Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Blog Tour: Excerpt, Giveaway, and Top Ten List for Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy by Paula Berinstein


Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy free Banner

This is my stop during the blog tour for Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy by Paula Berinstein. This blog tour is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 18 till 31 July, you can view the complete tour schedule here.

Facebook group event
On 28 July, Paula Berinstein will do an event in the Blind Date With a Book Facebook Group. There will be giveaways, discussions and more!

Start this series for free!
You can get Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy for free at Amazon, B&N, Kobo or Smashwords!

Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar ConspiracyAmanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy (Amanda Lester, Detective #1)
by Paula Berinstein
Genre: Mystery/ Detective/ Fantasy
Age category: Middle Grade


Blurb:
Amanda Lester wouldn’t be caught dead going into the family business. Her ancestor, Sherlock Holmes’s colleague Inspector G. Lestrade, is a twit. Nevertheless her parents refuse to see his flaws, and she’s going to a secret English school for the descendants of famous detectives whether she likes it or not.

When Amanda arrives at the dreaded school, she considers running away—until she and her new friends discover blood and weird pink substances in odd places. At first they’re not sure whether these oddities mean anything, but when Amanda’s father disappears and the cook is found dead with her head in a bag of sugar, they’re certain that crimes are taking place.

Now Amanda must embrace her destiny and uncover the truth. The only snag is that arch-villain Blixus Moriarty, a descendant of Holmes’s nemesis Professor James Moriarty, might be involved, and he doesn’t like nosy little girls interfering in his business.
You can find Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy on Goodreads

Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy is free now on all vendor sites! Grab your free copy here:
- Amazon
- Amazon Paperback
- Barnes & Noble
- Kobo
- Smashwords

Get the box set with the first four books in this series!

Amanda-Lester-box-setAmanda Lester box set (Amanda Lester, Detective #1-4)
by Paula Berinstein
Genre: Mystery/ Detective/ Fantasy
Age category: Middle Grade/ Young Adult
Release Date: July 4, 2016


Blurb:
"Sherlock Holmes meets Nancy Drew meets Harry Potter."

This set includes all four Amanda Lester, Detective books from the first year at the Legatum Continuatum Enduring School for Detectives.

Book 1, Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy
Book 2, Amanda Lester and the Orange Crystal Crisis
Book 3, Amanda Lester and the Purple Rainbow Puzzle
Book 4, Amanda Lester and the Blue Peacocks' Secret

Amanda Lester wouldn’t be caught dead going into the family business. Her ancestor, Sherlock Holmes’s colleague Inspector G. Lestrade, is a twit. Nevertheless her parents refuse to see his flaws, and she’s going to a secret English school for the descendants of famous detectives whether she likes it or not.

When Amanda arrives at the dreaded school, she considers running away—until she and her new friends discover blood and weird pink substances in odd places. At first they’re not sure whether these oddities mean anything, but when Amanda’s father disappears and the cook is found dead with her head in a bag of sugar, they’re certain that crimes are taking place.

Now Amanda must embrace her destiny and uncover the truth. The only snag is that arch-villain Blixus Moriarty, a descendant of Holmes’s nemesis Professor James Moriarty, might be involved, and he doesn’t like nosy little girls interfering in his business.

Follow the exciting adventures of the girl who learned that sometimes you need to be part of something larger than yourself.
You can find Amanda Lester box set on Goodreads

You can buy the Amanda Lester box set here:
- Amazon
- Amazon UK


Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy mystique excerpt:

The first class the next morning was History of Detectives. The classroom was huge and paneled in dark wood. Amanda thought it was beautiful but was thankful she didn’t have to polish it. It would take so long that as soon as she’d finished she’d have to start all over. The room felt old-fashioned but it was a lot nicer than the classrooms at Ysidro Middle School, which were so depressing that she was always mentally redecorating them.
“Bienvenido!” said the teacher, Professor Also, an athletic-looking, curly-haired woman with a kind face and a wavery voice. The students, some of whom appeared bright and eager and others of whom seemed not to have slept the night before, looked around blankly.
“Oh, sorry. Forgive me,” the teacher said. “I just got back from Costa Rica and I haven’t got my land legs yet. That means ‘Welcome.’ May I have a volunteer, please? How about you, Mr. Binkle?”
The goofy-looking boy with the glasses, late of the vomit incident, pointed to himself. “Me, your honor?”
“Yes, you, Mr. Binkle, and I am not your honor. Professor Also will do.”
“Yes, sir, er, your ladyship,” said the boy, every bit as awkward as Amanda thought he was.
Professor Also sighed. “Now would be a good time.”
“Right,” said the boy, and raced to the front, tripping over nothing twice on his way to the spot where Professor Also was pointing. Amanda felt sorry for him.
“Now, Mr. Simon Binkle,” said the teacher. “I want you to select from these items and give yourself a semblance of a detective’s mystique.”
“A what, ma’am?” said the boy.
“A detective’s mystique. Go on. Let’s see what you can put together.”
Mr. Simon Binkle had turned rather red. “I’m sorry. I don’t understand, ma’am.”
“This, class, is exactly the problem for those of us who are new to the detective’s world. In order to be a great sleuth, you must develop a mystique. All the classic detectives have one and we will study them. A mystique sets you apart, and may I say, gives you a certain, I don’t know. Let’s say cachet.”
“Sorry, Professor. What’s cachet?”
“Cachet, Mr. Binkle, is that special something, an almost magical quality, that makes you fascinating.” The idea of the gangly Mr. Binkle being fascinating made Amanda want to laugh.
“Do you mean that we all have to be fascinating?” said Simon Binkle.
“Eventually,” said the teacher, at which the boy’s face went completely white.
“I see I’ve thrown you. Let me reassure you that developing a mystique isn’t nearly as intimidating a procedure as it sounds. This will occur naturally over the course of your time here at Legatum. Let’s talk about it a bit. Yes, Mr. Wiffle.” She pointed toward a pale, redheaded boy who was raising his hand excitedly.
“First, Professor, let me say that I’m very impressed that you already know all of our names. I think I’m going to enjoy your class. Second, can you tell us whether mystiques will be on the tests?”
Amanda looked over at Amphora, who was making a gagging face. When she saw Amanda looking at her she mouthed, “Do you believe this?” Amanda rolled her eyes, then grinned and shook her head. When she caught sight of Nick, who was sitting at the end of her row, she could see that he was laughing silently.
“I’m tempted not to answer that, Mr. Wiffle. A detective should be ready for anything. However, as this is your first day I will make an exception. No. Mystiques will not be on the tests but they will be part of your grade. Let me say right now that I will know if you’re faking a mystique. It’s perfectly acceptable to experiment, and in fact we expect you to do so. However do not try to impress us. A mystique evolves naturally. Trying to be something you’re not will get you nowhere and could actually backfire. Are we clear?”
“Yes, Professor,” said Mr. Wiffle. Amanda, Amphora, Nick, and Ivy were all stifling laughs. Simon, who was still standing in front of the class, seemed completely lost.
“Now, let’s talk about mystiques, shall we?” said Professor Also. “A mystique is much more than appearance, although that plays a large part because it’s what we see. It also has to do with the way the detective thinks and what he or she is most interested in. In other words, it’s what makes the detective different from other detectives.
“For example, we’re all familiar with Sherlock Holmes’s recognizable clothing and accoutrements, but what really defined his mystique was his keen ability to observe small details and draw conclusions from them.” Amanda winced. Who cared what Sherlock Holmes did or didn’t do? “But his observational skills didn’t operate in a vacuum. They depended on his arcane knowledge. As you know, he could deduce an astounding amount about a person just by observing his or her clothes, but in order to do that he had to familiarize himself with everything from buttons to types of wool. So his mystique depended on his knowing a great deal about obscure subjects. Yes, Mr. Wiffle.”
Not him again. Amanda was beginning to get the measure of this kid. She decided that staying away from him would be a good idea.
“Professor, will we be expected to study buttons and things like that?”
“Yes, Mr. Wiffle. Professor Sidebotham will be at your side for these six years, and by the time you graduate you will know more about buttons, fountain pens, and motor oil than 99.999% of the people on the planet.”
The kid’s mouth dropped. He obviously wasn’t happy. Amanda didn’t want to learn about buttons either, but she thought she could put up with it if it meant she got to watch him squirm.
“Mr. Wiffle,” said the teacher. “Do I infer correctly that you’re not interested in buttons and motor oil?”
The class laughed and the kid went as red as his hair.
“No, Professor Also,” he said, catching himself. “I’m quite looking forward to learning about motor oil. It sounds fascinating.”
The teacher gave the kid a look and said, “Indeed. Now, let’s continue with our discussion of mystiques. As I was saying, when you matriculate you will have developed a mystique that is unique to you. A unique mystique, if you will.”
There were giggles around the room until Professor Also fixed the class with a stony stare.

Top Ten(ish) Favorite Children’s Books
By Paula Berinstein

I asked Paula what her top ten favorite children's books were, and she answered me below:
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling. This is my absolute favorite Harry Potter book. I love the Dementors (so creepy), I love Buckbeak (what a cutie), I love the Marauder’s Map (way cool), I love Sirius Black (scary as he can be . . . or is he?), and Hermione’s cat and Ron’s rat and Peter Pettigrew and the whomping willow, and oh my! Always captivating, the tale moves at a quick pace and introduces us to some of Rowling’s most memorable characters.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Roald Dahl is not for the faint of heart, but I love his twisted sense of humor. Nice he isn’t, but in his defense (ish), his lack of sentimentality isn’t new in children’s literature; The Brothers Grimm could be just as nasty, and just as compelling. There’s a certain wry sense of justice in those awful kids getting what’s coming to them. Of course sometimes Dahl goes a little too far . . . .
Grimm’s Fairy Tales by Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm. And speaking of the brothers, there ae some pretty scary creatures haunting the woods of Bavaria or wherever it was that they were set. Not too scary for Disney, though.
The His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman. This series includes The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. Wow. I’m not sure I realized how much I liked dark tales for children until I wrote this blog post, but I guess I do. Look at these choices! I think I like experiencing scary stuff from a safe distance, and the popularity of all these dark books implies that lots of kids feel the same way. Pullman’s books evoke that sense of danger beautifully. They are also very sophisticated and in some ways too advanced for kids. On the other hand, I absolutely love his inventiveness (did you know that each person in his world is attached to his or her own daemon, which is a cross between their spirit and a pet?). I also adore the love story between the twelve-year-old heroine and the boy who attempts to help her save the world.
If I Ran the Zoo by Dr. Seuss. Seuss was prolific and wonderful and perfect, but I think this book is his best. I love nonsense, and he’s the master. (Although see Lewis Carroll, below, as well.) My favorite creature in Seuss’s zoo is the Tizzle-Topped Tufted Mazurka. Any resemblance between its hair and mine is purely coincidental though.
Every book ever written by Judy Blume. Seriously. The woman is a goddess. She’s got a way of getting inside kids’ heads and seeing the world from their point of view. Plus she’s fearless when it comes to difficult issues. I hope to meet her someday.
The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. I think I read just about every Oz book when I was a kid, but of course there’s nothing like the first one. Who doesn’t love a land full of witches, munchkins, and flying monkeys?
The Chronicles of Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander. I don’t know why no one ever talks about Lloyd Alexander. Or maybe they do but I never hear them. His high fantasy series with a medieval Welsh/English flavor is absolutely wonderful! If you haven’t read it, do!
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken. This is the first in the Wolves Chronicles, a series of books set in an alternative 19th century England. It follows the adventures of some children who try to thwart their evil governess. Another rather dark tale and sooooo good.
The Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books by Betty MacDonald. Oh, how I loved these books when I was a kid during the Stone Age. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle lives in an upside-down house and cures children of their bad habits, but in a nice way. What else would you expect of a woman whose husband was a pirate, has a backyard full of treasure, and is always baking cookies? (I will never forget the kid who refused to bathe. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle advised her to wait until the dirt on her body was deep enough to grow radishes, then scatter seeds all over herself. What an image.)
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. What stories could be more magical than those of Alice discovering a crazy world full of talking animals, playing cards come to life, and magic potions that change your size? Sure, it was political satire, and sure, there was a mathematical basis to it, but kids won’t even notice.

Paula BerinsteinAbout the Author:
Paula Berinstein is nothing like Amanda. For one thing, she’s crazy about Sherlock Holmes. For another, she’s never wanted to be a filmmaker. In addition, compared to Amanda she’s a big chicken! And she wouldn’t mind going to a secret school at all. In fact, she’s hoping that some day she’ll get to build one.

You can find and contact Paula here:
- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Goodreads
- Paula's blog on Goodreads
- The Writing Show podcasts
- Newsletter

Giveaway!
There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy. Open International. These are the prizes you can win:
- One $40 Amazon gift card
- Two copies Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy (hardback edition)
- One copy Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: The Illustrated Edition (hardback)
- One Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Book 1 Audible – Unabridged, narrator Jim Dale
- One Nancy Drew videogame from Her Interactive (winner's choice).
- One surprise book, you pick the genre. Paperback only.

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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