Sanctuary Bay by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz

51jvrffsf3lI received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sanctuary Bay is a YA novel by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz. I love boarding school stories, so I was excited about the opportunity to read Sanctuary Bay.

Sarah Merson is a teen in the foster care system in Ohio, but she receives a scholarship to the prestigious Sanctuary Bay Academy. She goes from a nomadic life of rotating foster homes to a lush boarding school on an island of the coast of Maine. It seems like a dream come true, even if she never applied for the scholarship in the first place. Read more

Little Tree by Loren Long

51fg2chjzmlI found Little Tree by Loren Long at the library. My girls love Long’s “Otis” books, so I brought this book for them to enjoy.

Little Tree is the story of a- wait for it- little tree. He is very happy to be amongst the other trees, and loves when the animals come around to play. The weather gets colder, and the other trees shed their leaves, but Little Tree is afraid. He clings to his leaves. As the seasons change, the other trees grow taller; Little Tree stays the same size, with his brown leaves. Will Little Tree ever drop his leaves? Read more

Buckingham Babylon by Peter Fearon

71qgt050qzlI found Buckingham Babylon by Peter Fearon at my town library. I was looking for some British history books, and this book was in the same section. I love books/movies about the Royal Family, so I was pleased to have discovered it.

Buckingham Babylon is subtitled “The Rise and Fall of the House of Windsor”, and it was published in 1993. There are some major Royal Family life events that have happened since the early 1990s, so in some respects, this book is woefully out of date. Read more

Hickory Dickory: The Fox Race by AJ Smith and Walter Tyler

51ujlwtyjhlOne of my twins loves foxes. She is a rather lucky girl- foxes seem to be a popular animal, and so there are many different children’s clothing stores that have released fox items. We also have fox books, fox stuffed animals, and much more.

There is a dear sweet boy in her first grade class. This boy was also in her kindergarten class. He noticed that my daughter liked foxes, and he asked his mother if he could bring some of his fox books to school for her to borrow. She was very excited when she came home, and we have been reading these two fox books.

One of the books is Hickory Dickory: The Fox Race written by AJ Smith and Walter Tyler. I am not familiar with the Hickory Dickory series, and I’m so pleased to have discovered it. The premise of this book is simple: a fox likes to race, and he is faster than any other animal. He embarks on a trip around the world, and beats a variety of animals in their natural habitat. Will he be satisfied once he has raced (and beaten) animals on all seven continents? Read more

Contrary Woodrow by Sue Felt

There are plenty of picture books about Valentine’s Day; not as many as other holidays like Halloween and Christmas, but a fair amount. My favorite Valentine’s Day story has to be Contrary Woodrow.


I found Contrary Woodrow at the public library. We have a small section of donated books available for sale, and this was where I found Contrary Woodrow. This picture book was written by Sue Felt and was published in 1958.

Contrary Woodrow is the story of a boy named Woodrow Woodington. His family has declared that he is contrary, and the first part of the book is dedicated to establishing his contrariness. Woodrow is the third of five children. Maybe this is why he has such an alliterative name. His older siblings are named John and Sally, so maybe his parents wanted to get a little creative. Woodrow’s younger siblings are named Elizabeth and Pete, so clearly, his parents went back to more traditional choices for baby names. Maybe Woodrow is so contrary because he’s saddled with such a name. Read more

What A Gentleman Wants by Caroline Linden

51vlwvocmplI received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

I don’t read nearly as much historical romance novels as I used to, but this is still a genre that I enjoy.  When I received the opportunity to read Caroline Linden’s What A Gentlemen Wants, I was excited about being able to return to the world of 19th century England and its aristocracy.

Hannah is the widow of the vicar in a small village halfway between London and Brighton.  One day, a gentleman crashes his rig near her house, and because she is a kind and gentle soul, Hannah agrees that David can recuperate at her house.  David is charmed by Hannah’s gentle nature, and asks for her hand in marriage.  At the last minute, he panics at the thought of having to give up his “rake card” and signs his twin brother Marcus’ name in the parish register.

Marcus is a duke, and is livid at his brother’s prank.  Due to circumstances beyond his control, he is unable to send Hannah and her daughter back to their village.  He asks Hannah if she will perpetuate the story that David has spread, and pretend to be his (Marcus’) wife.  Initially, Hannah is not thrilled about having to play the role of duchess, but she realizes that there are certain advantages.  Marcus’ stepmother and stepsister are kind to her, and she enjoys spending time in his house.  Marcus and Hannah do not see each other often, but every time that they do, their connection is becoming harder to deny. Read more

Auggie & Me by R.J. Palacio

51ypc4llh4lI read Wonder a couple of years ago, and absolutely loved it. This middle grade book shows up on the summer reading list every year, and has become a modern children’s classic. Wonder tells the story of Auggie, a young boy with a craniofacial abnormality. He has been homeschooled for his entire life because of his numerous surgeries and procedures, but he wants to attend a regular school. He starts fifth grade at a small private school in Manhattan, and Wonder is the story of what happens during that fifth grade year. It’s told from multiple perspectives: Auggie, his older sister, his classmate Summer, etc.

Author R.J. Palacio has assembled a collection of three “Wonder Stories”. They were originally released on the Kindle as “Kindle Singles” which could be purchased separately, but last fall, they were released together in one hardcover book as Auggie & Me. Read more

A School for Brides by Patrice Kindl

51b3fhhz6vlA couple of years ago, I read Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl. I loved everything about this YA regency story, so when I saw that there was a sequel, I was excited to read it. I borrowed A School for Brides from the library, and just finished reading it yesterday.

This is not a true sequel because the protagonists from Keeping the Castle are relegated to minor roles, but we return to the village of Lesser Hoo in Yorkshire. The premise is that the unmarried stepsister from Keeping the Castle has opened a school for girls. Ostensibly, these young women are to be instructed in deportment and introduced into eligible young men, but there’s one problem: Lesser Hoo is in the middle of nowhere, and there are no eligible young men. Read more

It’s In His Kiss by Julia Quinn

51nkmep4ttlI have been a big fan of Julia Quinn’s historical romance novels for almost fifteen years. I own paperback copies of every single one of her books, but if a Kindle deal comes along, I will always buy it. Because why not? In addition to making my collection portable, this also often gives me the option to purchase the Audible edition at a reduced price. I’ve been trying to walk 10,000 steps a day, so having audiobooks to listen to helps me meet my goal while I walk around the neighborhood.

I recently listened to It’s In His Kiss. This is the 7th entry in her Bridgerton series, which features eight alphabetically named Regency era aristocratic siblings. It’s In His Kiss is Hyacinth Bridgerton’s story. Hyacinth agrees to help Gareth St. Clair translate his late grandmother’s diary from Italian into English, but she had no idea that the diary might contain secrets. When the diary insinuates that there might be a valuable treasure hidden in the St. Clair London home, Hyacinth sees an opportunity to a grand adventure. Read more

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

51lktqmvkxlI found Wolf by Wolf on the new release shelf in the young adult section of my town library It had not been on my radar, and I am not familiar with author Ryan Graudin, but as soon as I read the description, I knew that it was a book that I wanted to read.

Wolf by Wolf takes place in an alternate 1956. In this world, the Axis powers won World War II and now controls all of the land from Berlin to Tokyo. Every year, they hold a grueling motorcycle race between those two dazzling capital cities. Last year, a girl named Adele Wolfe entered the race by posing as her twin brother Felix. She won the race, revealed herself as a girl, and then danced with Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s Ball. Read more