What happens when your father embezzles your school's money and you become a pariah? You come up with a plan to repay the money by minting "error" coins at the Philly mint! Just a few of these coins, sold on the market, could be enough to repay the funds that Jason's dad has lost to day trading.
Four high schoolers are thrown together in a design class and visit the US Mint as part of their class. You have Alice, queen of the nerds, who hasn't met a math problem she couldn't solve. Jason, whose father is responsible for the financial downfall of the school and a bit of a rebel. Dakota, picture and paper perfect, but has several dark secrets and has some self esteem issues. And Benny, the star football kid and scholarship student who wants out of the crushing poverty he lives in. Each has their own reason to save the school, but these four unlikely friends overcome their inner voices to pull this off. Except they don't quite do it right or according to plan.
I really enjoyed this almost perfectly clean read. There is just a bit of language that is well placed, but nothing out of the ordinary. There is a bit of romance between Jason and Alice (the nerd who is actually unknowingly cute) and between Benny and Dakota. These four kids are from all opposite ends of the social spectrum and wouldn't normally have never come together. So yes, you get that special kiss at the perfect moment. There is just enough suspense to make your heart rush in parts, wondering if these kids can hack into the mint's computers and then actually steal the newly minted coins. I look forward to more from this author!
Dean, Alex and the younger kids have been safe at the camp near Vancouver, but they still want to find Josie after Nik...moreMY THOUGHTS: ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT
Dean, Alex and the younger kids have been safe at the camp near Vancouver, but they still want to find Josie after Niko discovers that she is still alive. Astrid is experiencing difficulties in her pregnancy but fears going to the doctor there since she has heard rumors of pregnant girls just disappearing. To save Astrid from medical experimentation, the boys devise a plan and with the help of the twins' father, the escape the camp and venture back into the states.
I love that the story alternates between the different points of view of each character and Josie, in her exile as a type O monster, shows that her compassion goes beyond being a prisoner in a sea of monsters. The chemicals have morphed into a dust cloud that drifts into areas that weren't previously effected. As Jake, Astrid and Dean travel south to reach safety for the baby, Niko sets off on his own to find Josie. This part of the story becomes extremely exciting as you wonder if the group will survive the chemicals and circumstances to save Josie.
Rarely do I get an ending that I wanted but still was a bit surprised at how it ended. That is exactly what happened to me in this conclusion of the Monument 14 series. The whole cast of characters are so accessible and it is heartening that these teens try to do what is right. Fans of dystopian stories are going to enjoy this one immensely. You do need to read the first two books in the series since each builds on the other. Parents: There is some violence, alcohol abuse and minor sexual situations.
Lilac lives a life of privilege as the daughter of the richest man in the universe. She sets style, starts trends and has everything she wants or need...moreLilac lives a life of privilege as the daughter of the richest man in the universe. She sets style, starts trends and has everything she wants or needs. Setting off on a solo trip aboard her father's latest space ship, the Icarius. On the same flight is Tarver, the newest military hero and his acts of bravery are posted everywhere. In a cute meet, Lilac drops her glove when Tarver just happens to walk by. Tarver knows nothing about society or gossip, so he honestly doesn't know who Lilac is. When the flight is pulled out of hyperspace, Tarver realizes he only has one chance to save his life and finds Lilac and the pair make it to an escape pod. Lilac has a working knowledge of technology and she is able to rewire the pod and they successfully launch away from the ship. Unfortunately, the pod crashes onto an uninhabited planet. They survive and try to make their way to the crash site of the mother ship.
Told in alternating voices, each character moves the plot along as the pair fall in love and make it through the wilderness alone. Strange things start to happen to them when Lilac starts having visions and hearing voices that warn her about dangers. This is a serious page turner and although this is story that been told before, the way the words are put together make everything unique. Lilac starts out as sort of a simpering, spoiled mess but finds her strength, while Tarver, loses a bit of his military hard edge. Over all, this book is worth the hype and quickly became one of my favorites so far of this year. LOVE. (less)
West Young, Rachel Young's (from Crash Into Me) older brother has fought his way through life and finally gets kicked out of his...moreMY THOUGHTS - LOVED IT
West Young, Rachel Young's (from Crash Into Me) older brother has fought his way through life and finally gets kicked out of his private school as well as his home. He is also on the outs with Rachel since he took the money she had saved to pay off a racing debt and avoid having Isaiah beat up. Instead of thinking thing through, West reacts first, and causes all kinds of problems for himself and others. As he lives on the streets and enrolls int the local public high school, he learns exactly what his rash actions have cost. This kid has enough issues for a full subscription.
Haley is a former kickboxing champion who has sworn never to fight again after a break up with her MMA fighter boyfriend. Driving around, West sees a Haley being harassed by a group of boys. He stops to talk to her and doesn't listen when she requests that he leave, so she can make it home with her father's prescription, which she loses in the fight that happens after West confronts the boys. This aggression on his part, sets of a series of events that leads to a MMA fight against her former boyfriend's brother in just a few months. Haley starts to train him and slowly he gets his life and anger under control.
The way McGarry brings these characters together and works in their heartbreaking background is just phenomenal. There are lots of interesting supporting characters that I would love to read more about, especially Abby. As a small time, drug dealer, she has a heart of gold and I am sure it is just as scarred. The elements of being homeless, losing everything because you don't have health insurance and relying on school lunches as your only meals bring forth a "ripped from the headlines" theme brings home in a heart wrenching way. Parents: There is language, violence, mentions of drug and alcohol use, sexual situations. This books is great way to illustrate all that is wrong in our world right now. (less)
Marie-Victoria is heir to the Franco-British Empire and Aelwyn, bastard daughter of Merlin, have grown up in the castle...moreMY THOUGHTS ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT
Marie-Victoria is heir to the Franco-British Empire and Aelwyn, bastard daughter of Merlin, have grown up in the castle together but once they reach an age where Marie must start to rule, Aelwyn, has decided to devote herself to the crown as a supplier of magic. Queen Eleanor, has ruled the Empire for over one hundred and now see her ends is near. With the help of her Merlin, she seeks to marry Marie for political gain to the crown prince of Prussia. Even as the two countries have been at war, the two girls have had long visits with Leopold and Wolfgang. Leo is promised to Isabelle, once the heir to the French throne while Wolf as the younger son is left to his own devices.
Just to make things interesting, Wolf meets Ronan Astor, a socialite from New York, whose family has fallen on hard times. She is on the move to make a match with a rich and titled man to save the family. The pair find instant chemistry and Ronan is just the one to take his heart. The magic is an underlying current through out the story which is set in an alternate history of what would have happened if the British had continued their dominance and they controlled all of the power by restricting the use of magic. With this historical background and a Game of Thrones feel, this is the start of a wonderful new series.
The story reads like a celebrity expose' and will keep you very entertained. I really didn't want to put it down when I started and the balance of dialogue, action and descriptive elements gave me everything I wanted in a fun read. There are plots and subplots galore with twists and turns you won't expect. I really can't wait to read what happens next since this one ended with a bit of a cliffhanger. Parents: This one is best for mature teens since there are mentions of sexual situations, violence and alcohol. (less)
Seventeen-year-old Harlow has been adopted by the creepy genius behind VisionCrest and is watched constantly. Forced to be "on", sh...moremy thoughts loved it
Seventeen-year-old Harlow has been adopted by the creepy genius behind VisionCrest and is watched constantly. Forced to be "on", she really has no one to relate to and when the voices in her head begin to be violent, she wonders how she can keep her secret. As VisionCrest controls more and more of the population, she would rather listen to punk rock than deal with the religion her father has created. This corporate style religion will have you thinking seriously about some others like it. After a series of kidnappings and now travel to Asia to promote the religion like cult, she begins to see and hear more gruesome things in what seems an alternate reality.
Reunited with Adam, her one childhood friend and crush, she tried to keep the voice in check. Now that Adam has returned after being kidnapped, he seems changed. As Harlow tries to fight the voice, she becomes overwhelmed with it. Of course, there is some perfect chemistry going on here. The ending just brings everything together perfectly. ARGHH -- I really want to tell all, but I don't want to ruin it for you. Filled with a bit of graphic violence and some kissing, this should be fine for younger teens. Fans of Gretchen McNeil and Brenna Yovanoff are going to adore this new one. (less)
First off, this is one of those books that will make you sad when it ends. If you are a fan of Leigh Bardugo, Kristin Ca...moreMY THOUGHTS ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT
First off, this is one of those books that will make you sad when it ends. If you are a fan of Leigh Bardugo, Kristin Cashore, or Sarah J. Maas, start the countdown for the release of this one. This is one of those sweeping epics that you will devour in one night and then go "WAH" because you will absolutely die when you realize you have to wait a year for a follow up. Of course, the world building will completely devour you, and reminded me a bit of Game of Thrones with evil and goodness, black and white with all shades of gray imaginable. The minor characters are some of the most fascinating I have read about in a long time. I wish this book was a bit longer to find out more about some of them.
Kestrel is the daughter of the great general Trajan who lead his country to great military success and although she is expected to either marry or enter service herself when she turns eighteen next year, she is not excited about either choice. Her intelligence has eliminated most of the eligible men and she lacks the skill to join the military. Her best friend, Jess, drags her through the market and there she makes a life changing purchase. A slave named Arin, who once was part of a ruling class, but now barely surviving. When their worlds collide, life will never be the same for either of them.
If you haven't guessed already, this is a romance but not an obvious one. There is conflict between Kestrel and Arin, and each character is so deeply conflicted within themselves, you will wonder if the can ever find themselves or each other. It has a real Romeo and Juliet flavor but throw in a bit of Julius Caesar for good measure. This is such a well written fantasy that I swooned over the words. More, please. (less)
So, yes, there are spoilers if you have read UNREMEMBERED
After traveling back to to the English countryside in the ye...more MY THOUGHTS - ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT
So, yes, there are spoilers if you have read UNREMEMBERED
After traveling back to to the English countryside in the year 1609, Sera and Zen hope to gain what they lost in their relationship. Things don't exactly go as planned when Zen comes becomes ill. Sera is convicted of being a witch and scheduled to burn when she and Zen are rescued by a Diotech operative named Kaelen, who is manufactured like Sera, but supposedly without the defects. Sera learns that Zen is ill because of the time jumping and she seeks to find a cure for his defective gene.
This leads them on a search, complete with clues, to Dr. Maxxer, who is still at odds with Alixter. Yes, it appears that Sera is still just another pawn in their game. The clues lead Sera to Cody (YAY), now grown, married and with a kid of his own, has discovered the cause of Zen's illness and this also leads her back to Maxxer. Kaelen seems to be a bit defective as well when Sera is able to reason with him. This all climaxes in a battle which comes down to good over evil, but it did leave me hanging a bit. So I guess I will have to wait for the next one in a year.
This installment was even better than the first. I was glad to see Cody back and grown up and just as smart as he was in the first book. There is a lot of action, battling and sheer wit that Sera must see herself through to save Zen. It used to be Zen saving Sera, but that has turned a bit now. ARGHH! So this one did give me more information on Diotech but there are so many questions that haven't been answered yet. Parents: This one had a bit of graphic violence, some kissing (ok, a lot) and some language. (less)
Jordan is now being forced into the role as a conductor on the airship, Artemesia, while Rowen is now aboard a ship that conducts trade, not all of it...moreJordan is now being forced into the role as a conductor on the airship, Artemesia, while Rowen is now aboard a ship that conducts trade, not all of it above board. The pair, now separated, are both fighting for survival and Rowen has vowed to find Jordan once again and rescue her. The Artemesia has an assortment of passengers including the Maker, Bran and his daughter. Bran has been kidnapped by those in opposition to his creations and Wandering Wallace has ulterior motives as well. That little turn in the plot caught me off guard. This is one of the better second in a series I have read in a long time. I thought this really gave the Weather Witch a run for the money. Jordan story in this one is almost more heartbreaking than the first. She does come out a stronger person and it is such a surprise turnaround that it will take you off guard. I had a few weepy moments as what she endure aboard the ship and her imprisonment comes to light. Rowen on the other hand, is forced to grow up a bit, which I never expected he needed. I though he had it pretty well together but when the captain of the ship, Elizabeth, points out the holes in his rescue plan, he does meet the mark. I found this installment amazing and heatbreaking at the same time. What Jordan has been forced to endure will indeed make her a stronger person, but getting there isn't easy or pretty. There are some wonderful insights to minor characters and they really help move the plot along as well as make me wonder what else they are up to. Parents: This is best suited for older teens since there are themes of slavery, abuse, violence and some language. This series would spark a nice conversation on these subjects that mirror what is happening around the world today. (less)
Cassie is whisked away to be part of a special school that trains teens to be detectives and solve crimes that are normally unso...moreMY THOUGHTS - LOVED IT
Cassie is whisked away to be part of a special school that trains teens to be detectives and solve crimes that are normally unsolvable. She has special skills that allow her to read people and put little details together to form a bigger picture that can pinpoint the criminal. There are other teens in this small group of "Naturals" that have skills ranging from those who can visualize a crime to those who can "see" what the criminals are thinking. There seems to be a paranormal element to these teens, but it is only regarded as a gift. These kids are extremely intelligent and are somewhat ostracized or in trouble because of their gift.
Cassie also is a special case since she now lives with her grandparents after her mother is brutally murdered. You can quickly see where this is going since she will soon be researching the crime surrounding her mother's death that has been a cold case for years. When she is recruited by Tanner, an agent who turns out to be around her age, she finds herself finally able to use her ability to find out exactly what happened to her mother. I tried to guess who the killer would be, but I was wrong at every turn.
The minor characters are really memorable and I can see spin offs to follow them. Lia, a clothes horse and human lie detector, was one that really stood out. Michael, a stats expert, has a really sweet side, but all of these characters are damaged and that makes them even more interesting. Any one who enjoys a good psychological thriller and mystery will love the start of this new series. Parents: There is some language, violence and kissing. (less)
Nessa Joanne Mulholland has a slight Marilyn Monroe addiction and she tries to channel her no matter what in a sort of "What Would...moreMY THOUGHTS LOVED IT
Nessa Joanne Mulholland has a slight Marilyn Monroe addiction and she tries to channel her no matter what in a sort of "What Would Marilyn Do"system. She is thirteen and soon to be fourteen, has just shipped out to a new location with her professor father as he travels to his new job in France as well as conducting a study about vacation romances. Her whole life is turned upside down when she spots Holly Isle on the boat and Holly actually speaks to her and OMG! she befriends Nessa. Holly even has a high school aged nephew named Marc travelling with her.
In homage to Gentleman Prefer Blondes, Nessa dreams up a system to help save Holly's love life since she has just dumped fiancee number three. I know, this is a bit of an extreme fantasy that a thirteen year old girl can be BFF with a movie star but the story makes you believe it can happen and Nessa has such a good heart and brain that the whole thing seems really plausible. There is such chemistry between her and Marc and when they kissed, it was just so sweet. What wasn't sweet was when she got caught up in her lies after trying to fix Holly up with her personal paparazzi, Ted.
The ending, while a bit predictable to my grown up eyes, is just what a younger teen would demand. This is an easy to read and fun story which is perfect for reluctant readers. It is a pretty clean read with just a few kisses worked in and some mentions of adults using alcohol. Do yourself a favor and stock up on some maraschino cherries before you start this one since you will be craving them as you get into the story. (less)
Scarlett has grown up on Catalina Island right off the coast of California surrounded by nature and a small knit community. After a...moreMY THOUGHTS LOVED IT
Scarlett has grown up on Catalina Island right off the coast of California surrounded by nature and a small knit community. After a troubling summer , she has just started her senior year and kissed her first boyfriend, Will, good by as he heads off to Yale. They text and talk, but is getting the feeling that the distance may become a problem. On top of this, her parents have separated, with her mother moving to Los Angeles to take up her career as a lawyer since the Bed and Breakfast they run has fallen onto hard times from the neglect of the past year. Her older brother has recently died from an aneurysm and it has torn the family apart. Her best friend, Lily, has returned from a trip to Amsterdam a changed person, and more wild than Scarlett could ever image.
With all of these changes, Martin, Will's father, has directed her to a friend that practices Kabbalah in hopes that she will find some peace. Will also has a secret that might be driving the pair apart: he can see horrible things before they happen and is driven to prevent them. This is a gift that cost his own mother her life. So along with this insight, a new boy starts to pay attention to Scarlett and now she is questioning if her love for Will is really true. Newly transplanted from the UK, Gunner is present and doesn't have the problems that she and Will must now face. As Scarlett tries to answer questions about her feelings, she also is trying to find the answer to the meaning of life.
This story is filled with beautiful descriptions as well as perfectly balanced dialogue. The bits of paranormal are woven in so naturally that the gift Will has just seems natural. The small town vibe of Catalina is a perfect background to Scarlett's own struggles with growing up in a now broken family. I really enjoyed the mysticism and how it all worked in the plot. These characters all seem like kids I know with all of the flaws and accomplishments they should have. I look forward to reading more about them. (less)
This book is a lot of fun and full of information in easily digested takes on princesses through out history. There is no sugar coa...moreMY THOUGHTS LOVED IT
This book is a lot of fun and full of information in easily digested takes on princesses through out history. There is no sugar coating these women. Some are hussies, villains, crazy and down-right smart. Most of them are marginalized in some way by men, who sought their power and wealth. Of course, since men historically have written the books on the past, it is hard to find the truth in what these women were actually like. I truly enjoyed the chapter on the mad princesses. It was Princess Juana of Spain that truly struck me as being painted as ill when the men in her life were just going for a power grab.
The stories could almost appear in People magazine since they paint these women as very interesting characters that try to get to the meat of the story rather than the glossing over by history. I would love this to be a television series on the History Channel. That would be such a wonderful take. Each week could star a new historical princess from ancient to modern times. And modern times are covered nicely here as well, with Britain's Princess Margaret and Diana noted.(less)
*** spoilers if you haven't read the first books in the series ****
Daire and Dace are at the end of the road in more wa...moreMY THOUGHTS ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT
*** spoilers if you haven't read the first books in the series ****
Daire and Dace are at the end of the road in more ways than one. She is now basing her life on a dream she has had that predicts the end of everything between her and Dace, but that ending is nowhere near as devastating as the end of the world that could happen if Daire doesn't listen to her true self and rely on her training. Dace knows exactly what he needs to do to put an end to his family and rid the town of Enchantment of the Richters and their evil forever. Told in several different viewpoints, this is one stunning conclusion to a wonderful series.
Oh, there are so many things going on in this last installment.and Daire's dream starts to become a real nightmare. The club that was destroyed is now almost rebuilt and she finds clues that all is not right there. When an invitation arrives in a rather disturbing fashion, she knows the horror is going to start and the only way to save her friends is to see the whole thing through even if that means her own death. Dace is also tuned into what is coming and he makes decisions that force the issue even more.
Cade is now almost entirely taken over be the dark evil that resides in him, but what he doesn't realize is that Dace is one half of the whole. ARGHHH, I really want to just come out and ruin it for you but I can't. All I can say is that you won't be disappointed and that I loved how this ended. This was a really quick read for me and the relationships between the friends just felt so right although at times, I was almost in tears. I did get the warm fuzzies when this finished though. (less)
Ella isn't a typical princess, she doesn't want to do as she is told and behave in a manor becoming to the throne. She i...moreMY THOUGHTS ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT
Ella isn't a typical princess, she doesn't want to do as she is told and behave in a manor becoming to the throne. She is intensely curious and that curiosity tends to get her in trouble. While spying on people in the garden maze, she decides to climb a tree in order to get a better view and gets stuck. One of the gardeners helps her down and befriends her. Gavin seems to find her amusing and although she lies to him about her background, he sees right through it and calls her out on it. Their interactions are sweet, romantic and quite often humorous.
Of course, like all good fairy tales, there has to be something evil and that appears in her betrothed, Prince Jeshua. Ella finds that she is to be married off to him after her sixteenth birthday and quickly enlists Gavin on various adventures. When the king realizes that Gavin is becoming a fixture in his daughter's life, he sends him away. Like all fairy tales, this one has a very happily ever after. I really enjoyed the author's style and this book is what all teens (and parents) are looking for: a fun and satisfying romance. (less)
Rachel Young lives a perfect life, so perfect, in fact, that in her quest for perfection, she has an ulcer. She feels li...moreMY THOUGHTS ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT
Rachel Young lives a perfect life, so perfect, in fact, that in her quest for perfection, she has an ulcer. She feels like she is the replacement daughter for her more than perfect older sister who has died from cancer. She is not the girly girl that her sister was. She would rather be under the hood of her car and racing it. As her parents push her to be more like her sister, the more she becomes sicker in trying to be something she is not. The only time she feels like herself is when she can race her Mustang GT late at night while her twin brother covers for her. With two more older brothers, she finds herself overprotected and suffocated by them. One night she just happens upon an illegal street race, something she has dreamed about. The race turns out to be a literal bust and she meets a guy that saves her butt from arrest.
Isaiah comes to her rescue in more ways than one when he hides her car and gets her home safely. Isaiah, comes from the wrong side of the tracts and is fighting to make it through school and out of foster care. He has a gift for auto mechanics and with the help of his teacher and employer, they try to get him into an elite program for mechanics. Things are so stacked against him at time, it will break your heart. Of course, Rachel's parents don't want her to have anything to do with such a loser and it all comes down to a heart stopping moment.
I might forgive the author for this, but I really thought it was the end and stopped reading, it was so emotional. It took me several days to go back to this one and finish it. I adore McGarry's writing and she can cut to the quick with emotions. I don't know how she does it, but I hope she never stops. This is a true Romeo and Juliet story that will almost, but not quite, break your heart. Parents: This one has language, some violence and sexual situations. If you enjoy Jessica Sorensen or J. Lynn, you are going to love this one as well. (less)