A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas tells the story of nineteen-year-old Feyre (pronounced fA-ru).  She is the youngest of three sisters, living in a small shack with their father. Their mother died eleven years ago when they were still well off. Since then, their father has been somewhat crippled and the family has lost everything. Feyre hunts and takes care of the family when no one else will. The eldest sister Nesta is a snooty brat and Elain, the middle sister, doesn’t seem to think herself capable but she’s much kinder than Nesta. Unknowingly, Feyre kills a High-Fae. He looked like an oversized wolf and she felt like her family could benefit from its pelt. A large beast shows up at Feyre’s family home looking for retribution and offers her the choice of death or to live in Prythian with the High-Fae. She chooses to live. It takes two days to get to the beast’s home and Feyre is treated as a guest. Tamlin, the shape shifting beast, makes sure to care for Feyre’s family so she won’t worry about their welfare. He also changed their memories of Feyre being taken into something pleasant. Eventually, Feyre becomes comfortable in Tamlin’s home and they build their acquaintance into something more. The faerie world is being threatened and Tamlin worries about Feyre’s safety, so he sends her home. Trouble compounds from that point. This is a love story, reminiscent of a Beauty and the Beast fairytale, with strong characters. I especially like Rhysand with his cunning, clever personality. A wonderful beginning to a riveting fantasy series, 5 stars!

The Leaving by Tara Altebrando

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Interesting mystery!
Thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury USA Children’s Publishing for the chance to read and review The Leaving by Tara Altebrando!
The story opens with the anticipation of people returning after being gone for eleven years, alternating between various points of view from the teens returning, individually and as a group, and their family members. Six kindergarten students were taken and five returned eleven years later with absolutely no memory of where they’ve been. Investigators and search parties found no evidence eleven years ago to help find the children but now, with the returned teens help and a few others, the investigation is making progress. The Leaving tells a tale of “what if?”, while addressing a controversial topic. 4 stars for this interesting mystery.

Whisper of the Tide by Sarah Tolcser

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A perfect read!
Thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for the opportunity to read and review Whisper of the Tide by Sarah Tolcser! The sarcastic humor shines right off the beginning of the story. Caro and Markos feel more mature in this sequel to Song of the Current and their worries have taken a toll on them. I enjoyed this book more than the first one and I think it’s because the world building had already been set up and the characters show tremendous growth. I enjoyed the side characters also, with their diverse personalities. Danger, intrigue, twists and interesting characters made me love this book. Diric, the pirate, is endearingly charming with all of his good and bad attributes mixed well together. Fun, adventurous and suspenseful and a perfect read for anyone with an interest in pirates and fantasy. 5 stars!

Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser

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Mythological fantasy!
Thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury USA for the opportunity to read and review Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser! Caroline and her father are smugglers that come across a tragic sight as they pull into a harbor; boats are ablaze and have been destroyed. The port was attacked by a ship passing through and no one understands the purpose of the attack. Papa is arrested for smuggling and Caroline makes a deal with the commander to deliver cargo, contents unknown, to Valonikos in exchange for Papa’s freedom. The cargo box is opened and Caroline finds a young man, Tarquin, inside. He’s supposed to be delivering a message about the assassination of the Emparch, a ruler. Caroline suspects that he’s not telling the complete truth. Eventually, Tarquin explains to Caroline who he really is. Once she hears his truth and they realize what’s at stake, their plans completely change. They now plan on going to a completely different place to save his sister. The danger increases and so does the death toll. The first part of the book shows the characters, their lives and builds the world of The Song of the Current. The second part brings action, intrigue and danger and I became concerned with the characters’ well being. The humor grows in the end also. The story ends with excitement for the future and anticipation for the sequel, Whisper of the Tide. 4 stars for this fantasy built with an author-created mythology!

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

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Thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for the opportunity to read and review Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer! Two teens that have each lost someone they love begin an ongoing anonymous conversation by adding to a letter left and then found next to a cemetery headstone. The conversation moves to email for convenience and these two strangers help each other grieve. Declan has lost his sister and his father is in prison and no longer part of their family. His mother has married Alan, who isn’t the nicest to Declan. Juliet has lost her journalist mother in a hit and run car accident and she lives with her father. Declan has an amazing best friend, Rev, that’s dealing with his own traumatic past and Juliet’s best friend, Rowan, is supportive and caring. The email relationship remains anonymous and grows deeper and more meaningful as their grief is dealt with together. Letters to the Lost melted my heart with the complicated storyline and endearing, real characters. I love everything about this story, from the caring, helpful teachers to the awkward friends to the dysfunctional family members. All of these components create a beautiful realistic fiction novel worth 5 stars!

Pixelated by L.S. Murphy

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Thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for the opportunity to read and review Pixelated by L.S. Murphy! Piper lives in Clarkton, Iowa and she just moved in with her mother and stepfather while her father takes a new job in Kansas. Piper had to leave all she’s familiar with and start her senior year of high school as the new kid in this very small town. Her mother works for the local paper, Clarkton Gazette, and has Piper help as a photographer, since that is her talent and career choice. Piper becomes part of the yearbook staff, thanks to the teacher and despite the yearbook editor, Morgan, who is immediately threatened by Piper. Small town gossip and assumptions make her life miserable. Piper feels as though everyone close to her has been lying to her and she’s devastated when she walks straight into her father’s lie. Her life is spiraling downward and she feels like she has absolutely no control over anything. A realistic fiction story with all the relationship struggles of real life. 5 stars for this intense book full of angst and clever characters!