Haunting the deep by Adriana Mather is the sequel to How To Hang a Witch by the same author. It’s great to be back in Sam’s life. I find the historical connections that the author has to her books’ content amazing. The historical connection has Sam as a descendant of Cotton Mather in the first book, How To Hang a Witch and ancestors that survived the Titanic tragedy for this book! Sam has been ghost free for six months now and suddenly she’s seeing apparitions again. Abby, who asks Sam for her boot hook, and a dripping wet man that smells like sea water are appearing. The ghosts end up complicating Sam’s life again, but this time she has help from the Descendants. Sam has received mysterious objects and has been dreaming of being a passenger on the Titanic. While Sam is dreaming of being on the Titanic, she has no memories of her present self and she’s being manipulated by an unknown person or spirit. Elijah is helping to figure out what or who is causing the hauntings also. When Sam figures out who’s causing the problem behind the ghostly episodes, she needs all the help she can get! 5 stars for this fun, suspenseful sequel!
Thanks to NetGalley and Simon Pulse for the opportunity to read and review The Rattled Bones by S.M. Parker. Rilla lives with her grandmother. After her father dies, she’s unsure about college because she worries about leaving her grandmother and she wants to keep her father’s fishing business going. The story is a bit odd but starts to pick up around chapter four when Rilla meets Sam on the small island where he’s doing research on an archeological dig. Sam knows about the Malaga Island history and he shares his research with Rilla. Rilla is worried that she’s following her mother’s footsteps because she’s seeing a ghost and hearing her voice. Rilla’s mother talked to the water people and she left her family when Rilla was very young because she wanted to keep her family safe. All Rilla knows about her mother is that she waded into the ocean with heavy rocks in her pockets weighing her down and then she admitted herself into a mental institution. Rilla has kept the apparition to herself and continues to do so until she grows comfortable enough with Sam to confide in him. She also needs his help to keep herself safe and to figure out the ghostly mystery. Little by little, the two of them piece together the visions and the island’s history and uncover a tragic event that connects Rilla and her family to Malaga Island. I love it when authors share their research with readers and explain their reasoning behind the story they’ve created. When a book is based on historical facts, I always want to dive into the research and study the truth that helped create the fiction. 4 stars for an intriguing story that pulled me into a lesser known part of American history.
Thanks to NetGalley and Feiwel & Friends for the opportunity to read Berserker by Emmy Laybourne! Hanne has inherited Norwegian Berserker powers and supposedly this is what drove her mother away. Hanne lives with her drinking father, two brothers and a younger sister. Her eldest brother Steig wants to move to America, get a teaching job and bring his siblings to America when he has enough money. Hanne’s story alternates with Owen Bennett’s, who’s treated badly by his family because he’s the product of Mr. Bennett’s past affair. Hanne is overtaken by the Berserker powers when she senses that her family is in danger and she kills the three men that mean to cause harm to her family and her father ends up dying also. The four siblings run away from their home. Meanwhile, two men, Rolf and Ketil, are sent by a Baron, their employer, to hunt down any Nytte, anyone with Norwegian descent that has inherited Viking strengths. They all travel to America. Owen meets the siblings when he saves Sissel from a moving train so she can be with her family. Owen becomes the family’s guide. Along the way to their uncle’s home in Montana, the group braves many setbacks and they also meet Ketil and Rolf. The story comes full circle with much action and adventure involved and the loyalty of friends and family is what I enjoyed the most in this book. 4 stars for a suspense filled mythological adventure!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary consideration.
The Last of the Firedrakesby Faarah Oomerbhoy is a tale about a girl named Aurora. Aurora had been with her adoptive family since she was two years old until their fatal car accident and now she’s living with her adoptive father’s brother and his family. Her aunt is rude and lets Aurora know often that she’s not cared for and her cousin gives her the same treatment. The family visits an estate where Uncle christopher gives Aurora away to a dangerous looking man, named Lord Oblek. Lord Oblek takes her back into the tapestry that he came out of. Aurora is taken to a prison and placed in a pit with other prisoners who are scheduled to be executed the next morning, Kalen and Finn. The two of them are Fae and each has a distinct personality. The Black Wolf, Rafe who is a mage, saves all three from the prison confines. When they arrive at their safe meeting place, Rafe discovers who Aurora truly is as she tells him how she came to be a prisoner. Aurora is the rightful heir to the kingdom that Morgana stole from the king and queen when Aurora was two years old. Aurora needs to stay hidden or Morgana will have her killed just as she killed the king and queen all those years ago. The safest place for Aurora, according to Rafe, is with her granduncle Duke Gabriel Silverthorne. Once she has met the duke and his family, Aurora is sent to attend a magic school, Evolon, to receive magical training. On the way she meets with a thousand-year old Fae that changes Aurora’s appearance so Morgana will not find her. Aurora now goes by Rory and she’s enjoying and learning from her classes but she’s still trying to get used to her plain appearance a little at a time. This book has many similarities to Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings but stands well on its own merits of dynamic characters, increasing plot twists and conflict. The setting is described beautifully and The Last of the Firedrakes is a wonderfully told fantasy worth 5 stars!
The Rise of the Dawnstar by Farah Oomerbhoy was fantastic! Wow, this sequel to the Last of the Firedrakes really packs a punch! Full of action, adventure, intrigue and plot twists, this story continues to pull me further into its world. Love, loss and uncovered secrets built intense relationships and kept my interest. I can’t wait for the next book in the Avalonia Chronicles. 5 stars!
Fires of Invention by J. Scott Savage is the beginning of a fun steampunk series. Trenton has always tinkered around with machines not realizing how much he enjoys it and how good he is at mechanics and engineering. He’s going against community rules- no inventing or improving technology. The authorities believe technology is dangerous and will destroy Cove. Trenton finds an interesting device when he fixes a machine and his life changes after that. He meets Kallista and together they dive into the greatest mystery surrounding their community. Fun and adventurous, this steampunk fantasy moves at a quick pace, 4 stars.
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.