333Z: Australian Teenager on the Road, Searching for Biological Mother

In the first half of 2002, I got most of the way through a self-contained YA mystery series. I think there were ten books in total, each about 100-120 pages, probably published recently. I was attending a Canadian high school at the time and discovered the series while volunteering at another school’s library. I read all but the last one (I suspect the school year ended before I had a chance to borrow that one). I’d like to know how the series concluded, but every attempt I’ve made at finding these books online has hit a dead end. I either find nothing, or I find an earlier online description of the series that I wrote in 2015.
The protagonist is a young woman from Australia (as I recall), about sixteen, named something like Blake or Blaine. The series has her name in the title along the lines of ‘The Blake Journals’ or ‘The Blaine Files’ or the like. The first volume opens with her leaving home in a carefully thought-out plan to run away. She disappears in the middle of the night, grabs her possessions, and takes to the road on some kind of motor scooter or moped. We eventually learn that her goal is to locate her biological mother, who vanished years ago. As I recall, there’s very little in terms of action-adventure: this is more about a quiet and painstaking solo quest.
The books’ cover images were nearly identical. They all had the series title in large yellow-and-black typography, staggered a bit for a vintage-typewriter look to convey mystery/edginess. If I had to guess, a publishing house cranked these out in a short period of time as a one-off, but clearly the series intrigued me enough that I read about 90% of it, and now I’m finding it tantalizing.

 

332H: Gnomes, Elves, Dwarves, and Humans Band Together

Looking for a fantasy series where gnomes, elves, humans and dwarves must band together. The fantasy series has gnomes who raise an ancient evil. A wizard is trying to become king. Humans, elves, dwarves & gnomes band together. A young gnome woman finds a dog that she thinks is a wolf, so she names it Wolf. The wizards have some magic plant that makes people work harder. Elves and dwarves are set to invade the gnome tunnels.

332D: Dark Fairy Tale

I have been looking for years for a YA book I read years ago, and I am hoping you can help. This is what I remember – which could be wrong:
  • Young adult fiction
  • Part of a series
  • Dark retelling of classic fairy tales
  • Checked out from my local library between 1999-2008
  • Around the same time I read “Just Ella” by Margaret Peterson Haddix, and this would have been around the same time period and genre. This could even be written by her as well.
The book is set in a fairy-tale land, or ‘medieval’ era. The main character is a young girl who is a witch, or just finds out she is a witch, or is learning to be a witch. The girl becomes the town witch/medicine lady who people come to for medicinal needs. There is a distinct part in the book where someone comes to her with their baby who was born with either six fingers or six toes- and they want it removed, but through magic. The witch knows she can cure it without magic, but she needed to put on some sort of a show, so she draws the circle and summons the demons, but she ends up just biting off the baby’s finger/toe herself and pretending it was the demon. She is found out, the demons demand payment, and she is in big trouble.
Essentially, this is a dark retelling of a fairy tale but I could not tell you which princess she was supposed to be.
I’d love to find this book again!

331D: Hostile Alien Wildlife Combined With Earth’s Failures Leads To Space Colony Catastrophes

Not sure if this is one book or a series. Earth’s first colony loses touch with Earth. Without supplies they’d counted on from Earth (food, building materials, vehicles, weapons), the colonists struggle, mostly because the planet’s wildlife (plants and dinosaur-ish animals) are all deadly 24/7. The main female character is the Sheriff, who, at the beginning, has to rescue a female friend in the badlands from a large dinosaur-ish thing. Half-way through the book, the female Sheriff crash lands in the middle of the deadly wilderness. The main male character, who she doesn’t like, goes to rescue her. After a week or so and lots of peril and at least one broken leg (hers), they end up getting back safely by making a canoe out of the shell of a huge animal (and in love).

The colony has major political and leadership issues, some gun-fueled, and then Earth shows up and wants to take over everything. There’s also a creepy guy who starts a brothel and a gambling establishment and schemes to be get elected the boss. Somebody starts a stampede of the dinosaur-ish wildlife down the town's main-street in the middle of the night, and also traps the main male character in his house with a big dinosuar-ish animal by blocking the door with a programmable excavating machine.

329B: Troublesome Cat Sent To His Room (Solved!)

I'm looking for a book I had as a child in the 1970s, though the book may be from the 1960s.  It was a small paperback with a light blue cover.  It was about a cat, I think named Henry, and his mother. The drawings were very simple pen & ink drawings.  There may have been a little blue in the drawings too, but mostly I think they were back and white and were simple.  The cat was always getting in trouble, and had to be sent to his room. His mom was cooking in the kitchen.  They both walked upright - and the mom wore an apron.  I think it may have been a series and there were other stories about him.

328N: Four Elements Represented By Four Girls

I’m looking for a book published between 1980 and 1995. It’s about 4 girls representing the 4 elements (air, water, fire, earth). It’s told mainly from the point of view of the fire element, I believe. She might be called the fire brand but I’m not sure. The girls have to connect and retie the knot of elements that is holding the earth. There is a very vivid description of the knot, and the four colors of the cords making it. This book might be part of a series and it might be considered young adult.

324Z: Sports Car Race With Dirty Oil

When I was a kid in the 1950’s, I read a series of ‘car books’ about a young man who became interested in sports car racing.  I remember that the name of the car manufacturer was ‘black’ something and as an advertising promotion, they once drove one of the cars many, many miles (20,000+?) without an oil change, and then entered the car in a sports car race.

Any of this sound familiar to anyone?

324G: Vampires create living breathing buildings out of human slaves

I read a fiction series in 2006 while I was pregnant with my daughter. The author was male.  It seems there were at least 9 books in the series…maybe as many as 15.  I checked them out in hard cover from the public library in Boise Idaho.

I remember the series beginning in a land where Vampire masters harvest from herds of worker slave humans.  Humans are basically chattel to the masters.  The masters transform the bodies of live slaves into buildings. The stuff of body parts are re-purposed for architectural functions…..tall, complex buildings where slave lungs and hearts are pumping water and fresh air throughout the layers of the buildings.

The vampires called their homes “eyries” like eagle nests.  Tall buildings.

The series moved forward being quite political as Vampire masters battled amongst themselves to destroy each other.  Alliances, betrayals, etc…

As the story developed, it turns out that the vampire land is an alternate plane of Earth. Some characters from modern Earth cross over, get themselves into trouble, then return to Earth.  Eventually, guns get introduced to the vampire kingdom.   During the final (?) book, a battle is happening between a handful of characters and Nazi soldiers who are jumping back and forth across the dimensions.  Absolutely crazy stuff…

I realize this isn’t a whole lot to go by.  Thank you for any help you can provide. My brain has residue of the images of the breathing, living buildings. Amazingly creepy and awe inspiring.