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The Amateurs by Sara Shepard

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I’ve enjoyed several of Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars books, so I was excited when I found her latest book The Amateurs at the library.

Speaking of Pretty Little LiarsThe Amateurs begins in a similar fashion. The details are different, of course, but the bottom line is that Helena Kelly, a pretty girl in an affluent suburb disappears and is found dead.

Five years later, Seneca Frazier is a college student who is obsessed with the Helena Kelly case. She connects with Maddy, an online friend from a true crime/amateur sleuth website. Maddy, who is from Dexby, the town where the crime occurred, invites Seneca to come visit for Spring Break. What better way to cross-reference the details of the case? Perhaps they can uncover some clues that the police missed! Continue reading

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Long Live the Queen by Gerry Swallow

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

Long Live the Queen is a middle grade novel written by Gerry Swallow. It is the sequel to Blue in the Face, and it features the (mis)adventures of a young girl named Elspeth who needs to return to the fairy tale land of New Winkieland to help her old friends. The queen has been kidnapped, and Elspeth discovers the rescue operation might involve working with an old enemy. Continue reading

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The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters by Kara LaReau

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

I always appreciate the opportunity to read advanced copies of middle grade novels because I have three girls in elementary school. We read the books together, and their feedback helps me with my book reviews.

The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters: The Jolly Regina  is the first book in a new series by Kara LaReau. Jaundice and Kale Bland live by themselves. Their parents left on an errand several years ago, and never returned. This does not bother Jaundice and Kale; they are perfectly content to sit at home, darn socks, and eat cheese sandwiches. If there is a question that they can’t answer, they consult their beloved children’s dictionary. Their lives are simple and predictable. But one day, a mysterious visitor arrives, and Jaundice and Kale are carried off (quite literally) on an unintentional adventure featuring a ferocious crew of female pirates. Along the way, they will make friends, and more importantly, they will learn that they are intelligent and capable.   Continue reading

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Ready Set Rogue by Manda Collins

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

I was not familiar with author Manda Collins when I received the opportunity to read Ready Set Rogue, which is the first book in her new series entitled Studies in Scandal. That being said, I love historical romances set during the Regency, so I was very excited to discover a new author.

Ivy Wareham is a thorough bluestocking. She has been invited to Beauchamp House at the request of the late Lady Celeste Beauchamp to spend a year conducting research in Greek poetry. Ivy is not the only young lady invited to Beauchamp House; there are four ladies in total, and each has her own preferred field of study. While none of the four women were expecting this bequest, it comes as a pleasant surprise, and everyone is looking forward an idyllic year.

There is just one problem: Lady Celeste’s nephew- Quill Beauchamp The Marquess of Kerr- has also found out about his aunt’s odd bequest and has travelled to Beauchamp House to put a stop to the madness. He is convinced that the four young bluestockings have conspired to trick his beloved aunt into leaving them the house. Quill does realize the error of his ways, but not after Ivy confides in him and tells him that Lady Celeste may have been murdered. Continue reading

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Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist

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

I have not had the time to read very many YA novels lately, so I was very excited about the opportunity to read Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist. I am not familiar with Sundquist’s work on YouTube, but YA is one of my favorite genres, and the description piqued my interest.

Will Porter is a visually impaired teenager who is fulfilling his desire to attend a regular high school instead of the school for the blind that he has attended up until now. After some awkward encounters, Will makes some new friends, including a girl named Cecily who is in several of his classes. Continue reading

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The Adventures of Henry Whiskers by Gigi Priebe

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

I am always excited about the opportunity to read ARCs of middle grade books because my three girls are in the target demographic. Not only do we get quality time together every night, but they are able to provide valuable feedback for my book reviews.

The Adventures of Henry Whiskers is author Gigi Priebe’s first book. She transports the reader to England and introduces us to a young mouse named Henry Whiskers. Henry and his family live in Windsor Castle; specifically, they live in Queen Mary’s dollhouse, a grand edifice with functioning appliances and real books, etc. Henry is always very careful to avoid being detected by the museum staff, but when his little sister goes missing, Henry knows that he is the only one who can find her. Accompanied by his cousin Jeremy, the two mice set out on a grand adventure to rescue their beloved Isabel. Continue reading

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Four Weddings and a Sixpence by Julia Quinn & Elizabeth Boyle & Laura Lee Guhrke & Stefanie Sloane

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Julia Quinn has always been one of my favorite authors, so I was very excited about the release of Four Weddings and a Sixpence. Granted, this is an anthology, so it isn’t 100% Julia Quinn, but I like discovering new authors as well. I don’t think I’ve read anything by the other three women who contributed to this anthology, so I was going into this with tabula rasa.

Quinn herself provides us with the premise for the book via the prologue: four schoolgirls find an old sixpence in a mattress at school and declare that it is to be their lucky talisman that will aid them in their quests to marry.

Something New was written by Stefanie Sloane. In this story, Ann needs to get married by her 21st birthday. She is at a loss as to which eligible gentlemen are worth pursuing and which should be avoided. Luckily for her, Rhys Hamilton, the Duke of Dorset agrees to help her. After all, he is very familiar with Society and can answer her question. Naturally, the two fall in love. I enjoyed this novella quite a bit, although I did raise my eyebrows a little when Anne and Rhys became (ahem) closer. Perhaps acrobatics ought to be saved for future endeavors rather than when first becoming acquainted. Continue reading