Little Monsters by Kara Thomas

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Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Children’s for the opportunity to read and review Little Monsters by Kara Thomas! Kacey and her younger stepsister, Lauren, sneak out of the house with Bailey and Jade, two of Kacey’s friends. On a Friday night, they venture to the local haunted site and the snowy roof collapses in on them. They’re spooked and run away. Alternately, Bailey tells the story of the night she supposedly caused the popular high school football player to wreck and her story continues to be told throughout the rest of the book using her journal entries in interspersing chapters. Bailey and Jade attend a party and Bailey is not seen again. She’s reported missing and the community rallies together to help find her. The suspect list changes and grows while Bailey is still missing and presumed dead by most of the community. The suspicion and the suspense keep twisting and kept me riveted to the very end. 5 stars for this realistic mystery!

Trust by Kylie Scott

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Trust by Kylie Scott opens when Edie is unknowingly caught in a convenience store during a robbery gone bad. John happens to be there also and he saves their lives because he happens to know the shooter, who is a friend of John’s older brother Dillon. The shooter is a drug addict with erratic behavior and ends up shooting the store clerk and Isaac, a young man who was with John. Edie feels extreme gratitude for John’s actions and lets the police know what he did. Edie changes schools after the robbery and enrolls in John’s school without realizing it. She’s surprised to see him in English class and he’s just as surprised to see her. Edie learns about his background but she isn’t deterred from being grateful to him. John and Edie become friends and rely on each other to cope with their experiences at the convenience store. Edie is cute and keeps to herself and John becomes protective of her. He’s also turning his life around. They are funny together and they made me laugh several times throughout the book. Realistic fiction with some new adult content, Trust is a great story that I couldn’t put down and I want to visit the characters again-5 stars.

Rowan Wood Legends by Olivia Wildenstein

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Rowan Wood Legends by Olivia Wildenstein, the sequel to Rose Petal Graves, opens with Cat mourning Holly. Holly has passed away and Cat wonders if there was foul play. She discovers what happened to Holly and the reasoning behind her death. Cat seems to be going through a maze while blindfolded when it comes to figuring out who her friends are and who she can truly trust. Kajika, Ace and others are not what they immediately seem to be. The struggles with her identity and where she belongs continue to taunt Cat and she’s still keeping these questions and part of her life from her father. The romantic relationship she finally concedes too is cute and I want to read more! 4 stars for a fantasy with unanswered questions in a supernatural world.

 *Rowan Wood Legends can be read as a standalone but does continue the story from Rose Petal Graves. Rose Petal Graves will be available to anyone who wants to read it first!*

Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau

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Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau is an intense fantasy adventure. Carys and Andreus are royal twin siblings hiding a secret from the kingdom. When the power outage overwhelms Garden City, chaos follows. Andreus helps fix the outage problem right before their brother Micah and their father, the king, are brought home from the warfront by the King’s guards. Both Micah and the king have been killed and the only witnesses to their deaths are soon killed also. The secret the twins are hiding is the sickness Andreus suffers from; it causes him weakness and is supposedly the curse that the seer prophesied after the birth of the twins. The Elders have set up a tournament for Andreus and Carys to compete against each other for the throne, since both the king and his heir are dead. The winner will be the new ruler of their kingdom. They compete unwillingly and try to make the tournament go in favor of Andreus. The danger builds and the suspicion grows stronger as Andreus and Carys struggle to learn who they can trust. It saddened me how quickly Andreus believed that his worth was above everyone else’s. I love the ingenious, clever way the story is told with the alternating points of view of Carys and Andreus and how they overlap at times. This way of telling the story makes the reader’s emotions take a roller coaster ride. I would love to see a map in the sequel and I give this book 5 stars for the adventure and intrigue!

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

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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!

 

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

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Thanks to NetGalley and Delacorte Press for the opportunity to read and review Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow! A young woman named Charlie is found outside a hospital, hurt and alone. She’s treated in the hospital for seven days and then is taken to a psychiatric ward. She has cut herself to cope with the struggles in her life. She’s released from the ward and tries to get through it all one day at a time, and sometimes one moment at a time, while she finds a place to live and a job. Her social circle grows and she finds herself dealing with other’s problems and she wants to move forward not backwards. Girl in Pieces is a true pay-it-forward story and the author relays her own story and shares resources with readers at the end of the book. A deep, complex story as raw and realistic as life gets. 5 stars for this young adult realistic fiction story that’s inspiring and eye-opening.

Omega by Jus Accardo

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Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Omega by Jus Accardo! The sequel to Infinity focuses on the relationship between Noah and Ash. Ash has just literally run into Noah, but this isn’t the Noah she knows. The Noah she knows has supposedly committed suicide recently. The friction, chemistry and snark between Noah and Ash kept me entertained and the Omega mystery and danger the main characters are dealing with amped up the interest. The story becomes more complicated when two more characters are introduced. The ending leaves an opening for another sequel. 5 stars for a twisted science fiction read.

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

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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.

Unblemished series by Sara Ella (review of first two books)

Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson–Fiction for the opportunity to read and review Unblemished by Sara Ella. There’s a mystery surrounding El, her recently deceased mother and their pasts. El has a crimson birthmark on one side of her face and this has made her insecure, along with all the taunts and rudeness she has received from others throughout her lifetime. Her mother passed guardian responsibilities to Joshua, a young man El has known about three years. She’s almost eighteen and Joshua is only a few years older, so she finds this arrangement ridiculous. The world she knows is only a small part of the world she learns about and is thrown into. Alternate worlds or Reflections surround El and her true history. I enjoyed the book and movie references throughout the story and the humor brought with them. The worlds consist of many intertwined characters and their relationships as well as their skills. The author keeps the reader on top of everything and keeps it organized by having the main character, El, review as she learns, smart and helpful. Deep characters and a fantastic world rates 5 stars. The story continues in the sequel, Unraveling.

Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson–Fiction for the opportunity to read and review Unraveling by Sara Ella. The story continues on from Unblemished as El struggles with her role as Queen and her relationships with others. Her insecurities still hamper her ambitions and self-esteem, while many of the relationships she thought she understood keep changing. Her life and surroundings are unraveling. It ends as though there will be more to come. The story has many twists and the characters have many layers and more secrets continue to be revealed. This did get a bit tiring because I never knew what the characters were fully dealing with and could not get a grasp on what was going on, but I suppose that’s why the title is Unraveling. Interesting and complex characters and creative world building earn a 4 star rating.

Story continues in Unbreakable, scheduled for release May 2018.

Just a Normal Tuesday by Kim Turrisi

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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.