New Release Wrap-Up: Top 20 April Books that You’ll Want to Read

April was a great book release month for YA readers. Here’s my top 20 recommendations for your TBR list:

On this list, we have:

The Book I’m going to pick up from The Bookshelf in about 5 minutes…

Books to read at the beach when the kids are running around and you’re needing to live vicariously through young, single people:

Books to read to pretend we’re professional dancers:

Books to will read when you want to pretend you are more than a mere mortal:

Book to read to restore faith in the next generation learning something from their mistakes:

Book to will read to scare the bejeezus out of yourself:

Book I will read while I’m in theatre week and pulling my hair out over The Wizard of Oz production (this is not intended toward our own Dorothy…just Oz in general : )

Books to read to love and share with the kiddos when they’re avid middle grades readers (which, honestly, I think is one of the best genres…more on that later):

Book to will read to cry yourself to sleep:

Books that are oddballs, but have a lot of hype and good reviews, so they’re on my TBR list…and since you’re goal in life is to Read Up with the Joneses, they should also be on yours:

So there you have it! My TBR April list (yes, I’ve already read Dreams of Gods and Monsters, but I will reread it, so back on the list it goes!)

Here’s an extended list from Goodreads with a few more you may like…you know…in case you do actually read more than we do in the Jones homestead. Check them out and purchase a few for your bookshelf. Either visit The Bookshelf, downtown Thomasville or purchase through the Jones’ Book Shop (so we get credit through our affiliate link and can keep up the site that you’ve all come to know and love) and keep Reading Up with the Joneses!

 

 

50 Shades of Grey or Contemporary Christian Music Lyrics? A Quiz

You’re getting more than usual today, I know, but it’s because I’m enjoying my morning at the Jones’ favorite local coffee house. I wasn’t going to post anything else, but really, I COULD NOT RESIST SHARING THIS! Have you read Fifty Shades of Grey? Listened to any Contemporary Christian Music in the past, oh, 15 years? If you answered yes to both, be prepared to quite literally, roll on the floor laughing with this quiz. The people around me now think I’m crazy…sitting in the back corner, hoping no one is reading over my shoulder and trying desperately to contain giggles. Enjoy and Read Up! Let me know what you think!

Homeschoolers Anonymous

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By R.L. Stollar, HA Community Coordinator

Growing up evangelical, I listened to a lot of Contemporary Christian Music (CCM). I never understood the whole “rock music causes demons to eat your brain” mentality. But I did understand — to some extent — their point that Christian rock music was just normal rock music with “Jesus” pasted on top. To my friends and I, that wasn’t actually an intelligent critique. It was more a joke, something we all laughed about.

Fact is, my peers and I often thought it was funny that many CCM songs appeared to be sexy romance songs where the “you” was just capitalized so it suddenly was about Jesus rather than a hot piece of man-flesh. And some CCM bands — Skillet, most of all — have lyrics that are so spiritually kinky, even actual kinksters might blush.

So to honor this humorous memory of CCM’s…

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So Last Season by Michael Guevara

There are more good books in the world than any of us will ever be able to read. Don’t worry if you aren’t reading the newest of the new or following the “hype” of the most recent bestseller. I’ll let you in on a secret: I still haven’t read The Fault in our Stars. Shhh…don’t tell anyone. The hype is just too much.
My absolute favorite books are C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. One of the best parts of being a mother is watching the reaction on my children’s faces as they discover theses stories for the very first time. Old books, sure, but brand new stories for them, and hopefully, stories that will help shape their lives. Enjoy this post and even if you’re not reading the newest of the new, still Read Up with the Joneses!
“No matter how long a book has been out, the first time you read it, it’s new to you. All the wonders others have previously discovered are still there waiting for new readers to discover them.”

Nerdy Book Club

Sometimes I worry that I’m not book hip enough, that I haven’t kept up with the latest must-reads, that my books are so last season. Others recommend new book after new book they’ve read while my Amazon Wish list grows like the epiphyseal plates of a teenage boy.

The co-opted cliché, “So many books, so little time” makes me regret all the Sophie’s choice moments in my life: yard work/gardening or reading; spending time with the family or reading; pretending to be a runner or reading; Real Housewives of New Jersey marathon or reading (don’t judge—some of them write books.)

Still, my longing, which is just a nice way to say jonesing, for the next new read stirs the dilemma that is the book-nerd nexus: Buy now and read later, or buy now, forsake all others, and read now. What is a reader supposed to do? In my family room…

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Southern Glamour or Why You Should Get Married in Thomasville

Ya’ll…it felt weird typing that.

I promised I’d post about the wedding event of the year (or, production week for me) that I was privy to a few weekends ago, so, before I forget, here it is. I’ll keep it short, simple and of course, sweet as Georgia sweet tea.

Bride: the one and only, Emily Loftiss (whose “friends” call her Loftiss, which I am apparently not one of because she’s always been and will always be “Emily” to me…sorry Emily…name your first-born Loftiss and maybe I’ll catch on) If you don’t know her personally, you may know her as the fashion blogger du jour at LoftissSays.com. I’ve mentioned her before, only because it’s the only fashion blog I subscribe to because, let’s face it…I am not fashionable. Her dress, which she designed herself was the epitome of glamour.

Groom: Jay Carlington, Mr. Handsome and oh-so-perfect for Emily (who I’ve only met a handful of times prior to the wedding…the first being at a field party or concert or something on the night one of our dogs ran away and terrorized a neighbor and I was probably really bitchy…more so than normal…so, Jay, if you’re reading, I’m sorry that you probably hated me the first time we met)

Wedding Venue: Thomasville First United Methodist Church (Since I was managing logistics of the reception, I didn’t get to go to the ceremony…sad face…)

Reception Venue: Pebble Hill Plantation (I’ve been obsessed with this place for years. Long before I met Jason, though by some alignment of the stars, we ended up there on our very first accidental date. We also married there…10 years ago!)

Colors: Peach, Masters (as in golf tournament) Green (So….I’m just going to throw this out there…Jay, you do realize that you’re NEVER going to go the the Masters in Augusta ever again? Your anniversary trip…which you know you will be taking…will screw those plans from here till death does you part…unless the Masters are on a different weekend every year, in which case, disregard what I just said. I know nothing about golf. I do, however, know about having a screwy anniversary…since I was the brilliant one to get married the day before Halloween and then seven years later give birth to a child on the very same date. Brilliance)

My Part in the Party: Reception Director/Cocktail-to-Reception Logistics Coordinator/Production Manager/Golf Cart Driver/Guest Chauffeur/Set Decorator/House Manager/Stage Manager…just pick one. Whatever I did, it was fun. I moved a lot of antique furniture, shed blood, sweat and tears (I do not lie), got an awesome sunburn (which, ironically, Emily gave me sunscreen the night before at the rehearsal dinner…) and had a fantastic time. Getting to wear a pretty dress, dance the night away and then breakdown and load out is pretty much what my husband and I do for every production! Well, I wear the dress…he wears a tux and an awesome bow tie ; )

The Guests: All of their friends from NYC and LA. Being the small-town southern gal (I don’t ever actually use that word, btw), I didn’t know any of them. Well, Becca Tobin was there (Kitty on Glee), but I figured fangirling out on someone at a wedding would probably be frowned upon, considering our genteel southern manners. Also…I haven’t watched the last 6 episodes of Glee, so that would probably not be cool. What if her character had been killed off or something? Yikes. Talk about an awkward conversation. I did get to catch up with an old friend from my dancing days, though. Shout out Katie Lumpkin!!!

The Food: “southern” food that I actually try to avoid because it’s everywhere. Chicken strips, grits, salad (a good harvest salad, not the classic southern chef’s), biscuits (the Biscuit Bar was quite cute, if I must say so), banana pudding, peach cobbler, lemon squares and carrot cake groom’s cake (photo at the top, which Kyler at Sweetpeach Cakes baked and I decorated…what do you think?).

Best part about the entire thing: PHOTO BOOTH!!! Ya’ll (I promise to never type this word again after this post), I LIVE for photo booths. Love, love, love. I’m the annoying person that drags everyone over and pre plans poses.

Now, I could link to a bunch of “southern” themed books, but I won’t. I’ll let you dig around for those yourself. In the meantime, if you’re ever in TVegas, make sure to schedule a stop at Pebble Hill, especially if you’re a horse person. The entire main house is equestrian themed (think custom-built ribbon closets, a room dedicated to stirrups from around the world, you get the picture) since Miss Pansy, the last owner, was more horse crazy (with the money to go with it) than most of us combined. Check out the awesome shot of her jumping!

Miss Pansy riding.

Miss Pansy riding.

Hope you enjoyed this peak into the ritzy lift…which, apparently, is just like our normal lives. With more photos. And make-up. And camera-ready poses. Read Up!

High School Shenanigans or Why I Went Off the Grid for a Week + Book Review: #scandal

I’ve been involved in this little thing called Life that occasionally happens around these parts. Two productions went off without too much of a hitch (well, one where the leads actually got hitched and the other where the leads pretended to get hitched).

Theatre week can bring out so many emotions, especially in the director, which was my lucky title.

I spent this past week deep in the ire of the theatre at Cairo High School, where my students were finishing up their Spring production of Guys and Dolls. On Monday afternoon, we put together Act I (for the first time…I know, scary). By Friday night, the kids did a pretty jam up job. Was it perfect? Nope. Was I proud? Yep. They came a long, long way in 4 days and all I could ask for was improvement at every rehearsal–that’s what they gave me!

I’ve decided that after many years of working with high schoolers, teaching them, and especially trying to mount a production with them, is like taking a trust fall off of a cliff and hoping (read: praying) they catch you at the bottom. It’s really all up to the students. I can give them costumes, sets, props, make-up and mics, but I can’t learn their lines or songs for them. I can share my passion, but I can only hope to inspire theirs.

So of course, while I’ve got 40+ kids packed into dressing rooms, wings & any other nook and cranny of a backstage space, high school shenanigans were bound to happen. Someone’s boyfriend showed up uninvited and a chivalrous guys from the cast made him leave. Someone’s foot got stomped by a character shoe heel (tell me a show where this doesn’t happen) and her friends tried to “jump” (their word, not mine) the girl whose foot was found in the offending shoe. Phones (read: cameras) were everywhere. God only knows what dressing photos were caught. Curse words were slung from here to Broadway. I had to give tear-inducing speeches about making great memories in the dressing room rather than those they’d rather forget. Awesome. Hugs and kisses, ladies and gentlemen of the cast.

All of this got me thinking about #scandal a pretty fab book about modern-day shenanigans (read, those of kids currently in high school, which are probably pretty tame compared to what would’ve happened if we’d had Facebook, SnapChat and FaceTime in high school).

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Written by Sarah Ockler, #scandal is a contemporary YA mystery novel; a cautionary tale about keeping up with your phone lest someone steal it and hack your Facebook account. Also, it has a pretty good message about 1) keeping business to yourself 2) the perils of social networking and 3) labeling is so not meta (read: cool/inducing of good karma points). Also, point 4) if your best friend tells you to go to prom with her “boyfriend,” the same guy you’ve been crushing hard on for 3 years…you probably should say no.

The characters (of which there are many…it is high school, after all…) are well-rounded, though sometimes hard to keep straight. It seems at first that there will be a “token” character to fill every high school stereotype, but once we’re deeper into the pages, we find…well, we find that we, as the reader, are doing exactly what we aren’t supposed to be doing: labeling.

Written from multiple POV’s, we get to see the social networking scandal unfold from different angles. My favorite character, of course, is Miss Demeanor. An alias for a character in the twists and turns of this mystery, Miss Demeanor keeps us up to date on all manners of social scandals and other happenings. Her actual identity and ulterior motive are a complete mystery until the end. Along the way, there are countless pop-culture references from Oprah to Ani Defranco and everything in between. These kept me laughing through the entire book. The downside to these references (and the Facebook postings from Miss D) is that in a few years, it will just be nostalgic to think back on the time of Facebook; surely something else will have taken over and branded us all followers of the anti-christ by then (totally j/k on that, by the way). It may not stand the test of time, or it may come back later and everything will be cool again (think Eleanor and Park and how kids reading it think tape players, mixed tapes and…ah! changing batteries!…is “just so 80’s and cool”….please…make me throw up kids, I LIVED through the 80’s…big bangs, batteries and all). Another downside (I hate that I’m finding these downsides, because honestly, the pop-culture references were my favorite part of the book) is that an older reader may not “get” all of them. Even I (29 Foh evah, ya’ll!) didn’t get one of them until…well, until this week actually (there’s a character nick-named 420…I’m going to let you figure out which slot he fits in). Maybe it’s not age, but the fact that I’m not a stoner…we’ll leave that to dwell on later.

Anyway, back to the book. The scandal is actually pretty crappy for the characters and there were times when I really just wanted to jump through the pages and shake some of those silly high schoolers by the shoulders. Grrrr!!!! GROW UP!!! And then, I remember that they are, in fact, just high schoolers. The book comes out June 17th and before you dismiss it (like SOME people already have) just because there’s a hashtag in the title, let me remind you that this is the very reason to pick it up. Put it on your TBR list NOW!

Here are two more books that I loved to read about high school shenanigans.

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Kiss and Make Up, by Katie D. Anderson, is a hilarious novel about a girl, her lipstick and some really, really awesome, like, my absolute favorite ever, pop-culture reference…

 

Are you following the Joneses? How do you intend to keep up? Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @readingupwiththejoneses

..now tell me that didn’t make you laugh.

It’s actually a really cute read that deals with a younger high schooler, bad boyfriends, tough family history and a little tiny bit of magic. You’ll enjoy it.

The next is probably one you’ve already read, especially if you’re a Lauren Oliver fan, which I am (although I will be the first to admit that the Delirium series was not my favorite).

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Before I Fall is a YA contemporary novel dealing with some pretty heavy issues. I’ll just give you a synopsis and then tell you that you plus anyone over the age of 14 in your inner circle must read it:

Girl goes to party. Girl leaves party. Girl is in car accident. Girl thinks she’s died in said accident. Girl wakes up. Girl realizes it is the same day. Six times.

Now, I know that this isn’t an original theme, but the way Oliver writes this high schoolers revolving door of emotions is pretty awesome. It’s deep and deals with tough issues, but I think it’s an absolute must read, especially if you’ve got a teen nearby.

So there you go! Enjoy these YA contemporary novels and never stop Reading Up with the Joneses! Don’t forget, you can pre-order #scandal or purchase kindle or bound editions of Kiss and Make Up and Before I Fall in the Jones’ Book Store, up there on your right.

 

Book Anticipation: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

It’s tax day, I know. Depressing for a lot of us, good for some of you. The Joneses aren’t usually in the group of refund recipients, unfortunately. There’s a reason why you try to keep up with us ; ) It’s not for the tax refund, though (the fabulous books, maybe).

Warning: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN A LARGE AMOUNT OF CHIC-LIT. You’ve been warned.

Today is ALSO a big book release day! There are a lot of great new reads being released today, but this one in particular has me buzzing with anticipation!

To All the Boys I've Loved Before

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all. (synopsis from goodreads)

Just, imagine with me, one moment, that all those journals we wrote, letters in which we confessed our undying 14-year old love to our freshman year boyfriend…were mailed! I know, If you’re below the age of say, 20, you probably can’t even fathom this, but if you’re well past adolescence, you know what I’m talking about. Listen kids, we didn’t have all this texting and snap chatting back when we were young guns. We had these magic things called pencils and notebook paper (and if a boy ever had the audacity to pass me a note or write a letter and not bother to pull the cussed strip of holes off the side margin…we. were. done.).

There was no feeling more exhilarating than finding a tiny, square folded love letter dropped into your locker. That origami mess was not easy. I actually still have a box full of love letters from old boyfriends. It’s quite fun to pull them out and read them…also slightly mortifying. Anyway, back to our imaginations…how humiliating would it be for those boyfriends to get those letters now?! I die just thinking about the humiliation.

Jenny Han is one of my favorite summer authors, so you’re definitely going to see her name again. One of my favorites of hers is The Summer I Turned Pretty series and I really, really want to read the Burn for Burn trilogy…just because I love the covers.

All of her work is YA contemporary, which just means that it’s like…a normal, modern story. No paranormal creatures, adult scenes (that’s under the NA…New Adult…genre, if you weren’t sure) or historical fiction. It’s worth noting, though, that most YA contemporaries are breezy reads. Cute, fun, maybe a little foolish in the plot; books that will make you smile and remember your own experiences, but may not be too thought-provoking in nature…which is, kind of the point.

Here are a few more YA contemporaries you should check out. I actually almost bought The Museum of Intangible Things in hardcover at the Bookshelf today. The cover is gorgeous!

If you like contemporary, but want something a little more grown up, check out Emily Giffin. Her books are wildly popular, but to be honest, they aren’t my favorite. Her most recent, The One and Only, releases May 20th, but is available for pre-order. They are good, sure, but I like to read younger character perspectives. Besides, re-imagining my high school days through fictional character (and fictional boyfriends…not gonna lie, I’m totally crushing on Cole from #scandal right now) is much more fun than reading about people my age…especially since I try to deny my age on a daily basis (shout out to the student in drama who told my asst. director that I looked 22…you’re my new favorite).

So there you go! Pick up a YA or NA contemporary novel, fix some coffee or hot tea (we prefer the latter, English Breakfast to be exact…just, FYI), and Read Up! Don’t forget to show us some Like on our new Facebook page and share it with your 500 closest friends. MMMWWAAAAH! Read up!

Little Jones Reads: W’s review of It’s a Firefly Night

The not quite smallest, but certainly not tallest, Jones is learning to read and write. Little W is in Kindergarten and says that her favorite part of the day is writing in her journal in the morning. The only bad part, she says, is that she “always runs out of room to write!” What a problem to have for a budding author.

W reviewed her first book this week. She picked from a selection of digital arc’s (this particular book is a reprint, originally published in 1997). The downside, especially for kiddos, is that she didn’t get the size and tangibility of the book, which I think is an integral part of a learning reader’s relationship with books. This is especially true for W, whose librarian says that she always separates herself from her class in the library for an odd reason: she wants a particular type of book. She has a preference for thickness, shape and size. I am always entertained at his TBA stack on library day. The books stack and shelve perfectly, but their subjects range from horses to historical fiction. She says “it just has to feel right in my arm, mom.” As if that’s an odd thing!

This week, W picked It’s a Firefly Night, by Dianne Ochitree; art by Betsy Snyder.

It's a Firefly Night

Here is W’s handwritten review (with my translation/clarification below):

It’s a Firefly Night

{Written} by Dianne Ochitree; art by Betsy Snyder

{Favorite lines from the book:}

‘…their dancing-light show.’

‘My hand is a cage for one tiny star.’

‘I whisper good-bye, then I let it go.’

‘Soon many fireflies {open their} wings…’

{Synopsis}

It was about a little girl who caught some fireflies, but she said ‘they are not mine,’ so she let some fireflies go.

{Review}

I liked the book because the {pictures} were {nice}. And because at the end, I liked learning about fireflies.

 

W read the book all by herself and mentioned along the way that she liked the color of the sky because it looked like it was getting darker and later at night.

As a parent, I agree! The artwork was beautiful! The variations in the color of the painted skies had a time-lapse quality; the gold and yellow tones surrounding the fireflies glowed and gave life to the page. I also enjoyed the imagery of the words.

My jar’s like a lightbulb that’s just come alive.

Flickering quicker, they sparkle and shine…

Aren’t these fun to read!

The character in the book is a little girl, but both W and S enjoyed it, so it’s certainly appropriate for boys and girls.

W is in Kindergarten and could read the vast majority of the words. She tripped over a few, but for the most part, it was a clean read for her. She could not, however, read the ending section where the facts about fireflies live. To be honest, I usually skip these sections of the book. The lilting rhythm of the writing that captures kiddos attention is gone and we’re into bone dry facts. W said she liked learning about them, but it’s mainly because I used my Awesome-Mom/Actress/Totally-Enthusiastic-Wow-Isn’t-That-Amazing voice. Otherwise, she was done.

The book is also a counting book! One to ten, then back down again as the little girl releases her fireflies into the night. This makes it appropriate for younger children learning counting and sight words.

It’s a book with lovely artwork and a fun story about the wonders of our natural environment and it’s fit for boys and girls, without being about princesses or trucks.

Pick it up in our Book Store and keep Reading Up with the Joneses, big and small!

My Own Copy by Charlotte Cundiff

W loves to bring home her Scholastic order form each month and the Book Fair is the most anticipated event of the year. The review below is written by a fourth grader, Charlotte Cundiff. Isn’t it fantastic that our kids are being taught to read critically? Love.

Keep Reading up with the Joneses! Enjoy!

Nerdy Book Club

Last week when I handed out the Scholastic order forms to my fourth grade class for the month, I noticed Charlotte’s wide smile as her eyes lingered over one of the pages.

“See something you’re interested in?” I asked. Charlotte is an avid reader with a strong sense of her own reading preferences.

“I already know what I’m going to order,” she said with a satisfied sigh.  “Eight Keys.”

Thinking back to some of our reading conferences, I wondered aloud, “But you already read that.”

“Yes, but I just have to have my own copy!”

Smiling to myself, thinking this is one of the highest compliments you can pay a book, I suggested, “Well, you definitely need to write a review for that book, then.”

eight keys

Eight Keys

By Suzanne LaFleur

Reviewed by Charlotte

Unlock, unlock, unlock, unlock…

There were eight locked doors upstairs in the barn. Eight of…

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Review: The Murder Complex

The Murder Complex
The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is author Lindsay Cumming’s debut title. It is vicious. It is bloody. It is fast-paced. It is…a little confusing.
Overall, I liked it and I look forward to reading the prequel book when it’s available and also to reading the next installments to see if my questions are answered.

There is A LOT going on in this book. So much so that for me, the romance, or…I’m really not even sure what to call the relationship…was kind of lost. Or rushed. Or something. It was actually the most shallow part of the storyline for me.

Overall, I felt like The Murder Complex a mash-up of Delirium (Lauren Oliver), Eve (Anna Carey), The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins), Legend (Marie Lu), Divergent (Veronica Roth), and a few others, BUT with a twist at the end that I didn’t see coming!

The characters were well-defined with a wide arc of emotions that we get to experience. The lower characters, I have a feeling, will be important in later installments and we’ll get an expansion on their characters then.

The love story between the two main character, Meadow and Zephyr, felt forced and unbelievable. There was no build up to it, so when they did finally meet, it wasn’t very exciting. I was a little bummed. From the cover, you could probably guess that they have conflicting goals. Zephyr leans in to kiss Meadow and then tries to strangle her. This really isn’t a spoiler. You know it’s going to happen at some point. Also, Meadow gets tattooed by her brother (“Fearless” on her arm, though we never hear anything about the tattoo again…no mention from new people she meets) with ink and a fishhook. It was painful…for me.

I got a little confused by the setting. It was set in such a small area. I’m sure, just like all other dystopian series, we will “go outside the gate!” in future installments. Since a certain character has just been taken that way, it’s most certain to happen.

The plot was original in that the base problem, or reason for the new dystopian system, was a new idea that I hadn’t read before. Basically, The Murder Complex is a system designed to solve the problem of over population. No one was dying, but babies were still being born. Now, I’ll let you read the book to get the nitty gritty on how the system works, but I’ve just got to stop here and say: WTF? What crazy people in the world would EVER go for a system like that?! It was so far off base that it was almost inconceivable. What it was good for was creating an interesting Jekyll & Hyde meets Roman Gladiators scenario. It was also good for a lot of blood and gore. If you’re antsy about blood, guts, corpses, violence, etc….this is not the book for you, though I’m probably guessing you would figure that out based solely on the title.

I’m sad to say that by 1/3 of the way through the book, I had it pretty much figured out. The mother’s role, what I think the father’s role really is, what the system is, etc. What I did not see coming was THE ENDING! I left the book with a smile because it is really, really, REALLY rare that I don’t see a twist coming. I was excited that I got so caught off guard! The happy (not really) family ends in quite a predicament. The plot leaves us with a cliffhanger ending, but not a terrible one. I thought it was a really terrific place to end, actually.

Overall, it was a good book. I look forward to future installments because I generally feel like the first in the series is so devoted to setting, plot, character building. I was left with a few questions that weren’t answered though, including religion (they believe in an afterlife, but there are no references to worshipping anything besides the ruling Initiative, though there are never any “worship” times), love (I’ll say it again…this isn’t love. Meadow hasn’t even met another guy. I felt nothing for their relationship, and I want to! I need a love ladder or something in the next installment so that I can figure it out…maybe after dwelling on it for a while it will come to me), world events (did the Plague cover the world? What happened to everything else? If this turns into a testing site like Divergent, I WILL SCREAM AND NEVER EVER EVER READ DYSTOPIAN AGAIN! I will have completely lost faith in the entire genre). Biggest of all for me, why is everything “Pre-Fall” banned? I couldn’t figure this out. There was never any reason given for the Pre-Fall items to pose a threat to the current form of society).

There were a few things that stood out as painfully annoying that I just need to mention:
1) “my moonlit girl” sounds like something so poetic and werewolfish that it would be more fitting in [b:Shiver|6068551|Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1)|Maggie Stiefvater|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1388196030s/6068551.jpg|6244926].
2) “flux” is obviously a stand-in for another word. It’s in this book a bazillion times. Which means that by the third time, I was just throwing the f* bomb every time I read it. It was something so childish of Zephyr’s character that it made no sense. Same for “skitz.” Was the author trying to curb my language? It didn’t work. I just replaced that made-up word with the one it was obviously meant to be. It was annoying.
3) there were more mentions of Zephyr trying to get the word “stars” to catch one (to be used in place of damn) than there were of Meadow’s tattoo.

If you like classic, textbook dystopian, you won’t be disappointed by The Murder Complex. It didn’t bore me and I got through it in a day. If you’re tired of reading the same thing over and over again in dystopian, you should maybe leave this one on the shelf. So many attributes link it to other series that you’ll probably get confused (trains, tattoos, controlled fighters, programming, main character thinks mother is dead–she’s not… the list goes on).

The book comes out June 10th, so add it to your TBR list!

Keep Reading Up with the Joneses!

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Review: Etiquette and Espionage

Etiquette & Espionage
Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a DARLING book! Think Harry Potter’s Hermione at a girl’s school. So. Much. Fun!

Sophronia and her friend Dimity meet on their way to finishing school where they are going to learn much more than they anticipated. Dimity already knows a little about what to expect, but Sohponia, a covert recruit, as they say, is completely in the dark.

Age Appriate for: middle grades – high school

Sub-genre: mighty girls/girl power/steampunk

Characters’ Ages: 14-18

Language: None

Sexual Content/Heavy Content: none; boys are discussed, but no romance ensues.

Violent Content: the girls are learning to be intelligencers, they carry small weapons, and are learning to fight. There is little in the way of violence, per se.
I think the level is low enough that it is appropriate for even 5th and 6th graders.

Time Period: 19th Century England; lots of petticoats to wear, jewels to envy, and good manners to practice.

Notes to Readers: Have an early english dictionary on hand. Some of the steampunk words tripped me up, so I had to look up their early definitions. It made for an engaging and entertaining read, though.

One word to describe the book: FUN!

You can purchase this book in our Book Store (—–> up top on the sidebar) or at your local bookstore! Keep Reading Up with the Joneses //