Category: Blog Tour

‘Grasshopper Jungle’ Blog Tour Stop + Giveaway

unstopablecorn-2
grasshopper-jungle

THE END OF THE WORLD IS NIGH!!

At least in Ealing, Iowa.

Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the story of how he and his best friend, Robby, brought about the end of humanity and the rise of an army of unstoppable, six-foot tall praying mantises in small-town Iowa.

To make matters worse, Austin’s hormones are totally oblivious; they don’t care that the world is in utter chaos: Austin is in love with his girlfriend, Shann, but remains confused about his sexual orientation. He is stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann.

Ultimately, it is up to Austin to save the world and propagate the species in this sci-fright journey of survival, sex, and the complex realities of the human condition.

Grasshopper Jungle is an outrageous coming-of-age story set during the end of humanity about two boys who are determined to record its destruction while also trying to save it. Austin Szerba is the narrator and guide to the end of the world. He writes everything down to insure there is a comprehensive history of life in Ealing, Iowa. He’s done this for years. Now that there is an army of hungry and horny six-foot tall praying mantises taking over, Austin records it all. Andrew Smith is known for writing compelling and completely unique teen perspectives and this one is his most outlandish yet. His no holds barred stream of consciousness narration is probably not for everyone, but when it comes to Andrew Smith, I will tear through it like no other. Quite possibly the weirdest book I will read all year.

Going into this book, I had no idea what to expect. I hear nothing but good things about Andrew Smith’s books (especially from our reviewer Jennifer) so I knew the writing would be solid, but I was not ready for that level of high-octane weird and wonderful. It’s a testament to his writing that he is able to pull of such a mind-altering end-of-the-world scenario.

Austin Szerba is one hell of a narrator. He’s sexually frustrated and confused, like most teens male and female alike. He’s also one hell of a historian. Austin feels the need to write down every detail of life in Ealing and while it occasionally feels like unnecessary, scattered thoughts, the thoughts come together and reveal a hidden latticework of the story. All that aside, you will get to know Austin inside and out. For better or worse.

My best suggestion to any reader approaching this book, whether slowly or ravenously, just keep reading. No matter what you think initially. I bet you’ll love it.

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to the lovely marketing team at Penguin Teen, they’ve allowed us to give away a special prize pack to one lucky winner! For a chance to win a copy of Grasshopper Jungle and #UNSTOPPABLECORN t-shirt, enter your name and email in the Rafflecopter application below. The contest ends on March 6th at 12:01am EST. Winners will be contacted via email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Smith is the award-winning author of several Young Adult novels, including the critically acclaimed Winger (Starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist, and Shelf Awareness—an Amazon “Best of the Year”) and The Marbury Lens (A YALSA BFYA, and Starred reviews and Best of the Year in both Publishers Weekly and Booklist).

He is a native-born Californian who spent most of his formative years traveling the world. His university studies focused on Political Science, Journalism, and Literature. He has published numerous short stories and articles. Grasshopper Jungle, coming February 11, 2014, is his seventh novel. He lives in Southern California.

Twitter Facebook GR Website

Blog Tour Review and Giveaway: Shelf Life by Stephanie Lawton

 

 Title: Shelf Life

Author: Stephanie Lawton
Genre: Contemporary New Adult
Publication date: December 3, 2013

*Mature situations and sexual content – recommended for ages 17+*

It’s impossible to focus on college biology when your family believes doomsday is imminent and the government is out to get you.

All Pete Wilson’s ever wanted is to become a veterinarian, but those dreams are going up in flames. Commuting to an urban college and helping his parents with their apocalyptic prepper crap is more than he can handle.

Worse, Pete’s asshole neighbor is stirring up trouble, his family’s stockpile has been destroyed and farm animals are turning up dead.

Lindsey Linger is the tomboy sister of his best friend. Now a sexy spitfire, she and Pete are liable to set the barn ablaze as their romance finally heats up. But she’s hiding a terrible secret, and rural life isn’t all bonfires and hayloft romps. That becomes clear one icy winter night when the survival of everyone Pete loves hangs in the balance.

Can Pete be the hero they need, or will this be the end of the world as he knows it?

 

| Barnes and Noble | Amazon |

________________________________________________________

This marks my fourth review for Stephanie Lawton’s books and to this day it never ceases to amaze me just how messed up her characters and stories can be. Shelf Life is such an amazing coming-of-age story that it certainly stands apart from her other works.

We have the story of Pete Wilson who’s going through the rough transition of being a teenager to being an adult. It’s not easy for anyone, let alone Pete who has to deal with getting (and promptly losing) the girl of his dreams, losing his best friend, a dangerously sexy college girl, dodging an asshole of a bully, a completely bratty sister who doesn’t give a flip about anything, a dad dealing with PTSD, and a mom just trying her best to keep everyone together all while trying to keep the family farm running and the bomb shelter stocked. Feel overwhelmed? Now you can imagine how Pete feels!

And I have to say, I loved watched Pete grow as a character, even if it was painful for pseudo-adult self to read at times. I really appreciated that even though this is marketed as a New Adult book, it’s really, really not about, you know, sexy times. There’s a lot of heavy, dark issues at work and the sporadic sexy times are more like breaks in the heavy suckage of reality. So if you are wary of the New Adult category, thinking it’s nothing but hot sexy times, this is a fantastic bridging of Young Adult and New Adult.

The only thing I wasn’t particularly fond of was Jay’s super brief and slightly random POV scenes. I wasn’t exactly sure the point of them, whether it to give Jay’s backstory or create sympathy for him. Note: any tiny amounts of sympathy the POVs might have created was quickly erased in the climax of the book. Jay, you a crazy ass and I don’t like you or your intentions.

Still, as this seems to be a series, I am very interested to see where this goes. I (of course) will be checking out any and all of Stephanie Lawton’s books.

LAST, BUT NOT LEAST. The first THREE PEOPLE who comment on this review will get a little swag pack. You know you want it… you know you do.

________________________________________________________
Join us all day December 3rd on Facebook as we chat with Stephanie, as she celebrates Shelf Life’s launch day with giveaways, excerpts, special content, free downloads, & more!
________________________________________________________
About Stephanie
Always a misfit, Stephanie Lawton writes twisted romance that tugs the heart strings then punches you in the gut.
She has a tendency to psychoanalyze people, which comes in handy when creating character profiles. She has a fascination with teacher-student relationships, bullies, psychics, doomsday preppers and larger-than-life characters.
Making readers squirm is her greatest pleasure.
Proceed with caution.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

________________________________________________________

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
 

Blog Tour Review: The Obsidian Pebble by Rhys A Jones

11-year old Oz Chambers lives in a haunted house (Penwurt). His mother wants to move, but Oz would rather do double algebra (yuck) every day for twelve months than leave. Where others see spooky, Oz sees wonder and mystery and aching reminders of his deceased dad. When he and his friends hear ghostly footsteps in the boarded-up dorm at Halloween, it leads to an exploration of the old place’s eerie reputation. In his Dad’s locked study, Oz finds a parcel addressed to him and posted the day before his father died. Inside is the obsidian pebble, the link to all of Penwurt’s astonishing secrets. Suddenly Oz begins to change; he goes from maths dunce to A student overnight and has to deal with suspicious teachers and jealous pupils. But the footsteps in the locked rooms don’t go away and slowly, Oz begins to knit together the strands of lies and mystery that tie the obsidian pebble, his father and him together. What Oz hasn’t bargained for is that he’s not alone in that search for understanding and that solving Penwurt’s puzzles lead to other, much darker secrets that will test his loyalty and his bravery to the limit.

While reading this, I had flashbacks of Harry Potter. If Harry Potter weren’t a wizard, Hogwarts were a slightly creepy house and it were set in Wales not London. Meet Oz, Ellie and Ruff, the trio and each of them have their own thing they bring to the group in order to make them a strong little team. Not too much unlike *drum roll* Harry Potter. And in replacement of magic and beasts, there are cyphers, ghosts, mysterious artifacts and above all Welsh jargon! Less on the Harry Potter spectrum, there’s also a nice element of history which also weaves into the use hieroglyphics, cyphers and artifacts from Egypt. Creeptastic!

Read more

Blog Tour: Obsidian Pebble by Rhys A. Jones

Obsidian Pebble Banner

I’m happy to be the seventh stop of the blog tour for the Obsidian Pebble by Rhys A Jones. You can check out my review here. Now I could give you a synopsis, but if you just read my review or will, that’s enough words. How about I give you a fancy pants book trailer?


Sounds awesome, no? Where can you buy it?
Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Amazon |

RA Jones AuthorAward winning author (OMG) Rhys A Jones writes fantastic, funny, scary (is this a bit too presumptuous? By fantastic I mean fantasy, not brilliant–though I hope they are–brilliant that is), mysteries for ages 10 and up. His job is to take you where anything is possible. When he isn’t writing he walks the dogs and occasionally practices medicine. He lives in an evergreen valley in West Wales with his very understanding wife.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads |

 

Blog Tour: Fault Line by C Desir

faultlines (1)Today we have the privilege of having Christa Desir, author of Fault Line, here on Novel Thoughts to talk about her book! We’re so excited to be able to share this story with you but you must also be aware that this book may not be suitable for everyone, especially younger teenage readers due to themes of rape and difficult situations. Otherwise, this is one raw contemporary that will blow you away! Stick around at the end of the post to learn more about Fault Line and the author!

I did not set out to write a rape book. Frankly, I didn’t think I ever would. I always thought it was too close, too personal, that I carried too many stories around from survivors to be able to do justice to one.

And then one day Ben crawled into my head and wouldn’t leave until I laid everything out on the page. When people ask if this is based on a true story, I always say, “This is no one’s story and everyone’s.” Because there is truth in that. It is a work of fiction. There’s no Ben or Ani in real life. There’s just every survivor I’ve ever met, every one I worked with in hospital ERs, every one who I’ve heard tell their stories.

And there is this deep in my bones knowledge that you never really shake rape. You heal, you move on, you survive, but there is never a time when you forget and there is never a time when this isn’t a part of who you are.

Ellen Hopkins asked me on a panel at ALA if I was prepared for the flack I was going to get about my open ending. It was such an interesting question because this ending had proven polarizing for agents and editors alike. As a matter of fact, I added more to the ending in the final version so the ARC isn’t exactly right (Take note people who read ARCs, things can change quite a bit still). Although I still leave the ending open. Leave it as this final moment where we teeter on the precipice of “I don’t know if it’s going to be okay.” I just make it more obvious I’m doing that intentionally.

I ended this book on that precipice because I think sometimes we forget that teenagers live in a constant state of it. Every day they stand on that edge. We as human beings are works in progress, there are no happy endings, just happy for nows. Why would we think it’s any different for teens? Why would we want it to be? This is the best time in their life to be a work in progress. Try new things, figure out who they are and what they want.

But specifically, in the case of Ani and Ben, I did want to say something with my open ending. I did want to add a question into the cannon of YA literature dealing with rape. I did want to add a wrinkle to the immediate assumption that survivors heal and the bad guys get it in the end.

That is not the reality of rape as I’ve seen it. Rape is largely unreported and largely underprosecuted. Bad guys getting it in the end happened less than a dozen times in the 100+ rape cases I saw in hospital ERs over a decade. But further, the assumption of rape survivors moving on and healing was one I wanted to explore. Not because I don’t believe it, it has been proven to me over and over again by the army of survivors standing beside me in this work. But I wanted to explore it because of a survivor I met named Sarah.

Sarah participated in a survivor testimonial writing workshop with me in 2011. She is an amazing woman with a harrowing story of being sexually assaulted on the Appalachian Trail with 3 other friends the summer of their junior year. During a break in the workshop, I asked her what had happened to her friends who were also raped. She told me that one is still one of her closest friends, one doesn’t really like to talk about it, and one disappeared. I asked about the one who disappeared and Sarah said, “I don’t know what happened. She could be dealing drugs, she could be homeless, she could be dead. We lost her.”

We lost her. Those words echoed through me and would not leave my head as I wrote Fault Line. Not because that’s the ending I wanted for Ani, or even expected, but because it could be. The reality is that we lose survivors sometimes. And sadly, this year with two sexual assault-related suicides prominently in the press, this has become achingly obvious to me.

So I left my ending open. I asked a question and didn’t give an answer. But I hope I started a conversation that will lead to every single person doing their absolute best to make sure that we never lose a survivor again.

FaultAbout Fault Line:
Ben could date anyone he wants, but he only has eyes for the new girl — sarcastic free-spirit, Ani. Luckily for Ben, Ani wants him too. She’s everything Ben could ever imagine. Everything he could ever want.
But that all changes after the party. The one Ben misses. The one Ani goes to alone.
Now Ani isn’t the girl she used to be, and Ben can’t sort out the truth from the lies. What really happened, and who is to blame?
Ben wants to help her, but she refuses to be helped. The more she pushes Ben away, the more he wonders if there’s anything he can do to save the girl he loves.

Amazon
Barnes and Noble

About the author:C Desir
I’m a YA author who loves dark contemporary books. My debut novel FAULT LINE comes out from SimonPulse October 1, 2013. My second novel BLEED LIKE ME will be released from SimonPulse in Fall 2014.

I am also a feminist, rape victim activist, and romance novel editor. I live outside of Chicago with my awesome husband and our three small children.

C. Desir Website
C. Desir Facebook
C. Desir Twitter
Fault Line on Goodreads

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers