Book Review: The Mystery at Lilac Inn

Still road trip audio book reviewing…The Mystery at Lilac Inn by Carolyn Keene this time. The kiddo has been on a Nancy Drew trip lately. He really likes the reboot series (cough cough), the Nancy Drew Diaries. But occasionally we listen to an original.

Basic Summary (Courtesy of Amazon):

Nancy and her friend Helen visit their friend Emily Willouby at the Lilac Inn, which Emily now owns, to help her plan her wedding. Emily plans on selling inherited diamonds in order to help fix up the Lilac Inn. However, Nancy soon learns that someone has been impersonating her and making expensive purchases under her name. Soon after, Emily’s diamonds are stolen! Can Nancy find the thieves and recover the missing diamonds?

My thoughts:

I always remembered Nancy Drew books as being suspenseful but dang. In this one book Nancy get capsized, run off the road into a ditch, her bungalow blown up, and kidnapped. That is one indestructible girl. LOL.

Look it’s a Nancy Drew mystery. There’s good old fashioned morals like politeness and kindness and being helpful because you can be. There’s improbable danger. There’s charming men. And the bad guys always act obviously like bad guys. LOL.

Sometimes that’s a really nice place to visit.

I’ve been thinking Thursday: Blubber

I think any girl in my age range probably grew up reading Judy Blume. It’s almost de rigueur. I read just about everything she ever wrote. As I get older I find myself drawn to other childhood authors for rereading. But…road trip. Audio book copy of Blubber.

If you haven’t read Blubber , it’s the tales of a year of school, fifth grade, from the point of view of one girl. She starts off on the popular side. Picks on the class designatee with the popular girls. Then finds herself on the other side of the coin by the end of the year.

There was an interesting Q&A at the end with the author. Blume talked about how she got the idea for this book when her daughter would come home from middle school and tell her what was going on in her class. She is careful to explain how her daughter was a quiet observer like Rochelle. (Sure, sure. LOL)

I was not a Rochelle. I would have liked to have been. But unfortunately, I got picked on. I always had just one or two friends, they were never in my class, and I was teased mercilessly all through junior high. I was blubber.

But here’s what I wonder. My child comes home and tell me about his or her class putting a student on trial after teasing said student for months. I choose to

A: Contact the school

B: Contact the abused student’s parents so they can get involved

C: Write a YA novel about it

And Blume picked C. So that poor student is immortalized forever. You can change the names. But at the end of the day when a fellow classmates mom write a book detailing things that happened to you, you know it’s about you.

I am all on board to write what you know. But it feels icky to use the abuse of a child as plot line.

And I am super glad I homeschool my child. LOL

Book Review: Star Wars

Hi there! It’s me. Back from a two week road trip with the kiddo.

We listen to a lot of audio books in the car, even when in town. But when on a road trip we plow through them. So my next few book review may skew a little…YA? LOL

Star Wars: The Princess, The Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy by Alexandra Bracken is one of the kiddos faves. In fact, he loves the whole retelling series.

Basic Summary (Courtesy of Amazon):

Although the Rebel Alliance has won a few battles against the Empire, hope is fading. The Empire is about to finish building the greatest weapon the galaxy has ever seen-the Death Star. The rebels’ only chance to defeat it now lies in the unlikely hands of a princess, a scoundrel, and a farm boy. . . .

Acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author Alexandra Bracken delivers a captivating retelling of Star Wars: A New Hope like you’ve never experienced before. Since the premier of the original film, Princess Leia, Han Solo, and Luke Skywalker have become iconic, larger-than-life characters. The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy takes a deeper look at these three heroes as they join forces to defeat the evil that threatens their entire galaxy.

My thoughts:

Retelling had become big business. Hollywood has been remaking movies for years and it feels like every other author is retelling some story to get another book out on the market. Most of the time it pisses me off.

But this is not one of those times.

Braken invents back story that gives Princess Leia, Han, and Luke depth that the movies lack. Believable back story. (If the prequels made you want to pull your hair out, this might be the series for you. LOL)

It’s funny and fun. Star Wars has been an iconic epic for generations for a reason. Braken doesn’t subtract from that in any way. She adds substantially. The plot is still the one you know. She doesn’t change anything about that. And Leia, Luke, and Han are still Leia, Luke, and  Han. But now their actions make sense.

I’ve been thinking Thursday: Funky Cold Medina

I was on my way to the store, sans kiddo, he was at his language arts tutor. The car was quiet. I turned on the radio and a blast from the past greeted me.

The year was 1989, I was about to graduate 8th grade. The hottest new song at every dance, Funky Cold Medina. Hello, Tone Loc.

As a kid, I always thought the lyrics were funny but the beat was awesome.

I never really thought anything about the story being told.

But in the car, no kiddo, so I could actually listen and think with my semi grown up brain…holy cow batman!

“This brother told me a secret on how to get more chicks
Put a little Medina in your glass, and the girls’ll come real quick”

so at this point it sounds like some sort of love potion number nine right? He’s drinking it and it makes him more attractive.

But the next three stanza’s imply he’s giving it to the women.

Holy crap, he’s roofie-ing these women.

And don’t even get me started in the crossing dressing Oscar Meyer Weiner verses.

Huh. I never noticed a thing as a teenager. I don’t remember the parents being in an uproar either. And this was the same time Warrant was in trouble for all their swearing and Cherry Pie (hello, Tipper Gore).

But someone was paying attention. Less than 2 years later Sublime released Date Rape. I have to wonder if they were listening to  little Tone Loc and thought, oh hell yeah, we can do something with that. LOL



Book Review: A Parfait Murder

Whenever I road trip, I require a lot of books on cd/ipod. Things that sound fun at the library turn out to be super boring on the road. Or the reader is one of those who uses a different volume level for each character so you are constantly turning it up and down. I think I grabbed about 15 books before we left for our 5 state, 2 week family and friends tour this summer. While I hadn’t read anything else in the series by Wendy Lyn Watson, A Parfait Murder made it into the cd player.

Basic Summary (Courtesy of Goodreads):

When Tally’s cousin Bree spots her deadbeat ex-husband strolling the Lantana County Fair with a fat wallet and a vixen on his arm, she immediately files for back child support. But when his lawyer is found dead, things get a little sticky. Did Bree serve up a dish of cold, sweet revenge? Or is she another hapless victim of a parfait crime?

My thoughts:

It was predictable. I say that about a lot of books though, so maybe you should just start ignoring that part of my review. LOL.

The characters were fun. The Texan setting amusing. And really it kept me entertained for 6 hours of a pouring buckets drive across Idaho and Montana. I’d give it two thumbs up if I didn’t need to keep both hands on the wheel. LOL


I’ve been thinking Thursday: Pregnancy

Stop. I am NOT pregnant.

Moving on.

I belonged fully to the class of thinking that says I am pregnant not dying of a terrible disease. I am completely functional. In fact, I said that once to a professor who was overly solicitous of me while I was pregnant. “Dude, I’m pregnant, not dying.”

I think pregnant woman are fully capable of shopping for themselves, cleaning their own house, installing a drip system in their backyard (ok I took nesting to another level). They can ride a bike and eat good quality sushi while they’re at it.

Unless a doc tells them otherwise for good reason. But let’s not digress too far.

So believe me when I tell you how horrified I was, this is not coming from a belief that pregnant women are delicate flowers.

I was in target, shopping sans kiddo, but in a bit of a hurry as I had to get back to collect him from the tutor.

When I saw this woman, clearly full term, clearly baby was playing how low can you go, and…..

she was waddling with her legs at least 3 feet apart.

Lady, you should not be shopping at Target, I do not have time to deliver your baby when you go into labor today and get back to pick up my kiddo from the tutor. LOL.


Book Review: Timekeepers

I think I have mentioned before, my favorite branch of the KCLS has a new non fiction table. So dangerous for me. I can’t help but fall madly in love with half the contents and take them all home despite not being able to read that many books in a week (nonfiction takes time to savor and make notes from.) Timekeepers: How the World Became Obsessed With Time by Simon Garfield was one such read.

Basic Summary (Courtesy of Amazon):

Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana. The Beatles learn to be brilliant in an hour and a half. An Englishman arrives back from Calcutta but refuses to adjust his watch. Beethoven has his symphonic wishes ignored. A US Senator begins a speech that will last for 25 hours. The horrors of war are frozen at the click of a camera. A woman designs a ten-hour clock and reinvents the calendar. Roger Bannister lives out the same four minutes over a lifetime. And a prince attempts to stop time in its tracks.

Timekeepers is a book about our obsession with time and our desire to measure it, control it, sell it, film it, perform it, immortalize it and make it meaningful. It has two simple intentions: to tell some illuminating stories, and to ask whether we have all gone completely nuts.

My thoughts:

This book is essentially many small essays on the nature of time. Some articles were fascinating and I couldn’t hear people calling for my attention. Invention of the Timetable, Vietnam Napalm Girl, Time Tactics that Work!, and Life is Short, Art is Long were fascinating to me. New bits of information I didn’t know, notes on books to read after I finish the stack falling over on my desk.

But those are my interests. Many other articles I skimmed, hit or miss. I’m not a Beatles fan. LOL. Yes, I said it out loud. But for someone who is I am sure that article would top their list. There really is something for everyone in this book, assuming you like things that can be related to time. LOL.

I’ve been thinking Thursday: Pied Piper

Someone referred to me as the “Pied Piper” of coop recently. And I really didn’t know what to say to that. I mean, didn’t he steal everyone’s children?

This required some googling.

“For those unfamiliar with the tale, it is set in 1284 in the town of Hamelin, Lower Saxony, Germany. This town was facing a rat infestation, and a piper, dressed in a coat of many coloured, bright cloth, appeared. This piper promised to get rid of the rats in return for a payment, to which the townspeople agreed too. Although the piper got rid of the rats by leading them away with his music, the people of Hamelin reneged on their promise. The furious piper left, vowing revenge. On the 26 th of July of that same year, the piper returned and led the children away, never to be seen again, just as he did the rats. Nevertheless, one or three children were left behind, depending on which version is being told. One of these children was lame, and could not keep up, another was deaf and could not hear the music, while the third one was blind and could not see where he was going.” (Thanks

That is not flattering. I am mildly offended or would be if I had the energy to care…

This is part is better: “There are many contradictory theories about the Pied Piper. Some suggest he was a symbol of hope to the people of Hamelin, which had been attacked by plague; he drove the rats from Hamelin, saving the people from the epidemic.”

Ok, I can save coop from a plague. That sounds nice.

But what plague is that exactly?

The plague of rambunctious teenagers who disturb lunch? LOL

I will slay them with my decks of Zombie Fluxx.

Book Review: Choosing Courage

It’s Memorial Day here in the US.

Basic Summary (Courtesy of Goodreads:)

What turns an ordinary person into a hero? What happens in the blink of an eye on a battlefield (or in any dangerous situation) to bring out true courage? The men and women who have been recognized by the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation know the answers to these questions deep in their hearts. We learn of Jack Lucas, a 13-year-old who kept his real age a secret so he could fight in World War II—where he deliberately fell on a grenade to save his buddies during the Iwo Jima invasion—and Clint Romesha, who almost single-handedly prevented a remote U.S. Army outpost in Afghanistan from being taken over by the Taliban. Also included are civilians who have been honored by the Foundation for outstanding acts of bravery in crisis situations: for example, Jencie Fagan, a gym teacher who put herself in danger to disarm a troubled eighth grader before he could turn a gun on his classmates. Adding depth and context are illuminating sidebars throughout and essays on the combat experience and its aftermath: topics such as overcoming fear; a mother mourning her son; and “surviving hell” as a prisoner of war. Back matter includes a glossary and an index.

My thoughts:

On this day in which we celebrate those who died in service to our country, Choosing Courage is a fab book to remind you about the people who serve. Most of the stories are a few pages long, just enough to provide a little insight into the person who sacrificed for others and tell the story. It is not a quick read, despite the short story format. In fact, I found one story a day enough for me or I’d cry too much. Still, I like the reminder that good people exist.


I’ve been thinking Thursday: Nothing Special

My last book is up on Netgalley right now to garner some reviews. I know I said I was done writing but I had this whole plan in place before I made that decision. I had purchased various portions of the plan while they were on sale. So I could either go with it, despite being “done” or I could waste all the money.

Of course, I went with the plan.

It’s been up for a month and I got my first report from IBPA. 110 downloads. Not bad. 9 reviews.

Like an idiot I went to read all my reviews after that.

“Nothing too exciting here, pretty predictable, the dialogue was ok, but didn’t sparkle.”


I think this one sticks with me because that’s about how I see myself….nothing special.

It makes sense to me that my writing would also be nothing special.

All those vague ideas about maybe finishing this series, nicely back in their box, thank you very much.