Book Review: I’m Nobody, The Lost Pages by Alex Marestaing

I'm Nobody: The Lost Pages Cover Art

Alex Marestaing is one of the many, many (very many) authors that contact me daily through the blog. I may not have hundreds of followers, but I have hundreds of authors, publishers, agents, etc. contact me about reviewing their books. This, obviously, is an awesome thing and a not-so-awesome thing. You see…I love books. I love reading. I especially love reading good books. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to read every single book that is offered to me, but I try to let every author/publisher/agent/etc. know up front whether or not I’ll be able to read their book.

This little green book arrived in the mail a few weeks ago (like…June) and it’s been riding around with me ever since, just waiting for me to get around to it. The cover was intriguing, so it was going to get read…eventually.

The green book, being an actual book and not a digital copy (props to the author for sending that to me) got pushed to the top of the list.

I finished it in one day and it was PHENOMENAL. Here it goes:

Targeted to middle grades and possible early high school grades, I’m Nobody: The Lost Pages is about a teenage boy, Caleb, who hasn’t stepped outside his house for seven years. He’s haunted by the house across the street. A seemingly magical event occurs (or rather, course of events); Caleb makes a friend, Iris, who is a teen indie-filmmaker. Parents try to institutionalize him; back-story is revealed; Emily Dickinson is still writing; magic is real. The End.

Emily Dickenson's House was the inspiration for the "house across the street"...Now, imagine a basket coming down from the window ; )

Emily Dickinson’s House was the inspiration for the “house across the street”…Now, imagine a basket coming down from the window ; )

Did I love it? YES!

I’m Nobody: The Lost Pages was such a refreshing read. It covered topics that most middle grades books don’t touch, including mental illness in youth, open-mindedness, and bravery. I cheered for Caleb throughout his story, celebrating every little step and each small achievement as he built up the courage to rebound to normalcy, despite his parents absent support. This, actually, was the most sad part of Caleb’s story: he didn’t know anything was “wrong” with him until his parents started trying to make him “better.”

The characters, Caleb and Iris, are teenagers, but young enough that a crush is a new experience for both of them. I was very happy that a romance was not the center of this story, but instead, a budding friendship. Both sides must overcome adversity to see each other as friends, and it’s written in a charming and beautiful way.

Emily Dickinson and her poetry play a pivotal role in this story; one that is more original than anything else you’ve read recently, I’m sure. The history of Dickinson and her writings were incorporated in a wondrous way, such that they were as inspiring to me as they were to Caleb.

An example of Dickenson's writing, this is what Caleb found as each of his notes arrived. The descriptions of her writing, even down to the stationary, are phenomenal.

An example of Dickinson’s writing, this is what Caleb found as each of his notes arrived. The descriptions of her writing, even down to the stationary, are phenomenal.

As many of you know, I have a knack for figuring out story lines, but I was pleasantly surprised with this book. I had a general idea, but I certainly wasn’t prepared for the revelation of the basis of Caleb’s mental illness and the unhappiness inside his home. Overall, the story was heartbreaking. I was really hoping for a happy ending…I’ll let you read it to find out if I got it or not ; )

This book was published in December, 2013, so it’s available for you to pick up now. A copy of the book was sent to me for review, and, being a wonderfully honest person, I provided an honest review at no charge (because who wants to charge authors to send them books?!).

Have you read any good middle grades books lately? Let me know in the comment box what you thought.

Read Up!

 

 

Review: A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn

A Creature of Moonlight
A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had a lot of expectations going into A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn. Immediately after I finished the book, I was disappointed. The more I dwelled on it though, the happier I was with the story. Here’s how it breaks down:
My first impressions:
1) It was too fast-paced. A LOT happened in one paragraph. We get a ton of information that’s important to the story line in a few short words. If you’re skimming, you’ll miss it and then have to figure out who the lady in the forest without a face is because you’ll have been thinking about Marni’s lineage (that was just introduced in the last paragraph) and how that all figures in. Think The Holy Bible here. A bunch of info without much celebration. This one book could’ve been an entire series. More along the lines of “The Chronicles of Moonlight.”
2) Romance? Yes? No? Somewhere in the middle, I really wanted Marni to have a romantic relationship with her courtier, but she was stubborn, stubborn, stubborn. I’m not really sure how her future is going to play out or if there is going to be a sequel to this, but if this were real life, Marni would go on to live a lonely life just because she was too stubborn to give in. Now, don’t hate me for this. I know that he saying “No” a hundred times over was part of the “mighty-girl” plot to the book. But honestly, I got a little fed up with her. Is he after the crown? Maybe. Is he in love with her? Maybe! She’s a freakin’ princess, for crying out loud! ANYONE that wants to marry her is going to be after the crown! What she has to decide is: Will he make a good king? YES!
3) Dragons. I’ve loved dragons in stories since Eustace Scrubb turned into a dragon the very first times I read Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Then, I fell in love with dragons again in Seraphina. This dragon, I won’t spoil how he relates to our protagonist, Marni, is regal and beautiful and his world is beautiful. But because the writing was so incredibly fast-paced, even the vivid imagery in the writing didn’t keep me there as long as I would’ve liked to be. It was like driving past the Grand Canyon in a bullet train. A lot of beauty to be seen, but too fast for me to see it.
My impressions after dwelling on it for a while:
1) Rebecca Hahn has one extremely vivid imagination. I’ll be on the lookout for other things from her. I think she has a lot of beauty running around in the worlds in her head and she’s just so excited to share it with us that she crams it all onto one page. Or one book.
2) The story stood alone without the romance coming to fruition. But the romance reader in me really wanted something more.
3) I’m still wondering about this dragon. There’s more here, I know it.

Overall impression: three stars, because it really was beautiful prose and the lyrical quality of the writing really made me feel like I was flying through the clouds with the phoenix watching the world revolve. I really did like the book and the more I think about it, the more I like it. I feel like it’s a book that I’ll go back and read again and pick up on a lot that I missed the first time through. It’s an interesting exploration of fantasy and historical fiction. If you like those genres, I think you’ll enjoy this book. If you’re looking for an intense historical romance, though, this isn’t the one for you. Happy Reading up with the Joneses! Read Up to Keep Up! Visit our family of reviewers online at http://www.readingupwiththejoneses.com

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I wasn’t kidding about the Week of Silence thing or Why I will not like you anymore if you post Spoilers for a huge, massively important book.

I really wasn’t. The Shadowhunters Week of Silence was foh real, ya’ll.

So much so that I am extending it for a few more days. You see, I had this thing called “theatre week” in which I thought I would be able to knock out CoHF in no time. I was wrong. In fact, I’ve barely gotten into the book. As such, I am having to avoid Twitter, Instagram and most of the extended blogosphere (because people just cannot keep their traps shut!). Sometimes I welcome spoilers (when I’m trying to decide whether or not to read a book). In this case however, the book can’t be bad and it’s a gigantour finale to a series that I absolutely adore. So, if you ruin it for me by POSTING A SPOILER REVIEW 5 HOURS AFTER THE BOOK IS RELEASED when I know you didn’t really read it but only skimmed it and didn’t read an ARC because they weren’t available to bloggers, I will send evil south Georgia summer death gnats to your home. I am not kidding.

For my few loyal readers, please, miss me. Miss me a lot in the next few days.

In the meantime, while you’re missing me and my wonderful posts, I’m going to finish CoHF, finish writing my review for the two books I read previously and then update you on all the reasons why I pretty much am not happy with summer (hint: no school).

Also in the meantime, you should be Reading Up!

I’ll be back soon, I promise. Cross my heart and hope to die (but not really…because I’m not 100% sure that my husband could raise the kids by himself…love you, Mr. J).

Book Review: Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols

Biggest Flirts
Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Raise your hand if you were a band nerd! Me!

Okay, now, raise your hand if being a band nerd was pretty awesome at your school…Me!

Last one. Raise your hand if the words “band bus” bring back any memories…*totally blushing*…Me!

Okay, now, (I know, I said last one, but I lied) picture Port St. Joe, Florida. There. You have your setting (it’s actually not Port St. Joe, but for my locals, this will be our closest spot for visual reference).

Well, you might like this book for a quick and fun teen romance plus a trip down memory lane. It was a really entertaining weekend read! Since I grew up on the Georgia/Florida state line and I was in the drum line (okay, pit percussion for full transparency, but I still had to sit with drum line on the bus and in the stands)…and know what it’s like to date, break up with and still have to spend an entire semester beside said guys, this story was completely relatable to me! Oh, lawd! I think this is probably the only reason why I liked it. The whole percussion aspect.

Tia, the youngest of 4 sisters and the only one still at home, has a fear of commitment, based on her older sisters’ experiences. She has sworn off ever having a boyfriend, but is a-okay with hooking up. She has a reputation; she doesn’t really care; apparently no one else really does either.
Enter Will, the newbie from Minnesota, complete with accent. He pseudo-hooks up with a semi-drunk Tia the first night he’s in town. The chemistry is hot and gets even hotter when they find themselves marching next to each other on the drum line in the local high school band.

Then, after a whole 2 days at school and 4 days of band camp (let me just say here that our percussionists had like…3 weeks of band camp. I kid you not. Also, mid-day breaks were dangerous…), they are voted Biggest Flirts. The funniest part of the entire book was the band director constantly shouting for “Mr. Matthews, take your hands off of Ms. Cruz!”

For a short and fun book, I got what I wanted out of the character arcs. I would’ve loved to know even more about Will and Tia’s friends. The only other character with a significant arc is Tia’s constant “friend with bennies,” Sawyer. Even with his character, though, I only got two or three layers.

Now, I understand the chemistry and the fast moving flirtations of Will and Tia. They’re hot, sweaty, demanding. There are pheromones flying. Therefore, I’m not going to shout insta-love…just yet. It makes perfect sense for them to want to hook up. Sweaty drummers are hot (okay, they WERE hot when I was in high school. Now that I could practically be their mother, they’re only hot in my memories…because in reality they look like children. Evil, conniving, I-will-ruin-your-daughter’s-virginity type children). There’s even a hierarchy of hotness: Quads, Snares, Bass Line, Cymbals. I’m going to leave pit out. We really just dated the snares. The majorettes dated the quads. The bass line and cymbals were all freshman. No one dated them.

When Tia and Will do hook-up, though, they both drop “I love you” on the very first acci-date. Groan. So, now I can shout insta-love, which took off one star. Could we not have at least waited until football season started and they were cuddled together doing unspeakable things on the band bus? The band bus is really where it’s at, Jennifer Echols! Please…don’t even ask how I know this ; )

I would’ve liked to follow them through football season, maybe even homecoming and then graduation and into drum corps.
We’ll see if there are any follow-ups to finish the story, though to be quite honest, I’m good with leaving them alone for now.
I absolutely adore the cuteness of the cover. So high school and so fun. Kudos to the designer for that jacket.

I dropped the 4th star because, overall, I really didn’t love it. Like it? Certainly. Will I read it again and again and add it my shelf of literary idolatry? No. Will I order it to stock in the shop? Nope. I’ve definitely read other books in the same genre and for the same age group that are better.

For the prudes in the audience, I will tell you that there are a few hot and heavy scenes that involve touching, breasts, and moving past first base. It isn’t extremely graphic and there is no sex. There is sexual discussion, but not so much that it takes over the story. This book is definitely still in the young adult genre instead of the new adult. There are some instances of drug use, including alcohol (though no binge-drinking, drunk driving, etc.), marijuana, and one instance of cigarette use by a teenager (who doesn’t like it).

A great weekend beach read, though, if you like fun and light-hearted, and can get it at a cheap price. You can pre-order this book, any order anything else you can imagine, through the Jones’ Book Store. Read Up to Keep Up!

If you liked this review, please comment by clicking the “comment” link (I know, hard right?) at the top of this post or by dropping a few lines in the comment box just below (even more difficult, one might guess), show us some love, or Like, whichever, on Facebook, and be sure to follow us here at www.readingupwiththejoneses.com.

An advanced copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for a honest review.

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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…

 

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..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.

 

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!

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 //