The Boyfriend Whisperer by Linda Budzinski

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The Boyfriend Whisperer by Linda Budzinski is a fun, young adult clean read! Lexi has made a small business of helping young women gain the attention of guys they are interested in. She calls herself The Boyfriend Whisperer and no one knows it’s Lexi, except her assistant Abi. All seems fine until Lindsay hires the boyfriend whisperer to help her get Chris, Lexi’s best friend and long time crush. Lexi questions her matchmaking business, her friendships, her future as a basketball player and even her relationship with Chris. It becomes a roller coaster ride of teen angst and young love. This realistic fiction and romance story is cute and charming with a wide range of characters that keep Lexi on her toes; 5 stars for this enjoyable read!

Secrets of a Reluctant Princess by Casey Griffin

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to Entangled Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review Secrets of a Reluctant Princess by Casey Griffin. This silly, charming and sometimes cheesy clean read tells the story of Adrianna Bottom, Andy for short. Andy has to deal with being called Porcelain Princess because of her family’s toilet accessories business as well as the reality TV show highlighting them. Since her real name is Adrianna Bottom, Andy has already been bullied endlessly about her last name, even before becoming the Porcelain Princess. Her family has now moved, so Andy is attending a new school and the bullying doesn’t take long to start. On top of the bullying, she has to deal with the producer of the reality show being pushy and invading every aspect of Andy’s life that he can. This quick read has romance, humor and the lesson of keeping secrets, 4 stars.

Nemesis by Anna Banks

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.

Thanks to NetGalley and Feiwel and Friends for the opportunity to read and review Nemesis by Anna Banks! Sepora has escaped her kingdom with the help of her mother and her pet, whom she loves very much. In a neighboring kingdom, Tarik has been honored as he takes over the role of king when his father gets sick, deteriorates quickly and dies. This story is told in two points of view featuring Sepora as one and Tarik as the other. Sepora and Tarik alternate consistently throughout the book. I like this switching between the two because it gives insight into both of their thoughts and perspectives.

Sepora is captured then sold as a concubine in Tarik’s harem, which he never visits. She escapes and seeks an audience with Tarik and being amused by Sepora, he makes her an assistant. She’s a handful for Tarik and he’s not sure how to deal with her because he enjoys her and learns a lot from her, but he is expected to punish her actions by his peers and subjects. Told in beautiful prose, Nemesis weaves romance, intrigue and a unique story into a new and fantastic world, 5 stars! I’m looking forward to the sequel, Ally coming out Fall 2017!

The Lost Property Office

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“Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.”

Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read and review The Lost Property Office by James R. Hannibal! This book is interesting from the dedication and onward. Steampunk genre with the iridescent clockwork beetles add to the fantasy feel. The main character, thirteen-year-old Jack Buckles, lives with his mom and eight-year-old sister, Sadie. Sadie believes she sees their dad and when Jack looks down to talk to her, she has disappeared. Jack catches up with Sadie and they both end up in The Lost Property Office. They discover that their dad belongs to the Ministry of Trackers. A clerk, Gwen, becomes Jack’s guide and they follow clues to the man in black (the Clockmaker) who seems to know what happened to Jack’s father and Gwen’s uncle, who worked with Jack’s father. He tells them to find the Ember and meet him at the Great Clock Tower at midnight to find Jack’s father. I enjoy the mix of English and American characters, cultures and humor! Steampunk and fantasy combine for a fun tale of mysterious secrets, intrigue and surprises – 4 stars!

Bottled

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Thanks to Clean Reads for the opportunity to read and honestly review Bottled by Carol Riggs! This fantasy story involves a woman trapped in a spell, cast by a djinn, who serves her changing masters over the centuries. A traditional story with a female protagonist, a horrible villain, romance and suspense. This is a clean read book and enjoyable!

Such Sweet Sorrow

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Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the free digital book of Such Sweet Sorrow by Jenny Trout! I was instantly intrigued by the story in the prologue because I knew I would be discovering what happens after Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet ends. Then, the first chapter brings Hamlet into the after mix and his story begins where Shakespeare’s Hamlet left off. I was pulled in even more! Romeo and Hamlet travel through Valhalla to try to complete their individual missions and they deal with love, battles, intense warriors and extreme conditions. This story is cleverly written and imagined and it is also complete fun! I give it 5 stars!

All the Broken Pieces

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Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Teen for the arc of All the Broken Pieces by Cindi Madsen! Olivia (Liv) wakes up in a hospital recovering from an accident with amnesia. She literally remembers nothing and she keeps having different opinions voiced inside her head. She moves to a new town with her mother and father and begins school. The mystery surrounding Liv unravels through resurfacing memories, some sleuthing and parental confrontation. I did not completely figure out what the mystery was and the unpredictability was a good thing because it kept me interested. I was going to rate this book 3.5 stars, but the epilogue raised my rating to 4 stars.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child begins with the nineteen years later epilogue from book 7, The Deathly Hallows, (don’t get discouraged because a new story awaits you in these pages). After the refresher, the story jumps to the ongoing events in the characters’ lives. It’s interesting to see how Harry Potter deals with being a parent. This book is lighter reading than the original Harry Potter series but background knowledge is a necessity to understand the story. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and, as always, when I enter Harry Potter’s world, I never want to leave it.

 

Orphan Trains

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Actual rating: 3.5 stars. Thanks to NetGalley and Capstone for the arc of Orphan Trains: Taking the Rails to a New Life by Rebecca Langston-George! This book tells the true story of the origin of orphanages, the Children’s Aid Society and orphan trains. The opening of the New York Foundling Hospital, founded by Sister Irene and her order, the Sisters of Charity is described. Individual stories are shared, an orphan train timeline is included, as well as a glossary, additional resources and discussion questions. Bibliography and source notes will help anyone wanting to find more information on the topic of orphan trains and their origins. Definitely for younger readers with simple information and photographs.

The Fourline Trilogy by Pam Brondos

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Thanks to Skyscape and Goodreads for the free copy of Gateway to Fourline by Pam Brondos! Complex characters and a mysterious story line make Gateway to Fourline interesting to read. Natalie is my favorite character because she truly cares about her family and tries to be as independent as possible. She becomes part of a world she knows nothing about as she tries to help her new employers and newly found friends. I especially enjoyed the bastle herder facade when Nat pretended to have fleas! Very funny! Interesting world and characters make Gateway to Fourline the beginning of a promising fantasy trilogy!

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Thanks to NetGalley and Skyscape for the arc of On the Meldon Plain by Pam Brondos! The author sums up events from Gateway to Fourline nicely. Nat still wants to help Estos and she feels guilty that Soris was harmed by a Nala. Nat trains to be a Warrior Sister and she returns to Fourline, after completion of her training, to kill the Nala that harmed Soris. To truly kill a Nala, you must behead it, and Nat only harmed it previously. She is also still learning the depths of her powers. Nat goes on a mission with Annin, Andris, Soris and a few others to find Emilia (Estos’ sister). While on this mission, Nat is determined to find a cure for everyone and anyone who has been harmed by Nala venom. Once the venom enters your body, you began to change and become part Nala or duozi. In Fourline, there is tremendous prejudice towards duozi.

On the Meldon Plain is a bit more serious than Gateway to Fourline, but it still has the same great writing and complex characters as the first book. I thoroughly enjoy the relationships and world building that Pam Brondos has done with her Fourline series.

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Thanks to NetGalley and Skyscape for the arc of The Last Remnant by Pam Brondos! This book finishes the Fourline trilogy perfectly! Nat discovers what causes the Nala venom to take over and change someone into a duozi, but she hasn’t found a cure yet. So, she sends Annin to Fourline to see if Sister Ethet can use Nat’s discovery to come up with a cure. Nat keeps experimenting and finds the cure. She’s anxious to get to Fourline so she can share her findings, but has been told not to go for her own safety. Nat sneaks through the tunnel anyway and inadvertently lets her sister, Cal, slip through the tunnel also. Nat is captured and is injured and given a remnant from the Nalaide (the Nala queen). Nat is rescued and she travels with her friends and sister to a wisdom house where Nat hears about the prediction of a sister who will kill the Nalaide, ending the Nala. The prediction describes the markings on Nat’s arm. Nat continues to fight the Nalaide in her dreams and tries to keep her and her sister safe. The struggle brings stress to everyone involved and closeness between Nat and Cal. This fantasy trilogy contains some romance, battles, suspense and mystery and I highly recommend it!