Tag Archives: mysteries

Happy 2015!

Hello, Sweeteas,

Happy 2015!

My reading goal for the year is to read 1-2 books per week, which is between 54 and 108 books per year. I read 60 books in 2014, which means I met my goal but didn’t do as well as in years past. (I normally read between 80-100 books per year.) I’m going to try to do better this year.

My favorite book of 2014 was The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches: a Flavia De Luce Novel by Alan Bradley***** (BL: 6.5; Pts: 12.0). (I wrote about this mystery series on February 14, 2014. The post is titled “Flavia, Flavia.”) We have the first book in this series–The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie–in our library, and the rest will be joining it soon. A new installment (the 7th!) titled As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust is is being published this week. I can’t wait to read it!

Today I’ll tell you about the book Greenglass House by Kate Milford **** (BL: 5.4; Pts: 15.0):

The story takes place over the winter holidays in a remote mountain inn (Greenglass House) that’s frequented mainly by smugglers. The inn’s owners, their 12-year-old son Milo, their employees, and several mysterious guests are trapped in the ancient house as a result of a snowstorm. The problem is not just the snow, but that someone is stealing the guests’ belongings. It’s up to Milo and his new-found friend Meddy to solve, not just the robberies, but also a mystery having to do with the house itself.

The mystery-solving story line is interesting by itself, but there are three other elements that make this novel a truly remarkable read. 1) Milo is an adopted Asian boy dealing with personal issues regarding his adoption. 2) Milo and Meddy solve the mysteries while playing an elaborate and empowering RPG (role-playing game). 3) The book has a thrilling surprise ending.

Greenglass House will be in our collection by the end of the week. If you’d like to read it, you can place it on “hold.”

“Daughter of Eve from the far land of Spare Oom where eternal summer reigns around the bright city of War Drobe, how would it be if you came and had tea with me?” — From The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

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Summer of Sleuths

Hello, sweeteas,

Summer break is almost here! The summer is great for reading–and perhaps solving– a mystery or two. Here are a few delightful reads:

1- Mysteries in Our National Parks Series by Gloria Skurzynski

2- Sammy Keyes Mystery Series by Wendelin Van Draanen

3- The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

4- When You Reach Me and Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead

5- Young Sherlock Holmes Series by Andrew Lane

6- The Enola Holmes Mysteries by Nancy Springer

7- The Echo Falls Mysteries by Peter Abrahams

8- The Calder Game Mysteries by Balliet Blue

9 – The Game of Sunken Places by M.T. Anderson

10- Gilda Joyce: Psychic Investigator Series by Jennifer Allison

11- Half-Moon Investigations by Eoin Colfer

12- The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman

13- Nancy Drew Mystery Series by Carolyn Keene

14- The Hardy Boys Mystery Series by Franklin W. Dixon

and my favorite:

15- Flavia de Luce Mystery Series by Alan Bradley

The following site has more great mystery titles:

http://yaloft.weebly.com/mysteries.html

Happy sleuthing!

“Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage.” –Catherine Douzel

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Filed under middle grade and YA books, mystery series

Like Brother, Like Sister

Hello, sweeteas,

Today I’ll be writing about a series I absolutely love: the Enola Holmes Mystery series by Nancy Springer. I know I have mentioned it to you before, but after re-reading the first  installment and because we recently celebrated International Women’s Day, I feel that it’s important to encourage you again to read this not-as-well-known-as-the-Harry-Potter-or-Percy-Jackson-books-but-equally-fabulous series.

There are six books in this historical mystery series, and the first one is titled The Case of the Missing Marquess. Enola (“which, backwards, spells alone“) is the young sister of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes and his very proper, older brother Mycroft. The setting is Victorian England, which means that Enola is living in a time period and a society where women are treated as less important and less intelligent than men. (Is that no longer the case, I ask?) Enola’s mother mysteriously disappears on Enola’s fourteenth birthday, and her brothers, whom she has not seen in 10 years, show up and decide to send her off to boarding school (the horror!). But intelligent, emancipated Enola has other plans. Her mother has left her a little book of ciphers and plenty of money, so Enola disguises herself and courageously heads to dangerous London, where she hopes to search for her mother, while hiding from her brothers.  Fortunately, Enola’s brothers consistently underestimate her, so she’s able to outsmart them and figure out how to track her mother, while solving  the famous kidnapping mystery of Viscount Tewksbury, Marquess of Basilwether (like brother, like sister). The story has a lot of action and suspense, as well as clever and funny situations. Last, but not least, the author’s exceptional use of imagery, dialect, and historical facts make it a convincing and delightful read. 

Enola’s adventures continue in the subsequent installments:

The Case of the Left-Handed Lady

The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets

The Case of the peculiar Pink Fan

The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline

The Case of the Gypsy Goodbye

The plot lines are great, but the best part about the series is Enola’s voice:

It feels very queer to think of one’s mother as a person like oneself, not just a mum, so to speak. Yet there it was: She had been weak as well as strong. She had felt trapped as I did. She had felt the injustice of her situation just as keenly. She had been forced to obey, as I would be forced to obey. She had wanted to rebel, as I desperately yearned to rebel, without knowing how I ever would or could.

But, in the end, she had managed it. Glorious rebelion.

Confound her, why had she not taken me with her?

It’s Enola’s smart, heartfelt, and witty voice — a voice you can identify with — that makes you want to keep reading, not just the first book, but each of the five successive installments. The books never disappoint, and it’s such a treat to read how Sherlock slowly learns to accept his talented little sister as his equal. Enola herself evolves as a person throughout the series, so that, by the end, she has become an independent young woman and a force to be reckoned with.

Read these books, guys. They are awesome.

Much love!

P.S. See you at The Hunger Games!

A morning without coffee is like sleep.  ~Author Unknown

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