Smorgasbord Children’s Reading Room – #Travel #Mystery Darlene Foster, #Fantasy Maria Matthews

Welcome to the Children’s Reading room where you will find books suitable for children up to the age of 12.

The first author with a review is Darlene Foster for her recently released book Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady.

About the book

Amanda receives a postcard from her best friend, Leah, and is surprised to learn that she is in Malta with her aunt. Reading between the lines, she senses Leah is in trouble. Desperate to help her, Amanda travels to Malta with her classmate Caleb and his parents.

Amanda is intrigued by this exotic island in the middle of the Mediterranean, full of colourful history, sun-drenched limestone fortresses, stunning beaches and fascinating birds. But…who is killing the protected birds? Who stole a priceless artifact from the museum? And why is Leah acting so strange? She couldn’t possibly be involved in these illegal activities, or could she?

Join Amanda and her friends as they visit ancient temples, an exciting falconry and the enchanting Popeye Village, as they try to get to the bottom of the mystery of the Sleeping Lady.

A recent review for for the book

Barb Taub 5.0 out of 5 stars Move over Nancy Drew–Amanda rocks the kid detective! Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 14 May 2021

As a genre, kid detectives have a long history. From the Bobbsey Twins and basically everything Enid Blyton ever wrote, to Swallows and Amazons, from the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Encyclopedia Brown, and even three young wizards who go away to magic school—young sleuths never cease to capture our imagination.

One of my favorite additions to their group is Amanda Ross, the twelve-year-old heroine of the Amanda Travels series. In her latest adventure, Amanda’s best friend Leah sends a mysterious letter begging Amanda to join her in Malta. “Something’s not right. Can you come ASAP?” Amanda is puzzled to receive a letter instead of email, worried that she has no way of replying, and dejected at being trapped in a Canadian winter. “Her mom was in a bad mood again. She always was during tax season. Amanda would rather die than be an accountant.”

Luckily, she receives an invitation from Caleb not-her-boyfriend Sorenson’s family to join them for a vacation on Malta. But when they arrive on Malta, Caleb and Amanda are unable to find Leah. They begin to realize that something dangerous is going on. As they investigate, the situation becomes darker by the minute. A national treasure, the tiny ancient sculpture of The Sleeping Lady, has been stolen. Leah and her aunt are somehow involved, and clearly in danger.

As the children investigate, we join them in exploring the treasures and unexpected surprises of Malta. True to their genre, they outwit bad guys, protect endangered animals, and hide in really tiny spaces. And of course, there’s the time-honored kid detective trope when a bound and gagged Leah must bang for a rescue.

But like the mom who sneaks vegetables into the pizza, this series has another secret weapon. Geography—surely one of the least popular subjects in any middle school classroom—takes a starring role in Amanda’s adventures. We see both the gorgeous coast and fishing villages, learn about history, meet some of the people, and even discover wonderful food and quirky local features such as a movie set from the Popeye movie which is now a theme park, or an entire cafe for homeless cats.

The nonstop action, danger, daring rescue, and humorous banter between Amanda, Caleb, and Leah all make this adventure fast-paced and a huge amount of fun. But what is also remarkable is the way the main characters’ flaws play as big a part as their bravery. Caleb’s fish phobia, Amanda’s fear of heights, and Leah’s decision not to reveal her knowledge of the crime in order to protect her aunt are all fully but sympathetically revealed.

If you know any middle school readers who enjoy adventure, mystery-solving, bravery, and humor, I would not hesitate to recommend any of the books of this wonderful series.

Read the reviews and buy the book : Amazon US – And:Amazon UK

A selection of other books by Darlene Foster


Find out more about Darlene’s books and read the reviews: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Website/Blog: Darlene Foster WordPressGoodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @supermegawoman

The second author today is Maria Matthews with a recent review for The Runaway Schoolhouse

About the book

Clearie, a one-hundred-year-old schoolhouse, is fed up.

For so long, he has helped children get educated but been rewarded only by their complaints about how much they hate school.

He longs to get away

His dream is to go to France, a country he has heard so much about in geography lessons over the years – but how could a schoolhouse possibly travel?

Eventually he comes up with a plan and enlists the help of two students, the Buggy twins: but not everything works out as he had hoped.

With an attic full of crazy crabs, led by the fearless Lancelot, his journey is less than enjoyable and, in his absence, the school system falls apart.

Will Clearie’s dreams come true and the children get their wish for schooldays to end forever? Or has everyone bitten off more than they can chew?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 9 March 2021

This is the most beautiful charming book!! A story of a runaway schoolhouse called clearie. Loved sitting reading this with my 8 year old daughter. We took turns in reading which has really helped with her reading skills. A beautiful read I would highly recommend this book.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US

Novels for adults by Maria Matthews

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Follow Maria: Goodreads – Blog: Decidingly Bob – Blog: Mud Pile Wood – Facebook: Maria’s Book Page – Twitter: @matthewsmaria92



Thanks for visiting today and I hope you will be leaving with some books…thanks Sally. 

31 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Children’s Reading Room – #Travel #Mystery Darlene Foster, #Fantasy Maria Matthews

  1. Congratulations to Darlene and Maria on their children’s books. I especially thought the review on Darlene’s book was compelling and likely to encourage others to pick her book up. Middle grades love mysteries, and what could be better than learning along the way?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – 23rd – 29th May 2021 – | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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