by Tara Ellis
Book 1: The Mystery of Hollow Inn
Twelve-year-old Samantha Wolf, and her best friend Ally, are excited to spend part of their summer break in the mountains of Montana. But unbeknownst to them, Hollow Inn is bathed in mystery and legend. After arriving, they soon discover that things are not going well for Sam’s Aunt and Uncle, who own the Inn. There’s vandalism, ghostly sightings, and rumors of lost treasures. Determined to help, Sam and Ally embark on a challenging journey to discover the truth.
“This book for preteens and young teens has just the right mix of mystery, puzzles, and suspense.”
“This is exactly the type of story I devoured as a young girl. The setting is remote and beautiful, there is danger and a mystery to solve. What kid doesn’t live secret tunnels, exploration and a treasure hunt?”
“I was instantly taken in by these characters. Nancy Drew has nothing on these 2 twelve year old girls!”
Book 2: The Secret of Camp Whispering Pines
What could be better than hiking, swimming, and horseback riding? Having a mystery to solve, of course!
When Sam and Ally embark on their next quest together, they have no idea what secrets hide in the shadows at Camp Whispering Pines. Set in the beautiful, rugged mountains of the Pacific Northwest, the clues are slowly revealed, and it’s up to the two girls to figure it out.
New friendships are formed, while at the same time enemies lurk nearby. The closer they get to uncovering the truth behind the camp, the further they are pushed into danger and deceit. Can Sam and Alley put all of the pieces together before it’s too late? Follow them on another thrilling tale filled with excitement and adventure, along misty, high mountain trails and deep ravines, where the answers wait to be found!
“I felt like I was apart of this story and not just reading it. Tara Ellis is a wonderful author that always seems to make stories more than just a story!”
“Humorous and entertaining. Refreshing and enjoyable. I would love more.”
“The best parts though are the inter-relationships between the five girls in the cabin, their differing personalities and backgrounds, and how they move from not trusting each other to becoming friends.”
Book 3: The Beach House Mystery
What should be a quiet week at the beach turns into the most challenging mystery that Sam and Ally have uncovered yet. What’s the truth behind the odd family renting the cabin next-door? Is the tale of a sea creature and haunted lighthouse just a myth? How does a missing girl, and suspicious boat tie into all of it? The girls can’t solve this puzzle on their own, so they turn to their brothers for help.
Travel with them to the scenic Washington Coast and into the Olympic Rainforest, where the four have to work together to untangle the clues and fit the mysterious pieces together.
“I especially enjoy the strong theme of friendship in the Sam Wolf Mysteries. The banter between the kids is natural and convincing.”
“I grew up on the Trixie Beldon and Nancy Drew books. This author is in the same league, but the stories are set in a more modern era.”
“This is a fantastic book for young audiences and adults alike.”
Book 4: The Heiress of Covington Ranch
Middle school presents a new kind of challenge for Sam and Ally, but also a chance to make a unique friend. When one of their teachers needs help, the three of them come together to lend her support.
Nestled in the woods that surround their homes is Covington Ranch. An abandoned estate once used to raise famous horses, a family tragedy has left it forgotten and neglected. But someone has come back.
What does their teacher, a rich stockbroker, and a stolen ruby called The Eye of Orion all have in common? Sam and Ally vow to find out, and in doing so, start a chain reaction. It could either have dire consequences for those involved, or bring a broken family back together again.
“Love the fun characters and quick-moving plot.”
“A great old school mystery novel. The author, Tara Ellis, nails down the creepy vibe that you can only get from early 80’s and 90’s novels.”
“Sweet and clever middle grade mystery with a heart.”
Book 5: The Haunting of Eagle Creek Middle School
Halloween is right around the corner, and the girls find themselves in the middle of a hauntingly good mystery. Sam, Ally, and Cassy help form a new club at their school in order to raise money for charities. Their first mission is to save a struggling program founded by a local widow, but the benefactor has some secrets.
It turns out that Eagle Creek Middle school has some secrets too, including a tragic story passed down for fifty years. Does a tormented ghost really roam the basement of the school?
While creating a haunted house to raise the needed donations, the young detectives uncover the shocking truth. One that will forever change the lives of people they have come to cherish.
Book 6: A Mysterious Christmas on Orcas Island
When Sam and Ally get a special Christmas invitation to Orcas Island, they have no idea that the small island has such big mysteries.
When their friend, Sandy, begs them to help her solve a troubling situation, they are drawn into a puzzle with layers of uncertainties. From secret meetings, to legendary ghosts, they explore the picturesque setting in an attempt to make sense of it all.
But in the middle of their plight, a storm of the century bears down on them. Not only do they end up battling the raging storm, but also a criminal plot. Stranded and alone, can the girls come together to overcome their most harrowing adventure yet?
“If you have a young bookworm in the family, I’d highly recommend this series.”
Book 7: The Case of the Curious Canine
The next best thing to owning your own dog is having a job where you get to take care of them. That’s what Sam figures when she, Ally, and Cassy all volunteer at a local animal shelter. But they don’t expect the trouble that comes along with the work.
When dogs start showing up at the shelter with odd symptoms, the director doesn’t seem concerned. However, strange coincidences start to happen and Sam doesn’t believe that they’re random.
Confronted with the hard decision of following either her heart or her nose for a good mystery, Sam faces an emotional dilemma. Sometimes, the right path is the most difficult and this is one challenge that’s going to take all of her friends to help solve.
“Another great addition to the series. It is a heart-felt mystery for dog lovers and sleuths alike.”
CIR: What inspired this series?
ELLIS: My childhood. I grew up using reading as a form of escape, and I always had at least one or more books at a time that I was reading. My favorites (and still are) were the Trixie Beldon series. My best friend Lisa and I saw ourselves in the same light, always trying to find something to get ourselves into.
CIR: Who is your favorite character and why?
ELLIS: Samantha Wolf. Sam and Ally are the two main characters, both twelve years old. When I had the original concept for this series, I was about fifteen. I related the most with Sam, and I still do. I always had a habit of being a bit impulsive when I was younger. I think a lot of kids struggle with this, and will also relate to Sam for the same reason. I think she is a very believable character!
CIR: What would you compare this book to?
ELLIS: The series has been compared a lot to Nancy Drew. Well, a modern day Nancy Drew. I agree, but I personally feel that it is more similar to Trixie Beldon, but I don’t think readers are as familiar with that series. The characters are younger than Nancy Drew, and while they always seem to find some sort of trouble, the overall stories are lighter in nature than Nancy Drew.
CIR: What message do you hope your readers will get out of this book?
ELLIS: A positive one. There is always a good mystery, some danger, and both good and bad choices made. I hope that younger readers will be able to discern the difference, and perhaps learn a lesson, along with the characters. The overall theme is always upbeat, with an emphasis on strong values. Not all of the kids have what you would call an ideal home or family life, which I think younger readers can relate to. What they do have are very strong friendships, and they always strive to do what is right, both legally and morally.
CIR: Is there more coming?
ELLIS: Yes! I have stories worked out through book #10, with plans to keep going. Sam and Ally have a LOT more to do, mysteries to solve, and people to help!