His Cocky Valet by Cole McCade

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His Cocky Valet is the first book in Cole McCade’s Undue Arrogance series of contemporary m/m romance novels. I heard about this book in one of my Facebook groups, and I knew I had to read it. This book was written in response to a legal battle involving trademarking individual words, and I’m always going to show up when pettiness is involved.

Ash Harrington has always been a hot mess, and he spends his days meandering around from one party to the next. The story begins with Ash needing to step up and take control of his billionaire father’s company, but Ash doesn’t know the first thing about taking care of himself, let alone running a business.

Enter Brand Forsythe, professional valet, who is definitely not here for Ash’s nonsense. Ash is unsure of himself and his abilities, but Brand helps him realize his potential. Read more

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When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger

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When Life Gives You Lululemons was written by Lauren Weisberger. This is a spinoff to her wildly popular novel, The Devil Wears Prada. I must admit, I didn’t even remember that there was already a sequel to The Devil Wears Prada, but I was excited about this spinoff because I was looking forward to a relatively light and fun “beach read”.

Fans of The Devil Wears Prada will remember Emily as Miranda Priestly’s assistant. She has moved on from that part of her life, and she now works as an image consultant. She’s going through a rough patch with work, and ends up in Greenwich, visiting Miriam- an old friend from summer camp. Read more

Big Nate: Silent but Deadly by Lincoln Peirce

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Big Nate: Silent but Deadly was written by Lincoln Peirce. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because my oldest daughter is a big fan of the Big Nate comic strip and I knew that she would be interested in reading it too.

Nate is an average American boy who goes to elementary school. He has somewhat of a contentious relationship with teachers and administrators, and he has friends and adversaries within the school community. He’s a bright boy, but he doesn’t like to do schoolwork, which is something most children can empathize with. He plays sports, and interacts with his family. Read more

Unicorn of Many Hats by Dana Simpson

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Unicorn of Many Hats is the seventh book in Dana Simpson’s Phoebe and her Unicorn series of comics. I was very excited to read this book and share it with my oldest daughter because she loves this series.

The premise is fairly simple: Phoebe is an elementary school student, and her best friend is a unicorn named Marigold Heavenly Nostrils. Marigold is mostly invisible, but she does have some interactions with the other characters.

Unicorn of Many Hats tends to follow a similar setup to the other books, wherein the good part of a year is covered, without the characters really aging from one book to another. There are story arcs devoted to starting school, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Many of the familiar secondary characters have returned, including frenemy Dakota, Max, Phoebe’s geeky parents, and even the goblins make an appearance. Read more

I’m Not Your Sweet Babboo by Charles Schulz

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I’m Not Your Sweet Babboo is a collection of Peanuts cartoons by the late Charles Schulz. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because my oldest daughter is a big fan of Peanuts. Needless to say, she was very excited when I told her that I had a Peanuts book for her to read!

Fans of Peanuts will know that “sweet babboo” was a term of endearment that Sally Brown used with her beloved Linus. Interestingly enough, while there was a storyline involving Sally and Linus going to a farm on a school, most of the collection focuses on other storylines. We are treated to Snoopy’s feud with the cat next door, Peppermint Patty’s school troubles, Charlie Brown running away, and Snoopy playing tennis with Molly Volley.

These storylines are unrelated, but the compilers of this collection did a good job with the segues, so nothing seems out-of-place with the transitions. There’s a nice flow. Read more

Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary

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My girls and I actually listened to Ramona and Her Father last summer, but I never got around to writing the review. This is the fourth book in Beverly Cleary’s Ramona Quimby series.

In this book, Ramona is still struggling to find her place in the world and in her family. Things are somewhat complicated because her father has recently lost his job. They are already on a budget, and now they must become even more frugal.

This book is somewhat dated because a major plot point involves Ramona trying to get her father to quit smoking- both for his health and also because of the money he can save. When I first read this book in the 1980s, I could empathize with Ramona’s plan because my own father smoked cigarettes. But my girls’ experience is vastly different because neither of their parent smoke, nor do we know anyone who smokes cigarettes. They were somewhat surprised at the smoking, but were charmed by Ramona’s attempts to get her father to quit. Read more

Murder at Rough Point by Alyssa Maxwell

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

At the end of last year, I received an opportunity to read Murder Most Malicious– the first book in Alyssa Maxwell’s A Lady and Lady’s Maid historical mystery series. It was a wonderful book, so when the opportunity arose to read the latest entry in her Gilded Newport series, I was excited.

Murder at Rough Point is the fourth book in the Gilded Newport series. I have not read any of the other books, and this may have put me at a disadvantage. As the story begins, reporter (and shabby Vanderbilt cousin) Emma Cross is sent to cover a house party at one of the Newport “cottages”. The guests are an eclectic mix of artists, including Edith Wharton and her brooding husband Teddy.

When a guest turns up dead at the bottom of the cliff, it appears to be a suicide. But when a second guest is also found dead, it cannot be denied that there may be a more sinister force at play. It’s up to Emma to figure out who is committing these crimes; could she be next if she asks too many questions? Read more

Henry and the Paper Route by Beverly Cleary

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My girls and I have been listening to a lot of audiobooks this summer. We made our way through most of Beverly Cleary’s Henry Huggins series. Neil Patrick Harris’ narration really brings the books to life, and made the stories even funnier.

Henry and the Paper Route is the fourth book in the series. As the title suggests, Henry‘s main focus is getting a paper route of his very own. This is something that Henry has wanted for most of the series, and he has even helped his friend Scooter with his paper route… but he has been too young to have a route of his own. Of course, it would be too simple for Henry to receive a paper route as soon as he turns eleven, and you’re going to have to read the book to find out how Henry gets his route. Read more

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

61uonxdctxlWolf Hollow is a middle grade novel written by Lauren Wolk. This book had been on my radar since before it was published, and I finally got around to reading it a couple of weeks ago.

Annabelle lives with her family in a small Pennsylvania town called Wolf Hollow. The year is 1943, and there is a war going on, but life is relatively peaceful in their bucolic corner. That changes when Betty Glengarry is sent to Wolf Hollow to live with her grandparents. It is known that Betty was sent away because of her behavior, and instead of changing her ways in her new surroundings, she bullies Annabelle and her brothers.

Betty proves that she is conniving and manipulative when she begins to blame Toby for acts that she has committed. Toby was not born in Wolf Hollow, but he has been living in the countryside around the town for several years. He lives like a hermit, and keeps his interactions with other people to a minimum. He has always been a benign presence, but Betty’s claims call his trustworthiness into question. When Betty disappears, Toby is implicated. Read more

An Untimely Frost by Penny Richards

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

I love historical mysteries, especially those set in the 19th century. I tend to prefer books set in England, but I was excited about the opportunity to read An Untimely Frost, which is set in 1881 Illinois. This is the first book in a new series by Penny Richards.

Lilly Long is an accomplished actress, who has spent most of her young life performing with a traveling theatre troupe. The book begins with the dramatic revelation that her new husband is a cheat and a con man, who assaults her and flees with her life savings.

Lilly is the impulsive type, so when she sees that the famous Pinkerton Agency is hiring, she sees an opportunity for a new career. Her employers are naturally skeptical that such a young woman would be able to handle the rigorous nature of being a detective, but Lilly points out that her skillset as an actress would prove useful in the field of private detection. Read more