Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

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Having been lost in a hurricane as a baby, Moses LoBeau (Mo), is on a constant search for her “upstream mother” and the life she could have had with her. In the meantime, Mo lives with the Colonel and Ms. Lana, proprietors of the town’s cafe, and the closest people Mo has to blood relatives. Usually, Mo’s life in the small town of Tupelo Landing is a quiet, sleepy one. But when a townsperson is found murdered, events pick up fast — especially since Mo’s best friend, Dale, may be a murder suspect! Mo and Dale decide to work together, forming Desperado Detective Agency, to solve the crime and clear Dale’s name. What they don’t expect is that the murder is far more complicated than anyone could have guessed, and how events play out is anyone’s guess.

This one is really cute! I loved all the characters, especially Mo. She has quite the attitude! While it may not be the “deepest”, most complicated plot out there, it’s certainly a good read — worth it for the characters and dialogue alone. Pick this one up of you’re looking for some thing quick and fun!

*Newbery Honor, 2013

Rating: 3/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

 

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Sweet by Emmy Laybourne

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Science has finally invented a substance, Solu, that, when consumed, will help people lose weight and keep it off. Naturally, Solu is much-anticipated by the general public, but will be available first only to the lucky passengers aboard the Solu cruise. While at sea, passengers will get to try Solu, and will hopefully leave the seven-day cruise wearing a smaller clothing size. Laurel, whose best friend, Viv, begged her to go on the trip, is skeptical of the sweetener, and believes she and Viv shouldn’t be obsessing about their weight. Tom, the “host” of the cruise is also more interested in staying fit than taking drugs for weight loss. As the cruise begins, passengers express their enthusiasm for Solu and its effects. But, as the days pass, it appears that Solu is not all that it seems to be. Laurel, Tom and the other passengers must fight to survive as the weight-loss cruise turns deadly.

Wow! This book was so much better than I thought it would be. I was expecting a mindless, cheap-thrill (and it was), but it was much more! The premise had me hooked — a sweetener that keeps people skinny? Then you release that sweetener during a cruise and (dun dun dun) bad things start to happen? I’m in. What I liked best was, besides the action and drama, there were some important issues buried in the book. What does it say about our society that we’re SO obsessed with body image we would do ANYTHING to be thin? Should people who make addictive substances (i.e. sugar), be held accountable for their actions? It’s a lot to think about, but don’t worry — there’s plenty of suspense and blood (so much blood) to keep things interesting.

*Lonestar book, 2016

Rating: 4/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

 

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

 

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The second book of the Infernal Devices series finds Tessa struggling with the betrayal of her brother, Nate. Aside from being unsure of her supernatural heritage, Tessa must now confront the fact that she has lost her remaining blood family. Luckily, Charlotte and the London Shadowhunters will not turn their backs on her. Their support may be moot, however, as Charlotte inches ever-closer to losing the London institute forever. The Enclave, with the urgence of Benedict Lightwood, tasks Charlotte with finding the Magister within two weeks. If she fails, she will be deemed unfit to run the Institute. Once more, Tessa and the Shadowhunters must ban together to solve the deadly mystery of the Magister and his automatons, all while fighting the betrayal that lurks within their ranks.

Though this one wasn’t quite as good as the first in the series, it’s still really good. We find the answers to some burning questions in book one, and the Jessa/Wessa dilemma is in full swing (for more of my thoughts on this, see the spoiler page). This one also has a super-satisfying payback scene, as well, so look forward to that. Also look forward (maybe) to yet another cliffhanger and a ton of romantic drama!

Rating: 4/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

 

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

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In the second book of the Peregrine series, Jacob has eschewed his once-normal life in favor of helping the peculiar children attempt to save both Miss Peregrine (who is trapped in bird form) and their world. As Hollows abound, the children find out that the Ymbrynes in other loops have been taken captive, and peculiar children are similarly being kidnapped or murdered. As Miss Peregrine is trapped in her bird form, Jacob and the other children must find the last free Ymbryne in hopes that she can help Ms. P turn back into her true form. Along their journey, the children find new loops and peculiars, all while narrowly avoiding Hollows and Wights. They must find the last safe loop and bring Ms. P back to herself, or risk losing the peculiar world forever.

This book had a crazy awesome beginning and an even better ending — the middle, not so much. But, as meh as the middle was, the end was totally worth it. There’s a serious cliff-hanger that’s making me reach for the next book … now. As with the first book, I just can’t get on board the Emma/Jacob ship. Just can’t. Too weird. But, if that doesn’t bother you, you’ll enjoy getting to read their story. If you liked the first book at all, give this one a try. The ending makes everything worth it!

Rating: 3.5/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

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This prequel to Clare’s Mortal Instruments series finds ancestral Shadowhunters grappling with the dawn of a new age. Though accords have been struck, tension still rifles between the Shadowhunters and the Downworlders. Tessa, who previously believed she was nothing but a normal teenage girl living in 19th century America, receives a letter from her brother, Nathan, asking her to relocate to London. However, Tessa soon finds that the letter was a ruse to get her to England, and that dark forces have plans for her. Kidnapped and tortured into using a power she didn’t even know she had, Tessa must trust the Shadowhunters of the London Institute to help her find her brother and escape the warlocks. As with most dire circumstances of Clare’s making, things are not quite what they seem, and soon Tessa and the Shadowhunters are wrapped up in a deadly cat and mouse game, all struggling to save the London Institute and keep demons at bay.

Historical fiction + Shadowhunters = awesome. If you’re not normally a fan of historical fiction, don’t turn your nose up right away. This book reads more like a fantasy series that happens to be set in 19th century London than it does a traditional history piece. There’s also some really cool steampunk mixed in. While I did feel that Clare hardcore reused some characters (Will = Jace), the book had some exciting, juicy plots, romance, and intrigue. I’m really looking forward to reading what’s next. If you haven’t read the Mortal Instruments series, I recommend starting there. Clare doesn’t do a lot of background information about the Shadowhunter world. BUT, it wouldn’t be impossible to start with this series if you prefer to read prequels first.

*VOYA Perfect 10, 2010

Rating: 4.5/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.