Warcross by Marie Lu

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Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Young Readers Group for the opportunity to read and review Warcross by Marie Lu! Emi is a young bounty hunter that lives on her own. She desperately needs a bounty or she’s going to be evicted from her apartment in less than three days. She’s smart enough and quick enough to capture a criminal for the police but they give the money to someone else! She goes back to her apartment, despondent, and resigns herself to enjoying the last hours she has with a roof over her head. She hacks into Warcross and her image shows up in the internationally played and viewed game. This catches the eye of the Warcross creator, Hideo, who gives Emi a very well-paid job offer. I appreciate that Marie Lu lets readers know, through dialogue, the correct pronunciation of Hideo’s name. I have heard many students/library patrons discuss name pronunciations in the past, unsure of how to say the name. The game background descriptions are detailed and aesthetic while the game is action-packed and the stakes raise higher and higher for the characters. 5 stars for a new sci-fi read from Marie Lu!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary consideration.

The Unlocked by J.D. Stonebridge

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Unlocked by J. D. Stonebridge begins when a baby, Charlie, is rescued from a car accident. The couple that rescued Charlie also raises her. Charlie’s dialogue is staunch, stark, boring and she talks like she swallowed a textbook or a thesaurus. The dialogue becomes more smooth as the story progresses and the plot begins to take shape. The Unlocked is reminiscent of X-men because of the institute and powers, but the students aren’t born with their powers. The powers are unlocked with a syringe and a shot of a chemical mixture. Charlie learns of her twin sister because of the institute and she discovers that she and her twin sister Jeanne had their powers as long as they can remember and didn’t need to be unlocked. A sinister plot and deception are revealed as things spiral out of control. 4 stars for this science fiction mystery.

When Time is a River by Susan Clayton-Goldner

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When Time is a River by Susan Clayton-Goldner is a mystery for adults and young adults alike. The story begins with Brandy in the office of a plastic surgeon. She’s suffering from the results of an accident that has changed her face and she wants to look like she used to. She’s babysitting her two-and-a-half-year-old half sister, Emily, at the park during a community Teddy Bear Picnic and while Brandy is in the bathroom stall, someone takes Emily! She overheard Emily talking about Pooh Bear not taking a nap and the detective found flat shoe prints in the restroom. Two witnesses claimed to have seen Emily with a Pooh Bear getting into a car. I didn’t imagine the turn of events that unfolded as the mystery progressed. The unpredictability built suspense and my appreciation for the author’s ability to spin a riveting story! An impressive mystery that is part of the Redemption Lake series but can be read as a stand alone book also. 5 stars for a perfect mystery!

I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary review consideration.

M School by Kevin T. Johns

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M school by Kevin T. Johns packs a punch! Lilith has the emotions and mannerisms of a sociopath. She blends into school life fine and she’s a great goalie for their soccer team. The captain of the team and Lilith’s best friend is brutally murdered and the loss devastates the school. The soccer coach approaches Lilith and states that he needs a replacement for Lara. Immediately, Lilith thinks he means as a soccer captain and when he states that’s not the replacement he needs, she assumes it’s as a sex partner replacement and she becomes extremely and awkwardly uncomfortable. It takes the coach a bit to realize what she’s thinking. He’s a bit flabbergasted, but the truth is even harder for Lilith to believe. Coach Taylor and Lara are undercover agents for M School and they’re trying to take care of The Dissidents, a domestic terrorist organization. Lilith’s life changes completely after she is recruited to M School. Her parents believe that Lilith will be attending school for gifted students but she’s going to become a trained killer. All Lilith wants is vengeance for Lara’s murder but she gets so much more. The M School setting is creative and the characters are strong, but in turmoil. 4 stars for this action packed adrenaline rush of a story!

I received an arc from author for a fair review.

Little Monsters by Kara Thomas

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Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Children’s for the opportunity to read and review Little Monsters by Kara Thomas! Kacey and her younger stepsister, Lauren, sneak out of the house with Bailey and Jade, two of Kacey’s friends. On a Friday night, they venture to the local haunted site and the snowy roof collapses in on them. They’re spooked and run away. Alternately, Bailey tells the story of the night she supposedly caused the popular high school football player to wreck and her story continues to be told throughout the rest of the book using her journal entries in interspersing chapters. Bailey and Jade attend a party and Bailey is not seen again. She’s reported missing and the community rallies together to help find her. The suspect list changes and grows while Bailey is still missing and presumed dead by most of the community. The suspicion and the suspense keep twisting and kept me riveted to the very end. 5 stars for this realistic mystery!

The Scattering by Kimberly McCreight

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Thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins for the opportunity to read and review The Scattering by Kimberly McCreight. This sequel begins where The Outliers left off then jumps ahead to six months later. Jasper and Wylie both feel guilty about Cassie. Wylie tries to save Jasper from jumping off a bridge after Jasper’s mom says she’s worried about him. Wylie gets to the bridge and while she’s looking for Jasper, police show up and arrest her, assuming she’s going to jump. Wylie finds herself in a hospital with other other Outliers, all young women, and the girls are told lies about why they have been committed as patients. People are constantly deceiving Wylie, or trying to and the most information she seems to get is half truth. Needless to say, Wylie doesn’t trust easily. She has a difficult time trusting her feelings also, because she’s an Outlier, but she’s learning to tell the difference between her feelings and other people’s feelings. This sequel has a floor-dropping ending also and I’m beginning to think that is the author’s writing style. 4 stars for another book full of mystery!

The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight

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The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight is an intense mystery that doesn’t completely unravel. Wylie has lost her mother in an accident and she can’t seem to overcome her loss. On top of this stress, her best friend Cassie is missing. Cassie’s boyfriend, Jasper, comes to Wylie’s house and shows her the texts he’s received from Cassie begging him to help her. Wylie and Jasper go on a treasure hunt of sorts looking for Cassie as they receive small clues a little at a time. They finally reach Cassie and the three of them find themselves in a situation comparable to a horror movie setting. Every time I thought I had the mystery figured out, something would change proving me wrong. The suspense and underlying mystery kept me reading to the end where, once again everything changed. I’m anxious to read the sequel, The Scattering. I give The Outliers 4 stars for a story that dropped the floor out from under me!

Bad Girl Gone by Temple Mathews

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Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read and review Bad Girl Gone by Temple Mathews. Echo wakes up in a strange place and she’s having a difficult time getting her bearings. It’s too dark to make out much and as she’s feeling around she touches something stringy like hair. She realizes she’s not in her bedroom or even her home. She hears creepy laughing and screaming and what she thinks might be a cutting tool. She’s spooked and terrified and she’s told by a scary nurse/nun that she’s now in Middle House. The other residents are young people also and Echo assumes that Middle House is an orphanage but the truth freaks her out even more. She learns to accept being a Middle House resident and gains friendship and help from the others as she discovers why and how she was brought to Middle House. The beginning of the book led my mind one direction and the continuation led it to a completely different direction. I don’t want to give the mystery away because it’s the reason I kept reading. Reminiscent of Everlost by Neal Shusterman, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs and a tiny bit of The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. Bad Girl Gone is a supernatural romance surrounded in mystery, 4 stars.

The Skylar Robbins Mysteries by Carrie Cross

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Great mystery for middle school and early high school readers!

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Skylar Robbins:The Mystery of Shadow Hills by Carrie Cross is an all new Nancy Drew-type detective story! Skylar loves investigating and her grandfather taught her true detective skills. The reader is transported into Skylar’s memories and daydreams. She’s stuck for eight weeks at her grouchy cousin’s old Malibu mansion while her parents travel abroad. Skylar attends summer school while she’s in Malibu, but she only has to go to an art class. The descriptions of the art assignments make me want to take the class too. Skylar makes friends and learns new things. I enjoyed the mysterious happenings because they were a bit spooky. I like the fact that the author’s writing allows the reader to be spooked along with Skylar, even though she’s a very practical person. Very fun middle school read, 5 stars!

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Skylar Robbins and the Mystery of the Hidden Jewels by Carrie Cross is the second book in the Skylar Robbins series. Skylar and her parents are looking at new homes and Skylar wants to make sure she will be attending the same school; she doesn’t want to be the new kid. She believes there is an unsolved mystery in their new home and things become even more suspicious when the remodeling workers, which were recommended by the neighbors, are looking around and Skylar notices. Skylar and her friend Alexa work to solve the puzzle of the missing jewels of Xandra Collins, the previous owner of Skylar’s new home. The two friends also help each other cope with school problems, such as Alexa’s dyslexia and mean girl drama. This sequel in the Skylar Robbins series proves that young people can be great detectives too and being a true friend is very important. Skylar Robbins is the Nancy Drew for a new generation, 5 stars.

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Skylar Robbins and The Mystery of the Missing Heiress is the third book in the Skylar Robbins series. The book opens with a mysterious poem by Xandra Collins that sets the mood for a good mystery. I love the puzzles and codes that are in the book to be solved and the reader gets to figure them out right along with the story. I also like how Skylar’s experiences teach us to stand up for ourselves, keep our integrity and persevere. Geared toward middle school and early high school, the Skylar Robbins books are fun and interesting mysteries. 5 stars!

I love the Skylar Robbins series; the perfect books for a cozy mystery read!

 

Freeze by Kaitlyn Davis

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I am reviewing Freeze by Kaitlyn Davis for a blog tour. Freeze begins where Frost left off. Pandora is imprisoned in a cell and Sam visits often. He teaches her to transport, and that along with her power to hide in the shadows and become invisible, helps her escape with another prisoner, Naya. Naya is a werejaguar and a necromancer. Pandora and Naya help each other through escapes and attacks. They also become friends and share their secrets with each other. Naya wants to save her brother who has been turned into a vampire while Pandora wants to speak to her mother that is no longer alive. This is how Pandora plans to find out the mysteries of her past. Pandora isn’t sure about Sam or Jax , the two men she cares for, and she doesn’t fully trust either of them. Pandora’s life continues to become more complicated and confusing. When she finally speaks to her mother, she’s given advice and more vague warnings about her future and the people she knows. The story continues in the third book, Fractured. The complex characters and situations keep the mysteries strong and the story interesting. 5 stars for a intriguing supernatural read!