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Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

61uonxdctxlWolf Hollow is a middle grade novel written by Lauren Wolk. This book had been on my radar since before it was published, and I finally got around to reading it a couple of weeks ago.

Annabelle lives with her family in a small Pennsylvania town called Wolf Hollow. The year is 1943, and there is a war going on, but life is relatively peaceful in their bucolic corner. That changes when Betty Glengarry is sent to Wolf Hollow to live with her grandparents. It is known that Betty was sent away because of her behavior, and instead of changing her ways in her new surroundings, she bullies Annabelle and her brothers.

Betty proves that she is conniving and manipulative when she begins to blame Toby for acts that she has committed. Toby was not born in Wolf Hollow, but he has been living in the countryside around the town for several years. He lives like a hermit, and keeps his interactions with other people to a minimum. He has always been a benign presence, but Betty’s claims call his trustworthiness into question. When Betty disappears, Toby is implicated. Continue reading

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Gemini by Sonya Mukherjee

81i42blouywlI received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Gemini is a YA novel by Sonya Mukherjee. It had not really been on my radar, but the premise was intriguing.

Clara and Hailey are identical twins. They have tried their best to accentuate their individuality with small things (Hailey has pink hair), but it’s virtually impossible for them to truly be individuals because they are conjoined.

There’s a big of a backstory: after the girls were born, their parents gave up their careers in Los Angeles to move to a small Northern California town to raise the girls in relative seclusion. They go to public school, and they have friends, but a smaller town means fewer prying eyes. Their mother is obsessed with keeping the girls away from the general public. She’s afraid that the girls are going to end up in the tabloids, she’s afraid of exploitation, and she’s afraid that her beautiful girls might be subjected to unkind words. Continue reading

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An Untimely Frost by Penny Richards

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

I love historical mysteries, especially those set in the 19th century. I tend to prefer books set in England, but I was excited about the opportunity to read An Untimely Frost, which is set in 1881 Illinois. This is the first book in a new series by Penny Richards.

Lilly Long is an accomplished actress, who has spent most of her young life performing with a traveling theatre troupe. The book begins with the dramatic revelation that her new husband is a cheat and a con man, who assaults her and flees with her life savings.

Lilly is the impulsive type, so when she sees that the famous Pinkerton Agency is hiring, she sees an opportunity for a new career. Her employers are naturally skeptical that such a young woman would be able to handle the rigorous nature of being a detective, but Lilly points out that her skillset as an actress would prove useful in the field of private detection. Continue reading

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Henry and Beezus by Beverly Cleary

51dauu2xfelMy three girls and I have been listening to the Henry Huggins series in the car. A couple of years ago, Audible had a great sale and I picked up most of Beverly Cleary’s book for about $4 apiece. The girls had not really been interested in listening to the books before, but we have been reading the Ramona books, and they recognized Henry as one of the minor characters from the Ramona series. He’s much older than Ramona, so they don’t really cross paths in her books, but she plays the role of young antagonist in his books. This was enough for them, and they were sold.

Henry and Beezus is the second book in the Henry Huggins series. Henry is a ten-year-old boy living in Oregon. He has a dog named Ribsy, and many neighborhood friends. There are many small incidents throughout the book, but the main theme revolves around Henry’s attempts to earn enough money to buy a bike. This proves to be rather difficult, and involves dubious schemes like finding boxes of gum in a vacant lot and selling it to his friends at school. Will Henry ever be able to earn the money for a bicycle of his very own? Continue reading

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Ramona the Brave by Beverly Cleary

51hzm0gexylI have been reading the Ramona series with my seven year old twins. We are also listening to the Henry Huggins series in the car, so 2016 is officially our Beverly Cleary summer.

Ramona the Brave takes place almost a year after the events in Ramona the Pest. Ramona is now a first grader. She is proud that she is no longer a “kindergarten baby”, but she must get used to a new classroom and a new routine. The book begins with Ramona standing up to boys on the playground who are teasing her big sister about her nickname (Beezus). Towards the end of the book, Ramona has an encounter with a big dog- can she still be brave? Continue reading

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A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

51im2bhf5szlMy absolute favorite book genre is boarding school stories, and also I love Sherlock Holmes stories and spinoffs… so I was very excited about A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro. This YA novel is the first in a planned trilogy about a new Holmes and Watson pairing.

Jamie Watson is an English boy at an American boarding school- the same school that Charlotte Holmes attends. They are the descendants of the famous Holmes and Watson, and Charlotte has been demonstrating her aptitude for sleuthing since she was a child. Jamie, however, has not had any opportunities to sleuth, and he feels simultaneously awkward and excited when that opportunity arises unexpectedly.

A student is found dead- a rather nasty fellow- one whom both Jamie and Charlotte had negative encounters with in the very recent past. So, in order to avoid implication in the boy’s death, Holmes and Watson must try to solve the case. Continue reading

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The Wicked Boy by Kate Summerscale

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

I enjoy reading about Victorian history, so I was very excited about the opportunity to read The Wicked Boy by Kate Summerscale. This is my first experience with her, and I will definitely look for her other Victorian books in the future!

During the summer of 1895, a pair of brothers named Robert and Nattie Coombes told their neighbors and relatives that their mother had gone away for awhile. They invited a family friend to stay with them for company; instead of staying in the upstairs bedrooms, they camped out downstairs. They took trips to Lord’s to see a cricket match, and they sent their family friend to pawn some household items. Eventually, relatives began to doubt the veracity of the boys’ tale and entered the locked bedroom. Mrs. Coombes was found dead, and the boys were arrested for murder. Continue reading