Dark breaks the dawn by Sara B. Larson is a fairytale retelling of Swan Lake. It’s Princess Evelayn’s 18th birthday and she’s gotten her full powers like she’s supposed to. They are more amazing than she expected. She is happy when her mother, Queen Ilaria, makes it home on the night of her birthday. Only too soon, her mother leaves for battle once again. When the queen is struck down in battle, the kingdom is devastated. Evelayn vows to do whatever it takes to restore peace to her people. The complex world building and character descriptions are amazing and beautiful. I love the colors of skin, hair and eyes and the endless combinations of those attributes on the people of the kingdoms. I was rooting for Evelayn and Tanvir throughout the whole book. An adventure fantasy and a fairytale retelling all in one. 5 stars!
Thanks to NetGalley and SOURCEBOOKS (non-fiction) for the opportunity to read and review A Beginner’s Guide to Losing Your Mind by Emily Reynolds! This helpful and down to earth book involves diagnosis, self-care, dating, education, self-harm and suicide, family and friends, the Internet and recovery and relapse as the chapters listed in the table of contents. The introduction describes the author’s personal experiences of depression and what she went through before diagnosis. This down to earth book offers realistic advice, help and ideas of how to overcome and maintain mental illness. The author shares everything to help others that are struggling and to encourage those that feel like there’s no hope. The book also includes a list of resources and hotlines for help and getting questions answered; breathing and relaxation exercises as well as ideas for a mood diary. I feel that teenagers could benefit from this helpful book and I plan on purchasing it for the library. 5 stars.
Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson Fiction for the opportunity to read and review The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber. The futuristic setting involves gaming with teenagers and children as the pawns. Sofi and her brother are part of the games because their mother is in charge of them and forced them to participate. An explosion occurs and her brother Shilo is kidnapped. Sofi contacts people that she knows are skilled enough to help her retrieve Shilo. Sofi has visions showing her what Shilo is going through, who he is with and where he is, all from his point of view. Sofi and her comrades discover what is happening to her brother and other children and it’s more horrific than they would have ever believed! The story ends on a cliffhanger, making me anxious to read the sequel entitled ‘Reclaiming Shilo Snow’. 4 stars for this sci fi dystopian!
The Scarlet Tanager by Emigh Cannaday is the third book in the Annika Brisby series and it begins where The Silver Thread leaves off, with Annika’s kidnapping. I was so angry at Talvi when I thought he was flirting with his work partner and very relieved in the next chapter when his purpose was brought to light. I absolutely love Finn and how he takes great care with Annika and Talvi seems extremely selfish compared to Finn. When Annika loses her memory, she seems completely content with Finn. I think he treats her like a queen. The narrator performs the characters’ voices perfectly and endeared the characters to me. 5 stars for an elaborate fantasy in a complicated world!
M school by Kevin T. Johns packs a punch! Lilith has the emotions and mannerisms of a sociopath. She blends into school life fine and she’s a great goalie for their soccer team. The captain of the team and Lilith’s best friend is brutally murdered and the loss devastates the school. The soccer coach approaches Lilith and states that he needs a replacement for Lara. Immediately, Lilith thinks he means as a soccer captain and when he states that’s not the replacement he needs, she assumes it’s as a sex partner replacement and she becomes extremely and awkwardly uncomfortable. It takes the coach a bit to realize what she’s thinking. He’s a bit flabbergasted, but the truth is even harder for Lilith to believe. Coach Taylor and Lara are undercover agents for M School and they’re trying to take care of The Dissidents, a domestic terrorist organization. Lilith’s life changes completely after she is recruited to M School. Her parents believe that Lilith will be attending school for gifted students but she’s going to become a trained killer. All Lilith wants is vengeance for Lara’s murder but she gets so much more. The M School setting is creative and the characters are strong, but in turmoil. 4 stars for this action packed adrenaline rush of a story!
I received an arc from author for a fair review.
The newest addition to the Kennedy Boys series by Siobhan Davis, The Irish getaway throws us right back into the never dull, sometimes chaotic lives of the Kennedy family. The cheese factor is high with Ky and Faye and everyone calls them out on it, humorously. The interestingly complex parts of the story involve a mystery dealing with Rach, the conflict between Kal and Lana, the group fight, the sisterly contention between Faye and Whitney and the odd, but funny conflict triangle with James, Adam and Alex. I also enjoyed the bonus reads about Ky, Faye, Brad, Kalvin and Lana that are included with the arc. Thanks Siobhan, for the extra reading material! 5 stars for this quick read addition to the Kennedy Boys series.
*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.
Thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for the opportunity to read and review The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones. Dee has received an academic scholarship to attend the boarding school she now lives at. The scholarship funds have been cut and Dee dreads going home to her dysfunctional family. Dee sees a demon. Only humans that want something can see demons. The demons seem to be an epidemic in the community and Dee needs money for boarding school. She makes a twenty-four month deal with the Agathodaemon. The demon gives Dee what she wants and keeps her heart for the entire time of their covenant and Dee has to do his bidding for the same amount of time. After making the deal, Dee holds a portal open for James and Cal and she has no idea what is going on. She’s sent to help close another void with James, Cal and Cora and she realizes that they don’t understand the voids either. The story gradually explains the background of each member of the group and how they made their deal with the demon. Together they made an interesting team. I enjoyed the characters but they weren’t as complex as I would have liked. The story concept changes and it becomes more science fiction than supernatural. The ending is the best part of the story, touching and heartfelt. 4 stars for a unique book.
Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Children’s for the opportunity to read and review Little Monsters by Kara Thomas! Kacey and her younger stepsister, Lauren, sneak out of the house with Bailey and Jade, two of Kacey’s friends. On a Friday night, they venture to the local haunted site and the snowy roof collapses in on them. They’re spooked and run away. Alternately, Bailey tells the story of the night she supposedly caused the popular high school football player to wreck and her story continues to be told throughout the rest of the book using her journal entries in interspersing chapters. Bailey and Jade attend a party and Bailey is not seen again. She’s reported missing and the community rallies together to help find her. The suspect list changes and grows while Bailey is still missing and presumed dead by most of the community. The suspicion and the suspense keep twisting and kept me riveted to the very end. 5 stars for this realistic mystery!
Trust by Kylie Scott opens when Edie is unknowingly caught in a convenience store during a robbery gone bad. John happens to be there also and he saves their lives because he happens to know the shooter, who is a friend of John’s older brother Dillon. The shooter is a drug addict with erratic behavior and ends up shooting the store clerk and Isaac, a young man who was with John. Edie feels extreme gratitude for John’s actions and lets the police know what he did. Edie changes schools after the robbery and enrolls in John’s school without realizing it. She’s surprised to see him in English class and he’s just as surprised to see her. Edie learns about his background but she isn’t deterred from being grateful to him. John and Edie become friends and rely on each other to cope with their experiences at the convenience store. Edie is cute and keeps to herself and John becomes protective of her. He’s also turning his life around. They are funny together and they made me laugh several times throughout the book. Realistic fiction with some new adult content, Trust is a great story that I couldn’t put down and I want to visit the characters again-5 stars.
Beast by Megan Crewe caught my interest immediately! The opening of the story sets the tone of suspense and the tale is refreshingly told entirely from a male point of view. Max has been best friends with Davey since kindergarten. They throw a party at the lake with a bunch of friends and then Davey is horribly gouged by a beast that defies description. Davey’s external wounds heal miraculously fast while they speed to the hospital. He stays with Max and while Davey looks fine on the outside, he has violent flu symptoms. Eventually the symptoms stop and Davey feels better but he’s changed. His friends try to help every way they possibly can but they grow frightened of Davey as he becomes violent and erratic. This thriller kept me riveted and I read it straight through because of the suspense. 5 stars for a young adult supernatural horror!