The Takedown by Corrie Wang

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Disney Book Group for the opportunity to read and review The Takedown by Corrie Wang! The Takedown is a futuristic realistic fiction story dealing with the overwhelming use of social media and all of the issues that go along with it. Kyla is in the popular clique of the prep school she attends until someone shares a video on social media of Kyla being intimate with a teacher. The story is all about her innocence and trying to figure out who did the posting. She wants to get to the source and get rid of the video that has potentially scarred her reputation and future permanently. The story also involves forgiveness and introspection. 4.5 stars for the ability to give readers food for thought and for making it about a topic most people are interested in these days.

The Dragon’s Price by Bethany Wiggins

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Crown Books for the opportunity to read and review The Dragon’s Price by Bethany Wiggins! Sorrowlynn, Sorrow for short, is destined to die by her own hand and is awaiting the choice of a forced marriage or becoming a sacrifice for the fire dragon. Sorrowlynn meets the royalty of Andhar and is angered that she has to marry an heir from their kingdom. The young Prince Golmarr follows Sorrow when she’s lowered into the dragon’s cave to become the sacrifice because he wants to help her survive. Sorrow has been raised by an abusive father, her king, who whipped her violently and now she has white, puffy scars all over her legs. One of the reasons she was whipped was when Sorrow called the queen “mother”, even though the queen is Sorrow’s mother. She has felt completely alone and unloved her entire life except for the woman who helped take care of her. Golmarr and Sorrow live through and save each other from life threatening adventures while their relationship grows. Fantasy is my all-time favorite genre and The Dragon’s Price hit the spot! The first book in the Transference series had me diving into a world with dragons and princesses, loyalty and danger, love and kingdoms. I anxiously await the sequel! 5 stars! I appreciate the acknowledgements at the end of the book because Bethany Wiggins’ struggles with being backed by a publisher will give encouragement to aspiring authors everywhere.

Incriminating Dating by Rebekah L. Purdy

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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 Incriminating Dating by Rebekah L. Purdy. Ayla’s point of view alternates with Luke’s point of view throughout the story. Ayla is a good student that minds her own business and doesn’t like to make waves. That changes when funds are being cut for drama and the school paper; the activities she participates in. Luke looks like a normal popular high school guy but he struggles with poverty and a dysfunctional family and he has only one true friend that he feels like he can confide in. Ayla decides to run for class office to make a difference but she’s taking on the entire school culture when she runs. Luke and Ayla build a relationship under interesting circumstances, but sometimes that’s the only way to find out who your true friends are. 4 stars for this realistic fiction story geared towards young adults who want to see fairness in the world a little more often!

Other Breakable Things by Kelley York and Rowan Altwood

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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 Other Breakable Things by Kelley York and Rowan Altwood! The beginning dropped my heart into my stomach. Immediately after, the story goes back three years and shows a mother waking her son, Luc, because there’s a heart available for his needed transplant. Back to the present beginning with Chapter One and Evelyn’s point of view. Then the chapters alternate between Luc and Evelyn. Evelyn has returned to town with her mother and, once again, they live with Evelyn’s grandmother. Luc and Evelyn were friends three years ago and when she moved away they kept in touch fairly well, until the past four months when Luc hadn’t replied to any of Evelyn’s emails. Luc has been dealing with transplant recovery and therapy but he doesn’t want Evelyn to pity him, so he doesn’t explain this to her. He has kept his sickness from her and she has no idea why he doesn’t feel well and no idea that he has undergone transplant surgery. While reading, we learn about what Luc has been through and what Evelyn’s life has been like. They have both kept things from each other. Now they try to rekindle their friendship and both want to be more than just friends, but they are afraid of scaring the other one off if they share their secrets. Luc doesn’t feel that it’s fair to Evelyn to become involved when he’s not sure how long he will be around and Evelyn has always kept her problems to herself. Little by little, they overcome their obstacles and are able to spend time together on an adventurous road trip to Oregon. I grew to love Luc and Evelyn and cared for their future together. Other Breakable Things is a wonderful love story with a heartfelt touch and appreciation for how short life can be; 5 stars!

Losing Kyler by Siobhan Davis

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I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book.
Losing Kyler by Siobhan Davis, is the second book of The Kennedy Boys series and broken hearts are as prominent as the dysfunction in this family. More secrets come out into the open and cause more family distress, along with one of Kyler’s brothers being accused of rape. Faye shows extreme maturity and true empathy for the situation that her mother and her new guardian James found themselves in many years ago. I appreciate how open minded she tries to be and this shows that she is wise for her age. Her wisdom helps everyone else deal with their struggles. This second book has so much going on that it is intense reading! Siobhan Davis pulls it all together so well and in such a smooth way that makes the suspense build and when the ending hit, I just wanted to read the next book in the series immediately! I am in awe of Siobhan’s writing and I love her style. She has taken a good story and made it great and brings the characters to life realistically. I am looking forward to reading more about the Kennedy boys! 5 stars for this engrossing romantic story!

The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Books for the opportunity to read and review The Education of Margot Sanchez. Right off the bat, Margot Sanchez seems and acts like a spoiled brat who is lost and trying to find herself, but so self absorbed that she can’t see that she’s not the only person on earth that matters. She’s being punished for stealing while she was away at an expensive school and, now that’s she’s home for the summer, she has to work at her family’s supermarket to earn the money for what she stole plus enough money to pay for her tuition to attend the same school again in the fall. She feels as though she’s above working there and is embarrassed by her upbringing. During the summer, Margot’s eyes are opened slowly to some things, such as how she treats others, and opened quickly to how dysfunctional her family truly is. Margot matures and learns to value friendship and she begins to find herself and her place in the world. 4 stars for this believable realistic fiction story.

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!

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti

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Thanks to a Goodreads giveaway, I received a paperback advanced reading copy of The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti! I also received a NetGalley arc from Dial Press in exchange for a fair review!
Loo lives with her father Hawley as they travel from place to place without settling down for long in any one town. That is until they go to the town where Loo’s grandmother ( Loo’s mother Lily’s mother) lives. Lily drowned when Loo was quite young, so it’s just her and Hawley. Loo’s grandmother refuses to see or speak to them, but Loo and Hawley decide to buy a house and live in the town anyway. More than anything else, this book made me realize that every person has a story. Each chapter alternates between the present with Hawley and Loo and then to Hawley and his younger past. Each trip into the past explains how Samuel Hawley received another gunshot wound and scar. This story is sad in the fact that Loo and Hawley struggle with belonging and with lasting relationships besides their own. They are both lonely and seem somewhat lost in their presence and their place in the world. Loo tries to befriend others, but she has a temper and becomes physically angry too often. Hawley seems like he is just trying to get through and raise Loo in the best way he knows how. He is very lonely and misses his wife, Lily daily. Loo sees this loneliness. It’s almost like Loo and Hawley are stuck in a never ending cycle of danger and wrong choices. This book left me feeling how life is just a fleeting moment that passes too quickly. 4 stars.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for the opportunity to read and review Caraval by Stephanie Garber! ¬†Scarlett and Donatella are treated harshly by their father. They have both always wanted to see Caraval since their grandmother told them stories about it years ago. They plan on running away to see Caraval and never coming back to their father. He has threatened them with harm if they ever leave and he has even gone to the extreme lengths of committing murder to keep Scarlett and Donatella on the island with him. Tella left their rooms a mess to make their father believe they were kidnapped while they sailed with Julian to Caraval, Legend’s private island. The game on Caraval that Legend controls is adventurous, daring, mysterious and frightening. Scarlett never knows, from beginning to end, what is real and what is just the game. I grew to care about Scarlett and I wanted her to finally find happiness. I also admire her for the bravery and love she demonstrates to help her sister, Tella. Their father is selfish and violent and I wanted the sisters to be free of him. I also like the setting and time the story takes place in. It was familiar but also new at the same time because of Stephanie Garber’s clever writing. 5 stars for the magical mystery of the game and all of its characters!

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

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Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl is set in the American South where Confederacy is still very important to its residents. Ethan lives in Gatlin, a small southern town where nothing changes. He hates it. He has been having dreams of saving a girl. Ethan cannot see her face and he doesn’t know who she is. He wakes up with dirt under his fingernails and on his sheets. He has also started hearing a voice and the song, “Sixteen Moons”, plays randomly on his MP3 player and the radio, even though he’s never heard of the song before. A new girl, Lena, moves into Gatlin and lives with her uncle who is known as the local recluse. Lena and Ethan get much more than they bargained for when they become friends. Both of their families are keeping secrets from Ethan and Lena and when they find a locket that gives them shared visions of the past, they start keeping secrets of their own. Their ancestors are entwined somehow and that might be the key to saving Lena from her possibly dark future. I enjoyed the southern setting and the intense differences of the characters – 5 stars for this fun and suspenseful supernatural read!