Chalk houses by Tracy Clark tells the story of Talon who lives with her single mother that always seems to have a new boyfriend, drinks and is involved with drugs. The story begins on Talon’s sixteenth birthday and her mother doesn’t even remember what day it is. Talon’s goals are to educate herself and receive a degree in psychology and child development so she will be equipped to help neglected children and never be like her mother. She begins receiving emails from Aunt T, who supposedly wants to get to know Talon. They create a circle journal of communication with their emails. Talon has one true friend, Karalyn, who always gives Talon moral support. Gabby, Talon’s younger next door neighbor that lives with an aunt and uncle and is pretty much neglected by them, is under Talon’s wing of protection. Talon spreads out and tests relationship waters with others as she expands her social circle. She makes some dumb decisions and struggles with the consequences and in the meantime she discovers much more about her mother than she could have ever guessed at before. Chalk Houses is a coming of age, coming into your own work of literary art with its beautiful, dynamic characters and other characters that are horrific in their actions. The story comes full circle and is a real tear-jerker full of disappointment, hurt and hope. 5 heart expanding stars!
Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Where I Found You by Heidi R. Kling. Sienna is still reeling from her mother’s disappearance that occurred five years ago. Her father is trying to move forward, but still honor his lost wife at the same time. It’s assumed that she went down in a plane crash over the Indian Ocean. Sienna reluctantly agrees to go with her father to a community across the world in Indonesia that has been struck by a Tsunami which caused disaster. While there, Sienna’s eyes are opened and her empathy for those who have suffered through the Tsunami and lost so much overcomes her own feelings of loss. She meets and helps several people and gains a close, wonderful relationship with a young man named Reni. She discovers that Reni is searching for his father and she does everything she can to help him. This touching, beautiful realistic fiction story opened my eyes to the horrible tragedy and suffering of the Tsunami victims, many things I had never thought about or heard of. I enjoyed learning about another culture also. I’m anxiously awaiting the sequel!!! 5 stars.
Haven by Mary Lindsey- Rain loses his mother and is sent to live with her twin, his aunt Ruby, in a small town. Rain unknowingly falls into an age-old legend as he’s trying to help a fellow classmate. He gets so much more than he bargained for. I don’t want to give anything away because the mystery is a big part of the story. Rain’s life grows more complicated and the suspense builds. He will do anything it takes to protect the people he cares about. 5 stars for this supernatural read! Entangled publishing surprised me with this wonderful box full of goodies!
Thanks to NetGalley and Feiwel & Friends for the opportunity to read Berserker by Emmy Laybourne! Hanne has inherited Norwegian Berserker powers and supposedly this is what drove her mother away. Hanne lives with her drinking father, two brothers and a younger sister. Her eldest brother Steig wants to move to America, get a teaching job and bring his siblings to America when he has enough money. Hanne’s story alternates with Owen Bennett’s, who’s treated badly by his family because he’s the product of Mr. Bennett’s past affair. Hanne is overtaken by the Berserker powers when she senses that her family is in danger and she kills the three men that mean to cause harm to her family and her father ends up dying also. The four siblings run away from their home. Meanwhile, two men, Rolf and Ketil, are sent by a Baron, their employer, to hunt down any Nytte, anyone with Norwegian descent that has inherited Viking strengths. They all travel to America. Owen meets the siblings when he saves Sissel from a moving train so she can be with her family. Owen becomes the family’s guide. Along the way to their uncle’s home in Montana, the group braves many setbacks and they also meet Ketil and Rolf. The story comes full circle with much action and adventure involved and the loyalty of friends and family is what I enjoyed the most in this book. 4 stars for a suspense filled mythological adventure!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary consideration.
The Syndicate by Sophie Davis impressed me with its mix of science fiction and history. The story begins with the Prologue during May, 1796 in Florence, Italy, which is being occupied by Napoleon and the French army. The main character, Stassi, has stolen Napoleon’s letter to Josephine and she’s running to ensure her escape. She’s helped by her partner Gaige. They work for The Syndicate as runners and travel to the past to procure requested items that rich people pay a good chunk of money for. Gaige and Stassi later travel to 1925 Paris to collect a Rosenthal manuscript and they attend a party celebrating Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and its publication. Along with finding the manuscript, a serial killer on the loose adds to the suspense and danger. The elaborate cover stories of the runners, the historical background and interesting, dynamic characters make this a very fun science fiction read worthy of a 5 star rating!
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to YA Bound Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review Chameleon by Zoe Kalo! Paloma is taken to a convent to “repent, grow and become a better person”, as the head nun tells her, even though Paloma feels as though she’s being punished. She is dropped off at the convent by her mother, stepfather and her younger half sister, Sara, who is sad to leave Paloma. The reason Paloma is in trouble is because she tried conducting seances to reach her father, who died when she was young. Paloma becomes part of a group of teenage girls that each have a story of their own. She is unsure who she can trust, any of the girls or even the nuns. The story pulled my attention in from the beginning with its suspense, mystery and a promise of the paranormal. The complex characters and layered mystery kept me on my toes! 5 stars for the twists, turns and the interesting setting of this story!
The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale was offered to me as a download on my laptop for an exclusive study on how readers engage with books, thanks to Simon and Schuster and Jellybooks, Ltd!
The story opens with twin girls born to a mother and father living on a farm on the outskirts of a village. These girls are the mirror image of each other, from the way their hair curls to the birthmarks on their calves. The oldest girl has her features on the left, while the two minutes younger twin has her features on the right side. The wife and girls are banished because of the superstitious villagers who blame the mother and daughters for the lack of rain. The girls grow up, mostly alone because their mother dies when they are still quite young, and become wild, vengeful soul eaters. Chapter one introduces Alys. The twins, Benedicta and Angelica, talk to Alys and tell her to sleep. The next thing Alys knows is that she’s waking up in a grassy field. A red headed older man, Pawl (a trader), gives Alys a ride home. She has a foreboding feeling when she gets home, so Pawl stays with her. He looks for her parents and finds them dead. They visit other homes in the village and all of the parents are dead. Pawl finds homes for the children in a neighboring village. The Elders rule this village with strict beliefs and decide to build a gate around the homes. The children who survived the soul eaters, when their parents didn’t, are sent to guard the gate and livestock at night, since they are “protected”. Alys and Delwyn survive the night, but Delwyn’s brothers do not. Alys is treated differently and suspected of being a witch and is punished. She leaves the village and wanders in the wilderness. The Beast finds her and gives her a mission to find the soul eaters. The fantasy is reminiscent of the Salem Witch Trials because of the persecution. I rate The Beast is an Animal 4 stars, for the creative and dark world brought to life by Peternelle van Arsdale!
I won a digital copy of The Delphi Effect in a Goodreads giveaway! Thank you!
“Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.”
Thanks to NetGalley, Skyscape and Goodreads giveaways for the opportunity to read and review The Delphi Effect by Rysa Walker!
A young woman, Anna, meets Molly’s grandfather to let him know that his deceased granddaughter wants to converse with him. Molly’s grandfather, Porter, at first full of skepticism, comes to believe in Anna and her abilities. After talking to Porter for the first few times, Anna finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation, human trafficking and threats to her life. She meets and receives help from other people that have special abilities different from her own. Anna is captured while trying to rescue her friend, Deo, and she is put through experiments that test her abilities.
The first book in this trilogy, The Delphi Effect is suspenseful and unique. I really enjoyed the references to the Harry Potter series! The author’s note on factual information in this book is helpful for further research and interesting on its own. 4 stars!
Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Teen for the opportunity to read and review Spindle by Shonna Slayton! I wasn’t expecting this book to be as good as it is. Impressive and creative fairy tale retelling – 5 stars!
Briar, an Irish girl and an orphan, works on the spindle and is hoping for another job sewing for ladies. Briar struggles to take care of her three younger siblings and, since she’s only sixteen, a nanny is helping them until her seventeenth birthday. Henry is Briar’s best friend and cares deeply for her even though his mother doesn’t seem to approve of Briar. Nanny is gone on business and Fanny has taken her place with the children, Since Fanny showed up, people are acting differently than they normally do. For example, Henry Prince is leaving their community even though no Prince family member has ever left before.
The machines are not working well for Briar at the sewing mill. A peddler helps by convincing her to take a special spindle for her machine. Things go downhill from there. Other girls that work at the mill envy Briar’s spindle, touch it and end up becoming very ill. Briar discovers that the people she knows are not all what they appear to be. This fairy tale retelling has historical fiction of the 1890’s added into the storyline. The young women that work at the sewing mill are all dealing with workforce conditions that need improvement and the rights of women who feel trapped, with no options to live differently. Also, the women’s suffrage movement and Polio are part of this story as well. Spindle by Shonna Slayton is the most creative retelling I have ever read! Set generations after Aurora’s lifetime, the true Sleeping Beauty; I highly recommend it!
Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry Books for the arc of Irena’s Children (Young Reader’s Edition) by Tilar Mazzeo and adapter Mary Cronk Farrell! This true account of Irena Sendler and her friends in Poland warmed my heart and I was astounded by their bravery! Irena and her friends helped save Jewish families during World War II by placing themselves in grave danger, hiding and sneaking children to safety. This is a magnificent story of heroism that affected thousands of Jewish children and has since affected generations of families. This book needs to be read to get the full extent of what true courage Irena Sendler embodies and the bravery it took to save innocent children during the Holocaust! 4 stars.