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Much ado about...

Reading! As writers, it's so important to read -

read in your genre, read mentor texts,

read for research, read for pleasure, and this list goes on.

Here at Much Ado About Writing, we'd like to share some of our great reads with you!

Escape to Grimstone Manor

by Matt McMann



Author Visit Series

We are fortunate to add Matt McMann to our growing list of author visits here at Much Ado About Writing. As a guest, he will share not only insights into behind the scenes of his writing process and the inspiration for this story, but he was also kind enough to share an ARC (advanced reader's copy) for review.


If you have ever been curious about stepping off an amusement park ride mid-ride, make sure it isn’t a haunted one. Matt McMann’s debut novel, Escape from Grimstone Manor, is a fast paced, monster packed, friendship building adventure kids will love to read – if they dare. Three friends find themselves trapped in a maze of corridors filled with hidden doors and odd figures as they hope to find a way out. What they find instead are creepy glowing gems which bring mummies to life and little hope for getting out. The friends, Mateo, Zari, and Taylor must overcome their fears and their bickering, to battle magic using weapons found in a crypt. The details Matt draws in the reader’s imagination, from the ride’s interior setting to the lair underground, truly bring the story to life (no pun intended!) Kids will want to turn the page, reading well into the night so they can learn what lies beyond each chapter’s cliffhanger. Readers of spooky middle grade will enjoy this escape from reality. Thank you Penguin Random House for sending this book for review consideration. All opinions are my own.



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The Court Charade

by Script by Kerascoët & Flore Vesco, art by Kerascoët


This plot has all the makings of a cute children's story. There's a heroine with grand dreams, there's mischief and mayhem, and even a power struggle. Best of all there's creativity with twists and turns. In The Court Charade, young Serine dreams of becoming a lady-in-waiting to the queen. As one can imagine, things don't quite go as planned. Serine often creates new words to get her out of scrapes, helping to pull the wool over their majesties' eyes. Sometimes her antics are reminiscent of The Emperor's New Clothes. This graphic novel has many aspects of European story-telling including life at court and a class-system, along with some publishing elements such as cursive font and even a few pictures depicting nudity of both genders. I very much enjoyed Serine's ability to stay one step ahead of the antagonist. However, there were moments where I felt the story, or the telling of it, might have got lost in translation. By that I mean, I felt perhaps some information was missing to make for smother scene changes or plot advancements. The images were beautifully done, highlighting key components of the story-telling. I think readers of upper middle grade books would enjoy this adaption of De cape et de mots. Thank you NetGalley and Harvard Common Press for sending this book for review consideration. All opinions are my own.



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The Emily Dickinson Cookbook

Recipes from Emily's Table Alongside the Poems That Inspire Them

by Arlyn Osborne


If you're a fan of Emily Dickinson, this book is a must. If you're a fan of savory homecooked meals, this book is a double must. Food historian Arlyn Osborne does an amazing job providing simple to create dishes with recipes inspired by those mentioned in Emily's poems. The book is laid out with facts about the poet's life, samplings of her poems to accompany each recipe, as well as beautifully framed pictures of the food you'll be cooking or baking which are sure to impress your guests. I'm always looking for ways to connect to a book, and this one does not disappoint. I appreciated the lavish research Arlyn Osborne conducted which is evident in her writings about Emily's world some 150 years ago. It's inspiring to think that we can step into the past by ways of recipes, getting to know a bit about how life, at least at the dining table, must have been. And I especially appreciate this cookbook being written for a modern audience with 21st Century ingredients. Whether you're a novice cook or a starred chef, The Emily Dickinson Cookbook is sure to please! Thank you NetGalley and Harvard Common Press for sending this book for review consideration. All opinions are my own.



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