Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Summer Book Fair 2022 – First in Series – #Children’s #YA – #Travel Darlene Foster, #Mystery #Detective Janice Spina

Over the course of the next three months I will be sharing the authors who feature in the Smorgasbord Bookshelf with the books that I have reviewed and can personally recommend.

In this first part of the summer fair, I am sharing books that are the first in a series in both adult and children’s books along with one of their five star reviews. I hope that this will encourage you to enjoy the series in full. I will feature every author on the shelves by the end of the summer. I hope you will enjoy.

First up today is award winning children and YA author Darlene Foster with the first in her travel adventure series (book 9 is out in September)… Amanda in Arabia – The Perfume Flask

About the book

Be prepared to learn a lot about the culture while you follow Amanda on her adventure.”—Laura Best, author, Bitter, Sweet

“What a great way for a young person to learn about a culture and to be inspired to experience other countries themselves.”—Irene Butler, author, Trekking the Globe with Mostly Gentle Footsteps

Amanda Ross is an average twelve year old Canadian girl. So what is she doing thousands of kilometres from home in the United Arab Emirates? It’s her own fault really, she wished for adventure and travel when she blew out those candles on her last birthday cake. Little did she know that a whole different world awaited her on the other side of the globe, one full of intrigue, mystery and folklore. A world with a beautiful princess, a dangerous desert and wonderful friends.

Join Amanda on her first adventure as she discovers the secrets behind The Perfume Flask.

One of the excellent recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Mar 30, 2022 James rated it really liked it

Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask is the first middle grade book in Darlene Foster’s Amanda Travels series, and I very much enjoyed reading it. Amanda yearns to travel the world, and first up is the United Arab Emirates, but call it UAE or the Emirates as one of her new local friends wisely cautions her upon arrival. One of Amanda’s birthday wishes, this smart young girl finds herself visiting an aunt and uncle who live in the far-away country. Whether she’s magically or realistically transported is a question you’ll have to find out for yourself!

Readers will learn all about camels, the Persian Gulf, a princess who was almost forced to marry an older man, and many more culturally significant items of relevance. Both an educational and charming tale, the book offers a variety of themes and good old-fashioned fairy tale fun. Amanda makes several more international trips in future books (there are 8 to date in the series) and I’m keen to find out what she’s going to explore. You’ll enjoy her witty intelligence, and I’m sure if the shenanigans in this book are a sense of things to come, it will be a delightful collection of books that will appeal to a wide variety of personalities. Great job! 

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by Darlene Foster


Read the reviews and buy the books : Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Website/Blog: Darlene Foster WordPressGoodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @supermegawoman  

About Darlene Foster

Growing up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, Darlene Foster dreamt of writing, traveling the world, and meeting interesting people. She also believed in making her dreams come true. It’s no surprise she’s now the award-winning author of Amanda Travels, a children’s adventure series featuring a spunky twelve-year-old who loves to travel to unique places. Readers of all ages enjoy following Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. When not traveling herself, Darlene divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca, Spain with her husband and entertaining rescue dogs, Dot and Lia.

The next author is award winning Janice Spina who writes beautiful children’s books as well as novels for adults…Today I am sharing the first book (of 1 of 6) in a wonderful detective series for children – Davey & Derek Junior Detectives: The Case of the Missing Cell Phone

About the book


Davey and Derek Donato are twins, but not identical, who love to play detective. They are always ready for adventure living in the sleepy little town of Lindon where nothing happens. The twins overhear about a sixth grader who lost her cell phone. The fifth grader twins kick into detective mode to solve their first case with the help of their friends, Mickey Catonni, aka cat. Things don’t seem to add up when a bully gets into the mix.

One of the excellent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Mrs. D.‘s review Five Stars Feb 10, 2018

“The Case of the Missing Cell Phone” is the first in the Davey and Derek junior detective series, where two twin boys are trying to solve the mystery of a missing expensive cell phone. I love the fact that this story is for both boys and girls. It makes readers think, act, and discover. It’s also very engaging and entertaining, with an emphasis on teaching superb life lessons in a very delicate way. While reading this story, children are encouraged to communicate and learn how to crack problems and develop their creativity.

David and Derek are two twins, but they are very different from each other. David is a logical kid and Derek is all action. Supervised by their assistant named Cat, the two young detectives are off to discover the mystery behind Christine’s cell phone. As they untangle the mystery of the missing phone, they realize that the job of a detective is very tough and sometimes uncomfortable, such as when they question their classmates and the people they know.

This is a very interesting read for middle school-age students that will keep them tickled and predicting. I love that the author touched on a few very important issues that accrue in every school: the bullying, stealing, and credulity. These are very important subjects for children who are that age. In her book, Janice Spina nicely conveyed these very important messages. Her story sparked some needed discussion about theft, bullying, and teamwork. It is full of interesting twists and turns, details and clues. It really keeps young readers’ attention as they turn page after page.

It is also a fantastic acknowledgment of friendship and what is all right and wrong, which is extremely important for that age, when children know that they’re all different and should be treated equally. Their own unique personality would shine if you gave them the chance.

“Davey & Derek, Junior Detectives” is intriguing for my taste, and I am sure that young readers will agree with me. The exciting story line will leave them wanting to know more and to see what happens next in this engaging series. A great mystery read for middle-school children! 

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

A small selection of other books by Janice Spina

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon US – and :Amazon UK – Follow Janice: Goodreads – blog:Jem’s BooksTwitter: @janice_spina   

About Janice Spina

Janice Spina is a multi-award-winning author. At this writing she has 18 children’s books for ages PS-Grade 3. She also writes for MG/PT/YA and 18+.

She has been writing since the age of nine in the form of poetry and greeting cards. She has always wanted to be an author. She also had dreams of being a singer, dancer, actress, etc. Don’t all children like to dream? But at least she accomplished one of those dreams.

All her children’s books are written in rhyme with valuable life lessons. She wants to encourage children of all ages to read daily to help foster a love of reading that will stay with them for a life time.

Janice’s husband, John, is her illustrator and cover creator. He has a Doctorate in Educational Administration and knows how important it is for children to read daily. Together they strive to encourage all ages to read to help promote good health and wellbeing.

Her logo is Jemsbooks for All Ages! Her Motto is Reading Givings You Wings to Fly! Soar with Jemsbooks!

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


42 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Summer Book Fair 2022 – First in Series – #Children’s #YA – #Travel Darlene Foster, #Mystery #Detective Janice Spina

  1. Darlene’s Amanda series is excellent. Thanks for writing so great stuff for children. The Davey & Derek books are new to me, but i have them in sight, and will grab also for reading myself. Thanks to the writers for making it easier to teach children. Thanks to you Sally for featuring another great books. xxx Michael

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Thank you so much, Sally, for the mention! It was a nice surprise! Congrats to Darlene for the lovely review of her wonderful books. I’ve enjoyed them! Hugs to you both! 😘 ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you so much, Sally, for featuring Amanda and her adventures here. The review by James is wonderful too. I am honoured to be featured here with Janice and her amazing books. She is the most prolific author I know.

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  4. Congratulations to Darlene and Janice for finding a winning series. Having seen it many times in my career, there is nothing quite as exciting as when a child falls in love with a series.

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