Tumtum and Nutmeg: Adventures Beyond Nutmouse Hall

This charming series from Emily Bearn is a heart-warming and adorable read. Reading this series is like drinking a hot pumpkin spice latte in the fall. This book is a collection of three short stories that follow Tumtum and Nutmeg, two wholesome and benevolent mice living within a broom cupboard of Rose Cottage. As readers, we get to witness these two interact with the young, human children of small Rose Cottage, defeat their nefarious Aunt, battle rats, and enjoy their vast home within the cupboard. While Tumtum would rather stay in one of the 27 rooms of Nutmouse Hall and read, his wife Nutmeg can’t help but pity the human children of Rose Cottage whose mother died when they were little and whose father is struggling to support them. In the first short story, Nutmeg is determined to bring the children joy after learning that their father cannot afford to give them Christmas presents this year and Tumtum joins the cause just to be with Nutmeg.

As a child, I remember purchasing this book at a garage sale, its 512 pages intimidated me and the descriptive writing was far beyond my level. Recently, I picked this book back up after I abandoned it many years ago, deeming it too difficult. Reading this was like a beautiful trip back into childhood, equivalent to a trip to Disneyland or visiting your own elementary school. These stories are so heart-warming and devoid of drama or toxicity-it was like a cleanse. Although I typically read fantasy or historical fiction, these stories have a special place in my heart. It makes your problems seem insignificant as you turn the next page to discover how these tiny mice will defeat a human adult or make presents for small human children. If you are looking to enjoy a whimsical, children’s chapter book, this series is the one for you. I deeply encourage you to dive into the adventures of rational Tumtum and magnanimous Nutmeg to escape the world’s troubles and have a little fun.

Tumtum & Nutmeg: Adventures Beyond Nutmouse Hall by Emily Beam is available to download for free from Libby.

Kingdom of the Feared

by Kerri Maniscalco

This book is the culmination of the Kingdom of the Wicked Series by Kerri Maniscalco, and it does end with a bang.

If you are not familiar with this series, it follows Emilia, a young witch living in Palermo Italy whose twin sister was murdered. Eager to find her sister’s killer, she summons the Prince of Wrath to assist her.

In this finale, Emilia is reeling from her discovery that her sister is alive and as well as the revelation that she is not a witch, but the Goddess of Fury. As she fights to uncover the truth behind her and her sister, she realizes her attraction to Wrath and embarks on a mission to break their curse to secure their happy ending.

This book was intense. It packs a punch with romance, action, and lots of twists. It teleports you to the frozen world of Hell and the seven deadly courts. Though this book may have you cursing that you cannot have a Prince of Wrath for yourself, its story is enchanting and intoxicating. In this last book, you will finally meet each of the 7 sins and unravel the twisted tale of Emilia’s and her sister’s heritage. It keeps you on your toes for its entirety and contains plenty of the action the sequel promised. Kerri Maniscalco promised readers a scalding fantasy romance and that is what she delivered. This book will leave you drunk on a high as if you were influenced by a deadly sin yourself.

Kingdom of the Feared by Kerri Maniscalco is available to check out from the Mission Viejo Library.

The Midnight Library Book Review

This inventive book follows Nora Seed who is tired of her life and all the mistakes she made. But instead of reaching the afterlife as she assumed, she finds herself in an infinite library, greeted by her childhood librarian who invites her to pick a book off the shelves. Nora then learns that she has the opportunity to live an infinite number of lives and experience the things she could not in her original life. All she must do is pick up a book and read the first line and she is transported into that life. Nora uses this opportunity to amend every mistake she felt she made, undo every regret and open every door she imagined in her mundane root life.

Haig’s genius book shows readers the desires every human experiences. The big dreams of being a rockstar or a scientist saving the world. Haig reveals that regrets are not necessarily missed opportunities but often scapegoats for one’s life failing to meet expectations. In the book, Nora feels that she lost every opportunity to live a happy life, create relationships, or be successful as everyone expected judging by her gifted youth. She feels useless in her original life, not needed by anyone or amounted to anything she could have been. When in the midnight library she is presented with the book of regrets, a thick volume with everything she has ever regretted. As she continues to pull books off the shelves and live new lives, she realizes that though she thought she regretted not becoming a rockstar or a famous philosopher, her original life suited her best. As readers, we get to see the impacts small actions can make on others’ lives. The effect small kindnesses can have on people’s lives though they seem insignificant. “Never underestimate the big importance of small things.” This book highlights true happiness. It is not in exterior success like fame or fortune, but in creating relationships with those around you and continuing to gift a little bit of kindness.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig Alcott is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

The Silent Patient Review

Author: Alex Michaelides 

Pages: 325

Genre: Thriller, mystery

The Silent Patient begins with a glimpse at Alicia Berenson’s picturesque life through her diary. This famous painter is married to a renowned photographer and lived the perfect life in a nice house in London. However, Alicia’s perfect life does not stop her from shooting her husband five times in the face when he returns from work. After this crime, she never speaks a word again. Five years later, psychotherapist Theo Faber finds a job opportunity at the psychiatric ward Alicia is being held and takes the job in order to examine Alicia with whom he has been entranced since her story stormed the press. Theo is determined to discover the events of that night as well as Alicia’s motive to brutally kill her husband. We get to follow him as he investigates personal aspects of Alicia’s life like her friends and family. However, each character introduces new information that makes her motive appear ever more convoluted.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. While it was a bit of a slow start as we hear about Theo’s life and mundane daily activities, the end is worth the wait. As the story continued, I too found myself anticipating the reasoning behind Alicia’s actions and definitely was not disappointed. There were a lot of hidden details throughout the book that made the resolution much more intense and mind-blowing. I would recommend this book to all readers, for while I do not particularly read many thriller novels, this one was very good.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.



by Alice Oseman

This heartwarming collection of comics follows Nick and Charlie as they discover their growing attraction to one another that bloomed from friendship. Both attending the same private boy’s school, Nick and Charlie become fast friends after being placed next to each other in the class seating chart. While Charlie announced his sexuality last school year, Nick struggles to find himself as he discovers his feelings for Charlie are more than friendship. Heartstopper Volume 1 shows their friendship growing as they slowly gather the courage to approach the other about their feelings. Their relationship continues to grow throughout the other volumes as they near the end of their high school experience (there are a total of 4 so far).

Volume 1 of Heartstopper, while short, is the most genuine and wholesome romance comic I have ever had the pleasure of reading. This comic never fails to bring a smile to my face as I follow these two goofballs through their high school experience and watch as their romantic relationship grows. If you are looking for tension and drama, Heartstopper is not the comic for you. This book only contains healthy communication, friendship, bonding, and growing into oneself. It highlights the struggles each character faces and how they overcome them with the help of their friends and families. Each character offers a new perspective and challenges to overcome. The entire Heartstopper series toke me a day and a half to devour and as I eagerly await new volumes to be published, I remember the sweet and touching moments of this story.

This series has even become a Netflix series! Make sure to check that out. The entire Heartstopper series is also available for free on Webtoon and Tapas.

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

House of Sky and Breath Review

House of Sky and Breath

Author: Sarah J. Mass

Pages: 805

Published: February 15, 2022

Genre: fantasy, romance, young adult


This sequel to the House of Blood and Earth continues to follow Bryce Quinlan and Hunt Athalar as they struggle to lie low in the bustling city of Crescent City. In their world, there are four main classes: humans, Vanir (mythical creatures like Fae or werewolves), Vanir leaders, and the Asteri. The Asteri are the all-powerful leaders of all living beings, fated to have been created from fallen stars. After saving the city from thousands of demons, and killing the Archangel that summoned them, the Asteri have ordered Bryce and Hunt to keep a low profile. But of course, acting normal has never been easy for the legendary Umbra Mortis and the Starborn Fae Princess, especially when a powerful rebel loses her life for her brother and every creature wishes to get their claws on this teenage boy rumored to have powers outranking his sister. The whole gang; two Fae princes, one Fae princess, an infamous angel, a merman, and a werewolf assemble to find this boy and discover the information that got his sister killed.

Bryce Quinlan


This book was as fast-paced as the first in the series. Though it is 800 pages, each one is filled with adventure. As with most Sarah J. Mass books, this book contains more twists and turns than a Hogwart’s staircase. We finally get to see Bryce and Hunt’s love blossom after every thwarted attempt in the first book. I love Bryce’s quick wit and confident personality. This book is also told from each main character’s point of view so readers are finally able to see what goes through the Umbra Motis’s mind. I love this book, it was just as good as the first and it leaves me hungry for the next in the series.

-Gia S.

House of Sky and Breath is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson

This captivating fantasy novel follows Kazi Brightmist, also known as the notorious pickpocket “Ten,” and her fellow members of the Queen’s elite guard to venture to neighboring settlements on orders to investigate disturbances in these areas. Upon reaching their destination, Kazi discovers Jase Ballenger, the newly crowned lord of the land after his father’s untimely death. Each suspicious of each other, they quickly become enemies but are forced to work together when they are captured by slave traders and chained at the ankle. Worried about his city and determined to complete her assignment, the two make the long journey back, finding themselves attached at the hip by the end of their adventure (or leg 😉). However, trials await the pair when their secrets threaten to uncover. Trying to outwit each other, they enter an exchange of ploys and tactics to each secure what they desire. They dance the dance of thieves.

This book is such a fun read. You are enveloped in the beautiful world of Venda and the Ballenger Empire with its endless deserts and colorful bizarres. Kazi is a strong, witty warrior who, despite all her hardships has become a member of the Queen’s personal guard. Jase is very clever and the leader of his large family and city. I really enjoyed the two protagonists’ banter and outwit each other in a constant battle to determine who was more clever. This book quickly became one of my favorites and I highly recommend you read it so it can become your favorite as well.

-Gia S.

Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available for download for free from Libby.

Celebrating Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, I would like to share one of my favorite books written by a black author.

The Hate U Give

Author: Angie Thomas

Genre: young adult/fiction

Length: 444 pages

Published: February 28, 2017


Brief Synopsis:

This story follows Starr, a 16-year-old black girl that grew up in the hood neighborhood of Garden Heights. After gunshots ring out at a party she was attending, she flees in her childhood friend’s car when they then get pulled over by a policeman for a broken taillight. Assumptions, fear, and prejudice result in the dealt of her friend by the cop. This tale follows Starr as she struggles with self-identity, fear, and justice.


This is such a powerful book, one that illuminates the realities of life as an African American. Though it may be a fictional book, its word holds truth. The truth of an African American who faces prejudice and whose voice fights to be heard.

Starr struggles to determine what defines her; is it her race? her neighborhood? her mannerisms or habits? Before she found her voice, she thought she was defined by her skin color. Attending a prestigious private school with a predominantly wealthy, white population, she believed she had to speak proper English, act docile, behave like a watered-down version of herself in order to fit in, to avoid judgement from her peers. She was consumed by other’s opinions, insecurities, and the fear that being herself was not enough that “There are just some places where it’snot enough to be me.” This aspect of her character is relatable, realistic. She is not the perfect, brave heroine readers grow envious of. Starr has aspects of herself that she is hesitant to display, as do many. We become hesitant, afraid that others will think less of ourselves should they witness the things we keep hidden. Starr Carter learns that oneself is not defined by physical or outward characteristics like race, or financial stability but in the experiences one faces and how they are overcome. That in terms of yourself, your body, your actions, the only opinion that matters is your own. For as her mother said, as long as you feel you’re doing right, that’s all that matters.

This book granted me the opportunity to experience life from another’s shoes, made me realize the things I take for granted, and on a less-serious note, turned me onto Tupac’s music. I encourage you all to read this book. It was powerful, moving, and definitely memorable.

-Gia S.

Favorite Quotes:

“‘Brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared, Starr,” she [Starr’s mom] says. “It means you go on even though you’re scared.'”

“‘Just like y’all think all of us are bad because of some people, we think the same about y’all.'”


“Fairy tale? No. But I’m not giving up on a better ending.”