Read Nooks & Crannies by JessicaLawson Natalie Andrewson Online

nooks-crannies

Tabitha Crum is a girl with a big imagination and a love for mystery novels, though her parents think her only talent is being a nuisance. She doesn't have a friend in the world, except her pet mouse, Pemberley, with whom she shares her dingy attic bedroom.Then, on the heels of a rather devastating announcement made by her mother and father, Tabitha receives a mysterious iTabitha Crum is a girl with a big imagination and a love for mystery novels, though her parents think her only talent is being a nuisance. She doesn't have a friend in the world, except her pet mouse, Pemberley, with whom she shares her dingy attic bedroom.Then, on the heels of a rather devastating announcement made by her mother and father, Tabitha receives a mysterious invitation to the country estate of the wealthy but reclusive Countess of Windermere, whose mansion is rumored to be haunted. There, she finds herself among five other children, none of them sure why they've been summoned. But soon, a very big secret will be revealed— a secret that will change their lives forever and put Tabitha’s investigative skills to the test....

Title : Nooks & Crannies
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781481419215
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Nooks & Crannies Reviews

  • Shannon
    2018-10-28 12:47

    "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets Clue when six children navigate a mansion full of secrets—and maybe money—in this humorous mystery with heart."Um.*puts on hold immediately*

  • Simona Stoica
    2018-10-31 09:47

    Recenzia completă: http://palarisme.ro/chef/carti/recenz...„Doamnei Crum îi plăcea să zică: Ţine minte, bărbaţilor nu le plac cititoarele, le plac frumoasele.”Ploaie, ploaie și iar ploaie. Cum în acest weekend nu am putut să scriu, iar ceaiul cu mango și papaya a fost epuizat (încă) de la primele ore ale dimineții, mi-am petrecut prima zi în Brașov într-un conac bântuit, alături de şase copii neastâmpărați, mult prea curioși pentru binele lor.Înainte să plec, mi-am abandonat bagajele în fața mașinii și am urcat în grabă scările, cu un singur gând în minte: vreau să citesc un thriller pe drum. Posibilități? Aş îndrăzni să spun nenumărate. Fără un motiv clar, am evitat seriile începute și autorii consacrați în favoarea unui roman (aparent) mai light, care îmi promitea o lectură amuzantă și o aventură scurtă, dar memorabilă, folosindu-se de slăbiciunea mea pentru poveștile cu fantome şi dragostea nou descoperită faţă de literatura pentru copii.Unghere şi cotloane este o avalanşă de emoţii şi de întâmplări supranaturale. Romanul m-a cucerit încă de la primele pagini, prin intermediul unei eroine fascinante, de aproape doisprezece ani, care mi-a amintit cât sunt de norocoasă: în comparaţie cu ale ei, „dramele” mele sunt copilăreşti şi absurde.Numele ei este Tabitha Crum. Are o tunsoare neobişnuită. Îi place să citească, în special romane poliţiste. Este mică şi fragilă; ar putea să fie etichetată cu uşurinţă drept „ştearsă”. Hainele pe care le poartă sunt prea strâmte sau prea largi, rupte sau pătate, alcătuind o „ţinută” pentru care primeşte zilnic „complimente” şi porecle noi. Singurul ei prieten este un şoricel orfan, Pemberley, care îi este mereu alături şi pe care îl ascunde întotdeauna în buzunar, speriată că ar putea să îi fie luat sau, chiar mai rău, ucis. Părinţii o dispreţuiesc şi nu ratează nicio oportunitate pentru a-şi bate joc de ea, pentru a-i aminti cât de neimportantă şi cât de neîndemânatică este.„Îşi închise ochii strâns pentru o clipă, încercând să oprească acele lacrimi de nestăpânit, cauzate de şoc. Emoţiile de orice fel îi supărau părinţii, aşa că îşi dezvoltase o personalitate mai degrabă introvertită decât extrovertită pentru acasă, însă de data aceasta îi era greu să nu protesteze. Toată lumea va şti că a fost abandonată, ceea ce este mult mai rău decât să fie fiica unor părinţi neiubitori şi neglijenţi.Să fie respinsă pentru totdeauna de cei care ar fi trebuit să o îndrăgească era, de fapt, unul dintre punctele de pe lista ei de lucruri mult mai rele, deşi probabil că nu recunoştea asta nici măcar faţă de sine însăşi.- Cu ce am greşit?”

  • Alexandra
    2018-11-04 15:29

    Animal sensitive young readers will want to know (view spoiler)[ the pet mouse is thought to have been killed, but is later found to be just fine. (hide spoiler)]

  • Mehsi
    2018-10-16 09:32

    Due to the fact this book is easily spoiled, and I don't want that, as this book was a delightful Middle Grade mystery, I will keep it mostly to the basic stuff, even though I would love to go further into things, I just don't want to spoil anything! This book has some masterful twists and turns that will surprise you.Let me start that I just was delighted with the story idea. It sounded a bit like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 6 children + parents being invited to a big mansion in the middle of nowhere, for what purpose, well they will have to find out. There is exquisite food, there are big rooms, hidden passages, mysteries and ghosts! It was all truly a feast to read this. The descriptions of the house was wonderful, I could just imagine myself there and discovering the passages, discovering all that is hidden in the house. Wandering around, getting lost in such a big place. I could also just imagine myself cuddling up in front of a fireplace and reading a book in the library. My, oh my, that library sounded absolutely divine.Tabitha was a fantastic character, though I felt so sorry for her. She never deserved to have such parents as the Crums. Dear Lord, those people were horrific. I just wanted to shake them. But even with horrendous parents like that, Tabitha was a great person. She learned to be brave, to be independent, but you can also see that she was often sad and alone, even though she had a great, but little companion with her at all times. But that great companion often cheered her up when she was in a dark place.I really loved her conversations with that companion of hers, it was great fun to see her act like a detective, talking to her companion as if he were her colleague. I loved how that companion squeaked in reply or did actions to make it seem like he was replying.I can hear you say: Squeak? But people don't squeak? Well, I never said that her little companion was human, did I now? Her companion is a very adorable mouse, named Pemberley. She found him and his siblings in her attic (yes, the poor girl was dumped by the Crums in an attic), and he was the one who stayed. She taught him tricks and much more! The little guy had quite a personality, and I loved how fiercely protective he was of Tabitha.I love mice (I had pet mice of my own when I was younger) and I was delighted to finally see a character having a mouse as a pet, as a companion, as a friend. So really a lot of plus points for this!Tabitha was delightfully smart, observant and I loved how she could just recall stuff that she noticed days ago. Even the littlest details, nothing escapes Tabitha.The mystery and the whole story? It was just wonderful, I was lost in the book and time just flew by. I am still unsure where the time just went to. One moment it was a certain time, and when I looked up again it was much later. The book really grabs you by the nostrils, pulls you in, and never lets you go until the end.I also had a few parts that just made me tear up. Of course, I won't spoil which ones.We have several other characters. From the start I didn't like Barnaby or Frances, but I did like the other characters and I was just hoping that Tabitha would find a friend in them, she deserves to have one.One thing that seemed odd, though maybe it was just me. At one point in the story, at a dark spooky night, Tabitha puts a chair under her doorknob, yet the next morning the maid seemingly opens the door without trouble, nor are there any mentions of a chair falling over. It was a bit weird. Maybe I missed something, maybe it was all a dream, but it stood out a bit.The ending was fantastic, quickly paced and the last page was really sweet and lovely. The book also has several illustrations and I really loved them, though I wish there had been more of them.I also really liked the Pensive parts that were added at the beginning of the chapters. It was a feast to read them, I would love to read those Pensive novels, too bad they only exist in this book world.I would highly recommend this book to all. Are you looking for a delightful mystery with great characters and an epic story? Read this one!Review first posted at http://twirlingbookprincess.com/

  • Bookishrealm
    2018-10-30 12:41

    Update: Here's my full review - http://www.bookishrealmreviews.com/20...This book was excellent! I really enjoyed the audiobook! I loved that the characters varied so much from each other and that it had so much historical aspects as well as mystery. If you haven't read this book I would definitely recommend picking it up!!

  • Suad Shamma
    2018-10-16 10:20

    Despite my star rating, let me start by saying how much I liked this book. It was very well-written, with a solid plot and storyline and a diversely great bunch of characters. The premise of the book was this great combination of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory vs. Matilda. Basically, very Roald Dahl-ian. However, I have been reading so many incredible middle grade novels this year, and in comparison this felt like it fell a little short. In Nooks & Crannies we meet Tabitha Crum, who lives in the attic and cleans and cooks and does all the chores for her horrible parents, who seemingly have zero affection for their daughter. Tabitha is one of six lucky children, who is sent an invite to meet the Countess of Windermere at her home, which is rumored to be haunted by ghosts. No one knows the purpose of these invitations, but they are all excited to have been invited as the Countess is known for her charitable generosity and wealth. Tabitha's parents jump on the chance to climb the social ladder, even though they had planned to permanently leave London and go to Spain abandoning their daughter in a shelter. Once the children arrive at the Countess's home, whom no one has ever met before, they are all aware of a certain strangeness in her, but nobody could quite put their finger on it. They are quickly informed by the Countess that they were all adopted by their parents from the same orphanage in the same year, and one of them is her estranged son's child, who is set to inherit quite a large sum of money. Tabitha is immediately suspicious, and with the help of her pet mouse, Pemberley, she sets off trying to discover the secrets behind all the mysterious disappearances of the children, the ghostly sounds in the house and the strange Countess and her servants.A very good read. However, it seemed to take me much longer than needed to get through it, and once I did get through it, the whole thing seemed incredibly predictable and a little too middle grade for me. In fact, I really hated the ending and how it all wrapped up nicely with the twin siblings thing, which I felt was an unnecessary addition to the storyline. Obviously, this IS a middle grade story, so I can't complain (much) and it does feel unfair, but I guess I've been spoiled by such wonderful middle grade novels that were easily suitable for any age that I couldn't rate it as highly.

  • Kathryn
    2018-11-09 09:43

    "And Then There Were None" meets "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" -- I loved this book! Loved it so much that I've waited and waited to try and find time to write an adequate review. It's been six months since I read it and it's still vivid, though I'm no closer to finding time to write what I really want to say. But, it's Halloween-time and this would make an excellent choice for a spooky-but-not-toooo-scary middle grade read, ghost and all. Honestly, this book got a little bit too spooky for me at times, so sensitive readers might proceed with caution. See below for a few spoilers if you want to know how bad it gets. I was rather surprised at murder and snatched children (they disappear one by one, taken by a ghost or... something? in the castle) making appearances in a middle grade book, but I loved the characters and writing style so much I kept right on reading. I figured out some of the mystery but some of it was a surprise and I tip my hat to Lawson for writing a "children's" mystery that wasn't too obvious. Highly recommend.(view spoiler)[One of the adult characters falls over dead after a blackout from a storm and the body is put out in the garden shed (it's winter and snowy and cold) and one of our characters happens upon the body out there one night. Creepy! Also, it appears that a beloved pet is killed and it's several chapters before we are saved from our misery with a surprise reappearance. (hide spoiler)]

  • Christen
    2018-10-21 12:43

    I am a Young Adult & Children's Librarian and I definitely will be recommending this one to my library patrons.I couldn't wait to read "Nooks & Crannies" and it definitely did not disappoint! What a fun mystery. When I read the description it sounded like Clue meets Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and that's exactly what it reminded me of. I see that other goodreads reviewers have listed a similar description.Tabitha Crum is a lonely girl, who only has the company of her pet mouse Pemberley and a fictional detective Inspector Pensive. One day Tabitha and 5 other children are invited to stay with a Countess. The reasons are unknown and Tabitha finds herself in the middle of a real life mystery, just like the Inspector Pensive novels she loves to read. Tabitha is such a sweet character, and the other characters were enjoyable as well. While adult readers may see the twists coming, it still made for a fun story and definitely worth reading. Can't wait to read more from Jessica Lawson!

  • Louise Galveston
    2018-11-06 15:44

    I seldom have read a book where I so passionately rooted for the main character and absolutely loathed the antagonists. Brava to the author for creating characters so thoroughly lovable and hatable. Tabitha Crum is a wonderful mix of cleverness, imagination, vulnerability, and feistiness. The mystery plot has a dash of Dahl, Austen, and Christie and there are more plot twists than the hidden passages of the old manor house where the story is set. I love the boy/girl friendship that Tabitha forms with fellow manor guest, Oliver. And her relationship with her pet mouse Pemberly is both sweet and heart wrenching. But the true hidden star of this novel is the author; Lawson keeps you guessing up until the very end, and I found myself exclaiming, "No way!" when I reached the unexpected conclusion.In a word: MASTERPIECE

  • Leah
    2018-10-25 08:27

    Tabitha Crum would put Orphan Annie to shame. Her parents use her as their own personal maid (when they actually remember and acknowledge her existence, of course,) she has a terrible haircut, sleeps in the cold attic, and her only friend is a mouse named Pemberley. As if that wasn't bad enough, after some rather shady bank transactions, the Crums announce they're going on holiday to Spain...and that they're sending Tabitha to the local orphanage. As fate would have it, however, Tabitha receives a sealed envelope that changes her life: the reclusive Countess of Windermere has invited Tabitha to her (haunted??) mansion, along with five other children, none of whom know why.For the full review and more, head over to The Pretty Good Gatsby!

  • Amanda
    2018-10-26 12:44

    Best of 2015. LOVED this! Couldn't put it down! Unexpected twists & turns--just when I thought I had everything figured out...BAM! Nope--and full of sly humor. Strong heroine who is true to herself and handles tough stuff with great equanimity. Admirable friendships/enemies. Want more!

  • Brenda
    2018-11-09 10:43

    Originally posted at Log Cabin LibraryNooks and Crannies is the kind of book for fans of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Westing Game, Matilda and Clue. There were so many things that I loved about this book. For starters, that cover, I love how a keyhole was incorporated into the title. Just lovely. And all the details, Tabitha running with a key in her hand, Pemberly peaking out of the pocket of her apron. The old mansion in the background and the books and cobwebs on the table. There is a very British feel to the story in the characters and words that Lawson chooses to use to describe the setting, like this passage "The cobblestone streets in the village of Wilting were made eerie and muted by thick November fog, and clip-clopping carriage horses snorted up and down the road emerging, and disappearing into the mist. Almost like ghosts, Tabitha mused." Lawson created the perfect kind of setting for her murder mystery. Hollingsworth Hall is a creepy mansion set in the Lake District of England during 1907. The mansion is filled with hidden passageways, locked doors, a lovely large library and creepy mysterious noises at night. It's the kind of place that you can just see yourself inside with its long corridors and old paintings on the walls. There are "plenty of mysteries but no crime" at first, but then the maid Mary Pettigrew is possibly murdered and a series of plot twists, dangers and a need to figure out just what this countess has planned for her guests ensues. Tabitha is such a wonderful character who reminded me so much of Roald Dahl's Matilda. She has this miserable home life with parents that are unloving, neglectful and downright rotten. They were set to send her off to an orphanage at the beginning of the story, that is until they thought a weekend at Hollingsworth Hall might turn out to be "profitable." Tabitha's only salvation are a love for reading her Inspector Pensive novels (think Sherlock Holmes) and her friend and confidant Pemberley (kinda like a Watson to her Inspector Pensive). Having Pemberley as her partner, Tabitha can say all the things she would want to say, but is to shy to say. Problem is that people think she is talking to herself and this alienates her from making friends. Tabitha is very imaginative, observant, a storyteller and clings to the hope that one day her parents will grow to love her, so she minds what they say, doesn't complain, despite her mother telling her "You want us to love you, is that right? Love, Tabitha Crum, is to be earned, not given away to just anyone like a festering case of fleas." You really can't help feeling sorry for how lonely Tabitha is, while despising her parents. Just look at this quote by Tabitha"Why, oh why, was it so much easier to interact with Pemberley than with people? It was desperately confusing to both yearn for others to include you and half wish that they wouldn't."Oh, but all those changes that occurred as Tabitha became this mini inspector putting together the clues to find out just why they were all summoned to Hollingsworth Hall in the first place, such wonderful character development. And the Pensive expressions that she recalled from stories dotting the beginning of each chapter, were delightful. "When hope has left your side, carry on with the assumption that it simply went to fetch a quick bite to eat and will return shortly." I highly recommend Nooks and Crannies for someone looking for a story with a classic feel, a strong heroine that you can't help but root for, plus a nice mystery bundled into one. Favorite line: "if only life were a book, and I could choose precisely what part I played."Review copy provided by author following interview/giveaway hosted by From the Mixed-Up Files

  • Erin
    2018-11-14 13:22

    I knew as soon as I read the book flap that I was really going to like this one. This book was like a quirky mixture of Murder by Death (a movie that pokes fun at traditional mysteries. It really is quite funny; I highly recommend...probably not for younger kids...)and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.Tabitha Crum is not liked by her schoolmates or even her parents. She has a sloppy haircut, funny clothes, a love of mystery novels, and a rumor floating around that she likes to talk to herself. What people can't see is that she actually is talking to someone, that someone being her pet mouse, Pemberley. Her schoolmates who have actually seen Pemberley call Tabitha "the rat girl". So Tabitha is surprised when she receives a sealed note at school with strict instructions to take it straight home for her parents to read. Tabitha's surprise turns to wonderment when she realizes she has received an invitation from the reclusive Countess of Windermere for a weekend at the countess' estate, Hollingsworth Hall. And then Tabitha realizes that she is one of six children who will be spending the weekend with the countess. Why have the children been invited to the hall, when no one has ever been invited to visit it before? When the electricity goes out and a dead body is on the floor, Tabitha suspects the innocent invitation might not be so innocent after all...I loved Tabitha. She was smart and resourceful. She was also, amazingly, not bitter at all about her poor life circumstances. She found solace in the novels about Inspector Pensive (which I wish were real; Pensive seems like a Sherlock with a sense of humor and a taste for fine food...)and her friendship with her equally bright and spunky mouse, Pemberley. She was able to keep her head under pressure and had the courage to explore hidden passages and, generally, do a lot of investigative work of her own. I enjoyed this book from start to finish and I imagine anyone from 10-13 probably would as well, especially if they are fond of mysteries. (I am not generally fond of mysteries, but this book was delightful good fun).

  • Faith Hough
    2018-10-27 09:21

    Let me start by saying that I loved Jessica Lawson's first book. I thought her retelling of Tom Sawyer was brilliant, and I wondered whether her other stories would live up to my high opinion of that first book. But I suspected within 10 pages that I would like this one better--and my suspicions proved true. Nooks & Crannies is a perfect middle grade mystery--not too spooky, not too confusing, with just enough clues for a younger reader to solve some things for him or herself. On top of that, the character-focused story never falls to the sidelines in the interest of highlighting the mystery--the growth of Tabitha Crum from bullied and timid to bold and funny is very well done. On top of THAT: good clean writing, great humor, fun secondary characters, a Roald Dahl-ish set-up, and a mouse named Pemberly. Which just made me happy. :)

  • Billie
    2018-11-13 16:29

    There really wasn't much of a mystery here and while the author apparently tried for a Roald Dahl-ish feel to the children and parents, she didn't go quite dark enough. That being said, it was cute and a pleasant diversion for a few hours and the eight- and nine-year-olds who are its target audience will likely enjoy putting the clues together alongside Tabitha and will find the villains (and Tabitha's parents) just villainous enough to give a little shiver.

  • Tracy Legrand
    2018-11-06 12:30

    I'm a sucker for a fun mystery with a spunky heroine! Add a family fortune up for grabs, a strange countess, orphanages, a British countryside manor, a terrible blizzard, and a mouse named Pemberley, and I'm in love.

  • Dundee Library
    2018-10-18 13:42

    My son and I listened to this audio book while commuting together to work and child care together this summer.The blurb on the back describes it as a cross between "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "Clue."How could we resist a book with a description like that!? How could anyone?Very fun, very well-plotted children's mystery.The characters are all archetypes that Victorian mystery lovers can't resist: the poor, yet bright, narrator, the spoiled rich children, the crazy countess, the suspicious butler, the angry cook, the mostly awful parents, and more.There are secret passages, secret letters, missing jewels, things that go bump in the night, and plenty of twists and turns.I'll admit that I figured out most of it before the end, and my son even figured out a bit of it, but neither of us minded because the story was intriguing, the details were perfect, and there was quite a bit of dry, British humor as well.If you enjoy a good mystery, and want a story for your child who loves mysteries too, but isn't ready for Agatha Christie, then this should do the trick.My son gave it possibly the highest praise possible for an almost 7 year-old. As soon as we finished, he declared that the author HAD to write a second book!Maybe she will, if we're lucky.*Content note: There is a death, there is a dead body, and there are repeated declarations of plans to murder, so if your child isn't ready for that, don't try this title yet. While more silly than gruesome, it's still death. There are also some uses of the British euphemism "bloody," which goes right over my little guy's head without a mention, but may bother others.

  • Tara
    2018-10-26 10:25

    “It was desperately confusing to both yearn for others to include you and half wish that they wouldn’t.” Nooks & Crannies was a fairly endearing children’s mystery. Overall, it reminded me of Roald Dahl, with more than a dash of Lemony Snicket thrown in. I really liked the protagonist, Tabitha Crum, a socially awkward detective novel enthusiast (see the above quote; I quite agree with Tabitha on that count!). Many of the other characters were charming too. The book also managed to maintain a decently spooky atmosphere. There was a surprising amount of rather clever humor, and most of the plot was fun and suspenseful. I did not much care for the ending, but any book that features a collection of grisly murder paintings, a creepy old mansion with secret passageways and a possible ghost infestation, a suspicious butler, and a Countess with a disconcerting affinity for sharp knives, can’t go too far wrong.

  • Kate
    2018-11-04 14:28

    I love young girl solves mystery and has adventures while doing so-so I enjoyed this book. It's totally one I would have read when I was 10 or 11 and loved. Another reviewer said it's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets Clue and I'd say that's the best description.

  • Amanda
    2018-11-13 15:36

    This was a little too reminiscent of Clue for my taste, but it was a fun spin on it that's clean enough for kids to enjoy. The ending was pretty glaringly obvious from the beginning, but there were other aspects of the story that I didn't see coming. I don't think this is something I'd be quick to recommend or read again, but for the most part I enjoyed it.

  • Raluca Vijulan
    2018-10-18 13:30

    Cartea mea preferată! ❤❤❤ Jessica Lowson surprinde, într-un mod ingenios, misterul şi suspansul... a născocit o poveste pe care am devorat-o şi mi-aş fi dorit să nu se termine niciodată! UN ROMAN POLIŢIST DE ZILE MARI❤ Personajele de care m-am ataşat foarte mult şi pe care îi consider ,,frăţiorii mei"😊 m-au invitat la un dans de lectură, un dans printre cuvinte şi am trăit alături de ele cele mai frumoase sentimente❤ IUBESC, IUBESC, IUBESC ,,Unghere şi cotloane" #byJessicaLowson ❤🍁

  • Anushka R.
    2018-11-12 14:21

    I love this book! It has a right amount of mystery and the right amount of character development. This book also has plenty of plot twists that will keep you on your toes...please read!

  • Bella
    2018-11-09 16:33

    {originally posted on my blog: Ciao Bella}When I consider children’s classics, I’m brought back to my time in elementary school, where practicing my handwriting was homework, recess was still a thing, and class read-alouds were scheduled into the day. My elementary school teachers, who I can thank for my love of learning and reading, were also some of the first to introduce me to famous works of kids’ literature: Kate DiCamillo’s Because of Winn Dixie, E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, and several novels by the perennial favorite Roald Dahl. Perhaps it’s a form of nostalgia that I’m drawn to the modern predecessors of these classics, those stories with quirky characters, threads of whimsy, and bursts of charm and creativity.A recent example of a delightful MG {and my true-blue obsession with them} is Jessica Lawson’s Nooks & Crannies. Marketed as Clue meets Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, it sounded like too good of a book to pass up {can we agree that mysteries and manors are right up my alley?}. Going in with high expectations can be a risk, but I’m happy to report they matched up to the very end. The only effort on my part that remains is convincing you to read this as well.Tabitha Crum would likely be better off as an orphan. Neglected, underappreciated, and oft-ignored by her parents, Tabitha counts only a mouse, lovingly named Pemberley, as a friend. Thus, you can imagine her surprise when she receives news to join the Countess of Windermere, owner of a haunted mansion and the newspapers’ favorite reclusive subject, for a weekend. She’s not alone in her invitation, however, as five other kids have been summoned to the manor too. Each child guest has their distinct differences, but similarities can be found in their curiosity. The question: what are they doing there? Lawson’s talent for developing characters is clear from the first chapter. Tabitha is an engaging narrator, and whereas her plucky and ever optimistic personality might be annoying in another setting, it’s effective here, fitting with the tone of the book.The other guests are equally compelling, serving as complements or foils to Tabitha’s own disposition. Among them: a rude and spoiled young redhead, prone to stealing when no one’s looking, a charitable and forgiving know-it-all, and a servant who is too suspicious to go unnoticed by Tabitha. The adults lack the same complexity seen in their kids, but, again, it works in the context in the story; their exaggerated traits play to the Victorian mystery Lawson alludes to. With such a large number of characters, keeping track of each proved difficult in the beginning, but this problem naturally sorted itself out as their personalities came into play.I’ve seen complaints that the book’s major storyline is predictable, but I dare to disagree. The mystery is developed with great care. Clues are dropped throughout the plot in a subtle manner, suspense, though used often, is not overdone, and finally, but most importantly, the intended audience will gobble up the various oddities of the story. Furthermore, I found the setting, complete with hidden passageways and moving paintings, crucial to the plot’s success; it adds to the dark, humorous style. The ending is the cherry on top {no better description than that!}, tying the elements together in a satisfying conclusion.I often get caught up in the new young adult releases – the novels that appear on my favorite blogs, on Goodreads, and on the new books shelf at the library – that it’s sometimes weeks in between each middle grade book I read. Regardless, it’s not the time, but what’s inside the books I read that matters. Nooks & Crannies was a charming reminder of what I love about the MG genre: that it’s so easy to get lost in the story. Roald Dahl copy? I think not. This one stands entirely on its own.

  • The Winter Rose
    2018-10-30 15:21

    This is a cute little middle grade mystery that is reminiscent of the works of Roald Dahl, particularly “Matilda” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. However unlike Dahl’s classics, “Nooks & Crannies” comes off as less sophisticated.It contains some darker elements for young reader, including death but it is still age appropriate for a middle grader readership. The writing is solid, the premise is interesting, and the main character is likeable. That said, where the lead character Tabitha Crum seems complex and engaging, many of the other characters come off as one-dimensional caricatures. I would have liked to have seen more layers to the characters. The author does make a vague attempt at it once with the character of Barnaby Trundle toward the end, but it is too little too late to make much of a difference. The author’s writing and voice didn’t come off as distinct and quirky enough for these characters to pull off the over-the-top personalities found in Roald Dahl’s works, or characters in “A Series of Unfortunate Events”. I feel like the author may have been attempting to present her work and her characters with those as inspirations, but it didn’t work for me and the result made the characters simply feel flat rather than original. The ending felt very convoluted and contrived as well, but I think a lot of classic mystery novels do this. So this may have been a stylistic choice to keep it close in tone and genre. It sounds like I am going pretty harsh here, but I don’t think it’s a bad book. I just don’t think it is as refined as other titles I think it is trying to emulate. Overall though, it is a fun and cute read, and I could easily see this being enjoyed by a middle grade audience. It’s nice to see more mystery stories for young readers in the market and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to young people who like a good mystery.

  • Vicky the Cat Lady
    2018-11-01 11:18

    Read full review on my cats. tea. books. bliss. blog here: bit.ly/2tIkWhK In 1907 Six eleven-year-olds are plucked out of their normal routines in London when they’re invited to spend the weekend at the reclusive and most famously charitable Countess Of Windermere’s sprawling manor in the countryside.Our protagonist is bright and inquisitive Tabitha Crum and her only friend a cute little mouse named Pemberley spend their days shut up in her dingy attic bedroom when they’re not reading Inspector Percival Pensive mystery novels or doing the endless chores assigned by her harsh parents.This is a very British, very finely written mystery. The tone is more on the serious side, this isn’t a cheeky satire like Horton Halfpott and while there is humor, it’s more subdued than in Robin Stevens’s Murder Most Unladylike: Wells & Wong Detective Agency series. The narrative here is descriptive and is storybook-esque, it’s a little quaint, and entirely timeless. This novel reads like Matilda meets Charlie and the Chocolate Factory crossed with Clue. Especially with the narrative that revolves around the enigmatic hostess: Camilla Lenore DeMoss who fires her entire house staff every six months or so, and keeps her estate locked up tight. Newspapers and magazines are abound with stories speculating what she looks like and behaves like and stands for but no one ever seems to know for sure ANYTHING but that she’s incredibly generous with donating to a variety of charities. Beyond that, rumors of the ghosts of her deceased husband, sister and son haunting the Hollingsworth Hall have swirled around for years, could these unhappy haunts be a reason why the house staff leaves so frequently and has to stay mum?Read full review on my cats. tea. books. bliss. blog here: bit.ly/2tIkWhK

  • Rebecca
    2018-10-16 13:46

    Tabitha Crum's parents are kindred spirits with the Dursleys; Tabitha is kept shabby, overworked, and friendless but for her secret pet mouse Pemberley. When she receives an invitation out of the blue from the reclusive and philanthropic Countess of Windermere--along with several other children--her parents put off their plan to abandon her long enough to enjoy the hospitality of Hollingsworth Hall. It doesn't take Tabitha long to realize there's more going on than any of them suspect. The Countess is an unpredictable woman, and as soon as the parents have left the hall, things start happening with a vengeance. It starts with a death, and continues on to disappearing children, mysterious heirs, rumors of hauntings, and secret passages. Luckily Tabitha has read every Inspector Pensive book there is, and with her sidekick Pemberley, she sets out to solve the mystery--and maybe even make a real friend or two along the way.This was a delightful, dark-humored, over the top mystery adventure with all the elements of classic children's mystery adventure fiction--it could have come straight out of Roald Dahl or Lemony Snicket's pen. Tabitha is a thoughtful and plucky heroine, Pemberley is the world's most intelligent and resourceful mouse, and all the other children are distinct and well-drawn as well. The descriptions are vibrant, and there's just enough of a creep factor for middle schoolers not quite ready for horror fiction. I love a good, old-fashioned style children's book, and I especially loved the "Inspector Pensive" quotes at the start of each chapter. My one complaint is about the audio version, in which all the 11-year-old boys sound like crusty old men, for some reason. Otherwise, I loved it.

  • Kate
    2018-10-28 12:37

    Eleven-year-old Tabitha Crum is thoroughly unimpressed with her life. Ignored at school, friendless apart from her pet mouse Pemberley, and derided by her neglectful parents, she's always trying to cheer herself up by thinking about her favorite detective novels. One day, a mystery falls straight into her lap when she receives an invitation to spend the weekend at the home of the Countess of Windemere. Why has she been invited there, along with five other children? Is the mansion really haunted? And will this be like other mystery novels, where someone inevitably is found dead?I really liked this book, save the extremely predictable nitty gritty of the plot. I know this is a children's mystery, but kids are not stupid and those who read a lot of mysteries will spot some of this stuff coming from a mile away. (view spoiler)[Come on, the Countess is miserable and duplicitous right off the bat? All of the Countess' family are dead and she's looking for the sole heir - and this doesn't set off alarm bells for any of the kids' parents? There's a letter alluding to the Countess' disposition being different from the one she displays to the children? And most glaringly, there just HAPPEN to be two rude kids with red hair, two sweet and charitable kids with blonde hair, and two intelligent kids with dark hair? (hide spoiler)] Tabitha was plucky and ingenious in a way that didn't feel tired and overdone, and I just loved the relationship she had with her mouse companion. Frankly, she saved the book for me, considering the really formulaic story and the adults who are basically borrowed from the worst of the adults in a Dickens novel. I'd love to read a sophomore mystery by Lawson so she can work her plot kinks out, since her characters are compelling and fun.

  • Harold
    2018-10-28 15:29

    I've read a lot of middle grade new releases and old classics recently and let me tell you, this one was a pleasant little surprise.In summation of the plot: An eccentric philanthropist peer invites six seemingly unrelated children and their parents to her Lake District estate, where the unwitting parties soon find out Her Ladyship is looking for her lost grandchild in order to bequeath a tidy sum of 100,000 pounds. Oh, but she also wants to keep her grandchild permanently--because, guess what! Every single kid was adopted. To spoil it all, Her Ladyship is actually the cook, in cahoots with the butler, and the six children are three sets of twins. And who should help discover this but Tabitha Crum, the plucky girl detective and her reliable Pember ley, a mouse and her one true friend.So, okay, it's a light little book, easy to predict, with a bit of tropiness here and there. But all of that is just as easy to forgive, because Tabitha Crum is one of the most adorable and likable characters I've had the pleasure to recently meet. Also, the tone is lively and the voice makes good fun of the Edwardian era and the pulpy detective novels Tabitha so loves.It surprised me in a good way. After so many forgettable little stories, Nooks and Crannies (it could use a better title) reminded me that there are still bright spots. It also reminded me how very, very difficult it is to write a memorable, wonderful middle grade novel. The ones that endure and stand out I truly give mad props.Though by no means perfect, I'd give this a go if you get the chance.

  • Meredith
    2018-10-24 15:42

    If this book had existed when I was 9, it would have been one of my favorites. The mystery is a little dark, but interesting and pretty well constructed (especially for kids who haven't been through the Agatha Christie canon yet). p. 104: "... whenever you were in a fix or at a crossroads in an investigation, there were always two choices: to do nothing and worry, or to take some sort of action and deal with its associated risks."p. 217: "It was an exact fit, and for the briefest of moments, she had the odd wish that she could be key-shaped and could find a space where she fit so perfectly."p. 263: "In fact, if there was one thing Tabitha had learned from the weekend thus far, it was that people had all sorts of facades about them, covering tucked-away bits of badness and goodness. Fear and courage. Helplessness and hope."p. 288: "A person's family, Tabitha realized, was the thing that held them up, so that life could still be illuminated in the darkest of times. A family member could be a mouse. A family member could be an Inspector that nobody would ever meet outside the pages of a novel. Depending on the circumstance, a family member might even be discovered in a person you just met."

  • Adam
    2018-10-27 09:29

    Many people said this is like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Other than kids getting invited to a mansion, it's not and I'm grateful for that. The difference in the two books is evident soon after the kids get to the mansion. You can't say much without spoiling the book. I was very pleasantly surprised by all of the twists and turns, and the book is very well written. There are many sentences I want to share with my 4th graders. Here are three:"Lit by tall glass-sheltered lamps, the lower half of Hollingsworth Hall was a somewhat unsettling study of shadows, with manicured trees and buses queued up as though standing guard.""The horses came to an abrupt halt, jolting the children so that they were torn from their seats and flung together like trapped trout.""Though the rain had pitter-pattered, then pelted the carriages during the drive had stopped, the ground was wet and boggy, sucking at feet as though hoping to keep anyone from ever leaving the estate."Last, I really liked the villian-she was a real nut job :)