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The Best Mistake Mystery by Sylvia McNicoll

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

The Best Mistake Mystery is a middle grade novel written by Sylvia McNicoll. Stephen Nobel doesn’t really fit in with the other kids at school, especially after his best friend moved away last year. Stephen tends to hyperfocus on his mistakes, but he takes pleasure in helping his father with the family dog walking business. Continue reading

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Argyle Fox by Marie Letourneau

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

Argyle Fox is a picture book written and illustrated by Marie Letourneau. The titular little fox wants nothing more than to play outside, but the wind ruins his plans. Animal friends try to warn him about the wind, but he ignores their advice- and then feels frustrated that his games are spoiled. Isn’t there anything that Argyle can do on a windy day? Continue reading

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Sherlock Sam and the Sinister Letters in Bras Basah by A.J. Low

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

Sherlock Sam and the Sinister Letters in Bras Basah is the third book in A.J. Low’s Sherlock Sam series. Sherlock Sam is a young boy who lives in Singapore and solves mysteries with his friends and robot sidekick. In this book, Sam and his friends participate in an exchange program and spend a week attending an international school. This coincides with Sam being tasked with finding out who is sending threatening letters to an author via his son who attends the international school.  Of course, the island is in the middle of a chain mail letter game, so it seems almost impossible to figure out who is sending the threatening letters! Continue reading

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The Mesmerist by Ronald L. Smith

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

The Mesmerist is a middle grade novel written by Ronald L. Smith. It contains elements of several of my favorite things, so I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book.

Thirteen-year-old Jess lives with her mother. They earn their living from conducting séances, using trickery to put on a good show for their wealthy clients. However, that all changes when they receive an actual supernatural message. It turns out that Jess’ mother has been keeping secrets, and Jess learns more about her parents’ past on a trip to London. Continue reading

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These Ruthless Deeds by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas

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

I enjoyed reading These Vicious Masks last year, and found the combination of teenagers with extraordinary powers (like the X-Men) placed in Victorian England to be highly original.

These Ruthless Deeds is a young adult novel written by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas. It begins not too long after the events in These Vicious Masks, and protagonist Evelyn is still processing what happened at the end of the first book in the series. However, she is preoccupied by her family’s move to London for the “Little Season” and everything that entails. She learns more about a shadowy organization that oversees “Aberrants”: what is her place is supposed to be within the group and what are the group’s true intentions? The love triangle from the first book returns in a sequel; what good is a YA novel if there are not at least two gentlemen vying for the attention of the plucky protagonist? Continue reading

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Ramona and Her Mother by Beverly Cleary

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I’m so happy that my girls enjoy reading as much as I do. We try to read together every night, and we also listen to a lot of audiobooks in the car. We’ve read several of Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books, so when the girls asked if we could listen to a story, I put on Ramona and Her Mother.

Ramona and Her Mother is the fifth book in the Ramona series, and it takes place immediately after the events of Ramona and Her Father. Some of the other books in the series jump forward to the next school year, but Ramona and Her Father ends with a Christmas pageant and Ramona and Her Mother begins with a New Year’s Day brunch.

In this book, Ramona struggles to find her place within her family. She has some moments of introspection when little Willa Jean acts like a pest, and Ramona is indignant when people compare Willa Jean to her. Ramona has always appreciated being the baby of the family, but now feels left out when she sees her sister Beezus helping their mother with chores. Continue reading

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The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

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

The Bone Witch is a YA fantasy novel written by Rin Chupeco. It is the first entry in a planned series.

Tea (whose name is not pronounced like the beverage) is a young girl living in a world surrounded by magic. Witches are valued for their power, but when Tea accidentally brings her brother back from the dead, she learns that there is a limit to society’s tolerance for witchcraft.

Bone witches are scorned, but they are also an integral component in keeping the world a safe place. Bone witches are a scarce commodity, so Tea is fortunate to find a mentor who can help her. Most of the book is devoted to Tea undergoing training to understand how to utilize her power. Continue reading