A Messy, Beautiful Life by Sara Jade Alan

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Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review A Messy Beautiful Life by Sara Jade Alan. The story begins with theater students putting on a show with another school and describing how much fun the improv acts turned out. I kind of wish I could have been in that audience. Later, Ellie and her stepbrother Craig head to the beach and then to a house party after being invited by Jason, the guy who acted out improv with Ellie at the show. That’s how Ellie and Jason met, an improv performance. While Ellie is walking to a fire with Jason at the party, she falls and ends up at the hospital and everyone thinks she’s broken her leg. When her mom, Craig and her friends Hana and Quinn are visiting with Ellie in her hospital room, the doctor informs Ellie that she has cancer. I love how people rally around Ellie and how she keeps her attitude as upbeat as possible. The school counselor is fantastic, Ellie’s mom is amazing and Craig is the best stepbrother ever. The author’s note describes her own battle with cancer and her involvement with improv and the similarities she has with her character Ellie and just like Ellie, she had many people show true support when she needed it most. This heartwarming story is enjoyable to read and is full of endearing characters! 5 stars for this young adult realistic fiction!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary consideration.

The Skylar Robbins Mysteries by Carrie Cross

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Great mystery for middle school and early high school readers!

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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!

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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.

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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!

 

Fate by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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Fate by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, the second book of the Tattoo series, begins with Bailey back as the Third Fate, the Fate of Life. She is told by the other two Fates that her Reckoning would begin that night. Morgan visits Bailey and her friends at the mall, once again, and this time her gifts are mirrored pendants for each of them. Bailey doesn’t know what her Reckoning entails but eventually she learns that it involves making a choice that can affect her for eternity. Bailey and her friends meet immortals, some nice and some not so nice. The sense of humor and loyalty are brought into the sequel to Tattoo and make Fate a charming read , 5 stars!

Tattoo by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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Tattoo by Jennifer Lynn Barnes features four friends on an adventure together. Delia, Annabelle and Zo are friends with the main character, Bailey. Bailey has a crush on Kane Lawson, which is portrayed honestly and in an awkwardly cute way. We’ve all had similar crush experiences;). The four friends are shopping at the mall and purchase fun accessories to match their personalities. Bailey chooses temporary tattoos because she can’t decide on anything else. The tattoo set contains four temporary tattoos, one for each friend. Each girl’s item and tattoo gives them unique powers, which they realize eventually. These powers come in handy when they have to save their classmates from an evil mythological character. Tattoo is a fun fantasy with the great bond of loyal friends; 4 stars!

Fate’s Fables by T. Rae Mitchell

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Original Mix Media for the opportunity to read and review Fate’s Fables: One Girl’s Journey Through 8 Unfortunate Fairy Tales! Fate’s Fables, Book 1 of two books compiling Fate’s Journey, pulled me right in while reading the synopsis and I couldn’t wait to start reading this book. Chapter one starts off with Fate, a teenager, at the Seattle Public Library on the last stop of her very own book tour! Her fans are lined up for book signings and some of them are dressed up and playing the parts of her book characters. She leaves her book signing and takes a cab to her grandmother’s deserted bookstore, Fables Bookstore. She finds the place run down and also finds a stranger there. The stranger’s name is Finn. The two of them get pulled into the giant book of fables and Bruna Inkwell tells Fate that she must rewrite eight stories and give them each a happy ending to escape the book’s hold. Fate is funny and Finn is brave and familiar to Fate. I like their relationship with its ups and downs and Sithias, the snake like creature that travels with them, adds wonderful humor also. The first story takes place on an island under the control of a goddess ; next deals with a dark faerie in a forest; third , a goblin queen; fourth, a troll with a heartbreaking story; fifth, a dragon empress; sixth, Mother Grim; seventh, a lightning sword; the eighth and last fable is about the bloodthirsty oak. Each fable is a complete story all on its own and Fate and her companions add another dimension to each fable by trying to overcome each fable’s tragedy. The story is complex and interesting with characters that are dynamic, dimensional and lovable. I love it and am excited to read the sequel, Fate’s Keep. There’s also a prequel, Chaos in the Keep, that is included in the paperback edition of Fate’s Fables and I plan on purchasing this book for my library patrons as well as for my personal library. I think readers that love magic and adventure will enjoy this fun fantasy, 5 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!

Secrets of a Reluctant Princess by Casey Griffin

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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 Secrets of a Reluctant Princess by Casey Griffin. This silly, charming and sometimes cheesy clean read tells the story of Adrianna Bottom, Andy for short. Andy has to deal with being called Porcelain Princess because of her family’s toilet accessories business as well as the reality TV show highlighting them. Since her real name is Adrianna Bottom, Andy has already been bullied endlessly about her last name, even before becoming the Porcelain Princess. Her family has now moved, so Andy is attending a new school and the bullying doesn’t take long to start. On top of the bullying, she has to deal with the producer of the reality show being pushy and invading every aspect of Andy’s life that he can. This quick read has romance, humor and the lesson of keeping secrets, 4 stars.

The Last Shadow Gate by Michael W. Garza

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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 The Last Shadow Gate by Michael W. Garza! Gavin and Naomi are staying with their great grandmother (Mama Walker) for the summer and they are not sure what to expect. They have heard strange tales of shadow gates from Mama Walker. Their great grandfather has been missing for years and Gavin and Naomi search the woods where he disappeared. They end up in another world and the creatures that reside their know of Papa Walker, their great grandfather. Tiberius, half spider/half human, helps them search for Sir Walker, as he is known in this world. The siblings are told that just trying to return home is not a worthy quest. They are told to bring freedom to the world they are now in and to restore Alandra’s rightful heir because that is a worthy quest and Sir Walker’s dream. They make friends in unlikely places and see strange creatures on their journey. There is so much more to come of this story and I am looking forward to it! 4 stars for this fantastical adventure!

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!