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!
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!
The Syndicate by Sophie Davis impressed me with its mix of science fiction and history. The story begins with the Prologue during May, 1796 in Florence, Italy, which is being occupied by Napoleon and the French army. The main character, Stassi, has stolen Napoleon’s letter to Josephine and she’s running to ensure her escape. She’s helped by her partner Gaige. They work for The Syndicate as runners and travel to the past to procure requested items that rich people pay a good chunk of money for. Gaige and Stassi later travel to 1925 Paris to collect a Rosenthal manuscript and they attend a party celebrating Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and its publication. Along with finding the manuscript, a serial killer on the loose adds to the suspense and danger. The elaborate cover stories of the runners, the historical background and interesting, dynamic characters make this a very fun science fiction read worthy of a 5 star rating!
Thanks to NetGalley and Feiwel & Friends for the opportunity to read and review Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller! The princess is on a mission to rob the pirate ship, Night Farer. Princess Alosa has been sent by her father, the Pirate King, to steal a piece of the map that shows the way to the Isla de Canta., the island where sirens have placed their treasures throughout history. Alosa proves herself to be a very deceptive spy and a skilled fighter who can take care of herself. Riden, the brother of the Night Farer captain, knows Alosa is hiding secrets and wants to know what they are. Riden also seems to be more observant than anyone else she has ever met and Alosa isn’t sure how he can sense and see the changes in her as she uses her powers. Alosa is tough, has a clever intelligence and wit and I enjoyed her sarcastic comments throughout the story. Her focus and confidence help her through many tough struggles. Alosa’s secrets are revealed while her father’s story is told also. The story will continue in the sequel, Daughter of the Siren Queen, scheduled for release February 2018. 5 stars for an entertaining adventure fantasy!
Thanks to NetGalley and Knopf for the opportunity to read and review Gork, the Teenage Dragon by Gabe Hudson. This book is humorous and representative of teen angst through the portrayal of Gork. A silly dragon version of finding love, learning about family and growing up. A coming of age story with a sci-fi and fantasy twist. 4 stars.
Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson–Fiction for the opportunity to read and review Unblemished by Sara Ella. There’s a mystery surrounding El, her recently deceased mother and their pasts. El has a crimson birthmark on one side of her face and this has made her insecure, along with all the taunts and rudeness she has received from others throughout her lifetime. Her mother passed guardian responsibilities to Joshua, a young man El has known about three years. She’s almost eighteen and Joshua is only a few years older, so she finds this arrangement ridiculous. The world she knows is only a small part of the world she learns about and is thrown into. Alternate worlds or Reflections surround El and her true history. I enjoyed the book and movie references throughout the story and the humor brought with them. The worlds consist of many intertwined characters and their relationships as well as their skills. The author keeps the reader on top of everything and keeps it organized by having the main character, El, review as she learns, smart and helpful. Deep characters and a fantastic world rates 5 stars. The story continues in the sequel, Unraveling.
Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson–Fiction for the opportunity to read and review Unraveling by Sara Ella. The story continues on from Unblemished as El struggles with her role as Queen and her relationships with others. Her insecurities still hamper her ambitions and self-esteem, while many of the relationships she thought she understood keep changing. Her life and surroundings are unraveling. It ends as though there will be more to come. The story has many twists and the characters have many layers and more secrets continue to be revealed. This did get a bit tiring because I never knew what the characters were fully dealing with and could not get a grasp on what was going on, but I suppose that’s why the title is Unraveling. Interesting and complex characters and creative world building earn a 4 star rating.
Story continues in Unbreakable, scheduled for release May 2018.
Thanks to NetGalley and Inkshares for the opportunity to read and review It’s All Fun and Games by Dave Barrett. The prologue reveals an archer shooting at a group of friends. At first, it seems like a prank until they see that their friend is badly injured. Chapter One opens with teenagers planning a weekend trip to the woods for some LARPing- live action role-playing- and when they arrive in the woods, their roles are set out for them. They head out for their adventure and everything seems as it should be, for a while. The group meets other players at set stations and are given points, powers, caution and advice. Eventually, their roles, powers and enemies become real and they fall into danger. The commoners, thieves and creatures are real and so is the danger and violence. They have to rely on each other to survive. This unique book with a LARPing concept is fun, creative and original; 4 stars for a survival adventure wrapped up in a fantasy setting!
Thanks to NetGalley and Tor Teen for the opportunity to read and review an ARC of Roar by Cora Carmack! Aurora (Rora) is a princess among Stormlings, but she doesn’t have powers as she should. She’s been raised to believe that people that have powers are either royalty or were born with powers. She’s betrothed to Cassius Locke and they seem to be a good match because they are equally strong in character, then Rora overhears Cassius telling his family that things are working out just as planned and Rora feels as though she’s been deceived. She sneaks out of the palace to follow Cassius and ends up meeting people with storm magic that aren’t royalty and weren’t born with the magic. Her life completely turns around after that because she’s given hope for the first time in her life. There’s also a dark presence in the background, the Stormlord who wreaks havoc and causes devastation as he pleases. This complex story involves many sides and characters with agendas and back stories of their own. Dynamic, deep personalities bring intrigue, interest and suspense to the book. I enjoy Rora and Locke and their tumultuous relationship and the growth they share in becoming more aware of each other and how much they help each other. 5 stars for this nicely written fantasy adventure!
I voluntarily read and reviewed this book.
Dustrats! Or, the Adventures of Sir Muffin Muffinsson by Adria Regordosa is a picture book with silly, detailed illustrations. Beautiful colors make the illustrations pop and the cat, Sir Muffin, watches over and protects Emma as she rests. The dustrats scurry through the story’s pages and travel into each day of the week while visiting fascinating places. The dustrats start out as a nuisance but help Sir Muffin in the end. 4 stars for beautifully illustrated book! I voluntarily read and reviewed this book.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault by Candace Robinson. The sinister prologue spooked me and made me curious at the same time. Perrie is an only child living with her single father, since her mother left years ago. Her best friends are her next door neighbor and cousin, Maisie, and August, the teenage boy she has more than just friend feelings for. There’s an odd mystery about the breakup with her ex-boyfriend, Neven. One day, on their way home from school, Perrie, Maisie and August see a large building that they’ve never seen before, Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault. A sign stating there are job openings is hanging on the door. Curiously, Maisie has a job there by the next day. The characters are charming and the humor is refreshing, while something creepy lurks in the background. People are disappearing from their community and August and Perrie enter the Glass Vault when Maisie can’t be found. I don’t want to give anything away, but the twists floored me! A wonderful supernatural horror story full of fairy tale and historical retellings, worthy of 5 stars! Look closely at the cover for hints of retellings in this story!