Monday, August 31, 2015

Review: Nil Unlocked (Nil #2) by Lynne Matson

Nil Unlocked (Nil #2) by Lynne Matson
On the island of Nil, the rules are set. You have exactly 365 days to escape—or you die. Rives is now the undisputed Leader of Nil City, but keeping the City united is tougher than ever.
Raiders have grown bolder, supplies are dwindling, and non-human inhabitants have taken a turn toward the deadly. New arrivals cause rifts within the City, putting the Search system at risk, and calling everything Rives knows into question. Desperate for answers, he teams up with the only other person searching for them: Skye, a new arrival with a mysterious past of her own. Soon the duo find themselves locked in a desperate race to save all the residents of Nil—and possibly destroy the island forever. But at what cost? And who will pay the price?


Publishes in US: May 12th 2015 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Genre: ya scifi
Source: library
Series? yes
my review of 1st Nil 

Buy it:       

Author stalk away: ~site
The YA Valentines
One Four Kid Lit
All The Write Notes

    I wanted to read Nil Unlocked because I liked the world building and plot for the first, and wanted to get inside the heads of others on the island. For the first I do remember the thing that bothered me was figuring out how the island came to exist, how the kids get there, and who choses. I lost myself in the story, and I understand that the kids wouldn't know anything, but I just kept thinking, where on earth is this, and how does it work. This didn't really take away much from my enjoyment, I was immersed in Charley and Thad, their chemistry and their fight to survive.

    It was nice to get the perspective of Rives. He is the leader now, and he is more driven than ever to find answers. He is one of the ones who thinks of Nil as sentient and that Nil is calculating. He meets what seems to be a native of Nil and he has even more questions than ever. He is taking risks, following leads, and still trying to keep order in the City. 

    Skye is the other new character and she is actually on the outside, Her dad has been researching Nil for the longest time, based on the journals of his brother who has since passed, but was on Nil and then deemed crazy when he tells about the island. Skye has been training for the longest time, because her dad wants her to be prepared in case she is taken, and when he shows her her uncle's journals she is skeptical, but more and more begins to believe that its a real place and her dad is on to something. 

    This was as addictive as the first, and fast paced. I didn't want to put it down and couldn't wait to find out more about the island, and hope for the best for the characters I grow to care about who are in danger on this island with a 365 day time limit to get off or face certain death. 

   The build up and addition to what we know about Nil is greatly improved by Rives' nearly manic desire to find answers and push the boundaries to get those answers. Skye is hard core and the chemistry not only physical but mental compatibility and how they challenged one another and gave a new perspective to what the other has been reaching for. 

    Like the first encounter with Nil, we are left with hearts pounding, and the bittersweet victory dampened by the huge amount of grief for the ones who didn't make it. It's also clear that Nil's story no matter how it may have seemed to the characters, isn't over. I will def read the third book and can't wait until its out. 

Bottom Line: Fast paced delving back into this beautiful but dangerous island.

My question to you, my lovely readers:
Do you think you could survive an island with no electricity or modern conveniences?

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Stacking the Shelves, The Sunday Post, Bought Borrowed and Bagged

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews,  check it out and sign up  here
The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

Bought, Borrowed, & Bagged is a weekly meme, hosted by TalkSupe, where I share with you the books I have bought, borrowed, or bagged. Link up with me here.

Currently reading:

Burning Kingdoms (Internment Chronicles, #2)
source: library

From my mailbox:
 Thank you Simon and Schuster 

What I read:
A Step Toward Falling
source: Harper Teen

Last Week on the blog:

Fans of the Impossible Life
Source: Harper Teen via Edelweiss
Until It Hurts to Stop
Source: library
The Red Tent
Source: borrowed

New giveaways exclusive to my blog: The Dragon Of The Month Club by Iain Reading (paperback, international)

My week: Having some college friends visit for fun and games! I have been watching a lot of Breaking Bad and Walking Dead (both new to me but loving them)

What are you reading? Any of my books new to you or have you read any of my books? If so, what did you think?
Also, feel free to link up your blog and mailbox post.

Sponsored Giveaway and Guest Post: The Dragon Of The Month Club by Iain Reading

The Dragon Of The Month Club by Iain Reading
The Dragon Of The Month Club is the exciting first installment in a new book series that tells the story of Ayana Fall and Tyler Travers, two best friends who stumble across an extraordinarily magical book and soon find themselves enrolled as members of a very special and exclusive club - The Dragon of the Month Club.
On the thirteenth of every month a new dragon conjuring spell is revealed and the two friends attempt to summon the latest Dragon of the Month. The varieties are almost endless: Air Dragons, Paper Dragons, Fog Dragons, Waterfall Dragons, Rock Dragons, Tree Dragons - not to mention special bonus dragons for all the major holidays, including a particularly prickly Holly Dragon for Christmas.
But one day when a conjuring spell somehow goes wrong Ayana and Tyler find themselves unexpectedly drawn into a fantastical world of adventure based on the various books scattered all across Tyler's messy bedroom. Travelling from one book-inspired world to the next with nothing to rely on but their wits and a cast of strange and exotic dragons at their disposal they must try to somehow find their way home again.
Drawing inspiration from some of literature's most memorable stories - from 19th century German folktales to the streets of Sherlock Holmes's London - the adventures of Ayana and Tyler bring these classic stories to life in delightfully strange and unexpected ways. Filled with fascinating detail and non-stop action these books will spark the imaginations of readers of all ages to inspire a life-long love of reading and seeking out books that are just a little bit off the beaten track.
To read an excerpt from the book, go to

Additional giveaway (mine is at the bottom)
Contest:There is an ongoing contest for readers to win a one-of-a-kind hardcover version of The Dragon of the Month Club with their artwork as the cover.“Draw a picture! Write a story! Take a photograph! Bake some cookies! Mold a dragon out of clay! Knit one out of yarn! Make one out of LEGO! Whatever you want! Just let your imagination run wild because anything goes – the more creative the better! Send your dragon in and then on the 13th day of every month one entry will be chosen at random and featured on the official Dragon Of The Month Club website. Each month’s lucky winner will also receive a free one-of-a-kind personalized hard-cover edition of The Dragon Of The Month Club book featuring their winning artwork (or other creative content) on the cover or inside the book itself,” says Iain

About the Author:Iain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations. Iain writes young adult novels. He is the author of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series, The Wizards of Waterfire Series, and the dragon of the month club. Tolearn more, go to

What Comes First? The Book Or Its Cover? It's kind of a "chicken or the egg" kind of question: what came first?  The book or its cover?  For me it's almost always the cover.Ever since writing my first real book (Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold) I have often had the habit of commissioning the cover art before actually writing the book.  That trend continues even now as I sit here staring at a print of the nearly completed cover art for Kitty Hawk book #6 while sitting at a computer that contains no more than four thousand finished words (less than 5%) of the book itself.To me it makes perfect sense to do it this way (although I am told that it is not usually how things are done).  After all, before you write a book don't you at least have to have a pretty good idea what is going to happen in it?  And that being true, why not make the cover art as soon as possible?  I personally find staring at the cover art to be incredibly inspiring.  I can't wait to write the scenes of Kitty Hawk and her adventures in Egypt, sneaking past the pyramids and the Sphinx in the middle of the night.
But what's this piece of paper in her hand?  I have no idea.  Not even me, the soon-to-be-author of the book, knows what that piece of paper is or why it's important to the story.  And therein lies one of the truly magical things about writing for me...  how a story and images can take on a life of their own, leading the way forward and leaving you (the author) breathless and struggling to keep up behind them.In that sense I suppose it's not so much a "chicken or the egg" kind of question anymore.  What came first?  The book or its cover? Neither, I guess.  The characters and their stories come first and no matter whether you breathe life into them in artwork or words, they come alive all the same.

Giveaway is for: 1 copy of the book (paperback, international). To enter the giveaway, please follow Iain on Twitter:

Acknowledge that by entering, you are agreeing to these Rules, Terms and Conditions

If under 18, must have parent's permission.
No Purchase Necessary.
Must be legal resident of countries specified on giveaway. If giveaway is prohibited in your country, you agree to not enter.

Open: 8/29-9/20
The Sponsor: Book Publicity Services
Winners will be chosen by giveaway host and notified by email. They will have 48 hours to respond.
You must agree to share pertinent info if you win: name, email, and address if applicable ONLY to blog owner and the sponsor of the giveaway (who may also share with author)
Email addresses or physical addresses or any personal information will not be sold.
Liability: Brandi Breathes Books is not responsible for lost or stolen packages
Brandi Breathes Books Giveaways are hosted in Holly Springs, NC USA
Void where prohibited by law

-If you win a review on your blog and/or amazon is appreciated but not required.

*If, for whatever reason, the Rafflecopter widget does not appear, you can click on the link where it says rafflecopter giveaway and it will show up, sorry for the inconvenience.

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Friday, August 28, 2015

Review: Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa

Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa
This is the story of a girl, her gay best friend, and the boy in love with both of them.
Ten months after her recurring depression landed her in the hospital, Mira is starting over as a new student at Saint Francis Prep. She promised her parents she would at least try to act like a normal, functioning human this time around, not a girl who sometimes can’t get out of bed for days on end, who only feels awake when she’s with Sebby.
Jeremy is the painfully shy art nerd at Saint Francis who’s been in self-imposed isolation after an incident that ruined his last year of school. When he sees Sebby for the first time across the school lawn it’s as if he’s been expecting this blond, lanky boy with a mischievous glint in his eye.
Sebby, Mira’s gay best friend, is a boy who seems to carry sunlight around with him like a backlit halo. Even as life in his foster home starts to take its toll, Sebby and Mira together craft a world of magic rituals and secret road trips, designed to fix the broken parts of their lives.
As Jeremy finds himself drawn into Sebby and Mira’s world, he begins to understand the secrets that they hide in order to protect themselves, to keep each other safe from those who don’t understand their quest to live for the impossible.
A captivating and profound debut novel, "Fans of the Impossible Life" is a story about complicated love and the friendships that change you forever.


Publishes in US: September 8th 2015 by Balzer + Bray /  HarperTeen
Genre: ya contemp
Source: Harper Teen via Edelweiss
Disclaimer: I received this book as an ARC (advanced review copy). I am not paid for this review, and my opinions in this review are mine, and are not effected by the book being free
Series? no

This is a book with dark or sad themes. Kids that have made hard choices from hard backgrounds. Also mentions depresssion, suicide, gay/lesbian relationships, drugs, drinking, and alludes to oral sex. It is a young adult book, but if under 18, ask parent's guidance.

Buy it: IndieBound
Barnes and Noble

Author stalk away: ~site ~twitter ~facebook ~blog


    I wanted to read Fans of the Impossible Life because the mention of recurring depression and the fact that she had been in the hospital for it. I am a sucker for a book about mental illness, and while it seems like she is on an upward or stable phase, I wanted to read about her. I deal with mental health issues myself, and its always been a struggle for me, I've gone through multiple labels and treatments, so awareness is something that I am all about. It also seems like a different sort of love triangle. 

   Mira and her depression was realistic. She had the spirals of negative thought that can lead to the feeling worse and not being able to get self out of it easily. She had the fatigue, the overbearing tiredness that sleep doesn't seem to fix. It takes over and colors everything. She tries hard and sometimes she breaks through these, but often there isn't much she can do. 

   Jeremy is shy and he has been a victim of a hate crime and that has colored his social life. He hardly talks at school except to Peter, who is a very popular teacher there. He breaks out of his shell a bit when he forms an art club. He sees that Mira is different and he likes that, he needs student signatures and Mira is one of the first he asks, and she shows up along with her best friend Sebby. 

   Sebby is a foster kid, very gay, and charismatic. He is attracted to Jeremy, but him and Mira can't figure out at first if he is gay or if he is attracted to Mira. But Jeremy seems to like spending time with the both of them. Sebby doesn't go to the same school as Jeremy and Mira, but he is there more than he is at his own school. 

   It was a story of friendship, of love, of kids with hard problems that there are no easy solutions to. Their relationship was complicated, Jeremy fell for Sebby. Sebby and Mira have a past with friendship but also more complicated history because they met at the hospital. Sebby and Mira were friends before they met Jeremy, but they included him right away. 

   There was also the cast of secondary characters that added another layer to the story. Jeremy's dads, the teacher Peter at school who was very involved in the lives of his students. There's Nick, who Sebby gets in trouble with. The flawed foster mom. Their other friends Rose, and Talia. 

   The climax and ending are both very realistic, and its not all hea. These are kids in hard situations, and though their friendship has brought them lots of strength, sometimes the things they are facing are bigger than sixteen year olds can handle. The epilogue is more hopeful and gives a sense of closure and that they have the possibilities of a future, that their friendship might be able to survive, though getting there will take work. 

Bottom Line: Gritty story about three teens, and their friendship that helps them through.

My question to you, my lovely readers:
Did you ever start a new school?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Review: Until It Hurts to Stop by Jennifer R. Hubbard

Until It Hurts to Stop by Jennifer R. Hubbard
When you can’t trust anyone, how can you ever feel safe?
In seventh grade, Maggie Camden was the class outcast. Every day, the other girls tripped her, pinched her, trapped her in the bathroom, told her she would be better off dead. Four years have passed since then, and Maggie’s tormentors seem to have moved on. The ringleader of them all, Raleigh Barringer, even moved out of town. But Maggie has never stopped watching for attacks, and every laugh still sounds like it’s at her expense. The only time Maggie feels at peace is when she’s hiking up in the mountains with her best friend, Nick. Lately, though, there’s a new sort of tension between the two of them—a tension both dangerous and delicious. But how can Maggie expect anything more out of Nick when all she’s ever been told is that she’s ugly, she’s pathetic, she’s unworthy of love? And how can she ever feel safe, now that Raleigh Barringer is suddenly—terrifyingly—back in town?


Publishes in US: September 12th 2013 by Viking Juvenile
Genre: ya contemp
Source: library
Series? no

Buy it: IndieBound
Barnes & Noble

Author stalk away: ~site  ~blog
Twitter: @JennRHubbard
 Goodreads page
Amazon page
Skype info


      I wanted to read this one because of the bullying set up. That emotional kick draws me right to it. With the premise of her bullier coming back in town, there is the possibility of huge character growth.

    I liked her friendship with Nick. He seems to be a solid guy and the synopsis hints at attraction blossoming there so that endeared him to me even more.

   It was heart breaking to see the insecurity creep back in with Maggie. I feel her on some level because I suffer from social anxiety. Mine doesn't stem from bullied but rather has gotten worse with age. She is on edge, fearful that each day or encounter will be negative or an attack.

    The earlier mentioned attraction with Nick and her hits some road bumps. She doesn't want their easy friendship to change so she backs off and then to complicate the dynamics even more, a friend is interested in Nick. I wonder right along with her if he is backing off because she did or if he is now interested in someone else. They still hang out and hike together which has been their thing, living to be outside and Maggie loves the adrenaline and pushing herself and the satisfaction.

   I liked the family aspect as well. Maggie and her dad have A comfortable relationship. They don't talk a lot which is important to show because that can be the reality of family dynamics. They are close though and he knows when something is up with her and will talk to her and ask about things but never pushes too hard.

    Also with nicks stepdad Perry who used tho hike with the two and is still a constant in his life, supportive but not pushy like his biological dad.  He has a phd and pushes Nick towards ivy league despite Nick s protests. Now I get that parents need to motivate teens in regards to grades and college decisions but there is a right.and wrong way to go about it and also the intent of the parent which needs to be for best interest and supportive of which his dad is not.

    Both of them went through quite the ordeal and challenges before they figured it out. Maggie had to figure out a lot about how she was carrying around junior high and the pain. Although she was rightfully hurt, she couldn't still judge everyone based on how immature kids treated her. She talked with one of her tormentors--and realized that some felt horrible about it, and were different people. She had to change how she saw herself, and not let it cloud how she thought of everyone else. She thought that others, everything just went right for them, and she was always the victim. There was so much character growth in her, and she was also able to help Nick in some of the negative thought patterns he had-how he was letting the negative talk from his dad effect his choices and how he thought of himself.

     The ending was nice and I liked how everything resolved. I liked the changes in Maggie and how her future was shaping up.

Bottom Line: Emotional and character driven.

My question to you, my lovely readers:
Do you like to hike?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday, WoW

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. I also feature books that may have already released, but I am anxiously waiting to read.

This week, I'm featuring:
Everything, Everything

Everything, Everything by 

This innovative, heartfelt debut novel tells the story of a girl who's literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she's ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more.

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I'm allergic to the world.I don't leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He's tall, lean and wearing all black--black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can't predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It's almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Releases: September 1st 2015 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Twilight Tuesdays: The Movies

Also, could be titled, what to read after Twilight, books similar to Twilight.
Twilight. I know, I know. There are so many opinions, some good, some bad. But I loved it. The books are what really got me back into reading after years slump and what introduced me to book blogging.

I really loved the storytelling and the characters, and the romance. It all made me have that drive to read more and find out what happened next. It also led me to blogging, because I found some awesome blogs that had lists of books to read after Twilight, and though I dealt with Post-Awesome-Book-Depression because the Twilight series gave me all the feels, eventually I found others that tickled my fancy like Vampire Academy, Mortal Instruments, the Minder series, and Iron Fey.

I recently did a movie marathon and fell in love once again, or rather brought those feelings of love to the surface again.

Love this song and clip, sums up movies well, and its been stuck in my head

Disclaimer: Okay. I am sure this has been hosted somewhere, but a quick search didn't show anything current in the blogosphere. Let me know if you know of somewhere. But I am not making it a hop or anything, so hopefully not stepping on any toes.

My question to you, my lovely readers:
What did you think of the movies? Which was your favorite?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Review: The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Her name is Dinah. In the Bible, her life is only hinted at in a brief and violent detour within the more familiar chapters of the Book of Genesis that are about her father, Jacob, and his dozen sons. Told in Dinah's voice, this novel reveals the traditions and turmoils of ancient womanhood--the world of the red tent. It begins with the story of her mothers--Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah--the four wives of Jacob. They love Dinah and give her gifts that sustain her through a hard-working youth, a calling to midwifery, and a new home in a foreign land. Dinah's story reaches out from a remarkable period of early history and creates an intimate connection with the past. Deeply affecting, The Red Tent combines rich storytelling with a valuable achievement in modern fiction: a new view of biblical women's society.
Publishes in US: November 1st 2005 by St. Martin's Press
Genre: Christian historical fiction
Source: borrowed
Series? no

Buy it:

Author stalk away: ~site  ~blog


    I wanted to read this one because a few girls in my bible study said that it was a good story and it went along with what we were talking about at the time, the old testament. 

    It was neat to get this glimpse into the women of the bible that are only mentioned in passing. We hear so much about Abraham, and then a good bit about Jacob. But this makes it come alive, and the details are rich. I don't know how much is historically accurate, but it is so different from modern day, that I imagine she did a lot of research. It is told from the perspective of Dinah, daughter of Leah, but it shows the dynamics of them being sister wives-- and Dinah having essentially four mothers.  

    In this day and age, I can't imagine sharing my husband, but in the first part that focuses on Leah and her sister Rachel and who ends up being the concubines Zilbah and Bilhah. At first there is a lot of jealousy and bitterness, but when children begin to enter the picture, it changes so much, and their bond changes. Even though Rachel was barren for so long, it shows her strength and emotional journey. 

   Parts of this story are so emotional. Even though women had different responsibilities, priorities, and stations in life, there are event that we still deal with today. The emotional impact is stunning and again, are things that are relatable today- loss of pregnancy, jealousy, lies, falling in love, differences of opinions or religions. 

   I went out of this one feeling really satisfied. I couldn't find much about any actual biblical history of Dinah after her mention in genesis 34, but it really brought her to life for me. The ending was fitting for the story. 

Bottom Line: Great historical fiction bringing a biblical woman to life.

My question to you, my lovely readers:
Do you read any biblical historical fiction?