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.

Beast by Megan Crewe

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Beast by Megan Crewe caught my interest immediately! The opening of the story sets the tone of suspense and the tale is refreshingly told entirely from a male point of view. Max has been best friends with Davey since kindergarten. They throw a party at the lake with a bunch of friends and then Davey is horribly gouged by a beast that defies description. Davey’s external wounds heal miraculously fast while they speed to the hospital. He stays with Max and while Davey looks fine on the outside, he has violent flu symptoms. Eventually the symptoms stop and Davey feels better but he’s changed. His friends try to help every way they possibly can but they grow frightened of Davey as he becomes violent and erratic. This thriller kept me riveted and I read it straight through because of the suspense. 5 stars for a young adult supernatural horror!

A List of Cages by Robin Roe

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Thanks to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for the opportunity to read and review A List of Cages by Robin Roe! Julian doesn’t feel as though he belongs anywhere, at school or at home where he lives with his uncle. He likes to hide in a small secret room behind the school stage where he can be alone and no one knows where he is. I immediately felt protective of Julian and hated how people assumed that he was stupid and treated him horribly. He’s had a tragic past and he’s presently living in an unhappy world. Adam knows Julian because his family fostered him for a while after the death of his parents until Julian’s Uncle Russell stepped into their lives and took Julian away. Uncle Russell is a force to be reckoned with and has more issues than anyone realizes. This tragic and touching realistic fiction story earns 5 stars!

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!

The Skylar Robbins Mysteries by Carrie Cross

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Great mystery for middle school and early high school readers!

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Skylar Robbins:The Mystery of Shadow Hills by Carrie Cross is an all new Nancy Drew-type detective story! Skylar loves investigating and her grandfather taught her true detective skills. The reader is transported into Skylar’s memories and daydreams. She’s stuck for eight weeks at her grouchy cousin’s old Malibu mansion while her parents travel abroad. Skylar attends summer school while she’s in Malibu, but she only has to go to an art class. The descriptions of the art assignments make me want to take the class too. Skylar makes friends and learns new things. I enjoyed the mysterious happenings because they were a bit spooky. I like the fact that the author’s writing allows the reader to be spooked along with Skylar, even though she’s a very practical person. Very fun middle school read, 5 stars!

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Skylar Robbins and the Mystery of the Hidden Jewels by Carrie Cross is the second book in the Skylar Robbins series. Skylar and her parents are looking at new homes and Skylar wants to make sure she will be attending the same school; she doesn’t want to be the new kid. She believes there is an unsolved mystery in their new home and things become even more suspicious when the remodeling workers, which were recommended by the neighbors, are looking around and Skylar notices. Skylar and her friend Alexa work to solve the puzzle of the missing jewels of Xandra Collins, the previous owner of Skylar’s new home. The two friends also help each other cope with school problems, such as Alexa’s dyslexia and mean girl drama. This sequel in the Skylar Robbins series proves that young people can be great detectives too and being a true friend is very important. Skylar Robbins is the Nancy Drew for a new generation, 5 stars.

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Skylar Robbins and The Mystery of the Missing Heiress is the third book in the Skylar Robbins series. The book opens with a mysterious poem by Xandra Collins that sets the mood for a good mystery. I love the puzzles and codes that are in the book to be solved and the reader gets to figure them out right along with the story. I also like how Skylar’s experiences teach us to stand up for ourselves, keep our integrity and persevere. Geared toward middle school and early high school, the Skylar Robbins books are fun and interesting mysteries. 5 stars!

I love the Skylar Robbins series; the perfect books for a cozy mystery read!

 

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.

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.

The Syndicate by Sophie Davis

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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!

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.