Saturday, October 31, 2015

Book Review: The Fifth Season

TITLE: The Fifth Season
Book 1 in the Broken Earth series
AUTHOR: N. K. Jemisin
GENRE: Fantasy
PUBLISHED: August 4rth, 2015
PREMISE: Not sure how to describe this without spoiling everything. It's a fantasy with characters trying to survive in the world?
MY REVIEW: This book reminded me that I really need to finish up the Inheritance Trilogy and get to Jemisin's other stuff because man, she's a good author. This is a very hard to describe book, but if you are a fan of good well crafted fantasy then I suggest you pick this up.
For those used to her Inheritance Trilogy books, this is written a little differently. I know alternating points of views can be exasperating to some, but this is an author who knows how to use this style well. It's very effective and well done.
If you love stuff like Game of Thrones or just fantasy in general, pick this up. If you love N. K. Jemisin, pick this up. I promise, despite the somewhat slow start, it's worth the read.
WHO SHOULD READ: Game of Thrones fans, N. K. Jemisin fans, fans of dark fantasy
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five epic fantasy worlds

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Where to Start: Mystery/Thrillers/Suspense

So, I've been debating and debating how to go about this list. Mystery in adult land is somewhat complicated because there are all these subgenres. There's cozy mystery, historical mystery, thrillers, and even a bunch of urban fantasy books out there could be considered mystery. I've decided to break it down into four categories: mystery, cozy mystery, and historical mystery.
Mystery for this list is going to be any book that has a mystery as the central part of its plot. I'm not including historical or fantasy settings. Just regular crime solving. I'm throwing in thrillers/suspense as well because honestly, the line between regular mystery and thrillers has always been a bit blurred so I'm just going to do them all at once.

Classics of the genre that are a good idea to read:
The Sherlock Holmes series by Arthur Conan Doyle
Poirot series/Miss Marple series/or And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Lord Peter Whimsey series by Dorothy L. Sayers
Philip Marlowe series by Raymond Chandler

Some popular staples:
Millenium series by Stieg Larsson
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Dublin Murder Squad series by Tana French
The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith
Women's Murder Club series by James Patterson

Some random personal recommendations:
Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling)
Temperance Brennan series by Kathy Reichs
Nikki Heat series by Richard Castle

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Book Review: The Nightmare Charade

TITLE: The Nightmare Charade
Book 3 in the Arkwell Academy series
AUTHOR: Mindee Arnett
GENRE: Urban Fantasy/Mystery
PUBLISHED: August 4rth, 2015
PREMISE: Dusty and Eli solve another mystery and try to find a way for them to be together.
MY REVIEW: This...wasn't a disappointment persay. It ended in a satisfactory way. There are certainly worse ways to end a series.
It's was predictable. I could see exactly how things were going to play out halfway through. There were maybe one or two minor twists, but not enough to make this a must read conclusion, unless you were a big fan of the first two books like I was.'s an average end to an enjoyable but average series. But I still think Arnett has great imagination though. I look forward to seeing whatever new idea she comes up with next.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of the first two books, Harry Potter fans, mystery fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five
RATING FOR TRILOGY: Four out of Five

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Book Review: Vivian Apple Needs a Miracle

TITLE: Vivian Apple Needs a Miracle
Book 2 in the Vivian Apple books
AUTHOR: Katie Coyle
PUBLISHED: September 1rst, 2015 (in the US)
GENRE: Dystopian
PREMISE: Vivian and her friend Harper do what they can to fight against the powerful Church of America, who has turned the two of them into public enemy no. 1.
MY REVIEW: It seems as though this is the last book in this series and I think that's a shame. This was a great dystopian set up. Considering the rhetoric going around lately, I had zero problems believing it could happen. That's rare in a YA dystopian.
On top of the fascinating set up are some great characters. The friendship between Vivian and Harper continues to be fabulous. We get some more insight to Vivian's long lost sister as well as her mother and it's just some all around good stuff. The romance with Peter is a bit whatever, but what can you do.
I'm sorry to see these books go. It was such a refreshing dystopian. I hope Coyle sticks around and gives us more interesting books.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of the first book, dystopian fans, Glory O'Brien's History of the Future fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five believable dystopians

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Thematic Sunday: Books for Those Looking Forward to Supergirl

So this week the new Supergirl TV show premieres. I'm mildly excited about it. I've heard good things from those who watched the leaked pilot (I abstained and will be watching it live to give the show ratings). I imagine there are some other fans out there, so here are some things to check out to tide you over during the season while waiting for new episodes.

1) Lois Lane series Book 1: Fall Out by Gwenda Bond

That's right, Lois Lane has gotten her own YA series. The first one is pretty cool and I definitely believe this is a teen Lois. There's a second book coming out next year in May.

2) Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl

Not to be outdone by the competition, Marvel is also throwing their hat into the YA book market, and releasing a Black Widow focused book. It just got released this past month. I've heard mostly good things. It's to be reviewed as soon I can get a copy. Another note: there's also a Captain Marvel YA series starting. ;dances a happy jig;

3) The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore

If non-fiction is more your thing, definitely check out this book on how Wonder Woman came to be.

4) Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines by Mike Madrid

This one sounds like it's a little similar to the above book, but goes into superheroines other then Wonder Woman, including our girl Kara.

5) Ms. Marvel graphic novel series

If you are a graphic novel reader (and if you're looking forward to Supergirl, I'm assuming you are to some extent), you've likely heard about this series. Rest assured, it's awesome. Definitely check it out if you can.

6) Superman: The Unauthorized Biography by Glen Wilson

Superman is...sort of involved in Supergirl's life (it depends on the version of Superman we're going with, honestly). It might be a good idea to look into big blue before watching Supergirl. Word on the street is, he might be making one or two cameos on the show.

7) Supergirl Vol. 1: The Last Daughter of Krypton graphic novel

The Supergirl comics mythos/backstory is...complicated what with all of DCs retcons. The new 52 definitely has its faults, but this is probably the best place to start if you're unfamiliar with Kara and would like to read her comics before watching the show.

8) Dark Star Trilogy by Bethany Frennette

Awesome urban fantasy series dealing with a world where there are superheroes. This series deserves way more love then it gets.

9) Zodiac series by Stan Lee, Stuart Moore and Andie Tong

Another example of Marvel/DC trying their hand at books, this is a new middle-grade series taking place in the Marvel verse about a group of kids discovering they have powers. There's only one book so far, book two comes out in January.

10) Batgirl Vol. 1: The Darkest Reflection graphic novel

Another awesome DC superheroine is Batgirl. Her comic book counterpart is so much better then any version we've gotten on TV or film. Perhaps if Supergirl does well, we could finally get the Barbara Gordon on TV that we deserve.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Book Review: Yes, Please

TITLE: Yes, Please
AUTHOR: Amy Poehler
CATEGORY: Non-Fiction
GENRE: Memoirs
PREMISE: Amy Poehler writes about some of her experiences in her career and the things she has learned from these experiences.
MY REVIEW: I'm not going to lie to you, this review comes with much bias. I adore Amy Poehler. She's one of my favorite SNL stars, I tend to like basically everything she does. This memoir is no exception.
If you are familiar with celebrity memoirs, this follows much of the same pattern. There's a brief history of her career, that is full of some funny and pretty on point commentary about growing up. There's some talk about her rise in SNL and then she briefly goes into motherhood and her other projects. Some people guest write parts, such as her parents talking about when she was born. I found that kind of clever.
If you picked this one up, you are probably an Amy Poehler fan as well. Therefore, I doubt you'll be disappointed. I do wish there were some more details. Like, I would have liked stories about her time working on Mean Girls. But, perhaps she's saving those for a future biography. Her career certainly isn't over any time soon, Considering the success of this book, I suspect we may see her write another.
WHO SHOULD READ: Amy Poehler fans, Bossypants fans, those into celebrity memoirs
MY RATING: Four out of Five awesome celebrities

Friday, October 23, 2015

Book Review: From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess

TITLE: From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess
Book 1 in a new series
AUTHOR: Meg Cabot
PUBLISHED: May 19th, 2015
CATEGORY: Middle-Grade
GENRE: Realistic Fiction
PREMISE: Meet Olivia, a young girl growing up in New York who has just discovered she is in fact a princess.
MY REVIEW: I wavered a bit on whether or not I was going to read this one, but in the end, I caved. Olivia was so damn cute in Royal Wedding that I couldn't help but be curious about what her series was, despite it being aimed at younger readers.
Now, if you've read Royal Wedding...this book is mostly a rehashing of that plot, we just get to see the events from Olivia's point of view and learn some other things about her. Olivia is fun. She's different from Mia, and grew up under different circumstances. Even how she discovers her lineage is different. So this is not just Princess Diaries 2.0. Olivia is her own character and she's a blast. I look forward to finding out more about her in future books.
I can't say for sure how this will fare among the target audience. I have no kids so I don't really know what the tween crowd is into nowadays, but I would think at least one kid out there would relate to Olivia and her friends on some level.
WHO SHOULD READ: Tweens/younger teens, Princess Diaries fans, Meg Cabot fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five tiaras

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Thematic Sunday: Books for Mortal Instruments Fans

So if you're a MI fan, you likely know that the teaser for the upcoming Shadowhunters show has dropped. I'm mildly excited about it. I just have a rule about not getting high expectations about things, because high expectations always tends to lead to disappointment, even if the thing in question is relatively good. But I suspect the trailer has made people look at the series again, and if you're rereading, or reading for the first time, you might be left wanting more books after you finish the series. Luckily, there are plenty of options for MI fans to read. Please note, this list does not include Harry Potter or Percy Jackson because I'm assuming most MI fans have already looked at those two series.

If you liked the girl discovers magical world part of MI:

1) The Others Series by Anne Bishop

A little more adult then MI, this series has the same sort of sheltered but likable girl learning the ropes of a magical world. It also boasts a wide variety of magical creatures.
Note: the series is currently in progress.

If you just liked the hidden magical world aspect:

2) The Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy by Laini Taylor

This trilogy has a fantastically creative and vivid world and also has that complicated romance aspect.

If you were in it for the group dynamics:

3) The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater

If you just loved the character development in MI, I definitely suggest this series. Well developed character focus as well as a fascinating take on magic. This series is in progress, the last book is hopefully going to be out next year.

You're a sucker for the magic bits (who isn't?):

4) The Hex Hall series by Rachel Hawkins

Sophie has enough sass that would put Jace to shame and she's a witch to boot. Well crafted world with magic and snark.
Also check out her in progress Rebel Belle series which should also appeal to MI fans. The main character at one point beats up a baddie while in high heels. Isabelle would approve.

You loved the atmosphere of MI:

5) Beautiful Creatures series by Kami Garcia and Margeret Stohl

The town of Gaitlin is so vivid in these books that you feel as though you've been there, even if you've never been down in the South. This series also boasts a romantic subplot that rivals Clary and Jace (and doesn't have an icky, we may be siblings plot), a great magic system, and many colorful characters.

You are in it for the genre:

6) The Young Wizards series by Diane Duane

Who doesn't love a good urban fantasy, right? May I direct your attention to this oldie, but goodie series about kids discovering magic and more.
Note: Still in progress, there'll be a new book coming next year.

Actually, you kind of liked Infernal Devices more:

7) The Jackaby series by William Ritter

I know, I love the historical fantasy stuff too. This is one of the newest ones and I can't recommend it enough. Basically, scrappy girl meets strange man who pulls her into a even stranger magical world.

You loved the snark:

8) The Lynburn Legacy Trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan

You might know Brennan's name from the Bane Chronicles. Her books are indeed worth a look. Kami could probably out snark Jace if it were to come down to a snark battle.
Also check out Demon's Lexicon which should also appeal to MI fans.

You liked Jace despite wanting to hit him over the head for all his dumb decisions:

9) The Curse Workers Trilogy by Holly Black

If there is a guy out there who could rival Jace in the I have a sucky life department, it could be Cassel.

More Urban Fantasy:

10) Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

More awesome urban fantasy to take a look at.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Book Review: A Whole New World

TITLE: A Whole New World
Book 1 in the Twisted Tales series
AUTHOR: Liz Braswell
GENRE: Fantasy/Retelling
PUBLISHED: September 1rst, 2015
PREMISE: A retelling of Disney's Aladdin if Jafar had gotten the lamp before Aladdin.
MY REVIEW: This is one of those cases where I love the idea way more then I love the execution. I'm a huge Disney nerd, okay? The idea of twisted Disney tales where everything is more dark? Sign me the hell up. There's a reason I love Once Upon a Time, despite said shows flaws.
Unfortunately, this didn't quite live up to the promised idea. There are some great things in it. It explores the things that the movies can't because the movies are meant for kids. This goes into things like privilege and poverty and Jasmine does get to shine way more then she does in the movie. If you loved TV Jasmine more then movie!Jasmine who is forced into the background, this is great stuff. Unfortunately even this Jasmine is forced to the background so Aladdin can save the day, which is odd because the summary and marketing made it sound like this was going to be Jasmine being an awesome rebel princess with Aladdin just sort of there to help. Instead it's just a what if with Aladdin still very much the hero. While Jasmine does get a little more to do then she does in the's still not what I wanted. I kind of wonder if maybe there was a different intention and then a Disney exec somewhere got cold feet and was afraid parents would get upset about Disney being too feminist or something and the author was forced to change direction. Whatever happened...this was not what I wanted and so I was a little disappointed.
It's still an interesting take on the tale. If you don't into this expecting epic badass Jasmine, then you should get a kick or two out of it. But I guess I expected too much out of this. I may pick up the next one that's about Sleeping Beauty, but I also may not. It will depend on my mood.
WHO SHOULD READ: Aladdin fans, younger YA readers, Disney fans, Once Upon a Time fans
MY RATING: Three out of Five not what I wanted, but okay shrugs

Friday, October 16, 2015

Book Review: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line

TITLE: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line
Veronica Mars Book 1
AUTHOR: Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham
GENRE: Mystery
PREMISE: Taking place after the Veronica Mars movie, this new series starts as Veronica gets her first major case as an adult PI.
MY REVIEW: As a rule...I don't tend to do tie-in novels. Usually, I don't see the need for them. Especially if the series it ties into is still going on or ended in a satisfactory way. There are some exceptions to this. I have been known to pick up some Star Trek books now and then. I also plan on picking up some of the new Star Wars expanded universe books. There are also the new YA books that DC and Marvel are doing (FYI Marvel, I would not be adverse to a Ms Marvel YA series). Then there's this series that started last year.
I am a big Veronica Mars fan. I loved the movie and I'm sad that it looks like that may be the last we see of it for awhile. But we're getting iZombie from him at least and that show is awesome (seriously, check it out, even if you're not into zombies). This series picks up where the film left off and we get to see adult PI Veronica in action and it's wonderful. There is a bit of a lack of Logan as he's still doing his thing, but we do get Keith Mars, Veronica's awesome friends, and Weevil even makes a brief appearance. It's a almost as good as getting a sequel to the movie/series.
The writing itself is average for tie-in novels. But when picking up books like this, I don't tend to really judge the writing. I tend to judge if it feels like the series and in this case, is a natural continuation of it. It is. The writer gets these characters and doesn't ruin Veronica in any way. I say, job well done. I'm definitely picking up the next book. If we can't have more Veronica Mars, this series is at least a good stand in.
WHO SHOULD READ: Veronica Mars fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five camaras

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Book Review: Of Dreams and Rust

TITLE: Of Dreams and Rust
Book 2 in the Of Metal and Wishes Duology
AUTHOR: Sarah Fine
GENRE: Fantasy
PUBLISHED: August 4rth, 2015
PREMISE: Sequel and conclusion to Of Metal and Wishes
MY REVIEW: This is going to be a very short review because honestly...I don't have much to say about this one. Everything I might have said about it, was already said in the review of the first book.
Basically, this is a continuation. It did everything a continuation should. It brought the story to a full conclusion. It was a perfectly adequate sequel.
If you liked Metal and Wishes, you'll probably like this one.
WHO SHOULD READ: Of Metal and Wishes fans, Phantom of the Opera fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five shrugs

Monday, October 12, 2015

Book Review: Rebel Mechanics

TITLE: Rebel Mechanics
Book 1 in a new series
AUTHOR: Shanna Swendson
PUBLISHED: July 2015
GENRE: Historical Fantasy/Steampunk
PREMISE: A young newly hired governess finds herself swept up in revolution.
MY REVIEW: Most of what I enjoyed about this series comes from the world building. The author did a fabulous job of creating a believable alternate history world where magic wielding Brits stopped the revolution and therefore America is still under British control.
Plot wise...this is kind of average for YA. There's a plucky protagonist. There's a possible developing love triangle, and there's snark and so on. But the author makes it likable so it's still very readable.
So this one is honestly, mostly average. But if like myself, you love wonderfully imaginative alternate history then I definitely recommend this one.
WHO SHOULD READ: Alternate History fans, historical fantasy fans, steampunk fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five steam contraptions

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Book Review: The New Jim Crow

TITLE: The New Jim Crow-Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
AUTHOR: Michelle Alexander
CATEGORY: Non-Fiction
GENRE: Social Commentary/History/Racial Issues
PREMISE: Examination of many racial issues, but mostly focused on the mass incarceration of young black men.
MY REVIEW: When Ferguson happened (should probably be present tense as protesting is actually still going on. It's just not as violent so now no one cares), everyone looked for answers. In searching for those answers, many book lists were compiled. This book wound up on quite a few of those lists. When that happens, that tells me a non-fiction book is legit. So I made a mental note.
This is not light reading. If you're into the idea that racism is'll probably dislike it. Because this book will burst that bubble and do it proudly and with no apologies. As well it should. Some of the information in here I was aware of, due to, of all things, tumblr. Mock social media all you like, it has made people more aware of issues going on. This book provides history and context for the tidbits I've picked up. It's a very well organized book, the author is very straight-forward with the information.
This is not what I would call entertainment reading. It is not easy reading. I do think it should be read by everyone who feels the slightest interest in the subject.
MY RATING: Four and a half out of Five

Monday, October 5, 2015

Book Review: Rivals in the City

TITLE: Rivals in the City
Book 4 in The Agency series
GENRE: Historical Mystery
PUBLISHED: March 2015 (in the US, released in 2014 elsewhere)
PREMISE: Mary receives one more task from the agency that trained her.
MY REVIEW: I admit, I was surprised to hear there was a forth book in the Agency series. To me, book three wrapped things up nicely. But I loved this series so much that I didn't mind an extra book.
I...still don't know why there was a forth book. While the extra adventure was certainly nice, it wasn't exactly necessary. This one felt slower then the other mysteries to be honest. It was still fun though. Mary is still an awesome character. It didn't screw up any satisfaction the third book gave. Mostly, it just felt like a really long epilogue where we get to see what happens to bit characters here and there.
So...I don't think this is the best book in the series. But it was at least nice to hang out with Mary again and see how life after the Agency has found her.
WHO SHOULD READ: fans of the first three books who want to spend more time with the character.
MY RATING: Four out of Five not necessary but welcome books

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Thematic Sunday: Retellings/Reimaginings of Scary Classics

So, you all have probably seen a lot of book lists for Halloween. Most of them have probably included the following: Dracula, Frankenstein, Jekyll and Hyde, Edgar Allen Poe etc. While those lists are right, these books are great for Halloween, maybe you're looking for a bit of a twist on them. So here are some retellings/Reimaginings of creepy classics of yore.

1) The Nevermore Trilogy by Kelly Creagh

Love Edgar Allen Poe? Love paranormal romance? Then you will love this trilogy that does so many great twists from the world of Edgar Allen Poe.

2) The Madman's Daughter Trilogy by Megan Shepherd

This reimagining takes a simple premise: what if the doctor from the Island of Dr. Moreau had a daughter and gives it a great spin. It doesn't just stop at Dr. Moreau either, it deftly weaves together plots from Jekyll and Hyde as well as Frankenstein.

3) The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein Books by Kenneth Oppel

These are a great pair of books examining Victor Frankenstein's youth. Sometimes these prequels like to ignore canon, but this one does not and it's all the better for it.

4) The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Haven't yet read this one myself, but apparently it's a modern take on Dracula.

5) This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzie Lee

This is a new release from last month that is based on Frankenstein.

6) Masque of the Red Death Books by Bethany Griffin

Dystopian series that was inspired by one of Poe's lesser known but no less creepy works.

7) Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey

YA retelling of Jekyll and Hyde if they were actually two people and in love.

8) Ashes on the Waves by Mary Lindsey

YA retelling of Edgar Allen Poe's poem Annabel Lee

9) Vlad: The Last Confession by C. C. Humphreys

A biography of sorts of the life of Dracula.

10) Diaries of the Family Dracul series by Jeanne Kalogridis

Series about Dracula's ancestors and their adventures/mishaps/etc.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Book Review: Mechanica

TITLE: Mechanica
AUTHOR: Betsy Cornwell
PUBLISHED: August 25th, 2015
GENRE: Fantasy
PREMISE: A retelling of Cinderella set in a steampunk world with faeries.
MY REVIEW: Every so often I come across a book where I just honest to god, have no idea what I think of it. Mechanica is one such book. I didn't particularly adore this book. Nor did I quite hate it either. But I wasn't indifferent to it either, because it's a rather interesting take on Cinderella.
I will say, I love the world created here. It's highly imaginative. The characters are...okay. Not really ground breaking characters, but for once...this was an interesting love triangle. I know...who knew! But love triangles don't have to be crappy guys, and this is one not like a phenomenal one but is rather interesting. Also for a Cinderella remix, it didn't go the way I was expecting. It's nice when fairy-tale retellings go unexpected routes.
But the story is also slow, as interesting as the love triangle did tend to drag everything still. The writing was also average. So...this one was a bit of a mixed bag. I do know that my feelings about it are mostly positive. I hope this author sticks around, she has interesting ideas.
WHO SHOULD READ: Retelling fans, Cinderella fans, steampunk fans
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five Cinderellas

Friday, October 2, 2015

Book Review: The Cold Burn of Magic

TITLE: The Cold Burn of Magic
Book 1 in the Black Blade series
AUTHOR: Jennifer Estep
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
PUBLISHED: April 28th, 2015
PREMISE: Lila lives in a town known as the most magical place in America. Where rival magic families rule and she gets by on stealing things for clients. Her world gets turned upside down when she breaks one her own rules by helping out the son of one of the powerful magic families.
MY REVIEW: Estep is one of those unsung writers who really deserve more recognition. Her stuff is great. It's always fun. There are very few authors out there who can consistently turn out good entertaining books and she's one of them. Even if they maybe aren't overly challenging books, I've yet to read an Estep book I didn't at least enjoy.
This new series is no exception. The set up is nice and interesting. She explains the world perfectly so you get what's going on. There's a fast pace, there's snappy dialogue, and it's all entertaining as hell. There are a few familiar tropes here and there, but there's enough little twists in the plot to keep you interested.
Overall, this was a good introduction to an interesting looking series. Not exactly groundbreaking, but Estep manages to once again deliver an entertaining romp that makes me look forward to the next book.
WHO SHOULD READ: Estep fans, urban fantasy fans
MY RATING: Four out of Five magic items

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Where to Start: YA Mysteries

Mystery is a genre that is near and dear to my heart. It is in fact, very often a subgenre of many of the books I read. Luckily there are many mystery options out there to choose from. Here are some of the mysteries to start with in the YA section:

Some YA Mystery Staples:
Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene
Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz
The 39 Clues series by various authors
Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard

Some Popular YA Mysteries
Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter (also check out Heist Society and her new one, Embassy Row)
The Body Finder series by Kimberly Derting
The Agency series by Y. S. Lee
Death By Mysteries by Linda Gerber
Confessions series by James Patterson

Some Personal Favorites:
Bad Kitty books by Michele Jaffe
Deadly Cool books by Gemma Halliday
The Naturals series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Prep School Confidential series by Kara Taylor
Jasper Dent series by Barry Lyga