Cakespell by Gaby Triana

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Cakespell by Gaby Triana tells a story about Rose. Rose loves baking and has aspirations of becoming a famous baker and opening her own shop someday. Her mother hates the idea of Rose baking or working and she wants Rose to only focus on her schoolwork so she can eventually support herself, be self-sufficient and independent. Rose decides to spend her time baking at her grandpa’s house and keeps it a secret from her mother. Her grandpa, who she calls Papa, is more than happy to have Rose at his home. Papa gives Rose all of her deceased grandma’s baking utensils and her special apron that Rose has wonderful memories of. Papa believes that Rose has special baking skills like her grandmother and he teaches her a special Cakespell that makes her baked goods help people fall in love. Rose’s creations are delicious and she begins to gain customers by the dozens. Cakespell is a cute, fun story that also deals with the heavier issues of self-image, losing a loved one, friendship struggles, setting and working toward goals, sportsmanship and lack of parental support. An enjoyable young adult read with crushes, humor and love that round out this adorable tale of baking with a bit of mischief, 4 stars!

Sweet Peril by Wendy Higgins

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Sweet Peril by Wendy Higgins opens with a story from Rome in the 1700’s where two Nephilim are punished for loving each other. Six months have passed since book one and since Anna and Kaidan have seen each other. Kaidan and Anna know they need to stay apart for their own safety as well as the safety of the rebelling Nephilim and supporting demons. Anna has been given a mission and she’s going to be working with Kope. Their mission is to save a young woman in a part of the world where women are devalued, degraded and abused. Her name is Zania. Kope and Anna meet with two Nephilim and then their emotions get in the way, so they decide traveling together is too difficult. Anna then travels alone and she is finally able to have a conversation with Kaidan and they are finally honest with each other and learn how to make their relationship work. Unexpectedly, Kope and Kaidan work together, by wearing Arabic disguises and saving Zania by pretending to purchase her for slavery. Blake, Kaidan, Anna, Kope and Zania are forced to hide in the cold ocean water because the Dukes come to the island they are staying on. While shivering in the water, they are witnesses to a Nephilim murder by the Neph’s own father. The group works with Anna’s father, continually strategizing to build the rebellion up. Sweet Peril is just as exciting as the first book, Sweet Evil, in this supernatural series by Wendy Higgins. 5 stars!

Hiding Lies by Julie Cross

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Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Teen for the opportunity to read and review Hiding Lies by Julie Cross! Ellie is living with her sister Harper and her brother-in-law Aidan and she’s trying to figure out her life, her relationships and how to deal with her past. Miles and Ellie are falling in love and are great for each other. Miles and his family leave the country for a while and when Ellie hasn’t heard from Miles in almost a week, she starts worrying. When Miles’ father calls her and asks her to erase Miles’ records from their school and doesn’t offer any information other than her mission, her worry compounds. Little does she know that she will be face to face with Miles while they’re both in the middle of a huge con. Dominic brings more interest to the story and Miles and Ellie bring suspense, especially with the intrigue and never knowing who they can trust. Fun and suspenseful, Hiding Lies is the perfect sequel to Chasing Truth, 5 stars!

About Chasing Truth (Eleanor Ames, #1):

When former con artist Eleanor Ames’s homecoming date commits suicide, she’s positive there’s something more going on. The more questions she asks, though, the more she crosses paths with Miles Beckett. He’s sexy, mysterious, arrogant…and he’s asking all the same questions.

Eleanor might not trust him – she doesn’t even like him – but they can’t keep their hands off of each other. Fighting the infuriating attraction is almost as hard as ignoring the fact that Miles isn’t telling her the truth…and that there’s a good chance he could be the killer.

Buylinks: https://entangledpublishing.com/chasing-truth.html

 

About Hiding Lies (Eleanor Ames, #2):

At Holden Prep, dirty little secrets always have a way of coming to the surface.

Eleanor Ames has never been what she seems. Average high school student on the outside, but reformed con artist trying to break free of her past on the inside. When Eleanor receives startling news about someone from her previous criminal life, plans for a new operation coinciding with her school’s upcoming field trip quickly consume her. 

But operations rarely go according to plan. And this is one her irresistible teen FBI agent boyfriend, Miles, would never approve of.

Now, more than just Ellie’s reputation is at stake. If she fails, it could be her life.

Buylinks: https://entangledpublishing.com/hiding-lies.html

 

About Julie Cross:
Julie Cross is a NYT and USA Today bestselling author of New Adult and Young Adult fiction, including the Tempest series, a young adult science fiction trilogy which includes Tempest, Vortex, Timestorm (St. Martin’s Press). She’s also the author of Letters to Nowhere series, Whatever Life Throws at You, Third Degree, Halfway Perfect, Chasing Truth, Off the Ice and many more to come! Julie Cross was a longtime resident of central Illinois but has recently moved her entire family across the country to continue her academic studies at Stanford University.

 

Author Links:

Author Website: http://juliecrossbooks.com/

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/juliecross1980

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FansOfJulieCross/

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3429117.Julie_Cross

 

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Excerpt from Hiding Lies:

My feet have been dangling. I start to lift them up, attempting to conceal myself. But I’m not fast enough. Warm fingers wrap around my ankle.

“Got you,” the guy says. “How long have you been up there spying on me?”

“Spying? On you?” I shake my head. “Don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m waiting for someone. He’ll be here any second.”

The hot guy takes the binoculars and looks them over, analyzing the zoom-in and recording switches hidden on the underside. “Fancy. Not exactly for recreational use.”

That’s because they’re Aidan’s. My sister’s boyfriend. Up until two weeks ago, when he was forced to resign, Aidan was a Secret Service agent. He used all kinds of spy gear in his former job—like these high-tech night-vision binoculars.

I hop down from the tree, assessing the intruder, searching for body language that says friend or enemy, even though I already know the answer. No harm in having a little extra practice. Role-play is definitely a skill of mine, but it’s also a muscle that must be worked regularly. “Just so you know, I am trained in self-defense. Wouldn’t try anything if I were you.”

“Yeah?” He lifts an eyebrow. “That’s good because this place is sketchy as hell.”

We both glance around the deserted warehouse building beside us, the vandalized lumberyard nearby, and the questionable items strewn across the walkway leading to the giant warehouse door—condom wrappers, broken beer bottles, cigarette butts.

“You’re right, it’s sketchy,” I say. “I better take off before something bad happens.”

“Wait…” Hot Guy reaches for me, his fingers curling around my waist. He tugs me until my back rests against the tree and we’re hidden from anyone on the street. “Tell me about this other guy you’re waiting on.”

I stare up at him, taking in the cocky smirk, perfectly messy dark hair, and blue eyes that hold dozens of secrets. “What other guy?”

He grins, showing off two perfect dimples to go with the rest of his perfects. “Good answer.”

Then, before I can refocus on the role I’ve been playing, he leans down and kisses me. It’s only been a week but feels like a month. Maybe longer. His cheeks are cold, but his lips are warm and tender. I bring him closer and closer until his slinged arm is lodged between us.

“Miles,” I mumble against his lips.

“Uh-huh.”

“Miles,” I repeat, too caught up in this kiss to celebrate the slip he just made. “That’s his name. The guy I’m waiting on.”

“Miles. Sounds like an asshole. Forget him.” He pulls away just enough to see my face. His good hand rests against my cheek. He looks like he’s about to dive into kissing me again but hesitates. “It’s really cold out here.”

“And sketchy,” I add. “Why would you pick a place like this? You can’t coast forever on the whole mysterious-hot-guy persona. So if that’s your plan, I’d rather meet at the Y or Planet Fitness like a normal person.”

He rolls his eyes. “Yes, that’s my goal in life. Devote all my time to training to be a spy so I can impress girls.”

The Fates Divide by Veronica Roth

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The Fates Divide by Veronica Roth opens as the action picks up where it left off in Carve the Mark, reacquainting us with the characters and their situations. Cyra and Akos have formed a strong bond with each other, Ryazek is in prison and Eijah still suffers from loss of his own memories. Death follows and problems grow. The story is told in first person and third person and alternates between four characters. Complicated, but effective, storytelling flows so well that I was pulled right back into Cyra’s world full of rebellion, intrigue and heartache. Cyra and Akos learn a shocking truth that changes the course of their fates. The suspense builds to intense levels and rounds out this amazingly creative science fiction story. The only thing that bothers me is when the author mixes up Cisi as a Noavek while she’s healing and pondering her fate on page 418. 4.5 stars for the imagination that was put into creating the Noavek/Kereseth world!

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

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Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for the opportunity to read and review The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw! Chapter One opens the book with the introduction of the main characters, the setting of the town of Sparrow and Lumiere Island, a spooky tale and foreshadowing of death. The main characters are Penny, who lives alone with her mother after her father disappeared three years ago, and Rose. Rose’s mother owns a bakery that sells mini cakes that supposedly help people forget their struggles and painful memories. Tourist season starts and the town celebrates the legend of the three Swan Sisters and their drowning centuries ago. The Swan sisters Marguerite, Aurora and Hazel were drowned after being accused of witchcraft. The story is told in parts, past and present, alternating to reveal the history of the sisters, the disappearance of Penny’s father and the secrets of Bo, the visitor that ends up working on Lumiere Island with Penny. Wicked Deep is a fantasy wrapped in darkness, engulfed in tragedy and heartbreak with intrigue, deception and sacrifice that ultimately brings love into its pages. Wonderfully written and rates a highly recommended 5 stars!

Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

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Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins is an intense ride with demons and angels. The opening reveals Anna’s beginnings as she’s born and blessed with the angelic spirit of her dying mother while her father looks on with a broken heart. Police break in and arrest her father, John LaGray, for international drug trafficking and his only remark to her is, “Just say no to drugs, will ya kid?” Fast forward to teen Anna attending a concert with her best friend, Jay. They’re enjoying the music when Anna notices the drummer. She sees others’ emotions as colors and the drummer hardly is showing any, only a small amount of red. She also notices how attractive he is. Kaidan, the drummer, keeps running into Anna after they meet backstage after the concert. He seems to know what she is and after Kaidan confronts Anna at a party, she talks to her adoptive mother, Patti and learns all the secrets that she knows about Anna’s past. Patti also warns Anna to distance herself, as far as possible, from Kaidan. Anna and Kaidan have difficulty keeping distance from each other and, due to lack of money, Patti is unable to take Anna on the trip to gather more information from her past by speaking to her imprisoned father and to Sister Ruth, the nun who was present at Anna’s birth, Kaidan offers to take Anna there. The meeting with Anna’s father goes well and she gains love and respect for him as he tells the story of his life-from living in Heaven to becoming a fallen angel, to loving Anna’s mother and to his time in prison. He gives her valuable advice and information and she leaves him feeling loved. Anna receives a call from a nun letting her know that Sister Ruth passed away but left all of her belongings to Anna. Kaidan and Anna decide to keep their distance from one another and when they do see each other it causes confusion. Anna’s learning to “work” to keep the demons at bay but she has to deal with the guilt afterward, each time she persuades someone to make an unwise choice. The intensity of Kaidan’s and Anna’s relationship is intoxicating and the pull between them is undeniable. I’m looking forward to the next book in this series, Sweet Peril. Supernatural deception and integrity all in one!

Unraveled by Kate Jarvik Birch

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Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Unraveled by Kate Jarvik Birch, the third installment in her Perfected series! Ella and Penn are on the run for their own freedom and safety and they continue to fight for the freedom of all of the Pets. The group they’re with is bombarded after being deceived into believing they would be rescuing many Pets. No one is truly sure about who can be trusted after that deception. Penn and Ella still have a beautiful relationship, regardless of Penn being the horrible Congressman’s son and Ella still deeply cares for Ruby, Penn’s younger sister. Unraveled shows growth in its characters and the mark that choices leave, decisions always have consequences. Suspense is the overriding emotion throughout the story and the feeling of not knowing who to trust carries on also. I thoroughly enjoyed Unraveled and especially the variety of characters and their dynamics. 5 stars for this dystopian novel!

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

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Thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for the opportunity to read and review Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer! Two teens that have each lost someone they love begin an ongoing anonymous conversation by adding to a letter left and then found next to a cemetery headstone. The conversation moves to email for convenience and these two strangers help each other grieve. Declan has lost his sister and his father is in prison and no longer part of their family. His mother has married Alan, who isn’t the nicest to Declan. Juliet has lost her journalist mother in a hit and run car accident and she lives with her father. Declan has an amazing best friend, Rev, that’s dealing with his own traumatic past and Juliet’s best friend, Rowan, is supportive and caring. The email relationship remains anonymous and grows deeper and more meaningful as their grief is dealt with together. Letters to the Lost melted my heart with the complicated storyline and endearing, real characters. I love everything about this story, from the caring, helpful teachers to the awkward friends to the dysfunctional family members. All of these components create a beautiful realistic fiction novel worth 5 stars!

The Precious Dreadful by Steven Parlato

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Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing for the opportunity to read and review The Precious Dreadful by Steven Parlato. Teddi’s summer vacation begins with a few options. She decides to spend time with Summerteens, the local library’s summer writing workshop. Before the workshop kicks off, Teddi has had a spooky encounter, a kiss and an argument with her single, downtrodden mother. I fell in love with The Precious Dreadful, Teddi’s personality and boldness and the variety of characters it holds in its pages! The more I read, the deeper the story took me. Teddi has pretty much raised herself since her mother, Brenda, tends to be drunk and partying with her friends instead of being available and sober for her daughter. Brenda is also keeping secrets from Teddi and has tried to, in her own dysfunctional way, protect her role as a mother. As Teddi’s summer rolls on, relationships become more complicated and drama-ridden and her subconscious is forcing her to remember a traumatic and horrible part of her childhood. The Precious Dreadful bends genres: mystery, horror, supernatural, romance and young adult realistic fiction; this book also pulls at your heartstrings through intense tragedy, awareness of bad choices and the bond of friendship and kindness of others and it’s well deserving of 5 stars!

Risen by Cole Gibsen

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Thanks to Entangled Teen and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review Risen by Cole Gibsen! Charlie lives with her Aunt Rachel in a secluded wood in a three-room, rundown cabin. All Charlie wants to do is escape from the boredom and limited stimulation of seeing and doing the same things everyday. She gets what she wants, a change, but not in the way she was thinking of. Charlie’s world is turned upside down when dangerous visitors break into the cabin and kidnap Aunt Rachel. The strangers are vampires and one of them, Sebastian, stays behind with Charlie, deciding to help her find her Aunt Rachel. Questions surrounding Charlie’s parents open up a mystery that twists and turns until Sebastian even seems to be involved somehow. As they run from danger and try to rescue Aunt Rachel, Charlie and Sebastian encounter violent vampires and a clan of vampires that have made a peaceful community with humans. Charlie and Sebastian are innately protective of each other and they finally make it to a safe house. The abrupt ending surprised me and I was disappointed but I’m sure there’s a sequel in the future. The bonus content shows Sebastian’s point of view during the opening of the story. 4 stars for this supernatural mystery and the endearing characters!

About Risen:

Fans of Vampire Diaries and Twilight will be thirsting for this latest vampire addiction…

My aunt has been kidnapped by vampires, and it’s up to me to save her. Only…I had no idea vampires existed. None. Nada. I’m more of a reader than a fighter, and even though I’d been wishing to escape my boring existence in the middle of nowhere, I’d give anything to have it back now if it meant my aunt was safe.

Then there’s the vampire Sebastian, who seems slightly nicer than most of the bloodsuckers I’ve run into so far. Yes, he’s the hottest being I’ve ever come across, but there’s no way I can trust him. He swears he’s helping me get answers, but there’s more to his story. Now I’m a key pawn in a raging vampire war, and I need to pick the right ally.

But my chances of surviving this war are slim at best, when the side I choose might be the one that wants me dead the most.

 

Buylinks: https://entangledpublishing.com/risen.html

About Cole Gibsen:
Growing up, Cole Gibsen couldn’t decide what she loved more—dogs or books. Rather than choose, she decided to devote her life to both! Dog trainer (wrangler) by day and author by night, she’s the author of more than ten books with more on the way. www.colegibsen.com

Author Links:

Author Website: http://www.ColeGibsen.com

Author Twitter: Twitter.com/colegibsen

Author Facebook: Facebook.com/colegibsen

Author Goodreads: goodreads.com/colegibsen

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/colegibsen/

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Excerpt from Risen:

“Don’t say it like that, Charlie. I wanted to protect you.” She tugs on the edge of my cardigan, pulling me toward her. “I love you. You’re the most important thing in my life, do you understand?”

There’s a desperation in her eyes that tightens my throat. Swallowing hard, I nod.

She lets go of me with a sigh. “Maybe I took it too far.” She sweeps her dreadlocks over her shoulder and twists them tightly. “All I’ve ever wanted was to keep you safe.”

Safe. The world spirals, cold and slippery, down my spine. “What are you so afraid of?”

She opens her mouth only to shut it again.

Jax growls.

We turn as he claws at the door.

“The only thing there is to be afraid of,” she whispers. “The monsters.”

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