Super Max and the Mystery of Thornwood’s Revenge By Susan Vaught

A vengeful miser, a series of damaging social media tweets, and one angry and determined girl all add up to a satisfying fast paced mystery.

Max lives in the small town of Blue Creek with her grandfather, the Chief of Police. We meet Max as she is doing penance for starting a fire. Max laments, “Superheroes should never be grounded”. Her Grandfather, Toppy, disagrees. She spends her days, under supervision, trying to soup-up her wheelchair in his workshop. She’s also made to write reports on the sappiest shows you have ever seen. Max is frustrated, angry, and in her mind, completely misunderstood.

Just as her punishment is over, the Mayor calls to complain about Toppy’s Facebook page.  She is furious over the damaging things he is saying about the Mayor and town. The only problem is – he doesn’t have a Facebook page.  Toppy calls Facebook a “bunch of cat pictures and whining”. So who has made the Facebook page and is posting things he would never say? This is just the beginning a series of incidents in the town that soon escalate to dangerous levels for everyone involved.

Joining forces with her best friend, Lavender, Max is soon on the case. It is soon apparent to everyone that the town is under the curse of Thornwood’s Revenge, brought on by the town’s former richest citizen. A cruel and greedy man who blamed every misfortune on others, it is said that he cursed the town before its death. From beyond the grave, he is destroying the town and Toppy is the first victim.

Max is determined to solve the mystery, avoid ever talking to her absent mother, regain Toppy’s trust, and to never let any obstacle get in her way. She is smart, stubborn, and impetuous. She is also fiercely loyal to her friends and town. She soon learns that things are not always what they seem and revenge is a nasty business indeed.

This well written book is recommended for ages 8 – 12.

The Templar’s Code by C.M. Palov

9047183The Templar’s Code is a well written suspense novel, similar in vein to Dan Brown or Steve Berry. Caedmon Aisquith is our determined protagonist on the hunt for the Emerald tablet, an artefact that could kill off the entire population of the world. He and girlfriend Edie Miller traipse across the East Coast of the US and London following the clues left behind by Benjamin Franklin and several founders of the USA. Conspiracy theories, murder, arson, car chases and more make this book hard to put down.

This is the second in a series of 4 books which I didn’t know when I picked it up. However, I had no trouble following the story line; it could easily be read as a standalone. My only issue was how naive Caedmon was about the danger they were in, as a former agent of MI5 I just expected a little more common sense. It didn’t deter me from reading on and I easily finished it in a few days. Recommended for anyone who enjoys a good thriller.

Recipes for Love and Murder by Sally Andrew

Tannie Maria is a warm-hearted cook who lives in a rural area of South Africa. She writes a food-based agony column for the local newspaper. One of her readers asks:

I am wondering what really matters? Really. Family? Duty? God? Friends? Food? Love?

Tannie Marie replies with great warmth and wisdom:

In the end what matters most is love and food. Without them you go hungry. And you need them to enjoy all of the other things you write about.

And Tannie Maria loves to cook and to share food. Soon she becomes involved in a murder investigation because of a letter she received from a lady looking for help with an abusive husband. Good food helps her unearth vital clues.

The book gives a very warm feeling for the area, its landscape, weather, and wildlife. Characters use many Afrikaans words. The meaning can generally be inferred from the context but a glossary is also provided. Recipes for the meals and cakes mentioned are also provided.

If you like Alexander McCall Smith’s mysteries set in Botswana, this book is for you.

Warning: Do not read this book when you are hungry or if you have no food in the house.

This is Our Story by Elston

5 boys walked into the woods but only 4 came out. The 4 who lived won’t say what happened and the DA just wants the case to go away; they have powerful families with political ties. Kate, however, wants to find the truth. A boy is dead after all. Kate and the prosecutor she works for are determined to figure it out even when it puts their own lives at risk.

Our teen reviewer had this to say, “this book grabbed my attention right from the first sentence and held on with a death grip until the last word. I loved it.”

Night Watch by Iris & Roy Johansen

Kendra Michaels’ adventures continue in the fourth book of the series. Dr. Waldridge, the man who gave her the ability to see, is in trouble. He wouldn’t say why he flew from England to California, he seems on edge, and then he told her it was safer if she didn’t know. Now he’s disappeared and apparently hired himself a PI to find a colleague beforehand. Lynch is willing to help but he comes with complications that Kendra doesn’t want to deal with yet.

The research which led to Kendra’s ability to see used stem cells to repair her eyes. As Kendra delves deeper she discovers the program has been turned in a new direction. A less helpful direction.

This is another solid suspense novel to add to your reading shelf.