Throwback Book Review: Boxcar Children #48 and 49

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: #47 The Mystery of the Hot Air Balloon. No info about it, but apparently a hot air balloon lands in their yard. Cool?

#48 The Mystery Bookstore: This one isn’t about a haunted bookstore, the mystery part is that the bookstore was bought by a mystery writer who wants to turn it into a mystery bookstore. The kids are in New Orleans with Grandfather, at an auction where a bookstore is going up for sale. His friend, the mystery writer, lives there and wants to buy the store. There’s a bidding war and she eventually can’t afford it, but Grandfather steps in and purchases the bookstore, leasing it to her until she can pay him back.

Several other people are interested in the store, or maybe just the books in it. Rumor has it that the old owner had some valuable stamps hidden away in one of the books. As the kids help the new owner clean out the store and set up a book sale (as they do), they try to solve the mystery of who keeps breaking into the store and what all these suspicious characters are up to.

Turns out the valuable stamp was (of course) in the book set that Violet was given, and she gave it back to the store owner to sell and get her business off the ground.

Any book that has to do with books is an automatic winner for me, and this was always one of my favorites. It was an interesting plot and the kids act more like kids, with their detective work overseen by the mystery writer, who gives them tips on sleuthing. I also really like the cover of this one with the subtle placement of Boxcar Children books in the background.

#49 The Mystery of the Stolen Boxcar: It’s Founder’s Day in Greenfield and the kids are super excited for it. They have the brilliant idea of fixing up the old boxcar they used to live in and ride in it for the parade.

When their boxcar is featured in the paper, it brings a bunch of crazies out of the woodwork. First, a train collector offers to buy it very aggressively. Then, a man wants to purchase it so a senator can use it for her re-election tour. A small girl throws a fit because she wants the boxcar as a playhouse.

When the boxcar goes missing out of their backyard, they have a few suspects. They have a bigger problem though, their dog Watch is missing too! They figure out that he was in the boxcar and whoever stole it shut him inside. Luckily, he finds his way home after a day or so.

The kids question the train collector, who doesn’t seem to know anything about it. They try to track down the senator’s assistant, only to find out he’s been fired and the senator knows nothing about a boxcar.

When they run into the bratty child again, she’s going on about her new playhouse and doesn’t seem to like Watch. The kids put two and two together and find their way to their house. The senator’s assistant stole the boxcar to sell to the girl’s rich father to make some quick money. Everything gets straightened out and the kids get to ride the boxcar in the parade.

Something about this book seemed off, especially in the beginning of the book. It was like they got a new ghostwriter who had only read the first book and had a cheat sheet for all other characters and events. The writing is generally for elementary school, so it’s always simple, but it seemed more simple than usual. Also, their cousin Soo Lee was featured again, and this time she only lives a few minutes away from them, when before she lived in a town outside of Greenfield, or on the outskirts of Greenfield. No one has figured out where their family lives yet, despite the fact that there was a book heavily featuring their house.

The Harvest Baker by Ken Haedrich

30648736

This book will be released on June 27, 2017. I received a copy through NetGalley.

The author of this book grew up in a family that loved to bake. His first opportunity to cook as a career came when he got a job as the cook in a group home. The gardener there constantly brought him stuff he had grown, and Ken had to figure out how to cook with it.

Every recipe in this book has a base of some fresh fruit or vegetable. The recipes range from breads to quiches and pizzas to, of course, dessert. There’s something for everyone’s taste in here. In the back, there’s a small section dedicated to sauces and glazes as well to top off the recipes.

This is a great book to try if you want to experiment with the strange and delicious looking things you find in the produce section or your local farmer’s market.

Throwback Book Review: Boxcar Children #45 and 46

Hello all! This series has taken a bit of a hiatus, mainly because I just haven’t been in the mood to read for a bit, and for a while my books weren’t all that accessible. We were painting the trim in the office and my bookshelf had to be moved, and a lot of the books had to come off and be stacked on the floor. But now it is painted and everything is back neat and orderly.

You may remember my collection looking like this:img_0804

 

We bought a bookshelf just for all of my childhood books, and they filled it up. Ta da, after shot:

img_0935

I won’t be reviewing all of these, but there are a lot of series and older books I used to love that I’d like to get to. Shout out if you recognize anything and want me to review it! The bookshelf to the left holds all of my ‘adult’ books like Outlander, Laurie R. King and Karen Rose, as well as my L. M. Montgomery collection, and I have one more to the left of that one that holds mainly nonfiction books.

Now on to your regularly scheduled post.

We last left off on books #42 and 43, about a missing cat and a stage production.

What We Missed: #44 The Dinosaur Mystery, in which the children work in a natural history museum and someone apparently steals dino bones.

#45 The Mystery of the Stolen Music: A prestigious orchestra is in town, because of course, and you know all kids love classical music. Violet is interested because she plays violin, and Grandfather knows people at the orchestra so he makes introductions. The big attraction besides the music is that they are touring with a piece of original Mozart sheet music. But of course it goes missing.

The kids have their suspects, so they quickly get to the bottom of it after some false leads, and figure out who took the music, the orchestra manager who is upset about being taken for granted. Violet gets to play in the children’s orchestra and impresses the first chair violinist of the big orchestra. Their cousin Soo Lee shows up again with a convenient interest in also playing the violin.

This was never one of my favorites growing up, it was just one of the series that I read on my way through it. I didn’t remember much about it.

#46 The Chocolate Sundae Mystery: The kids’ favorite ice cream parlor has been sold to a new owner, and it’s having problems. The old employees quit, and the new ones seem to be pretty incompetent. The kids chip in immediately and get jobs there, but things start going wrong for real. Entire tubs of ice cream are going missing along with sauces and parfait glasses, the whipped cream goes bad, and someone even smashes the big picture window in front, from the inside.

Everything points to the owner of the new neighborhood ice cream truck being behind it all, but that would be too easy. Who is behind all of the problems and are they trying to sabotage the ice cream parlor? Nope, just one of the new employees feeding his friends who don’t get much to eat. Because in a shop that also sells sandwiches, the kids’ one meal a day should be ice cream sundaes.

I liked this one growing up but I didn’t remember it much at all like who was behind the problems. One thing that bothers me is the missing parfait glasses. The boys being fed confess to dropping them on the sidewalk, but why were they taking them home in the first place? Also, check out those giant servings of ice cream on the cover, a bit much don’t you think? Especially Benny with his banana split all to himself.

Breaking Up with Barrett by Katy Regnery

25540390

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.

Emily has known Barrett her entire life, despite their 8 or so year age difference they’ve always been somewhat close. Their only problem, he’s an English, the oldest son of a wealthy family, and she’s ‘the help’, the daughter of the gardener and the housekeeper.

When Barrett, who can’t be bothered to take a relationship seriously enough to find someone, needs a woman on his arm to take to business dinners, he offers Emily a semi-regular gig to pose as his fiancee. Emily needs the money for rent, so she accepts. The job is easy enough, Barrett is nice looking and they’ve always gotten along, but Emily feels uneasy about the job as she’s starting to have feelings for him.

After they share a passionate moment or two, she’s ready to back out: she’s not comfortable accepting money when passionate moments are involved. Barrett is close to closing a deal, so he pleads with her for one more weekend, and she agrees with one condition: keep things professional.

Can Barrett and Emily survive a weekend suppressing their feelings?

I don’t read a lot of traditional romance these days but I really liked this book. It was refreshing in that it was predictable enough to tell exactly how it was going to end, but it didn’t feel like I was reading the same old book again. It was also refreshing in that both parties acted maturely and there was none of the contrived ‘one person sees something that looks bad for the other person and doesn’t give them a chance to explain’ or even ‘they’re trying to deny their feelings so they just fight all the time’ either. It was simple and lovely and well-written.

After the Cure by Deidre Gould

26004788

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.

After a plague has wiped out most of the population, Nella is one of the Immunes left to pick up the pieces after the remaining Infected have mostly been cured. A psychologist, Nella has been asked to assist with a court case against one of the scientists responsible for leaking the bacteria that caused the plague. The scientist’s defense attorney, Frank, is one of the Cured.

The scientist confesses that there is a worse strand of the disease out there somewhere, and it can’t be cured. It’s up to Nella and Frank to find the missing vials and the remaining scientists before it’s too late and someone releases another worse plague on the world. They get close over the course of the investigation, but will the fact that she’s an Immune and he’s Cured come between them? Will they figure out who has the vials in time to prevent another disaster?

 

 

Too Good to Waste by Victoria Glass

31812840

This book will be released on May 16, 2017. I received a copy through NetGalley.

Who hasn’t gone through their fridge and got depressed seeing all the produce they meant to use but forgot about? This book attempts to deal with all those food scraps you need to use up like that bag of wilted lettuce. It also shows you how to use things like squash skins and empty pea pods.

This is a great book for an adventurous cook who wants to use everything they can. Unfortunately for me, I just don’t buy and cook half of the foods in here. But take a look and maybe you’ll find inspiration for your next meal to use up those scraps in the fridge.

Dying for a Living by Kory M. Shrum

20645968

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.

Jesse Sullivan has a bit of a strange job. She is what is known as a necronite, she can’t die. Necronites are recruited to perform a very specific service: death replacement. Now information is available to tell people what day they are going to die, and rich people can hire death replacements. Their death replacement agent will spend the day with them, and when the death happens, the agent will take their place.

Everything goes wrong when one of the people Jesse is meant to replace turns on her and attempts to cut her head off, the only way to kill a necronite. Luckily it doesn’t work and she just dies normally, but now she has to not only solve her own murder but help figure out who is trying to stop the death replacement program.

I’m not a big fan of paranormal fiction, but I love it when the premise is unique or interesting. The idea of death replacement is super interesting and very realistic if we had that kind of power or technology. This is one of the few books that do a series right, everything is not neatly tied up at the end so you have to read the next book or more to actually see how things turn out.