Miki Falls. 4, Winter by Mark Crilley

Find in catalogBook four of the Mikki Falls quartet is fast paced and unexpected. Their love story has come to the final chapter and the dangers have caught up with them. Young love is resilient, and Mikki has a plan! The artistry of this novel was well done, the facial expressions are believable.

When it’s Real by Erin Watt

Find in catalogWhen It’s Real is teen drama amped up. Teen heartthrob & rockstar, Oakley, needs a new image and his PR team has decided dating an ordinary girl will do the trick. When Vaughan is offered the position she only agrees for the year long fake relationship because of her family’s dire financial situation. I really enjoyed the premise of this book because it made me think if I was a teen girl in Vaughan’s situation would I agree to this sham?! I think for the majority of teen girls they would take on the job of playing a fake girlfriend to a super hot rock star. But, as with anything in life, there are some obstacles that make their situation a little more difficult. It doesn’t help that Oakley is a major jerk when they first meet and the fact that he’s not really onboard with his PR teams idea of putting on this charade. “Half the time when you open your mouth, you say something that makes me want to punch you. But when you sing…you make it really hard to hate you.”

An enemy-to-friends-to-lovers tale where a fake relationship turns into something real with all the whistles and bells. I had fun reading this story because I transported myself back to my teen days and thought about what it would be like to have this opportunity to be paid to pretend to be the girlfriend of a teen rock star. HELL YEA!! I would have been all over that like a bee to honey. When It’s Real is a standalone young adult romance. Readers who love the misunderstood hero will enjoy this story. Also, readers who love when an ordinary person catches the attention of a famous person will be heaven too. If you’ve heard the hype about the author duo – Erin Watts but haven’t had a chance to read them yet … here’s your chance to try their work without committing to a series (like with their The Royals series). This author duo is top notch!

The Riverman by Aaron Starmer

Find in catalogIf you have a bad habit of sitting down to read for a “few minutes” and then waking up to realize you’re starving and you’ve finished the entire book, this is the kind of story you’ll want to watch out for. I think my mind is still a little lost in Aquavania. I’m impressed with this author’s ability to connect everything you see into the plot. Things that I thought were slice-of-life details turned out to be crucial information later on. The feeling I have upon finishing? Mostly satisfied, but like there’s still a couple loose ends. But I believe it’s a series… Good thing, too. I hope a couple things from the ending get a better resolve later on. Overall, an engrossing read. The kind of well-written book that’s hard to put down.

The 100: Day 21 by Kass Morgan

Find in catalogThis is the second in The 100 series by Kass Morgan (it now has a popular CW show based on the novels) and its fun and captivating, with tons of twists and turns to keep you reading! It’s really different than the TV show and I think the differences make sense in the different settings. I like the characters and the story line is really interesting and I always find myself wanting to find out what is next.

Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett

Find in catalogTerry Pratchett has long been a favorite of mine. This novel, which is geared for young adults, is delightful. It is part of the Discworld series, containing 41 books… none of which I’ve read. This book can stand alone, though there were references to other stories in the series. Tiffany Aching is a young witch, learning her craft. In the fall of her 13th year, she gets caught up by the music of the Morris dance, and inadvertently piques the interest of the Wintersmith – whereas he is supposed to fall in love with the Summer Lady. While he is trying to woo and impress Tiffany, he brings winter down on the land. She must outwit the love-struck would be Romeo, and bring Spring into the world. Her Wee Free Men, help out, as always… with the best of intentions!

Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

Find in catalogI really liked this book for multiple reasons. I appreciated how the author added Spanish so it was a multilingual book. It was also inspiring how she wrote about what she believed in without stopping to be quieted by critics. This book is so bold and outright that you can connect without boundaries. It is one of the most truthful books I have ever read. Gorditas be warned: Gabi’s journal is coming to make you cry, laugh and get you over what other people think of you.

Drawn Away by Holly Bennett

Find in catalogI have to admit it–I first picked Drawn Away up because the cover typogrpahy is just so darn beautiful. I didn’t know if I’d actually like the book. Guess I got lucky! The premise was interesting and the story kept me hooked through the end. A YA with likable characters, Drawn Away made me feel for all sides–not just the lead. Nice job, Holly Bennett! 4.5/5

Everland by Wendy Spinale

Find in catalogTwo of five stars. Spoilers ahead-

I enjoyed the book. Mostly. I had a good time reading it, so you’re probably wondering why I’ve only given Everland two stars. It’s like this: I didn’t feel great when it finished. And not because I was left anticipating the second volume. Why didn’t I feel good when it finished? The fact that the main character is basically a total heartless jerk and (spoiler) cuts off a certain other character’s hand. I get that the author did this to try and tie-in even more with the whole Peter Pan thing, but seriously. This was a bad way to do it. The main character was already only marginally-likable. There was this long moment where I was like, certainly she’s going to have a change of heart and despite doing this awful thing, at least she’s going to try to redeem herself by helping him. Yes, that’s right! They will take him with them. Of course! This is how the previously-dangerous antagonist will reform his ways. La, la, la………Woah, wait, what? They’re leaving? They’re leaving him? You can’t be serious. Especially since this previously evil character became harmless as soon as he was defeated. They just straight-up murdered him. And then went on to the kissy-kissy happy ending for the main characters. I know. That is how this book ended on a very bad note. I wanted to like this book. I did. I even enjoyed reading (skimming?) it, for the most part. Until the end. I guess the over-use of similes should have turned me away from the start, but hey, I’ll put up with a lot for the prospect of a romance within an interesting plot. Too bad the supposed good guys were ultimately unrelatable and heartless.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Find in catalogMy favorite kinds of books are the ones that teach you things about yourself that you’ve always known but didn’t quite realize until you read them. It’s like this: A good book shows you something new about the world, but a great book shows you something new about yourself. Maybe that’s why I love When You Reach Me so much. If it hadn’t been a library copy, I would have highlighted all the passages that resonated with me–there were a lot–and then I could have written them here to show you what I mean. These are the kinds of things that really should be quoted. Okay, since I like the book so much, I’ll go look for one. (Spoiler alert?) I didn’t find the exact quote, but there’s this bit about how Miranda notices that she cries sometimes when she’s caught off-guard. And I hadn’t thought about it like that until I read it, and then I realized I was the same for me. Especially when I was in sixth grade–like Miranda. Suddenly this little detail of my life made sense. Plus, there’s the other quotes that are bigger and deeper and easier to find if you Google them. Like this one: “Mom says each of us has a veil between ourselves and the rest of the world, like a bride wears on her wedding day, except this kind of veil is invisible. We walk around happily with these invisible veils hanging down over our faces. The world is kind of blurry, and we like it that way. But sometimes our veils are pushed away for a few moments, like there’s a wind blowing it from our faces. And when the veil lifts, we can see the world as it really is, just for those few seconds before it settles down again. We see all the beauty, and cruelty, and sadness, and love. But mostly we are happy not to. Some people learn to lift the veil themselves. Then they don’t have to depend on the wind anymore.” See what I mean?

This is the kind of story that you can’t sum up in a marketing blurb for Amazon or jacket copy. It’s the kind of narrative that’s made whole by the powerful voice of an intelligent character with real observations about what it means to be human. To Rebecca Stead–nice work. Five out of Five.

Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road, #1) by Katie McGarry

Find in catalogI found this to be a solid 4 star read for me. My love for motorcycle romance started years ago after watching the tv show – SOA (which really isn’t a romance tv series). I was drawn to the gritty world of bikers. So, when I discovered there were books that were about motorcycle clubs and they had romance in them, I knew I found a genre I’d be reading a lot of.

Emily is a 17 years old who has spent her life in the dark about her mother and biological father’s past. She’s met her father a few times but she’s been indifferent towards him. He gave up his rights to her when she was little and so she’s given up really caring who he is. Emily’s world is full of secrets she’s not privy to. Everyone around her feels it’s in her best interest to leave those secrets buried except for one person. That person can’t divulge the secret but they become the guiding light in helping Emily uncover what has been kept from her all her life. I try to avoid books that have cancer in them and when I found out one of the side characters had cancer I was already invested in the story. So, I made the decision to continue on. I appreciated that even though the character had cancer the reader didn’t have to go through all the symptoms of cancer with that character. We never even find out what type of cancer the character has because it wasn’t about the tragic effects of cancer but instead how it brought an estranged family together. This is my first young adult romance. For those who like the atmosphere of the club life but want a tamer version of that environment, this is a good one try. NOWHERE BUT HERE is a young adult motorcycle romance. It’s set in the same universe as Walk the Edge, Long Way Home, and Untitled. Each one can be read as a standalone, but the characters are interconnected.