Thanks to NetGalley and Carolrhoda Lab TM for the opportunity to read and review Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield! June lives with her father, stepmother and stepsister and, unbeknownst to her father, is abused by the other two. The story is told in June’s point of view and describes the abuse she endures at home, the bullying she receives at school and her wonderful friend Blister and his loving family. Blister and his family are the only light in June’s life and when tragedy strikes, they stand by her the entire time. At times both heartbreaking and hopeful, this story reminded me that things aren’t always what they seem and how important it is to have someone believe in you. 4 stars for a story that starts out simple but builds in intensity and follows through with a punch. Realistic fiction that deals with abuse, tragedy, friendship and relationships.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book for review consideration.
When Time is a River by Susan Clayton-Goldner is a mystery for adults and young adults alike. The story begins with Brandy in the office of a plastic surgeon. She’s suffering from the results of an accident that has changed her face and she wants to look like she used to. She’s babysitting her two-and-a-half-year-old half sister, Emily, at the park during a community Teddy Bear Picnic and while Brandy is in the bathroom stall, someone takes Emily! She overheard Emily talking about Pooh Bear not taking a nap and the detective found flat shoe prints in the restroom. Two witnesses claimed to have seen Emily with a Pooh Bear getting into a car. I didn’t imagine the turn of events that unfolded as the mystery progressed. The unpredictability built suspense and my appreciation for the author’s ability to spin a riveting story! An impressive mystery that is part of the Redemption Lake series but can be read as a stand alone book also. 5 stars for a perfect mystery!
I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary review consideration.
Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson Fiction for the opportunity to read and review The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber. The futuristic setting involves gaming with teenagers and children as the pawns. Sofi and her brother are part of the games because their mother is in charge of them and forced them to participate. An explosion occurs and her brother Shilo is kidnapped. Sofi contacts people that she knows are skilled enough to help her retrieve Shilo. Sofi has visions showing her what Shilo is going through, who he is with and where he is, all from his point of view. Sofi and her comrades discover what is happening to her brother and other children and it’s more horrific than they would have ever believed! The story ends on a cliffhanger, making me anxious to read the sequel entitled ‘Reclaiming Shilo Snow’. 4 stars for this sci fi dystopian!
The newest addition to the Kennedy Boys series by Siobhan Davis, The Irish getaway throws us right back into the never dull, sometimes chaotic lives of the Kennedy family. The cheese factor is high with Ky and Faye and everyone calls them out on it, humorously. The interestingly complex parts of the story involve a mystery dealing with Rach, the conflict between Kal and Lana, the group fight, the sisterly contention between Faye and Whitney and the odd, but funny conflict triangle with James, Adam and Alex. I also enjoyed the bonus reads about Ky, Faye, Brad, Kalvin and Lana that are included with the arc. Thanks Siobhan, for the extra reading material! 5 stars for this quick read addition to the Kennedy Boys series.
*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.
Thanks to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for the opportunity to read and review A List of Cages by Robin Roe! Julian doesn’t feel as though he belongs anywhere, at school or at home where he lives with his uncle. He likes to hide in a small secret room behind the school stage where he can be alone and no one knows where he is. I immediately felt protective of Julian and hated how people assumed that he was stupid and treated him horribly. He’s had a tragic past and he’s presently living in an unhappy world. Adam knows Julian because his family fostered him for a while after the death of his parents until Julian’s Uncle Russell stepped into their lives and took Julian away. Uncle Russell is a force to be reckoned with and has more issues than anyone realizes. This tragic and touching realistic fiction story earns 5 stars!
Thanks to NetGalley and Simon Pulse for the opportunity to read and review When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon! Prejudice and pushy parents are a part of every culture and Dimple is tired of her parents shoving the culture of India down her throat when she just wants to be a young adult American. Her dream is to become a web developer. she’ll be attending Stanford in the fall but for the summer she’s attending Insomnia Con-six weeks of learning web design and development. Little does she know that her parents have prearranged a meeting with the young man they want her to eventually marry, Rishi. She knows nothing about Rishi and her parents kept her in the dark while Rishi’s parents told him everything. Rishi doesn’t realize that Dimple has no idea before it’s too late and they have a disastrous first meeting. They end up being partners for Insomnia Con and get the chance to know each other without the pressure from their parents. Dimple and Rishi have more in common than they could have guessed and they end up being very compatible. I think it’s creative and funny how they dubbed the small group of rude, arrogant rich kids, The Aberzombies and it made me smile every time it was mentioned in the book. The story of Dimple and Rishi is fun, eye-opening, romantic, full of friendship and loyalty, inspiring and, at times, heartbreaking. Beautifully written, entertaining and worth 5 stars!
Made you up by Francesca Zappia- Alex goes through each day trying to figure out what is a hallucination and what is real. She keeps her schizophrenia hidden from everyone and deals with it secretly and on her own, besides her family and her therapist. This book contains completely endearing and realistic characters with clever writing and interesting background building. Laugh-out-loud funny at times and empathetic at others, as well as heart-breaking, Made You Up is a must read realistic fiction story with food for thought; 5 stars. The minute I finished reading it, I wanted to turn around and read it all again.
Thanks to NetGalley and Kids Can Press for the opportunity to read and review Just a Normal Tuesday by Kim Turrisi! Kai and her parents are consumed with grief over the suicide of her sister Jen. I like how the story covers their grief and how each of them handles everything differently from finding Jen, her letters to each family member, the funeral preparations, their relationships with others and work and school when they try to get back to “normal”. All of this is covered in the first half of the book then Kai hits rock bottom and her friends and family don’t know how to help her, so she’s sent to a grief camp. This turns out to be the best possible choice. Small group discussions and activities help the teenagers learn how to move forward without forgetting the loved ones they have lost. Helping others seems to be the best way to overcome sadness because of thinking about someone else instead of just yourself heals broken hearts. I’m impressed with this book, the realistic feel of it, and I fell in love with the characters and wanted them to heal. The background of the story is interesting also and I appreciate the author being willing to share her personal experiences along with her pain. The resources included at the end will help many readers know where to find the help they need; 5 stars for a beautiful story of experiencing loss and the hope that brings light back into our lives.
I received Release by Patrick Ness through a Goodreads giveaway! Adam is plugging along until he can be on his own in one more year, when he graduates high school and can leave his small town. A strict family and a priest father with a lot of rules make him feel suffocated at times. His perfect brother, Marty, shocks Adam with the news that he got a woman pregnant and she’s not the girlfriend the family knows. Everything is changing and it seems to be happening all in the span of one day. This book contains graphic sexual content and belongs in LGBT and new adult genres, to make the reader aware. The characters are realistic with realistic problems and faults. The story comes full circle and I can see it helping readers deal with acceptance. I never truly understood the ghost part of the story other than making a point with the title. 4 stars for a well-written book with a punch.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book. Thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the opportunity to read and review How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake. This story is about a dysfunctional flaky mother and her teenage daughter, Gracie, who is tired of how her mother acts. Her mother can’t settle down in one place for long AND she’s never in a relationship for long either AND she never takes the blame for her actions. This is all driving Gracie crazy because all Gracie wants is peace, happiness and contentment and to be able to focus on her goals. Gracie is a pianist and she wants to attend college in New York. She finally finds happiness with her friends, who are more of a family to her than her mother ever has been. Young adult content and LGBT diversity broaden the story to make an interesting realistic fiction read, 4 stars.