Rogue Crystal by Jordan Elizabeth


Rogue Crystal by Jordan Elizabeth opens with a Scaryan lullaby that tells a tale of a crystal that brought destruction only because of the greedy king’s hunt to find it. The story covers generations of people who protect and hide the crystal at all costs; a crystal that can end the universe and start a new one. Avery visits her cousin at an archeological dig and ends up with a strange ring on her finger after she picks up a sword and then that sword disappears. Eventually, she realizes that the sword was the hidden crystal and it changed shape to remain hidden. Avery also learns that she’s a descendant of a line of crystal protectors and that’s why the ring changed for her. Now she’s on the run from those who want to use the crystal to destroy and restart the universe. A creative storyline with interesting and entertaining characters make Rogue Crystal a must-read sci-fi! 5 stars!

Freefall by Joshua David Berlin


Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Freefall by Joshua David Bellin. Seventeen-year-old Cameron wakes from a thousand year deepsleep in the year 3151. The destination of Cameron and almost a million other people is the Earth-analog planet Tau Ceti e. The story alternates between 3151 and the year before people were put into deepsleep, 2150. The mystery surrounding the girl with the golden eyes pulled me into the book. The past eventually catches up to when the deepsleep begins and the story stays on Earth Year 3151. This story is a mix of science fiction, dystopian and mystery and it’s filled with suspense, strange creatures and twists. 5 stars!

Witchtown by Cory Putnam Oakes


Thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the opportunity to read and review Witchtown by Cory Putman Oakes which includes a map of Witchtown and the history of Witchtown’s origins. The story begins with introducing a mother and daughter who want to live in Witchtown and their purpose is to rob the town. Aubra, the mother, is also a Natural, which means she was born with her powers. The daughter, Macie, is a Void and doesn’t have powers. Macie is very cynical because of all the moving they have done and her mother is selfish and mean-spirited and she doesn’t care about what’s good for Macie. Anytime Macie makes friends her mother becomes angry and every time they move, Aubra erases the memories of the people that knew them. The longer Macie stays in Witchtown, the more she realizes that her mother is hiding secrets from her. The story is full of suspense and twists! 5 stars for an entertaining supernatural read!

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard


Thanks to NetGalley and Simon Pulse for the opportunity to read and review A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard. Steffi is a selective mute. Rhys is a new student that’s deaf and the two of them use sign language to speak to one another. They become friends because of the sign language commonality and their relationship eventually becomes more. This coming of age story contains quirkiness, humor, families that do the best they can and all the insecurities of growing up and being a little different. Young adult content shows the reality of sex and all the awkwardness that can go along with it. 5 stars for the lovable, complex characters!

This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter


Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read and review This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter. Leah is awaiting a heart transplant and in the meantime she’s being tutored and doing her schoolwork at home with her teachers’ help. Leah’s story (first person point of view) alternates with the (third person point of view) story of twins, Matt and Eric, who are still reeling from the loss of their father. One of the twins tutors Leah for extra credit on a day that the math teacher cannot make it. Leah is unsure which twin it is and confesses that she’s had a crush on Matt for years. I’m not sure how much time passes before Eric ends up dying in the hospital from a gunshot wound. Leah’s family receives a call from the hospital letting them know a heart is available for her transplant. She discovers that she’s received Eric’s heart and she keeps this information to herself. Eventually Leah and Matt talk about the transplant and how they’ve both been having dreams about Eric’s death and believe that it wasn’t suicide. In the dreams, they hear a voice other than Eric’s and they also see how Eric was running from something before he was shot. The mystery progresses and finally Detective Henderson sees proof of foul play. The main point of the book is to experience the process of needing a transplant, receiving one and learning to embrace life all over again. The author shares her family’s experiences with transplants at the end of the book. These experiences brought this story to life. 4 stars for the strength and perseverance shown by the main characters!

Votes for Women! by Winifred Conkling


Thanks to NetGalley and Algonquin Young Readers for the opportunity to read and review Votes for Women! by Winifred Conkling which tells the story of events that took place between the beginning of the women’s rights movement in 1848 and when women were given the right to vote in 1920. The appendix includes a list of the primary sources used for this book’s research and there’s also a timeline included. The preface describes how women from both sides of the suffrage movement approached a political candidate for his support in 1920. I’m shocked that some women were actually against having the right to vote! The story opens with an eleven year old Elizabeth Cady (eventually Elizabeth Cady Stanton) mourning the loss of her twenty year old brother Eleazar, the last male heir in the family. Her father is inconsolable and she makes it a mission to be everything her brother was and this became the beginning of Elizabeth’s goal towards learning and courage. The support for women’s rights is impressive and includes Frederick Douglass (an escaped slave and civil rights leader), Sojourner Truth (an escaped slave and strong speaker) and Susan B. Anthony (abolitionist) and many more supporters. A march for the suffrage movement in 1913 became so powerful that a mob forced the marchers into a single file. The marchers suffered from police brutality and this brutality was helpful to the movement because women gained public sympathy and attention. Picketers in 1917 took their stand in front of the White House and were arrested for “obstructing traffic”. These protesters were released eventually because the government was worried that the women would become martyrs. Later in this same year, picketers were sent to workhouses with unsanitary conditions and mistreatment. Alice Paul, the suffrage leader during this time, was severely mistreated and began a hunger strike which many other protesters joined. By 1920, the Senate approved ratification of the 19th Amendment. This is a definitive account of Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s and Susan B. Anthony’s and many others’ actions towards women’s rights that will be a perfect source for research. 5 stars!

Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick


Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick. The opening chapter spooked my thriller instinct while the second chapter was optimistic and lighthearted. Britt and Korbie are heading to the Wyoming mountains for spring break and on the way to Korbie’s family cabin the weather becomes dire. They leave their Jeep in search of shelter and find two young men in a cabin. Their spring break goes from fun and hopeful and from bad to worse. A whirlwind of events makes Black Ice a must-read mystery! For a book that contains less than 400 pages, it packs quite a punch! Becca Fitzpatrick weaves an engaging story full of suspense that doesn’t quit, characters that become more complex as the mystery unfolds and descriptions that immersed my imagination in the cold winter storms in the Teton Mountains, 5 intense stars!

RoseBlood by A.G. Howard


Thanks to NetGalley and Amulet Books for the opportunity to read and review RoseBlood by A.G. Howard! Roseblood. Rune is being taken to an elite school in France and wonders what the motives of her relatives are by helping her have access to this expensive school and paying for everything she needs from tuition to uniforms, when they haven’t been kind or close in the past. Her father passed away years ago and his relations are the ones helping Rune with acceptance to the school. Her mother has traveled from Harmony, Texas with Rune to take her to the school. For some reason, Rune needed to leave her hometown because of some kind of trouble she caused. Her father shared a musical talent with Rune and without him, this talent is taking a toll on her health and life. As I read, I became more engrossed in this interesting twist on “The Phantom of the Opera”. Chapter four intrigued me with it’s foreshadowing and I couldn’t stop reading after that! Magic is somehow involved with this story along with a bit of the supernatural. Each chapter begins with a literary quote that applies to the chapter content and, as always, I appreciate and enjoyed the author’s note at the end of the book which explains A. G. Howard’s research into the truth behind the Phantom. A supernatural fantasy retelling of The Phantom of the Opera, told with imagination and complex, multidimensional characters, 5 stars!

Broken Beautiful Hearts by Kami Garcia


Thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for the opportunity to read and review Broken Beautiful Hearts by Kami Garcia! Peyton and her mom have lived alone since her father was killed during a military mission. Peyton’s boyfriend, Reed, has been acting differently and seems to have a quick temper and mood swings often when he used to never be that way. Reed’s sister Tess is also Peyton’s best friend and when Peyton tries to discuss the changes in Reed with Tess, she becomes defensive. When Peyton finds out Reed’s secret and confronts him, Reed loses his temper and pushes Peyton. She falls down cement stairs and hurts her leg. Now she’s mourning the possibility of losing her soccer scholarship and her ruined relationships with Reed and Tess. She moves to Tennessee and stays with her uncle and his two teenage twin boys so she can recuperate, attend physical therapy and hopefully repair her leg. She gains new friends and works hard to recover the strength in her leg while learning to deal with Reed and the difficulties he’s caused. I don’t want to give anything away from the rest of the story but I devoured Broken Beautiful Hearts and I highly recommend it for any reader that enjoys young adult realistic fiction, 5 stars!

By a Charm and a Curse by Jaime Questell

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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!