Declan hurts his shoulder by climbing where there’s a “no climbing” sign and it takes his future away. He needs surgery and physical therapy to heal and in the meantime he has an angry attitude. He pushes his friends away and joins a hate group that promotes propaganda and conspiracy theories about cultures that aren’t predominantly white, focusing especially on Jewish people. He’s happily blaming others for his problems and being fed propaganda by his “new friends” and he’s taking it too far by willingly participating in hate crimes. When Declan’s lifelong friend is threatened, he has to make the choice to harm or protect.
Likes/dislikes: Declan was whiny and ungrateful even though the accident was because he made the choice to do something negligent. I enjoyed the history class discussion about different cultures and evaluating online sources. The author approached hate groups from an insider’s perspective from both sides. Mature content: G for nondescriptive kissing Violence: PG for undescribed phone threats from a hate group, vandalism, bomb threat. Language: PG for 6 swears and no f-bombs. Ethnicity: mixed
Thanks to Edelweiss and Scholastic Press for the opportunity to read and review The Deceiver’s Heart by Jennifer A. Nielsen!
Kestra is back with Lord Endrick and he wants her to be a spy by infiltrating the Corack rebellion. She refuses but Lord Endrick takes her memories to the point where she doesn’t even know who Simon is. Kestra is sent to kill Simon. Luckily, before Endrick took Kestra’s memories, she gave the Olden Blade to Basil to hide it from everyone including herself. Simon sees Kestra in his village and figures out that she doesn’t recognize him at all. Kestra is taken to the Blue Caves where her memories begin to be restored and she realizes what she’s supposed to do. Kestra and Simon seem to continuously be pulled apart by their circumstances, people around them or their separate missions. They love each other but everything is getting in their way. The two of them are running in circles and they’re surrounded by the kingdom’s chaos and rebellion. The ending leaves the story and their relationship wide open and left me anxious for the third book of this series, The Warrior’s Curse! Dynamic characters within a doomed kingdom build this great fantasy series, 5 stars!
Dark breaks the dawn by Sara B. Larson is a fairytale retelling of Swan Lake. It’s Princess Evelayn’s 18th birthday and she’s gotten her full powers like she’s supposed to. They are more amazing than she expected. She is happy when her mother, Queen Ilaria, makes it home on the night of her birthday. Only too soon, her mother leaves for battle once again. When the queen is struck down in battle, the kingdom is devastated. Evelayn vows to do whatever it takes to restore peace to her people. The complex world building and character descriptions are amazing and beautiful. I love the colors of skin, hair and eyes and the endless combinations of those attributes on the people of the kingdoms. I was rooting for Evelayn and Tanvir throughout the whole book. An adventure fantasy and a fairytale retelling all in one. 5 stars!
Overturned by Lamar Giles has a unique plot and sarcastic humor. The second line of the book is priceless, “He was my dad’s latest and greatest attorney from the law firm of Cheap Suit, Bald Spot & Smoker’s Cough.” I immediately appreciated the author’s use of humor. Nikki Tate is keeping her family’s business running while her father is in prison. Nikki’s mother tries to help but is not quite capable enough to handle the casino business on her own. Her father is released from prison and sees that Nikki is using her gambling knowledge and card skills to earn money for college and what she considers freedom. Nikki has a crush on Davis, the new student. Davis’ family owns the new casino in Las Vegas that Nikki’s father seems to be spending a lot of time at. He’s also showing Nikki the ropes of high stakes gambling. Nikki and Davis’ relationship is adorable and the dent they made in the hood of a borrowed car while kissing made me laugh out loud. Things take a turn for the worse when Nikki gets a crime scene thrust in front of her eyes. The mystery builds and then unravels. The author created complex and wonderful characters; I cared about them and enjoyed their personalities: Nikki’s maturity and intelligence, Molly’s snark and loyalty and Gavin and his protectiveness. 5 stars for an interesting mystery that kept me entertained!