From Rat Pack to Elvis

Working on my manuscript-in-progress set in Las Vegas, I need to visualize some of the details in the scenes. So, like many writers, I collect pictures. Some writers find their characters by looking at people on the web or pics of celebrities. I find them in my head. But for the setting, the surroundings, the details, I need visual stimulation.

Today I’m writing a scene set in a Las Vegas Steakhouse and have chosen TJ’s Steakhouse at the Las Vegas Hilton:

Isn’t that pic fabulous? Check out the celebrity photos on the wall, although you may have to squint to do so. This is what I love about the Las Vegas Hilton – it retains some of the old Vegas charm that’s missing today with the newest and swankiest casinos. It’s also located off-Strip, and I find it more relaxing. I also recall dining at a Prime Rib restaurant that’s no longer there and walking past Mr. T’s table – remember him? He was all decked out in his gold jewelry, as you’d expect.

When Elvis first came to Vegas, he was a big flop. Back then, mostly older folks came to Vegas and they were not Elvis fans. I remember a friend’s much older parents traveling to Vegas every August from their home in southern California and staying at the Tropicana. The glittering chandelier is still there, but the Trop has lost its charm and any class it once had.

So, check out this video of Elvis’ big return to Las Vegas at the International, now known as the Las Vegas Hilton, back in ’69.

The Book Review Club: Godfather of Night

This month, I’m reviewing something a little bit different for me for the November meeting of “The Book Review Club.” I’ve chosen a nonfiction book, Godfather of Night: A Greek Mafia Father, a Drug Runner Son, and an Unexpected Shot at Redemption by Kevin Pappas.

First, I’ll post the description found on amazon.com, and then I’ll tell you why I chose this book at the end.

Book Description

What if you belonged nowhere and to no one? What if you learned as a teenager that the father who had mistreated you for years wasn’t your father at all–and that you were actually born to the mistress of a Greek gangster? And what if the only way to connect with your real father was to become his fiercest rival?

Kevin Cunningham grew up in Tarpon Springs, Florida, just another kid from the wrong side of the tracks. But from his first days, Kevin gravitated toward power, and in Tarpon Springs that meant local crime boss Lukie Pappas. As a boy, Kevin hung out at the Pappas Restaurant, and he saw how the townspeople approached Lukie. How they respected him. How they came to him for help. How they called him nounos–Greek for “godfather.” From the shadows, Kevin admired it all.

When he turned seventeen, Kevin’s world flipped upside down. His dying father confessed that Kevin was the son of another man–and not just any man. He was the son of Lukie Pappas. Suddenly, Kevin’s destiny was clear. His lineage became his fate. His rightful place was beside the Greek godfather who ruled his hometown.

But Lukie coldly rejected him, as both a son and a colleague. Fueled by rage and pride, Kevin claimed the Pappas name as his own and embarked on his own criminal enterprise. From two-bit swindling he rose quickly to high-stakes drug trafficking. Money laundering, gunrunning, and racketeering polished his underworld résumé, even as they placed him squarely in the crosshairs of every federal agency with three initials and a most-wanted list. And when he got caught, Kevin’s time behind bars only honed his criminal instinct, hardened his resolve, and cemented his reputation as a larger-than-life outlaw who sometimes went down but could never be taken out.

Still in his early twenties but as powerful as any crime boss, Kevin surrounded himself with an elite group, a posse that called itself the Band of Five. Flush with fast cars, boats, planes, and women, they wanted for nothing, but their antics invited violent attempts to bring Kevin to his senses–or at least to his knees.

More than a gripping tale, Godfather of Night unveils the Greek American crime syndicate and its close alignment to power and takes readers to a dark place where family secrets collide with high-level crime and corruption. Kevin Pappas’s story is a true-crime epic for a new generation of wiseguys–full of the harrowing war stories and hard-won wisdom of a man who lived by his own rules, broke everyone else’s, and dared the world to try to stop him.

Why I Chose This Book

I was reading the Tampa paper on my iPhone, and found a story about this book, which was causing quite a stir among the locals. The good people of Tarpon Springs didn’t want to believe it was true and insisted it wasn’t. Having lived not too far from this town, I was extremely curious about the book.

So, hubby purchased it on Kindle, and we both read it. Now I don’t usually read books with “Good Fellas” and “The Sopranos” type of language, but I couldn’t resist skimming this book for two reasons: (1) he was raised a Jehovah’s Witness, and (2) he didn’t know his father growing up. I can relate to both, having met my father for the first time after the age of 40 (although there are rumors I saw him when I was 3.)

What really touched me was how desperate he was for his father to acknowledge him. Thank goodness my own father wasn’t a “wise guy” type because that type of internal desperation led him to live a life of crime and fear. But he also validated what I’ve been trying to express about my own experience – that biological fathers are very important to people – both sons and daughters – even if you’ve never met them – especially if you’ve never met them. And to deny your child is cruel; plain and simple.

Growing up in his mother’s religion (Jehovah’s Witness), he had two choices: either use the manipulative tools they use to control people to control people for your own use, or live a small life of repressed submission. He chose the former; I chose the latter. Thankfully, we both broke free. But the part that disappointed me in his “redemption” is that he never found God. But with two negative religious influences (and I’m disappointed the Greek Orthodox Church allegedly allowed the Greek Mafia influence into the church), it’s not surprising. Many who have had such a negative experience with religion leave, and often do not find their way back.

But many do find God, and for a small sample of conversion stories, you might want to check out my link here.

Check out other book reviews by clicking on the graphic below.

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@Barrie Summy

Disclaimer: I only review books I want to recommend and have purchased myself, although if I’m excited about a book, I’ll accept a complimentary copy when offered.

The Pink Monorail

The title may be “Real Women Wear Red” but some things are meant to be pink.

One of the scenes in my novel Real Women Wear Red was inspired by a woman who ordered a Pink Monorail at the Trout Pass Bar at Wilderness Lodge at Disney World.

Working at the Cancer Center in Tampa, she often took weekend getaways to a Disney World resort to relieve some of the stress of her profession. Apparently, this drink used to be featured at the top of the Contemporary Resort at Disney World, but not anymore so she had her own copy of the recipe, which she gave to the bartender – a friendly British chap – so he could make the drink for her.

That experience stuck with me and I had to write that into my book – or something similar since the book is set on a cruise ship. Anyway, I put out a call on Passporter for the drink recipe. And lo and behold, a woman who goes by the name of “Pinkerbell” came up with the recipe. I had to share it here:

From Mickey’s Gourmet Cookbook:

PINK MONORAIL
Top of the World
Disney’s Contemporary Resort

1 1/4 ounces gin
1 1/4 ounces pineapple juice
1 1/4 ounces orange juice
1 ounce grenadine
1/2 ounce lemon bar mix
1 1/2 ounces heavy cream
3/4 cup crushed ice
orange slice
maraschino cherry

Mix gin, fruit juices, grenadine, lemon bar mix, and heavy cream in a blender with ice. Blend for 10 seconds. Pour into a tall glass. Garnish with orange slice and cherry.

I think we should bring back the Pink Monorail and order one whenever we’re at Walt Disney World. But we might want to have our own copy of the recipe with us just in case the bartender doesn’t have one of his own.

Ah, how I miss those weekend getaways to Disney World myself.

The Book Review Club: The Ever Running Man

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means it’s time for the October meeting of “The Book Review Club,” hosted by Barrie Summy. For my review, I’ll be posting something about “The Ever Running Man” – a Sharon McCone mystery – by Marcia Muller. Marcia Muller’s web site says this:

cover_everrunningSharon McCone is hired by her husband’s security firm to track down ‘the ever-running man,’ a shadowy figure who has been leaving explosive devices at their various offices. She doesn’t have to search for long. When McCone narrowly escapes an explosion at the security firm’s San Francisco offices, she catches a glimpse of his retreating figure.

The ever-running man is dangerously close-and anyone connected to the firm seems to be within his deadly range. To complicate matters, McCone is forced to question her intensely private husband, Hy, about his involvement in some of the firm’s dark secrets. The history of corruption may jeopardize their marriage, but uncovering the secrets of the firm may be the only way she can save her husband’s life, and her own.

What I love about Marcia Muller’s writing is similar to what I love about Laura Caldwell: the characterization and personalization of the main character involved in solving bigger mysteries outside themselves, while affecting a change within themselves at the same time. I’m not a die-hard mystery or thriller fan, but I do love a mystery/suspense or psychological thriller told in a personal way and is most likely written in first person.

I’ve recently concluded that those who react strongly to first or third person may be influenced by their personality profile – some readers want the intimacy that comes from becoming the main character as written in first person, while others prefer the distance of participating more as an observer. Neither is wrong – it’s just personal.

The other thing I enjoy about the Sharon McCone series is that she is San Francisco-based with a history in all of California – from the Mendocino Coast, to the Sierra/high desert borders, down to San Diego. She references things relevant to California, the real California, which I understand, having my own history with the entire state, having lived in most of it and with family in the rest of it. Reading Sharon McCone allows me to revisit my California past without having to relive it. 🙂

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@Barrie Summy

Disclaimer: I only review books I want to recommend and have purchased myself, although if I’m excited about a book, I’ll accept a complimentary copy when offered.

Review

Review of Real Women Wear Red 
By Jamieson Wolf, The Book Pedler

Kate “Cyn” Francis is in a frump.

Unlucky at love, Cyn wonders if her second chance at love will ever come along. At forty five, it’s been years since she’s had a man in her bed and love in her heart. Her ex, a big fake, turned out to be more lust than love and Cyn wonders if love is possible for women over forty.

At the behest of her close friend Maggie, Cyn decides to take drastic action and change her life. Her old one sure isn’t working for her. She dyes her hair, changes her name and her age and heads out on a Caribbean cruise. On a boat full of men, there’s got to be one Mr. Right among them. Right?

Instead of Mr. Right, Cyn meets two other single women who are also looking for love: the beautiful Sandy Brown is traveling the cruise trying to mend her broken heart. Divorced and self-conscious, she is also looking for love, hoping that she can find someone to make her feel love again.

There’s also Millie Evans. Having sold her publishing empire, Millie is on a succession of one week cruises looking to find her long lost love. A widow after losing her husband, Millie searches for the man she met years ago on a cruise. Even though it is an impossible task, Millie hopes to find the man she loved and walked away from.

When these three women board the S.S. Platinum Queen, they have no idea that their lives are about to change forever. They come together in a time of need for each of them and find each other. Before they can find love, however, they will have to learn to love themselves.

But, thankfully, there is nothing that can’t be accomplished with friendship, more than a few martinis’s and lots of red. A real woman does wear red after all….

I absolutely loved this book. Without a doubt, it was THE best chick lit book that I’ve read in years. It has everything you could possibly need in a chick lit book: girlfriends, a search for love, martini’s, sandy beaches and sexy men.

But, really, Real Women Wear Red is so much more than sandy beaches and sexy men. The novel is about love, loss and the courage it takes to move on with your life. It’s also about the strength needed to look inside yourself be honest with who you are.

What I loved most about Real Women Wear Red is the fact that these women are real. I felt for them, ached for them, laughed with them. I felt like I knew them, like I had known them for years. When I finished the novel, I felt as if these women were my friends, my confidantes. In short, I felt for them.

It’s not every author that can accomplish this. Most chick lit is peopled by cardboard cut out characters that all sound and talk alike. Likewise, the plot is usually the standard girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl pines for boy, boy comes back to girl. Don’t get me wrong, I love chick lit, but it’s rare to find something that fits in the mold and also goes beyond the genre at the same time.

But Holmes has created three very distinct women surrounded by an incredible plot that will take you on the ride of your life. She has done the impossible: created a chick lit novel that transcends the genre and, instead, becomes something else all its own.

Real Women Wear Red is a fast, fantastic read and I loved every word. You will laugh, you’ll cry and then you’ll laugh again. This is not your average chick lit. Do yourself a favor and read it, won’t you?

Excerpt

REAL WOMEN WEAR RED

CHAPTER ONE

CYN

“Dear Abby, I’m over 40 and my life sucks.”

I sipped my Hazelnut Roast in the break room of TGI Graphics, placed my cup on the table, and continued reading from the Los Angeles Times to my co-worker Maggie.

“Dear Abby, I’ve been divorced for five years, and I still haven’t found my second chance.”

“Dear Abby, I’m over 40, divorced, and don’t know how to compete in a young world.”

“Say what?” Maggie interrupted.

“No, wait, there’s one more—it’s the real clincher.”

“Dear Abby, I’m over 40, and I’m dating a much younger man who wants to have kids. Am I too old to start a family?”

“BS. Why should life be any different after 40 than before 40?”

Never mind the obvious reason—I wanted to believe Maggie. But underneath it all, I felt the same way as the letter writer. It had been five years since my divorce and my “second chance” still hadn’t materialized. I got the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach something was wrong whenever I thought about it. I tried to dismiss it, but then sleep became harder and harder to sustain throughout the night. I tossed and turned, woke up, and stared at the ceiling, searching my mind for answers that never came. If I dared mention it, people snickered and suggested something about “hot flashes” and “that age.”

“Well, I’ll tell you I wasn’t going through that.” Not yet. But I was at an age when I came to the depressing realization my life wasn’t working. It wasn’t so much I was unhappy. It was the uneasy feeling my life wasn’t moving forward.

“You’re not going through what, Cyn? Are you still moaning about being over 40? You’re still young yet.”

“So, how come my second chance hasn’t arrived?”

“Okay, listen to Mother Maggie cuz I’m gonna tell you what you should do. Book a Caribbean cruise, dye your hair blonde, and paint your toes pink. People will think you’re a young girl of 30.”

That was easy for Maggie to say. She was still in her thirties and never married, so how did she know what it was like to feel over the hill at 40-something? Maggie did seem to have her finger on the pulse of the singles’ world. But did I want to be a “girl?” And what was up with the color pink? Guess it went along with being a “girl.

Maggie had an answer for that too. “L.A. men are fake. Isn’t that why it all went wrong with your ex?”

Actually, my ex and I were both from the Midwest—Ohio, to be exact. But knowing that didn’t phase her—Maggie was on a roll.

“Besides, on a cruise, you’re bound to meet men from other parts of the country. In civilized areas such as the East Coast.”

She might have a point about men from outside of L.A. Maggie was from New England and she swore the men were different there—nice without being boring. If only it weren’t so darn cold, we’d probably both go back there to find one. Maggie said a cruise would be a way to meet a guy from colder climes without enduring the cold. Would they relocate to L.A.? Hmmm. Wasn’t so sure about this plan, but it was worth a shot.

“If I book a cruise, will you come with me?”

“No, Cyn. Women in groups scare men. You’re much more approachable by yourself. You must go alone. Leave it to me—I’ll book just the right cruise for you.”

Two days later I was face down on Maggie’s bed in her apartment, L’Oreal (“because I’m worth it”) Preference for Blondes, #9½-NB for Natural Blonde piled on my head with my nose stuck in a Cosmo—the magazine, not the drink. A vodka martini, straight up, was my drink. None of these silly, girly drinks for a woman like me, although Maggie insisted I was going to attract an old geezer if I kept drinking martinis.

“Get with it—you gotta drink a colored ’tini. There’s Appletini, Baby Blue Martini, Berry Berry Martini, Bacardi Limon Martini, Key Lime Martini, Chocolate Martini, and the Ultimate Cosmopolitan just for starters,” she said the last time we were enjoying “Ladies Night” at the downtown Embassy Suites bar just two blocks from the office.

I flipped through the magazine, back to front, in my usual fashion. “Older Women and Young Men—How to Snag a Boy Toy” caught my attention. Hmmm… a younger man? There it was again. First Dear Abby and now Cosmo. Boy toys, pink, and girls.

Not sure if I could start drinking pink drinks and call myself a girl, but if that’s what you had to do these days to get a boy, I would consider it.

But did I really want a boy? That sounded like a plaything. I was looking for something more serious. But how did I really feel about having kids? Women my age who found younger men were pressured into having a family. On the other hand, women my age who had met older men were stuck with grown children. They were the second wife and the kids didn’t always accept them. So which way did I want to go?

“Here, stick out your toes,” Maggie commanded, holding a giant bottle of hot pink polish.

“No pink,” I protested.

“Oh, yes, Cyn, you must do pink.”

Maggie had started calling me Cincy, or Cyn for short, because I was originally from Cincinnati, but my real name was Kate, or rather Katherine. I’ve now changed my name, my hair color, and even got a pair of special prescription contact lenses—for those with “eyes over 40.” Who would recognize me now? Taking on a new identity was one thing but wearing pink was another.

I handed Maggie the bottle of “New York Red.”

“No, that’s where I draw the line. I may dye my hair blonde, I may drink pink drinks, but I am not doing pink toe polish. Red, that’s my color. After all, real women wear red.”

The Book Review Club: Red, White & Dead

Red, White & Dead is book 3 in Laura Caldwell’s Izzy McNeil mystery series (I reviewed books 1&2 in previous reviews). I was so impressed with books 1 and 2, I wondered how I would feel about book 3. It was the best yet.

Blurb:

Izzy McNeil is hot on the trail of one of Chicago’s most notorious gangsters. Not that he realizes the crimson-tressed enchantress, a self-proclaimed “lapsed lawyer,” is moonlighting as a private investigator. But when an unexpected run-in trashes Izzy’s cover, she’s swept into an evil underworld where she is definitely not safe.

That is until Izzy receives help from an unlikely source: the ultimate guardian angel. And the last person she ever dreamed she’d see again. Now Izzy is racing from Chicago to Rome, all the while battling personal demons, Mafiosi killers and red hot emergency desires….

What I loved about this was it got even more personal, plus Laura returned to one of her favorite settings – Italy! I don’t want to say more because I don’t want to give it away.

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@Barrie Summy

Disclaimer: I only review books I want to recommend and have purchased myself, although if I’m excited about a book, I’ll accept a complimentary copy when offered.

The Book Review Club: Red Blooded Murder

Red Blooded Murder is book 2 in Laura Caldwell’s Izzy McNeil mystery series (I reviewed book 1, Red Hot Lies, for last month’s review). I was so impressed with book 1, I wondered how I would feel about book 2. It was even better.

The first book was very fast-paced and introduced many characters and at times I was on overload and had to take breaks now and then. I’m not used to reading such fast-paced books, especially since Laura Caldwell’s earlier books were more of a slower-paced suspense, ramping up to thriller, and now mystery. As mystery readers know, there are a lot of details in a mystery and probably why many are drawn to them – and the fast pace with page-turning excitement.

But what made me enjoy book 2 even more than book 1 (and I loved book 1) is that the mystery in book 2 centered around personal relationships even more than book 1. And that’s what I love about Laura Caldwell’s writing. Even in her mystery series, she has strong characters with interesting relationships, so you don’t just feel like you’re solving a mystery. No, there’s dating, dive bars, Blue Moon Beer, and in the case of book 2, hot, hot, hot sex – or the illusion of it. That’s where I prefer mysteries over romance – Laura Caldwell has romance in her mysteries, the sexual heat is suggested, but the door is mostly closed. I don’t need to read pages and pages of intimate details. I’d love to give you an example and share the best line of book 2, but I don’t want to spoil it for you. 🙂 Instead, I’ll leave you with an excerpt and blurb on the back cover:

Excerpt:

For the first time in my adult life I was flying without a net. Fear was nibbling at my insides, creeping its way into my brain. I was buzzing with apprehension. But the job offer from Jane was a bolt of calm, clean sunshine breaking through the murky depths of my nerves.

Blurb:

Chicago is the Windy City, and these days the winds of change are whipping Izzy McNeil’s life all over the map. A high-profile job on Trail TV lands her in the hot seat. After a shocking end to her engagement, she finds herself juggling not only her ex-fiance, but a guy she never expected. And a moonlighting ndercover gig has her digging deep into worlds she barely knew existed.

But all of this takes a backseat when Izzy’s friend winds up brutally murdered. Suddenly, Izzy must balance the demands of a voracious media and the knowledge that she didn’t know her friends as well as she thought.

Next month: you guessed it – book 3, Red, White, & Dead– it just gets better and better.

 

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@Barrie Summy

Disclaimer: I only review books I want to recommend and have purchased myself, although if I’m excited about a book, I’ll accept a complimentary copy when offered.

The Book Review Club: Red Hot Lies

When middle grade author Barrie Summy, creator of “The Book Review Club,” heard I was going to review Red Hot Lies by Laura Caldwell for the July meeting of the club, she said, “…so you’re into titles with “red” and “hot.” LOL! (For those who don’t know, I published a novel called Real Women Wear Red.)

When middle grade author Barrie Summy, creator of “The Book Review Club,” heard I was going to review Red Hot Lies by Laura Caldwell for the July meeting of the club, she said, “…so you’re into titles with “red” and “hot.” LOL! (For those who don’t know, I published a novel called Real Women Wear Red.)

But red is just one thing that Laura Caldwell and I have in common. We also credit Jerry Cleaver of Chicago “The Loft” fame for our early writing. And there’s something about Laura’s voice that resonates with my own and I’ve always said that if I had to point to an author who was most like me, it would be Laura Caldwell – in a teeny tiny way.

I first discovered Laura Caldwell after I wrote the first draft of my second manuscript and read her first published book, the first chick lit novel I’d ever read – Burning the Map. I rewrote my manuscript to be more chick lit after that – I was hooked on chick lit and on Laura Caldwell. With her second book, Look Closely, I could see that Laura was moving toward suspense. And each book moved more and more in that direction until she fully switched to mystery/suspense/thriller when she moved from Harlequin’s Red Dress Ink to Harlequin’s MIRA.

Red Hot Lies is the first book of an Izzy McNeil trilogy – followed by more red: Red Blooded Murder and Red White & Dead. And if I thought we shared similarities in our writing, well Laura leaves me in the dust with the introduction of this trilogy. Wow! Her legal background serves her well, but she retains the personalization of her characters that is so Laura Caldwell. And that’s what I love most about her writing and why I have all of her books and follow her from genre to genre. She’s the only author I can say that about.

So now what is Red Hot Lies about? Here’s the excerpt and blurb on the back cover of the book:

Excerpt:

Usually I pride myself on my intuition. I listen to that voice that says, “Something bad is happening…” or maybe “Get out. Now.” But on that Tuesday at the end of October, my psyche must have been protecting the one remaining day I still believed life was orderly and the universe liked me. Because I didn’t hear that voice. I never saw it coming.

Blurb:

They say bad things happen in threes. When her fiancé, Sam, disappears on the same day her mentor and biggest client is killed, hotshot Chicago attorney Izzy McNeil starts counting. But trouble keeps coming. Sam is implicated in the client’s death, her apartment is broken into and it’s not just the authorities who are following her.

Now, to find Sam and uncover her client’s murderer, Izzy will have to push past limits she never imagined. Lucky for her she’s always thrived under pressure, because her world is falling apart. Fast. And the trail of half-truths and lies is red-hot.

I love one reviewer’s quote on the front cover that really captures the essence of the novel:

“Aims for the sweet spot between tough and tender, between thrills and thought–and hits the bull’s-eye. A terrific novel!”–#1 New York Times bestselling author Lee Child

After reading Red Hot Lies, I’m inspired to finish my suspense wip, something that keeps getting put aside. But starting the second book Red Blooded Murder (which is even better than the first), should keep the motivation going, although Laura Caldwell is a tough act to follow.

For more information about Laura Caldwell and her books, visit her web site. For more book reviews of this month’s “The Book Review Club,” click on the icon below.

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@Barrie Summy

Disclaimer: I only review books I want to recommend and have purchased myself, although if I’m excited about a book, I’ll accept a complimentary copy when offered.

The Book Review Club: April Fool’s Day: Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew

With the April meeting of The Book Review Club – hosted by the fabulous I So Don’t Do Mysteries middle grade author Barrie Summy – landed on April Fool’s day, I knew I had to review a book especially appropriate for the day. Especially since Barrie is such a prankster herself. Hmmm… I wonder if there’s an April Fool’s “I So Don’t Do” mystery in the future…

After searching online I found the perfect book to review: April Fool’s Day: Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew by Carolyn Keene, of course. And it was available on Kindle. And because our household just got a Kindle, it was the perfect book for me to take Kindle out on a test drive. So I downloaded it on Saturday and finished reading it by Sunday. Being able to immediately download a book was a huge plus – my amazon.com order for my print books just arrived yesterday.

It’s been awhile since I’ve read a Nancy Drew book. My last Nancy Drew sighting was the movie, Nancy Drew: The Mystery of Hollywood Hills. Used to experiencing Nancy Drew the teenager, this was the first time I was introduced to Nancy Drew, the middle grader – but up-to-date with cell phones, gamer girls, and computers. I would think the middle grade set would love it! Hmmm… I’m sounding rather old just saying that…

Apparently, the Clue Crew was started in 2006 and there are now 24 titles in this series. Here’s the blurb for April Fool’s Day:

Nancy, George, and Bess have been invited to an April Fool’s Day party at their new schoolmate’s house. It sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun — each guest is bringing a gag to the party, and the best prank will win a special prize.When two of the guests’ fancy new electronics go missing, Nancy knows something’s up. Is this someone’s idea of a joke? The Clue Crew certainly isn’t laughing, and they’re on the case to find the missing gadgets.

It really was a lot of fun to read, even for me. It took me back to my childhood reading all about Nancy, George, Bess, and Housekeeper Hannah Gruen. But I missed the teen-aged Nancy and boyfriend Ned Nickerson. The best thing about this is that for those middle-graders being introduced to Nancy Drew at this age, they have a whole lot of fun awaiting them with the entire Nancy Drew series. I kinda wish I had a middle grader to introduce Nancy Drew to.

To read more April reviews from The Book Review Club