Walk the Edge

Walk the Edge (Thunder Road, #2) Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date 3/29/16.

Summary from Goodreads:
Smart. Responsible. That’s seventeen-year-old Breanna’s role in her large family, and heaven forbid she put a toe out of line. Until one night of shockingly un-Breanna-like behavior puts her into a vicious cyber-bully’s line of fire—and brings fellow senior Thomas “Razor” Turner into her life.
Razor lives for the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, and good girls like Breanna just don’t belong. But when he learns she’s being blackmailed over a compromising picture of the two of them—a picture that turns one unexpected and beautiful moment into ugliness—he knows it’s time to step outside the rules.
And so they make a pact: he’ll help her track down her blackmailer, and in return she’ll help him seek answers to the mystery that’s haunted him—one that not even his club brothers have been willing to discuss. But the more time they spend together, the more their feelings grow. And suddenly they’re both walking the edge of discovering who they really are, what they want, and where they’re going from here.

My thoughts:

Before I go any further, let me mention that this is one of my favorite YA authors out there….so if I gush, that’s why! 🙂  Katie McGarry did not disappoint me with this installment of the Thunder Road series. I love that her books are all connected by characters, but can be read as stand-alone titles as well, so I don’t have to make my students wait for a certain one in the series to be returned before reading another. I recommend books by Katie to my high school students all the time, and I have a few who come to me regularly to talk about them. This particular book was about a romantic relationship, but also about some other very real issues that high schoolers have to deal with, like people posting inappropriate pictures, rumors, trying to live up to expectations, etc. I think the characters are very relatable, even if you are not exactly like them. Most of us are not in a motorcycle club, I’m about as far from that as you can get, but I still found parts of Razor’s character that I could relate to and empathize with. Breanna also has talents/smarts that many people would be jealous of, but she finds that those things have a negative impact on her life as well, keeping her from fitting in with most people and feeling like she always has to be perfect. These are all things many high schoolers feel regularly. Katie also addresses sexual situations in a realistic manner, without focusing on the act itself, but the feelings behind it. I have never found those scenes or moments to be inappropriate.

This is definitely I book I will be recommending as soon as it arrives!

My rating: 5/5

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Only Ever You

Only Ever You: A Novel Only Ever You by Rebecca Drake

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date 3/22/16.

Summary from Goodreads:

Jill Lassiter’s three-year-old daughter disappears from a playground only to return after 40 frantic minutes, but her mother’s relief is short-lived–there’s a tiny puncture mark on Sophia’s arm. When doctors can find no trace of drugs in her system, Jill accepts she’ll never know what happened, but at least her child is safe.

Except Sophia isn’t. Someone is watching the Lassiter home in an affluent Pennsylvania suburb, infiltrating the family’s personal and professional lives. While Jill struggles to balance building her photography business with parenting high-spirited Sophia, and David is distracted by pressure to make partner at his law firm, both of them are holding on in a marriage that’s already been rocked by loss.

Three months after the incident at the park, Sophia disappears again, but this time Jill and David become the focus of police and media scrutiny and suspicion. Facing every parent’s worst nightmare a second time, Jill discovers that someone doesn’t just want Sophia for her own, she wants to destroy the entire family.

My thoughts:

This was a really good thriller, I was pretty sure I had it figured out about halfway through, but there were still some twists that I didn’t see coming. The story started out with a bang, with the first disappearance happening immediately, and I thought it would go downhill, but I was wrong. I really enjoyed this author’s writing style, the multiple viewpoints, and the mystery that was the focal point of the story. There were other little mysteries involved as well, which gave the story depth and made it even more interesting. I was appalled by the mean-spirited, crazy nature of the kidnapper…but, I guess, that’s the point. I have enjoyed similar books by Lisa Scottoline in the past, and this is one I would recommend to others who like that author. I had not read anything else by Rebecca Drake, but she is now on my radar. I haven’t decided yet if I will purchase for my high school library, but I do have some colleagues that I think would like it, so I just might.

My rating: 4/5

 

In Defense of the Princess

In Defense of the Princess: How Plastic Tiaras and Fairytale Dreams Can Inspire Smart, Strong Women In Defense of the Princess by Jerramy Fine

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date 3/22/16.

Summary from Goodreads:

It’s no secret that most girls, at some point, love all things princess: the poofy dresses, the plastic tiaras, the color pink. Even grown-up women can’t get enough of royal weddings and royal gossip. Yet critics claim the princess dream sets little girls up to be weak and submissive, and allows grown women to indulge in fantasies of rescue rather than hard work and self-reliance.
Enter Jerramy Fine – an unabashed feminist who is proud of her life-long princess obsession and more than happy to defend it. Through her amusing life story and in-depth research, Fine makes it clear that feminine doesn’t mean weak, pink doesn’t mean inferior, and girliness is not incompatible with ambition. From 9th century Cinderella to modern-day Frozen, from Princess Diana to Kate Middleton, from Wonder Woman to Princess Leia, Fine valiantly assures us that princesses have always been about power, not passivity. And those who love them can still be confident, intelligent women.
Provocative, insightful, but also witty and personal, In Defense of the Princess empowers girls, women, and parents to dream of happily ever after without any guilt or shame.

My thoughts:

Well, let me start by saying there could not be a more perfect book for me to have come across. Obviously (hence the title Library Princess), I have always thought that I am a princess. It doesn’t hurt that my mom named me Sara, which means princess. I love all things princess, sparkly, and pink and am about the most girly person you will ever meet. I enjoyed the first part of this book and found I really related to the things that were being said. However, as the book went on, I did feel like it was a bit repetitive…keep in mind that I am NOT a nonfiction reader, so this was a stretch for me. I really did like reading about all the actual royal princesses as well and seeing the things they were all involved in. Overall, the writing style was good and the author was humorous, but this is definitely targeted to a specific audience. I do think I should recommend it to my some of my princess “critics” though…ahem, MOM. 🙂 The overall theme is a good one, that princess are powerful, not weak and sensitive.

My favorite line (remember this is an ARC so it could change):

“Maybe instead of telling our girls that their brains are filled with too much princess, we should focus on telling our boys that their brains don’t contain nearly enough prince.”

Preach, sister! 🙂

My rating: 4/5

Mean Sisters

Mean Sisters Mean Sisters by Lindsay Emory

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date 3/17/16

Summary from Goodreads:

Margot Blythe is a twenty-something year old who can’t seem to let her college glory days go. After all, everyone deserves a family of ‘sisters’ like she had. When she’s invited to speak at her alma mater, her homecoming reception isn’t exactly what she expected. Tragedy strikes and Margot has to step up, especially when foul play is suspected.

She’s going to save her fifty frazzled ‘sisters’, keep the suspicious (but dangerously cute) police officer at bay and find out the truth – could a sister have committed such an unimaginable sin as murder?

Margot is going to learn the real bond of sisterhood and maybe, just maybe, discover where she truly belongs.

My thoughts:

This is definitely what I would consider a light read, but a fun one. It reminded me of the show Scream Queens in some ways, with the sorority and murders happening. Though the main characters were hardcore sorority girls, I found them likable, though I know some would be annoyed. I did figure out pretty easily who the murderer was so I wasn’t surprised by the ending, but that didn’t ruin the book for me. I won’t be buying this for my high school library, but sometimes I just like a fun, quick read and this was exactly that.

My rating: 4/5

The Awakening of Sunshine Girl

The Awakening of Sunshine Girl (The Haunting of Sunshine Girl, #2) The Awakening of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie

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

Summary from Goodreads:

Having passed her test in Book One, Sunshine’s Luiseach powers are now fully awakened: for months now, Sunshine has felt spirits everywhere: heard voices, felt emotions – intense and sometimes overwhelming. She tries to ignore them, but it is impossible. Hoping to get her powers under control – and hoping for answers to her never-ending questions – she agrees to undergo training with her Luiseach mentor, even though she still hopes to give up her powers someday.
She and her mentor clash left and right; he doesn’t understand or approve of her attachment to the humans in her life; and she can’t understand how he could give her up so many years ago, only to endanger her mother’s life as part of a test.
Sunshine’s training is every bit as terrifying and creepy as her test was, and along the way she meets and befriends another young Luiseach, forcing her to confront her feelings for Nolan. Though her mentor is reluctant to answer her many questions, she finally learns more about her lineage, as well as the rift that threatens the future of Luiseach and the human race… and the crucial part she has to play in repairing it.

My thoughts:

I read the first book of this series as an ARC as well and really enjoyed it. I have recommended it to quite a few students in my high school library, and will probably do the same with this one. I am not good at remembering details from books that I read last year, so I was glad that I was able to fill in most of the blanks on details from the first book while reading through this one. The author did a good job of reminding readers of the major things that happened in book one. This book mostly takes place in Mexico, where Sunshine is training to be a luiseach with her birth father, Aidan. She discovers that she is much more sensitive than any luiseach that has been known and that she is being hunted by her birth mother, who thinks that she is the reason that the whole luiseach community is going extinct. Sounds weird, right? It all makes sense as you read though! While this is going on, Sunshine is trying to learn how to control her body and emotions when surrounded by multiple spirits that want her help in moving on. She is also dealing with typical teenage problems, like her feelings for her protector and friend, Nolan. I really enjoy the writing style of this author and it is a quick read. I have already put it on the list of titles to purchase for my library and am looking forward to the next installment.

My rating: 4/5