Little Boy Lost by J.D. Trafford

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Little Boy Lost by J. D. Trafford tells the story of a lawyer, Justin Glass, who is down on his luck, gets a visit from a young girl looking for her missing brother, willing to pay for his help with a jar full of change. He asks around and eventually discovers that the missing brother is part of a mass grave full of many murdered young men. All of the victims were criminals in one way or another and the perpetrator seems like he could be some sort of vigilante. In the meantime, Justin gets an awesome paralegal, Emma. She’s from Bosnia and was a certified lawyer there. Since she knows about the legal system, she gets Justin and his office in tip top shape.
While helping with this case, he’s dealing with being a single parent and feeling helpless when he discovers that his daughter is being bullied. Dealing with the murder case, he seems to be doing more investigating than the law enforcement is. With the help of his paralegal and her close-by relatives, Justin Glass is able to solve the mystery but this puts his life in danger also. A strong cast of characters and a suspenseful mystery that tugs at the heartstrings, 4 stars!

The Leaving by Tara Altebrando

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Interesting mystery!
Thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury USA Children’s Publishing for the chance to read and review The Leaving by Tara Altebrando!
The story opens with the anticipation of people returning after being gone for eleven years, alternating between various points of view from the teens returning, individually and as a group, and their family members. Six kindergarten students were taken and five returned eleven years later with absolutely no memory of where they’ve been. Investigators and search parties found no evidence eleven years ago to help find the children but now, with the returned teens help and a few others, the investigation is making progress. The Leaving tells a tale of “what if?”, while addressing a controversial topic. 4 stars for this interesting mystery.

Lies You Never Told Me by Jennifer Donaldson

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A must read for anyone who enjoys suspense!
Thanks to Razorbill and Bookish First for the ARC of Lies You Never Told Me by Jennifer Donaldson!
Gabe and Elyse alternate in telling the story. Gabe is tired of his toxic girlfriend and finally breaks off their relationship, but she vows to make him pay. Elyse surprises herself by landing the part of Juliet in the school’s production of Romeo and Juliet. Gabe is reeling from Sasha’s, his ex-girlfriend’s, actions while Elyse is struggling with her home life. The two main characters both end up feeling defeated and alone. Jennifer Donaldson weaves a mysterious story with pure intensity around interesting characters! I don’t want to give anything away. I will just say this is a must-read for anyone who enjoys suspenseful young adult realistic fiction and it earns a riveting 5 stars from me!

Lizzie by Dawn Ius

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The story of Lizzie Borden with fictional flair!
Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read and review Lizzie by Dawn Ius! Mystery sums up the prologue with the narrator disoriented and seemingly injured. Chapter one opens five years later. Facts about the historical and infamous Lizzie Borden are scattered throughout the story and some are facts that I wasn’t already aware of, even though I have read a few books about the true story of Lizzie Borden and the mystery surrounding her. The present setting threw me off a bit but it’s because I was expecting a setting in the 1800’s. The more I learn about Lizzie, the more interested I become. The contemporary setting allows for more humor and also the addressing of the controversy surrounding sexual orientation. I don’t want to spoil any parts of the story for future readers. Lizzie is a unique book and adds a little flair to the history the story is based on; 4 stars!

Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne

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A science fiction retelling of Jane Eyre!
Thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the opportunity to read and review Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne! A science fiction retelling of “Jane Eyre”, Stella is an orphan unloved by her relatives and an engineer dreaming of being a governess. She’s an engineer on a derelict ship, Stalwart, that’s on its last leg. Stella receives notification of being hired on another ship and is on her way to her future. The Rochester holds many mysteries from Stella- a young captain, a possible ghost and ship sabotage. Brightly Burning is one science fiction story that I love! Normally, science fiction is not my favorite but this story has surprises and mysterious happenings that kept me thoroughly interested. Stella is a great heroine, not overbearing or a simpering damsel. A lengthier book would have allowed more character depth but I enjoyed Brightly Burning as is too, 4 stars!

Hiding Lies by Julie Cross

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Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Teen for the opportunity to read and review Hiding Lies by Julie Cross! Ellie is living with her sister Harper and her brother-in-law Aidan and she’s trying to figure out her life, her relationships and how to deal with her past. Miles and Ellie are falling in love and are great for each other. Miles and his family leave the country for a while and when Ellie hasn’t heard from Miles in almost a week, she starts worrying. When Miles’ father calls her and asks her to erase Miles’ records from their school and doesn’t offer any information other than her mission, her worry compounds. Little does she know that she will be face to face with Miles while they’re both in the middle of a huge con. Dominic brings more interest to the story and Miles and Ellie bring suspense, especially with the intrigue and never knowing who they can trust. Fun and suspenseful, Hiding Lies is the perfect sequel to Chasing Truth, 5 stars!

About Chasing Truth (Eleanor Ames, #1):

When former con artist Eleanor Ames’s homecoming date commits suicide, she’s positive there’s something more going on. The more questions she asks, though, the more she crosses paths with Miles Beckett. He’s sexy, mysterious, arrogant…and he’s asking all the same questions.

Eleanor might not trust him – she doesn’t even like him – but they can’t keep their hands off of each other. Fighting the infuriating attraction is almost as hard as ignoring the fact that Miles isn’t telling her the truth…and that there’s a good chance he could be the killer.

Buylinks: https://entangledpublishing.com/chasing-truth.html

 

About Hiding Lies (Eleanor Ames, #2):

At Holden Prep, dirty little secrets always have a way of coming to the surface.

Eleanor Ames has never been what she seems. Average high school student on the outside, but reformed con artist trying to break free of her past on the inside. When Eleanor receives startling news about someone from her previous criminal life, plans for a new operation coinciding with her school’s upcoming field trip quickly consume her. 

But operations rarely go according to plan. And this is one her irresistible teen FBI agent boyfriend, Miles, would never approve of.

Now, more than just Ellie’s reputation is at stake. If she fails, it could be her life.

Buylinks: https://entangledpublishing.com/hiding-lies.html

 

About Julie Cross:
Julie Cross is a NYT and USA Today bestselling author of New Adult and Young Adult fiction, including the Tempest series, a young adult science fiction trilogy which includes Tempest, Vortex, Timestorm (St. Martin’s Press). She’s also the author of Letters to Nowhere series, Whatever Life Throws at You, Third Degree, Halfway Perfect, Chasing Truth, Off the Ice and many more to come! Julie Cross was a longtime resident of central Illinois but has recently moved her entire family across the country to continue her academic studies at Stanford University.

 

Author Links:

Author Website: http://juliecrossbooks.com/

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/juliecross1980

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FansOfJulieCross/

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3429117.Julie_Cross

 

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Excerpt from Hiding Lies:

My feet have been dangling. I start to lift them up, attempting to conceal myself. But I’m not fast enough. Warm fingers wrap around my ankle.

“Got you,” the guy says. “How long have you been up there spying on me?”

“Spying? On you?” I shake my head. “Don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m waiting for someone. He’ll be here any second.”

The hot guy takes the binoculars and looks them over, analyzing the zoom-in and recording switches hidden on the underside. “Fancy. Not exactly for recreational use.”

That’s because they’re Aidan’s. My sister’s boyfriend. Up until two weeks ago, when he was forced to resign, Aidan was a Secret Service agent. He used all kinds of spy gear in his former job—like these high-tech night-vision binoculars.

I hop down from the tree, assessing the intruder, searching for body language that says friend or enemy, even though I already know the answer. No harm in having a little extra practice. Role-play is definitely a skill of mine, but it’s also a muscle that must be worked regularly. “Just so you know, I am trained in self-defense. Wouldn’t try anything if I were you.”

“Yeah?” He lifts an eyebrow. “That’s good because this place is sketchy as hell.”

We both glance around the deserted warehouse building beside us, the vandalized lumberyard nearby, and the questionable items strewn across the walkway leading to the giant warehouse door—condom wrappers, broken beer bottles, cigarette butts.

“You’re right, it’s sketchy,” I say. “I better take off before something bad happens.”

“Wait…” Hot Guy reaches for me, his fingers curling around my waist. He tugs me until my back rests against the tree and we’re hidden from anyone on the street. “Tell me about this other guy you’re waiting on.”

I stare up at him, taking in the cocky smirk, perfectly messy dark hair, and blue eyes that hold dozens of secrets. “What other guy?”

He grins, showing off two perfect dimples to go with the rest of his perfects. “Good answer.”

Then, before I can refocus on the role I’ve been playing, he leans down and kisses me. It’s only been a week but feels like a month. Maybe longer. His cheeks are cold, but his lips are warm and tender. I bring him closer and closer until his slinged arm is lodged between us.

“Miles,” I mumble against his lips.

“Uh-huh.”

“Miles,” I repeat, too caught up in this kiss to celebrate the slip he just made. “That’s his name. The guy I’m waiting on.”

“Miles. Sounds like an asshole. Forget him.” He pulls away just enough to see my face. His good hand rests against my cheek. He looks like he’s about to dive into kissing me again but hesitates. “It’s really cold out here.”

“And sketchy,” I add. “Why would you pick a place like this? You can’t coast forever on the whole mysterious-hot-guy persona. So if that’s your plan, I’d rather meet at the Y or Planet Fitness like a normal person.”

He rolls his eyes. “Yes, that’s my goal in life. Devote all my time to training to be a spy so I can impress girls.”

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

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Thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for the opportunity to read and review Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer! Two teens that have each lost someone they love begin an ongoing anonymous conversation by adding to a letter left and then found next to a cemetery headstone. The conversation moves to email for convenience and these two strangers help each other grieve. Declan has lost his sister and his father is in prison and no longer part of their family. His mother has married Alan, who isn’t the nicest to Declan. Juliet has lost her journalist mother in a hit and run car accident and she lives with her father. Declan has an amazing best friend, Rev, that’s dealing with his own traumatic past and Juliet’s best friend, Rowan, is supportive and caring. The email relationship remains anonymous and grows deeper and more meaningful as their grief is dealt with together. Letters to the Lost melted my heart with the complicated storyline and endearing, real characters. I love everything about this story, from the caring, helpful teachers to the awkward friends to the dysfunctional family members. All of these components create a beautiful realistic fiction novel worth 5 stars!

The Precious Dreadful by Steven Parlato

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Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing for the opportunity to read and review The Precious Dreadful by Steven Parlato. Teddi’s summer vacation begins with a few options. She decides to spend time with Summerteens, the local library’s summer writing workshop. Before the workshop kicks off, Teddi has had a spooky encounter, a kiss and an argument with her single, downtrodden mother. I fell in love with The Precious Dreadful, Teddi’s personality and boldness and the variety of characters it holds in its pages! The more I read, the deeper the story took me. Teddi has pretty much raised herself since her mother, Brenda, tends to be drunk and partying with her friends instead of being available and sober for her daughter. Brenda is also keeping secrets from Teddi and has tried to, in her own dysfunctional way, protect her role as a mother. As Teddi’s summer rolls on, relationships become more complicated and drama-ridden and her subconscious is forcing her to remember a traumatic and horrible part of her childhood. The Precious Dreadful bends genres: mystery, horror, supernatural, romance and young adult realistic fiction; this book also pulls at your heartstrings through intense tragedy, awareness of bad choices and the bond of friendship and kindness of others and it’s well deserving of 5 stars!

Risen by Cole Gibsen

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Thanks to Entangled Teen and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review Risen by Cole Gibsen! Charlie lives with her Aunt Rachel in a secluded wood in a three-room, rundown cabin. All Charlie wants to do is escape from the boredom and limited stimulation of seeing and doing the same things everyday. She gets what she wants, a change, but not in the way she was thinking of. Charlie’s world is turned upside down when dangerous visitors break into the cabin and kidnap Aunt Rachel. The strangers are vampires and one of them, Sebastian, stays behind with Charlie, deciding to help her find her Aunt Rachel. Questions surrounding Charlie’s parents open up a mystery that twists and turns until Sebastian even seems to be involved somehow. As they run from danger and try to rescue Aunt Rachel, Charlie and Sebastian encounter violent vampires and a clan of vampires that have made a peaceful community with humans. Charlie and Sebastian are innately protective of each other and they finally make it to a safe house. The abrupt ending surprised me and I was disappointed but I’m sure there’s a sequel in the future. The bonus content shows Sebastian’s point of view during the opening of the story. 4 stars for this supernatural mystery and the endearing characters!

About Risen:

Fans of Vampire Diaries and Twilight will be thirsting for this latest vampire addiction…

My aunt has been kidnapped by vampires, and it’s up to me to save her. Only…I had no idea vampires existed. None. Nada. I’m more of a reader than a fighter, and even though I’d been wishing to escape my boring existence in the middle of nowhere, I’d give anything to have it back now if it meant my aunt was safe.

Then there’s the vampire Sebastian, who seems slightly nicer than most of the bloodsuckers I’ve run into so far. Yes, he’s the hottest being I’ve ever come across, but there’s no way I can trust him. He swears he’s helping me get answers, but there’s more to his story. Now I’m a key pawn in a raging vampire war, and I need to pick the right ally.

But my chances of surviving this war are slim at best, when the side I choose might be the one that wants me dead the most.

 

Buylinks: https://entangledpublishing.com/risen.html

About Cole Gibsen:
Growing up, Cole Gibsen couldn’t decide what she loved more—dogs or books. Rather than choose, she decided to devote her life to both! Dog trainer (wrangler) by day and author by night, she’s the author of more than ten books with more on the way. www.colegibsen.com

Author Links:

Author Website: http://www.ColeGibsen.com

Author Twitter: Twitter.com/colegibsen

Author Facebook: Facebook.com/colegibsen

Author Goodreads: goodreads.com/colegibsen

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/colegibsen/

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Excerpt from Risen:

“Don’t say it like that, Charlie. I wanted to protect you.” She tugs on the edge of my cardigan, pulling me toward her. “I love you. You’re the most important thing in my life, do you understand?”

There’s a desperation in her eyes that tightens my throat. Swallowing hard, I nod.

She lets go of me with a sigh. “Maybe I took it too far.” She sweeps her dreadlocks over her shoulder and twists them tightly. “All I’ve ever wanted was to keep you safe.”

Safe. The world spirals, cold and slippery, down my spine. “What are you so afraid of?”

She opens her mouth only to shut it again.

Jax growls.

We turn as he claws at the door.

“The only thing there is to be afraid of,” she whispers. “The monsters.”

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Time Bomb by Joelle Charbonneau

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Thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the opportunity to read and review Time Bomb by Joelle Charbonneau. Six disgruntled, unhappy students are each planning something that will change their lives and help them to be free from their problems. Each of the teenagers are dealing with different types of problems, secrets, religion, being an orphan, bullying and pressure from peers and family, but they end up together inside the school after a bomb explodes. They help each other but with the air of distrust between them. Finally, they discover who’s responsible for the bombings and they struggle for their lives. Intense with an interesting array of characters and relevant subject matter-5 stars!