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Category Archives: Mysteries

Jack and the Geniuses at the Bottom of the World

Title: Jack and the Geniuses at the Bottom of the World (right now only available as e book or from other libraries)
Author: Bill Nye and Gregory Mone
Series: Jack and the Geniuses
Recommended for: 3rd grade and up
Pages: 256
Call Number/Link:  Jack and the Geniuses

Synopsis:  In the series opener, Jack and the Geniuses: At The Bottom of The World, readers meet Jack and his foster siblings, Ava and Matt, who are orphans. But they’re not your typical kind of orphans—they’re geniuses. Well, Ava and Matt are, which sometimes makes life difficult for 1twelve-year-old Jack. Ava speaks multiple languages and builds robots for fun, and Matt is into astronomy and a whiz at math. As for Jack, it’s hard to stand out when he’s surrounded by geniuses all the time.

When the kids try to spy on Dr. Hank Witherspoon, one of the world’s leading scientists, they end up working for him in his incredible laboratory. Soon, Hank and the kids travel to Antarctica for a prestigious science competition, but they find that all is not as it seems: A fellow scientist has gone missing, and so has any trace of her research. Could someone be trying to use her findings to win the contest? It’s up to Jack, Ava, and Matt to find the missing scientist and discover who’s behind it all—before it’s too late.

This was pretty much what I would expect from a book influenced by Bill Nye:  A  fast paced story with lots of science facts thrown in.  Sometimes I get tired of all of the ‘stem’ based books that are coming out but I found this one to be entertaining and fun.  I liked the fact that Jack turns out to be a very important member of this trio even though he isn’t a genius.  He’s the one with the practical knowledge and street smarts that get his adopted siblings out of trouble.

 

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Posted by on July 25, 2017 in Adventure, Mysteries

 

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Milo and Jazz Mysteries The Case of the Poisoned Pig

 

Title: The Milo & Jazz Mysteries- The Case of the Poisoned Pig

Author: Lewis B. Montgomery

Series: The Milo & Jazz Mysteries

Recommended for: grades 2nd – 5th

Pages: 96

 

Call Number/Link:  CD J MON



SynopsisSet in Nazi Germany. 1936.

When Jazz’s pet piglet gets sick and the veterinarian suspects it was poisoned, she and Milo use their detective skills to try to figure out who did it.

My Thoughts: This is a great book to listen to in the car.  If you need a quick read for summer reading, this is a good recommendation.  It only takes one hour to listen to and you can listen in the car on the way to a adjacent town and back.  Cute story and keeps children interested.

 

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The Harlem Charade

Title: The Harlem Charade
Author: Natasha Tarpley
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 3rd- 8th Grade
Pages: 297 pages
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION TARPLEY, N.

Synopsis: Seventh-graders Jin, Alexandra, and Elvin come from very different backgrounds and circumstances, but they all live in Harlem, and when Elvin’s grandfather is attacked they band together to find out who is responsible–and the search leads them to an enigmatic artist whose missing masterpieces are worth a fortune, and into conflict with an ambitious politician who wants to turn Harlem into an historic amusement park.

This book is rich in culture.  We have three main characters that come from different backgrounds, that come together by chance.  Jin likes to watch people that come into her grandparents bodega. She catches Alexandra taping Met passes on food items.  Jin now has a mystery to solve to find out why. The three main characters are strong, kind-hearted teenagers.  Throughout the story they learn some history of Harlem artist from the 1960’s and come to appreciate the community.  It is a wonderful way to get children to look around their own communities.

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2017 in Juv, Mysteries

 

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Horizon

Title: Horizon
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Series: Horizon
Recommended for: 5rd – 8th
Pages: 241 pages
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION WESTERFELD, S.

Summary: When a plane crash-lands in the arctic, eight young survivors step from the wreckage expecting to see nothing but ice and snow. Instead they find themselves lost in a strange jungle with no way to get home and little hope of rescue. Food is running out. Water is scarce. And the jungle is full of threats unlike anything the survivors have ever seen before — from razor-beaked shredder birds to carnivorous vines and much, much worse. With danger at every turn, these eight kids must learn to work together to survive. But cliques and rivalries threaten to tear them apart. And not everyone will make it out of the jungle alive.

My Thoughts:  This is another series like 39 Clues and Spirit Animals that Scholastic is putting out.  There will be a different author for each book in the series as well as an online game.  This being the first book it was laying the ground work and getting you to know the characters a little.  I am definitely intrigued as to what is going to happen next.  I would have liked to get to know more about all the survivors.  There is some details about background information on a few of the characters, but some are still an unknown.  I am hoping that as the series goes on we will get more information.  I feel kids that liked 39 Clues and Spirit Animals will enjoy this series.

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2017 in Adventure, Juv, Mysteries, Sci-Fi

 

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Into the Lion’s Den

into-the-lions-denTitle: Into the Lion’s Den
Author: Linda Fairstein
Series: Devlin Quick Mysteries
Recommended for: 3rd- 6th Grade
Pages: 312 pages
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION FAIRSTEIN, L.

Synopsis: Someone has stolen a page from a rare book in the New York Public Library. At least, that’s what Devlin’s friend Liza thinks she’s seen, but she can’t be sure. Any other kid might not see a crime here, but Devlin Quick is courageous and confident, and she knows she has to bring this man to justice—even if it means breathlessly racing around the city to collect evidence. But who is this thief? And what could the page—an old map—possibly lead to? With her wits, persistence, and the help of New York City’s finest (and, okay, a little bit of help from her police commissioner mother, too), Devlin and her friends piece the clues together to uncover a mystery that’s bigger than anyone expected—and more fun, too.

Devlin is a great strong character who loves books and wants to show that she will make a great detective.  It is a great plot, but I felt like there was a lot of explaining, that was not necessary to the solving of the mystery.  There is a lot of talking trying to decide what to do and how to do things, and a little action.  I am going to try the next one to see if it gets better.  I thinks kids may like it and maybe they won’t find all the explanations unnecessary.

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2017 in Juv, Mysteries

 

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Outlaws of Time: The Legend of Sam Miracle

 

Title: Outlaws of Time: The Legend of Sam Miracle
Author: N.D. Wilson
Series: Outlaws of Time
Recommended for: Tweens and up, especially those who’ve read Percy Jackson/Harry Potter and want more, but any who love action/adventure/fantasy/sci-fi, or are at least willing to try it. Also Firefly Fankids.
Pages: 329
Call Number/Link: J FIC WILSON

Synopsis: “Misfit twelve-year-old Sam Miracle’s life is made up of dreams, dreams where he’s a courageous, legendary hero instead of a foster kid with two bad arms that can barely move. Sometimes these dreams feel so real, they seem like forgotten memories. And sometimes they make him believe that his arms might come alive again. But Sam is about to discover that the world he knows and the world he imagines are separated by only one thing: time. And that separation is only an illusion. The laws of time can be bent and shifted by people with special magic that allows them to travel through the past, present, and future. But not all of these “time walkers” can be trusted. One is out to protect Sam so that he can accept his greatest destiny, and another is out to kill him so that a prophecy will never be fulfilled. However, it’s an adventurous girl named Glory and two peculiar snakes who show Sam the way through the dark paths of yesterday to help him make sure there will be a tomorrow for every last person on earth.” — Amazon.com

My Review:

Hold onto your hats! This book picked me up and spun me around and dropped me into a world of Old West gunfights; time travel; mysterious magic; and more until I didn’t quite know which way was up (in a good way). The adventures are exciting and the story is excellent. While there is a fair bit of violence, it is at the service of the story–that is, it is NOT violence for violence’s sake, and its costs and effects are clearly shown–and the story would probably not be a problem for an average reader.
Time travel, although a very tricky thing to write, is handled well here, too; I have no idea if it jives at all with the laws of physics, but I was able to follow the line of logic without too much trouble, and don’t think it would confuse readers who are used to fantasy or science fiction. As for the characters, the heroes and villains are all very well and clearly drawn without veering into stereotypes (although I think the author let himself have quite a lot of fun with the villains.) The ending, while fairly satisfying, requires a sequel. No ifs, ands, or buts about it; we have to know what happens next!

Highly recommended.

 

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The Relic of Perilous Falls

Title: The Relic of Perilous Falls
Author: Raymond Arroyo
Series: Will Wilder
Recommended for: Adventure-loving children who want more Harry Potter, or who have read everything Rick Riordan’s ever written. Grades 4 and up.
Pages: 318
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION ARROYO, R.

Synopsis: 

Will Wilder seems to be a rather ordinary boy—albeit one clever enough to make his own catapult—until a series of odd events leads to the unleashing of an ancient evil, and the discovery that even the most ordinary of people can hide extraordinary powers.

Will is a believable hero: a typical boy, with common flaws and strengths. He is, to put it mildly, pig-headed and stubborn, and easily swayed by argument; he does, however, have a good heart, and is certainly not lazy or ill-intentioned.

I liked the pace of the adventures, and the cliff-hanger chapters kept my interest. However, the writing did feel a bit clunky at times, as though the author hadn’t yet grown comfortable with this genre. As sequels come, however, I’m sure the lumps and bumps will get smoothed out, and the children clamoring for “SOMETHING ELSE” after Percy Jackson or Harry Potter simply won’t notice or care in this case.

It is a bit dark at times, and might be a bit much for very sensitive readers (crocodile monsters and narrow escapes abound,) but in this battle of Good and Evil, the light always triumphs, and there is nothing a Harry Potter or Percy Jackson fan won’t be able to handle.

We’ll see where this goes; I’d like to see who’s running the show, and leading the good guys, for starters! By the end of the first book, we know who’s in charge of the bad guys, but we’ve only been introduced to individual members of the good, and not much has been revealed about the Brethren.

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2016 in Adventure, Fantasy, Juv, Mysteries, Scary, Sci-Fi, Uncategorized

 

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