Mummy Dearest – A Pharaonic Adventure
Misadventures in Auckland Book 1
by Barbara Russell
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
AS A MULTI-TASKING GIRL, Tess could do multiple things at once like follow her history teacher and, at the same time, work with her smartphone. After all, she was the captain of the Wolverine Soccer Team thanks to her sharp mind, quick of foot, and a lot of patience. Besides, Mrs. Hudson’s lecture stopped being interesting ages ago. She started with fascinating stuff, explaining how the ancient Egyptians scraped the brains from dead people’s skulls to mummify them, but then she droned on and on about war and battles. Tess wasn’t interested in that. She squinted at the white lights of the Natural History Museum of Auckland. They reflected on the screen of her smartphone, blocking the view of the sketched soccer pitch. If Mrs. Hudson noticed her phone, she’d go bananas. But to prepare the team formation for the next match, Tess had to consider different tactics. Should she change strategy and reinforce the lines of the defenders? Nah, better focus on the attackers. Or did she need a new training plan? The Wolverine guys were turning a bit soft with spring and Christmas coming. Holidays sucked from this point of view. Players lacked concentration. “And this is the mummy’s room,” Mrs. Hudson said, spreading her arms. Her wavy, chestnut hair fell on her shoulders and sparkled with gold hues under the exhibition lights. Tess lifted her eyes from the screen and advanced along with her classmates into a wide room that smelled of lemon polish and strawberry bubble-gums. Hushed voices spread around. She loosened the collar of her blue school uniform. All those lights and people made the air stuffy. Tall posters, illustrating bits of ancient Egypt’s history, papered the walls. The glossy prints showed hieroglyphics, pictures of massive pyramids, and turquoise dung beetles.
The Boy Who Killed Santa Claus
Misadventures in Auckland Book 2
While other thirteen-year-old kids think about playing and riding their bikes, Hau has to deal with fairies. He sees them everywhere—small, green, tiny wings, with pointed ears like Legolas. And they talk to him as well. In fact, they don’t want to shut up.
No one believes him, not even his mother or his best friend. Kids at school call him names, and he’s just as popular as a visit to the dentist.
On top of that, he’s the only one who knows the truth about Santa Claus. Santa isn’t the nice, fatherly elf everyone believes. He’s a bloodthirsty villain. Yep. Newt witnessed it with his own eyes when Santa killed his father in cold blood right under the Christmas tree. But again, no one believes him.
HAU SAW IT COMING, but didn’t manage to dodge out of the way. The big and heavy bag of the woman in front of him smacked him right on the nose. “Ouch!” He clamped a hand on his face. The woman pivoted and gasped, her bag swaying dangerously back and forth again. “Oh, goodness. I didn’t see you there, darling.” “Yes, I got that.” Hau scrambled out of the shop aisle. “You all right?” she asked, staring at a bottle of perfume instead of Hau. He waved a hand. “Fine.” The makeup department was crammed with women hunting for a Christmas bargain. Hau shoved his way to the less crowded gardening tools area and released a breath. Blast! Who would’ve guessed that searching for a Christmas present for his mum would’ve been so dangerous? He touched his sore nose. In the less than ten minutes, he’d been poked in the ribs, pushed, and punched with bags and elbows. Perhaps he had to change department like heading for the housewares aisle. It displayed colourful mugs and tablecloths depicting sledges, reindeer, and mistletoes. Moreover, only a few people roaming it. Glittering Christmas decorations hung from the ceiling and draped the shelves. Michael Bublé sang over the chatting throng that Santa Claus was coming to town. Yeah, Hau hoped for that. He had a few things to ask Santa. Well, a nice Christmas mug would be a good present. He strolled to the shelves, pausing under a cool draught coming from the air conditioners. This New Zealand summer was particularly hot. How odd that in the northern hemisphere people were dealing with winter. He reached out for a blue and silver mug with tiny yellow comets when a jaded mirror caught his attention. Its emerald frame had a chipped spot in a corner, but it gleamed as if a light shone from within. Staring at the mirror, his pulse spiked. His reflection wasn’t there. He peered at the silvery surface where the other shelves were mirrored, but no dark-haired, thirteen-year-old boy. “I’m a vampire,” he muttered. Maybe the mirror didn’t reflect living beings?
The Doom & Despair Entertainment Agency
Misadventures in Auckland Book 3
Welcome to the Doom & Despair Entertainment Agency where fear is always guaranteed. Do you want a bunch of zombies for your next birthday party? Vampires and ghosts at your wedding, frightening your guests? No problem. The Doom & Despair Entertainment Agency organises the scariest events in all New Zilla.
Except that, since the ghost of MacBatt Castle disappeared, business is slowing down at the agency. A new, young ghost, Gwen, haunts the castle, and she’s too nice to scare the customers. So, it’s up to Orlando, a thirteen-year-old orphan who works for the agency, to help Gwen in becoming scarier before his employer decides to send him back to the orphanage.
THE PROBLEM WITH capturing a butter-snake wasn’t the beast’s speed, or its long, sharp fangs, or its bat-like wings that allowed it to fly for a short distance. After years of practise, Orlando had learned how to outrun butter-snakes, catch them while they flew, and avoid being bitten. Most of the times. The real nuisance was the slimy yellow hide. Thanks to the slippery, melting-butter-like skin, the sneaky creature slid out from his hands like soap. The more he squeezed the more the two-foot long butter-snake slipped away in a flourish of yellow scales and a waft of butter. “No!” He slammed a fist on the floorboards of the storeroom, lifting a cloud of dust, and searched around the cramped space. Catching a glimpse of a yellow tail, he lunged. Too late. Victor the butter-snake was already sprinting away from him, all buttery spirals and wagging tail. Crawling on the dusty floor, Orlando headed towards the corner where Victor had disappeared. Wooden chests, frayed rugs, and old suitcases crammed the room, forcing him to zig-zag through them. Cobwebs hung from the ceiling, and sunlight struggled to come in through a dirty, narrow window. Not exactly the perfect conditions to hunt a fast, reckless butter-snake. The reek of mothballs tickled his nose, and he held his breath, trying to not sneeze. Butter-snakes didn’t have exceptional sight, hearing, or sense of smell, but a sneeze would give away his position.
The Girl with the Dragon-Raccoon
Misadventures in Auckland Book 4
While other fifteen-year-old girls dream about having a blood-sucking boyfriend like in Twilight, Tyro has nightmares about vampires.
She has her share of vampires, zombies, and werewolves because her mum is a dentist who attends to these monsters’ teeth.
So, when her mother and a vampire client disappear from the dental clinic, leaving only a trail of blood, trashed furniture, and ripped clothes behind, Tyro suspects one of the monsters kidnapped them or worse that the vampire attacked her mum.
Either way, she’s in deep crap.
The police don’t believe her, and Jack, the vanished vampire’s son, wants to take Tyro to Underworld City where hags, zombies, and all kind of were-beings live. He plans to talk with the underworld police that control supernatural creatures.
That’s his chance to show her that not every monster is a thug, and perhaps, she’ll accept his invitation for the Disemboweller Ball. If only he could keep his true nature secret. No girl would be attracted by a guy who can turn himself into a half-dragon, half-racoon beast, with no fire to speak of, no super-strength, and very tiny wings. How lame is that?
Tyro would rather go to school wearing only her underwear than be alone with Jack. What if going to Underworld City is a trap? What if he wants to eat her?
But unless she teams up with him, she’ll never know what happened to her mum. Armed with her courage and a bottle of garlic spray, she accepts to travel to Underworld City with Jack.
After a monster killed her dad, her mum is all that is left of her family, and she won’t leave her in the hands of brain-eating, blood-sucking creatures.
JAMES BOND GOT IT ALL WRONG. Spy work wasn’t exciting. It sucked. Badly. Tyro wiped her clammy hands on her skirt, staring at the darn filing cabinet in Mum’s dental clinic office. The keys she’d found in the desk wouldn’t open it. Mum took her clients’ privacy seriously. As if having rotten teeth and cavities was such a huge secret. But she wouldn’t quit. Mum had put the police report in the cabinet, and the police might’ve discovered something about Dad’s murderer. She swallowed the knot of sadness that clogged her throat every time she thought about Dad. The cabinet key had to be in a place where no one would ever search like the forbidden fridge. It stood in a corner, half-covered by a giant rhododendron, and contained food for Mum’s not-human patients. Not-human. Monstrous was more like it. They were often ravenous. Tyro went to the fridge, her sneakers leaving marks on the blue rug a vampire had once ripped in two after reading the bill for cleaning his fangs. On her tiptoes, Tyro crossed the room, squinting at the sunlight streaming through the window. Her sneakers left marks on the soft blue rug a vampire had once ripped in two after reading the bill for cleaning his fangs. She crouched in front of the prohibited fridge. A sign in bright red letters read— Underworld-lings food only, not adapted for human consumption. Keep out of the reach of children. Tyro winced, but c’mon. First, she was fifteen, and second the warning had to be exaggerated. Vampires, werewolves, and zombies had to eat something that even normal people would enjoy. Sure they had bad teeth like humans, judging by how busy Mum’s schedule was.
I’m an entomologist and a soil biologist, which is a fancy way to say that I dig in the dirt, looking for bugs. Nature and books have always been my passion. I was a kid when I read The Lord Of The Ring and fell in love with fantasy novels.
When I discovered cosy mystery and crime novel, I fell in love with Hercules Poirot and Sherlock Holmes. Then I grew up and . . . Nah, I’m joking. Don’t grow up, folks! It’s a trap.
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