Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Alexandra Fry, Private Eye: The Curse of the Lion's Heart by

Alexandra Fry is just your average seventh-grader. Or is she? Starting a new school, Alexandra hopes to leave her old life, and old reputation of “Loopy Lexi” behind. But it’s not so easy when Alexandra is the kind of girl who sees ghosts. And not just any ghosts, but history’s most famous. They come to her to solve mysteries, when things from their past life fall into the wrong hands.

Desperate to be normal and make some friends, Alexandra is devastated to be visited by none other than Queen Elizabeth the First during a lesson in school. But Queen Elizabeth doesn’t just have your average, run of the mill problem. The thing that was stolen was a locket– a cursed locket, and if it’s not returned to the museum, the entire world will be in danger. It’s up to Alexandra and her new friends Penelope and Jack, to find out who took the locket and why. Ducking security guards, breaking and entering, and finding out someone isn’t who they said they were is just your average day for this seventh grade girl.

One-hundred percent of the proceeds for Alexandra Fry, Private Eye series will be donated to the Tucson Alliance for Autism.Thank you in advance for your purchases and support of this amazing cause, and for any information please visit their website at or for details.

Add to your Goodreads TBR list!

Where to buy?

Barnes and Noble | Amazon  
(please note that at this time only the paperback is available on B&N)

Reviews from teens!

Because we are recommending this great read for your teens and tweens this summer, we thought - who better to review it for us?  We asked a few of the younger book lovers we know to read and review Alexandra Fry, Private Eye: Curse of the Lion's Heart and this is what they had to say!
Alexandra Fry, Private Eye is a perfect read for Tweens looking for a fun and suspenseful read. Filled with high stakes, mean girls, great friends, secrets, and just plain life, it gives a perfect world for young people to escape to when life is just to darn much. This is a perfect book for those who want to get into detective series with a kick! I thoroughly enjoyed it, and had a few moments where I was biting my nails and sitting on the edge of my seat. I highly recommend it!  ~ Laura S., age 15

This book is one of the best "teen-books" I have ever read.
It comes as a first in a series, and I am already waiting for the next book!
 The book grabs you from the first sentences, and you will have big troubles laying it down until you are finished with it. It is superbly well written, the plot believable and the main characters are interesting.
 The main person is Alexandra Fry, as she is starting seventh-grade in a new school.
She had a difficult time at her last school,  labelled Loopy Lexi by her fellow students.
 This nickname came from her sometimes strange behaviour, as she struggled with a normal teen school-life and at the same time seeing ghosts and having them follow her around.
The ghosts are trying to get her to help her solve mysteries of stolen antiquities, usually something they owned when they were alive.
We follow Alexis through her first steps finding two new friends, all the while solving a mysterious theft of Queen Elisabeth's locket. The new friends might be both friends and foes,  we follow them as Alexis, Penelope and Jack are getting to know one another, as well as finding the truth.  The friends have problems of their own, as Penelope has her own mother as a teacher, and Jack lives with his uncle as his parents are dead (or are they?)
There are so many layers to this book, for me as a teen the message of being true to yourself, that it is ok just to be you, and also that it is ok to do the right thing, are important- she makes it fun and interesting instead of boring. Also the importance of true friendship, that you have to stand up for each other, is something I find I also liked a lot.
I learned a lot of history while reading this book, the author makes the historical characters come to life, and we get to know them as persons.
Thank you for the super read :) ~ Synne Brunes, 14 years old. 

Interview with Angella Graff!

Thank you so much Angella for sitting down and taking the time to answer our questions!

It says on your website that you returned to school after having kids.  Was it hard? 

It was difficult trying to manage school, work, and being a parent, but at the same time, I’d only done a little school before my son was born, so going to college with kids was pretty much all I’d ever known. 

If so, in what ways?

My degree was very writing heavy, huge papers due every few weeks or so, so it was a lot of late night writing and trying to stay on top of things.  The one thing I can look back on and remember is not sleeping much at all haha!  But I can’t say it wasn’t worth it.

Are any of your characters based off your children?  If so, who, why and how?

Not one character specifically, but I use the habits and slang from my older two, and the way they interact with their friends when I write my YA series.  I like to think of my characters, although fiction, as sort of their own person.  I create them so intricately in my head that I can anticipate what they’d do if they were put into a random situation.  However being that it’s been a very long time (haha) since I was that age, I do have to rely a lot on observing how my kids are and the things they say, things they’re into.

What was your inspiration behind the Alexandra Fry Series?

My daughter and I came up with it together.  I grew up on paranormal series books, though at her age I was reading Stephen King and Anne Rice.  Paranormal is still really popular, and I wanted to create a character for kids today to relate to.  So Isabella (she’s my 10 year old) and I sat down and came up with the story line, and the things she wanted to read about.  My college degree was very heavily rooted in history, so I get to draw from that for the ghost characters in the story, and I try and make it as accurate as possible, while also making it fun, and leaving room for creative license. 

When can we expect the next book?

Well I’ve started writing it already, and we can definitely expect some more adventures, and more of the main plot to unfold that will cross through all of the books.  Alexandra and Penelope are in their last year of Middle School, Jack is off to High School, and with this new ghost comes a new twist, and a new character—though we won’t know if they’re friend or foe for a while. 

How many books are you planning in this series?

At the present time I’m planning six.  One for each year of her public education.

What is your motivating factor behind choosing to donate to the Tucson Autism Alliance?

My son is Autistic and the Autism Alliance was a massive help for me when he was young and I was trying to figure out the differences between raising a child with Autism and one without.  Their support was invaluable to me, and I always thought that if I ever had the opportunity to give back, I would. 

What is it like being the parent of an Autistic child?

At the base of things, it’s not much different than parenting any other child.  Being that each child is different, one style of parenting doesn’t work for everyone.  It requires a lot of literature, and understanding how an Autistic brain works in order to modify things like rewards and consequences in a way that will be effective. 

My son is very high functioning, he’s in mainstreamed education with occasional pull-out services like speech and occupational therapy, and he participates in peer groups in order to help him deal with the anxiety of social situations that affect a lot of Autistic kids.

But other than that, he’s like any teen.  Attitude, (haha!) loves video games, comic books—his favorite is Calvin and Hobbes—and chatting with his friends while playing MineCraft on Xbox. 

Sometimes there are things that get frustrating, but that typically comes from other people outside of the home not understanding how he works, and how to explain things to him in a way that will help him understand.  But I definitely wouldn’t have him any other way.

Do you think it’s affected your writing at all?

I would say so.  Honestly I studied a lot of basic psychology to help me understand how my son viewed the world, and in those studies, it helped me with developing characters for my book.  It’s allowed me to create distinct personalities for most of my characters that are organic and are less stereotypical than a lot of literature nowadays. 

How do you manage Family time?

Family time is super important, and I make sure to schedule in time every day, no matter what my schedule is like, to spend time with the kids.  We cook dinner together, homework, and in the evenings we all sit together and watch a show, or we go out back to the porch and chat.  We make sure to have a family day one day a week (usually a weekend day) and I will always pencil in school events.  It's easier for me as a mom now that all of the kids are in school, I can get my work done while they're getting their schooling, and when they get home, we can be together.  Sometimes deadlines get the better of my schedule, but the most important thing is to remember not to let things make you anxious and overwhelmed.

What about “Me” time?

I try and schedule in 'me' time when the kids are in school, or when they spend the night at grandma's.  I'll go grab myself a mani-pedi, or shop a little.  I also do zumba, turbo-kick (which is a kickboxing-style class) and yoga five times a week to get out of the house and stay as fit as I can since I'm at the computer all day.  I like to have hubby time, too, so once or twice a month the kids will spend the weekend with grandma and we'll go on a hike at the canyon or up the mountain, sometimes catch a movie.  Often clean the house, haha, without the little ones right behind messing it back up as we go.  I think it's very important to take a little time out of each day to center yourself.  I try and meditate in the mornings when the kids are still asleep.  A happy mommy makes it easier to deal with the rampant chaos that being an editor, writer, wife and mother of three brings!

Find Angella!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you to the two readers for the amazing reviews! You two are fantastic and I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

    And thanks to Books and Motherhood for the awesome interview and book promo! <3