Once upon a time, Mer lives in the kingdom of Wales which is full of magic and conflict. Mer is a diviner of magic who wants a peaceful life after she’s escaped from the abusive prince. The spymaster that captured her for the prince years ago offers her a job that will give her revenge on the prince and lots of coin so she can start a new life somewhere safe. She meets the rest of the group that includes a lord’s cousin with a gambling debt, a man who seeks revenge, a man that made a deal with the Otherfolk and a past acquaintance who happens to be an excellent thief. The banter and dynamics keep their journey interesting and the danger builds to intense levels. Mer will have to choose between herself and others and that will help decide her fate and the fate of the kingdom. Incredible world building, 5 stars!
Likes/dislikes: The prose is beautiful and the world building is incredible. I love the variety of characters, especially the Corgi dog. I like how this book ties into the author’s book, The Bone Houses. The ethnicity is European. Language: PG for one swear and no f-bombs Violence: PG-13 Bandits burning homes with families inside. A young girl being taken from her family. Fighting to the death. A knife buried by the prince into a spy’s eye. A water horse bites a man in half. A giant magical boar stabs a man with his tusk. Mature Content: PG for kissing.
Red is traveling in an RV to Florida with her friends to spend a week celebrating spring break together. They lose cell service and GPS capabilities then end up down a dead end road getting a flat tire. After replacing the flat tire with the spare, Red sees a red dot hovering around the RV and yells at the others to notice. They ignore her until they hear the gunshots that take out all four tires. The group runs into the RV for protection. The shooter leaves a walkie talkie for communication and tells them that one of them has a secret they need to share. The secret is going to be revealed, one way or another!
Likes/dislikes: Oliver is annoying because he’s a know-it-all with a superiority complex. The mystery is interesting to try to unravel when a few characters allude to having secrets. The suspense builds intensely, which makes a riveting read.
Mature Content: PG-13 for drinking
Language: R for 20 swears and 105 f-bombs.
Violence: PG-13 for Someone shoots at the RV and holds the travelers hostage inside. The sniper fatally shoots an elderly couple that stop to help. Bloody shootings. Attack with a knife.
Ethnicity: Mixed, Korean, Mexican, white, African American
Ryn, Gareth and Ceridwen are siblings living alone since their mother died and their father went to the copper mine and never returned. Ellis is a mapmaker traveling in the mountains when Ryn finds him being attacked by a dead man that’s risen and she promptly saves him. The three siblings are barely scraping a living but they’re loyal to each other. Ellis wants Ryn to be his paid guide through the mountains so he can make a map and try to discover his origins. Ryn agrees because she wants to search for her father in the mine and also stop the rising dead, the bone houses. They travel together through dangerous terrain with bone houses all around and find the reason behind the curse. A wonderfully immersive story, 5 stars!
Language: PG for 8 swears, no f-bombs
Mature content: PG for kissing
Violence: PG for dead bodies rising and trying to harm people. Axe and sword cutting of the risen dead.
Likes/dislikes: I love this tale of bravery, mystery and loyalty set in a fantasy world. Ryn and Ellis are my favorite characters even though they’re very different from each other. I like that the author wrote this story out of respect for Lloyd Alexander’s books and the love that she has for his writing since her childhood.
Setting: An imaginary village, Colbern, is where Ryn lives with her siblings.
I had never heard of tone policing or some of the other vocabulary until reading this book. The world is complicated and it would be nice if we didn’t have so many problems getting along and relating to each other. It’s sad, frustrating, heartbreaking and ridiculous that racism is so prevalent. I appreciate this book and how each term is identified, explained and then reviewed. White supremacy and other racist actions are addressed. Each topic is given an example, defined and discussed then the section ends with a recap and reflection. I like how the book is organized and I learned a great deal more about racism when I thought I understood it well already. Straightforward and non-judgmental, 5 stars!
In an imaginary Britain, Anya sends her sister off to give a sacrifice to the god but when Ilva returns she has sacrificed everything and soon dies. Anya vows to kill the god so no one else will ever have to sacrifice to him again. She travels under the guise of a willing sacrifice while learning everything possible to kill the god. Along the way, she learns a great deal about herself, what it means to be a family, loyalty, dedication and love. She meets wanderers and befriends them as they teach her and protect her. She also meets the mysterious thief Tieran who is an enigma to everyone he spends time with.
Likes/dislikes: I love Anya and her determination. I enjoyed uncovering Tieran’s mysterious nature while reading the story. I like how the story ended and all that was revealed throughout the book. Language: G for no swears, bitches is used once to describe female dog. Mature Content: PG for kissing Violence: PG for mutilations and death
Set in a fantasy world full of Scottish folklore, the kingdom of Glenmoor is searching for the lost prince and princess. Farrah is part of a group that has safely hidden and helped Tavish so that he can soon take his place as the rightful king but he never makes it; his body is found and rumors abound that a kelpie may have taken his life. Prince Tavish has been hidden for his entire life after he and his sister, the princess, went missing when they were very young. Now, a person claiming to be the lost prince has arrived at the castle and is calling for his sister to also return. Every village sends princess hopefuls to the castle to go through testing. Farrah accompanies a group traveling to the castle to protect those she’s with; her job is to pretend to be the princess and take the danger upon herself therefore protecting the other young women. The trip to the castle is just the beginning of the danger and deceptions are uncovered the further Farrah investigates. A great start to a new series! 4 stars!
Likes/dislikes: The slow start kept me from getting into the book quickly but it soon picked up and became interesting. I like the author’s writing style and the character development. I enjoyed the mystery. Mature content: none Violence: PG for attack from kelpies, not detailed. Language: G – no swears or f-bombs
In a world where vampires exist, Ava Perry lives with her brother Parker, and Jacob, another foster kid, and their foster parent Deb. Ava’s and Parker’s Dad was killed in a suspicious mugging when they were really young and their mother was supposedly killed by a vampire less than a decade ago. Ava has always wanted to follow in her parents’ footsteps and become a magician and she wants revenge on the vampire that killed her mom. She meets magicians and is invited into their secret society, which turns out to be the home of vampire hunters who use their magic to kill vampires. While spending time with this society, Ava discovers the truth about her parents’ pasts and their deaths and does everything in her power to right the wrongs her eyes have been opened too. 3.5 stars for an original story!
Likes/dislikes: The beginning of the story doesn’t flow well so it’s difficult to keep important details straight. The connections between the vampires/vampire hunters/magicians were confusing for a while until more of the background was explained. By mid-book, the story picked up momentum and grabbed my interest more. Language: R for 54 swears and 3 f-bombs Mature content: PG Violence: PG-13 for bloody deaths, stabbings and shootings
Maude has a plan to completely leave her current life. She’s not wanted at her Dad’s or her Mom’s and they tend to forget when it’s their custody week. Maude has saved and planned for years to make this work and she seizes the opportunity to leave when her Mom’s in-laws book a Hawaiian vacation. She hasn’t planned on her step-cousin to discover her passports or want to join her because her life is miserable too, but Frankie goes along with the plan. They fake their drowning and run. Things become chaotic, dangerous and crazy after that. Their lives are endangered, they’re chased by the authorities and they discover more about their families than they wanted to know. A fast-paced mystery, 4 stars!