Bloodline (Whyborne & Griffin) by Jordan L. Hawk

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Bloodline is the fifth book in Jordan L. Hawk’s Whyborne & Griffin series. I started reading the series this summer, and I try to have large gaps between each book; there is only a finite amount of material, and I want my experience to last as long as possible.

After their adventure in Egypt, Whyborne and Griffin return to Widdershins. Their lives to return to whatever passes until normal until they are faced with a new predicament involving abandoned ships, cryptic notes, a murder, and mysterious cousins from England. Once again, Whyborne and Griffin see the hallmarks of something supernatural, and find themselves racing to save humanity (or at least the city of Widdershins) from an unknown threat. Read more

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Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel by Val Emmich

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Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel was written by Val Emmich. It is, of course, based on the Tony award winning musical by Steven Levenson, Benk Pasek and Justin Paul. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because my girls and I have been listening to the DEH soundtrack since the spring.

Evan Hansen is a high school boy with anxiety. He’s supposed to be writing inspirational letters to himself as a therapeutic exercise. One of these letters ends up with Connor Murphy, who commits suicide in an unrelated incident. When the Murphys find the letter, they believe that Connor wrote the letter to Evan. Instead of telling the truth, Evan allows the Murphys to believe that he was Connor’s best friend and fabricates an entire relationship. This desperately lonely boy finally has people paying attention to what he has to say, but it’s all for the wrong reasons. He has everything he could ever want, but it’s all based on lies. How can he tell the truth now? Read more

Stormhaven (Whyborne & Griffin) by Jordan L. Hawk

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Stormhaven is the third book in Jordan L. Hawk’s Whyborne & Griffin series. It’s hard to condense the series into a few descriptors; the books are action/adventure/mystery with some m/m romance, all in an alternate Victorian American setting. I was excited about reading this book because I devoured the first two, and I needed to know what was going to happen next.

Whyborne and Griffin have returned to Widdershins after their ordeal in Threshold, and they are hoping to return to a sense of normalcy after the chaos of the first two books, but alas, this is not meant to be. Whyborne’s coworker Allan is found on the street covered in blood, claiming not to remember anything. Allan is accused of murdering his uncle, but Whyborne harbors suspicions and does not think Allan would be capable of such a heinous crime.

Whyborne and Griffin’s investigation takes them to the Stormhaven Asylum where Allan is being held. Something is definitely “off”; after two previous experiences in dealing with the paranormal, our dynamic duo can sense the hallmarks of anything otherworldly. But is this threat too big for them to handle? Read more

Vespertine by Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn

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Vespertine is a contemporary m/m romance novel written by Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn. Someone in one of my FB groups posted about this book when it was on sale, and since it sounded like something I might like, I purchased it.

Nicky and Jazz (Jasper) grew up together in Maine, and fell in love as teenagers. They were separated as teens, and chose completely different paths: Nicky became a rock star, and Jazz became a Catholic priest. Read more

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

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