bookmark_borderCover 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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bookmark_borderBlog 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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bookmark_borderBook 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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bookmark_borderBook 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.