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The Best Mistake Mystery by Sylvia McNicoll

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

The Best Mistake Mystery is a middle grade novel written by Sylvia McNicoll. Stephen Nobel doesn’t really fit in with the other kids at school, especially after his best friend moved away last year. Stephen tends to hyperfocus on his mistakes, but he takes pleasure in helping his father with the family dog walking business. Continue reading

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Sherlock Sam and the Sinister Letters in Bras Basah by A.J. Low

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

Sherlock Sam and the Sinister Letters in Bras Basah is the third book in A.J. Low’s Sherlock Sam series. Sherlock Sam is a young boy who lives in Singapore and solves mysteries with his friends and robot sidekick. In this book, Sam and his friends participate in an exchange program and spend a week attending an international school. This coincides with Sam being tasked with finding out who is sending threatening letters to an author via his son who attends the international school.  Of course, the island is in the middle of a chain mail letter game, so it seems almost impossible to figure out who is sending the threatening letters! Continue reading

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The Mesmerist by Ronald L. Smith

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

The Mesmerist is a middle grade novel written by Ronald L. Smith. It contains elements of several of my favorite things, so I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book.

Thirteen-year-old Jess lives with her mother. They earn their living from conducting séances, using trickery to put on a good show for their wealthy clients. However, that all changes when they receive an actual supernatural message. It turns out that Jess’ mother has been keeping secrets, and Jess learns more about her parents’ past on a trip to London. Continue reading

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Ramona and Her Mother by Beverly Cleary

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I’m so happy that my girls enjoy reading as much as I do. We try to read together every night, and we also listen to a lot of audiobooks in the car. We’ve read several of Beverly Cleary’s Ramona books, so when the girls asked if we could listen to a story, I put on Ramona and Her Mother.

Ramona and Her Mother is the fifth book in the Ramona series, and it takes place immediately after the events of Ramona and Her Father. Some of the other books in the series jump forward to the next school year, but Ramona and Her Father ends with a Christmas pageant and Ramona and Her Mother begins with a New Year’s Day brunch.

In this book, Ramona struggles to find her place within her family. She has some moments of introspection when little Willa Jean acts like a pest, and Ramona is indignant when people compare Willa Jean to her. Ramona has always appreciated being the baby of the family, but now feels left out when she sees her sister Beezus helping their mother with chores. Continue reading

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Big Nate: What’s a Little Noogie Between Friends? by Lincoln Peirce

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

My oldest daughter is almost ten years old, and she loves Big Nate comics. Needless to say, she was very excited about being able to read What’s a Little Noogie Between Friends?

Nate is a fairly typical middle school boy. He goes to school, plays sports, and spends time with his friends. He has a reputation as a slacker, and this forms the basis for most of the jokes in the book. Peirce does not present an idealized version of school life; Nate makes mistakes and is sometimes the punchline rather than the one doling out the jokes. Nate is a very real character, and that’s what makes him so fun to read about.       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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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