The Things They’ve Taken by Katie McElhenney

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Teen for the opportunity to read and review The Things They’ve Taken by Katie McElhenney! Lo, short for Delores, needs help retrieving her mother from a burning pentagram that pulled her through the floor. Shaw, a tracker, is willing to help her for fifteen thousand dollars in cash. He brings his large dog, Mange, along for the journey. They visit a seer at a nursing home and then every other being they can find to get guidance from. Lo feels like she is going in circles and not accomplishing anything that she has set out to do in her quest to rescue her mother. The variety of characters is fun and I enjoy Lo’s sense of humor and snarky comments. Shaw, in all his mystery, is intriguing and interesting and I want to get to know him better. The book ends as though there is a sequel planned and I look forward to reading it. The Things They’ve Taken is a mix of supernatural, fantasy, mythology, adventure and humor. Fun and enjoyable and worthy of a 5 star rating!

The Wishing Heart by J.C. Welker

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to Entangled Teen and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review The Wishing Heart by J.C. Welker! As the story opens, Rebel is breaking into a rich London apartment. She thinks of herself as a modern day Robin Hood, but she keeps the loot for herself so she can make wishes. She’s an orphan living in a dreary institute run by an unkind matron and needs all the happiness she can find. She steals a golden vase, not realizing that it’s actually a vessel holding a jinni named Anjeline. Rebel has a heart condition and she ventures on a journey to free Anjeline and repair her own heart. Along the way, they run into a variety of characters and creatures, some friendly and some dangerous. Rebel learns about her parentage and all of its mysteries. This story brings fantasy, mythology, supernatural and LGBT together tastefully and smoothly. The author, J. C. Welker, has a goal, “…to work toward giving a voice to LGBTQ stories, while facing magic and monsters along the way. “. 4 stars for a job well done!

True North by L.E. Sterling

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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 True North by L.E. Sterling! True North continues with the the mystery of Lucy and Margot. I still enjoy the relationship between Lucy and Jared and the story’s mystery is being chipped away in this second book of the series. I don’t want to give anything away, but what is happening to Margot is disturbing and horrific. The series does not end with this book and I think I will re- read the entire series, one book after the other, once it’s completed. 4 stars for a creative dystopian world and character building!

Don’t Kiss the Messenger by Katie Ray

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to Entangled Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review Don’t Kiss the Messenger by Katie Ray! Katie Ray has previously published works under the name of Katie Kacvinsky and her books have been popular with my library patrons. I believe that this new book of Katie’s will be a popular read also. Don’t Kiss the Messenger is a retelling of sorts. The story line is similar to the play, Cyrano de Bergerac where inner beauty overpowers outer beauty. This book is intelligent and eloquent in many ways, while still staying a young adult contemporary story! CeCe and Emmett take turns by alternating points of view throughout the book. CeCe has a scar on the right side of her face that she prefers to not be the focal point when she meets someone for the first time. Emmett is new to the school and a known high school football player. They both attend Honors Shakespeare class and are partnered on the first day. CeCe and Emmett share the trait of clever wit and they have tremendous similarities with their tastes in and knowledge of music and literature. They are both intense and dedicated athletes also; CeCe is the captain of the volleyball team and Emmett is the star quarterback. I love this book with its romantic gestures, self-esteem building thoughts and loyalty and friendship. 5 stars for this amazing realistic fiction read!

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!

The Castaways by Jessika Fleck

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to Entangled Teen and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review The Castaways by Jessika Fleck. Olive is relentlessly bullied by three girls she has named The Trio. She meets her friend Tawny at the pirate-themed traveling carnival after hours, so they won’t be bothered by anyone. They decide to go into the corn maze, which has a mysterious and dangerous past. Teenagers have gone missing and never come out of the maze. Olive ends up going into the maze alone and, while running from bullies, she ends up being transported to a secluded island where no one ages. This island is completely surrounded by ocean as far as the eye can see and seems to be inescapable. Olive meets people on the island that are considered missing in real time. These teenagers were born long ago and have stayed teenagers and only have memories from decades past. Such as sixteen-year-old Tilly, who is from Sheffield England, 1940 and fifteen year old Lewis from 1953 Memphis, Tennessee. Olive discovers each of their stories and secrets and she eventually shares her own. They all realize that they transported to the island because they were running from something and they work together to find out how to face their problems and give each other the hope of returning home someday. I fell in love with the island inhabitants and relished the relationship between Will and Olive. This book is so much more complex than I thought it would be when I first began reading it. The complicated story line and dynamic characters all come together to make The Castaways an interesting read and the cover is perfect for this story, in more ways than one. 4.5 stars for the fantasy realism and lovable characters!

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!

The Summer Marked by Rebekah L. Purdy

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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 and review The Summer Marked by Rebekah L. Purdy, the second book of The Winter People series! The story opens with a taste of Shakespeare’s writing. Salome is now living with Gareth in the Faerie realm and the opening of the book shows us more about her grandmother and her secrets. Kadie receives a message from Salome asking her to meet at a club. Kadie goes, but Salome is not there and she ends up being captured by the Winter Queen’s helpers. They demand to know where Salome is but Kadie doesn’t know, so they keep torturing her. I love the descriptions of the beautiful tattoos Salome receives as she becomes a part of each season and she gains power to help the Fae. The character pool grows in this second book of The Winter People series, making the story more complex and interesting. As people and their relationships evolve, the danger grows. I’m very happy there is a third book to this series because I am not ready to let these characters go. 5 stars for dialogue that matches and portrays the characters perfectly in this fantasy story!

Redux by A.L. Davroe

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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 and review Redux by A.L. Davroe! Redux is more action packed than Nexis, the previous book in the Tricksters series. Ella is on a tumultuous ride between virtual reality and actual reality and her friends keep flip-flopping so she feels completely alone. Her society is in shambles and she wants to do everything she can to make it better and to make up for the problems that she feels she caused. The story is smoothly transitioned between the events taking place and the reader is given concise background information from the first book. The action has been pumped up to even include cannibals! Creepy, sci-fi dystopian fun. 4 stars!

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.