Quick Picks: What I've Been Reading

You know that feeling when you finish a good book and you just want to tell someone about it?  I've got that feeling! They are books that don't quite fit any of the upcoming book lists that will be appearing on the blog. But, I can't wait to share them... so I won't. 

Below are four books I read over the past month and had to share now.

What have you and your kids been reading lately?


Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War by Helen Frost

A novel in verse set in Ft. Wayne Indian, during the War of 1812 back when it was an actual fort. The setting made this story more intriguing for me because I grew up traveling to Fort Wayne as a kid. Reading a bit of the history of an area I am familiar with is always interesting. 

The story alternates between two friends, one a white boy whose parents run the trading post, one an Indian boy who lives in the area with his tribe. The boys don’t speak the same language but they are friends, even in the midst of rising tensions between the Americans and Native Americans. This is a story that will make you think. The ending is not sad, but it is not happy either. The story ends with a definite foreshadow of the hard things to come for the Native Americans of the area. 

An relatively quick read with a bit of history lesson and an interesting story all combine to make this a pick I would recommend. 

Readers 10 and up

The Detective’s Assistant by Kate Hannigan

“To me, family meant taking the folks we’re stuck with and choosing to love them anyway.”   - Nell from The Detective's Assistant by Kate Hannigan

The Detective’s Assistant tells the story of young orphaned Cornelia who is brought to live with her aunt, Kate Warren. Her aunt just happens to be the first female detective for the famous Pinkerton’s detective agency. Aunt Kate immediately begins to make plans for Nell to live somewhere else, but events change her immediate plans and the two are soon off solving cases for Pinkerton's together.

I love Nell's voice throughout this story. I love the theme of family. I love the mystery aspect, and I love the historical fiction aspect.  While Cornelia/Nell is a made-up character, Kate Warren was real, and many of the adventures the two go on are based on real-life adventures. 

A story about two strong, bold women and a story about family, The Detective's Assistant has been one of my favorite reads this year. 

Readers 9 and up


Nooks and Crannies by Jessica Lawson

A mysterious mystery that felt one part Willy Wonka, one part Agatha Christie and one part Series of Unfortunate Events. Six children, including our heroine Tabitha Crum an unloved girl with a pet mouse, are randomly summoned to an eccentric, reclusive and famous Countess’s mansion where a blizzard traps them without their parents. A maid dies, mysterious noises are heard within the walls and kids begin to disappear. Thankfully Tabitha is an avid reader of mysteries and sets out to solve the case. This story gets a little spooky before the author begins to reveal bits and pieces of the mystery. But, not to worry, the overall ending is happy and quite satisfying.  

Readers 9 and up


The Chestnut King by N.D. Wilson

The third book of the 100 Cupboards trilogy by N.D. Wilson, and another intense fantasy full of adventure and great characters.  I loved the characters, especially Frank, and was sucked into the overall story, but Wilson’s descriptions of Henry’s “2nd sight” got a little wordy and hard for me to follow at times. I found myself wishing it was just a little shorter. Still, a great fantasy series, an epic adventure and characters that are easy to root for and love. 

This is a series that although dark and intense at times, is ultimately a story full of family and light. 

Readers 8 and up


Well, now you know what I've been reading... what books are being read at your house?


(PS Reader age recommendations are just that, recommendations. I list them, oftentimes pulled right off of Amazon, to give you a general guide.)

(PPS All links to Amazon are affiliate links. If you like what you read here, using these links is a small way you can support the blog. Thank you!)