25 November 2015

Lizard Radio by Pat Schmatz


Release Date: 8 September 2015 | Publisher: Candlewick| Format: Hardcover

Review:

Set in a near-future world, Lizard Radio opens with our main character, Kivali (or Lizard), being dropped off at CropCamp by her usually non-conforming guardian, Sheila. CropCamp is where teenagers go essentially to become good little conforming citizens, learn a trade, and find a like-minded, heterosexual partner. Kivali, however, doesn't fit the norms (she's a "bender" in this world's lingo--someone who doesn't conform to a gender) and has a hard time fitting in at CropCamp (well, she's always had trouble fitting in anywhere really). It's not ALL bad for her at camp because she does love being outdoors and she makes some real friends. However, she falls in love/lust with another girl and that's really just another thing that sets her apart. Lizard Radio is the kind of book that I wanted to love. It has good writing, a unique storyline, and it truly does deftly explore gender queerness in a sensitive way. I think what brought this one down some for me was that I found myself wanting and needing more world-building along the way. I didn't get a clear picture of what was really going on in this world and why it was the way it was. So while this book has some REALLY good things going for it, I simply couldn't fall in love with it. It was a quick read and its exploration of gender and sexuality definitely secure it a place on my library shelves.


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23 November 2015

Fatal Fever: Tracking Down Typhoid Mary by Gail Jarrow


Release Date: 10 March 2015 | Publisher: Calkins Creek | Format: Hardcover

Review:

The Ebola outbreak of 2014 may be the scariest virus outbreak in recent memory but it is certainly not the first time that the world--or the United States--has experienced widespread disease and panic. In Fatal Fever, Jarrow brings readers to the frontlines in the fight against one such epidemic--typhoid fever. Typhoid fever killed thousands of Americans each year and Jarrow spares little detail in informing the reader about the unsanitary conditions that contributed to its spread. The story focuses in on the intersecting lives of three key players in the fight against the disease--Mary, the woman who unwittingly spread the disease; the epidemiologist who found her; and the health department that sealed her fate. Jarrow crafts the story into a compelling narrative paired with images that make this a quick and fascinating read that will make you want to get up and wash your hands! I would love to see this book paired in a classroom with an examination of the Ebola outbreak; I think the comparisons could be interesting and make this highly relevant.

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19 November 2015

City of Savages by Lee Kelly



Release Date: 3 February 2015 | Publisher: Saga Press | Format: Audio


Review:

Sky, Phee, and their mom have been living and surviving on Manhattan ever since the Third World War turned the island into a POW camp. The island is ruled by the iron fist of Rolladin, the island "native" appointed by the conquering Red Allies to maintain control. The world, however, is not quite what the inhabitants of the island have been led to believe. Newcomers threaten to expose long-kept secrets and drive Sky and Phee to look for answers--and what they find along the way is not at all what they expected. City of Savages offer an action-filled, compelling read that I think will be appealing to fans of YA dystopian novels, but it wasn't without its flaws. While the story is told from both sisters' perspectives, I found their voices to be incredibly similar and at times difficult to differentiate (even with the added benefit of two different audio narrators). I found myself wishing for two more distinct personalities to come through. My other criticism of this book is less about the book itself (which, like I said, I really enjoyed) and more about the marketing. For me, this read solidly like a YA novel--full of action and the requisite suspension of disbelief (because of lacking details)--but it was published (and is shelved at my local public library) as an adult novel. I think readers who largely enjoy the more nuanced, detailed adult fiction might be disappointed by this book. That being said, this has a lot of potential to be a hit with teens and adults who read YA, especially since it is a standalone novel (YAY STANDALONE NOVELS!)

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18 November 2015

Alive by Chandler Baker





Release Date: 9 June 2015 | Publisher: Disney-Hyperion | Format: Hardcover


Review: .

After years of waiting for a heart transplant, Stella miraculously receives one but it comes with some strange consequences--recurring pain, nightmares, and hallucinations.  Despite these effects, Stella is determined to make the most out of her second change and that includes going after new student and bad boy Levi Zin.  Stella's magnetic attraction to Levi is intense from the beginning and eventually she begins to question the forces pulling them together and why she experiences less pain in his presence.  With the help of her friend, Henry, she begins to investigate and finds that there's much more to Levi than meets the eye. Thrown in brassy BFF, Brynn, and paranormal twists, and you have this creepy, engaging read. The plotline is a bit predictable but with a creepy atmosphere that will appeal to fans of paranormal suspense and horror. 


 


04 November 2015

Oh, How Time Flies...


I knew it had been awhile since I posted anything on this blog.  Life has a way of unexpectedly getting in the way of keeping up with things like this.  However, when I logged in, I realized that my last post was in January 2014.  2014?!  In January 2014, I was seven months pregnant with my daughter!  Now she is a crazy 19 month old toddler.  Time seems to have simply flown past me while I let this blog just sit here!

So, my GOAL is to start posting again.  Yay!  I feel like I finally have time to get reading done and I want to start writing reviews again.  I miss writing reviews because it made me seriously sit and think about my reading.  I'm tentatively excited to get back to blogging, but I certainly don't promise miracles.  Hopefully I'll be able to balance family life, work (and my work blog), and this a little more efficiently. :)

Looking forward to diving back into this fun adventure!

So, do YOU have any tips and tricks for finding that family/work/blogging balance?  Please share!

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