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From the desk of Ashleigh Stevens
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Hartfield Chronicles

With his movie finally finished filming, Pat can't wait to return to Hartfield to spend some time with his brother. But, Walter would rather pretend they are complete strangers. At least Walter's friend doesn't seem to mind him hanging around.

Melinda has just about figured out how to balance her schoolwork with her new dance class and time with her friends. She's even managed to spend some time with her boyfriend, Eliot. Life should be perfect, right?
Except for the fact that Eliot doesn't like the fact that Melinda's best friend is a boy. Or that Melinda happens to be friends with a famous actor.

And just when Melinda thinks her life can't get any more complicated, an unexpected kiss forces her to reexamine the way she thinks about one of her friends.
Hartfield Chronicles follows the lives of Melinda, Pat, and their friends as they navigate their way through boarding school life. Each episode features two stories, one from Melinda's point of view and one from Pat's, along with an excerpt from Melinda's writing journal. New episodes are published every Tuesday and Friday.
Here's what you've missed
  • Episode 31: Walter has a new crush and Pat films a difficult scene
  • Episode 32: Melinda grows uncomfortable around Ava
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the next episode is released?
Sign up for email updates and, as a thank you,
you will receive a bonus chapter from Season 2 of Hartfield Chronicles.

A Glimpse at Ashleigh's Bookshelf

Every Wednesday, I review a new book on my blog. Here are some recent YA/middle grade reviews.
Stephanie Garber

Scarlett has one dream: to attend the magical Caraval - a magical interactive performance. But now that her father has arranged for her marriage to a mysterious count, she has another wish: to get her and her sister safely away from their abusive father. One day, tickets to Caraval mysteriously arrive in the mail and she finally sees a way for all her dreams to come true. However, when Caraval turns out to be far more dangerous than she expected, Scarlett embarks on a journey of self-discovery that makes her reevaluate her dreams.
This book was selected for my book club and, having heard mixed reviews, I was skeptical about wanting to read it. However, I was surprised to find myself engaged and eager to read more. From the beginning, I doubted Scarlett's fiancee was going to be the knight in shining armor who saved her and her sister from her abusive father. However, I enjoyed watching Scarlett grow to the point where she realized she could save herself.

Unlike other reviews, I actually liked the worldbuilding. I found it as mystical and confusing as Caraval itself. And while the prose might have been a little purple, I think it worked to help add to that mysterious magic.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the sequel.

Clio at War
Clio at War
Peggy Gardner

During WWII, Clio's mother decides she needs to visit the front lines as a war correspondent. Since that is no life for an eleven-year-old girl, Clio is deposited in rural Oklahoma with her great-aunts, the two women who raised her mother. After learning about the mysterious disappearances of several young women over the past few decades, Clio is determined to figure out the mystery.
This book contained many era-appropriate cultural references that went over my head, making the story difficult to follow. As a result, it took me a while to really get into the story. I also had some trouble determining who was supposed to be the target audience for this book. While the main character is eleven and the writing style is appropriate for upper middle grade or lower young adult, there were more adult themes (inappropriate touching and hints of adult relationships) that would have me believe this was for older teens.

As I continued to read, I felt the story jumped around a lot and felt very rushed. There were many areas where I wanted to see more of the action instead of having it summed up for me. I found myself confused as to what was going on because scenes were hurried along and summarized.

I was very disappointed in the ending as well. I don't want to give away too many spoilers, but I wanted to know a lot more information. While I was pleased to see I had correctly guessed the whodunit, I would have liked to have seen the aftermath. Did they find more bodies than the three people Clio knew about? Did more people eventually believe Clio?

Overall, I found myself confused for most of the book and not very engaged.

Wondering what to read next?
Try these
I'm Not a Stalker
Now Available
I'm Not a Stalker
The Stalker Mystery Set

The romantic-comedic mystery that readers are calling "clever," "mind-blowing," and "so freaking good!" 

When Anissa accidentally confesses a crush via group email, she finds herself in the middle of her hot-but-shy crush, a jealous ex-boyfriend, and an email chain full of nosy classmates.  

But when mysterious secret-admirer messages start arriving from a guy who seems too good to be true, and Anissa begins falling for him, there's a new problem: she has 31 days to figure out who he is or he'll vanish forever.

I'm Not a Stalker is a comedic love-story-mystery told entirely through emails and texts, and is Book 1 of The Stalker Mystery Set.  Book 2, The Five Suspects, provides an alternate perspective of the events of Book 1 in traditional narrative format, for those who love these characters and want to read more!

Now Available

Billy and Sam are left alone for the day and hear strange noises coming from outside.

Although the children are frightened, they are also curious, and keen to explore.

They discover the strange noises are coming from under the house.

When Billy lifts the trapdoor into the cellar, what secrets will he reveal?

Suitable for children aged 4-10.

Originally Secret Beneath the House. Re-edited.
Check out these free and discounted books
YA & NA Books
Sweet Romance Reads
Clean April Showers
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