Avery is heading to a family camp in the woods and that means no internet. Her sister Lauren has a social media channel that she’s planning to share their summer vacation on until she discovers the lack of WiFi. The two sisters plan non-internet activities combined with watching the camp band (comprised of young men) without their parents’ knowledge. Lauren decides to create a video documentary of the band so the sisters spend more time with them without their parents knowing. They become friends with many of the camp employees, which is forbidden by the camp manager. Avery and the band’s guitarist, Brooks, work together to create song lyrics and really start to like each other. They both struggle with personal troubles and find common ground. This is the first Kasie West book I’ve read and I can understand why her books are popular with my high school library students. The values and integrity are a breath of fresh air. I enjoyed the characters, the humor, and the feeling of hope in this story, 5 stars!
We Own the Sky by Sara Crawford tells the story of Sylvia, who has always had an intense interest in music and she has always seen flickering people that she assumed are imaginary or hallucinations. She learns that the flickering people are actually Muses that help humans become more artistic. Her mother supposedly left and it’s just Sylvia and her father, both music lovers and musicians. Sylvia’s father has struggled with alcoholism while she’s struggled with depression. Her favorite teachers pique her interests with the subjects of music and mythology. This is where she learns about Muses and meets Vincent for the first time. Vincent becomes Sylvia’s Muse and more. Sylvia discovers that her mother was her father’s Muse too. Muses don’t age and that’s why her mother left. They also are usually invisible to the humans they bless with artistic talent but her mother wasn’t invisible to her father, only to other humans. This unique story concept is fun with suspense built in when an evil Muse works to kill all the Muses she can, 4 stars!
Suspenseful fantasy at its best!
Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read and review Wintersong by S. Jae Jones!
The beginning section, entitled Overture, beautifully explains the story of Elisabeth and the Goblin King. Elisabeth lives with her two siblings, mother, father and grandmother running an inn for their living. Papa drinks too much and that leaves Mother to take care of everything and everyone, with Elisabeth’s help. Josef is the youngest and musically talented. He plays the violin with Elisabeth as his accompaniment. She composes music and plays the piano while Josef helps bring her music to life with his violin. Kathe is the middle child, with beauty and a happy, bright demeanor. Kathe is captured by the Goblin King and Elisabeth must find her before the next full moon or all is lost. Little does Elisabeth know how much she must sacrifice if she’s truly going to save her sister. Suspenseful fantasy at its best, 5 stars!
Beautiful prose and loyal, loving characters!
Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read and review Shadowsong by S. Jae Jones!
At the onset, the author warns about content being possibly triggering due to the addressing of the issues of self-harm, addiction, reckless behaviors and suicidal ideation. Resources are also given to help. These issues have been a part of the author’s life and reality. This has given her a true understanding of these topics.
The characters reveal themselves in more than one way. Elisabeth, her brother Josef, sister Kathe and Francois, Josef’s accompaniest and friend, travel to Venice after being summoned by an unknown benefactor. The story takes place during the height of classical music. The family has a curse that some call insanity. They see goblins, the Goblin King and kingdom. The siblings are separated by the benefactors, the Count and Countess take Elisabeth and Josef to Snovin Hall for their safety while Kathe and Francois are sent away. Both parties don’t know what has happened to the other pair and are deeply concerned for them. I love the story of the wheelwright, with his loss, supposed madness and death. Beautiful writing that truly showcases the author’s work. Beautiful prose and loyal, loving characters make this story interesting and the dark danger makes it exciting. 5 stars!
Brilliant and eye-opening!
Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Teen for the opportunity to read and review Where the Sea Takes Me by Heidi R. Kling!
Sienna has just finished college finals and is planning a Team Hope trip to Cambodia. Her friend, Spider, wants to make their relationship more than just friends and Sienna isn’t too sure about that idea. Her father knocks her off her feet when he calls to tell her that Deni will be visiting soon. Deni, as in the Deni that Sienna fell in love with two years ago and who she helped recover from the tsunami in Indonesia on her last Team Hope relief trip. Deni arrives and he and Sienna fall instep with each other and Spider doesn’t quite know how to handle the situation. Team Hope travels to Cambodia on a long ride and Sienna has her eyes opened wide to the beautiful country torn apart by war, poverty and sex trafficking. The Cambodian people have extreme perseverance and are living in the results of Pol Pot’s destruction. Realistic fiction, adventure and history create the story and a touch of romance brings it all forward. Where the Sea Takes Me is a brilliant, eye-opening read, 5 stars!
The World of Bryn!
Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Teen for the opportunity to read and review Burning Bright by Chris Cannon! Bryn’s story opens three months after the tumultuous events of the last book of the Going Down in Flames series. She’s had the summer break to be proper and forge ahead without anytime to mourn or recuperate since she’s had to spend the whole time with her stoic grandparents. Now Bryn’s returning to school with her friends, Clint and Ivy and Jaxon, her betrothed. As the school year moves forward, a weird and creepy set of attacks occurs, leaving everyone untrusting of each other and scared to go anywhere alone. I appreciate how easily the author brought the world and story background up to speed in Burning Bright because my memory was refreshed like I had just recently read the first four books of the series, even though it has been a while. I enjoy Bryn and her relationship with Clint and Ivy and how they work so well together, personality wise and with loyalty. It’s fun being in Bryn’s world again! 4 stars for the good story; I just felt like the ending flew by too quickly.
Thanks to NetGalley and HMH Books for Young Readers for the opportunity to read and review The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook! On the front cover of the book is a nailed sign stating “TRUST NO ONE. DECEIVE EVERYONE.” I was immediately interested in the book’s contents! The synopsis is even more intriguing. Skye, a tarot card reader, has absolutely no money and doesn’t want to let her best friend Drew down. The two of them plan on living together in New York after high school but Skye doesn’t know how to make that happen. Because of money problems, Skye becomes part of an elaborate kidnapping scheme and, even though she wants out, Skye keeps getting pulled in even deeper. The mystery has many twists and keeps changing until the end of the book. An impressive mystery worth 5 stars!
I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary consideration.
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to Entangled Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review Don’t Kiss the Messenger by Katie Ray! Katie Ray has previously published works under the name of Katie Kacvinsky and her books have been popular with my library patrons. I believe that this new book of Katie’s will be a popular read also. Don’t Kiss the Messenger is a retelling of sorts. The story line is similar to the play, Cyrano de Bergerac where inner beauty overpowers outer beauty. This book is intelligent and eloquent in many ways, while still staying a young adult contemporary story! CeCe and Emmett take turns by alternating points of view throughout the book. CeCe has a scar on the right side of her face that she prefers to not be the focal point when she meets someone for the first time. Emmett is new to the school and a known high school football player. They both attend Honors Shakespeare class and are partnered on the first day. CeCe and Emmett share the trait of clever wit and they have tremendous similarities with their tastes in and knowledge of music and literature. They are both intense and dedicated athletes also; CeCe is the captain of the volleyball team and Emmett is the star quarterback. I love this book with its romantic gestures, self-esteem building thoughts and loyalty and friendship. 5 stars for this amazing realistic fiction read!
Thanks to Entangled Publishing for the copy of The Sound of Us by Julie Hammerle! I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy this book about a classical musical competition and scholarships, but I am very pleasantly surprised! The Sound of Us is so much more than just music, but, at the same time, is engulfed in the musical students’ world. I like the musical and literary references throughout the book and I grew to care about the characters, who are very dynamic as they mature and learn through their struggles. I am very proud of Kiki and all that she accomplished. She learned valuable lessons about herself and others and moved forward with that knowledge. Kiki is a teenage girl that gets into the classical music summer camp that she has aspired to. The camp is cut-throat and each student is competing and fighting for one of seven scholarships (four-year, full-ride scholarships to the college). This story is engaging, fun to read, enjoyable, intelligent and has the perfect ending in which the future awaits!