Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer


A darkly funny and spectacularly original exploration of friendship, goodbyes - and spontaneous combustion.
Mara Carlyle's senior year is going as normally as could be expected, until-wa-bam!-a fellow senior, Katelyn Ogden, explodes during third period pre-calc.
Katelyn is the first, but she won't be the last teenager to blow up without warning or explanation. As the seniors continue to pop like balloons and the national eye turns to Mara's suburban New Jersey hometown, the FBI rolls in and the search for a reason is on.
Whip-smart and blunt, Mara narrates the end of their world as she knows it while trying to make it to graduation in one piece. It's an explosive year punctuated by romance, quarantine, lifelong friendship, hallucinogenic mushrooms, bloggers, ice cream trucks, 'Snooze Button,' Bon Jovi, and the filthiest language you've ever heard from the President of the United States.
Aaron Starmer rewrites the rule book with Spontaneous. But beneath the outrageous is a ridiculously funny, super honest, and truly moving exemplar of the absurd and raw truths of being a teenager in the 21st century...and the heartache of saying goodbye.
Let me first say that this book grabs your attention, right off the bat. The first sentence describes a girl blowing up in her pre-calc class and how the janitor "probably figures he's only have to scrub guts off one whiteboard this year."

I requested this book a few months ago. However, there was an issue with the download link that took a while to resolve and get a new one. So, it inevitably got pushed way back on my TBR list, and by the time I started reading it, I'll admit that I forgot what it was supposed to be about

The book starts with Katelyn, the super-smart, weed-smoking senior blowing up in the middle of class. The news blames terrorists, at first, because she was Turkish, even though both of her parents were born in the US and no one else was hurt and nothing else even remotely explosive was found.

It wasn't Mara's "year to blow things up. It was her year to blog things off, perhaps her last change in her lie to say 'f*** it.' It was a lot of people's last chance to say 'f*** it,' as it turns out."

This book is written in first person, as if the main character is speaking directly to the reader. Here is how her senior year starts out: Once Katelyn blows up in pre-cal, another student blows up in the therapy group intended to make the students who saw the first "explosion" feel better. Needless to say, therapy was cancelled indefinitely.

This book was hilarious!  Even things that would usually be mundane details are funny in this book. The author had me cracking up through the whole book!

I really enjoyed this book, but I'm not sure what I think about the ending. I get what the author was going for, but I'm not sure how I feel about it. It wasn't that I didn't like it, I just thought it should end differently, not that I can tell you how it should have ended differently... Maybe I just wanted everything wrapped up nice and tidy, with a pretty bow. Maybe he's leaving an option for a sequel... That, I would be happy with. 

While it might not have been the ending I would have chosen, I totally wasn't expecting it, and I do love a surprise ending!

Overall, this book was awesome and funny and super creative. I would encourage anyone who wants to laugh*, but isn't afraid of a little spontaneous combustion, to read this book!**

*Disclaimer: If you do not like reading books with curse words, this book will probably upset you. I think it added to the humor, but it will probably piss some people off. 

**Also, I must clarify that although the book talks about some occurrences that are pretty icky, it doesn't go into explicit detail about the gore that goes along with spontaneous combustion. Compared to the Library at Mount Char, this might as well be a Disney story. The gore in that one really sticks with you... Is it strange that I ABSOLUTELY LOVED that book, even though some of it really grossed me out? Sorry, off topic....

TL;DR: Read Spontaneous. You'll laugh, you might cry, but you (probably) won't want to puke.

I received this book from the publishers, via First to Read, in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Surrendered Book Blitz (By Case Maynard)

The Surrendered 
By Case Maynard
Published by: Blaze Publishing
Publication Date: September 20th 2016
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult

After a financial collapse devastates the United States, the new government imposes a tax on the nation's most valuable resource - the children. 
Surrendered at age ten--after her parents could no longer afford her exprbiant fees - Vee Delancourt has spend six hard years at the Mills, alongside her twin, Oliver. With just a year to freedom, they do what they can to stay off the Master's radar. But when Vee discovers unspeakable things happening to the younger girls in service, she has no choice but to take a stand-a decision that lands her on the run and outside the fence for the first time since the System robbed her of her liberty.
Vee knows the Master will stop at nothing to prove he holds ultimate authority over the Surrendered. But when he makes a threat that goes beyond what even she considers possible, she accepts the aid of an unlikely group of allies. Problem is, with opposing factions gunning for the one thing that might save them all, Vee must find a way to turn oppression and desperation into hope and determination - or risk failing all the children and the brother she left behind.

Image result for barnes and noble button

Author Bio:
With over 20 years' experience in the legal and medical fields, Case Maynard decided to trade in her briefs and reports to write the stories that have been floating around in her head since childhood. She lives with her two teenagers and husband in South Georgia, while maintaining a long-distance liaison with her oldest daughter and partner in crime in Alaska. When not writing, she enjoys reading as often as possible, binge watching anything good on Netflix, and all things NCAA football (Go Noles!). You can learn more about Case and her stories on her website.

Author Links: https://casemaynard.com/  
Blitz-Wide Giveaway

  • $15 Amazon Gift Card (INTL)
  • Blaze Publishing Swag Pack (INTL)
  • Blaze Publishing Ultimate Swag Pack (US Only)
  • Rise of the Dystopians Book Set (3 Dystopian Novels - US Only)

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Friday, September 16, 2016

Spy for the Spiers (Meet Abby Banks #3) by J.A. Cipriano

Spy for the Spiers (Meet Abby Banks, #3)

An assassin out for revenge. A hidden tomb. An unlikely ally.
When the agency is brought to its knees by a couple of masked maniac, only Abby is left in a position to stop them from taking over completely. If she doesn't step in to stop Flash and Bang, the agency trying to kill her will be wiped off the planet.
The only catch is, if the agency dies, so will her father.
Spy for the Spiers is the third book in the Meet Abby Banks spy thriller series. Readers who enjoyed Sara Shepard's Lying Game series, Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series, or Robert Muchamore's Cherub series, will likely enjoy this young adult spy adventure.
After reading book number two in the Meet Abby Banks series, with a little bit of a confused opinion, I wanted to immediately continue to the third book, to try to straighten things out a bit. 

This book starts with a fight with a mechanical werewolf and features other random robot animals and ninjas and such, my particular favorite was a robot octopus pilot. 

I liked this book a lot more than book #2. The second book felt a little too all over the place, but this one was more focused on the main plot that worked up to the crazy ending. 

I thought that Meet Abby Banks was going to be a trilogy, but judging from the ending, there will be more to come. I'm really excited to see what happens next! 

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Spy Within (Meet Abby Banks #2) by J.A. Cipriano

The Spy Within (Meet Abby Banks, #2)
Some people don't believe in government conspiracies. They're wrong. 
When sixteen-year-old Abby Banks escaped from the clutches of her terrorist mother, she thought she was home free... and she would have been if the government agency tasked with protecting her hadn't decided she was worth more dead than alive.
Now the only thing standing between Abby and freedom is the agency that kidnapped her as a young girl.
No big deal, right?
I read the first book in this series, May Contain Spies, about a year ago and enjoyed it. I was sent the sequel, but it kind of got buried under school work, a new job, and a crazy long list of other things. So, when I finally picked up book #2 of the Meet Abby Banks series, I was upset at myself for waiting so long to see what happened. 

The series started out well.  The first book was really well-written, but sometimes this book seems a little bit busy. There are a lot of moving parts to it. While it's not necessarily hard to follow, I think more could be added to make everything flow a little better. 

I'm not sure how I felt about the end of this book. With everything else going on, the plot that was the focus of the ending didn't seem like it was really a big deal in the context of the whole book. I feel like it would have been better to with more focus on that aspect of the story, leading up to the end.

Overall, this book was alright. The first was better, but this was worth the read, and I'm definitely going to keep going and read the third book, to see what happens to Abby, next.

I'll update in a couple of days and let you know how book #3 goes.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Irena's Children: Young Readers Edition (Review) by Tilar J. Mazzeo & Mary Cronk Farrell

Irena's Children: Young Readers Edition
From New York Times bestselling author Tilar Mazzeo comes the extraordinary and long-forgotten story of Irena Sendler -- the 'female Oskar Schindler' -- who took staggering risks to save 2,500 chidren from death and deportation in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II -- now adapted for a younger audience.
Irena Sendler was a young Polish woman living in Warsaw during World War II with an incredible story of survival and selflessness. And she's been long forgotten by history.
Until now.
This young readers edition of Irena's Children tells Irena's unbelievable story set during one of the worst times in modern history. With guts of steel and unfaltering bravery, Irena smuggled thousands of chldren out of the walled Jewish ghetto in toolboxes and coffins, snuck them under overcoats at checkpoints, and slipped them through the dank sewers and into secret passages that left to abandoned buildings, where she convinced her friends and underground resistance network to hide them.
In this heroic tale of survival and resilience in the face of impossible odds, Tilar Mazzeo and adapter Mary Cronk Farrell share the true story of this bold and brave woman, overlooked by history, who risked her life to save innocent children from the horrors of the Holocaust. 
I have read several books about people who were sent to concentration camps during World War II, but I haven't read a book that focuses on the people who helped those being persecuted and subject to atrocities at the hands of the Nazis. And after reading this book, I have no clue why not!

Note from the author: "Some parts of the story are so terrible, I didn't want to write them, they might be sad and painful for you to read. But if we don't know abut the Nazi's brutality, we can't begin to understand Irena's journey."

This book is an edition designed for young readers. However, it is an enjoyable read for all ages. It was an especially good read for someone who didn't know anything about Irena and her brave acts during the war.

Irena was younger than me when the war started. When I think about what I was doing and what my mindset was at the same age that she was doing AMAZING things and saving lives... smh *sigh*

Before the war, Irena worked at a social welfare office that ran soup kitchens all over Warsaw. When she could no longer help people with the soup kitchens, she recruited her friends to help save children from being killed by the Nazis.

I am sad that more people don't know Irena's story. The end of the book explains a little about why that is, thought.

After WWII, the Soviet's didn't like Irena and her group that worked so hard to save OVER 2,500 CHILDREN. So, her story was buried and wasn't dug up until 1999, when a group of American teenagers produced a play for their high school about Irena's life, called Life in a Jar.

More people should learn this part about what was going on during WWII! Lots of people have heard the story of brave people who hid from the Nazis and escaped death, but Irena and her friends did not hide. They risked their lives on a daily basis, stood up to the Nazis and played their game, often outsmarting them to help save lives.

Irena Sendler was a short, blond woman that the Nazis, and most others that met her, underestimated. This, combined with her intelligence, courage and compassion, led to saving over 2,500 children.

This book was EXCELLENT, and I recommend it to absolutely everyone. It is touching, inspiring, and a great, quick and easy read.

I received a copy of this book from the publishers, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.