Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway


Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman

Release Date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Series: Prisoner of Night and Fog, Book 2
Rated: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: Edelweiss
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository B&N iTunes Kobo
Goodreads Website

Read my review of Prisoner of Night and Fog HERE.

The girl known as Gretchen Whitestone has a secret: She used to be part of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle. More than a year after she made an enemy of her old family friend and fled Munich, she lives with a kindly English family, posing as an ordinary German immigrant, and is preparing to graduate from high school. Her love, Daniel Cohen, is a reporter in town. For the first time in her life, Gretchen is content.

But then, Daniel gets a telegram that sends him back to Germany, and Gretchen’s world turns upside-down. And when she receives word that Daniel is wanted for murder, she has to face the danger she thought she’d escaped-and return to her homeland.


Gretchen must do everything she can to avoid capture and recognition, even though saving Daniel will mean consorting with her former friends, the Nazi elite. And as they work to clear Daniel’s name, Gretchen and Daniel discover a deadly conspiracy stretching from the slums of Berlin to the Reichstag itself. Can they dig up the explosive truth and get out in time-or will Hitler discover them first?

Prisoner of Night and Fog was one of the best books I’d read last year. That being said, there was no doubt that I was ecstatic when this beauty of an eGalley popped up on Edelweiss for download. I was a little bit afraid though going into this book, because at this point, I had really high expectations. Glad to say, I wasn’t disappointed! While I did miss the thrill of finding out everything in the first book–the tension between Gretchen and Daniel as our main character decides which side to pick, learning about Hitler’s ‘condition', and escaping Munich–this was a brilliant follow-up. New players enter this deadly game and there are a lot of twists and thrills that make this a gripping novel from start to finish.

The publication of this book seriously could not have been better well-timed for me personally. It just so happens that currently we’re learning about Fascism and Naziism in a social science course, and many of the events and people mentioned in this book–or even characters part of this book–have come up. The burning of the Reichstag, for instance. I would have had no idea what that was if I wasn’t learning about it at this point in time, so I felt that knowing a bit about Hitler’s rule as chancellor and his transition to dictator really helps with reading this book. There is a lot of history packed in this novel, and while you could get by without really knowing the roles that many of these characters played in real life, knowing about them makes this a more impacting read.

Then he kissed her. His lips on hers were as light as a breath. And she couldn't stop the horrible thought that his touch felt like a farewell.

My thoughts about Gretchen and Daniel’s characters haven’t really changed since the first book. Both are such great characters, determined to find out what happened at the Reichstag. Definitely a lot of fantastic tense moments between them too (and I don’t mean just romantically!). I also really enjoyed the addition of Gennat’s character–I love detective fiction and detectives in general and his addition into the book made my day. I hadn’t really heard about his previously and reading about him totally made me want to find out more about his time with the Berlin criminal police. Tons of other new faces as well, especially a certain underground crime ring that takes an interesting turn.

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke is an action-packed sequel that had me on the edge of my seat. Blankman’s blend of fact and fiction is absolutely mesmerising and the writing really makes you feel as though you’re really there during this terrible time in history. I hope there’s a third book coming soon, even though the ending seemed to be perfect and sounded like there wouldn’t be another book, but nonetheless if there is I’m ecstatic to read more about what happens after. If not, I’m glad to have been on this journey navigating one of the biggest turning points in European and World history through the eyes of an amazing and relatable protagonist.

If you like this, try...


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EXCERPT

ABOUT THIS SCENE: After Daniel finds out he's been framed for a murder in Berlin, he and Gretchen journey to the capital to clear his name. Once they find the boarding house where the victim used to live, they decide to snoop around the office of Frau Fleischer, the landlady. But they're about to discover that the victim was mixed up in something far more dangerous than anything they could have imagined...

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"We must get out of here immediately," Daniel interrupted, seizing Gretchen's hand. He pulled her out of the office. Somewhere she heard the creaking sound again, but close enough this time that she recognized it--a floorboard whining under someone's weight.

They raced into the parlor just as the unmistakable pop and fizzle of gas lights flaring into life sounded from the front hall. As a yellow glow flickered and grew, a black shape dashed through the entryway straight toward them.

Gretchen stumbled backward, her heart surging into her hart. Nearby, she heard Daniel cursing and wrenching the pick free from the lock.

The shape flew at them, sharpening into the bone-thin, black-dressed figure of Frau Fleischer. She carried an ancient-looking shotgun. Gretchen let out a harsh cry as the landlady swung the weapon up and jammed it against her forehead.

"Don't move," Frau Fleischer snapped. "The men will deal with you as soon as they arrive. Now if you so much as breathe, I'll blast your head off."

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ANNE BLANKMAN

Anne Blankman may have been meant to be a writer because her parents named her for Anne of Green Gables. She grew up in an old house with gables (gray, unfortunately) in upstate New York. When she wasn't writing or reading, she was rowing on the crew team, taking ballet lessons, fencing and swimming. She graduated from Union College with degrees in English and history, which comes in handy when she writes historical fiction.

After earning a master's degree in information science, Anne began working as a youth services librarian. Currently, she lives in southeastern Virginia with her family. When she's not writing young adult fiction, she's playing with her daughter, training for races with her husband, working at her amazing library branch, learning to knit (badly), and reading.

Anne Blankman is the author of PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG, the first in a three-book deal slated for publication in spring 2014 from Balzer + Bray | HarperCollins. She is represented by Tracey Adams of Adams Literary.

Website Goodreads Twitter


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Enter to win...

GRAND PRIZE: Win a signed ARC of PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG and a signed ARC of CONSPIRACY OF BLOOD AND SMOKE (US Only)


FIRST PRIZE:  Win (1) of (2) signed ARCs of CONSPIRACY OF BLOOD AND SMOKE (US Only)


That’s 3 winners total!
US ONLY
Enter via the rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Thank you so much to FFBC tours for having me along!


Click on the button above or on the tour banner at the top of the post to follow the rest of the tour!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Another one of my (many) apologies

Yes, I know, I KNOW. I’ve done it again haven’t I? I’ve been AWOL, not really bothered to post up anything (unless it’s been scheduled from close to two months ago like the previous post), etc. etc. I’m SO sorry. Honestly, I wish I could say that I’ve been super busy, and I have with school work, but instead I’ve just been lazy with reading and have spent more time watching TV (I’m kind of ashamed to admit).


I’ve got spring break in a few days, so here’s to hoping the posts pick up again.

So sorry once again and I really can’t wait to get back into the swing of things!

Best,
Rabiah

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Seed by Lisa Heathfield

Seed by Lisa Heathfield

Release Date: April 16, 2015
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Series: Seed, Book 1
Rated: YA 14+
Format: ARC
Source: Pansing
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads

Seed loves you. Seed will never let you go.

Fifteen-year-old Pearl has lived her whole life protected within the small community at Seed, where they worship Nature and idolise their leader, Papa S. When some outsiders arrive, everything changes. Pearl experiences feelings that she never knew existed and begins to realise that there is darkness at the heart of Seed. A darkness from which she must escape, before it's too late.


When I received an offer to review Seed, I was immediately drawn to the eerie cover and the tagline and knew that I HAD to read and review this one. However, the problem with me is that I don’t tend to read blurbs very well and base most of my reading (sadly) on the cover. I seriously didn’t realise this was about a cult. When I found out, my brain started flashing warning signs. Why, you ask? I’d previously started reading a book about a cult and didn’t end up enjoying it so I stopped reading it. To be completely honest, I get a little freaked out when it comes to reading about cults. From what I’ve learned about them to seeing them portrayed in media, I get a little weirded out and tend to stay away from things that depict cults, etc. By the way, this is totally not meant to offend anyone. I personally don’t know much about cults in general, except that there have been some that are pretty extreme and stuff, so basically that’s what my “judgement” (if I could even call it that) is based on. 

Anyway, back to Seed. This one was fantastic. It’s filled with absolutely gorgeous descriptions, and now I’m wondering whether this is based on an actual cult because the “world-building” – despite it not being a fantasy/dystopian/etc. – is phenomenal. It really didn’t feel like our world, and I didn’t even think that this was based in a real place until the outsiders arrive at Seed. That’s the thing: the novel really felt kind of timeless because the cult is so isolated from the outside, so you don’t in fact realise that it actually has a modern setting.

I really enjoyed Pearl’s character. She felt real and I think I would have done most of the actions she does in the book if I was in the position. It must have been a bit of a challenge for the author to have written the book from the perspective of someone who has such a strange and bad view of the world, not completely getting the grasp of the good that there is. The other characters really add to her character development and it was really great reading about them as well.

The end was MIND BLOWING and I was left with my jaw dropped. The book’s pace up till that point was basically pretty normal; kind of slow at the start but started picking up when Pearl begins to question the Seed. Holy crap though, the end was just absolutely heart-pounding and ended with a shocking climax. I’m seriously looking forward to the second book, but now I have to wait a whole YEAR for it to come out... *bursts into tears*.

Seed was intriguing and fascinating – Lisa Heathfield’s debut is stunning and has left me aching for more. Do yourself a favour and do NOT pass this one up. Spellbinding and filled with mystery and deception, this is a novel that demands to be read.


▪ ▪ ▪ Thank you so much to Sasha from Pansing for sending me a copy for review! ▪ ▪ 

If you like this, try...

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Some Fine Day: Launch + Giveaway!


Hey everyone! I’m so excited to help promote Kat Ross launch her book Some Fine Day, which was published last year with Strange Chemistry, but is now re-published with Skyscape :D

Here’s the synopsis:


A generation ago, continent-sized storms called hypercanes caused the Earth to flood. The survivors were forced to retreat deep underground and build a new society.

This is the story that sixteen-year-old Jansin Nordqvist has heard all of her life.

Jansin grew up in a civilization far below the Earth’s surface. She’s spent the last eight years in military intelligence training. So when her parents surprise her with a coveted yet treacherous trip above ground, she’s prepared for anything. She’s especially thrilled to feel the fresh air, see the sun, and view the wide-open skies and the ocean for herself.

But when raiders attack Jansin’s camp and take her prisoner, she is forced to question everything she’s been taught. What do her captors want? How will she get back underground? And if she ever does, will she want to stay after learning the truth?

Some Fine Day is available for purchase on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. You can find more reader reviews on Goodreads.

You can check out the trailer here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR



KAT ROSS


Kat Ross was born and raised in New York City and worked several jobs before turning to journalism and creative writing. An avid traveler and adventurer, she now lives with her family—along with a beagle, a ginger cat, and six fish—far enough outside the city that skunks and deer wander through her backyard.

You can find Kat on Twitter and her website.




Now... for the giveaway!

Kat truly has an awesome giveaway lined up for y’all :D

You can win:

Grand Prize: Kindle Paperwhite with custom cover, preloaded with Some Fine Day

Second Prize (2): Signed copy of Some Fine Day

Third Prize (2): CD audiobook of Some Fine Day

This giveaway runs from February 7th to March 7th
US only

Enter via the Rafflecopter below!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Red Queen Blog Tour: Review + Interview


Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Release Date: February 10, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Series: Red Queen, Book 1
Rated: YA 14+
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

Will her power save her or condemn her?

Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood--those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard--a growing Red rebellion--even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.

When I saw the title for Victoria Aveyard’s debut, the first thing that popped into my mind was Alice in Wonderland. I mean, of course I would think that because, hello, the RED QUEEN aka Queen of Hearts? A little disappointed that it wasn’t a retelling from her point of view, but nonetheless the gorgeous and eerie cover and the premise caught my attention. When I was contacted to be a part of the blog tour and to read an advanced copy of the book, I immediately agreed to it. I knew I had to read this book, and that I had to read it soon.

Oh my gosh: WOW. Red Queen was amazing! I seriously couldn’t tear my eyes away from this book. It was like X-Men meets The Selection meets Shadow and Bone. It was such a fantastic blend of the supernatural, fantasy, and dystopia – brilliantly executed. It was a long read (especially since I read it in one sitting) but SO WORTH IT. The world building was phenomenal; I really felt like I understood the world that the story took place in. The writing was absolutely wonderful and there never seemed to be a dull moment. 

The characters were amazing. I loved learning about this world through Mare’s world. Of course, she reminds me of so many dystopian and fantasy heroines, so that sort of originality was somewhat lacking, but the familiarity of the character type definitely made this an engaging read. And oh gods above, the LOVE TRIANGLE. Or square? I seriously don’t know at this point. Two princes and a friend (not featured very much though) made sure that there was plenty of romance in the story. If you know me, you know that I can’t resist a good romance. However, I just felt that there was a lack of actual chemistry...no sizzle at all. While I’m torn because I my stomach flip-flops at scenes of romance in a book, I thought it was really interesting that the book didn’t actually focus on the developing feelings between characters and was more about the actual events. Feeling a bit half-and-half on this one, but more towards the fact that I’m FOR the somewhat underplayed passion in this novel.

Holy moly the amount of twists in this book. I had to cover up the ends of chapters just to make my eyes stop wandering and accidentally spoiling things for me. SO MUCH SHIZZ HAPPENS AND IT’S WORTHY OF DROPPED JAWS. The end was a stab to the stomach, because no way in a million years did I see that coming. I predicted an earlier twist but I never actually thought that the book would end the way it did. I’m seriously sad that I’m going to have to a while until the next book comes out because 2015 practically just started and the sequel comes out in 20-frickin-16.

An exceptional debut, Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen is gripping from the first page to the last. Absolutely spellbinding, this story of blood, magic, and revolution will have readers begging for more. The start of a terrific trilogy, I’m looking forward to what’s coming next. Can’t wait!


▪ ▪ ▪ Thank you so much to Megan at HarperCollins International and Tiffany at MPH for sending a copy for review and for having me on the blog tour! ▪ ▪ 

If you like this, try...


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VICTORIA AVEYARD


Victoria Aveyard was born and raised in East Longmeadow, MA, a small town known only for the worst traffic rotary in the continental United States. She moved to Los Angeles to earn a BFA in screenwriting at the University of Southern California, and stayed there despite the lack of seasons. She is currently an author and screenwriter. You can find her at www.victoriaaveyard.com.

Website Twitter Facebook Goodreads Tumblr




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EXCERPT
Read the first 7 chapters below!



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And now... for an exclusive Q&A!


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Follow the rest of the tour!

2/2 http://amaterasureads.blogspot.com (Philippines)

2/3 http://staybookish.net/ (Philippines)

2/4 http://ghostgrrrl.wordpress.com (Malaysia)

2/5 http://iliveforreading.blogspot.com (Singapore)

2/6 http://thedailyprophecy.blogspot.com (the Netherlands)

2/8 http://spellsaab.juice.ph/ (Philippines)

2/8 http://defiantlydeviant.blogspot.com (Philippines)

2/9 www.carinabooks.blogspot.com (Norway)

2/12 http://www.booksloveme.com/​ (Malaysia)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday – Week 139

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It’s to spotlight upcoming reads that I’m DYING to get my hands on!

This week’s WoW is:
All We Have Is Now by Lisa Schroeder

What do you do with your last day on earth?

Just over twenty-four hours are left until an asteroid strikes North America, and for Emerson and everyone else who didn't leave, the world will end. But Emerson's world already ended when she ran away from home. Since then, she has lived on the streets, relying on her wits and on her friend Vince to help her find places to sleep and food to eat.


The city's quieter now that most people are gone, and no one seems to know what to do as the end approaches. But then Emerson and Vince meet Carl, who tells them he has been granting people's wishes -- and gives them his wallet full of money. 


Suddenly, this last day seems full of possibility. Emerson and Vince can grant a lot of wishes in one last day -- maybe even their own.

July 28, 2015 ● Goodreads

I really loved Lisa Schroeder’s novel in verse The Day Before (review here), and so I’m looking forward to this emotional story of two teens and their last day on earth. Definitely an interesting premise and it kind of makes you think of what you would do with your last day on earth. Can’t wait for this one for sure!

What are you waiting on?

Monday, February 2, 2015

Journey by Aaron Becker

Journey by Aaron Becker

Release Date: August 6, 2013
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Series: Journey, Book 1
Rated: Children 5+
Format: Hardcover Picture Book
Source: Borrowed – thanks Joy!
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website

Follow a girl on an elaborate flight of fancy in a wondrously illustrated, wordless picture book about self-determination — and unexpected friendship.

A lonely girl draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and through it escapes into a world where wonder, adventure, and danger abound. Red marker in hand, she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carry her on a spectacular journey toward an uncertain destiny. When she is captured by a sinister emperor, only an act of tremendous courage and kindness can set her free. Can it also lead her home and to her heart’s desire? With supple line, luminous color, and nimble flights of fancy, author-illustrator Aaron Becker launches an ordinary child on an extraordinary journey toward her greatest and most exciting adventure of all.

My roommate takes a course called "Aesthetic Constructions of Childhood,” and she has to read a bunch of picture books for the class (lucky, right?). After reading Journey by Aaron Becker, she told me how great the story was and handed it to me to read. I devoured it in two minutes. What struck me first was the lack of words– I don’t think I’ve read a picture book that didn’t have any words in it. Anyway, that totally didn’t hinder my experience at all because the illustrations are GORGEOUS. I mean, absolutely beautiful. It’s such a sweet story as well, with that familiar feel of childlike wonder and imagination.

There were several interesting things I didn’t notice the first time reading it, and my roommate pointed them out after. I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll mention a few things that she told me that they discussed in her course. Firstly, there’s the bedroom at the beginning and if you look at some of the objects in the room, they pop up later on in the story. Another really cool thing is that tiny details are often overshadowed by the larger ones the illustrations. For example, the artist creates such incredible landscapes that you totally don’t notice a boat or a door hidden in the corner. There are a lot of cool details with this book, so definitely read it a few times to capture everything. Tons of surprises hidden for sure!

I don’t normally review picture books, but honestly, if I constantly read amazing books such as Journey, I hope there are a lot more coming my way in the near future. I really do hope that I get the chance to read the next book in this absolutely delightful picture book series, and I look forward to more of Becker’s fantastic stories told through his beautiful illustrations.

If you like this, try...


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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday – Week 138

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It’s to spotlight upcoming books that I’m DYING to get my hands on!

This week’s WoW is:
Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver delivers a gripping story about two sisters inexorably altered by a terrible accident.

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara's beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it's too late.

In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.

March 10, 2015 ● Goodreads

I really enjoyed Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall and Delirium – even though I haven’t read the rest of the series (yet) – and this one sounds SERIOUSLY good from what the blurb says. Plus, it’s gotten so many good reviews already! Definitely need to see if I can get this one off of Edelweiss soon.

What are you waiting on?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry

Release Date: September 23, 2014
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Rated: MG/YA 12+
Format: eGalley
Source: NetGalley
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website

There's a murderer on the loose—but that doesn't stop the girls of St. Etheldreda's from attempting to hide the death of their headmistress in this rollicking farce. 

The students of St. Etheldreda's School for Girls face a bothersome dilemma. Their irascible headmistress, Mrs. Plackett, and her surly brother, Mr. Godding, have been most inconveniently poisoned at Sunday dinner. Now the school will almost certainly be closed and the girls sent home—unless these seven very proper young ladies can hide the murders and convince their neighbors that nothing is wrong. 

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place is a smart, hilarious Victorian romp, full of outrageous plot twists, mistaken identities, and mysterious happenings.

I was really interested in The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place after hearing Julie Berry speak at the Boston Teen Author Festival 2014. I even had the chance to meet her before this at ALA in Chicago in 2013, and get a signed ARC of her YA novel All the Truth That’s In Me, which I unfortunately haven’t read yet. This time round though it was really cool to hear her talk about crafting mystery and a good villain. This novel was really cute and was quite a funny historical-fiction middle grade novel – it’s actually really good for all ages since all the characters seemed to be of different ages.

At first I got really confused with all the names in the book as the author names them with an adjective, so we have characters such as Smooth Kitty and Stout Alice. It takes a while, but you definitely get used to it by halfway through the novel. I really like how the book includes illustrations of the ladies part of the sisterhood – which unfortunately wasn’t available for viewing in the eGalley I received – as well as mentions the people associated with them who don’t appear in the novel, just to get a better idea of the characters’ personalities and characteristics. I wish that certain characters had more of a role, because it seemed like only a four girls seemed to be getting most of the work during the plot, but nonetheless it made it much easier to relate to the characters.

I thought that the beginning was actually really strange, and this was due to the lack of reaction to their head mistress’s death. I just thought that it was weird how they didn’t have a total meltdown or panic that much, because I know I would have if I was in that situation. Especially when they have to masquerade around as if nothing was wrong: how can such young girls be calm under such circumstances? This is probably the only thing that didn’t add up for me. I mean, yeah, sure– there are times of panic and “I can’t do this” etc. etc. BUT, on the whole, lack of panic doesn’t make it seem really plausible. However, this was still a really fun read.

I’m a fan of whodunit mysteries, and this one was really great. There’s a ton of suspense and action that’ll keep you wondering what will happen next. There’s also some romance in the book which is why I think it’s more of a middle grade meets young adult, rather than just a middle grade novel. Anyway, I seriously did not expect that ending! There are a ton of surprises that are revealed at the end, especially about people’s identities, as well as the motive for the murder. I enjoyed how the mystery was written: I’m glad to say that there are no dull moments to be found.

Cute and gripping, The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place is perfect for readers of all ages, and will have you on your toes with every twist and turn. Julie Berry crafts a fabulous mystery that produces both laughs and shocked gasps, and I’m looking forward to reading more from her in the future.

If you like this, try...


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Friday, January 23, 2015

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

Release Date: March 1, 2014
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Rated: YA 15+
Format: ARC
Source: Pansing
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website

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.

After finishing this one, there is truly only one word that sums it up: WOW. Just...WOW. Oh my gosh. I can’t believe I put this one off so long. It took me four attempts to start it – not because it was bad, but because things kept coming up. The fourth and final time I read this book, which was around a year after the previous attempt, I FINALLY finished it.

WOW.

What a strange and wonderful book! Honestly, I find it so difficult to tell people what this book is about. If I were to describe it, it would come off as being weird and something many people wouldn’t enjoy. Something along the lines of – this is a story about love and history... AND it has gigantic praying mantises. People would think I was crazy or something. Nope, so I’m gonna have Austin’s character describe it to you from the beginning of the story:

This is my history. There are things in here: babies with two heads, insects and big as refrigerators, God, the devil, limbless warriors, rocket ships, sex, diving bells, theft, wards, monsters, internal combustion engines, love, cigarettes, joy, bomb shelters, pizza, and cruelty.
Just like it’s always been.
–p. 8, ARC*
*text is subject to change in the final version

See? Much better than how I would have put it.

I remember starting this one (the first attempt to read this book) around the time I finished reading Slaughterhouse-Five for class. The writing style is similar in the sense that it jumps around a bit – not as crazily as SH5 – but like Vonnegut, Smith has a method to his madness. You only truly understand why it’s important to include the small details, or the larger ideas of what’s happening elsewhere because it all CONNECTS. In the end, you come to realise that, holy crap: it all makes sense now.

The literature student in me so desperately wants to just sit down with this book for a month and analyze the hell out of this book. There’s so much to look at because this book is so rich in detail and has such a unique structure. Just looking at the history this book incorporates, it’s influences and the allusions it makes would be such an interesting study... now I’m seriously tempted to do this! *inner-geek flails*

I feel like I’ve gone through a life-changing experience after reading this book. I cannot express how mind-blowingly excellent Grasshopper Jungle is, how stunning Andrew Smith’s prose is, and how I’m absolutely looking forward to reading more of his novels. This is by far the best book I’ve read in a long time, definitely the best book published in 2014 for me, and it’s going to be difficult finding another that will top this one. Truly a masterpiece of a book, filled with such a unique premise and unforgettable characters, this is a fantastic story that no one should miss out on.


▪ ▪ ▪ Thank you so much to Sasha from Pansing for sending a copy for review! ▪ ▪ 

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