Off the Ice by Julie Cross

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Actually, 4.5 stars!
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Off the Ice by Julie Cross. This first book in her Juniper Falls series is told by Tate and Claire through alternating points of view beginning in the prologue. The story picks up one year later in Chapter One. Claire is two years older than Tate and she has taken a semester off of college because her dad has an inoperable brain tumor and she wants to be with him and help him and her mother. Tate is a high school junior and a varsity hockey player. The two have known each other since they were children and now their friendship is growing into something more. Tate feels like he has to live with his father overshadowing everything he does and it’s suffocating him. Tate and Claire each have their own problems to deal with while trying to figure out their relationship and their future plans. A mature and realistic story line shows that being a young adult isn’t always easy and the people around you are either helpful or harmful. 4.5 stars for a young adult story with the gritty situations that make it feel real!

The Carnival Keepers by Amber Gulley

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to YA Bound Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review The Carnival Keepers by Amber Gulley! The cover is beautiful and the synopsis sounds interesting. James starts off the story in the prologue as the main character. Violence ensues, creatures come out, characters are not what they seem and more and different characters take over the story. I was confused about the plot of the story and I felt like it kind of jumped around and I did not have any concern for the characters and I didn’t feel invested in the story at all. The writing is good, but not my kind of story; 3 stars.

 

The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman by Brady G. Stefani

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Thanks to Brady G. Stefani for the audiobook version of The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman! The narrator makes Courtney come alive and lovable and her voice begs compassion. Eventually, it became too whiny for me and I finished the book by reading the paperback version to compare how I felt about the character by listening to a narrator versus reading on my own. Reading the book on my own helped me care for the characters and I was able to become more involved with the plot. The alien theme, the uncertainty and the mystery kept me reading to the end. 3.5 stars for originality.

Reliquary by Sarah Fine

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Reliquary by Sarah Fine is the first book in this interesting new adult series. Mattie, the main character, begins the story in first person point of view while she is preparing for her engagement party. Mattie is engaged to Ben and they plan on marrying soon. She believes that Ben is her Mr. Right. Mattie’s grandfather warns her about Ben in such a vague way that she becomes exasperated with him. He warns her, but will not give her any reasons and will not answer her questions in a way that will help her understand. The next morning, Mattie wakes and looks for Ben, but all she finds is his cellphone on the road and his pacemaker in the mailbox. Ben is a young man, but he has a heart condition, so this terrifies Mattie. She gets shunned by the detective working on the case, so she decides to search for him on her own. Mattie discovers magic and how people use it as a drug and she becomes deeply involved in a world she never knew existed. She also learns about powers she didn’t know she carried and, whether Mattie wants to or not, she is drawn into the magic community and will do whatever it takes to save Ben. 4 stars for a unique take on magic!

Flicker and Mist by Mary G. Thompson

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Clarion Books for the opportunity to read and review Flicker and Mist by Mary G. Thompson! Myra has the ability to become invisible or flicker as it’s called in her world. The community is prejudice against and afraid of people that have the ability to flicker and are testing citizens to weed Flickerkin out. The test consists of wearing handcuffs while being shocked through the cuffs. Myra manages to pass the test because her parents have practiced with her, which was torturous. Her mother and father are both arrested, so Myra has to stay with the Deputy. Myra learns a lot about the people she cares about and the strength of their integrity. She also discovers a lot about herself. This fantasy story hits prejudice head on and shows the damage it can do to communities. I like Myra, Porti and Caster the most out of the characters because of their depth and integrity. 4 stars for this unique fantasy world!

Weariland by Mary Shotwell

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to YA Bound Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review Weariland by Mary Shotwell! This fairy tale retelling of Alice in Wonderland kept me riveted. The suspense, danger, mystery and riddles pulled me in so strongly that I wanted to read the book in one sitting. Lason (like Jason with an L) is a descendant of the first Alice that fell into Wonderland (now called Weariland because of the dreariness) many generations ago. The author’s creative imagination changed Wonderland in many ways that I could have never dreamed of, such as the changing of the execution style. Instead of “off with their heads”, the Queen devised a horrible simple machine to take the prisoners feet off. We get to see more of the White Rabbit’s home and family and there is deception from the past in Lason’s family. Her grandmother disappears and Lason dives right into Weariland to solve the mystery and has to figure out everything on her own. I’m glad that Lason’s mother became stronger for her daughter as the story progressed. I grew to care for her as much as I cared for Lason. The danger and suspense kept me hooked – 4 stars!

Remake by Ilima Todd

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Remake by Ilima Todd is told in parts. Part one describes the lifestyles of batchers and the decisions they get to make when they turn seventeen- gender choice, occupation choice and physical appearance choices. Nine finds out that she is an experiment and that’s why she looks different from the other batchers with her red hair and freckles. On the trip to have their choices come to fruition, the shuttle crashes in the ocean and Nine is the only surviving batcher of her group. Part two begins when Nine washes onto a beach and is rescued and taken care of by a loving family that grows to love Nine as she grows to love them. Feeling safe, Nine decides she wants to remain with Kai and his family, but then her tracker goes off and the family knows it needs to be removed for everyone’s safety. ¬†Part three tells of Kai and Nine taking the canoe to The Rise, freedom rebels who will remove the tracker. ¬†Throughout this story many things come full circle for Nine and her eyes, heart and mind are opened. ¬†Remake is a touching story set in a sci-fi dystopian world – 4.5 stars!

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti

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Thanks to a Goodreads giveaway, I received a paperback advanced reading copy of The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti! I also received a NetGalley arc from Dial Press in exchange for a fair review!
Loo lives with her father Hawley as they travel from place to place without settling down for long in any one town. That is until they go to the town where Loo’s grandmother ( Loo’s mother Lily’s mother) lives. Lily drowned when Loo was quite young, so it’s just her and Hawley. Loo’s grandmother refuses to see or speak to them, but Loo and Hawley decide to buy a house and live in the town anyway. More than anything else, this book made me realize that every person has a story. Each chapter alternates between the present with Hawley and Loo and then to Hawley and his younger past. Each trip into the past explains how Samuel Hawley received another gunshot wound and scar. This story is sad in the fact that Loo and Hawley struggle with belonging and with lasting relationships besides their own. They are both lonely and seem somewhat lost in their presence and their place in the world. Loo tries to befriend others, but she has a temper and becomes physically angry too often. Hawley seems like he is just trying to get through and raise Loo in the best way he knows how. He is very lonely and misses his wife, Lily daily. Loo sees this loneliness. It’s almost like Loo and Hawley are stuck in a never ending cycle of danger and wrong choices. This book left me feeling how life is just a fleeting moment that passes too quickly. 4 stars.

The Winter People by Rebekah L. Purdy

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The Winter People by Rebekah L. Purdy is an enjoyable read and, first of all, the cover is gorgeous! So cover love definitely drew me into the book along with the promise of a frosty supernatural read. The poetry of Lord Byron sets the tone of icy winter and opens the story. The prologue describes the accident Salome survived when she was six years old. She fell into the frozen pond on her grandparents’s property and she heard voices. Since then, Salome has been terrified of winter. Now at the age of seventeen, she has to be the caretaker of her grandparents’ house and property in the middle of the dreadful winter. Colton and Salome have been secretly crushing on each other since elementary school and they finally begin to date. While she’s enjoying her new relationship with Colton, Salome meets Nevin, who mysteriously appears when she’s on her grandparents’ land. Salome is drawn to both guys, but unsure of both of them. I thought it was so cute when Colton took Salome on a sleigh ride to help her feel more comfortable with the cold weather. Salome’s safety is endangered when she believes a woodland supernatural creature attacks her several different times. Colton shows too much aggression in protecting Salome and scares her off. Nevin blurs reality and makes Salome doubt her feelings for him. Gareth, who she met at the local coffee shop, makes her feel the safest. For each season represented, a famous author (such as Edgar Allan Poe) is spotlighted with a piece of their writing. This romantic winter fantasy, full of the Fae, is an entertaining read and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel, Summer Marked. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, setting and characters but there are a few grammatical errors, so I’m rating the book 4 stars!

Ward Against Death by Melanie Card

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Teen for the opportunity to read and review Ward Against Death by Melanie Card! Ward, a necromancer, and Celia, an assassin meet and against all odds become teammates working together to find out who killed Celia. Ward is a physician who is not allowed by law to practice medicine, so he uses his skills to wake recently deceased people to talk to them for a short time and find answers about their deaths. He was performing a wake on Celia for her family. When she woke, she escaped because she was determined to find her killer. The wake should last only fifteen minutes but Celia stays awake longer! A broad mix of symbolism and magic create a dark sense and the humor lightens the story; 4 stars for an interesting mix of fantasy and supernatural fiction and fun characters!