Paige Rewritten by Erynn Mangum

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
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Paige Rewritten by Erynn Mangum

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Accepting a raise at work should be a no-brainer for Paige Alder, right? And when her “prodigal sister” shows up a genuinely changed person, Paige should be happy about it, yes? And what girl wouldn’t be thrilled when her handsome ex-boyfriend shows up a genuinely changed guy, ready to make amends? It seems that as soon as Paige gets on track, everything gets complicated again in Paige Rewritten, a novel by author Erynn Mangum.

Yeah. It still baffles me somewhat that the Paige Alder novels are labeled as young adult fiction, and even categorized as children’s books on Amazon. These books are clearly chick-lit with grownup characters in grownup situations. If any “age” had to be put on them, they’d be new adult novels, not YA, and certainly not children’s ones.

Anyhow, enough about that. For now.

Another enjoyable installment of the series, this is. It’s refreshing to read a story about the prodigal son’s brother, since the brother who didn’t leave home had issues to deal with, too. (Or, I should probably say the prodigal child’s sibling.) I get a kick out of Paige’s humorous take on things, and I laughed so hard at one point, I had to step away from the book for a while to cope with the hilarity.

There were a few things about the story that bothered me a bit. I mean, after Paige spent a whole previous novel learning how to tell folks no, if she now has a low-level stalker who’s annoying her, how come she doesn’t give a solid NO and nip the whole nuisance in the bud? She keeps saying “annunciate” when I’m pretty sure she means “enunciate.” There are places where the story seems to idle or stroll around in circles, sharing no important or new information. And though, after reading the first novel, I was prepared for another cliffhanger ending, I’m still not a fan of the cliffhanger. Endings that hang off a cliff just make a book feel incomplete.

Nevertheless, this novel can bring readers right along into the heroine’s world, whether or not they’ve read the first book in the series. And, as before, since I’d decided early that I wanted to read all the Paige Alder novels, the cliffhanger isn’t the reason why I’ll be moving on to Book Three, which I happily will be.

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Here’s my review of the first Paige Alder novel, Paige Torn.

 

The Underground by Suzanne D. Williams

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
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The Underground by Suzanne D. Williams

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Phoebe is on the run from an abusive past, but she’s headed in the wrong direction, literally. A guy on the bus offers instructions to help her—right before he thwarts an attack on his life by stopping a bullet with his bare hand. Phoebe’s acceptance of help from this guy (Crowne) will mean entering a strange world below ground, but the stakes of joining that world are high in The Underground by author Suzanne D. Williams.

I’m still a science fiction newbie (book wise, at least), but I enjoyed this novella. Given Phoebe’s predicament and all she doesn’t know, I wondered for a while if she’d only be a “damsel in distress” type of character: confused, scared, and depending on superhuman Crowne for everything. So I was pleased to find that even with her pain, Phoebe is smart and curious with wit and fire to her.

Some awkward wording and commas in odd places put a little hitch in my reading a few times. I was kind-of expecting more of a central “mission” to be accomplished in the story, but there may be more of that later in the series. Besides, finding out exactly who you are and how you fit into someone else’s life can be quite a mission on its own.

Though I know that sci-fi often requires readers to accept things that may seem off or bizarre, my quasi-conservative self wasn’t sure about some stuff in this book. But a compelling thread in the story kept me reading: the thought that your destiny is greater than other people’s questionable or faulty plans or actions toward you.

It could be interesting to see what happens next in the series…

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The Underground is Book One in the Superhuman series.

The League (Superhuman Book 2)The Coalition (Superhuman #3)The Family (Superhuman #4)The Child (Superhuman Book 5)

Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
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Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Ramona Quimby wishes her family would perk up. Her cat refuses to eat, her older sister is going through a moody and defiant phase, and her parents worry a lot these days, since her father just lost his job. But if Ramona sets her mind to it, maybe she can find a way to help her father through this rough patch in Ramona and Her Father by author Beverly Cleary.

Just as I remembered from childhood, I found this to be one of the darker Ramona books (although back then, “sadder” is the word I likely would’ve used.) It’s certainly a serious situation for Ramona here, with her family being even more strapped for cash than usual, and her father putting his lungs in danger with cigarettes. (Wow–I’d forgotten all about Ramona’s mission against her father’s smoking habit! My, does that lead to some parts that prick my heart in a whole new way, now that I can better appreciate how Mr. Quimby must feel.)

But there’s still patented Ramona humor and fun in the read, with a heroine whose feelings about things like eating out at Whopperburger are so on point. Plus, seeing how an imperfect Mr. Quimby is a good man who loves and gets a kick out of his daughter makes this a winner of a tale.

Oh–and did I mention this book’s delightfully Christmassy ending?

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Ramona and Her Father is the fourth book in the Ramona Quimby series. Another one on the “sadder but wonderful” side is the book that precedes this one, Ramona the Brave.

A Singular and Whimsical Problem by Rachel McMillan

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
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A Singular and Whimsical Problem by Rachel McMillan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Merinda Herringford and Jem Watts aren’t exactly a typical duo of women in Toronto in 1910: two single, female detectives with their own private investigation firm. Their latest, Christmastime case, to find a lady’s missing cat, isn’t the most exciting prospect. But add into the mix a notorious suffragette and young women who’ve been disappearing from a correctional facility, and Merinda and Jem suddenly have their hands full in A Singular and Whimsical Problem, a mystery short by author Rachel McMillan.

Okay, so, off the top of my head, aside from The Boxcar Children and Hank the Cowdog mysteries in my childhood, a good number of Nancy Drew novels and a brief Agatha Christie jaunt in my teens, and my recent trip with The Illusionist’s Apprentice by Kristy Cambron, my experience with mystery/sleuth reads has been next to nil. Hence, I’m no mystery expert or anything, but I rather enjoyed this novella.

It’s got entertaining dashes of humor, even as it doesn’t make light of a serious human trafficking problem. There’s a lot packed into this quick read, which I liked, though it does seem to lend itself to some choppiness and holes. Some of that may be because the story is a companion to a novel and an introduction to a series, but other minor pieces just might not make complete sense.

Still, the main characters are interesting, the unfolding case is intriguing, there are lovely whispers of romance in the story, and the ending becomes especially Christmassy. This nonexpert in mysteries plans on reading more about Herringford and Watts.

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Here’s my review of the next book in the Herringford and Watts Mysteries series, The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder.

The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder (Herringford and Watts, #1) Of Dubious and Questionable Memory (Herringford and Watts Mysteries #1.5) A Lesson in Love and Murder (Herringford and Watts Mysteries, #2)

Conductor of Light (Herringford and Watts Mysteries #2.5) The White Feather Murders (Herringford and Watts Mysteries #3)