Proof of Lies by Diane Rodriguez Wallach

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to Entangled Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review Proof of Lies by Diana Rodriguez Wallach. Anastasia lives with her sister Keira in their family home after their parents died in an accident a few years earlier. Keira gave up medical school and works as a nurse to take care of her younger sister. The morning after a party, Keira disappears, leaving behind a bathroom full of blood and no sign of a body. A distraught and depressed Anastasia knows Keira is alive and needs help. Their mutual best friend Charlotte is amazing with technology and she’s helping with Keira’s case. Charlotte’s parents are Anastasia’s legal guardians now. As Charlotte and Anastasia hunt for clues, the mystery deepens and more people become a part of the mystery, either as suspects or helpers or both. I love this book and it made me realize how much I enjoy mysteries. Proof of Lies became unputdownable and I was pulled into Anastasia’s life and her searches across the globe. The author’s writing is flamboyant, smooth and believable. The clever writing and word play are entertaining, such as, “It felt like I was one giant headache lately – eat, sleep, breathe, Tylenol.” Great humor! I appreciate the facts at the end of the story and the excerpt of book two of the Anastasia Phoenix series, Lies That Bind. Clean read worth 5 stars!

Fanning the Flames by Chris Cannon

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to Entangled Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review Fanning the Flames by Chris Cannon, the fourth book in the Going Down in Flames series. It has been a while since I read the first three books in this series, but the author’s writing brought the setting and the characters all back seamlessly and I was happy to be back in Bryn’s world again. The humor is refreshing and makes the story even better. The young dragons have now paired with friends to make temporary bonds that strengthen both individuals. Each class of dragon has a pair and together they are searching for hidden doors beneath the library that conceal artifacts and weapons from generations of dragons. The Directorate wants to study these finds and keep on top of any rebellions that might pop up. Bryn continues to stir things up in the stuffy, uptight dragon society while she continues living with her grandparents. She seems to be softening her grandparents up also. I can see this series continuing because of the added plot twists and surprises. This enjoyable fantasy series is fun and intense at the same time – 5 stars!

Weariland by Mary Shotwell

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to YA Bound Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review Weariland by Mary Shotwell! This fairy tale retelling of Alice in Wonderland kept me riveted. The suspense, danger, mystery and riddles pulled me in so strongly that I wanted to read the book in one sitting. Lason (like Jason with an L) is a descendant of the first Alice that fell into Wonderland (now called Weariland because of the dreariness) many generations ago. The author’s creative imagination changed Wonderland in many ways that I could have never dreamed of, such as the changing of the execution style. Instead of “off with their heads”, the Queen devised a horrible simple machine to take the prisoners feet off. We get to see more of the White Rabbit’s home and family and there is deception from the past in Lason’s family. Her grandmother disappears and Lason dives right into Weariland to solve the mystery and has to figure out everything on her own. I’m glad that Lason’s mother became stronger for her daughter as the story progressed. I grew to care for her as much as I cared for Lason. The danger and suspense kept me hooked – 4 stars!

Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger

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Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger is a unique story involving mythology characters that control the weather. Vane lost his parents in a tornado when he was younger, while he was saved by a mysterious girl that haunts his dreams. Now she’s interfering in his social life, but he isn’t sure what’s going on. She, Audra, shows herself to Vane and he’s relieved that she is real. At the same time, he’s confused about what she’s telling him he is and what they have to do. Audra blames herself for the death of Vane’s parents and her own father. Audra and Vane have to conquer the Stormwalkers and they have a limited amount of time to prepare. Their relationship goes for a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, but they learn to trust each other and build strength together. I give Let the Sky Fall 4 stars, for the first in a series that brings romance, action and fantasy together for a clean read!

Island of Exiles by Erica Cameron

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Teen for the opportunity to read and review Island of Exiles by Erica Cameron! The story begins with a group of desert dwellers racing home to beat the storm that is heading their way. Once home, the main character, Khya, is worrying about her sixteen year old brother, Yorri, who will be facing the Herynshi ritual that will decide whether he has magic or not. So far, Yorri hasn’t shown any signs of magic. The dusty, wind blown world that the author creates with her picturesque words feels real while reading the story. I could almost hear the wind and see the long tunics blowing around the characters’ forms. Tessen keeps trying to get Khya to dance with him and she keeps ignoring him because she’s annoyed at how nonchalant he acts about his skills and strength, but I see Tessen as being humble about them. Yorri finally shows magical skills and is honored, but soon afterward he dies. There is a mystery surrounding his death and it takes a group of trustworthy friends to help solve it. My favorite line in the book, which Khya says to Tessen, “Your determination to get into trouble with me is odd.” Made me chuckle! The group finds so much more waiting for them outside of their community than they could have ever dreamed. My rating – 4 stars for this fantasy fiction set in a dangerous desert and full of charismatic characters!

Shades of Doon by Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon

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Thanks to NetGalley and Blink for the ARC of Shades of Doon by Carey Corp! I didn’t enjoy the beginning of this book as much as I did Doon and Destined for Doon. It took me 100 pages to become interested in the story and for it to really get going. The first part of the book was too cutesy for me and contained too many plugs for Disney movies. I love Disney, but that did get annoying. Once the action started, I enjoyed it immensely. The story came alive and the main characters (Verranica, Makenna, Jamie and Duncan) made the book enjoyable. Each book has a mission for one of the main characters and in this third book, Kenna and Duncan are separated from Vee and Jamie. I am looking forward to the fourth book of the series, and I give 4 stars to the Shades of Doon for the comfort of familiar characters!

Mona Lisa’s Secret by Phil Philips

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to Mystery Thriller Week and Phil Philips for the opportunity to read and review his book, Mona Lisa’s Secret. The action begins immediately with a supposed attack on the Mona Lisa painting hanging in the Louvre. In 1911, the real Mona Lisa was stolen by Joey Peruggia’s great grandfather, Vincenzo. Joey and his girlfriend, Maria, discover a secret room in the mansion he inherited and, lo and behold, they find the Mona Lisa inside! They plan on returning the original painting to the Louvre, but things quickly get out of hand. Full of action, adventure, twists, surprises and suspense and even allusion to more mystery, which makes this book fun for any mystery and action reader. The author’s descriptions of the France scenery and historical sites made me feel like I was actually there seeing it all in person! This written for adults story is a fairly clean read with a few swear words that are used as dialogue in swear worthy stressful events. I highly recommend this enjoyable mystery by giving it 5 stars!

Guardian of Secrets by Brenda Drake

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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 Guardian of Secrets by Brenda Drake! This second book in the Library Jumpers series is as awesome as the first book, Thief of Lies. The beginning of the book reacquaints us with the characters and adventures that took place in the first book. Gia and her comrades are trying to blend into a regular human lifestyle while continuing the search for the keys. Gia isn’t sure who she can trust and, at times in the story, who is deserving of her trust is unpredictable. Gia also meets someone who she thought was no longer alive. Her heart also goes on a roller coaster ride and back and forth between two guys that she deeply cares for. This story stretches Gia and her capabilities, but she hangs in there and becomes stronger because of it! I rate Guardian of Secrets 5 stars for action, intrigue and a fun fantasy adventure!

The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Keymaster Press for the opportunity to read and review The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova! This steampunk science fiction story begins in the middle of a mission. The mysterious White Wraith, Arianna, is a renowned thief and organ trader. She becomes drawn into helping a dragon, Cvareh, reach the Alchemists of Loom and the rebellion against the king that resides there. Along their way, they meet with old acquaintances, family members, help prisoner allies escape and surprise each other with the friendship and trust that grows between the two of them. Once they reach Loom, their eyes are opened to secrets and the resistance to the king that is actually occurring. The story ends on an intriguing cliff hanger. I rate this book 4 stars for the beautiful prose and intelligent and concise world building!

Valkyrie: The Runaway by Kate O’Hearn

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for the opportunity to read and review The Runaway by Kate O’Hearn, the second book in the Valkyrie series based on Norse mythology. Freya, Archie and Maya are still being punished for leaving Asgard and, while the challenge games are taking place, they are only allowed to watch one each day. But then Odin sends them on a mission back to earth and Freya learns much about her family and their secrets. The adventure and action are nonstop in this sequel and the intertwined characters make it even more interesting! I rate this book 5 stars for a fun, clean fantasy read!