Uncle Louie’s Fantastic Sea Voyage by Jan Loof

My oldest daughter and I have been reading the advanced copies of middle grade books that I receive from Netgalley. I wanted to be able to include my twins, who are a little too young for middle grade books. So, my twins and I have been reading books from the Best Book Club Ever. You might remember these books from the late 1970s and early 1980s. They have been picking one book each night, and I have been enjoying rediscovering some childhood favorites.

Uncle Louie’s Fantastic Sea Voyage was written by Jan Loof, and it was originally published in 1977.

Rusty is a young boy who enjoys tinkering with things. As the story begins, Rusty’s parents are going away, and are leaving him with his Uncle Louie. Rusty is pleased with this; his uncle has a scrap yard, and also enjoys tinkering. Uncle Louie has a grand plan to sail to Africa in a paddle streamer that he is building himself. Rusty meets Uncle Louie’s friend Millstone, who looks very mysterious. Rusty stows away on the boat, and sees Millstone casting some magical spells- but can the boat and the spells really take them all the way to Africa? Read more

Rebel, Bully, Geek, Pariah by Erin Jade Lange

81rkdoal4elWhen I saw Rebel, Bully, Geek, Pariah by Erin Jade Lange on Netgalley, I wanted to read it immediately. The Breakfast Club meets Breaking Bad? Sign me up! I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Sam has not had an easy life. Her mother has been in and out of jail, and Sam does her best to stay invisible. She doesn’t need the scrutiny of her peers. Due to circumstances beyond her control, she ends up at a party in the woods with Andi. At one point, Andi was one of the popular girls, but now she avoids her old friends. When the party is broken up by the police, Sam and Andi find themselves in the company of brothers York and Boston. York is an athlete and a bully, and his brother Boston wants to go to an Ivy League school. In their efforts to avoid the police, this unlikely quartet inadvertently steals a car full of drugs. Now they have to figure out what to do without incriminating themselves. Read more

The Golden Mountain by Willi Baum

My oldest daughter and I have been reading the advanced copies of middle grade books that I receive from Netgalley. I wanted to be able to include my twins, who are a little too young for middle grade books. So, my twins and I have been reading books from the Best Book Club Ever. You might remember these books from the late 1970s and early 1980s. They have been picking one book each night, and I have been enjoying rediscovering some childhood favorites.

The Golden Mountain was written by Willi Baum. It was first published in 1978, and it was translated from the German- Fred und Tom und der Goldene Berg.

Jack and Pete are a pair of brothers who live together on a farm. They are looking for an adventure, so they sell everything except for their dog and hop on a train heading west. They use their money to purchase gold digging supplies, but some mean cowboys chase them. This is certainly more adventure than they were expecting- will they ever find the Golden Mountain or is it just a myth? Read more

The Mystery at Number Seven, Rue Petite by Ellen Shire

91gsna3qz8lMy oldest daughter and I have been reading the advanced copies of middle grade books that I receive from Netgalley. I wanted to be able to include my twins, who are a little too young for middle grade books. So, my twins and I have been reading books from the Best Book Club Ever. You might remember these books from the late 1970s and early 1980s. They have been picking one book each night, and I have been enjoying rediscovering some childhood favorites.

The Mystery at Number Seven, Rue Petite was written by Ellen Shire, and it was originally published in 1978.

This is the story of Isabelle and Jean-Pierre, a husband and wife who work for the grumpy Monsieur Pompeux. Isabelle is a very good housekeeper and Jean-Pierre is a talented book, but M. Pompeux always finds something to complain about. They dream about opening up their own restaurant, but it doesn’t seem like their dreams will ever come true. What will happen when M. Pompeux leaves Jean-Pierre and Isabelle in charge of his antique store? Read more

Max & Mo Go Apple Picking by Patricia Lakin

51fnkmlhgulEvery week, each of my three children picks out two books from the school library. That’s six books a week for me to keep track of (in addition to our town library books), and I pride myself on not misplacing any.

I had a feeling that this would not last forever, and I was right. One of my twins checked out Max & Mo Go Apple Picking at the beginning of the year. It disappeared, and I was fairly sure that it had accidentally been recycled with some school papers. The lovely school librarian was very gracious about replacing it, but a couple of weeks ago, I accepted that the book was gone forever. I purchased a replacement copy of the book, and when I gave it to the school librarian, she told me that the missing book was going to turn up. Read more

I Am A Pilot by Christopher Nicholas

61qnduqcdvlAll three of my girls love Star Wars, but one of my 6.5-year-old twins really likes Star Wars. She has several Star Wars books, and when I saw I Am A Pilot at our town library, I brought it home for her.

I Am A Pilot is one of three Little Golden Books in a semi-connected series. The other two titles in the series are: I Am A Droid, and I Am A Jedi. Read more

Favorite Tales of Monsters and Trolls by George Jonsen

61datycw4glI have been spending time every night with my oldest daughter reading middle grade ARCs that I receive. I don’t want my twins to feel left out, so I have started reading Best Book Club Ever books with them every night.

Last night, my twins chose Favorite Tales of Monsters and Trolls. This was my husband’s book when he was a child, and I remember reading this one as well. This book was first published in 1977, and was adapted by George Jonsen and illustrated by John O’Brien.

Favorite Tales of Monsters and Trolls includes three folktales. Each of the stories is rather short, so the entire book can read in one sitting.

The first story is The Three Billy Goats Gruff. Three billy goat brothers are having a problem with a troll who lives under a bridge. They want to cross over to a greener pasture, but are blocked by a troll. As the first two goats cross, they tell the troll to wait for his older brother. When the biggest goat crosses, will he be scared by the troll or will he do what goats do best? Read more

These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas

51mbtye2ydlI received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I have always loved books set in 19th century England, so I was very excited to read These Vicious Masks. This young adult novel is a collaboration between debut authors Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas.

Evelyn Wyndham is a bright and lively young woman. One evening, she attends a party at a neighboring estate with her family. On the way, they see something quite extraordinary, and then at the party, they are introduced to their host’s brooding nephew Sebastian. The next morning, Evelyn’s sister Rose is missing from her bedroom. It appears that she left in a hurry, and perhaps under duress. Read more

Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn

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I have always loved Julia Quinn’s books. She is, without a doubt, my favorite historical romance author. I used to eagerly await her newest book every year, starting when I was in college. My family grew quicker than I anticipated (twins will do that to you), and there was a period of time when I didn’t have as much time for personal reading. As a result, I missed out on some of Julia Quinn’s books. I have been enjoying rediscovering old favorites, as well as introducing myself to some of the books I have missed out on.

I honestly can’t remember if I read Just Like Heaven when it originally came out in 2011.  At that point,  I had two 1 year olds and a 3 year old- I don’t remember much of anything! I have a paperback copy, but I purchased the Audible edition when it was on sale. I’ve been listening to it when I go on walks around the neighborhood. It took me a month to get through; we’ve had some unseasonably warm days, but we’ve also had a couple of snowstorms.

Just Like Heaven is the first book in the Smythe-Smith quartet. Fans of Julia Quinn might recognize the Smythe-Smiths as the family who hosts annual musicales featuring infamously dreadful girls doing great injustice to classical music. The makeup of the performers has changed over the last twenty years, as members get married and resign their place on stage in favor of a younger sister or cousin. Read more

Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson

517s2u8g0ilI first found out about Rebel Mechanics on Goodreads, and I made a request through the library network. It was available in a digital edition, which was just great- three cheers for instant gratification!

Rebel Mechanics is a YA novel written by Shanna Swendson. This is a work of historical fiction, and takes place in an alternate New York City in 1888. In this world, America did not win the Revolutionary War, and is still a British colony. The aristocracy -magisters- use magic, which is forbidden to everyone else. The working classes are developing illegal mechanical devices to overthrow the colonial government.   Read more