Throwback Book Review: Boxcar Children #42 and 43

Welcome to my weekly throwback book review! Each week I’ll be rereading and reviewing one or two books from my childhood. I was a huge reader as a child and these books shaped my life. I couldn’t possibly get rid of them, so I still have a large collection that I am sharing with all of you in the form of reviews.

What We Missed: The Ghost Ship Mystery, The Canoe Trip Mystery, The Mystery of the Hidden Beach. The kids solve a mystery about a shipwreck, go on a canoe trip with their Aunt Jane, and solve a mystery about a damaged coral reef.

#42 The Mystery of the Missing Cat: A friend of Grandfather Alden works for a reclusive man who recently lost his cat Spotzie. The kids volunteer to find the cat, but they hit obstacles at every turn. A woman who has dozens of cats thinks she’s found it, but it’s not the right cat. The kids get calls from someone else who is looking for an identical cat, and a cat collector brushes them off because the cat isn’t purebred.

Turns out the man who wanted the identical cat was hired by the cat collector to steal Spotzie, but lost her, so he wanted to take her if the kids found her. The kids foil their plan and return Spotzie to her rightful owner, who also takes in the identical cat as well.

This was the first book I read in this throwback round that featured the kids’ cousin Soo Lee, adopted by Joe and Alice. This book also had an error stating Benny’s age as five. I remember liking this one, as it had to do with animals. It’s strange that there were two ‘crazy cat people’ in their town with dozens of cats each.

#43 The Mystery on Stage: The town is putting on The Wizard of Oz at the community center and Jessie wants to try out for Dorothy. Because the kids always do things together, they all go down and volunteer for the show, including their dog Watch, cousin Soo Lee and their housekeeper Mrs. MacGregor. Jessie gets the part of the Cowardly Lion, Henry helps with production and sets, Violet helps with costumes, and Benny and Soo Lee are gofers.

As things do, things go wrong and someone is trying to sabotage the show. Sets are vandalized, costumes are destroyed, things go missing, and their Dorothy is constantly late or leaving early and acting strange. The night before opening, one of the lights crashes down on the stage.

The kids catch a man removing some of the electricity fuses on opening night, and it turns out it’s Dorothy’s father, who doesn’t want his daughter to act. The play goes off without a hitch and he is proud of her.

Benny is back to being six, but the error this time around is stating that Soo Lee lives with Joe and Alice in a town outside of Greenfield, where they live, when just the book before stated that they lived on the outskirts of Greenfield. I guess you can’t expect however many ghostwriters they have to get everything right. I remembered a lot more of this book except who was causing the trouble.

Finding Pride by Jill Sanders

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I downloaded this book during an ebook sale quite a while ago and just now got around to reading it. I was not compensated for this review in any way.

Megan has a tragic backstory. Her mother was killed by her father when she was very young, and he then died himself. She grew up being taken care of by her older brother, and once in college, found herself in love and then married to an abusive man. She’d just managed to escape him and press charges when she finds out her brother is dead.

Megan heads to Pride, Oregon to attend her brother’s funeral and take care of everything he’d left behind there. She is surprised after his nomadic life with her growing up that he had settled in the small town and planned on starting a bed and breakfast there. Not only that, he had had plans for her to join him there.

She is met in Pride by the Jordan siblings, Lacey, Iian and Todd, who were close to her brother. Lacey quickly becomes her best friend and Iian is a big help, but Todd gives her butterflies. The three of them help Megan start the bed and breakfast and her new life. Megan is still trying to decide what she wants out of life, but a few sudden events make up her mind quickly.

This was a sweet story, but very typical romance for my taste. It read a lot like the romance novels I edit, so I was desensitized to the story a bit. If you don’t like explicit (but not completely dirty) sex scenes, you’d probably want to skip this one.

Weekly Pinterest Roundup — March 20

Welcome to my weekly Pinterest roundup, no images belong to me, only their respective owners. Click each picture to go to the link.

Pinterest is a huge help in my day-to-day life, I use stuff from it every single day from recipes to fitness routines to just cool lifestyle ideas. Every week I like to round up a few things that I really liked recently.

Food:

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I’ve been craving a garlicky Alfredo type dish for the longest time now, I might have to make this or something like it soon.

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I’ve never been too much for smoothies, but I’ve been drinking them recently, and this one is delicious. A serving of vegetables without even tasting it? I like vegetables but yes please!

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And because one can never have too much chocolate. These look so amazing!

Style:

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I love how simple and refreshing this outfit looks. Definite spring inspiration… for whenever spring decides to hit.

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I’ve never had the coloring to wear yellow, but this dress is amazing!

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Even though I don’t have a lot of clothes, I’m always looking for a method to make my wardrobe

 

Throwback Book Review: Boxcar Children #36 and 38

Welcome to my weekly throwback book review! Each week I’ll be rereading and reviewing one or two books from my childhood. I was a huge reader as a child and these books shaped my life. I couldn’t possibly get rid of them, so I still have a large collection that I am sharing with all of you in the form of reviews.

#36 The Castle Mystery: I did not remember this one at all until I started reading, and even then I couldn’t remember what the mystery was or ‘whodunnit’. Grandfather Alden knows people who are renovating an old castle from a home into a museum when the last owner died, so he volunteers the kids to help with the work. (Can you imagine these kids’ resumes? Their volunteer work alone would fill pages.) They arrive and the only one there who is happy to see them is the woman in charge. The old caretaker is unhappy the house will be turned into a museum, the assistant renovator is acting strange, and the antiques expert (named Tom Brady, lol) doesn’t seem to want a bunch of kids handling priceless artifacts.

Strange things start happening like the kids seeing a light in the opposite tower from their room that is supposedly closed off, people are always where they shouldn’t be, and the girls even get locked into the cave underneath the castle while on a scavenger hunt. Also, everyone is on the hunt for a rare Stradivarius violin that the previous owner had.

A hidden room revealed by a spinning wall unlocks the key to the mystery when they find out Tom Brady found the violin and was planning on selling it, and he was responsible for most of the problems. The old caretaker was just a grumpy old man who had to warm up to the kids, and the renovator’s assistant actually lived in the castle as a child and was poking around for her old things.

What We Missed: #37 The Mystery of the Lost Village. The kids stay on an Indian reservation and do some archaeology.

#38 The Mystery of the Purple Pool: The kids are off to New York City with their grandfather! He has business meetings to go to, so the kids are free to explore the city on their own. Except, as it always happens, a mystery shows up at the same time they do. First, their hotel reservation has been mysteriously cancelled and there are no bellhops to be found. Then they go for a swim and find the pool has been dyed purple. Other shenanigans happen like the salt and the sugar being switched in the cafe, and things disappearing from the guests’ rooms like towels and room phones.

They have a few suspects, as usual. There’s a suspicious maid who the kids overhear plotting something, and a woman who always seems to be around when there’s trouble, writing in a notebook. Plus, there’s a strange man who goes around in a trench coat and hat.

The Aldens do take some time to sightsee in New York though. They even bring along a young boy they met in the hotel. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’d send my son out into New York City with a group of other kids I barely know. They return to the hotel and their elevator gets stuck, which they come to find out was just temporarily switched off.

In the end, it was the assistant manager, who wanted to take over and thought he could push the manager out if enough things went wrong. The maid just wanted her brother hired back, he was fired by the assistant manager because he would figure out what was going wrong. The suspicious woman was writing a travel article about the hotel, and the man in a trench coat was a famous actor just wanting to hide from his fans.

 

 

The Color of Heaven by Julianne MacLean

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I downloaded this book during an ebook sale quite a while ago and just now got around to reading it. I was not compensated for this review in any way.

Sophie has had a bit of a rough time. Her mother left when she was fourteen, she doesn’t have a relationship with her father, and now her daughter has cancer while her husband is absent, physically and emotionally. Tragedy after tragedy leaves her drowning until it happens literally: she swerves to avoid a deer and ends up rolling her car into a frozen lake.

While she hangs between life and death, she experiences things she can’t explain that give her the knowledge to change her life.

I didn’t want to spoil everything that happens because there are quite a few unexpected twists and turns that I really enjoy in a book. Overall I thought it was a bit much, she comes across as very very unlucky that everything keeps happening to her, but if you like the Nicholas Sparks-type of sad story, this is worth a read. Don’t worry, it has a nice ending.

 

 

 

 

Weekly Pinterest Roundup — March 13

Welcome to my weekly Pinterest roundup, no images belong to me, only their respective owners. Click each picture to go to the link.

Pinterest is a huge help in my day-to-day life, I use stuff from it every single day from recipes to fitness routines to just cool lifestyle ideas. Every week I like to round up a few things that I really liked recently.

Inspirational:

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I adore this color palette!

Food:

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I’d really like to try these chicken marinades.

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I needed a quick side dish the other night for a dinner we were making for my parents, and this fit the bill. So good! I’m not a fan of cooked carrots much but they were still crisp.

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I’m always on the hunt for more shrimp recipes.

Style:

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Adorable flats.

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I love how put together this outfit is.

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I love the colors of this capsule wardrobe and how everything is used more than once.