Thanks to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for the opportunity to read and review A List of Cages by Robin Roe! Julian doesn’t feel as though he belongs anywhere, at school or at home where he lives with his uncle. He likes to hide in a small secret room behind the school stage where he can be alone and no one knows where he is. I immediately felt protective of Julian and hated how people assumed that he was stupid and treated him horribly. He’s had a tragic past and he’s presently living in an unhappy world. Adam knows Julian because his family fostered him for a while after the death of his parents until Julian’s Uncle Russell stepped into their lives and took Julian away. Uncle Russell is a force to be reckoned with and has more issues than anyone realizes. This tragic and touching realistic fiction story earns 5 stars!
Rowan Wood Legends by Olivia Wildenstein, the sequel to Rose Petal Graves, opens with Cat mourning Holly. Holly has passed away and Cat wonders if there was foul play. She discovers what happened to Holly and the reasoning behind her death. Cat seems to be going through a maze while blindfolded when it comes to figuring out who her friends are and who she can truly trust. Kajika, Ace and others are not what they immediately seem to be. The struggles with her identity and where she belongs continue to taunt Cat and she’s still keeping these questions and part of her life from her father. The romantic relationship she finally concedes too is cute and I want to read more! 4 stars for a fantasy with unanswered questions in a supernatural world.
*Rowan Wood Legends can be read as a standalone but does continue the story from Rose Petal Graves. Rose Petal Graves will be available to anyone who wants to read it first!*
Thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins for the opportunity to read and review The Scattering by Kimberly McCreight. This sequel begins where The Outliers left off then jumps ahead to six months later. Jasper and Wylie both feel guilty about Cassie. Wylie tries to save Jasper from jumping off a bridge after Jasper’s mom says she’s worried about him. Wylie gets to the bridge and while she’s looking for Jasper, police show up and arrest her, assuming she’s going to jump. Wylie finds herself in a hospital with other other Outliers, all young women, and the girls are told lies about why they have been committed as patients. People are constantly deceiving Wylie, or trying to and the most information she seems to get is half truth. Needless to say, Wylie doesn’t trust easily. She has a difficult time trusting her feelings also, because she’s an Outlier, but she’s learning to tell the difference between her feelings and other people’s feelings. This sequel has a floor-dropping ending also and I’m beginning to think that is the author’s writing style. 4 stars for another book full of mystery!
Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau is an intense fantasy adventure. Carys and Andreus are royal twin siblings hiding a secret from the kingdom. When the power outage overwhelms Garden City, chaos follows. Andreus helps fix the outage problem right before their brother Micah and their father, the king, are brought home from the warfront by the King’s guards. Both Micah and the king have been killed and the only witnesses to their deaths are soon killed also. The secret the twins are hiding is the sickness Andreus suffers from; it causes him weakness and is supposedly the curse that the seer prophesied after the birth of the twins. The Elders have set up a tournament for Andreus and Carys to compete against each other for the throne, since both the king and his heir are dead. The winner will be the new ruler of their kingdom. They compete unwillingly and try to make the tournament go in favor of Andreus. The danger builds and the suspicion grows stronger as Andreus and Carys struggle to learn who they can trust. It saddened me how quickly Andreus believed that his worth was above everyone else’s. I love the ingenious, clever way the story is told with the alternating points of view of Carys and Andreus and how they overlap at times. This way of telling the story makes the reader’s emotions take a roller coaster ride. I would love to see a map in the sequel and I give this book 5 stars for the adventure and intrigue!
The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight is an intense mystery that doesn’t completely unravel. Wylie has lost her mother in an accident and she can’t seem to overcome her loss. On top of this stress, her best friend Cassie is missing. Cassie’s boyfriend, Jasper, comes to Wylie’s house and shows her the texts he’s received from Cassie begging him to help her. Wylie and Jasper go on a treasure hunt of sorts looking for Cassie as they receive small clues a little at a time. They finally reach Cassie and the three of them find themselves in a situation comparable to a horror movie setting. Every time I thought I had the mystery figured out, something would change proving me wrong. The suspense and underlying mystery kept me reading to the end where, once again everything changed. I’m anxious to read the sequel, The Scattering. I give The Outliers 4 stars for a story that dropped the floor out from under me!
Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read and review Bad Girl Gone by Temple Mathews. Echo wakes up in a strange place and she’s having a difficult time getting her bearings. It’s too dark to make out much and as she’s feeling around she touches something stringy like hair. She realizes she’s not in her bedroom or even her home. She hears creepy laughing and screaming and what she thinks might be a cutting tool. She’s spooked and terrified and she’s told by a scary nurse/nun that she’s now in Middle House. The other residents are young people also and Echo assumes that Middle House is an orphanage but the truth freaks her out even more. She learns to accept being a Middle House resident and gains friendship and help from the others as she discovers why and how she was brought to Middle House. The beginning of the book led my mind one direction and the continuation led it to a completely different direction. I don’t want to give the mystery away because it’s the reason I kept reading. Reminiscent of Everlost by Neal Shusterman, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs and a tiny bit of The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. Bad Girl Gone is a supernatural romance surrounded in mystery, 4 stars.
Thanks to NetGalley and Simon Pulse for the opportunity to read and review When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon! Prejudice and pushy parents are a part of every culture and Dimple is tired of her parents shoving the culture of India down her throat when she just wants to be a young adult American. Her dream is to become a web developer. she’ll be attending Stanford in the fall but for the summer she’s attending Insomnia Con-six weeks of learning web design and development. Little does she know that her parents have prearranged a meeting with the young man they want her to eventually marry, Rishi. She knows nothing about Rishi and her parents kept her in the dark while Rishi’s parents told him everything. Rishi doesn’t realize that Dimple has no idea before it’s too late and they have a disastrous first meeting. They end up being partners for Insomnia Con and get the chance to know each other without the pressure from their parents. Dimple and Rishi have more in common than they could have guessed and they end up being very compatible. I think it’s creative and funny how they dubbed the small group of rude, arrogant rich kids, The Aberzombies and it made me smile every time it was mentioned in the book. The story of Dimple and Rishi is fun, eye-opening, romantic, full of friendship and loyalty, inspiring and, at times, heartbreaking. Beautifully written, entertaining and worth 5 stars!
Thanks to NetGalley and Delacorte Press for the opportunity to read and review Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow! A young woman named Charlie is found outside a hospital, hurt and alone. She’s treated in the hospital for seven days and then is taken to a psychiatric ward. She has cut herself to cope with the struggles in her life. She’s released from the ward and tries to get through it all one day at a time, and sometimes one moment at a time, while she finds a place to live and a job. Her social circle grows and she finds herself dealing with other’s problems and she wants to move forward not backwards. Girl in Pieces is a true pay-it-forward story and the author relays her own story and shares resources with readers at the end of the book. A deep, complex story as raw and realistic as life gets. 5 stars for this young adult realistic fiction story that’s inspiring and eye-opening.
Great mystery for middle school and early high school readers!
Skylar Robbins:The Mystery of Shadow Hills by Carrie Cross is an all new Nancy Drew-type detective story! Skylar loves investigating and her grandfather taught her true detective skills. The reader is transported into Skylar’s memories and daydreams. She’s stuck for eight weeks at her grouchy cousin’s old Malibu mansion while her parents travel abroad. Skylar attends summer school while she’s in Malibu, but she only has to go to an art class. The descriptions of the art assignments make me want to take the class too. Skylar makes friends and learns new things. I enjoyed the mysterious happenings because they were a bit spooky. I like the fact that the author’s writing allows the reader to be spooked along with Skylar, even though she’s a very practical person. Very fun middle school read, 5 stars!
Skylar Robbins and the Mystery of the Hidden Jewels by Carrie Cross is the second book in the Skylar Robbins series. Skylar and her parents are looking at new homes and Skylar wants to make sure she will be attending the same school; she doesn’t want to be the new kid. She believes there is an unsolved mystery in their new home and things become even more suspicious when the remodeling workers, which were recommended by the neighbors, are looking around and Skylar notices. Skylar and her friend Alexa work to solve the puzzle of the missing jewels of Xandra Collins, the previous owner of Skylar’s new home. The two friends also help each other cope with school problems, such as Alexa’s dyslexia and mean girl drama. This sequel in the Skylar Robbins series proves that young people can be great detectives too and being a true friend is very important. Skylar Robbins is the Nancy Drew for a new generation, 5 stars.
Skylar Robbins and The Mystery of the Missing Heiress is the third book in the Skylar Robbins series. The book opens with a mysterious poem by Xandra Collins that sets the mood for a good mystery. I love the puzzles and codes that are in the book to be solved and the reader gets to figure them out right along with the story. I also like how Skylar’s experiences teach us to stand up for ourselves, keep our integrity and persevere. Geared toward middle school and early high school, the Skylar Robbins books are fun and interesting mysteries. 5 stars!
I love the Skylar Robbins series; the perfect books for a cozy mystery read!
Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Omega by Jus Accardo! The sequel to Infinity focuses on the relationship between Noah and Ash. Ash has just literally run into Noah, but this isn’t the Noah she knows. The Noah she knows has supposedly committed suicide recently. The friction, chemistry and snark between Noah and Ash kept me entertained and the Omega mystery and danger the main characters are dealing with amped up the interest. The story becomes more complicated when two more characters are introduced. The ending leaves an opening for another sequel. 5 stars for a twisted science fiction read.