Rogue Crystal by Jordan Elizabeth


Rogue Crystal by Jordan Elizabeth opens with a Scaryan lullaby that tells a tale of a crystal that brought destruction only because of the greedy king’s hunt to find it. The story covers generations of people who protect and hide the crystal at all costs; a crystal that can end the universe and start a new one. Avery visits her cousin at an archeological dig and ends up with a strange ring on her finger after she picks up a sword and then that sword disappears. Eventually, she realizes that the sword was the hidden crystal and it changed shape to remain hidden. Avery also learns that she’s a descendant of a line of crystal protectors and that’s why the ring changed for her. Now she’s on the run from those who want to use the crystal to destroy and restart the universe. A creative storyline with interesting and entertaining characters make Rogue Crystal a must-read sci-fi! 5 stars!

Freefall by Joshua David Berlin


Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Freefall by Joshua David Bellin. Seventeen-year-old Cameron wakes from a thousand year deepsleep in the year 3151. The destination of Cameron and almost a million other people is the Earth-analog planet Tau Ceti e. The story alternates between 3151 and the year before people were put into deepsleep, 2150. The mystery surrounding the girl with the golden eyes pulled me into the book. The past eventually catches up to when the deepsleep begins and the story stays on Earth Year 3151. This story is a mix of science fiction, dystopian and mystery and it’s filled with suspense, strange creatures and twists. 5 stars!

Witchtown by Cory Putnam Oakes


Thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the opportunity to read and review Witchtown by Cory Putman Oakes which includes a map of Witchtown and the history of Witchtown’s origins. The story begins with introducing a mother and daughter who want to live in Witchtown and their purpose is to rob the town. Aubra, the mother, is also a Natural, which means she was born with her powers. The daughter, Macie, is a Void and doesn’t have powers. Macie is very cynical because of all the moving they have done and her mother is selfish and mean-spirited and she doesn’t care about what’s good for Macie. Anytime Macie makes friends her mother becomes angry and every time they move, Aubra erases the memories of the people that knew them. The longer Macie stays in Witchtown, the more she realizes that her mother is hiding secrets from her. The story is full of suspense and twists! 5 stars for an entertaining supernatural read!

Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce


Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the opportunity to read and review Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce. Arram, young and gifted beyond his age, attends Mage Academy with older students. He doesn’t have friends but that soon changes when he causes chaos with magic and has a conference with the Academy masters. They deem him gifted and place him with other students similar to him. Academy life becomes much more enjoyable and entertaining after the new placement. Arram, Varice and Zorne become great friends and when Arram is bullied because of his young age, his two new friends help him cope and discover how much fun their time at the academy can be. Varice is smart, fun and a very good kitchen witch while Zorne is seventh in line to the throne of the current prince. The three friends each have different gifts which grow in strength the longer they attend classes. The main focus of the story is on Arram, his powers, education and relationships but we do get a glimpse of the inner workings of the lives of Varice and Zorne. Arram has to learn to build the stomach for being around horribly injured people and his strength as a healer. Varice deals with being looked down on because she’s female and a lowly kitchen witch. Zorne is continuing to move up higher on the list of heirs to the throne, and is worried about his unhealthy mother and how to deal with his protective guards. The story is strong and the world building is a mix of renaissance and ancient Greece. I thought the whole approach to Arram’s puberty was odd and I understand that it will potentially help male preteens with their own changes. I did enjoy the Tempests and Slaughter. 5 stars for this fantasy and its underlying mystery!

Lies That Bind by Diana Rodriguez Wallach


Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Lies That Bind by Diana Rodriguez Wallach. Anastasia is still reeling from the hunt for her sister Keira and the whole orphan and kidnapping ordeals when she jumps right back into the action with her cohorts and a few new helpers. She’s struggling with being unable to truly trust anyone or their opinions or ideas and things within the group become frustrating and tense. The new experiences prove that Anastasia has a right to be untrusting as the intrigue piles up all around her! Twists, turns and shocks keep the story going as relationships are in turmoil and the floor seems to fall out from underneath everyone that’s part of the Dresden rebellion. Mystery turned spy novel turned double agent story rates 5 stars for the pure unpredictability!

About Lies that Bind:

What do you do when you learn your entire childhood was a lie?

Reeling from the truths uncovered while searching for her sister in Italy, Anastasia Phoenix is ready to call it quits with spies. The only way to stop being a pawn in their game is to remove herself from the board. But before she can leave her parents’ crimes behind her, tragedy strikes. No one is safe, not while Department D still exists.

Now, with help from her friends, Anastasia embarks on a dangerous plan to bring down an entire criminal empire. From a fire-filled festival in England to a lavish wedding in Rio de Janeiro, Anastasia is determined to confront the enemies who want to destroy her family. But even Marcus, the handsome bad boy who’s been there for her at every step, is connected to the deadly spy network. And the more she learns about Department D, the more she realizes the true danger might be coming from someone closer than she expects…


About Diana Rodriguez Wallach:

Diana Rodriguez Wallach is the author of the Anastasia Phoenix Series, three young adult spy thrillers (Entangled Publishing, 2017, ’18, ‘19). The first book in the trilogy, Proof of Lies, was named by Paste Magazine as one of the “Top 10 Best Young Adult Books for March 2017.” Bustle also listed her as one of the “Top Nine Latinx Authors to Read for Women’s History Month 2017.” Additionally, she is the author of three award-winning young adult novels: Amor and Summer Secrets, Amigas and School Scandals, and Adios to All The Drama (Kensington Books); as well as a YA short-story collection entitled Mirror, Mirror (Buzz Books, 2013).

She is an advisory board member for the Philly Spells Writing Center, a school-based Workshop Instructor for Mighty Writers in Philadelphia, and has been a Writing Instructor for Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth since 2015. She holds a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University, and currently lives in Philadelphia.


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Excerpt from Lies that Bind:

“Mom and Dad are either dead or they abandoned us. I’m not sure which is worse,” I said bluntly. “But if they are alive, we don’t know how many people, how many lunatics, think we’re walking maps to their doorsteps. They’ll use us, and they’ll hurt us. Again.”

“Then we’ll stop looking for them.” Keira shrugged like it was easy. “Why do we need to go anywhere to do that?”

“Because everyone on that terrace is somehow connected to Department D, Marcus and Antonio especially!” I stared at the gray sky, aggravated. Did she think I wanted to do this? I was about to walk away from a guy I cared about because of our parents, because of things that they did. They committed crimes, they had an affair, and they put us in danger. All we could do now was survive. “As long as we’re linked to them, we’re not safe. Especially if Mom and Dad are alive. We have to go off the grid.”

Phoenix Fire by S.D. Grimm


Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Phoenix Fire by S.D. Grimm. The story drew me in, during the first chapter, as I read about Ava who lives in a foster home, has memories that aren’t her own and witnesses a car crash involving her foster brother. The second chapter introduces Cade and Nick and an entire world of hunting monsters and I was instantly immersed! Ava’s schoolmate, Wyatt, helped her after the crash and he seems to have a mystery of his own. The chapters alternate through Ava, Cade and Nick, all in first person point of view. Ava and Cade have forgotten about monsters and their Phoenix history, but Nick remembers and reveals the story elements through his narrative. Nick is always the first to remember who he is and what his family’s mission is and he’s alone as he wakes up his memories. He then has to search for his twin siblings, Ava and Cade, and help them remember, as gently as possible, so they don’t fall under harm. Their pasts slowly reveal themselves through each of their experiences as they relive their memories. Transitioning that flows smoothly between characters and memories builds the mythological, paranormal world of Phoenix Fire. Supernatural intensity and characters that are complex and endearing rate 5 stars!

About S.D. Grimm:

S. D. Grimm’s first love in writing is young adult fantasy and science fiction, which is to be expected from someone who looks up to heroes like Captain America and Wonder Woman, has been sorted into Gryffindor, and identifies as rebel scum. Her patronus is a red Voltron lion, her spirit animal is Toothless, and her favorite meal is second breakfast. Her office is anywhere she can curl up with her laptop and at least one large-sized dog.You can learn more about her upcoming novels at

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A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard


Thanks to NetGalley and Simon Pulse for the opportunity to read and review A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard. Steffi is a selective mute. Rhys is a new student that’s deaf and the two of them use sign language to speak to one another. They become friends because of the sign language commonality and their relationship eventually becomes more. This coming of age story contains quirkiness, humor, families that do the best they can and all the insecurities of growing up and being a little different. Young adult content shows the reality of sex and all the awkwardness that can go along with it. 5 stars for the lovable, complex characters!

This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter


Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read and review This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter. Leah is awaiting a heart transplant and in the meantime she’s being tutored and doing her schoolwork at home with her teachers’ help. Leah’s story (first person point of view) alternates with the (third person point of view) story of twins, Matt and Eric, who are still reeling from the loss of their father. One of the twins tutors Leah for extra credit on a day that the math teacher cannot make it. Leah is unsure which twin it is and confesses that she’s had a crush on Matt for years. I’m not sure how much time passes before Eric ends up dying in the hospital from a gunshot wound. Leah’s family receives a call from the hospital letting them know a heart is available for her transplant. She discovers that she’s received Eric’s heart and she keeps this information to herself. Eventually Leah and Matt talk about the transplant and how they’ve both been having dreams about Eric’s death and believe that it wasn’t suicide. In the dreams, they hear a voice other than Eric’s and they also see how Eric was running from something before he was shot. The mystery progresses and finally Detective Henderson sees proof of foul play. The main point of the book is to experience the process of needing a transplant, receiving one and learning to embrace life all over again. The author shares her family’s experiences with transplants at the end of the book. These experiences brought this story to life. 4 stars for the strength and perseverance shown by the main characters!

The Tower Princess by Shonna Slayton


The Tower Princess by Shonna Slayton is a tale of a kingdom split in half by two warring rivals. A wall is built and a treaty of peace is made; while these two rivals rule, there will be no war. A prince is born on one side and a princess on the other. Both kings are afraid of the two heirs falling in love when they are older, so the two children are hidden away. Without knowing about each other, the heirs discover the hidden space in the wall where they meet for the first time and become friends. Little do they know of the underlying intrigue and plot to rid the kingdoms of both of the heirs. The Tower Princess is a wonderfully told fairy tale that is the beginning of a collection by Shonna Slayton. Strong main characters brought the story to life and an imaginative magical place and Rowan king made it special, 5 stars!

Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick


Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick. The opening chapter spooked my thriller instinct while the second chapter was optimistic and lighthearted. Britt and Korbie are heading to the Wyoming mountains for spring break and on the way to Korbie’s family cabin the weather becomes dire. They leave their Jeep in search of shelter and find two young men in a cabin. Their spring break goes from fun and hopeful and from bad to worse. A whirlwind of events makes Black Ice a must-read mystery! For a book that contains less than 400 pages, it packs quite a punch! Becca Fitzpatrick weaves an engaging story full of suspense that doesn’t quit, characters that become more complex as the mystery unfolds and descriptions that immersed my imagination in the cold winter storms in the Teton Mountains, 5 intense stars!