Skull Creek Stakeout by Eddie Jones

 

The good news is, vampires aren’t real. The bad news is…you can’t believe the news.

Nick Caden is a normal teen with a “supernatural” knack for finding trouble, ghosts, vampires, and all sorts of undead — or so it seems. After solving the ghost story murder at Deadwood Canyon, Nick lands a job as a roving reporter for The Cool Ghoul Gazette, a website on paranormal or supernatural disturbances. When the editor sends Nick to investigate a murder in Transylvania, North Carolina, the young super sleuth finds a corpse with fangs, bite marks and a stake driven through the heart. If Nick proves vampires are real, his job as an investigative journalist is set for life! But once he begins to peel back the clues surrounding the murder Nick finds his new job is not only dangerous but could suck the life out of him.

File Size: 5216 KB
Print Length: 136 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Illuminate YA (October 29, 2018)
Publication Date: October 29, 2018
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B07K1FR11Y

Purchase here!

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Sophie Washington: Secret Santa by Tonya Duncan Ellis

If your child enjoys books with strong female protagonists, a hint of mystery, and the joy of Christmas, then Sophie Washington: Secret Santa by Tonya Duncan Ellis will be a perfect gift.

It’s a few weeks before Christmas and Sophie and her friends are busy as school is coming to a close before the break. When Sophie begins receiving presents from a secret Santa, she can only guess who it might be. Is it one of her friends or one of the boys she knows? The answer might surprise her.

Though this is the seventh book in the Sophie Washington series, it’s the first one I’ve read. It’s a quick, fun chapter book with cute illustrations. As the reader gets to know Sophie and her friends, they eagerly turn the pages to see if they can figure out who Sophie’s secret Santa really is. Sophie is spunky and she has a love him/not so in love with him relationship with her younger brother that makes her even more relatable. In addition to the mysterious Santa, the book also addresses the topic of bullying. I don’t think we can have enough books that tackle this issue, and I like the author’s handling of it within this story.

If you set a story at Christmas, you’ve already partially won my heart. Sophie Washington: Secret Santa also inspires me to check out the previous books in the series to follow more of Sophie’s adventures.

EXCERPT:

“Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg!”

“Be quiet, Cole!” I put my hands over my ears to muffle my brother’s out-of-tune singing and focus back on my laptop to finish my English essay. It’s less than three weeks until winter break and my teachers have been piling on the assignments to make sure we get our end of semester grades in.

There sure is a big change between fifth and sixth grade, workwise, at Xavier Academy, the private school my brother and I go to. Between all the essays and projects and studying for final exams, I feel I can barely take time to pat my dog, Bertram, when I get home; whereas, my eight-year-old brother Cole acts like he’s already on vacation.

Since we got home from school an hour ago, he’s been living it up, shooting hoops in the driveway, eating a snack and now playing on the handheld video game player that my mother would make him put up if she were downstairs with us. I ought to tell on him now…

Ding Dong!

The doorbell interrupts my thoughts.

“Can you get it, Sophie?” Mom yells from upstairs. “I’m putting some clothes in the closet.”

I would ask her why she wants me to answer the door, and not Cole, but I already know the answer: “Because you’re the oldest.”

Of course, that logic doesn’t hold when it comes to who gets the first dessert or who doesn’t have to do the dishes at night. As the baby of the family and favored child, my little brother has got it made.

I trudge to the front door in time to see the mail carrier heading back to his truck. He’s left a medium-sized box on the porch. Wonder what it is?

My mother sometimes has holiday packages delivered to the house, but Cole and I haven’t made our Christmas lists yet, so I doubt it’s anything for us. I open the door, pick the package up, and check out the label. It’s got my name on it in bright, red ink, “Sophie Washington.”

Who could this be from?

I never get any mail, except for birthday gifts my Granny Washington sends to our house in Houston from Corpus Christi when she can’t be here, and I don’t remember my parents ordering anything for us online. Granny is driving up to see us tomorrow, so I doubt she would mail presents here when she could just bring them with her.

“Mom, I got a package!” I call out.

“What is it?” Cole bounds from the family room to stare at the box as I set it on the kitchen counter.

“Back off, Cole, it’s mine,” I move him to the side with my hip and take a closer look at the delivery. The box is wrapped in brown paper, and there is no return address. It looks difficult to open with my fingers, so I pull a butter knife out of a drawer in the kitchen and slit through the tape on the side. A sweet, sugary scent fills the air.

“Cool!” exclaims Cole in appreciation as the brown wrapping slides off to reveal a box filled with packages of licorice, gummy bears, gum, and red and green M&Ms. I notice a typed note underneath.

Dear Sophie,
Hope your day is super sweet!
Your Secret Santa

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 2 – 6
Series: Sophie Washington (Book 7)
Paperback: 122 pages
Publisher: Page Turner Publishing (September 10, 2018)
Language: English

Digital version available for only 99 cents!

Also available in softcover!

Website: tonyaduncanellis.com

Facebook: @tonyaellisbooks

Twitter: @TonyaDEllis

I received a digital copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

GIVEAWAY

Tonya Duncan Ellis will be awarding $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $20 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

New Interactive Mystery: Case Closed – Mystery in the Mansion by Lauren Magaziner

Choose-your-own-adventure and puzzle-packed mystery collide in the first book in Lauren Magaziner’s new hilarious and high-stakes middle grade series in which the reader must help Carlos and his friends put together the clues to save his mom’s detective agency.

In this wildly entertaining and interactive adventure, YOU pick which suspects to interview, which questions to ask, and which clues to follow. You pick the path—you crack the case!

Carlos Serrano has never solved a mystery in his life. But when Carlos’s mom gets sick with a nasty flu on the morning of an investigation that could save her failing detective agency, Carlos takes on the case.

With the help of his best friend, Eliza, and her wild little brother, Frank, Carlos must uncover a mystery involving an eccentric local millionaire, anonymous death threats, and a buried treasure. But with tricky riddles, cagey suspects, hidden secrets, and dozens of impossible choices, they need your help!

Can you help Carlos and his friends find the culprit and save Las Pistas Detective Agency? Or will it be case closed?

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Series: Case Closed (Book 1)
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (August 14, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 006267627X
ISBN-13: 978-0062676276

Purchase from:

HC.com
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

When the Butterflies Came by Kimberley Griffiths Little

From the author of Circle of Secrets comes a moving, magical adventure filled with family, faith, loss and love.

Tara Doucet’s life is a sham. She lives in one of the most prestigious homes along the bayou of Louisiana, but her father left them, her mother hides in the south wing of the house crippled by melancholy, she has nothing in common with her older sister Riley, and her beloved Grammy Claire has just passed away.

Then the butterflies come and begin to follow Tara around. A strange butler appears at their door to take them back to Grammy Claire’s house on the island of Chuuk, and she finds a stack of keys and detailed letters from her grandmother with a mystery to solve. As she learns more about her grandmother’s life, she knows the truth will change her life forever.

Circle of Secrets is one of my favorite books. When I learned Little had a new book coming out in 2013, I asked her for a copy. She graciously sent it my way, and then my life got crazy. Determined to catch up on overdue reviews this year, I brought When the Butterflies Came with me on vacation. Now, I am kicking myself for not reading it sooner.

What a fabulous book! Filled with mystery and magic, and set against the beauty of the bayou and an isolated island filled with secrets, Little has created an engaging adventure-filled story. Tara is the perfect protagonist–one readers will sympathize with and cheer for from the very beginning. Her troubled life unfolds as she discovers more and more about the grandmother she thought she knew. As she gets closer and closer to discovering Grammy Claire’s secrets, the danger increases until she’s not certain who is friend or foe. The ending will both thrill and shock. With When the Butterflies Came, Little solidifies her place in children’s literature. Her masterful storytelling will draw you right in and hold you tight until the last page is turned.

Highly recommended!

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Paperback: 330 pages
Publisher: Scholastic (2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0545541506
ISBN-13: 978-0545541503

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

New Arrival: The Language of Spells by Garret Weyr

 

Grisha is a dragon in a world that’s forgotten how to see him. Maggie is a unusual child who thinks she’s perfectly ordinary. They’re an unlikely duo—but magic, like friendship, is funny. Sometimes it chooses those who might not look so likely. And magic has chosen Grisha and Maggie to solve the darkest mystery in Vienna. Decades ago, when World War II broke out, someone decided that there were too many dragons for all of them to be free. As they investigate, Grisha and Maggie ask the question everyone’s forgotten: Where have the missing dragons gone? And is there a way to save them? At once richly magical and tragically historical, The Language of Spells is a novel full of adventure about remembering old stories, forging new ones, and the transformative power of friendship.

Age Range: 8 – 11 years
Grade Level: 5 – 9
Lexile Measure: 900 (What’s this?)
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Chronicle Books (June 26, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1452159580
ISBN-13: 978-1452159584

Purchase here!

New Release: Thornhill by Pam Smy

Parallel plotlines, one told in text and one in art, inform each other as a young girl unravels the mystery of a ghost next door.

Mary is an orphan at the Thornhill Institute for Children at the very moment that it’s closing down for good. But when a bully goes too far, Mary’s revenge will have a lasting effect on the bully, on Mary, and on Thornhill itself.

Years later, Ella moves to a new town where she has a perfect view of the dilapidated, abandoned Thornhill Institute. Determined to befriend the mysterious, evasive girl she sees there, Ella resolves to unravel Thornhill’s history and uncover its secrets.

Ella’s story is told through striking, bold art; Mary’s is told through diary entries. Each informs the other until the two eventually intersect to reveal the truth behind Thornhill’s shadowy past, once and for all. Strikingly told and masterfully illustrated, Pam Smy bends genres and expectations alike.

Age Range: 10 – 14 years
Grade Level: 5 – 9
Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (August 29, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 162672654X
ISBN-13: 978-1626726543
Purchase here

Pam Smy studied illustration at Cambridge School of Art, part of Anglia Ruskin University, where she now lectures part-time. Pam has illustrated books by Conan Doyle, Julia Donaldson, and Linda Newbury, as well as Bob Cattell’s Butter-Finger series for Frances Lincoln. She lives in Cambridge.

Coming in October: Ghosts of Greenglass House by Kate Milford

Welcome back to the irresistible world of Greenglass House where thirteen-year-old Milo is, once again, spending the winter holidays stuck in a house full of strange guests who are not what they seem. There are fresh clues to uncover as friends old and new join in his search for a mysterious map and a famous smuggler’s lost haul.   This exciting sequel to a beloved book that was praised in a starred review as “an enchanting, empowering read” is sure to thrill both fans and newcomers. Like its predecessor, it’s a smart, suspenseful tale that offers ghosts, friendships, and a cast of unforgettable characters, all wrapped up in a cozy mystery.

Age Range: 10 – 12 years
Grade Level: 5 – 7
Lexile Measure: 800
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Clarion Books (October 3, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 054499146X
ISBN-13: 978-0544991460

Pre-order at Amazon!