Mary's Review: Delightful and delicious! The Bliss family owns a magical cookbook that helps them solve the problems of Calamity Falls. But when the charismatic, beautiful, and slightly suspicious Aunt Lily appears, the whole family dynamic changes and it's up to Rosemary Bliss to put things aright. First in a trilogy! Rec'd ages 9-13.
John, McKenna and Mary are thrilled to introduce a new favorite young reader series, "Recipe for Adventure" by Giada de Laurentiis. Siblings Alfie and Emilia travel the world with the help of their food-loving Great Aunt Zia. Each book is dedicated to a city they visit (Paris, Rio de Janeiro, New Orleans, Hong Kong, and Naples thus far!) and includes destination related food trivia and recipes. Perfect for fans of the "Agatha: Girl of Mystery" series and the Nancy Clancy books. Rec'd ages 6-10.
Mary's Review: Neil is a fourteen-year-old, world-renowned chef with a tiny boutique restaurant and a very acute sense of smell. When the city's other top chefs start turning up dead and the only clues left behind are a mysterious smell and notes that have something to do with Marco Polo, the cops turn to Neil to help them solve the murders. First in a series! Rec'd ages 9-13.
Mary's Review: In Heather Vogel Frederick’s Absolutely Truly, Twelve-year-old ornithologist Truly Lovejoy is not happy that her family is moving from Austin, Texas to the small town of Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire, even if it does mean her parents are going to get to take over her grandparent's bookstore. For one, she's leaving behind her best friend, but she's also recently shot up to six feet tall and has a hard time going into "stealth mode" and fitting in. But when Truly discovers a mysterious letter in an old copy of Charlotte's Web that begins a scavenger hunt, she must rely on a new group of friends to help her solve each new letter's clues.
Mary's Review: Murilla Gorilla is my favorite new detective for young readers. Murilla lives on a hut on the side of the mountain and she's the town detective. She might be a little lazy (she loves naps) and she's a little unorganized (she often find a shoe in the fridge instead of dinner) but when someone steals the muffins from Mrs. Chimpanzee's Magnificent Muffin stand or when Parrot's yellow parasol goes missing or when someone leaves a hole in Mr Okapi's hammock, they all known who to call! These beautifully illustrated little books are not text-heavy and are split into very, very small chapters, making them perfect for beginning readers or kids who like to listen to a longer story." Start with Murilla Gorilla, Jungle Detective. Also available: Murilla Gorilla & the Lost Parasol and Murilla Gorilla & the Hammock Problem.
John's Review: None of the girls really cared for the headmistress Mrs. Plackett, or her brother. When both die in the middle of dinner, the girls bury them in the vegetable garden and run the school themselves. Each girl uses her skills to help keep the school going in 1890, England, but it's not easy. Mrs. Plackett might not have been well liked, but she was popular. Part mystery, part hilarious farce, this is a deliciously wicked read!
Mary's Review: Milo's family owns a rambling inn called the Greenglass House which caters to a special clientele - smugglers. When an unexpected influx of patrons arrives during the holiday season and things start to go missing, Milo must team up with the cook's daughter, Meddy, to piece together the puzzle. A fantastical blend of mystery, treasure hunting, and friendship - perfect for fans of the Mysterious Benedict Society books.
Mary's Review: I LOVED this book! So spooky and fun! Molly and Kip are orphaned during the Irish Potato Famine. They move to England and find work with a family that lives in a crumbling manor, but when they discover the family/manor are connected to a magical tree that's being tended by an ominous specter, Molly and Kip must fight to save themselves and their new friends.
Mary's Review: A Hitch at the Fairmont is a romp through one of San Francisco's most historic buildings with one of cinema's most fascinating characters. When Jack's mother dies, he has to go live with awful Aunt Edith at the swanky Fairmont hotel. He hasn't even settled in when Aunt Edith disappears and Jack finds the words "We have her. No police" written with chocolates across his aunt's bedsheets. Luckily, Jack discovers that Alfred Hitchcock is his next-door neighbor and the two team up to solve the mystery. Each chapter is named after one of Hitchcock's iconic films and includes fun comic illustrations by Nick Bertozzi. Recommended for ages 8-12 and perfect for reluctant readers.
John's Review: Hampered by his inability to spell in a world where magic must be written in order to work, gifted young wizard Nicodemus experiences disturbing dreams in the wake of an ancient demon's murderous campaign that suggests that Nicodemus's spelling problem may be related to a curse.
While not specifically for young adults, Spellwright and it's sequel Spellbound are perfect for teen fantasy readers.
A descendant of the inspiration for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, sixteen-year-old Alyssa Gardner fears she is mentally ill like her mother until she finds that Wonderland is real and, if she passes a series of tests to fix Alice's mistakes, she may save her family from their curse.
John's Review: Howard uses Lewis Carroll's story as a jumping off point, but quickly builds her own twisted version of Wonderland. Alyssa's voice and narrative grabs you immediately, and the books stayed with me long after I finished it!
When feisty teenaged thief and Kat's on-again off-again boyfriend, Hale, suddenly inherits his family's billion dollar company, Kat gets a tip-off that the will is a fake.
Highly recommended by McKenna and John!
While seeking the perfect dress for her friend's birthday party, 12-year-old Louise Lambert dons a vintage gown and finds herself with a young Marie Antoinette in 18th-century France where, between cute commoner boys and glamorous trips to Paris, she finds that life in the palace is not all cake and couture. Illustrations.
HIGHLY recommended by McKenna and Sally!
Louise Lambert accepts an invitation to a private sale of vintage clothing but upon donning an evening gown, she finds herself in 1912 aboard the "Titanic" as the gown's original owner, silent film star Alice Baxter.
HIGHLY recommended by McKenna and Sally!