Monday, October 24, 2016

The Nest by Kenneth Oppel

The Nest

Steve just wants to save his baby brother—but what will he lose in the bargain? This is a haunting gothic tale for fans of Coraline, from acclaimed author Kenneth Oppel (Silverwing, The Boundless) with illustrations from Caldecott Medalist Jon Klassen.

For some kids summer is a sun-soaked season of fun. But for Steve, it’s just another season of worries. Worries about his sick newborn baby brother who is fighting to survive, worries about his parents who are struggling to cope, even worries about the wasp’s nest looming ominously from the eaves. So when a mysterious wasp queen invades his dreams, offering to “fix” the baby, Steve thinks his prayers have been answered.

All he has to do is say “Yes.” But “yes” is a powerful word. It is also a dangerous one. And once it is uttered, can it be taken back?

Celebrated author Kenneth Oppel creates an eerie masterpiece in this compelling story that explores disability and diversity, fears and dreams, and what ultimately makes a family. Includes illustrations from celebrated artist Jon Klassen.

Expected publication: October 6th 2015 by Simon & Schuster     I received a review copy from
I had a weird reaction to this book. Written for kids, but so scary I barely got through it!
This story revolves around Steve's family. Their new born baby is sick and constantly having to visit the doctor for testing. His parents are tired, scared and depressed. This is all pretty normal for the middle child, Nicole who seems to just go with the flow.  One day an unusual wasp family begins to build a nest on their house and stings Steve. The wasps are a silver-ish color and seem to be an unknown species. When one stings Steve and he finds out that he is allergic. It is from that moment on he becomes obsessed with the wasps and begins dreaming about them. Steve already has obsessions, he's a worrier, ocd and suffers from nightmares of a shadow man in his room.
On top of his current worries and anxiety he now begins to have dreams of the wasps. The queen begins to come to him in his sleep and tell him they are their to help the baby. There is an ominous feeling that hangs over the whole story. It is as if the words are telling you the story is one of angels, coming to save the family from further strife. Yet the storyline continues to become darker and darker. There were several times throughout the story that I had to put the book down. I kept thinking I had wasps crawling on my skin and Steve's worries and anxiety caused me some anxiety and I had trouble turning the pages.

Partly I thought there was no way I would recommend this to kids because it's scary stuff. On the other I think it's brilliant because of the writing and slow way that you are pulled through this story as the tension builds. It definitely has an ending that does not disappoint and had one of the scariest scenes I have ever read. It is nightmare heaven, especially to those that have a fear of wasps.
The only thing I could say is read at your own risk. The first half of the book is mostly story building, if you stick with it until the end....well, I hope you read it with the lights on!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Endure (Defy #3) by Sara B Larson

Endure (Defy #3)

by Sara B. Larson The remarkable third novel in Sara B. Larson's bestselling Defy series!

At last, Alexa and King Damian are engaged to be married. But their lives are far from safe. The kingdom of Antion is under siege, and Rylan is a prisoner of the enemy. Even worse, Alexa remains at the mercy of the evil Dansiian Rafe, who controls her mind and can force Alexa to kill or harm Damian at any moment. Despite this, Alexa is determined to rescue Rylan, which soon leads her far from Damian and deep into enemy territory.

When she arrives, what awaits her is deadlier than anything she could have ever imagined: an army of black sorcerers, and a horrifying plot to destroy the world as Alexa knows it. Will she be able to gather the strength to free herself, protect the love of her life, and save the land? Will there ever be true peace?

Acclaimed author Sara B. Larson has woven a stunning, romantic, and evocative finale to the Defy trilogy, that is sure to leave readers breathless until the very last page.

I received a review copy from
Now this is the right way to end an amazing series. I have loved Alexa from the first book and continued to admire her until the last page.
Throughout the series there is a repeating arch in which part of the story is told in the palace and partly on an adventure of some kind. This happens again in the third installment. Here we get to see so much of the kingdom of Antion and the surrounding kingdoms as well.
Threats are coming from all sides of the Kingdom and even guests to the palace are questioned. King Damian has a soft spot for trusting others, and this plays out several times throughout the book. Alexa, on the other hand is known for having to gain her trust before she lifts her hand from her sword in your presence.
The amount of black magicians is on the rise and causes Antion to be on their guard. There is a mystery around how there are so many and where are they coming from. Alexa will sacrifice herself to save her kingdom and her king. Putting herself in danger several times throughout the book.
We get to learn so much about the world setting and legends behind the sorcerers in this book. Alexa continued to be a very dedicated and strong character that is very admirable and we can all find something in her to apply to our own lives.
There is very little down time in this story, but there is always movement in the plot. The second half has so much action and development that you will not want to put the book down in anticipation for what happens next.
I couldn't be any happier with this book. It was an amazingly satisfying end to a great trilogy and makes me want to go right back to book one for a whole re-read.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Sweet by Emmy Laybourne

Sweet (Sweet #1)

by Emmy Laybourne*People would kill to be thin.*

Solu’s luxurious celebrity-filled “Cruise to Lose” is billed as “the biggest cruise since the Titanic,” and if the new diet sweetener works as promised—dropping five percent of a person’s body weight in just days—it really could be the answer to the world’s obesity problem. But Laurel is starting to regret accepting her friend Viv’s invitation. She’s already completely embarrassed herself in front of celebrity host, Tom Forelli (otherwise known as the hottest guy ever!) and she’s too seasick to even try the sweetener. And that’s before Viv and all the other passengers start acting really strange.

*But will they die for it, too?*

Tom Forelli knows that he should be grateful for this job and the opportunity to shed his childhood “Baby Tom-Tom” image. His publicists have even set up a ‘romance’ with a sexy reality star. But as things on the ship start to get a bit wild, he finds himself drawn to a different girl. And when his celebrity hosting gig turns into an expose on the shocking side effects of Solu, it’s Laurel that he’s determined to save.

Emmy Laybourne, author of the Monument 14 trilogy, takes readers on a dream vacation that goes first comically, then tragically, then horrifyingly, wrong.
I received a review copy from
The cruise is a highly televised media event, leading up to the days of the official release of  Solu to the world. The new Hollywood types, reality stars, singers and a handful of normal citizens are on this highly talked about cruise to try the new diet sweetener and be part of the excitement.

Tom (Baby Tom Tom) is going through a period in his career in which he is looking for a bit of a change. He wants to make more of the decisions in his future career opportunities. All of this cruise has been planned for him, what to wear say, do and love. When Laurel unexpectedly enters his life she inspires him to make his own decisions starting now.
Laurel is a timid girl with strong convictions. She was talked into accompanying her best friend Viv on the cruise, but ends up getting sea sick and having a hard time being adventurous. Tom brings her out of her shell and inspires her to open up more and become more outgoing.
When the unveiling of Solu finally begins it's a huge hit. The backers of the product and the consumers are so impressed with the results the possibilities are boundless. Some of the first clues the reader gets is the feeling of addiction the consumers begin to feel and the fact that all the workers on the boat have been forbidden to take Solu.
I found this story to be light and cute with a message about obsession. It's different from  Emmy Laybourne's other books and perfect for a summer beach read. A quick read that's pretty fast paced. As the whole story takes place on board the cruise there is not a lot to explore, but it still maintains the atmosphere of a travel adventure. It's very entertaining with a fun plot twist and comical humor.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Instrutions for the end of the World by Jamie Kain

Instructions for the End of the World

by Jamie Kain
He prepared their family for every natural disaster known to man—except for the one that struck.

When Nicole Reed’s father forces her family to move to a remote area of the Sierra Foothills, one without any modern conveniences, her life is completely turned upside down.

It’s not that Nicole isn’t tough. She’s learned how to hunt, and she knows how to build things—she’s been preparing for the worst-case scenario for what seems like forever.

But when she and her sister, Izzy, are left alone in this remote landscape to fend for themselves, her skills are put to the ultimate test. She’s fine for a while, but then food begins to run out, the pipes begin to crack, and forest fires start to inch closer every day.

When Wolf, a handsome boy from the neighboring community, offers to help, Nicole feels conflicted. She can take care of herself. But things have begun to get desperate, and there’s something about this boy she can’t shake.

As feelings develop between these two—feelings Nicole knows her father would never allow once he returns—she must make a decision. With her family falling apart, will she choose to continue preparing for tomorrow’s disasters, or will she take a chance and start living for today?
I received a review copy from

This story is one that is told from three different perspectives. Both Nicole and Izzy reflect on what is happening in their household after the move. Wolf is a neighbor who takes an interest in Nicole, and is dealing of the return of his now sober mother after a year of absence.
Their mother's reaction to the condition of the new house is what starts the beginning of the end. She and Izzy never wanted to move, but they were a family. Their mother finally puts her foot down and leaves them when she sees the new house. Wanting to save his marriage, their father soon leaves to chase after her. Leaving the girls all alone, in the broken down house in the middle of nowhere.
Nicole has to be the strong one, she is the oldest and has all the training to keep food on the table. But when the house itself starts falling apart she leans on her friendship with Wolf to get through the hard times. The sisters are complete opposite and they definitely have their own issues with each other and their situation.
Wolf is trying to work out how he feels about his mother returning and all of the changes that it brings. He's grown to not trust her because of her past addictions and how she left him. But he's been dealing and working hard to get through school.
I enjoyed the story because of the different angles we see of parents and children dealing with unusual circumstances. Addiction is hard, and divorce is hard, what these kids do to move forward with their own lives is positive even though they are very angry. The book was a really quick, short read with some really great characters. I loved Nicole's character the best, she's very strong and smart, great roll model.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Glass Sword (Audiobook) by Victoria Aveyard

Glass Sword (Red Queen #2)

If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

Length: 14 hrs and 39 mins  Narrated By Amanda Dolan Series: Red Queen, Book 2 Release Date: 02-09-16
I received a review copy from
What surprised me most about this story was how dark it got. The choices that had to be made and especially the inhumane actions that Maven takes as king actually shocked me. I don't think that the first book in the series really touched on how brutal this kingdom had become.
This story travels a lot, which I loved. We get a visual on what the people and country is like outside of the Mansions of the first book. There were only a few places along the way that I felt slowed in the story. It has a lot of fighting, killing, arguments that really push the plot forward and don't leave a lot of down time. Often through the journey I could not help but find myself remembering what I felt while reading the in the Hunger Games series. All of the actions in this book are leading up to a war and from what came out of this book, I would not be surprised to see book three take on some very gruesome scenes.
As the group begins to find some of the other Red's with powers I thought it was very intuitive of the author to include some of the most interesting powers. There were some I thought  I could not live without, some I would have never thought of...ever. And maybe a few that had me questioning how that power might be used in the third book.
It's very difficult for me to say that any of the characters actually showed "growth" in this part of the story. A lot of things have changed in their lives and all of their relationships change with it. For the most part, these situations really brought out the negative in these characters. I was constantly finding myself not trusting anybody and almost hating on Mare for some of her decisions. Part of the book's focus is also "trust no one" and this story really lives up to that quote. There is so much that happens in this story that it is a lot to take in, your mind will be processing the actions of these characters for days, it stuck in my head like glue.
The narrator does a fantastic job with this story. A wonderful voice that is often soothing, evokes great emotion and good pacing. Amanda Dolan is somebody that I would recommend you look for in an audiobook narrator I recommend her absolutely.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan

Apple and Rain

When Apple's mother returns after eleven years away, Apple feels whole again. But just like the stormy Christmas Eve when she left, her mother's homecoming is bittersweet. It's only when Apple meets someone more lost than she is that she begins to see things as they really are.

A story about sad endings.
A story about happy beginnings.
A story to make you realise who is special
I received a review copy from
There was something very familiar about this story, but I couldn't pin point where that feeling was coming from.
Apple lives with her grandmother. Her mother left them years ago searching for something different in life. Her father is nearby and visits sometimes. What Apple gets from her grandmother is steady and dependable. She is expected to go to school, church and to always respect others.
When Apple's mother returns out of the blue and offers a different option to Apple by offering for her to come live with her, Apple's world is thrown upside down with secrets, constant parties and new responsibilities.
This is a story with a lot of first times. Apple gets more independence, experiences love, loneliness and along with her new responsibilities has to grow up too fast. I enjoyed the story but didn't love it because I felt it was too familiar to me. My favorite part of the story was the connections and relationships that are built between Apple and other characters. The characters are what really makes this story, very memorable and overall heartwarming.