Review: Snakes and Stones by Lisa Fowler

28695370Snakes and Stones by Lisa Fowler

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: November 1st, 2016
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 10+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Historical Fiction, Family

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BLURB:

Twelve-year-old Chestnut Hill’s daddy stole her and the triplets away from their mama. At least, that’s how Chestnut remembers it.

It’s 1921, and after nearly two years on the road with his traveling elixir show, Daddy’s still making no move to go back to Kentucky and buy Mama that house. So Chestnut is forced to come up with her own plan to get home. At night, when Daddy and the triplets are in bed, she draws up flyers with the name of the next town they’ll be traveling to. Before they leave each town and hoping her mama will see them, she nails up the flyers, leaving Mama an easy trail straight to her children.

When that doesn’t work, Chestnut is forced to try something bigger. But when her newest plan lands Daddy in jail and Mama has to come to the rescue, Chestnut discovers that things are not always as they seem. Written with a wonderful mountain hillbilly voice, Snakes and Stones has a mystery at its heart and lovable, strong, and complicated characters. Continue reading

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Review: Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham

24382227Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Publication Date: February 21st, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Point of View: ist Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery

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BLURB:

Some bodies won’t stay buried.
Some stories need to be told.

When seventeen-year-old Rowan Chase finds a skeleton on her family’s property, she has no idea that investigating the brutal century-old murder will lead to a summer of painful discoveries about the past… and the present.

Nearly one hundred years earlier, a misguided violent encounter propels seventeen-year-old Will Tillman into a racial firestorm. In a country rife with violence against blacks and a hometown segregated by Jim Crow, Will must make hard choices on a painful journey towards self discovery and face his inner demons in order to do what’s right the night Tulsa burns.

Through intricately interwoven alternating perspectives, Jennifer Latham’s lightning-paced page-turner brings the Tulsa race riot of 1921 to blazing life and raises important question about the complex state of US race relations – both yesterday and today. Continue reading

Review: Blood For Blood by Ryan Graudin

26864835Blood For Blood by Ryan Graudin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Publication Date: November 1st, 2016
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Point of View: 3rd Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Alternative History, Shapeshifters, Romance, Family

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BLURB:

There would be blood.
Blood for blood.
Blood to pay.
An entire world of it.

For the resistance in 1950s Germany, the war may be over, but the fight has just begun.

Death camp survivor Yael, who has the power to skinshift, is on the run: the world has just seen her shoot and kill Hitler. But the truth of what happened is far more complicated, and its consequences are deadly. Yael and her unlikely comrades dive into enemy territory to try to turn the tide against the New Order, and there is no alternative but to see their mission through to the end, whatever the cost.

But dark secrets reveal dark truths, and one question hangs over them all: how far can you go for the ones you love? Continue reading

Review: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

11250317The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Bought
Publication Date: September 20th 2011
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Point of View: 1st Person & Masculine
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: So Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Mythology, War, Romance, LGBT, Prophecy

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BLURB:

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their difference, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess.

But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear. Continue reading

Review: The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd

25488299The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: October 11th, 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 8+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Magical Realism, Animals, Friendship, Historical Fiction

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BLURB:

There are winged horses that live in the mirrors of Briar Hill hospital. In the mirrors that line its grand hallways, which once belonged to a princess. In those that reflect the elegant rooms, now filled with sick children. It is her secret.

One morning, when Emmaline climbs over the wall of the hospital’s abandoned gardens, she discovers something incredible: a white horse with broken wings has left the mirror-world and entered her own.

Tucked into the garden’s once-gleaming sundial, Emmaline finds a letter from the Horse Lord. He is hiding the wounded white horse, named Foxfire, from a dark and sinister force—a Black Horse who hunts by colorless moonlight. If Emmaline is to keep the Black Horse from finding her new friend, she must collect colorful objects with which to blind him. But where can Emmaline find color when her world is filled with gray? Continue reading

Review: A Taste for Monsters by Matthew J. Kirby

29241322A Taste for Monsters by Matthew J. Kirby

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: September 27th 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age:13+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Mystery, Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Ghosts, Jack the Ripper

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BLURB:

IT’S LONDON 1888, and Jack the Ripper is terrorizing the people of the city. Evelyn, a young woman disfigured by her dangerous work in a matchstick factory, who has nowhere to go, does not know what to make of her new position as a maid to the Elephant Man in the London Hospital. Evelyn wants to be locked away from the world, like he is, shut in from the filth and dangers of the streets. But in Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man, she finds a gentle kindred who does not recoil from her and who understands her pain. When the murders begin, however, Joseph and Evelyn are haunted nightly by the ghosts of the Ripper’s dead, setting Evelyn on a path to facing her fears and uncovering humanity’s worst nightmares.

A Taste for Monsters is a terrifying and haunting tale of the monstrosity of men and the salvation one may find in the unlikeliest places, from Edgar Award–winning author Matthew J. Kirby. Continue reading

Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

28962906Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Publication Date: September 20th 2016
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery, (Bad) Romance, Jack the Ripper, Retellings, Crime, Feminism

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BLURB:

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget. Continue reading