Book Review: ‘Greenglass House’

Greenglass House” by Kate Milford

Source: Library

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Mystery


It’s wintertime at Greenglass House. The creaky smuggler’s inn is always quiet during this season, and twelve-year-old Milo, the innkeepers’ adopted son, plans to spend his holidays relaxing. But on the first icy night of vacation, out of nowhere, the guest bell rings. Then rings again. And again. Soon Milo’s home is bursting with odd, secretive guests, each one bearing a strange story that is somehow connected to the rambling old house. As objects go missing and tempers flare, Milo and Meddy, the cook’s daughter, must decipher clues and untangle the web of deepening mysteries to discover the truth about Greenglass House—and themselves.

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Book Review: ‘Keeper of the Lost Cities’

Keeper of the Lost Cities” by Shannon Messer

Source: Library

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Fantasy


Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster has a secret. She’s a Telepath—someone who hears the thoughts of everyone around her. It’s a talent she’s never known how to explain.

Everything changes the day she meets Fitz, a mysterious boy who appears out of nowhere and also reads minds. She discovers there’s a place she does belong, and that staying with her family will place her in grave danger. In the blink of an eye, Sophie is forced to leave behind everything and start a new life in a place that is vastly different from anything she has ever known.

Sophie has new rules to learn and new skills to master, and not everyone is thrilled that she has come “home.”
There are secrets buried deep in Sophie’s memory—secrets about who she really is and why she was hidden among humans—that other people desperately want. Would even kill for.

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Mini Middle Grade Reviews: “A Boy Called Bat” and “Murder is Bad Manners”

A Boy Called Bat” by Elana K. Arnold

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction


For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life tends to be full of surprises — some of them good, some not so good. Today, though, is a good-surprise day. Bat’s mom, a veterinarian, has brought home a baby skunk, which she needs to take care of until she can hand him over to a wild-animal shelter.

But the minute Bat meets the kit, he knows they belong together. And he’s got one month to show his mom that a baby skunk might just make a pretty terrific pet.

Very cute! I loved the real tone of the book. Having just listened to a few of the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary, it reminded me a bit of that. A kid just being a kid. Not what an adult might “imagine” a kid might feel or think like.

I can’t comment on how accurate the autism representation is. I did like how I felt like I understood Bat’s thinking about things. He’s not trying to be difficult. His brain just works a bit differently.

I really appreciated how the story wasn’t an autism book. It was the story of a little boy who desperately wants to raise a skunk and the boy just happens to be on the autism spectrum. We need more casual representation like this. 

Murder Is Bad Manners” by Robin Stevens

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Mystery


1934. When Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up a secret detective agency at Deepdean School for Girls, they struggle to find a truly exciting mystery to investigate. (Unless you count the case of Lavinia’s missing tie. Which they don’t.)

But then Hazel discovers the body of the Science Mistress, Miss Bell – but when she and Daisy return five minutes later, the body has disappeared. Now the girls have to solve a murder, and prove a murder has happened in the first place before the killer strikes again (and before the police can get there first, naturally),

But will they succeed?

And can their friendship stand the test?

I always love a good mystery. This was a favorite series of a tween library patron so I knew I needed to give it a try! [She also told me that First Class Murder (which takes places on the Orient Express) is her favorite. I’ll need to come back to the series so I can get to that one.]

I didn’t love that it was a bit Americanized. I totally forget that this wasn’t even set in the US at times. I hate that publishers assume readers can’t pick up on things. Yes, I understand there’s language differences between two countries that speak the same language. Just add a glossary to the front or back like you do with a fantasy novel or a few extra words to explain if necessary.

Other than that, the mystery was fun! It felt appropriate for the age of the protagonists & intended age of reader.

I loved that there were little updates as Daisy & Hazel learn more information. They add or remove suspects and other helpful information. It felt like they were actually investigating.

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Book Review: “Between the Water and the Woods”

Between the Water and the Woods” by Simone Snaith

Source: ARC from work

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Middle Grade Fiction Fantasy


Emeline’s quiet village has three important rules:
Don’t look at the shadows.
Don’t cross the river.
And don’t enter the forest.

An illustrated fantasy filled with beauty and power, Between the Water and the Woods sweeps you into a world where forests are hungry; knights fight with whips; the king is dying; and a peasant girl’s magic will decide the future of the realm.

When Emeline’s little brother breaks all three of their village’s rules, she is forced to use her family’s forbidden magic to rescue him from the dark things he awakens, the Ithin. Now that the Ithin are afoot in the land, she must, by law, travel to the royal court and warn the king. But the only way she and her family can make the journey to the capital is with the protection of a sour magister and a handsome, whip-wielding Lash Knight. Will Emeline survive in a city where conspiracies swirl like smoke and her magic is all but outlawed?

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Books On Disney+

Anyone a fan of seeing books adapted for the screen? Here’s a round up of movies based on books on Disney+.

Consider pairing them with the book to make a great family discussion!

Disney pulls from a lot of fairy tales or other classic lore & novels so we’ll pass on those movies for now. Besides, you probably already know they’re based on books.

Last updated: 9/26/20

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