Falling in Love with Books: The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

Falling in Love with Books: The Secret Keeper by Kate MortonThe Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
Published by Pan on January 1st 1970
Genres: Adult, Historical
Pages: 602
Goodreads

During a summer party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is happily dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and watches as her mother speaks to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime. A crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy—her vivacious, loving, nearly perfect mother.
Now, fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress living in London. The family is gathering at Greenacres farm for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday. Realizing that this may be her last chance, Laurel searches for answers to the questions that still haunt her from that long-ago day, answers that can only be found in Dorothy’s past.
Dorothy’s story takes the reader from pre–WWII England through the blitz, to the ’60s and beyond. It is the secret history of three strangers from vastly different worlds—Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy—who meet by chance in wartime London and whose lives are forever entwined. The Secret Keeper explores longings and dreams and the unexpected consequences they sometimes bring. It is an unforgettable story of lovers and friends, deception and passion that is told—in Morton’s signature style—against a backdrop of events that changed the world.

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Welcome to Callie from Of Life and Literature, who is joining us for Falling in Love with Books today. She has a very special choice for her book today–ENJOY!

Let me start by asking you a question.

When someone says the words historical fiction to you, what do you imagine?

Give it some thought.

The historical fiction genre, for me, conjures up a plethora of images in my head.

From sword wielding soldiers, medieval castles, tales of war to an insight into the domestic times of days gone by. Historical fiction encompasses so many different types of stories that it can be difficult to pick a book out of the swathes on offer, feeling confident that it will be the read you are searching for.

Step into any bookshop and you could spend hours searching the shelves, baffled by the options before you.

Three years ago I was in that very situation.

Having spent a good few months ploughing my way through the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series by George. R. R. Martin I was more than ready for a break from the bleak world the Stark’s and the Lannister’s. I needed something that would offer me a different kind of escape to that of the fantasy realms of King’s Landing, Winterfell and the danger of the Wall.

So I visited my local Waterstones and spent a few hours wandering its many floors. One book caught my eye and I kept going back to it. It had a dazzling green front cover, the promise of escape entwined within its depiction of a young lady hiding herself from view in a picturesque garden and the title ‘The Secret Keeper’ gave the novel an air of mystery that I just couldn’t resist. The author was Kate Morton; a writer I was familiar with. I had enjoyed her book ‘The Forgotten Garden’ so I was sure that ‘The Secret Keeper’ was going to be a good choice.

I took it home and I read the book in three days. I adored it. I thrust it into my Mum’s hands straight away and recommended it to every person I could.

‘The Secret Keeper’ follows the journey of Laurel Nicolson as she tries to unravel her elderly mothers past. It is sparked by a catalyst in Laurel’s young life, an event that she had managed to hide away in her mind until she realises that, with her mother’s health deteriorating, she may never get the answers she needs. What follows is a mesmerizing journey through the life of Dorothy Nicolson, with so many twists and turns that I can promise you just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, you won’t have.

Kate Morton is an exceptionally talented writer. She has a knack of drawing you in and making you fall completely in love with her characters. Her books are typically set in different eras, with each section flitting back and forth in time. She brings each time period to life in such a beautiful and nostalgic way that you cannot help but feel a connection.

And that is why ‘The Secret Keeper’ is the perfect book to make any reader fall in love with historical fiction. It strikes the perfect balance between historical, mystery, romance and family saga. It encompasses all of these different genres with the historical aspect lying at its heart.

This book is for anyone who wants to escape to a different time but doesn’t want the heavy, fact laden tombs that are normally attributed to the genre. Morton paints the 30s and 40s in ‘The Secret Keeper’ in a way that belies the in-depth research she puts in to every single one of her books. Whilst you are reading it, it almost feels as if you are staring through a window, watching the events unfold. The past doesn’t feel as though it is held at arms-length as it can with some historical novels. You feel as though you are surrounded by history, transported to the time period, with the characters as real to you as the people you know in real life.

What’s even better is that Morton’s novels are full of twists and turns. The jaunts back to the past inform what is happening in the present. She showcases just how important the past can be whether it is on a large or more personal scale. You cannot help but keep turning the pages, urging the story on as there are twists and turns in every section. Morton keeps you hooked until the very end.

‘The Secret Keeper’ by Kate Morton is a perfect representative for the historical fiction genre.

Once you pick it up you won’t be able to put it down.

Thank you, Callie! As many of you know, I adore Kate Morton and all her books, and I was very excited when I discovered that Callie chose to highlight THE SECRET KEEPER for her guest post! What a wonderful glimpse into the delight of THE SECRET KEEPER. If you enjoy historical fiction and you haven’t encountered Kate Morton’s books, you simply must sit down with one of her stories ASAP!

What Katie Read

Falling in Love with Books: The Sugar Queen & The Lumatere Chronicles

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Welcome to Amanda and Holly from Gun in Act One. You’re in for a sweet surprise today!

Thanks Katie for having us!! When I asked Holly if she wanted to participate she started sending me book poems – so obviously that’s how we had to share our book love today.  All rhyming credit goes to Holly!

From Amanda:

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The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

Roses are red, violets are blue,

If you like magical realism,

The Sugar Queen is the book for you!

This book will give you the feels

but is it magic or is it for realz?

There’s a fairy in the closet

and sweet candy deposits

and that’s just some of the appeals!

From Holly:

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Finnikin of the Rock

Froi of the Exiles

Quintana of Charyn

For fantasy where you’ll fall in love,

And also feel all the rages,

Please read the Lumatere Chronicles,

All fifteen hundred pages.

What a creative idea from Amanda and Holly at Gun in Act One for Falling in Love with Books! Two books they hope you’ll give a chance in these short and sweet poems. I love it! Thank you, Amanda and Holly for giving us a taste of these two–and in fact, since one is a series, we actually get a glimpse of four books!

What Katie Read

Falling in Love with Books: The Sherwood Ring

Falling in Love with Books: The Sherwood RingThe Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope, Evaline Ness
Published by Houghton Mifflin on January 1st 1970
Genres: Adult, Historical, Mystery
Pages: 272
Goodreads

Newly orphaned Peggy Grahame is caught off-guard when she first arrives at her family's ancestral estate. Her eccentric uncle Enos drives away her only new acquaintance, Pat, a handsome British scholar, then leaves Peggy to fend for herself. But she is not alone. The house is full of mysteries and ghosts. Soon Peggy becomes involved with the spirits of her own Colonial ancestors and witnesses the unfolding of a centuries-old romance against a backdrop of spies and intrigue and of battles plotted and foiled.

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Welcome to Lory, one of my favorite bloggers, who blogs at The Emerald City Book Review! You may remember that she participated in Falling in Love with Books last year, and I’m so happy she’s back with another book she loves and wants us all to fall in love with as well! Enjoy!

Are you allergic to historical fiction?

Maybe the mere mention of the American Revolution brings on yawns induced by your school days, and you can’t see how any book that includes George Washington as a character could possibly be interesting. Or perhaps you just prefer romance, or fantasy, or mystery, and find enough to satisfy you in those genres without having to dig into the dusty past.

Well, in that case I hope you’ll consider trying a romance/fantasy/mystery that also happens to be partly set during the American Revolution, because if you do I’m quite sure you’ll find it a charming and delightful experience that might even change your mind about George Washington. The Sherwood Ring opens with a young woman of the present day (more or less – the book was first published in 1958) coming to an old house in upstate New York after the death of her father has left her an orphan. While her eccentric uncle tries to defend the estate against the scholarly advances of an attractive neighboring Englishman, Peggy tries to unravel the mysteries of some of her ghostly ancestors, who relieve her loneliness by sharing their stories.

There are no supernatural horrors here, as all the ghosts are benign, but there is suspense and human drama and, yes, a certain amount of history.

Although really it just serves as an atmospheric backdrop for some marvelous characters, most notably a romantic couple that will steal your heart: the dashing British rogue who’s causing trouble for the American rebels, and the clever young lady who is more than a match for him. There are two other couples to be paired up in the course of the novel, but this is the one that makes it memorable.

So please, do try The Sherwood Ring, and see how much fun historical fiction can be. And I hope you’ll move on to Pope’s other book, The Perilous Gard, a Tudor-era historical novel which is even better. You might even find you’ve fallen in love with a new genre, and that would be a wonderful thing.

I don’t know about your, but I had never heard of The Sherwood Ring before Lory mentioned it. I’m definitely going to check this title out as I am an avid reader of historical fiction. Thank you, Lory, for sharing this book with us, and I sincerely hope we have some readers who begin to fall in love with historical fiction after encountering The Sherwood Ring!

What Katie Read

Falling in Love with Books: Anna and the French Kiss

Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

We have a real treat today: My New England blogger friend, Andi from Andi’s ABC, is guest posting for Falling in Love with Books! She’s sharing a book that is perfect for Valentine’s Day, and yes, she wants you to fall in love with:

ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS. Enjoy!

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When Katie was doing sign-ups for this she tweeted me and said she hoped I signed up because she knew what book I would do. Anyone that knows me knows which book I would do. I’m pretty predictable when asked to do a guest post about a book I love and want other people to love. I consistently pick the same book and I’m not the least bit ashamed by this. What book is it you ask?

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I first read Anna back in December of 2010 as a suggestion from a friend. To say I fell in love is a huge understatement. I devoured the whole book in about a day and it just made me feel good. It made me smile and it made my heart ache and it made me yearn for that kind of crush and that kind of friendship and that kind of love. It transported me to Paris and made me feel like I was a part of their lives and I am so grateful to Stephanie Perkins for that.

Since that first reading I have read Anna in print and audio a total of 10 more times.

It is oddly gratifying to find a book that you love that much, that can make you feel that much. Honestly I love a good reread. It’s something I have done for years, but I have to really truly love a book to want to read it as much as I read this one. I have to feel something to really want to immerse myself in the world again and again and Anna and the French Kiss does that to me and I think it will do that to you too. Between the characters, the romance, the setting and the story telling you will fall in love it. I can almost guarantee it.

And to show you just how much I love it, here is a look at my current collection:

collection

Thanks, Andi! Now that sounds like a book worth falling in love with! I adore Andi’s collection, and my collection of Anne of Green Gables editions is growing…I wonder if I might reach this standard of excellence…

Have you read Anna? Are you planning to? I have to admit that I am going to start reading this book on Sunday…It will be my first read! And it’s going to be freezing here on Valentine’s Day so I anticipate reading, sipping coffee, and maybe eating chocolate cake…

What Katie Read

Falling in Love with Books: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake

Genres: Adult, Historical

Welcome to Day 2 of Falling in Love with Books 2016! I am so pleased to host Isalys on the blog who is an expert on all things Historical Romance related. At least that’s what I think…So enjoy today’s romantic post from her today!

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Title: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing A Rake
Author: Sarah MacLean
Genre: Adult Historical Romance
Release Date: Published March 30th 2010 by Avon
ISBN: 0061852058
(ISBN13: 9780061852053)

A lady does not smoke cheroot. She does not ride astride. She does not fence or attend duels. She does not fire a pistol, and she never gambles at a gentlemen’s club.

Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed the rules, rules that have left her unmarried—and more than a little unsatisfied. And so she’s vowed to break the rules and live the life of pleasure she’s been missing. But to dance every dance, to steal a midnight kiss—to do those things, Callie will need a willing partner. Someone who knows everything about rule-breaking. Someone like Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston—charming and devastatingly handsome, his wicked reputation matched only by his sinful smile. If she’s not careful, she’ll break the most important rule of all—the one that says that pleasure-seekers should never fall hopelessly, desperately in love.

Historical romance is my comfort food!  I get so excited every time someone asks me for a recommendation or better yet, tells me they’re new to the genre.  If you do ask me for a recommendation, my first choice will always be Nine Rules to Break When Romancing A Rake by Sarah MacLean. In all the books I’ve read, it’s still one of my absolute favorites!  I also think it’s the ideal book to start with if you are new to historical romance.

Calpurnia – aka Callie – is not your typical heroine.  She’s not a perfect specimen of femininity, in physical appearance or temperament. Do not doubt that she is a proper lady, but even proper ladies need to have fun, right? In her quest for fun, she makes a list of nine unacceptable things she’d like to do; things ladies do not do.  After all, if she’s going to be a spinster, she may as well get her kicks while she can.  In pursuit of these nine things, Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston gets sucked in and hilarity & romance ensues. 

Gah, I loved these two!  Callie was committed to completing her list and Gabriel, honorable rake that he is committed himself to keeping her out of trouble! Together they were fun and sexy and romantic and everything I look for in a romantic couple.  I loved that she had real insecurities but didn’t let them slow her down and I loved that he was able to see past those insecurities to the strong, playful, sexy and beautiful woman that she was.

“I’m not a wife, or a mother, or a pillar of the ton,” she waved her
unharmed arm as though the life she was describing was just beyond the
room. “I’m invisible. So, why not stop being such a craven wallflower
and start trying all the things that I’ve always dreamed of doing? Why
not go to taverns and drink scotch and fence? I confess, those things
have been much more interesting than all the loathsome teas and balls
and needlepoint with which I have traditionally occupied my time.” She
met his gaze again. “Does this make sense?”
He nodded seriously. “It does. You’re trying to find Callie

I loved that he understood her and ultimately, isn’t that what we all want from a great romance, to be loved & understood?

Now we are quite a few years into the future from the time this story is set in so the things that are off limits and therefore considered rebellious for Callie to do are probably every day occurrences to us. However, wouldn’t we all love to go on a few adventures and try different things.  If we could make our own list of nine things, what would our lists include?

Below is mine and as a fun little twist, I created it based on some of the adventures a few of my other favorite heroines have been on. (Below each item, I included the title and GR link the the book I referenced to you can add it to your historical romance TBR).

 
 

 

I love that you can find such empowered heroines in this genre, especially when set in times of such class and gender-based adversity. As my awesome friend Ang at @Ang_Writes puts it “strong females facing social challenges during interesting parts of history. What’s not to love?”

So if YOU are new to the genre, or maybe you’re not but just haven’t gotten around to reading Nine Rules to Break When Romancing A Rake, I really hope that you do!  And if you do, I hope you love Callie & Gabriel as much as I do.  Tweet me @IsaBookSoulmate if you wanna tell me all about it.

But before you go, what’s on YOUR list???

What a delightful post from Isalys! I love the suggestions she makes at the end of her post and all the books you can add to your Goodreads. So fun! Feel free to tweet Isalys or leave a comment here, and let her know if you have read or plan to read any of these books. See you tomorrow for the next post in Falling in Love with Books!

What Katie Read

Falling in Love with Books: After I Do

Falling in Love with Books: After I DoAfter I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Published by Washington Square Press on July 1st 2014
Genres: Adult, Realistic
Pages: 352
Goodreads

From the author of Forever, Interrupted—hailed by Sarah Jio as "moving, gorgeous, and at times heart-wrenching"—comes a breathtaking new novel about modern marriage, the depth of family ties, and the year that one remarkable heroine spends exploring both.
When Lauren and Ryan’s marriage reaches the breaking point, they come up with an unconventional plan. They decide to take a year off in the hopes of finding a way to fall in love again. One year apart, and only one rule: they cannot contact each other. Aside from that, anything goes.
Lauren embarks on a journey of self-discovery, quickly finding that her friends and family have their own ideas about the meaning of marriage. These influences, as well as her own healing process and the challenges of living apart from Ryan, begin to change Lauren’s ideas about monogamy and marriage. She starts to question: When you can have romance without loyalty and commitment without marriage, when love and lust are no longer tied together, what do you value? What are you willing to fight for?
This is a love story about what happens when the love fades. It’s about staying in love, seizing love, forsaking love, and committing to love with everything you’ve got. And above all, After I Do is the story of a couple caught up in an old game—and searching for a new road to happily ever after.

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Welcome to the 2nd edition of FALLING IN LOVE WITH BOOKS! This year I have a delightful lineup of posts for you with books that readers want you to fall in love with! First up is Danielle from Bookish in Texas! She’s sharing her love of AFTER I DO by Taylor Jenkins Reid, and I recently read one of Reid’s books, MAYBE IN ANOTHER LIFE, so I’m really looking forward to hearing more about this one from Danielle. Let’s Welcome her to the Blog!

After I Do is an amazing contemporary novel that I can’t recommend highly enough. Even if contemporaries or “chick lit” novels are not normally your thing, After I Do is such an emotional and heartwrenching novel that everyone can relate to it.

We always get books about the falling in love part — the meeting someone amazing, the staying up all night talking, the non-stop laughter. But what happens a couple years down the road? What happens when you’re up all night because you’re fighting, or when that person just doesn’t make you feel happy anymore? This book tackles all that and more, in such an honest way.

This isn’t a novel about a crappy couple who just argues all the time. It’s about a wonderful couple who is so in love — they just haven’t been feeling that way for a while, and decide to take a year apart. The only rule for their separate year is that they cannot contact each other whatsoever, and hope that through taking some time apart they are able to re-discover their love. Their year apart is full of ups and downs and a lot of self-discovery for each of them, but they find that they just can’t stop thinking about each other.

“Ryan and I are two people who used to be in love.

What a beautiful thing to have been.

What a sad thing to be.”

As someone in a serious relationship (that I hope one day leads to marriage), this book was an eye-opener to me. It was so realistic how so many little things could easily add up to a mountain of important things, and can drive such a wedge between two people. This book makes me want to value love, and my relationship, while I have it — not just if I might be on the verge of losing it.

After I Do is overall just a phenomenal book about love, relationships, and making things last even when things look horrible.

Thank you, Danielle, for kicking off this Special Feature with your love for what sounds like a wonderful story by Taylor Jenkins Reid!

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s guest post…you won’t want to miss it!

 

What Katie Read

The Heart of a Fox: Pax by Sara Pennypacker (2016)

The Heart of a Fox: Pax by Sara Pennypacker (2016)Pax by Sara Pennypacker, Jon Klassen
Published by Balzer + Bray on February 2nd 2016
Genres: Animals, Fantasy, Middle Grade
Pages: 304
Goodreads
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Pax was only a kit when his family was killed, and “his boy” Peter rescued him from abandonment and certain death. Now the war front approaches, and when Peter’s father enlists, Peter has to move in with his grandpa. Far worse than being forced to leave home is the fact that Pax can’t go. Peter listens to his stern father—as he usually does—and throws Pax’s favorite toy soldier into the woods. When the fox runs to retrieve it, Peter and his dad get back in the car and leave him there—alone. But before Peter makes it through even one night under his grandfather’s roof, regret and duty spur him to action; he packs for a trek to get his best friend back and sneaks into the night. This is the story of Peter, Pax, and their independent struggles to return to one another against all odds. Told from the alternating viewpoints of Peter and Pax.

Remember all those Middle Grade ARCs I acquired at ALA Midwinter? Well, PAX was one of them, and I am happy to say that it was one of my first 5 Star reads of 2016 in the world of Middle Grade!

Thank you, HarperCollins, for providing me with the opportunity to give my honest review of the book.

What I Loved:

This was a beautiful and heart-wrenching book, sensitive in its depiction of the animal world and the relationship between a young person and his beloved pet. There were many things I loved about this book I’d like to share with you:

-The way the book switches between the perspectives of Pax (the fox) and Peter (Pax’s owner). When Pax and Peter are separated, they (and the reader) want to be reunited, but will Peter be able to find Pax in the woods where he was force to leave him? This is the question…

“You going back for your home or for your pet?”

“They’re the same thing.”

-The sensitive way Pennpacker depicted Pax’s first encounter with the great outdoors.

-The relationship between Peter and Vola, and the multi-dimensional nature of Vola’s character. There was so much to her, and these layers were revealed as the story unfolded.

“I was so lost, I needed to find out all the true things about myself. The little things to the biggest of all: what did I believe in at my core?”

-The depiction of the other foxes Pax encountered and the development of their relationships. Trust me, this aspect of the book was marvelous! I absolutely adored Gray, Bristle, and Runt. I think you will too.

What Was Heartwrenching:

-Peter’s struggle to let Pax go in the beginning of the story–obviously his father was forcing him to do this, and that made it all the more painful to read about.

-Pax’s feelings of confusion that Peter left him in the woods.

-Peter’s journey to finding Pax with its delays and challenges.

-Pax’s interaction with the other foxes in the woods.

BUT NO SPOILERS WILL BE ILLUMINATED HERE…

You can definitely read Pax in one sitting, but it’s also a book you can read over the course of a few days, which I did. Either way, I think you will appreciate the pace and the journey of both Peter and Pax. You may not expect the conclusion, or you might…regardless, this is the kind of story that may stick in your head for quite awhile after you’ve read it.

Some Ponderings:

As I reflected on the story before I was even finished, I’ve considered how reading a book from the perspective of a fox has made me more aware of how the growth of our world (of humans) has affected the animal and natural world.

One area I’m really interested in is how children’s literature can nurture a passion in young readers to care for the natural and animal world. How can books speak to us in a meaningful way so that we take action for the good of our world, in terms of our natural spaces and animal life?

These are some of the questions and ponderings I had as I was reading Pax and I’m looking forward to hearing what other readers are thinking and how this book might be a springboard for discussion and action around these issues for both young and old readers. Have you read Pax? What did you think?

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What Katie Read

Diving into Detective Middle Grade Fiction

by Jordan Stratford, Kate Hannigan, Robyn Stevens, Wilkie Collins

Are you a fan of mysteries? Do you dig detectives? Love the perfect plot? Watch Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries?!!? Well, then you might be interested in some Middle Grade fiction I’ve been reading and adding to my shelves lately!

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The first time I studied in London, at the age of twenty, I fell in love with the great British detective writer, Wilkie Collins. I read his classic, THE WOMAN IN WHITE, and I have to tell you, I was entranced. I couldn’t get enough of the sensational plot and just had to find out who this mysterious woman in white was, and whether the mystery would be uncovered. I went on to read THE MOONSTONE, as well as many other books of his.

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I tell you all this with excitement, because I’m currently reading a splendid Middle Grade book called THE WOLLSTONECRAFT DETECTIVE AGENCY: THE CASE OF THE MISSING MOONSTONE. What’s fantastic is that Jordan Stratford, the author, has definitely read Collins, and this Middle Grade series is influenced by Collins’ work, in a way. I’m really enjoying the book so far–it’s fast paced and filled with fun banter between the two “detectives”–Mary and Ada.

Take a look at the Goodreads Synopsis:

“Jordan Stratford imagines an alternate 1826, where Ada Lovelace (the world’s first computer programmer) and Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein) meet as girls and form a secret detective agency!

Lady Ada Byron, age eleven, is a genius. Isolated, awkward and a bit rude—but a genius. Mary Godwin, age fourteen, is a romantic. Adventurous, astute, and kind, Mary is to become Ada’s first true friend. And together, the girls conspire to form the Wollstonecraft Detective Agency—a secret constabulary for the apprehension of clever criminals. Their first case involves a stolen heirloom, a false confession, and an array of fishy suspects. But it’s no match for the deductive powers and bold hearts of Ada and Mary.”

Then, for my Broke and Bookish Christmas gift, I received THE DETECTIVE’S ASSISTANT by Kate Hannigan. Yet another Middle Grade detective story I had been wanting awhile. I’m really looking forward to reading this one as well–check out the Goodreads description:

“The incredible tale of America’s first ever female detective and her spirited niece!

Eleven-year-old Nell Warne arrives on her aunt’s doorstep lugging a heavy sack of sorrows. If her Aunt Kate rejects her, it’s the miserable Home for the Friendless.

Luckily, canny Nell makes herself indispensable to Aunt Kate…and not just by helping out with household chores. For Aunt Kate is the first-ever female detective employed by the legendary Pinkerton Detective Agency. And Nell has a knack for the kind of close listening and bold action that made Pinkerton detectives famous in Civil War-era America. With huge, nation-changing events simmering in the background, Nell uses skills new and old to uncover truths about her past and solve mysteries in the present.

Based on the extraordinary true story of Kate Warne, this fast-paced adventure recounts feats of daring and danger…including saving the life of Abraham Lincoln!”

Finally, I have both of Robyn Stevens’ popular Middle Grade books to read in the Wells and Wong Detective Agency series! I was lucky enough to receive her first book for the Broke and Bookish Christmas as well, and I snagged an ARC of the second book at ALA Midwinter.

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What do you think of MURDER IS BAD MANNERS?

From Goodreads: Deepdean School for Girls, 1934. When Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up their very own deadly secret detective agency, they struggle to find any truly exciting mysteries to investigate. (Unless you count the case of Lavinia’s missing tie. Which they don’t, really.)

But then Hazel discovers the Science Mistress, Miss Bell, lying dead in the Gym. She thinks it must all have been a terrible accident – but when she and Daisy return five minutes later, the body has disappeared. Now the girls know a murder must have taken place . . . and there’s more than one person at Deepdean with a motive.

Now Hazel and Daisy not only have a murder to solve: they have to prove a murder happened in the first place. Determined to get to the bottom of the crime before the killer strikes again (and before the police can get there first, naturally), Hazel and Daisy must hunt for evidence, spy on their suspects and use all the cunning, scheming and intuition they can muster. But will they succeed? And can their friendship stand the test?”

I have a feeling I might be in a Middle Grade detective streak for awhile, and I have no doubt it will be perfectly wonderful! Are there other Middle Grade or even Young Adult detective stories or mysteries you think I need to consider? Do share in the comments!

 

What Katie Read

Waiting on Wednesday for Raymie Nightingale (2016) by Kate DiCamillo

Waiting on Wednesday for Raymie Nightingale (2016) by Kate DiCamilloRaymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo
Published by Candlewick Press on April 12th 2016
Pages: 272
Goodreads

Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie's picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show-business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who’s determined to sabotage the contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship — and challenge each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.

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There’s no denying that Kate DiCamillo is a master of children’s literature and I will read and purchase and promote and dance and jump up and down about anything she writes.

celebrate

I have sat in bookstores and read her new releases in one sitting and I have purchased and recommended and gifted many of her books over the years including The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, The Magician’s Elephant, The Tiger Rising, and Flora and Ulysses. You may even recall that one of the books I used for my dissertation was Edward Tulane.

Some years ago I was privileged to meet Kate and have her sign my beloved copy of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (which I actually purchased at a bookshop in Hay-on-Wye in Wales!) and the illustrator, Bagram Ibatouilline was also there to sign my book as well.

Needless to say, I am extremely beyond excited about Kate’s upcoming release from Candlewick: RAYMIE NIGHTINGALE.

Friendship. Florida. Three Girls. Little Miss Central Florida Tire Competition. That’s all you need to know. Now GO!

What Katie Read

#TopTenTuesday: Ten Books I Recently Added To My TBR for 2016

TopTenTuesday5 Border

This will be a fun TTT, as all of them are, but it’s always splendid to see what everyone else has recently added to their TBRs! Since I’ve just attended ALA Midwinter, some of my books will reflect titles I collected there.

As usual, this weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and Bookish. Be sure to link up each week so we can visit your Top Ten!

murder is binding

Murder is Binding: A Booktown Mystery #1

I just discovered this series and already checked out three from the library.

last stop

Last Stop on Market Street

It won the Newbury and is going in the School Library pronto! last boy and girl

The Last Boy and Girl in the World

Picked this one up at ALA Midwinter!

world without you

A World Without You

flamecaster

Flamecaster

Also picked this one up at ALA Midwinter and don’t know how long I can wait before I dive in.

girl in grey,200_

The Case of the Girl in Grey

I’m currently reading the first in this splendid Middle Grade series. This next one looks to be inspired by Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White!

gryphon

If I Had A Gryphon

Saw this picturebook at ALA, at least a poster for it, and it’s written by a friend of mine I met in Toronto!

story-thieves-

Story Thieves

I heard James Riley speak at ALA and I’ve got to get started on this Middle Grade series.

lady midnight

Lady Midnight

Yes, Cassandra Clare has a new book coming out!

black rabbit hall

Black Rabbit Hall

Read that synopsis and tell me you’re not interested in that book!

Are any of these on your TBR or Wishlist? I’m about to give my TBR on Goodreads a major overhaul, and plan to trim down quite a bit. My shelves need some organizing, and right now my TBR is a bit out of control. I’m happy to say that these 10 are ones I definitely want to get to in the next few months and as they are released.

What Katie Read