Happy Book Birthday to Shadow of a Doubt by Skylar James!

ShadowofaDoubtThis middle grade novel from Adaptive Studios just arrived at my house a few days ago, so I haven’t had time to read and review it yet. However, I love stories about horse racing, and a female jockey is a definite plus! I’m really looking forward to curling up and digging in soon.

Here’s the publisher’s description:

“Shadow of a Doubt is a heartfelt book about family, friendship, taking risks and believing in those we love. Shadow and Fyfe are sure to win the hearts of anyone lucky enough to join in their inspirational story. “

Happy Book Birthday to The Memory Thief!

Memory ThiefHere’s what the publisher had to say about this great new middle grade read:

“Twin brother and sister Benji and Kelly wander off at the local county fair after witnessing their parents argue. When Benji runs into a group of bullies, he escapes into a tent called The Memory Emporium, where he meets a strange old man inside named Louis. The old man shows him a magically vivid memory of a fighter pilot, in the hopes of getting Benji to pay to see other memories Louis has collected from people over the years. Benji quickly realizes the ability to take memories could help his parents stop fighting with each other, and he asks Louis to teach him how to become a “memory thief.” But Louis isn’t the only person with the ability to show and manipulate memories.”

I gave this middle grade book five stars on Goodreads. It’s perfect for middle grade readers, full of the kinds of questions and yearnings that intrigue them. Read my review here.

 

Perfect by Cecelia Ahern

perfectFeiwel & Friends, 2017.

Seventeen-year-old Celestine’s life turned on its head when she was branded flawed by the morality court. Now everyone can see that she is not perfect, that she does not meet the standard to which everyone in society is held. But Celestine still doesn’t think that what she did was wrong. As she told Judge Crevan, the impulse that sent her to morality court was simply based on compassion and logic, and she refuses to apologize for that. However, when the judge loses his temper and does something unthinkable and Celestine’s words to the court are taken up by his political rival, Celestine is suddenly caught up in a heated war between two political rivals and two very different parts of society. Celestine will have to use strength she didn’t know she had and the help of friends, both new and old, to use the evidence she has for good.

Frequent readers of this blog will know that I intensely dislike stories with a moral, anything blatant and I’m likely to throw the book across the room. On the other hand, I’m a firm believer in learning from stories. A good story pulls you in and teaches you something about life: how you want to live yours, what (or whom) you want to avoid, how it might be to live in another time or place or body. On the surface Perfect is a dystopian novel that is very similar to others found on the library shelves, and yet there are lessons here—lessons that seem different from other dystopian novels I’ve read in the last few years—lessons of compassion and decency. They struck a real chord with me perhaps because they are timeless lessons, but lessons that may seem particularly important today in the United States.

This young adult novel includes politics, ethics, romance, and a fast-paced, high-stakes plot.

I received an electronic review copy of Perfect courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Game of Fear by Gledé Browne Kabongo

game-of-fear2016

Abbie has a secret, a secret that’s buried so deep that she’s just about forgotten it. She also has a plan. She’s an excellent student at a prestigious private school. According to her plan, next year she’ll be at Princeton, and then she’ll move on to Harvard or Stanford for medical school. She’s working really hard senior year to set her plans in motion. But Abbie didn’t plan on the new and exciting romance that’s sweeping her off her feet. She also didn’t expect to be stalked and blackmailed because of her nearly-forgotten mistake. If she doesn’t find and stop the stalker fast, her new romance, her plan, and everything she’s worked so hard to achieve, will be gone.

This is a suspenseful thriller wrapped up into a boarding school story. Gledé Browne Kabongo has a good sense of teen’s motivations, friendships, and hormone-controlled thrill rides. The plot twists and turns and the stakes are high. Readers who love auspicious wealth, designer name dropping, and high stakes plots will enjoy this story.

I must say that as a feminist, I found this story hard to stomach at times. Abbie Cooper is definitely a strong female character, but the trope of the (mostly) good girl choosing the bad boy because of his astonishingly good looks and his charisma, despite the terrible way he’s treated girls in the past bothers me. Other similar details large and small abound in the story. For example, when the friends come to Thanksgiving dinner, the boys end up in the family room playing video games while the girls help Mom in the kitchen. Many, many clichés also made it into the book, and at times they made me long for fresher word choices.

On the whole, this is a fun, fast paced book with a twisty plot.

I received a copy of Game of Fear courtesy of the author and Kate Tilton’s Book Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.