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.

All is Not Forgotten

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Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the arc of All is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker! Jenny Kramer attends a high school party where she is raped and left on the grass afterwards. A treatment to erase horrible memories from your mind has been created and is used on Jenny to erase the trauma. The treatment erases the memories from your mind, but they live on in the soul and body. Jenny can’t remember the rape because of the treatment, so she can’t point out the rapist, but she remembers useless information that she can’t place, such as a strong odor, a song, and why she was outside in the first place. I like how the story is told by the psychiatrist and, through his point of view, shows the emotional upheaval of everyone involved and the precarious nature of being a therapist. The whole controversy surrounding the memory treatment brings up a barrage of questions and what-ifs.

Another person, Sean Logan, has been given the memory treatment also, after he lost his SEAL comrades and his right arm while he was activated. The treatment has made healing difficult for Sean also.

The parental advice hits the nail on the head: “We need our parents to love us without condition, without logic, and beyond reason.” This is true for a person to be able to grow up with a strong self-esteem and would be ideal for all of us. The hypocritical statement made by the therapist about his own children soon after telling Jenny’s father to let his anger go, feels very selfish and one-sided. “If we can’t protect our own children, we are wretched.” Sad to say, the world is a big place and we can’t be with our children 24/7 and that is very hard on parents who want to be there for their children.

A lot of food for thought and the tables keep turning in this psychological thriller!