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Tales of a Travel Girl #1

Maylie and the Maze

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Will Maylie’s dream be crushed by her own imagination?

Ten-year-old Maylie Montes’s dream is to become an author, but she has a problem. She can’t finish a story. Not a single one.

Her second problem is Camden, her annoying twin brother, who is determined to ruin their summer traveling through Europe with their famous photographer aunt and spunky grandma.

The first stop is England where a castle and maze, a new British friend, and a lot of weird words await Maylie—but the first item on her itinerary is to learn how to write, so she can finally finish a story. However, this goal may land her a one-way ticket home after her writing targets her brother in a spooky story involving a nighttime maze full of monsters. And Camden has his own plans, leaving Maylie to wonder if her imagination has actually become a reality.

280 pages, Paperback

Published October 14, 2020

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About the author

M.L. Tarpley

11 books54 followers
Hi there, I'm Author M.L. Tarpley! I write stories of adventure, friendship, and fun that transport kids to amazing places across the world. MAYLIE AND THE MAZE is my debut novel and Book One in the TALES OF A TRAVEL GIRL series. The series has two releases a year as well as companion coloring
& activity books. I have also written a non-fiction book that teaches kids to write fiction >> https://rb.gy/txn88h

I'm an award-winning journalist and world traveler and live in Louisiana with my husband and son. For more info, visit my website, www.mltarpleybooks.com

Subscribe to my newsletter for writing updates, silly writing prompts, book recommendations & more: https://tinyurl.com/y9vjtnhw


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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 36 reviews
Profile Image for Sameeksha.
100 reviews8 followers
November 28, 2020
Loved it!!!. Happy to have come across this book.

Maylie Montes thumped her pen against the notebook and wished for the right words to zap her brain. Thwack. Thwack. Thwack.

We are following Maylie, a ten year old girl who wants to write stories. She has all of these beautiful ideas and has read many authors, so why isn't she able to write?
She has not been able to complete a single story yet, but worry not, Maylie is about to go on her very first trip to England and she is determined to get the inspiration from it for her writing. Her only problem is, her twin brother Camden who is equally determined to ruin the trip.

With all the new words learnt and a new friend made, Maylie is enjoying her trip a lot. She is looking for new experiences to write, but her conflict with her brother may land them in a lot of trouble with maze full of monsters and a trip cut short.

Feeling great about
1. The author M.L. Tarpley has done a brilliant job in taking us to England with Maylie and her group. She was able to capture the feel of the place and served it to readers to enjoy.

2. The interactions between the characters and the relationships are done very well. Each and every character, however small the appearance, was done superbly.

3. The struggle of not being able to achieve your dream or doing something out of your comfort zone like leaving your home for the first time or leaving your friends behind, felt very relatable.

4. The illustrations by M.L. Tarpley were amazing. They depicted the writing descriptions to the point and were very cute and funny. As a reader, I felt they added a lot to the experience.

Conclusion and recommendations
The writing style was good and simple with good pacing. It definitely focuses on the targeted audience. Being said that, I am 27 and thoroughly enjoyed it. So, I guess this book reads to middle grade students and adults alike and can be enjoyed by anyone age not being a barrier.

This book left me with a happy feeling and a motivated heart. If you enjoy middle grade, then definitely give this book a chance. Or if you are trying to get into middle grade then you can start with this book. It is worth it!
Profile Image for Kash.
25 reviews24 followers
October 13, 2020
Arc provided by the author

It was a nice story, I really liked it. Maylie wants to become an author but she is unable to write a book. She goes to Europe and...well read the book to find out.

The most important thing, it was soooo relatable. Firstly, even I can't start to write a novel but it motivated me to. Secondly, I know how irritating a brother can be.
Profile Image for Kadi P.
783 reviews95 followers
December 1, 2020
This book was featured in the Middle Grade Madness Writer’s Showcase!
*Thank you to the author who provided me with a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review*

Actual rating: 3.5 stars
This was a true contemporary read. And much like my view on all contemporary books this was too slow for my liking; the inciting incident comes halfway through the book. Whilst there was an abundance of enthusiasm, what I really felt was a lack of plot, the story sort of vaguely meandered to its end goal.

The story written by Maylie was actually the best and most thrilling part of the entire book and I wish the rest of the book could’ve imbued that same energy into it.

Maylie was a very interesting character, I couldn’t quite figure her out. I did see a lot of struggle within her between acting like a kid and trying to act more mature to combat her immature brother, but the times in which she looked down on his immaturity kind of felt odd considering she was only 10 herself.

Above all, there’s no doubt that this was a very informative book. I think if I wanted to teach my future hypothetical child about England and also about overcoming the first hurdles of writing I’d give them this book to read. And that’s the exact goal of the book so it has been achieved.

Unfortunately, the first half of the book that takes place in London wasn’t that fun for me to read about because I’ve lived in London and I’ve done all the touristy stuff there so it wasn’t like a new experience for me. I much preferred the castle setting in Kent and I really loved the zip-lining scene. It reminded me of how fun zip-lining is!

There was so much potential here and I enjoyed a few shining moments in it. Also, the illustrations were fantastic, I really liked them!
Profile Image for J.P. Goorjian.
Author 1 book5 followers
November 6, 2020
Yay for a fun travel adventure!

Super cute story with awesome illustrations.
While journeying with Maylie I got to visit some amazing places in England and learn about the culture there. And I got to have a super fun and thrilling adventure in the maze!
As an author I could relate to some of the challenges Maylie felt as she was first learning to put her pen to paper and trust in her creativity.
M.L. Tarpley is a solid story teller and I wish her great success as she travels us readers on adventures around the world with Maylie and her brother Camden and their sweet grandma and super cool Aunt.
Profile Image for Jessika Caruso.
164 reviews26 followers
November 8, 2020
Maylie and the Maze is a charming story that will appeal to middle to upper elementary school students. Readers are introduced to Maylie, a ten-year-old aspiring writer preparing a summer-long adventure across Europe with her photographer aunt and devoted grandmother. Maylie is presented as having struggles that readers can relate to, such as sibling rivalry, leaving her best friend, Sarah, for the summer, and seeing another girl talking to her crush. I wanted to see more of these briefly-mentioned but compelling characters from Maylie's world, which helped me connect with Maylie's apprehensiveness about leaving her friends behind.

The family's first stop is London, England. Maylie's grandmother takes Maylie and her brother, Camden, on many sightseeing excursions. Maylie barely has time to be homesick! She even attends a young writers class at the British Library. I must say I was happy to see a library program of such a high caliber (an Oxford professor teaches the class!) depicted in the story. In the class, Maylie struggles with beginning a story, and she becomes jealous of Rana, a girl who seems to effortlessly craft a story. When Maylie visits Leeds Castle, she discovers that Rana's mother works there! Maylie overcomes her jealousy and asks Rana to join forces in writing a story about Leeds Castle Maze to get revenge on their annoying brothers.

Overall, Maylie and the Maze has many twists and turns; readers will delight in traveling through England with Maylie. Maylie is a relatable character who is not perfect and faces many challenges common to a preteen girl. She learns to be brave and overcome anxiety as she struggles with wanting to grow up, but not too fast. I also appreciated the diversity of the characters; Maylie and Camden are mixed-race (her father is Costa Rican, mother is American), Rana of Indian heritage, and there are various other characters of color. At the end of the book, there is an author’s note about the real life Leeds Castle and Maze.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Laura.
2,695 reviews81 followers
October 25, 2020
This is a very relatable story of a girl who wants to be a writer, but no matter how hard she tries she can’t write like her favorite authors.

She has an annoying twin brother.

And she has an aunt and grandmother who are asking her and her brother on a trip aboard. Apparently we are going to follow Maylie as she travels to different countries in Europe.

And while I have traveled a bit abroad, I have not been to all the countries of Europe so I look forward to where she will be turning up next.

In this one, she is in the UK, specifically, in London and in Leeds, where she visits the castle, and the maze, of the title of the book. I have been to London, though not to Leeds Castle, so it was fun to see how she took it in. When I first traveled abroad, I was about her age, and yes, getting used to the way the British talk can be hard, at first. There are certain phrases that as an American, we would not have been used to hearing, especially at her age.

Very relatable story to the intended audience.

Thanks to the author for making this book available for an honest review.
December 30, 2020
This was such a cute, fun read! I really enjoyed it! I loved going on this trip w/Maylie, & seeing things as she saw them. How English in London can be so different from the English she speaks at home in America-like fries are called chips for example lol I enjoyed seeing the very realistic relationship she had with her brother too. Reminded me of life w/my brother. He was older, but it’s all the same lol fighting! I really enjoyed seeing her come more & more out of her shell & do amazing things. I’m so jealous of everything she did, got to see & just experience! I mean, a castle??!! Yes please! She desperately wants to be a writer, but has never been able to finish a story. This trip seems like the perfect place for inspiration. She meets a new friend at a writing class, named Rana. I absolutely LOVED her. What a cool kid. They have the best time together after running into each other again after that class, at the castle. This book is LITERALLY a perfect escape lol the food was even described so well that I wanted a scone more than I ever have in my life!😆 This also shows how opening up your world, & seeing different places can open so much up inside of you, not just your imagination. A great travel adventure for sure. The cover is just the cutest, as are all the illustrations that are almost on every page of the book! Loved that! Highly recommend!💜
Profile Image for Jill Nadler.
5 reviews1 follower
September 25, 2020
Maylie and the Maze is a delightful adventure about the power of travel to expand our view of the world and ourselves. Plus, it has an ancient castle, a mysterious maze, a story within a story, and...scones. What's not to love?
6 reviews
October 14, 2020
I was delighted to be able to a beta read this children’s novel. Maylie and the Maze has all the components you would want in a children's novel. Relatable characters, adventure, friendships, and a touch of geography embedded throughout. This book was well written with each chapter flowing to the next with ease, making it such a fun read. As an educator, I feel this would be a great read-aloud in my classroom!
* Teachers you need this in your library!*
Profile Image for M.L. Tarpley.
Author 11 books54 followers
October 6, 2021

Some information on "Maylie and the Maze":

* This book is available HERE! >> https://www.amazon.com/Maylie-Maze-Ta...

* Add BOOK TWO to your shelf >> https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5...
* BOOK TWO is available NOW! >> https://www.amazon.com/Maylies-Luck-I...

* Add BOOK THREE to your shelf >> https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5...
* BOOK THREE is available NOW! >> https://www.amazon.com/dp/1952928125/

* Middle grade realistic fiction for grades 3-6

* For fans of the Middle School series by James Patterson, The Tapper Twins series by Geoff Rodkey, and the Melanie Martin series by Carol Weston

* "Maylie and the Maze" is the first book in the Tales of a Travel Girl series, which follows 10-year-old Maylie Montes on an inspirational trip across Europe filled with the shenanigans of her zany family and the mishaps of her overactive imagination.

* Each novel in the series promotes elements of creative writing, world geography, and classic literature, including different companion reads of classic children’s books.

* I wrote "Maylie and the Maze" to show kids that you can go after your dreams no matter what roadblocks stand in your way. Through this book and the Tales of a Travel Girl series, I want kids to have a chance to travel the world through fiction and along the way learn a bit. I’ve tapped into my own first-hand experiences from traveling to over a dozen countries and filtered them through Maylie’s eyes. I also wanted to write a book that could be enjoyed by kids and grown-ups alike. A fun bedtime read!

Profile Image for Kailey (Luminous Libro).
2,900 reviews445 followers
November 12, 2020
Maylie is finding it difficult to write a story, any story. She has plenty of ideas, but keeps second-guessing herself when she starts to write. Hoping to find inspiration, she goes on a trip to London with her aunt, her grandmother, and her twin brother, Camden.

Maylie is a great character. I liked being inside her head and seeing all her fears and anxieties, and how she manages to overcome those things. I liked Aunt Layla because she is always encouraging and inspiring. Camden got on my nerves (just like he is supposed to) as the annoying brother character, but I could also see hidden depths in his personality reminding me that he is more than just an immature class clown. There is some good character development for both Maylie and Camden.

The writing is okay, but not amazing. The plot and pacing are fine, but there are a few boring scenes before it gets into some better action. A young reader would probably not notice any problems with the writing or pacing. This would be good for ages 7-12.
The illustrations aren't that great. They don't look professional, but they are okay. Again, a child probably wouldn't notice anything amiss.

I loved learning about London and Leeds Castle and the interesting maze! The setting is really well described, and you can tell that the author has visited those places. It puts the reader right into the scene with the characters.

Overall, an interesting and fun book for young readers!

Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.
Profile Image for Tonja Drecker.
Author 3 books183 followers
December 13, 2020
Travel and learning about different countries combines with a girl's desire to achieve her dreams while facing the trials of a younger brother, writer's block and whatever other problems being 10-years-old might throw her way.

Maylie is ten and dreams of becoming a famous author, but no matter how hard she tries, she just can't get a story out onto paper. To make matters worse, her aunt...who is a famous photographer...wants to take them on a tour of Europe during summer break. If her younger brother wasn't joining them, she'd be more excited. But most of all, she hopes to end her writer's block.

I enjoy how travel and information about other countries, in this case London, mixes in with an interesting story in such a smooth way. Maylie sees the sites and gets a bit of historic information, letting the reader learn right along with her. The illustrations also dabble between the pages and words not only along with the story itself, but help to slide in visual aides when necessary. And these are always done in such a way, which seems as if they are simply accompanying the tale.

The story itself brings across different problems readers of the intended age group (8 to 12) will be able to identify with. While Maylie's biggest issue in this book is her inability to write like she wants, there's also the relationship she has with her younger brother. The message of never giving up and the reminder that dreams aren't easy to achieve, ring loud and clear. But so do other ones about sibling relationships and dealing with others.

This tale is well written but is a bit slow paced. However, when the main problem of the castle and maze finally hits about mid-way through, the tempo picks up and creates an entertaining read. It will be fun to see where Maylie goes next and what problems she'll have to figure out along the way.

I received a complimentary copy and enjoyed Maylie's adventure quite a bit.
Profile Image for Lori.
1,695 reviews74 followers
October 18, 2020
I love reading middle grade books.
One is we all were in Maylie's place at one time or another as we were growing up.
Two I've never been to Europe until now. So many places!
I was happy that I got to experience these places with Maylie.
Maylie is an interesting character. I can understand her in so many ways.
If I had a daughter I'd want her to be just like Maylie.
I love trying new authors. So when I saw this book I knew it was for me.
In my opinion, this author has done a wonderful job with this book. She's even made me snicker a few times at Camden. Such a pest! But then again, I figure most siblings usually are.
I finished this book in an hour because I couldn't put it down.
It really does have all of your feel good qualities to make you feel satisfied and leave your heart feeling full.
I highly recommend this book.
I received a copy of this book and I was NOT required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Justine Laismith.
Author 2 books18 followers
February 12, 2021
This young middle-grade book is about an American girl's summer trip to England.

Maylie was nervous before her trip as she'd be away for the summer. However she soon gets into the swing of things in England. In London, she meets a girl on a writing course. Their paths crossed again at Leeds Castle. United against their irritating brothers, these girls form a firm friendship.

With the characters' diverse backgrounds and career-minded female mentors, this book fits right into the current market. A reader not familiar with London or castles will also be very envious of Maylie's trip. The author touched on a few of the touristy sights. In the current climate in particular, when we cannot travel, this read is a good escape.
Profile Image for Bridget Neace.
1,232 reviews6 followers
August 21, 2020
This was a fun read! I liked the fact that the kids have the opportunity to travel to another country (and the plan is for them to go other places in future books!). I am not very well traveled myself, YET--but since reading this story, I've had the opportunity to travel to Ireland with my family (and Alaska by myself--I want to take my family there on a return trip!) and I'm happy that my kids have had the opportunity to find adventure in a foreign land, like Maylie. I think this was a good way to make foreign travel experiences accessible to middle grade readers who don't yet have the opportunity for those experiences.
Profile Image for Monica Bruenjes.
Author 18 books2 followers
October 15, 2020
As the illustrator I had the pleasure of reading this title in advance, and I was so excited to work on such a great story! I really connected with Maylie, her imagination, her anxiety, and her dreams. I often find myself thinking the worst, most ridiculous situations like Maylie, so it's fun to see her overcome these thoughts and persevere with her will to become a writer. As an adult I enjoyed this book being able to empathize so much with the main character, but rest assured there's plenty of laughs to lighten the mood and I'm sure kids are going to love it! It's a very well-rounded story with adventure, suspense, and humor! M.L. Tarpley's writing is well-paced and age-appropriate for middle-grade.
1 review1 follower
October 6, 2020
Maylie and the Maze was a book I thoroughly enjoyed reading as a parent, reader, and educator. As a parent, I loved that it promoted so many positive lessons of character and knowledge without my child even realizing it! The reader in me always enjoys a good read, but I have to admit I find it hard to read stories that don't inspire my imagination, even though I do it often in my roles of educator and parent. This wasn't the case with Maylie, it was an enjoyable read from beginning to end. Finally, as an educator in the library and classroom for the past 20 years, I would highly recommend this book to my young readers who are ready to make the journey from easy to read chapter books to something with a little more interest and substance, but at the same time manageable. If you're looking for an interesting book to read definitely put Maylie and the Maze on you to-read list.
Profile Image for Stacy.
316 reviews37 followers
October 24, 2020
Maylie and the Maze is an exciting story which transports you to modern day England through the eyes of an adventurous ten year old.

As the pages unfold you experience an ancient castle, a mysterious maze, and a story within a story. There's history scattered within in an interesting way, and it keeps you entertained until the very last sentence.

There's more travel stories in this series coming in the future which will thrill M.L.Tarpley's readers. A fun read for the traveller in all of us!
Profile Image for Vicky Sluiter.
Author 1 book75 followers
November 14, 2020
Maylie and the Maze is a great story for your young reader. Author M.L. Tarpley takes us on an adventure, traveling through England with Maylie. Your reader will not only tour England, but will learn things about people and culture. So along with a fun story, they’ll be learning new things.

The characters, especially Maylie and Camden, are true to life. They may be twins but they still deal with sibling rivalry and other normal sibling challenges, while growing both individually and together.

I highly recommend this book for your pre-teen, and look forward to the next one in the series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.
Profile Image for Alicia Ortego.
Author 15 books45 followers
October 14, 2020
Thank you for this book! I read it with my daughter and it was a real adventure. Every evening she asked me to read and it's the highest award from modern kids) I think Geography and friendship are the points that make this book even more valuable. As an educator, I love the discussion guide.
Profile Image for Carole Johnson.
Author 14 books54 followers
August 21, 2020
Great educational and encouraging story for ages eight to ten. Loved the part about Leeds Castle. It brought back memories of my visit there. Such a fun read!
Profile Image for Kylei.
4 reviews
July 12, 2021
This was such a fun read! As a 21-year-old, I am definitely not the target demographic; however, I do know that if I would have read this book when I was 10 or 11 it would have become an instant favorite!

My favorite quote from the book has to be “Everyone comes from somewhere, but where we decide to call home is the most important place” (136). I absolutely adore the message in that statement!

Another thing I really enjoyed about this story was the diversity in the cast of characters. I can’t wait for kids from all over the world to be able to find themselves in the characters— whether it be through the people in the places Maylie visits, or the background of the characters’ heritages (even including Maylie and Camden).

I will definitely continue to read this series and I can’t wait to see how Tarpley develops Maylie’s character.

**P.S. I really enjoyed getting to see the finished product of what Maylie wrote after seeing her overcome writer’s block. That was such a great addition to the book!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Bianca.
Author 1 book85 followers
April 19, 2021
eARC provided by the author

Maylie is such a relatable character for me: a little girl with writer’s block and anxiety. Going with Maylie on her journey to overcome both her struggles was enjoyable and empowering.

As a pre-service teacher I also really appreciate all of the educational aspects of this book and it would be great for class discussions and writing prompts.

Overall I really liked this book and recommend it to middle grade readers.
18 reviews2 followers
April 15, 2021

Story was well written, the characters and their behavior very much mimiced siblings behavior (I have 3 kids, they're always squabbling about something). Amazing adventure, my eldest 2 loved it, keep it up Ma'am!
Profile Image for Marguerite Gray.
Author 15 books497 followers
June 22, 2021
What a treasure! I feel like I have been to England with Maylie. As an adult, I loved this book. As an elementary age child it would be a super win. Now, I'm off to Ireland with Book Two! Bravo M.L. Tarpley!
Profile Image for Ryan Moore.
408 reviews10 followers
July 18, 2021
ML Tarpley does a fantastic job of interweaving a love of travel and writing in Maylie and the Maze. Loved the book. Worth the read.
Profile Image for Challice.
559 reviews62 followers
October 14, 2020
I really enjoyed how the author uses an aspiring writer like Maylie to tell a story about herself but also use her surroundings to understand culture geography. Maylie in this first book, takes a trip to England with her "annoying" twin brother, Camden, aunt, and Grandma. There was a slow start to the book and then I really enjoyed where the author was taking it. It reminds me of the books you can purchase from Usborne! The illustrations are my absolute favorite thing about this book. It brings more to the story and is sure to delight children. I think this can easily be a story that a 6 and 7 year old would enjoy being read too. And 8-11 to enjoy reading on their own.

The author almost danced that line of too much sibling squabbles that is too much for me. I understand squabbles but it was almost every time they were together. At the same time, I commend the author for showing that growth in their relationship. Maylie gets frustrated but you also see her work on trying to better her mischievous brother as well as not take it all too personally. I mention this because I know some of my homeschool mom friends would be bothered by that relationship. Stick it out til the end. ;)
Profile Image for Mitchel Maree.
Author 7 books23 followers
October 27, 2020
Maylie and Maze was a fun read. The story revolves around a young aspiring writer, Maylie, who travels to England with her grandma, aunt, and twin brother, in the hopes of finding inspiration. What she learns on this journey is what we all learn in life, we often our own worst enemies and we let our own fear get in the way of our dreams. Maylie is a great role model for middle-grade readers out there and think most kids will be able to relate to her in same way.

Not to mention, M.L. Tarpley, takes us on a fun adventure to England. Most of the story revolves around a castle and maze in Leeds. Through Maylie, we get to experience what its like to travel to another country and learn the different words they use for everyday items; trainers=sneakers, rubbish=trash, and Mum=mom.

I'm currently an American living in Ireland, where Maylie is going on her next adventure and I can't wait to see all the trouble and excitement that is waiting to unfold for her.
Profile Image for Laia Silver .
2 reviews5 followers
October 14, 2020
This debut middle grade novel about adventure, bravery and friendship was a heartwarming, fun read. It is the type of book I would have loved when I was younger, seeing the world through Maylie’s eyes. I loved the aspect of traveling and education, allowing kids to dream big and realise there is a big exciting world out there.

I like that this book touches on bravery and overcoming fears, and that even though you might be scared, if you give something a try you might just love it!

This book is the perfect read for young little girls who will relate to Maylie in so many ways.

Thank you to the authour, M.L Tarpley for providing me with an eARC of this novel.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 36 reviews

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