2

Long Live the Queen by Gerry Swallow

51ua5haxnzl-_sx329_bo1204203200_

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

0

The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters by Kara LaReau

61zxjt4q4vl-_sx364_bo1204203200_

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

0

The Adventures of Henry Whiskers by Gigi Priebe

51e9e62bxyyl-_sx332_bo1204203200_

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

0

Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood by Liesl Shurtliff

51wa5tvta3lI received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My oldest daughter is almost nine years old, so I have recruited her to help me with the middle grade ARCs that I receive from Netgalley. She is a voracious reader, but she tends to gravitate towards comics and graphic novels rather than novels. Reading together gives her the opportunity to expand her repertoire, and I get some great feedback from the target demographic.

We just finished reading Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood. This is Liesl Shurtliff’s third novel featuring fairytale characters. Red’s grandmother is feeling ill, and a basket of goodies is not enough to restore her to good health. Red’s grandmother happens to be a witch, but she is too sick to prepare a potion for herself.   Red sets out to gather the ingredients for a restorative draught, but it proves to be a more difficult job than she anticipated. As if that wasn’t bad enough, a pesky girl named Goldie insists on tagging along, and Red can’t shake the feeling that they are being followed! Continue reading

0

Uncle Louie’s Fantastic Sea Voyage by Jan Loof

My oldest daughter and I have been reading the advanced copies of middle grade books that I receive from Netgalley. I wanted to be able to include my twins, who are a little too young for middle grade books. So, my twins and I have been reading books from the Best Book Club Ever. You might remember these books from the late 1970s and early 1980s. They have been picking one book each night, and I have been enjoying rediscovering some childhood favorites.

Uncle Louie’s Fantastic Sea Voyage was written by Jan Loof, and it was originally published in 1977.

Rusty is a young boy who enjoys tinkering with things. As the story begins, Rusty’s parents are going away, and are leaving him with his Uncle Louie. Rusty is pleased with this; his uncle has a scrap yard, and also enjoys tinkering. Uncle Louie has a grand plan to sail to Africa in a paddle streamer that he is building himself. Rusty meets Uncle Louie’s friend Millstone, who looks very mysterious. Rusty stows away on the boat, and sees Millstone casting some magical spells- but can the boat and the spells really take them all the way to Africa? Continue reading

0

Frozen: Across the Sea by Ruth Homberg

51exkwmm5plI found Frozen: Across the Sea at my town library, and I grabbed it because my girls are fans of Frozen. This is a level 2 “Step Into Reading” book.

Across the Sea is a brand new adventure featuring Anna and Elsa. The two sisters are going on a trip. They visit two different lands, and finally, they visit the Duke of Weselton. The land of Weselton is in the middle of a heat wave, so Elsa uses her powers to make it snow. Everyone is happy to be cooled off; the duke is allegedly happy too, but he still looks as grumpy as ever! The story ends with Anna and Elsa heading back home after a lovely trip. Continue reading

0

The Secrets of the Pied Piper: The Peddler’s Road by Matthew Cody

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher.

The story of the Pied Piper is a famous folktale. We know that the Piped Piper lured the children of Hamelin from their beds, and led them away. We know that they were never seen again, but we don’t know what happened to the children. In a new middle grade novel, author Matthew Cody explores this premise in The Secrets of the Pied Piper: The Peddler’s Road.

Max (short for Maxine) and Carter are two children living in the modern era. They are staying in Hamelin with their father, a folklorist. By the time they realize they are caught up in the Pied Piper story, they are whisked away and taken to the Summer Isle.

The original children of Hamelin have made their home on the Summer Isle. They are aware that they have been there for a long time, but they have no idea that they have been living there for 800 years. Their bodies have not aged, but they have lost their memories of their homes and their families.

They tell Carter and Max that life on the Summer Isle is not always idyllic, and that terrifying creatures come out at night, like the giant rats. They also tell Max and Carter that they believe that their arrival signals fulfillment of an ancient prophecy. The two modern children must set aside everything they have been told about magic not existing, and join their new friends on a quest to the other side of the Summer Isle. The journey is long and dangerous, but if Max and Carter ever want to get home, they need to search for the secrets of the island and its most famous resident.

Over the course of the story, Max and Carter must both search evaluate what they want from life. Max is brash and abrasive, and needs to learn to work with the other children. Carter wears a brace on his leg, and has always been more of an observer. But on the Summer Isle, the other children value his opinion. He has an opportunity to take on more of a leadership role, but he needs to believe in himself.

In addition to a village of ageless children, Cody has filled the island with all sorts of magical creatures. From the mischief of rats (the proper name for a group of rats) enmeshed in a power struggle, to the house on chicken legs owned by a witch, the island is teeming with magic. The children of New Hamelin (as they have named their village) have held their own for hundreds of years, but can they withstand this latest onslaught?

I would recommend The Peddler’s Road. This is the first installment of a planned trilogy called The Secrets of the Pied Piper. I knew this, but I was still a little surprised when the story ended so suddenly. Talk about a cliffhanger! This is a fun and original adventure story. There is plenty of excitement and some scariness, which makes this ideal middle grade fare. I am certainly excited for the next book in the series, and I suppose I will have to content myself with reading Matthew Cody’s other books in the meantime.