Thursday, July 16, 2015

Down from the Mountain

Down from the Mountain
by Elizabeth Fixmer
Published March 1st 2015 by Albert Whitman Teen

From Goodreads:
 Eva just wants to be a good disciple of the Righteous Path. She grew up knowing that she and her mother are among the chosen few to be saved from Armageddon. Lately, though, being saved feels awfully treacherous. Ever since they moved to the compound in Colorado, their food supplies have dwindled even while their leader, Ezekial, has stockpiled weapons. The only money comes from the jewelry Eva makes and sells down in Boulder--a purpose she'll serve until she becomes one of Ezekial's wives.
But a college student named Trevor and the other "heathens" she meets on her trips beyond the compound are different from what she's been led to believe. 


My Thoughts: 
I was quite engrossed by this book from the very beginning. I thought the characters were decently portrayed and the situation somewhat believable and horrific. I have read some other books dealing with a similar theme and this was a decent one. However I didn't so much like the end as it seemed too sweetly wrapped up and everyone happy - for the most part. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Before My Eyes

Before My Eyes
by Caroline Bock

Hardcover, 304 pages
Published February 11th 2014 by St. Martin's Griffin 
 
From Goodreads:
  From the author of LIE, a powerful new young adult novel about a fateful Long Island summer and the lives of three young people who will never be the same.

Dreamy, poetic Claire, seventeen, has spent the last few months taking care of her six-year-old sister, Izzy, as their mother lies in a hospital bed recovering from a stroke. Claire believes she has everything under control until she meets “Brent” online. Brent appears to be a kindred spirit, and Claire is initially flattered by his attention. But when she meets Max, the awkward state senator’s son, her feelings become complicated.

Max, also seventeen, has been working the worst summer job ever at the beachside Snack Shack. He’s also been popping painkillers. His parents—more involved in his father’s re-election than in their son’s life—fail to see what’s going on with him.

Working alongside Max is Barkley, twenty-one. Lonely and obsessive, Barkley has been hearing a voice in his head. No one—not his parents, not his co-workers—realizes that Barkley is suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. Until the voice in his head orders him to take out his gun.

Narrated in turns by Claire, Max, and Barkley, Before My Eyes captures a moment when possibilities should be opening up, but instead everything teeters on the brink of destruction.
 
 My Thoughts:
Lots of layers to this story. Characters of all types - the ones you love and the ones you hate and the ones that just annoy the heck out of you. 

I received a free e-galley of the book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Apocalypse Bow Wow

Apocalypse Bow Wow
by James Proimos III
illustrated by James Proimos Jr.
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published January 6th 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens 
 
From Goodreads.com:
The end has come. The world is in shambles. Everyone is gone…except for the dogs!

Brownie and Apollo are two dogs living in bliss with a big, comfy couch to laze on. But unbeknownst to them and seemingly overnight, the world has turned to utter chaos. What they do know is their owners are MIA, they are starting to get on each other's nerves, and it's dinner time. What has happened? Who will feed them? What if their people are gone for good?!

With bellies rumbling, Brownie and Apollo decide to set out into the wide world, where they discover other pets and stray animals who have been left behind. But not everyone is man's best friend. It's a dog-eat-dog world now! With the help of a friendly neighborhood police dog and a small but mighty side-kick tick, Apollo and Brownie must figure out how to survive these dark times and locate their ultimate goal: dinner!
 
My Thoughts:
Just what you have been waiting to read, a graphic novel about a post-apocalyptic world - from a dog's perspective! As expected, parts were funny, parts were rather dumb. But overall an entertaining read. 

 I received a free e-advanced copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Shutter

Shutter
by Courtney Alameda

Hardcover, 384 pages
Published February 3rd 2015 by Feiwel & Friends 
From Goodreads.com:
 Horror has a new name: introducing Courtney Alameda.

Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She's aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera's technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.

When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn't exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she's faced before . . . or die trying.

Lock, stock, and lens, she’s in for one hell of a week.

 My Thoughts:
I love the cover! The idea of the story was fascinating, but I wasn't a huge fan of any of the characters. It was not near as scary as I was hoping for. I know a lot of teens that will gobble this book right up, it just didn't grab me in that way.



 I received a free e-advanced copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Fourteenth Goldfish

The Fourteenth Goldfish
by Jennifer L. Holm

Hardcover, 208 pages
Published August 26th 2014 by Random House Books for Young Readers

Wow, you never know what you're going to get with a novel by Holm. Every single one is so different from the rest. It is awesome. Kind of like opening a present on your birthday or Christmas - you know it's likely something good and something you want - you just don't know if it's going to be warm and cozy or fun to play with. This venture into the sci-fi realm was pretty fun. Ellie's grandfather has discovered how to reverse aging and of course tests it on himself. As a result he gets banished from his own lab because no one recognizes him. He ends up moving in with Ellie and her mother (his daughter). This proves a little awkward as he is now physically and hormonally, a teenage boy with the tastes, humor and personality of a grouchy old man. Trust me, this is not an ideal combination. As the familial relationships are tested in a variety of ways, each individual learns a lot about themselves and their relatives.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Pranks and Attacks!

Pranks and Attacks!
Tao: The Little Samurai #1
by Laurent Richard
illustrated by Nicolas Ryser
Hardcover, 63 pages
Published January 1st 2014 by Graphic Universe 
 
 
Tao is an energetic (sometimes) little guy at samurai school. He causes all sorts of mayhem and laughter as he interacts with his fellows students and instructors. His antics are somewhat reminiscent of Dennis the Menace. Despite the setting of a samurai school, the situations he gets himself into will resonate with many young readers. Each page is it's own little vignette of Tao's life. They start with a wise samurai adage that illustrates Tao's personality perfectly. The illustrations are a perfect fit and will entertain readers of all ages. Young fans of Big Nate and Diary of a Wimpy Kid will appreciate these volumes as well.

Jack the Castaway

Jack the Castaway
The Berenson Schemes #1
by Lisa Doan
Hardcover, 140 pages
Published April 1st 2014 by Lerner Classroom
For years, Jack Berenson's parents have flitted about the world trying one get-rich-quick scheme after another. Jack was quite content to live a peaceful and stationary life with his aunt. Unfortunately she died and Jack's parents made the decision to reclaim him before moving onto their next venture - a snorkeling business in the Caribbean. Without any other options Jack tries to make the best of his situation and keep himself and his parents safe. However, that is quite difficult as his parents have no concept of rules and safety. As a result, Jack ends up stranded on a deserted island. He uses his smarts to make a shelter, find food and water and even friends of a sort. The big question is, will his parents find and use their smarts to retrieve their one and only son?
This series opener is a fast and fun read for kids around 3rd grade. The black and white illustrations well-done and add to the quirkiness of the story.