Wednesday, December 1, 2021

The Book Review Club (December 2021)

Welcome to the December 2021 edition of The Book Review Club. It's that time of year when we're rushing around, buying gifts and wrapping gifts and writing cards and baking and, and and! Here's our holiday tip: Books make the best gifts. For everyone on your list. While you're at it, buy one for yourself. Then grab a tea/coffee/hot chocolate, a cookie and some quiet reading time. Below my post are links to more book reviews. Terrific gift suggestions. Enjoy!

by Merrill Wyatt 

If I had to choose one word to describe this humorous middle-grade mystery, I'd choose "fun."

Much to their chagrin, seventh-graders Sloane Osburn (popular volleyball star) and Amelia Miller-Poe (melodramatic misfit) are partnered up for a class project. Their task? To find the jewels that went missing in their town of Wauseon, Ohio way back in 1887. We're talking graveyards, hidden compartments, family secrets. There is serendipity (great luck) and zemblanity (horrible luck). A mysterious someone is also after the jewels. This someone is following the girls and the centuries-old clues. Who will get there first? Fun! Fun! Fun!

TANGLED UP IN LOVE is a twisty-turny mystery with well-rounded characters (my favorite is Amelia) and a satisfying ending. Secondary characters, such as Sloane's grandmothers, provide great comic relief. A narrator ups the tension with ominous pronouncements. The girls learn about friendship and family and standing up for yourself and standing up against bullies. And they learn that luck isn't really all that important. It's "how you choose to live your life around that luck" that counts.

And hurray! There will be a sequel. Also, I'm not the only one who loved this book. Kirkus gave it a starred review: "Funny, cheering, and narratively fulfilling."

P.S. I will attempt to use the word "zemblanity" in a sentence daily.

(Dear FCC: bought for Kindle)

And now....onto the rest of our reviews. Please click through. You won't want to miss a single one!


Phyllis Wheeler: THE STRANGEWORLDS TRAVEL AGENCY by LD Lapinski (fantasy)                 


Jenn Jilks: mysteries by three different female authors (mystery)

Linda McLaughlin: THE LIEUTENANT'S NURSE by Sarah Ackerman (historical)

Lucy Sartain: STATE OF TERROR by Louise Penny and Hillary Clinton (thriller) 

Patti Abbott: OH, WILLIAM by Elizabeth Strout (literary)

Ray Potthoff: LIGHTNING STRIKE by William Kent Krueger (mystery)

Sarah Laurence: THE WORLD THAT WE KNEW by Alice Hoffman (historical, magical realism)


Lucy Sartain: I'LL TAKE YOUR QUESTIONS NOW by Stephanie Grisham (memoir)

Lucy Sartain:  THE BOYS by Ron and Clint Howard (memoir)

Margy Lutz: FOR JOSHUA: AN OJIBWE FATHER TEACHES HIS SON by Richard Wagamese (memoir)

Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thank you so much for your reviews!


  1. I found myself smiling through this review - always a good sign. :) I loved the description of melodramatic misfit so was pleased to see she was your favorite character.

    This does sound like a fun book. Thanks for reviewing.

    1. This is one of those books you feel the author truly enjoyed writing.

  2. Sounds like a book worth reading! I've ordered it at my library!

    1. You'll enjoy, Phyllis. Especially as a fellow middle-grade writer.

  3. Sounds like a really fun read, Barrie. Tweeted and shared on FB.

    Linda McLaughlin

  4. Seems like so many books have a sequel or come in a series these days. I do enjoy that, but find it better to read a series after all of the books have been written, otherwise I forget what I read waiting for the next installment. I'm sure authors don't prefer it that way though. - Margy

  5. Thanks for hosting! We are done with Christmas prep. We aren't having anyone, so it's pretty easy. The grandies have presents in the closet when we have a chance to get together. Dunno when that will be.

  6. I had to look up zemblanity online to find the definition: how fun! I'm just now catching up from a few days offline. I'm looking forward to reading book reviews soon. Thanks for hosting and introducing me to new authors and words!


Comments are always welcome!