Amanda Lester and the Blue Peacocks’ Secret by Paula Berinstein {Excerpt + Giveaway}

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This is my stop during the blog tour for Amanda Lester and the Blue Peacocks' Secret by Paula Berinstein. This blog tour is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 18 April till 1 May, you can view the complete tour schedule on the website of Lola’s Blog Tours.

So far this series contains 4 books: Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy (Amanda Lester, Detective #1), Amanda Lester and the Orange Crystal Crisis (Amanda Lester, Detective #2), Amanda Lester and the Purple Rainbow Puzzle (Amanda Lester, Detective #3) and Amanda Lester and the Blue Peacocks' Secret (Amanda Lester, Detective #4). You can get the first book in the series for only 0.99$ at amazon.

Amanda Lester and the Blue Peacocks’ SecretAmanda Lester and the Blue Peacocks’ Secret (Amanda Lester, Detective #4)
by Paula Berinstein
Genre: Mystery/ Detective/ Fantasy
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: March 31, 2016



What does a dusty old secret have to do with peacocks?

Everything, as it turns out. When Amanda is knocked off her skateboard by a rare all-blue peacock, she learns that the species harbors a vital secret she must race to uncover. But before she can unravel the mystery, a startling archaeological discovery turns all of Britain against the detectives and threatens their very existence.

As old enemies gather strength and new adversaries emerge, Amanda finds herself dealing with hysterical teachers, a disappearing mentor, a mysterious poisoner, and a would-be magician. With so much at stake and so little time, the last thing she needs is to fall in love.


You can find Amanda Lester and the Blue Peacocks’ Secret on Goodreads

You can buy Amanda Lester and the Blue Peacocks’ Secret here:
- Amazon

Silver Dirk Excerpt

And then the moment came. The crew had broken through the tunnel wall and there was indeed empty space on the other side. As head of the dig Liam got to be the first to look inside. Normally academics tend to be cautious, and Liam never liked to get ahead of himself. But in this instance he was visibly excited and moved quickly. Amanda could see that he was breathing faster than usual and trying to suppress a grin. The way he was clamping his mouth shut made him look like he was sucking on a lemon. Of course it didn’t help that Twinkle kept hovering in a very Lila sort of way, attempting to give him advice that he didn’t need and could not possibly want. “Don’t you think this light would be better?” “You should really cover your nose and mouth in case there’s something noxious inside.” “Be sure to remember your first impression because that will make your article much more exciting.” Amanda thought she’d lose her lunch and stuffed a gingersnap into her mouth.


But Liam was nothing if not gracious. He simply smiled at Twinkle, said “Thank you,” and, mouth covered as procedure dictated, approached the opening. He turned on his light and was just about to shine it into the space when Amanda cried out.


“There it is. A huge red spider. Did you see that?”


Liam was so surprised that he dropped his light on his foot. “Ow!”


“Professor, are you all right?” screamed Twinkle. The screech caused Ivy to shriek, Nigel to bark, the archaeologists to rush to Liam’s side, Elbow Marconi and his crew to scamper to the opening and block it, Simon and Clive to bash into them, and Amanda to fall on her coccyx. The confusion and panic grew so swiftly that soon the only person who hadn’t run into about five other people was Darius, who just stood there with his camera on his shoulder capturing the entire incident.


Then Amanda saw it again—a blur of red whooshing past at breakneck speed. “Simon!” she screamed. “There!” Simon wrenched his neck around, mouthed “Ow,” and seemed to miss the spider entirely because he said, “What?”


“The spider!” Amanda yelled. “It was right there.” She pointed to a spot a few feet from where Simon was standing. “I didn’t see it,” he said. “Clive, did you see anything?” “Nope,” said Clive. “What is wrong with all of you?” shouted Twinkle. “Can’t you see that the professor is hurt?” “I’m not hurt,” said Liam. “I was just a bit startled.” “Your foot,” said Twinkle. “You’re limping.” “It’s just a muscle spasm,” said Liam. He flexed his foot and didn’t grimace at all. “Now, shall we get on with things?”


Everyone moved away (Amanda had to get up first, which was no easy task. Her butt hurt like crazy.), and Liam raised his light to the opening again. Amanda took her place next to Ivy, who had moved closer again, and whispered, “I saw it. It was a huge red spider.” “I believe you,” said Ivy. Liam peered into the hole, moving the light this way and that.


“See anything, Professor?” said Twinkle needlessly. “Sh,” hissed Felix. “You sh,” said Twinkle. “Both of you sh,” said Liam. He stuck his head into the opening so that both head and light were on the other side and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, we have a hidden room!” The tunnel erupted in claps loud enough to bring down the ceiling, except that they didn’t. “Woo hoo!” yelled Twinkle loud enough to raise the dead.


“Yes!” shouted Simon loud enough to break Amanda’s left eardrum. “Arf, arf!” barked Nigel loud enough to echo off the walls and cause people’s chest cavities to reverberate. Darius moved in as close as he could without getting in Liam’s way. He winked at Amanda. She smiled.


“What do you see, Dad?” said Ivy. Everyone stopped yelling. “Well, um, uh, dirt,” said Liam. “What color?” said Twinkle. “How much?” said Louie. “I’ll get a brush,” said Felix. “Hold your horses, all of you,” said Liam. “Procedure, remember?” He snapped his fingers. The chamber was still. Then Twinkle whispered loudly, “I’ll get the log.” Louie said, “I’ve got the camera.” “Tape measure,” said Felix.


“That’s what I like to see,” said Liam. “Mr. Marconi,” he nodded to Elbow. “Gentlemen,” to the construction crew. “Thank you for your excellent work, as usual.” Elbow and his men nodded back. “Take a gander?” The construction crew approached the opening shyly, which made quite a contrast with their earlier bumptiousness. From the back they looked almost reverent.


“What’s that over there?” said Elbow loudly, after he had stuck his head through the opening. “What are you referring to?” said Liam. “I see something silver,” said Elbow. “A coin, perhaps?” said Liam. “I don’t think so,” said Elbow. “It’s pointy.” “May I?” said Liam, taking Elbow’s place. Twinkle passed him a spotlight and he held it high, then lowered it and shined it this way and that. “Well?” said Twinkle. “Hush,” said Louie. Twinkle gave him a dirty look.


“By golly you’re right, Mr. Marconi,” said Liam. “It is indeed pointy. It looks like we’ve got ourselves a silver dirk.”



Earlier Books in this series Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar ConspiracyAmanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy (Amanda Lester, Detective #1)
by Paula Berinstein
Genre: Mystery/ Detective/ Fantasy
Age category: Middle Grade
Release Date: May, 2015



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 seeming clues 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.


You can find Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy on Goodreads

You can buy Amanda Lester and the Pink Sugar Conspiracy here for only 0.99$:
- Amazon
- Amazon Paperback
- Barnes & Noble


American English vs British English Excerpt

When they’d gone, Amanda said, “Let’s go to the kitchen and see if we can sneak something delicious. I’m having sugar withdrawal.” “Me too,” said Amphora. “You’re on.” You weren’t supposed to go into the kitchen without a good reason. It was a school rule and the cook was very strict about it. But both girls were craving sugar so badly that they didn’t care, so they snuck off to see if there were any easy pickings.


They didn’t have much time. They’d have to be in class in a few minutes. As they approached they saw the cook in the hall talking to her assistant, a petite, dark-haired woman who obviously wasn’t happy about something. Good. The cook wasn’t paying attention to the other people around her. This would be easy. They opened the door quietly and tiptoed in.


The woman certainly was fastidious. The huge kitchen gleamed like the Taj Mahal on a sunny day. Gigantic iron pots were sitting on the stove, steaming, boiling, and sizzling away, and fresh, colorful vegetables that bore faint resemblance to the peas at lunch were laid out on the massive wooden cutting board in the center of the room. At the far end was a refrigerator the size of a semi-trailer.


“There,” said Amphora, pointing. “Let’s try the fridge.” “You got it,” said Amanda, tippy-toeing toward the behemoth. “Hey, wait a minute. There’s the pantry. Maybe there are some cookies in there.” “Cookies?” said Amphora. “Oh, biscuits. Right.” “Biscuits?” I don’t want a biscuit. I want something sweet,” said Amanda. “Biscuits are sweet,” hissed Amphora.


“No they’re not,” said Amanda. “I want cookies.” Continuing to argue, the two girls entered the gigantic pantry, which was lined with shelves and cubbies of assorted shapes and sizes. It felt very homey, and Amanda thought that if she were stuck there for a week she wouldn’t mind at all.


“There!” they both said at once, running toward a shelf full of cookies of every variety—chocolate, vanilla, coconut, raisin, jam-in-the-center, marshmallow, sprinkle-topped—smashing into each other in the process. “I thought you said you wanted biscuits,” said Amanda.


“These are biscuits,” said Amphora, grabbing a box. “No, they’re cookies,” said Amanda, attempting to wrest it away from her. “Uh uh,” said Amphora, grabbing back. “Biscuits.” “Wait a minute,” said Amanda, letting her have the box. “You think these are biscuits?” “They are biscuits.” “Oooooh, I get it. That’s what you guys call cookies. To us, biscuits are dinner rolls. Or breakfast rolls.”


“Really? How peculiar.” Amanda wasn’t sure if Amphora meant interesting peculiar or get-it-away-from-me peculiar. “Okay, what do you call that?” said Amanda pointing at some boxes of spaghetti. She was sure English people had some exotic name for the pasta but she couldn’t imagine what. “Spaghetti. What do you call it?” “Spaghetti. How about that?” She pointed to another box that said “Tea” on it. “Tea.” “Tea. And that?” A brightly colored can. “Mushy peas.”


“Mushy peas? Eeeeeeew.” Amanda looked at the picture on the can. It was a huge green splat that looked like the creature from the black lagoon. “Why, what do you call them?” “I don’t,” said Amanda, sticking her finger down her throat. How could anyone eat something with the word “mushy” in the name? “They’re really quite good,” said Amphora, admiring the can. “You should try them sometime.” “Ugh,” said Amanda. “They look like you-know-what.”


The girls burst into laughter. “Say, look at that,” said Amanda, bending down to examine some pink powder on the floor. “Hm, that’s weird,” said Amphora, peering down at the stuff. “It’s pink. It’s nice.” “Don’t touch it!” yelled Amphora, grabbing at Amanda’s arm. “It’s probably rat poison!” “Rat poison in a pantry? I don’t think so.” Amanda shook off Amphora’s hand and reached closer.


“No, really. Don’t touch it. Come on, let’s go. We’re going to get into trouble.” “Oh, all right,” said Amanda. “But I’m coming back later. I want to see what that is. It’s really pretty.” It was. It looked like cotton candy that had dried and shattered into tiny bits of confetti. “Okay,” said Amphora. “You go back later. Got the biscuits?”


“They’re in my bag,” said Amanda, gripping the place where she’d stuck the cookies. “Let’s roll. Er, biscuit. No, roll.”


Amanda Lester and the Orange Crystal Crisis

Amanda Lester and the Orange Crystal Crisis (Amanda Lester, Detective #2)
By Paula Berinstein
Genre: Mystery/ Detective/ Fantasy
Age category: Middle Grade
Release Date: September 15, 2015


If only Sherlock Holmes's great-great-grandson weren't such a dork . . .

There’s a new student at the Legatum Continuatum School for the Descendants of Famous Detectives and Amanda is supposed to work with him. Scapulus Holmes is a descendant of the great Sherlock and he’s crazy about her. Unfortunately she thinks he’s a dork and would rather die than have anything to do with him.

But when the kids discover a dead body encrusted with strange living crystals, Amanda realizes she needs Holmes’s help. If the crystals fall into the wrong hands they could be used for nefarious purposes, and only he knows how to protect them.

Can the detectives keep the bad guys from learning the crystals' secrets? It would help if they could figure out who the dead body is too. Only if Amanda and Holmes can find a way to work together can they prevent a disaster, and it isn’t looking good


Glitter Explosions Excerpt

“Boo!” yelled Professor Pole while the students were still jabbering among themselves. A couple of the kids dropped things on the floor and one or two clutched their chests as if they’d had a heart attack. “Explosions. That’s exactly how they occur. They’re strong, sharp, loud, sudden, and almost always unexpected. But you can prepare yourselves for them, and that’s one of the things we’re going to learn how to do in this dynamite class. Ha ha!” He beamed, obviously proud of his little joke. A couple of the kids groaned, but quite a few of them broke into nervous laughter. Amanda felt her body tense up. She was just sure he was going to try to scare them again. “You there, Mr. Bramble.” Professor Pole motioned to Gordon. “Come up here, please. That’s right. Don’t be shy.” Gordon Bramble, a me-too sort of boy who normally relied on his friend David Wiffle to take the lead, looked embarrassed and confused, but he managed to get himself to the front of the class. “Now, I want you to add this liquid to this beaker. Before you do, please put these goggles on.” Professor Pole pointed to a clear vessel that contained glittering blue powder. It was sitting in a pan. The liquid he was referring to resided in a smaller beaker that looked like the larger beaker’s child. Amanda had visions of Dr. Frankenstein and his monster. What a great film that was with Boris Karloff. She should watch it again. Gordon took the goggles and nervously fitted them over his eyes. They made him look like a deep-sea diver. He eyed Professor Pole tentatively, as if to say, “Please don’t make me do this.” “All right, go,” said the professor. Gordon stood stock-still. “It’s okay. I promise.” Shaking visibly, Gordon held his arm out as far as it would go and gingerly picked up the beaker with the clear liquid. Then, standing as far away from the large beaker as he could, he poured about a drop into it. “More,” said Professor Pole. “Do the whole thing at once. Upsy daisy.” This baby talk seemed to embarrass Gordon so much that he stood closer to the large beaker and dumped the clear liquid in, whereupon a sparkly blue explosion blasted out of it and overflowed into the pan. It made a snapping sound, like a whip being cracked. It was more show than danger, though. The stuff didn’t even get on Gordon’s clothes. He winced and turned away, then slowly pivoted around and, seeing what had happened, smiled from ear to ear. “Awesome,” he said. “Can I do it again?” “Yes, you may,” said the professor. “How about a different color? But first, let me explain what just happened. The large beaker contained baking soda with blue dye and glitter. The smaller beaker contained white vinegar. Perhaps you can smell it.” Gordon wrinkled his nose and nodded. “The baking soda and the vinegar reacted and caused the mixture to explode. So for you cooks out there, never mix those two ingredients together or you’ll have a birthday cake to remember. Now, Mr. Bramble, would you like to do the honors?” “Professor, Professor,” yelled out David Wiffle. “Can I try?” “You’ll get your turn, Mr. Wiffle. Let’s see what Mr. Bramble can cook up.” Now that he knew he wasn’t going to die, Gordon really got into the experiment. He mixed several different colors of dye and glitter and put them all into the same container. The explosion they created looked like the Fourth of July. He got so excited that he managed to trip. As he started to fall, Scapulus Holmes raced to the front of the room and caught him before he crashed to the floor. Now Gordon was embarrassed again. He murmured a word of thanks and asked if it was okay to return to his seat. Professor Pole nodded. “Thank you, Mr. Holmes,” said the professor. “That was quick thinking.”


You can find Amanda Lester and the Orange Crystal Crisis on Goodreads

You can buy Amanda Lester and the Orange Crystal Crisis here:
- Amazon
- Amazon Paperback
- Barnes & Noble

Amanda Lester and the Purple Rainbow PuzzleAmanda Lester and the Purple Rainbow Puzzle (Amanda Lester, Detective #3)
By Paula Berinstein
Genre: Mystery/ Detective/ Fantasy
Age category: Middle Grade
Release Date: November 15, 2015



Purple rainbows, a mysterious crypt, and pots of gold . . .

Things are not going well for Amanda and the secret detective school. A priceless artifact has disappeared, a dangerous hacker is manipulating matter, and zombies are being seen all over the Lake District.

Then the real trouble starts. When her cousins go missing and her friend Clive is kidnapped, Amanda is forced to turn to someone she’d rather not deal with: her old boyfriend Scapulus Holmes. But then he vanishes too. Now’s she’s sure that arch-villain Blixus Moriarty is involved . . . or is he?


You can find Amanda Lester and the Purple Rainbow Puzzle on Goodreads

You can buy Amanda Lester and the Purple Rainbow Puzzle here:
- Amazon
- Amazon Paperback

News Agent Excerpt

When they arrived at Penrith they decided to reconnoiter for a few minutes, then start asking people if they’d seen anything strange. They were hoping they’d find zombies right away, which would mean they wouldn’t have to draw attention to themselves. However after ten or fifteen minutes they’d seen nothing but the usual small town activity so they split up, with Simon and Ivy taking one shop and Fern and Amanda another.


“Uh, hello,” said Amanda to the clerk at the newsagent’s.


“Hullo,” said the spotty young man. He reminded Amanda of the guy who worked at the ice cream store back home in Calabasas—the one who wouldn’t let her start a tab when she was hungry and had no money with her.


She hesitated. She didn’t want to just come out with, “Seen any zombies lately?” What should she say?


“We’re ghost hunters,” said Fern before she could decide. Amanda was shocked. Fern had done almost exactly what she thought was a bad idea.


“Do tell,” said the kid. “Aren’t yew a little young for that?” He spoke in a faint Scottish brogue. Amanda thought he was easier to understand than Professor McTavish, and way clearer than Mr. Onion.


“We’re prodigies,” said Fern, causing the kid to eye her suspiciously. “We’ve heard that there are a lot of haunted places around here.” “We don’t want no prodigies around here,” he said.


“We’re licensed,” said Fern, pulling out her British Museum membership card. She waved it in front of his face, then quickly stuck it back in her bag.


“Ten quid,” he said.


Amanda and Fern looked at each other. Was he asking for a bribe? “Five,” said Fern almost before he’d finished. The kid didn’t flinch. “Eight.” “Six.”


“Six and fifty.” They were in a rhythm now. Amanda wondered how long it would go on. “Deal,” said Fern, ending the exchange. “Pay in advance,” said the kid.


Shaking her head, Fern dug in her purse and gave the kid six pounds and fifty pence. “This had better be good,” she said. He leaned forward conspiratorially. “Myrddin’s Wand.”


“Myrddin’s Wand?” said Amanda. “What’s that?” “Myrddin is Merlin,” said Fern. “Merlin’s wand? What about it?”


“It’s a wee village four miles from here,” said the kid. “Stone circles. Haunted.” “What kind of haunted?” said Fern. “Ah, that’s for yew to find out, innit,” said the kid.


“Coordinates?” said Fern. “Here,” said the kid, tearing out a page from a copy of Creepy Cumbria magazine and scribbling on it. “There’s a bit of a village there. No gift shops, though.” “We’re not interested in gift shops,” said Fern. “Well, there ain’t none.”


“Any zombies?” said Amanda, throwing caution to the wind. The kid already thought they were weird.


“Who’s askin’?”


Fern eyed the boy. “I am Morgan le Fey, and this is Rapunzel Silverstein.”


“You from London?” he said eyeing her suspiciously. Then he looked at Amanda. “You’re one of them Americans.”


“No, I’m from Dorset,” said Fern. “My cousin is Canadian.”


“Hm,” said the kid. “Tell you what. You buy me a pizza and I’ll tell you about zombies.” Amanda was getting so impatient she wanted to scream. Now they were supposed to run off and find this jerk a pizza? What if none of his information paid off? She let out a huge sigh. Fern, however, seemed unperturbed and said, “Where can we get pizza?”


The kid nodded toward the street. “Block down. Saccamano’s. Best pizza in Cumbria.” “Hold that thought,” said Fern, grabbing Amanda and dashing out of the shop. “What an idiot,” said Amanda.


“Yes, but he’s got to know something. If there’s anything weird going on around here the locals will know.” But will they tell? People in small towns could be secretive, or so Amanda had heard. She’d never actually lived in one, unless you counted Windermere, but that was different. She didn’t actually know anyone there except Eustace.


On the way to Saccamano’s, they ran into Simon and Ivy. “Got it,” said Simon proudly. “Zombies?” said Amanda. “Yes,” said Ivy. “A man in the chemist’s told us that they’ve been seen around Myrddin’s Wand. There’s a stone circle there.”


“Myrddin’s Wand?” said Amanda. “That’s what we heard too. You’re sure he was talking about zombies, though. Not ghosts?” “Zombies,” said Ivy. “So we don’t have to get pizza,” said Amanda with relief.


“Pizza?” said Simon. “I could go for some pizza. Here’s a place right here.” Amanda looked at Fern. “I don’t think we have to worry about Mr. Six and a Half Quid anymore,” said Fern. “Their story confirms what he said. Let’s eat and get out of here.”


Paula Berinsteint

About the Author:
Paula Berinstein is nothing like Amanda. For one thing, she’s crazy about Sherlock Holmes. For another, she’s never wanted to be a filmmaker. In addition, compared to Amanda she’s a big chicken! And she wouldn’t mind going to a secret school at all. In fact, she’s hoping that some day she’ll get to build one.

You can find and contact Paula here:
- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Goodreads
- Paula's blog on Goodreads
- The Writing Show podcasts
- Newsletter

There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Amanda Lester and the Blue Peacocks’ Secret. Open International. These are the prizes you can win:
- a Kindle Paperwhite
- A physical copy of all four Amanda Lester books by Paula Berinstein
- 2 physical copies from Paula Berinstein her books, winner's choice

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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Thanks for being part of this blog tour! Your post looks great :)

  3. Thank you so much for being a host on my tour, Laura! Wow, four excerpts--thank you!!!!!