The Case of the Goblin Pearls

goblinpearls

The Case of the Goblin Pearls (Chinatown Mystery #1) by Laurence Yep

So this year I have a bonafide Lunar New Year/Chinese New Year recipe as my friend Dao taught me to make egg rolls. So as that will be posting at the end of the week, I needed a book to match.

chinesenewyear

I had seen this series at the library and was intrigued by it, so when the time came, I saw no better time than now to read and review it.

startatponcestartrek

This is a children’s book, that’s why it is posting on Wednesday instead of Tuesday. The book is set in Chinatown in the ’90s, and oh wow is it full of ’90s stuff. I enjoyed it as I have been to Chinatown a ton of times when I went to college in the Bay Area. It is always cool when you watch or read something and you have been there.

image

Anyways, the Lunar New Year is coming and this year it is extra special as Auntie Tiger Lil is coming. Auntie was a movie star back in the ’30s and 40s and has been hired to promote Lion Salve, and be in charge of its float in the Chinese New Year Parade.

wow

Lily, (named after Tiger Lil and our main character) is excited, especially after she watches the Tiger Lil films and loves thenm. Her parents are also thrilled as they are in awe of Tiger Lil.

fantastic

Less enthused is Lily’s brother Chris, who is a big drag. He hates the Chinese New Year Parade,  hates Chinatown, he just hates everything. Chris feels like everything is derogatory, “tourist chinese culture”, but when our main character later tries to get involved in her roots, he makes fun of her even more. True he is her brother, and brothers and sisters can get into it, but it was just annoying to me. I feel like I have been plagued with people like that my life.

notenoughChamomileTeaStopRage

This jerk!!

Anyways, Auntie Lil works hard on the parade; she hires actors, Linda Chin (a girl from Lily’s school) has her mom create the elaborate costumes, but then everything is threatened with cancellation. There is a gang of kids who have been robbing Chinatown, and many fear that the parade will be the next one.

uhohnotgood

However, Mrs. Wong-one of the owners of the Happy Fortune Company and real estate mogul, where Linda’s mom works, decide to continue. They even have these giant pearls, the Goblin Necklace, that their daughter will wear on the Lion Salve Float. Take that gang!

Iron_man_boom

Boom

Linda brings in the amazing costumes, that her mother and friends made. Linda reveals that her mother was eager to work and so quick because the Happy Fortune Company is a sweatshop and the Wongs owe them back pay.

jerk_alert32

The day of the parade comes but not without problems as one of the actors hired has sprained her ankle. With such short notice, the only person who can fill in is Lil. She has to wear a cylinder, Lion Salve costume.

well that's just great anchorman

Lily unhappily joins in the parade, befriending fellow salve dancer, Norm. She also meets Mrs. Wong’s daughter Tiffany who is wearing the Goblin Pearls. Also on the float is the biggest Chinese actor of the time Clark Tom.

wow

Although, he isn’t all he’s cracked up to be. He is pretty drunk and spills wine all over Tiffany’s dress and the pearls. Mrs. Wong gets upset with the dress being ruined-while they are trying to clean the stain out, a man comes and steals the pearls.

OMG gasp

Auntie Tiger Lil gets angry and goes after the guy with Lil following in her Lion Salve costume, and what ensues is a hilarious chase scene that I cannot properly write-that ends with Lil rolling in her cylinder and a dance with her and Auntie Lil. It is so funny, I couldn’t stop laughing.

piratelaugh

Unfortunately, they don’t stop the criminals-but they do steal the show and are on all the news cameras. Afterwards, the police come and they give their statements with Lil finding one of the pearls and presenting it to the police.

guessclue

A CLUE!!!!

Mrs. Wong shrugs her off, saying it is a fake bauble from something else. Instead, Lil places it in her pocket and joins Auntie Lil for the after party banquet. They watch the parade footage, and instead of it being as nice as they thought, it does come off rather embarrassing for Lil. She decides to hightail it to the bathroom.

disappearvanish

She just disappeared.

In the bathroom, Lil gets attacked by the guy from the gang earlier. He wants the pearl, she picked up-but Lil is confused as it a a fake, why would they want it? Lil actually manages to outsmart him, and trap him in the bathroom. She goes for the police, but when they return he is gone-having smashed the bars on the window.

Whattheheck

It turns out that Norm, the actor Lil befriended in the parade is an Assistant District Attorney and starts putting the pieces together. The pearls in the parade were a fake as pearls would have been destroyed by the wine, yet Mrs. Wong didn’t care about them-she was more worried about Tiffany’s dress.

Very_Interesting250

The Wongs must be behind the theft-faking the pearls being stolen for the insurance money-a plot that was ruined when they realized they missed a pearl and Lil had it. If she turned it over to the police, the jig would be up. They decide to go after the Wongs, but they have disappeared.

31218-Where-Are-You-

Lil is upset for Linda and the unfairness of everything and wants to looking in the factory to see where the Wongs could have run off to. Auntie Lil tells her to leave it alone, but Lil has seen so many of the Tiger Lil films, she decides to go after the Wongs like her namesake will. Will she get the proof and help her friend? Will it be a horrible mistake? Has Auntie Lil given up, or does she have a few tricks up her sleeve?

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

Thoughts After Reading:

My initial take away, is that I would love to watch those Tiger Lil movies. Now is the time Yep-go to any studio and I am sure they would jump on it. I would do it set in the 30s, historical fiction murder melodramas. It would be AWESOME!!

Please!

Second, Chris is an annoying jerk.  Every culture, subculture, sub-sub culture has a Chris and I hate it. They are sooo annoying and you can’t win-you try and do things reflect your culture, whine whine. You don’t, whine whine. Annoying.

notenoughChamomileTeaStopRage

Besides that, this book was a ton of fun. I liked the characters, the storyline, and I look forward to checking out the rest of the series.

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

For more Children’s Books, go to The Shadow Garden

For more book reviews, go to I Love You More

Garfield in The Case of the Mystery Mail

Garfield in The Case of the Mystery Mail by Jim Kraft

So Garfield loves mysteries and is obsessed with mystery movies.

So much he has been ignoring his girlfriend Arlene. She is angry, but ignores this.

Ugh!

The next morning Garfield wakes up and finds an envelope in his dish. It has a picture of a fish in it.

The next day he finds a picture with the letter “R” leaning on a house

Hmm…

The day after that he finds a picture with a 2 and the night sky.

What do these mean?

Hmm…

Fish dinner at aRlene’s house 2-night. Get it!

Thoughts After Reading:

It was a rally cute little story. My niece loved it, but who doesn’t love Garfield?

For more children’s books, go to High Sea Adventure

High Sea Adventure

High Sea Adventure (Barbie and Friends Book Club) by Rita Balducci

This story takes place in the 1700s, with Barbie and Midge traveling with Midge’s father, a doctor, to deliver medicine to the Caribbean islands.

Hmm…

They stop at the Cayman Islands, where the girls meet Teresa Rivera, a young lady who is studying to be a nurse and who’s home they will be staying at while Midge’s father gets the hospital up and running.

The island is beautiful, and both Midge and Barbie see it as a paradise. However, this paradise has one bad snake-a pirate called Red Beard. He has been scavenging the locals exports, such as Teresa’s family’s sugarcane; along with stealing shipments of medicine. They hope the Navy captures him soon and ends his terrorizing of the seas. But even if they do, will they ever recover the things he stole?

Teresa shows them around the island when Midge spots a map shop. Hoping to find the perfect gift for her father, Midge goes inside. As she looks at maps she overhears men who look like pirates talking to the owner.

“Tell Red Beak the trade is made…Go to the mouth of the Little Bear.”

Afterwards, Midge tells Teresa and Barbie what she heard. They try to figure out what the message means, but no luck. Later that night, Midge is looking at the stars-trying to remember the names of the all the constellations when she spots Ursa Minor, the Little Dipper or Little Bear.

This strikes a cord with her and she pulls out the map she purchased earlier. There are a series of islands that line up just like that particular constellation. The mouth of the Little Bear the Pirates were talking about must be the cave that lines up with the “mouth” of the stars.

Immediately Midge runs to wake her friends. They go to tell Midge’s father so he can relay the information to the navy. But they are too late, he has already left to search for the pirate ship.

The girls decide it is up to them and they set out on one of Teresa’s family’s boats to test their theory. Will they find the pirate treasure? Or will this be a wild goose chase? Will they stop the pirate? Or be captured by them?

Thoughts After Reading:

This was always one of my favorites as a kid as it had pirates, adventure, and just a lot of fun.

I also loved how the girls save the day.

This is actually one of the better books in the series. In fact all the mysteries are.

For more Barbie books, go to The Silver Deer

For more pirate mysteries, go to Little Betty & Veronica: The Buried Treasure Mystery

For more Children’s books, go to The Turquoise Trail Mystery

For more historical fiction, go to The Butterfly and the Violin

The Silver Deer

The Silver Deer by Rita Balducci and Gail Herman

I know these are supposed to go in a certain order, but the problem I have is that no site gives the same numbers associated to these books. I decided to just forget doing them in “order” and post.

Am I right?

Lady Barbie and Lady Midge are in their carriage an headed to a visit with friends, Lord Henry and Lady Eve. They are looking out the windows at the rainstorm when they spot a silver deer!

What?

Just then the rain causes the coachman to lose control and they crash with the carriage getting stuck in the mud.

A carriage comes by with the Lady Ann, daughter of the famous, wealthy, and powerful Lord Richard. They help get the carriage out and head to their castle.

Barbie and Midge try to ask Ann about the Silver deer, but then she is strangely sent into a coughing fit. She extends them an invitation to stay and sends someone to let Lord Henry and Lady Eve know about the change of plans.

After a restful nap, Lady Midge and Lady Barbie dress for dinner and greet the party assembled. Once again Barbie tries to talk about the Silver Deer, but Ann changes the subject again. 

A minstrel comes and plays a song for the feast:

I love the merry spring weather

That is coming here so soon.

The flowers grow quickly,

By the light of the sun and the moon.

The forest is so cool and dark,

Its path roam far and near.

Who knows what magic it does have,

Who knows of the silver deer?

But before he can finish, Ann changes the subject by requesting a different song.

What is this silver deer, and what does Ann know and is not telling?

For more Barbie books, go to The Secret of the Three Teardrops

For more Children’s books, go to Sam the Cat: Detective

For more historical fiction, go to The Falling Machine

Sam the Cat: Detective

3262744

Sam the Cat: Detective (Sam the Cat Mysteries #1) by Linda Stewart

Sam is a cat, but not just any cat, he’s a private investigator. He takes on cases in the animal kingdom, trying to emulate the great fictional bests.

On the case!

Everything changes when a cute blonde, cute blonde cat that is, walks in one day asking for his help in discovering who is robbing the building her master lives in.

The case seems problematic and full of trouble, but Sam can’t resist a pretty face. Sam is on the case and will have to use all his contacts to figure out who this thief is. Is it human or animal?

Thoughts After Reading:

I loved this book! I thought it was fantastic how the author took the noir drama and made it a kids book.

Sam was a great character, a Sam Spade Phillip Marlowe type of detective.

I love that the main character is a cat as well. Mysteries and Cats just seem to go together.

For more mysteries centering on cats, go to How to Wash a Cat

For more children’s books, go to The Secret of the Three Teardrops

For more books with a private investigator, go to A Scandal in Bohemia

For more mysteries featuring burglaries, go to The Cat Who Ate Danish Modern

Binky Brothers, Detectives

9879497

Binky Brothers, Detectives by James Lawrence

Norbert “Dinky” Binky and his older brother, Albert “Pinky” Binky have started their own detective agency.

On the case!

Dinky thinks that as partners they should be equal, but big brother Pinky decides that being older means he gets more benefits and more of the money gained from their detecting.

While in between cases, the two brothers are selling cups of lemonade for 2¢. While selling, Chub Doolin, catcher, comes along. He hires the brothers as his mitt was stolen, and the team will be unable to beat the Wildcats without it.

Chub hands over the ransom note he was given:

Ha Ha! I have your mitt. Now the wildcats will beat you. Guess who? [Skull & crossbones]

Soon Wildcat players, Spike Brown and Joe Parker stop by. They have information they shouldn’t about the missing glove.

When Spike gets his money to pay, a pink note comes falling out. It is the same type as the one that Chub was given. It has a different message.

Tell the team we can win easy now. I hid you-know-what in the house. Those dopes will never look high enough to find it unless one of them is a monkey. Mel. [Skull & Crossbones]

Pinky figures out that Mel must be Melvin Krantz, the wildcat shortstop. Pinky thinks on the note and decides that the house in the note must be the team treehouse.

When he gets to the house it is too easy. And good reason to be, as it was all a trap to get rid of the Cubs best pitcher, Pinky. Pinky doesn’t know what to do.

Dinky comes along as he has found the glove, having figured out that the second note was a trap. He blackmails his brother into letting him be in the game and get equal share in the detective agency.

Thoughts After Readig:

This was not a good mystery.

I mean it didn’t even explain how Dinky figured everything out, he just did.

For more children’s books, go to The Chocolate Chip Mystery

For more mysteries with private investigators, go to C is for Corpse

For more mystery reviews, go to Emilie & the Hollow World

The Chocolate Chip Mystery

9780811669641

The Chocolate Chip Mystery by John McInnes

Thoughts Before Reading:

Well I thought I would try something new, and start reviewing Children’s books on Wednesday instead of putting them with the regular novels on Tuesdays.

Peppino visits the ice cream store, Max, every day after school. He works with the owner, Max, and also helps care for the dog that choose the ice cream parlor to be its home, Fat Dog.

One day Max becomes disheartened and when Peppino asks, it turns out that the building is going to be destroyed to be a office building. What will Max do?

The postman tells him of a ice-cream store that is for sale and the two go check it out. It turns out to be the Gravely store! Max doesn’t want that it is haunted!!!

He goes to see Mr. Gravely to ask about the store and Mr. Gravely is a tall, skeletal, man dressed as an undertaker! Creepy.

He tells him that his uncle used to run an ice-cream store, but it had to be given up as funny things kept happening. Hmmmmmmm?

They fix the store all up nice, but no one is coming. They think it might be because the story of it being haunted is turning people away.

Then to add to it, the ice-cream is disappearing, only Chocolate Chip though.

Peppino offers to stay and see what might be the cause of it. That night he sees a ghostly figure!

It turns out tat Max is sleep eating! That solves the mystery and problem, but what about the other one?

Peppino comes up with a fantastic idea, to market the parlor as a horror one.

Max’s Haunted Ice Cream Store

This Week’s Flavor:

GHOST AND GINGERSNAP

The store is all decorated as Max and Peppino dress up in costumes,. Soon all kinds of people come to visit and all ends well.

Yay!

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

Thoughts After Reading:

Adorable. Such a cute book, I loved it!

For more Supernatural mysteries, go to The Winter People

For more ghosts, go to The Barter

For more reviews, go to Spring Breakdown

Death on Demand

Deathondemand

Death on Demand (Death on Demand #1) by Carolyn G. Hart

Thoughts Before Reading:

So I started this series with the book Deadly Valentine (Death on Demand #6) when I picked up an autographed copy at a library book sale. I love book sales.

new-books

I really enjoyed that book and decided to start the series from the beginning, and let me tell you I wasn’t disappointed with it. While at times it may be predictable the character and stories always leave me coming back for more.

wantyouyes

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

Plot Synopsis:

So the book starts off strong with our murderer listing out the items they need to kill their intended victim:

1 Pair of Doctor’s Rubber Gloves

1 Spool of Black Extra-Strong Button-and-Carpet Thread

A Handful of Assorted Keys

Clear Fingernail Polish

Polish Remover

1 Dart

And just one more, the most important of all…

suspense

We can’t reveal that just yet. The murderer needs a little more mystery.

mystery

So Annie Laurence inherited the mystery bookstore, Death on Demand on Broward’s Rock, when her uncle died a few months ago.

Aw...

Aw…

Annie loves the store, as she has always been a book lover and mystery aficionado.

doNothingbutRead.49 PM

She loves everything about the bookstore, except this upcoming Sunday. There are quite a few writers who reside on Broward’s Rock, south Carolina, giving Annie the idea to create a writer’s night in which they take turns lecturing or planing a program.

badfeeling

It had been going well until mean, nasty Elliot Morgan dropped a bomb that he was going to blow apart the next meeting with his new book, all about the famous writers living on the island. Why does he have to go and ruin everything?

Really Mike?

WHY!

To further her anxiety, her old boyfriend is on his way.

BigBangTheoryMyliferightnow

Annie met Max Darling after college when she was trying to strike it big on stage in New York. She was an actress, while Max was one of the producers. Max Darling is from an extremely wealthy family, so wealthy that he doesn’t need to work. Annie left him as she felt it wouldn’t work out as she was born in a lower economic scale and was only able to go to college on a scholarship.

thisisbad

Max however is not one to give up on something he believes in and has tracked her down to Boward’s Rock using his charm, wit, and acting abilities.

Smirkity smirk smirk

That day the store is closed, but Annie goes in for some inventory to settle her nerves as she contemplates what will happen tonight.

Tonight will be horrible!

Tonight will be horrible!

Max decides to stay that night and assist Annie with her writer’s group. The writers all enter in at their own pace. Captain Mac is a retired cop who moved to Broward’s Rock and was a friend of Annie’s uncle. He’s also been a big help to Annie after her Uncle Amos’ death. He’s not a writer, but participates in giving insight into police procedure and criminal experience.

1944: Dana Andrews puts the spotlight on Gene Tierney during the interrogation scene of the film noir, 'Laura', directed by Otto Preminger.

Emma Clyde is a mystery queen, and author of the famous Marigold Mystery Series.

tumblr_ng4wawgxLN1s2wio8o1_500

Janis and Jeff Farley; Jeff the writer of children books while Janis is the illustrator.

Fritz Hemphill who does green beret shoot ’em up war books.

gunshooting

Kelly Rizzo who did psychological thrillers.

Sorry but I don't think so.

And Elliot bringing up the rear.

Hate him.

Hate him.

Just then Harriet Edelman comes in bursting with news that the vet Jill Kearney was murdered the night before.

thenannygasp

She went in to look on an animal recovering from a procedure and interrupted a robbery. She was smacked in the head and because of her thin skull, died from it.

StarTrekTheOriginalSeriesHesDeadJim

Suddenly Elliot announces his newest non-fiction book. Titles Criminal Minds, all about the horrible, scandalous things done by the authors who reside here on Broward’s Rock.

ohnoyoudidn't

Just then the lights go out, a scream rings, and when the lights come on Elliot dead by a poison dart.

thenannygasp

Chief Frank Saulter believes that Annie is the murderer, having first killed her uncle for her inheritance and then Elliot when he threatened to reveal it all in his book.

Not-Good

With Annie racing against the clock, it is up to her and Max to do some private detecting to figure out who the real killer is.

watchundercoverSecretAgent_0116_SteveWeigl.jpg.644x651_q100

As they start looking into what dirt Elliot had on the bunch this is what they find out.

  • Captain Mac admits that he was involved in a paternity suit.
  • Annie tells Max how she helped a friend escape a bad marriage and save their child by having the friend be admitted to a hospital under her name and give the baby up for adoption.
  • Kelly has had crimes of animal killing following her all over. She says her sister is the one that does it and she is just protecting her, but is that the truth?
  • Hal Douglas’ wife disappeared. Many believe he killed her, but he insists that he is innocent.
  • Harriet supposedly stole a story and printed it under her own name.
  • Jeff beats Janis.
  • Emma’s husband was cheating on her and then just happened to “fall overboard”.

Who is the killer? And will Annie figure it out before he strikes again? Or worse, she is put on trial for murder.

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

Thoughts after reading:

So I love this book and the way Carolygn G. Hart writes the characters. Annie and Max are just fantastic!

fantastic

Annie is not only lovable but intelligent and able to out the pieces together quite nicely.

likeit

I also love how sweet Max is and how he stays in the end to open his “private detective agency that isn’t a private detective agency.”

you'recute

*Spoiler Alert*

I only have two issues with the book:

  1. If Max has so much money, why didn’t they just buy a laptop to read Elliot’s disk instead of sneaking into Elliot’s house and Annie getting injured. You think that would be much easier for them right?
  2. I figured the mystery out really early on. Her uncle died and was investigating two places, where guess what Captiain Mac was the only person involved with one of them. I mean, come on. A paternity suit, you know it had to more than that Annie. Also, how could a police officer retire and afford an expensive house like he does. It’s obvious he’s dirty.

its-so-obvious-captain-obvious

But to tell the truth I really didn’t care about either one as I just loved the characters and decided to read the whole series.

And as I love this series you will be seeing a lot more reviews on them in the future!

wantyouyes

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

For more books from library book sales, go to A is for Alibi

For more mystery reviews, go to A Pinch of Poison