Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones

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Murder, Magic, and What We Wore is a young adult novel written by Kelly Jones. I was excited about the opportunity to read this book because it is set in the Regency era, one of my absolute favorite historical periods.

Annis Whitworth is a young woman whose life is thrown into upheaval by her father’s death. She did not know her father very well because he was often traveling, and his sudden death prompts many questions about his occupation. This event also seems to serve as the catalyst for Annis learning that she can sew “glamours” that transform garments and the person wearing them. Read more

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The Dollmaker of Krakow

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The Dollmaker of Krakow is a middle grade novel written by R.M. Romero. My three girls are in the middle grade range, and so I always end up reading the children’s fiction I receive with them because their feedback is invaluable.

Karolina lived quite happily in the Land of the Dolls until the rats invaded. Her peaceful existence was shattered as the rats began a reign of terror. When things are looking their bleakest, Karolina awakens in a toy shop in the city of Krakow. She meets Mr. Brzezick, the Dollmaker who brought her to life. At first, the Dollmaker is shocked that Karolina can speak to him, but he quickly accepts the magic for what it is. Read more

The Uncommoners: The Crooked Sixpence by Jennifer Bell

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

The Crooked Sixpence is the first book in Jennifer Bell’s The Uncommoners series of middle grade books.

Ivy and her brother Seb are the only other ones in the house when their beloved Granma Sylvie is rushed to the hospital; their parents travel for work, and it is up to them to answer questions are ensure that she is taken care of. As if that were not daunting enough for two children, little do they realize that the hospitalization serves as the catalyst for a series of mysterious events. Read more

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

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

The Bone Witch is a YA fantasy novel written by Rin Chupeco. It is the first entry in a planned series.

Tea (whose name is not pronounced like the beverage) is a young girl living in a world surrounded by magic. Witches are valued for their power, but when Tea accidentally brings her brother back from the dead, she learns that there is a limit to society’s tolerance for witchcraft.

Bone witches are scorned, but they are also an integral component in keeping the world a safe place. Bone witches are a scarce commodity, so Tea is fortunate to find a mentor who can help her. Most of the book is devoted to Tea undergoing training to understand how to utilize her power. Read more

If the Magic Fits by Susan Maupin Schmid

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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, so I am always excited about reading middle grade books. We often read the books I receive together. She loves reading, and her feedback is invaluable.

If The Magic Fits was written by Susan Maupin Schmid. This is the story of Darling Dimple. I just have to say that this is such a delightful name for a character; it fits Darling so well. Darling is a young girl who works in the kitchen of a castle. She isn’t doing anything glamorous like baking- she’s a scrubber. But that changes when Darling gets the chance to become a presser, working with Princess Mariposa’s linens. Read more

Unicorn vs. Goblins: Another Phoebe and Her Unicorn Adventure by Dana Simpson

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

I might not have been familiar with the Phoebe and Her Unicorn series before receiving the opportunity to read this book, but my oldest daughter has read both of the other books in the series.   In fact, she was the one who sat down to read Unicorn vs. Goblins before I got the chance.

Phoebe and Her Unicorn is a graphic novel series by Dana Simpson featuring a young girl named Phoebe and her best friend, a magical unicorn named Marigold. Unicorn vs. Goblins contains several connected storylines, including a trip to music camp, the start of a new school year, and a showdown with those titular goblins. Read more

The Adventures of Lettie Peppercorn by Sam Gayton

51-cr4ri2tlI received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I have a daughter who is eight years old. She is a voracious reader, so when I receive the opportunity to read a middle grade book, I often read it with her. We have discovered some lovely stories together, and it’s nice to be able to spend time with her one-on-one.

As soon as I saw The Adventures of Lettie Peppercorn, I had a feeling that my daughter would like it. This book was originally published in England under the title The Snow Merchant, and it was written by Sam Gayton.

Lettie Peppercorn is only twelve years old, but she is a formidable landlady in the town of Albion. Her Da is often at the local tavern, and her mother left over ten years ago. When a mysterious alchemist arrives with an incredible invention called “snow”, Lettie’s life changes forever. Read more

Escape From Witchwood Hollow by Jordan Elizabeth

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I received a review request for Escape from Witchwood Hollow from someone on author Jordan Elizabeth’s marketing team. I was intrigued by the premise, and so I happily agreed to receive a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

As the story begins in October 2001, Honoria has just moved to the small town of Arnn with her older brother, and her aunt and uncle. She has just lost her parents in the September 11th terrorist attacks, and her new guardians feel that it is in everyone’s best interest to leave the city and start anew upstate. They move into a historic home; her aunt dreams of converting their new abode into an inn, and Honoria starts school. Her new classmates tell her about the town folklore about the woods around the town, and how they are inhabited by a witch. People who have gone into the woods have remained last forever. After being dared/tricked into going into the woods by her new classmates, Honoria feels drawn to the woods wonders if the stories are true.   Read more

The Adventures of Miss Petitfour by Ann Michaels

51w9rvqxoflI received this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I love reading books with my girls, so when I had the chance to read The Adventures of Miss Petitfour, I was very excited. This children’s chapter book was written by poet and author Ann Michaels, who is making her children’s book debut. The book features charming illustrations by Emma Block.

It’s hard to describe Miss Petitfour. She has sixteen cats, and she likes to fly around by making a parachute out of a tablecloth and letting the wind sweep her and the cats away. The book is broken into a series of short adventures, usually involving some sort of catastrophe, like a valuable stamp blowing away on a snowy day or narrowly avoiding landing in the river on their way to pick up some birthday cheddar. Read more

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

It’s probably not mandatory to read Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl before reading Carry On, but it certainly helps. Fangirl’s protagonist Cath struggled with going away to college, being separated from her twin for the first time, and the role that Simon Snow fanfiction played in her new reality. Fangirl featured excerpts of both “canon” Simon Snow, and Cath’s fanfic spin on the global literary phenomenon.

Carry On is a full length Simon Snow novel. Simon Snow is similar to another series with a famous boy wizard, but that is where the similarities end. Simon Snow’s world is wholly original. Carry On takes place during Simon’s eighth year at Watford, a school for magical children. Simon plays a unique role in the World of Mages; he is seen as the Chosen One, who will deliver them from evil. Namely, the Insidious Humdrum, who takes on the form of Simon as an eleven-year-old boy. Read more