Friday, January 17, 2014

Review: - Big Honey Dog Mysteries #1: Curse of the Scarab - H. Y. Hanna

Review - H. Y. Hanna - Big Honey Dog Mysteries #1: Curse of the Scarab
Genre: Children's mystery

Blurb: Missing puppies. Deadly secrets. Serious slobber.

Honey the Great Dane enjoyed a pretty peaceful life: walking her human, checking Peemail at the park… until the arrival of a puppy named Bean turns her life upside down. But when Bean goes missing – together with other neighbourhood pups – Honey sets out on a dangerous quest to find them. Joined by her canine friends, Honey tackles mysterious paw prints and sinister hieroglyphics as clues lead them to a deserted cemetery. But an ancient Egyptian curse has awakened and time is running out. Can Honey solve a cryptic riddle in time to save the puppies? And should she trust Max, a Pit Bull with a murky past, who is hiding secrets of his own?

Middle-grade readers and young teens will love this thrilling tale filled with suspense and humour - and adult dog lovers are sure to enjoy it to. An exciting new mystery series full of action and adventure, for dog lovers of all ages!

Excerpt: Tyson gave a grunt, then jumped up onto the ledge outside the kitchen window. He stuck his head into the gap and wriggled forwards. The others held their breath as he was wedged tight for a moment, his body half in and half out of the kitchen. Then, with another wriggle, he was through. He landed on the kitchen counter which ran under the window. Everybody breathed again.

Tyson paused, his ears pricked, listening. They all listened. There were some muffled sounds coming from the second storey but no footsteps on the stairs. So far, so good. Tyson began inching his way along the counter.

“Careful you don’t fall in that sink, mate,” Ruffster hissed.

“Can you pick up Bean’s scent?” Honey called.

“Do you see any food?” Biscuit asked, jumping onto the outside window ledge himself and sticking his nose through the gap. “I think I can smell bread. Maybe they’ve left some on the counter?”

“Biscuit!” Ruffster growled.

“What?” Biscuit flicked his ears. “He’s in there! He might as well have a look!”

Tyson tiptoed carefully around the kettle and big jars labelled COFFEE and SUGAR, hopped over the toaster, then made his way cautiously down the last stretch of counter, towards the kitchen doorway. He paused as he reached the end, his eyes fixed on something. Honey craned her neck to see what he was looking at: a bag of dog food on the floor, by the doorway. Her heartbeat quickened as she read the label. Puppy food.

Tyson gathered himself to jump off the counter. Then froze.

They all froze.

Footsteps. Coming quickly down the stairs.

Author Bio and links: H.Y. Hanna is Taiwanese by birth, British by education, pseudo-American by accent and currently Australian by residence! After graduating from Oxford University, she tried a variety of jobs, from advertising in London to English Language teaching in Sydney, before returning to her first love: writing. Always fascinated by dogs, she specialised as a pet writer for magazines in the UK, Australia and NZ, and has been heavily involved in training, behaviour, dog sports and photography. When she's not working on her next novel, she's usually found watching repeats of her favourite TV show, Fringe or wiping Dane slobber off the walls.

You can find out more about her (and the 'real-life Honey' who inspired the series) at:, where you'll also find book discussion questions and other parent/teacher resources, plus fun activity sheets and interactive puzzles.

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This review by: Elisa T (see all Elisa T's reviews)

This is a well-written story about a Great Dane and her friends who go searching for a missing puppy and discover there's more to this than a playmate who wandered off. Something sinister is going on in their neighbourhood, and the dogs realise they must solve it before more puppies disappear.

The characters are engaging and the author has a great voice with a wonderful sense of humour. Despite this being a children's book I quickly became engrossed in the mystery and rather enjoyed the riddles as the dogs investigated the case.

The storyline itself is warm and funny, and I felt real empathy for the dogs' challenges as various obstacles came up before them. Their friendships and interactions were well-written and engaging. The jokes throughout the text are clever and left me smiling many times.

My initial reaction to the opening chapters was that the vocabulary is well-suited to a nine-year-old, the age at which the book is aimed. But, in the second half of the book the storylines involved violence and themes that, in my opinion, could be very upsetting to children this young. However for teens and older the mystery has earned its stars and is an enjoyable read in its own right.

This book is recommended for teens and up and I give it 4/5 stars.

No payment was received for this review.

eBook Purchase Links:
Amazon (Kindle): Big Honey Dog Mysteries #1: Curse of the Scarab (Kindle): Big Honey Dog Mysteries #1: Curse of the Scarab
Barnes and Noble (Nook):

Paperback Purchase Links:
Amazon: Big Honey Dog Mysteries #1: Curse of the Scarab (Volume 1) Big Honey Dog Mysteries #1: Curse of the Scarab (Volume 1)

Giveaway: The author will be awarding a $20 Amazon Gift Card and a signed copy of Curse of the Scarab to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour (US only).a Rafflecopter giveaway

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