Tag Archives: mystery

Review! The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson

27 Nov

The Goldfish Boy
By Lisa Thompson
320 pages – ages 9+
Published by Scholastic Press on February 28, 2017

Synopsis from Publisher- “Matthew Corbin suffers from severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. He hasn’t been to school in weeks. His hands are cracked and bleeding from cleaning. He refuses to leave his bedroom. To pass the time, he observes his neighbors from his bedroom window, making mundane notes about their habits as they bustle about the cul-de-sac.

When a toddler staying next door goes missing, it becomes apparent that Matthew was the last person to see him alive. Suddenly, Matthew finds himself at the center of a high-stakes mystery, and every one of his neighbors is a suspect. Matthew is the key to figuring out what happened and potentially saving a child’s life… but is he able to do so if it means exposing his own secrets, and stepping out from the safety of his home?”

What I Thought- I think this was an excellent debut novel. Matthew is thoroughly developed, so that we as a reader feel that we sort of understand why he has germaphobic, agoraphobic, obsessive compulsive tendencies, even if we don’t get a clear picture until almost the end. It’s quite an insight into the mind of someone who middle-grade readers may not “meet” so often. One thing I thought was interesting was that Matthew understood he wasn’t thinking normally, but was unable to stop his thoughts and actions. The book focuses a lot on the inner turmoil of Matthew, and how he must face his fears to be able to help find the missing toddler. The actual plot and the mystery are solid, with lots of clues that keep you guessing as to who did the crime. Thompson has an incredible way of  writing that keeps you drawn into the story. I cannot wait to read what she comes up with next!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Review! The Great Shelby Holmes Meets Her Match by Elizabeth Eulberg

29 Aug

The Great Shelby Holmes Meets Her Match
Series: The Great Shelby Holmes (see my review of Book #1)
By Elizabeth Eulberg
240 pages – ages 9+
Will be published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on September 12, 2017

Synopsis From Publisher- “Being friends with a super sleuth isn’t easy, especially when she’s nine years old and four feet tall, and full of attitude. But for eleven-year-old aspiring writer John Watson, being friends with Shelby Holmes is just the adventure he’s looking for.

In the few weeks since moving to Harlem with his mom, Shelby has been training John in the art of observation-a skill that comes in handy on the first day of school. John’s new teacher, Mr. Crosby, is acting suspiciously, and Shelby knows this is a mystery worth investigating. But as Shelby and John dig deeper, they discover that there may be someone unexpected involved–someone who may have Shelby beat.”

What I Thought- This was a really good sequel to the first book tin the series. I am a fan of how Eulberg explores more aspects of Shelby’s character, showing more of her relationship with her classmates. We get to know more about John, as well, and we see a lot of aspects of their friendship that are fleshed out. Eulberg crafts a fresh take on old Sherlock Holmes tales, with bits and pieces based off of the original Sherlock Holmes stories, and honestly, I cannot wait until she more references – I can only imagine what she will think up for Shelby! I really enjoyed this book and like that it is introducing the greatness of the mighty Sherlock to a new generation to enjoy. The story and characters are believable, and they remind me of instances in real life; kids will appreciate that. The mystery is fun, and I like how Eulberg adds in a lot of little details, and especially seeing how they seem to be needed later on – a mark of a great mystery! I sincerely recommend this book!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Review! The World’s Greatest Detective by Caroline Carlson

28 Jul

The World’s Greatest Detective
By Caroline Carlson
373 pages – ages 9+
Published by on HarperCollins on May 16, 2017

Synopsis from Publisher- “Detectives’ Row is full of talented investigators, but Toby Montrose isn’t one of them. He’s only an assistant at his uncle’s detective agency, and he’s not sure he’s even very good at that. Toby’s friend Ivy is the best sleuth around—or at least she thinks so. They both see their chance to prove themselves when the famed Hugh Abernathy announces a contest to choose the World’s Greatest Detective. But when what was supposed to be a game turns into a real-life murder mystery, can Toby and Ivy crack the case?”

What I Thought- This was a really great novel! It’s written by the author of the Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates series (which I love), and this book is just as great! The world that Carlson creates is reminiscent of the great era of mystery writers, keeping in that older time when automobiles were still new. It is surely a period for interesting detectives, as there is little to no “easy way out” to find the answer (ie, hacking into security cameras, DNA testing, etc.). Carlson creates characters that keep you wanting to read more. They are perfectly imperfect enough that you want to follow them and find out how they get out of troublesome situations. I liked that the story eases kids to the murder mystery genre in a totally acceptable read. I also love that she shows flaws in her main characters – the two kids are both good and bad detectives – making the kids feel alright if their guesses are wrong. Carlson’s writing strengths shine in this book. She can write with a wackiness a subtle type of humor that brightens tense situations. I really hope there is a second book!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Review! Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy by Paula Berinstein

10 Apr

amandalesterAmanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy

By Paula Berinstein

386 pages – ages 8+

Will be published by The Writing Show on May 22, 2015

Synopsis- Amanda Lester loves directing films. It’s her passion. But since she’s descended from a famous bumbling oaf detective from Sherlock Holmes’ memoirs (Inspector G. Lestrade), her parents expect her to follow his path and become a detective too. So, doing the most reasonable thing for a parent, they send her to a boarding school for descendants of famous detectives, not caring what Amanda thought. But once there, a real murder mystery pops up, and Amanda ends up trying to solve it. Will she be able to solve the mystery before more end up dead?

What I Thought- Amanda is a character you care for. She wants to be a filmmaker, but her parents want her to become a detective like their ancestor, G. Lestrade, from Sherlock Holmes’ chronicles, and even send her to a school for detectives. The story is good, and it’s interesting seeing how Amanda pieces together all of the clues, even though she hates being a detective. That was pretty ironic. I liked how it was a murder mystery, but not too gory (not gory at all, really). It is a nice mystery book with sound characters and thrilling plot twists. (Although I guessed the bad guy right away…but I like reading mysteries and picked up common character types, including those of thieves, allies who sneak around, enemies who sneak around, etc.) It was a fun story and a great read for the intended age level.

I give this book five out of five bookworms.fivebooks

Review! Case Closed? Nine Mysteries Unlocked by Modern Science by Susan Hughes

5 Mar

caseclosedCase Closed? Nine Mysteries Unlocked by Modern Science
Written by Susan Hughes
Illustrated by Michael Wandelmaier
88 pages – ages 8+
Published by Kids Can Press on September 1st, 2013

Synopsis- Have you ever wondered what happened to the lost Princess Anastasia of Russia? Or the mysterious Anasazi people who just disappeared from their homeland? What about the city of Ubar, swallowed up by the sands around it? We may finally have answers to these questions thanks to modern science procedures. And thanks to this book, you can read about some of the most puzzling cases in history and the latest scientific theories around them!

What I Thought- This was absolutely fascinating. I loved hearing about how they figured out the mysteries. That was really cool. Mr. Wandelmaier’s illustrations add another dimension to the story. They are as informative as they are nice to look at. They, and the real-life photos scattered throughout the book, really bring the story to life. Ms. Hughes has done a good job of making kids want to learn about science – the book talks about DNA, how pressure effects a submarine, what a spectrometer does, and much more! Her writing style is very kid-friendly without over-simplifying it. I really enjoyed this book.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake by Robin Newman GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!

30 Apr

Hey! Do you guys remember when I reviewed the very fun your reader mystery – “The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake” by Robin Newman (click the title for my review)?

carrotcake

Find it on Amazon HERE!

Summary from Goodreads: “When food goes missing on Ed’s farm, Detectives Wilcox and Griswold do what it takes to track down the thieves. In this case, Miss Rabbit’s carrot cake has disappeared. Has it been stolen? Or eaten? Or both? Who dunnit?

Well, guess what! Today is the day it is released!

You can purchase the book on Amazon HERE!

Ms. Newman, the author, has thankfully agreed to let me give away a copy of her book.

The only qualifications that are needed are that you help spread the word about Ms. Newman’s book via social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. or reblog!).

The contest is open to everyone in the US.

Just let me know you shared in the comments below and you are in for the drawing!

I will randomly choose one winner from all the entries on May 6th and the winner will be announced May 7th.

Good Luck!

You can visit Ms. Newman’s website HERE.

The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake by Robin Newman

23 Mar

carrotcakeThe Case of the Missing Carrot Cake

By Robin Newman

Illustrated by Deborah Zemke

40 pages – ages 5+

Published by Creston Books  on May 12, 2015

Synopsis- From GoodReads: “When food goes missing on Ed’s farm, Detectives Wilcox and Griswold do what it takes to track down the thieves. In this case, Miss Rabbit’s carrot cake has disappeared. Has it been stolen? Or eaten? Or both? Who dunnit?

What I Thought- First off, I love the fact that the detectives are mice, and that they are MFI’s (Missing Food Investigators). That is just plain awesomeness there! The story is everything a kid would want – the writing is kid-friendly, there are cute main characters, a mystery to solve, humor, and great illustrations. The mystery keeps the main characters wrapped up in it and guessing. As more and more carrot cake goes missing, more and more suspects are added! The MFI’s have a big problem on their hands! The illustrations are great, with some funny details (the cop-car has a wind-up key on the side of it), and remind me of Roald Dahl’s illustrations. They compliment the story very well. Kids are going to love this one!

WANT TO WIN A COPY?!?

There is a GoodReads giveaway going on right now! CLICK HERE!

I give “The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake” five out of five bookworms!fivebooks


WANT TO KNOW MORE?!?

You can download a copy of the teacher’s guide that goes along with THE CASE OF THE MISSING CARROT CAKE – click HERE!

Check out Ms. Newman’s website by clicking HERE!

Check out Ms. Zemke’s site HERE!

Review! Ghosts of Belle Isle by Steven K. Smith

12 Jan

snithGhosts of Belle Isle – The Virginian Mysteries Book 3

By Steven K. Smith

228 pages – ages 7+
Published by MyBoys3 Press on October 9, 2014

Synopsis- Derek and Sam are back, along with Sam’s friend Caitlin. Derek and Sam’s parents are going to Paris on a honeymoon (in the last book, they redid their marriage vows), and they left a college-aged cousin in charge of them for the time-being. The cousin turns out to be a terrible chaperone (she’s more interested in her boyfriend). But she lets them do whatever (that’s part of the ‘only caring about her boyfriend’ thing). After hearing a ghost story from an older neighbor, Derek and Sam go to Belle Isle. They see a ghost drawn on the wall of a run-down factory, and hear strange voices. Altogether, very creepy. Add in a biker gang led by Mad Dog DeWitt that has a secret hideout in the factory. Will the kids figure out what’s going on with the biker gang and the ghosts?

What I Liked- This is a great addition to The Virginia Mysteries series. Mr. Smith really knows how to write a fun mystery. He puts in some thrilling parts, but still keeps it age-appropriate for his readers. Derek and Sam have a “normal” sibling relationship, which led to some humor in the book. The writing style is very good. I like how they go throughout Richmond, Virginia and see the historical sites. The reader thus learns some things about the Civil War in a fun way. This series is a perfect example of how small publisher/indie authors can turn out great books. I really hope that there is another book in this fun series!

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

Elementary, My Dear Watson: The Astounding Adventure of the Ancient Dragon by Jose Prendes

8 Jul

elementaryElementary, My Dear Watson – The Astounding Adventure of the Ancient Dragon

By Jose Prendes

174 pages – ages 9+

Published by Curiosity Quills Press on March 3, 2014

12-year-old John H. Watson was distraught. His mother was dying, his father was depressed because of it, and he was going to Candlewood Boarding School for Boys and Girls because his home was not a happy environment (and because he was neglecting his studies, of course). When a bully, calling himself Moriarty, orders Watson to hand over his money, a young boy, Watson’s age, saves him from Moriarty. The boy introduces himself as Holmes, Sherlock Holmes. When classmates start disappearing, Sherlock starts investigating, along with his new friend. Where are all the missing students going? And who is responsible for it?

First of all, I am a huge fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books. Sherlock Holmes never ceases to amaze me.I was a little worried that reading about a young version of Sherlock would not live up to what I would expect. This book however, was a great read (cool cover too)! I really like how Mr. Prendes mixes up Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s characters and jumbles them into middle school. It was marvelously done. I especially like the irony in one scene, where Holmes, Watson, and another student are investigating the case, and the Head Mistress of the school walks in on it. Holmes says that they are acting out a play with 3 characters from Shakespeare’s plays. When the Head Mistress points out that they aren’t from the same play, Holmes states that it is pretending if the characters had met each other in Middle School – just like they are in this book! 😉 Mr. Prendes also included of the thrill from Doyle’s mysteries, and I loved every second of it. The book was a very fast read for me. I read this book in less than a day. The plot of the story kept me on the edge of my seat, and I immediately liked John Watson. Mr. Prendes has written a great book. I would like to read other books written by him, especially from this series.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer by Lisa Orchard

16 Dec

catladyThe Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer

By Lisa Orchard

245 pages – ages 14+ (ebook reviewed)

Published by Astraea Press on March 12, 2012

Sarah Cole, her sister Lacey, and best friend Jackie Jenkins, were scared. Not only did they find that the  woman in the neighborhood whom the kids call the “Cat Lady,” was murdered, but the cops found them WITH the body. After proving their innocence from the murder (which was hard, since Lacey had blood on her), the girls are free to go. Well, not really. A cop is sure they committed the crime and is out to get them. The girls decide they must prove they didn’t do it and solve the mystery. So, the Super Spies are formed.

The characters in this story are all very good and I enjoyed reading about them. Lacey seems like a nice girl, and Jackie was pretty funny. Sarah is a great female main character, though she can be quite headstrong. The plot was very well written and had the right amount of twists and turns. It kept me on the edge of  my seat guessing what was going to happen next.  The story had lots of action perfect for a murder mystery. The title threw me off, though. To me, it seemed like the Cat Lady was the killer, but maybe that’s just me. I think that the title, should be “The Cat Lady’s Killer” or a similar thing like that. The book is a YA book and the story had a little more violence than the usual middle grade books I read  (well – it is a murder mystery). The girls find the body and there’s blood. It would have been nice to leave some of those details out and have the book be good for middle grade readers too, because the story itself could be good for 12+ (but that is my opinion).

I give “The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer” 4 out of 5 bookworms.fourbooks

To learn more about Ms. Orchard, please visit her website HERE.

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