destefano_perfectON INTERNMENT you can be anything you dream – a novelist or a singer, a florist or a factory worker… Your life is yours to embrace or to squander. There’s only one rule: you don’t approach THE EDGE. If you do, it’s already over.

Perfect Ruin is the first book in Lauren DeStefano’s riveting new series, the Internment Chronicles.

Paperback, 356 pages

Published March 10th 2015 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Internment is a city in the clouds ruled by a monarchy. The population is restricted; all citizens’ life records are closely watched and medication is strictly controlled. Morgan’s brother is one who went too close to the edge, and now her whole family is on the watch list. When a girl is found murdered, their small protective community begins to feel claustrophobic and secrets long held unfold everything Morgan thought she knew.

One day, a body is found on the train tracks, murdered. Such crimes do not exist on Interment, and it causes a panic among the people. They are confused and terrified. The deceased’s partner is on the run, accused of the act. Morgan is curious about the accused and soon finds out there is a underground group of citizens who see the darker side of Internment and want to escape. Morgan’s curiosity in the murder and why it happened, along with her family’s history, brings unwanted attention from the leaders. It soon becomes a game of cat and mouse when secrets are finally revealed to Morgan.

The writing is pretty fast-paced and the world building is creative and imaginative.  I really enjoy reading books by Lauren DeStefano. I find her stories fun reads, and a bit dark with very memorable and strong characters. If you are a fan of her Chemical Garden series as I am, you’ll enjoy this new series as well. Science fiction, romance, and mystery all in one.


crossan_appleWhen 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.

Hardcover, 330 pages

Published 2015 by Bloomsbury Publishing (first published August 14th 2014)

Apple has always felt that her grandmother is strict and difficult to live with. So when her free-wheeling, relaxed mother shows up out of the blue and offers Apple to come live with her, Apple is quick to accept. But Apple’s mother has a surprise of her own, and what Apple thought would be a bonding experience with her mother becomes something much more. She encounters a woman who was never ready to be a mother, a brand new love, and she has to grow up fast.

Apple learns what is important to her through the mistakes that she makes and the new friendships she finds. Apple and Rain is a coming to age story, mixed with discovering the harsh realizations of life. It’s a heart-warming story of family and friendship, and of finding both in unexpected people and surprising ways.

The story is great for younger teens and reminded me a bit of Judy Blume’s work. What I enjoyed most about the story was Apple’s developing compassion for others and how she begins to see the bigger picture. I recommend this book to young girls who enjoy reading about social and family situations. I liked this story, and the endearing way the family finds to re-connect in hard times.

vincent-The stars never rise picKrista:


I love this cover, very eye catching and pretty.


There are a handful of characters as Nina ends up joining a group of outcasts. But the story really focuses on her and her intentions to save her sister.


I liked Nina the best; totally understood her actions and thoughts with what was going on around her. Her priorities and intentions were always in the right place.

Least Favourite

Nina and Mellie’s mother. She could have played a bigger role in their lives, even under the circumstances.


Nina is debating her future role in society and how to protect and take care of her sister when some unexpected news causes everything to change.


Mellie has committed a sin that endangers her whole family who are barely getting by already. If her secret gets out, the church will bring unwanted attention to their family, and they will have to pay, ruining the future for all of them. In trying to protect her sister, Nina escapes and joins a fugitive group, which is also being hunted by the church.




Rachel Vincent has yet to disappoint me with her writing. It’s very well crafted, great pacing and never a dull moment. I love stories that include a secluded community on the cusp of discovering life is not what it seems. This book pulled off the story well, and I ended up being somewhat surprised at the somewhat twist towards the end. It all made sense when revealed, but I was pleasantly surprised.


“I feel like my life is a book, and someone turned the page before I was ready, and now I can’t follow the story.”


rachel vincentBelinda:


A red and pink butterfly shiny embossed along with the title against a buttery mat black backdrop. The wings of the butterfly look like they’re ink bleeding out onto the page. It’s quite dramatic and eye catching.


There is an over abundance of evil characters.


Hmm, Annabelle. Coz… all the reasons.

Least Favourite

Mellie. UGH! Stupid, stupid, stupid girl.


Life it tough and Mellie’s mistake makes life impossible.


Nina does her damndest to keep her crap together. She runs into a group of outcasts with the same abilities as she has and they begin to work together to keep Mellie safe.


You wouldn’t believe it if I told you.


I didn’t mind that I guessed the major plot points early on in the book because watching how Rachel Vincent crafted the storyline was entertaining. I wanted to slap the daylights out of Mellie, but that may just be watching some of my own stupidity played out in the book, making me overly sensitive.

The possibilities for further books to be great, mean that I’m interested to see where Rachel will take Nina, Finn and the others.


“Exorcists aren’t born every day, but I think it’s reasonable to assume the Church had a few at one point.” ~ Finn talking to Nina





A dark cover with a luminous butterfly centre page and the title in sharp capitals. The cover is lovely but nothing about it connects to the story within – not even the title.


A soulless horde of demons, a holy order that is just as merciless, and trapped in the middle are Nina, her sister, and several new friends who might just be her key to unlocking the secrets to her world.


Devi. She stands out. Though she’s not in the book all that much, she steals most of the scenes she’s in.

Least Favourite

Despite quite a bit of time being devoted to her, I never got a clear idea of who Melanie was. We’re told a lot about her personality, but what we’re told doesn’t mesh with the choices she makes. She feels more like a vehicle than a person.


In a world ruled by the Church and preyed on by voracious demons, Nina is doing her best to keep herself and her sister fed. It may mean selling her immortal soul to the Church – if the demons stalking her don’t get it first.


Nina has always thought that she knew how her world worked. When a demon attacks her and she meets a boy who can do things that only church officials should be able to; everything she thinks she knows begins to unravel.


The world Nina thought she knew is as tangible as ash. Along with her friends, she’s going to have to figure out how to survive a new – and much more deadly – reality.


This is an amazing premise. I think Vincent says that she’d been thinking about it and talking it through for a few years before sitting down to write. That makes sense; there’s quite a bit to this world. On the other side, there are a bunch of things that I didn’t get. I’m guessing that demons come from a pretty bleak realm if they’re so impatient to get themselves a human shell. But what’s the point of possessing a human when there are so many restrictions? No sex, no excess (food, alcohol, drugs) of any kind, frequent mandatory church sessions. Having the coveted human shell seems more like a chore. Also, the love was pretty insta. I liked Finn, and Nina had her moments. I think they could have worked well together if built up more gradually.


“The plan is to send the bastards back to hell, then dance on their corpses.”

“She’s kidding about the dance.” Reece’s gaze was focused on the end of the alley, his eyes narrowed in concentration as he listened.

Finn stepped up to my side. “No, she’s not.”


Discussion Topics:

The title The Stars Never Rise comes from the poem ‘Annabel Lee’ by Edgar Allan Poe. Do you see connections between the title and poem, or is the allusion tenuous?

For fun-if you found out one day that you are going to develop a gift that would help save others lives…would you train to develop it or be too shy to reveal yourself?

Paperback, 368 pages

Published June 18th 2015 by MIRA Ink (first published June 9th 2015)

ISBN 1848453833 (ISBN13: 9781848453838)





steiger_mindwalkerAt seventeen, Lain Fisher has already aced the Institute’s elite training program for Mindwalkers, therapists who use a direct neural link to erase a patient’s traumatic memories. A prodigy and the daughter of a renowned scientist-whose unexplained death left her alone in the world-Lain is driven by the need to save others.

When Steven, a troubled classmate, asks her to wipe a horrific childhood experience from his mind, Lain’s superiors warn her to stay away. Steven’s scars are too deep, they say; the risk too great. Yet the more time Lain spends with him, the more she begins to question everything about her society. As she defies the warnings and explores Steven’s memories, it becomes clear that he’s connected to something much bigger…something the Institute doesn’t want the world to discover.

Lain never expected to be a rule breaker. She certainly didn’t plan on falling in love with a boy she’s been forbidden to help. But then, she never expected to stumble into a conspiracy that could ignite a revolution.

Hardcover, 400 pages

Published June 9th 2015 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published June 4th 2015)

Lain is a Mindwalker, a kind of psychologist who can go into your memories and alter them. The citizens of her world have rankings according to their mental stability. There are guards who keep watch over them and random scans take place often. They watch for those who may be losing control and causing problems for other citizens.

Steven, a level 4 whom has to wear a collar, approaches Lain at school and asks her for help altering his memories. He has survived tragedies in his past and wants to forget. Lain accepts the job against her guardians (and boss’s) advice. As she begins her sessions with Steven, she finds something in his memories that does not match what he has told her. As she looks deeper  into Steven’s past, she finds a connection to her own.

Mindwalker is a very fast-paced story with twists and a lot of action. Lain and Steven are complete opposites, and the romance that develops between the two is cautious and caring. Steven was my favourite character; he is emotional, truthful, and wears his heart on his sleeve. Lain is a bit more uptight; she speaks carefully, and thinks before she acts. It was fun to see her mind unravel as she begins to see what is happening. I think the world building was also very interesting. The city is somewhat enclosed. I really enjoyed seeing (the bit that we get to) outside the city and the people who choose to live there.

This is a science fiction tale that is realistic and frightening at times with a variety of characters that really stand out; it’s both tragic and hopeful. It’s is one of my favourite reads so far this year — a story that I would recommend to everybody. I was hooked from the first page.


singleton_buriedIn a new school and determined to keep her secrets from being discovered, Thorn finds a mysterious locket that leads to a shocking discovery. Surrounded by new friends she barely knows, as well as the school’s famous former student, a smoking-hot musician named Phillipe, Thorn must investigate to find out if one of them is a murderer. 

Paperback, 257 pages Published March 8th 2012 by Flux
ISBN 0738719587 (ISBN13: 9780738719580)

Characters: Thorn is a Goth girl that is a little less emo and more upbeat and snarky. She has a preacher as a father, and she is morally a decent person, but she has an edge to her and likes her own style.

Her detective work and the people that she runs into during her investigation make for a really entertaining read. I enjoyed Thorn’s attitude and she’s pretty funny.

Story: In this story Thorn finds a locket; she is unsure why but something about the locket is calling to her. She needs to find out who owned the locket, hoping it will lead her to unravel the feelings she gets when holding/wearing it. You see, Thorn is a “finder” who has a psychic ability that leads her to special objects, and in turn those objects may lead her to something. The locket in this story leads her to bones… babies bones. By finding the owner she may be able to prove them innocent of a mysterious murder.

Originality: I have not read any other books by Linda, but have heard that this story takes place in the same world setting. There is also some mention from other reviewers that the characters overlap a little, and if you are familiar with her work you will recognize them and understand some of their back stories.

Writing: The story jumps around a lot. The mystery and investigation does not take center stage in the story as much as it should according to the summary. The reader may jump into the story fully intent on reading a good mystery. There are spots along the way that focus a little more on the activities at the school. The singing competition and it’s famous judge Philipe. There is also a prankster that likes to get revenge by bullying the bullies a little and calls himself the Grin Reaper. These side stories pull away from the main mystery plot, but are fun and interesting at the same time.

Krista’s Review: I think that maybe this book and I met at a good time. I was looking for something that was fun and entertaining, and I also enjoy mysteries with a little bit of the dark side mixed in. (It is more mystery than it is suspenseful or thrilling, although all of these aspects are included). I was very happy to have read Buried and will continue to find  more books by this author.

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