Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

"Austin Szerba narrates the end of humanity as he and his best friend Robby accidentally unleash an army of giant, unstoppable bugs and uncover the secrets of a decades-old experiment gone terribly wrong"--Provided by publisher.

“Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the story of how he and his best friend , Robby, brought about the end of humanity and the rise of an army of unstoppable, six-foot tall praying mantises in small-town Iowa.

To make matters worse, Austin's hormones are totally oblivious; they don't care that the world is in utter chaos: Austin is in love with his girlfriend, Shann, but remains confused about his sexual orientation. He's stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann. Ultimately, it's up to Austin to save the world and propagate the species in this sci-fright journey of survival, sex, and the complex realities of the human condition.” taken from Goodreads.com

This is the truth. This is history.
It’s the end of the world. And nobody knows anything about it.
You know what I mean.

Grasshopper Jungle is a book that has been on my TBR pile since it first came out. I finally listened to the audio version and I found it hilarious. Austin is writing not only the history of his ancestors but the events that transpired in Ealing, Iowa when Contained MI Plague Strain 412E  is accidentally released into the town and Unstoppable Soldiers, aka six-foot-tall praying mantises, are formed. I will warn readers that language and adult situations occur throughout. The story does switch constantly back and forth between the past and present, which could confuse some. Overall, this was a pretty good read/listen that is in development for the big screen.

Visit Andrew Smith’s website.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare (The Dark Artifices book 2)

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t read Lady Midnight, Stop! I don’t want to ruin one of my favorite series for you. It will also help if you have read the previous books in the Shadowhunters’ world to avoid spoilers.

“Would you trade your soul mate for your soul?”

“A Shadowhunter’s life is bound by duty. Constrained by honor. The word of a Shadowhunter is a solemn pledge, and no vow is more sacred than the vow that binds parabatai, warrior partners—sworn to fight together, die together, but never to fall in love.

Emma Carstairs has learned that the love she shares with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, isn’t just forbidden—it could destroy them both. She knows she should run from Julian. But how can she when the Blackthorns are threatened by enemies on all sides?

Their only hope is the Black Volume of the Dead, a spell book of terrible power. Everyone wants it. Only the Blackthorns can find it. Spurred on by a dark bargain with the Seelie Queen, Emma; her best friend, Cristina; and Mark and Julian Blackthorn journey into the Courts of Faerie, where glittering revels hide bloody danger and no promise can be trusted. Meanwhile, rising tension between Shadowhunters and Downworlders has produced the Cohort, an extremist group of Shadowhunters dedicated to registering Downworlders and “unsuitable” Nephilim. They’ll do anything in their power to expose Julian’s secrets and take the Los Angeles Institute for their own.

When Downworlders turn against the Clave, a new threat rises in the form of the Lord of Shadows—the Unseelie King, who sends his greatest warriors to slaughter those with Blackthorn blood and seize the Black Volume. As dangers close in, Julian devises a risky scheme that depends on the cooperation of an unpredictable enemy. But success may come with a price he and Emma cannot even imagine, one that will bring with it a reckoning of blood that could have repercussions for everyone and everything they hold dear.” - taken from Goodreads.com

Once again, Ms. Clare knocks this latest installment in the Shadowhunter universe out of the ballpark. Readers are thrust back into the world of Emma Carstairs and the Blackthorn family in the aftermath of Malcolm Fade’s betrayal. The action picks up immediately and leads to the jaw-dropping, cliffhanger end. Fans will be left hanging until 2019 with Emma and Julian’s story will wrap up with Queen of Air and Darkness. In the meantime, readers will be able to begin the Last Hours trilogy with Chain of Gold in the fall of 2018.

Visit Shadowhunters.com

Thursday, June 8, 2017

On the Jellicoe Road (Jellicoe Road) by Melina Marchetta


“I'm dreaming of the boy in the tree. I tell him stories. About the Jellicoe School and the Townies and the Cadets from a school in Sydney. I tell him about the war between us for territory. And I tell him about Hannah, who lives in the unfinished house by the river. Hannah, who is too young to be hiding away from the world. Hannah, who found me on the Jellicoe Road six years ago.

Taylor is the leader of the boarders at the Jellicoe School. She has to keep the upper hand in the territory wars and deal with Jonah Griggs—the enigmatic leader of the cadets, and someone she thought she would never see again.

And now Hannah, the person Taylor had come to rely on, has disappeared. Taylor's only clue is a manuscript about five kids who lived in Jellicoe eighteen years ago. She needs to find out more, but this means confronting her own story, making sense of her strange, recurring dream, and finding her mother—who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road.” - taken from Goodreads.com

These are the first lines from Jellicoe Road, as it was titled in the U.S.
“My father took one hundred and thirty-two minutes to die.

I counted.

It happened on the Jellicoe Road. The prettiest road I’d ever seen, where trees made breezy canopies like a tunnel to Shangri-La. We were going to the ocean, hundreds of miles away, because I wanted to see the ocean and my father said that it was about time the four of us made that journey. I remember asking, 'What’s the difference between a trip and a journey?' and my father said, 'Narnie, my love, when we get there, you’ll understand,' and that was the last thing he ever said.”

This book is about journeys, not only Taylor Markham’s, but some of the most important people in her life that are unknown to her. Told in alternating voices between modern-day Taylor and gang and a hidden story that she comes across from eighteen years earlier. That story tells of an unspeakable tragedy five life-long friends together. As Taylor begins to explore more of her background, readers will be taken in by her story and how the past collides with the present day.  And Jonah Griggs! What can I say about him without giving any important details? I now see what all of the fangirling from book reviews is all about.

Jellicoe Road has resided on my TBR pile for years and now I’m going to kick myself for not reading, or in my case, listening, to it sooner. From the opening lines, the reader becomes entranced by the events that occurred along the Jellicoe Road. Overall, the story caused this reader to cry her eyes out and look ahead to the book’s ending before finishing it. One of my all-time favorite reads!

Visit Melina Marchetta’s website.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Crossover by Kwame Alexander

"With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . .The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I'm delivering," announces dread-locked, 12-year old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he's got mad beats, too, that tell his family's story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood.

Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story's heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family.” - taken from Goodreads.com

Visit Kwame Alexander’s website.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland

“Love is an epic disaster.”

“Henry Page has never been in love. He fancies himself a hopeless romantic, but the slo-mo, heart palpitating, can't-eat-can't-sleep kind of love that he's been hoping for just hasn't been in the cards for him—at least not yet. Instead, he's been happy to focus on his grades, on getting into a semi-decent college and finally becoming editor of his school newspaper. Then Grace Town walks into his first period class on the third Tuesday of senior year and he knows everything's about to change.
Grace isn't who Henry pictured as his dream girl—she walks with a cane, wears oversized boys' clothes, and rarely seems to shower. But when Grace and Henry are both chosen to edit the school paper, he quickly finds himself falling for her. It's obvious there's something broken about Grace, but it seems to make her even more beautiful to Henry, and he wants nothing more than to help her put the pieces back together again. And yet, this isn't your average story of boy meets girl. Krystal Sutherland's brilliant debut is equal parts wit and heartbreak, a potent reminder of the bittersweet bliss that is first love.”  - taken from Goodreads.com

This is a great read for John Green or Nicholas Sparks fans. Henry Page learns the joys and heartbreak of falling in love for the first time when he meets the mysterious Grace Town at the beginning of his senior year. The more he gets to know Grace, Henry continues to fall for her even though her signals are mixed. As the semester stretches on, he begins to see the truth behind the Grace Town he knows. A heartbreaking story that will leave readers guessing why Grace Town seems so broken.

Visit Krystal Sutherland’s website.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy

“Ramona was only five years old when Hurricane Katrina changed her life forever.

Since then, it’s been Ramona and her family against the world. Standing over six feet tall with unmistakable blue hair, Ramona is sure of three things: she likes girls, she’s fiercely devoted to her family, and she knows she’s destined for something bigger than the trailer she calls home in Eulogy, Mississippi. But juggling multiple jobs, her flaky mom, and her well-meaning but ineffectual dad forces her to be the adult of the family. Now, with her sister, Hattie, pregnant, responsibility weighs more heavily than ever.

The return of her childhood friend Freddie brings a welcome distraction. Ramona’s friendship with the former competitive swimmer picks up exactly where it left off, and soon he’s talked her into joining him for laps at the pool. But as Ramona falls in love with swimming, her feelings for Freddie begin to shift too, which is the last thing she expected. With her growing affection for Freddie making her question her sexual identity, Ramona begins to wonder if perhaps she likes girls and guys or if this new attraction is just a fluke. Either way, Ramona will discover that, for her, life and love are more fluid than they seem.” - taken from Goodreads.com

I really enjoyed delving into Ramona’s complicated life. Just a senior in high school, she took on a tremendous amount of responsibility in the years since her mother’s abandonment after Hurricane Katrina and her pregnant sister, When a childhood friend moves back to Eulogy, Ramona’s world is turned upside down. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and seeing where Ramona’s journey would take her.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig

“Flynn's girlfriend has disappeared. How can he uncover her secrets without revealing his own?

Flynn's girlfriend, January, is missing. The cops are asking questions he can't answer, and her friends are telling stories that don't add up. All eyes are on Flynn—as January's boyfriend, he must know something.

But Flynn has a secret of his own. And as he struggles to uncover the truth about January's disappearance, he must also face the truth about himself.” - taken Goodreads.com

This book was one of the best mysteries that I’ve read, or in this case, listened to, in a long time. Flynn and his girlfriend January have a fight that results in her breaking up them him. Several days later, he arrives at home to find two police officers at his house. It tu7rns out that January is missing. Determined to find out what happened to January while trying to keep his own secret, Flynn begins his own investigation and soon learns that everything that he thought he knew about January was wrong. Flynn’s story is interspersed with flashbacks of times spent with January that help the reader piece together the mystery behind not only her disappearance but Flynn’s acceptance of his own secret. Readers will be entranced until they are able to resolve the mystery of January’s disappearance.