Blog Archives

She’s Still Here

Kate Sablowsky just moved to Iowa with her famous news anchor mom, Maria Silver. Following the move, Kate starts the seventh grade at Ravendale middle school, where she discovers more than just a cast of kooky teachers. She quickly finds out that she has a gift passed down that allows her to see and speak with the dead. With this skill, she meets Jane, a shy girl who loves chemistry but who died a tragic death in school over 20 years ago. Jane is not fully sure of why and how she died; is there possibly a killer on the loose? You can find out in the first installment of the Kate Sablowsky Paranormal Investigator Series, She’s Still Here by Caitlin Alexander!

This exciting book is a much-welcomed refresh to the middle-grade detective/horror genre. It has all of the simple but entertaining qualities of a classic Nancy Drew mixed with the spookiness of John Bellairs’ works.

Alexander’s writing is simplistic in language but has enough complexities in the plot to make the book appropriate for the targeted audience. As an adult reading this, I was still thoroughly entertained and engaged. Throughout the book, Alexander hints that the killer may still walk amongst the school halls, but all is not what it seems, and I appreciated that final twist to make the book less predictable.

Seeing as She’s Still Here is the first book in a series, I am hoping to see Kate’s character grow and evolve. I feel that Kate comes off as a bit shallow and unwilling to embrace small-town life at the start. The characters encounter typical teenage social situations and struggle to adjust and fit in with peers. Middle-grade readers will be able to relate and sympathize with the characters’ feelings as they navigate middle school. These themes are mixed into the storyline seamlessly next to the paranormal mystery and adventure components.

She’s Still Here by Caitlin Alexander is a gripping paranormal mystery and adventure novel for middle-grade readers that a wide age group can enjoy. I look forward to reading more books in this series.

Pages: 184 | ASIN : B0BHFDRYVW

Buy Now From Amazon

The Haunted House On Raven’s Roost

Susanna Grant and her three children, Elias, Signe, and Morgan, move from Los Angeles to Ravens’s Roost in order to be closer to her parents and sister. The small town on the Atlantic coast is surrounded by a chain of hills and mysterious legends. One such myth that arouses the curiosity of children in the neighborhood surrounds an old house with creaky old gates on top of one of the hills. The story is that this house is haunted. As Halloween approaches, this small town’s children and adults are excitedly preparing for the holiday. On the long-awaited day, the children create a plan to go up with their costumes to the spooky house to go trick or treating and find out if there really are ghosts hiding there.

The Haunted House On Raven’s Roost is a children’s book thriller involving witches, ghosts, pirates, haunted houses, and hidden treasures. It is fast-paced with easy-to-read short chapters. Perfect for preteen and middle-grade readers. If I could add anything to the story, it would be to better describe the characters. I believe that the reader’s imagination expands when reading the description of the people, images, and situations that make up the narrative. But, on the other hand, history teaches us the lesson of not jumping to conclusions.

The Haunted House On Raven’s Roost is a suspenseful mystery book lovingly written by Jim and Ann Sheridan; it brought back memories of my childhood: when my grandfather would tell me bedside stories before I went to sleep. I recommend this book to my children to relive and create new memories. It brings the delicious feeling of peace when grabbing a hot chocolate and opening a good book on a Sunday morning.

Pages: 122 | ISBN : 1481723464

Buy Now From Amazon

Jodie’s Adventure on Driftwood Island

Young Jodie and her best friend Sarah look forward to adventures in nature on magical Driftwood Island. With beautiful rainforests, intriguing shipwrecks, and historic sacred places, the possibilities are truly endless on this protected island close to Australia. But as the holiday progresses, Jodie finds more twists and turns than she ever could have imagined. And when disaster strikes, Jodie must act quickly to save the wildlife of Driftwood Island from a sinister plot.

The best books are stories that not only have incredible characters and wonderful plot developments but also something new for the reader to learn. Jodie’s Adventure on Driftwood Island by Diane Fagan ticks all the boxes. I immensely enjoyed spending an afternoon learning all about national parks in Australia alongside Jodie and her friends. Courageous Jodie, who struggles with grief and bullying, is a girl I immediately connected with. I loved seeing the story unfold as Jodie’s path intersects with many others on mysterious Driftwood Island. Reminding me of many happy childhood hours spent reading Nancy Drew mysteries, this third entry in the series is an instant favorite.

The overall story of acceptance, healing, and protecting the environment is a well-written tale of hope. Though there are themes of grief and mortality, these themes are presented gently with the goal of finding peace in a world that can be difficult to understand while making a positive difference in the lives of others in need.

Suitable for ages ten and up and all who love a middle-grade mystery on a wintry afternoon. This engaging children’s book has excellent plot development and a meaningful story. I simply can’t wait to see more from this promising author as Jodie’s adventures continue to unfold. Jodie’s Adventure on Driftwood Island is a perfect addition to any home library, a story of hope and healing, of harmony and love.

Pages: 160 | ASIN : B099MQHZ1D

Buy Now From Amazon

The Princess, the Knight, and the Lost God

Kassie is a princess of a whimsical world called Chess Mountain. On Chess Mountain, the residents are all chess pieces, and Kassie’s parents rule over them. Princess Kassie is a beloved member of the royal family, and it is her birthday. Kassie is excited to spend the evening with friends and family and celebrate her twelfth birthday. But not everything goes as planned, and Kassie is whisked away to Earth to complete her twelfth-year mission and to protect her from harm.

The Princess, The Knight, and the Lost God by Victoria Winifred is a unique novel about chess. While on Earth, Kassie must hide from evil Originals and make an impact in the lives of others. What better way to do that than to teach and improve her classmates’ chess game? Kassie must navigate Earth’s strange habits and traditions while watching her back for those who might harm her. She makes friends and helps them better their lives by teaching chess, and Kassie learns to stand up for herself against bullies while taking time to understand their challenges.

Winifred has created a unique world centered around chess, which shows her passion for the game. She weaved a story about lovers of chess and how it affects their lives. While the premise might seem a little silly at times, the story is exciting and entertaining all the way until the end. There are many twists and turns that await the reader throughout this story.

The Princess, The Knight, and the Lost God by Victoria Winifred is a captivating children’s chapter book. Young chess lovers will enjoy how Winifred weaves chess terms and strategies throughout the story while sticking to the fantasy genre. With memorable characters and an exciting plot older, elementary and middle school-age children will find this book a wonderful addition to their reading collection.

Pages: 226 | ASIN : B0BLT4PGSZ

Buy Now From Amazon

Above Us

Above Us by Angela Herrera is a bilingual story with beautiful imagery that explores what’s above us. From our hands in the air giving high fives, to bubbles floating in the air to what clouds look like in the sky and even the universe, we look into the endless possibilities of how children view the world around them. The author invites readers to use their senses when exploring their surroundings, from touching to hearing to seeing, making this a great sensory read for young readers.

Herrera’s words are illustrated by Alvaro Agurto and provide readers with bright, colorful images with different shapes that will immediately captivate children’s attention. I appreciate that this book is in English and Spanish as kids are sponges and will take in what they learn, and a second language will be added to the list. The author encourages children to count the balloons, say the colors of the images in the book, and to even use their imagination when it comes to looking at clouds in the sky.

Above us is a mentally stimulating and interactive read that is perfect to read to little ones as it will get the creative juices flowing and have you look at the world around you from a different perspective. I highly recommend this book to young readers and can see this on bookshelves in libraries and schools.

Pages: 36 | ASIN : B09XRDP4FN

Buy Now From Amazon

Simone LaFray and the Red Wolves of London

Simone LaFray and the Red Wolves of London, by S. P. O’Farrell, is the second book of the Simone LaFray Mysteries. Simone is a twelve-year-old spy for the French Ministry. After finding fame at the Chocolatiers’ Ball, Simone tries to fade into the shadows. But while she is attending school, a mission comes up. She goes undercover in London to find a missing junior spy, the OmniKey and gets entangled with the notorious Red Wolves. Among doing schoolwork, she questions her loyalty and helps her father open a second patisserie shop in London. Add in that the most popular boy in school has noticed her, and Simone has a lot to contend with.

As the second book in the series, the story stands independently. O’Farrell excellently wove enough information from the first book into this one to help readers understand the world and the backstory. Like other children’s series, this one has links to previous books and hints at new books, but each book is its own complete story that can be enjoyed.

I like that Simone is the awkward neurodivergent girl who is suddenly thrust into being famous. In order to find out the information she needs to find the missing spy, she has to socialize with people she normally would not. While uncomfortable she finds a way to get through the situations, showing courage and growth along the way. Twelve is a challenging age to find yourself and deal with middle school. She goes through the normal ups and downs of any twelve-year-old, including homesickness. Being a spy makes this even more challenging as she has more secrets to keep than normal kids her age.

Simone LaFray and the Red Wolves of London is a middle-grade mystery that is well-written and entertaining. Staying true to a twelve-year-old’s life while adding in the mystery of the missing junior spy will make this an entertaining book and a favorite for children.

Pages: 248 | ISBN : 1953021360

Buy Now From Amazon

Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Missing Heiress

Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Missing Heiress (Skylar Robbins mysteries Book 3) by [Carrie Cross]

The Skylar Robbins Detective Agency isn’t quite turning into what its creator hoped. Skylar is beginning a new semester and had hoped her budding career as a private detective would have taken off by now. After all, she solved one of the biggest cases around when the pros couldn’t. But Xandra Collins is missing. She’s an heiress, and her case just might be what Skylar needs to push her career in the right direction. There’s only one problem–the only clue Skylar has is a message that seems almost impossible to decipher. With her best friend, Alexa’s help, Skylar is going to give this case everything she’s got.

Skylar Robbins and the Mystery of the Missing Heiress, by Carrie Cross, is a fantastic young adult novel centered around the title character, Skylar Robbins. She’s your average seventh grader with all the headaches of growing up. She has a best friend she would do anything for, and she has a crush on the most popular boy in the school. What sets Skylar apart is her innate ability to solve mysteries. She outsmarts most every adult around and has made a name for herself. Being asked to join ACE (Accelerated Courses and Experiments) has given her an edge over her classmates, but she isn’t so sure about being a part of this exclusive group of high achievers.

As a mother and teacher, I love that Cross has incorporated a key character with a learning disability. The author accurately portrays Alexa, Skylar’s best friend with dyslexia. Each school day is a struggle for Alexa, and Skylar has been a huge force in her life since second grade–the two are inseparable. Skylar’s move to ACE classes leaves a hole in Alexa’s life. Facing her most difficult classes without Skylar to lean on, Alexa dreads each day. She is a relatable character and one readers will remember long after they finish the last chapter.

The mystery of Xandra’s whereabouts makes for a great storyline, and Skylar’s determination to find answers and still live a seventh grader’s life give Cross’s book an interesting element. She is a modern day Nancy Drew with all the technology to keep young readers engaged and invested in seeing her succeed.

I can’t recommend Cross’s work enough to young mystery fans. Skylar and the crew will draw readers in with their daily teen drama, but their ability to reason through situations when adults can’t will keep them hooked. I can see Skylar Robbins playing a huge part in young adult literature for years to come.

Pages: 315 | ASIN: B076GSJ95X

Buy Now From B&

%d bloggers like this: