Friday, July 26, 2013

Book Review: Sidekicked by John David Anderson

Release Date: June 25, 2013
Publisher: Walden Pond Press
Pages: 384
Received: ARC from publisher
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


From Goodreads:

Andrew Bean might be a part of H.E.R.O., a secret organization for the training of superhero sidekicks, but that doesn’t mean that life is all leaping tall buildings in single bounds. First, there’s Drew’s power: Possessed of super senses – his hearing, sight, taste, touch, and smell are the most powerful on the planet – he’s literally the most sensitive kid in school. There’s his superhero mentor, a former legend who now spends more time straddling barstools than he does fighting crime. And then there’s his best friend, Jenna – their friendship would be complicated enough if she weren’t able to throw a Volkswagen the length of a city block. Add in trying to keep his sidekick life a secret from everyone, including his parents, and the truth is clear: Middle school is a drag even with superpowers.

But this was all before a supervillain long thought dead returned to Justicia, superheroes began disappearing at an alarming rate, and Drew’s two identities threatened to crash head-on into each other. Drew has always found it pretty easy to separate right from wrong, good from evil. It’s what a superhero does. But what happens when that line starts to break down?


Super powers!

I'm a super sucker for books with super powered characters. I like playing around with the idea of powers and seeing all the nifty new ways characters can use their powers. Sidekicked had some pretty standard fare super powers (laser beams, strength, speed, agility, etc), but main character Drew's incredible sensory powers were both new to me and awesome!

I'm not sure I'd want all of them myself (I don't need to be able to smell the garbage any better than I already can), but I'd have a blast with most of them. Though Drew didn't use his powers as often as I would have liked, I loved every single scene when he did use them.

And, ok, I know it isn't noble or anything, but I especially loved when he used his super hearing to spy. I know there's a lesson about how it's wrong to snoop, but anyone who has ever even considered picking up a glass to give their eavesdropping a little boost can relate to Drew on this one.


Drew is scrawny and not particularly suave, which would be fine in a normal MG book, but Drew is in a super hero book, so he totally stands out. His classmates (they're all heroes in training) are all stronger, faster, and, in Drew's opinion, a lot more useful than him.

Plus, their super hero mentors actually acknowledge their existence and save them if they're in trouble. Drew's super hero is too busy getting drunk and feeling sorry for himself. Of course, this all served to make Drew the fictional equivalent to that scrappy little shelter mutt that never fails to make my heart melt.

And, of course, we all know underdogs have a habit of winning the day. I won't give away the details, but rest assured, they're fist-pump worthy.  

Plot and stuff

Here's where I had to take away a few points. This book is LONG, and unlike some long books, I actually felt the length here.

There are a lot of pages that don't really advance the plot much. It was my love of Drew that kept me reading, but I wish there had been more action to hold my attention. Which is not to say there wasn't action, because there was and it was fantastic, but there were also a lot of lulls.

I did see the villain coming, but I think most MG readers will be surprised. Even knowing the big reveal, I still thought it was a pretty inventive twist that gave the villain a lot more depth than I was expecting from a MG super hero book. Big points for that.

Bottom line

Sidekicked reads like a standalone, but with room left for a sequel or companion novel. I've heard there's one in the works, and I'll for sure be reading it when it releases. John David Anderson is a new-to-me author who I'm definitely going to be keeping my eye on.

The balanced blend of humorous and serious makes Sidekicked a great choice for classroom reading. Funny enough to hold youngsters' attentions, but with enough depth to spark numerous discussions.  

Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key 

Do you have any questions about Sidekicked that I haven't addressed?
Feel free to ask in the comments!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sidekicked Guest Post & Giveaway (US)

Please welcome John David Anderson
author of Sidekicked

From the Other Side of the Bar...

My new novel, Sidekicked, is told from Drew's perspective, but throughout the book readers are given glimpses of how other's see the world of Justicia, namely the opinions of its masked villains, its vigilante heroes, and their floundering partners. 

However you don't often get the perspective of the OC's: the ordinary civilians who are caught in the middle. I wonder what they are thinking all the time, those poor, innocent bystanders. 

For example, what the owner of a little hole-in-the-wall bar thinks about when a washed up hero walks through his door one night...

He shuffles in.

Not that that means anything. They all shuffle. They smile and nod and make jokes and pop knuckles, but they all walk with anchors around their ankles, dragging this-that-or-the-other behind them, scraped along the pavement, like something caught in the treads of their shoes. They bring it straight through the door, and they don't cut it loose until they have a drink in their hand.

He's got a weight. But there is something else about him. Maybe it's his size. Pro wrestler. Extra extra large. All bulge and bluster squeezed into threadbare jeans and a too tight t-shirt. I get construction crew some times. Contractors. A couple of cops. But this guy beats them all in "burly". I can't see his eyes for the sunglasses—sunglasses in a dim-lit bar—but I can see his stubbled jaw, clinched tighter than a vise, framing a face with just enough scars to make you want to count 'em. I give him a once over couched in a friendly nod, trying to place him, size him up, if such a thing is even possible. He doesn't say a word. Just scrapes and pulls and tugs and shuffles his way to the bar.

It's Tuesday. Slow. Tuesdays are terrible for business. Mostly I just get regulars. The ones who leave only because I kick them out at three in the morning. The ones who crawl inside their mugs and turtle there, scanning empty bottoms for their own face. So this one stands out. Even if he wasn't a hulking beast of a man, he would have stood out, just because he was different. Just because I hadn't seen him before.

And yet...

"What can I get you?"

It's a loaded question, but I have to ask. And every time I do there is a pause. Because there are so many things they'd always rather say: A new job. A new wife. Shoot my boss. Fix my car. Pay my rent. You can see it in their eyes, all the things they want and can't have.

So they always just ask for a beer.

Not him though. He doesn't pause, just exhales. And in the breath I hear the words "do over." Except he isn't really asking me. As soon as he says it he straightens himself up a little, the stool complaining beneath his weight. I'm surprised it holds. He orders a beer.

When I set it down in front of him he doesn't say thanks. I get the impression that courtesy isn't a prerequisite for him. Looking at how his meaty fingers barely fit through the handle of the mug, knuckles crossed with thick white knots, I'm guessing nobody corrects him on his manners either.

"Haven't seen you around here."

"I don't get out much," is the clipped reply. Not much of a conversationalist either. That's all right. I'm used to that too.

Ed, whose been sitting on his same stool for so long he's practically carved his butt print in the wood, taps for another and I leave the stranger alone with his beer. When I turn back around he's reading over a creased piece of paper, face pinched, in concentration or concern, I can't tell. He carefully refolds it and sets it down on the bar to use as a coaster.

"So you work around here?"

I'm not sure why I'm so desperate to strike up a conversation with this guy, except it's Tuesday and the place is near deserted and I've heard Ed's moaning more times than I care to. And besides, I still can't shake the feeling that I've seen him somewhere before.

"Not anymore," he says.

"Early retirement?"

It's a joke, of course. The man looks like maybe he's in his forties. People who retire in their forties don't find themselves in my bar.

"Something like that."

I hear Ed grunt and look to see him pointing to the tube, muttering something about "there she is again." I turn and watch, slinging the towel over my shoulder. Channel Ten News is on the scene of brouhaha. A group of thugs calling themselves the Crimson Cadre on accounts of the red bandanas wrapped around their faces. They blew out the tires of an armored car with homemade explosives, subduing the guards at gunpoint, almost like one of those old-time stagecoach robberies. Back when John Wayne was alive and Hollywood made westerns worth watching. The gun-toting cowboys were busy emptying the car's lucrative contents into the back of a pickup truck when a costumed figure swooped in, a flash of white moving so fast the camera could barely keep up with her, sword singing, all slash and dash. It's over almost as soon as it begins. I'd seen it before. Seen her before. That one was all over the news lately.

Ed whistles. "What a fox."

He's trying to be funny. I just watch as the city's latest Super bounds away, the would-be robbers heaped into a pile by the smoking remains of the armored car, waiting for the cops to come sweep it all up.

"She is something," I say. Though I've lived here most my life. I've seen my share of heroes. I turn back to the stranger. "What do you think?"

He shrugs. "Better her than me," he says.

Then it suddenly clicks.

I do know this guy.

And maybe he knows I know, because all the sudden I can feel his eyes on me. Even behind those ridiculous sunglasses that sort of make sense now. I can sense him staring. And I'm not sure if it's warning, or just a request, but I suddenly get the impression that what I know is something I should just keep to myself.

The stranger nods and I nod back, an unspoken agreement. He's just a guy having a drink, nothing more. In my line of work you learn that people have more secrets than they are willing to admit, but somehow they let 'em out anyway. I turn to the sports channel, find a baseball game nobody really cares about. Ed mumbles a complaint—he wants to watch more of the news with the hopes of seeing that new Super again—but then escapes back into his glass. Completely oblivious, that one. I turn back toward the stranger. It's obvious he wants to be left alone, but I'm curious. He said retired. Does that mean for good retired? Because that would be a shame. I wonder what it is that brought him here. Wonder what secrets his got beneath his secrets.

"Funny name for a bar," he says.

I follow his gaze to the sign in the window. To the sputtering neon light that I'd been meaning to replace for sixth months now. Two of the H's had burnt out, so now it only read "T E LAST URRAH". I shrug.

"Yeah. Well. End of the day. Everybody wants to go out on a high note."

"Not everyone," he says. And then he mumbles something that maybe sounds like "Thanks for the beer."

And tell him not to worry about it. Some way or another, I figure we owe him one.

If you'd like to find out more about this stranger, and what happens when Drew shows up at the bar looking for him, go grab a copy of Sidekicked. If you'd like to find out more about the book, visit or check out johndavidandersonauthor on Facebook.

Click on the picture for a list of blog tour stops

Info for the giveaway:
  • What you can win: A finished copy of Sidekicked by John David Anderson
  • As always, you do NOT have to be a follower
  • This giveaway is US only
  • You must be 13 years of age or older
  • One entry per person
  • I will contact the winner through email and the winner will have 24 hours to reply before a new winner is chosen
  • This giveaway closes on August 8th

Click here to enter the giveaway!

Info for The Sidekicked Summer of Superheroes Sweepstakes:
  • What you can win: An e-reader of the winners choice, a selection of superhero-themed e-books and signed copies of Sidekicked
  • This giveaway is hosted by Walden Pond Press on Facebook
  • This giveaway closes on July 31st

Click here to enter the sweepstakes!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Mini Review: Outcast by Adrienne Kress

Release Date: May 16, 2013
Publisher: Diversion Books
Pages: 324
Received: ARC from publisher, via NetGalley
Stars: 3.5
Goodreads Page

After the attention-grabbing shooting-an-angel-in-the-face opening, Outcast took a turn to the contemporary romance with the plot focus shifting to the slow-burn romance between Riley and Gabe. Gabe is the face-shot angel turned time traveling hot guy from the 1950s. Yeah. It's a bit much, but it actually works.

Which is in no small part due to the fact that I can't say no to a smartass, leather-jacketed, motorcycle-riding, 1950s greaser who teasingly refers to Riley as "sweetheart." He was swoony, even if it was a stock kind of surface swoon.

Much as this was nice and everything, I didn't pick up Outcast to read about Riley's self-esteem growth and tentative dating life. I picked it up to read about shooting angels in the face, and that didn't happen all that much.

I did get some pretty neat angel mythology (delivered via infrequent info-dumps), which was awesome and pretty original, but the mythology wasn't nearly as developed as I wanted it to be and I feel like there's still a lot left that needs to be explored more. The evil religious institution plot thread was equally weak and a little eye-rolling. The ending was abrupt and rushed, and left a lot of things hazier than I'd like.

The writing style and likable characters were what kept me going in between the interesting but widely spaced info-dumps. Everything is written in a really easy way that made the pages fly by.

Riley was a relatable narrator and definitely someone I'd want to hang out with. I liked Riley's take-no-BS attitude and wallflower personality. She's honest, brave, and she stands up for what matters. Though I need to take away some points because she did feel like a Mary Sue after a while. I got pretty tired of hearing about her amazing body and stunning beauty (that, of course, she does not see AT ALL). I just about quit reading when SPOILER! her super specialness was revealed.

Overall, though, Outcast was good and I looked forward to the time I spent reading it. If there were a sequel, I'd probably read it eventually, if I could get a copy through the library. I am interested in reading more from this author though.

Looking for another book like this?
You might like:

 Click on the pictures to go to Goodreads.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Books I Got

Wow, it's been a while, huh? That's because I haven't really been getting many books.

Sike! Did you even believe that for a second?

No, the reason I haven't put up one of these posts is because 1) I have been lazy, and 2) I've been totally overwhelmed by the sheer volume of books I've been bringing home with me.

See, my library is doing this summer reading thing where for every 200 minutes you spend reading, you get an entry into winning one of their summer prizes (which include things like a $15 voucher at their next library sale, gift cards to various restaurants and clothing stores, and stuff like that. Obviously, I've been entering primarily for the books...).

And, I mean, I read ALL THE TIME. So the idea of being able to get prizes for reading?! I've been all over that. It was like getting a nod of approval to go wild and take out a zillion books.

But keeping up with those books and these posts has been, well, I haven't been doing a very good job. And I'm still doing a terrible job because I'm not even going to try to list all of them here. I'm just going to focus on the review books and you'll all just have to wait for my reviews to find out what else I've been reading. 

This post is for some of the review books I've gotten in the past LONG TIME or so.

For Review

Crown of Midnight
by Sarah J. Maas

Oh dear. I don't know how in the world I am going to review this book because I adored it. Maybe even more than the first book, which, if you remember, I was babblingly in love with.

Requested and received via NetGalley.

The Crown Tower
The Rose and the Thorn
by Michael J. Sullivan

After finishing Michael J. Sullivan's amazing Riyria Revelations, I was in some serious book mourning. I didn't think I'd be able to make it until the August publication of the prequel books, and thankfully I don't have to wait!

Both prequel books are available on NetGalley and now I'm caught in that horrible situation where I don't want to do anything but sit down and READ, but if I do that then they'll be over far too quickly and I won't have any new Hadrian and Royce stories. What to do, what to do.

Requested and received via NetGalley.

Delia's Shadow
by Jaime Lee Moyer

I love a good ghost story! This one takes place in 1906 New York and San Francisco and follows a woman who can speak with ghosts. She gets entangled with the ghost of a serial killer victim and the stakes rise even higher when the killer finds out.

I love the mix of proper historical society and the supernatural, so I'm really looking forward to reading this one.  

Requested and received via NetGalley.

Black Spring
by Alison Croggon

The blurb says, "Whether drawn by the romantic, the magical, or the gothic, readers will be irresistibly compelled by the passion of this tragic tale." 

Well, I'm drawn by ALL of those things! This sounds like it's inspired by the romance in Wuthering Heights, but with witches. Witches make everything better, right? Add in lords, wizards, and Gothic drama and I am SO there.
Requested and received via NetGalley.

by Amanda Sun

This seems like one of those books that people are either loving or hating. Obviously I hope I fall on the side that loves it. Positive reviews have cited things like "meticulous research," "breathtaking descriptions," and "original mythology" though. Given those are all things I like, I'm getting pretty excited.

Pitched and received from publisher.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
by Holly Black

This is about monsters, a Grimm's fairy tale-like walled city, infection, a race against time, peril, and two boys? Or something like that?

I'm not sure what to make of the blurb on this book. It sounds...brutal? Exciting? Original? Or maybe horribly boring. I think it will all depend on how it's written and if I click with the characters.

Guess I'll find out soon enough.

Invited to review via NetGalley.

by Alexander Gordon Smith

Oh my gosh, this book is massive. It's like, Harry Potter sized (and I'm not talking about the earlier books). That cover is also seriously creepy, and everything I know about this author's previous books backs up the creepy factor.

But if I'm reading a book about a zombie-like plague with a race to find answers while slaughtering your way to safety, I kind of want an author who excels at creepy.

I'll just sleep with the lights on that week.

Received through Shelf Awareness.

What did you get this week? Are you interested in reading any of these books? What did you think of them if you've read them already?


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mini Review: Forevermore by Cindy Miles

Release Date: July 1, 2013
Publisher: Point (Scholastic)
Pages: 288
Received: ARC from publisher
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads Page


From Goodreads:

On a misty cliffside, mystery and romance await. . . .

Ivy Calhoun's life has been turned upside down. Her new stepdad has uprooted Ivy and her mom, bringing them to live in an actual castle in the misty Scottish countryside. There are stone-faced servants and shadowy corridors, and the ancient walls seem full of secrets. Ivy is at once frightened and intrigued.

Especially when she meets Logan, a gorgeous, elusive ghost who has haunted the castle grounds for decades. Ivy is immediately drawn to him . . . but Logan is not the only spirit around. Something dark and deadly is afoot, and soon Ivy finds herself in mortal danger.

Is Logan exactly what he seems? Could his mysterious past be tied to Ivy's present? And can Ivy stop herself from falling in love with him?

Mini Review

Forevermore is exactly the type of book I was hoping it would be. Like Rebel Spirits, Forevermore is the kind of fun summer read you need to just go with and not ask too many questions or expect too much depth.

Main character Ivy is the type of heroine I can get behind. She's smart, fun, and she doesn't spend chapters trying to come to terms with things or whining about her lot in life. There were so many things Ivy could have angsted over (her step-father, her mother moving on after the death of Ivy's father, having to move from the US to Scotland) and yet Ivy never once complained. I could hug her for that alone.

Ghostly romantic lead Logan is wonderfully swoony (and I picture him looking NOTHING like the cover model). He's the kind of guy who leans and lifts one eyebrow. He's chivalrous and kind, but he also knows how to tease a girl in just the right way to make her knees wobble. This is not the kind of book where there's a ton of character depth, but for a brief summer fling, I was totally satisfied.

There's a surprising number of supporting characters and I loved every one of them. I appreciate how, despite the small page count, Cindy Miles still managed to take a little time to flesh out each of Ivy's relationships with her mom, step-father, the groundskeeper and butler, her new friends, the author, and the pack of gorgeous Scottish knights (yeah, you read that last part right). These little scenes added so much enjoyment for me.

Bonus points for setting the book in a Scottish CASTLE, complete with canopy beds, window seats, ruins, a labyrinth, and, of course, a treachery-filled history. I loved every second spent in this place.

The characters were enough to keep me reading, but the plot was pretty engaging, too. The mystery went in a direction I didn't expect and while a lot of things were eventually predictable, I didn't guess them from page one. I wish there had been a little more explanation given for some things, especially considering how rapidly everything wrapped up in the end, but this is a minor quibble.

Cindy Miles is an established adult author with Forevermore being her first foray into YA. I hope she writes more YA, but I liked her writing so much that I'm going to try to track down some of her adult novels. I'm especially interested in Highland Knight, which plays a significant role in Forevermore (that pack of knights...).

Do you have any questions about Forevermore that I haven't addressed?
Feel free to ask in the comments!

Looking for another book like this?
You might like:

 Click on the pictures to go to my reviews.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Cover Confessions: Throne of Glass Series

Book 2. Yawn.
If you haven't read Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, then this post won't make much sense. So for those who have not read Throne of Glass, you can read my review instead. Or feel free to chime in with your un-book-biased impressions! For all others, feel free to tell me I'm totally wrong in the comments!

Because, I know, I'm totally in the minority here.

So much so that even the publisher decided to take my choice and toss it out in favor of creating a mismatched series (a travesty in and of itself).

And, yes, I know, the new covers are "so badass" and she has swords and stuff and it's illustrated and she looks like a tough fighter and zzzzzzzzz.....

Yes, I admit it. The new covers BORE me. The colors are so bland and they make me think of a graphic novel. All things that would make me ignore the new books if I stumbled across them on a shelf.

I also don't think they fit the series at all.

I know, I know, I can hear the detractors now. This is a series about a badass assassin lady, right?! How can these covers NOT fit the series? Just look at her! She has weapons practically dripping off her body. An initial count turns up four, and that's only after giving the cover a cursory glance.

But that's ALL they show. And Celaena is so much more than a killer.

New cover: Ooooh she's going to kill someone!
Sure she probably looks JUST like that cover picture in a few scenes. Rage burning, weapons out, and a look that says, "I.WILL.END.YOU." There are definitely some scenes like that.

But she's also a girl, and I think that defines her much more than her assassin traits.

She's a girl who likes pretty dresses and swoony romances and glamorous parties and emotional music. She plays with her puppy and has giggly tea parties with her best friend. She eats chocolate cakes (like, the whole cake) and she likes glittery decorations. She frequently indulges in shopping sprees. She loves deeply and she treasures her friends (and, please tagline, she does NOT have a "heart of ice"). These are all the reasons I love her as a character and want to be her friend.

Does the girl on those new covers do those sorts of things? I'm having a hard time seeing her swoon over the prospect of elaborate dresses and bags of candy.

That girl on the first cover, though? SHE I can see doing all those things. Her makeup is perfect, she's curled her hair (and there's plenty of places to hide her stylized hair daggers—can't do that in her flowing new covers hair, can she, hmm?), and there's just something about her that makes me think she'd be down for having a sugar-laden sleepover party.
Old: This is a girl who reads fantasy romance novels

I can also see her tearing apart those who would dare threaten her loved ones. There's something about her that looks like she's been through some things and can hold her own. A wiriness and a wariness.

This all fits the first book extremely well. In Throne of Glass, Celaena had just left the salt mines. She was broken down, thin, and weak. She was still Ardlan's Assassin, but she was rusty.

She spent many memorable months in Throne of Glass training with Chaol (swoon!) to get back to peak form. I can totally picture the girl on the old covers running in the woods with Chaol, puking her guts out, sniping at him (in part because puking her guts out makes her look unattractive, which is something I would SO think about if I were barfing in front of the hot Captain Westfall) and then wishing she could attend a fancy ball.

The girl on the new covers? Not so much.

That new girl doesn't seem like she cares at all what she looks like, what she wears, what songs she dances to, or what sweets she eats. She doesn't look like she harbors any tender or sentimental feelings for anyone. Killing people seems to be her only focus. She seems boring and one-dimensional. Just another "tough girl" in a long boring string of tough girls. I definitely won't be inviting her to any sleepover parties!

Fan art of an actual scene in the book

So, sorry Bloomsbury. Everyone else might love the new covers, but I'm disappointed there won't be any more like the first.

What do you think about the covers?
Love the new ones? Hate the old one?

If you haven't read the books yet, which cover would make you more likely to pick them up?

I know, I know, I'm probably the only one who prefers the old cover, so feel free to tell me why you like the new ones better!


Monday, July 1, 2013

Book Review: Rebel Spirits by Lois Ruby

Rebel Spirits by Lois Ruby
Release Date: June 1, 2013
Publisher: Point (Scholastic)
Pages: 304
Received: ARC from publisher
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads page


From Goodreads:

Infused with history and mystery, this tale of ghosts, love, and murder takes place in present-day Gettysburg, where the Civil War still looms large.

Lori Chase doesn't know what to think about ghosts. She may have seen a few in the past, but those were just childish imaginings...right? Only now that she is living in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, spirits seem to be on everyone's mind. The town is obsessed with its bloody Civil War history, and the old inn that Lori's parents run is supposedly haunted by the souls of dead soldiers.

Then Lori meets one such soldier--the devastatingly handsome Nathaniel Pierce. Nathaniel's soul cannot rest, and he desperately needs Lori's help. Because Nathaniel was not killed in the famous battle. He was murdered. Lori begins to investigate the age-old mystery, stumbling upon shocking clues and secrets.

At the same time, she can't help falling for Nathaniel, just as he is falling for her....


This is a book you shouldn't try to nit-pick. It's a summer beach read, which means there isn't much depth or character development and over analyzing things or asking too many questions may lead to eyeroll sprains. It had the feel of one of the books I'd find in the classroom library when I was younger.

Just go into it expecting a nice, light summer read and you'll be fine. For me, this was a cozy read. I could curl up with it and the world around me would disappear. I probably won't remember a lot in a few months, but that's okay.

I wish I connected with the characters more

The characters were the biggest meh factor, and we all know how important characters are for me. I probably would have added a half star if I had connected with them more. As it was, main character Lori was a frustrating mix of "mature for her age" teen (who isn't nearly as mature as she thinks she is) and "impulsive teen" who fell in love a little too fast for my tastes.

But that's okay. This is a beach read and so the fast romance is to be expected. As for Lori, though I didn't like her much, I didn't actively dislike her either. Actual teen readers would probably like her more than I did (I felt like my "Old Lady" perspective might have been messing with my ability to connect with her).

Then there's um, gotta look up his name. Nathaniel. Then there's Nathaniel, the Civil War soldier. All I can say is he's nice, in that bland wet cardboard kinda way. I liked the (not dead) guy who takes Lori dancing, has a fun sense of humor, and played her investigative partner in crime MUCH better.

But I get to spend time in a history house!

The plot and setting kept me going. I'm a history buff, so stick me in a Civil War era house in a smaller town during battle reenactment season (complete with Civil War-style BALL!!) and I'm bound to be happy.

Lori's parents own a bed and breakfast (points!) that used to be a Civil War hospital (points!) and so had a fun mix of hidden historical artifacts, battlegrounds, and quirky guests. I loved being there (and I really wish Lori had complained about being their a little less).

I didn't guess the mystery, but that was more because there weren't enough clues given. The story was more told than unraveled, kind of like The Perilous Gard. There was some sleuthing and a bit of a showdown at the end, but this wasn't a tense kind of mystery.

And, again, this is okay. As a beach read, I was perfectly happy with lazily following along with the story, getting pieces of events here and there that eventually added up to the whole.

Bottom line

Rebel Spirits was a fun way to pass the time and one I'd recommend to readers looking for a light escape. I would read more by Lois Ruby (and apparently she's written a lot more), but I don't think I'd rush out to buy them.

Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key 

 Do you have any questions about Rebel Spirits that I haven't addressed?
Feel free to ask in the comments!

Looking for another book like this?
You might like:

 Click on the pictures to go to my reviews.
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