A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn

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A Perilous Undertaking is the second book in Deanna Raybourn’s Veronica Speedwell series of Victorian era mystery. I enjoyed the first book in this series a couple of years ago, but I have only recently been able to read this book.

Readers should definitely read the first book in the series before tackling this one. Not only are there major revelations, but readers will appreciate the simmering tension between Veronica and Stoker. I will allude to some of these revelations from the first book because they are central to the second book, but I will not reveal anything outright.

Veronica finds herself tasked with another mystery to solve: Miles Ramsforth, a famous patron of the arts, has been accused of murdering his mistress. He has been convicted of the crime, and he is going to be hanged in less than a fortnight. However, someone very important- with connections to Veronica’s mysterious parentage- has reason to believe that Miles has been framed. Read more

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My Bare Naked Heart by David Avery

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My Bare Naked Heart is a novel written by David Avery. I found it on Kindle Unlimited, and since I’ve been reading a lot of historical m/m lately, it seemed like the sort of book that I would enjoy.

John Branson is starting college at an all-male college in Vermont. He quickly falls in with the other young men in his dormitory, and this causes him to question his sexuality even more than he already has been. However, it is the 1950s, so coming out is absolutely impossible. Read more

Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey

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Suitors and Sabotage is Cindy Anstey’s third novel. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because I’ve enjoyed her other books. The novels are unconnected, but they all take place in Regency England, which is one of my favorite historical eras.

Imogene Chively has just finished her first Season in London, and is looking forward to spending the summer with her family and friends as they take turns hosting each other at a series of house parties. One of her suitors has received permission to visit her; Imogene is not particularly interested in pursuing a courtship with the young man, but she doesn’t really have much of a choice in the matter. When the earnest young man- named Ernest, of course- arrives, he brings his brother Ben along as well.

Imogene discovers that she has a lot more in common with Ben. They develop a rapport quickly, and Imogene agrees to give Ben art lessons to bolster his skills as a budding architect. Read more

Jolly Foul Play by Robin Stevens

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Jolly Foul Play is a middle grade novel written by Robin Stevens. It is the fourth Wells & Wong Mystery that features Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong, the intrepid schoolgirl sleuths. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book with my oldest daughter because I had a feeling she would like it.

Hazel and Daisy are back at Deepdean for another year, and there have been a lot of changes. Elizabeth, the new Head Girl, is very cruel to the younger girls. She and her five friends rule the school, and there are severe repercussions for the most minor of infractions. On Bonfire Night, Elizabeth is found dead on the playing field. The Headmistress insists it was an accident, but Hazel and Daisy are convinced that it is murder- especially after someone begins releasing secrets about the girls at the school. It is time for the Detective Society to reconvene and solve their fourth murder! Read more

The Orphan Band of Springdale by Anne Nesbet

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The Orphan Band of Springdale is a middle grade novel written by Anne Nesbet. I always read the middle grade novels I receive with my oldest daughter, so I was excited about the opportunity to share another book with her.

Gusta Neubronner arrives in Sprindale, Maine to stay with her mother’s family. She wants nothing more than to fit in with her new classmates, but she immediately stands out when she fails an eye exam on the first day of school. Gusta has always known that she needs glasses, but she always used coping mechanisms like memorization to “pass” the test. Glasses are a luxury that she doesn’t think her family can afford.

Gusta also stands out because of her “foreign” name. It’s 1941, and her school is engaged in activities that highlight what it means to be a Real American, and what they as children can do to be patriots. Gusta wants to do her part, but she is also struck by the injustice that she sees around her. Her father is actually on the run from the authorities for his role in labor organization. Read more

Herding Cats by Sarah Andersen

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Herding Cats was created by Sarah Andersen, and it is a collection of her Sarah’s Scribbles comic. I was excited about the opportunity to read this book because I’ve seen some of Andersen’s comics shared on social media, and I appreciate her brand of humor.

Herding Cats is an astute look at “adulting”, and how stressful modern life can be. There is a new comic on each page, and the jokes are more observational humor rather than a cohesive storyline with characters. Some of the jokes are broad, like time management and being anxiety prone. Some of the jokes are oddly specific, like trying (and ultimately failing) to refold a shirt at a clothing store. But all of the jokes were relatable to me as a thirtysomething year old woman. Read more

Big Nate: Silent but Deadly by Lincoln Peirce

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Big Nate: Silent but Deadly was written by Lincoln Peirce. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because my oldest daughter is a big fan of the Big Nate comic strip and I knew that she would be interested in reading it too.

Nate is an average American boy who goes to elementary school. He has somewhat of a contentious relationship with teachers and administrators, and he has friends and adversaries within the school community. He’s a bright boy, but he doesn’t like to do schoolwork, which is something most children can empathize with. He plays sports, and interacts with his family. Read more

Unicorn of Many Hats by Dana Simpson

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Unicorn of Many Hats is the seventh book in Dana Simpson’s Phoebe and her Unicorn series of comics. I was very excited to read this book and share it with my oldest daughter because she loves this series.

The premise is fairly simple: Phoebe is an elementary school student, and her best friend is a unicorn named Marigold Heavenly Nostrils. Marigold is mostly invisible, but she does have some interactions with the other characters.

Unicorn of Many Hats tends to follow a similar setup to the other books, wherein the good part of a year is covered, without the characters really aging from one book to another. There are story arcs devoted to starting school, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Many of the familiar secondary characters have returned, including frenemy Dakota, Max, Phoebe’s geeky parents, and even the goblins make an appearance. Read more

Why Kill the Innocent by C.S. Harris

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Why Kill the Innocent is the thirteenth book in C.S. Harris’ Sebastian St. Cyr series of Regency-era historical mysteries. I was excited about the opportunity to read this book because I read the twelfth book last year and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, is thrust into yet another mystery when a well-born woman is found dead on a London street. Jane Ambrose was no ordinary woman; she was a talented musician, who was working as Princess Charlotte’s piano instructor. The palace insists that Jane’s death was merely an unfortunate accident, but Sebastian suspects that something is being covered up. As he conducts interviews, Sebastian realizes that there are multiple possibilities surrounding Jane’s murder, but he remains determined to explore all avenues in his search for justice. Read more

S.T.A.G.S. by M.A. Bennett

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S.T.A.G.S. is a young adult novel written by M.A. Bennett. This book had piqued my interest because I love boarding school stories, and I was very excited when I finally had the opportunity to read it.

Greer is a new student at St. Aidan the Great, a posh English boarding school. She doesn’t really fit in with her peers, so needless to say, she is quite surprised when she receives an invitation to spend the weekend at the country estate of the most popular boy in the school. Henry and his friends are collectively known as the Medievals, and they serve as school prefects.

Greer is enchanted by the sumptuous estate, and flattered by the attention from Henry. She’s so wrapped up in these superficial details that she fails to notice that the weekend of “Huntin’, Shootin’, and Fishin’” has taken a sinister turn. She and her fellow guests must band together if they are going to survive the weekend. Read more