Book Trailer Thursday (172)–After the Red Rain by Barry Lyga

Book Trailer Thursday

I just discovered After the Red Rain by Barry Lyga, so I’m happy I stumbled upon the book trailer as well. Admittedly, I’m not as excited about dystopian/post-apocalyptic stories as much anymore, but this one has me intrigued. I’m also interested since it’s co-written by actor Peter Facinelli and producer Robert DeFranco. The story sounds fresh and appealing to my students, plus Barry Lyga writes excellent books.

After the Red RainSummary (From Goodreads):

A postapocalyptic novel with a cinematic twist from New York Times bestseller Barry Lyga, actor Peter Facinelli, and producer Robert DeFranco.

On the ruined planet Earth, where 50 billion people are confined to megacities and resources are scarce, Deedra has been handed a bleak and mundane existence by the Magistrate she works so hard for. But one day she comes across a beautiful boy named Rose struggling to cross the river–a boy with a secretive past and special abilities, who is somehow able to find comfort and life from their dying planet.

But just as the two form a bond, it is quickly torn apart after the Magistrate’s son is murdered and Rose becomes the prime suspect. Little do Deedra and Rose know how much their relationship will affect the fate of everyone who lives on the planet.

Waiting on Wednesday–The Fire Sermon by Francesa Haig

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.  It’s designed for bloggers to spotlight the upcoming releases that they simply can’t wait to read.

I’m enjoying having my students choose which book I feature for this post each week, so I’m keeping it up for now. It’s nice knowing which books pique their interest and which covers grab their attention. Today one of my seniors said I should choose “the one with the omega on the cover.” Once he read the description, I think it was the tie to The Road that really won him over.

The Fire SermonTitle & Author: The Fire Sermon by Francesa Haig

Release Date: March 10th, 2015

Publisher: Gallery Books (Simon & Schuster)

Summary (From Goodreads):

The Hunger Games meets Cormac McCarthy’s The Road in this richly imagined first novel in a new post-apocalyptic trilogy by award-winning poet Francesca Haig.

Four hundred years in the future, the Earth has turned primitive following a nuclear fire that has laid waste to civilization and nature. Though the radiation fallout has ended, for some unknowable reason every person is born with a twin. Of each pair, one is an Alpha—physically perfect in every way; and the other an Omega—burdened with deformity, small or large. With the Council ruling an apartheid-like society, Omegas are branded and ostracized while the Alphas have gathered the world’s sparse resources for themselves. Though proclaiming their superiority, for all their effort Alphas cannot escape one harsh fact: Whenever one twin dies, so does the other.

Cass is a rare Omega, one burdened with psychic foresight. While her twin, Zach, gains power on the Alpha Council, she dares to dream the most dangerous dream of all: equality. For daring to envision a world in which Alphas and Omegas live side-by-side as equals, both the Council and the Resistance have her in their sights.

Audiobook Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Audio Review

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown Audio CoverTitle: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

Author: Holly Black

Narrator: Christine Lakin

Length: 12 hrs 6 mins

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Release Date: September 3rd, 2013

Interest: Student interest

Source: Purchased via Audible

Summary (From Goodreads):

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.

Audio Review: I’ve never listened to an audiobook narrated by Christine Lakin but I will again. Her voice is easy to listen to and I love how she so easily changes her accent to fit characters like Gavriel. I chose to listen to the audio because I really didn’t know if I’d like the book. I’ve found that it’s easier to try reading books I’m hesitant to read by listening to the audio. One of my seniors mentioned a love of vampire books on her interests survey which is what drove me to give The Coldest Girl in Coldtown a try. Anyway, this audiobook is on the longer side but it’s definitely worth a listen. At certain points throughout the audio–often at pivotal moments–different types of music play, which I didn’t think was really necessary, but I did appreciate it. This audiobook made cleaning, cooking, and driving much easier to get through. One quirk I need to mention is that I wasn’t expecting the switch in time periods/place. That threw me as I was listening, but I know it wouldn’t have been an issue had I been reading the book traditionally.

Book Review: I’m so happy to have finally found a Holly Black novel that I enjoyed! I was doubly hesitant to read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown because I didn’t liked Holly Black’s Doll Bones or White Cat and I’m over vampire books. Tana’s story is addicting, creepy, and bloody. I’m not into horror, either, but I was engrossed in this book!

I just ordered a copy of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown because I know many of my students will want to read this once I tell them about it. I have quite a few horror and mystery fans, although not as many vampire fans, but regardless I know they’ll enjoy it. I’m going to recommend this to my Anna Dressed in Blood fans because even though there isn’t as much humor in Tana’s story, there’s plenty of gore and action to keep them interested.

When it comes to characters, I really enjoyed Tana and Gavriel. Gavriel is the perfect mix of mysterious and alluring. Tana is independent and strong-willed. I loved the interactions between the two characters and honestly couldn’t decide if I wanted them to be together or not. I wasn’t sure if I wanted Tana to go cold and/or become a vampire or continue on as an unaffected human. I kept wondering what would happen to her because it seemed like she would need to go one way or another to make her story work. I’ll let you find out what happens to Tana and if anything develops between her and Gavriel 🙂

Coldtown’s setting reminds me of a post-apocalyptic world. It’s run down, dismal, and dangerous. Holly Black did a great job describing and developing it. If there’s a second book I’ll be happy to read it and learn more about Coldtown, but the ending as it is now is satisfying.

If you’re looking for a vampire story without sparkly vampires then I recommend picking up The Coldest Girl in Coldtown.

Book Trailer Thursday (126)–Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

Book Trailer Thursday

I’m getting a little burnt out on dystopian/post apocalyptic novels, but this 2013 debut sounds fresh and exciting. Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis releases on September 24th (along with a bunch of other can’t-wait-to-buy titles) so thankfully I don’t have to wait much longer to get my hands on a copy.

Have you read it yet? If so, what did you think? The book trailer has kind of a historical fiction vibe going on, but I can also tell it’s futuristic. I wonder what my students will think!

P.S. As of right now, Goodreads isn’t marking this as the first in a series or trilogies. I LOVE that this might be a stand alone. Can we have more of those, please?!

Not a Drop to DrinkSummary (From Goodreads):

Regret was for people with nothing to defend, people who had no water.

Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn’t leave at all.

Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means dedicating it to survival, and the constant work of gathering wood and water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles in hand.

But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it….

With evocative, spare language and incredible drama, danger, and romance, debut author Mindy McGinnis depicts one girl’s journey in a barren world not so different than our own.

The Farm by Emily McKay Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway

The FarmTitle: The Farm

Author: Emily McKay

Publisher: Berkley Trade

Release Date: December 4th, 2012

Interest: Post-Apocalyptic / Blog Tour

Source: Finished copy received from the publisher

The Farm Website

Summary (From Goodreads): Life was different in the Before: before vampires began devouring humans in a swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined. These days, we know what those quarantines are—holding pens where human blood is turned into more food for the undead monsters, known as Ticks. Surrounded by electrical fences, most kids try to survive the Farms by turning on each other…

And when trust is a thing of the past, escape is nearly impossible.

Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices—like the portion of electrical fence that gets turned off every night. Getting across won’t be easy, but as Lily gathers what they need to escape, a familiar face appears out of nowhere, offering to help…

Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. Managing to evade capture until now, he has valuable knowledge of the outside world. But like everyone on the Farm, Carter has his own agenda, and he knows that behind the Ticks is an even more dangerous threat to the human race…

I honestly had mixed reactions when I started reading The Farm.  The concept is cool which is why I decided to try it and join the blog tour.  I’m not really big on vampires, but I like post-apocalyptic books.  My students still like reading paranormal vampire novels and the post-apocalyptic genre is a big hit with them as well.  Emily McKay’s debut is another book that I need to break down into what worked and what didn’t work.

What Worked For Me:

  • The multiple points of view–The Farm is told from Lily, Mel, and Carter’s points of view told in alternating chapters.  My favorite chapters are Mel’s because she’s autistic and has a really unique perspective and understanding of the world around her.  The story works with this format because there’s so much going on and the characters are so involved.  I learned more about Carter and his history during his chapters than in any of the other chapters, and I really don’t know how we could have learned as much about him without this format.  Overall it added more layers to the story and really defined the characters.
  • Lily–I like what a strong heroine she is.  She’s quick on her feet and stands up for herself and her sister.  Her sense of humor, despite how horrible her life is, is witty and snarky.  I really think teens with siblings who they’re close to or protective of, will connect with Lily and enjoy her character.
  • The pacing & action–The Farm is full of suspense, twists, and action.  Emily McKay did a nice job balancing The Farm’s character development and plot development; it doesn’t feel like one more than the other (character driven or plot driven).  I enjoyed the suspense and wondering how new developments were going to come to light.  The pacing it great and will keep my students interested as they read.

What Didn’t Work For Me:

  • Vampires–I’m over vampires.  I don’t have much else to say on that topic.
  • I tried to keep an open mind on the vampire front, but some of the background storyline didn’t work for me.  I don’t want to ruin anything because much of that isn’t revealed until 100+ pages in, but when I came to that story I sort of cringed.  I had to start thinking of the book as more of a book for my students than for me at that point.  And sometimes that’s what I really need to do when I read a book outside my comfort zone; I need to think about the students in class who will like it more than me.
  • I really liked Lily, Mel, and Carter, but I didn’t find myself connecting to them and their story until 75 or more pages in.  I needed more earlier than that.

The Farm Blog Tour Exclusive Content

Lily is such a strong main character. How did you decide to give her this fierce identity as opposed to the weak female characters that are so often present in books?

To be honest, I don’t know any weak teen-age girls.  The teen-age girls I know are strong and smart and giving and determined and I just drew on that to create Lily.  Years ago, I taught in a lower-income area and one of the things that I still remember from that time is how tough the girls I taught were and how devoted they were to their families.  I wanted to channel some of that into Lily, and hope I succeeded.

Tour Stops:
Yesterday–Actin’ Up With Books
Monday–Addicted to Novels

Giveaway Details

Giveaway sponsored by the publisher
Open to the US only
One lucky winner will win a copy of The Farm + “Vampire Apocalypse Survival Kit”
Must be 13 years or older to enter
Giveaway ends January 4th, 2013 at 11:59 pm EST
Only one entry per person
Winner will be emailed and given 48 hours to respond
No extra entries required, but spreading the word is appreciated 🙂

Author Interview: Susan Ee, author of Angelfall + Giveaway

I’m excited to feature an interview today with author Susan Ee.  Her book, Angelfall, is the first in the Penryn & End of Days series and it just released in paperback on August 28th.   I love finding out why authors choose to write for teens so I focused my questions around that topic.  I hope you enjoy the interview and enter to win a copy of Angelfall! 🙂

Summary (From Goodreads): It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back. Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel. Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl. Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where she’ll risk everything to rescue her sister and he’ll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

What made you decide to write for teens?
The teen years are such an amazing time period where nothing is stable and anything is possible. It’s a stage in life where no matter how devastating an event or mistake can be, there’s still time to recover and triumph over the biggest challenges. It’s a time of oppression and hope, dreams and possibilities.

What has your teen response been so far?
The teens seem to really enjoy Angelfall. Some of my favorite pieces of mail are from the teen girls who fall in love with the characters or from teen guys who discover their love of reading through Angelfall.

How do you connect directly with teens?
They can connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads or through my blog.

Do you feel that writing for teens is different than writing for adults? Why or why not?
When I write, I don’t particularly have teens or adults in mind for the readership. My main character is 17 years old so the story seems to automatically be a fit for teens, but there are plenty of adults who read the book as well.

GIVEAWAY INFO!

Thank you to the publisher for providing one copy to give away!
Entrants must be 13 years or older.
Only residents of the US and Canada may enter.
One entry per person.
Feel free to spread the word, but following/tweeting/etc. is not required. 🙂
Giveaway ends Monday, September 24th at 11:59 EST.

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