We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen

we are all made of molecules“My family is FUBAR.

That’s the word my part-time friend Claudia used to describe her own family at school yesterday… It’s short for ‘Effed Up Beyond All Recognition,’ except in the military, they don’t say ‘effed.’”

 You know that old 70’s show, The Brady Bunch? What if someone wrote a book like that, except in the present-day, and everyone didn’t get together all fine-and-dandy? Apparently, Susin Nielsen decided to answer that question in the award-winning book, We Are All Made Of Molecules. The basic premise is that the two protagonists, Stewart and Ashley, have their families collide when the two children’s external conflicts cause their parents to get together, and eventually move in. From there, the story only gets more complicated when the two children adventure through school together, face adversities, make friends and enemies, and balance a slew of other complicated issues. Will the two teens be able to survive in one of the most dangerous habitats in the world… high school?

We Are All Made Of Molecules begins during Stewart’s point of view, with the sentence, “I have always wanted a sister.” After this, Stewart begins to describe his family, which is essentially just his mom and dad. He tells a story about how he overheard his parents talking about his mom being pregnant when he was 10 years old, how he was overjoyed about the overheard news, and then…. his mom dies. Yes, you heard that right, and no, that’s technically not a spoiler. But seriously, though, Susin Nielsen actually went to all the trouble of introducing Stewart’s mother’s character, telling a story about her, then killed her on page two. It’s quite a way to start off the story, I must say. Anyways, after that introductory story of Stewart, Ashley’s backstory is presented, in which she describes how her dad divorced her mom, since he came out one day that he was gay. Her biological dad now lives in the laneway house which is right next to Ashley’s house. The two main characters’ families finally meet when Stewart’s dad and Ashley’s mom met up through work, started dating, and then moved in together. The problem here is that Ashley and Stewart are complete opposites, with Stewart being the socially inept and nerdy one, and Ashley being the, “It Girl” of her school. Ashley, because of this, is very resentful towards Stewart, but he is just trying to be friendly. The two families must find a way to cooperate with one another, while simultaneously dealing with the secret of Ashley’s dad’s homosexuality, the grief of Stewart’s mom’s death, bullying, social awkwardness, peer pressure, and many more. There is certainly a lot going on in this story, and I can promise it will never get boring.

We Are All Made Of Molecules does a lot of things really well that makes this story an absolute joy to read. But, the three main things that are really good, are the characters, the conflicts, and the humor. Let’s begin with the first one. The characters in WAAMOM (yes, that’s what I’m going to call it from now on) are absolutely beautiful. The fact that the two narrators of this story are complete opposites is an ingenious concept, as it allows readers to see two different perspectives to the same aspect of the story. Not only that, but it is also so interesting to see the two narrator’s motivations throughout the story, and just how vastly different they are from one another. This is explicitly shown in how each of the character’s first chapters start. Stewart immediately brings up mathematics and biology straight from chapter one, while Ashley starts by talking about how crazy her family is, and how she wants to get emancipated when she is old enough to legally do so. Let’s not forget about the voices in this story either. I realized the reason why each character felt so real in this book when a user, Ann, pointed it out on Goodreads: “Authentic, accessible voices made this a quick and fun read…” which I personally couldn’t agree with more. The other aspect of this book that made it surprisingly action-packed for a realistic novel were the conflicts. There were so many conflicts going on at one time, and as a result, whenever the story starts to dip a little in excitement, a new conflict always arose in some way. You know that part in a James Bond book that is just so action-packed you have to read on? This story is like that, except for 245 pages straight and to a lesser degree, obviously. And finally, I have to of course mention the shining star in this story: The humor. I must say, for a story that can get quite serious at times, there was a lot of really good comedy in this book. I’ve found, for me at least, that it’s not really the laugh-out-loud, Jeff Dunham kind of funny; It’s more like the ‘hearty chuckle’ kind of humor, of which I really enjoy. To be frank, I could go on and on about everything that the author did that made me love this book to pieces. However, since that document would most likely be as long as the entirety of the U.S. constitution, I will have to unfortunately refrain myself from continuing. Long story short, I recommend this book… like, a lot. ‘Nuff said.

Susin Nielsen has been praised several times for a few of her other stories, including titles like Word Nerd, Dear George Clooney: Please Marry My Mom, and The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen. WAAMOM is her newest book, and has been nominated for the 2016 Red Maple Award, the 2015 Governor General’s Literary Award of Children’s Text, and has won Kirkus Reviews “Best Teen Books of 2015,” Quill & Quire’s “Best Kids’ Books of 2015,” and The Globe 100’s “Best Books of 2015,” among others. Susin Nielsen started her writing career when writing for a show / book series called Degrassi Junior High, and went on to write the rest of the award-winning TV show. Her newest, unreleased book is called Optimists Die First, and is scheduled to release sometime in Spring of 2017. For more information, visit her official website on susinnielsen.com, or find her on Twitter @susinnielsen, Facebook (goo.gl/pYOm0M), or Goodreads (goo.gl/TKq6Az).

Tyler B., EMS Blogger

 

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What Light by Jay Asher – An ARC Review

This book cover image released by Razorbill shows "What Light," the latest book by Jay Asher, his first solo work of fiction in nearly a decade. The book is set for release on Oct. 11, 2016. (Razorbill via AP)

This book cover image released by Razorbill shows “What Light,” the latest book by Jay Asher, his first solo work of fiction in nearly a decade. The book is set for release on Oct. 11, 2016. (Razorbill via AP)

Are you a Jay Asher fan?  I loved 13 Reasons Why – it was beautifully written and really powerful, never mind the recognition and awards it received.  Now Asher is getting to release his newest YA novel called What Light.  

Sierra’s family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it’s a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other. 

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb’s past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.

As you can see, this is not a repeat of 13 Reasons Why – at all.  This is a much lighter story and if you like romance – definitely pick up What Light!  This novel was a quick read.  I enjoyed Sierra’s character and continually wondered how she did it – how could she live these two lives?  She was a really grounded character and had some great friends who helped her juggle it all.

Arriving in CA, Sierra does what she said she did not want to do, she meets a guy and is actually interested in him! But what is the reality of a relationship when she is only in CA for a few weeks?  And then there’s the guy himself – Caleb has a reputation, and everyone seems to know about it.  What is the truth behind the rumors?  Can Sierra see past Caleb’s baggage?  And does any of it even matter – seeing as how she will soon be packing it all up again and returning to Oregon?  Romance fans, don’t miss this one – definitely pick up a copy of What Light when it comes out this October – the perfect time to get into the holiday spirit!

Mrs. L, EMS Blogger

Wax by Gina Damico – Review and Author Interview!

waxMadame Grosholtz’s face was indescribable, her eyes flickering like fire. She leaned in and spoke at a whisper.

“The living wax.”

In an instant, everything in Poppy’s body, mind, and soul shrieked at her to flee. Something dark and wrong and heavy had seeped into the room – a profound sense of there’s something unnatural going on here that Poppy knew she should run away from – but couldn’t.

She blinked once more at the Viking.

And the Viking blinked back.

In this thrilling present-day fantasy, Wax, by Gina Damico, the town of Paraffin, Vermont, is home to two celebrities: the Grosholtz Candle Factory, and Poppy Palladino, a die-hard fan of theater who embarrassed herself on public television. But after weeks of hiding from humiliation, she is ready to face the world again. However, her confidence drops dramatically when Blake Bursaw, the town’s biggest bully, humiliates Poppy with a wax dummy in her liking. Determined to have her revenge, Poppy goes to the Grosholtz Candle Factory to find a wax dummy in the image of Blake. While there, she finds an old lady who calls herself Madame Grosholtz. Madame Grosholtz shows Poppy all of the wax sculptures she has made over the years in her back room, one of which Poppy could have swore she saw blink. Creeped out and sure she is losing her mind, Poppy runs out of the factory, only to be shocked even more when she finds a wax boy in the trunk of her car. Poppy learns that the wax boy, who likes the name Dud, is oblivious to the world, not even knowing anything about clothes. After the fiasco, a fire takes place at the factory, leaving Poppy with no way of getting more information from Madame Grosholtz, apart from a mysterious candle given to her. Poppy realizes something is fishy and with the help of her unlikely sidekick Dud, she uncovers a scheme that if not stopped, could destroy her hometown. The pressure gets real as it becomes harder and harder to tell who’s on her side and who might be… well, flammable. Will she be able to stop her town from being destroyed and regain her lost dignity, or will she go down in flames?

Chanakya: (warning – contains minor book details!)

The character of Jill, the faithful, ever-loyal friend of Poppy, was done so very well by the author. In only 60 pages, the faithful friend archetype’s personality was woven into the pages to create someone who was, like Poppy, bossy, but also sarcastic and skeptical of Poppy’s plans, yet still helped out her friend, even if there was some argument later on. Her traits unfold even more as the story progresses, and even though her point of view is not shown, it is still very clear to tell what’s on her mind because of what she does, and that part of her character was done really well. Her personality also makes you wonder how Poppy and Jill could have been friends, since they are nearly polar opposites of each other. Her sarcasm often frustrates Poppy, because Jill just can’t seem to take the dire situation (which shall not be told, for spoilers) that Poppy, Dud, and Jill are in. Jill always is able to make light of a situation, which is probably the strongest trait about her, even though her methods might feel a little pessimistic and maybe a little offensive. Overall, the way her character is done is wonderful.
One of the reasons I loved this book was the plot twists. Throughout the book, it always seems like things are crazy, and just when things are getting a little less crazy, something big happens. This was the case in numerous occasions throughout the book, and they keep you on the edge of your seats, such as the part when Poppy learned about Madame Grosholtz’… ‘secrets.’ Some of the twists have a larger effect on the story than others, but they all make the reading experience more exciting and maybe even thrilling. The characters’ reactions to these unexpected events reveal a lot about them, and you can really feel their emotions as they deal with all the chaos and craziness that is happening around them. The plot twists not only supply excitement, but a chance to connect with the characters’ emotions. I really liked the plot twists, and they are one of the highlights of the book.
No doubt about it, the humor is one of the best assets about this book. It is great, and sometimes a little inappropriate. The author’s timing is perfect, and it makes even the most serious of situations at least a little bit funny. A lot of the laughs are caused by Dud, whose obliviousness to the world is just pure hilarious at times, such as his questions about the human body, and Jill, whose sarcasm always just gets you, like when she wanted to get back at Poppy at the candle factory. It adds a layer of fun to the story that otherwise would be completely serious. It seems like there is an amusing moment with almost every character in the story, even the serious Mr. Kosnitzky. But two of the most funny characters are Poppy’s parents, who really love Poppy, but are undeniably so hopelessly stupid. Their misunderstanding of Poppy and Dud’s relationship can create some hilariously awkward moments. That added to their near worship of a talk show host named Dr. Steve, who is always recommending a liquid diet and warning people about the negatives of lemons, builds up characters of parents who aren’t really the sharpest knives in the drawer, but care a lot about their child.
Raghav:

Certainly one of the best parts in this book is the humor. In parts, I would be reading silently and the next thing you know, I’d be on the floor laughing my head off. Honestly, the humor is really well done. In the first 16 pages, when Poppy is describing Blake, the author uses really good word choice. Crapnugget. Literally, that is the exact word the author used. Funny word choice is one thing, but just adding in pure moments of humor in perfectly timed moments in the story is another. The author fills each character to the brim with sarcasm and humor. Characters that do not have such an important role such as Owen, Poppy’s younger brother, have if not a whole lot, but a little bit of humor in them. On page 131, the family is throwing food and Poppy is there to witness it. Her father says it’s, “Normal Island tradition,” sarcastically. Overall, the humor is awesome.

Another thing that is awesome in this story is the archetypes. The archetypes in this story are faithful friends. The way the author sneakily added a sense of faithful friends with Jill and Dud is mind-blowing. The archetypes are subtle but big enough for a reader to notice them.  Jill is being sarcastic but is trying to be a good friend to help Poppy in her hard time. Dud is trying to keep Poppy safe. This shows that Dud, even though he is made of wax, can care for his friends. This aspect of the faithful friend was another thing I liked in the book.

 

And now our Interview with author Gina Damico…

ginadamico
What is your writing process like when you write a novel?

The first thing that generally comes to me is a pair of characters and their relationship – for example, Lex and Uncle Mort in CROAK, or Poppy and Dud in WAX – then I tend to build up the worlds from around that central relationship. I come up with a general plot outline, sometimes specific (making sure that certain plot points happen at certain times), sometimes not so much (like when ideas come to me in the middle of a scene, and then I have to rewrite to make them fit!). Once I’ve got a first draft, I go back and revise it – then revise it again, then revise it again. Writing is all about revising, and that’s when the characters really solidify into real people. Oh, and I use a loooooot of Post-Its.

 

How did you come up with the idea for Wax?

I’d been playing around with the idea of a robot-like character who didn’t have much of a clue about who he was or where he came from, and I wanted to pair him with a girl who was very by-the-book and didn’t have room in her life for confusion – but I didn’t know what environment to put them in until I realized the answer was very much right in my backyard. I live not too far away from the Yankee Candle Village, (its flagship store), and while it’s not quite as over-the-top as the Grosholtz Candle Factory is, it was the jumping-off point for the world that WAX inhabits.

 

Do you think Wax will be as successful as your Croak trilogy?

I think it’s slightly harder for a standalone book to gain as much of a following as a series can, but I certainly hope so!

 

Who is your favorite character in Wax?  And which character is most like you?

Dud is so lovable – he’s like a big friendly dog. He reminds me of my dog, actually. I think that’s why Poppy can’t help but gravitate toward him, even though he can be annoying at times – he looks at the world with such innocence, it’s hard to feel sad about anything while he’s appreciating the awesomeness of everything. I also love Jesus, because he just doesn’t give a crap.

As for which is most like me, Poppy does exhibit quite a few traits that I share. We both like organization. We are both musical theater nerds. We are both obsessed with office supplies.

 

Is there a character in Wax who you love to hate?

Blake Bursaw is pretty vile, so I guess I’d hate him – but on the other hand, I also tried to paint Blake in a slightly more forgiving way, especially as the story moves through the book. He’s not all bad – I mean, he’s plenty bad, but he also loves his family and does everything he can to try and save them. Purely evil villains don’t interest me – I’m more fascinated by bad guys/gals who are nuanced and have complicated backstories.

 

What other genre do you think that you might try writing?

I’d like to try a novel for slightly younger readers than my current ones; I think that my particular brand of wackiness (and love of puns) would lend itself nicely to that age group.

 

Who are your favorite authors now?  Favorite novel?

My favorite author is the same one who was my favorite in high school, and that’s Kurt Vonnegut. He continues to be an inspiration for the kind of books I endeavor to write – even though his work differs in many ways from mine, his blend of dry humor and darkness surrounding the mysteries of life is something that I will always admire.

I can never pick a favorite novel, so I’ll just say the last nonfiction book I read was amazing: It’s called The Interstellar Age, by Jim Bell, and it’s about the Voyager program and how human beings somehow managed to fling two unmanned spacecrafts past all of the outer planets, get amazing photos and data on them, and keep them traveling out past the edge of the solar system. It left me in total awe. Yay science!

 

What did you like to read when you were in middle school?

I loved the Babysitter’s Club series, which is embarrassing for four reasons: 1) I never babysat, so 2) I took a babysitting course, got certified as CPR-trained and everything, and then 3) still never babysat a single kid, not even when 4) the mom next door called –and then asked for my younger sister to come over and watch the kids instead.

 

Who or what inspires you?

Pizza Rat. Anyone who is that devoted to pizza gets my undying respect.

 

What are you working on next?

A new book called WASTE OF SPACE – it’s about a reality show wherein ten teenagers are chosen to be crammed into a rocket and shot into space. What could go wrong?
A huge thank you to Gina for talking with us!  We loved her novel Wax, definitely go pick up a copy when it comes out on August 2nd!
Chanakya and Raghav, EMS Bloggers

Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige

“You could have called for help, but you haven’t. Besides, I am the help.”stealing snow

“Who are you?” I asked.

“Who you are is what matters, Princess.”

I had been called a lot of names at Whittaker. “Princess” was never one of them.

When he saw he had my full attention, a smile spread across his face. Then he bent down, closer. “You need to leave this place, Princess. It’s breaking your spirit. Leave and never look back. The gate on the north corner will be open. I’ll make sure of it. Head north until you see the Tree.”

Have you read Dorothy Must Die?  As a child, I was a huge Wizard of Oz fan, so I was all over Danielle Paige’s updated version when that first came out.  Well, Danielle is at it again with Stealing Snow, an updated retelling of the The Snow Queen fairy tale.

Seventeen-year-old Snow has spent the majority of her life within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she’s not crazy and doesn’t belong there. When she meets a mysterious, handsome new orderly and dreams about a strange twisted tree she realizes she must escape and figure out who she really is.

Using her trusting friend Bale as a distraction, Snow breaks free and races into the nearby woods. Suddenly, everything isn’t what it seems, the line between reality and fantasy begins to blur, and she finds herself in icy Algid–her true home–with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai, none of whom she’s sure she can trust. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she’s destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change the fate of everything…including Snow’s return to the world she once knew.

So, this one definitely started out a bit slow for me.  I think part of it was because Snow was so in the dark – and we as readers are so in the dark – about who she is, why she’s in Whittaker, who Bale is – the unanswered questions go on and on.  To continue to confuse matters – Snow has a lot to try to figure out once she escapes.  Where did Bale disappear to?  Who rescued her and why?  Along the journey she meets a lot of interesting characters.  First, we meet Gerde, Kai and the River Queen.  Here is where the story started to pick up for me – where Snow finally learns about who she really is – but can she trust the source of the information?  Later she reunites with the boy who saved her from Whittaker, Jagger, and his band of thieves – all female.  Snow is definitely not immediately welcomed into this group.  And can she trust them?  Meanwhile, she’s battling her inner struggle about who she really is, the fact that her real father – the King – wants her dead, while still trying to figure out where Bale is.  To Snow, Bale is the only thing that matters.  She doesn’t care that she is the Princess and that people want her to save the icy kingdom of Algid.  And with her magical powers growing, what kind of showdown will she have with her father the King?

Even with the pace of the plot being a little off for me – I did enjoy this one.  Give it some time, and the story definitely picks up!  I really loved when she met up with Jagger and the Robbers.  This clique of girls was definitely unique and led to some great conflict!  This one doesn’t come out until September – but definitely pick it up when it does.  While you wait, read Danielle’s Dorothy Must Die series!

You can find out more about author Danielle Paige and her books on her website at http://daniellepaigebooks.com/

Jen L., EMS Blogger

Guest Post Author Takeover – Gryffyn Phoenix

gryffynphoenixWILLOW TAKES OVER

Gryffyn Phoenix

Hi! I’m Gryffyn Phoenix, the author of Helm Abomination, part two of the Haven Awakening series. I asked, Verity, the main character in the series, to come in for an interview today.

A poof of smoke appears and …

Willow: “I am here! Willow the magnificent, daughter of Hecate—“

Gryffyn: Willow, I asked Verity to come , not you. What’s going on? Where is she?

Willow: “I decided to grace you with my presence, instead. She’s busy running off to live with Haydn.”

Gryffyn: Haydn is her boyfriend.

Willow (scoffs): “Not if he wants to survive.”

Gryffyn: How would dating Verity jeopardize Haydn?”

Willow: “Not telling.”

Gryffyn: UGH! She moved into Helm, where Haydn lives , but she went there because Cass, your cousin, was bullying her so much she was afraid for her life. Which you were constantly a witness or even a conspirator to.

Willow: “Whatever. I shall now conduct an epic eye roll for you.”

Gryffyn: Very nice. Willow, where’s Verity? These books are about her.

Willow: “I know. You stole a sixteen-year old’s diaries and published them. Proud much?”

Gryffyn: Ugh, how are you this obnoxious?

Willow: “I practice. Often.”

Gryffyn: It’s working for you. Me? Not so much. So is Verity busy? Will she be coming by later?

Willow: “The Helm boy band of death have her pretty swamped. She’s  figuring out how to live with a bunch of boys who are barely civilized, and of course, still hiding from Cass. Then there’s  learning how to use her new powers.”

Gryffyn: Why is Cass hunting her ? Hasn’t she done enough to  Verity ?

Willow: “Not according to Cass.”

Gryffyn: But why, Willow? Why does she hate her so much?

Willow: “Not telling.”

Gryffyn: Seriously? Are you even sorry that you’re being completely unhelpful?

Willow: “I believe the term you’re looking for is … #sorrynotsorry.”

Gryffyn: How old are you?

Willow: “My mother created all magic. I am exactly how old I need to be.”

Gryffyn: How about Verity’s little brother and sister, Jewel and Jake? Are they ok?

Willow: “They’re a mystery. For YOU.”

Gryffyn: So you came to just annoy me?

Willow (gives an innocent look) : “What do you mean?”

Gryffyn: You haven’t told us anything we didn’t know since the last book, you won’t give us any clues about what’s going on with Verity’s family, and all you’ve done is make fun of us.

Willow: “Exactly. I’m Willow. Daughter of Hecate. Were you not paying attention?”

Gryffyn: Anything you’d like to add?

Willow: “Yes. Read Helm Abominiation. You’re going to love what happens next.”

 

Gryffyn Phoenix bio:

When Gryffyn isn’t being tormented by her characters running amok, she’s usually tortured by her cat. Her favorite part of being a writer is getting to create new worlds, and share them with as many people as possible. “I realized as a kid that reading makes all things possible. Through books I could do anything from educate to Helmentertain myself, and no adult would argue.” Helm Abomination, the second book in the series, will be released June 15. She loves to talk to her readers and can be found on most social media.

About Helm Abomination

Some things are better left unseen.

Some hearts are better left unmet.

Living in Helm is a new experience for Verity; she’s the only female in a world of boys. Most of them embrace her as a potential friend, others could care less, and one … well, one she can’t seem to pin down.

Her new possible boyfriend neglected to tell Verity there’s an ancient prophecy that foretells the end of Helm’s leader at the hands of the mortal veil-seer. A few of the boys fighting beside her feel the best way to keep Haydn alive is to make sure the veil-seer dies.

Verity barely survived her sixteenth birthday. Now she may not live to see her seventeenth.

Helm Abomination shows that finding the love of your life can come at too high a cost.

Pre-order it today for your Kindle on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Helm-Abomination-Haven-Awakening-Book-ebook/

Or for you Nook at Barnes and Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/helm-abomination-gryffyn-phoenix/

Happy reading!  And a huge thank you to author Gryffyn Phoenix for stopping by Larkin’s Book Bloggers today!

Mrs. L., EMS Blogger

 

Air by Ryan Gattis

airWhen 17-year-old Grey witnesses the tragic death of his mother in Colorado, he is shipped off to live with his aunt in inner-city Baltimore. Grey struggles to fit in to his new school and environment until his new friend, Akil, introduces him to the enigmatic Kurtis, the leader of a group that uses high-octane sports as a form of social activism. By challenging the police with death-defying stunts and then posting videos of them online, Kurtis, Grey, and their group become unlikely heroes in the fight against the prejudice that surrounds them.

As Kurtis takes Grey under his wing, they come up with a name, an insignia and attract more and more followers to their extreme acts. The lines between social activism and criminal behavior blur and their escalating stunts become a rallying point for the underprivileged and disenfranchised around the country, spreading like wildfire across the Internet. How far will Grey and Kurtis go to push their message, and can their fragile alliance withstand their growing power?

Barnes & Noble Release Date: May 31, 2016

Wide Release Date: September 6, 2016

Genre: YA Contemporary

Order it today!

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/air-ryan-gattis/1121330381?ean=9781945293009

Schism by Britt Holewinski

Schism_cover-683x1024

Salvo was nothing more than a hollowed-out ghost town swept away by wind, sand, and time.  The beach homes and restaurants that had once received proper care and attention now showed all the obvious signs of  abandonment: peeling paint, broken windows, and cracked sideboards.  After a few blocks, Andy stumbled across two human skeletons lying on the sidewalk, partially covered in tattered clothing, and skirted around them.  “Where is everybody?  Are they all dead?”

A government-created virus is accidentally released before testing is complete and within weeks, the adult population perishes and only pre-adolescent children, no older than thirteen, survive. Suddenly, cities everywhere are far less crowded, and yet far more dangerous.

A young, strong girl named Andy Christensen and her two friends, siblings Morgan and Charlie Pemberton, are stranded on the island of Bermuda, where they live out the next five years until a violent event forces them to leave. They sail west to the Atlantic coast, and find friends they can trust in Ben and Jim Kelly, cousins with a mysterious past. Together, they travel across the country searching for a safe place to live, but instead they find towns and cities that are strangely quiet, have fallen into chaos, or are ruled by people with selfish and nefarious intentions. Nowhere, it seems, is capable of resurrection.

A big thank you to author Britt Holewinski and publicist Ally for allowing me to be a part of this book tour!  Britt is an indie author and part of an indie publishing group – and we love to support our indie authors!  Schism is a great story, but one that didn’t really get going for me until almost half-way through.  Yes – the beginning is disturbing and it will hook you – from the virus hitting to the horrific incident with Morgan – the horror and mystery hit you hard from the start.  Will they survive?  How will they survive?  But when I really got hooked was when the mystery behind Ben and his background became a main part of this story.  And when the group decided to head back to New York to deal with the virus and Sean head on?  I could NOT stop reading!  The suspense was crazy and I totally witnessed a whole new side to Andy, our main character.  Ben is awesome.  Seriously.  Sometimes I was like, Andy?  What the heck are you doing?  Ben is the one for you!  Especially when he left Colorado to go find her.  And then there’s the ending.  Talk about a cliffhanger.  It killed me.  And left me wondering if one of our main characters would be back in book 2.  AHHHHH!

Looking for a survival story?  A dystopian world where children are the only ones left alive?  A book that will leave you begging for the sequel?  Pick up a copy of Schism!

To find out more about author Britt Holewinski, visit her website – http://brittholewinski.com/

You can also find her on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/brittholewinskiauthor

And on Twitter – @BrittHolewinski

Jen L., EMS Blogger

Guest Post and GIVEAWAY from Author Pintip Dunn!

pintip dunnLast summer I was lucky enough to jump on a book tour with Pintip Dunn for her debut novel, Forget Tomorrow.  I loved this futuristic, science fiction story – it was new and different and I became a Pintip Dunn fan!  Now she is set to release her YA novel, The Darkest Lie, in July.

“The mother I knew would never do those things. But maybe I never knew her after all.”
the darkest lie
Clothes, jokes, coded messages…Cecilia Brooks and her mom shared everything. At least, CeCe thought they did. Six months ago, her mom killed herself after accusations of having sex with a student, and CeCe’s been the subject of whispers and taunts ever since. Now, at the start of her high school senior year, between dealing with her grieving, distracted father, and the social nightmare that has become her life, CeCe just wants to fly under the radar. Instead, she’s volunteering at the school’s crisis hotline—the same place her mother worked.

As she counsels troubled strangers, CeCe’s lingering suspicions about her mom’s death surface. With the help of Sam, a new student and newspaper intern, she starts to piece together fragmented clues that point to a twisted secret at the heart of her community. Soon, finding the truth isn’t just a matter of restoring her mother’s reputation, it’s about saving lives—including CeCe’s own…

A fast-paced thriller, definitely pick up your copy when it comes out in July!  Are you curious what Pintip likes to read?  Here’s what she had to say…

My Top 5 Favorite Books

by Pintip Dunn

1. Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling. I could list all of these books separately, but that would be cheating. Oh, and I was lucky enough to go to Harry Potter World recently. It was UNBELIEVABLE. I loved every minute of it and thought it was worth every penny. From a tour of Hogwarts (where I got to participate in a quidditch match!) to drinking butterbeers, I don’t think I stopped smiling all day. If you get the chance, please go!!!

2. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. This book changed my life. I hadn’t read much in the YA genre before. When I was a young adult, I pretty much skipped straight from middle grade books to adult books. As a writer, I’d been skipping from genre to genre (chick lit to contemporary romance to literary fiction). The second I read The Hunger Games, I knew. The YA genre was where I was supposed to be writing. I had found my home.

3. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card. I didn’t read this science fiction classic until after college, but I was hooked from the very first page. This book illustrates the kind of story that I love. A super cool world. An adventure that requires the protagonist to dig deep. Triumph against all odds. And, well, kids being stronger than the adults ever giving them credit for. Maybe I should’ve known, then, that I was supposed to write YA…

4. The Host, by Stephenie Meyer. Funny story here. I found myself at an airport without anything to read. So, I made a circuit of the entire terminal, from the book stand to the convenience store, looking for a book. My only criteria? YA. Anything at all would do, so long as it was YA. (Despite how this list appears, I do read and love all genres of YA! My absolute favorites just happen to be sci fi). I found NOTHING during my first round. So I made a second pass. Still nothing. By the third pass, I decided that this book by Stephenie Meyer would have to do. While it wasn’t strictly YA, she was a YA author, so I figured it would be close enough. Besides, it was only a two-hour flight. All I needed was something to entertain myself for two hours.

Wow, had I seriously underestimated this book. I read during the entire airplane ride and then I got home and continued reading late into the night. I finished all 800 pages within 24 hours. She took my breath away from the first sentence. I started crying at page 200 and didn’t stop for the next 600 pages. If The Hunger Games showed me what genre I wanted to write, The Host taught me the kind of story I wanted to tell — a super cool world (be it science fiction or contemporary), but with heart.

5. Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn. Another adult book, and the only contemporary story to make my top 5 list (and I feel so strongly about each of these books that it is a tough list to crack)! This book showed me that I love the deep, twisted secrets in a person’s heart. Out of the entire list, it is the book that most clearly influences my latest novel, YA contemporary thriller, THE DARKEST LIE.

So there you have it! These are my five all-time favorite books. What are yours?

WANT TO WIN A COPY OF PINTIP’S NEWEST NOVEL, THE DARKEST LIE?  To enter, just answer her question – what are you all-time favorite books, and why?

A huge thank you to author Pintip Dunn for working with us, and to her wonderful rep Lulu Martinez at Kensington Publishing!

forget tomorrow

To find out more about Pintip, visit her website at http://www.pintipdunn.com/

You can also find her on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPintipDunn?pnref=lhc

And Twitter! @pintipdunn
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