Only the Pretty Lies by Rebekah Crane

Book Genre Block - "Young Adult" with 4 young adults
Only the Pretty Lies book cover with boy and girl
Book Genre Tag "Romance": A couple kissing

This YA romance is a great way to start discussions around the topics of race, gender, and stereotypes! The story weaves these into the plot in a great way, and I really enjoyed it!

We meet Amoris, a senior in high school, as she reignites a childhood friendship with Jamison. Jamison just moved back to town, and as they become friends, and their relationship evolves, Amoris has the chance to see racism in ways she never noticed before.

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Evelyn and the Kung Fu Headmaster by Kwan Wu

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Copy of Science Fiction with pink background and oversized moon with reflection in water
Book cover girl flying over map
Book Genre Block - "Young Adult" with 4 young adults

Evelyn and the Kung Fu Headmaster is a fast-paced story that doesn’t waste any time jumping right into the action! It was a fun, crazy adventure that young readers will really enjoy going on!

This is a really good transitional book for readers that are just branching into the young readers books. It’s still a young, clean read, but it’s a bit older than a juvenile fiction story. It’s filled with amazing adventures that are perfect for this age range. I would have liked to see a bit more world building throughout the story, which was the only downside for me. It’s a short book, and we could have spent a bit more time describing the amazing surroundings.

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What Big Teeth by Rose Szabo

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Book Genre Block - "Horror" creepy house
Book Genre Block - "Young Adult" with 4 young adults

I could not ignore this book’s cover! I love how wonderfully it fits the story, I look at it now, after reading, and I just think it was matched so well.

This was a creepy, dark, atmospheric read, and it was so different than what I was expecting! The magical elements were darker and more sinister making this a great gothic story. I loved the characters and their backstories. As the plot wove its way through the pages, I was blown away by what was really going on. It was surprising, and something that I absolutely enjoyed!

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Battle of the Bullies by Fenyx Blue

Book Genre Block - "Young Adult" with 4
Book Cover with girl on cover
"Mystery" Genre card with dark woods and light in the distance

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Bullying is a topic that needs to continue to be discussed, and I’m so happy to see these types of stories being written. This was an interesting mix of high school drama, bullying, and sisterly relationships.

The Dimes are this terrible group where each member tries to become the number 1 position in the group by bullying other students until they drop out of school. How awful! They are a horrible group that is easy to hate. When their sites are set on the Robertson sisters, they find it harder than anticipated.

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Secrets of the Starcrossed by Clara O’Connor

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I feel like this book was a bit of a mixed bag. I was interested, and I didn’t ever just stop reading this book, but I also kept going back to the synopsis trying to see what it was that I was looking forward to. That Panem callout in the synopsis kept me going. It did feel a little like Panem from the controlling aspect, but I don’t think that’s enough of a connection to use that city.

The world is like ours, but with changes to history. I was really confused in the beginning. They reference historical British royalty family bloodlines, but their histories are changed, so just know going in that any history you know won’t match with this version.

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Power Divided by S. Behr

Copy of Science Fiction with pink background and oversized moon with reflection in water

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I love a good dystopian story, and this book had that plus great characters and a mix of magic that had e totally entranced!

The magical powers that these characters have were exciting, and I loved learning about them. It’s a magical system that was easy to understand, which I always appreciate! The story begins with an accidental use of powers, and it gripped me from the first line!

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Influence by Sara Shepard and Lilia Buckingham

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What I Loved:

Well, this book certainly took me by surprise! I absolutely loved the themes around being yourself and being true to yourself. There was also such a strong element of friendship and being a good friend. All of these ideas were the foundation of this exciting and enticing mystery!

My Synopsis:

Delilah has been thrown into the world of social media influencers after one of her videos went viral and her follower count exploded. Her family coincidentally has moved to L.A. putting Delilah in the center of it all!

At her first social media event she meets:
🙋‍♀️Jasmine: Social Media Star and famous child actor currently struggling to understand who she is now as she phases out of her child-actor persona.

🙋‍♀️Fiona: Social Media Star and budding actress who struggles with hidden obsessive habits and a terrible secret.

🙋‍♀️Scarlet: Social Media Sensation and a bit vicious to just about everyone.

🙋‍♀️Jack: YouTube Star and boyfriend to Scarlet.

Delilah finds fast friends in Jasmine and Fiona who help her navigate this new world and event. After her new friends leave, Delilah finds a corner to sit and hide for a while, where she meets a lovely boy who makes her smile and laugh. After sharing a few fun moments with her mystery boy, they are caught in a photo and leave. Delilah soon figures out that this boy was Jack, Scarlet Leigh’s boyfriend and she’s horrified. This could ruin her social standing as Scarlet has a temper and a reputation for tearing people apart.

As the weeks go by, she finds that the photo taken of her and Jack didn’t capture her face, so she can breathe easier. As she settles into this new lifestyle, Jasmine and Fiona become close friends. Everything isn’t as wonderful as it seems though. . .

Every character is struggling with their own problems and fears of their secrets coming out. When the suspicious death of a fellow influencer turns their world upside down, the three friends must trust each other and themselves to find out what happened.

How I Felt:

I really enjoyed this book! The story was filled with twists and turns that I just didn’t see coming. The secrets that each person holds were fun to figure out, and the mystery was extremely interesting!

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Escaping Eleven by Jerri Chisholm

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book was amazing! It kept me glued to the pages. The storyline was interesting, and I loved the characters!

This is a dystopian YA novel set generations after the earth has become too hot for humans to live on the surface. The wealthy leaders of Earth built enormous bunkers under the ground and brought laborers with them so that there would be people to run the underground cities and do all the work. Eve lives in Compound Eleven. She’s a lowly 2nd-floor inhabitant, however, it’s better than the 1st floor. Living on the 5th floor are the elite and the privileged. As she looks for a way to escape the compound, she accidentally befriends a 5th-floor boy. She finds that maybe not everyone on the 5th floor is bad…or are they?

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The White Door by Heather Kindt

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The game just got real. Like really, really real.

Okay, if you have been reading this series, I cannot wait for you to grab this one! If you haven’t started this series, it is amazing, and you should absolutely read it! Please do not start the series with this book. This is a series that should be read in order. These are not stand-alone stories.

The White Door picks up pretty soon after the last book ends. We are literally thrown into the action within the first few pages, and it’s a heart-racing adventure from there on out. Someone is trying to kill Brek, and they don’t know who. Behind the white door, Meg and Brek discover yet another world, but this one proves to be so different from the previous ones. They find themselves thrown into crazy plans that have involved them from the start, and dangers that are proving to be more real than they could have ever expected.

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How Much It May Storm by A.N. Willis

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I cannot even explain how much I loved this story! What an absolutely amazing mix of coming of age, paranormal, and mystery!

This dual-timeline story takes the reader between 1918 and 1943 to unravel the deep-rooted secrets of a family and their nurse. In 1918, Millie arrives in a small town in Colorado, recently hired to provide nursing assistance to two Gainsbury family members with the Spanish Flu. Millie finds a spark of romance in the family’s son, Edward, who just returned from the war. Millie has a secret though, that she protects to keep others safe, and Edward may be getting close to understanding what it is.

In 1943, Dinah has recently said goodbye to her brother as he heads off to war, and she’s finding herself alone and sad. In her loneliness, she visits their favorite hiding spot but experiences some upsetting occurrences…sounds and handprints on the glass that she cannot explain. And then a man dressed in a WWI uniform. She begins to think she is being haunted, and her story becomes intertwined with Millie’s as Dinah searches for the truth about the man in uniform, and what happened to Millie.

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A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This was a wonderful mix of historical fiction and fantasy. I loved seeing women in a scientific role in this story. This was filled with intrigue, mystery, and a search for the ever-elusive Philosopher’s Stone.

Thea is an assistant for her alchemist mother in France just before the revolution. On the verge of a breakthrough to create the Philosopher’s Stone, her mother goes quite mad and sends Thea to England to live with her father, someone she has never met. Distraught at this turn of events in her life, Thea decides to try to create the Philosopher’s Stone herself and cure her mother of her madness. As Thea gets closer to the cure, will she be able to avoid following in the footsteps of her mother?

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Undeveloped by K Leigh

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Author K Leigh has such a wonderful way with words. Her stories continue to get better and better, and I am always on the lookout for her next book! Undeveloped was an absolutely beautifully written story with characters you fall in love with, wonderful revelations, and heartbreaking moments. It is well worth the read, and I hope everyone picks it up!

This is a dual-timeline story with Lia, our present-day teenager stumbling across her Aunt Natalie’s journals from her own youth. As Lia secretly reads more and more of Natalie’s entries, she becomes entranced by what looks like a love-lost in Natalie’s history.

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