Double Down

REVIEW: Lois Lane: Double Down by Gwenda Bond

Summary


Lois Lane and the other teens at the Daily Planet’s “Scoop” are back. Maddy’s twin sister is having weird out-of-body kinds of feelings. They seem to be related to a scientific study she participated in  two years ago for some extra money. The scientist there had told her to let him know if she had any issues. But the lab where she did the experiment has disappeared.

At the same time, James’ dad is home from prison. He’s supposed to be monitored at his home, but he was seen at City Hall during an incident. How could he be in two places at once? Lois’ nose for news tells her there’s more going on with the ex-mayor than anyone realizes.

As if that wasn’t enough, Strange Skies, the online “strange occurrences” message board where Lois met SmallvilleGuy has been infiltrated. Someone says they can guarantee sightings of the flying man who once saved Lois and her dad.

Lois, SmallvilleGuy and the rest of the teens will have to figure out who they can trust if there’s any chance of saving Maddy’s sister, James’ dad and Strange Skies!

 

Review


GREAT mystery/adventure story! Just as good as Fall Out. Lois is such a smart, tough and brave character. I loved seeing her new friendships grow in this book. Devin had a smaller role in this story, but I’m hoping to see more of him in book three. The SmallvilleGuy piece is a fun thread throughout the series, but he’s still a somewhat mysterious factor in Lois’ life.

There are three main mysteries/plots in play during the book and each one is strong. They differ in scale and level of danger, but each one fits perfectly into the larger whole. There are references to the mystery in the first book in the series, but I think a reader could start with this book and still be able to piece together what’s going on. Some of the interpersonal issues might be confusing at the beginning, though.

The author does a great job of keeping the reader aware that these are teenagers. Lois has an interesting relationship with her school principal. She tries to maintain a positive relationship with her little sister. She works to walk the line between pursing her stories and staying on the right side of her parents and her curfew. Her editor treats her with respect, but also as a teen, still learning and still responsible to her parents.

Book three is out now, Triple Threat. It is definitely on my TBR list!

Rating: ♥♥♥♥½

The Good, the Bad and the Guardians

REVIEW: The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

Summary


Avery has always thought she was a pretty ordinary girl. Sure, she has violet eyes that draw way too much attention, so she covers them with colored contacts. And her mom’s job keeps them moving around the country at a breakneck pace. So she has few close friends and she keeps to herself so it’s less painful when they inevitably have to leave again. But otherwise, totally ordinary!

But “ordinary girls” don’t get mugged at the prom or whisked to Paris without a passport or go clubbing in Istanbul.

They also don’t get attacked at knife point at a private Prada fitting or get shot at while climbing down a fire escape. So maybe Avery’s not as ordinary as she always thought.

Review


I really enjoyed this first book in what has become The Conspiracy of Us series. It’s like The 39 Clues for young adults. There are various families that are controlling factions, there’s clue-hunting around the world, and an ancient history piece thrown in as well. The chemistry between two of the main characters as well as the knife and gun violence and kidnapping are what ages this up to the YA crowd. And it all works!

I was completely pulled into the story from the start. I still have some unanswered questions and this ended with an intriguing cliffhanger. So, book two, The Map of Fates, is now a must-read.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

The Good, the Bad and the Guardians

REVIEW: A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

Summary


New school Holmes and Watson.

Several generations removed from their famous relatives, teens Charlotte Holmes and James Watson meet at a Connecticut boarding school. At first it’s a simple meeting of their generation’s version of the famous families. But soon they are questioned in a murder and then an assault. The cases resemble classic Holmes cases, and Charlotte and James are framed exquisitely well. The teens will have to use all their best observation and deductive reasoning skills to keep out of jail – and to stay alive.

Review


As a mystery fan but not necessarily a Holmes fan, I wasn’t sure I’d like this one, but I wanted to give it a try. I was pulled in right away by this idea of kids with famous ancestors trying to decide how much they wanted to live up to the family history. Was she going to be the brilliant addict, seeing things no one else noticed? Would he be the writer, telling engrossing stories? Where they destined to be friends? Or were things more complicated than falling into old roles?

I thought the author did a great job of merging pieces of the classic characters and stories with her contemporary protagonists. I kept reading in part to see how things would play out between Charlotte and James.

The other reason I kept reading was the mystery. It was complicated and layered. I was left guessing all the way through. And the author left enough points open at the end to leave me wondering what might happen next.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Book two releases next week – The Last of August.

The Good, the Bad and the Guardians

REVIEW: Embassy Row series by Ally Carter

Summary


The final book of the Embassy Row series released in December 2016. Here is a summary of all the books in the series.

Book 1 – All Fall Down: Grace arrives at the US Embassy in the country of Adria feeling uncertain and out of place. She’s sure that everyone feels sorry for her, either because her mother is dead or because she is “crazy.” She knows what she saw, though. She knows there was a scarred man there the night her mother died. And she knows she’s seen that same man in Adria!

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Book 2 – See How They Run: Reeling from the revelations of All Fall Down, Grace learns more history of Adria as she tries to protect her secrets and her friends, as well as find a killer. But the revelations of book two are just as stunning as book one! I’d love to say more but I don’t want to spoil anything!

Rating: ♥♥♥♥½

Book 3 – Take the Key and Lock Her Up: Grace is on the run, but the powers that be will not let her stay in hiding. She knows she will have to find secrets long buried – or compromise everything and everyone she cares about – if she wants to survive.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥½

Review


This is a great series! I feel like the series improved as it went on. Book one pushes the reader to decide what to think – and what to believe – when it comes to Grace and her past. And Grace can be hard to like at times because you just aren’t sure what to believe. Hang with the story because it is worth it.  Book two broadens the scope, showing Grace’s history in a larger context. This also makes the deeper mysteries more important. Book three puts all the pieces together and runs headlong into the final conflict. A lot happens in this book and the pace is pretty frantic. Take the Key and Lock Her Up is my favorite of the three books.

This is terrific, clean YA – lots of suspense and intrigue with mild romance. I highly recommend it!

 

The Good, the Bad and the Guardians

REVIEW: Trouble Makes a Comeback by Stephanie Tromly

Summary


Digby returns! Zoe and Digby are back in this sequel to Trouble Is a Friend of Mine (5 ♥ – great book!). In the months since Digby left, Zoe has made some “normal” friends and started dating a football player. She’s determined to ace the SAT so she can secure a good “future.” And she’s completely left the adventures of first semester behind her! Sort of….

Then Digby returns. And where Digby is, chaos follows. Body guards, explosions, secrets and lies. Zoe will have to decide which life she wants – her new “normal” one or the Digby one.

Digby returns

Review


loved the first book in this series. In fact, I re-read it before reading this so the story and the relationships were fresh in my mind. The first book is fun, smart and fresh – magic. This one didn’t quite hit the same level for me. The main characters are still terrific. And I had to know what happens next, so I’m glad I read this. But instead of focusing on the overarching mystery of the series (Digby’s missing sister), this book spent most of the time on the “normal” vs. “Digby” dilemma and a mystery that is central to this story. A good mystery, but not the mystery I was expecting when I started reading.

The ending is a major cliffhanger for the overarching mystery. So book 3 is a must read for me.

If you haven’t read the first book, I highly recommend it. If you loved book one like I did, go into book two expecting the dynamics to be different and for this story to have a split focus and I think you will enjoy it.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥