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Unstoppable: All Fall Down by Ally Carter

Hello!

Is there an author who, in your opinion, can do no wrong? That author whose books you always enjoy. Ally Carter is this author for me. Everything she writes is awesome — her Gallagher Girls series is one of my favorites and Heist Society is really fun too. I was really excited to hear about Embassy Row, her newest series, and had high expectations, so I read All Fall Down, the first book in the Embassy Row series and as I mentioned before Ally Carter didn’t let me down! She is unstoppable!

Overview

Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things:All Fall Down by Ally Carter

1. She is not crazy.
2. Her mother was murdered.
3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.

As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her–so there’s no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door who is keeping an eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands. Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can’t control Grace–no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . .  and if she doesn’t stop it, Grace isn’t the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world all stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.

My Thoughts

I had high expectations for All Fall Down, I was also nervous that I’d be disappointed because it wasn’t a Gallagher Girls novel, which are still some of my favorite books ever. As I started listening to the audiobook I was quickly rewarded with an interesting main character, and a plot full of family secrets and political intrigue, which is exactly what I was hoping for!

That interesting main character is Grace, who is carrying some deep wounds and insecurity. Grace knows her mother is dead, feels alone within her own family and is struggling to feel normal. On top of all that she is dealing with the fact that she is alone in her belief that her mother was murdered. Grace is definitely flawed – she makes some majorly questionable choices and hurts a lot of people while trying to prove she is capable and normal. Isn’t that what makes her interesting though?

One of my favorite things about Ally Carter’s novels is that they’re set in a contemporary time, but are located in a special place that makes the story feel more fantastical.Take the Gallagher Girls series, for example, which is set in today’s United States but takes place in a secret boarding school to train young spies (super cool right?). All Fall Down is similar in that the story happens in today’s world, but it is set in a fictional European country and even more specifically in the very unique setting of the Embassy houses. Because the story takes place in the embassies of many different countries, Grace’s story is placed in the middle of political intrigue and high society events, which makes it that much more captivating! I mean seriously mystery abounds…there are secret underground tunnels! For realz!

I am so relieved and happy that All Fall Down turned out to be a great start to what seems like a fun series! Ally Carter…she will not let you down! Book two, See How They Run, is set to release in January 2016 and I’m so excited I can’t wait!!excited

Have you read All Fall Down —What’d you think? Who, in your opinion, is that unstoppable author that can do no wrong? Please leave your comments below, I love reading them!

Details

Author: Ally Carter
Publisher: Scholastic Press (January 20, 2015)
Format: Audiobook
Narrated by: Eileen Stevens
Length: 8 hours and 32 minutes
Series: First in a series
YA/MG: YA

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Shadow Cabinet

Hi!

I honestly can’t believe I haven’t posted about The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson, and how much I want it to be released already!!

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The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen JohnsonAt the end of Maureen Johnson’s New York Times bestselling novel, The Madness Underneath, Rory, Callum and Boo are reeling from the sudden and tragic death of their friend and squad leader, Stephen. The Shadow Cabinet picks up where readers left off, and now Rory is convinced there must be a way to bring Stephen back. Meanwhile, new dangers arise: Rory’s classmate Charlotte is missing, and Jane and her nefarious organization are clearly planning something big—with Rory as their most valuable asset. Time is running out as the ghost squad struggles to protect London and Rory fights to bring Stephen back.

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The Shades of London series is one of my favorite unfinished series out there right now! I’m not normally drawn to creepy reads, but these books combine the right amount of creep with humor, history, romance, and suspense. To make it even better, all of this fun stuff is placed smack dab in the middle of a boarding school in LONDON. YES!!!

According to Goodreads, The Shadow Cabinet isn’t scheduled to release until March 2015. So, we have a bit to wait don’t we?!

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Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This: The Matt Cruise Trilogy by Kenneth Oppel

Guys!

Do you ever just love a book so much you rip through the entire series in no time at all?

That’s exactly what happened with me and the Matt Cruise trilogy by Kenneth Oppel. Because I read all three books (Airborn, Skybreaker, and Starclimber) so quickly I thought I’d just review them all as a group.

So as not to give anything away I’ll only share the summary for Airborn, which is book one.

Matt Cruse is a cabin boy on the Aurora, a huge airship that sails hundreds of feet above the ocean, Airborn by Kenneth Oppelferrying wealthy passengers from city to city. It is the life Matt’s always wanted; convinced he’s lighter than air, he imagines himself as buoyant as the hydrium gas that powers his ship. One night he meets a dying balloonist who speaks of beautiful creatures drifting through the skies. It is only after Matt meets the balloonist’s granddaughter that he realizes that the man’s ravings may, in fact, have been true, and that the creatures are completely real and utterly mysterious.

In a swashbuckling adventure reminiscent of Jules Verne and Robert Louis Stevenson, Kenneth Oppel, author of the best-selling Silverwing trilogy, creates an imagined world in which the air is populated by transcontinental voyagers, pirates, and beings never before dreamed of by the humans who sail the skies.

I was immediately in love with these books from the very beginning. Oppel’s writing has a smart mix of suspense and wit to just keep you turning the pages and his characters are the kind you just fall in love with.

Let’s take our main character, Matt Cruise for example. Matt is the kind of character you miss once the Skybreaker by Kenneth Oppellseries is finished. Sure, Matt is humble, kind and hard working, but he also struggles with jealousy, can be overly sensitive, and is pretty darn stubborn at times. He is an all around regular, nice guy who you’d love to be friends with. Matt Cruise simply, put is a normal guy who ends up getting involved with abnormal situations. Most of these abnormal situations tend to come because of his friendship/romance with the adventurous, heiress Kate de Vries. Despite Kate’s stubborn single-mindedness and annoying tendency towards being haughty, you can’t help but love her.

Oppel’s world building skills are unbelievable. In this series he has created this alternate world that is very much like our own, however it’s just different enough to be interesting and make you questions things. For example, the Pacific Ocean is called the Pacificus and there are references to historical events that are similar to those in our history (the ill-fated airship Titanticus). The world Matt Cruise lives in is pretty much steampunk and the main form of international transportation is by transoceanic dirigible. TStarclimber by Kenneth Oppelhere is so much detail that you just completely believe that this world truly does exist somewhere out there.  Additionally, these three books are 100% page turners. Almost every chapter is full of action and suspense whether it be pirate attack or an airship falling out of the sky!

So, if you’re in the mood for some quality YA action and adventure, you need to read Airborn, Skybreaker, and Starclimber right away! I honestly think that YA just doesn’t get any better than this!

Author: Kenneth Oppel

Publisher: Airborn, Harper Collins (May 25, 2005)

Skybreaker, Harper Collins (November 29, 2005)

Starclimber, Harper Collins (February 24, 2009)

Format: Audiobook

Length: Airborn (10 hrs and 46 mins), Skybreaker (11 hrs and 26 mins), Starclimber (11 hrs and 44 mins)

Narrator(s): Full Cast Audio, David Kelly

Series: The Matt Cruise Trilogy

YA/MG: MG/YA

Buy the Book: Airborn Skybreaker Starclimber

 

 

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Waiting on Wednesday: 3:59

Hola!

It’s time for Waiting on Wednesday which is hosted by Breaking the Spine

Gretchen McNeil’s new thriller 3:59 sounds crazy…in a good way!

Josie Byrne’s life is spiraling out of control. Her parents are divorcing, her boyfriend Nick has grown distant, and her physics teacher has it in for her. When she’s betrayed by the two people she trusts most, Josie thinks things can’t get worse.

Until she starts having dreams about a girl named Jo. Every night at the same time—3:59 a.m.3:59 by Gretchen McNeil

Jo’s life is everything Josie wants: she’s popular, her parents are happily married, and Nick adores her. It all seems real, but they’re just dreams, right? Josie thinks so, until she wakes one night to a shadowy image of herself in the bedroom mirror – Jo. Josie and Jo realize that they are doppelgängers living in parallel universes that overlap every twelve hours at exactly 3:59. Fascinated by Jo’s perfect world, Josie jumps at the chance to jump through the portal and switch places for a day.

But Jo’s world is far from perfect. Not only is Nick not Jo’s boyfriend, he hates her. Jo’s mom is missing, possibly insane. And at night, shadowy creatures feed on human flesh. By the end of the day, Josie is desperate to return to her own life. But there’s a problem: Jo has sealed the portal, trapping Josie in this dangerous world. Can she figure out a way home before it’s too late?

3:59 sounds incredibly suspenseful, which is interesting because I’m not usually one for suspense. I think its the doppleganger plotline that has me…and the “shadowy creatures (that) feed on human flesh”! What?! Could these potential be zombies of some sort?! It looks like we’ll have to wait until September 17 to figure it all out.

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Waiting on Wednesday: Ten

Hello!

Every week I participate in Waiting on Wednesday a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine. This meme was created to share a love of books and spotlight some upcoming titles we’re excited about.

This week I chose to feature Ten by Gretchen McNeil. This YA mystery/thriller sounds a lot like Agatha Christie’s famous And Then There Were None, which I loved, so I’m definitely intrigued. It’ll be interesting to draw comparisons I think!

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

Doesnt it sound fun?! I’ve pretty much always had mystery labeled as a favorite genre (ever since all those Nancy Drews as a kid), so I have high hopes for Ten. Ten will be released on September, 18 which isn’t too much of a wait!

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Men in Black? The Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson

Happy summer everyone!

The Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson is the first Florida Sunshine State book (of fifteen) that I’ve finished so far this summer. I haven’t ready any of James Patterson’s adult fiction, but am familiar with his Maximum Ride series’s, so I was excited to dig into The Dangerous Days of Daniel X. Also, I listened to the audiobook as part of the 2012 YA Audiobook Challenge!The Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson

The greatest superpower of all isn’t to be part spider, part man, or to cast magic spells–the greatest power is the power to create. Daniel X has that power. Daniel’s secret abilities – like being able to manipulate objects and animals with his mind or to recreate himself in any shape he chooses – have helped him survive. But Daniel doesn’t have a normal life. He is the protector of the earth, the Alien Hunter, with a mission beyond anyone’s imagining.
From the day that his parents were brutally murdered before his very eyes, Daniel has used his unique gifts to hunt down their assassin. Finally, with the help of The List, bequeathed to him in his parents’ dying breath, he is closing in on the killer. Now, on his own, he vows to take on his father’s mission – and to take vengeance in the process.

So, I know for a fact my boys at school are going to love this book. It’s like a teenage Men in Black as Daniel is pretty much an alien hunter. This is a fun, quick read that will appeal to my reluctant readers because the chapters are super short. In fact they were so short and choppy that I had to check my iPod multiple times to ensure that the tracks weren’t out-of-order (sometimes the tracks aren’t titled correctly so they skip around in iTunes.).

Every single chapter is jam-packed full of action as Daniel X follows the trail of the aliens across the country. Now, like I said this is a fast paced sci-fi thriller that is a fun read. However, because it’s so action packed Patterson doesn’t leave enough room for actual substance. I didn’t really feel for Daniel’s plight (his pain from being orphaned at the hands of alien super power, The Prayer). I mean I knew he was attempting to avenge his parent’s murder, but there wasn’t much depth to Daniel’s character.

Despite any shortcoming The Dangerous Days of Daniel X had I still feel strongly that my students are really, really going to enjoy this sci-fi thriller! Patterson’s goal was to write a book for teen readers and I think he succeeded! So, if you’re a middle grade reader in the mood for a fast adventure read, check out this book!

Author: James Patterson

Publisher: Hachette Audio (July 21, 2008)

Format: Audiobook

Length: 4 hrs and 30 mins

Narrator(s): Milo Ventimiglia

Series: First in the Daniel X series

YA/MG: MG

Buy the Book: The Dangerous Days of Daniel X

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Kill Order

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Happy Wednesday everyone!

The Kill Order by James Dashner
My husband and I are pretty excited about this prequel book to The Maze Runner series. We listened to The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials together and we just started book number three, The Death Cure over the weekend. If you haven’t read these books you simply need to! Dashner creates suspense with the best of them and this story leaves you wondering what is truth and what is a lie so many times! Here is the summary for The Kill Order.


Before WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth and mankind fell to disease. 
The Kill Order is the story of that fall.

So hurry up and read this series before Delacourte Young Readers releases The Kill Order on August 14!