The Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman

The teens of the founding families are each struggling with their responsibilities, relationships, and more. Together they fight for the corruption cure only to discover the truth behind everything they’ve been led to believe in their whole lives. They’ve been deceived about their entire purpose of protecting the community. The responsibility to end the corruption falls completely on the teenagers and they work past their grudges and become a strong team. The cause of the corruption isn’t what they think and they are shocked when they find out who is truly the cause of everything bad. 4 stars for a supernatural read!

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

The introduction is perfectly written with its foreboding and ominous tale that happens to be true.
Soraya and Sorush are twins. Soraya is hidden away because her touch is fatal. Sorush is the heir next in line to rule the kingdom.
On the day of Sorush and Laleh’s wedding announcement, Soraya meets Azad. He’s been awarded by Sorush for his bravery and for saving his life. Azad is immediately taken with Soraya even after he finds out about her fatal touch. The two of them sneak through secret passages to get into the dungeon so they can ask the prisoner div for help in breaking Soraya’s curse. A div is what gave her mother the curse years ago. The div tells her not to believe her mother’s story. As Soraya discovers the truth about her curse, her family becomes endangered and she has to do some clever thinking to save them. Soraya searches for allies and truths throughout the story as everything changes for her. Beautifully written and based on Persian mythology to give us this unique fantasy, 4 stars!

Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore

Two of Bitterblue’s advisers have perished in a shipwreck. They managed to send a message for Bitterblue before they perished. The message tells her to look into zilfium, a fuel used in the Torlan continent but illegal to use in Winterkeep. She discovers that she’s been swindled out of money when selling materials from her kingdom’s mountains, unknowingly selling traces of zilfiium that are found next to those materials. She’s angered and decides to visit Winterkeep, taking Giddon and Hava with her. She’s swept overboard and her crew thinks she perished. Instead, she’s being kept hidden away from her crew and most of Winterkeep. We meet her kidnappers and see the conditions she’s kept in. An array of characters fills the pages and intrigue turns the story. This latest addition to the Graceling realm adds another interesting culture to this vast world. Spies, loyalty and grief spin a complex riddle, 4 stars!

The Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda

Twenty-six-year-old Olivia keeps her history private and most people at a distance. It’s been twenty years since she was swept away by a rainstorm and was missing for three days. She has no recollection of what happened in those three days. She’s also changed her name from Arden to Olivia and moved to a new town to avoid anyone knowing about her history. Reporters bothered her for years and she wants to keep to herself. She hasn’t been sleepwalking for years, until her neighbor Rick finds her outside one night. The next time she sleepwalks, she trips over a dead body and gets blood all over her hands. She runs to Rick’s house, without thinking, because that’s where she feels safe. The more I read, the more the story twisted! The suspense builds and questions continue to pop up so Olivia doesn’t know who to trust or what to believe. An interesting mystery with just the right amount of creepy suspense, 5 stars!

Not Even Bones by Rebecca Shaeffer

Nita listens to her Disney playlist while she dissects dead unnatural beings. She lives with her mother and helps her with the collecting and dissecting that she does for a living. Nita’s mother sells body parts on the black market on the dark web. The first chapter shows her cruelty when she brings home a creature that looks like he’s an eighteen-year-old human. She locks him in a newly purchased cage and handcuffs him. She wants to keep him alive as long as possible while she removes and sells pieces of his body. Nita can’t stand to see him suffer so she helps him escape. Her mother is furious but calm. Soon after, Nita is kidnapped and imprisoned. After witnessing torture and seeing some black market buyers, Nita manages to escape and takes her neighboring cellmate along. Through suspenseful danger and action, Nita discovers more information about her kidnapping. Twists and intrigue, 4 stars!

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

The prologue shares the confusion of Bitterblue and her mother as they try to stay focused on truth to keep from becoming muddled by Bitterblue’s father, King Leck. Almost nine years later, Queen Bitterblue struggles to rule her country under the many advisers who “help” her. She sneaks out of the castle one night to check out the village and ends up in a pub where a storyteller is narrating a story about her father, King Leck. She observes several villagers and one, in particular, catches her attention but he disappears before she walks out of the pub after him. Bitterblue manages to keep sneaking out at night and listening to different storytellers. She finally meets the villager that caught her eye earlier, Saf, and his friend Teddy. She keeps her identity from them and pretends to be a bread baker in the castle. Eventually, her true identity is discovered when she’s attacked. Bitterblue has to rely on everyone she trusts to get to the bottom of the attack, the truth seeker killings, destruction of her kingdom and the past when King Leck ruled. Bitterblue is a wonderful story with a variety of strong characters who are interesting and keep the queen on her toes. I’m excited to read the next book in the Graceling realm, Winterkeep! A fantastical and intriguing world, 5 stars!

Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee by Mary G. Thompson

Intense, suspenseful and genre-bending!
Amy returns home after six horrible years with her kidnapper. She was kidnapped along with her cousin Dee. A man obsessed with dolls, Kyle stalked twelve-year-old Dee and took the opportunity to grab her the first chance he got. He, Kyle, took Amy also, so he wouldn’t leave behind a witness. After Amy returns home, she struggles deeply with guilt, blackout episodes and trusting anyone enough to tell what happened during the six years she was away. This heartrending story mixes mystery, realistic fiction and horror together well to create a tale of brutality, psychopathic tendencies and coping skills. 5 stars for an intense read!

All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace

Amara is set to be the next ruler but she doesn’t pass the test in front of her father or the people of the kingdom that are watching. She’s imprisoned but escapes with Bastian, a mysterious pirate. Amara’s fiancé Ferrick travels with them also. They’re trying to figure out how to stop Kaven. He’s become a ruthless leader and vows to conquer Amara’s father. Along the way, the three of them meet a mermaid and help her escape her servitude and she willingly helps the crew of rebels. They reach Kaven and see firsthand what his rule has cost his people. Amara touches a cursed dagger and sees the memory of what truly happened to the magic so many years ago. The truth could crush her father’s rule. When Amara and her crew return home, they find it under a vicious attack. They jump into the fight and have to do some quick thinking if they’re going to survive. I love the main characters and the development they underwent throughout this book. Amara, Bastian, Ferrick and Vataea are strong, brave and have great loyalty and integrity. I enjoyed the section on Sira’s memory and how it adds a twist to everything Amara and her kingdom know. A grand adventure, 5 stars!

Blackout by Candace Owens

Blackout by Candace Owens

Simon and Schuster
Logical, to the point, strong-willed all describe Candace Owens. The author concisely shares her research, familial background and her own personal experiences to help readers understand how she came to be the person she is today, a down to earth, intelligent person who knows her thoughts, values and herself thoroughly. The roots of the Ku Klux Klan are discussed, Candace’s grandparents and the strong base they gave her are shared and her experience with the NAACP and the media during a harassment episode during her high school years help us to understand her enlightenment of the true nature of politics and agendas.
The next chapter opened my eyes to the welfare system and the beginnings and history of Planned Parenthood. Feminism and segregation extremism are discussed and how they’ve both gone overboard and cause harm in the opposite of their integral beginnings. Socialism is brought to light with the description of Venezuelan struggles and true freedom is explained as personal responsibility. Biased media and it’s detrimental effects and long reaching consequences was completely disturbing. The no excuses section puts our choices first and foremost as the reason for success or failure. I had never heard of the desire to rewrite the Constitution to reflect each generation and their beliefs. How frightening that idea is! I already feel that humanity struggles to learn from the past and others’ experiences and rewriting the constitution would just cement that. Candace calls for faith and family above all and if family is America’s priority, we would all be better off in every way! She’s admirable for addressing the full truth behind all stories and history and I’m grateful that she shares the information and knowledge with everyone. I’m astounded by the twisted logic Antifa (updated version of the Ku Klux Klan) and it sickens me. “We have the right-no, the obligation-to think for ourselves…”. Gain valuable knowledge-read this book! 5 stars!

#Blexit

The Deep by Alma Katsu

Titanic horror/historical fiction

This story jumps back and forth in several different ways, mostly from 1912 to 1916 when the main characters are on the fateful journey of the Titanic in 1912 and four years later on the Brittanic. Desperation, sadness and selfishness turn anger into an invitation to the supernatural that becomes a possession causing chaos, confusion and harm. I truly didn’t see the possession coming but it all made sense in the end. I also didn’t realize that the Britannic also sunk which just added more tragedy to the story. Some of the storyline felt choppy, 3.5 stars.