Tattoo by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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Tattoo by Jennifer Lynn Barnes features four friends on an adventure together. Delia, Annabelle and Zo are friends with the main character, Bailey. Bailey has a crush on Kane Lawson, which is portrayed honestly and in an awkwardly cute way. We’ve all had similar crush experiences;). The four friends are shopping at the mall and purchase fun accessories to match their personalities. Bailey chooses temporary tattoos because she can’t decide on anything else. The tattoo set contains four temporary tattoos, one for each friend. Each girl’s item and tattoo gives them unique powers, which they realize eventually. These powers come in handy when they have to save their classmates from an evil mythological character. Tattoo is a fun fantasy with the great bond of loyal friends; 4 stars!

The Border by Steve Schafer

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I was asked by the author, through Goodreads, if I would like to read and review his book, The Border by Steve Schafer. I found the synopsis interesting and decided I wanted to check into it and I am very happy that I did! The Border begins with a great introduction containing action and intense suspense and tragedy. This is an excellent book, earning a 5 star rating from me, and I couldn’t put it down. I needed time to process all of the story’s events before writing a review because the story felt intensely realistic and the dynamic characters are complex and original and touched my heart and mind. The story also shows humor in the face of death, with greed making terrible events even worse. I’m definitely purchasing this book for the library when it’s available on September 5, 2017! The author created a fictional tale and characters based on the struggles that real people have gone through and he did this beautifully! I know students whose family members have crossed the Mexican/American border and some that have done this themselves. The story opens with an innocent quinceanera with neighbors, family members and friends attending. The fun lasts for moments before tragedy strikes in the form of gang members and guns. We have all heard about the violence and drug wars and poverty in Mexico. The Border opened my eyes to these problems with clarity and empathy. Four teenagers survive the shooting and run for their lives because a gunman spotted them. The story deals with their loss of the lives they have grown up in and the difficult trek they embark on to find safety. Their journey is in no way easy and they learn to rely on each other. Heartbreaking, educational and interesting realistic fiction story worthy of 5 stars! Highly recommended!

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Blue Rider Press for the opportunity to read and review The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher! The author opens up about her role as Princess Leia and other aspects of her life during her time on the Star Wars set, her acting career and her relationships. Candid, humorous and personal journal entries and chapters of Carrie’s life are discussed and secrets are revealed. It saddens me that Carrie Fisher died soon after writing this memoir and I’m thankful for the glimpse of her life that she gave the world. 4 stars!

Cold Summer by Gwen Cole

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Cold Summer by Gwen Cole starts off with Kale sitting in his yard thinking about how his life has changed. The mystery of this change pulled me into the story. Harper is moving into her Uncle Jasper’s home where she’s spent her summers when she was younger. She’s looking forward to seeing the neighbors, Kale and his family. The alternating points of view between Kale and Harper tell their stories, bits at a time. Kale struggles with daily life and responsibilities because he gets pulled out of the present and travels to the past. He feels like he has absolutely no control over his life and he’s been kicked off the baseball team and expelled from school, slowly losing everything he cares about. He has been traveling into a World War II war zone and it’s happening more often. Harper helps Kale deal with the time traveling and gives him something to be happy about. This book is genre bending since it’s historical fiction (World War II), science fiction (time travel), contemporary and romance all in one; 4 stars.

The Things They’ve Taken by Katie McElhenney

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Teen for the opportunity to read and review The Things They’ve Taken by Katie McElhenney! Lo, short for Delores, needs help retrieving her mother from a burning pentagram that pulled her through the floor. Shaw, a tracker, is willing to help her for fifteen thousand dollars in cash. He brings his large dog, Mange, along for the journey. They visit a seer at a nursing home and then every other being they can find to get guidance from. Lo feels like she is going in circles and not accomplishing anything that she has set out to do in her quest to rescue her mother. The variety of characters is fun and I enjoy Lo’s sense of humor and snarky comments. Shaw, in all his mystery, is intriguing and interesting and I want to get to know him better. The book ends as though there is a sequel planned and I look forward to reading it. The Things They’ve Taken is a mix of supernatural, fantasy, mythology, adventure and humor. Fun and enjoyable and worthy of a 5 star rating!

The Girl From RawBlood by Catriona Ward

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to Edelweiss, NetGalley and Sourcebooks for the opportunity to read and review The Girl from RawBlood by Catriona Ward. Iris lives with her Papa in the house called RawBlood. This house has been in their family for generations and the family members supposedly have a disease called Horror autotoxicus. They are supposed to live by a strict set of rules, one of which states, “no friends “. The story splits between past and present and dives into the sordid history of RawBlood. The prose is reminiscent of classical writing and brings the reader into that atmosphere with a Gothic feel. Vivisection, drugs, hallucinations and dysfunctional relationships help the story move forward into the horror genre. Even though the story line is somewhat confusing, the disjointed feeling also helps with the oddities and creepiness of the story. 4 stars.

The Wishing Heart by J.C. Welker

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to Entangled Teen and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review The Wishing Heart by J.C. Welker! As the story opens, Rebel is breaking into a rich London apartment. She thinks of herself as a modern day Robin Hood, but she keeps the loot for herself so she can make wishes. She’s an orphan living in a dreary institute run by an unkind matron and needs all the happiness she can find. She steals a golden vase, not realizing that it’s actually a vessel holding a jinni named Anjeline. Rebel has a heart condition and she ventures on a journey to free Anjeline and repair her own heart. Along the way, they run into a variety of characters and creatures, some friendly and some dangerous. Rebel learns about her parentage and all of its mysteries. This story brings fantasy, mythology, supernatural and LGBT together tastefully and smoothly. The author, J. C. Welker, has a goal, “…to work toward giving a voice to LGBTQ stories, while facing magic and monsters along the way. “. 4 stars for a job well done!

The Blood Orchid by Claire Warner

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Blood Orchid by Claire Warner has Melissa and Justin opening the story with the ending events of The Black Lotus. Marcus searches for and finds Melissa after discovering the death of their mother. He fights for her to go back home with him and then finally realizes that she can’t and is now dealing with the same curse as Justin. This book is genre bending and includes historical fiction plus all the mystery, suspense and paranormal fun of The Black Lotus, the first book in the Night Flower series. 4 stars for this supernatural young adult book with a touch of romance!

The Black Lotus by Claire Warner

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
The Black Lotus by Claire Warner is the first book in the Night Flower Series. ┬áThe opening of the book pulled me into the story with danger and intrigue. Melissa is experiencing memory loss and seems to have been kidnapped and she’s overhearing two people discuss her while they think she’s unconscious. She gradually recalls her circumstances and how she came to be in her current state. Then, the story jumps back to five months earlier. Melissa is attending her first social outing as a demure debutante. She meets all types of men, one she can’t get out of her mind, even though she’s been warned away from him, and has an altercation with another man who is extremely pushy. Her night didn’t fare very well in society’s standards. The man she can’t stop thinking about is Justin and, little does she know, he has a horrible curse that he’s trying to survive. As the story is told, the curse is revealed with the sorrow and dangers that go with it. This fantasy has mystery, suspense, romance and intrigue all wrapped together for an interesting supernatural book, 4 stars.

Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately by Alicia Cook

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately by Alicia Cook!

This book consists of poems labeled Track One through to Track Ninety-Two. Each poem is followed by a song the author was currently listening to when constructing the poem.

My favorite poem is Track Fourteen:

“Just because I don’t trust you
doesn’t mean I have trust issues.
Just because I won’t commit to you
doesn’t mean I have commitment issues.
Just because I watch what I eat
doesn’t mean I have body image issues.
Just because people have left my life
doesn’t mean I have abandonment issues.
Just because I yearn to grow and evolve
doesn’t mean I have identity issues.

I know exactly who the hell I am.”

That is a slam dunk of confidence and well being!

There are two sets of ninety two poems. The first set is each full poem with a coinciding song. The second set is a remix of each of the previous poems, in order, with specifically chosen words to create new, smaller poems with a different song that matches the remake better.

This book is full of healing poems that feel like a balm applied directly to your heart! I plan on purchasing this poetry book for the patrons at the high school library because I know several students who will appreciate the heartfelt words pouring into each poem. 5 stars!