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Sunday, August 19, 2018

REVIEW: Not Her Daughter by Rea Frey @stmartinspress @ReaFrey_Author

Not Her Daughter
by Rea Frey

Thanks so much to St. Martin's Griffin for this domestic suspense novel.
This one got to me more than I thought it would - continue below to see why!


Publisher:  St. Martin's Griffin
Publish Date:  August 21, 2018
Paperback
352 Pages
Standalone
Genres:  Domestic Thriller, Suspense

Emma Grace Townsend. Five years old. Gray eyes. Brown hair. Missing since June.
Emma Townsend is lonely. Living with her cruel mother and clueless father, Emma retreats into her own world of quiet and solitude.

Sarah Walker. Successful entrepreneur. Broken-hearted. Abandoned by her mother. Kidnapper.
Sarah has never seen a girl so precious as the gray-eyed child in a crowded airport terminal--and when a second-chance encounter with Emma presents itself, Sarah takes her, far away from home. But if it's to rescue a little girl from her damaging mother, is kidnapping wrong?

Amy Townsend. Unhappy wife. Unfit mother. Unsure she wants her daughter back.
Amy's life is a string of disappointments, but her biggest issue is her inability to connect with her daughter. And now she's gone without a trace.

As Sarah and Emma avoid the nationwide hunt, they form an unshakeable bond. But her real mother is at home, waiting for her to return--and the longer the search for Emma continues, Amy is forced to question if she really wants her back.

My Review:


The synopsis alone really just pops and draws you in.  A woman abandoned by her mother kidnaps a girl whose mother doesn't know if she wants her back.  WHAT?!  Look, I'm not a mother so I don't know how hard it is to balance children, a husband, work and a house.  I have no doubt that every mother at some point has probably reached a breaking point and this certainly sheds a light on this issue.  

There's so much I want to say - you think you basically have the whole story because you know the girl is kidnapped.  You know the mother has some issues (as clearly the kidnapper does too).   What you don't know is what transpires during this hunt and the emotional ups and downs Sarah and Amy go through in this process.  Is it ok to take a child from a mother that is abusive?  You can't save every child, but what if you could save this one?  As the mother at her wits end, knowing the best thing she can do for her daughter, if she's safe, is to let her go... could you?  UFF - SO MANY QUESTIONS!!

The ending got to me much more than I thought it would.  I have so many feelings about it.  I'm not surprised but I'm also ANGRY and HAPPY and WHY?!  If a book can illicit this much emotion from me then it has certainly done its job.  There are definite moments where some reality needs to be suspended but it never takes away from the book.  The pacing is solid throughout.. I think I was most surprised that it wasn't until the last few chapters that a lot of emotion came to the surface for me.

A new and unique take on domestic drama / child abduction that is emotional and has you thinking about how one drastic action can change the course of many peoples lives.

★★★★

REVIEW: All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung @nicole_soojung @CatapultStory

All You Can Ever Know
by Nicole Chung

Thanks to Catapult for this review copy!
A memoir about a Korean woman adopted by a white family and her journey to learn about her culture.


Publisher:  Catapult
Publish date: October 2, 2018
Hardcover
240 Pages
Standalone
Genres:  Memoir, Non-fiction

What does it mean to lose your roots—within your culture, within your family—and what happens when you find them?

Nicole Chung was born severely premature, placed for adoption by her Korean parents, and raised by a white family in a sheltered Oregon town. From early childhood, she heard the story of her adoption as a comforting, prepackaged myth. She believed that her biological parents had made the ultimate sacrifice in the hopes of giving her a better life; that forever feeling slightly out of place was simply her fate as a transracial adoptee. But as she grew up—facing prejudice her adoptive family couldn’t see, finding her identity as an Asian American and a writer, becoming ever more curious about where she came from—she wondered if the story she’d been told was the whole truth.

With warmth, candor, and startling insight, Chung tells of her search for the people who gave her up, which coincided with the birth of her own child. ALL YOU CAN EVER KNOW is a profound, moving chronicle of surprising connections and the repercussions of unearthing painful family secrets—vital reading for anyone who has ever struggled to figure out where they belong.

My Review:


I'm not usually big on memoirs but when presented with this copy to review, I couldn't say no.  A beautifully poignant and emotionally filled memoir of a Korean girl adopted by white parents and facing racism and prejudice no one around her could understand.  This journey of her finding her way and wanting to know about her biological family and the story behind it is moving and oh so real.

I felt so much empathy when reading about Nicole's childhood and, while we all know children can be mean, when you don't understand them pulling their eyes back and telling you that you don't belong... well that I absolutely can understand.  Being half Korean, I remember these kinds of things happening to me and running home and crying to my dad about it.  I was so excited to go to Korea where I would finally belong, only to be made fun of for being half white.  At least I had my parents to speak to.. even if they could never fully understand.   Nicole didn't have a cultural background to help her understand why she was "different".  While Korean on the outside, she felt white because that's the only culture she knew.

I absolutely applaud the courage it took for her to reach out and find her biological family.  I can't imagine what it's like to be adopted and this story truly opens up your eyes as you ride the roller coaster of emotions with her.  

I think we have all had a moment in our lives where we struggled to figure out where we belonged in this world.  And if nothing else resonates with you, this surely will.  Chung's first novel is definitely one to pick up.  There's no if you liked that, you'll like this... because I think memoirs are what they are - individually based and incomparable to anything else around them.  I definitely felt a connection with this book and isn't that one of the things we look for when reading a novel?

★★★★★

Thursday, August 16, 2018

REVIEW: The Forest Queen by Betsy Cornwell

The Forest Queen
by Betsy Cornwell

Thanks so much to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Clarion Books for this review copy!


Publisher:  Clarion Books
Publish Date:  August 7, 2018
Hardcover
304 Pages
Standalone
Genres:  YA, Retelling, Fantasy

When sixteen-year-old Sylvie’s brother takes over management of their family’s vast estates, Sylvie feels powerless to stop his abuse of the local commoners. Her dearest friend asks her to run away to the woods with him, and soon a host of other villagers join them. Together, they form their own community and fight to right the wrongs perpetrated by the king and his noblemen.

My Review:


Somehow I missed the fact that this was a gender swap retelling of Robin Hood.  I'm always a hit or a miss when it comes to retellings.  This one I did find entertaining as a simplistic read for the young adult crowd.  I did love the gender swaps too and it seemed almost one for one for each swap (almost).

What I found most interesting is that while there wasn't a ton of layers or depth to the storyline or characters, the story did touch on some deep subjects such as rape, suicide and abortion that seemed to contradict the simpler side of the story.  A quick read at 300 pages, this will go over well for those who like the retellings of a class tale with the added twist of a gender swap.  Robin Hood, meet The Forest Queen.

I now want a hooded cape, a pet owl and a big ass tree house.  Can anyone help me with this?
A fantastic idea for a storyline... great descriptions of the forest and I probably most enjoyed the Maypole dancing scene as it reminded me of my childhood.  

Completely different than what I had expected.

★★★



Wednesday, August 15, 2018

REVIEW: Killing the Unicorn by Lizella Prescott @LizellaPrescott

Killing the Unicorn
by Lizella Prescott

Thanks so much to the author for this review copy!
See what I thought of this crazy domestic thriller - spoiler, I loved it!



Publisher:  Hungry Lizard Press
Publish Date:  August 20, 2018
Kindle Edition
Genre:  Domestic Thriller

He was the father of my adorable, two-year-old twins, and he still wanted me, with all my lumps and flaws. I should have melted into him. I should have longed to be vulnerable and intimate and seen.

And yet I felt nothing but a bone-deep exhaustion...


A COMPLICATED MARRIAGE

Since having twin daughters, Helen has lost her waistline, her libido, and her edge. Mann, her wealthy, high-flying husband, has tried to be patient. But he needs more than she can give. A lot more.

When he asks to open their marriage, Helen agrees. She would rather bend than risk a high-stakes divorce.

A DANGEROUS OBSESSION

When Mann connects with Julia, Helen is relieved. At first. She likes Julia, a gentle woman with a tragic past. But her husband is moving fast. Too fast. And a series of odd events unnerves Helen and makes her wonder if Julia is lying about her past...or worse.

As Mann falls deeper into love, Helen becomes obsessed with Julia even as she questions herself. To protect her children and her sanity, Helen must discover the truth: is Julia a danger to her family, or is she?
 

My Review:


Polyamorous and open marriages are more common these days.  I've always known I wasn't good at sharing, and after this book... well, yeah, I'm even more certain now!  How far would you go to make your husband happy?  And why is it that the woman always feels the need to compromise herself to do so?

When first approached about this book, I was extremely curious about the open marriage part of it.  Then I thought, how is it going to be a whole lot different than most psychological thrillers except that now the wife knows about the other women?  Well, Lizella brings you the crazy!  Just when I think I know what's going on, she smoothly brings in a part I did not expect and I DO like to be surprised!

Once the crazy came, then it somersaulted into more crazy and I loved it!  I even laughed at certain moments (with the characters, not at them) and barreled through this story in one sitting.  There are moments in here with dealing with children, home life, work life and just the pressure of it all.  How kids change a marriage.  How everyone has an agenda. And omg, I think I needed a glass of wine and a Xanax when it came down to the end of it all!  (You'll know what I mean when you read this, and you should!)

Women, if you're hesitant about a huge life decision such as bringing another person into your marriage, then listen to your gut feeling!  Toward the end I felt it did go a little bit too far and made things a bit convoluted.  However, it didn't take away from the entertainment value of the book.

Absolute surprise of a domestic thriller for me - a different take and perfect for those who need a binge read!

★★★★



#CJSReads REVIEW: After Nightfall by A.J. Banner @LUAuthors #AJBanner

After Nightfall
by A.J. Banner

Big thanks to Lake Union Publishing for these review copies!
See what Jessica, Sam and I thought of this thriller below.


Publisher:  Lake Union Publishing
Publish Date:  August 7, 2018

Paperback
256 Pages
Standalone
Genres:  Thriller, Mystery


Beware of friends with secrets…


Imagine your closest friend utterly betraying you. Years later, when she seeks forgiveness, you invite her to your engagement party as a gesture of reconciliation. But seething hostilities rise to the surface, ruining everyone’s evening. After an awful night, your friend’s battered, lifeless body is found at the bottom of a rocky cliff.

Newly engaged Marissa Parlette is living this nightmare. She should be celebrating her upcoming wedding, but she can’t shake the image of her friend lying dead on the beach. Did she fall? Was she pushed? Or did she take a purposeful step into darkness? Desperate for answers, Marissa digs deep into the events of the party. But what she remembers happening after nightfall now carries sinister implications: the ugly sniping, the clandestine meetings, the drunken flirtations. The more she investigates, the more she questions everything she thought she knew about her friends, the man she once trusted, and even herself.

My Review:



Banner has a way of just taking you right into the story.  From the very first chapter you're left with questions and it continues throughout the entire novel.


At times the writing did feel a bit rushed and not as smooth as I have seen from other books by this author.  Question. Answer. Him? Her?  The best part is that you really don't know who the killer is.  Doubts are cast on every character, which is always a fun read in my opinion.  I am a little put off by the very last chapter.  I'm not sure how I feel about it and if it was really necessary.  If you've read the book I'd love to discuss with you.

I did feel most of the scenarios were pretty realistic.  When long time friends with a bit of a sordid history come together, jealousy, paranoia with that underlying of knowing the goodness in each can make for solid story telling. 

If you're looking for a quick whodunit type of read that will keep you entertained that I think this qualifies.  

3/5 stars.

Jessica's Review:


This was my introduction to A.J. Banner - I do have THE TWILIGHT WIFE sitting on my shelves in the never-ending TBR. I will definitely be picking that one up sooner rather than later! AFTER NIGHTFALL is such a quick read at just under 300 pages, and Banner sucks you in from the first chapter. 

The dynamics of a friendship can be so different in so many ways, and the one between Lauren and Marissa is definitely a complicated one. Best friends torn apart by a betrayal that are slowly trying to rebuild their friendship and let each other in. This all changes when Marissa finds Lauren's body down on the beach. Marissa is determined to find out what truly happened that night - did Lauren jump? Did someone push her? 

The thriller and mystery genre can become very predictable at times, but Banner did a great job keeping me on my toes. Most of the time you find yourself constantly changing your mind on who it could have been. There was a growing sense of foreboding and paranoia as the story progressed which really amped up the suspense.

If you're looking for a great mystery without the police procedural, then this is the perfect choice! You'll find yourself second and third guessing yourself as you race to the end.  

I give this 4/5 stars

Sam's Review:



If I had to describe the writing of A.J Banner in a word, I would choose "hooked" because that is exactly what happens to me when I read the first page of a novel she has written. 

I read The Twilight Wife a few years back in a single sitting so I was thrilled when #cjsreads decided to buddy read her newest release, After Nightfall, for one of our August picks.   This novel was no different from The Twilight Wife in regards to the amount of time it took me to read it as I read this one in a single sitting. 
Essentially, this novel encompasses the basic plot for a noteworthy thriller.  Lying husband?  Check!  Suspicious wife?  Check!  A dead body? Check! 

I find Banner's prose to be very realistic and easy to absorb; this is probably why I am able to sit down and binge read her books.  However, I do find (and I had similar feelings with The Twilight Wife) that the conclusions are a little predictable.  I am able to predict the ending pretty early on to the plot.  Did this make After Nightfall less enjoyable?  Not for me. However, I could see that being an issue for some readers. 

I think this would be an awesome lighter, thriller to bring to the beach.  Fans of Liane Morarity or SJ Watson?  I think After Nightfall would suit your fancy just fine!

4/5 stars. 


#allthebookreviews: Sweet Little Lies by Caz Frear @harpercollins @cazzif

Sweet Little Lies
by Caz Frear

Thanks so much to HarperCollins for these review copies!


Publisher:  HarperCollins
Publish Date:  August 14, 2018
Hardcover
341 Pages
Standalone
Genres:  Mystery, Thriller, Crime


WHAT I THOUGHT I KNEW


In 1998, Maryanne Doyle disappeared and Dad knew something about it?
Maryanne Doyle was never seen again.

WHAT I ACTUALLY KNOW

In 1998, Dad lied about knowing Maryanne Doyle.
Alice Lapaine has been found strangled near Dad's pub. 
Dad was in the local area for both Maryanne Doyle's disappearance and Alice Lapaine's murder - FACT
Connection?

Trust cuts both ways . . . what do you do when it's gone? 

My Review:


I always love the father/daughter dynamic in books since I have a very close relationship with mine.  This one isn't as loving, but still the bond is there - even if Cat does know her father is lying about the disappearance of her friend and is now suspicious about the death of another woman.  

This is slightly different than most police procedurals as we have a team that actually works well together without any misogynistic undertones and there are more dynamics in side stories as we switch from past to present timelines.  I will say that at times it ran really slow for me and I would find myself putting it down without any real manic desire to read more.  However, I am glad that I stuck with it as it did get better as I continued along.

There are a few revelations that come about as the story proceeds but nothing that makes you gasp or is all that surprising.  I think the pacing has something to do with this as it slowly unravels for the reader.  I did enjoy that this is told straight through Cat's eyes and there's no flipping of POVs.

An absolutely solid debut that divides it's story between family conflicts and the investigation in itself.  

3.5 stars

Jessica's Review:



This is a police procedural that shows us a very different side of the detectives. In Caz Frear's SWEET LITTLE LIES, we get to see the more emotional side of things within the investigation because it strikes a personal chord with DC Cat Kinsella. 

We are brought through the investigation of the murder of Alice Lapaine - as things begin to ramp up, Cat and her team think they have found a connection to a years old murder case. This is where things take a different tone than the usual procedurals - Cat and her team work incredibly well together (none of the constant butting of heads here), and then we see how Cat's complicated family life intertwines itself into the case. 

This one did take me longer than I expected it to. The pacing is slower than I anticipated it to be, especially considering most procedurals are quick. There are times when it does pick up and grab your attention again, I just found myself being taken out of it a few times. I love Cat's character. She's well-developed and relatable. 

I'm always fascinated to see how authors portray different relationships, especially when it comes to families. Everyone has a different relationship with their parents - each one incredibly unique. So the dynamic between Cat and her father was an intriguing one to read about and to see how one lie can change your entire view on a person. 

Overall, if you're looking for a slower building police procedural, then this is the book for you! I can't wait to see what Frear has for us in the future. 

I give this 3.5/5 stars!


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

REVIEW: The Cast by Amy Blumenfeld @AmyBlumenfeld @AnnMarieNieves @gosparkpress

The Cast
by Amy Blumenfeld

Huge than you to Spark Press and GedRedPR for this amazing copy!
One of the best books about friendship I've ever read!

HAPPY PUBLISHING DAY!!!!


Publisher:  Spark Press
Publish Date:  August 14, 2018
Paperback
296 Pages
Standalone
Genre:  Contemporary

Twenty-five years ago, a group of ninth graders produced a Saturday Night Live-style videotape to cheer up their ailing friend. The show’s running time was only ninety minutes, but it had a lasting impact: Becca laughed her way through recovery, and the group—Jordana, Seth, Holly, and Lex—became her supporting cast for life.

On the silver anniversary of Becca Night Live, the friends reunite over the Fourth of July to celebrate Becca’s good health—but nothing goes as planned. The happy holiday card facades everyone’s been hiding behind quickly crumble and give way to an unforgettable three days filled with complex moral dilemmas and life-altering choices. Through humor, drama, and the alternating perspectives of five characters, The Cast explores the power of forgiveness, the importance of authenticity, and the immeasurable value of deep, enduring friendships to buoy us when life plays out differently than expected.
 

My Review:


I'm just going to get right into it.  I absolutely LOVE this book.  My friends and I have made video tapes for each other, done silly things to bring joy to our crew and it's just FUN to do these types of things.  When you can be completely silly and YOU around a group of people who appreciate you for who you are... well, you just can't ask for much more than that.  The other side is that the also know just about everything about you and this can also make for some heated and very emotional moments - upswings and downswings … they're no longer just friends, they're FAMILY.

I'm in awe that this is a DEBUT! The chapters alternate between the various characters of The Cast and it's done SO WELL.  Each group has their different personalities and lifestyles and she captures this brilliantly.  I knew from the first 40 pages that this was going to be an emotional read.  Captivating, heartfelt, string tugging…. and all so relatable.  Each character in here is human, visceral and I fell in love with each and every one of them.

You can't plan for life to happen - it just does.  When you have people around you that you can count on - it makes that journey just a tiny bit easier.  I'm grateful that I have those people in my life.  Thank you, Amy, for making me appreciate them all the more.

Highly recommend you put this on your TBR.  Set aside a few hours and don't move until you're done.

★★★★★

Monday, August 13, 2018

REVIEW: Vicious by V.E. Schwab @veschwab @torbooks

Vicious
by V.E. Schwab

Preparing for the second book in the series, Vengeful, coming out September 25th. Anyone who loves anything remotely superpower/mutant-ish will be keen on this story where the line between good and bad, hero and villain are completely blurred.




Publisher:  Tor Books
Publish Date: January 20, 2015
Paperback
364 Pages
Series:  Villains #1
Genres:  Fantasy, Sci-Fi

A masterful tale of ambition, jealousy, desire, and superpowers.
Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

My Review:


Look, I'm a sucker for anything superhero, supernatural or mutant-ish.  A SUCKER! So of course, I had to buy this.  And then, like with most books, it got put on a shelf and that was that.  WHY DO WE DO THIS?!  I just started back up with my local, in person, book club and with my hundreds and more TBR list, I picked a few that were on my shelves as options to read for this month and they decided on this one - YAY!  Don't you just love it when a plan comes togethers? 😉

This book has been getting high praises for as long as I can remember.  I think my expectations were extremely high because of this.  I definitely wasn't disappointed, but it didn't WOW me as much as I thought it would either.  What I love about this is the blurred line between good and bad, hero and villain.  Perspective, perspective, perspective!  

This definitely gave me a bit of Flatliners vibes, except now when they come back, they have extraordinary abilities - and yet still missing a bit of humanity.  Would death be worth it for you to gain a power?  How would you use your power - for good, for bad?  Would you even know which was which by the time it came down to it?

There's no doubt Schwab is an amazing writer.  I started reading her with the Monsters of Verity duology and her writing style is extremely addictive.  While this is her first adult fiction, it still had that YA vibe to it... and I'm not mad about it!  Looking forward to Vengeful to see what happens with the EO gang.

★★★★

Friday, August 10, 2018

BLOG TOUR: The Trailing Spouse by Jo Furniss @Jo_Furniss @luauthors @annecater #thetrailingspouse


The Trailing Spouse
by Jo Furniss

So excited to be today's stop on the Blog Tour for this amazing book!

Big thanks to Lake Union Publishing and Random Things Tours for this copy and stop.

Absolutely adored this book - see below for a synopsis, about the author (note how the her dress matches the book!) and see my review.


Publisher:  Lake Union Publishing
Publish Date:  August 14, 2018
Paperback
352 Pages
Standalone
Genre: Domestic Thriller

Do you really want to know the truth?

Amanda Bonham moved halfway around the world to be with the man she loves. Although expat life in Singapore can be difficult, Edward Bonham is a dream husband and a doting father to his teenage daughter, Josie.

But when their maid dies in an apparent suicide—and Amanda discovers the woman was pregnant and hiding a stash of drugs prescribed to Edward—she can’t help but wonder if her perfect husband has a fatal flaw. And if he can’t resist temptation under their own roof, what does he get up to when he travels?

Camille Kemble also has questions for Edward. Recently returned to Singapore, Camille is determined to resolve a family mystery. Amid a jumble of faded childhood memories, she keeps seeing Edward’s handsome face. And she wants to know why.

For one woman, the search for answers threatens everything she has. For another, it’s the key to all she lost. Both will follow his trail of secrets into the darkness to find the truth.
 


After spending a decade as a broadcast journalist for the BBC, Jo Furniss gave up the glamour of night shifts to become a freelance writer and serial expatriate. Originally from the UK, she lived in Switzerland and Cameroon, and currently resides with her family in Singapore.

As a journalist, Jo has worked for numerous online outlets and magazines, including Monocle, The Economist, Business Traveller, Expat Living (Singapore) and Swiss News. Jo has also edited books for a Nobel Laureate and the Palace of the Sultan of Brunei. She has a Distinction in MA Professional Writing from Falmouth University. In 2015 she founded www.SWAGlit.com—an online literary magazine for writers in Singapore.

All the Little Children is Jo’s debut novel and she is working on a second domestic thriller to be released in 2018.

Connect with her via Facebook
(/JoFurnissAuthor) and Twitter (@Jo_Furniss) or through her website: http://www.jofurniss.com/
My Review:


Oh how I do love it when a domestic thriller surprises me.  I was expecting the typical story as there has been an abundance lately in the thriller world but nope!  Here's something a little bit different that will surprise and please thriller lovers everywhere.

What I loved was the expat life and the different rules that apply when living overseas.  Coming from a military family and having expat friends all over the world, I all too well know how this can go so it's fascinating and fun to see in a novel.  

This story bounces between Amanda and Camille - Amanda, a "trailing spouse" (I actually just learned this terminology and it is SO FITTING), having marital and reproduction problems, whose maid just committed suicide by drinking bleach (I'm not sure I can think of much worst ways to kill yourself) and Camille, obsessed with what happened with her parents.  Both in Singapore, their paths cross and will change their lives irrevocably.  

I honestly didn't see that ending coming.  I knew there was something weird.. I KNEW IT... but yeah, THAT wasn't quite what I was expecting though I had an inkling.  Am I losing you yet?  Read the book so you know what I'm saying! 

This moves at a great pace and you end up being just as confused and misdirected as the characters - personally, I love that.

★★★★



Thursday, August 9, 2018

SPOTLIGHT: Sleep, Merel, Sleep by Silke Stein @_SilkeStein

Sleep, Merel, Sleep
by Silke Stein



Publisher:  Caper Books
Publish Date:  June 7, 2018
Kindle Edition
108 Pages
Standalone
Genres:  Fantasy, Children



Who wants to be awake forever?

Life has changed for eight-year-old Merel. Since the birth of her sick baby brother, her parents seem to have forgotten she exists. But when she finds a tiny silver violin in her bedroom rug, things take a turn for the worse. 

Merel learns that her sleep has abandoned her and that she must embark on a perilous journey to recover it or stay awake forever. Together with her devoted toy sheep Roger, tired Merel sets out in search of Lullaby Grove. Before long, she finds herself haunted by a scary stranger. 

Follow Merel into a surreal world. Meet a sleepy king with an obsession for feathers and a transparent old man on a night train going nowhere. Discover why the moonfish cry, why you should never walk across the Great Yawns ― and if poor Merel can escape her pursuer, win back her sleep, and realize what matters most in her life.


Silke Stein is a graphic designer and the author of 'Trina Bell's Humming Summer' and 'Sleep, Merel, Sleep'. Silke currently lives at the west coast of Canada, where she combs the shores of the Pacific Ocean and tends to her ever-growing sea glass collection. When she is not at the beach, or writing, or helping her husband playtest his latest board game invention, she designs book covers for fellow authors.