Posts Tagged ‘Mystery’

Daughter of the Burning City

Amanda Foody
Reality is in the eye of the beholder…
Even among the many unusual members of the travelling circus that has always been her home sixteen year old Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years.
This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all of their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.
But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real.
Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.
Now she must unravel the horrifying truth before all her loved ones disappear.

I really enjoyed this book, the premise, the world building, the dark and shadowy setting, the characters and the twisty, turning plot all contributed to a wonderfully unique and absorbing story.

I love how the author took historicity of Gomorrah and developed an alternative time line with a fantasy spin. Rather than being destroyed by fire and brimstone, the city survived as a roaming mobile carnival-city of vice, freaks and magic workers.

I loved the imagery of a gigantic; smoke engulfed city crawling from region to region bringing with it its many entertainments. Despite its intimidating façade and its reputation of vice and dubious inhabitants, it held within it a community that was generally accepting of all of its inhabitants, and each member valued for their individual skills and their contribution to the ongoing function of the city.

I don’t have a single favorite character; rather I really enjoyed Sorina’s entire family. I loved the premise behind their creation. How, despite springing forth from Sorena’s imagination, they emerged altered in ways that she couldn’t even begins to envision and how they develop way beyond the initial concept of Sorina’s imagination, developing personalities and leading lives independent of Sorina. I think it was a great analogy of young adulthood, building an increasingly independent life away from your family and beginning to see that the members of your family and community exist outside their roles within your own experience.

Peppered throughout the book are illustrations of Soruna’s family of freaks, each one doctored by an unknown assailant. These brief sketch like interludes give you further glimpses in to the mind of Sorina and her feelings for her family as she was creating them, while the sinister unattributed additions ramp up the tension and give a glimpse in to the nefarious pans of a disturbed imagination.

These clever additions ramped up the tension and made me worry for the characters I had grown to love. It was a really interesting way to add an alternative “voice” to a story that is otherwise told in first person present tense. A brilliant example of how illustration can complement and add depth to the text of the story by evoking and enhancing the atmosphere the author’s words have provoked.

I would thoroughly recommend this book. It was an absorbing, fantastical twisting and turning tale, like nothing I’ve read before.

Verdict: Like the smoky nocturnal city itself this book invites you in to its constantly moving world of magic and stomach twisting entertainment.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: HQ Young Adult
Publication Date: July 2017
Format: eARC
Pages: 308
Genre: Fantasy
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroine
Source: Netgalley
Challenge: Debut author
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Poppy Pym and the Smugglers Secret

Laura Wood
Poppy is thrilled that they’re spending the summer at Smuggler’s Cove. It might even take her mind off the mystery of her past. But Poppy is about to make some amazing discoveries – and solve more than one mystery…

What were your initial thoughts on the book?

Another great adventure with Poppy and her friends and I think this one is my favourite mystery so far because there are actually 2 different mysteries, could they be linked together? I really enjoyed reading it especially after the cliff-hanger in the second book about Poppy and her birth mother.

Who was your favourite character and why?

My favourite character is still Poppy because she is brave in every possible way. She handles mystery very well, especially the really scary ones, she listens to her friends even if she is the leader of the group, takes their ideas into the adventure, even if she might not agree with them and, most importantly, she stays a loyal friend to them even in the hard times.

Would you recommend this book?

I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys adventures and mysteries from ages 9 up, especially if they aren’t scared easily because this one is a bit scary.

Summarize the book in one sentence.

A great adventure that leads to more mysterious events in every chapter.

Reviewed by Jimena (11)

Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: May 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 320
Genre: Mystery
Age: Middle grade
Reviewer: Jimena (11)
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: None
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Chasing Danger: Mystery at the Ice Hotel

Sara Grant
After surviving a pirate attack in the tropics, teens Chase and Mackenzie escape to an exclusive resort in the Arctic Circle. But just after they arrive, suspicious accidents begin to occur. It seems like someone’s trying to scare away the guests. When the accidents turn deadly, it’s up to the girls to figure out whodunit … before they become the next victims.
This holiday’s going to be killer!

What were your initial thoughts on the book?

My initial thoughts about the book were “I am going to love this book like I did with the first”, and I was right. I enjoyed this one even more than the first, because this one has more mystery, and it is longer!

Who was your favourite character and why?

My favourite character or characters in this book are still Chase and Mackenzie because they are both very different, opposite characters one could say, and from time to time they have to do what the other one wants which is the opposite of what they would have done in the first place.

Would you recommend this book?

I would recommend this book to older readers (10 upwards) who enjoy frightening bits, because it is a little bit scary, especially the murder or murder attempts.

Verdict: A scary adventure that you will enjoy. You won’t be able to wait to see what happens next!

Reviewed by Jimena (10)

Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: October 2016
Format: Paperback
Pages: 272
Genre: Mystery
Age: Middle grade
Reviewer: Jimena
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: None
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Poppy Pym and the Double Jinx

Laura Wood
From the Winner of the Scholastic Montegrappa Prize for New Children’s Writing It’s Halloween at Saint Smithen’s. When the Brimwell town hall burns down, the amateur production of Macbeth is moved to the school and it’s all hands on deck. But when the play is struck by a series of mysterious attacks, it’s up to Poppy, her friends and her circus family to save the play and unmask the culprit.

What were your initial thoughts on the book?

My initial thoughts of the book were, another mystery in Poppy’s first year at Saint Smithen’s School; this must be a busy year for Poppy! Poppy might want to take everything into her own hands but she still lets her friends have their own way from time to time, because she is their best friend, and listens to their ideas, even if they aren’t good ones in the end.

Who was your favourite character and why?

My favourite character is still Poppy Pym because she is adventurous and will carry on with the mystery, even if it leads to a dead end after a nice try- she never gives up. I always seem to like the main character because most authors make the main character very likeable. The main character, in this case Poppy Pym, is always in the story, wherever it goes.

Would you recommend this book?

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes mysteries and enjoys it, from ages 9 up, it is a bit scary so don’t read in the dark if you get scared easily (they mention it in the book).

Verdict: It’s Halloween at Saint Smithen’s and the village is putting on a play, but after a terrible fire and terrible incidents everyone believes the play’s jinxed. A wonderful yet mysterious story.

Reviewed by Jimena(10)

Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: September 2016
Format: Paperback
Pages: 224
Genre: Mystery
Age: Middle Grage
Reviewer: Jimena (10)
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: None
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Poppy Pym and the Pharaoh’s Curse

Laura Wood
The extraordinary story of a little girl raised in a circus who is about to embark on a boarding school adventure. Featuring an ancient Egyptian curse, two best friends (one who wants to be taller and one who knows everything), secretive teachers, dangerous accidents, a mystery to be solved and a menagerie of circus characters.

What were your initial thoughts on the book?

My first thoughts of the book were WOW!!! I thought, I have never read a book by Laura Wood, and I am really enjoying it! I think she is going to be my third favourite author -after Jacqueline Wilson and Enid Blyton- because I really enjoy adventures and books about boys and girls in boarding schools; I especially like books about stories in the olden days.

Who was your favourite character and why?

Well, my favourite character is Poppy Pym, because she is ready to try something new even if it means she has to start a new and very different life. I especially like her because she is brave, funny and ready to seek out for adventures around every corner, especially if a mysterious curse is coming her way. Poppy always takes matters into her own hands (with a little bit of help from her friends) even if the police are investigating too.

Would you recommend this book?

I would recommend this book to children from age 8, especially if you enjoy adventure and/or mystery books- and don’t mind a bit of murder mystery (especially fire, there is always a fire coincidence in the Poppy Pym series).

Summarise the book in one sentence.
A mysterious book that bring you into the story from cover to cover- especially me!

Reviewed by Jimena (10)

Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: September 2015
Format: Paperback
Pages: 308
Genre: Mystery
Age: Middle grade
Reviewer: Jimena
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: None
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Giveaway! Baker Street Academy: Sherlock Holmes and the Disappearing Diamond

Sam Hearn

John Watson has barely settled into his new school, Baker Street Academy, when his teacher announces a trip to one of London’s top museums, home to the world’s most famous jewel. But it’s been stolen! When police catch the thief it seems the case is closed. Can Sherlock Holmes uncover the mystery behind this extraordinary gem?

We have three copies of this fabulous sounding book to giveaway to our lovely followers!

This is the perfect book for those children who love mysterious books, it’s a graphic novel so it’s also great for those who struggle to read long blocks of text.

It’s exciting and thrilling and will keep them turning the page. Can they figure it out before the great Sherlock Holmes himself?

To enter the giveaway all you need to do is comment below with your favourite mystery book!

Winners will be contacted via e-mail and will have 28 days to respond with their address.

Good luck!

Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: October 2016
Format: Hardback
Pages: 160
Genre: Mystery
Age: MG
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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Poppy Pym and the Double Jinx

Laura Wood

From the Winner of the Scholastic Montegrappa Prize for New Children’s Writing It’s Halloween at Saint Smithen’s. When the Brimwell town hall burns down, the amateur production of Macbeth is moved to the school and it’s all hands on deck. But when the play is struck by a series of mysterious attacks, it’s up to Poppy, her friends and her circus family to save the play and unmask the culprit.

Five Reasons to Read this Series

Poppy Pym
All I can really say about Poppy is that she is an incredible character that I really love. She’s got an amazing spirit, she’s quirky and interesting and the kind of girl that I would have loved to have been friends with at eleven. She is a brilliant character to read about and definitely makes the series great fun to read!

Ingrid & Kip
Poppy’s new-found friends at boarding school, these two characters help form a strong trio in the books that is wonderful to read about. It helps show how amazing and powerful friendship can be and also how important it is too. I love Ingrid’s dreamy personality and Kip’s love of adventure. They definitely make this series more interesting.

The Circus Family
One of the main things I absolutely loved about Poppy Pym was the circus family. They all have unique personalities and as a whole make a very dysfunctional family unit but their love for Poppy is incredibly strong. I also love that this book shows adoption in a positive light whereas Poppy is very fortunate with all the love she gets from her adoptive circus family.

The Mystery
In both books in this series there is a mystery to be solved and I loved reading it through with Poppy as we try to work out what is going on. I’m a sucker for mystery books anyway but in Poppy Pym, the mysterious are so intriguing and really keep you glued to the page from beginning to end. I also love that there was also so much more to these stories than just the mysteries to be solved too!

The Writing Style
Lastly, but certainly not least, I absolutely fell in love with the writing style of these books. It was addictive and fun all at the same time. I devoured the words on the page quickly and fiercely. The writing really pulls you into Poppy’s world and is full of quirky and interesting descriptions of the world as Poppy sees it. It’s fun for both adults and children and I can really see children falling head over heels for these books!

Posted by Faye

Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: September 2016
Format: Paperback
Pages: 224
Genre: Mystery
Age: MG
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Provided by publisher
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Release Day Blitz: Random Acts Of Unkindness

In celebration of the release of her new novel, Random Acts Of Unkindness, Jacqueline Ward has permitted us to share a large extract to wet your appetite. NEW Random acts of unkindness v6How far would you go to find your child?
DS Jan Pearce has a big problem. Her fifteen year old son, Aiden, is missing. Jan draws together the threads of missing person cases spanning fifty years and finds tragic connections and unsolved questions.
Bessy Swain, an elderly woman that Jan finds dead on her search for Aiden, and whose own son, Thomas, was also missing, may have the answers.
Jan uses Bessy’s information and her own skills and instinct to track down the missing boys. But is it too late for Aiden?
Set in the North West of England, with the notorious Saddleworth Moor as a backdrop, Random Acts of Unkindness is a story about motherhood, love and loss and how families of missing people suffer the consequences of major crimes involving their loved ones.
Random Acts of Unkindness is the first in the DS Jan Pearce series of novels.

Extract

CHAPTER ONE

I look a little closer and instinctively back away.

Her eyes are hollow holes where the birds have pecked away at her skull and she’s covered in tiny soft feathers and greying bird shit. Fragments of silvered hair lie on her shoulders, pulled out at the roots and exposing pinprick follicles made bigger by beaks. Her mouth is set in a wry smile showing yellow teeth, as if somehow, despite the torn skin and the deeply painful twist of her body, she’s having the last laugh.

The shock is so deep that it hurts more than it should, and tears threaten as I gaze at her. A human life ending in such a terrible, lonely way. It hits me with sadness so intense that I take a moment to sit with her, to tell her broken shell of a body that someone cares. Then fear oozes through the sadness, pushing it under and reminding me of why I’m here. Where are you, Aiden? Where is my son?

(more…)

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Little Lies

Liane Moriarty
little liesShe could hear men and women shouting. Angry hollers crashed through the soft humid salty summer night. It was somehow hurtful for Mrs Ponder to hear, as if all that rage was directed at her . . . then she heard the wail of a siren in the distance, at the same time as a woman still inside the building began to scream and scream . . .
When a harmless quiz night ends with an act of shocking violence, the parents of Pirriwee Public School can’t seem to stop their secrets from finally spilling out. Rumours ripple through the small town, as truth and lies blur to muddy the story of what really happened on that fateful night.

What were your initial thoughts of the book?
Having never read anything by Liane Moriarty before, I had little to no expectations of this book except that I knew many people had enjoyed her first book, My Husband’s Secret. So it was mostly just the blurb of this book that attracted me. Thus, I was very glad when this book truly hooked me. It was intense, full of mystery, and had such a moving and compelling storyline to boot! The writing style was easy to read and just really pulled the reader in. It is a book that I truly enjoyed.

What was your favourite aspect of the book?
Without a doubt, my favourite aspect of this book was the style of it and the way that it created tension. At the beginning of the book you find out that a death has occurred. You’re then transported to a few months previously and shown all the small events that led to the final night. Add to that little snippets at the end of most chapters of interviews after the event and you’ll find the tension very high and your curiosity through the roof. After all, you don’t even know who it is, let alone how it happened. I absolutely loved this aspect of the book as it just added something extra.

Who was your favourite character and why?
It is very hard to choose just one as I loved two characters in this book. However, I think my favourite is actually Jane. I think she went through a great journey and transition in this book and I was just so happy for her in the end. Life had thrown her a lot of crap but she finally managed to make it her own again. I did also love Madeline. Her flair was fun to read and follow and I’d love to have her as my friend but I definitely preferred Jane!

Would you recommend this book?
I already have, so yes I would! For me this book was an incredible read. It was full of mystery, suspense, friendship, loyalty, trust, betrayal and transformations. It isn’t just about one thing either. It looks at so many different things and draws them all together so well. It was written beautifully, and was easy to just fall into. If, then, you’re on the lookout for a book like that, you should read Little Lies as I am certain you will not be disappointed!

Summarize this book in one sentence (Verdict)
Little Lies is a beautiful, mesmerizing, and captivating book that will keep you entertained and intrigued from the get-go.

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: July 2014
Format: Hardback
Pages: 464
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: None
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Buddy Review: Say Her Name

James Dawson
say her nameRoberta ‘Bobbie’ Rowe is not the kind of person who believes in ghosts. A Halloween dare at her ridiculously spooky boarding school is no big deal, especially when her best friend Naya and cute local boy Caine agree to join in too. They are ordered to summon the legendary ghost of ‘Bloody Mary’: say her name five times in front of a candlelit mirror, and she shall appear… But, surprise surprise, nothing happens. Or does it?
Next morning, Bobbie finds a message on her bathroom mirror… five days… but what does it mean? And who left it there? Things get increasingly weird and more terrifying for Bobbie and Naya, until it becomes all too clear that Bloody Mary was indeed called from the afterlife that night, and she is definitely not a friendly ghost. Bobbie, Naya and Caine are now in a race against time before their five days are up and Mary comes for them, as she has come for countless others before…

Posted by Caroline and Faye

Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: June 2014
Format: ARC
Pages: 240
Genre: Horror, Mystery
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline and Faye
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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