The Case of the Deadly Desperados

by Caroline LawrenceThe Case of the Deadly Desperados: Western Mysteries, Book One

272 pages  – a great middle grade read

The Case of the Deadly Desperados is fast-paced action combining the exciting, real, funny with interesting details that  immerse you in the story and the old West from the start.  The book begins:  “My name is P.K. Pinkerton and before this day is over I will be dead.  I am trapped down the deepest shaft of a Comstock silver mine with three desperados closing in on me. Until they find me, I have my pencil & these ledger sheets and a couple of candles. If I write small & fast, I might be able to write an account of how I came to be here. Then whoever finds my body will know the unhappy events that led to my demise. 
And they will also know who done it.”

P.K. Pinkerton, who dreams of one day opening a detective agency, discovers that his adoptive parents have been scalped and murdered by an axe blow. With her dying breath, Pinky’s ma tells him the killers are after his medicine bag. She tells him to get it and hide away. Of course nothing is easy.  P.K. must grab and run or get caught. There isn’t much inside the medicine bag:  a button from the jacket of his real father, a detective from Chicago, a flint knife from his real ma, a Lakota Indian, and a letter promising the bearer a piece of land that may, or may not, be worth staking a claim. With the killers on his trail P.K. jumps on a stagecoach bound for Virginia City.  He hopes once there he can blend in and make his plan for finding his real pa’s relatives in Chicago.

On top of being chased by Whittlin’ Walt and his gang, P.K. has one other challenge to overcome.  He cannot tell when another human being is telling a lie.  How will he see himself safely through the streets of the city and on his way? Virginia City is a lawless place full of gamblers, hurdy girls, saloon-keepers and gunmen, all of them on the make.  There are possible allies too: Sam Clemens, the new reporter for the paper, a gambler called ‘Poker Face Jace’ who knows how to tell if someone is bluffing, a derringer-packing Soiled Dove, and a Chinese photographer’s apprentice named Ping.  He’ll never escape on his own, but who can he trust?  You’ll have to read The Case of the Deadly Desperados to find out.  You’ll be glad you did!   Click here to find out more about the Carol Lawrence, her books and P.K.’s Nevada Territory.

The Enchantress

by Michael ScottThe Enchantress (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, #6)

509 pages of action, mythology and history combined into a very satisfying series.

Read them all.

The two that become one – the twins of legend – the gold and the silver- one to save the world and one to destroy it.  The entire six-book series happens in the space of ten days.  The Enchantress wraps this series and story up beautifully bringing all the time, mythology and magic of each age together to create a new world of energy and hope.

Josh and Sophie Newman, the gold and silver, are on one island, Danu Talis.  They have the four elemental swords and are seeking to understand the powers arranged around and before them.  Will one age fall so another can rise?  Is all of time known and foretold since the mysterious beginning?  Is the path of one’s destiny defined, or are there choices?

At the same time Nicholas and Perenelle Flammel are on Alcatraz with the monsters of old trying to defend the right of the humans to take their place in the flow to time.  The aftermath of these two epic battles create the magic of our time.  Some Immortals have reached the end of their times, others remain and still more will learn of the elemental magics that unite us all in the ebb and flow of time and life.

Michael Scott does a masterful job combining and entwining mythologies, gods and magically strong characters throughout history.  It is interesting how order emerges only from chaos and the dawning of hope only begins after a clash of power.  Where are we in this process of time today?


Insurgent (Divergent, #2)by Veronica Roth

525 pages of action, bravery and suspense – wonderful for middle school and high school readers

I’ve been thinking about Tris since I finished Divergent this fall.  I wonder how I would choose – I know what I would like to think of myself, but is that reality.  Could I choose one path, one attribute to follow for the rest of my life for the good of society?  When I am honest with myself, I know that I would be one of the factionless because I could not be brave enough, smart enough, selfless enough, honest enough or caring enough to just be that always.

Maybe Tris has been thinking this same thing all this time.  Certainly she is troubled with how the factions are deteriorating and no longer working for the good of society.  She is Divergent – with equally strong aptitudes for several factions.  She is not easy to control and because that is what must be done if the Erudite are to take over, Tris must endure great pain and heartache to resist and find a way to end the greed and destruction.

Her choices are difficult. She has already lost so much, and she could stand to lose all that remains and still move forward.  Insurgent – “a person who acts in opposition to the established authority, who is not necessarily regarded as belligerent.” Tris: intelligent, brave, selfless, flawed, but genuine. I can’t wait to read the final part of her story.

Fake Mustache

Fake Mustacheby Tom Angleberger

196 pages of laugh-out-loud fun

You know from the cover, the subtitle (or, how Jodie O’Rodeo and her wonder horse (and some nerdy kid) saved the U.S. presidential election from a mad genius criminal mastermind), the end pages and the title page that this book will make you snicker – at least.

Lenny Junior (the nerdy kid) begins his story with a warning. “Don’t ever buy a fake mustache as Sven’s Fair Price Store.”  He goes on to explain that is an awesome place for fake noses or thumbs or fake laughter machines, but not mustaches.  They are TOO good because they’re made from real Belgian mustache hair (apparently men grow their mustaches for a year before cutting them off to sell to the Heidelberg Novelty Company) and being real hair are expensive.  “But they’re worth it…if you really want a good fake mustache – which you don’t!  It’ll only lead to trouble.  That’s what I’m trying to tell you.”

Just after Lenny Junior and his only friend, Casper, go to Sven’s strange things happen in Hairsprinkle.  There are bank robberies, corporate takeovers and fixed elections.  Lenny knows Casper is the culprit.  The bank security camera clearly show that the ringleader is dressed as a “man-about-town” and is sporting a spectacular handlebar mustache.  Those at the exact two things Casper spent his birthday money on the day before.  Lenny tries to get help and because of this he is named the “Evil One” and becomes most wanted while Casper’s (newly elected Mayor, Fako Mustacho) evil takeover plans unfold.

Fortunately for Lenny Junior it is Halloween so being in disguise is acceptable and by some twist of trolley car fate, Lenny meets the real live person he is dressed up as, Jodie O’Rodeo.  She seems genuinely nice and both soon realize the future of Hairsprinkle, in fact the world, is in their hands.  With only booger shooting nasal guns, electric shock gum and the ultra-sticky-stretchy grabber hand along with their wits they must work together to save the world.  Can they stop Fako Mustacho before it is too late?

You’ll have to smile your way to the ending to find out.  Really, who doesn’t love a good “slappy hand?”

The Hunger Games

North America has split into 12 districts. When the number gets higher the poorer the district gets. A girl in district 12 named Katniss Everdeen is having a tough time getting food for her familiy, on top of her father dying, and having her mother in the house since the tragedy happened. But with her extreme skill in archery she manages to get by. The Hunger Games are approaching and the picking of the contestants is about to begin. The  hunger games is where one person from each district is choosen to compete in an arena in the capital where the contestants are to fight for their lives. The last one to live is the winner and gets to live in one of the Victor’s Mansions in their district. When the hunger games picks her sister, Primrose, Katniss takes her sisters place to be in the hunger games. Along with her teammate Peta Melark they head to the arena where Katniss uses her extreme archery skill to battle for her life.


A movie of The Hunger Games is coming out in March!

Review by Jenny


“…car accident…called the ambulance…intensive care…nothing anyone could do…so sorry.”

Ian Rider, Alex’s uncle, is dead. The police say that his uncle’s car was hit by a truck and he was killed almost instantly, but he was the last person that Alex thought would forget to wear a seatbelt. When he investigates, he finds something awful. “Ian Rider hadn’t died in any accident. What had killed him was plain to see – even to someone who had never seen such a thing before. A spray of bullets had caught the car full on the driver’s side, shattering the front tire, smashing the windshield and side windows, and punching into the side panels.” His uncle had been murdered. Then, soon after, he finds out that his uncle has been training him all his life to be a spy at MI6, just like he was! To find out what happens to Alex and his murdered spy uncle, read Stormbreaker and the rest of the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz.

Read Stormbreaker or others in the Alex Rider series? See below.

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Of course, every author has a website nowadays, so here is Anthony Horowitz’s website:

Click here for the Alex Rider website! It has downloads, news, an Alex Rider bio and much more!

Click here to buy the book from! Only 8.99!

There was a movie made back in 2006 of Stormbreaker and it was pretty accurate to the story. I would recommend it to anyone who has read Stormbreaker.

Here is the trailer:

The Dragon’s Tooth

The Dragon's Tooth (Ashtown Burials, #1)Ashtown Burials Trilogy #1

N.D. Wilson

496 pages for experienced fantasy readers ready for an exciting ride

Are you interested in totally original fantasy?  Do you look forward to reading something where you’ll be wondering about every action and questioning every motive?   Are you looking for something that will keep you on edge, wondering?  The Dragon’s Tooth is for you.

The Smith children live at and run the Archer Hotel.  They’ve been there since the accident forced them to sell their California home, left their mother is in a coma and their father dead. Daniel, Cyrus and Antigone work each day to get by.  They are struggling to survive, hopeful they might, just maybe, get their life back and then Billy Bones comes to The Archer.  He is a tatooed man who demands to stay in Cyrus’ room , incredibly knows nosy  Old Mrs. Eldridge (the only person who stays at The Archer) and possesses powers to re-electrify things long broken.  The strangeness quickly intensifies to include fire, kidnapping, transfer of magic keys  and death.  Readers are caught in a swirl of questions – how and why and what…oh my!

With the magic keys and the power they hold, Cy and Antigone are swept into a quest they don’t understand.  They begin a wild and dangerous flight through devastating destruction, frightening mazes  and complex connections to undestand what it means to be part of The Order of Brendan… what it means to be part of the Smith family.  There are many secrets to uncover and exciting questions to answer.

I finished reading with more questions.  I can’t wait for the next part of the trilogy. There is a lot I don’t understand.  Characters I thought I could like and trust – I shouldn’t have.  Characters I didn’t understand actually pay attention to had more to do with the Smiths than I thought.  And some things like quick water and whip spiders were both amazing and awful at the same time.  I really like the Smiths – I want them to uncover their role in this world.  I want Daniel to be released.  And mostly I want to know if their parents are actually out of their lives forever, or just waiting for the right time to return.

Fantasies are like that, but this isn’t like any other fantasy so I am not sure at all.  The Dragon’s Tooth is dark and exciting.  There is a lot of evil swirling around and it is hard to know how good will prevail.  I have no idea how that will happen.  And that’s what makes this a great book to read and explore.

As you read, you might want to make note of the characters as they come.  I wish I had. In fact, I will read it again to do just that because I want to begin the second book fully able to understand and relish the characters and action as it develops. This book has a lot of exciting twists and turn.  It’s an amazing challenge!  Hope you’ll take it!