Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Introducing No Place Like Home by Dee Romito AND The Wondrous World of Violet Barnaby by Jenny Lundquist

Birthdays are always better when you get to share them with friends. Today is MY birthday, so...

On top of blowing out the candles for my own birthday, two of my friends are celebrating an even better kind of birthday--BOOK BIRTHDAYS! First up is Dee Romito, the author of The BFF Bucket List, which was all kinds of adorable! Plus, Dee's book has actual red glitter. Scroll down to read all about it.


After living a jet-setting lifestyle thanks to her dad's job, twelve-year-old Kenzie decides it's time for her to plant roots in this heartwarming M!X novel.

Kenzie Rhines doesn't have a home--she has too many. Her dad's job keeps them flying around the country, which means "home" is whatever fancy hotel they're currently staying in and "school" takes place 30,000 feet in the air. And since it's just the two of them, she has no choice but to be his travel partner. Kenzie loves the constant adventures, but she wouldn't mind planting her feet in one place for longer than two seconds, having her own bed, and maybe even finding a best friend she can talk to.

When Kenzie's dad surprises her with the news that they'll be in Las Vegas for an extended business trip, she's thrilled he wants to enroll her in a local middle school while they're there. And even though it's the longest she's been in one place in years, Kenzie knows it's only a matter of time before she's on the move yet again. So, for the first time in her life, she decides to take some risks: why not let the cutest boy in school know she's got a bit of a crush on him, give it a shot and audition for the school musical--The Wizard of Oz (her all-time favorite movie), and run for VP of her class?

Thanks to her plan, Kenzie discovers a courage she didn't know she had--and finally feels like she belongs somewhere. But when things start to get complicated, Kenzie discovers that she'll have to face the consequences of everything she's done since her arrival--and that maybe home isn't necessarily a place on a map, but where your heart is.

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Dee Romito lives in her hometown of Buffalo, New York, where she and her family are steadily checking items off their own bucket list of adventures. You’re likely to find her at the local ice cream shop, writing at a café, or curled up on the couch with her cats. And while she does her best to be a grown-up most of the time, giggling with her BFFs is still one of her all-time favorite things. To join the fun and create your own bucket list, visit TheBFFBucketList.com.

Author Links:

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Next up is a new book from Jenny Lundquist, whose books always take you back to the magical innocence of childhood.


Violet Barnaby searches for the joy in life after losing her mother in this sweet and funny follow-up to The Charming Life of Izzy Malone.

Violet Barnaby is a having a blue Christmas. She’s still grieving the loss of her mother, and to make things worse, her dad has just married Melanie Harmer, a.k.a. the meanest teacher at Dandelion Hollow Middle School. But on the day Violet and her dad are packing up and moving into the new house they’ll share with Melanie and Melanie’s two children, Violet finds a letter her mother wrote to her before she died, asking Violet to enjoy Christmas, along with a Christmas Wish List—things her mom wants her to do during the holiday season. On the list are exactly the kinds of things Violet doesn’t want to do this year, like Be Someone’s Secret Santa; Give Someone the Gift of Your Time: Volunteer; and Bake Christmas Cookies.

Violet shows the letter to her friend Izzy’s Aunt Mildred, who calls a meeting of the Charm Girls, a club Izzy and Violet belong to along with their friends, Daisy and Sophia. Aunt Mildred decides she will give them each a charm to put on their bracelet if they do all of the tasks on the Christmas Wish List, which Violet is not too happy about. She’d rather forget about the list completely, but feels compelled to honor her mother’s wishes.

And when Izzy’s crush confides a big secret to Violet, Violet feels like she is stuck between her best friend and the boy who she just might have a crush on, too…

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Jenny Lundquist grew up in Huntington Beach, California, wearing glasses and wishing they had magic powers. They didn't, but they did help her earn a degree in intercultural studies at Biola University. Jenny has painted an orphanage in Mexico, taught English at a university in Russia, and hopes one day to write a book at a café in Paris. Jenny and her husband live in northern California with their two sons and Rambo, the world's whiniest cat.

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Mystery Monday: Maura Murray

It's Monday, which means it's time for another...

Today's my first-ever Mystery Monday rerun...but I'm rerunning for a good reason. Saturday night, a six-part series called The Disappearance of Maura Murray debuts on Oxygen and if you haven't heard that story, you must at least read up on it to decide whether you want to watch the show or not. For me, it is hands down the most haunting mysterious disappearance story I've ever heard.

This story was originally posted in 2015 under the title She Just Disappeared.

Maura Murray was a 21-year-old student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Without warning or explanation, Maura got in her car one day and started driving toward the White Mountains. She wrecked her car in a snowbank at this spot on Route 112 in Woodsville, New Hampshire:

She was last seen standing by her damaged black Saturn. A bus driver stopped to ask if she needed him to call the police. She asked him not to and said she'd already called AAA. (No cell phone service is available in the area, so that couldn't have happened.) The bus driver got home a few minutes later and called the police. When they arrived at the scene three minutes later, they found a locked, empty car and no sign of Maura.

Maura wasn't perfect. In fact, she got into a little trouble before disappearing. This is a shot of her taken by the police after she illegally used someone's credit card to buy food:

There have been stories that her body was buried beneath a local guy's house. There have been questions about whether she started a new life somewhere. There have been all kinds of rumors, innuendo, and facts...all of which are brought out and dissected on podcasts, on news shows, and online. 

Johnny Depp even recently purchased the rights to a book written by a journalist obsessed with Maura's case. What will really be amazing is if the many "armchair detectives" who are obsessed with this case can actually solve it, once and for all.

Did Maura run from the scene and start a new life?

Or did someone harm her?

What do you think?