Classic MG Discussion: Trixie Belden #1

Classic MG Discussion: Trixie Belden #1

Jeepers! It’s time to discuss The Secret of the Mansion, the first book in the classic Trixie Belden mystery series from the 1940s. As always, we do these discussions with the hope that you’ll check out these classics for yourself even if you didn’t have the chance to read them with us, but do be aware that there are spoilers in the chat below. Wendy: I loved Trixie as a kid, so I was very eager to revisit these. I distinctly remember my grade-school self daydreaming about having an almost-twin and wanting desperately to be in a club with secret signals. Kim, I’d forgotten you aren’t a big mystery fan, so I appreciate your forbearance with the occasional one I slip into these readalongs! Kim: I had literally never heard of Trixie Belden before it was suggested for our readalong! Wendy, no worries! I am not usually a huge mystery person but this… Read more »

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One Good Dragon Deserves Another: Review

One Good Dragon Deserves Another: Review

If only a perfectly nice dragon could be left well enough alone to manage his curse removal business with his partner (and crush) the human mage, Marci. Unfortunately for Julius, his family is far too big and far too, well, draconic to ever let him be. And clan seer Bob claims to have big plans for him. This does not at all add up to a quiet lifetime of removing tank badger spirits (don’t ask) from the erstwhile cursed. This series is just so much awesome fantasy fun. Picking up shortly after the events of Nice Dragons Finish Last, Julius and Marci are giving it their best to scrape by running a curse removal business when major events start happening that throw the two into a situation way beyond their means. Estella, seer, daughter of the Three Sisters and long time enemy of the Heartstriker clan has put into motion… Read more »

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Top Ten Tuesday (10): Top Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds

Top Ten Tuesday (10): Top Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week, the theme is “Top Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds” and we’re happy to be participating!     For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, Jamie explains that “book nerds” can include a variety of things – people who work at bookstores! people who are aspiring writers! – so I’m also working with this broader definition for my list today. 1. Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë: One of my all-time favorite novels! As you might remember, the book opens with Jane trying to read Bewick’s History of British Birds stealthily in the windowseat and getting caught at it by her awful cousin John Reed. 2. Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen: Catherine’s love for Gothic novels – particularly Ann Radcliffe’s – causes her to suspect that Northanger Abbey holds deep dark secrets at every turn…. Read more »

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Lies We Tell Ourselves: Review

Lies We Tell Ourselves: Review

Hey hey, guess what I just read? Lies We Tell Ourselves! A really great book that came out last year that I should have read immediately upon its release! Why? Because it’s an interracial lesbian romance set in the South during the desegregation of Virginia’s public school system. (You had me at lesbian romance.) Anyway, while it is not without its problems, Robin Talley’s Lies We Tell Ourselves is a really strong debut novel. I read it in one sitting, and it is a testament to the book’s excellence that I really enjoyed it despite having to endure a massive airport delay. (I wasn’t even bothered! I just wanted to sit down again so I could keep. reading. the book.) I wanted to review it because (1) if you haven’t read it, you should read it and (2) man, I have all the feelings about this one, and I want to… Read more »

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Top Ten Tuesday (9): Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity

Top Ten Tuesday (9): Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week, the theme is “Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity” and we’re happy to be participating!         The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa I am so fond of this dystopian vampire trilogy. I’m especially fond of the second book which is just a thing of gory, action packed, ass kicking POC heroine, romantic glory. You know, it’s basically all of the things I love best. Alison + katana + vampiric badassery=everything you need. Eon by Alison Goodman Eon is a fantasy duology of magic, mysticism, and dragons in a blend of Japanese and Chinese astrology. Plus, there’s also the cross dressing element as Eon is really Eona, a girl hiding in plain sight as a boy since everyone just knows that a girl could never be a Dragoneye. Obviously. Runaways by Brian K. Vaughn I love this… Read more »

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Pretending to Be Erica: Guest Post + Giveaway

Pretending to Be Erica: Guest Post + Giveaway

I’ve said this is the year of the cute contemporary in YA…but it’s also the year of another important genre, the YA thriller! I’ve read a lot of thrillers, and for some reason it’s not often that I find YA ones that keep me engaged. But this year there have been some really terrific suspense novels for teens, including this sure-footed debut. Pretending to Be Erica is about a girl who’s seen it all, done it all, and is planning on conning everyone around her. You see how she’s been raised since childhood to deceive and swindle, you see how she’s calculating the best way to take advantage of someone else’s misfortune and suffering. And yet because the narrative voice is so terrific, and because the plot is so surprisingly plausible for the most part and well-executed, you’re invested in her story. I enjoyed this one from start to finish,… Read more »

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Review: Goodbye Stranger

Review: Goodbye Stranger

Goodbye Stranger affectingly and realistically tells the intertwining stories of three young teenagers navigating the confusing and tumultuous time of early adolescence. Bridge, an accident survivor is looking for meaning on why she’s still here. Sherm is dealing with the aftershock of a family betrayal. And an unnamed 9th grader (written in a surprisingly effective second person) is grappling with a potentially friendship-ending mistake. The story is about how life gets so suddenly and shockingly complicated in middle school. And it is about how teens deal with the newness, rawness, and intensity of their emotions. Best friends can suddenly betray. A beloved grandparent can walk out on his family. A boy can text you asking for “a picture ;)” but what does it mean? Throughout reading this book I couldn’t help pausing repeatedly to think, “Man, it is so stressful to be a teenager.” The narrative seamlessly intertwines to show… Read more »

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