Feb. 2014 – Inkwood Books Staff Picks (I Included the Brief Intro. That Went Out in the Newsletter)

First thing’s first, help us welcome our new bookseller, Erin!

Erin’s currently enrolled in a Library and Information Sciences Graduate program and has previously graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English with a specialty in Creative Writing. She loves reading books of all different shapes, sizes, colors, and genres but tends to favor Young Adult Literature the most.
“I am very excited to be starting the next chapter in my life working at Inkwood Books!”

ARTICLE 5 by KRISTEN SIMMONS — “Article 5 takes place in a dystopian future where the Bill of Rights has been replaced with the Moral Statutes and the police have been replaced with soldiers. Ember Miller has done everything she can to keep a low profile so when the ‘Moral Military’ shows up at her door to arrest her mother for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes she is determined to figure out how to save her mother and herself from the future that awaits them upon arrest. To make matters worse one of the arresting officers is Chase Jennings, a boy she once knew and loved. With the sequel ‘Breaking Point’ already out and ‘Three’ on the way this is a series that gives the reader a look into a gruesome new world. Page after page you will be pulled deeper into the story and it will make you both root for and your heart ache for the characters till the end.” – Erin.

THE DEATH CLASS by  ERIKA HAYASAKI — “A student in Professor Norma Bowe’s class on Death visits morgues, cemeteries, and hospice centers on field trips. They find solace in helping others and use their own tragedies and dysfunctional situations to heal others. Hayasaki is a gifted journalist and explores the lives of four students in particular who are changed by the wisdom and guidance of Bowe and their own resilience and determination to live.” – Stefani

EVER AFTER HIGH by SHANNON HALE —The Storybook of Legends’ is a unique take on the classic fairy tales we all know and love. The world of fairy tales has been updated and modernized to mirror today’s current society and trends and the story follows both the daughter of Snow White, Apple White, and the daughter of the Evil Queen, Raven Queen. They are in the second year at Ever After High and this is the year where they will sign the Storybook of Legends that ensure their destines as the next generation of fairy tales and force them to follow in their parents footsteps by replaying the same story over and over again with each new generation. This conflict of this book centers around Raven Queen and the question of whether or not she wishes to follow in her mother’s footsteps and be evil just like her. What if she wants her own Happily Ever After? This was a fun read and I can’t wait for more from Shannon Hale.” Erin. 

THE FIRST TRUE LIE by MARINA MANDER – “This is one of those books –written with such intense beauty and candor –that holds the tears just behind your eyes throughout its entirety. Little Luca is a perceptive kid, and when his mother doesn’t wake up one day, he decides to live as though nothing has changed. With the help of his cat Blue, Luca navigates the strange world of adults while learning to care for himself, but as things reach their boiling point he’s forced to confront the truth head-on. The First True Lie is a slim little book, but it’s a story that’ll stay with you for a long time.” – Amanda

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith – “We are lucky that when end of the world comes to Ealing, Iowa there’s a Polish boy with bags under his eyes to write our history. 16-year old Austin Szcerba is in love with both of his best friends – a guy and a girl – and until one fateful night, that’s his biggest problem. A Cold War-era plague of arthropodic Unstoppable Soldiers is unleashed in the back alley known as Grasshopper Jungle, turning his best friend Robby Brees into a homosexual teenaged God and Austin into the recorder of the end of the world. Teenaged angst and confusionare blended seamlessly with a thrilling sc-fi horror, and the result is something that ONLY Andrew Smith could write: beautiful, hilarious, heartbreaking, real, and oh-so-macabre.” – Amanda.

HOW TO WASH A WOOLY MAMMOTH by MICHELLE ROBINSON illus. by KATE HINDLEY – “If you think it’s tough getting your own kids into the bath, try coercing a wooly mammoth. Robinson’s step-by-step guide, adorably illustrated by Kate Hindley, will have you and the little ones giggling through bath and bed time, and this sweet story is sure to become a read-aloud favorite.” – Amanda

van Ramen, Love, Obsession and Recipes by Ivan Orkin — “Ivan Orkin grew up in the 70’s eating his mother’s okay meatloaf and chicken breasts covered in mushroom soup. Perhaps this is why he becomes obsessed with Japanese food and the essence of ramen noodle soup. This isn’t the ramen you reheated in college to save for beer. Orkin has mastered the perfect noodle and broth. The recipes are amazing and the story of an unlikely chef and restaurant owner so well-written that even a ramen re-heater will love it!” – Stefani

THE LOVE SONG OF JONNY VALENTINE by TEDDY WAYNE —“I’ll admit to a feeling I never anticipated having: an overwhelming sympathy for Justin Bieber. It’s not that I ever disliked the pop-phenom. I’ve kept to the outskirts of his wave of fame, in the apathetic middle-waters between disdain and Bieber-Fever hysterics. That is, until I picked up Teddy Wayne’s funny and poignant satire of fame, music and our obsession with youth. Jonny Valentine is an eleven-year old singer discovered, like Bieber, through youtube and subsequently launched into superstardom. Jonny’s voice – a strange amalgamation of naive innocence and shrewd music-biz shop talk – takes us through his breakneck 12-city tour with his mother-manager and crew in tow. Even if Wayne’s depiction tilts towards the excessive (I hope), what we see in Jonny is an over-worked and over-stimulated little boy who’s been stripped of his right to normalcy and manufactured into a teeny-bopper commodity. Wayne’s novel is thought-provoking, hilarious and heartbreaking all in one.” – Amanda

THE SON by PHILIPP MEYER  – “Whoa, this book is good! The author of American Rust returns with a gorgeous, bloody saga of one Texas family that spans 200 years. We begin in 1849 with Eli McCullough who, at age 13, is captured by a marauding band of Comanches. He adapts well to life within the tribe, but when tragedy strikes and he’s left alone—neither fully white nor Indian– he’s forced to create for himself a place in the world. Intertwined with his tale are those of his ill-fated son Peter and his great-granddaughter Jeannie, an oil magnate who inherited her grandfather’s intuition and ruthless survival skills. The Son is infused with hints of Cormac McCarthy and John Steinbeck, blended together and transformed with the skillful, beautiful prose that is owned entirely by Meyer.” – Amanda.

STARTERS by LISSA PRICE —Starters is a futuristic dystopian novel that centers around Callie Woodland. After Callie lost her parents in the Spore Wars she is forced to go on the run with her little brother, Tyler, and her friend, Michael. In order to help them survive Callie agrees to become a donor for Prime Destinations, an organization that hires teens to rent out their bodies to seniors who want to be young again. When the process malfunctions and Callie wakes up in her renters body she soon discovers their true intentions and they are far worse then anything should could have imagined. Now she must figure out how to stop a murder before it happens. Overall, this was a gripping story from start to finish. I didn’t want to put the book down and can’t wait for the sequel Ender. – Erin

THE UNAMERICANS by MOLLY ANTOPOL – “The characters that inhabit Antopol’s absurdly excellent debut collection of stories are all tossed between the Old World and the New, both figuratively and literally. She deals masterfully with the plight of the emigrant, of the perpetual outsider, looking for home and hoping it still exists. From the newly widowed Ukrainian woman returning home to the Jewish grandmother recalling her escape from the communist wave in Europe, these are tales of survival; of the common and uncommon bonds of humanity, and of the breaking-down and building-up of life.” – Amanda.

UNREMARRIED WIDOW by ARTIS HENDERSON — “World traveler, writer, free-spirit; these are the labels Henderson was comfortable with before marrying Miles, a Texas soldier, and becoming an Army wife. When he dies in Afghanistan, her classification as an Un-Remarried Widow forces her to examine her life and live through her grief. Henderson’s eloquent writing style captures the love story she shared with Miles and herattempt to love again.” – Stefani

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