Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell

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

It cannot be denied that Cinderella has been very popular lately. There was a live action film released this past spring, and I have also recently read A Curse of Ash and Iron, which is also a steampunk retelling of Cinderella. That said, I was very excited to see Mechanica’s interpretation of the classic fairy tale.

Mechanica is a young adult novel written by Betsy Cornwell. This is the story of a young woman named Nicolette who lives with her stepmother and stepsisters. She is not treated as an equal, and is forced to work as a servant in her childhood home. When she discovers the inventor’s workshop that belonged to her mother, Nicolette sees a new world full of possibilities. Read more

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The Secret History

I first read The Secret History twelve years ago when one of my very best friends from college sent me the book for my birthday. Since then, it has become one of the books I read over and over again. Recently, Audible had a sale featuring ten editors who picked ten books apiece. The Secret History was one of those books, and I was very excited about the opportunity to experience one of my favorite books in a new medium.

The Secret History is Donna Tartt’s first book. One could argue that it is a mystery, but what makes things interesting is that it is not really a whodunit. We know who killed Bunny- narrator Richard and his friends are responsible- but the mystery lies in why they felt that they had no choice but to kill Bunny. Read more

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

I first heard about Luckiest Girl Alive a couple of months ago, and I requested it from the library network. Luckiest Girl Alive, the debut effort of Jessica Knoll, seems to be one of the most popular books of the summer because I waited for over a month for my copy to arrive.

As the story begins, we are introduced to Ani FaNelli, who writes sex articles for a fictional version of Cosmopolitan. She’s engaged to the handsome son of an American blueblood family, and everything should be perfect, but it’s not. Ani has a dark side to her personality that lurks so close to the surface; the possibility of her revealing her inner monologue seems like it could happen at any point. Read more

Murder is Bad Manners by Robin Stevens

I first found out about Murder is Bad Manners via a Common Sense Media article. This book had not been on my radar at all, so I’m glad I took the time to read that article!

Murder is Bad Manners is the American version of a middle grade novel originally published in England as Murder Most Unladylike. Author Robin Stevens has published two more titles in the Wells & Wong mystery series, but we Americans are going to have to wait patiently for the American release of the second book.

Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are students at the English Deepdean School in the 1930s. They have decided to form a detective society, and as the story begins, their cases have been relatively unremarkable. However, when Hazel inadvertently stumbles across the body of a teacher in the gym, Daisy is excited about the prospect of an actual case. But when the body disappears, the girls know there is something sinister afoot. The teachers are all acting suspicious, and almost everyone has a motive. Are Daisy and Hazel getting involved with something larger than they can handle? Read more

Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas by Natasha Yim

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

My three girls love reading, so when I received the opportunity to read Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas. This is a picture book written by Natasha Yim and illustrated by Grace Zong.

Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas is a modern version of the classic fairytale Goldilocks that also incorporates elements of Chinese New Year celebrations. When Goldy is asked to go next door to take turnip cakes to the Chan family, she discovers that no one is at home. She helps herself to their congee (rice porridge), sits in their chairs, and sleeps in their beds. When the Chan family returns, they are surprised to discover that their house is in shambles, and even more surprised to find Goldy sleeping in Little Chan’s bed. Goldy runs away, but then she feels bad about what she has done. Goldy returns to the house, apologizes, and realizes that he has more in common with Little Chan than she thought she did. Read more

The Snake Who Said Shhh by Jodi Parachini

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Snake Who Said Shhh… is a picture book written by Jodi Parachini and illustrated by Gill McLean.

This sweet picture begins with a scene reminiscent of Bambi or even perhaps The Lion King. The animals are all very excited about Seth the Snake’s birth, but when the new arrival tries to speak, he says shhh instead of ssssss of hissss. The other animals laugh at this, and then they try to agree on a gift to give the new baby. Each animal has an opinion, and as they begin to argue with each other, they create quite a racket! Can Seth tell the other animals what he really wants? Read more

Commentarii de Inepto Puero: Diary of a Wimpy Kid Latin edition

I’ve mentioned that my town library sells used books. This is one of the main reasons that my house has seven bookshelves are there are still books on the floor. In any event, one of the books that I found was Lingua Latina, a Latin textbook. My oldest daughter, who is eight years old, was very amused by the fact that she was able to “read” Latin. She expressed interest in learning Latin, and I’m going along with it. We picked up a copy of Getting Started With Latin, and we’ve been doing some exercises over the summer.

And then we received the opportunity to read Diary of a Wimpy in Latin. My daughter loves the Wimpy Kid books. She has read all of them multiple times, and we even met author Jeff Kinney at a book signing last year.

The first book in the series has been translated into Latin by Msgr. Daniel B. Gallagher, who works in the Vatican Office of Latin Letters. Read more

Gargoyle Hall: An Araminta Spookie Adventure by Angie Sage

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

I was not familiar with Angie Sage’s Araminta Spookie series when I received the opportunity to review Gargoyle Hall, but now that I have done so, I will be picking up the rest of Araminta’s adventures!

Araminta Spookie is a young girl who lives in a big house with her family and her friend’s family. They are an eclectic bunch, like the Munsters or the Addams family. Araminta always has good intentions, but she is also rather “spirited” and her good intentions don’t always yield good results. Read more

Malice at the Palace by Rhys Bowen

In the interest of full disclosure, I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I first discovered Rhys Bowen’s Royal Spyness series during an Audible sale last year. It was absolutely love at first sight. In a matter of months, I read and/or listened to all 8 books in the series- and the novella Masked Ball at Broxley Manor.

For those of you who might be unfamiliar with the series, allow me to offer a brief explanation: Georgiana Rannoch is a young woman who is 35th (or so) in line for the British throne. Her brother is a duke, but the family fortune has been spent, and they all live in genteel poverty. Georgie is a particular favorite of Queen Mary (George V’s wife), and she is often called in to discreetly solve a problem on the behalf of the Queen. Georgie is resourceful and has a good sense of intuition, which help her with her sleuthing. The series is infused with a wonderful sense of humor, and the 1930s setting is just delightful. Read more

Mr. Postmouse’s Rounds by Marianne Dubuc

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

My three girls love to read, so I was very excited about the prospect of reading Mr. Postmouse’s Rounds to them. This delightful picture book was written and illustrated by Marianne Dubuc.

The premise is simple: the reader is treated to watching Mr. Postmouse make his rounds through the neighborhood, which is a delightful place, with a wide variety of habitats. Mr. Postmouse delivers to the expected forest animals, but some of his customers live in the ocean, and others live on top of a snowy mountain. Mr. Postmouse does whatever it takes to make sure that the packages are delivered.
Mr. Postmouse does not encounter any adversity along the route, although he is grateful that he doesn’t have to deliver anything to Mr. Snake! Read more