Dragonwatch by Brandon Mull

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Dragonwatch by Brandon Mull! I absolutely love the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull and Dragonwatch is a continuation of that series, so I was excited to dive right in and devour the book! The prologue is told in the grandfather’s point of view. The story is told in alternating points of view with each chapter, taking turns between Kendra and Seth, the grandkids. Seth is a shadow charmer. Kendra is fairykind. The two siblings can charm dragons as long as they are together. Because of this, they have been asked to be caretakers of a dragon sanctuary, Wyrmroost. They are charged with finding a scepter that will help keep the sanctuary safe and, on their ques,t they run into many interesting creatures: dire bears, a troll and a very old dragon whose help they need. They work together well and it seems that Seth has become a bit wiser. It sure is nice to be back in the world of Fablehaven. 5 stars for this book that brings readers back to the adventurous Fablehaven life and I am looking forward to more books in this series!

Birthright by Jessica Ruddick

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and YA Bound Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review Birthright by Jessica Ruddick! Ava has always seen people’s auras in color and when she turned sixteen, she became a seeker for one of the many Grim Reapers. This is her inheritance. She seeks people with white auras that could become angels and then she tells Xavier (a Grim Reaper) the person’s name and he takes their life. Ava lives with her mother and they move quite often and don’t have much money. Her mother is a seeker also. She meets Cole when he saves her from getting run over by a car. They end up being project partners and have to do internship work together for 80 hours at the mechanic shop where he works. Ava and Cole annoy each other and the annoyance is described perfectly in this statement of Ava thinking about Cole; “He did a good job, worked hard, went the extra mile. God, it pissed me off.”. Funny! Another great line shows how mechanically inclined Ava isn’t, “I couldn’t tell you the first thing about a catalytic converter other than it was metal and shiny. And it probably converted something”. The down to earth sense of humor is great, the chemistry between Ava and Cole is charming and the fact that both of them have less than happy backgrounds makes them perfect for each other. An enjoyable supernatural read, 5 stars and I look forward to the sequel, Retribution!

Raising a Secure Child by Kent Hoffman

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Guilford Publications for the opportunity to read and review Raising a Secure Child by Kent Hoffman. This non-fiction book is all about parenting to help your child feel secure, comfortable and confident. As we all know, there’s a lot of parenting wisdom and advice for the taking and it seems like everyone is willing to share his or her opinion whether it’s wanted or not. This book describes a way to build self-esteem and the feeling of security from the time your baby is born. I like the idea of the simple act of letting your children know you are there for them and showing them, through your actions that you truly are, can build the security that we all need to succeed in life. I was interested in the sensitivity section and the checklist that helps us see our own shark music (a phrase given to how we defend ourselves unconsciously). My favorite line of the book is, “Self-esteem is built not from praise but from acceptance”. 4 stars for a helpful book that boosts self confidence and a well balanced childhood!

Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for the opportunity to read and review Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage. Ben lives next door to the Cillo family, who has recently lost their two daughters, Mira and Francesca. Ben secretly loves Mira and he’s devastated by her death. Mira left notes for Ben to find and to help him understand the mystery of the sisters’ deaths. The book has a confusing story line that jumps back and forth between characters and from past to present, sometimes randomly. For some reason, Francesca has bleeding holes appear in her palms and the causes of Connie’s allergic reaction are never stated. The story is based on possible delusional teens and the consequences when they believe one is a saint and things don’t work out as planned. The writing is well done and the characters feel pain and compassion but the story is just not my type,3 stars.

The Secrets We Keep by Deb Loughead

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Dundurn for the opportunity to read and review The Secrets We Keep by Deb Loughead. This story is told in four points of view beginning with Clementine, and telling the story of Kit and how he died, which is a mystery. The target audience is right on as described by the publisher – 12 to 15 years. Clementine, Jake and Ellie are part of the group who last saw Kit, who has special needs. Ellie is blackmailing Clementine for favors, such as lying to her parents so Ellie doesn’t get in trouble when she’s doing something she knows she shouldn’t be. The blackmail has ruined their friendship and Clementine finally decides to tell Ellie it’s over. Holding in and denying their secrets is tearing each of them apart and destroying their relationships. When the truth finally comes out, the community can finally heal. Aimed towards young teens with a passion for mystery and realistic fiction, 3.5 stars.

Resist by Ilima Todd

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Resist by Ilima Todd is the second book in the Remake series. The hypocritical world of freedom that Nine escaped from has Theron questioning everything after he is granted a new trade by the leader of the community, Eri. Theron is sworn to secrecy as he is shown the world of makers. He discovers more terrible acts against humans than he could have ever imagined and his world is turned upside down. He has yet to fully understand his past, present and future relationship with Nine because he is just now learning about both sides of his society. Nine has known about their society’s secrets longer and has been able to move on and understand her place in the world. This second book of the Remake series features Theron more than Nine as it follows his enlightenment and struggles in dealing with the problems around him. 4 stars.

The Edge of Brilliance by Susan Traugh

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to YA Bound Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review The Edge of Brilliance by Susan Traugh. Amy suffers from bipolar disorder and she’s worried that taking her prescriptions and attending therapy will make people think she’s crazy. The author’s note is touching and genuine and explains how the story is loosely based on true experiences and she gives hope to anyone struggling with mental illness. The story takes us through Amy’s ups and downs and the statistics after the epilogue are eye-opening. 4 stars for this helpful and informative realistic fiction story!

Rose Petal Graves by Olivia Wildenstein

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to YA Bound Book Tours and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review Rose Petal Graves by Olivia Wildenstein. Cat returns home from college to a drunk father and her mother’s funeral to prepare for. Her mother was Native American and believed in the magical legends of her ancestors. Part of the legends include fae and fae hunters. As the story is told, Cat learns how much her family roots are tied into the faerie world. She loses people she cares about and gains a relationship with others and she also has to resolve some guilt issues. The mix of good and evil and everything in between kept Cat alert and unsure of who she could put her trust in. I like the story and the fae and fae hunter concept, but I am a bit mad at Cat for turning Blake away when she falls for someone with his memories and similarities. It makes me wonder if Blake’s injuries were the reason for her distance. I rate Rose Petal Graves 4 stars for a mysterious fantasy story with more to tell!

Mosaic by Sarah Fine

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and 47 North for the opportunity to read and review Mosaic by Sarah Fine; the last book in the Reliquary trilogy. Asa and Mattie travel around the world together. Asa is captured and Mattie spends her time frantically trying to figure out how to get him back. Mattie discovers a lot about Asa and his family as she searches for him. This new adult story is like a maze of uncertainty and heartbreak with an ambiguous ending, 4 stars!

Crochet Stories: Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland by Pat Olski

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to Dover Publications and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review Crochet Stories: Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland by Pat Olski. This book is a feast for crocheters and readers combined. The crocheted characters are introduced through excerpts from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and right after the story sections, comes the crochet projects’ details. The key of crochet abbreviations is at the beginning of the book and each pattern uses these abbreviations. The detailed instructions give information on finished measurements, materials needed and the gauge of stitches per row and number of rows when complete. The colored photos of the finished products are too cute to not crochet! My favorite photo is of Alice, the dormouse, the Mad Hatter and the tea set – all crocheted pieces. The Queen and King are comically cute. The skill levels for crocheters are easy and intermediate. There are even patterns for a croquet card arch and a flamingo mallet. Adorable and fun! 5 stars!