Monday, December 25, 2017

Review: Reign the Earth

Reign the Earth Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Shalia knows she must marry to give her people peace, but she is hoping the man who unveils her will also become the love of her life. The people of the desert have been at war for many years with the kingdom next door and this wedding is their last chance to earn peace without additional bloodshed. Unfortunately, Shalia learns too quickly that her new husband, Calix, is only interested in finding and killing the last of the Elementae. What he doesn’t know is that Shalia has recently learned she has her own Elementae powers and if he ever learned this truth he would not hesitate to kill her too. Can Shalia bring peace to these two kingdoms? Will she be able to stop Calix from exterminating the Elementae?

Reign the Earth is the first book in The Elementae series. Although the story takes place in a different world with foreign habits and actions, the world building is so integrated into the narrative that readers will quickly fall into the storyline. Gaughen has created a cast of characters that are easy to love (and hate) and readers may find that they can’t put the book down until they know what happens next. It is not a short and quick read, but I found myself thinking about the characters as I was doing activities that pulled me away from the novel. A great read for all booklovers who enjoy an escape into a realm different than their own.

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Thursday, December 21, 2017

Review: This Is Not A Love Letter

This Is Not A Love Letter This Is Not A Love Letter by Kim Purcell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jessie is dreading graduation and all of the decisions that will need to be made. This is why she tells her boyfriend, Chris, that they need to take a one week break from their relationship. She doesn’t want a break up … just a break. Then Chris disappears and she begins questioning all of the things she thought she knew about him. Is he dead or alive? Did he willing leave their small town or is there a murderer in their midst?

This Is Not a Love Letter is a stand-alone mystery written in the form of a series of letters. Every week, Chris had written Jessie a love letter. Now, Jessie is using this same outlet to let Christ know how she feels and what is going on around her. Readers will feel like they are helping Jessie process her fears and guilt as she begins to unravel the truth behind Chris’s disappearance. A good read but not a satisfactory ending.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Review: Iron Gold

Iron Gold Iron Gold by Pierce Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It has been ten years since Darrow spearheaded a revolution and began the changes that he thought would transform the Society. Unfortunately, the Rising brought many unwanted changes … a war that doesn’t seem to want to stop. He now wants to initiate another mission with the hopes that he will save the world. Darrow is not alone; there is a Red girl, an ex-soldier and an heir in exile that will impact the story and the fate of the Society. Will Darrow’s mission succeed? Will he survive this last revolution?

Iron Gold is the fourth book in the Red Rising Saga. It doesn’t matter if the reader has just finished Morning Star or has been waiting the twenty-three months between the release dates, they won’t have any trouble falling right back into the storyline and enjoying the newest additions to the character list. The alternating characters give the reader variety without being overly distracting. Iron Gold is a great read and online sources say there are two more books to come. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait two years!

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Friday, December 1, 2017

Review: Unearthed

Unearthed Unearthed by Amie Kaufman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Earth is suffering from environmental damage and limited resources when they receive a message from an alien race that went extinct before humans had language. The Undying were advanced beyond anything humans have invented and the people of Earth hoped that this would be the key to reversing the devastation that has ravaged the planet. Jules wants to study this alien culture and Amelia is only interested in earning enough money for herself and her sister. When this unlikely pair ends up stuck with each other, the stakes change and the outcome cannot be predicted.

Unearthed is the first book in a new series with the same title. This science fiction tale is set in the not too distant future when humans realize their mistakes and are trying to find solutions. As most people know, the ends do not always justify the means and our two lead characters discover many shady transactions and not so honest people. Kaufman has created a new storyline that is easy to relate to and readers will quickly find themselves wanting to know what will happen to Jules and Amelia. Readers be forewarned, the ending is not a cliff hanger, but it also will leave you the undeniable need to know what happens next.

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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Review: Someone to Love

Someone to Love Someone to Love by Melissa de la Cruz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Olivia Blakely has been under a lot of pressure. She is the daughter of a politician and she is younger than everyone else in her class. Liv has always struggled with accepting her body and her weight, but when her normal pressures are compounded with trying to get into art school and the attentions of the boy she is interested in, her careful devotion to her weight spirals into a case of bulimia. Will her family and friends notice these changes? Will Liv learn to love herself and not worry about what the world thinks?

Someone to Love is a stand-alone novel that leaves a lot to be desired. It is a hard topic that is even harder to relate to, yet it seemed that many parts of the story were disconnected and forced into the greater story. De la Cruz has a large fan base and many people will pick this book up. It may not be for everyone, but if it helps one person struggling with self-acceptance and encourages them to ask for help, then it is worth reading and recommending. Someone to Love will be an enjoyable read for the right reader.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Review: Alone

Alone Alone by Cyn Balog
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Seda is happy to spend her summer in an old mansion that her mother has inherited. Her aunt and uncle had converted it into a haunted residence and Seda and her siblings enjoy the scary rooms and all of the secret passage ways. Unfortunately, her mother doesn’t want to sell it and she is now stuck in the boonies with no contact with her friends back home. Then a group of teenagers arrive at her door following a car accident and Seda and her family have no choice but to let them in. As the blizzard rages outside, the creepiness level inside begins to climb. Are Seda’s worst fears coming true?

Alone is a mystery novel that will keep readers engaged throughout. Most readers will think they know where the storyline is going, yet Balog has created an ending with several twists and a few extra turns. The characters are exciting and readers will slowly discover more about them as the story progresses. Since this book is relatively short, readers may find themselves stuck in their favorite reading nook turning page after page until the very end. A great read that should be added to everyone’s TBR list.

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Review: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Xifeng is beautiful and knows she is destined for greatness. Her aunt has instilled in her that the stars have predicted that she would one day become the Empress of Feng Lu. It doesn’t matter that she is a lowly peasant girl, the witch Guma has regularly read her cards and has seen Xifeng’s future. What will Xifeng need to do in order to bring these predictions into truth? Will she be willing to give up her true love in order to follow her destiny?

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is the first book in the Rise of the Empress series. Although Dao has created an East Asian world that is deep with history and legends, readers won’t feel like they are inundated with excessive world building. There are portions of the story that drag some and the ending felt rushed, yet readers will still finish the book with an anticipation of the next volume. A good read but will not satisfy all readers.

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Friday, November 10, 2017

Review: Dear World: A Syrian Girl's Story of War and Plea for Peace

Dear World: A Syrian Girl's Story of War and Plea for Peace Dear World: A Syrian Girl's Story of War and Plea for Peace by Bana Alabed
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bana may be seven years old, but due to the war in Syria she has needed to grow up quickly. Her family has been devastated by loss and she has been exposed to truths that most seven year olds are never aware of. She is encouraged to express her concerns to the world on Twitter and she quickly has a large following. Dear World is told in Bana’s own words with some additional chapters written by her mother. This woman and child wanted to tell their story in the hopes that the world would not underestimate the atrocities that are taking place. This is a short non-fiction book that will inform readers about a very timely topic in the world today

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Saturday, November 4, 2017

Review: Rosemarked

Rosemarked Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Zivah has just passed her exams to become a healer when the rose plague hits her village. She was infected and lived but is now a carrier of this disease and it is only a matter of time before it will finally kill her. Her life can be lonely or she can choose to use her gifts to help her people overcome the Amparan Empire. Dineas has also survived the rose plague, but his healing was complete. As these two unlikely people work together to infiltrate the capital, they must weigh the cost of spying alongside the chance that their hearts may be broken.

Rosemarked is the first book in the Rosemarked series. The story is told in the alternating voices of Zivah and Dineas, yet Blackburne has created a story that moves along smoothly as the reader unravels new information. It is hard to put this into any one genre. It is obviously not our world, but there isn’t a lot of magic or non-human creatures that would lend it to a fantasy classification. It still gives off a fantasy vibe and readers of that genre will be excited to delve into this world’s issues. A great read with just a little bit of romance along the edges.

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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Review: Manga Classics: The Stories of Edgar Allan Poe

Manga Classics: The Stories of Edgar Allan Poe Manga Classics: The Stories of Edgar Allan Poe by Stacy King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Tales of Edgar Allan Poe is a manga adaptation of many famous works of Poe. The stories included are The Tell-Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Mask of the Red Death and The Raven. Each story is masterfully penned with the artist exploring what Poe may have wanted readers to experience in each story. I didn’t compare the dialogue word for word, but most of the stories stayed true to the original text and readers new to Poe will experience his dark works and probably go looking for the original afterward. The Tales of Edgar Allan Poe was a great read and I am glad I revisited these stories.

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Monday, October 23, 2017

Review: The Midnight Line

The Midnight Line The Midnight Line by Lee Child
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reacher is doing nothing different. He is taking a walk during a break on his long bus ride when he notices a West Point class ring from 2005 sitting in a pawn shop window. Although this is several years after his time there, he feels the need to look into the reason a fellow officer would have to give it up (or lose it). He doesn’t get back on the bus and decides to try and discover why this ring is no longer with its owner. Can he find the woman and return her ring? What secrets will he uncover in these small Midwestern towns?

The Midnight Line is the twenty-second book in the Jack Reacher series. All of these books are good, but this book is great. It is hard to believe that Child can take a character with so much history and create a unique story that keeps the reader turning the pages. I won’t say this is my favorite Jack Reacher novel (since I’ve been reading them over many years), but I can honestly say it is in my top five. A high adventure that will keep readers engaged until the very end.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Review: Tool of War

Tool of War Tool of War by Paolo Bacigalupi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tool may have been designed as a perfect killing machine, yet he has become more than the scientists could have planned. He has shattered his programming and he now has a new pack. This pack consists of human soldiers and they are willing to follow him anywhere. Tool may be able to ignore his feelings of loyalty toward the gods from the sky, but he is still aware that someone is still after him. Will Tool be able to take down the people who genetically enslaved him? Is he all animal or is there a piece of humanity in him?

Tool of War is the third book in the Ship Breaker series. Bacigalupi continues his saga of a world gone wrong and takes his characters to new depths with insights that are unexpected. Since this is a continuation, it would not be as enjoyable without the backstory that comes with the first two books. The story spirals toward a climax, yet the adventure is not over. Tool of War is a page turner and will be a welcome read for most science fiction fans.

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Review: Wolves and Roses

Wolves and Roses Wolves and Roses by Christina Bauer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bryar Rose is supposed to be a Magicorum, a descendant of one of the three magical races and that means her life should follow that of Sleeping Beauty. Unfortunately, she could care less for birds and other animals, she definitely can’t sing and she does not want to marry Prince Philpot, the man her fairy godmothers have selected for her. If Bry can keep from marrying Philpot until after her eighteenth birthday, then the spell will be broken and she can begin to live a normal life.

Wolves and Roses is the first book in the Fairy Tales of the Magicorum series. Bryar is surrounded by secrets, many of which lead her down faulty paths. As she uncovers her hidden truths, she discovers not only what she is capable of, but who she can truly trust. Bauer has created a captivating storyline that kept me hooked the entire time. Wolves and Roses is a perfect read for everyone who enjoys fairy tale re-tellings or just a simple urban fantasy.

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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Review: The Delphi Resistance

The Delphi Resistance The Delphi Resistance by Rysa Walker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Anna is on the run from the leader of the Delphi Project who wants to capture her and the other Delphi adepts in order to use them as weapons. These troubled teens barley know how to control their own powers and now they are expected to help younger people who are just now learning. Gifted children are continuing to vanish and information about the secret Delphi Project is beginning to go public. Will Anna and her friends be able to outsmart these government killers? Who can they trust as their world is turned inside out?

The Delphi Resistance is the second book in The Delphi Trilogy. The events portrayed occur in the near future and readers will find themselves wondering if these conditions are already available to be exploited. The manhunt is intense and Walker has weaved a more complex storyline into her already complicated world. This is a second book and it assumes the reader has finished the original story. Although this account has some elements that are wrapped up, there are many unanswered questions that will need to wait for the final installment.

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Saturday, September 30, 2017

Review: The Leaf Reader

The Leaf Reader The Leaf Reader by Emily Arsenault
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Marnie doesn’t fit in with any of the groups at her school. She has decided that she will own her uniqueness and has discovered that she is good at Leaf Reading. It started out as a hobby after finding a book on her grandmother’s shelf, but now she has a steady group of students who enjoy having her look at their tea leaves. Then Marnie is asked to do a reading for Matt, who is looking for answers to the disappearance of his best friend, Andrea. He has been receiving anonymous emails and just wants to know if Andrea is alive somewhere or is she dead.

The Leaf Reader is a stand-alone realistic fiction story that includes a lot of mystery and just a hint of the supernatural and romance. Marnie is dealing with troubles in her own life as other people’s problems are colliding around her. Arsenault shows the reader the nuances of Leaf Reading without making the book about the supernatural. Whether readers like to suspend belief or keep their feet firmly rooted on the ground, this book is an enjoyable escape with a nice conclusion.

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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Review: Follow Me

Follow Me Follow Me by Sara Shepard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Chelsea Dawson loves to be in the spotlight. As a social media star, she enjoys taking selfies and posting videos. When she disappears at a party following a fight with her ex-boyfriend, Seneca and her friends notice that she looks like Aerin’s sister and begin to think that the same person who killed Helena also took Chelsea. The Amateurs make it their mission to travel to the Shore and investigate on their own. Will they be able to find Chelsea in time? Will this person take any more lives along the way?

Follow Me is the second book in The Amateurs series. Shepard leaves a few breadcrumbs at the beginning to nudge the memories of readers and these reminders would even help readers who are jumping straight into the second book. The mystery flows quickly and characters are constantly trying to catch up to their mysterious murderer. This portion of the story does have an ending, yet the larger story is nowhere near completion. Readers who don’t like to wait may want to hold off until more books are out. If you like a good mystery and don’t mind cliffhangers, then give this book a try now.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Review: Uncanny

Uncanny Uncanny by Sarah Fine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cora does not remember what happened the night her step sister fell down a flight of stairs and died. She knows that it might have been recorded by her Cerepin, but she is afraid that she may have been at fault. Cora’s step father hires an AI counselor to help her deal with her grief and hopefully assist her in recovering her lost memories. As she begins to remember snippets of her past and tries to work up the courage to watch the vid, Cora uncovers scary truths about herself and those around her.

Uncanny is a stand-alone science fiction story that is refreshingly different. What would the world be like if people were constantly recording events around them? Who could you trust? Fine has created a world that is filled with a variety of automatons and readers will enjoy the experience of exploring this different society. The storyline twists and turns as the pages almost turn themselves. Uncanny is a good escape with an unexpected conclusion.

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Friday, September 8, 2017

Review: Doctor Who: Myths and Legends

Doctor Who: Myths and Legends Doctor Who: Myths and Legends by Richard Dinnick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time Lords have been an advanced culture for thousands of years and have the stories to show for it. Even though some tales have long been forgotten, many are still remembered and have become myths and legends. There are stories about other worlds, other cultures and, of course, their home world. These stories shed a light on this ancient civilization and give readers a deeper understanding about Time Lords. These myths and legends are not about the Doctor, yet readers may see his hand at work in some of the stories. Doctor Who: Myths and Legends is a fun read for all Doctor Who fans.

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Saturday, September 2, 2017

Review: Countess of Čachtice

Countess of Čachtice Countess of Čachtice by Sonia Halbach
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It has been three years since Maggie and Henry discovered the city of Poppel, but now the Foundling children of this underground city keep going missing and they need to work together to try and uncover the truth. Over two hundred years in the past, Lily is trying to find the immortality she lost and her path takes her into the lives of the Countess of Čachtice and her son. The Countess has her own youthful secrets and Lily just might fall prey to her life altering plans. Maggie and Lily might live centuries apart, but their lives are more connected than they could ever understand.

Countess of Čachtice is the second book in The Krampus Chronicles. The point of view is constantly changing and was confusing in parts. I had to intentionally slow down and make sure I knew which time period and which characters were in play. The book itself read quickly, so this slow down wasn’t much of a hindrance, more of an annoyance. Halbach has finished only a small portion of the story and most readers will end their time with this book wishing the next book was already out.

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Saturday, August 26, 2017

Review: If There's No Tomorrow

If There's No Tomorrow If There's No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It is the weekend before her senior year and Lena is ready. She wants to spend time with her friends, pick her college and hopefully let her best friend know that she wants to be more than friends. Then she makes a choice that changes everything and now she isn’t looking forward to tomorrow. How can Lena go on with her life after what happened? Would Sebastian be able to forgive her if he is told the truth?

If There’s No Tomorrow is a stand-alone novel that expresses a timely, yet tragic story. Lena is trying to deal with love, guilt and grief all at the same time, yet she doesn’t want to confide in her friends, just in case they would hate her afterward. Armentrout takes a very difficult situation and explores the actions and consequences that led to the tragedy. If There’s No Tomorrow is an outstanding novel that should be moved to the top of everyone’s TBR pile.

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Thursday, August 24, 2017

Review: The Dire King

The Dire King The Dire King by William Ritter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jackaby and Abigail continue their fight against magical creatures and an evil king attempting a takeover. Even as the Dire King is wreaking havoc; these two continue to solve the mysteries that surround New Fiddleham. To top the story off, Abigail and Charlie are getting closer than ever before and Abigail’s friends think he is going to pop the question. Can this unusual team defeat the evil that is haunting their town?

The Dire King is the fourth and final book in the Jackaby series. With that being said, Ritter has left readers with an ending that will leave most readers wanting a spin off series. The adventure is high strung and will pull readers along the entire way. There is romance between Abigail and Charlie (and maybe Jackaby and Jenny), but it shouldn’t be enough to cause male readers to give up on the story. The Dire King is a great conclusion and should not be missed.

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Review: Thin Places

Thin Places Thin Places by Lesley Choyce
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Declan is just an average teenage boy until he starts hearing the voice of a girl inside his head. He doesn’t believe she is a figment of his imagination, though. When he closes his eyes … he sees her. Through their conversations and visions she shares, he feels the need to go to Ireland and find her. Can Declan convince his parents to let him travel to his crazy Uncle Seamus? Will he discover the mystery behind this voice in his head?

Thin Places is a stand-alone novel in verse. The book is very short, even for its format, and most readers will finish it in about an hour. Choyce gives just enough background about Ireland’s history and mysteries to pull the reader in and gives them a reason to keep going. The “thin places” are a tantalizing idea that connects Declan to his family’s ancestral Ireland. Thin Places is a very quick read and it is also enjoyable.

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Review: Black Light Express

Black Light Express Black Light Express by Philip Reeve
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Zen and Nova know what it is like to ride a train from one world to another, but now they have traveled through a gate that shouldn’t have been there and they can’t undo that action. Chandni has just finished a stint frozen in prison and is attempting to determine her place in a world torn apart by war. Their stories may be separate, yet they continually intersect as the Black Light Zone calls them.

Black Light Express is the second book in the Railhead series. Second books are always questionable because they usually are setting up a deeper storyline and this is no exception. Many readers will find the story a pleasant escape, yet others may prefer to wait until more books are written in order to have a fuller appreciation of where the tale will take them.

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Monday, August 7, 2017

Review: Poe: Stories and Poems: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Gareth Hinds

Poe: Stories and Poems: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Gareth Hinds Poe: Stories and Poems: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Gareth Hinds by Gareth Hinds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Poe: Stories and Poems is a graphic novel adaptation of seven works by Edgar Allen Poe. Most of these stories and poems will be familiar to readers, yet even as a first introduction to Poe, it is great. Hinds has added depth and details to these vivid tales and brings them to life beyond a personal imagination. The author mentions that the original narrators are not described and encourages readers to think of their own narrators while enjoying his version. A great book for readers new to Poe or experienced with his tales.

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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Review: The Way It Hurts

The Way It Hurts The Way It Hurts by Patty Blount
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Elijah’s band needs to make it big. If it does, then his family won’t need to put his special needs sister into a home. Once Elijah sees Kristen perform, he knows she is exactly what his band needs to be discovered. Unfortunately, an out-of-context social media comment is posted and the band is being recognized, not for its music, but for this controversy. Can Elijah and Kristen use this exposure to benefit their own purposes? What happens if the followers don’t know that there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed?

The Way It Hurts is a realistic fiction story that has controversy, music, and a little romance. Blount tells the story in the alternating voices of Kristen and Elijah, so readers will feel as if they are getting the entire story. The social media posts included throughout give variety to the text and add a third (and more) voice to the mix. The tension gets high, yet the story pulls through with a strong finish. The Way it Hurts is a great read that should be added to everyone’s TBR list.

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Monday, July 31, 2017

Review: Strange Alchemy

Strange Alchemy Strange Alchemy by Gwenda Bond
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Many people know about the Lost Colony on Roanoke Island where 114 colonists disappeared, but what about the 114 present day residents who have recently vanished? Miranda comes from a long line of “cursed” family members and the island’s residents don’t let her forget it. Grant may be the sheriff’s son, but he has a family secret that he is trying to keep hidden. These two unlikely teenagers decide that their family secrets might just be what is needed to uncover the secret about both disappearances.

Strange Alchemy is a stand-alone novel that defies one genre label. There is a bit of supernatural and/or fantasy involved with the family secrets and disappearances, but overall the pair uses deductive reasoning to uncover the truth. Bond has taken a historical period of America’s past and re-envisioned it for today’s readers. I hope most readers, when finished with this book, will look for more stories or non-fiction accounts about this period of time.

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Review: Sparks of Light

Sparks of Light Sparks of Light by Janet B. Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hope has always lived an unusual life, which includes limited friends. It looks like she is finally creating some personal bonds and might even have a boyfriend. She comes from a long line of Viators and has been training to time-travel, just like her ancestors before her. Unfortunately, all Viators are not good and when it is discovered that someone plans to steal an invention from Nikola Tesla, she must travel back to 1895 and try to save the timeline.

Sparks of Light is the second book in the Into the Dim series. Most second books are lack luster compared to their beginning, yet this novel is great, even on its own. Hope must face high society and the dregs of the underworld while attempting to not change anything in the past. Taylor has given readers a satisfactory ending while also creating more interest in future time-traveling escapades. Sparks of Light is a great book and will delight male and female readers alike.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Review: Solo

Solo Solo by Kwame Alexander
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blade can’t get away from the paparazzi or his family. The final straw was when his father crashed his commencement speech and embarrassed him in front of the entire school and then being told about a family secret. Blade cannot stop thinking about his dead mother and his crazy rock ‘n roll family, so he goes on his own quest to determine what is actually true.

Solo is a novel in verse with song lyrics dispersed throughout. Alexander has taken Blade on a trek of self-discovery and readers will find themselves questioning their own lives alongside Blade. Since it is a novel in verse, it is a quick read and will probably be completed by most readers in one sitting. A great read, even if you don’t know the songs along the way.

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Review: Two Nights

Two Nights Two Nights by Kathy Reichs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sunday Night has survived a lot and has the scars to prove it. When a girl turns up missing after a school is bombed, she agrees that the family needs her help. No one knows if the girl is dead or if she was taken, but Sunnie is willing to face her own demons in order to discover the truth.

Two Nights is a stand-alone novel that will not disappoint readers of Reichs' other novels. Sunnie is not shy about using her fists or her weapon and readers will quickly find themselves flying through the pages. Most readers will think they know where the story is going and then be pleasantly surprised when the plot twists and turns into unexpected paths. Two Nights is a great escape read.

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Review: We Come Apart

We Come Apart We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nicu has recently emigrated to the United States and is having trouble adjusting to life away from Romania. Jess is trying to deal with her mother's abusive boyfriend. After Nicu and Jess become friends, neither one expected a romance to bloom. Unfortunately, Nicu's parents have arranged a marriage for him and both are unsure where their lives will lead them next.

We Come Apart is a stand-alone novel in verse that is told in the alternating voices of Nicu and Jess. Conaghan and Crossan have developed a story that is easy to relate to and quick to finish. Since the book is so short, it would be a good opportunity for readers who have yet to try reading a novel in verse. A good read that can be completed in a short evening on the couch.

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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Review: Now I Rise

Now I Rise Now I Rise by Kiersten White
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lada has her band of men and her friend Bogdan, but she does not have her throne. Since she wasn’t able to take over the Wallachian throne, she is traveling the countryside and inflicting her own type of force on those she encounters. Radu is Lada’s brother and he has been sent to Constantinople as a spy. He can use Lada’s confidence and she can use Radu’s subtlety, yet both are on their own and questioning the paths placed before them. These siblings must figure out what they are willing to sacrifice to complete their destinies.

Now I Rise is the second book in The Conqueror’s Saga. Events pick up quickly without many pages being given to the backstory. The battles are fierce and the emotions run deep as these opposite characters traverse their barbaric world. White has used this historic time period and infused it with characters that many young adults will be able to relate to. A good read for those who have read the first book and enjoyed it.

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Monday, July 3, 2017

Review: The Fallen Kingdom

The Fallen Kingdom The Fallen Kingdom by Elizabeth May
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Aileana has been brought back to life through fae magic, but she didn’t return with her memories. She wants to break the cycle of fighting between the fae, especially since the results will affect both the human and fae worlds. In order to resolve this conflict, she must find a hidden magical book that is guarded by Morrigan. Aileana must use her new dark powers, but will this darkness overtake her? Will Aileana have to give up the faery she loves to save everyone else?

The Fallen Kingdom is the final book in The Falconer trilogy. This third installment starts out with a complete story already underway, so readers are highly encouraged to read the first two books before beginning this novel. May has weaved some standard faery lore with some newly created ideas for a fresh take on a wonderful world. The ending was unexpected and most readers will be satisfied with its conclusion. The Fallen Kingdom is a must read for those who have read the previous books.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Review: Words in Deep Blue

Words in Deep Blue Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It has been years since Rachel moved away from the city and the boy she had been crushing on. Before she left, she wrote him a love letter and placed it inside his favorite book and he never responded to her declaration of love. Rachel has now returned to the city and has been hired to work alongside Henry at his family’s bookstore. She knows it will be tough, but she needs something to take her mind off her brother’s death. Will Henry and Rachel finally become more than friends?

Words in Deep Blue is a stand-alone romance without all of the romance. The story is told with intermittent letters left inside novels and these letters add depth and insight into the characters and the various relationships explored within. Crowley has created an interesting platform for the characters to interact in and readers will enjoy hearing a variety of book titles that they might want to pick up themselves. Words in Deep Blue will satisfy all realistic fiction reader’s desires.

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Review: The Possible

The Possible The Possible by Tara Altebrando
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kaylee has lived with her adoptive parents since her birth mother was sentenced to life in prison for killing her brother. She doesn’t dwell on that portion of her life, but when a podcast producer appears on her doorstep and lets her know that she will be basing her next series of episodes on her mother’s telekinetic powers, Kaylee’s life is turned upside down. Are all of the unexplainable events from her past clues to her own powers? Will Kaylee’s friendships survive her new celebrity status?

The Possible is a new stand-alone novel that is easy to fall into and quick to finish. The short length of the book will encourage reluctant readers to give it a try and it will also allow voracious readers to finish it in one sitting. Altebrando leads the reader along an exploratory storyline that keeps everyone guessing until the last few pages. A fun read that will appeal to most readers.

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Monday, June 12, 2017

Review: Once and for All

Once and for All Once and for All by Sarah Dessen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Louna is preparing for her senior year of high school and is looking forward to getting a real job. She helps her mother with her wedding planning business and has experienced every type of wedding. Since she has grown up around weddings and knows that many people have more than one, she is very cynical about love and everything that goes with it. It doesn't help that her one experience with love ended in a tragic way. In walks Ambrose and he is not willing to take no for an answer. Will Louna find love again?

Once and for All is the newest stand-alone novel by Sarah Dessen. The story is slow to take off, but if readers hang on for a few pages, the overall story is worth it. Louna has a secret that isn't completely explained until the end and readers will try and pull it out alongside Ambrose. The flashback storyline took some getting used to, but overall it wasn't a complete distraction. Once and for All is a good escape into a romance.

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Review: Flame in the Mist

Flame in the Mist Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mariko is traveling to the imperial palace to meet the man she is betrothed to. She did not choose him, but since she is the daughter of a samurai of high standing, it is her destiny. It doesn’t matter that she is as smart as her twin brother and is a great alchemist. She was not born a boy and this is her fate. Unfortunately, Mariko doesn’t make it to the palace because her convoy is attacked by the Black Clan. She is the only survivor and is now planning her revenge. Will Mariko’s plan to infiltrate the Black Clan work? If she falls in love along the way will she be able to accept the truths she had been taught?

Flame in the Mist is the first book in a series by the name title. The adventure begins quickly with Mariko’s entire caravan being slaughtered and her running for her life. Ahdieh has created a story that is rich in characters and culture without spending endless pages on world building. Readers will want to follow Mariko on her journey and will not be satisfied until they have all their questions answered. Flame is the Mist will please both male and female readers and is recommended for anyone who enjoys a good adventure, especially if they appreciate the samurai culture.

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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Review: Count All Her Bones

Count All Her Bones Count All Her Bones by April Henry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It has been six months since Cheyenne had been kidnapped during a car theft gone wrong. One of her captor’s helped her escape and now his father is awaiting his trial. While they are waiting to testify against Roy, Cheyenne and Griffin reconnect on Facebook and make arrangements to meet. Unfortunately, their plan doesn’t go well and Cheyenne is kidnapped again by Roy’s men. Do they just want money or do they want Cheyenne dead? Can she escape? Was Griffin working for his father or was he duped along with Cheyenne?

Count All Her Bones is the second book in the Girl, Stolen series. Cheyenne has not been idle during the six months between stories and she has emerged stronger and smarter. Henry has created a new story that is quick paced and hard to put down. Since the book is so short, readers will find themselves stuck in one place and reading it in one sitting. Also, since the events happen in such a short amount of time, readers are not dragged along unnecessary storylines in order to fill additional pages. Count All Her Bones is a great thriller and a must read.

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Friday, May 26, 2017

Review: Windfall

Windfall Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Teddy is turning eighteen years old and Alice has the perfect gag gift. She is buying him a lottery ticket for the enormous Powerball jackpot that will be drawn that day. When they wake up the next morning, they discover that Teddy is now the winner of $140 million after it is split with two other winners. It is a dream come true since Teddy and his mom have been living on very little since his father abandoned them. Will Teddy spend the money wisely or try and buy people’s friendships? Will the money drive a wedge between Teddy and Alice?

Windfall is a stand-alone novel that will delight most readers. The characters are easy to relate to and the storyline is plausible even if the odds are against most people. Readers will think about how they would spend the money as Teddy is making his own decisions. Smith takes her characters through a roller coaster of emotions and readers will find their own emotions rolling as well. Windfall is a great read and should be added to every reader's TBR list.

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Review: Violet Grenade

Violet Grenade Violet Grenade by Victoria Scott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Domino has been living on the streets of Detroit for a year and needs to earn money to bail her friend out of jail. She is offered an opportunity to entertain in a girls’ home in Texas and decides this is her only option. She quickly learns that she can earn more money by earning a high rank and works hard to overcome the obstacles the other girls place in her path. There are many secrets hidden within the home and Domino must decide if she is willing to share her own secrets with those around her. Will Domino be able to escape Madam Karina and the dangers in this small town?

Violet Grenade is a stand-alone story that slowly gives readers information about the characters while also teasing them with the possible paths the story may go. Scott weaved together an interesting storyline with an unforgettable ending and the tension continues to build as the pages almost turn themselves. Violet Grenade should be added to everyone’s TBR list; it will be worth it!

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Friday, May 12, 2017

Review: Kill All Happies

Kill All Happies Kill All Happies by Rachel Cohn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It is the day after graduation and Vic is planning to host the best after graduation party Rancho Soldado has ever experienced. She finally has permission from the selling owner of Happies to have this last hurrah before the buildings are torn down. Vic wants a last good party with her friends and she is hoping this will also be the perfect opportunity to hook up with Jake, her secret crush. The party is a success and everyone is having a good time, but when Happies fans decide they want to join this final celebration, this fun party becomes an uncontrollable monster.

Kill All Happies is a stand-alone novel that takes a while to take off, but eventually will pull readers in. Whether readers are looking forward to their own graduation party or are fondly remembering it, the party vibe is easily relatable. There are some stupid decisions and logical consequences, but Cohn doesn’t present the story as a lesson-to-be-learned tale. A good read, but won’t be added to everyone’s TBR list.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Review: Legion

Legion Legion by Julie Kagawa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ember knows she can pretend she is human, but she shouldn’t be able to fall in love. When she believes she has fallen in love with a former dragonslayer, she begins to question everything she has been taught. What does she really know about humans? What is true about rogue dragons? What is she capable of achieving? As she fights alongside the rogue dragon Riley, Ember must also face her twin brother Dante.

Legion is the fourth book in the Talon series and the story is far from over. Kagawa takes Ember into even darker aspects of Talon and readers will wonder who will make it out alive. The story picks up quickly and there isn’t much review, so for readers who like to pick up random books, you may be lost. Yet those who have been following the exploits of these dragons for the last few years, it will be a welcome installment to a much-loved tale. Legion is a great read, but be ready for the fifth book in the future.

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Saturday, May 6, 2017

Review: Missing

Missing Missing by Kelley Armstrong
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Winter is looking forward to the day she will be able to leave Reeve’s End, become a doctor and never return. Her sister did it and her best friend has already done it. The town is full of abandoned mines and not much else. Of course, she will miss the solitude of the woods; it has been where she could escape her own troubles. During one of her trips into the woods she finds Lennon bleeding and left for dead. Soon after, Lennon disappears and Winter is left questioning if all the missing really left on their own accord.

Missing is a stand-alone thriller that will grab readers with the first pages and not let go. The mystery of all the people who leave this town is developed slowly as Winter makes the connections and readers will try and stay a step or two ahead of the characters. Armstrong has stepped away from her usual fantasy genre and this book is a wonderful example of her varied talents. I recommend Missing to every reader who wants a good mystery or thriller and doesn’t want a cliff hanger at the end.

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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Review: Wicked Treasure

Wicked Treasure Wicked Treasure by Jordan Elizabeth Mierek
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Clark and Amethyst are just living their lives when a clockwork lion takes their daughter from them. They get a lead that takes them on an adventure neither was looking for. As they look for answers to why someone would take their daughter, they uncover a conspiracy that is about more than just their family … it concerns the country. What will Clark and Amethyst be required to survive in this tale?

Wicked Treasure is the third book in the Treasure Chronicles. Although it has been awhile since I read the first two books, the characters quickly pulled me into the story and I was easily swept away with this new journey. Mierek has reinvigorated this clockwork world and promises additional stories will come along. Wicked Treasure is a fun read, but would be best enjoyed in the proper sequence.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Review: The Whole Thing Together

The Whole Thing Together The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Sasha and Ray have always shared a room in their summer home. They’ve shared the same books, the same toiletries and the same bed, yet they have never actually met. Ray’s mom used to be married to Sasha’s dad and neither one is willing to give up the beach house. Now they have new families and are making new memories, but in the same house. Unfortunately, choices from the past have a way of coming back and these two families must learn to work together before the loose ties fall apart.

The Whole Thing Together is a stand-alone novel that has an interesting premise, but a faulty execution. I usually don’t mind alternating story lines, but this story did not flow easily and the middle of the book seemed muddled. The ending was great and I will think about it for a while to come, but the overall impression I am left with is just flat and uninspired. Brashares’ latest novel is not a drop everything and read book.

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Review: Defy the Stars

Defy the Stars Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It is T minus 20 days till Noemi will sacrifice her life to protect her home planet, Genesis. She has been training to fight the machines that Earth is sending to attack them. Abel is one of the machines. He has been alone in space for three decades and during this time his programming has slowly evolved. When the two are put into a confrontational situation, the outcome is not what either of them expected. They both want the fighting to stop, even if that means working with the enemy.

Defy the Stars is the first book in a new series with the same title. Gray has created two main characters that are easy to relate to and situations that are easy to understand. It is hard to believe that a story about a human and a machine (in space) can be such an attention grabber. Abel spends a bit of his time evaluating himself and discovering he is more than the sum of his parts. Noemi learns that she doesn’t know everything about the machines and that she must reevaluate what she thought was fact. Defy the Stars is a strong science fiction read that will be enjoyable even if readers don’t normally try that genre.

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Review: Royce Rolls

Royce Rolls Royce Rolls by Margaret Stohl
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Bentley Royce has spent her formative years in the spotlight. Her family has devoted the last 5 years staring in a reality TV show called Rolling with the Royces. Her mother, Mercedes, is only interested in the attention she receives from the show and only pays attention to Bentley when it affects the show’s standings. Bentley would like to stop being in the show so that she can go to college, but no one in her family has ever attended college and her mother won’t go for it. It looks like the show will be cancelled before the sixth season and Bentley doesn’t think her family will hold together without the glue of the cameras. She decides to go against her own feelings and attempts to save the show.

Royce Rolls is a stand-alone novel that has a lot of comedy and not much plausibility. As a person who doesn’t watch reality TV I had trouble staying focused on the events unfolding, but overall the book was enjoyable. Stohl has created a protagonist that is easy to relate to, even though most readers have never experienced what she was enduring. Royce Rolls is a good escape read, but is not a must read.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Review: The Spill Zone

The Spill Zone The Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Addison Merrick has permission to live in her family’s home, even though it is near the Spill Zone. Her parents and her little sister were inside the zone when the incident happened and only her sister came out. Now Addison travels inside the Spill Zone to photograph the animals and the places, but never the people. She is approached with an opportunity to make more than she ever dreamed of, but will this one job be her last? What risks is she willing to take to help her sister?

The Spill Zone is the first book in a new graphic novel series with the same title. The graphics are weird, yet exciting and the story moves along very quickly. This 200+ page book can be read in about an hour and when readers reach the end they will discover they want the next volume. Readers will quickly feel a need to know more and will definitely be left with a lot of unanswered questions. The Spill Zone will delight readers of science fiction and graphic novels.

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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Review: Toward a Secret Sky

Toward a Secret Sky Toward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Maren’s mother is now dead and she is being shuttled off to her grandparent’s house in Scotland. She has never met them, because they did not approve of their son marrying Maren’s mom. As she is adjusting to a new way of life, she receives a box with some items from her mother. Inside she finds an encrypted journal that sets her on a path of self-discovery. Both of Maren’s parents worked for a secret organization and now it seems that this organization wants her to work for them too. Unfortunately, there is something wicked in this small town and if Maren joins her parent’s fight her new friends may be left in grave peril.

Toward a Secret Sky is presently listed as a stand-alone novel, yet Maclean has created a wondrous world and amazing storyline that can easily be carried into more volumes. Maren must make some difficult decisions in a short time and readers will not want to put the book down in order to see how she will react next. Since this is being promoted as a singleton, the storyline is complete without a cliff hanger, but most readers will want to know more about this secret organization, Maren’s parents and what happens next to Maren herself. Toward a Secret Sky should be added to everyone’s TBR list if they enjoy fantasy novels with just a twist of romance.

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Saturday, April 1, 2017

Review: Yvain: The Knight of the Lion

Yvain: The Knight of the Lion Yvain: The Knight of the Lion by M.T. Anderson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sir Yvain sets out looking for adventure and finds it when he defeats a knight in battle. This act brings him into the lives of Lady Laudine and her maid Lunette. Sir Yvain quickly falls in love with Lady Laudine, but their love is destined for hardship and Sir Yvain must endure many more adventures during their time apart. This graphic novel interpretation of the 12th century poem will have new readers falling in love with the Arthurian stories and hopefully looking for more. Readers who have already fallen in love with King Arthur and his nights will be enchanted by this version and all readers must slow down and enjoy the graphics that add additional insight into this poem. Yvain: The Knight of the Lion is a quick read and fun escape.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Review: If I'm Found

If I'm Found If I'm Found by Terri Blackstock
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Casey is still wanted for murder and is running for her life. She has one person who is constantly on her trail and she is starting to wonder if he is trying to capture her or help her. Casey knows that he let her escape before when he could have brought her in, but in a world where she is constantly being deceived, it is hard to trust. Although Casey is trying to find proof about the real murderers, she comes across a man who has been falsely accused of abusing a child, he has lost his job and she knows he has considered suicide in the past. Will Casey risk her own freedom to help this stranger? Is Dylan there to help her or to capture her?

If I’m Found is the second book in the If I Run series. This heart stopping adventure begins fast and doesn’t stop until you reach the last page. Blackstock has created a plot that is easy to fall into and readers will quickly find time getting away from them as the pages turn. This book does pick up soon after the conclusion of the first book, but readers can easily enjoy this story on its own. If I’m Found should be added to everyone’s TBR list if they enjoy adventure and suspense.

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