Protected by Claire Zorn

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Hannah lives with her mother and father. The three of them are mourning Katie, Hannah’s sister. Katie, Hannah and their father were in a car accident and Katie did not survive. Hannah struggles with having friends and fitting in at school, just as she did before Katie’s fatal accident. Hannah and Katie have very different personalities and their lives unfold as the story is told. I like Josh and his sense of humor and adventurous spirit. He helps Hannah loosen up and she learns to enjoy life. The heartbreak of loss and the pain of overcoming that loss seem unbearable and Hannah and her family fight to move forward and beyond the pain. This book holds the messages of bullying, grieving and also the importance of relationships. 5 stars for this realistic fiction story!
Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for the opportunity to read and review Protected by Claire Zorn.

Beyond a Darkened Sky by Dana Alexander

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Beyond the darkened sky by Dana Alexander begins as Sara awakens in a forest alone, but she feels like someone is watching her. They show themselves and partially explain who they are. She’s confused and lost as they explain to her who she is and why she’s there. Once again, science fiction is not my favorite genre and the story elements were confusing, even though the descriptions were well done, they were too deep for me. 3.5 stars.

Remember Me Always by Renee Collins

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Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for the opportunity to read this book! Remember Me Always by Renee Collins is a bit of a dystopian because of the mind memory erasing. Shelby is the victim of an accident she can’t remember because of a memory-erasing treatment. In her latest treatment session, Shelby sees a young man that she doesn’t remember. Later, as she sits waiting for a capture-the-flag game to end, that young man approaches her and cautiously says hello to her. His name is Auden. Little by little, Shelby gets to know Auden and he helps her fill in parts of her memory that she’s lost. Complex, dynamic characters help build this into a strong story that’s hard to put down. The story is mysterious because everyone seems to be hiding something from Shelby and suspenseful as she begins to unravel the mystery surrounding her missing memories. Justice and the importance of faith in one’s self come through in this realistic fiction for young adults. 5 stars!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary consideration.

Haunting the Deep by Adriana Mather

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Haunting the deep by Adriana Mather is the sequel to How To Hang a Witch by the same author. It’s great to be back in Sam’s life. I find the historical connections that the author has to her books’ content amazing. The historical connection has Sam as a descendant of Cotton Mather in the first book, How To Hang a Witch and ancestors that survived the Titanic tragedy for this book! Sam has been ghost free for six months now and suddenly she’s seeing apparitions again. Abby, who asks Sam for her boot hook, and a dripping wet man that smells like sea water are appearing. The ghosts end up complicating Sam’s life again, but this time she has help from the Descendants. Sam has received mysterious objects and has been dreaming of being a passenger on the Titanic. While Sam is dreaming of being on the Titanic, she has no memories of her present self and she’s being manipulated by an unknown person or spirit. Elijah is helping to figure out what or who is causing the hauntings also. When Sam figures out who’s causing the problem behind the ghostly episodes, she needs all the help she can get! 5 stars for this fun, suspenseful sequel!

The Scarlet Tanager by Emigh Cannaday

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The Scarlet Tanager by Emigh Cannaday is the third book in the Annika Brisby series and it begins where The Silver Thread leaves off, with Annika’s kidnapping. I was so angry at Talvi when I thought he was flirting with his work partner and very relieved in the next chapter when his purpose was brought to light. I absolutely love Finn and how he takes great care with Annika and Talvi seems extremely selfish compared to Finn. When Annika loses her memory, she seems completely content with Finn. I think he treats her like a queen. The narrator performs the characters’ voices perfectly and endeared the characters to me. 5 stars for an elaborate fantasy in a complicated world!

Project Pandora by Aden Polydoros

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Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Project Pandora by Aden Polydorus. Several teenagers are under a trance and are ordered to kill and commit other crimes for someone that goes by the name of Zeus. The mystery surrounding the teens unravels throughout the story as their pasts are explained and, while their memories gradually return, we see the torture they underwent as part of the experiment they evolved from. The teens have three names each: the regular name they go by, a mythological name and a number. The story is told through their alternating points of view, which is intense and suspenseful. Hades’ story is a bit different from the other teenagers and his is more heartbreaking and tragic, more complicated and interesting. Project Pandora is a multiple genre book which can be classified as science fiction, dystopian and mystery. Worthy of 5 stars because of its riveting plot and the steady unraveling of the mystery.

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.

Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley, Disney Book Group and Marvel Press for the opportunity to read and review Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl. This first book in the Black Widow series by Margaret Stohl brings to light Natasha Romanoff’s background, which was a lot darker than I would have guessed. Many surprises await as the story unfolds with heroines and heroes. I enjoyed the Russian dialogue and translations, as well as the humor that goes along with Marvel Avengers. A fun read for anyone wanting adventure with a touch of super hero added – 4 stars!

Lost Girls by Merrie Destefano

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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 Lost Girls by Merrie Destefano! Wow! The story jumps right into the action and mystery by opening with a girl waking up in a gully, with no memories of the past year or where she is or how she got there. Little by little, she learns what has taken place as her memories trickle back. The human trafficking in this book reminds me a bit of the Liam Neeson movie, Taken, with plenty of mystery and action all on its own. Rachel has a strength unmatched by others and she has to rely on that strength to get her through her current struggles. As her memories resurface, Rachel realizes that many teenagers- male and female – are in danger and she will do whatever it takes to help them. Banter between Rachel and her brother Kyle, alleviate some of the teen angst and dark struggles in this story. A bit of hopeful romance adds charm that lightens the mood also. This is unpredictable and a unique take on young adult mystery and I rate it 4 stars! I appreciate the author adding runaway, suicide, teen safety and teen health and wellness hotline information at the end of the book. As is often the case, when someone suffers it is difficult to ask people we know for help, so this hotline information is a wonderful resource.

Black River Falls

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Actual rating: 3.5 stars. Thanks to NetGalley and Clarion Books for the arc of Black River Falls by Jeff Hirsch! A quarantine due to the virus called Lassiter’s has occurred. Lassiter’s is short for Lassiter’s Viral-Induced Retrograde Amnesia. The virus hit on October 16th, when people of all ages lost their memories and couldn’t even remember their families. Narrated by Cardinal Cassidy, Cardinal tells the story as if he’s writing/talking to his brother. Cardinal hasn’t contracted the virus and therefore, hasn’t lost his memory. He meets his mom in town, but she doesn’t seem to recognize him and she is living with a man that is not Cardinal’s father. He rescues a young woman from men pretending to be her husband and friend (a scheme men have thought up to capture women). The secret of the virus’ origins is revealed to Cardinal and he has the choice of revealing it to Dr. Lassiter and helping find the cure or ignoring the information and going on with life as it is right now. Sci-fi and dystopian fans will enjoy this book with the clever world building and character development.