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Perennials by Mandy Berman

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

Perennials is author Mandy Berman’s debut novel. I was looking forward to reading this book because I spent seven summers at sleepaway camp as both a camper and a counselor, so I could relate to the subject matter and wanted to see how this (albeit fictional) account compared to my own experiences.

Rachel lives in an apartment in the city with her single mother and Fiona lives in a big house in Westchester with her family. But when they meet at summer camp as girls, they find that they have a lot in common.   Continue reading

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Yours Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick

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

Yours Truly is the second book in Heather Vogel Frederick’s Pumpkin Falls mystery series. This book is narrated by Truly Lovejoy, who is turning thirteen as the story begins. It is Spring Break, and Truly’s cousin is coming to visit New Hampshire- all the way from Texas.

There is a lot going on in this book. In addition to the typical trials and tribulations of a middle schooler, we also have maple syrup season, the swim team, vandalism that threatens to tear the small town apart, and discoveries of a historical significance. It almost seemed like there was too much going on for one book, but I’m not sure which aspect of the plot could be eliminated without leaving a noticeable void. Continue reading

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The Amateurs by Sara Shepard

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I’ve enjoyed several of Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars books, so I was excited when I found her latest book The Amateurs at the library.

Speaking of Pretty Little LiarsThe Amateurs begins in a similar fashion. The details are different, of course, but the bottom line is that Helena Kelly, a pretty girl in an affluent suburb disappears and is found dead.

Five years later, Seneca Frazier is a college student who is obsessed with the Helena Kelly case. She connects with Maddy, an online friend from a true crime/amateur sleuth website. Maddy, who is from Dexby, the town where the crime occurred, invites Seneca to come visit for Spring Break. What better way to cross-reference the details of the case? Perhaps they can uncover some clues that the police missed! Continue reading

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Brightwood by Tania Unsworth

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

Brightwood is a middle grade novel written by Tania Unsworth. This was originally published under the title The Secret Life of Daisy Fitzjohn, but the name was changed for the American edition.

Daisy Fitzjohn is a young girl living in a manor house in England. Her life is quite unconventional. To begin with, she has never left Brightwood Hall; this is a modern story, so never having left her house is unusual. Daisy has wondered about the outside world, but she is content to remain at home while her mother leaves the house for provisions. And if being isolated from the outside world was not enough, it is immediately clear that Daisy’s mother is a hoarder. Daisy is unfazed by the unconventional lifestyle; after all, she doesn’t know that anything is amiss. She is content to converse with her friends, like the rat named Tar and a topiary horse. Continue reading

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The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell

611eueyzcylI received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  The Girls in the Garden will be available on June 7th, 2016.

The Girls in the Garden is author Lisa Jewell’s latest book, and begins with the discovery of a young girl in a London park. She has been hurt, and possibly also assaulted. Who could have done this to her?

The plot shifts to “Before” the incident. Sisters Pip and Grace have just moved with their mother Clare to a new home that opens up to a private park. They meet the other families who live in the nearby houses; there are several other children around the same age as the girls, and friendships are formed. Continue reading

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Nannyland by Jane Elizabeth Hughes

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

I’m a huge Anglophile, so I was very excited about the opportunity to read Nannyland by Jane Elizabeth Hughes. I have enjoyed several versions of the “lord of the manor falls in love with the governess” in historical romance, and I was interested to see how this would scenario would play out in a contemporary novel.

Jordan Greene is not actually the nanny. Well, she is, but that’s a long story. Jordan fled NYC and her career in finance after being fired from her job. She settles in the gatekeeper’s cottage on an English estate, and prepares to write her tell-all book. She inadvertently becomes the nanny while helping to search for a more permanent nanny. Continue reading

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Calvin by Martine Leavitt

51ukzkyygalI received this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I was not familiar with author Martine Leavitt when I received the opportunity to review her novel Calvin, but I was intrigued by the premise. My oldest daughter is a huge fan of Calvin and Hobbes, and her passion has helped me to rediscover a comic strip from my youth. I used to love reading Calvin and Hobbes with my father, who passed away a few years ago, so it is very special that my daughter loves Calvin and Hobbes as much as he did.

I do want to clarify that Leavitt’s novel Calvin is intended for a young adult audience. Calvin is the story of a young man named Calvin who believes he has a personal connection to the famous comic strip. Not only does he share a name with Calvin, but he also has a stuffed tiger named Hobbes, and he was born on the day the last strip was published. The stuffed Hobbes was lost in a washing machine accident years ago, but he has returned- except this time, Calvin is the only one who can hear Hobbes talking. This is one of the reasons that lead to Calvin’s diagnosis with schizophrenia. He is convinced that there is a connection between his life and the fictional Calvin. He needs to persuade Bill Watterson to draw one last strip in order to cure his schizophrenia. So, Calvin decides to walk across a frozen Lake Erie with his neighbor Susie in order to meet Bill Watterson. Continue reading