Tag Archives: Michael Grant

Front Lines by Michael Grant

I’m a huge fan of Michael Grant.  His Gone series is one of my all time favourite series.  His books are dark and he’s particularly good at writing gory scenes.  One of the things I love most about his books is his characters.  You really get to know his characters and they end up feeling like your closest friends (and in some cases your worst nightmares).  Michael introduces us to a new cast of characters who will grow to be your friends in the first book in his new series, Front Lines.

y450-293It’s 1942. The fate of the world rests on a knife’s edge. And the soldiers who can tip the balance . . . are girls.

A court decision makes women subject to the draft and eligible for service. The unproven American army is going up against the greatest fighting force ever assembled, the armed forces of Nazi Germany.  Three girls sign up to fight. Rio Richlin, Frangie Marr, and Rainy Schulterman are average girls, girls with dreams and aspirations, at the start of their lives, at the start of their loves.  Each has her own reasons for volunteering: Rio fights to honor her sister; Frangie needs money for her family; Rainy wants to kill Germans.  For the first time they leave behind their homes and families—to go to war. These three daring young women will play their parts in the war to defeat evil and save the human race.

As the fate of the world hangs in the balance, they will discover the roles that define them on the front lines.  They will fight the greatest war the world has ever known.  But not everyone believes that the girls should be on the front lines of war.

Now Rio and her friends must fight not only to survive, but to prove their courage and ingenuity to a sceptical world.

Front Lines is an epic read! It’s a fresh and exciting alternate history that makes you look at World War II in a completely different way.  In Front Lines, Michael Grant has reimagined World War II with females fighting on the front lines.  I’ve read quite a lot of fiction for kids and teens about World War II and it’s rare to find a story told from an American point of view, let alone from a female point of view.  These girls aren’t keeping the home fires burning though, they are ‘Soldier Girls,’ fighting alongside the boys.  They may be allowed to fight but they are not accepted, especially by some of the older men.  However, just like the boys and men they are about to grow up very quickly and see things they won’t be able to forget.

Like the characters in Michael’s other books, the characters in Front Lines will get stuck in your head and you won’t be able to stop thinking about them.  We follow three girls, Rio Richlin, Rainy Shulterman and Frangie Marr.  Rio is a white girl from California who has lived a fairly sheltered life.  Rainy is a Jewish girl from New York who wants to be part of army intelligence. Frangie is an African American girl from Oklahoma who wants to join the army to help support her family.  We know straight away that Rainy and Frangie aren’t going to have an easy time in the army and they’re often the target of abuse.  We follow each of these girls through their training and onto the front lines of the war.

Michael paints a very vivid picture of war.  His descriptions of the battles and the injuries that the soldiers sustain in battle are harrowing and gruesome.  War takes its toll on all of the characters and none of them are the same person they once were by end of the book.  The story is told to us through a mysterious narrator, who is looking back on the war from a hospital bed.  I’m curious to find out who this person is.

Front Lines is the first book in the Soldier Girl series and I can’t wait to find out what happens to Rio, Rainy and Frangie next.

Check out Michael Grant’s guest blog post here on the blog as part of his Front Lines Australia/NZ Blog Tour.

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Michael Grant’s Front Lines Australia & NZ Blog Tour

Front Lines banner dates

Bestselling YA author Michael Grant is in Australia and New Zealand this May to promote Front Lines, the first book in his blockbuster new YA series, Soldier Girl.  I’m very excited to be part of Michael Grant’s Australia and NZ blog tour to promote his new book, Front Lines.  Join me on Thursday 12 May for a special guest post from Michael Grant and a review of Front Lines.  Here are the other awesome blogs and bloggers that are part of the blog tour:

Monday 9th May – Diva Booknerd
Tuesday 10th May – Reading Time
Wednesday 11th May – Paper Fury
Friday 13th May – Stay Bookish

Check out the cover, blurb and book trailer for Front Lines below:

y450-293

It’s 1942. The fate of the world rests on a knife’s edge. And the soldiers who can tip the balance . . . are girls.

A court decision makes women subject to the draft and eligible for service. The unproven American army is going up against the greatest fighting force ever assembled, the armed forces of Nazi Germany.  Three girls sign up to fight. Rio Richlin, Frangie Marr, and Rainy Schulterman are average girls, girls with dreams and aspirations, at the start of their lives, at the start of their loves.  Each has her own reasons for volunteering: Rio fights to honor her sister; Frangie needs money for her family; Rainy wants to kill Germans.  For the first time they leave behind their homes and families—to go to war. These three daring young women will play their parts in the war to defeat evil and save the human race.

As the fate of the world hangs in the balance, they will discover the roles that define them on the front lines.  They will fight the greatest war the world has ever known.  But not everyone believes that the girls should be on the front lines of war.

Now Rio and her friends must fight not only to survive, but to prove their courage and ingenuity to a sceptical world.

 

 

 

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Light by Michael Grant

CAUTION: May contain spoilers

I need to get this out of the way now: OMG! This book is AMAZING! Michael Grant, you are brilliant and I bow at your feet!  OK…calming down now.

Ever since Michael Grant launched his Gone series I have been wondering how the series would end.  With each book, the situation in the FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone) has got progressively worse.  When you trap a bunch of kids inside a dome (some with super powers), with no adults, limited food, disease, and no idea if or when they’ll ever get out, you know it isn’t going to end well.  After the previous book, Fear, I have to say I had no idea how the series was going to end.  One of the things I love about Michael Grant is that he certainly keeps you on your toes and isn’t afraid to shock you.  He certainly does this in the final book in the Gone series, Light.

All eyes are on Perdido Beach. The barrier wall is now as clear as glass and life in the FAYZ is visible for the entire outside world to see. Life inside the dome remains a constant battle and the Darkness, away from watchful eyes, grows and grows . . . The society that Sam and Astrid have struggled so hard to build is about to be shattered for good. It’s the end of the FAYZ. But who will survive to see the light of day?

Light is everything I hoped it would be and much, much more.  It is a truly EPIC conclusion to the series and the way in which Michael wrapped the series up left me totally satisfied.  I won’t go in to any details because I’d hate to spoil the ending, which fans have been waiting years for.  Michael had me on the edge of my seat and it was nerve-wracking from beginning to end.  I read it over a couple of days and found that I could think of little else but the story.  As soon as I put it down I wanted to know what was happening to the characters.  By the time I’d read the final page, I felt like I was a survivor of the FAYZ who had to adjust to normal life again.  You’ve been with these characters through the whole experience so you really feel like one of them.

Everything that I love about Michael Grant’s books is here in Light.  There is plenty of violence and gore (including some cannibalism), the action is non-stop, the suspense makes you tear out your hair and chew your fingernails, and there are the characters you love (and those you hate) fighting against incredible odds.  There is also plenty of death and destruction, and not all of the main characters survive the ordeal.  I found myself saying ‘Oh no Michael, not them!’ several times during the story.

Out of all the things I love about this series, it’s the characters that have made me keep reading.  Michael has created so many great characters in this series and they get a lot thrown at them.  From the very first book, I’ve wondered who would make it through to the end, and I’m pleased to say that Michael totally surprised me.  It has been really interesting to see how the characters react to different situations, and seeing their true nature shine through.  None of the characters have made it through unscathed and I’ve loved watching their development throughout the series.

Thank you Michael Grant for creating this incredible series and these memorable characters that I’ll never forget.  I absolutely found it worthwhile and I had so much fun getting lost in your crazy world.

Even though this series has ended, we still have much more of Michael Grant to look forward to, with his BZRK series, The Magnificent 12 series (for younger readers), and hopefully more of Eve and Adam (with his incredibly talented wife, Katherine Applegate).

5 out of 5 stars

Win a copy of Light

I have a copy of Light to give away to one lucky Gone fan.  All you have to do is enter your name and email address in the form below and tell me who is your favourite Gone series character.  Competition closes Wednesday 10 April (NZ and Australia only).

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Official US book trailer for Michael Grant’s Light

This US book trailer for Michael Grant’s Light is quite different from the UK version but I think it’s great.  Light is one of my Easter reads and it’s fantastic but very nerve-wracking.  Light is the final book in Michael Grant’s Gone series and it’s available in NZ and Australia now.

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Michael Grant’s Light Book Trailer

Light is one of my most anticipated books of 2013.  It spells the end of Michael Grant’s brilliant Gone series. I have a copy sitting on my coffee table staring at me but I’m waiting until I can give it my full attention.  When I start I know I won’t want to stop until I’ve reached the end.

Light is due to be released on 1 April (just in time for Easter weekend!) and I know there will be plenty of Michael’s fans itching to find out what cruel punishment he doles out to the residents of Perdido Beach in this final book.

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Interview with Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate

Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate are amazing authors in their own right, but when they combine their talents the result is the exciting, futuristic thriller, Eve and Adam.  They’ve written over 100 books together, including one of the coolest series from my childhood, Animorphs.  I was lucky enough to catch up with Michael and Katherine to ask them a few questions about Eve and Adam, and their collaborative writing process.

How does the collaborative writing process work for the two of you?

MG – Poorly.
KA –  Well, in the past.  Better this time.  It was actually pretty smooth.
MG — I’ve matured.

Did you write a character each for Eve and Adam?

KA –  That was one of the approaches we took, but quickly decided it didn’t work.  In order to do that we would need to be able to plan things out in advance.  Michael doesn’t plan.  I plan and then don’t follow my plan.
MG – The real story is that Katherine realized Eve would have a lot more scenes so she’d have to do more of the work.

Does it make it harder or easier writing collaboratively when you live in the same house?

MG – Much easier.  The commute is shorter.  It’s like three feet.
KA – Being in the same house means we can share a pot of coffee as opposed to writers who aren’t married who probably have to make twice as many pots.
MG – The horror.

The first sentence of Eve and Adam is explosive and totally hooks you.  Are the opening scenes of a book the hardest thing to write?

MG – We are very different on this.  I barely think about it because I know I’ll go back later and write something different.
KA – I need to have the opening right, even if it takes days.  Or weeks.
MG – Months.  Years.

Eve and Adam is so shocking because the story could be happening somewhere in the world right now. Was it a story that you did lots of research for before you started writing or is it purely from your imaginations?

MG – We both went out and got PhD’s.
KA – It really took a lot of commitment from Michael since he’s a high school drop-out.
MG – We attended the University of Google.
KA – College of Wikipedia.

If you could create the perfect version of yourself what would you change?

MG –  There was a time when I’d have said hair.  But that’s no longer an issue.  Honestly?  I’d be one of those people who can eat without gaining weight.
KA –  I have weak ankles.
MG – That is pathetic.  That’s all you’d change?  Weak ankles?
KA – There’s plenty of things about you I’d change.  I could make a list.
MG – I wouldn’t change anything about you.  Hah!  There, I trumped you and now people will think I’m the nice one.

Eve and Adam reads like it could be a standalone book or part of a new series.  Do you plan to write more about these characters?

KA –  There’s rumour of a sequel.

Enter my competition to win a copy of Eve and Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate.

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Win Eve and Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate

Take some ordinary teenagers, throw in a billion-dollar biopharmaceuticals company, genetic engineering, morally corrupt scientists and some sexual tension, and you have Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate’s fantastic new book, Eve and Adam.

To celebrate the release of Eve and Adam I’m giving away 2 hardback copies.

Thanks to everyone who entered. This competition is now closed. 

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Eve and Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate

Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate have introduced us to characters that we both love and love to hate.  They’ve coauthored over 100 books together, including one of the coolest series of my childhood, Animorphs.  Michael is the author of the fantastic Gone series and BZRK, and Katherine stole our hearts earlier this year when she introduced us to the loveable, One and Only Ivan.  They’ve joined forces once again to bring us creation story like no other, Eve and Adam.

Evening Spiker is recuperating from a freak accident in her mum’s medical facility. She is healing at a remarkable rate, faster than physically possible. As she grows closer to the hot lab assistant Solo, who seems to be hanging around a lot, she realises that things at Spiker Biotech are not quite as they seem. Joining forces, Solo and Eve uncover a secret so huge it could change the world completely. Spiker Biotech is about more than just saving lives. It’s about creating them.

Eve and Adam is an exciting, futuristic thriller, and one hell of a cool book!  Take some ordinary teenagers, throw in a billion-dollar biopharmaceuticals company, genetic engineering, morally corrupt scientists and some sexual tension, and you have Eve and Adam.  Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate sure know how to write and they suck you in from the very first sentence.  This has to be one of the best first sentences ever – ‘I am thinking of an apple when the streetcar hits and my leg severs and my ribs crumble and my arm is no longer an arm but something unrecognizable, wet and red.’

The narration of the story alternates between Eve (Evening or E.V. to her friends), the daughter of Terra Spiker (head of Spiker Biopharmaceuticals) and Solo who is Terra’s ward.  After her accident, Terra gives Eve the task of designing the perfect boy, using special software that her company has developed.  After some initial skepticism Eve takes to the task and it takes her mind off her injuries, but it’s not long before she starts to wonder why her leg doesn’t hurt and there are no scars.  Solo is a mysterious character and you wonder what his motives are.  He seems to be sneaking around looking for something in particular, and puts on an act to make himself seem dumber than he actually is.  When he finds what he has been searching for it’s shocking and neither him or Eve are quite prepared for the trouble that follows.  Into this mix comes Adam, Eve’s perfect boy.  I love the way that Eve describes him when she first sees him in person,

“He’s the most beautiful male I’ve ever seen.  Ever.  Anywhere.  George Clooney and Johnny Depp and Justin Timberlake and all of them, all of them, would be cast as Adam’s less attractive best friend.”

The story is so gripping that I read it in one day.  The end left me wondering whether Eve and Adam is the start of a new series or whether it is a stand alone novel.  I felt like there were a few unanswered questions so this may not be the last we see of Eve, Adam, Aislin and Solo.

5 out of 5 stars

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My Most Anticipated October New Releases

Eve and Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate

Evening Spiker is recuperating from a freak accident in her mum’s medical facility. She is healing at a remarkable rate, faster than physically possible. As she grows closer to the hot lab assistant Solo, who seems to be hanging around a lot, she realises that things at Spiker Biotech are not quite as they seem. Joining forces, Solo and Eve uncover a secret so huge it could change the world completely. Spiker Biotech is about more than just saving lives. It’s about creating them.

All the Wrong Questions: Who Could That Be At This Hour? by Lemony Snicket

Author Lemony Snicket is a broken man, wracked with misery and despair as a result of writing A Series Of Unfortunate Events. He spends his days wandering the countryside weeping and moaning, and his evenings eating hastily-prepared meals. But what was he like when he was thirteen years old? Find out in the brand new series from best-selling author Lemony Snicket!

Zom-B by Darren Shan

When news reports start appearing of a zombie outbreak in Ireland, B Smith’s racist father thinks it’s a joke– but even if it isn’t, he figures, it’s ok to lose a few Irish. B doesn’t fully buy into Dad’s racism, but figures it’s easier to go along with it than to risk the fights and abuse that will surely follow sticking up for Muslims, blacks, or immigrants. But when zombies attack B’s school, B is forced on a mad dash through the serpentine corridors, making allegiances with anyone with enough guts to fight off their pursuers.

Maddy West and the Tongue Taker by Brian Falkner

Maddy West can speak every language in the world. When she is asked to translate some ancient scrolls, Maddy is excited. But the scrolls hide many secrets. Secrets that send Maddy on a wild adventure with a stowaway ninja, a mysterious monkey, a Bulgarian wrestler and a fiendish witch. And soon Maddy finds herself in deadly peril. Does Maddy have what it takes to save herself and her new friends?

The Crystal Code by Richard Newsome

Gerald, Ruby and Sam are meeting up with Alisha and Gerald’s Australian school friend Ox for two weeks of snowboarding in the mountains of California. It’s a dream vacation.

But soon after they arrive—by helicopter, with Gerald’s butler Mr Fry at the controls, of course—the private chalet is attacked. Gerald and the gang escape through a secret passage, only to be pursued on snowmobiles by men with guns across frozen lakes and into the path of a cascading avalanche.

Could this be the work of Gerald’s nemesis Sir Mason Green, recently escaped from prison? Or is someone else behind the attack? Does the old dry cleaning ticket Gerald found amongst Green’s belongings hold the key? And how does an invitation to join the secretive Billionaire’s Club land Gerald in so much trouble?

Join Gerald and his friends in the USA, the Czech Republic and a tiny island in Sweden for a new thrilling adventure. After all, with all that money, there’s got to be more to the story.

Every Day by David Levithan

Every morning, A wakes in a different person’s body, a different person’s life. There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.
And then A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

Can you love someone who is destined to change each day? YA superstar author David Levithan brings all his trademark insight to a novel that is edgy, romantic and page-turning. Every Day has a touch of the paranormal and a grounding in the real world.

The ACB with Honora Lee by Kate De Goldi

Perry’s mother and father are busy people … they’re impatient, they’re tired, they get cross easily. And they think that only children, like Perry, should be kept busy. On Saturday mornings Perry and her father visit her gran, Honora Lee, at the Santa Lucia rest home, but Gran never remembers them. ‘Who is that man?’ Honora Lee asks when Perry’s father leaves the room. After movement class is abruptly cancelled, Perry is allowed to go to Santa Lucia on Thursday afternoons. She discovers her Gran has an unconventional interest in the alphabet, so Perry decides to make an alphabet book with the help of Honora and the others. Soon everyone is interested in Perry’s book project.

Spook’s: Slither’s Tale

Far from the Wardstone, a new darkness is rising . . . Slither is a haizda mage who preys upon humans, drinking their blood to feed his dark urges. So when a local farmer dies, it’s only natural that Slither should want to feast on his lovely daughters. But then the farmer offers him a deal, and extracts from Slither a promise that will take him on a journey to the City of the Petrified Tree, to a fallen star-stone that holds great power, and straight into the path of Grimalkin, the Witch Assassin.

The Books of Beginning: The Fire Chronicle by John Stephens

It’s been six months since Kate, Michael, and Emma confronted the Dire Magnus, but the trail to their long-missing parents remains cold. Then Michael and Emma find a man who saw them ten years ago—three days after they disappeared. He knows about a map of a distant land, a place shrouded in mystery that may lead them to their parents. Meanwhile, Kate’s connection to the Book of Time is growing stronger and stronger, until a dangerous trick gets her stuck in the past, searching for a friend to help her. Only a perilous quest and a daring risk will help the children to harness the power of the Books of Beginning. But will it be enough to save them?

Ratburger by David Walliams

Things are not looking good for Zoe. Her stepmother Sheila is so lazy she gets Zoe to pick her nose for her. The school bully Tina Trotts makes her life a misery – mainly by flobbing on her head. And now the evil Burt from Burt’s Burgers is after her pet rat! And guess what he wants to do with it? The clue is in the title.

And these picture books…

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Eve and Adam book trailer

Eve and Adam is one of my most anticipated books of the year.  It’s written by two amazing authors (and husband and wife) Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate.  They’re both amazing authors in their own right, but I’m looking forward to seeing how their imaginations come together in the same story.

Eve and Adam is due out in NZ on 1st October.

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