YA

Review of ‘The Conjuring Glass’

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After Penny Sinclair’s mother died in an airplane crash, she was sent to the small town of Dogwood—her place of birth—to live with Susan, her mother’s old friend. Not long after her arrival, she starts to experience strange things; and not just the travails to be expected from being a new teen in a new school. First, she finds it hard to make friends, except for Zoe, another loner. Then, she encounters Ronan, a talking fox, who hints that she is somehow ‘special.’ It’s only after the Red magician and the murderous Birdman show up and start to wreak havoc in Dogwood does she realize just how special.

The Conjuring Glass, book one in the Phoenix Girls series by Brian Knight, follows Penny’s adventures as she is charged with reviving the Phoenix Girls to fight the evil that is coming to Dogwood. While this is a book about young people, mainly for young people, fantasy and adventure lovers of any age will be able to relate to the characters as they rise above their fears and go toe-to-toe with monsters unimaginable.

While the book ends on a satisfying note, there’s enough of a teaser to leave no doubt that book two will be even more entertaining. I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.

I give this one four stars.

Review of ‘Heist School Freshmen’

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Angelo Bastillo is a mess. He’s just starting high school and the girl he’s had a crush on forever has just dumped him. To further complicate his acne-infested life, he is picked on by twin sadistic bullies, and his cheapskate stay-at-home dad forces him to call a suicide line to discuss his adolescent problems because he’s too cheap to send him to a real therapist.

Once in school, Angelo and a bunch of his misfit buddies stumble upon a cache of drug money belonging to a student drug dealer and decide to heist it. From that fateful decision, things get even more complicated for Angelo, as things go from bad to unbelievably bad.

Anyone who remembers the first year of high school – even without the drug connection – will instantly identify with Alan Gallauresi’s Heist School Freshmen. The author taps into the angst of that turbulent period in a teenager’s life in a way that will have you nodding in agreement, your stomach bubbling with anxiety, and laughing until you wet your pants. And, if you were lucky enough to not have experienced high school as hell, you’ll finish the book hopefully with a bit more sympathy for those of us who did.

I received a free review copy of Heist School Freshmen – not in time for Christmas, but it was a great present anyway.