Book Trailer Thursday (92)

I decided to keep the book titles out of the blog post title since I’m featuring two titles; the post title becomes too long when I include both.  Little, Brown posted the trailer for Zom-B by Darren Shan on Facebook, which is where I discovered the trailer.  After watching that trailer, I saw the trailer for Adaptation by Malinda Lo, so I guess this post is offering some Little, Brown love 🙂

Summary of Zom-B (From Goodreads): When news reports start appearing of a zombie outbreak in Ireland, B’s racist father thinks it’s a joke– but even if it isn’t, he figures, it’s ok to lose a few Irish.
B doesn’t fully buy into Dad’s racism, but figures it’s easier to go along with it than to risk the fights and abuse that will surely follow sticking up for Muslims, blacks, or immigrants. And when dodging his fists doesn’t work, B doesn’t hesitate to take the piss out of kids at school with a few slaps or cruel remarks.
That is, until zombies attack the school. B is forced on a mad dash through the serpentine corridors of high school, making allegiances with anyone with enough gall to fight off their pursuers.


Summary of Adaptation (From Goodreads): Reese can’t remember anything from the time between the accident and the day she woke up almost a month later. She only knows one thing: She’s different now.

Across North America, flocks of birds hurl themselves into airplanes, causing at least a dozen to crash. Thousands of people die. Fearing terrorism, the United States government grounds all flights, and millions of travelers are stranded.

Reese and her debate team partner and longtime crush David are in Arizona when it happens. Everyone knows the world will never be the same. On their drive home to San Francisco, along a stretch of empty highway at night in the middle of Nevada, a bird flies into their headlights. The car flips over. When they wake up in a military hospital, the doctor won’t tell them what happened, where they are—or how they’ve been miraculously healed.

Things become even stranger when Reese returns home. San Francisco feels like a different place with police enforcing curfew, hazmat teams collecting dead birds, and a strange presence that seems to be following her. When Reese unexpectedly collides with the beautiful Amber Gray, her search for the truth is forced in an entirely new direction—and threatens to expose a vast global conspiracy that the government has worked for decades to keep secret.

Some Ilsa J. Bick Love via Student Book Reviews

When I was going through my YA Lit students’ book reviews to form this post, I didn’t realize at first that the two I chose were both for books written by Ilsa J. Bick.  Once I realized that, I decided to stick with these two reviews since I haven’t reviewed either book on my blog and also because both books are so vastly different.

Title: Drowning Instinct

Author: Ilsa J. Bick

Student Reviewer: Felicia

Summary (From Goodreads): There are stories where the girl gets her prince, and they live happily ever after. (This is not one of those stories.)

Jenna Lord’s first sixteen years were not exactly a fairytale. Her father is a controlling psycho and her mother is a drunk. She used to count on her older brother—until he shipped off to Afghanistan. And then, of course, there was the time she almost died in a fire.

There are stories where the monster gets the girl, and we all shed tears for his innocent victim. (This is not one of those stories either.)

Mitch Anderson is many things: A dedicated teacher and coach. A caring husband. A man with a certain… magnetism.

And there are stories where it’s hard to be sure who’s a prince and who’s a monster, who is a victim and who should live happily ever after. (These are the most interesting stories of all.)

Drowning Instinct is a novel of pain, deception, desperation, and love against the odds—and the rules.

Student Review:

Drowning Instinct is definitely a great book; I could never put it down and wanted to read it anytime I could. This book is good because everything seems so real and you see a teacher student relationship at a different level. This book explains how people can fall in love no matter what age and Mr. Anderson never took Jenna for granted and never tried to hurt her. I liked this book because it’s not the typical “creepy” old guy trying date a younger girl. Mr. Anderson liked Jenna for who she was and not her age. He made sure he was careful and made sure they didn’t get caught or get in trouble. This book was also different in a good way because in the beginning of the book it starts off with a good beginning and explains why she is using a tape recorder to tell her story. I personally loved Jenna as a character because I understood her and could relate to her. I also loved this book because I got so connected with their relationship they had, and the way Ilsa J. Bick wrote it made it seem so realistic. Drowning Instinct has a very well matched cover to the book and I really like when the covers of books go along with the story.

There weren’t very many negative things in this book besides how serious Jenna’s life was.  It seemed like five different YA novels put into one book. Another main thing I didn’t like was that this book almost made it seem alright for Jenna and Mr. Anderson to have such a serious relationship. I don’t think its anywhere near right for people to have relationships like that and this book kind of made me change my mind about that and I don’t really like that because it’s illegal.

Drowning Instinct is very far from being even close to bad. Ilsa J. Bick gets you so connected with the characters and you don’t want to put it down. This book teaches you a very good lesson about love and trust. I suggest everyone read it if you haven’t!

Title: Ashes

Author: Ilsa J. Bick

Student Reviewer: Noah

Summary (From Goodreads):

It could happen tomorrow . . .

An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.

Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP.

For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.

Author Ilsa J. Bick crafts a terrifying and thrilling post-apocalyptic novel about a world that could become ours at any moment, where those left standing must learn what it means not just to survive, but to live amidst the devastation.

Student Review:

At first I was rather reluctant to read this book. At the time I had a lot of school work and didn’t have time to read. Truth be told,I was just being lazy. I read the first chapter and set the book down. Though I believe it was Epictetus that once said, “No great thing is created suddenly.” This quote rings very true with Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick.

Though I wasn’t gripped at the beginning of the novel I quickly became absorbed in the story of Alex, a teenage girl with a brain tumor and the camping skills to keep her alive. The book quickly changed from being a “What’s going to happen next?” book to a “What’s going to happen next?!?!” and after that I was hooked like an addict.

With it being a survive the zombies (Changed) and survive the wild book (And I do love these types of novels) I was exultant to find out that it wasn’t the whole premise of the novel. There was an element of romance which was quite refreshing in this story.

I warn the people like me, with very vivid and active imaginations, that this book is very horrid at points and can be rather disturbing due to amazing description. However, I still request that you read this book because it is brilliantly written and planned, and I do believe you would enjoy this novel.

Book Trailer Thursday (70)–This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

If you know anything about my reading preferences, then you know that I love all of Courtney Summers‘ books.  Thankfully my students have caught the Courtney Summers‘ love as well and have been reading her books non-stop.  I’ll admit I was a little hesitant when I found out This is Not a Test is a “zombie book,” but it’s really more than that.  I’m probably going to finish reading it today and will have a review up soon so you can decide whether it’s a book for you. It released June 19th, so get a copy if you’re interested 🙂

A new book trailer was released for This is Not a Test, but it’s mainly a lot of blurbs about the book; I’m featuring both.  I’d love to know what you think!

Summary (From Goodreads): It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self.

To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live.

But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside.

When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

Book Trailer #1:


Book Trailer #2:

Students Want to Know: Carrie Harris

Carrie’s debut novel Bad Taste in Boys released in July, so we waited to hold the interview until school started again.  I’m a big fan of both Carrie and her book (read my review), especially after meeting her at her launch party this summer.  A couple of my students, Ashley and Tristan, made it for the launch as well, so they came up with some questions for Carrie 🙂

Summary of Bad Taste in Boys (From Goodreads): Someone’s been a very bad zombie.

Kate Grable is horrified to find out that the football coach has given the team steroids. Worse yet, the steroids are having an unexpected effect, turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless flesh-eating zombies. No one is safe–not her cute crush Aaron, not her dorky brother, Jonah . . . not even Kate!

She’s got to find an antidote–before her entire high school ends up eating each other. So Kate, her best girlfriend, Rocky, and Aaron stage a frantic battle to save their town. . . and stay hormonally human.

** Carrie’s Website **
** Carrie’s Blog **


  • What conditions do you like to write in?
    I must have a two-liter of caffeinated beverage when I write. I LIKE to write in absolute silence, late at night in front of the picture window in my living room in case the zombie hordes start attacking—I’ll be able to see them coming that way. But that never happens. I usually find myself writing with kids’ television blaring in the background in the middle of the day. But still with the caffeine and still watching for zombies, because there are lines I simply must draw.
  • Do you ever write nonfiction?
    This is awesome. No one’s ever asked me that, and yes! I don’t do it much these days, but I spent a long time as a freelance writer. I wrote study materials for medical students, and sales materials for textbooks, and a long series of marketing materials for car transmissions, which is pretty funny because you could write what I know about cars on a postage stamp and still have room left over. I’ve got a scientific article coming up in Neurology, and it’s not even about zombies. I think nonfiction is a great way to learn to force yourself to get to the point when you write, and I think that shows in my books.
  • Did you do research for Bad Taste in Boys?
    Absolutely. I already knew a lot about zombie myths, but I did sit down and read up on them in detail. And then, I had an idea of how I would structure my virus because I used to manage the national center for research in the human form of mad cow disease. But I needed to think carefully about how it would work and then how someone would go about figuring it out. Most of the research stuff got cut from the book, because the average person isn’t going to geek out about all the lab work the way that I do, but I think it was good to know those things.
  • Do you and Kate share characteristics?
    Oh yeah. One of my friends always says that I’m Kate Grable in disguise. I’m definitely a geek, and I do have an interest in science, but nowhere near as extreme as she does. And I get really obsessively motivated like she does. Once I get a goal in mind, the only way to stop me from chasing it (and talking about it nonstop) would be to give me a lobotomy. Which I would prefer to avoid if at all possible.
  • Are all of your works of writing intertwined with humor?
    Yes, although I’ve just finished my third book, which is not a Grable book, and it’s a little more serious. I love to laugh, and I find it pretty impossible to be serious EVER, but I had this really emotional story that I wanted to tell. So I tried to blend the two, and I’m waiting to hear from my agent and eventually my editor on whether or not I sucketh or rocketh.

    BTW, my spell check does not like the work “rocketh.” Which sucketh.


  • Why do you like zombies so much?
    I love how zombies can be so ridiculously funny one minute and hecka scary the next. I prefer my monsters as campy as possible, and it doesn’t get much campier than a lurching corpse with a missing hand and a major craving for cranial matter. Unless he’s on roller skates. That would be the ultimate in camp. It’s funny, but still, I wouldn’t want him to catch me!
  • Do you think you’ll ever write a realistic fiction novel?
    Anything is possible. I like to play around and challenge myself with new things, like trying to write a short story that is completely serious (which for me was REALLY hard). I haven’t yet come up with an idea for a contemporary book that I’d like to write, but I love reading them. So I wouldn’t totally write off the possibility!
  • What did you read when you were younger?
    Late in elementary school, I was all about the romances. I had every Sweet Valley High book, and a whole series of romances about cheerleaders, and one called Couples in which every person on every cover wore neon. Even the guys. *headdesk* And then I got hooked on Tolkien and Stephen King and it all went downhill from there. If it had a monster in it or a guy with a sword and a funny, unpronounceable name, I was on it.
  • Do you like science, or did you just want Kate to?
    I do! I managed a lab for a few years, and a lot of the things that Kate does are things that I’ve done. I’ve been in animal labs in which you had to wear space suits because of the risk of infection and looked at brains under microscopes and seen autopsies and spun down blood into pellets and all kinds of crazy things. So I feel cool by association when the science geek saves the day. I totally admit it.

    Thanks so much for the questions! This was a load of fun!


In My Mailbox (25)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme sponsored by The Story Siren.  It’s a way for bloggers to share what books they’ve received for review, borrowed from the library, or bought from the store.

I feel like I’ve been a bad blogger because I have not been able to keep up since school started a couple weeks ago!  I’m sure I’ll get back in the groove soon **fingers crossed**.

Books Purchased:

Hush by Eishes Chayil (Goodreads): I love the cover for this one and the summary is really intriguing.  I’ve been on a realistic fiction kick for almost a month now, so I’m sure this will be read soon.

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick (Goodreads): I’ve read some positive reviews for this, but the real selling point is that it takes place in Michigan.  I want to read this one sooner rather than later so I can hand it off to my students.

Supernaturally by Kiersten White (Goodreads): I finally bought my copy!  I read Paranormalcy last fall, so I guess it makes sense for me to read the sequel this fall 🙂

The Sweetest Thing by Christina Mandelski (Goodreads): My book club has grown this year!  We had our first meeting last Tuesday and decided that each person will get a chance to pick the book we read.  Tristan drew first and she decided on The Sweetest Thing.  I have an ARC that Christina sent me in the spring for my kids to read for their Students Want to Know interview with her, but because I have a bigger group this year, I had to buy a finished copy so more kids can read it at the same time.  I’m excited to hear their thoughts!

In My Mailbox (22)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme sponsored by The Story Siren.  It’s a way for bloggers to share what books they’ve received for review, borrowed from the library, or bought from the store.

Purchased (all but Anya’s Ghost):

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab (Goodreads): I just started this one and I’m liking it so far. I’ve read a lot of positive, glowing reviews.  So far it’s very lyrical, as many of the reviews have stated, and it feels almost like a fairy tale in atmosphere.

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry (Goodreads): I’ve heard good things about this book, too.  I’m not always sure about zombie books, but I know my boys in class like them and I loved Bad Taste in Boys.  I skimmed through the book and found out that the chapters are short, so maybe it will be a fast read.

Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol (Goodreads): A friend of mine on Twitter sent me this one (Thanks John! @MrSchuReads).  My best friend read it and enjoyed it, plus I’ve heard good things from other teachers I’m friends with.  Any time I hear good things about a graphic novel, I have to look into it.

You Are Not Here by Samantha Schutz (Goodreads): I found this one while perusing what was left in the YA section at Borders.  It’s written in verse which is the primary reason for buying it.  I read a few pages yesterday and already know that I’ll love it.  It’s looking like a very poignant tale of love and loss.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (Goodreads): Most of the reviews I’ve read for this one talk about it being fantastic, creepy, funny, etc.  I have a book club with a group of alumni students and this is our most recent pick.  I’ll have to start reading it soon!

Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris

Carrie Harris Bad Taste in Boys

201 pp.  Delacorte Press (Random House)  2011  ISBN: 978-0-385-73968-9

Source: Purchased

Interest: 2011 Debut Author

Summary (From Goodreads): Someone’s been a very bad zombie.

Kate Grable is horrified to find out that the football coach has given the team steroids. Worse yet, the steroids are having an unexpected effect, turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless flesh-eating zombies. No one is safe–not her cute crush Aaron, not her dorky brother, Jonah . . . not even Kate!

She’s got to find an antidote–before her entire high school ends up eating each other. So Kate, her best girlfriend, Rocky, and Aaron stage a frantic battle to save their town. . . and stay hormonally human.

I’m sure I’m not the first person to say this, but I never thought I’d like a zombie book, let alone love one.  Zombies simply aren’t my thing.  When I bought Zombies vs. Unicorns I already knew I was Team Unicorn.  I adored unicorn books when I was growing up.  Zombies just gross me out.  But then I heard about Bad Taste in Boys and read a ton of positive reviews.  Plus, Carrie is signed up to be interviewed by my students so I wanted to get the book for them to read.  I gave it a shot and loved every minute of it!

Are the zombies in this book gross? Yes, but I was still laughing even though body parts were falling off and guys were puking some seriously stinky stuff.  Carrie has written a hilarious cast of characters that kept me laughing even as Kate was carrying around a man’s foot.  Her dorky brother, Jonah was one of my favorite characters.  He reminded me of my brother because even though he’s younger, he still looks out for Kate.  He becomes a bigger part of the story once the zombie mayhem really picks up, and he had me giggling in all of his scenes.  The “sword” from the game he plays with his friends cracked me up–plastic pipe and duct tape.  Such a protective brother 🙂

Kate has become another favorite of mine as well.  I love how geeky she is!  She’s a science whiz, very witty, and awkward around guys, but she really holds her own.  She’s worried about her guys (the football players) and wants to make sure they’re not being harmed when she discovers the unmarked vials in Coach’s office.  She puts her knowledge to work and tries to keep everyone safe and from becoming a zombie.  The fact that she’s pretty rational when she discovers what’s going on is really impressive.  I’ve been hearing quite a bit of grumbling about female characters in paranormal YA being too wimpy.  This is simply not the case with Kate Grable.  She can kick zombie butt, uncover a mystery, and get a guy’s attention all at the same time without being the “damsel in distress.”

When I bought Bad Taste in Boys I was excited to find out that it isn’t a 400+ page door-stopper.  I don’t have anything against long books, but it’s refreshing to read one that isn’t.  Carrie Harris did a fantastic job pacing this story.  Nothing felt rushed or like information was missing.  It’s a fun, campy, well-written story.  The characters and humor were by far my favorite things about the book.

I can’t wait to add this book to my classroom library this fall.  I know I’m going to earn some major brownie points when I tell my students that I loved a zombie book and that I think they should read it too.

Bad Taste in Boys Release Day!

Happy Book Birthday to Carrie Harris!!  Today is the release of her debut novel Bad Taste in Boys.  I haven’ t read this one yet, but I’ve only heard good things about this funny zombie book 🙂  I see a trip to the book store in my future…

Summary (From Goodreads): Someone’s been a very bad zombie.

Kate Grable is horrified to find out that the football coach has given the team steroids. Worse yet, the steroids are having an unexpected effect, turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless flesh-eating zombies. No one is safe–not her cute crush Aaron, not her dorky brother, Jonah . . . not even Kate!

She’s got to find an antidote–before her entire high school ends up eating each other. So Kate, her best girlfriend, Rocky, and Aaron stage a frantic battle to save their town. . . and stay hormonally human. 

Carrie Harris is a Michigan author (yay!) and she’s hosting an auction for a great cause.  Lots of books and book-related things are up for auction.  Also, Carrie Harris is having a launch party on July 23rd at Nicola’s Books in Ann Arbor, Michigan which starts at 2pm (I hope to be there!).

Related to today’s release, there’s lots of fun being had at Cari’s Book Blog where you can link up and join the release day fun (Thanks for hosting this, Cari!).  You can make yourself look like a zombie, take a picture with sprinkles or sugar on your lips, etc.  I opted for sugar lips (don’t judge)!

Sugar acts as a great lip exfoliator!

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