Mistletoe and Murder by Robin Stevens

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Mistletoe and Murder is the fifth book in Robin Steven’s Wells & Wong series of middle grade historical mysteries. My oldest daughter is eleven years old, and she is a big fan of this series. We actually own the UK editions of most of the series (including this one), but we were super excited when we received the opportunity to read an ARC of the American edition.

In fact, my daughter was so excited about reading this book (again) that she asked if she could write the review. So, here you go:

My review on Mistletoe and Murder by Robin Stevens

Note: this is my first review EVER so, sorry if you think it’s short :/

Hello whoever is reading this! This is my review on Mistletoe and Murder.

This book is part of a series called Wells and Wong in the US, but in England, it’s called A Murder Most Unladylike.

The book takes place during Christmas time in England, and Hazel and Daisy-the main characters- are staying in wintry Cambridge for the Christmas holidays.

But-of course-a murder happens. Two days before Christmas, a person is murdered, and Hazel and Daisy have to solve the case- But they have competition with the Junior Pinkertons, a rival agency, and they have to find the killer before Christmas day! Talk about all that stress!

But a big twist comes at the end, something you’d never see coming!

If you liked Mistletoe and Murder, you should try more Murder Most Unladylike books! I DEFINITELY recommend them, the books are so great, like this one! Robin Stevens is an amazing author, and I definitely love this series!

Okay, back to my adult/mom perspective now!

Boarding school books are my absolute favorite, so I was a little sad to see Daisy and Hazel leave their school for the holidays. However, it was quite pleasant to see them reunite with some of the characters from previous books in the series.

I found the mystery to be quite satisfying, and although I did pick up on the direction the book was going to take in its earliest stages, I was surprised by the Big Reveal. I do think it’s great that Hazel and Daisy go about solving their cases. Everything is very methodical and organized. Details and observations are written down in a notebook, and they discuss points before reaching conclusions.

I loved the way this book tackled tough subjects like gender and race in such a meaningful way by incorporating them organically into the plot. I also loved the evolution of Daisy and Hazel’s friendship; like many teen girls, their friendship has suffered ups and downs, but manages to persevere.

I would absolutely recommend Mistletoe is Murder to middle grade readers. I would suggest starting with the beginning of the series and then reading the books in order. Stevens is an extremely talented author, and the books are surprisingly nuanced- not your typical middle grade fare! As a mom to girls, I cannot say enough how much I appreciate such a wonderful series with strong female leads who work together and are very very clever. We are both eagerly looking forward to finding out what is going to happen next for our intrepid sleuths!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book.

 

 

 

 

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The Academy by Quinn Anderson

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The Academy was written by Quinn Anderson. This is a contemporary m/m romance novel. I don’t read a lot of contemporary m/m, but I was intrigued by the premise.

Nick has come to a small suburban Catholic university in search of a fresh start, and he hopes that “The Academy” can offer just that. He plans to focus on his studies so that he can keep the generous scholarship that the school has offered him. His plans do not include attracting attention by being “out” at what he perceives to be a conservative milieu.

Sebastian, however, has other plans. He is drawn to Nick from the moment that he first sees him on campus. Sebastian devises a wager with Theo and Dante, his two best friends: whoever kisses the new kid first will win a cheesy trophy they’ve had since high school. Read more

A Sinner Without a Saint by Bliss Bennet

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A Sinner Without a Saint is the fourth book in Bliss Bennet’s The Penningtons series of Regency-era historical romance novels. I was not familiar with Bennet before this, but as soon as I saw that this entry featured a m/m pairing, I was intrigued.

Benedict Pennington might be the younger son of a peer, but he is also a talented artist who harbors strong opinions about art. He believes that art museums should be accessible to everyone, and not even the wealthy people who can afford private collections.

Viscount Dulcie is the heir to his father’s earldom, and he has spent most of his life courting scandal. Dulcie and Benedict were at school today, and the latter had a bit of a crush on the former. They have not encountered each other since then, but when they are forced into close proximity, they realize that their feelings have not dissipated over the years. Read more

Rule by Ellen Goodlett

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Rule is the first book in a planned young adult fantast duology by Ellen Goodlett. I enjoy YA, but I don’t read a lot of YA fantasy. However, when the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book popped up on Netgalley, my interest was piqued.

Rule has all the hallmarks of books from the genre: lush fantasy world, chosen ones, political intrigue, and magic. The TL;DR here is that the sudden death (read: murder) of the heir apparent has made king realize his own impending mortality and the need to secure the future of his line. He has three of his illegitimate children tracked down and brought to the palace. Three girls are around the same age, but they come from vastly different parts of the kingdom. He must have been completing some sort of scorecard or something, extra points for different zones. Anyway, the girls aren’t quite sure what to make of their new circumstances, and they are each harboring a Big Secret- and it appears as though someone else knows about their secrets too. Can they trust each other? Is the fate of the kingdom at stake? Read more

Fatal Throne: The Wives of Henry VIII Tell All by Anthology

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Fatal Throne: The Wives of Henry VIII Tell All is a Tudor-era YA historical fiction novel. This book was already on my radar, so when I saw it on the new release shelf at my town library, I was very excited. I prefer the 19th century when choosing historical fiction; I don’t spend very much time reading fiction from this era, but I was looking forward to trying something new.

This is an anthology, with a different author telling the story of one of Henry’s six wives. I think this helps to give each of the six women a unique voice, and her personality really comes through this way. Here are the authos who contributed: Read more

Necropolis (Whyborne & Griffin) by Jordan L. Hawk

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Necropolis is the fourth book in Jordan L. Hawk’s Whyborne & Griffin series. I know I say this in every W&G review, but it’s hard to describe the series. There’s action and adventure, magic and mystery, and m/m romance. All of this is set against a Victorian American background.

This book takes Whyborne and Griffin to Egypt to help their friend Christine, who they believe is in grave danger (pardon the pun). As they assist her at the excavation site, it’s clear that there’s something otherworldly afoot. Once again, Whyborne and Griffin must intercede, lest the threat wreak havoc upon humanity. Read more

Love at First Hate by J.L Merrow

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Love at First Hate is a contemporary m/m romance novel by J.L. Merrow. I prefer historical romance to contemporary, but the premise sounded interesting, so I decided to give it a try.

Sam Ferreira arrives in the small town of Porthkennack to help with an exhibition on Edward of Woodstock. He got the job because his friend Jory recommended him, and Sam sees this as the perfect opportunity for a fresh start. Sam clashes almost immediately with Jory’s older brother Bran, who is sponsoring the exhibition. Their personalities are wildly different, as are their opinions on historical scholarship. Eventually, the acrimony fades and grows into something different, but can this budding relationship withstand secrets from the past? Read more

The Most Beautiful Village in the World by Yutaka Kobayashi

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The Most Beautiful Village in the World is a picture book written and illustrated by Yutaka Kobayahi. I was excited about the opportunity to read this book because I wanted to share it with my girls. They always enjoy the books I receive, and their feedback is useful in helping me write my reviews.

This is a slow-paced picture book about an Afghani boy named Yamo who lives in the village of Paghman with his parents. His older brother is off fighting in the war, and because of this, Yamo will get to travel to town to sell the fruit they have picked. Yamo has never been to town before, and is somewhat intimidated when his father asks him to walk around with the fruit. Later, he and his father share tea at a restaurant, and they have enough money to buy a lamb. No one else in the village has a lamb of their own, and Yamo is very proud to be able to return home with their new lamb. Read more

Been Here All Along by Sandy Hall

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Been Here All Along is a young adult novel by Sandy Hall. I put this book on my “To Read” list, and then I was lucky enough to find it at my town library without having to request it through the library network.

Gideon and Kyle have been best friends and neighbors since they were five years old. They don’t share all of the same interests- Kyle plays basketball and Gideon focuses on academics- but they still love talking about things like Lord of the Rings.

Gideon realizes that his feelings for Kyle go beyond friendship. This also marks the first time that he considered his sexuality, and he doesn’t know what to do with this revelation. Kyle has already come out as bisexual, but Gideon doesn’t want to ruin his friendship with Kyle. Also, Kyle is currently dating Ruby, a cheerleader. Read more

Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp

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Before I Let Go is a young adult novel by Marieke Nijkamp. I was excited about the opportunity to read this book because I enjoyed reading her first book, This Is Where It Ends.

Corey grew up in a small town in rural Alaska. Really small. As in, 246 people. She and her family moved away, but she has planed to go back and see her best friend Kyra. Two days before Corey’s arrival, Kyra is found dead, and everyone seems convinced that it was a suicide because of Kyra’s mental health diagnoses.

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