Belinda’s Book Nook Review: Dread Nation by Justina Ireland






Title: Dread Nation
Author: Justina Ireland
Copyright: April 3, 2018
Genre: fiction
Format: book
Pages: 455


Summary (from Goodreads):

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.

About the Author (Justina Ireland):

Image result for justina ireland

Justina Ireland enjoys dark chocolate, dark humor, and is not too proud to admit that she’s still afraid of the dark. She lives with her husband, kid, and dog in Pennsylvania. She is the author of Vengeance Bound and Promise of Shadows. But what you may not know about her is that:

 Over the last several years, Ireland and others in the YA world have been using Twitter to call out what they see as an enduring tradition of racist nonsense in publishing…As Ireland has repeatedly taken pains to point out, the world of children’s and young-adult literature is overwhelmingly, disproportionately white. Of some 3,700 books for children or teens that were published last year, just 340 were about children or teens who were black, according to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin. Of those, just 100 were written by black authors. Ireland argues that the industry should publish more books by nonwhite authors, and that white authors should think more carefully about how they represent black and brown people in their books.

My Thoughts:

This book was fantastic. I heard about this book from the Book Riot podcast and I was interested because I liked how it was an alternate history during the civil war time. I was also thrilled that the protagonist was mixed race.

The cover art grabbed my attention and it appealed to me that the author was a black woman. As I quoted earlier, there is a disproportionate amount of non-white authors published in the industry today. I’m always trying to make a conscious effort to support black authors.  Because if we don’t buy the books written by people of color then the publishers can say that they didn’t create or generate the sales that they need to be publishing books and we will miss an opportunity to experience diverse talent.

I won’t lie when I say that I was a little hesitant when I saw the word zombie in the description. But the idea of an alternate history where blacks during the civil war were trained in weaponry and etiquette. Well, I just had to see this book through. The story was easy to get into I really like the main character, Jane, who was very strong and smart.

Structurally, I like how at the very start of each chapter you would see an excerpt from a letter Jane wrote to her mother. Since she had to live apart from her mother at the boarding school, she wanted to keep in touch with her mother and we saw this represented in the letters she wrote to her mother.

Of course, you get to see the boarding school experience through Jane’s eyes and hear a lot about how she gets along with the fella girls. You also get glimpses of her past where she used to live on Rose Hill with her mother and the story unfolds really slowly chapter to chapter. I like that it is spread out throughout the story. The author doesn’t throw all the information at you in the beginning. It is delivered at a pace that really enhanced the experience of the book.

Although the story is a fantastical alternate history of the civil war era, the issues of race ring familiar today. We aren’t in that great “melting pot” that we often talked about when I was growing up. We can’t be when people have racial bias and laws that govern exacerbate those feelings. There were many action scenes much of which took place in the last quarter of the book and I just couldn’t put it down had to finish it. I believe it is the start of a series. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed it and looking forward to the next one.

I give this book 4 1/2 butterflies.

Belinda’s Book Nook Review: A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray



Title: A Thousand Pieces of You
Author: Claudia Gray
Copyright: November 4, 2014
Genre: science fiction, young adult
Format: paperback Pages: 357

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Every Day meets Cloud Atlas in this heart-racing, space- and time-bending, epic new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray.

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure. 

My Thoughts on A Thousand Pieces of You:

Last night I finished reading A Thousand Pieces of You By Claudia Gray.

I meant to go to bed but you know when your almost done, you just have to see it through.  Waiting another day seemed cruel. So I stayed up and finished it.

This is my first Claudia Gray book although I currently own one other of her books but never read it.

I would classify this book as a Young Adult Science fiction. It was a light science fiction so for people who don’t particularly jump for joy at that genre, I think this would be a pleasant read.  It’s premise is around dimensional travel not to be confused with time travel.  For example, there are dimensions that run simultaneously with ours and in many there are other versions of us that exists.  Sounds a little crazy but I liked thinking about it while reading the story.

I enjoyed reading about the different dimensions and different versions of the main character, Marguerite. In one, she was a grand duchess in Russia. Of course there was a love triangle and I found myself routing for one guy over the other. But it wasn’t a lot of romance just enough to keep me pleased.

After getting about half way through this book, I realized it is a trilogy and this is the first which means I will be anxiously waiting a while.  I typically like to read trilogies either after all have been written or the final is coming very soon.  So a bit frustrated because I like to read them back to back.

I felt the pacing was good and really picked up about half way in and then I just wanted to plow through and see where it went. I like when that happens, getting pulled into the story.

Quotes on Love:

“I meant it when I said I didn’t believe in love at first sight. It takes time to really fall for someone.Yet I believe in a moment. A moment when you glimpse the truth within someone, and they glimpse the truth  within you. In that moment, you don’t belong to yourself any longer, not completely. Part of you belongs to him; part of him belongs to you…”

“Every me loves every you…”

I would definitely recommend reading the book but if you are like me, wait until they at least release book 2 so you don’t have to wait long.

I gave this book 4 butterflies.


Happy reading my friends!


Belinda’s Book Nook Review: Unmade (The Lynburn Legacy #3) by Sarah Rees Brennan


Title: Unmade (The Lynburn Legacy #3)
Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
Copyright: September 23, 2014
Genre: fiction, fantasy, young adult
Format: paperback Pages: 400

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Kami has lost the boy she loves, is tied to a boy she does not, and faces an enemy more powerful than ever before. With Jared missing for months and presumed dead, Kami must rely on her new magical link with Ash for the strength to face the evil spreading through her town.

Rob Lynburn is now the master of Sorry-in-the-Vale, and he demands a death. Kami will use every tool at her disposal to stop him. Together with Rusty, Angela, and Holly, she uncovers a secret that might be the key to saving the town. But with knowledge comes responsibility—and a painful choice. A choice that will risk not only Kami’s life, but also the lives of those she loves most.

This final book in the Lynburn Legacy is a wild, entertaining ride from beginning to shocking end.

My Thoughts on Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan:

I heard about the first book in the series, Unspoken,  this past summer and I read the it in July. I loved it. You can see my review here. I couldn’t wait and rushed to read the second in the series, Unmade and again enjoyed the story.  Even all the way to the third book, I found my fascination with the idea of people being connected via their thoughts and feelings very intriguing. It could be sexy at times in the case of Cassie and Jared and down right awkward with Ash. It could also be invasive when you want private thoughts but I found it an interesting element in the story.

This third and final book in the series did deliver and I felt it was worth the read.  Cassie continued to be a strong character in the face of difficulty and still youthful in her inability to figure out Jared.  In the first book I used to get so angry with her logic when it came to him and then I realized the author is keeping her age appropriate in that regard while still providing her strength and bravery in all other areas.

I loved the secondary characters, Cassie’s friends, they have so much energy and really add to the story. I found myself laughing at times at comments from her friend Angela and her brother.  They all helped to bring the story to life.

The beauty of coming to books late, is that the wait for the next books in the series are little to none in some cases. So I find my late arrival to the table of some good reads works out great for me.

I enjoyed the books in this series a great deal and would recommend them. It was a fun read that held my interest and for that reason I gave it 4 butterflies!

Happy Reading friends!



Belinda’s Book Nook – The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez


The Red Umbrella by Christina Diaz Gonzalez

Welcome again to my Book Nook. Now don’t be turned off that this is a young adult book. I believe that all books are opportunities to grow and can be found even in young adult books.  This book happens to fit in the historical fiction genre which is my favorite.

From 1960 to 1962, parents of over fourteen thousand Cuban children made the heart-wrenching decision to send their sons and daughters to the United States alone. The author pulled from her parents and mother-in-law’s personal experience who were among these children to create this story.

This book follows a fourteen year-old Cuban girl Lucia and her seven year old brother Frankie through their journey from Cuba and then to the United States.

This was a very fast read but don’t let that fool you, I had much to think about while reading it. I was not aware of this exodus of children from Cuba in the early 1960s.  The book begins in Cuba and cleverly the author uses each chapter title to alert you to what is being written in the newspapers about Cuba at the time.  So it isn’t simply about the family in the story it takes you to a broader view of the conflict.

I feel like it piques your interest about a very important part of history that seems to have been overlooked. As the author points out, this was the largest exodus of unaccompanied children ever  in the history of the Western Hemisphere. I feel drawn to learn more Cuban history to understand how Fidel Castro took power of Cuba in 1959 promising a better life for the people and then began stripping all the rights away from the very people he promised to help.

And I would also like to find out if there documented first-hand accounts of the exodus experience. Like where are they now?  Have they ever gone home? Did any of them experience the race relations strife that was taking place here in the United States.

Overall a great read and hope you will take a chance and read it too. Please share your thoughts with me on the book.

Happy Reading!



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