Murder, Magic, and What We Wore is a young adult novel written by Kelly Jones. I was excited about the opportunity to read this book because it is set in the Regency era, one of my absolute favorite historical periods.
Annis Whitworth is a young woman whose life is thrown into upheaval by her father’s death. She did not know her father very well because he was often traveling, and his sudden death prompts many questions about his occupation. This event also seems to serve as the catalyst for Annis learning that she can sew “glamours” that transform garments and the person wearing them. Read more
One of Us Is Lying is a young adult novel written by Karen M. McManus. I found it on the new release shelf at my town library.
Five teens walk into detention: Bronwyn is an academic overachiever, Addy is a pretty girl, Nate is a drug dealer, Cooper is a baseball star, and Simon is brooding and aloof. They are all there because they were caught with cell phones during class. There’s just one problem- the phones aren’t actually theirs and none of them have any idea what the phones are doing in their bags. They are a rather eclectic group, and don’t necessarily run in the same social circles. Being in detention for a something they didn’t actually do is the least of their concerns because by the end of detention, one of the five is dead. Read more
The Dollmaker of Krakow is a middle grade novel written by R.M. Romero. My three girls are in the middle grade range, and so I always end up reading the children’s fiction I receive with them because their feedback is invaluable.
Karolina lived quite happily in the Land of the Dolls until the rats invaded. Her peaceful existence was shattered as the rats began a reign of terror. When things are looking their bleakest, Karolina awakens in a toy shop in the city of Krakow. She meets Mr. Brzezick, the Dollmaker who brought her to life. At first, the Dollmaker is shocked that Karolina can speak to him, but he quickly accepts the magic for what it is. Read more
Sam the Most Scaredy-Cat Kid in the Whole World is a picture book written and illustrated by Mo Willems. It’s somewhat of a sequel to Leonardo the Terrible Monster, which has always been one of our favorite Willems books. I preordered this book six months ago, and everybody was so excited when it finally arrived.
Sam is a little boy who is afraid of everything except for his monster friend Leonardo. One day, Sam and Leonardo meet Kerry and Frankenthaler, who are a girl and monster duo. Both children are scared, and it is quickly established that they are not afraid of the unfamiliar monster- they are afraid of the unfamiliar child. What can Leonardo and Frankenthaler do to help their kids see that they might have more in common than they thought? Read more
The Hate U Give is a young adult novel written by Angie Thomas. I kept hearing about how amazing it was, so I requested a copy through my library network.
Starr Carter is a typical teenager who searches for her place in the world. Her parents want her to have more opportunities than her urban neighborhood can offer, so they sacrifice to send her to a private school in the suburbs where she is one of the only African American students. She drifts between these two worlds, not feeling entirely comfortable in either. She is excited to reconnect with her best friend Khalil at a party, but when Khalil offers her a ride home, their car is pulled over and Khalil is shot by the police officer. Starr is the only witness, and initially, she takes solace in her anonymity. But when the police officer claims that she and Khalil were combative and that his actions were self-defense, Starr knows that she has to speak out. Read more
Elsie Mae Has Something to Say is a middle grade novel written by Nancy J. Cavanaugh. I was excited about the opportunity to read this book because we’ve read Cavanaugh’s last book- Just Like Me.
This book takes us back to the 1930s, and we are immediately introduced to Elsie Mae, a young girl living near the Okefenokee Swamp. The swamp is very dear to her heart; not only do her grandparents and uncles live there, but Elsie has spent the last several summers with her grandparents. As the story begins, Elsie Mae is mailing a letter to the White House because she has heard about a canal project that would cut right through her beloved swamp. Elsie Mae is determined to do something about this, and fervently hopes that her letter will reach President Roosevelt’s desk.
The summer starts out well enough- Elsie’s Uncle Owen presents her with a dog, something she has always wanted. Elsie is looking forward to spending the summer becoming acquainted with the dog, but she faces two obstacles: the arrival of her cousin Henry James (who wants to be a preacher when he grows up) and the news that there are no good hog bandits on the loose in the Okefenokee. Read more
Last Gentleman Standing is a Regency-era romance novel written by Jane Ashford. It was first published in 1980 under the title Bluestocking and appears to have been out of print for 25 years.
Elisabeth Elham is a twenty four year old schoolteacher who receives a large inheritance from an uncle she has never met. She rendezvous with two slightly younger cousins who she has also never met, and they are joined by an older cousin to serve as chaperone. This cobbled together family begins renovations on their country estate and also sets up a house in London. Read more
The Property of Lies is the second book in Marjorie Eccles’ series of mystery books featuring Detective Herbert Reardon. It takes place a couple of years after the first book, Heirs and Assigns, and this book has our intrepid detective investigating a murder at a girls’ boarding school.
Coincidentally, Reardon’s wife has just accepted a position at the school because the last French teacher disappeared. Not too much later, the missing teacher’s body in a dilapidated corner of the property. Read more