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Long Live the Queen by Gerry Swallow

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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

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The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters by Kara LaReau

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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

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The Princess in Black Takes a Vacation by Shannon & Dean Hale

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

My girls are big fans of The Princess in Black series by Shannon and Dean Hale (with illustrations by LeUyen Pham), so I was very excited about the opportunity to read The Princess in Black Takes a Vacation.

This is the fourth book in the series, so that means that Princess Magnolia has been fighting monsters for quite awhile. Of course, real princesses don’t fight monsters (big wink), so she transforms into The Princess in Black when the going gets tough. All of this sneaking and costume changes and subterfuge have been quite exhausting, and Princess Magnolia decides to take a seaside vacation. Will she be able to enjoy some quiet time on the beach- or will a monster ruin her plans for rest and relaxation? Continue reading

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Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down by Jeff Kinney

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My oldest daughter is nine years old, and she has been reading the Wimpy Kid books for a few years. One of her little sisters (age 7) also likes the series, and they’re always swapping books.

The newest book came out today, so I headed over to the bookstore to buy a copy. Of course, I couldn’t resist reading the book first!

Double Down is the 11th book in Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Middle school diarist Greg Heffley is still making his way through life as an awkward tween. He deals with trials and tribulations at home and at school, including learning to play an instrument and preparing for Halloween.

My favorite part of the book had to be the book fair. I think that every parent can identify with the book fair struggle. I also loved the introduction of prolific kid-lit author I.M Spooky, whose horror novels are very popular at Greg’s school. As a child of the 90s, I appreciated the homage to R.L. Stine and his Goosebumps/Fear Street books. There are also references to other popular series, but I’ll keep that as a surprise! Continue reading

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The Last Boy at St. Edith’s by Lee Gjertsen Malone

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

I first heard about The Last Boy at St. Edith’s last summer when I began to follow author Lee Gjertsen Malone on Twitter. I knew that this was a book that I wanted to read, and I was very excited when I received an opportunity to read an advanced copy via Netgalley.

Jeremy Miner is a seventh grade student at St. Edith’s Academy. The school was coeducational for a few years, but all the other boys have moved away or transferred to other schools. Jeremy hates being the only boy at an all-girls school, but his mother will not allow him to transfer. So, Jeremy does what any reasonable person would do in this situation: he formulates a plan to get himself kicked out of school. He and his friend Claudia come up with a series of pranks, and while Jeremy tries to set guidelines about no one being humiliated or no property being damaged, things don’t always go according to plan. As Jeremy gets closer to achieving his goal, he realizes that his actions are affecting those around him- is this really what he wants? Continue reading

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Here Comes Valentine Cat by Deborah Underwood

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My three girls have been big fans of Deborah Underwood’s “Cat” series since we first discovered Here Comes Easter Cat almost two years ago. The girls were delighted by the mischievous and sarcastic cat, who just happens to have a heart of gold under his snarky façade.

Here Comes Valentine Cat follows the format of the other books: the narrator speaks directly to Cat, who responds by holding up signboards with his responses. Because cats don’t talk, of course!

Valentine’s Day is coming, and the narrator wants to know if Cat has any plans. Cat indicates that there is a dog who lives next door, but he thinks the dog is annoying. Cat plans to make some mean valentines, and to send the dog to the moon- but is the dog really as annoying as Cat says he is? Continue reading

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D.C. Trip by Sara Benincasa

51gquldopplI received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A trip to our nation’s capital city is a rite of passage for many American schoolchildren. I sold candy bars and wrapping paper to offset the cost of a sixth grade trip in 1991. Now, given that the internet was not invented yet, and we had not been emboldened by social media, I cannot report any shenanigans aside from eating handful of salt at a suburban Virginia Chi-Chi’s. When I received an opportunity to read Sara Benincasa’s new novel D.C. Trip, I was very excited. A group of high school students with only two chaperones- what could possibly go wrong? Continue reading