If the Magic Fits by Susan Maupin Schmid


I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I have a nine-year-old daughter, so I am always excited about reading middle grade books. We often read the books I receive together. She loves reading, and her feedback is invaluable.

If The Magic Fits was written by Susan Maupin Schmid. This is the story of Darling Dimple. I just have to say that this is such a delightful name for a character; it fits Darling so well. Darling is a young girl who works in the kitchen of a castle. She isn’t doing anything glamorous like baking- she’s a scrubber. But that changes when Darling gets the chance to become a presser, working with Princess Mariposa’s linens. Continue reading


Nanette’s Baguette by Mo Willems



Over the summer, my girls and I had the opportunity to meet Mo Willems at a book signing. We were surprised to find out that he was going to give a presentation before signing everybody’s books. During that presentation, he read Nanette’s Baguette. This was a big treat for us because the book had not even been released yet. The entire room full of children and their parents loved the story, and the experience made the wait for the book even harder!

I had already ordered our copy on Amazon a month before meeting Mr. Willems, and today the book arrived at our house.

Nanette’s Baguette is the story of a little girl named Nanette whose mother sends her to buy a baguette from the bakery. At first, Nanette sticks to the plan, but things go awry quickly. Can she resist the temptation to eat the baguette? Will a sudden rainstorm ruin her day? Continue reading


These Dark Wings by John Owen Theobald


I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

These Dark Wings is a middle grade novel by John Owen Theobald. This WWII story follows young Anna Cooper, who moves into the Tower of London after her mother is killed during the Blitz. Her uncle is the Ravenmaster at the Tower, and helping him care for the ravens gives Anna a purpose as she adjusts to her new life.   As the German bombardment continues relentlessly, Anna becomes increasingly preoccupied with the myth that the fate of England is tied to the ravens remaining at the Tower; if the ravens leave, then England will fall. Continue reading


A Terrible Beauty by Tasha Alexander



I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I have read a few of Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily mysteries, so I was looking forward to reading A Terrible Beauty.

As the story begins, Emily and her husband Colin are preparing for a trip to Greece, where Emily has a villa that she inherited from her first husband. Philip has been dead for over ten years, but Emily suddenly finds signs that remind her of him. She even thinks that she sees him at one point, but that’s impossible- isn’t it?

Emily and Colin are joined on their trip by their friends Margaret and Jeremy, the latter of which is desperately in need of respite after the events of the previous book. They plan to while away their days in a leisurely fashion, while taking in all that the cradle of civilization has to offer. Upon their arrival at the villa, they are surprised with the revelation that the Viscount Ashton is there. It seems impossible, but this strange man appears to be Ashton- he looks vaguely like Ashton (although ten years have elapsed), and he repeats stories that no one else would know. Colin was one of Ashton’s closest friends, so this is quite an awkward situation for everyone involved. It should be noted, however, that Colin and Emily did not marry until three years after Ashton’s death. They had every expectation that he was truly dead. Continue reading


The Queen’s Accomplice by Susan Elia MacNeal


I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I have read several of the books in Susan Elia MacNeal’s Maggie Hope series, and I was looking forward to reading The Queen’s Accomplice, which is the newest entry.

For those of you unfamiliar with Maggie Hope, she is a young woman living in England during WWII. She’s very clever, and this leads to government positions working with powerful people, like Winston Churchill.

As the book begins, Maggie has returned from her American sojourn, and is working with British Intelligence translating the encoded messages the office receives from agents working in Occupied France. Some of her superiors are less than thrilled about female agents, and they ignore Maggie’s concerns that one of the female agents may have been captured.

Continue reading


Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton

51b22bx5f3sl-_sx360_bo1204203200_I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea is a graphic novel written and illustrated by Ben Clanton. It is intended for readers of all ages, and will hold special appeal for children in the early years of elementary school.

This novel is broken up into three short stories featuring a charismatic narwhal and his jellyfish friend. In the first story, the friends meet for the first time and try to figure out if they are real or imaginary. The second story contains some important lessons about friendship when Jellyfish feels left out after Narwhal recruits other animals as members of his new pod. Finally, the third story demonstrates the power of imagination when Narwhal and Jellyfish peruse a book with no words or pictures. Continue reading


Razzle Dazzle Unicorn by Dana Simpson


My oldest daughter is nine years old, and she loves comics and graphic novels. One day, she was very excited about telling me that there was going to be a new Phoebe and her Unicorn Adventure. When I told her that she would be able to read an advance reading copy, she was the happiest girl in the world.

Razzle Dazzle Unicorn is Dana Simpson’s fourth entry in the Phoebe and her Unicorn series. Phoebe is an elementary school aged girl who happens to have her very own unicorn. No one else can see Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, but she is Phoebe’s best friend.

The book covers about eight months of Phoebe’s life, beginning with Thanksgiving and ending with a return trip to summer camp. Phoebe and Marigold celebrate holidays, play Dungeons and Dragons, and interact with friends. Each page has a clever punchline in the last panel. Fans of the series will appreciate the reappearance of characters who appeared in the other books.

My daughter loved this book, and read it in one sitting. I also enjoyed experience with this book, and found myself reading strips out loud to my husband. I love the wry humor, and the friendship between Phoebe and Marigold.

I would absolutely recommend Razzle Dazzle Unicorn. You don’t have to read the previous Phoebe books to appreciate this one. Razzle Dazzle Unicorn is a quirky look at childhood, and will appeal to fans of comics like Calvin & Hobbes and Foxtrot. Phoebe and her Unicorn is a highly original comic, and I know my daughter and I are both looking forward to more Phoebe books in the future.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publishers in exchange for an honest review.