Charmed

Charmed (Fairy Tale Reform School, #2) Charmed (Fairy Tale Reform School #2) by Jen Calonita

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date 3/1/16.

Summary from Goodreads:

It takes a (mostly) reformed thief to catch a spy. Which is why Gilly Cobbler, Enchantasia’s  most notorious pickpocket, volunteers to stay locked up at Fairy Tale Reform School…indefinitely. Gilly and her friends may have defeated the Evil Queen and become reluctant heroes, but the battle for Enchantasia has just begun.
Alva, aka The Wicked One who cursed Sleeping Beauty, has declared war on the Princesses, and she wants the students of Fairy Tale Reform School to join her. As her criminal classmates give in to temptation, Gilly goes undercover as a Royal Lady in Waiting (don’t laugh) to unmask a spy…before the mole can hand Alva the keys to the kingdom.
Her parents think Gilly the Hero is completely reformed, but sometimes you have to get your hands dirty. Sometimes it’s good to be bad…

My thoughts:
I was excited to read this because I read the first one and thought it was adorable. I enjoyed this one as well, it picks up right where Flunked left off, and even though I’m awful at remembering details from books I read more than a month ago, I didn’t have any trouble following this second book. The author does a good job of reminding you what happened with characters in the first book throughout this one. I thought the little fairy tale cliches were just as cute this time around too, as well as the magical scroll news stories throughout the book. This is a fun middle-grade novel that I will purchase for some of my readers at my high school library. If you love fairy tales, princesses, and villains, then you will absolutely think these books are fun!

My rating: 4/5

 

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Rebel Bully Geek Pariah

Rebel Bully Geek Pariah Rebel Bully Geek Pariah by Erin Jade Lange

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date 2/16/16.

Summary from Goodreads:

The Rebel: Once popular, Andi is now a dreadlocked, tattooed wild child.
The Bully: York torments everyone who crosses his path, especially his younger brother.
The Geek: Tired of being bullied, Boston is obsessed with getting into an Ivy League college.
The Pariah: Choosing to be invisible has always worked for Sam . . . until tonight.
When Andi, York, Boston, and Sam find themselves hiding in the woods after a party gets busted by the cops, they hop into the nearest car they see and take off—the first decision of many in a night that will change their lives forever. By the light of day, these four would never be caught dead together, but when their getaway takes a dangerously unpredictable turn, sticking together could be the only way to survive.

My thoughts:

This was a fast-paced, quick read that took place in the time period of one night/day. The 4 main characters are caught up in a crazy situation involving a hit-and-run, stolen car, drugs, and thugs. Though it was a bit crazy, it worked for the story. I did think parts of the situation were very far-fetched, but I guess it would have been boring without those parts. The characters were all distinctly different from one another…I guess I would say Boston was my least favorite, thinking he was smarter than everyone else. It was interesting trying to figure out each of their background stories and watching them develop a whole new, unlikely friendship. Sam’s story was, by far, the most interesting of the group. I was not really satisfied with the ending, as I would like to know what happens to the characters from that point on. I will purchase for my high school library.

My rating: 4/5

The Witches of Cambridge

The Witches of Cambridge The Witches of Cambridge by Menna Van Praag

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date 2/9/16.

Summary from Goodreads:
“Be careful what you wish for. If you’re a witch, you might just get it.”
Amandine Bisset has always had the power to feel the emotions of those around her. It’s a secret she can share only with her friends all professors, all witches when they gather for the Cambridge University Society of Literature and Witchcraft. Amandine treasures these meetings but lately senses the ties among her colleagues beginning to unravel. If only she had her student Noa’s power to hear the innermost thoughts of others, she might know how to patch things up. Unfortunately, Noa regards her gift as a curse. So when a seductive artist claims he can cure her, Noa jumps at the chance, no matter the cost.
Noa’s not the only witch in over her head. Mathematics professor Kat has a serious case of unrequited love but refuses to cast spells to win anyone’s heart. Her sister, Cosima, is not above using magic to get what she wants, sprinkling pastries in her bakery with equal parts sugar and enchantment. But when Cosima sets her sights on Kat’s crush, she conjures up a dangerous love triangle.

My thoughts:
I read a title previously by this author called The Dress Shop of Dreams and enjoyed it quite a bit, so I was glad to give this one a try. I ended up really enjoying it, but did feel that it had a bit of a slow start. The story is about multiple characters, but their storylines all tie together very nicely. I like that these titles have magic, but it is not so much that it seems unrealistic. I thought some of the characters were just okay, like Noa and Kat, but enjoyed most of them and found them likeable. My favorite storyline was probably Amandine, which could be because she kind of tied all the others together. This was not a fast-paced or high action book by any means, but still interesting enough to keep me reading. While I will probably not purchase it for my high school library, I will recommend to friends and family.

My rating: 4/5

Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date 2/2/16.

Summary from Goodreads:
“In 1945, World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are  Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer toward safety.
Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.”

My thoughts:

I do sometimes get tired of reading WWII stories, but this was a different take on the whole thing–one of those stories you never hear about. Most of the story takes place leading up to boarding the ship that will take them away from the war, but I’m not sure I could’ve read a lot more about the main tragedy that happens toward the end. It was devastating to say the least. Ruta Sepetys is able to write historical fiction in a way that is still easily readable and easy to understand for teens, she always keeps it interesting. I am glad she focuses on lesser known events that have occurred in history. Her last two titles have been on the Missouri Gateway Award list and I have a feeling this one will be too. I will be purchasing for my high school library.

My rating: 4/5