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Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy

Amanda Lester, Detective, Book 1
Narrated by: Allan Corduner
Length: 10 hrs and 47 mins
5 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A reluctant detective, a criminal mastermind, and sugar?

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.

©2015 Paula Berinstein (P)2016 Paula Berinstein

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A Great Story and a Great Performance

If you could sum up Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy in three words, what would they be?

Middle Grade Adventure

What did you like best about this story?

Amanda is presented as a typical angst ridden 'Tweener' with attitude and a definite plan for her life.

Have you listened to any of Allan Corduner’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

It is SO Allan Corduner - the perfect voice to tell the story of this reluctant detective's adventures.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Yes. It had to do with her friend Nick Muffet, but It would be a spoiler, so I'm not telling!

Any additional comments?

Young Amanda comes off as a very believable "tween." She's smart and spunky, with just the right touch of teen angst, and will undoubtedly have an appeal to ‘Tween’ readers everywhere. Sharing the experience with such a gifted reader as Allan Corduner (performer of The Book Thief) is just the icing on the cake! I give it five stars – easy!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jerry M
  • Philadelphia, PA United States
  • 10-13-16

Nancy Drew Meets Harry Potter, with a Holmes spin

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I'd absolutely recommend this book for young readers into Harry Potter or Nancy Drew (since the story has elements of both), and for adults who have a fond nostalgia for Holmes or simply enjoy an engaging mid-grade mystery adventure. I especially recommend the audiobook because of the magical narration by Allan Corduner.

What did you like best about this story?

In the story, the young Amanda reluctantly enters a clandestine detective school for descendants of famous detectives, at her parents' request. Her ancestor is none other than Inspector Lestrade, of Sherlock Holmes lore. Not only is she embarrassed to be an ancestor of the police inspector that was always overshadowed and outsmarted by Holmes, but she really prefers to follow her passion, filmmaking. Once she enters the school, things begin to change. She meets a colorful cast of students and teachers and gets caught up in solving a perplexing, real-life mystery.

I particularly enjoyed the Holmes references, but also the "Harry Potter" feel to it, in an old school with various factions and oddball teachers.

What does Allan Corduner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I had read an ARC of the paperback, and when I saw that Allan Corduner narrated the audiobook, I had to give it a listen. Corduner is a masterful narrator and voice actor, and had narrated The Book Thief and served as the voice of Snape in the Harry Potter audiobooks. It did not disappoint. I felt he gave the story a whole new energy, bringing the creepy environment and standout characters to life in a way that would be hard to do in a print book. It added a dramatic flair that gives the story that classic feel, in the way that a John Williams score elevates the Harry Potter movies to a whole new level.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I think the most moving aspect was that this young girl feels the frustration of being made to do something she doesn't want to do, something the feels is lame. And yet she meets new friends and finds a way to use her natural strengths to make a difference in solving a perplexing mystery.

Any additional comments?

Overall, this is a wonderful middle-grade book that will capture the imaginations and hearts of young readers, and entertain adults as well. It doesn't "talk down" to kids and is extremely creative, even down to the bizarre names of the teachers. If I were to recommend a single format, I'd suggest the audiobook because of Allan Corduner's magical narration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Harry Potter meets Nancy Drew

Amanda is a typical tween, at odds with her parents and enjoying her life in LA as an aspiring filmmaker. When her parents announce that they are moving to England and that she will attending a top secret Detective school, she is devastated. As a descendant of the bumbling Inspector G. Lestrade, she has been exposed to Sherlock Holmes all her life. However, she hates Holmes and relates more to his nemesis, Professor Moriarty. She has no desire to be a Detective!

After arriving at the School, Amanda begins to make friends with her roommates as well as the devastatingly handsome Nick and a nerdy, yet brilliant boy named Simon. Her roommate Ivy is blind and comes with a wonderful Golden Retriever named Nigel. Of course, there is a bully who makes life difficult for Amanda at every turn.

Soon, things start to happen around the School that make Amanda and her friends wonder what is really happening. Are the strange events all a part of their class project? Or, is there something much more nefarious going on?

I absolutely loved this book and all the characters in it. The story was humorous, engaging, and had a great series of mysteries behind it. The Professor's names were hilarious (Professor Pickle!) and each of them came to life as the story progressed. The author did a wonderful job in character development as well as story development.

The narrator did a spot-on job with this book. His voices were perfect and added a lot to the book. Even though I am well past the middle grade age, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. If you love Harry Potter, Nancy Drew, or just a fun mystery, give this book a try. I look forward to reading the next adventure in this series and know that Amanda and her friends will continue to bring enjoyment to Ms. Berinstein's readers for a long time!