The Rending and the Nest by Kaethe Schwehn

A chilling yet redemptive post-apocalyptic debut that examines community, motherhood, faith, and the importance of telling one’s own story.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Title: The Rending and the Nest
Author: Kaethe Schwehn
Publish Date: February 20, 2018, by Bloomsbury USA
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic
Source: Provided by the publisher

Publisher’s DescriptionWhen ninety-five percent of the world’s population disappears for no apparent reason, Mira does what she can to create some semblance of a life: she cobbles together a haphazard community named Zion, scavenges the Piles for supplies they might need, and avoids loving anyone she can’t afford to lose. Four years after the Rending, Mira has everything under control. Almost.

Then Mira’s best friend, Lana, announces her pregnancy, the first in this strange world and a new source of hope for Mira. But Lana gives birth to an inanimate object—and soon other women of Zion do, too—and the thin veil of normalcy Mira has thrown over her new world begins to fray. As the community wrestles with the presence of these Babies, a confident outsider named Michael appears, proselytizing about the world outside Zion. He lures Lana away, and when she doesn’t return, Mira has to decide how much she’s willing to let go in order to save her friend, her community, and her own fraught pregnancy.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Agent Annie says…

Hmmm, I’m not sure what to say about the book. It feels like all the pieces were there for me to think this was amazing. It took place in a post-apocalyptic civilization, the main character was gritty and brave, there were interesting supporting characters, a really creepy bad guy, and something new—the birthing of inanimate objects.

Unfortunately, I just couldn’t quite get into the story. The story had some graphic descriptions that seemed jarring in comparison to the rest of the book. The main character, Mira, mused about religion and the god her Christian father used to preach about. There were some very deep conclusions that Mira comes to, for instance: “The problem with love is that it craves an outlet. Love is a verb, as my father said, and so love makes us act: notes scribbled, roses purchased, hair brushed, ointment administered. Simple acts and tremendous ones.” Normally, this would really affect me, and I would connect with the characters and draw something from the story that would stay with me. This just wasn’t the case, and I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Perhaps, it was the speed in which the narrative moved. I expected something really terrible to happen, and it never did. Everything seemed to be not quite as bad, not quite as creepy, not quite so much loss as I would have expected. The stage was set for incredible emotional growth out of the depths of horrible circumstances, but it just seemed so average.

I would give this book an average rating, 3 stars.

Other recommendations…

If you liked this book, I recommend Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (one of my favorites) or California by Edan Lepucki.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

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Nell’s Gossip and Book Hunt 2/11/2018

Welcome to my Sunday book hunt and author gossip.  Keep coming back for updates on book releases and news from favorite authors.

  • First thing out of the chute today is the audiobook release of Blue Curse (Blue Wolf #1) by Brad Magnarella.  I cannot wait to listen to this!! Oh, and just a little gossip: the sequel to this book will be released in March 2018 with the audio released a month after that!

 

 

Title: Blue Curse
Author: Brad Magnarella
Series: Blue Wolf #1
Release date: January 31, 2018
Narrator:  James Patrick Cronin
Publisher’s Description: “I was leading my final mission when everything went to hell…”
Cursed by a blind witch in a remote corner of Waristan, Special Ops Captain Jason Wolfe finds himself changing into a horrid creature of local legend: a lupine referred to in fearful whispers as Blue Wolf.

Faster, stronger, and more lethal, he’s the perfect soldier – but not for the U.S. military. To break the curse, Jason must lead a war between ancient tribal foes: blue werewolves and white dragons.

In a battle spanning from the icy peaks of Central Asia to the valleys of Manhattan, and with the help of a bookish wizard named Prof Croft, Jason will push himself to the breaking point. Because with the curse now spreading to his mind, he’s running out of time – and the stakes are everything.

Win and he returns home to a fiancé to whom he’s pledged a family and future.

Lose and he dies a blood-thirsty beast.

  • Next up is a book sale!  Who doesn’t love book sales?  Author Ken Lange is putting his first book of the Vigiles Urbani Chronicles on sale from February 9-16, 2018 for 99 cents in honor of the release of book 2, Dust Walkers, releasing February 20, 2018.

Title: Accession of the Stone Born
Author: Ken Lange
Series: Vigiles Urbani Chronicles
Publisher’s Description: Former DOD operative Gavin Randall is coming home after twenty-eight years of war. Dismissed by the government he spent his life fighting for, his only solace is knowing that the life waiting for him is one of peace.
Unfortunately, Gavin stumbles upon a secret underworld that exists alongside ours, one populated by vampires, mages, and bloodthirsty werebeasts.

Now, Gavin finds himself recruited by the Biblical Lazarus, leader of this hidden community. He must track down those who seek to disrupt the fragile peace keeping these nightmare horrors at bay. If he fails, more than his life will be forfeit.

Title: Anubis
Author: Kris Michaels
Series: Guardian Security Shadow World, book 1
Released: January 20, 2018
Publisher’s Description:

Title:  Summer Reign
Author: John Conroe
Series: Demon Accords #13
Released: January 20, 2018
Publisher’s DescriptionDemon Accords book 13. Faced with writing college papers, prepping for tests, and teaching testy witches, Declan O’Carroll has enough on his plate. Not to mention the magical withdrawal of leaving his very own magical kingdom behind on Fairie. But when he and his friends are attacked from creatures out of folklore and fable it seems the Queens of Summer and Winter aren’t done with him yet. But if they’re so eager to mess with Earth, maybe it’s time to Earth came to them. After all, he’s got some lessons to teach. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow

Fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer will dig this sassy, smart heroine who faces all the creatures that go bump in the night.

Title: Strange Angels
Author: Lili St. Crow
Series: Strange Angels, Book 01
Publish Date: May 14, 2009 by Razorbill
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionDad? Zombie.
Mom? Long gone.
Me? Well, that’s the scary part.

The Real World is a frightening place. Just ask sixteen-year-old orphan Dru Anderson, a tough girl who has taken down her fair share of bad guys. She’s armed, dangerous, and ready to kill first and ask questions later. So it’s gonna take her a while to figure out who she can trust . . .

Dru Anderson has been ‘strange’ for as long as she can remember, traveling from town to town with her father to hunt the things that go bump in the night. It’s a weird life, but a good one – until it all explodes in an icy, broken-down Dakota town when a hungry zombie busts through her kitchen door. Alone, terrified, and trapped, Dru’s going to need every inch of her wit and training to stay alive. The monsters have decided to hunt back – and this time, Dru’s on their menu. Chances of survival? Slim to none.

If she can’t last until sunup, it’s game over . . .

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Kat Mandu says…

Dru and her creature-hunting dad are staying in a small town, trying to live a somewhat normal life despite their knowledge of the Real World. When her dad goes to investigate a lead and returns a zombie, Dru is left with no choice but to defend herself as her world flips upside down.

Now, she’s being hunted by some supernatural baddies, and her only allies are the enigmatic Christophe and the chatty, awkward Graves, who’s recently been turned into a half-werewolf. If she can escape the city before an old enemy gets to her, she’ll have to find out who’s really targeting her and if she can survive the encounter.

I really enjoy the characters in this one. Dru is tough and very reminiscent of Buffy Summers for me. She’s very protective, sarcastic, and not afraid to stand up for herself. Sometimes she does things that scare her and poor Graves, her new best friend, who gets bitten by a wulfen. The story mostly focuses on the two of them and their situation, and it’s a nice setup for a best-friend-forever or possibly more.

I only rated this a four because there were certain scenes I struggled with, mostly action scenes that threw me off. I didn’t really get the water fountain scene in the mall or how Dru managed to kill off the hellhound. And the chase scene in the van also confused me with its sporadic, unclear details. Besides those two parts, everything else was kosher.

It’s filled with sincere, tender moments that clash wonderfully with the intense action and supernatural tension.I really enjoyed it and I imagine many others would too.

Other recommendations…

Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead; Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine; Madison Avery trilogy by Kim Harrison.

Almost Invincible by Kristen Brand

When the theme-park ride based on the legendary, super-strong hero, White Knight, is reopened to the public, Dave, aka White Knight, gives his teenage daughter, Elisa, his complimentary tickets. Only one of his old enemies decides to take the theme park hostage…

Title: Almost Invincible
Author: Kristen Brand
Series: The White Knight & Black Valentine, Book 03
Publish Date: September 30, 2017
Genre: Superhero
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: A theme park turns into a death-trap of sadistic supervillains…

White Knight is the most popular superhero in the country—which is bad news for David Del Toro, formerly White Knight, who retired from heroics years ago and just wants some peace and quiet. When the White Knight ride at a superhero-inspired theme park has a grand reopening, Dave is more than happy to give his complimentary tickets to his daughter and her friends and spend the day at home. But then the park gets taken hostage by supervillains.

The man known as Bloodbath spent the last decade in a maximum-security prison and blames White Knight for putting him there. He’s given an ultimatum: the hero comes to face him, or he’ll kill every tourist in the park. Dave barely managed to beat Bloodbath while in his prime and doesn’t like his chances now that he’s old and busted. But unless he does something, every innocent person in the park is going to die…including his daughter.

Almost Invincible is the third book of The White Knight & Black Valentine Series but can be read as a standalone. If you like tense thrillers with big, superpowered action, don’t wait—download Almost Invincible now!

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Kat Mandu says…

Retired superhero White Knight has found some peaceful time to spend at home with his former supervillain wife, Valentina, and his daughter, Elisa. So when Elisa and her friends decide to hit up the local theme park to see the new ride based on her father’s old alter ego, Dave sends her on her way without too much worry.

Except later that day, there’s a prison breakout – and Bloodbath, Mother Earth, Doctor Sweet, and several other notoriously bad villains have escaped. Now several are working together to exact sweet revenge on White Knight and his sidekick, Freezefire, by calling them out on live TV and promising deadly payback.

Together, Dave and Julio face off against Bloodbath in hopes of saving hostages and others trapped in the park, finding Elisa and her friends, and putting Bloodbath down once and for all.

Many of you know that I’m a huge fan of the White Knight and Black Valentine series. Not only is it action-packed, but it also contains older heroes with backstories I appreciate and can relate to. It’s not often that superhero movies or books feature the family life of our heroes and villains. But Dave and Valentina truly love each other and their daughter, Elisa, who they work hard to protect. Almost Invincible is not an exception and I really loved it.

There’s not a lot of humor in this one, as Bloodbath is a character you probably wouldn’t want to joke about. This book tends to be a little more violent than its previous sequels, as Dave finds himself at the mercy and pain of his old nemesis, who seems to have an invincibility of his own. However, despite all the really cool battles in this one, Dave getting his butt handed to him about eight times throughout the book became slightly repetitive for me. I was also hoping that Elisa would have more scenes where she kicked butt. However, none of this ruined the story for me. It just means that Dave’s not invincible and that he has weaknesses beyond the physical.

I really enjoyed this new installment to the series. If you’re looking for some superhero and villain fun, I’d really recommend this book!

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

The Astounding Antagonists by Rafael Chandler; Superheroes Anonymous by Lexi Dunne; Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines.

Accession of the Stone Born audio by Ken Lange

A fantastic combination of good and evil fighting against the even more evil.  How can one man control his darkness?  How can one man with such darkness fight for the good? Hop on the Stone Born train and find out.

Title: Accession of the Stone Born
By: Ken Lange
Narrated by: Paul Clewell
Length: 9 hrs and 18 mins
Unabridged
Release date: 10-13-17
Language: English
Publisher: Ken Lange
Source: Purchased from Audible.com

Publisher’s Description: Former DOD operative Gavin Randall is coming home after twenty-eight years of war. Dismissed by the government he spent his life fighting for, his only solace is knowing that the life waiting for him is one of peace.

Unfortunately, Gavin stumbles upon a secret underworld that exists alongside ours, one populated by vampires, mages, and bloodthirsty werebeasts.

Now, Gavin finds himself recruited by the Biblical Lazarus, leader of this hidden community. He must track down those who seek to disrupt the fragile peace keeping these nightmare horrors at bay. If he fails, more than his life will be forfeit.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (or, in other words, SPOILERS).


Nell 100Nervous Nellie says…

I’ve already read this book.  And reviewed this book. Accession of the Stone Born was a good book before, but the author did a “book overhaul” and tightened up the story and made it flow much better.  I read the book again and then I listened to the audio.  I have to tell you…it was marvelous!  I didn’t really notice that it didn’t flow smoothly before the ‘overhaul’ but it was certainly a page turner the second time I read it.

Annnnd then I listened to it.

I really love audiobooks.  The narrators give dimension to the characters my imagination can’t always achieve.  Paul Clewell was amazing. Gavin was great in print but even more dimensional with a voice to go with the character in my mind. The narrator absolutely nailed the villain in this book.  And Andrew.  I already loved Andrew, but the narrator smoothed him out to be a true southern gentleman.  A dangerous southern gentleman that with his magic and very little effort, could most likely snap me in half like a twig. To be totally honest, I believe that I loved this book as a print and audio equally.

This story is just one link in a chain of a series of stories that encompasses a lot of characters and a much larger picture.  Author Lange’s story telling leads the reader on until they find themselves deep into a web filled with dangerous power hungry creatures. Each corner turned will expose characters that are connected in the most unexpected way.

The other published link in the chain is the series, Warden Global, starring Viktor Warden.  Both of these series are mostly contemporary with references to the past to keep things interesting.  Gavin Randall is a newbie to this world, but Viktor Warden is a seasoned professional.  It doesn’t matter which series a person starts with but I do suggest both series because it makes the overall picture a much richer experience.   There is violence but not consistently one scene after another.  There is a mystery to figure out and pieces to the puzzle to uncover, so if that is something you enjoy – you’ll get it.

Other books in this series:

Warden Global series:

 

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