Jul 24, 2012

Review: The Foresaken by Lisa M. Stasse (+Giveaway)

The Foresaken by Lisa M. Stasse
July 10th, 2012 from Simon & Schuster

As an obedient orphan of the U.N.A. (the super-country that was once Mexico, the U.S., and Canada), Alenna learned at an early age to blend in and be quiet—having your parents taken by the police will do that to a girl. But Alenna can’t help but stand out when she fails a test that all sixteen-year-olds have to take: The test says she has a high capacity for brutal violence, and so she is sent to The Wheel, an island where all would-be criminals end up.

The life expectancy of prisoners on The Wheel is just two years, but with dirty, violent, and chaotic conditions, the time seems a lot longer as Alenna is forced to deal with civil wars for land ownership and machines that snatch kids out of their makeshift homes. Desperate, she and the other prisoners concoct a potentially fatal plan to flee the island. Survival may seem impossible, but Alenna is determined to achieve it anyway.

This book had two things going for it from the start. One, That. Cover. Personally, that image is something that gets more and more interesting every time I see it. After reading the book, I love the cover art even more. I don't think I could ever envision anything as extroadinary, but that cover is a great depiction of what the story is about. And that leads me to number two; the synopsis. I am a huge dystopian fan and I love the description of the book. The terms 'obedient orphan' and 'The Wheel' all had me pushing this book to the top of my TBR pile.

Jul 23, 2012

Giveaway: Mothership by Martin Leicht and Isla Neal

Mothership by Martin Leicht and Isla Neal
July 10th, 2012 from Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers

Pregnant. In space. Yeah, things are really looking up.

It’s 2074 and Elvie’s unplanned pregnancy (with Cole Archer, who bolted out of town half a millisecond after hearing the news, not that Elvie’s bitter about it or anything) forces her to leave her best bud back on Earth and spend her junior year aboard a corny old space cruiser with forty-five other hormonal teen girls (one of whom just happens to be her arch-nemesis). Getting shipped off to the Hanover School for Expecting Teen Mothers was not how Elvie imagined spending her junior year, but she can go with the flow. That is, until a team of hot commandos hijacks the ship—and one of them turns out to be Cole.

Mothership is the first installment in a new trilogy from Martin Leicht and Isla Neal that has been described as Juno meets Pretty In Pink…but in space.

Jul 16, 2012

Audio Review: Rotters by Daniel Kraus

Rotters by Daniel Kraus
April 5th, 2012 from Random House Audio

Grave-robbing. What kind of monster would do such a thing? It's true that Leonardo da Vinci did it, Shakespeare wrote about it, and the resurrection men of nineteenth-century Scotland practically made it an art. But none of this matters to Joey Crouch, a sixteen-year-old straight-A student living in Chicago with his single mom. For the most part, Joey's life is about playing the trumpet and avoiding the daily humiliations of high school.

Everything changes when Joey's mother dies in a tragic accident and he is sent to rural Iowa to live with the father he has never known, a strange, solitary man with unimaginable secrets. At first, Joey's father wants nothing to do with him, but once father and son come to terms with each other, Joey's life takes a turn both macabre and exhilarating.

Confession: I asked my library to buy this audio because it won the 2012 Odyssey Award for best audio book for children. By disc two, I could tell why it was chosen for this esteemed award. Kirby Heyborne provides the voices for Rotters. You might recognize his voice from Cohn's and Levithan's Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist. Heyborne has a young and vulnerable voice that I found perfect for Joey. Joey lost his mother and when he goes to live with his estranged father, he feels more alone than ever. There is little dialogue for much of the book and we follow Joey as he grieves and tries to figure what role his father will play in his life. When Joey learns that his father is a grave digger, things get so very interesting. Heyborne completely switches gears and provides an all new raspy and raw voice for Harnett (father). When we meet other rotters from other parts of the county, again we are blessed with all new voices. I was truly impressed with Hayborne's versatility.

Jul 15, 2012

Review: Small Medium At Large by Joanne Levy

Small Medium At Large by Joanne Levy
July 3rd, 2012 from Bloomsbury

After she’s hit by lightning at a wedding, twelve-year-old Lilah Bloom develops a new talent: she can hear dead people. Among them, there’s her overopinionated Bubby Dora; a prissy fashion designer; and an approval-seeking clown who livens up a séance. With Bubby Dora leading the way, these and other sweetly imperfect ghosts haunt Lilah through seventh grade, and help her face her one big fear: talking to—and possibly going to the seventh-grade dance with—her crush, Andrew Finkel.

Liliah can hear dead people, but this really isn't a ghost story. This is a story about a girl trying to get through those rough middle school years who just happens to get some pretty excellent advice from dead people. Namely, her grandmother and a once uber famous fashion designer. What I wouldn't do to talk to my grandmothers again! Lilah goes through the normal ups and downs of 7th grade - snotty girls & cute boys -and in my opinion, she is one lucky girl to have her ghost sidekicks. They are witty, smart, and truly want the best for Lilah and her father. This is just a good ole fashion coming of age story with a twist.

Jul 13, 2012

Guest Post: Rule-Breakers in Young Adult Novels for Boys by Ed Briant (+Giveaway)

I Am (Not) The Walrus by Ed Briant
July 8th, 2012 from Flux Books

Toby and Zack’s first gig could make or break their Beatles cover band, the Nowhere Men. But ever since getting dumped by his girlfriend, lead singer Toby can’t quite pull off the Beatles’ feel-good vibe. When Toby finds a note hidden inside his brother’s bass claiming the instrument was stolen, he embarks on a quest to find the true owner—and hopes a girl named Michelle will help him recover his lost mojo along the way.

Music is such a big part of a young person's life, and I love when books let music take center stage. When you throw in Beatles references and UK slang, I'm a little more quick to give the story a try. When Toby thinks his coveted bass is stolen property, he is torn between returning the bass to its rightful owner (if there really is one) or just forgetting what he knows. Things take a turn for the worse when other people start setting their sites on the bass. I really enjoyed the positive friendships between Toby and his bandmates. They are understanding and supportive. It's nice to read about young boys who lift each other up and don't rely on name calling and snide humor all of the time. Toby's relationship with his mother is also refreshing. She is down to earth and treats Toby like an equal voting partner. Young Beatles fans will love this fast, dialogue driven story with a touch of smoochie scenes and mystery.

Check out Briants original illustrations inspired by your favorite Beatles songs:
You can find Briant at his website and at Flux
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Jul 11, 2012

Cover Reveal: Doomed by Tracy Deebs

Doomed by Tracy Deebs
January 8th, 2013 from Bloomsbury Walker

Beat the game. Save the world.

Pandora’s just your average teen, glued to her cell phone and laptop, surfing Facebook and e-mailing with her friends, until the day her long-lost father sends her a link to a mysterious site featuring twelve photos of her as a child. Unable to contain her curiosity, Pandora enters the site, where she is prompted to play her favorite virtual-reality game, Zero Day. This unleashes a global computer virus that plunges the whole world into panic: suddenly, there is no Internet. No cell phones. No utilities, traffic lights, hospitals, law enforcement. Pandora teams up with handsome stepbrothers Eli and Theo to enter the virtual world of Zero Day. Simultaneously, she continues to follow the photographs from her childhood in an attempt to beat the game and track down her father, her one key to saving the world as we know it. Part The Matrix, part retelling of the Pandora myth, Doomed has something for gaming fans, dystopian fans, and romance fans alike.

You know I love and support our Texas authors! You remember Deebs from her Tempest Rising series and you can meet her at Austin Teen Book Festival this September. Yay!

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You can find Deebs at her website

MundieMoms is hosting a giveaway, pop on over and enter HERE