Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and First Second Books for the opportunity to read and review Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld. Spill Zone is fan art geared toward young adults. The art feels frantic and rushed and the drab colors help portray the devastation that an environmental accident caused. The story is interesting, but dreary and a bit creepy. There is some swearing to show the amount of worry and danger of the story. I can see readers of graphic novels and dystopian stories enjoying this book- 3.5 stars.

The Marvelous Misadventures of Ingrid Winter by J.S. Drangsholt

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Received a free ebook as a Goodreads giveaway.
The Marvelous Misadventures of Ingrid Winter by J.S. Drangsholt is about a mother, wife and a college employee struggling to find happiness and contentment. Ingrid lives with her three children in a small house with her husband. She seems to be having difficulty with all aspects of her home and work life. Problems and misfortunes pile up and she feels overwhelmed. She mistakenly offers too much money for a house bid, things get crazier at work and little mistakes compound into bigger problems. A story that we can all relate to because sometimes life feels like it’s getting out of hand. 4 stars for this realistic fiction aimed toward an adult audience.

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

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Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick deserves a solid 5 star rating! Just the prologue is intense enough to make me want to read the book in one sitting. I have heard nothing but great things about the Hush, Hush series from my library patrons. Nora and Vee are best friends in their sophomore year of high school. A new student, Patch, becomes Nora’s desk partner in biology class. He is mysterious and stubborn and Nora finds him exasperating, but there is something about him that won’t let Nora get Patch out of her mind. Strange things keep happening to her, causing her to be spooked and cautious. She meets Elliot, a new student and she believes he’s hiding a sinister past. The mystery builds and, as Nora touches Patch’s v-shaped scar on his back, she gets pulled into a vision. The danger and suspense become intense and Nora finally learns the truth about her past and Patch’s. 5 stars for this engrossing supernatural story!

The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Books for the opportunity to read and review The Education of Margot Sanchez. Right off the bat, Margot Sanchez seems and acts like a spoiled brat who is lost and trying to find herself, but so self absorbed that she can’t see that she’s not the only person on earth that matters. She’s being punished for stealing while she was away at an expensive school and, now that’s she’s home for the summer, she has to work at her family’s supermarket to earn the money for what she stole plus enough money to pay for her tuition to attend the same school again in the fall. She feels as though she’s above working there and is embarrassed by her upbringing. During the summer, Margot’s eyes are opened slowly to some things, such as how she treats others, and opened quickly to how dysfunctional her family truly is. Margot matures and learns to value friendship and she begins to find herself and her place in the world. 4 stars for this believable realistic fiction story.

Redux by A.L. Davroe

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Redux by A.L. Davroe! Redux is more action packed than Nexis, the previous book in the Tricksters series. Ella is on a tumultuous ride between virtual reality and actual reality and her friends keep flip-flopping so she feels completely alone. Her society is in shambles and she wants to do everything she can to make it better and to make up for the problems that she feels she caused. The story is smoothly transitioned between the events taking place and the reader is given concise background information from the first book. The action has been pumped up to even include cannibals! Creepy, sci-fi dystopian fun. 4 stars!

The Boyfriend Whisperer by Linda Budzinski

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The Boyfriend Whisperer by Linda Budzinski is a fun, young adult clean read! Lexi has made a small business of helping young women gain the attention of guys they are interested in. She calls herself The Boyfriend Whisperer and no one knows it’s Lexi, except her assistant Abi. All seems fine until Lindsay hires the boyfriend whisperer to help her get Chris, Lexi’s best friend and long time crush. Lexi questions her matchmaking business, her friendships, her future as a basketball player and even her relationship with Chris. It becomes a roller coaster ride of teen angst and young love. This realistic fiction and romance story is cute and charming with a wide range of characters that keep Lexi on her toes; 5 stars for this enjoyable read!

Dragonwatch by Brandon Mull

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Dragonwatch by Brandon Mull! I absolutely love the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull and Dragonwatch is a continuation of that series, so I was excited to dive right in and devour the book! The prologue is told in the grandfather’s point of view. The story is told in alternating points of view with each chapter, taking turns between Kendra and Seth, the grandkids. Seth is a shadow charmer. Kendra is fairykind. The two siblings can charm dragons as long as they are together. Because of this, they have been asked to be caretakers of a dragon sanctuary, Wyrmroost. They are charged with finding a scepter that will help keep the sanctuary safe and, on their ques,t they run into many interesting creatures: dire bears, a troll and a very old dragon whose help they need. They work together well and it seems that Seth has become a bit wiser. It sure is nice to be back in the world of Fablehaven. 5 stars for this book that brings readers back to the adventurous Fablehaven life and I am looking forward to more books in this series!

Birthright by Jessica Ruddick

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and YA Bound Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review Birthright by Jessica Ruddick! Ava has always seen people’s auras in color and when she turned sixteen, she became a seeker for one of the many Grim Reapers. This is her inheritance. She seeks people with white auras that could become angels and then she tells Xavier (a Grim Reaper) the person’s name and he takes their life. Ava lives with her mother and they move quite often and don’t have much money. Her mother is a seeker also. She meets Cole when he saves her from getting run over by a car. They end up being project partners and have to do internship work together for 80 hours at the mechanic shop where he works. Ava and Cole annoy each other and the annoyance is described perfectly in this statement of Ava thinking about Cole; “He did a good job, worked hard, went the extra mile. God, it pissed me off.”. Funny! Another great line shows how mechanically inclined Ava isn’t, “I couldn’t tell you the first thing about a catalytic converter other than it was metal and shiny. And it probably converted something”. The down to earth sense of humor is great, the chemistry between Ava and Cole is charming and the fact that both of them have less than happy backgrounds makes them perfect for each other. An enjoyable supernatural read, 5 stars and I look forward to the sequel, Retribution!

Raising a Secure Child by Kent Hoffman

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Guilford Publications for the opportunity to read and review Raising a Secure Child by Kent Hoffman. This non-fiction book is all about parenting to help your child feel secure, comfortable and confident. As we all know, there’s a lot of parenting wisdom and advice for the taking and it seems like everyone is willing to share his or her opinion whether it’s wanted or not. This book describes a way to build self-esteem and the feeling of security from the time your baby is born. I like the idea of the simple act of letting your children know you are there for them and showing them, through your actions that you truly are, can build the security that we all need to succeed in life. I was interested in the sensitivity section and the checklist that helps us see our own shark music (a phrase given to how we defend ourselves unconsciously). My favorite line of the book is, “Self-esteem is built not from praise but from acceptance”. 4 stars for a helpful book that boosts self confidence and a well balanced childhood!

Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for the opportunity to read and review Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage. Ben lives next door to the Cillo family, who has recently lost their two daughters, Mira and Francesca. Ben secretly loves Mira and he’s devastated by her death. Mira left notes for Ben to find and to help him understand the mystery of the sisters’ deaths. The book has a confusing story line that jumps back and forth between characters and from past to present, sometimes randomly. For some reason, Francesca has bleeding holes appear in her palms and the causes of Connie’s allergic reaction are never stated. The story is based on possible delusional teens and the consequences when they believe one is a saint and things don’t work out as planned. The writing is well done and the characters feel pain and compassion but the story is just not my type,3 stars.