Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye by Tania del Rio

61b5wupwsqlI received this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I have three daughters, so I am always looking for new books for them to read. I was very excited about the opportunity to read Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye. This middle grade novel by Tania del Rio seemed like the sort of book that we would enjoy.

Warren is a young boy who lives in a hotel that his family owns. He is the 13th Warren, and the hotel is his, but his uncle is serving as conservator until Warren becomes an adult. Unfortunately, his uncle has done a terrible job, and the hotel has fallen into disrepair. Even worse, his uncle recently married a witch named Annaconda who has been tearing the hotel apart looking for a magical artifact- the All-Seeing Eye. Warren has tried to warn his uncle, but the man is so besotted that he cannot see that anything is wrong. Warren is going to have to use all of his resources if he is going to find the All-Seeing eye before his wicked Aunt Annaconda. This book is full of witches, magic, treasure hunters, double crossing, pirates, and even a basement monster named Sketchy.     Read more

A Pain in the Tuchis by Mark Reutlinger

51hnymrlh8l-_sy346_I received this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I am a big fan of mysteries, so when I received the opportunity to read Mark Reutlinger’s A Pain in the Tuchis, I was very excited. This is the second Mrs. Kaplan mystery, featuring a senior citizen sleuth and her intrepid assistant.

Narrator Ida and her friend Rose Kaplan are residents in a Jewish assistant living center. When Vera, one of the residents, passes away under suspicious circumstances on Yom Kippur, Mrs. K and Ida spring into action. Right away, they realize that their biggest obstacle is that the deceased was not a very nice person. She recently had a waiter fired for a very petty reason. She told the center director about her neighbor’s secret cat. Simply put, Vera was the sort of person who made enemies wherever she went, but which of them would actually kill her? Read more

Calvin by Martine Leavitt

51ukzkyygalI received this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I was not familiar with author Martine Leavitt when I received the opportunity to review her novel Calvin, but I was intrigued by the premise. My oldest daughter is a huge fan of Calvin and Hobbes, and her passion has helped me to rediscover a comic strip from my youth. I used to love reading Calvin and Hobbes with my father, who passed away a few years ago, so it is very special that my daughter loves Calvin and Hobbes as much as he did.

I do want to clarify that Leavitt’s novel Calvin is intended for a young adult audience. Calvin is the story of a young man named Calvin who believes he has a personal connection to the famous comic strip. Not only does he share a name with Calvin, but he also has a stuffed tiger named Hobbes, and he was born on the day the last strip was published. The stuffed Hobbes was lost in a washing machine accident years ago, but he has returned- except this time, Calvin is the only one who can hear Hobbes talking. This is one of the reasons that lead to Calvin’s diagnosis with schizophrenia. He is convinced that there is a connection between his life and the fictional Calvin. He needs to persuade Bill Watterson to draw one last strip in order to cure his schizophrenia. So, Calvin decides to walk across a frozen Lake Erie with his neighbor Susie in order to meet Bill Watterson. Read more

Away in a Manger by Rhys Bowen

51dmonghgklIn the interest of full disclosure, I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I am a big fan of Rhys Bowen’s mysteries. I enjoy her Molly Murphy mysteries, and her Royal Spyness stories as well. I was very excited when I received an opportunity to read Away in a Manger, the 15th Molly Murphy mystery.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Molly Murphy series, allow me to provide a brief introduction. Molly is a young Irish immigrant living in New York City at the turn of the 20th century. She worked as a detective before settling down with handsome police captain Daniel Sullivan. Her son Liam was born a couple of books ago, and he is now a lively toddler. Daniel does not approve of Molly’s detective work, and expected her to stop after the wedding- but Molly cannot help getting involved when people need her help.

Away in a Manger begins with Molly preparing to celebrate the holidays with her family. She and Bridie, her ward, encounter an angelic little girl singing Christmas carols in the street. Molly notices the girl’s English accent and that she is singing “Away in a Manger” the English way rather than using the American version. Both children speak with a very posh accent. Molly’s husband Daniel thinks that the children are more of the typical street children that he encounters during his work as a police officer; they are simply con artists posing as beggars, and they can’t be trusted. Molly is convinced that there is more to these children, and that they do not belong begging on the streets. She only has the recollections of two small children to work with, but she is determined to figure out if these children have any family in the city. Read more

The Adventures of Miss Petitfour by Ann Michaels

51w9rvqxoflI received this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I love reading books with my girls, so when I had the chance to read The Adventures of Miss Petitfour, I was very excited. This children’s chapter book was written by poet and author Ann Michaels, who is making her children’s book debut. The book features charming illustrations by Emma Block.

It’s hard to describe Miss Petitfour. She has sixteen cats, and she likes to fly around by making a parachute out of a tablecloth and letting the wind sweep her and the cats away. The book is broken into a series of short adventures, usually involving some sort of catastrophe, like a valuable stamp blowing away on a snowy day or narrowly avoiding landing in the river on their way to pick up some birthday cheddar. Read more

The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz

51vr3c-zwplI have been a big fan of Laura Amy Schlitz since listening to the audio version of her novel Splendors and Glooms. So when I saw her latest novel- The Hired Girl– on the young adult news release shelf at the library, I was very excited.

This is the story of Joan Skraggs, a fourteen-year-old girl living in rural Pennsylvania in 1911. She is heartbroken at having to leave school to work on her father’s farm. She feels that her efforts are not appreciated, and inspired by an article she read in a newspaper, she goes on strike. Her father retaliates by burning her books. Joan runs away from home; she also read in the newspaper that people are paying $6 a week for hired girls. She makes her way to Baltimore, and ends up in the home of the Rosenbach family. She lies and claims to be 18, and is hired to assist Malka, the aging housekeeper. Joan- who has taken the name Janet- has never met anyone Jewish before, but she is eager to learn. Read more

The Big Penguin Party by Christian and Fabian Jeremies

61cljugpbul-_sx407_bo1204203200_I received this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I was very excited about the opportunity to read The Big Penguin Party because I knew my girls would enjoy it. This book is a “Find Me If You Can Adventure” and is a collaborative effort from twin brothers Christian and Fabian Jeremies.

Grandma Penguin is celebrating her 90th birthday. All of her friends and relations have arrived to help her celebrate. Grandma has misplaced the pieces of her rainbow outfit, and she needs help finding them before the mayor arrives with a photographer. Read more

Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins

61hpjyhipllI received this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I was immediately intrigued by the premise of Until We Meet Again when I saw it on NetGalley. I’m a big fan of YA book, and although I’m not familiar with author Renee Collins’ other books, I’m certainly going to look out for her books in the future.

This is the story of Cassandra and Lawrence. They meet on the beach on the North Shore of Massachusetts and immediately strike up a friendship. There’s just one problem: Lawrence is actually from 1925. As inexplicable as it seems, Cass and Lawrence are able to meet regularly and then go back home to their respective eras. When Cass’ curiosity gets the best of her and she looks up Lawrence at the library, she finds out something shocking. She wants to help her new friend, but how will helping him affect the future? Read more

D.C. Trip by Sara Benincasa

51gquldopplI received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A trip to our nation’s capital city is a rite of passage for many American schoolchildren. I sold candy bars and wrapping paper to offset the cost of a sixth grade trip in 1991. Now, given that the internet was not invented yet, and we had not been emboldened by social media, I cannot report any shenanigans aside from eating handful of salt at a suburban Virginia Chi-Chi’s. When I received an opportunity to read Sara Benincasa’s new novel D.C. Trip, I was very excited. A group of high school students with only two chaperones- what could possibly go wrong? Read more

Heirs and Assigns by Marjorie Eccles

81ltzwnkbhlI received this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Two of my favorite genres are historical fiction and mysteries, and when these two are combined, I’ll likely enjoy the result. I’m not very particular about historical era- I love Victorian stories, as well as stories set in the 1930s, and just about everything in between.

I received the opportunity to read Heirs and Assigns, the first entry in a new British country house murder mystery series by Marjorie Eccles. The story begins in 1928 with a pilgrimage; the entire Llewellyn clan is descending upon their ancestral home to celebrate the birthday of their patriarch, Penrose. Even the family black sheep/prodigal son Huwie has returned for the happy occasion. At a celebratory dinner the night before the big event, Pen makes an announcement that surprises everyone, and the family’s reaction disrupts the evening’s festivities. The dinner party breaks up, and everyone retires for the evening. The next morning, Pen is discovered dead in his bed. Read more