Review: My Own Worst Frenemy by Kimberly Reid


Title:  My Own Worst Frenemy

Author: Kimberly Reid

Publisher: Dafina

ISBN: 978-0758267405


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Straight outta the Mile High City, Chanti Evans is an undercover cop’s daughter and an exclusive private school’s newest student. But Chanti is learning fast that when it comes to con games, the streets have nothing on Langdon Prep.

With barely a foot in the door, fifteen-year-old Chanti gets on the bad side of school queen bee Lissa and snobbish Headmistress Smythe. They’ve made it their mission to take Chanti down and she needs to find out why, especially when stuff begins disappearing around campus, making her the most wanted girl in school, and not in a good way. But the last straw comes when she and her Langdon crush, the seriously hot Marco Ruiz, are set up to take the heat for a series of home burglaries–and worse. . . . 


I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I first picked up My Own Worst Frenemy.  While I occasionally found protagonist Chanti grating, I also found her likeable, capable, and intelligent.  Maybe too smart for her own good, because she couldn’t keep herself, or her mouth, from getting her in trouble.  While watching each new disaster play out, I kept wondering how on earth she was going to clear herself of each new mess she tumbled in.  Usually face first, with plenty of embarrassment and the eminent threat of expulsion from her new prep school, and worse, a trip to jail!  Chanti keeps herself very busy getting herself out of these situations, and each new hurdle kept the pages turning.

After being in the wrong place at the wrong time during summer break, Chanti’s mom, a no-nonsense undercover cop, decides her daughter needs to be in new surroundings.  Separated from her friends, Chanti finds herself enrolled at Langdon Prep, a school across town for rich kids.  Kids jarringly different from herself, and kids who don’t hesitate to mock her scholarship and her humble background.  As Chanti tries to fit in with kids she has absolutely nothing in common with, she finds other trials to overcome.  A series of thefts has suspicions aimed firmly in her direction, as well as the two other scholarship kids at Langdon.  Determined to clear her name, and maybe hook-up with cutie Marco, Chanti finds herself in a lot more trouble than she bargained for.

I have to admit, when I first met Chanti, I didn’t like her.  She is a smart aleck, and she thinks she is a lot more street savvy than she actually is.  Then I learned that her bravado is all a front, and that she would really rather run from a confrontation than engage in one.  To keep herself from looking like a coward, she meets adversity head on.  I started to admire that trait, because I think I would have rolled over and given up a few times if I had been presented with the same challenges as Chanti.  I also started to appreciate her flaws, and her acceptance of them, as the story unfolded.

What Chanti is good at is noticing things.  She also never backs down from a challenge.  Having observed her mom in action, Chanti can’t help but mimic some of her mom’s detective skills.  It’s almost genetic.  She can’t help noticing things, and many times, it’s noticing things that get her into trouble.  She is curious about everything, and is always trying to understand other people’s motivations.  This trait annoys pretty much everyone she meets, because she can’t help but grill them about – well – everything. 

As the charges against Chanti increase, so does her desperation to discover the real thief.  As her life hurtles out of control, Chanti tries desperately to reconcile her old life and her old friends with her new life at Langdon Prep, where it looks as though she will never fit in.  The pages starting turning with increased velocity as Chanti’s troubles magnified.  Once I got involved in the plot, I gobbled this book up in an afternoon.  This is a fun read for fans of contemporary dramas, with a mystery thrown in for good measure.  I felt that the romance elements needed to be stronger, and I’m hoping that Chanti and Marco’s relationship will be further developed in the next book.  I also hope that Chanti’s mom, Lana, will be a little more active in her life; no wonder Chanti keeps getting herself into mischief!  It’s not like her mom is home to keep her on the straight and narrow.  

Grade: B

Review copy provided by {Teen} Book Scene

My Own Worst Frenemy is available in both print and digital formats:

Review: Between by Jessica Warman


Title: Between

Author: Jessica Warman

Publisher: Walker Books

ISBN: 978-0802721822


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Elizabeth Valchar-pretty, popular, and perfect-wakes up the morning after her eighteenth birthday party on her family’s yacht, where she’d been celebrating with her six closest friends. A persistent thumping noise has roused her. When she goes to investigate, what she finds will change everything she thought she knew about her life, her friends, and everything in between. As Liz begins to unravel the circumstances surrounding her birthday night, she will find that no one around her, least of all Liz herself, was perfect-or innocent. Critically acclaimed author Jessica Warman brings readers along on a roller-coaster ride of a mystery, one that is also a heartbreaking character study, a touching romance, and ultimately a hopeful tale of redemption, love, and letting go.


I am a bit confused about my feelings for this book.  There were many elements that I loved and that is what kept me reading.  There were also bits and pieces that I wasn’t so fond of, that detracted from my enjoyment of Between.  I love the concept, too, but felt that the execution was just a little weak in spots.

My biggest dissatisfaction stems from the pacing.  This is a leisurely look at the life and death of one very spoiled young woman.  Starting with Liz’s death, the book jumps between the present and flashbacks to the past to unravel the mystery of her death.  How did she end up in a cold, watery grave on her birthday? Why didn’t anyone hear her fall off of her parents’ boat, or her struggles to save herself from drowning?  Liz has very few memories left, so with the help of another ghost, she begins to fill in the pieces of her life that she has forgotten.  As she slowly adds one fragment of her past after another, she starts to see that she wasn’t a very nice person, and that despite all appearances to the contrary, she wasn’t a very happy one, either.

This is a character driven book, which brings me to the other reason why I didn’t totally love this read.  I wasn’t head over heels with any of the characters, except maybe Alex.  Alex has been dead for a year, killed by a hit and run driver.  He has been stuck somewhere between life and death, restlessly seeking a way to move beyond where he’s stuck now.  He was never a popular kid at school, and unlike Liz, he had to work for everything that he had.  His parents weren’t wealthy, and he had to work at the local market, riding his bike back and forth to his job.  It’s obvious from the start that he can’t stand Liz, he can’t stand her friends, and he isn’t happy that he’s with her in death.  She is about the last person he would want to spend time with, and now it looks like he’s going to be spending eternity with her.   Life, and death, just aren’t fair!

Since Liz can’t remember much about herself, she has a hard time believing that she was as big a witch as Alex claims.  Through flashbacks, she begins to see what a mess she was.  Having witnessed her mother’s untimely death, Liz has had many issues to deal with, and they have left her with a skewed outlook on life.  Her father denies her nothing, and her step-mother and step-sister are also accustomed to getting every material thing that they want.  This leaves Liz a shallow, materialistic girl, and I never connected with her.  Even in her death, she’s hard to like.  She’s catty and judgmental, and she’s always critical of the people around her and how they look or what they have.  It’s like she still can’t see beyond outward appearances, even when she is seeking redemption for herself.  This frustrated me about her.  She is petty and shallow, from the beginning of the book to the end.   This is a passage near the end of the novel:

Nicole saunters out the back door of our house. She’s wearing a flowing white skirt that grazes her ankles, a yellow halter top that exposes her belly – which is just a tad pudgy – and a light jacket.

If I had ever met her in real life, we would have hated each other.

Having said that, Liz does possess one character trait that I admired, and kept me from totally disliking her.  She is so intensely loyal and in love with Richie, her boyfriend.  Though he is a flawed character as well, their relationship was convincing.  They have known each other since they were both babies, and they have developed an intense and unwavering love between them.  They have always been together, and they believe, firmly and unflinchingly, that they will always be together.

While Between didn’t always work for me, I never wanted to put it down and stop reading it.  I did want Liz and Alex to find some kind of meaning in their deaths, and I wanted Liz to find the happiness in death that she never found in her troubled life.  I just wish I had liked her better during her journey to find inner peace.

Grade: B

Review copy provided by publisher

Review: Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury



Title: Wrapped

Author: Jennifer Bradbury

Publisher: Atheneum

ISBN: 978-1416990079


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Agnes Wilkins is standing in front of an Egyptian mummy, about to make the first cut into the wrappings, about to unlock ancient (and not-so-ancient) history.

Maybe you think this girl is wearing a pith helmet with antique dust swirling around her.

Maybe you think she is a young Egyptologist who has arrived in Cairo on camelback.

Maybe she would like to think that too. Agnes Wilkins dreams of adventures that reach beyond the garden walls, but reality for a seventeen-year-old debutante in 1815 London does not allow for camels—or dust, even. No, Agnes can only see a mummy when she is wearing a new silk gown and standing on the verdant lawns of Lord Showalter’s estate, with chaperones fussing about and strolling sitar players straining to create an exotic “atmosphere” for the first party of the season. An unwrapping.

This is the start of it all, Agnes’s debut season, the pretty girl parade that offers only ever-shrinking options: home, husband, and high society. It’s also the start of something else, because the mummy Agnes unwraps isn’t just a mummy. It’s a host for a secret that could unravel a new destiny—unleashing mystery, an international intrigue, and possibly a curse in the bargain.

Get wrapped up in the adventure . . . but keep your wits about you, dear Agnes.


I love Regencies, and I love Egyptian history, so when I heard about Wrapped, I thought that the book would be right up my alley.  While there were a few spots that seemed to drag a bit, I enjoyed reading about rebellious Agnes as she navigates through a deadly set of circumstances that threatens the outcome of the war with France.  After stumbling into a deadly mystery, Agnes, with the help of Caedmon, a young museum employee, must save England from Napoleon, spies, and a supernatural threat left by the Egyptian pharaohs, without getting herself – or her new friend – killed.

Agnes is such a clever girl, and it’s a shame that she’s bound by duty to wed a man of her parents choosing and settle down to a life suitable for a proper young lady in 1815.  Though her father has indulged her love of learning, her mother thinks all of the tutors, and all of Agnes’ reading, are nothing but a waste of time.  She’s soon to make her debut, find the perfect match, and start a family of her own.  She certainly doesn’t need to know how to speak 10 languages to do that!  In fact, Agnes’ intelligence is a strike against her within the rigid confines of her social class.  Once she’s married, she won’t be able to think for herself.  Ugh!  While it is a complete drag to have to work for a living, I cannot imagine having so little say in my own life!  No wonder Agnes chafes at the thought of getting married so quickly!

When Lord Showalter, the most eligible bachelor in Hyde Park, takes a fancy to her, it looks like her future will be golden.  Things take a drastic turn of the deadly when she is invited to an unwrapping party at Showalter’s.  While Agnes balks at the thought of removing the wrappings from a mummy for entertainment purposes, she none the less performs as she’s expected.  Unfortunately, she recovers an object that threatens both her life and her country.  Who would have known that desecrating the body of an ancient Egyptian would lead to so much trouble?

While I enjoyed the book and the ensuing mystery, I did find myself growing weary of all of Agnes’ missed opportunities to confide in her father, an important parliamentary member.  The time was never right, despite the ample occasions available to admit that she’d gotten in over her head.  Yes, it would have been extremely embarrassing to admit to her petty theft, but given the stakes of the game she was playing, a bit of personal discomfort would have been worth it. 

I thought the forbidden romance between Agnes and Caedmon was well done, and the final resolution satisfied my inner romantic.  The class differences between them were impossible to over look.  While Agnes was a rebel, her mother never would have accepted her suitor of choice.  Even Agnes was taken aback by the depth of her feelings for the penniless museum employee, who spent far too much time for his liking dusting the artifacts in the Egyptian antiquities department.  I was happy that they were able to find a HEA.

With an engaging heroine and a dangerous game of cat and mouse, Wrapped delivers a solid mystery.  The ending tidily tied up all of the loose plot threads, but I am hoping for a sequel.  Agnes and Caedmon make too good a team to only have one outing together.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by publisher

Review: Red Glove by Holly Black


Title: Red Glove

Author: Holly Black

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry

ISBN: 978-1442403390


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Curses and cons. Magic and the mob. In Cassel Sharpe’s world, they go together. Cassel always thought he was an ordinary guy, until he realized his memories were being manipulated by his brothers. Now he knows the truth—he’s the most powerful curse worker around. A touch of his hand can transform anything—or anyone—into something else.

That was how Lila, the girl he loved, became a white cat. Cassel was tricked into thinking he killed her, when actually he tried to save her. Now that she’s human again, he should be overjoyed. Trouble is, Lila’s been cursed to love him, a little gift from his emotion worker mom. And if Lila’s love is as phony as Cassel’s made-up memories, then he can’t believe anything she says or does.

When Cassel’s oldest brother is murdered, the Feds recruit Cassel to help make sense of the only clue—crime-scene images of a woman in red gloves. But the mob is after Cassel too—they know how valuable he could be to them. Cassel is going to have to stay one step ahead of both sides just to survive. But where can he turn when he can’t trust anyone—least of all, himself?

Love is a curse and the con is the only answer in a game too dangerous to lose.


I love Holly Black’s Curse Worker series.  White Cat was a big surprise for me, because it seemed like it came out of nowhere.  I downloaded the free sample from Amazon to test out my (then) new iPad, and I couldn’t stop reading it.  White Cat was the second ebook that I purchased – The Enemy by Charlie Higson was the first, if you’re curious, and it, too, was a book that was outside of my normal reading zone.  I loved them both, and never would have read them if I hadn’t made that impulse purchase of my iPad (yes, I am just as susceptible to hype as everyone else).

I love the way Holly Black messes with your mind.  You don’t know who to believe or who to trust because everyone is trying to pull a con.  I think the only one in Cassel’s family who was straight with him was his grandfather.  His mom and his brothers don’t seem to have much use for him, except for when they are getting read to pull a scam or have job they need to carry out.  Then they put the pressure on him to lend a hand, and they pull the family obligation card if he resists.  And here I thought my family can be needy and demanding.  They are nothing compared to Cassel’s.  His mom definitely needs to attend parenting classes; no wonder he wants to stay at his boarding school!

I don’t want to spoil any of the plot, so I’m not going to delve into it.  Instead, I’m going to discuss the nuts and bolts of the world of the curse workers and why I enjoy it so much.  Much of this is a reiteration of my review of White Cat.  I love the “magic” system here, and I find it so much more believable because there is a price to be paid when a curse worker uses their talents.  That only seems fair, right? If you have the ability to kill someone with the briefest touch, a little bit of you should die as well.  If you can snatch away someone’s memory, you should have to sacrifice some of yours, too.  That would make you think twice before cheating and resorting to your powers to get ahead in life, don’t you think?

Well, no, not when you work for the mob. That is the other fun part of this world.  Cassel comes from a long line of mobsters.  Why is that?  Because his family is full of curse workers, and everybody hates them!  Why? Because they cheat!  They use their powers to get ahead in the world, and that’s just not right!  Curse workers are illegal, and the government is trying to mandate testing so that each and every one of them can be identified and labeled.  What’s next? Brainwashing?   Internment camps? Capital punishment?  With politicians these days, you never know!

Red Glove is a great book, and it is different from most of the YA novels out there.  I liked the male point of view, and I think that Cassel is a great character.  Somehow he ended up a decent guy, and with his less than stable family, that says a lot about his strength of character.  I enjoyed the time I spent with him, and I can hardly wait for the next book in the series!  If you haven’t read these, give them a chance; I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Grade: B+ leaning towards an A-

Review copy provided by publisher

Review: Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files – Storm Front Vol 1: The Gathering Storm


Title: The Dresden Files – Storm Front Vol 1: The Gathering Storm

Authors: Jim Butcher, Mark Powers, Ardian Syaf

Publisher:  Del Rey

ISBN: 978-0345506399


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

A graphic novel based on the bestselling Harry Dresden books by Jim Butcher!

If circumstances surrounding a crime defy the ordinary and evidence points to a suspect who is anything but human, the men and women of the Chicago Police Department call in the one guy who can handle bizarre and often brutal phenomena. Harry Dresden is a wizard who knows firsthand that the everyday world is actually full of strange and magical things—most of which don’t play well with humans.

Now the cops have turned to Dresden to investigate a horrifying double murder that was committed with black magic. Never one to turn down a paycheck, Dresden also takes on another case—to find a missing husband who has quite likely been dabbling in sorcery. As Dresden tries to solve the seemingly unrelated cases, he is confronted with all the Windy City can blow at him, from the mob to mages and all creatures in between.


I am new to The Dresden Files, and I have been putting off reading this graphic novel adaptation of Storm Front because I was afraid I wouldn’t understand what was going on.  This is the second comic series based on the novels, which made me doubly apprehensive; I haven’t read any of the novels, I wasn’t familiar with the Welcome to the Jungle GN series, and I didn’t even know that there is a TV show based on the series.  Dean told me about the show when he saw me reading the book.  I felt like I have been living under a rock!

It didn’t take long for me to get caught up in the story, and by the end, I was totally engaged.  Dresden is pretty darn cool!  He even battles a demon in his birthday suit! Do you know how hard it is to look tough and intimidating when you are fighting for your life while you are as naked as a jay bird??  Harry pulls it off with aplomb.  I love his character – he makes mistakes, doesn’t really learn from them, but he sure can roll with the punches.  And the baseball bats!  I hope he has a generous health insurance policy, because he sure does get beaten up a lot!

In this adventure, Harry is helping the police track down a killer.  He’s quickly threatened by a mobster and a vampire, and neither one would shed any tears if anything fatal happened to him.  Even the White Council is out to get him; they think he is the only person who could have committed the grisly crime.   They are also good at holding grudges. Despite everyone warning him off the case, and the threats against him, Harry is determined to solve the mystery.  Whoever the killer is, they aren’t joking around.  The murderer is dangerous, and needs to be found before someone else turns up very, very dead.  Such an unpleasant and painful way to die. too!

I enjoyed my first foray into Dresden’s world.  The magical and the mundane mix together, disrupting Harry’s life.  Fairies, vampires, and demons all manage to cause him grief, some much more than others.  Harry’s life is complicated, and when you start tossing mobsters, vampires,  and women into the picture, it’s no wonder that the guy is still single.  He gets the crap beat out of him, pisses off several people by just breathing, and even double books a Saturday night date.  Oops!  I’m not surprised that his cat is about the only one who has his back.

Storm Front was a fun introduction to the Dresden Files.  I hopped on over to the library catalog and placed a hold on the first graphic novel, Welcome to the Jungle.  I am out of luck on the next volume of Storm Front though; I’ll have to keep checking the library and hope that they eventually get a copy.

Grade: B

Review copy provided by publisher

Review: Human.4 by Mike A Lancaster


Title: Human.4

Author: Mike A Lancaster

Publisher: Egmont USA

ISBN: 978-1606840993


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Kyle Straker volunteered to be hypnotized at the annual community talent show, expecting the same old lame amateur acts. But when he wakes up, his world will never be the same. Televisions and computers no longer work, but a strange language streams across their screens. Everyone’s behaving oddly. It’s as if Kyle doesn’t exit.

Is this nightmare a result of the hypnosis? Will Kyle wake up with a snap of fingers to roars of laughter? Or is this something much more sinister?

Narrated on a set of found cassette tapes at an unspecified point in the future, Human.4 is an absolutely chilling look at technology gone too far.    


What an odd book!  Odd in a good way, too, but Human.4 is hard to classify.  What is this?  Sci-Fi, mystery, psychological thriller?  I’m still not sure what I would call it, but I do know one thing; I could not put the book down, and I polished it off in just a few hours.

Kyle Straker volunteers to be hypnotized by his friend at the annual community talent show.  He doesn’t really want to, but he doesn’t want to see his friend crash and burn when nobody else wants to help him with his act.  Kyle finds himself onstage with three other townspeople, and when he wakes up from the hypnosis, the world is completely different.  He’s not sure what’s going on, but he can tell that it is not the same.  His parents are acting very oddly, and the phone lines are all dead. So are the computers and the television sets.  Is he losing his mind? Or did something happen while he was hypnotized?

The suspense is overwhelming!  I wanted to find out what was going on just as much as Kyle did.  Have aliens invaded? Is he trapped in a nightmare?  Is he nuts?  The narrative is tense and exciting, and the pacing never slows.  The story is so fast-paced, and the short chapters add to the urgency of Kyle’s predicament.  I kept telling myself I would only read one more chapter before I turned the light off to go to sleep, but then I would say – just one more!  I couldn’t stop reading!

Kyle’s narrative kept me engaged in the story, but the occasional editor notes were very jarring.  The narrative is supposed to be a transcription of Kyle’s audio tapes, which described his ordeal.  The premise is unique and I thought it was very interesting, but the research and scientific notes slowed down the pace of the story.  They just didn’t fit well into the narrative, and I grew tired of them very quickly.

The book ends neatly, with all of my questions answered.  I found the reason for Kyle’s extraordinary ordeal to be kind of “meh,” but the run up to the final revelation kept me engrossed in the story.  The ending was a bit of a let down, though, and I don’t want to say much more because it will spoil the suspense of the read.  I think that this book will have a lot of appeal for boys, and readers who enjoy thrillers and mysteries.

Grade: B

Review copy provided by publisher

Review: The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin


Title: The Trouble with Chickens

Author: Doreen Cronin

Illustrator: Kevin Cornell

Publisher: Balzer & Bray

ISBN: 978-0061215322


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

J.J. Tully is a former search-and rescue dog who is trying to enjoy his retirement after years of performing daring missions saving lives. So he’s not terribly impressed when two chicks named Dirt and Sugar (who look like popcorn on legs) and their chicken mom show up demanding his help to track down their missing siblings. Driven by the promise of a cheeseburger, J.J. begins to track down clues. Is Vince the Funnel hiding something? Are there dark forces at work—or is J.J. not smelling the evidence that’s right in front of him?

Bestselling author Doreen Cronin uses her deadpan humor to pitch-perfect effect in her first novel for young readers. Heavily illustrated with black-and-white artwork from Kevin Cornell, this new series is destined to become a classic.


I originally read a digital galley of this back in October.  I loved the book, but decided to wait for a finished copy before I wrote up my thoughts on it.  The title was released at the beginning of the month, so I ordered my very own copy from Amazon.  This is such a fun book, and I enjoyed revisiting the story.  Doreen Cronin’s prose kept me engaged for the entire length of the re-read.

J. J. Tully is a retired search and rescue dog.  He’s been there, and he’s seen it all.  When a chicken disturbs his quiet life in the country, he just can’t say no to the distraught mama hen.  Well, the promised cheeseburger seals the deal, and Tully is on the hunt for Moosh’s missing chicks, Poppy and Sweetie.

I love Tully, and I am happy to see that more adventures are planned for him.  He is rough around the edges and tells it like it is, kind of like a canine Sam Spade.  He knows that life isn’t all candy and roses, and he knows that not all missions are of the rescue kind. Some are much more unpleasant.  He is hoping for a joyful reunion between Mooch and her chicks, but as he searches, he discovers that she, and her two other chicks, Sugar and Dirt, aren’t being completely upfront with him.  Dealing with the frantic mama hen, her too smart for their good chicks, and the devious inside dog, Vince, with equal aplomb, Tully  puts aside his personal feelings to ensure that the quest for Moosh’s missing chicks has a happy ending.

The illustrations sprinkled throughout the book are charming and fit the tone of the narrative perfectly.  The Trouble with Chickens is for the younger set, Grades 2 – 4, but there is so much to love for older readers, too. 

Grade: A-

Review: Clarity by Kim Harrington


Title: Clarity

Author: Kim Harrington

Publisher: Point

ISBN: 978-0545230506


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

This paranormal murder mystery will have teens reading on the edge of their seats.

Clarity "Clare" Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It’s a gift.

And a curse.

When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare’s ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case–but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare’s brother–who has supernatural gifts of his own–becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?


Clarity is a fun mystery romp with a down to earth protagonist who just happens to be a psychic.  She’s not alone in her paranormal talents; her mother is a telepath, and her brother is a medium.  Clarity lives in a tourist town, and during the summer, she works at the family business entertaining out-of-towners with readings.  She’s resigned to another summer of being stuck inside instead at the beach when a tourist is murdered.  Her brother, Perry, is the prime suspect, and if Clare doesn’t want to spend all of her weekends in the foreseeable future visiting him in jail, she has to find the real killer.

I loved the family dynamics at play here.  Clare’s mom can read minds.  Think about it.  What if your mom could read your mind?? Do you think you would get away with very much?  Forget about keeping a secret.  Even if you have yourself convinced that you are keeping your thoughts all nice and safe, you are only fooling yourself.  And what if your brother could communicate with ghosts?  That could get kind of weird. 

Clare’s gift can be unsettling, too.  With just a touch, she can pick up thoughts and emotions from objects.  Her gift can be unpredictable, and there are times she wishes she didn’t have it.  Like when she touches something and discovers that her boyfriend has been lying to her.  Now that sucks big time.  But when her brother is suspected of murder, she is going to use her powers to the fullest to clear his name.

The setting is very vivid, and the relationships between Clare’s family and the townspeople is carefully fleshed out.  Few in town believe in their abilities and everyone  thinks that they are cheating the tourists out of their money.   Clare is quite surprised when the mayor asks her for help apprehending the killer.  Then she discovers that the town’s new police detective thinks she’s a fraud, and worse, his drop-dead gorgeous son, Gabriel, has an intense dislike for psychics.  How can they possibly work together to solve the case?

The character interactions were the highlight of the book for me.  Sparks fly between Clare and Gabriel, and you can almost hear them sizzle as you read along.  Clare also has a lot of unresolved issues to work through with her ex, and he is only complicating matters between her and Gabriel.   He hasn’t gotten over her, and it’s questionable whether she’s over him.  The tension between Clarity and her classmates also felt real and was convincing, adding yet another obstacle for her to overcome. 

I don’t usually like mysteries, but Clarity made me reconsider my stance on the genre.  It’s a solid read, with fun characters, a great setting, and a paranormal twist. I am looking forward to the next book in the series, because there are a couple loose ends that have me wondering what is going on.

Grade:  B+

Review copy provided by publisher