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The Charming Life of Izzy Malone by Jenny Lundquist

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

I have a nine-year-old daughter who loves reading, and I am always looking for new books for her. Jenny Lundquist’s The Charming Life of Izzy Malone sounded like something that my daughter would like, so I was looking forward to reading this book.

Izzy Malone is a sixth grade girl who just doesn’t fit in. To make matters worse, her mother is running for mayor of their small Napa Valley town, and Izzy is expected to be on her best behavior all the time. Izzy’s mother also signs her up for charm school, but instead of going to lessons each week, Izzy receives her assignments in the mail. If she can complete an assignment, she will receive a charm for her bracelet. Izzy tries to follow Ms. Whippie’s directions, but things don’t always go according to plan. But on the bright side, some of Izzy’s classmates are curious about what Izzy has been doing, and they want to help out.         Continue reading

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Under the Ashes by Cindy Rankin

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

Under The Ashes is a middle grade novel written by Cindy Rankin. Littlebeth is a lively and spirited girl whose spirited ways get her into trouble with her family one time too many. She is sent away to San Francisco to live with her Aunt Sally.

Almost immediately, Littlebeth notices that their kind neighbor Mr. Steinberg appears interested in Aunt Sally. But before Littlebeth can come up with a plan to bring her aunt and Mr. Steinberg together, she wakes up to a massive earthquake. Suddenly, Littlebeth must fight for survival. Between the fires that engulf the buildings that weren’t reduced to rubble, and the pandemonium amongst the survivors, this is going to be Littlebeth’s biggest challenge yet. Continue reading

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Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee

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I found Outrun the Moon on a Goodreads list a couple of months before it came out. My interest was piqued, and I added it to my queue. I found it in the New YA Books section at my town library.

Outrun the Moon is a YA novel by Stacy Lee. It takes place around the time of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. There have been a couple of recent books across various genres set during the same milieu; this is not surprising- it is the 100th anniversary of the great tragedy.

Mercy Wong is a hard working young woman living in Chinatown. She does not have any opportunities for school beyond the 8th grade in her community, and she wants nothing but the best for herself. That includes a position for herself at St. Clare’s, an exclusive girls’ school. This school is not open to Chinese girls, but Mercy finagles a position for herself. Continue reading

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Gemini by Sonya Mukherjee

81i42blouywlI received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Gemini is a YA novel by Sonya Mukherjee. It had not really been on my radar, but the premise was intriguing.

Clara and Hailey are identical twins. They have tried their best to accentuate their individuality with small things (Hailey has pink hair), but it’s virtually impossible for them to truly be individuals because they are conjoined.

There’s a big of a backstory: after the girls were born, their parents gave up their careers in Los Angeles to move to a small Northern California town to raise the girls in relative seclusion. They go to public school, and they have friends, but a smaller town means fewer prying eyes. Their mother is obsessed with keeping the girls away from the general public. She’s afraid that the girls are going to end up in the tabloids, she’s afraid of exploitation, and she’s afraid that her beautiful girls might be subjected to unkind words. Continue reading

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The Lifeboat Clique by Kathy Parks

51dw9wblpmlThe Lifeboat Clique is a young adult novel written by Kathy Parks. This book had been on my radar, so I was pleased to find it on the shelf at the library.

Denver is a relatively unpopular girl at her Southern California high school. She goes to a party thrown by the popular kids because her crush Croix invites her. Before Denver can have a cliché movie moment and kiss her crush, an earthquake strikes and then a tsunami destroys the beach house house where the party is taking place. Denver manages to scramble onto a small boat, along with a few other kids- one of whom is her ex-best friend Abigail.

The group is swept out to sea, and they have limited resources. They have no way of knowing when they will be rescued- or if there is even anything for them to go back to.  And it doesn’t seem to matter that they are in the very definition of a precarious situation; they might die of dehydration, but the popular kids are still sniping at Denver! Continue reading

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Time of Fog and Fire by Rhys Bowen

51n2bywxp8rlI received a copy of the Audible edition of Time of Fog and Fire in exchange for an honest review.

I am a big fan of Rhys Bowen’s Molly Murphy mysteries, and I have listened to the audiobook versions of some of them. I have enjoyed my previous experiences, so I was excited about the opportunity to listen to Time of Fog and Fire.

Molly (Murphy) Sullivan has halfheartedly tried to put her detective work behind her in the years following her marriage and the birth of her son, but there is always a mystery to be solved. An acquaintance insists that she has seen her husband in a newsreel featuring San Francisco, but he had no plans to be in San Francisco. Molly agrees to watch the newsreel, and is shocked to see her own Daniel in the newsreel as well. Molly knows Daniel is on assignment, but he is not supposed to be in San Francisco either. As if that were not odd enough, Molly receives an odd letter from Daniel saying things that seem very out of character. Continue reading