The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency: The Case of the Missing Moonstone by Jordan Stratford

I have always loved learning about 19th century England, and reading stories set in that era. So, when I saw The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency, my interest was piqued. Subtitled The Case of the Missing Moonstone, this is the first entry in a planned series written by Jordan Stratford and illustrated by Kelly Murphy.

The story is set in 1826, and it begins with a young girl named Mary traveling to a grand house to study with the young occupant of said house- a young girl named Ada. Lady Ada is three years younger, but Mary quickly learns that her new friend is very intelligent. The girls form the Wollstonecraft Detective Agency, and they receive a request from a debutante who wants assistance with recovering a stolen jewel. The lady’s maid has confessed to the crime, but the debutante insists that the maid is innocent. Is she innocent? Can Lady Ada and Mary track down the real culprit? Read more

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All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

I read almost all of All The Bright Places yesterday. I didn’t intend to read the entire book in one day. I started reading Friday night, and then I picked the book up again the next morning. I had a hard time putting it down. I read while the girls were at Kumon, and then I read here and there during the day. I was absolutely captivated, and by the end of the book, I was profoundly moved. This is a book that is going to stay with me for a long time.

All The Bright Places is a young adult novel by Jennifer Niven. It is, as the cover states, “the story of a boy called Finch and a girl named Violet”. Finch (Theodore) and Violet meet one day in the bell tower at school. Everyone expects that Finch is up there because he plans to jump off, but no one has any idea that Violet is up there for the same reason. In fact, Violet is credited with saving Finch that day, and no one knows the truth- except for Finch. Read more

The Edge of Dreams by Rhys Bowen

I am a relative newcomer to Rhys Bowen’s Molly Murphy mystery series. I absolutely devoured her Royal Spyness series, and finding myself in need of more delightful mysteries, I moved on to Molly Murphy. When I saw an opportunity to receive a copy of The Edge of Dreams in exchange for a fair and honest review, I eagerly submitted a request. To make a long story short, my review copy was lost in the 100 inches of snow that the Boston area received in the month of February, but Ms. Bowen was gracious enough to send out another copy.

The Edge of Dreams is the fourteenth Molly Murphy mystery. Molly is still happily married to NYPD Captain Daniel Sullivan, and their son Liam is approaching his first birthday. Molly and Liam have returned from Paris, and are preparing to move back into their home. Daniel has been receiving notes from a deranged individual who claims responsibility for deaths that had appeared to be accidents. But the older woman was pushed in front of the carriage, the student was poisoned, etc. There is no obvious connection between the victims, and Captain Sullivan is stumped. Read more

Mr. Grumpy’s Outing by John Burningham

We have been enjoying our summer. We’ve been swimming at the lake, swimming at the pool, and doing lots and lots of reading. I have also tied screen time to workbook pages, and I signed my girls up for Kumon. Kumon is a tutoring program originally based in Japan, and it places emphasis on repetition to ensure mastery of a subject. They offer math and reading programs, ranging from basic preschool skills to high school. My oldest girl is going into second grade, and she is a dynamo reader. She could use a little boost in math to make sure that she has her addition facts down before she goes back to school. Likewise, my younger girls are going to Kindergarten in the fall, and one of them could use some help with letters and letter sounds, so I signed her up for reading. The other twin is pretty well rounded, but I didn’t want her to feel left out, so I signed her up for math.

One of the benefits of the reading program is that it allows the student to bring home a book after every session. We were sent home with Mr. Grumpy’s Outing, a picture book written and illustrated by John Burningham. Read more

The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door by Karen Finneyfrock

The Sweet Revenge of Celia Door is a young adult novel by Karen Finneyfrock. I found it at my town library displayed on the end of a shelf. The cover intrigued me, and the plot synopsis on the flap made me add the book to my checkout pile.

The novel begins as Celia is entering high school in Hershey, PA. She has turned “dark” over the summer. She explains rather early in the novel what turning dark entails, but she doesn’t go into the reasons behind her decision until the novel is almost over. To Celia, being dark mean no longer caring about what people think of her, and no longer trying to fit in. Celia is also determined to exact revenge on a Queen Bee type girl named Sandy, who did something terrible last year during eighth grade. Read more

The Museum of Intangible Things by Wendy Wunder

I read The Museum of Intangible Things immediately after finishing Great. Both of these novels fall into the young adult genre, but they could not have been more different. Great is a modern version of The Great Gatsby, and filled with fabulously wealthy teens behaving badly. Hannah and Zoe, the main characters in The Museum of Intangible Things, live in a rural part of New Jersey, where there have been cutbacks at the local high school, and no one has very much extra money.

The Museum of Intangible Things was written by Wendy Wunder. As I have mentioned, Hannah and Zoe are best friends. Hannah is the practical sort, and Zoe is much more esoteric. But, like they say, opposites attract, and somehow, they make their friendship work. Read more

Great by Sara Benincasa

I have close to 30 books on my reading list, and that doesn’t include books that I have purchased for my Kindle. That being said, one of the books that I was the most excited about was Great, a modern re-telling of The Great Gatsby. This young adult novel was written by Sara Benincasa.

The biggest change is that Nick and Gatsby are both female characters in Beninicasa’s version. Naomi Rye is a Chicago-bred teen with divorced parents who spends her summers in the Hamptons with her social climbing mother. Now, let’s pause for a moment to acknowledge the wry (ha, do you see what I did there?) pun with the surname Rye and the original novel’s Carraway. Well played, Sara- well played! Read more

Noggin by John Corey Whaley

Noggin is another novel that I requested from the library before it was released. And once I received my copy, it took me about a month to read it because I had several books in my reading queue that I needed to read first. Now that I have read it, I want to read author John Corey Whaley’s first novel, Where Things Come Back.

Cryogenics has been a fascinating subject for me. I think I recall it being a topic in Matt Groening comics, and I also remember growing up in suburban Los Angeles and hearing rumors that Walt Disney was cryogenically frozen- under the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, no less.

So, I approached Noggin with great interest. The story involves a young man named Travis who reawakens five years after his death. He was saved because he and his parents chose to have his healthy head removed from his cancer-ravaged body and frozen. Medical advancements have come much quicker than expected, and the technology needed to ensure that the surgery can take place is a success arrives five years later. Read more