Saturday, April 29, 2017

Stacking the Shelves - A Big Catchup

Once again, it's been a while since I did one of these, so I have quite a bit to report. Here we go!

For Review:
The Possible by Tara Altebrando book cover
The Possible, by Tara Altebrando from NetGalley
Love this cover!

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds book cover
Long Way Down, by Jason Reynolds from Edelweiss

The Lost Causes by Jessica Etting and Alyssa Schwartz from Edelweiss
The Lost Causes, by Alyssa Embree Schwartz and Jessica Koosed Etting from Edelweiss

A Dangerous Magic by Donald Hounam book cover
A Dangerous Magic, by Donald Hounam from Edelweiss

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand book cover
The Afterlife of Holly Chase, by Cynthia Hand from Edelweiss

The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano book cover
The Glass Spare, by Lauren DeStefano from Edelweiss

Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris book cover
Behind Closed Doors, by B. A. Paris from NetGalley

Jane Unlimited by Kristen Cashore book cover
Jane, Unlimited, by Kristen Cashore from NetGalley

The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook book cover
The Hanging Girl, by Eileen Cook from Edelweiss

Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta book cover
Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta from Libraries Unlimited

When I am Through With You, by Stephanie Kuehn book cover
When I am Through With You, by Stephanie Kuehn from Libraries Unlimited

Those are all over the place, I know, but for some reason, these are the ones that caught my eye in the last couple of weeks.  How about you?  Leave me a link so I can add to my wish list! Thanks for stopping by.  Be sure to visit our hosts, Team Tynga's Reviews.





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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Book Review: Bang, by Barry Lyga

Bang by Barry Lyga book cover and review
Lyga writes pretty edgy novels but somehow makes them relatable.  Bang is no exception.

Sebastian is fourteen years old but still suffers the trauma of an event that happened ten years ago.  When he was four, he shot and killed his 4-month-old baby sister with his dad's gun.

Needless to say, this has torn the family apart.  His father is gone.  His mother can't talk about that event.  Sebastian has been to therapy for years but isn't doing well.  As a matter of fact, he knows it's only a matter of time before he commits suicide.

Everyone in town and at school knows Sebastian's past, so when a new girl, Aneesa, moves in down the road, Sebastian finds comfort and companionship with someone who doesn't know him.  He realizes that at the end of the summer when she starts school she will inevitably find out, but he's going to enjoy his time with her until then.

Aneesa has her own issues, coming from a mixed racial marriage.  Her father is Muslim, so that causes her to be ridiculed by many.

They build a strong friendship and work together to create a unique business. Sebastian can't help but fall for Aneesa, and those voices telling him to end his life become quieter. The expected blow up occurs, and that's all I'll say about the plot.

I was happy that the book doesn't preach about gun control. The father made a huge mistake, and that's obvious, but really the rest is left for the reader to decide.

Bang is easy to read and relate to the characters. The pace moves and the secondary characters have a lot of depth. It will be easy to recommend this to my contemporary novel fans.

Published by Little Brown BFYR, April 18. 2017
eARC obtained from NetGalley
304 pages

Rating: 4.5/5





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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Audio Book Review: Love May Fail, by Matthew Quick @MatthewQuick21

I loved Love May Fail. It's the right combination of characters and plot that kept me invested in the story.

Each section in Love May Fail is narrated by a different person.  They each tell a different part of the story, and it works well.  Portia is recovering from a rough breakup with her husband.  She goes back to visit her mother, who is an extreme hoarder (among other problems) and finds out that her favorite high school English teacher has run into some hard times.  Portia ends up wanting to help him get back on his feet.

She also meets Chuck Bass who lives with his sister and her son, Tommy.  All of these characters end up playing a huge part in the story, and they each take turns telling their part.  There are several coincidences -- almost too many to believe -- but I fell for it. I guess it makes you believe in fate.

I don't want to say too much more about how things play out.  The discovery of the story is part of the fun. Quick is a good writer, as most of you probably know, and Love My Fail is a wonderful ride.

The audio narrators are each excellent and add to the atmosphere created by the text. I actually checked this one out from the library, and when it was automatically checked in, I still had 1.5 hours to go! I couldn't check it out again (there was a wait) so I read the rest of the book. I would recommend either version.

Love May Fail is an adult book but would be suitable for mature teens.

Published by Harper, 2015
Audiobook (and eBook) obtained from the library
416 pages

Rating: 5/5





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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Book Review: Mars One by Jonathan Maberry @JonathanMaberry

Mars One by Jonathan Maberry book cover and review
Mars One is another sci-fi book that hits the mark!

Sixteen-year-old Tristan has been preparing for years for his and his parent's relocation to Mars.  That's right, they are going to be among the first people to colonize Mars with no plans to return to Earth. Tristan spends much of his time away from his home and school in training, but as the book opens, he's spending his last time at home before leaving forever.  And there's Izzy.  His girlfriend.  The love of his life.

Maberry doesn't sugarcoat the decisions and preparations that went into Tris's eventually ending up on Mars. There is, of course, a lot of media attention, and because there's a doomed romance involved, Tris and Izzy get a lot of it (and a lot of money.)

I really thought that half of the book being taken up before they ever leave for Mars is a bit much.  I understand we needed to know these characters and their journey, but actually, I would have liked to know more about some of the other forty people going, rather than just Tris and Izzy.  Frankly, Izzy becomes unimportant for the second half of the book.  I get it.  They are in love.  And the goodbye is hard.  But it just went on too long.

That's the end of my criticism of Mars One. After they leave on their journey, I became riveted.  It's action packed and tense. I felt their fears and their hopes. I found myself pulling for these characters to be successful.  There are several moral and political dilemmas that would fuel some good classroom discussions.

I'm very selective about YA books that I recommend to my husband, but I think he'd love the second half of Mars One. I'm not sure he can get through the first half, though. Teens, however,, will be all over this book.

Published by Simon & Shuster BFYR, April 4, 2017
eARC obtained from Edelweiss
448 pages

Rating: 4.5/5





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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Book Review: Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray @claudiagray ‏

Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray book cover and review
Defy the Stars is a very entertaining science fiction experience!

Noemi lives on the planet Genesis.  Their enemy is on the attack and wants to take over their planet and ruin their peaceful, healthy way of life.  In order to keep their enemy at bay, Noemi and many other fighters have volunteered for a suicide mission which will occur in twenty days. The kicker is that their enemy is Earth.  It seems the people on Earth have ruined their planet and they are very overcrowded.  They must seek other planets to take over so they have a place to go. Earth doesn't send people to do their fighting, they send robots called mechs.

I don't want to give away all the details, but Noemi eventually ends up on an old Earthen spaceship with Abel, a mech that has been stranded on this ship for years.  Abel turns out to be a very sophisticated mech, so much so, that he seems to have feelings. So Noemi and Mech begin this quest across the universe to try to save Genesis and stop the war before the suicide mission takes place.

Defy the Stars is very exciting. The pacing is excellent, and each place they visit is different and offers unique challenges.  They meet a host of good guys along the way. They must confront several moral dilemmas as they fight for survival. It kept my attention, and I was thinking about the characters when I wasn't reading.

I guess the whole "mech falling in love" premise is a bit unbelievable but Gray does a good job making you believe it. The ending leaves our characters in a safe place, but there are bigger issues that aren't resolved.  I want to know! Defy the Stars is the beginning of a series, The Constellation Series, so I'm planning on continuing.

I'm excited to give this one to my teen science fiction fans!

Published by Little, Brown BFYR, April 4, 2017
eARC obtained from NetGalley
512 pages

Rating: 4.5/5





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