three different people: Cora, Roger, and Aunt Ida. Each adding different pieces of the puzzle to the eerie tale of Long Lankin and the old church in the Marshes. The point of view is mostly from Cora, with Roger coming up as a close second. Aunt Ida’s voice only makes an appearance when some especially creepy revelation needs to be made. But with all of these characters, even the ones whose voices we don’t hear, the reader is given a good, round sense of who they are and what they’re like as people.

The setting is also what makes this story. 1940’s English countryside in a small town filled with small-minded people. A haunted church that’s half sunk into the marshes, ghostly children, a scary painting, doors and windows sealed shut (let me tell you, while I was reading this, all the doors and windows in our house were shut tight), a crazy aunt, witches…the list goes on.

Be prepared for this, though: It’s a long book, and a heavy book. At 450 pages, don’t expect to just breeze through it. There’s a lot of history, names, events, etc that need to be kept track of. Half the time I felt like I needed to be taking notes to keep everything straight and to make sure I got the full impact of the storytelling.

But it was worth it. I will for sure be reading this again.

Happy Reading!

B2M Night deux! The Bourne Legacy

We had our second B2M night at the end of August, The Bourne Legacy, and this time we had more people than last (five versus two). We met at the usual haunt before had, laughed, ate some good food and then made our way to Edwards Gateway.

Okay, so, for the movie. I’ll admit, I’ve never read any of the Bourne books, but I have seen all the movies. I enjoyed them, although, towards the last installment, it was getting a little redundant. But they were good. Action-packed, big names, bigger budget. So, when another one came out—with new names and a new story—I was down to see it.

Was Jeremy Renner a good choice for the new “Bourne”? I think so; he plays the big bad, stoic undercover operative well. And What about Rachel Weisz? Besides the fact that she’s far too thin nowadays, she was okay in this role. But I want to go on the record as saying I liked her better in The Mummy series with Brendan Fraser.

As for the plot? It’s nothing new for the Bourne franchise. It’s a regurgitated storyline from the first three – Operative has no idea why he’s trying to be killed, does really cool stunts with really cool gadgets to avoid getting caught, has pretty woman by his side, kicks but, kills people, and oh yeah—plenty of chase scenes. Basically, this movies was two and a half hours of various chase scenes.

At the end of the day, it wasn’t as good as I was led to believe by friends.

Upcoming B2Ms?

• Lawless in September (possibly early October depending on schedules, but October is going to be busy in and of itself for B2M!)
• Perks of Being a Wallflower comes out 9/21
• Alex Cross on 10/19
• Cloud Atlas on 10/26