Posts tagged ‘mystery’

MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE

The Flip: A Haunting on Long Island

Written by Michael Phillip Cash

A fast read with interesting characters and a nice blend of genres. Brad and his wife Julie are house flippers. Julie would love to earn enough money to quit her day job to join her husband, who is a full-time contractor.

What could go wrong when they purchase an old Victorian house named Bedlam in Cold Spring? Plenty. Turns out the original owners, Gerald and Tessa decide to put their ghostly talents to the test by torturing the new owners.

Why were Gerald and Tessa killed? Readers learn about the history and the mystery of the abandoned property as they follow the clues and become absorbed in the lives of its inhabitants, past and present.

Highly recommend this entertaining read for young adult and adult audiences.

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Three kids in trouble…

Thomas Templeton and the Whispers of Branson Manor

Written by Emily A. Stewart

Illustrated by Chad Stewart

Sarah, Thomas, and Evie are three orphans who have been taken in by their Aunt Gertrude. Gertrude never wanted them in her life.

When the siblings overhear that she is planning to get rid of Sarah and Thomas but keep Evie around to do her bidding, they decide to run away. How will they survive with limited resources and no one to watch out for them?

The resilient trio go on an adventure, adopt a lost pup, and meet a bunch of friendly and unfriendly characters. As Gertrude attempts to get them back for punishment, the three children find themselves in the house where their parents died. Strange things befall them. They learn about witches and curses. Will they escape their aunt and find a way to stay together? Is the house cursed? What happened to their parents?

Interesting characters, a nice blend of humor, mystery, with just enough scariness, combine to make this a middle-grade page turner.

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SHORT AND SWEET

The Mystery of Santa Claus

Written by Paul Moxham

Will is spending the Christmas holidays in Scotland at his grandparents house. His three best friends, Joe, Amy, and Sarah have joined him.

The foursome venture out to check out the scene of a recent accident in which a tree fell on a vehicle narrowly missing killing the driver. They are distracted when their dog follows another dog. Of course, they need to investigate the urgency. When they come upon a man dressed as Santa Claus in the snow, the mystery deepens. It’s Christmas Eve and the snow is falling. How will the children be able to rescue the injured driver and solve the mystery?

This thirty page short story is a page turned. Although it is written for middle-grade audiences, I could not put the book down. American readers should note that this book is written in British English, but it is an easy read.

I highly recommend adding it to your holiday reading list.

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HALLOWEEN POTPOURRI

Trick or Treat Free For All: A Halloween Kids Book

Written by: Marina J. Bowman, J.K. Campbell, Richard Clark, Eli Cranor, Connor Grayson, Deb Logan, Scott Peters, D.M. Potter, and M.K. Radican

Here is a book that will please beginning and middle-grade readers. There are ten different stories. Each is written by a well-known children’s author.

These stories have different themes that correspond with the genre and characters familiar to each of the authors. Detective story fans, magic fans, folktale fans, and mystery fans will find a story to love. Reluctant readers will be enticed by the shorter length and off-beat characters.

Teachers might read one of these each day or the collection might be read aloud at a Halloween party. Anthologies are not common for young readers, but I think it is a good way to introduce readers to a wide variety of different genres and book series.

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GETTING TO THE BOTTOM OF THINGS

Onward: The Search for the Dragon Gem: An InQuestigation

Written by Steve Behling

The book is based on the Disney movie. It is primarily a middle-grade read for fans of fantasy, magic, dragons, and coming-of-age novels.

Sadalia is a sophomore at Mushroomton High, Her passion is journalism. She constantly searches for that big story. When a red mist appears around the school one evening, her dream comes true. The high school is taken over by a dragon. The adventure of a lifetime begins.

Will things ever get back to normal? What part have her two schoolmates, Ian and Barley have in the mystery? Can Sadalia get her big scoop? Fans of the movie will want to check out the book. Recommended for grades three through seven.

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SECRET SANTA

Sophie Washington: Secret Santa

Written and Illustrated by Tonya Duncan Ellis

This Christmas themed story adds a nice touch to the Sophie Washington series of books. These chapter books are geared to middle-grade readers. The black and white line drawings enhance the tale and provide added incentives for beginning readers.

Sophie is now a sixth-grader at Xavier Academy. Her younger brother, Cole, is sometimes a thorn in her side, but she loves him dearly. Sophie steps in to protect him from a new neighbor who is bullying Cole. The main part of the plot involves a series of Christmas gifts that mysteriously appear on Sophie’s doorstep. The signature says from your Secret Santa. Sophie is puzzled. She and her girlfriends try to figure out the mystery. Then she learns that another boy in school is also receiving gifts. Sophie’s grandmother helps them to solve the mystery when a clue emerges. The giver is certainly not anyone they might have suspected.

This book is a beautiful story portraying the true Christmas spirit. Lots of wholesome family values, like supportive family relationships, bullying, and preteen angst are addressed. I highly recommend the book to lift holiday spirits. If you enjoy it, check out the entire Sophie Washington book series.

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FEAR NOT

Scaredy Bat and the Frozen Vampires: An Illustrated Mystery Chapter Book for Kids 8-12 (Scaredy Bat: A Vampire Detective Series 1)
Written by Marina J. Bowman
Illustrated by Yevheniia Lisavoya

Ellie is a twelve-year-old vampire who loves to solve mysteries. The fact that she is afraid of almost everything fails to deter her. Ellie fears loud noises, spiders, and clowns, among many other things. One thing she does have is a large network of friends who come to her aid. When Ellie attends a vampire wedding, everyone freezes solid. How can she overcome her fears and solve the mystery before it is too late?

The author includes bonuses for budding detective readers. She offers a quiz to test if the reader qualifies to be a detective. Readers receive a guide to analyzing suspects and recording evidence.

Lisavoya draws excellent black and white illustrations to sustain interest levels. The book is not too lengthy, which encourages reluctant readers.
One caveat, I read the Kindle version which contains formatting errors. I would rate the book three stars in the Kindle version, but five stars in the paperback edition.

Recommended for middle-grade readers in the print version.

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A BIRD’S-EYE VIEW

Timber View Camp

Written by Jason Deas

Sally and Reggie are fifth-grade friends who are also neighbors. When Sally receives a free “golden ticket” to attend Timber View Camp, she is upset about leaving her home this summer. Her fears are somewhat alleviated when Reggie also wins a ticket.

When the day to leave for camp arrives, they are dismayed to see an ugly purple double-decker bus with a strange driver who speaks in rhyme pick them up. The pair is even more alarmed when they are dropped off in the middle of nowhere with only a four-part riddle to guide them. By pulling together the campers dub themselves the 12 up and use each of their talents to survive and make it to the campground.

Things keep getting weirder as Reggie and Sally, along with their new friends, fear that they are being watched and followed. Tony and Sissy, their counselors, mysteriously disappear as the odd events unfold. The campers cleverly team up with Cynthia, whose family works at the camp, to develop a plan to expose the owners and turn the tables on them.

This mystery contains wonderful characters, clever plot lines, and lots of humor to accompany the mystery. Young detectives will have to use their smarts to solve it.

Highly recommended for readers ages nine and older.

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MAN’S BEST SUPER SLEUTH

Hide and Panic Stations (Super Sleuth Sam Book 1)

Written by Monty J. McClaine

This is the first book in a nine-part series. The author uses the introduction to present the characters of the series. Jack is a mischievous six-year-old. His father likes to tinker in the garage with his Corvette, his mother is a devoted stay at home mom, his sister, Molly has just begun to crawl. Sam, the basset hound is always on red alert protecting the family and serving as Jack’s constant companion. But Sam is no ordinary dog, he has magical powers passed down to him from his ancestors. When Sam recites his chant, he develops super speed and the detective skills of a Sherlock Holmes.

One day Jack and Sam are playing hide and seek. Jack pushes the envelope by finding a hiding place in which no one discovers him. While Jack is comfortably ensconced reading his dad’s comic and enjoying a snack, the rest of the family is in panic mode. Readers will enjoy how Sam employs his super speed and detective smarts to solve the mystery of Sam’s disappearance. Sam’s parents are about to call the police. Will Sam be able to solve the mystery? Perhaps young readers will be able to help.

This book is a fun chapter book for beginning and middle-grade readers. It presents a typical family with some atypical characteristics, some humor, and a mystery for readers to ponder. Recommended especially for third to fifth graders. The length of approximately one hundred pages makes it a good choice for reluctant readers as well.

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STRANGER DANGER

The Rocking Horse

Written by Karrie Loomis

I enjoyed reading this chapter book centering on Michaela and Sylvia, two ten and eight-year-old sisters who appear to have little in common. One day while playing in the backyard, they decide to take a walk and get lost. They encounter a ghostly, creepy house. Sylvia persuades her older sister to investigate and the adventure ensues.

While inside the girls discover a rocking horse. Upon riding it, a young ghost named Cindy taunts and threatens them. Michaela tries to calm her sister by spinning a tale, but both girls are afraid they will never see their parents and baby brother again. Throughout the ordeal, the sisters uncover little-known truths about themselves. Cindy reveals a compassionate side of herself and a lesson about strangers the girls will never forget.

This short chapter book of approximately one hundred pages has a powerful safety lesson for its young readers. It is most appropriate for children in the eight-to twelve-year-old age range but certainly an enjoyable read for any age.

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