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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

At Water's Edge(The Water Rushes, #1) by S. McPherson

At Water's Edge (The Water Rushes, #1)At Water's Edge  
by S. McPherson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reviewed for +Readers' Favorite 

Dezaray used to be an outgoing social butterfly, before her parents died in a plane crash, now she keeps to herself and shoulders the burdens of more than she deserves, but she dreams of something else, something more. In another dimension, Lexovia is the last of her race, the hope of her world and protected at all costs. All she wants is to be a teenager and have some fun. At Water's Edge (The Water Rushes Book 1) is an epic story of two worlds or dimensions that at one time used to live together in harmony with a portal between, in each dimension was a twin or counterpart, and Lexovia and Dezaray are one of those sets. Now the worlds are kept apart by the evil Vildacrux, and Lexi is their only hope of defeating them. So when Lexi and Dezi accidental trade places things get a little crazy to say the least. Author S. McPherson weaves teenage angst, romance, social issues, rebellion and honor into an epic fanatsy that will keep you spellbound until the last page.

At Water's Edge is titled to be the first book in a series, and I for one truly hope that is the case! I know that I could not put this book down. I laughed and cried, and I kept reading until the end and still wanted more. I wanted to know what happened next. Author S. McPherson pulls you into the story in such a way that you feel for the characters, you root for Dezi, you want her to break free of her past, you want Lexi to triumph. You feel a part of the story, which is what makes it all that much better of a read. Although it is marketed as young adult, because the characters are seventeen, this is a great read for any age.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Mermaid and the Treasure of the Bay by A. Algeri

The Mermaid and the Treasure of the Bay (The Mermaid, #1)The Mermaid and the Treasure of the Bay 
by A. Algeri

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reviewed for Readers Favorite

Journey back to a historical time, Pirate lore, regency romance, rules of court and proper society. Brinn Fairchild hates it all, she doesn't want to be presented at court, attend balls, and act like she doesn't have a brain. Of course her mother doesn't agree, but then again her mother has been hiding some secrets of her own. The Mermaid and the treasure of the Bay is the story of the summer that the Fairchild family comes back to their small oceanside village of Nyar Kaad. For her mother and sister, this is just a sort visit, but for Brinn, this is her last chance to find a way to stay. To convince her mother that she doesn't belong in Adaria. Maybe the legend of the pirate captain John Tharaid, who is credited with founding the area, and said to have buried a huge treasure in the bay, is just what she needs. Author A. Algeri blends historical and fantasy together into a story full of secrets, mystery and discovery.

The Mermaid and the Treasure of the Bay is a complex story of a historical time period, yet set in a total fantasy setting, with secrets and mystery, proper society and rebellion. It is so well written and engaging, you just keep reading until you finish. Author A. Algeri does a wonderful job balancing the different dynamics of the various genres. Also another layer in this story is the interaction between Brinn and her mother, Brinn wants to embrace life and intelligence, living for herself and her mother is all about reputation and society, following the proper lines and living above reproach, distancing herself from history. Its an amazingly complex story in so many different ways.

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Ancient Guardians: The Reckoning (Book 4) by S.L. Morgan

The Reckoning (Ancient Guardians #4)Ancient Guardians: The Reckoning (Book 4)
by S.L. Morgan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reviewed for +Readers' Favorite 

Take a science fiction book, where the world is technologically advanced in medicine and knowledge, knowing of other dimensions and realms and travel between them. Then add in the romance and pageantry of the Victorian and Regency Era's, mix them together with intrigue, mystery, and action and you have the land of Pendiams and the Ancient Guardians series. Ancient Guardians: The Reckoning in the fourth book in this series by author S. L. Morgan. The wonderful thing is that, you really could pick up this book and read it, enjoy it and never have read the other books in the series.

Ancient Guardians: The Reckoning starts at the end of a rescue mission with Levi awakening having lost all memory of the last nine years of his life. Believe it or not, Levi did a great deal of growing during those years and is a completely different person, almost. There is the task of trying to get Levi's memory back, still guarding the Key, and Earth to save, and Earth is still unaware that aliens exist - although the world leaders do, they have decided they don't believe the threat is enough to inform the people. Author S. L. Morgan weaves an amazing story that brings fantasy, science fiction, intrigue, mystery, espionage and so much more. What is funny, I started reading this book and I was enjoying it and every once in awhile I was thinking, humm this sounds like something else I have read, then halfway through the book I finally realized that I had actually read the first book in the series, but only that book, nothing since, yet I still had no trouble following the story and understanding what was going on.

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Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, Book Three) by Libba Bray

The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, #3)The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, Book Three) 
by Libba Bray

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Sweet Far Thing is the final book of the Gemma Doyle trilogy. This is our last visit to the Spence Academy for Young Ladies and to the Realms, but there is still quite and lot that needs to be accomplished before the end of this book, which is why it is a pretty big book!

Mrs. Nightwing has finally raised the funds to restore the damaged East Wing and so construction on the East Wing has begun and it is suppose to be done in time for a large gala ball for the end of term in May. Of course this has all the ladies atwitter wanting to watch the workers instead of doing their studies. The scariest thing for the girls has been that Gemma has not been able to open the door to the realms since they imprisoned Circee in the Temple Well.

Gemma had thought you was done when she destroyed the runes, but no she needed to find the temple and then she imprisoned Circee in the Temple Well, but in the process gave herself all the Magic, now she needs to give the magic back but to who and how. Should she give it to the Order, to the Rakshana, or to the different tribes in the realms? Maybe she should make all the tribes of the realm come together and share it equally. As Gemma is trying to figure that out new and more disturbing visions start coming to her, and she is pretty sure they have something to do with her decision but she just isn't sure how.

While dealing with the visions, the girls have to deal with Ann's cousins wanting to come take her to be their governess, and them wanting to help Ann control her own destiny. Then there is the matter of Felicity's inheritance, for her to get it she must be presented to the queen and have her debut ball, but Lady Markham, who has always promised to do that is having second thoughts after talking to the snob Lady Denby, so plan appease Lady Markham is in full effect. That of course has unwanted marriage prospects that no one realized might be coming.

Pippa did not want to be forced to marry a man three times her age and made a drastic decision to stay in the realms, without realizing the costs until too late, yet she still took control of her life. Fee wanted her inheritance and to live on her own, away from her parents where she was safe, and she could keep Polly safe. Ann wanted to make her own way in the world through her own talent and Gemma wanted to decide for herself what to do with her future. These were still radical ideas for 1896, but there time was coming.

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Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle, Book Two) by Libba Bray

Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle, #2)Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle, Book Two) 
by Libba Bray

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rebel Angels is the second book in the Gemma Doyle Trilogy. This book picks up as book one ends, with Gemma destroying the runes in the realms. The first of the book is Katrik, and his being called back to London by the Rakshana. They give him orders to watch Gemma and have her find the Temple in the realms and bind the magic to the Temple.

After having not been in the realms for two months, when the girls finally do go back, they are surprised to find Pippa there. They had assumed that she had crossed over the river when her body died, but she told them that she was told she didn't have to cross over, she could stay in the realms, although Gemma's mother told her that anyone who didn't cross over would become corrupted, Felicity and Ann don't want to believe that, they want to have Pip back with them and be all together again.

Since we have now hit the Christmas holidays, everyone will be heading home, except Ann who will stay at Spence, until Felicity comes up with the "brilliant" idea to pass Ann off as a long lost niece of a distant Russia Duke and cousin to the Czar himself. Gemma isn't sure this will work, but there is not stopping Fee once she has an idea in her head, and well, maybe that can be a good thing at times. Ann will get to see society and how it really works and may it will shatter her fantasies of it all.

At Gemma's house, nothing is going the way it should be. Grandmama is dour. Tom feels neglected and like he has to do everything and yet nothing he does is good enough for his father, and their father is broken and addicted to laudanum or opium. And for Gemma, the visions are getting worse and nothing is making sense, she can't find the temple and she doesn't understand what they mean.

Then on top of all that we have your regular Victorian Society Snobbery storyline. Who is invited to what balls and who isn't, who sits with who at the opera and who is invited into what Gentleman's club. Also tucked into the story in the off paragraphs in a little blurb here and there about the workers movement, this is very late in the year 1895, and so when the ladies are about town you will hear talk of the workers movement, the factory fire, taking up money for the families. So many layers of story.

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An Empty Swing by N.J. Hanson

An Empty SwingAn Empty Swing 
by N.J. Hanson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reviewed For +Readers' Favorite 

Luis is the target of the school bully Butch, and Serena is the gothic chic everyone avoids. When Luis spends some time in the old playground to avoid Butch he encounters Alice, a ghost, which completely freaks him out. He runs into Serena in the library in the section he needs to learn about ghosts and she ends up telling him what he needs to know, only to freak out on him. An Empty Swing is this amazing story that gives us teenage characters, coming into their own, the paranormal aspect of the ghosts. Then we have the mystery and crime element of why the ghosts are here and how they died. Author N. J. Hanson does a wonderful job of blending so many different layers of story together into one cohesive story.

An Empty Swing is such a complex story. For most of the ghosts, which happen to be innocent young kids that just happened to be in the wrong place and the wrong time, their existence as a ghost is no big deal, but to one kid, it turns him into a vengeful spirit. Luis has a backstory and history that plays into Serena's backstory and history, in ways that they never knew. There is some spiritualism, some crime and mystery, some detective work, some coming of age and teenage romance and some happily ever after. Author N. J. Hanson gives us characters to love, ones to hate, and ones we aren't sure about. Although this is marketed as a young adult book, it can easily be read by adults. There is one retelling of one victims account, but exact events are not described only alluded to, so I would advise parents to be available for teens should they want to discuss it after reading.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, Book One) by Libba Bray

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1)A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, Book One) 
by Libba Bray

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

All Gemma wants is to get out of India and go to boarding school in England, and she can't understand why her mother refuses to let her go, even her grandmother still lives in England. When strange events on the streets of India one day lead to Gemma seeing visions, her mother's death, her father's unraveling and the family's sudden move back to England she finally gets her wish.

Spence Academy for Young Girls is not what Gemma was expecting, but maybe it is just what she needs. Her roommate is not the type of girl Gemma would have picked as a friend, but maybe there is a reason they are together. When the most beautiful and the most popular girls end up befriending Gemma, first as a joke then as a new club, they all discover secrets of Spence Academy.

Author Libba Bray takes the reader back in time, but gives us girls that fight the status quo of their time. They want more than to be seen and not heard. They are discovering more about themselves and learning right, wrong and the grey areas in between. There is power, strength and so much more in this story that these girls are just scratching the surface of, and the whole way learning so much about life and friendship.

This is a great young adult, teen read. It is even a great parent read. Even better, a teen and parent read and then talk about together! There are discussion questions in the back of the book, so it is already set up for a book club or classroom, or even parent/child discussion. I personally love to read books my kids are reading and then talk with them about those books, question them and challenge them to see more than the surface meanings of the book, find what is hidden in that second and third levels that the author want to get through.

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