Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for the opportunity to read and review Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage. Ben lives next door to the Cillo family, who has recently lost their two daughters, Mira and Francesca. Ben secretly loves Mira and he’s devastated by her death. Mira left notes for Ben to find and to help him understand the mystery of the sisters’ deaths. The book has a confusing story line that jumps back and forth between characters and from past to present, sometimes randomly. For some reason, Francesca has bleeding holes appear in her palms and the causes of Connie’s allergic reaction are never stated. The story is based on possible delusional teens and the consequences when they believe one is a saint and things don’t work out as planned. The writing is well done and the characters feel pain and compassion but the story is just not my type,3 stars.

The Secrets We Keep by Deb Loughead

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Dundurn for the opportunity to read and review The Secrets We Keep by Deb Loughead. This story is told in four points of view beginning with Clementine, and telling the story of Kit and how he died, which is a mystery. The target audience is right on as described by the publisher – 12 to 15 years. Clementine, Jake and Ellie are part of the group who last saw Kit, who has special needs. Ellie is blackmailing Clementine for favors, such as lying to her parents so Ellie doesn’t get in trouble when she’s doing something she knows she shouldn’t be. The blackmail has ruined their friendship and Clementine finally decides to tell Ellie it’s over. Holding in and denying their secrets is tearing each of them apart and destroying their relationships. When the truth finally comes out, the community can finally heal. Aimed towards young teens with a passion for mystery and realistic fiction, 3.5 stars.

Proof of Lies by Diane Rodriguez Wallach

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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 Proof of Lies by Diana Rodriguez Wallach. Anastasia lives with her sister Keira in their family home after their parents died in an accident a few years earlier. Keira gave up medical school and works as a nurse to take care of her younger sister. The morning after a party, Keira disappears, leaving behind a bathroom full of blood and no sign of a body. A distraught and depressed Anastasia knows Keira is alive and needs help. Their mutual best friend Charlotte is amazing with technology and she’s helping with Keira’s case. Charlotte’s parents are Anastasia’s legal guardians now. As Charlotte and Anastasia hunt for clues, the mystery deepens and more people become a part of the mystery, either as suspects or helpers or both. I love this book and it made me realize how much I enjoy mysteries. Proof of Lies became unputdownable and I was pulled into Anastasia’s life and her searches across the globe. The author’s writing is flamboyant, smooth and believable. The clever writing and word play are entertaining, such as, “It felt like I was one giant headache lately – eat, sleep, breathe, Tylenol.” Great humor! I appreciate the facts at the end of the story and the excerpt of book two of the Anastasia Phoenix series, Lies That Bind. Clean read worth 5 stars!

Fanning the Flames by Chris Cannon

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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 Fanning the Flames by Chris Cannon, the fourth book in the Going Down in Flames series. It has been a while since I read the first three books in this series, but the author’s writing brought the setting and the characters all back seamlessly and I was happy to be back in Bryn’s world again. The humor is refreshing and makes the story even better. The young dragons have now paired with friends to make temporary bonds that strengthen both individuals. Each class of dragon has a pair and together they are searching for hidden doors beneath the library that conceal artifacts and weapons from generations of dragons. The Directorate wants to study these finds and keep on top of any rebellions that might pop up. Bryn continues to stir things up in the stuffy, uptight dragon society while she continues living with her grandparents. She seems to be softening her grandparents up also. I can see this series continuing because of the added plot twists and surprises. This enjoyable fantasy series is fun and intense at the same time – 5 stars!

The Winter People by Rebekah L. Purdy

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The Winter People by Rebekah L. Purdy is an enjoyable read and, first of all, the cover is gorgeous! So cover love definitely drew me into the book along with the promise of a frosty supernatural read. The poetry of Lord Byron sets the tone of icy winter and opens the story. The prologue describes the accident Salome survived when she was six years old. She fell into the frozen pond on her grandparents’s property and she heard voices. Since then, Salome has been terrified of winter. Now at the age of seventeen, she has to be the caretaker of her grandparents’ house and property in the middle of the dreadful winter. Colton and Salome have been secretly crushing on each other since elementary school and they finally begin to date. While she’s enjoying her new relationship with Colton, Salome meets Nevin, who mysteriously appears when she’s on her grandparents’ land. Salome is drawn to both guys, but unsure of both of them. I thought it was so cute when Colton took Salome on a sleigh ride to help her feel more comfortable with the cold weather. Salome’s safety is endangered when she believes a woodland supernatural creature attacks her several different times. Colton shows too much aggression in protecting Salome and scares her off. Nevin blurs reality and makes Salome doubt her feelings for him. Gareth, who she met at the local coffee shop, makes her feel the safest. For each season represented, a famous author (such as Edgar Allan Poe) is spotlighted with a piece of their writing. This romantic winter fantasy, full of the Fae, is an entertaining read and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel, Summer Marked. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, setting and characters but there are a few grammatical errors, so I’m rating the book 4 stars!

Chameleon by Zoe Kalo

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to YA Bound Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review Chameleon by Zoe Kalo! Paloma is taken to a convent to “repent, grow and become a better person”, as the head nun tells her, even though Paloma feels as though she’s being punished. She is dropped off at the convent by her mother, stepfather and her younger half sister, Sara, who is sad to leave Paloma. The reason Paloma is in trouble is because she tried conducting seances to reach her father, who died when she was young. Paloma becomes part of a group of teenage girls that each have a story of their own. She is unsure who she can trust, any of the girls or even the nuns. The story pulled my attention in from the beginning with its suspense, mystery and a promise of the paranormal. The complex characters and layered mystery kept me on my toes! 5 stars for the twists, turns and the interesting setting of this story!

Island of Exiles by Erica Cameron

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Teen for the opportunity to read and review Island of Exiles by Erica Cameron! The story begins with a group of desert dwellers racing home to beat the storm that is heading their way. Once home, the main character, Khya, is worrying about her sixteen year old brother, Yorri, who will be facing the Herynshi ritual that will decide whether he has magic or not. So far, Yorri hasn’t shown any signs of magic. The dusty, wind blown world that the author creates with her picturesque words feels real while reading the story. I could almost hear the wind and see the long tunics blowing around the characters’ forms. Tessen keeps trying to get Khya to dance with him and she keeps ignoring him because she’s annoyed at how nonchalant he acts about his skills and strength, but I see Tessen as being humble about them. Yorri finally shows magical skills and is honored, but soon afterward he dies. There is a mystery surrounding his death and it takes a group of trustworthy friends to help solve it. My favorite line in the book, which Khya says to Tessen, “Your determination to get into trouble with me is odd.” Made me chuckle! The group finds so much more waiting for them outside of their community than they could have ever dreamed. My rating – 4 stars for this fantasy fiction set in a dangerous desert and full of charismatic characters!

Mona Lisa’s Secret by Phil Philips

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to Mystery Thriller Week and Phil Philips for the opportunity to read and review his book, Mona Lisa’s Secret. The action begins immediately with a supposed attack on the Mona Lisa painting hanging in the Louvre. In 1911, the real Mona Lisa was stolen by Joey Peruggia’s great grandfather, Vincenzo. Joey and his girlfriend, Maria, discover a secret room in the mansion he inherited and, lo and behold, they find the Mona Lisa inside! They plan on returning the original painting to the Louvre, but things quickly get out of hand. Full of action, adventure, twists, surprises and suspense and even allusion to more mystery, which makes this book fun for any mystery and action reader. The author’s descriptions of the France scenery and historical sites made me feel like I was actually there seeing it all in person! This written for adults story is a fairly clean read with a few swear words that are used as dialogue in swear worthy stressful events. I highly recommend this enjoyable mystery by giving it 5 stars!

A Daughter’s Deadly Deception by Jeremy Grimaldi

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Dundurn for the opportunity to read and review A Daughter’s Deadly Deception: The Jennifer Pan Story by Jeremy Grimaldi. Immediately gripping, the story begins with the intrusion into the Pan home and the shootings that occurred soon after. The story that unfolds shows the cunning that Jennifer had to deceive her parents about her entire life. A large portion of the book takes the reader through the investigative process and the interviews of people who might have information to the people who are suspected of being an assailant. The lives of those affected by this deception and violence are explained with diplomacy and empathy for what the family members have gone through and what they have to deal with. In the author’s note, more tragedy for the extended family is described with heartbreak. I rate this nonfiction crime book 4 stars!

The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen

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The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins confronts many difficult and possibly controversial circumstances. A young woman lives with her father, but they never stay in one place very long. Ariel loves her father when he isn’t drinking or being too overprotective. Other times he is abusive and angry. Ariel and her father finally stay in one place for an entire school year and she makes friends that she feels comfortable with. She is struggling with her sexuality because her father has always claimed that her mother is a lesbian. Ariel isn’t sure about what she wants or who she wants it with. Another story is being told alternately with Ariel’s. Maya also struggles with family situations and friendships. The stories of these two young women hold a strong, emotional mystery that knocked my socks off! In Ellen Hopkins standard writing, the mystery unfolds. 4 stars for an emotional book full of growth!