Cover Reveal: The Lethal Agent by RS McCoy

I’m super excited to help RS McCoy reveal the cover for her latest science fiction novel, The Lethal Agent! This is the 2nd installment of The Extraction Files, and I am really looking forward to jumping back into this world with these amazing characters! If you have not read The Killing Jar yet, I would highly recommend it. You can view my previous posts about The Killing Jar which include a regular book review and a bookish list aptly entitled 3 Reasons Why You Should Read The Killing Jar. Now, without further ado, here is the gorgeous cover of THE LETHAL AGENT!

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Author: RS McCoy
Genre: Science Fiction
Designer: Kit Foster Design
Preorder: Amazon
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Add The Lethal Agent on Goodreads!

Mable Wilkinson is close to getting everything she ever wanted. She has a home in a facility in New York, a job extracting parasitic insects, and she’s even made some friends. If she can keep up this pace for a few years, she’ll earn a lifetime of security for herself—and for Hadley.

But that doesn’t mean her job is easy. Each time she begins to discover something about the bugs, they strike again, wreaking havoc on the world. Researchers are dying with increasing frequency, and Mable is powerless to stop it.

As the mounting bug attacks threaten to destroy humanity, Mable realizes she’s out of time. Her team has only days to find a solution before the human race loses its homeworld—if the bugs don’t infect them first.

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Review: The Killing Jar

Original Title: The Killing Jar
Author: RS McCoy
Edition: Paperback, 400 pages
Published: June 28th, 2016 by RS McCoy
Characters: Mable Wilkinson, Silas Arrenstein
Rating: 4/5
Synopsis from Goodreads:

Earth is dying, circling the drain on life support. The future of the human race depends on space exploration, but they’re running out of time. Parasitic insects are systematically killing the best scientific minds but no one knows why.

Mable Wilkinson is the last hope to figure it out, she just doesn’t know it yet. For years, her resourcefulness, intelligence, and penchant for problem-solving have put her at the top of a very short list of researchers, only she doesn’t want to be part of it.

Cast out at sixteen, Mable wrote off the problems of the world long ago. Now, her focus is on Hadley, her adopted little sister, and teaching her to survive in the cut-throat underground. Instead, both Mable and Hadley fall into the hands of the program’s recruiter, Silas Arrenstein, and he’s determined to have one of them. Mable can join up with the man and program who killed her brother, or she can leave Hadley to the same fate.

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Cover Reveal: The Killing Jar

Author: RS McCoy
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
Cover Designer: Kit Foster Design
Release Date: June 28, 2016

Blurb: Earth is dying, circling the drain on life support. The future of the human race depends on space exploration, but they’re running out of time. Parasitic insects are systematically killing the best scientific minds but no one knows why.

Mable Wilkinson is the last hope to figure it out, she just doesn’t know it yet. For years, her resourcefulness, intelligence, and penchant for problem-solving have put her at the top of a very short list of researchers, only she doesn’t want to be part of it.

Cast out at sixteen, Mable wrote off the problems of the world long ago. Now, her focus is on Hadley, her adopted little sister, and teaching her to survive in the cut-throat underground. Instead, both Mable and Hadley fall into the hands of the program’s recruiter, Silas Arrenstein, and he’s determined to have one of them. Mable can join up with the man and program who killed her brother, or she can leave Hadley to the same fate.

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ARC Review: With Malice

With Malice

  • Original Title: With Malice by Eileen Cook
  • Edition: Kindle, 320 pages
  • Published: June 7, 2016 by HMH Books For Young Readers
  • Characters: Jill Charron, Simone McIvory
  • Rating: 4/5
  • Goodreads

Description: Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron’s senior trip to Italy was supposed to be the adventure of a lifetime. And then the accident happened. Waking up in a hospital room, her leg in a cast, stitches in her face, and a big blank canvas where the last 6 weeks should be, Jill comes to discover she was involved in a fatal accident in her travels abroad. She was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident…wasn’t an accident. Wondering not just what happened but what she did, Jill tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life.

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Blog Tour: Hippopotamister by John Patrick Green

Hippopotamister

  • Original Title: Hippopotamister by John Patrick Green
  • Edition: Hardcover, 96 pages
  • Published: May 10, 2016 by First Second
  • Characters: Hippo, Red Panda
  • Rating: 4/5
  • Goodreads, Macmillian

Description:The zoo isn’t what it used to be. It’s run down, and Hippo hardly ever gets any visitors. So he decides to set off for the outside with his friend Red Panda. To make it in the human world, Hippo will have to become a Hippopotamister: he’ll have to act like a human, get a job, and wear a hat as a disguise. He’s a good employee, whether he’s a construction worker, a hair stylist, or a sous chef. But what he really needs is a job where he can be himself.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Hippopotamister is an amazing and beautiful children’s book! The bright and colorful cover instantly caught my students’ eyes, and the stunning pictures inside kept their interest piqued throughout the entire 96 pages. “How did you read a 96-page book to a group of 2nd graders in one sitting?” you ask. Despite the length, Hippopotamister is set up in panels comic-book style, so there’s not a whole lot of text. It’s a pretty easy read for even some of my lowest students, and again, the beautiful and detailed pictures really encourage comprehension of the text. My students did a great job of making predictions and inferences just during the picture walk alone. This book will definitely be a fixture in my classroom for the foreseeable future. I just have to be extra careful not to let those little paws do any major damage!

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Book Review: Edge of Wild by D.K. Stone

Edge of Wild

  • Original Title: Edge of Wild by D.K. Stone
  • Edition: Paperback, 329 pages
  • Published: May 1st, 2016 by Stonehouse Publishing
  • Characters: Rich Evans, Louise Newman
  • Rating: 4/5
  • Goodreads, Amazon

Description: Transplanted from New York City to the tiny mountain town of Waterton, Alberta with the task of saving a floundering new hotel, Rich Evans is desperate to return to the city as soon as he can. The locals seem unusually hostile towards his efforts, or maybe even menacing, and was that a cougar on his door-step last night? As Rich begins to wonder whether his predecessor disappeared of his own accord, he finds himself strongly drawn to Louise Newman, the garage mechanic who is fixing his suddenly unreliable BMW, and the only person in Waterton who doesn’t seem desperate to run him out of town. As Rich works on the hotel, the town is torn apart by a series of gruesome, unsolved murders. With Louise as his only ally in a town that seems set against him, Rich can’t help but wonder: will he be the next victim?

I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

First Lines: “Jeff was packing to leave when he heard the noise outside the window. It was a low keening sound, the sort of moan that would have sent a city slicker like him running a year ago. But not now. No, tonight, he picked up the wooden bat next to the door and walked out onto the porch.”

The Plot
After the disappearance of Jeff Chan, manager of the Whitewater Lodge in the tiny, mountain town of Waterton, Alberta, Rich Evans is transplanted from his cushy, fast-paced life in New York City to the mysterious small town where time seems to have stood still.

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Book Review: What Comes of Eating Doughnuts…

What Comes of Eating Doughnuts With a Boy Who Plays Guitar

  • Original Title: What Comes of Eating Doughnuts
            With a Boy Who Plays Guitar by Nicole Campbell
  • Edition: Paperback, 220 pages
  • Published: June 17th, 2015 by CreateSpace
  • Characters: Courtney Ross, Ethan Fisher, Vanessa Roberts
  • Rating: 4/5
  • Goodreads

Description: Courtney Ross has lived her whole life doing everything by the book. She’s a top student, the captain of the cheer squad at her Scottsdale high school, and a nervous wreck most of the time. For summer vacation before senior year, she finally has her chance just to relax. She will be spending it with her best friend, Vanessa, in her tiny hometown of Gem City, Ohio. Courtney’s hoping for a chance to breathe, and maybe even for some of Vanessa’s carefree nature to rub off on her. What she doesn’t expect is Ethan Fisher. Courtney knows she’s in trouble the minute she sees him holding a guitar at her “Welcome Back” party. Her instincts prove to be correct as she gets to know him, and she finds her head spinning. What will this mean for the girl who always plays by the rules?

In her first full-length novel, Nicole Campbell delivers a perfect beach read for the older Young Adult crowd. Readers will re-live their first relationships (the good, the bad, and the overwhelming), or imagine the spark of what the future might hold in this story full of the type of intensity only found in young love.

Due to mature themes and mild language, recommended for readers 16+

I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Since I’ve become an adult, I’ve avoided contemporary and romance novels like a plague for many reasons. Most important among them are the terrible dialogue and lack of plot that are typically a staple. When I was younger I was obsessed with Sweet Valley High novels though. I really enjoyed being able to escape into the sunny, simple, carefree life of Sweet Valley, California and its perfect protagonists’ love lives and superfluous drama.

Fast forward many, many years later, and I found myself completely captivated by Gem City, Ohio and its inhabitants. It was a nice change of pace to all the serious drama and high fantasy I’ve been indulging in lately. Courtney Ross, the book’s main protagonist, is a typical 17-year old girl who goes out to have a carefree summer with her best friend in her hometown, but instead ends up falling head-over-heels for the gorgeous Ethan Fisher, who does in fact play guitar. While their relationship progressed very quickly in my opinion (but I’ve never been in love, so wtf do I know), it was very cute and not too over-the-top. My favorite characters though are the secondary characters, Vanessa and Luke! I was worried that Vanessa would be extremely unlikable based on the initial introduction of her, but she actually turns out to be the kind of best friend we all wish we could have. And Luke is hilarious! I think he steals the scene every time he’s on the page.

It’s not a plot heavy book, and the characters aren’t incredibly complex though they are likeable and interesting, but it’s a fun read. In case you were wondering, yes, there are some times the dialogue made me say, “Why are you saying this?” It wasn’t a huge distraction. Teenagers wouldn’t be teenagers if they weren’t a bit cheesy and dramatic. I would definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a story that’s short and sweet. What Comes of Eating Doughnuts With a Boy Who Plays Guitar rekindled a lot of nostalgia for my Sweet Valley days. I look forward to going back to Gem City and finding out what happens with Courtney and Ethan next and definitely getting some more Luke action!

About the Author

Nicole Campbell is an English teacher turned author, mother to a beautiful three year old boy, and wife to a self-proclaimed techie. Teenage life consisted of a host of adventures for her, many of which serve as inspiration for her writing. Find her online at Nicole Campbell Books, Goodreads, and Instagram.

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Excerpt + Giveaway: Summerlost by Ally Condie

Disclaimer: This is a promotional post. Promotion hosted by Word Spelunking and Penguin Kids. A free copy of Summerlost was provided in exchange for promotion and a review.

Summerlost CoverOriginal Title: Summerlost
Author: Ally Condie
Edition: Hardcover, 272 pages.
Release Date: March 29, 2016
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Links: Excerpt, Goodreads, Penguin Random House, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound

Description: A tender and compelling contemporary novel for young readers about facing loss and finding friendship, from Ally Condie, international bestselling author of the Matched series.

“Kids are awesome. And they are diverse. There are children with different abilities and backgrounds and experiences, and every one of them deserves to find themselves in children’s literature and to know that they matter.” –Ally Condie, on Summerlost

Sometimes it takes a new friend to bring you home. It’s the first real summer since the accident that killed Cedar’s father and younger brother, Ben. Cedar and what’s left of her family are returning to the town of Iron Creek for the summer. They’re just settling into their new house when a boy named Leo, dressed in costume, rides by on his bike. Intrigued, Cedar follows him to the renowned Summerlost theatre festival. Soon, she not only has a new friend in Leo and a job working concessions at the festival, she finds herself surrounded by mystery. The mystery of the tragic, too-short life of the Hollywood actress who haunts the halls of Summerlost. And the mystery of the strange gifts that keep appearing for Cedar.

Infused with emotion and rich with understanding, Summerlost is the touching new novel from Ally Condie, the international bestselling author of the Matched series that highlights the strength of family and personal resilience in the face of tragedy.

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Book Review: Kindred Spirits

Kindred Spirits

  • Original Title: Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell
  • Edition: Mass Market Paperback, 96 pages
  • Published: February 25, 2016 by Macmillians Kids UK
  • Characters: Elena, Gabe, Troy
  • Rating: 4/5
  • Goodreads

Description: If you broke Elena’s heart, Star Wars would spill out. So when she decides to queue outside her local cinema to see the new movie, she’s expecting a celebration with crowds of people who love Han, Luke and Leia just as much as she does. What she’s not expecting is to be last in a line of only three people; to have to pee into a collectible Star Wars soda cup behind a dumpster or to meet that unlikely someone who just might truly understand the way she feels.

Kindred Spirits was super, super short but a lot of emotion was packed in. I’m amazed at how much happened, and how these characters evolved, in such a short amount of time. Technically, no, nothing actually happened because our three main characters are just camped outside of a movie theater for four days, but the relationships that they build with each other and their dialogue is amazing. I love how Elena and Gabe’s friendship takes shape in just a few pages. Plus, it really gives insight into how we perceive others without really knowing them sometimes. I’m more than guilty of assuming how other people feel about me and what that, in turn, means about them. It’s a vicious reality.

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ARC Review: Where You’ll Find Me

Where You'll Find

  • Original Title: Where You’ll Find Me by Natasha Friend
  • Edition: Advance Reader’s Edition Paperback, 266 pages
  • Published: March 8, 2016 by Farrar Straus Giroux
  • Characters: Anna Collette, Frances Collette, Marnie Collette, David Collette, Shawna the Eyebrow Plucker, Sarabeth the Irish Stepper
  • Rating: 4/5
  • Goodreads

Description: In this powerful and buoyant YA novel, a thirteen-year-old girl learns to navigate the shifting loyalties of friendships in middle school and deals with challenges at home.

The beginning of the eighth grade is not what Anna thought it would be. Her lifelong best friend has ditched her for the cool kids, and her mom is in the hospital after a suicide attempt. Anna finds herself where she least expects to: living with her dad, his young new wife, and their baby, and starting a new year at school without a best friend. With help from some unlikely sources, including a crazy girl-band talent show act, Anna learns that sometimes you find what you need to pull you through in the most unlikely places.


I received this Advance Reader’s Edition as a prize from Alexa Loves Books.

Okay, I don’t typically enjoy middle grade books because the writing is usually too simplistic, so I wasn’t necessarily thrilled about this book when I read the synopsis and saw that Anna was only 13 years old, but surprisingly, I really, really enjoyed this story! The main protagonist, Anna Collette, is mature for her age but not unbelievably so. She reminds me a lot of myself at her age, a little more mature than the people around me, intelligent but unmotivated and distracted, and sarcastic as f**k (that last bit hasn’t changed much). Additionally, I was very close to Anna’s age when my mom was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder, so I have that personal text-to-self connection to Anna and I truly relate to her struggle. I think Natasha Friend did an excellent job representing what it feels like to be that age and process those emotions. There’s a few paragraphs in the advanced reader’s edition that compare her mother to a burner control knob. It sounds silly out of context, but I thought that the comparison was very powerful and accurate…

If my mother had a burner control knob, I could set her however I wanted. If, say, she started staying up too late, watching QVC and ordering a bunch of wine glass necklaces, I could turn her down to 6. If I found her in the bathtub with a washcloth over her face, listening to Anatevka on her boom box, I’d turn her up to 4. Talking too fast? Down a notch. Monotone voice? Up a notch.

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