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Posts Tagged ‘Mysteries’

Frankie Potts & the Postcard Puzzle and The Wicked Wolves by Juliet Jacka, illus. by Phoebe Morris.

January 22, 2017 Comments off

postcard-puzzleFrankie Potts & the Postcard Puzzle by Juliet Jacka, illus. by Phoebe Morris. Pub. Penguin, imprint Puffin, 2017.

Part three in this mystery and detective series for 7-10 year olds. Frankie Potts has red hair, a super dog called Sparkplug and a very good friend called Mac. They love mysteries and with a family like Frankie has there is always a mystery.

The family has hidden secrets and when Frankie finds a postcard sent to her mother saying “dearest Tania I do think we should give it another try, don’t you? Gideon xxx” Frankie’s methodical brain goes into over drive.

Frankie and her friends take a bus to Giggleswick to search for Gideon and what they find is going to unleash a hoard of family secrets.

All is revealed at a family dinner with the Marvellous Mildred, Frankie’s grandma and an array of animals including a parrot called Firefly who says “Potamus-otamus-hippo-whatamus”

There are other mysteries too. Great reading for newly confident readers.

wicked-wolvesFrankie Potts & The Wicked Wolves by Juliet Jacka, illus. by Phoebe Morris, Pub. Penguin, imprint Puffin, 2017.

This is part 4 and since the above part Frankie has found her long lost grandad, Sparkplug’s girlfriend has had 7 puppies, The Marvellous Mildrid has entered a competition with her dogs and Frankie’s mother is expecting twins.

Frankie doesn’t want the puppies to be sold so she sabotages her mum’s attempts at selling them. Then a group called The Wicked Wolves let people know that they are coming to get them.

Who are the Wicked Wolves? Is Frankie’s arch enemy Ralph Peter- McGee behind it all and will the puppies go to good homes?

There is much to ponder in this part which as always is superbly illustrated by Phoebe Morris. Her pen and ink drawings of all the characters and the animals enhance the stories.

These two parts are released on February 1st 2017 and  reviews of parts 1&2 are also on this blog.

They really are great reading for young readers and are a must for primary school libraries.

Middle School. Treasure Hunters: Peril at the Top of the World by James Patterson, illus. Chris Grabenstein

December 3, 2016 Comments off

peril-top-worldMiddle School. Treasure Hunters: Peril at the Top of the World by James Patterson, illus. Chris Grabenstein. Pub.Penguin Random House, 2016.

Book 4 in the Treasure Hunter series from prolific writing duo James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein. Sure they are formulaic but hell they are good reading for middle school kids.

They are funny, informative, action packed with both male and female heroes who are flawed but essential well meaning. The Kidd family of Treasure Hunters are a together family and this time they are with their recently found parents trying to solve a great conspiracy by a secretive group who like to toy with eggheads and do-gooders like the Kidd family.

They call themselves the Enlightened Ones and they are stealing and have already stolen some of the World’s greatest works of art and this time it is set in Russia and the North pole under the Aurora borealis or Northern Lights.

It isn’t going to be easy and they are going to be imprisoned in some of Russia’s most notorious prisons. Narrated by twin Beck there is lively dialogue, informative information from Russian trivia expert Larissa and clues to solve to find the missing art collections.

Chris Grabensteins illustrations and oddball comments are a highlight.

Detective Gordon: A Complicated Case by Ulf Nilsson Illus. Gitte Spee

January 8, 2016 Comments off

complicated caseDetective Gordon: A Complicated Case by Ulf Nilsson Illus. Gitte Spee. Pub. Gecko, 2015.

It’s just not possible to dislike this book about Detective Gordon who is a toad and his assistant Buffy the mouse. They are the police in a large forest and rule by the big Book of Law which says such things as “you can’t push a squirrel into the river” and more importantly you cannot tease other animals because it is hurtful.

Unfortunately there is a culprit teasing other animals and all is not well in the forest. Toad and mouse must investigate.

Perfect stories for the reader who is starting to read alone. Lots of fun, good values and at the bottom of it all some good common sense that everyone can learn from. For example ” everybody knows inside them what is right and wrong” how true. and for the adults who believe in freedom we have the advice given to Buffy the mouse by Detective Gordon when she becomes his assistant – Police must always tell the truth. Whatever happens!

Once again superbly illustrated  by Gitte Spee. The lonely sight of a hedgehog crying on a rock after being teased is very memorable.

You can’t beat a book like this. The first book in the series is reviewed elsewhere in this blog.

Theophilus Grey and the Demon Thief by Catherine Jinks.

September 2, 2015 Comments off

demon thiefTheophilus Grey and the Demon Thief by Catherine Jinks. Pub. Allen&Unwin, 2015.

Something is scaring the living daylights out of the street life of Georgian London. Crime rate has soared, two men have been laid unconscious without any sign of being hit and rumours of supernatural interference are rampant.

12 year old Philo is a linkboy. His job is to deliver messages and to guide people through the dark dangerous and filthy alleys of London town by torch light. He works for a Fagan type character  named Garnet who sells remedies for various ailments and conditions but also provides information to the Magistrate in return for money. Most of the characters live in extreme poverty.

Philo gets a new client, a surgeon called Mr Paxton who treats him well but continually presses for information. What is he up to? What has a the return of returned prisoner Cockeye McAuliffe got to do with it and what sort of beast has caused the criminal boarding house the Rats Castle to close down? Is there a demon wandering the town a la Jack the Ripper? Read this exciting novel and find out.

A superb historical mystery thriller by Catherine Jinks who specialises in such historical pieces. This is book 1 of a series  and the recreation of Georgian London with it’s darkness, mysticism, extreme poverty and array of vivid characters is superb. The detail is incredible right down to the language spoken, there is even a glossary in the back of the book.

The best book of it’s kind that I have read for some time for children aged 10 years to 13years

Afterlight by Rebecca Lim.

August 25, 2015 Comments off

afterlightAfterlight by Rebecca Lim. Pub. Text Publishing Melbourne, 2015.

This novel for teens and Young Adults is on the weird side but is compelling reading.

Sophie’s father was a biker and her mother an ex dancer and stripper. They completely changed their lives and gave Sophie all the love she needed. When Sophie began her last year at high school her mother and father were killed in a motorcycle accident and she went to live with her Gran who owns a pub outside Melbourne.

Sophie changes schools for a new start in life and she takes her 1.83 meter frame with a mess of red hair to Ivy Street school where she becomes known as Storkie. She also meets and becomes attracted to Jordan. a hot boy all the girls want to make it with.

When she was 5 years old Sophie had a dream in which a heavily tattooed brute of a man stood over her and she never forgot it. Now after a heavily publicised murder of a girl , by a biker gang, who had a similar life to her mother appears before Sophie as a ghost, her life is to take a startling change of direction.

A  series of incidents based on information given to Sophie by the ghost she calls Eve, makes Sophie a celebrity. The heart throb of a boy, Jordan, sees the same ghost as Sophie but knows her as Monica. You will have to read the novel to find out what happens.

Sophie and Jordan are a captivating couple and their relationship binds the reader to the gripping story which becomes not only a mystery and a ghost story but also a romance. Beautifully written with imagery that will startle you and thrilling action right up to the last page. The ending is up for you to decipher.

Confessions. The Paris Mysteries by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro.

June 12, 2015 Comments off

confessions paris mysteriesConfessions. The Paris Mysteries by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro. Pub. Random House, 2014.

Sometimes it is good to read a book that you don’t have to think too deeply about and just go with the flow. This is such a novel.

Tandy Angel is an attractive 16 year old who has plenty of drama on her plate. The novel opens with a joyous time for her in Paris with the boy she loves, staying in an old hotel with love all around. It doesn’t last long, in the morning he is gone without a by your leave. Swine!

Tandy’s head is still swimming when she finds her  twin brother Harry(named after George Harrison), younger brother Hugo and older brother Matty have inherited a fortune from their grandmother. But the fortune is tainted.

The siblings parents once owned a Pharmaceutical company that went tail up, the parents are brutally murdered and older sister Katherine is killed in an accident in South Africa. They discover that their uncle Peter is a crook and is possibly out to kill the remaining members of the family and worst of all they discover they have been fed drugs  disguised as vitamins by their parents that are supposed to increase all round intellect and physical capabilities. OMG!

You don’t need to know more just go ahead and get involved. The chapters are short, the dialogue cheesy, the plot has more twists and turns than a politicians speech and it is in the exciting settings of Paris and later New York.

Young Adult stuff with nothing serious except the fantasy of being filthy rich.

Ruby Redfort 4: Feel the Fear by Lauren Child.

June 8, 2015 Comments off

fearRuby Redfort 4: Feel the Fear by Lauren Child. Pub. HarperCollins childrens, 2014.

Just got around to reviewing this novel because of work pressures but I wished I had read it earlier. It deals with fear and risk taking, something parents worry themselves sick over.

Ruby is 13 years old and an agent for a secret organisation called SPECTRUM 8 who solve crimes that are out of the ordinary. Ruby has become an agent because of her superior ability to solve puzzles and see things that others don’t notice.

In the 3 previous books she has taken risks that have endangered her life and survived. She begins to think she is indestructable and has conquered her fears. The head of SPECTRUM 8 and her mentor and butler, Hitch, think so too.

A series of crimes committed on high rise buildings has SPECTRUM bemused. A skywalker who climbs the outside of buildings is stealing memorabilia like items connected with the old theatre in town and the legendary actress Margo Bardem. Can Ruby solve it?

High rise terror and lots of fear. Ruby must learn to control fear and to rationalise the risks she is taking.

Good crime writing with puzzles and codes to be broken that are linked to Braille. Some of the snappiest and witty dialogue between Ruby and the other characters that I have read in a children’s book and of course Ruby’s sweatshirts are divine. What are you looking at duhbrain? is the best this time.

For early teens and those that like mysteries. I think it is the best yet. Very clever writing.