Posted in Book Reviews

#Sponsored Book Spotlight: ‘The Return of the Ripper’: Anna Elliott & Charles Veley


Book 7 of 8 in A Sherlock Holmes and Lucy James Mystery (8 Book Series)
SYNOPSIS: October 1897. Diamond mogul Cecil Rhodes wants Sherlock Holmes to break up a smuggling ring. Lucy James is preoccupied with her role as an actress and her upcoming wedding. And then, London’s most infamous murderer makes a most unwelcome entrance.

The Baker street team soon find themselves enmeshed in a deadly conspiracy, with tentacles that reach far beyond the shadows of Whitechapel. Lucy and Holmes will need more than their usual deductive brilliance to defeat their latest adversary, or else the case of the Ripper will be their last.

If you love a strong heroine, a touch of romance, and a classic Holmes, you’re going to love this fast-paced adventure.

MY THOUGHTS: I was thrilled to see that Holmes & Lucy were set to work on the elusive Ripper phenom. There’s been a resurgence of interest in Jack the Ripper in recent years, fueled by theory & the hunt for the ‘one who got away’. Part of the entertainment value, if one can call it that, in the Ripper’s legend is that so many people think they know who he was and there are so many suspects!

It’s timely that two of the finest detectives to ever grace the pages of a novel are now involved! Now, that alone would have made an incredible novel, but there’s more! We are also treated to Holmes taking on a smuggling ring and Lucy is getting ready for her wedding. There’s never a dull moment in their lives.

As always, our favorite father-daughter author duo has brought their ‘A’ game. There is so much to love about this book. It’s the kind of detective story that readers will want to read more than once because it’s so much fun to watch the plot unravel. Again, we have the iconic Sherlock doing what he does best while remaining true to the roots planted by Doyle in his original works. Lucy once again proves her skills at being a Renaissance woman as she solves crimes, maintains her acting career, and still has time for a productive social life. Dr. Watson is proof positive that the limelight isn’t necessary in order to make a difference or to be a great friend.

With a unique twist on all things Jack the Ripper along with the great diamond smuggling side plot, our authors hit yet another home run with this incredible, 5 star novel. I highly recommend this series and hope there are many more installments to come! Bravo!

Posted in Book Reviews

#Sponsored Book Spotlight: Mosquito Creek Inn: Sherrie Todd-Beshore


SYNOPSIS: “Eleven-year-old Sonia Molosky’s quiet summer and that of her close friends begins to shift after an insurance investigator arrives in Mosquito Creek to settle the vast estate of a young heiress who disappeared seven years before. When Sonia discovers the contents of a suitcase behind a hidden door at the back of her mother’s closet, she convinces six of her pals to help her search for new clues to the unsolved mystery. Curiosity soon escalates events to an unexpected discovery that challenges their untested resourcefulness and courage in order to outwit and expose a cruel and cunning foe. While attempting to retrace the path the missing girl rode her horse the afternoon she disappeared, history begins to repeat itself…”

MY THOUGHTS: ‘Mosquito’ is Book 1 of 7 in the Mosquito Creek Detective Club series. From page 1, it was engaging and gripping. Although it is marketed as YA and rightfully so, I had great fun reading it! Good mysteries are timeless and ageless.
As a lead character, Sonia is capable and intelligent. All the children in the series are respectful to each other as well as their elders. Adults aren’t portrayed as imbeciles as is so often the case in YA fiction. It’s a clean read. I found no cursing or violence making it more than acceptable for middle school through adults. In fact, I’d recommend it to adult readers in need of a new series.
As for the plot, it is original and a good, old-fashioned whodunit. Messages throughout the book related to teamwork, having a sense of community, and the importance of family. I recommend this series and give ‘Mosquito’ 5 stars.

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#Sponsored Book Spotlight: Die Again, Mr. Holmes: Anna Elliott & Charles Veley


SYNOPSIS: Meet Lucy James, the detective partner Sherlock Holmes never expected!

The newest gripping adventure in this popular mystery series takes us from the Old Bailey courthouse and the seacoast lairs of smugglers to a grand British country estate and the iconic financial headquarters of Lloyd’s of London.

Watson, Sherlock and Lucy find themselves up against a powerful conspiracy.

Survival will require valor, sacrifice, and acts that go far, far outside the law.

As the story opens, a young woman begs Sherlock Holmes to help find her missing fiance, but the great detective makes an uncharacteristic mistake.

Then Sherlock’s daughter, Lucy James, takes on a missing person case of her own.

But Lucy must also keep a vicious criminal away from Becky, Lucy’s ten-year-old sister-in-law, and little Becky soon becomes dangerously involved in both cases.

Then the Baker Street team gets the devastating news that Sherlock Holmes has been murdered.

MY THOUGHTS: Absolutely fabulous! I have been blessed enough to follow this series from the beginning. Each book gets better and better (even though they were already amazing!). Being that the content is clean and action-packed, I have recommended the series to countless librarians and fans of mysteries. I never have to think twice because I know each book is a quality read, without questionable situations, and any new readers will quickly become permanent fans.

As a female lead, Lucy reigns supreme. As an intelligent problem-solver, Lucy relies on her brain to solve dilemmas and live her life honorably. She is a fabulous role model to YA readers who are too often exposed to characters who utilize their gender is a less than appropriate way. Allowing her to team up with the icon that is Sherlock proves that she can hold her own. Doyle, himself, would be quite proud of how his characters welcome her and of Lucy in general.

I loved the plot twists with Sherlock faking his death and then the elements of a good, old-fashioned mystery. This is the way mysteries are supposed to be written! I give it a full 5 stars and highly recommend the series!

The Sherlock Holmes & Lucy James Mystery Series by Charles Veley and Anna Elliott to date includes The Last Moriarty (2015), The Wilhelm Conspiracy (2016), Remember, Remember (2017), The Crown Jewel Mystery: A Prequel (2017), The Jubilee Problem (2017), Death at the Diogenes Club (2017), The Return of the Ripper (2018), and Die Again, Mr. Holmes, released on January 2, 2019. All titles are available for purchase in paperback, e-book, and audiobook formats via Amazon and Audible.

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#Sponsored Book Spotlight: Where Dragonwoofs Sleep and the Fading Creeps: A.J. Massey

SYNOPSIS: ‘The story centers on 13-year old Ben, a normal eighth-grader by day who one night awakens a fantastical dream world called Meridia, where snow burns, the sun disappears and reappears without warning, and magic is addictive. But this mysterious realm is disappearing, being eaten by a phenomenon called the Fading. Joined by Avery, Marcus, and three dog-like dragonwoofs, Ben journeys across monster-infested oceans and sun-scorched mountains to retrieve the sphinx’s head, the key to saving the world and every astonishing creature that inhabits it. But not everyone wants them to succeed. Soon, they find themselves pursued by the Sovereign and his generals, whose armies will stop at nothing to perpetuate the Fading and its consumption of the land.’

MY THOUGHTS: I’ll readily admit that YA anything (especially Fantasy) is not my genre of choice. I’ve never been able to follow along in a surreal plot. However, I dove right into ‘Dragonwoofs’ and, I also must admit, I was pretty well captivated.

A.J. Massey has done a spectacular job with character development and creating a fantasy world like no other. Taking the stereotypical underdogs-done-wrong, Massey makes them into heroic fighters who are to be admired and readers will truly connect with. On a humorous note, humans are referred to as ‘weeds’. Many parents of teens may agree with that name! The scenery and even the weather are supporting characters, adding to the ‘magic’ of the plot.

As our brave teens struggle in the timeless battle of good versus evil, readers find a message of friendship with unlikely friends, heroism in the face of incredible danger, and a good workout for one’s imagination. If Mr. Massey’s book can catch the attention of a 40-something blogger, then he will surely be a hit with the YA set. Well-written and a welcome escape from reality, I give it 4 stars.

*Pic & Synopsis belong solely to the author/publisher
**I received the aforementioned title in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.
About A.J. Massey:
A.J. Massey writes thrilling fantasy novels for young teens and adults. His first book, Where Dragonwoofs Sleep and the Fading Creeps, blends shared dream worlds with middle school, and was influenced by his favorite childhood movies of the 80s, Labyrinth and The Neverending Story.
Massey studied at the University of Hawaii where he earned his business degree. He was also a former infantry medic in the U.S. Army, and worked as a project manager at several companies, including The Boeing Company and DirecTV. He now works as a Program Manager at a major video game company. He currently lives in Southern California with his wife, Katie, and pet dragonwoofs, Abby and Peanut.

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Spotlight: The Silence of the Snakes: Ruby Loren

Synopsis: Madigan Amos is on her second-ever zoo consulting job, reviewing animal welfare conditions to recommend improvements. She didn’t expect it to include lions attacking one of the keepers, a series of thefts from the mansion of the family that owns the zoo, having a sick green mamba turned over to her by a stranger, or a woman dead of an ax to the head. She’s not at all sure she’s going to get out of Snidely Wildlife and Safari alive.

MY THOUGHTS: This second installment had a lot more mystery and suspense than the first. The happenings at her current zoo location are a bit hard to figure out initially. As with the first, it opens with a good, attention grabbing scene.
There are some slow points and some confusing scenarios. However, it is a good read and I will continue with the series. I give it 3 stars.

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#Sponsored Book Spotlight: Lou Knows What to Do: Doctor’s Office: Kimberly Tice, M.S. CCC-SLP and Venita Litvack, M.A. CCC-SLP

Through an engaging and fun social story format, Lou Knows What to Do: Doctor’s Office, uses this evidenced-based therapy tool to teach social skills and eases children’s anxieties about new experiences like getting their ears checked or teeth cleaned. Lou Knows What to Do: Doctor’s Office, is designed to help children master these challenging social situations comfortably and competently. The book is written in a positive and patient voice to cater to special needs individuals, however children on all developmental levels will enjoy following Lou on his adventures.
Lou Knows What to Do: Doctor’s Office demonstrates the importance of patience in the waiting room, keeping hands safe in the exam room, and telling someone if you feel scared or frustrated. Teachers, mental health counselors and parents hail the series as “amazing,” “informative,” “entertaining” and “one of the best!”
Each book includes repeated phrases to help non-readers follow along and concludes with a tips page and comprehension questions.
MY THOUGHTS: ‘Lou Knows’ is an inventive and important series for children. I agree with the authors that the special needs/autistic reader audience is widely ignored. We need more main characters like Lou! He is the perfect character to introduce children to scenarios which may be uncomfortable. Even adults skip going to their doctors!

As a non-threatening, age-appropriate main character, Lou guides them through their visit with three different types of doctors- dentist, physician, and ophthalmologist. I can see how each one can cause any child to become frustrated and/or angry. The waiting room is probably the worst part.

Illustrator Andre Kerry is the unsung hero here. His depiction of Lou and the places he goes gives readers a feeling of really knowing Lou. He appears to be a fun-loving, inquisitive young boy. Drawing the various doctors as smiling, helpful folks is a definite plus.

I’ve recommended this series to several librarians nearby. Lou’s series should be available to all children to help them navigate their world. Excellent, well-written, and relevant, I give it a full 5 stars!
*Pic & Synopsis belong solely to the author/publisher
**I received the aforementioned title in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.

Posted in Book Reviews

#Sponsored Book Spotlight: Dreams: Jessie Chris

SYNOPSIS: Jessie, the victim of bullying in school has set a goal of visiting 100 schools in 2018 to speak with students. To date she has visited 51 and is scheduled to visit another 75+ in the fall. She is the face of The Ad Council’s #BeMore Campaign as well as Sylvania Lighting’s #BeTheLight Campaign. Bose will be supporting Chris during this fall’s tour. Jessie released her latest single and empowerment anthem “ROME” which she first performed as the featured artist at this year’s Gracie Awards. “ROME” was written by Jessie Chris, Summer Overstreet (daughter of Paul Overstreet), and David Spencer and Produced by Spencer (Hunter Hayes, Jacob Whitesides) and Mixed by Matt “McV” McVaney (Kane Brown, Levi Hummon).

MY THOUGHTS: ‘Dreams’ is definitely relevant in today’s world. All children see on television are adults who can’t stop bullying each other and then, many times, they have to go to school and witness it there as well. Jessie Chris definitely has the write idea. Using creativity to reach little ones is gentle and effective.

Her life in general speaks volumes as to what children can do when they think like overcomers. I hope that her book sparks these feelings in its readers.  If it can change just one child’s view of themselves and the world around them, then it was worth it.

Autumn Dickens has done a beautiful job illustrating. These colorful pictures along with the rhyming, easy-to-follow story make this book a winner. Teachers should consider it for circle time and homeschoolers should add it to their libraries as well. Sometimes are homechooled  kiddos get bullied, too. It’s perfect for early elementary students.

I give it 5 stars!
*Pic & synopsis belong solely to the author/publisher.
**I received the aforementioned title in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine.