Showing posts with label Mystery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mystery. Show all posts

Saturday, February 26, 2022

What Waits in the Woods by Kieran Scott

Source: I own a copy
Genre: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Mystery

Oh, My Gosh!  I thought the book, "What Waits in the Water" was good. This put a whole new spin on stalkers and mental illness. I truly didn't see what was coming straight at me. The story builds up in layers. All the way through I kept thinking, so ____ is the killer, only to find out I was wrong. The story starts very uniquely. You have someone in a mental facility telling you the doctor keeps asking them "why". They believe the answer is very obvious. So you don't know the gender of the person in the mental facility which is why I didn't see their identity coming at me. Everyone was suspect.  You have three girls going on a camping trip. Callie is new to the group and trying to push herself out of her comfort zone. The other two, Lissa and Penelope have been best friends for a long time. Then you have Jeremy, Callie's boyfriend who has tagged along.  This makes Lissa's boyfriend Zach upset. He decided to prank them and show up anyway. Then there is Ted, someone they just met who tells them he will lead them to his cabin where they can call their parents. Someone in this group is lying. When the first person is killed, the others must try to figure out who it is before they all lose their lives.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry


Genre: Middle Grade, Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Mystery
Source: My own shelves

I absolutely love April Henry's books.  In this book the first chapter grabs you and reels you in. A young girl comes to unsure where she is, who she is or what has happened. The only thing she knows for sure is she just overheard two men talking about how she knows nothing and they need to kill her.  From here on out the story unfolds in layers. From her escape at the beginning of the story to finally remembering who she is, what happened to her, and finally to its awesome ending, this book will keep you sitting on the edge of your seat.  I read it in about three hours. I knew there was no way I could not finish the book. This has been on my shelves at school and many of my students have read it. The only reason I finally got my hands on it was it was turned back in and I immediately put it in my own bag to read.  I highly recommend this book.  The events are so realistic I found myself worried for the main character.  The reader finds themselves identifying with the character and wondering what they would do in a situation like that.  Go ahead start with this one and see if you don't have to read her other books.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

The Grim Fugue by Alfred M. Struthers

Genre: Middle Grade, Young Adult, Mystery

Source: I reviewed a beta copy and purchased a copy.

I have loved all of the books in this series.  This one was by far my favorite. First, I have to say that the story took the suspense and fear to a whole new level. I felt fear for Nathan and Gina. In this book we learn something new and surprising about Nathan’s father. I loved the science aspect included in this book. We also find out something new about Jameson and why he is so passionate about this. In this book we are introduced to a new character named Burk. Loved his character and hope to see more of him in the future. I loved the way the author tied up one part of the mystery only to open the door to another part. I think the level of writing was stronger in this book. What I mean is that there was more conflict that kept moving the story forward. I would just catch my breath and then was hit with another wave of suspense. I feel I know Nathan well enough that I knew he would respond in a way that made me even more nervous for Nathan.  There is so much history here as well as science. It is obvious that the author did a lot of research.  I absolutely love when I read a book that is so well written that I can’t put it down. I also love a book where I learn something new.  This author has a tendency to do this with all of his books. It is such a loved series I have students fight over his books in my classroom. I recommend this book to everyone I can.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

The Uncanny Express – The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sister by Kara LaReau


Genre:  Middle Grade, Mystery, Adventure

Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.


This is the first book I have read by this author. There is so much to love. First we have the Bland sisters named Jaundice and Kale. From the minute I saw their names I knew this would be a very unusual book. This is a humorous mystery book with allusions to Murder on the Orient Express.  The girls go to meet their aunt at the train station. They are snatched as assistants to the magician Magique, Queen of Magic. While on the train Magique disappears and they are assisted by the famous detective Hugo Fromage, in finding her. I loved that the characters are very bland yet their adventures are completely the opposite. I felt like I was reading a book very similar to the Lemony Snickett series, which I loved. I have read so many serious books lately that this was a refreshing break. This is a fun and quirky book that I highly recommend.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Ghost Hunter's Daughter by Dan Poblocki

Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery, Horror
Source:  I purchased a copy

I loved this book. I am hoping my students will as well. I have this author's Shadow House Series on my shelves so this is a great addition.  Claire lives with her aunt because her mother is dead. She is popular at school because her dad is a well known ghost hunter with his own popular show. Lucas lives with his grandmother because his parents are off working on the east coast after it was destroyed by Tsunamis.  Claire's father goes missing while on an investigation. Claire learns this from the weird kid Lucas. Everyone knows his grandmother can speak to the dead and now, so can Lucas. Lucas gives Claire a message from her dead mother about her father. The two set out to rescue him.  But there is a lot at stake here.  The story is based on one town's resident ghost.  The kids act just the way you would expect them to.  They leap into a situation before they look. It is possible that they and everyone they involve in this hunt for her father will fall victim to the ghost of this town.  I didn't see the ending coming.   This will keep you on the edge of your seat like it did me. I could not put the book down. I read it in one sitting from cover to cover.  Highly recommended.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

The Dead Girl Under the Bleachers by Donna M. Zadunajsky

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions I expressed here are my own.

I sat and read this book in one sitting. The opening chapter hooks you. It starts from the perspective of a girl who is being attacked. The books is written from three unique perspectives. You have Scarlet, the queen bee of her school, Rachel who hangs with Scarlet, and Laura, Rachel's one time best friend. Although the author put the name of the character with the chapter number the reader quickly learns the voice of each character.

Scarlet is a snarky rich girl who loves taking people down. She has a boyfriend named Kyle who is just as mean. They are the type who plans whose life they will ruin.

Rachel comes from a loving family. She follows Scarlet because she likes her, the popularity, and because she doesn't want to be on the receiving end of Scarlet's meanness.

Laura is a nobody. She and Rachel were at one time best friends. She tries to stay hidden at school. She wants to stay off of Scarlet's radar. Scarlet has decided that she will be her next target. Laura has learned to trust no one. After the death of father and brother in an accident, she learns she can't even trust her own mother. Things change after Scarlet and Rachel go to Laura's house to study. Things get worse at home. Rachel and Laura reconnect their friendship and this makes Scarlet mad. But things aren't always what they seem.  This book is full of secrets and lies. Can you really justify murder?  I would definitely read more by this author.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

The Case of the Christmas Counterfeiters by Mike Mains

Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery
Source: Purchased

Jeffrey and his friends are in big-time trouble. Their last case finding a treasure almost got them killed. Jeffrey’s parents have grounded him for life.  Jeffrey’s parents really believe he thinks he is smarter than anyone and therefore goes looking for trouble. To tell the truth Jeffrey does believe he is smarter than most people and his friends agree. It is only a few days before Christmas and Jeffrey and his best friend Pablo are raking an elderly neighbor’s yard. When they uncover a body covered in the leaves and discover he is still alive they call the police.  But, that is never enough for this pair. They go to the hospital to see if they can find out more. Here they are witnesses to the person who they believe finished killing the man they had discovered. Once again by calling the police and speaking with them they are in trouble with their parents.

This is another case of Jeffrey and his friends getting themselves into trouble trying to do the right thing. In this book the danger is much stronger. There is stronger cases of violence so this is not recommended for elementary kids who have a higher reading level. This book touches on not only the mystery at hand but a class of cultures and cultural beliefs including religious beliefs.  All the way through I kept wondering how they were going to get out of the situation.  This is another wonderful mystery that I highly recommend.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

The Case of the Dead Man’s Treasure by Mike Mains


Genre:  Middle Grade, Mystery

Source: Purchased


When I read the first book in this series I was immediately taken back to my childhood and reading Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy mysteries.  As an adult reading these books I am drawn to books by Max Elliot Anderson and Tim Shoemaker. The reason is simple; these are books that are not only a great mystery but also carry a faith-based message.

 In book number two we find Jeffrey Jones and his friend Pablo are on another case and this time they are being paid. When their teacher is injured in a hit-and-run accident, he pays them to track down the car. The police don’t seem to have any interest in it, saying that there are way too many cars to be able to find this one. He has faith that this genius boy who was able to take him down in class in a game of logic will solve this case.  What he couldn’t see coming was  Jeffrey and his friends stumbling on a case that may just cost them their lives.

 I have to say that my response to Jeffrey besting his teacher through logic was not what most people would expect. As a teacher, I have taught kids from all over the world. If any of them could explain why they wrote something the way they did and it was logical then I gave them credit for it and then taught them the correct way. Sometimes perspective really does matter. Jeffrey has earned his first-ever “F”. He asks the teacher why and the teacher proceeds to read the question, tell him the correct answer, then read Jeffrey’s answer to the whole class. Unfortunately, Jeffrey’s answers are correct based on his logic.  It didn’t help that Jeffrey keeps badgering his teacher about the unfairness of the situation and how it did matter because it would affect his permanent record.  The flustered teacher gives him a riddle with the understanding that Jeffrey has only 60 seconds to solve it. If he is successful, he will change Jeffrey’s grade to an “A”.  I was cheering Jeffrey along. I have come across too many teachers who believe they are always right and students are always wrong.

 This kept me on the edge of my seat as I tried to figure out the clues. Needless to say, all these years of reading mysteries I am not much better. Out of all of the clues I was able to get only one of them correct and only a part of it.  My students are going to love these books.

Friday, June 19, 2020

The North Hollywood Detective Club in the Case of the Hollywood Art Heist by Mike Mains

Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery

Source: Purchased


Jeffrey Jones is one of the smartest kids in his school. He has a knack for figuring out mysteries. He really doesn’t have to try very hard. His mind just works that way. His parents are proud of him, but would really like him to stop. You might wonder why. His most recent case almost cost him his life. Jeffrey’s math teacher tells his class about a recent break-in and burglary of his apartment. One thing that was stolen was his teacher’s stamp collection worth a lot of money. The police have told him it was probably stolen for drugs or by gangs. The first thing everyone in the class does is looks at Jeffrey because he has asked about clues. They tease him about wanting to solve the case. His teacher finally agrees to let him check out the scene which resulted in catching the thief and almost killing him in the process. Now his parents aren’t sure they should go on their trip and leave him home alone. He and his best friend Pablo have formed a detective club. While sitting in his basement bedroom they hear sirens and screaming. They go outside to see the neighbor’s son hauled off in handcuffs.  Jeffrey and Pablo help stop the distraught mother and get her back into the house. This is how we are introduced to the next case.

 I love mysteries. I have since I was a young girl in elementary school.  I am always looking for that book that will hold me on the edge of my seat all the way through. This author has done that. I have just a handful of mystery authors that I recommend on a regular basis to my students. I now have a new one to recommend when the school year begins. This was a quick read for me. This was the first of two books I read on this day. I hope to read the next two books in this series tomorrow. I highly recommend this to all lovers of middle-grade mystery.

Friday, June 12, 2020

The Wicked Tree by Kristin Thorsness

Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery, Horror
Source: I won a copy from LibraryThing. The opinions expressed here are my own

Tav and his mom have moved back to her old home estate due to finances. Four years before, Tav's father died in a fire and Tav feels responsible. When they move back to the old family estate he decides his great-grandmother is not very likable and his cousin Millie is nuts. She keeps talking about an old book and the woods. Mrs. Green the housekeeper and her daughter Harper also lives in the estate. She has forbidden her daughter from going into the woods.  Tav's mother thinks it is okay for Tav to go into the woods. Tav begins having dreams about an old tree, then he sees a boy in one of the cabins he discovered in the woods. Harper is drug into the mystery because she wants to help Edward, the boy whose picture is in the photo album Millie showed him. Somehow this kid has been on the property for over a hundred years. 

This story is full of creepy mystery with an undercurrent of Tav wanting to do the right thing, the brave thing to hopefully find forgiveness. It would be so easy to get excited and write spoilers so I will stop here and just say that you really need to read this book. 

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Behind the Bookcase by Mark Steensland

Genre: Upper Elementary, Middle Grade, Mystery
Source: I purchased a copy

If you like creepy mysteries then I recommend this book to you. Sarah and Billy will be spending their summer fixing up her late grandmother’s house to sell. Sarah’s mother just wants to get things done and the house sold. She has never liked the house and she believes that her own mother was a little crazy. The reason it that Sarah’s grandmother used to tell some pretty crazy stories to her mom. While cleaning things out Sarah finds an unfinished letter from her grandmother. She states that “strange things are happening behind the bookcase.”  When Sarah finds an opening behind the bookcase she just has to see where it leads. Unfortunately it dumps her into the land of Scotopia. But things aren’t what they seem in Scotopia either. Why would her grandmother leave her an unfinished note and what is it that she is supposed to do or learn?  Why is there a locked door in the basement that no one seems to have the key to?

This book is full of secrets, a talking cat with his own evil agenda and fantastic worlds.  More importantly the message of the importance of family with all of their quirks is a main theme running throughout this book. I am sad that I had the book with me at home when we were forced into online school. None of this year’s students got the opportunity to read this wonderful book. However, I will make sure that next year’s students hear all about it.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Nevers Sara Cassidy

Genre: Elementary, Middle Grade, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Source: I purchased a copy
This was a fun and funny book. I would say this is perfect for upper elementary and lower middle school. However, as an adult I found this a pleasure to read.
Odette is a  young girl who must take care of her mother Annalise. Annalise seems to have a habit of accidently killing people. They have come into the small French town of Nevers.  All Odette wants is to find a place they cans stay and call home and to fit in, maybe have a friend.  Odette finds a friend in a young boy named Nicois. The town is full of strange people. There is man who likes to smell people’s hands, and a man who wants to be a chicken. There is a pig and chick that have become inseparable, and then there is the donkey that brays in Latin every night. The strange thing is that Odette understands him. Odette’s mother has brought about some trouble for them because she has been looking for a box she hid under a bridge years before. Someone else is looking for it as well.
The book is a mixture of some fantasy, mystery and a bit of historical fiction all rolled into one great book. Kids will love this because they will be able to identify with the characters. This is a book I would highly recommend to readers of all ages.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Watch Hollow: The Alchemist's Shadow by Gregory Funaro

Gregory Funaro’s first book “Watch Hollow” was a book that had my students lining up to read it. It was full of everything a middle school student loves in a book. It had characters they could identify with and a mystery to be solved. When I told them that I had an advance reader’s copy of the next book "Watch Hollow: The Alchemist's Shadow" they wanted to know if I would be buying it. I will most definitely be buying it.  This is a creepy mystery that kept the action going.
The Tinker family managed to keep away the great evil and set the house right. We all know that it would be boring if things didn’t go south again. This happens when Agatha and Algeron, along with their governess show up claiming they are the heirs to the house.  Of course, you need to expect whenever something or someone strange shows up, there is going to be something that will create chaos in Blackford House once again. A new evil has created a labyrinth along with a minotaur.
The children must work together to solve this mystery, get the governess back and take care of the evil. This is a daunting task, but they will receive help from the wooden animals of the clock. I am really loving this author’s work. I am probably the biggest lover of mysteries and this one has all the elements that I love.  I am hoping there is a third book on its way. This is a must-read series.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Witch Catcher by Mary Downing Hahn

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Mystery
Source: I purchased a copy

When my granddaughter messaged me that she had found another Mary Downing Hahn book she wanted I bought it. You know how it goes, you order a book then find several more by the author that you need/want to read.  This was one of those jewels. What drew me in was the difference in the subject matter. Hahn is known for her ghost stories. In this book, we meet Jen and her father who have just moved into a house her dad inherited. It is full of antique artifacts from his eccentric uncle. Jen disobeys her father and visits the tower behind their house. There she finds a glass globe that she takes back to her house and hides.  Jen is surprised to learn that when her father had come to this small town to work on the house he had met an antique dealer and started a relationship with her. Jen is not thrilled. She is even more upset when she meets Moura. Something doesn't seem right.  Moura makes it clear that she wants the globe and knows that Jen has it. Jen's cat Tink accidentally breaks the globe releasing a fairy from inside. With Moura's reaction, the change in her father and Moura's mysterious friend Jen knows that she must get involved if she wants to save her dad and her new friend. I absolutely loved this book.  Hahn has an author's note in the back that explains witch catchers and her fascination with them. I am sure my students are going to love this one.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Simply Dead by Eleanor Kuhns

Genre:  Adult, Historical Mystery
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Hortense a young midwife fails to return home after delivering a baby. Her mother and uncle seek out help from Will Rees. Will finds Hortense with no shoes and no cloak.  As the snow comes down heavier it is decided to leave the unconscious Hortense overnight at Will and Lydia’s house.  Will and his family attend to chores around the farm. Will hears his daughter Jerusha yelling for him. She has been frightened but he doesn’t know what scared her.  The next morning Jerusha is attacked by two young boys.  Will is sure Hortense knows something she isn’t telling them.  When a Shaker woman is killed Will is determined to do everything he can to find the person responsible for the attacks on women in the area.
Once again this book was so well written I didn’t expect the killer to be who it was. I have only read one other book in this series. I have definitely got to catch up on them. This author brings you in to the time period and into the setting.  The characters are well crafted. Will Rees has become one of my favorite characters. He is a weaver by trade and yet he has become a wonderful detective. This is a book I would read more than once.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

After You’ve Gone by Kay Kendall

Genre: Adult, Young Adult, Mystery, Suspense
Source: I purchased a copy.

This was a fun book to read. We start with a twenty-three-year-old character named Walter MacGregor, Wallie for short. Walter was named after her father who is a judge in Gunmetal, Texas.  Wallie, whose mother is deceased has been raised by her father with the help of her two aunts. Her favorite thing to do is read Sherlock Holmes books. That is as close as she figures she will ever get to an adventure. When her uncle Rory shows up she is very intrigued. He claims his life is in danger and he needs his brother’s help. There is definitely some contention between Rory and his older brother. It is obvious that Rory, a rum-runner is nothing like her father, the well-spoken judge. However, his lifestyle intrigues her, even if she doesn’t agree with it. There are family secrets, and a stranger watching the house. No one will talk to her about her uncle or why he left so suddenly twenty years before. When Rory is found dead, it is ruled an accident by the sheriff. Wallie doesn’t believe this was an accident. Her perceptive Aunt Ida, knowing her niece won’t let this go, proposes a trip so Wallie’s father can grieve, while secretly helping Wallie find the information she wants. But things are worse than Wallie could imagine. She and her aunt find themselves knee-deep in gangsters and women they would not usually associate with. Throw into this mix two young men who are after Wallie’s heart and you have a charming yet mysterious story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
I loved this for several reasons. We start off with Wallie writing to her sixteen-year-old granddaughter about Rory. It seems that her granddaughter, Austin Starr is as curious as her grandmother was as a young lady. The time period was one I am not familiar with in books. There seems to have been a lot of research that went into this story to make it accurate. The roaring twenties was a time of prohibition and rum-runners, as well as gangsters. We get an idea through this book what life for a young woman would have been like during that time. Anytime Wallie tries to step out of the acceptable role for women she is treated like she has no brain. She holds out hope for women as they have just won the right to vote. I loved that Wallie assumes she will never marry since she doesn’t want to be reigned in by a man. The story is a remembrance of a time in Wallie’s life that provided the adventure she longed for.
The author does such a wonderful job of putting twists and turns in that I had to sit and read it from cover to cover. I could not go to bed until I had finished it. I truly had no idea who the murderer was or why until near the very end. Well done. I definitely want to read other books in this series as this was a prequel to the Austin Star Mystery series. This is a book for adults, but I would recommend it to young adults because it is a clean read with the occasional swear word.

Kay Kendall is an award-winning author of two historical mysteries. Her second book, RAINY DAY WOMEN (2015), won for best mystery and best book at Killer Nashville in August 2016. It is the second in her Austin Starr mystery series, published by Stairway Press. The first was DESOLATION ROW (2013).
In her previous career, Kay was an award-winning international PR executive, working in the US, Canada, Russia, and Europe. She has graduate degrees in Russian history and was a Woodrow Wilson Scholar at Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. 
Kay and her Canadian husband lives in Houston, Texas. They’ve rescued abandoned pet bunnies for twenty years and currently have three rabbits and a bemused spaniel, Wills.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Only Charlotte by Rosemary Poole-Carter

Genre: Adult, Mystery, Historical Fiction, Romance
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

This story takes place after the Civil War. Lenore James is a woman who has out-lived three husbands. Financially she is in a great place. She is wll aware of what is going on in society around her. When her brother Gilbert, a doctor loses his wife and child he loses a large part of himslef. Lenore invites him to come live with her and open a practice in New Orleans. Gilbert is willing to take those cases where the main doctor in town feels he won't profit much. This doesn't bother Gilbert since he is more about taking care of the patient and not worrying about the money. 

Gilbert is called to a house to care for a young child who has a terrible cough. He is immediately drawn to the child's mother, Charlotte Eden. Charlotte is married to awealthy architect. Gilbert's sister remembers her when she worked making hats. It is obvious to Lenore that her brother has fallen for Charlotte. The Mystery comes in when Gilbert is asked to remove Charlotte's dead body. I won't say anything more since I don't want to give anything away.

We see a society where those who are in power and have lots of money rule. Women have no rights and if some people had their way there would be slavery again. The author has told a story in the flowery and flowing way it would have been spoken in that time period. For some this may be a hindrance. It took me a couple of chapters before I was comfortable with this aspect. However, it actually put me in the time period. This author has a way of helping the reader visualize everything around them. I love a book that draws me in and carries me around twists and turns to the point I don’t see the ending coming. I love the historical aspect of this book. For me the emotional factor was a plus. I could feel how much Lenore felt she needed to protect her brother’s heart. I could see how Gilbert fell hard for Charlotte from the beginning. I agreed to read this book because there was the mystery aspect and it was historical fiction. I got so much more than I bargained for from reading this book. I highly recommend anything by this author.

About the Author
Rosemary Poole-Carter explores aspects of an uneasy past in her novels Only CharlotteWomen of MagdaleneWhat Remains, and Juliette Ascending, all set in the post-Civil War South. Her plays include The Familiar, a ghost story, andThe Little Death, a Southern gothic drama. Fascinated by history, mystery, and the performing and visual arts, she is a member of the Historical Novel Society, Mystery Writers of America, and the Dramatists Guild of America. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, she was a long-time resident of Houston, where she practiced her devotion to reading and writing with students of the Lone Star College System. She now lives and writes by the Eno River in Durham, North Carolina

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Spirit Wind by Marilyn Meredith

Genre: Adult,Mystery
Source: I purchased a copy to facilitate my review, the opinions expressed here are my own.

It has been a month since I've written a review on my blog. We have been in the middle of state testing for the past month. It was a pleasure to read this wonderful book.  I will definitely be reading more of her work.  On April 24th the author was a guest on my blog. You can find that here.
Tempe Crabtree is a law officer and her husband a pastor. She is able to communicate with ghosts.  As she and her husband prepare for a vacation she has agreed to  help out a ghost hunter who is trying to help a woman with a spirit problem. When they arrive the police are there. It seems a murder has taken place on the property.

What made this book so wonderful is that it is the ultimate in mysteries. You have a cop who communicates with spirits, especially if they are Native Americans. You have her husband who is a pastor, yet has helped her in many cases. It seems that the two belief systems would fight each other. The great thing about this book is that you can feel the tension between Tempe and her husband. At the same time you know that he has her spiritual back. The author has created characters that you really begin to care about. For those of us who love reading about legends or Native Americans you get a great amount of it in this book. This is definitely an author you need to check out.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Final Cycle by Elaine L. Orr

Genre: Adult, Mystery
Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

I have found a new mystery author to love. Mystery is my favorite genre. It has been since I was in elementary school. When we are preparing for state testing, I usually agree to guest posts only. So why take on a book by an unfamiliar author? I read the premise of the book and was intrigued by a body found in a dryer. Especially since she was not well liked.  Then there is the mention of a second murder. I needed to know how they connected, if they did. This author is so talented that I had the wrong person pegged all the way through.  The characters are well thought out. I would recognize them on the street from the way they are portrayed. The setting is so realistic I asked my husband if it was a real place, then looked it up online. It could be any number of small towns in southern Illinois. To me this is a author who has definitely done some research to make the reader feel a part of that world. This is the second book in the "Logland Mystery Series". I have not yet read the first one, "Tip a Hat to Murder." It is next on my reading list. You don't have to read them in order as they read well as stand-a-lone books.  The third one in the series, "Final Operation", comes out June 7th. This will make a nice and early birthday gift to myself. Yes, I did pre-order it. I look forward to checking out some of this author's other books.

 Elaine L. Orr writes three mystery series. The Jolie Gentil cozy mystery series, set at the Jersey shore, includes "Behind the Walls," which was a finalist for the 2014 Chanticleer Mystery and Mayhem Awards. In the River's Edge mystery series, Iowa nice meets murder. "From Newsprint to Footprints," was followed by "Demise of a Devious Neighbor." The latter was a 2017 Chanticleer finalist. "Tip a Hat to Murder," the first in the Logland mystery series, was followed by "Final Cycle." A police procedural with a cozy feel

Elaine also writes plays and novellas, including the one-act, "Common Ground," published in 2015. Her novella, "Biding Time," was one of five finalists in the National Press Club's first fiction contest, in 1993. "Falling into Place" is a novella about family strength as a World War II veteran rises to the toughest occasion. "In the Shadow of Light" brings the tragedies of the U.S. Mexico border to life through the eyes of children and their parents.

Elaine conducts presentations on electronic publishing and other writing-related topics. Nonfiction includes "Words to Write By: Getting Your Thoughts on Paper" and "Writing When Time is Scarce and Getting the Work Published."

A member of Sisters in Crime, Elaine grew up in Maryland and moved to the Midwest in 1994. She graduated from the University of Dayton with a BA in Political Science and from the American University with an MA in Government. She worked for GAO and the National Academy of Public Administration for many years, and for two Iowa members of the U.S. House of Representatives -- one Republican and one Democrat.

Elaine did some journalism course work at the University of Maryland and has taken fiction courses from The Writer's Center in Bethesda, MD, the University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival, and Georgetown University's Continuing Education Program. She is a regular attendee at the Magna Cum Murder in Indianapolis and the Book Bums Workshop in West Liberty, Iowa. She has served as a preliminary judge for the Raleigh Fine Arts high school literary awards (2016-19).

Friday, March 8, 2019

The Curse of Halim by Alfred M. Struthers

Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery
Source: I received a copy from the author to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

I have not found a single one of this author's books that I didn't fall in love with.  I love the idea of a bookcase that pops out books with clues  to solving a mystery. In this book a drawer in the bookcase pops open and Nathan finds a slip of paper. His friend and cohort Gina has been banned from hanging with him because of the danger they found themselves in the year before. Nathan is determined to solve this mystery even if Gina can't or won't help. When she see that he is up to something, she can't help but try to find out what it is. There is another issue at stake, a reporter who had lost her standing for her last coverage. She knows something is going on with these two kids and is determined to get the scoop to get back in her bosses good graces.

Nathan meets one of his grandfather's dearest friends and his daughter. This gentleman know all about the bookcase as does his daughter. There are secrets that even they are hiding from Nathan. Near the end of the book  Nathan learns his mother had a sister and she was murdered.  What if any is the connection to the bookcase?  You have got to read this to find out.