Review | Aftermath by Clara Kensie

Aftermath by41sxg4zw-1l-_sx324_bo1204203200_ Clara Kensie
Published by Simon Pulse on November 1, 2016
Genres: Mysteries & Thrillers, Law & Crime, Social and Family Issues, Fiction
Pages: 282
Format: Hardcover
Source: Sent to me for review from Merit Press
Buy it: Amazon // Book Depository // Barnes & Noble
My Rating: ★★★★★ 5/5


 

// SYNOPSIS //

Charlotte survived four long years as a prisoner in the attic of her kidnapper, sustained only by dreams of her loving family. The chance to escape suddenly arrives, and Charlotte fights her way to freedom. But an answered prayer turns into heartbreak. Losing her has torn her family apart. Her parents have divorced: Dad’s a glutton for fame, Mom drinks too much, and Charlotte’s twin is a zoned-out druggie. Her father wants Charlotte write a book and go on a lecture tour, and her mom wants to keep her safe, a virtual prisoner in her own home. But Charlotte is obsessed with the other girl who was kidnapped, who never got a second chance at life–the girl who nobody but Charlotte believes really existed. Until she can get justice for that girl, even if she has to do it on her own, whatever the danger, Charlotte will never be free.


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Review | Everyday Magic by Emily Albright

Everyday Magic b51xhn8x-dzl-_sx324_bo1204203200_y Emily Albright
Published by Simon Pulse on December 2, 2016
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Performing Arts, Film, Fiction
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source: Sent to me for review from Merit Press
Buy it: Amazon // Book Depository // Barnes & Noble
My Rating: ★★★★ 4/5


 

// SYNOPSIS //

From the critically acclaimed author of The Heir and the Spare comes another enchanting tale of love and fame set in England, among the privileges and pressures of the red-carpet life. Maggie’s dad is a Hollywood director, and he has her whole life planned: Not only will she grow up to be an entertainment lawyer and work for him, he literally blackmails her to date the boy who’s starring in his new movie. But Maggie loves Preston, the British boy who stole her heart, and despite the risk that her dad will make her mother miserable if she doesn’t give in, Maggie decides to go for it, designing a red-carpet gown for a young duchess that puts her and the duchess in the limelight. Once there, she turns to Preston and issues a challenge: Can a girl who has given up the glamorous life any other girl would want…be the girl for him?


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Review | Beneath Wandering Stars by Ashlee Cowles

51unmjafm3l-_sx321_bo1204203200_Beneath Wandering Stars by Ashley Cowles
Published by Simon Pulse on August 1, 2016
Genres: Fiction, Army and Family Life
Pages: 272
Format: Hardcover
Source: Sent to me for review from Merit Press
Buy it: Amazon // Book Depository // Barnes & Noble 
My Rating: ★★★★ 4/5


 

// SYNOPSIS //

After her soldier brother is horribly wounded in Afghanistan, Gabriela must honor the vow she made: If anything ever happened to him, she would walk the Camino de Santiago through Spain, making a pilgrimage in his name. The worst part is that the promise stipulates that she must travel with her brother’s best friend–a boy she has despised all her life. Her brother is in a coma, and Gabi feels that she has no time to waste, but she is unsure. Will she hesitate too long, or risk her own happiness to keep a promise? An up-close look at the lives of the children of military families, Beneath Wandering Stars takes readers on a journey of love, danger, laughter, and friendship, against all odds.


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Review | Local Girl Swept Away by Ellen Wittlinger

51N1jqx5aSL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_Local Girl Swept Away by Ellen Wittlinger
Published by Simon Pulse on June 15, 2016
Genres: Social & Family Issues, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Fiction
Pages: 270
Format: Hardcover
Source: Sent to me for review by Merit Press
Buy it: Amazon // Book Depository // Barnes & Noble
My Rating: ★★★★ 4/5


 

//SYNOPSIS//

They are four best friends who’ve shared joy and secrets, love and memories, and since the beginning, Lorna was the one who held them all together. Then, the unthinkable happens. During a storm, Lorna is swept out to sea, leaving the three survivors with nothing to cling to except grief and questions. How did this happen? Why was Lorna in such danger, and was she alone? When her body is never found, the mystery deepens. Did Lorna really die? Or has she made a crazy bid for freedom? Inevitably, the dynamic of the four friends’ everyday life is changed forever. But the pain and confusion go deepest for Jackie, who must face her feelings of unrequited love for Lorna’s boyfriend as well as try to put to rest her own questions about Lorna’s presumed death. Does one of the boys in their inner circle know more than he’s letting on? Will Lorna’s fate ever be discovered? And how will Jackie become her own person in the wake of a wound that may never close? In this beautifully written, intense novel, one girl has to travel through loss and disillusionment to make sense of her own future.


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Review | Breakfast With Neruda by Laura Moe

bwn_Breakfast With Neruda by Laura Moe
Published by Simon Pulse on May 16, 2016
Genres: Family, Stepfamilies, Social & Family Issues, Homelessness & Poverty, Depression & Mental Illness, Fiction
Pages: 252
Format: Hardcover
Source: Sent to me for review by Merit Press
Buy it: Amazon // Book Depository // Barnes & Noble
My Rating: ★★★★ 4/5


 

// SYNOPSIS //

Michael Flynn is just trying to get through his community service after he made the dumb decision to try to blow up his friend’s car with fireworks–the same friend who stole Michael’s girl. Being expelled and losing his best buddy and his girlfriend are the least of his problems: Michael has learned to hide everything, from his sick hoarder mother to the fact that he’s stuck living in a 1982 Ford LTD station wagon he calls the Blue Whale. Then one day, during mandatory community service, he meets Shelly, a girl with a past, who’s also special enough to unmask Michael’s deepest secrets. Can he manage to be worthy of her love, a guy living in a car, unable to return to his chaotic and fit-to-be-condemned home? Shelly won’t give up, and tries to peel back the layers of garbage and pain to reveal Michael’s immense heart.


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Review | Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw

61zc8IRjtaL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw
Published by Razorbill on April 19, 2016
Genres: Social & Family Issues, Humor, Being a Teen, Contemporary, Fiction
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought at Barnes & Noble
Buy it: Amazon // Book Depository // Barnes & Noble
My Rating: ★★★★★ 5/5


 

// SYNOPSIS //

Meet Scarlett Epstein, BNF (Big Name Fan) in her online community of fanfiction writers, world-class nobody at Melville High. Her best (read: only) IRL friends are Avery, a painfully shy and annoyingly attractive bookworm, and Ruth, her pot-smoking, possibly insane seventy-three-year-old neighbor.

When Scarlett’s beloved TV show is canceled and her longtime crush, Gideon, is sucked out of her orbit and into the dark and distant world of Populars, Scarlett turns to the fanfic message boards for comfort. This time, though, her subjects aren’t the swoon-worthy stars of her fave series—they’re the real-life kids from her high school. Scarlett never considers what might happen if they were to find out what she truly thinks about them…until a dramatic series of events exposes a very different reality than Scarlett’s stories, forever transforming her approach to relationships—both online and off.


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Review: The Yearbook by Carol Masciola

51aAwP2OuiL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_The Yearbook by Carol Masciola
Published by Simon Pulse on November 15, 2015
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Social & Family Issues, Orphans & Foster Homes
Pages: 224
Format: Hardcover
Source: Sent to me for review by Merit Press
Buy it: Amazon // Book Depository // Barnes & Noble
My Rating: ★★★ 3/5


 

// SYNOPSIS //

Misfit teen Lola Lundy has every right to her anger and her misery. She’s failing in school, living in a group home, and social workers keep watching her like hawks, waiting for her to show signs of the horrible mental illness that cost Lola’s mother her life. Then, one night, she falls asleep in a storage room in her high school library, where she’s seen an old yearbook–from the days when the place was an upscale academy for young scholars instead of a dump. When Lola wakes, it’s to a scene that is nothing short of impossible. Lola quickly determines that she’s gone back to the past–eighty years in the past, to be exact.

The Fall Frolic dance is going full blast in the gym, where Lola meets the brainy and provocative Peter Hemming’s, class of ’24. His face is familiar, because she’s seen his senior portrait in the yearbook. By night’s end, Lola thinks she sees hope for her disastrous present: She’ll make a new future for herself in the past. But is it real? Or has the major mental illness in Lola’s family background finally claimed her? Has she slipped through a crack in time, or into a romantic hallucination she created in her own mind, wishing on the ragged pages of a yearbook from a more graceful time long ago?


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Review | Half In Love With Death by Emily Ross

51cs4bas4-L._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_Half In Love With Death by Emily Ross
Published by Simon Pulse on December 16, 2015
Genres: Mysteries & Thrillers, Romance, Social & Family Issues, Fiction
Pages: 224
Format: Hardcover
Source: Sent to me for review by Merit Press
Buy it: Amazon // Book Depository // Barnes & Noble
My Rating: ★★★★ 4/5


 

// SYNOPSIS //

It’s the era of peace and love in the 1960s, but nothing is peaceful in Caroline’s life. Since her beautiful older sister disappeared, fifteen-year-old Caroline might as well have disappeared too. She’s invisible to her parents, who can’t stop blaming each other. The police keep following up on leads even Caroline knows are foolish. The only one who seems to care about her is Tony, her sister’s older boyfriend, who soothes Caroline’s desperate heart every time he turns his magical blue eyes on her. Tony is convinced that the answer to Jess’s disappearance is in California, the land of endless summer, among the street culture of runaways and flower children. Come with me, Tony says to Caroline, and we’ll find her together. Tony is so loving, and all he cares about is bringing Jess home. And so Caroline follows, and closes a door behind her that may never open again, in a heartfelt thriller that never lets up.


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Review: Identity Crisis by Melissa Shorr

51TdPm0Zt5L._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_Identity Crisis by Melissa Schorr
Published by Simon Pulse on January 1, 2016
Genres: Social & Family Issues, Bullying, Marriage & Divorce, Fiction
Pages: 240
Format: Hardcover
Source: Sent to me for review by Merit Press
Buy it: Amazon // Book Depository // Barnes & Noble
My Rating: ★★★★ 4/5


 

// SYNOPSIS //

Who does she think she is? Annalise’s audacious freshman-year hookup with Cooper Franklin has a trio of friends thirsting for revenge. So they catfish Annalise by creating the perfect virtual guy, with Noelle playing along reluctantly only because her lifelong crush, Cooper, is in love with Annalise. As Annalise falls for it, even buying tickets for the concert of the year for her and her mythical new guy, Noelle feels more and more guilty. Then, the whole thing blows up and Annalise faces her betrayers. But when Annalise forgives, the reunited friends learn that adults–even famous adults–can be even more bogus than teenagers.


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Review: The Heir and The Spare by Emily Albright

514YfEqfV+L._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_The Heir And The Spare by Emily Albright
Published by Simon Pulse on January 1, 2016
Genres: Social & Family Issues, New Experiences, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction
Pages: 287
Format: Hardcover
Source: Sent to me for review by Merit Press
Buy it: Amazon // Book Depository // Barnes & Noble
My Rating: ★★★ 3/5


 

// SYNOPSIS //

Going all the way to England for college–to Oxford, no less–for college would be exciting enough. But no sooner does Evie set foot on English soil than she falls for a boy who turns out to be a real prince–in fact, second in line to the throne of England. Edmund is wonderful, even though loving him can be a royal pain, from the demands of his family to the stuck-up aristocrat who thinks she should be the one to win Edmund’s heart. All that is swept aside, however, when the riddle of Evie’s past surfaces, and the new couple becomes obsessed with figuring out who the real Evie is, with the growing suspicion that the truth will be a shocker.


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