Book Reviews · Charlie's Corner · Read-a-thons · Recommendations

Charlie's Corner: Book Reviews: A to Z Mysteries

Welcome to Charlie’s Corner, named after my little boy. Here I will share baby/children’s product and book reviews.

A to Z Mysteries
Books C, D & E
By: Ron Roy
Illustrated by: John Steven Gurney

Published: March 1998
Published by: Turtleback Books
Format Read: Paperback
Genre: Middle-grade fiction, series, mystery, children’s books, chapter books

The Canary Caper (Book 3)

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C is for Canary…Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose get an urgent call from Mrs.
Davis. Her canary is missing! The little bird has vanished without a trace, and
he’s not the only one. Two other pets are missing. The kids suspect a
pet-napper, and now that Ruth Rose’s cat, Tiger, has turned up missing too,
it’s become personal!

The Deadly Dungeon (Book 4)

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Dink’s favorite mystery writer, Wallis Wallace, has invited Dink, Josh, and
Ruth Rose for a sleepover – in a haunted castle! But as soon as the young
detectives arrive, they start hearing screams behind the walls. Will they
discover who – or what – is haunting Moose Manor?

The Empty Envelope (Book 5)

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E is for Envelope…Dink keeps getting envelopes in the mail addressed to “D. Duncan.” But the letters inside all start with “Dear Doris” and don’t make any sense! Josh and Ruth Rose think someone’s playing a trick on Dink. But Dink is sure there’s more to it than that, especially after Doris herself shows up and demands her letters!

My Thoughts

One day while helping my mom sort through some boxes, I came across a pile of books that belonged to my brother and I, when we were kids. Among these old treasures included three books from the A to Z mystery series. They made a good addition to my Middle Grade March TBR.

The A to Z Mysteries are a great way to introduce kids to short chapter books, as well as the mystery genre. Each installment begins with a map and includes pictures too. Readers follow three friends as they solve simple cases they uncover, in their community and on their journeys.

I would recommend the A to Z Mystery series by Ron Roy to children in grades 2-4.


Book Reviews · Read-a-thons · Recommendations

Charlie's Corner: Book Review: Viva Durant and the Secret of the Silver Buttons

Welcome to Charlie’s Corner, named after my little boy. Here I will share baby/children’s product and book reviews.
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Viva Durant and the Secret of the Silver Buttons
By: Ashli St. Armant
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin

Published: October 2019
Published by: Audible Original

Format: Audiobook, Audible
Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery, Series

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis

Viva Durant, New Orleans’ youngest detective, is on a quest to solve a jazzy mystery involving hidden treasure, while exploring the city’s unique culture, history, and music. This family-friendly audio original features original jazz music from the creator, Ashli St. Armant, and an enthusiastic performance from Audible Hall of Fame narrator, Bahni Turpin.

Plucky 14-year-old Viva Durant heads to New Orleans every summer to spend time with her loving but stern grandmother, known as Gram. After Gram reads Viva an article in the local paper about a missing treasure related to the world-famous song, “Miss Mary Mack,” Viva traverses the Crescent City on an epic adventure to solve the mystery. Along the way she meets some of the city’s most colorful characters as her journey takes her to the French Quarter, a jazz club, a creepy cemetery, and even the circus. Can Viva rise to the occasion and solve this musical mystery? Listeners will find Viva Durant and the Secret of the Silver Buttons a joy to listen to!

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

I came across Ashli St. Armant’s, Viva Durant and the Secret of the Silver Buttons when searching Audible Originals. I thought it would be a cute story to listen to for the Middle Grade March Read-a-thon. Surprisingly, I ended up loving Viva’s story and it became my second 5 star book of .

California girl Viva is given her first taste of freedom, while visiting her grandmother in New Orleans. She is taken by a newspaper article about a missing treasure, connected to the children’s song Miss Mary Mack. Using the article and the song lyrics, Viva goes on a treasure hunt that takes her into the French Quarter, on a discovery of music history and even to circus school. Additionally, it is all set to a soundtrack of some great Jazz music.

I thought that a mystery involving such a widely known song as Miss Mary Mack, was so clever. It features a stellar audio production and Banhi Turpin’s performance brought Viva to life. The setting felt authentic and vibrant. This audio book will also introduce a whole new generation to the Jazz genre, including those who may not have had the opportunity otherwise.

Viva Durant is a wonderfully put together audio book that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

Challenges · Read-a-thons · Wrap-ups

Bout of Books 28 Read-a-thon Fail

Grab button for Bout of Books

The Bout of Books Read-a-thon ran from May 11-17. This is my wrap-up of my reading progress.

Total Books Read: 1

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My Lost Family
By: Danny Ben-Moshe and Dasha Lisitsina

Genre: Non-fiction, Audiobook
Rating: 5/5

Challenges

Day 1: Introduce yourself in 6 words.

Boy Mom, Cat Mom, Book Lover

….and unfortunately that is as far as I got. I had high hopes that I would make some great reading progress during this read-a-thon. Unfortunately life got in the way.

I did make decent progress on Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks, but wasn’t able to get to An Awakened Heart (Orphan Train, 0.5) by Jody Hedlund.

I’m hoping for better luck in the next round of the Bout of Books Read-a-thon.

Currently Reading · Memes · Personal Post · Read-a-thons · Recommendations · Wrap-ups

Monthly Wrap-up: April 2020

Another month has gone by and we are still social distancing. We had a very quiet and sparse Easter this year. It was the first holiday we spent at home. Instead of turkey, I did a small roast for the three of us.The Easter Bunny left some treats and an egg hunt for my son Charlie. April is also the month in which my family has many birthdays to celebrate; both my parents, my niece and several cousins. Charlie celebrated his birthday in April too. My little guy is now 3 years old!

I didn’t feel as motivated to read this past month, as I did in March. I read my first ever graphic novel, which I borrowed from my local library in eBook format. I also read a short story. Both of these I have included in my monthly total.

Total Books Read in April: 5
Total Books Read in 2020: 23

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Bundle of Trouble (Maternal Instincts Mystery, 1)
By: Diana Orgain

Genre: Cozy Mystery, Series
Rating: 2.5/5

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The Beatles in Comics!
By: Michels Mabel and Various Artists

Genre: Graphic Novel, Biography, Non-fiction
Rating: 2.5/5

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The Heiresses
By: Sara Shepard

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Mystery, Suspense
Rating: 3/5

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The Engagement Party
By: Kimberly Freeman

Genre: Historical Fiction, short story, ebook
Rating: 2.5/5

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The Unexpected Everything
By: Morgan Matson

Genre: Contemporary fiction, YA Lit, Audiobook, Audible
Rating: 4/5

The Stats

Total Number of Books Read: 5
Total Number of Fiction: 4
Total Number of Non-Fiction: 1
Total Books Sent for Review: 0
Total Books Read from My Shelves: 3
Total Library Books Read: 2

Formats Read

Physical Books: 1
eBooks:
3
Audio Books:
1

Currently Reading

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May TBR

Bout of Books 28 begins on May 11. I’m going to sort through my collection for books to read during this week long challenge.

My possible read-a-thon TBR includes:

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And that’s all for this wrap-up. Wishing you all a safe and healthy May.

NOTE: Please excuse the unaligned images. Once again I am having trouble formatting my post. Has anyone else had this issue with WordPress?

Book Reviews · Charlie's Corner · Read-a-thons · Recommendations

Charlie's Corner: Book Review: A Study in Scarlet (The Sherlock Holmes Children's Collection 1)

Welcome to Charlie’s Corner, named after my little boy. Here I will share baby/children’s product and book reviews.
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A Study in Scarlet
(The Sherlock Holmes Children’s Collection 1)
By: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Adapted by: Stephanie Baudet
Illustrated by: Arianna Bellucci

Published: November 2019
Published by: Sweet Cherry Publishing
Format Read: eBook, ARC, Kindle
Genre: Middle Grade, Adapted Classics, Mystery

Rating: 3/5

NOTE: I was sent a copy of A Study in Scarlet, adapted by Stephanie Baudet, from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis

Body thought to be that of E.J. Drebber discovered last night in empty London house. No obvious cause of death. Address given as Cleveland Ohio. Any information would be appreciated.

After a mysterious murder leaves the police baffled, the world’s best amateur detective is asked to investigate. Along with his fellow lodger, Dr Watson, Sherlock Holmes sets about uncovering a quest for revenge that runs far deeper than anybody suspected.

About The Sherlock Holmes Children’s Collection

Elementary-age reading, my dear Watson! This fun series adapts the classic mysteries of Holmes & Watson for young readers, and makes the perfect introduction to whodunit fun for ages 7 and up. All titles are also leveled for classroom use, including GRLs.

Source: Goodreads

My Thoughts

It has been quite a while since I read any of Sherlock Holmes mysteries, so this was a great refresher. I was excited to see that these stories are being adapted for a younger audience. My hope is that it will encourage young readers to appreciate classic literature.

Although it follows the basic plot of the original A Study in Scarlet, this book has simplified sentences and side notes that describe terms used that might not be familiar to kids today. An example of these side notes include the description of words like; hansome cab. Illustrations are also included.

Sherlock Holmes himself, has even been adapted for the younger audience. He is portrayed as more chipper and whimsical than the well-known character Arthur Conan Doyle created.

This version of A Study in Scarlet is being promoted as Middle Grade, however the story does center around a murder. Therefore I would recommend it to slightly older ages or even those who fall under the ages of young adult. I look forward to reading more of the Sherlock Holmes adaptations in the future.

Challenges · Charlie's Corner · Currently Reading · Personal Post · Read-a-thons · Recommendations · Wrap-ups

Monthly Wrap-up: March 2020

What do you say about a month that has brought about so much fear, sadness and unease? I’m not sad to see March end as the pass of time will hopefully bring us closer to better days. Here in Ontario Canada, our government is tightening its reins, in an effort to stop the spread of Covid-19. We have been “Social Distancing” for over 2 weeks now. As someone with serious heart problems, I have been taking the warnings very seriously. Unfortunately many people still aren’t listening and so the number of cases continue to grow. Its hard on everyone, especially children. It breaks my heart that families are being kept apart. My son is so upset that he cannot see his Nanny and Poppy and he is too young to really understand why. However it is important that we all do our part.

I’d like to send a shout out to all the front line medical and retail workers for all they are doing to fight this deadly outbreak. We will be forever grateful.

I hope that you are all staying safe and healthy.

As you will see by my total of books, I made great progress on my reading challenge for the year. This is due in part to the two reading challenges I participated in. Charlie and I read some of these books together, along with MANY MANY more of his current favourites, haha.

Total Books Read in March: 9
Total Books Read in 2020: 18

Check out my Charlie’s Corner wrap up for more information on the middle grade fiction, I read in March.

Total Middle Grade Read: 5

The following books are those I read for March Mystery Madness.

Total Mysteries Read: 3

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Death of a Rhinestone Cowboy
By: Jenna Brown

Rating: 3/5

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Decked (Regan Reilly Mystery, 1)
By: Carol Higgins Clark

Rating: 3/5

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The Mystery of the Blue Train
(Hercule Poirot, 6)
By: Agatha Christie

Rating: 3/5

Additional Book Read:

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The Number of Love
(The Codebreakers, 1)
By: Roseanna M. White

Rating: 3.5/5
NOTE: I was sent a copy of The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White, from the publisher, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Stats

Total Number of Books Read: 9
Total Number of Fiction: 9
Total Number of Non-Fiction: 0
Total Books Sent for Review: 3
Total Books Read from My Shelves: 6
Total Library Books Read: 0

Formats Read

Physical Books: 6
eBooks:
2
Audio Books:
1

Currently Reading

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April TBR

As of this time, I don’t know of any read-a-thons to participate in, but if I do see any that catch my interest, I will make a post about it.

2 of the books I hope to read in April include:

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Challenges · Charlie's Corner · Read-a-thons · Recommendations · Wrap-ups

Charlie's Corner: Middle Grade March 2020 Wrap-up

Welcome to Charlie’s Corner, named after my little boy. Here I will share baby/children’s product and book reviews.

This past month I participated in Middle Grade March. It is a genre I don’t read a lot of, but I really enjoyed participating and am looking forward to joining again next time. What made this read-a-thon special to me was that some of the books I shared with my son Charlie. He especially enjoyed listening to the audiobook Viva Durant.

Middle Grade March is hosted on YouTube by Life Between Words and Books and Jams. The prompts for the month included:

  • Books set in another country.
  • Book to screen adaptations.
  • Mystery books.
  • Books with illustrations.
  • Books about stories

My Middle Grade March Wrap-up

Total Books Read: 5

1. A Study in Scarlet (The Sherlock Holmes Children’s Collection 1) by Stephanie Baudet

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NOTE: I was sent a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 3/5
Prompts Covered: A book set in another country (England), Book to screen adaptation, Mystery book, a book with illustrations.

2. Viva Durant and the Secret of the Silver Buttons by: Ashli St. Armant
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin

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Rating: 5/5
Prompts Covered: A book set in another country (USA), Mystery book.

3. The Canary Caper (A to Z Mysteries, 3) by Ron Roy

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Rating: 3/5
Prompts Covered: A book set in another country (USA), Mystery book, A book with illustrations.

4. The Deadly Dungeon (A to Z Mysteries, 4) by Ron Roy

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Rating: 2/5
Prompts Covered: A book set in another country (USA), Mystery book, A book with illustrations.

5. The Empty Envelope (A to Z Mysteries, 5) by Ron Roy

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Rating: 3/5
Prompts Covered: A book set in another country (USA), Mystery book, A book with illustrations.

Challenges · Charlie's Corner · Read-a-thons

Charlie’s Corner: Middle Grade March Read-a-thon

Welcome to Charlie’s Corner, named after my little boy. Here I will share baby/children’s product and book reviews.

During the month of March, the book community is celebrating the middle grade genre. This is a genre I don’t pick up very often, so I am not as familiar with the popular books released in the past several years. I am looking forward to discovering some new (or new to me) authors and their stories. This will also be a great opportunity for me to revisit some books from my childhood. And even though my son is still several years from this age-group, I hope to share some books with him too.

I will be participating in the Middle Grade March Read-a-thon, which is hosted by Life Between Words and Books and Jams. It is a month long read-a-thon and the prompts are as follows:

  • Books set in another country.
  • Book to screen adaptations.
  • Mystery books.
  • Books with illustrations.
  • Books about stories

My TBR

Funny enough, I recently came across a box of old books from my childhood, at my parents. Which was great timing as there were several that would fit the bill. I’m also looking forward to gathering some books from my library.

As of this posting, I have two definite books that I intend to read this months. Those include:

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NOTE: I was sent a copy of A Study in Scarlet, created by Stephanie Baudet and Illustrated by Arianna Belucci, from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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I will be sharing my reading progress on my Instagram page. You can follow me @melissaleesredhousereviews .

Will you be reading any middle grade during the month of March? Let me know in the comments.

Challenges · Currently Reading · Read-a-thons · Recommendations · Wrap-ups

Monthly Wrap-up: February 2020

I hope that you all had a wonderful February. I was happy to have participated in my second read-a-thon for the year. (I’m hoping to participate in one a month, if possible). It was my first time joining the Contemporary-a-thon and I managed to complete some of the prompts. You can see my wrap-up here.

Total Books Read in February: 5
Total Books Read in 2020: 9

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The Book of Gutsy Women
By: Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton

Genre: Non-fiction
Rating: 4/5

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The Victory Garden
By: Rhys Bowen
Narrated by: Saaskia Marleveld

Genre: Historical Fiction, Audiobook, Audible
Rating: 3/5

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The Flatshare
By: Beth O’Leary

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance
Rating: 3.5/5

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Snowfall and Secrets (Omega Mu Alpha Brothers 1)
By Kimberly Loth

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Series
Rating: 2.5/5

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Shopaholic Takes Manhattan (Confessions of a Shopaholic 2)
By: Sophie Kinsella

Genre: Contemporary fiction, Romance, Series
Rating: 3/5

DNF

Crashing the A-List

Crashing the A-List
By: Summer Heacock

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance
NOTE: I was sent a copy of Crashing the A-List by Summer Heacock, from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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Tinaca Jones
By: Matt Boren
Narrated by: Retta

Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Audiobook, Audible Original
Note: Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get into the plot of this audiobook and decided to move on.

The Stats

Total Number of Books Read: 5
Total Number of Fiction: 4
Total Number of Non-Fiction: 1
Total Books Sent for Review: 0
Total Books Read from My Shelves: 3
Total Library Books Read: 2

Formats Read

Physical Books: 3
eBooks:
1
Audio Books:
1

Currently Reading

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March TBR

March is Mystery Madness Month. I’m not signing up for any groups or a read-a-thon for this theme, in particular. However I do hope to read some books from the mystery genre over the next 4 weeks.

Another genre I am hoping to read from is middle grade fiction. So, I have decided to participate in the Middle Grade March Read-a-thon. This is a month long challenge, that is hosted on YouTube by Life Between Words and Books And Jams. I will make a separate post announcing my intentions soon.