Jake G. Panda is a private detective at The Last Resort, a hotel for endangered animals. He gets a call from his friend, the Professor (a Himalayan haJake G. Panda is a private detective at The Last Resort, a hotel for endangered animals. He gets a call from his friend, the Professor (a Himalayan hare), asking for his help. The Professor has uncovered a mysterious suitcase with a jade dodo inside when he suddenly goes missing. Jake is on the case and out to find his friend. He quickly becomes involved with the Underground Resistance movement against poachers, a group of sketchy rats, and a couple of mysterious dames. Recommended for ages 9-13, 3-1/2 stars.
I rather enjoyed this quick read. I was curious how the author was going to turn classic film noir into a book for kids because the genre is kind of gritty and full of alcohol swigging, which isn't very kid friendly, but I think he managed it with this "jungle noir". I personally didn't like the whole "book pretending to be a screenplay" thing, but it did its job setting the stage. While I'm not sure most kids would get all the jokes, overall, I think the book really worked and would draw a child's attention in. Plus there were all the endangered animals, most of whom I'd never heard of and found myself browsing Wikipedia whilst reading it. Maybe if it was being read by a class, you could do a nonfiction tie-in after reading it and get the kids to report on one of the endangered or extinct animals. I look forward to reading more books in the series!
I received a copy of the book from the author, in exchange for my honest review. ...more
Narrated by the wonderful Barbara Rosenblat, we discover that our heroine Amelia Peabody has been married to Radcliffe Emerson for the past five yearsNarrated by the wonderful Barbara Rosenblat, we discover that our heroine Amelia Peabody has been married to Radcliffe Emerson for the past five years and they have a toddler nicknamed Ramses, who shares his parent's love of Egypt. They have not gone back to their favorite archaelogical spot since they got married but are about to get launched back there after the death of one of Emerson's friends, Lord Baskerville. Emerson is asked by Lady Baskerville to take charge of the Egyptian excavation that her husband started before his death by the so-called "curse of the pharaohs". Amelia and Emerson leave their son in the care of Emerson's brother Walter and they head to Luxor, Egypt to continue the excavation of the undiscovered tomb. Meanwhile, Amelia and Emerson are trying to secretly figure out who killed Lord Baskerville and what happened to his right hand man, who suddenly disappeared after the Lord's death. But they have to contend with a nosey Irish journalist, a re-incarnated Egyptian queen and her artist daughter, a pushy American millionaire and many more characters. 3-1/2 stars.
In some ways I liked this better than the first book (like the banter between Amelia and her husband Emerson, and the addition of their adorable son Ramses), but in other ways not as much (the story seemed incredibly slow compared to the first book). I specifically wanted to listen to Barbara Rosenblat's version of this story, as I think her narration is much better than the other narrator. The whole Madame Berengaria character just totally cracked up, but her character got pretty annoying rather quickly. I am hoping the next book is better. ...more
Amelia Peabody is an English independent woman of means. She inherited her father's small fortune, plus his love of Egypt, and so travels with a compaAmelia Peabody is an English independent woman of means. She inherited her father's small fortune, plus his love of Egypt, and so travels with a companion to that country following his death. Unfortunately her companion gets sick and she is on the lookout for a new one. While in Rome, she discovers a beautiful young woman abandoned in the Forum. The woman, whose name is Evelyn, tells Amelia her sad story of ruin and despair and thinks she will be rejected by her as she has been by everyone else. Amelia is not that kind of person though and quickly adopts Evelyn and makes her a companion. While in Alexandria with Amelia, she falls in love (though she will of course not admit it) with a young handsome man named Walter Emerson. He and his brother Radcliffe (who goes by Emerson) are set to dig at Armana, at the court of the heretic king Akhenaten, which is where Amelia and Evelyn eventually follow. Amelia cures Emerson from a nasty infection and fever, and they stay on to help with the archaelogical dig. After staying for a few weeks, they are terrorized by a mummy. Who is the mummy and what does he want? Is he really a priest of Amon (the king of the gods and the wind) set on cursing all those who set foot in the heretic king's realm or something else? To find out, read this amazing first book of the series.
Barbara Rosenblat was an excellent narrator as the haughty but incredibly perceptive Amelia Peabody and I loved her narration of the other characters as well. I understand that this book was written in 1975, and was set a century earlier, so that would technically excuse the racially insensitive attitudes of all the characters. I did find it a bit offensive at times though. Overall, I really enjoyed the book and was surprised how much the author could really get into the stiff-upper-lip Britishness of the book, as she was American. Amelia is definitely my favorite character as she is witty and hilarious, as Evelyn was a bit too sighing and girly for my taste. I loved the interactions between Amelia and Emerson, and was honestly surprised at the ending (though I had figured out parts of it earlier). I am looking forward to reading more books in the series. 4 stars. ...more
Garth Hellyer is a historian in charge of the Longevity Project, which is collecting oral histories of the oldest people in Canada. A woman at a nursiGarth Hellyer is a historian in charge of the Longevity Project, which is collecting oral histories of the oldest people in Canada. A woman at a nursing home claims to be 134 years old and shows him her birth certificate to prove it. When he is obviously skeptical, she decides to give him her personal journals, which start in 1897 and document the life of Marged Brice. They tell the story of what life was like in the Georgian Bay of Ontario and the Cape Prius Lighthouse at the turn of the century, especially in the context of this vibrant young woman and her natural connection with its landscape and its people. It shows a tale of love, loss and a bit of redemption, which is mirrored in its modern day accompaniment story. Just who is Perdita and what is her connection to Ms. Brice? Is Marged really who she says she is? 4 stars.
I liked the cover of this book and the initial premise sounded interesting. I actually loved the incredibly detailed descriptions of the nineteenth century part of this book, but wasn't so much a fan of the modern day story (though it obviously paralleled the older story). It wasn't until after I read the book that I saw it compared to "Wuthering Heights" and "Jane Eyre" and I can definitely see aspects of them in the romantic brooding story. I liked that the book was mostly a historical fiction mystery with a little mythology thrown in for good measure, but I think the book got a bit bogged down by that. It was nearly 3/4 the way through the book before we figured out who Perdita actually was and her true importance to both Marged and Garth. I did like the way the author kept you guessing as to who was the true love of Marged's life.
Disclaimer: I received this advanced reader's copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review....more
o Dr. James Murray has come to the University of Turin in 1867, to become the assistant of Professor Cesare Lombroso, who is teaching the newly-establo Dr. James Murray has come to the University of Turin in 1867, to become the assistant of Professor Cesare Lombroso, who is teaching the newly-established field of criminal anthropology. This was the era that science first started to be used in criminal investigations, and James assisted with that in Edinburgh before coming to Italy. His father was involved in the study of the criminal brain, so this field is natural to him. James left behind a sister with a religious aunt as since his parents died, he has been the breadwinner and needs a proper job to do that. Right in the middle of his interview for the assistant position, the carbinieri (police) come in and inform Professor Lombroso of a gruesome murder they would like his assistance with, as his name has been mentioned in a note left by the killer.
Sofia, one of Lombroso’s servants intrigues James with the way she has no problem looking right at him, far different from the reserved manner of Scottish women. Lombroso is having a symposium at the university and has invited scholars from all over Europe to assist him. James is excited to be invited to go because he will finally get to meet all the people whose work he has read about. As the symposium continues, more and more people are being killed as a “Tribute to Lombroso”. Will they ever be able to figure out who the killer is and why he or she is doing this? To find out read this fascinating book. 4 stars.
I had never heard of Cesare Lombroso, although I had heard of Dr. Bell. Forensic and criminal anthropology have been fascinating to me for awhile, as is true crime, so I was interested, after reading the book, to read the author’s note at the end which described the field and its champion. My biggest gripe with the book was the middle part, which really dragged, and nearly made me lose interest. Another thing to mention about the book is that the killings were pretty horrific, and definitely not for the faint of heart.
Disclaimer: I received this advanced reader’s copy book via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review. ...more
I quickly devoured the first book The Dark Unwinding, so I was excited to learn that she came out with a second book for the series. I will admit thatI quickly devoured the first book The Dark Unwinding, so I was excited to learn that she came out with a second book for the series. I will admit that despite not finishing books I started earlier, I was totally engulfed in finishing this one instead. This one, like the other, is a little slow in the beginning, but suddenly all these mysteries are revealed and it really keeps you riveted. This one had even more surprises than last time, and I hope that the author decides to continue the series as I know I would love another book.
Katherine has now been at Strathwyne for two years now, after she miraculously received her inheritance from her father and grandmother. Things are just starting to return to some normalcy after the events of the previous book, when suddenly she is awakened in the middle of the night by masked men trying to break into her bedroom. The situation is quickly neutralized with her maid Mary’s help, but they’ve got bigger problems now. The government of Great Britain wants to take Katherine and her Uncle to London to help them build weapons against the French, but Katherine knows that is not possible, given her uncle’s unusual behavior and manners. So she plots with her solicitor Mr. Babcock to take Uncle Tully, Mary and herself to Paris, to her grandmother’s estate, away from the government’s control. She is also trying to find Lane, who disappeared over a year ago and whom the British government has reported as dead.
The biggest problem she faces, aside from not speaking the language, is that her reputation has proceeded her. Her aunt has been spreading around gossip about her in London and it has made its way across the pond to Paris, where the upper classes escaping London have retreated. One of her aunt’s friends is living right next door to Katherine. Will her uncle be discovered? And if so, by the French or the English? Just what exactly happened to Lane? To find out this and more, check out this awesome second book to “The Dark Unwinding” series. Recommended for ages 13+, 4 stars. ...more
I’ve been fascinated by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for awhile now, ever since watching the most recent Sherlock Holmes movies, directed by Guy Ritchie, anI’ve been fascinated by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for awhile now, ever since watching the most recent Sherlock Holmes movies, directed by Guy Ritchie, and the BBC series with Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch. I’ve never actually read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books, though I would definitely like to in the future. This book wants me to read it even more. The same thing is true of Oscar Wilde’s works. I’ve been fascinated by his personal story, but never have managed to read any of his books or plays. You can tell the author is English or at least got a good English education from the excellent vocabulary used in the book. I enjoyed the Author’s Note at the end of the book as it confirms that the author was very in-depth with his historical research, something I always appreciate when reading historical fiction.
Arthur Conan Doyle (henceforth referred to as Arthur) has just killed off the famous Sherlock Holmes and people are rioting in the street and cancelling en masse their subscription to The Strand magazine, where the stories were published. Arthur is relieved as he wants to start a new project. His beloved wife, Touie, is dying of consumption (tuberculosis). He is summoned to a darkened house to help a young beautiful woman named Hope solve a murder, her own. He thinks it is all poppycock and leaves, but finds himself thinking about her in not-so-innocent ways afterwards. He is invited to a conference with the Psychical Society, which is meeting at Thraxton Hall, which Arthur soon discovers is the ancestral home of the lady he has just met. He decides to go with his friend Oscar Wilde, who provides the perfect foil for Arthur’s serious demeanor. Will they be able to uncover who is the murderer and save Lady Thraxton in time? To find out, read this exciting first book of The Paranormal Casebooks of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle series. 4 stars.
Disclaimer: I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review....more
I really enjoyed this unexpectedly good book that I randomly found in the children's section of my library. My only gripe with the book was that the sI really enjoyed this unexpectedly good book that I randomly found in the children's section of my library. My only gripe with the book was that the secondary storyline about the boy wasn't as developed as I would've liked, but the author did a fine job researching the main part of the book and has many resources for students in the back of the book on the topic.
The book was about a 13 year old boy named Eel who lives in London and makes his living as a mudlark, someone who used to go into the Thames River and sell bits of things found there, like nails and coal, for a few pennies to buy food. For more information on how disgusting and smelly the Thames was and the Great Stink, check out this website: http://www.choleraandthethames.co.uk/.... Eel ends mudlarking after both his parents have died and he has to take care of his younger brother Henry. They are trying to escape from Fisheye Bill Taylor. Eel also picks up odd jobs working for a brewery, cleaning up a tailor's shop, and feeding animals at Dr. Snow's house. The "Blue Death" refers to the Cholera Epidemic of 1854, which killed over 600 people in one area of London, and it is featured as part of the mystery in the book. Eel witnesses people that he lived and worked with die from the disease and Dr. Snow is helped by Eel to pinpoint how the epidemic spread from the area around the Broad Street Water Pump. They are trying to figure out who and what started the whole thing. Will they be able to prove that the infection is spread by water, and not by air like previously thought, and stop it at the source? Will Eel and Henry be able to escape the evil clutches of Fisheye Bill Taylor? To find out, read this great book. Recommended for ages 9-13, 4 stars. ...more
I found this book in the New Mysteries section and decided to give it a try based on the cover art and the subject matter. I was previously reading aI found this book in the New Mysteries section and decided to give it a try based on the cover art and the subject matter. I was previously reading a book on murder and death in the Victorian era, so this seemed like a fitting follow-up, though the time period is a little bit earlier. I enjoyed the incredible detail given by the author, which really drew you into the story. There were a lot of twists and turns in the book, which really keep you on the edge of your seat trying to figure out how the story will resolve itself.
Officer Hawkwood is a Bow Street Runner, the precursor to the police in London, in Regency era England. He has come to Bedlam Mental Hospital to check out a recently murdered inmate, a Colonel Titus Hyde, recently back from the Peninsula War. Only things aren’t as they seem and now Hyde is on the loose. Hawkwood also goes to investigate a man who has been killed and crucified in a graveyard, with his tongue and teeth removed. As the story develops, he realizes that he has stumbled into a turf war between rival gangs of Resurrection men, who dig up and sell recently dead bodies to medical facilities. At this point in history, it was illegal to dissect anything but criminals in medical schools. Will Hawkwood be able to discover the truth behind Colonel Hyde’s escape? Just what is his true purpose and reason for escaping Bedlam? To find out, read the exciting 2nd book in the Hawkwood series. I didn't know this was the second book until after I started it, so now I want to read books 1 and 3. 4 stars. ...more
Ever since watching the BBC show Sherlock, I have been fascinated with Sherlock Holmes. So another spin-off book definitely got my attention. My onlyEver since watching the BBC show Sherlock, I have been fascinated with Sherlock Holmes. So another spin-off book definitely got my attention. My only gripe about this book is the length. I do not mind reading long books but this is supposed to be the first book in a series and frankly, I thought the story went on for way too long (like 200+ pages too much), which made the story drag in the middle. This was the reason it too me so long to finish the book and I’m a fast reader. I will say though that despite my gripe, I really enjoyed the story and thought it was well-written and as others have said, it really puts you into the heart of this steampunk world in London. I love feisty heroines and I thought Evelina was a great character, though I know it must be difficult to be common born trying to fit in with all the rich nobs, and a female with not only a thirst for knowledge but with great mechanical ability as well.
The story is set in an alternative Great Britain, one where steam barons run the show (and all the utilities) and magic is outlawed. The book focuses on Evelina Cooper, who is the niece of Sherlock Holmes. Her mother shamed the Holmes family after eloping with a captain whose low-born family was part of a circus. After her parents died, the circus was where Evelina ended up living, until she was rediscovered by Grandmama Holmes, who took her under her wing and gave her an education. Evalina is super smart and can animate clockwork creatures through magic, two things that are very dangerous for anyone, especially women. She is about to attend her first Season in London, when suddenly a brutal murder happens in the house she is staying in with her friend Imogen. She figures that she can solve it but she doesn’t know who to trust. Can she trust Imogen’s handsome scoundrel of a brother or her childhood love, Nick who like her can use magic? Recommended for ages 16+, 4 stars.
Disclaimer: I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. ...more
I picked up this book by chance at the library, while looking for a new teen book to check out. The narrator, January LaVoy was excellent and did a grI picked up this book by chance at the library, while looking for a new teen book to check out. The narrator, January LaVoy was excellent and did a great job doing the voices, and all the different personalities in the book. If it wasn’t for her, I probably would’ve never finished this book. The book itself was not bad, it had a lot of potential. A late teen/new adult book about flappers in the 1920s and a murder mystery to boot with a little paranormal activity thrown in for good measure, sounds really fascinating to me. It is clear that the author researched a lot for this book in the details of the story. However, it was almost like she was trying to jam every minor detail about the 1920s in one book, which made the story a little overwhelming. Plus there’s the story that just keeps going and going, and just when you think it should stop, it keeps going. It took me a couple of discs to really get into the book, but once it got going, I was hooked. While I enjoyed the story, I think it might’ve worked better if the story was divided into two books. The ending was rather a let down after the book had gotten so interesting in the middle of the story. I know the author plans to make this book into a series, so I am interested in how she will continue the story.
Evie O’Neill is a wanna-be flapper stuck in Ohio, that is until she does her little “party trick” (a supernatural power that no one knows about but her) and ends up being sent to her bachelor uncle Will’s house in New York City. To her though, this is not a punishment. Manhattan is where all the rich and fashionable flappers live and Evie sees this trip as full of possibilities. That is, until the murders start happening. Someone is murdering people in a ritualistic way and taking body parts and Uncle Will is asked to help the police. Evie and her power become instrumental in finding out who the killer is and why the murders are taking place. Other young people with supernatural talents are emerging from the woodwork as well, and they all seem to know Evie in some way. Recommended for ages 16+, 3 ½ stars. ...more
I picked this up randomly while browsing the teen audiobook section, as the summary sounded interesting. The narrator was not the best choice, in my oI picked this up randomly while browsing the teen audiobook section, as the summary sounded interesting. The narrator was not the best choice, in my opinion, though as other reviewers have commented on, it could be the book itself. I just thought as the book was supposed to be set in an Asian-like setting they should've picked someone from that part of the world who was better at doing voices. Despite the poor choice in narrator, I stuck with the book because I found the story fascinating and enjoyed the plot twists. I really did not know who did it until the very end.
The City of a Thousand Dolls is a place where the people of the Bhinian Empire can take their unwanted girls, necessary because of the Empire's two child policy. The houses train each girl up as novices in various fields such as healing, seduction, music/dance, and fighting. Nisha came to the city when she was 6 years old, and she doesn't remember her parents all that much. Who were they and why did they leave her here? She is taken under the wing of an older girl named Taniya and they become good friends. The story opens up 10 years later, right before the Redeeming Ceremony (where girls can be selected for marriage, apprenticeships and to become a mistress). Taniya has been groomed for years as the bride of the Crown Prince, and he is coming to claim her this year. Nisha is hoping that the guy she has been seeing will speak up for her. She has been working for the Matron (the person in charge of the City of Dolls) as a spy and assistant. Nisha is also unique because she can mind-speak to the local spotted cats. Shortly after the story begins, a girl is murdered and there are no suspects. Then another two girls die. Who is killing them and why? Nisha must find out, with the help of the cats she does so. Recommended for ages 13+, 3 1/2 stars. ...more
I got a copy of the e-book from Netgalley to review and I was not paid for my review. The book needs a bit of work, but I rather enjoyed the story oncI got a copy of the e-book from Netgalley to review and I was not paid for my review. The book needs a bit of work, but I rather enjoyed the story once I got past the 1st chapter (which as another reviewer said should be skipped in its entirety - as it is so cornball it almost made me want to stop reading right there). It reminded me of a combination of a young Indiana Jones, though someone else mentioned Tin Tin and I can definitely see that too. I think it is supposed to be in the style of a dime novel or penny dreadful as they call it in the book, and I think it would be much better as an audiobook or mini-series rather than a book. It is definitely a book for young boys, preferably reluctant readers who like a lot of adventure with chases and a minimal amounts of girls/mushy stuff.
Peregrine Harker is a rich kid orphan turned journalist in Edwardian England, circa 1908. His newspaper boss has sent him to investigate tea as the price has jumped significantly of late and soon it will be so high that your average British citizen will not be able to have a cuppa every day like normal. Instead of finding out about tea, Peregrine gets sucked into a secret smuggling ring, strange deaths, harrowing car chases and double-crossing lords. There's even a damsel in distress or so he thinks. Will Peregrine ever get his story? Will he figure out who is in charge of the smuggling ring? And just who is the Black Death and what is their connection to all of this? To find out, read this exciting book! Recommended for ages 10-15, 4 stars. ...more