By a Charm and a Curse by Jaime Questell

jaime-questellBy A Charm and a Curse _ 500EntTeen-01256-webbanner-ad1-STATIC(851x315)BlogTour-ByACharmAndACurseMaterials

Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Teen for the opportunity to read and review By a Charm and a Curse by Jaime Questell! Emmaline and her siblings are spending a year with their father in a small, uneventful town while their mom works in Guatemala, since she received a grant. Emma attends the carnival with her friend Juliet before it leaves town and takes the last bit of entertainment with it. Benjamin works for the traveling carnival but he wants to leave it to finally stay in one place and start a life there. Emma meets and takes a Ferris wheel ride with Sidney; a young man that runs the fortune teller box attraction. Emma unknowingly submits herself to the curse and charm that runs the carnival. Her friends and family believe that she’s run away and she is nothing but trapped until she can trick someone else into taking the curse. Emma and Benjamin form a bond and they’re determined to figure out a way to break the curse once and for all. A supernatural fantasy written for young adults, 4 stars!

Where I Found You by Heidi R. Kling

36430174

Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Where I Found You by Heidi R. Kling. Sienna is still reeling from her mother’s disappearance that occurred five years ago. Her father is trying to move forward, but still honor his lost wife at the same time. It’s assumed that she went down in a plane crash over the Indian Ocean. Sienna reluctantly agrees to go with her father to a community across the world in Indonesia that has been struck by a Tsunami which caused disaster. While there, Sienna’s eyes are opened and her empathy for those who have suffered through the Tsunami and lost so much overcomes her own feelings of loss. She meets and helps several people and gains a close, wonderful relationship with a young man named Reni. She discovers that Reni is searching for his father and she does everything she can to help him. This touching, beautiful realistic fiction story opened my eyes to the horrible tragedy and suffering of the Tsunami victims, many things I had never thought about or heard of. I enjoyed learning about another culture also. I’m anxiously awaiting the sequel!!! 5 stars.

Release by Patrick Ness

33640498

I received Release by Patrick Ness through a Goodreads giveaway! Adam is plugging along until he can be on his own in one more year, when he graduates high school and can leave his small town. A strict family and a priest father with a lot of rules make him feel suffocated at times. His perfect brother, Marty, shocks Adam with the news that he got a woman pregnant and she’s not the girlfriend the family knows. Everything is changing and it seems to be happening all in the span of one day. This book contains graphic sexual content and belongs in LGBT and new adult genres, to make the reader aware. The characters are realistic with realistic problems and faults. The story comes full circle and I can see it helping readers deal with acceptance. I never truly understood the ghost part of the story other than making a point with the title. 4 stars for a well-written book with a punch.

The Border by Steve Schafer

cover109969-medium

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!

Legion by Julie Kagawa

28821387

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

Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Teen for the opportunity to read and review the fourth book in the Talon Saga, Legion by Julie Kagawa!  This is a perfect addition to the already popular Talon, Rogue and Soldier books with just as much action, intrigue, romance and suspense!

Each of the books in the Talon Saga are told from a different character’s point of view. Talon is told in Ember’s point of view, Rogue is in Riley’s and Soldier is told in Garret’s point of view. Legion brings back all of the main characters and their points of view, including Dante’s. Dante is Ember’s brother and has been loyal to the dragon rule all  along because he believes he will be the dragon in power someday.  At first, he wanted to help his sister succeed and only cared about pleasing their instructors and taking care of her.  Then he had an epiphany about the position of power he could be in someday.  This changed his entire perspective. The strong, dynamic characters are worth cheering for while the tension builds in this addition to the Talon saga. I didn’t see the specific conflict coming and was shocked and appalled at the Elder Wyrm’s use for Ember Hill!  This book is as amazing as the rest of the series and is suspenseful and intriguing with new mysteries springing up and adding to the un-put-down-ability of the story. 5 stars for characters I love and the building anticipation!  I am already anxious for the fifth book in this series and I plan on a complete re-read when the entire series is complete!

The Fallen Kingdom by Elizabeth May

falconer-fallen-kingdom_fc

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Chronicle Books for the opportunity to read and review The Fallen Kingdom, book three in The Falconer trilogy by Elizabeth May! Derrick, Kam’s pixie friend, continues to give comic relief to the dire circumstances of the fae and human realms. Kam comes to life without any knowledge or memories of who she is or was. She’s lost and wanders until Derrick finds her. The overwhelming power that has been given to Kam makes her angry and extremely strong. So angry that she harms Derrick. Kam’s memories return and she learns about a book that can alter time and reverse all of the violence, destruction and killing that has occurred. She wants to bring her mother back and all the people that have lost their lives during the fae battles. No matter what choice she makes, Kam will lose someone. Complex characters, complete world building and a roller coaster of emotions make me love this fantasy steampunk series – 5 stars!

Nemesis by Anna Banks

27414431

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 Sun is Also a Star

28763485

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon became a wonderful surprise as I read the book! The story tells us about Natasha and Daniel. Two teenagers with completely different lives and backgrounds. Natasha is originally from Jamaica and her family is supposed to be deported soon. Daniel is Korean American and writes poetry, but his parents want and expect him to be a doctor, whether he wants to or not. The book introduces readers to several strangers and gives us insight into their lives. Historical and scientific snippets are also shared. An Interesting story line that really makes me think of how one person or one moment can affect someone. Some swearing, but it’s not overpowering and fits in with the story. I laughed, I cried and I related to so many parts of the story told in The Sun is Also a Star – 5 stars!

Overdrive by Dawn Ius

28226318

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

Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for the opportunity to read and review Overdrive by Dawn Ius! Julia, a teenage car thief living in a foster home with her ten year-old little sister, is busted during a car grab. Julia has been trying to become independent enough to raise her sister, Emma, on her own. She does not want to be separated from Emma and will do whatever it takes for them to stay together. I admire Julia because she loves her sister tremendously and by choice, wants to take care of her. Roger Montgomery wants to give Julia and Emma a place to live. Julia is suspicious, but feels like she has run out of options. A “Gone in Sixty Seconds” young adult story involving teenage foster kids and all the thrills and car chases as the movie. Eleanor, the amazing Mustang from the “Gone in Sixty Seconds” movie, even has a cameo appearance! Since I am a fan of the movie, I thoroughly enjoyed this! It takes a while for the foster teenagers to mesh and get along, but after Roger tells them his secret, they get to know each other better and work well together. Roger seems a bit strange and the teenagers are cautious around him and unsure of his intentions. The teenagers figure out Roger’s secret and things change dramatically after that. Overdrive gets a 4 star rating because of its complex emotions, teamwork and the thrill of the chase!

Irena’s Children: Young Reader’s Edition

51i7qy2huel-_sx331_bo1204203200_

Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry Books for the arc of Irena’s Children (Young Reader’s Edition) by Tilar Mazzeo and adapter Mary Cronk Farrell! This true account of Irena Sendler and her friends in Poland warmed my heart and I was astounded by their bravery! Irena and her friends helped save Jewish families during World War II by placing themselves in grave danger, hiding and sneaking children to safety. This is a magnificent story of heroism that affected thousands of Jewish children and has since affected generations of families. This book needs to be read to get the full extent of what true courage Irena Sendler embodies and the bravery it took to save innocent children during the Holocaust! 4 stars.