Colored Pencil Painting Portraits by Alyona Nickelsen is broken into seven chapters describing and exploring the use of colored pencils, alone and with other mediums. The increased quality of colored pencils has improved drastically and the last twenty years have shown tremendous strides in improved performance and the range of abilities of colored pencils. Descriptions of types of mediums clarifies usage and the examples of colored pencil creations are astounding and look realistic; 5 stars for an impressive artist and her instructional book that helps others aspire to her standards! I am planning on purchasing this book for the school library.
I read Mine by A.N. Seneralla due to a publisher (Inkitt) request. Anika does not like being social at all and will do about anything to avoid any contact or conversation with others. Foster just moved into town from Alaska and is now the new kid at school. Anika describes Foster as giant, at least a foot taller than any other guy at school. For some reason, Foster is possessive and overly protective of Anika and it’s freaking everyone out because he threatens and beats guys up if he thinks they are causing any harm to her. Foster also keeps making comments about knowing Anika for a while, longer than his short time as the new kid at school. The story unfolds and the characters and their backgrounds are explained in more detail. It’s a bit choppy and jumps around but the suspense and uncertainty make the story interesting and worthy of 4 stars. I voluntarily read and reviewed an arc of this book.
Thanks to NetGalley and Tor Teen for the opportunity to read and review an ARC of Roar by Cora Carmack! Aurora (Rora) is a princess among Stormlings, but she doesn’t have powers as she should. She’s been raised to believe that people that have powers are either royalty or were born with powers. She’s betrothed to Cassius Locke and they seem to be a good match because they are equally strong in character, then Rora overhears Cassius telling his family that things are working out just as planned and Rora feels as though she’s been deceived. She sneaks out of the palace to follow Cassius and ends up meeting people with storm magic that aren’t royalty and weren’t born with the magic. Her life completely turns around after that because she’s given hope for the first time in her life. There’s also a dark presence in the background, the Stormlord who wreaks havoc and causes devastation as he pleases. This complex story involves many sides and characters with agendas and back stories of their own. Dynamic, deep personalities bring intrigue, interest and suspense to the book. I enjoy Rora and Locke and their tumultuous relationship and the growth they share in becoming more aware of each other and how much they help each other. 5 stars for this nicely written fantasy adventure!
I voluntarily read and reviewed this book.
Dustrats! Or, the Adventures of Sir Muffin Muffinsson by Adria Regordosa is a picture book with silly, detailed illustrations. Beautiful colors make the illustrations pop and the cat, Sir Muffin, watches over and protects Emma as she rests. The dustrats scurry through the story’s pages and travel into each day of the week while visiting fascinating places. The dustrats start out as a nuisance but help Sir Muffin in the end. 4 stars for beautifully illustrated book! I voluntarily read and reviewed this book.
Ignite by Danielle Rogland begins with an intense prologue of a fire in a home with a young child and both parents being shot. The story is told in the alternating points of view of Jacks, Corry, Zira and Jeremy as they hide and rebel against the government and the head of that government, Donovan. This futuristic dystopian has all the intrigue and danger needed to grip readers and give them a cause worth rooting for. The story confuses at first because of the new terms used in the world building but it all gets figured out through the reading. The characters deal with homelessness, gangs, loss and relationship ups and downs. They also live with constant suspicion of others because they aren’t sure who they can trust. All in all, Ignite makes an interesting young adult dystopian read; 4 stars. I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault by Candace Robinson. The sinister prologue spooked me and made me curious at the same time. Perrie is an only child living with her single father, since her mother left years ago. Her best friends are her next door neighbor and cousin, Maisie, and August, the teenage boy she has more than just friend feelings for. There’s an odd mystery about the breakup with her ex-boyfriend, Neven. One day, on their way home from school, Perrie, Maisie and August see a large building that they’ve never seen before, Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault. A sign stating there are job openings is hanging on the door. Curiously, Maisie has a job there by the next day. The characters are charming and the humor is refreshing, while something creepy lurks in the background. People are disappearing from their community and August and Perrie enter the Glass Vault when Maisie can’t be found. I don’t want to give anything away, but the twists floored me! A wonderful supernatural horror story full of fairy tale and historical retellings, worthy of 5 stars! Look closely at the cover for hints of retellings in this story!
I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book. Thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the opportunity to read and review How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake. This story is about a dysfunctional flaky mother and her teenage daughter, Gracie, who is tired of how her mother acts. Her mother can’t settle down in one place for long AND she’s never in a relationship for long either AND she never takes the blame for her actions. This is all driving Gracie crazy because all Gracie wants is peace, happiness and contentment and to be able to focus on her goals. Gracie is a pianist and she wants to attend college in New York. She finally finds happiness with her friends, who are more of a family to her than her mother ever has been. Young adult content and LGBT diversity broaden the story to make an interesting realistic fiction read, 4 stars.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book. Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for the opportunity to read and review Say No to the Bro by Kat Helgeson. The story is told through the alternating points of view of Ava and Mark. Ava is the daughter of the new high school football team coach and Mark is the quarterback. The school holds a Prom Bowl fundraiser each year to raise money for Prom. Girls are chosen to be bid on and Ava is on the list as the wild card. She doesn’t want any part of the Prom Bowl, but her dad wants her to be supportive of their school. The Prom Bowl is a school supported activity, but when crazy parties are thrown under the Prom Bowl name, things get out of hand and come crashing down. Strong characters and tightly woven plot make the book interesting and hard to put down. I read it straight through. 5 stars for a story with food for thought and realistic fiction that shows hypocrisy and integrity.
I thoroughly enjoyed Shearwater by Derek Murphy. The book opens with an intense prologue of a woman being stabbed by a man and then she grabs the knife and stabs him. Then they both plunge off the cliff and into the water. The first chapter jumps to thirty two years later and the main character, Clara Clark, is waiting for her parents to show up and watch her perform at her high school. While she’s singing, police show up to tell her that her parents perished in a car accident. Her mother’s will states that if something happens to her parents, guardianship goes to her grandfather in Ireland, her mother’s father. The problem is, she didn’t even know he existed. The longer she’s in Ireland, the more mysterious and strange her surroundings become and she begins to learn piece by piece why her mother left Ireland behind all those years ago. On her sixteenth birthday, her looks become more defined, sleek and beautiful and now she truly resembles her mother. Her heritage is slowly revealed and the mystery around the killings grows deeper. The creative story and plot make this a very interesting read and complex characters, mythology and historical legends of mermaids, Atlantis and humans weave together for a fun fantasy read; 5 stars!
I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of Hearts Are Like Balloons by Candace Robinson! The story begins with May in her teen years helping her mom take care of her cancer stricken father. The story continues on with May and her mother trying to deal with the loss of their loved one, after her father took his own life. They handle things differently and in their own ways but eventually they move forward with their lives, still keeping him close to their hearts. This book is about relationships, tragedy, friendship and love and is a tear-jerking read; both sad and happy tears. It’s also a soothing balm to help heal wounds and sadness. I love Hearts are like Balloons with its humor and strong characters. 5 stars for this realistic fiction, romance story!