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The Wonderling by Mira Bartok

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The Wonderling is a middle grade novel written and illustrated by Mira Bartok. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because I have three girls in the middle grade range, and I knew this book would appeal to them.

Arthur is a young fox groundling (a sort of anthropomorphic animal). He lives in an orphanage with other groundlings, ruled by the cruel Miss Carbunkle, who metes out punishments to maintain order and has placed a permanent ban on music or anything happy. Arthur meanders through his miserable existence, but that changes when he meets Trinket. It is Trinket who gives him his name- before that, doesn’t even have a name and is referred to as Thirteen. Trinket becomes Arthur’s first friend, and she tells him wonderful stories about the world outside the Home. Arthur is terrified by change, but with Trinket’s coaxing, he agrees to escape with her. This proves to be the beginning of an amazing adventure, as Arthur tries to discover his origins. Continue reading

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The Scot Beds His Wife by Kerrigan Byrne

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The Scot Beds His Wife is a historical romance novel written by Kerrigan Byrne. It is the fifth book in the Victorian Rebels series. I thoroughly enjoyed her last book- The Duke– and I was very excited about reading this newest addition to the series.

Samantha Masters made some bad choices in the Wild West. Very bad choices. So when a chance encounter leads to an opportunity to travel to Scotland posing as an heiress to an estate, Samantha jumps at the chance to leave town and hightail it to the Highlands.

Gavin St. James, the Earl of Thorne, happens to live on the neighboring estate, and he is willing to do whatever it takes to get that land for himself. Usually, it is not very difficult for him to get what he wants from women, but his well-practiced seduction techniques are useless against this brash American. Continue reading

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Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones

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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. Continue reading

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One of Us Is Lying by Karen M McManus

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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. Continue reading

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The Dollmaker of Krakow

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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. Continue reading

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Sam the Most Scaredy-Cat Kid in the Whole World by Mo Willems

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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? Continue reading

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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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. Continue reading