‘Freefall’ by Jessica Barry is a thriller about the hidden strength in a mother and daughter

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“Freefall” by Jessica Barry is an action-filled thriller that is about a daughter who has left home, lost her job, lost her compass, and in the process of becoming a hero is also in huge danger. While Ally is literally running for her life, her mother, halfway across the country, is mourning her daughter’s supposed death and also investigating who her estranged daughter had somehow become.

Between Ally and Maggie’s alternating first-person narratives, the reader learns the story of the past and what happened to estrange the mother and daughter, and the present. The present is that Ally is supposedly dead in a plane crash that killed her and her fiancé, but the reader knows Ally is really on the run after surviving the plane crash. Through Ally’s narrative, the reader learns about Ally’s inner strength and her determination to survive.

At the same time, Maggie, Ally’s mom, is refusing to believe her daughter is dead. No body was found, so she begins to try to trace her daughter’s life since they stopped speaking two years before when Charlie, Maggie’s husband and Ally’s father, died.

The story is written to slowly, very slowly, unravel not just the story of the two years, but also the story of the relationship between the two women, why it was destroyed suddenly, and why none of that ultimately matters. Maggie is a determined mother — she will find out what really happened to her daughter no matter what. And Ally is her mother’s daughter — she will make it back to her mother’s house at all costs.

The story and it’s gradual release of information, the details released bit by bit, perfectly doled out by the clever writing, keep the pages turning. It’s a nail-biting, heart-wrenching, lovely story from start to finish.

Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by Harper, the publisher, for review purposes.

A student review of ‘Spy Toys: Out of Control’ by Mark Powers

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This review was written by a junior reviewer, Jamie L., who is a fourth grader who loves to read.

“Spy Toys Out of Control” by Mark Powers is a great sequel that includes action, humor, and a little bit of mystery. Powers hooks the reader into his writing, forming a picture in the reader’s head. Once a person starts reading, this book will not be put down.

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‘Killer Thriller’ by Lee Goldberg is an entertaining maze of laughter and suspense

thrillerStory within a story, play within a play, movie within a movie. Authors, playwrights, and screenwriters — usually clever ones — do it often. But Lee Goldberg takes the concept several crazy steps beyond that relatively simple technique in his latest novel, “Killer Thriller.” Here, the stories wind around and through the main narrative like a long river running and twisting through a countryside. Novels inside novels, movies inside novels, movies inside movies — it’s downright dizzying — but incredibly entertaining.

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‘Secret in Stone: The Unicorn Quest’ by Kamilla Benko is the second book in a wonderful middle grade fantasy adventure

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“Secret in Stone” is the second book in “The Unicorn Quest” series by Kamilla Benko, and it truly is a fantasy adventure. The sisters, Claire and Sophie, are in an alternate world accessed by a chimney in their great-aunt’s house which leads to a well in the land of Arden, where magic lives.

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‘Watcher in the Wood: a Rockton Novel’ by Kelley Armstrong continues the mystery and excitement in the series

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“Watcher in the Woods” by Kelley Armstrong continues her “Rockton” series set in the fictional “town” of Rockton, in the Northern Yukon in the middle of thousands of miles of wilderness. Mixed in with the wild, the tundra, the vicious animals, and the cold is the primitive town of Rockton, where fugitives from society live. Some are victims seeking to flee their abuser(s) while others are criminals seeking to escape justice.

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‘The Oracle Year’ by Charles Soule: What If?

 

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Like any good mystery — suspense novel, Charles Soule’s “The Oracle Year” is filled with thrills and chills, twists and surprises. But Soule’s work here takes us far beyond those classic characteristics.  Its science-fiction elements raise, once again, the “big questions” that have fascinated and frustrated many of us virtually since the birth of our species. Is my destiny pre-decided or do I truly have free will? What would I do and how would I act if I could accurately predict the future? Are human beings fundamentally good or evil? How and why might we eventually cause our own extinction? Are there gods or is there a God or have beings from other worlds created and formed us?

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‘What Doesn’t Kill Her’ by Christina Dodd is a combination mystery/thriller/romance that does all three genres proud

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While “What Doesn’t Kill Her” is the sequel to “Dead Girl Running,” author Christina Dodd completely fills in the reader in a manner so natural that this book could be the first in the series. Former US Army Captain Kellen Adams is living at the winery where her daughter lives with the man who was Kellen’s boyfriend before her accident, her coma, and the missing year of her life.

In both books, Dodd gives the reader three statements narrated by the main character, Kellen Adams. In this book, the statements are:
-I’ve got the scar of a gunshot on my forehead
-I have willfully misrepresented my identity to the US military
-I’m the new mother of a seven-year-old girl

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‘Dead Girl Running’ by Christina Dodd is thrilling action from the start

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“Dead Girl Running” by Christina Dodd is an action-packed mystery novel in more ways than one. Not only is there the mystery of who, at the fancy Washington State resort, is the head of a smuggling ring, there are also mysteries aplenty about the main character. Her name is Kellen Adams, or that is what those around her believe. In reality, the truth is much different.

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‘Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow’ by Jessica Townsend is a suspenseful sequel in middle grade series

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“Wundersmith: The Calling of Morigan Crow” is the sequel to the first book in the “Nevermoor” series, “Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow,” about a young girl who was whisked to Nevermoor just before she had been doomed to die on her 11th birthday. As an illegal immigrant in Nevermoor, the only way she can stay in Nevermoor is to pass rigorous trials to earn a place in the illustrious Wundrous Society — which she does in the first book.

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‘The Widows’ by Jess Montgomery is a gripping historical fiction set in turbulent coal mining Appalachia

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In “The Widows,” author Jess Montgomery visits a time and place that is not often memorialized in fiction. In a corner of rural Ohio, where coal mines control the lives of the residents and the immigrants who come to America to work in the mines, the lives of the miners and those who live in town intersect through the relationship of two women, both widows, who fight for justice.

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