Monday, July 24, 2017

Welcome to the FFBC: OF JENNY AND THE ALIENS by Ryan Gebhart

Of Jenny and the Aliens

by Ryan Gebhart
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Sci-Fi
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When boy meets girl meets alien, the angst of first love gets an extraterrestrial intervention in a tale both outrageously funny and full of heart.

Ten years after Earth sent messages out into deep space, there has been an answer. Music from a distant planet has reached the world’s radios. Are aliens about to invade? No one knows, and almost-eighteen-year-old Derek doesn’t really care, because at a wild end-of-the-world party, Jennifer Novak invited him to play beer pong, and things, well, progressed from there. Derek is in love. Deeply, hopelessly in love. He wants it all — marriage, kids, growing old on a beach in Costa Rica. For him, Jenny is the One. But Jenny has other plans, which may or may not include Derek. So Derek will try anything to win her — even soliciting advice from an alien who shows up in his hometown. This alien may just be the answer to Derek’s problem, but is Derek prepared to risk starting an interstellar war to get his girl? Just how far is he willing to travel to discover the mysteries of the universe — and the enigma of love?

Hi Ryan!!  We're super excited to welcome OF JENNY AND THE ALIENS into the FFBC-- Welcome to the Club!


Favorite Book?

Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton

Favorite TV Show?

Bob's Burgers

Favorite movie?

The Dark Knight and Wet Hot American Summer

Your Favorite Song?

Currently it's “The Stable Song” by Gregory Alan Isakov and “The Mute” by Radical Face

Favorite Food?

Pizza when I'm broke, sushi when I have money (or when someone else is paying)

What were your favorite books growing up?

Anything by Stephen King or Michael Crichton. And the Goosebumps series.

Favorite quote?

This quote from “You Are What You Love,” a song by Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins, has always stuck with me: “You are what you love, and not what loves you back.”

What are your fandoms?

Game of Thrones and also moar Game of Thrones.

Name a recent book that you read that you would recommend to our book lovers?

It's super weird, but I recently read the hell out of Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith.


Could you tell our Book Addicts a little bit about OF JENNY AND THE ALIENS?

It's about an almost eighteen-year-old boy falling in love for the first time and humanity's first contact with another intelligent species. It's about all the awkwardness, confusion, and misinterpretations that comes along with these events. It's got crass humor, pansexual aliens, typical human paranoia, family trees that better resemble tangled shrubs, Mario Kart, and a little love for the Cleveland Browns. Because Lord, do they need it.

How did you come up with the story? Did you find inspiration in any other story/movie/show and how has this affected your writing?

I saw a UFO and I fell in love. Not in that order though.

Tell us your favorite quote from OF JENNY AND THE ALIENS.

“Love is not a shape. There is no love triangle, no love square. Love is a network. It's a form of communication.”

What is your favorite movie, book, or TV show that features aliens?

E.T. is my favorite alien movie. The Tommyknockers is my favorite alien book. And American Dad is my favorite alien TV show. 

If you had to pick one song to be the Theme Song for OF JENNY AND THE ALIENS – Which one would you pick?

“Love is Greed” by Passion Pit

What 3 hashtags would you most associate with your book?

#HoustonRedRockets #NoPants and #GoBrowns 

Is there any recommendations you could give your readers to be in the “perfect mood” to read OF JENNY AND THE ALIENS?

I'm not exactly sure, but I would definitely recommend to read the last third of the book on an empty stomach.

What's next for you?

It's still rough, but I'm currently working on a YA fantasy that's got angels and dragons and humans and sloths. I'm being vague right now because the idea is still amorphous and it's been exceptionally difficult to write, but this tweet from @raecarson basically explains where I'm at right now: “Think 1: My ambition for this novel I'm writing way exceeds my skill level. Think 2: That's how it should always be and I LOVE MY JOB.”

Thanks so much for answering our questions Ryan!!  I was totally with you until you said "love for the Cleveland Browns".  HAHA!!  Just kidding, but this Steeler fan kind of enjoys the Browns woes :)

Ryan Gebhart was born and raised in Maumee Ohio and graduated from Ohio University with a master's degree in Spanish (he can hablar some espaƱol like a boss). His debut middle grade There Will Be Bears, about getting older, best friends, and a bear, is a selected title for seven state reading lists.

His debut young adult Of Jenny and the Aliens, about first love and discovering that we're not alone in the universe, will be released Spring 2017 with Candlewick Press.

  • Win 1 of 3 copies of OF JENNY AND THE ALIENS by Ryan Gebhart
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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

And Then There Were Four by Nancy Werlin-- Don't read the official summary!!

And Then There Were Four

Caleb, Saralinda, Antoine, Evangeline (Evan), and Kenyon all get a text that they were chosen for the Student Leaders Club at Rockland Academy.  The things is-- the meeting is being held in the broken down carriage house in the woods, and when they actually go to this meeting, the building collapses nearly killing them all.

Just barely escaping from a major catastrophe has them all questioning why they were told to meet there-- and when the Principal tells them the texts weren't sent out by the school, they know someone is trying to hurt them, but why??  The five that were chosen barely know each other and have little in common, but now they must join together to take-down the enemy before it takes them.  The problem: the enemy is MUCH closer to home than is expected.

When I first started this book I wasn't sure-- I mean, it's over 400 pages and getting used to the voice the characters narrate in didn't come natural.  BUT-- I flew through this book.  Once I got used to the way Saralinda thinks inside her head, it was smooth sailing.

So, Saralinda-- she's our main character.  The one you root for.  But the girl doesn't like commas.  Her sentences just run and run and run, and sometimes it was hard for me to figure out what the heck she was getting at.  She definitely blabbers-- a lot.  It took some getting used to, but once I did, I was fine, and she grew on me.

Next we have Caleb.  He narrates the other half of the book and does it in second person, so it also takes getting used to because of the change.  Caleb was interesting because he didn't trust himself, therefor, I didn't trust him-- and you have to have untrustworthy people in a mystery!!

I think the reason I clicked with this book so much was that I didn't read the synopsis very closely, so I didn't know where the story was headed.  I don't know why they decided to tell the first big twist in the summary, and I think had I known that twist, I wouldn't have been so intrigued.  You see, the first big twist was what made this book interesting.  And not knowing it was coming was what hooked me. (I write my own synopsis's, so if you want to get spoiled, you'll have to head over to Goodreads).

There is a little bit of a drop-off in the middle of the book-- but then it picks right back up-- and there is a little bit of teenage romance that I didn't think was necessary (I mean, do we need everyone to have a romantic interest??), but I still super recommend this book to mystery-lovers out there, because the mystery was twisty and fun to unravel!!

OVERALL: After I got used to the narration, I was INTO this book.  I'm a slow reader and I finished this FAST.  I totally recommend it-- but don't read the Goodreads or jacket summary (it's sort of spoilery).  Just know it's about 5 kids who are being targeted for an unknown reason.

Date Published: 6/6/2017
How I got this book: Thanks to Dial Books for sending me an advance copy to read and honestly review.
Publisher: Dial Books/ Penguin Random House

Add it to your To-Read List!!

My Rating: 4/5

Character: Caleb Colchester
Book: The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

  • Because Caleb would like the way the meaning of heroes and villains are questioned in this book.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Best Books I've Read This Year (so far)

Since I missed the final Top Ten Tuesday before hiatus, but still wanted to share the books I liked in the first half of the year-- I decided to do a post about it now.  Better late than never!!

Also-- I'm gonna share 5 books I expect to make this list in the next half of the year.

Be True to Me by Adele Griffin- oh how I loved this summery 70's book.

Grit by Gillian French- Darcy was my girl in this book.  I super related to her and was pleasantly surprised how well I liked the setting.  This wasn't much of a mystery book though.

Final Girls by Riley Sager- The first Adult book I've read in a WHILE.  I do love thrillers and twisty endings though, so it was just what I needed.

The Bakersville Dozen by Kristina McBride- I love Kristina McBride and her ability to mess up my sleep schedule. (I also super recommend One Moment).

Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios- This book hit a little too close to home-- but I love when books tell the truth about what tough situations are like.

Violent Ends by Various YA Authors- Best anthology I've ever read.  I was just completely wowed by this book.

The Other F-Word by Natasha Friend- I will now be a Natasha Friend fan.  It makes me want to read all her books from before and forever going forward.

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway- I always thought Robin Benway books were "fun", but this book proved to me that she can do anything with her stories.

And Then There Were Four by Nancy Werlin- It wasn't perfect, but it was an interesting premise that made me not ever want to stop reading it.

A List of Cages by Robin Roe- I read this in January and it STILL sits as my #1 fave of the year.  My emotions still hurt thinking about it.

When I Am Through with You by Stephanie Kuehn- love this author. Her stories are so unique-- you NEVER know what her characters are going to do.

The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby- This is a "me" book if I ever saw one.

Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills- After reading This Adventure Ends, I MUST read more from Emma Mills.

The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook- Loved With Malice last year and am super curious to read this.

This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis- After reading The Female of the Species, I am SO ready for Mindy McGinnis to hurt me again.

What were your fave books of the year so far??  Have you read any of these?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Final Girls by Riley Sager-- What happened at Pine Cottage gets COMPLICATED

Final Girls

Quincy Carpenter is part of an exclusive club-- only this one involves murder and she'd do anything to NOT be in it.  She's a Final Girl.  She went on a weekend get away with college friends and ended up being the only survivor.  Now, she's forever linked to the other Final Girls-- Lisa and Sam, both sole survivors of their own nightmare.

Quincy has been trying to move on, but suddenly Lisa kills herself and Sam shows up at her doorstep.  The media gets stirred and FEELINGS and memories resurface.

When the truth of Lisa's death comes to light, Sam is looking shadier than ever.  Quincy knows she's gotta figure out what happened to Lisa AND what happened to her 10 years ago.

It's been a WHILE since I read an Adult Thriller, but from the moment I heard about this book, I knew it was going to be pushed to the top of my pile.  I love movies like Scream and Halloween and such-- plus mystery/thrillers are my jam.

So, we start off this book with Quincy, who is dubbed one of 3 Final Girls by the media.  She cringes at the nickname and infamy and just wants to "move on".  She's now a dessert blogger who mostly stays in her apartment and takes mood stabilizers.  So when fellow Final Girl, Lisa, is found dead in a bathtub and the reclusive 3rd Final Girl shows up at her door, her life is shook.

Quincy was a cool main character because she was SO unreliable.  She tells us that she can't remember the events at Pine Cottage (and OMG how perfect is that name for a murderous setting??), but I didn't know if she was playing us or if she was legit.  Because a lot of things about the Pine Cottage incident were shady.  She was kind of frustrating in a lot of ways though-- but what Final Girl isn't?

Sam was also an immediate suspect because she was MIA for so long, and then shows up and is pushing for Quincy to remember things.  Like, why does she care if Quincy remembers traumatic details of an event that has nothing to do with Sam??

This is really the tale of 2 books for me.  The beginning part was slow and Sam was SO annoying-- but then after about halfway it got GOOD.  It was all the thrilling and intenseness that I wanted it to be.

The last part of the book heated up so much.  I super liked the twists and turns this book took.  Just as soon as it seemed like it was going to be predictable, it flipped that on it's head and shocked the hell out of me.  No spoilers here, but I did NOT figure out the ending of this one.

I totally recommend this book to thriller/horror/mystery lovers.  The title of the book gave it some high expectations, and I think it lived up.

OVERALL: A thriller that THRILLED.  After a slow start, this book took off and left me page-turning like crazy.  Addicting and intense--- with a super twisty ending.

Date Published: 7/11/2017
Publisher: Ebury Press
How I got this book: Thanks to Penguin Random House for providing me with a copy to read and honestly review

Add it to your To-Read List!!

My Rating: 4.5/5

Character: Quincy Carpenter
Book: Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

  • Quincy could use some non-life threatening entertainment, so this cute romance would be good for her.  Also, there's baking which she likes (CUPCAKE recipes galore), and there's a not so good mother relationship which Quincy can certainly relate to.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

2017 Summer Reading and Summer Accessories

It's Summer and that means SUMMER READING!!  I signed my kid up for the library Summer Reading and you know I'm doing some Summer Reading of my own.

Last year I shared some summer books that you should totally be TBRing (or you know, actually reading), and just for fun, threw in some accessories to go with.  It was one of my favorite posts-- because I totally LOVE when books and fashion go together-- so I'm bringing it back this year with my 2017 Summer Books: