Keeping Kyler by Siobhan Davis

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I voluntarily read and reviewed Keeping Kyler by Siobhan Davis. Just when I thought there couldn’t be any more surprises, more pop up in this book, the third installment in The Kennedy Boys series! As the story is opening, Kyler runs in anger and doesn’t even tell Faye where he’s going. He won’t respond to her texts, frustrating and worrying her even more. This leaves Faye to deal with her own surprises without him, so they are both alone in their struggles. Kyler meets his biological father and turns away with complete disbelief and disgust. And the surprises keep coming, loaded with twists and turns. The relationship between Kyler and Faye is cute, sometimes cheesy, to the annoyance of everyone around them. They are mature for their age and I suppose it’s because of the difficult experiences they have lived through, which makes their lives anything but dull. 5 stars for this new-adult romance and mystery story!

Redemption Lake by Susan Clayton-Goldner

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I voluntarily read and reviewed Redemption Lake by Susan Clayton-Goldner. Matt ends up in an extremely bad situation when he wakes up after sleeping some beer off at his friend’s house and finds his best friend’s mother, Crystal, dead in her bathtub with a slit throat. Matt worries about the consequences of every one of his actions and how those actions affect the people around him. The mystery surrounding Crystal’s death causes turmoil within the community. The suspect becomes difficult to narrow down and the uncertainty left me guessing until the end. Secrets are exposed and relationships are stretched thin in this well written mystery. “…wisdom grows out of disillusionment. We evolve from what hurts us, what happens in our own hearts as a result of that pain.” Profound and life-changing statement. 5 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 Silver Thread by Emigh Cannaday (Audiobook Version)

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I received an advance reader copy and an audiobook and volunteered to review the story.
The Silver Thread audiobook has the same great voice actor as The Flame and the Arrow! Talvi and Annika come together again but they discover that love takes work and they seem to have a lot more to deal with while they are staying with her brother and their friends. Being married and realizing they need to rely on and and share with each other is difficult for both of them. At times, I became annoyed at Talvi and even Annika because they didn’t seem to be trying to care for and be there for each other. Finn is amazing and selfless and he and his father straighten Talvi out. I thought the punishment Ambrose set for Talvi was priceless, including the conversation Ambrose conducted with Talvi while he was digging, not realizing that Annika was there the whole time overhearing everything, just as Talvi’s father planned. The cliffhanger ending is intense! 5 stars for the wonderful, flowing writing of Emigh Cannaday and for her creative fantasy world, prophecies and all!

Streaks of Blue by Jack Chaucer

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to Jack Chaucer for the opportunity to read and review his book, Streaks of Blue, book one of the Nikki White series! Nikki is befriending two students that she suspects need friends to prevent them from committing a horrendous act of violence after she has a dream that she feels is a premonition. Adam appreciates Nikki but Thomas doesn’t. Nikki discovers, along with Adam, how much Adam is truly dealing with. Through the ups and downs of friendship, Nikki and Adam grow and realize that people’s decisions are what make them, develop who they become and create the life they are living. The story pulls at the heart with emotions, startles the heart with suspense and washes away burden and brings out hope for our future. 5 stars for an honest and open story of realistic fiction and circumstances of real life. I appreciate the author’s nod to a fellow author, Cheryl Strayed and her memoir of her struggles and overcoming them. I look forward to reading the rest of the Nikki White series!