Bacon Pie by Candace Robinson and Gerardo Delgadillo

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Thanks to Evernight Teen and an author request for the opportunity to read and review Bacon Pie by Candace Robinson and Gerard Odelgadillo. Evernight Teen. Lia and Kiev began a relationship under the strangest of circumstances; Lia punches Kiev in the face! For punishment, they have to perform community service at the local festival that celebrates all things pig. Teen angst, awkward friends, family diversity and family struggles round out this story to make a charming and fun realistic fiction read for young adults. I enjoyed Lia’s and Kiev’s differences in and passion for their hobbies, retro video games and Shakespearean plays, respectively. Tough topics are lightly addressed and added to the depth of the storyline and overall, the cute theme and humor won me over, 4 stars!

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

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Thanks to NetGalley and MacMillan Children’s Publishing Group for the opportunity to read and review Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi! Females, young and old, train together to learn to be strong, independent and to gain self-defense skills. This training is hidden from the rest of the kingdom because they would be in trouble and danger if anyone else found out they are more than timid servants. These women lost loved ones in a horrific act of violence against their community and have been training ever since. Zelie is a part of this group and when she was five she watched her mother being dragged away and then hung. Amari is an unhappy princess who escapes and inadvertently ends up with Zelie and her family. They run from Prince Inan, Amari’s brother, as he struggles with his internal conflict of whether or not magic is good or evil. During this time, Zelie’s magic grows and she works at controlling her powers. As Zelie, her brother Tzain and Amari learn to trust each other and work together, they encounter horrific dangers as they continue their quest for the artifacts-the scroll, sunstone and the bone dagger. With these artifacts, magic can be restored. Some romance and humor lighten the dark world that Zelie lives in and both of these help her conquer the evil and pain that drags her under. The impressive storyline, immaculate world building and strong, dynamic characters make Children of Blood and Bone an intense fantasy read worth 5 stars!

 

Unraveled by Kate Jarvik Birch

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Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Unraveled by Kate Jarvik Birch, the third installment in her Perfected series! Ella and Penn are on the run for their own freedom and safety and they continue to fight for the freedom of all of the Pets. The group they’re with is bombarded after being deceived into believing they would be rescuing many Pets. No one is truly sure about who can be trusted after that deception. Penn and Ella still have a beautiful relationship, regardless of Penn being the horrible Congressman’s son and Ella still deeply cares for Ruby, Penn’s younger sister. Unraveled shows growth in its characters and the mark that choices leave, decisions always have consequences. Suspense is the overriding emotion throughout the story and the feeling of not knowing who to trust carries on also. I thoroughly enjoyed Unraveled and especially the variety of characters and their dynamics. 5 stars for this dystopian novel!

The Rules of Rebellion by Amity Hope

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Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review The Rules of Rebellion by Amity Hope. Kylie gets teased by her younger sister, Allie, because of her complete lack of social fun, so Kylie decides to make a rebellion list of things she can do to expand her high school social experience. Kylie’s rebellion list contains rules also, such as attend a party (without drinking). With Kylie’s list and the help from her friend Leo, the adventures begin. This story turned out to be more complex than I expected and the foreshadowing was subtle and perfect. Kylie’s group of friends are supportive and fun and I enjoyed the prank that Leo planned for her list. Rules of Rebellion is a fun teen romance with the added maturity that makes it a perfect young adult realistic fiction book! Very adorable and worth 5 stars!

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

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Thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for the opportunity to read and review Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer! Two teens that have each lost someone they love begin an ongoing anonymous conversation by adding to a letter left and then found next to a cemetery headstone. The conversation moves to email for convenience and these two strangers help each other grieve. Declan has lost his sister and his father is in prison and no longer part of their family. His mother has married Alan, who isn’t the nicest to Declan. Juliet has lost her journalist mother in a hit and run car accident and she lives with her father. Declan has an amazing best friend, Rev, that’s dealing with his own traumatic past and Juliet’s best friend, Rowan, is supportive and caring. The email relationship remains anonymous and grows deeper and more meaningful as their grief is dealt with together. Letters to the Lost melted my heart with the complicated storyline and endearing, real characters. I love everything about this story, from the caring, helpful teachers to the awkward friends to the dysfunctional family members. All of these components create a beautiful realistic fiction novel worth 5 stars!

The Precious Dreadful by Steven Parlato

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Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing for the opportunity to read and review The Precious Dreadful by Steven Parlato. Teddi’s summer vacation begins with a few options. She decides to spend time with Summerteens, the local library’s summer writing workshop. Before the workshop kicks off, Teddi has had a spooky encounter, a kiss and an argument with her single, downtrodden mother. I fell in love with The Precious Dreadful, Teddi’s personality and boldness and the variety of characters it holds in its pages! The more I read, the deeper the story took me. Teddi has pretty much raised herself since her mother, Brenda, tends to be drunk and partying with her friends instead of being available and sober for her daughter. Brenda is also keeping secrets from Teddi and has tried to, in her own dysfunctional way, protect her role as a mother. As Teddi’s summer rolls on, relationships become more complicated and drama-ridden and her subconscious is forcing her to remember a traumatic and horrible part of her childhood. The Precious Dreadful bends genres: mystery, horror, supernatural, romance and young adult realistic fiction; this book also pulls at your heartstrings through intense tragedy, awareness of bad choices and the bond of friendship and kindness of others and it’s well deserving of 5 stars!

Rogue Crystal by Jordan Elizabeth

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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!

Phoenix Fire by S.D. Grimm

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Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Phoenix Fire by S.D. Grimm. The story drew me in, during the first chapter, as I read about Ava who lives in a foster home, has memories that aren’t her own and witnesses a car crash involving her foster brother. The second chapter introduces Cade and Nick and an entire world of hunting monsters and I was instantly immersed! Ava’s schoolmate, Wyatt, helped her after the crash and he seems to have a mystery of his own. The chapters alternate through Ava, Cade and Nick, all in first person point of view. Ava and Cade have forgotten about monsters and their Phoenix history, but Nick remembers and reveals the story elements through his narrative. Nick is always the first to remember who he is and what his family’s mission is and he’s alone as he wakes up his memories. He then has to search for his twin siblings, Ava and Cade, and help them remember, as gently as possible, so they don’t fall under harm. Their pasts slowly reveal themselves through each of their experiences as they relive their memories. Transitioning that flows smoothly between characters and memories builds the mythological, paranormal world of Phoenix Fire. Supernatural intensity and characters that are complex and endearing rate 5 stars!

About S.D. Grimm:

S. D. Grimm’s first love in writing is young adult fantasy and science fiction, which is to be expected from someone who looks up to heroes like Captain America and Wonder Woman, has been sorted into Gryffindor, and identifies as rebel scum. Her patronus is a red Voltron lion, her spirit animal is Toothless, and her favorite meal is second breakfast. Her office is anywhere she can curl up with her laptop and at least one large-sized dog.You can learn more about her upcoming novels at http://www.sdgrimm.com/

Author Links:

Author Website: http://www.sdgrimm.com

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/SDGrimmAuthor

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SDGrimm/

Author Street Team/Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/678821245839416/

Author Instagram: http://www.instagram.comS.D.Grimm

Author Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/SDGrimmAuthor/

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7460109.S_D_Grimm

Newsletter Link: http://sdgrimm.com/newsletter-sign-up.html

 

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

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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

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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!