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The Crypto-Capers in The Case of the Missing Sock

Crypto-Capers cover pic 001The Crypto-Capers in The Case of The Missing Sock
Author: Renée Hand
Publisher: North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc.

Rating: 
Reviewed by:  Cheryl Malandrinos 

What do you get when you cross an accident prone computer genius, an expert puzzle solver, a flamboyant grandmother who loves knitting–even though she’s terrible at it, and a young detective who can solve crimes that stump senior members of Scotland Yard?

A great new interactive mystery series that your children will love!

Sibling detectives Max and Mia Holmes reside on Baker Street in London. Along with their Granny Nellie Holmes and their technology wizard best friend, Morris, they make up the Crypto-Capers.

In Book 1 of this series, The Case of the Missing Sock, the Crypto-Capers travel to Florida, where Mr. Delacomb hires them to locate a stolen antique sock with a specially made pair of Prada sunglasses tucked inside. With new suspects popping up everywhere they turn, the Crypto-Capers must use Max’s great skills at reasoning and deduction, Mia’s ability to solve puzzles, and Morris’s penchant for technology, to help them solve the crime. And just in case you think Granny has wandered off for no good reason, you’ll discover her wanderings are usually very productive.


Before I say anything else, I have to tell you that my daughters–ages 7 and 5–are already bugging me to get done reviewing these books so that they can have them. I have both Book 1 and Book 2 – The Case of the Red Rock Canyon, and Granny is definitely a favorite character based upon the cover art from Book 2. My girls are starting to make up their own stories without having even read these; so illustrator Alla Dubrovich deserves a huge nod for creating attention-grabbing covers.

The Case of the Missing Sock actually opens in London, with Max in the middle of something good. I don’t want to destroy the surprise, so I won’t say much more on that, but Hand wastes no time in getting right to the action.

Then we get to meet the rest of the team and get some backstory on the family. The backstory is trickled in between the current day happenings, so it doesn’t have a chance to take over the storyline or distract the reader. Hand does an excellent job of sharing just the right amount of detail to make the reader feel like he is experiencing everything along with the Crypto-Capers, while not overloading him with unnecessary junk that weighs the story down.

What I enjoyed most about this book and the plans for other books in the series, is that it gives readers, especially reluctant ones, a reason to pick up a book. By having the reader decipher cryptograms along with the team, The Case of the Missing Sock becomes more than just a book; it becomes an interactive adventure.

The Crypto-Capers by Renee Hand is one series of children’s books that I plan to keep an eye on!

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Filed under Children's Books, Mystery

When Life Stinks, It’s Time to Wash the Gym Clothes

When Life Stinks, It’s Time to Wash the Gym Clothes
Author: Kelly Epperson
Publisher: Rockford Writer’s Guild
Rating:

Reviewed by: Cheryl Malandrinos

 

If you are looking for the perfect gift for the Mom on your list, then look no further than When Life Stinks, It’s Time to Wash the Gym Clothes by Kelly Epperson.

A compilation of Epperson’s columns that have appeared in a variety of newspapers, When Life Stinks is an often humorous look at life, aging, motherhood, and world events.

From traveling down memory lane to the hazards of parenting, from 9/11 to the death of Princess Diana, and from Live Aid to living in France, When Life Stinks will have you saying, “Yes! Finally there is someone who understands.” Epperson talks about the making and breaking of New Year’s resolutions and being a “gum junkie”. You’ll laugh right along with her as she discusses how JcPenney might have discovered that 8 out 10 women are wearing the wrong bra size and the fad of girls wearing sweatpants with words plastered across their behinds.

Granted, I may have related more to this book than a younger reader because Epperson and I are close enough in age that I recognized the name of almost every band or musician mentioned, but most of the themes flowing through When Life Stinks are universal and can be appreciated by a diverse group of readers.

A great debut for Kelly Epperson. I can’t wait to see what she’s up to next.

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Filed under Humor

Kindred Spirits

Kindred Spirits 
Author: Marilyn Meredith
Publisher: Mundania Press, LLC.
Rating: 
Reviewed by:  Cheryl C. Malandrinos

 

 

Murder, ghostly visions, and a quest for justice are woven together to create an engaging story in Kindred Spirits, the latest in Marilyn Meredith‘s Deputy Tempe Crabtree series.

A forest fire rushes through the mountains of Bear Creek as Tempe searches for local artist Vanessa Ainsworth. When Vanessa’s body turns up inside her burnt out studio with a bullet hole, Detectives Morrison and Richards seek Tempe’s help in finding out who could have behind what might have been a perfect murder.

Even though Tempe and Hutch’s marriage is on the rocks, Tempe takes a trip to Crescent City to visit with Vanessa’s family and friends to see if she can find any clues to who might have wanted Vanessa dead. Tempe’s involvement in the case puts her in danger, but she knows she’ll never be rid of the ghostly visions haunting her until she brings Vanessa’s killer to justice.

In this installment of the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, Meredith brings back Tempe, Hutch, and members of the Bear Creek Sheriff’s Office and gives them a mission: to prove who killed local artist, Vanessa Ainsworth. While in Judgment Fire–the book before this one in the series that I reviewed here–Tempe and the gang had a full slate of suspects, in Kindred Spirits their efforts are combined to prove the one person who couldn’t possibly have committed the crime, did it. And even though I typically prefer a “who done it” kind of mystery, this novel had me on the edge of my seat as Tempe dodged threat after threat to bring Vanessa’s murderer to justice.

Again Meredith has woven Native American history, small town charm, and a quest for the truth to provide an entertaining read for mystery and crime fans. And while Tempe is still dealing with the prejudice of being the only woman in the Bear Creek Sheriff’s Office, she finds Detective Morrison an unexpected ally in this latest installment, perhaps forever changing their working relationship and making me eager to see what the next book will bring for Morrison and Tempe. True to form, Meredith has made the personal lives of her characters an integral part of the story and the reader is eager to see if Tempe and Hutch, her minister husband, can find their way back to each other. Involving Hutch in Tempe’s case makes for many tense moments as they each deal with concern for the other’s safety, even though they are worlds apart on issues that might have forever changed their marriage.

A great read that mystery and crime readers will certainly enjoy, Kindred Spirits proves why Marilyn Meredith‘s fans keep coming back for more!

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Filed under Crime fiction, Mystery

Dear God Let Me Lose Fat Amen!

Dear God Let Me Lose Fat Amen?
Authors: J.R. Paine and Dr. S.N. Gupta, Ph.D.
Publisher: BookSurge, LLC
Rating: 
Reviewed by:  Cheryl C. Malandrinos

 

 

Are you seeking for a way to better understand the nutritional value of foods? Do you know the difference between nutritional calories, killer calories, and fat calories? Are you tired of the roller coaster of gaining weight, losing weight, gaining weight…?

If you said yes to any of the above, you’ll want to check out Dear God Let Me Lose Fat Amen! by J.R. Paine and Dr. S.N. Gupta. In this book the authors have managed to squeeze a monsterous amount of information into only 50 pages and those 50 pages could make all the difference in your eating habits.

Paine and Gupta discuss how obesity and being overweight are not beauty issues, but “life and limb” issues. They provide anatomical information on the stomach and show the reader what her body does with the food she eats. You’ll find out more about protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, “friendly” and “unfriendly” fats, water, salt, and sugar.

This book teaches you how to gain or lose a pound of fat a day, provides helpful weight control formulas and dieting information. The last several pages include motivational material that can be used to keep you from overeating and encourage you to exercise.

When this book came in the mail it’s small size made me think this might be one of those quick weight loss programs, but Dear God Let Me Lose Fat Amen! is a truly remarkable approach to weight loss because it not only provides you the information you need to make smart choices about your diet, it also provides the motivation to stick with your new lifestyle and it encourages the reader to speak with her doctor and nutrition professionals. And while I don’t see me posting all the pinups around my house, I know that the “Foods to Eat and Love” chart–which groups healthy goods into five categories–will be stuck to my refrigerator and encourage me to make healthier selections when putting together my grocery list.

My only disappointment is that the editing is sloppy. I found numerous typographical errors–four of them on the first page of the book.

Speaking as someone who struggles to maintain her weight, not to lose it, I see Dear God Let Me Lose Fat Amen! as being the answer to a lot of people’s prayers as society moves toward healthy living.

If you are at all interested in what you put into your body and how your body uses it, then buy this book!

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Filed under Health and Fitness, Self-Help

Beneath a Buried House

Beneath a Buried House
Author: Bob Avey
Publisher: Deadly Niche Press
Rating: 
Reviewed by:  Cheryl Malandrinos

If you enjoy unusual mysteries with multiple twists and turns, then check out Bob Avey’s latest novel, Beneath a Buried House.

Tulsa Police Detective Kenny Elliot has a keen sense for the unusual. The death of a John Doe from an overdose seems like an easy case–to everyone except Elliot. He’s sure there is more to it than meets the eye. His mission to discover the truth finds him deceived at every turn and makes him the target of an unknown danger.

In this second book of Avey’s Detective Elliot series I found much to enjoy. The characters are well-developed and complex; the plot thickens as the list of potential suspects increases; and I never expected the ending.

I haven’t read the first book in this series, Twisted Perception, but now I’m more curious than ever to see where Elliot got his start and how he solved his first case.

This book started off a bit slow because it is told from several points of view. The reader is introduced to eight characters who play a significant role in the book within the first six chapters and there is also a reference to a person from Elliot’s past that plays a role in forming Elliot’s relationship with women. But at a certain point the story picks up as the clues come together and Beneath a Buried House becomes a real page-turner. I couldn’t put it down until I finished the last page.

My only disappointment is that Avey ignored an important event towards the end that intefered with how the rest of the story played out. No matter how I tried to get around it, I couldn’t, and it spoiled what could have been a perfect ending.

Beneath a Buried House is a thrilling, suspenseful mystery that will have you waiting to see what case Elliot has to solve next.

 

 

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Kiss Me, I’m Single: An Ode to the Solo Life

Kiss Me, I'm Single: An Ode to the Solo Life
Kiss Me I’m Single: An Ode to the Single Life
Author: Amanda Ford
Publisher: Conari Press
Rating: 
Reviewed by: Dorothy Thompson

I am so very, very impressed with this book, I can’t even find the words to describe the joy I’m having at received it to review.

Kiss Me, I’m Single: An Ode to the Solo Life by Amanda Ford is one of the best and most fun reads I have read in a long time.  

Amanda Ford’s wisdom on being single shines like a star in the dateless horizon for those women (and men!) who have tired of the dating rituals and want to finally say I’m happy with myself and there’s not a darn thing wrong with it.

  

As Amanda says in her book, “Love has nothing to do with another person; it is a condition of your own heart.”

  

Inside these wonderful pages of singledom wisdom comes refreshing antidotes that the author herself has gleamed from years of being single.  Who’s more perfect to write about being single than someone who has been there, done that?  Not only that, she’s an expert in her field and the proof is in the pages of this entertaining book.

  

But the main point Amanda is making with this book is that it’s okay to be single and once you fall in love with yourself, everyone else will fall in love with you, too!

Kiss Me, I’m Single: An Ode to the Solo Life by Amanda Ford should be on every singles’ bookshelf as a testament to being proud of who they are.

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