Mystery


Rock Harbor Search and RescueRock Harbor Search and Rescue

Robin Carroll and Colleen Coble

When fourteen-year-old Emily is accused of stealing a valuable necklace from a local artist, she is determined to prove her innocence. Her dad and step-mom seem to believe Emily is guilty based on comments from two other teen girls, though no one searches Emily’s things. Despite the lack of support at home, Emily and her best friend Olivia decide to list suspects and investigate the case on their own. Before the necklace went missing, Emily’s parents promised her a new puppy she could train as a search and rescue dog, and now the only way Emily is going to get that puppy is to clear her name.

As the girls search for clues, they learn bits and pieces about people in their small town, but nothing seems to indicate the identity of the thief. More often than not, she learns things she ends up wishing she didn’t know. Like the fact that her mother, who has been in prison for the last six years following harm done to Emily’s brother, is eligible for parole. Her worries mounting, Emily busies herself volunteering to help the surf team before the upcoming championship and helping with search and rescue missions. When one mission inadvertently reveals who has possession of the stolen necklace, Emily is shocked and torn. After having suffered through weeks of gossip and accusation, she doesn’t want to rush into telling the sheriff what she knows, but keeping quiet would be wrong, too. Emily resolves to convince the thief to come forward voluntarily, but accomplishing this task turns out to be much harder than she thought.

Carroll and Coble have partnered in creating a pure, heartwarming tale of a young girl in a small town searching for her place in her family and her community, learning about personal and communal responsibility and how to have faith amidst scary situations. This is a nice, light read.

Language Content
None.

Sexual Content
None.

Spiritual Content
Emily battles fear of the legendary Windigo, a monster which supposedly prowls the woods near her home. She prays for protection and peace and is quick to instruct others not to believe in the legend or be frightened by it.

Violence
A boy drags Emily into an alley. Some scenes contain references to a past event in which a mother purposely withholds diabetic meds from her child to make him sick. It’s a little intense, but not precisely violent.

Drug Content
None.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com® <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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The Mysterious HowlingFifteen-year-old Penelope Lumley has been summoned to her first interview for her first governess position. As a recent graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females and armed with the pithy and wise sayings of the school’s founder, Agathe Swanburne, Penelope is ready for anything.

When she is greeted by the skittish household at Ashton Place, however, and confronted by the strange howling children who are scarcely clad, Penelope realizes it will take all her training, education, and her fond memories of books about wild ponies, to handle this task. She will not be deterred. Not by the children’s wild fervor over chasing squirrels. Not by the unusual names (Alexander, Beowulf and Cassiopeia) bestowed on them by Lord Ashton himself. When Lady Constance plans an extravagant Christmas party that the children must attend, Penelope puts aside her plans for geography and mathematics in favor of table manners and appropriate dinner conversation. If only she can figure out what the Schottische is and prepare the children for it, she might have a chance at keeping her job with the children she has grown to love.

Not every governess is willing to take on three children who were raised by wolves. Literally. Now that they’ve been “rescued” from the forest by Lord Ashton, the children must be civilized and educated. Penelope sets herself to the task and achieves often hilarious and endearing results in this first book in a series which has been described as a mash-up of Lemony Snicket and Jane Eyre. The Mysterious Howling is brilliant and fun.

Language Content
None.

Sexual Content
None.

Spiritual Content
None.

Violence
None.

Drug Content
When the children become the center of attention at the Christmas party, Lady Constance copes by drinking too much champagne and falling asleep at the table.

 

A Deeper Look: Notes from the Blogger

K L Giard

I read this book hoping to find a great audiobook to listen to on our family vacation. To my delight, I found it to be a wonderful story, one the entire family could enjoy. I found it impossible not to fall in love with Penelope and her three dear charges. The children make it appealing to a younger, more middle-grade audience, but because the tale is told from fifteen-year-old Penelope, it also appeals to teens. Those with challenging babysitting experiences may find it especially amusing.

mingvaseThe Scratch on the Ming Vase by Caroline Stellings
Second Story Press

Fourteen year-old Nicki Haddon arrives in Canada, ready to begin her training at the Fire Dragon Academy. But when she reports to the academy to meet kung fu master David Kahana, Nicki finds him lying in a pool of blood. He is only able to slur out a few words and begs Nicki to find a priceless vase and return it to its owner.

The search for the Chinese vase causes Nicki to question her past. She wrestles with the absence of her wealthy adopted parents as they manage their hotel chain, and her origin as an abandoned baby from a Chinese orphanage. Are her real parents still out there? Do they think of her at all?

Bravely facing danger and following sharp instincts, Nicki pursues Kahana’s attacker and the Ming vase. She gives her Chinese name so that her adopted name is not recognized. She lies in order to get a job and gain access to restricted files. She doesn’t appear to have any qualms about these actions. Along the way, she receives help from the butler, another Chinese family and the generous owners of a small deli. Together, they will find the vase and return it to its owner, as Master Kahana has asked.

Language Content
None.

Sexual Content
None.

Spiritual Content
None.

Violence
Nicki is the first to find her teacher after he has been stabbed. In several altercations, Nicki uses martial arts to disable her attackers. She handles a gun that a kidnapper produces, but does not fire. No gory details are given.

Drug Content
None.