“The nesting” C. J. Cooke

The nestingRated 3 stars *** ARC. ebook. Berkley (Penguin Random House). To be published September 29, 2020.

Lexi had grown up in foster care with a mom who hated her. After a suicide attempt, she lost her job and was dumped by her boyfriend. Helpless and homeless, she spent hours riding commuter rail trains where she overheard a conversation about a nanny job in Norway. Lexi didn’t know anything about being a nanny, but knew she needed this job. She took over the resume and persona of Sophie Hallerton, the commuter who’d been thinking about applying for the job, and sent off her application.

After getting the job Lexi enjoyed her life in Norway with Coco and Gaia, her two young charges. However, Norway had its own secrets. What was the terrifying creature that regularly appeared in the house and grounds? What really happened to Coco and Gaia’s mother? Why did it seem as if the very earth wanted them all gone?

I enjoyed this book, and felt great sympathy for Lexi. HOWEVER I have BIG questions about the ending. For those who are reading my review, if you don’t want to spoil the ending for yourself, please don’t read below the SPOILER ALERT! banner. These questions, and resulting uncertainties, made me drop two stars from my rating.

However, since the storyline is very imaginative, I will recommend it for Adults. I hope the situation I mentioned below gets fixed before the book is published.

I received a digital advance reading copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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******SPOILER ALERT! ******* SPOILER ALERT! **********SPOILER ALERT! ********

I am VERY confused over how Aurelia died. In Derry’s version she wades into the fjord, submerges and drowns. However this doesn’t jive with what was written earlier in the book because Aurelia imagined herself wading into the fjord with reindeer and then returned home. She didn’t die during that particular visit to the fjord.

In the Prologue Cooke wrote that Aurelia died when she accidentally fell off a cliff while being chased. Did the author forget what she’d written and decide to make up a completely different death for Aurelia? Did she fall off the cliff OR did she drown while having hallucinations with the reindeer? If she drowned with the invisible reindeer then the Prologue needs to be rewritten.

Also, why did Tom decide to let Lexi stay on after her accident? He didn’t feel bad about her attempted suicide when she told him why she’d impersonated Sophie. He could have insisted she return to London after she got out of the hospital. What changed? I hope the author or publisher have answers for me. Thanks.

I received a digital advance reading copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

“Bone Gap” Laura Ruby

Rated 1 star * 2015. Baltzer + Bray (HarperCollins). 345 p.

BoneGapTheir mother abandoned Finn and his big brother Sean when she fell in love and moved out of state after their father’s death. In the two years since she left, Sean gave up his dream of becoming a doctor so he could take care of Finn. Everyone in the town of Bone Gap loves Sean and his quiet ways of doctoring as an EMT, while Finn suffers name-calling and abuse because of being unable to look anyone in the eye. He’s different, and the town doesn’t like someone to be different.

Beautiful Roza left Poland to study in America, never expecting to find herself kidnapped by an insane stranger on her final day of classes. She managed to escape and find a good home with Sean and Finn, but it didn’t take long for the stranger to find her. The only witness to her abduction was Finn but, because he didn’t get a clear view of her abductor, no one believes him. Finn and Sean feel abandoned once again.

Through alternating chapters from Roza, Finn, Sean and others in the small town of Bone Gap, Ruby weaves a tale of love, intrigue, fantasy and magic. Her meandering tale reveals that sometimes what we see with our eyes isn’t really there, while what we don’t see with our eyes is really there – or something like that.

Though this book won the 2016 YALSA Printz Award, I couldn’t get into it. I was confused half the time, as I prefer books to be more realistic than magical. I will leave it up to you to decide if you want to read it or not.


“Goddess” Josephine Angelini

Starcrossed, book #3. HarperTeen. 2013. 423 pp.

GoddessTricked by Ares into becoming blood brothers Helen, Lucas and Orion unwittingly joined the Four Houses, thus releasing Zeus and the other gods from his promise to remain imprisoned on Olympus. Now that they have been freed, the gods are roaming throughout the Earth wrecking havoc and chaos on mortals.

Helen has confusion of her own because she has started developing strange new powers. She finds herself growing distant from Claire and the rest of the Delos family as she ponders these new differences and wonders what they mean. Since Orion can see her feelings, she feels as if only he can understand her secrets. Unfortunately their closeness drives Lucas crazy as he believes Claire loves Orion, and the darkness within him deepens daily.

Meanwhile Zeus and the other gods are determined to win their final battle over the Scions, and have amassed an army that threatens to wipe out all the Houses. With war looming, and divisions amongst themselves, the Scions desperately try to think of a plan that will save them and their way of life.

Greed, revenge, murder, hate and love are all bound up in the lives of the characters readers aged 14 and older have grown to love in the series. Angelini pulls out all the stops in this long awaited conclusion but leaves a few ends untied, perhaps hinting at a future novella to solve them.

“Dreamless” Josephine Angelini

Starcrossed, book #2. HarperTeen. 2012. 489 pp.

DreamlessHelen was desperate to find a way to stop the Furies from interfering in the lives of the Scions. Since Hector killed his cousin Creon, he was now an Outcast and in constant danger of being killed by any demigod. Night after Night, she descended to the Underworld, hoping to find a way to end their reign of terror amongst the demigods and restore Hector to the Delos family. Despite her best intentions she has been unsuccessful, spending her time there in constant pain and torture.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, during the day she was haunted by her love for Lucas and their inability to ever be together romantically. Lucas has turned against her and withdrawn into himself, turning inwardly and outwardly angrier and darker. Sleepless nights and restless days, along with pining for Lucas, combined to make Helen weaker as her inability to rest and dream weighed heavily upon her, and her task remained unsolved.

One night, at her lowest and weakest, she met Orion an Outcast sent to aid in her Underworld quest. His kindness, handsomeness and availability drew them together leaving Lucas on the edges of their budding romance. Her love for Lucas was still strong, yet tempered by the growing feelings she began to have for Orion.

Despite her confusion and the intricacies of their feelings for each other, they all have to work hard if they’re going to stop the Furies and gain peace for the Scions. Despite their every endeavor, it was only a matter of time before they found out things might not come out as they’d hoped and the danger to mankind would be greater than it had ever been in the past.

Fourteen-year-old and older fans of “Starcrossed” will find another exciting page turner in “Dreamless,” leading the way to “Goddess,” its long awaited finale.

“Starcrossed” Josephine Angelini

Starcrossed, book #1. HarperTeen. 2011. 487 pp.

StarcrossedHelen of Troy, Paris, the Trojan War, Homer, the Illiad, Zeus as well as other major and minor Greek gods make their appearances in “Starcrossed,” along with murder, revenge, kidnapping, betrayal and romance. All are woven into one of the most exciting books I’ve read in a long time. “Starcrossed” takes ancient Greek mythology and mixes it with the modern world to create a love story quite unlike any other.

Sixteen-year-old Helen Hamilton’s life was pretty normal, until Lucas and his family moved to her little island of Nantucket. All consuming blinding rage suddenly possesses her in his presence, as her confused mind has only one thought “kill.”

In her saner moments she finds out she, Lucas and his relatives are demigods (half human, half god) bound by the laws of the Furies to seek each other out for an ancient curse of blood revenge and fight to the death. Humorous scenes follow as both desperately find ways to avoid killing each other.

Despite the odds, it doesn’t take long for their hatred to turn to love yet they are cursed to repeat ancient Greek history, as decreed by Zeus, if they ever try to be together. Helen and Lucas will do anything to change their future in this ancient story of love and hate preordained long before they were born, but there are others who will do anything to make sure Helen is destroyed forever.

Readers 14 and older will anxiously await its sequel “Dreamless.” 

“Sinners and the Sea: An untold story of Noah’s wife” Rebecca Kanner

ARC (Advance Reading Copy). Published April 2, 2013. Howard Books (Simon & Schuster). 304 pp.

SinnersandtheSeaBorn with a disfiguring birthmark on her face, the unnamed girl child faces a life of prejudice and fear in her small desert village. Abandoned by her mother, and raised by her father, none will draw near for fear of her demon-like powers. With no hope for her future or for marriage, no one is more surprised than she when her father gives her in marriage to a 600 year old man named Noah. In return, he will take her far away where no one can see her demon face ever again.

Noah is prophet in Sorum, a village filled with prostitutes and sinners, none of whom listen to his ramblings about the God of Adam and His coming judgement. As the years pass she desperately wishes for a name of her own, but obediently gives Noah three sons, always living in fear that her secret mark will be revealed and her life lost because of it. Even as Noah begins to builds an ark of which his God has spoken, the villagers continue their sinful merrymaking and unbelieving laughter. Soon, the rains begin to fall as the sea begins to rise, and her world is forever changed…

Kanner has taken the ancient story of Noah and the Flood and mixed it with a dose of mythology and imagination to create a tale filled with fresh breath and insight. Adult readers will find her views on Sorum and its sinners quite interesting, as well as her choices for what happens to Noah’s wife through her loves and loses while bravely seeking a name for herself.

“Vengeance Bound” Justina Ireland

ARC (Advance Reading Copy). Published Apr. 2, 2013. Simon & Schuster. 310 p.

VengeanceBoundWhen Cory was a young girl, she was kidnapped. Years later, she has vague recollections of that awful time in her life, only remembering that she had somehow murdered her captor with the help of The Furies. The Furies are sisters from mythological times, with the sole mindset of seeking revenge against all men who have committed both real, and imagined, crimes.

The sisters helped Cory escape so now they own her mind, body and soul. They constantly whisper in her mind, ordering her to kill and materializing at random moments. As a result, Cory has been forced to constantly move around the country and assume numerous identities. Sometimes she feels like she’s losing her mind.

Now that she’s almost 18 Cory hopes to be a normal teenager, but The Furies will never let that happen. Their murderous tendencies must be sated, and Cory is their vessel. Until she met Niko, Cory thought she didn’t have a future. Somehow Niko calms The Furies’ murderous thoughts in her head, and gives her hope that she can be free of them. However, The Furies don’t plan to ever let her go, and they won’t let anything stand in their way.

“Vengeance Bound” has good action, and will be enjoyed by teens 14 and older.