Children's, Fiction, Mystery, Warner-Gertrude Chandler

#995 The Mystery of the Empty Safe created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

#995 The Mystery of the Empty Safe created by Gertrude Chandler Warner was originally published on One-elevenbooks

Children's, Fiction, Mystery, Warner-Gertrude Chandler

#994 The Firehouse Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

#994 The Firehouse Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler Warner was originally published on One-elevenbooks

Children's, Fantasy, Fiction, Stine-R.L.

#992 Say Cheese and Die Again by R.L. Stine

 Say Cheese and Die Again by R.L. Stine Say Cheese and Die Again by R.L. Stine

Greg has to do a report in his class about something true that happened to him. He decides to tell the class about a time he and his friends found an evil camera in an old house. The teacher doesn’t even let him finish and gives him an F, but Greg needs good grades to go and visit his cousins over the summer. The teacher tells Greg that he will reconsider the F, if Greg can prove the camera was evil.

This is a bad idea, but Greg decides that he has to go and get the camera back. He goes to the old house where they found it in the first place, but it’s not there; the house has been torn down. There’s a boy there who tells Greg where the camera is and agrees to let Greg borrow it. Somehow in the middle of everything else, Greg gets his picture taken with the camera and it looks like a negative and he’s gigantic. He continues to get gigantic and his teacher isn’t at school that day. What’s going to happen to Greg? Will he ever get rid of that F?

What I liked

Again, R.L. does a good job of continuing a story without having it be out of left field. I think this continuation fits.

What I didn’t like

Why is Greg stupid enough to tell a story that no one would believe? Look, there are times when you tell people the things that happened to you, even if they don’t believe at first. Those things are times like, “Hey, good-upstanding-keys-to-the-city-for-saving-a-drowning-puppy person touched me inappropriately.” The times you don’t tell your experiences to other people are something like Greg’s experience. If some guy came up to me and said, “Hey, I found this evil camera,” I would think he was full of it. Nobody would believe it.

Maybe the thing really happened, but there is a point when you trade off sharing your story versus having people think you’re bananas. People generally don’t believe stories from other people that are about inexplicable things. “Hey, I saw a ghost,” might get you believed by some people. “Hey, I saw a UFO,” will get you believed by a few and people will think you’re one of those crazy UFO-believing, conspiracy theorists.

If it’s something illegal, you tell other people about it, even if they don’t believe you at first. If it’s about that time you, for sure, saw Bigfoot in the woods, you might have to keep it to yourself if you want people to look upon you credibly. It’s kind of sad that we have to filter what we can tell the world depending on if our situations are believable or not. If it really happened we should be able to talk about it.

You can choose to tell people anyway, not taking into account whether anyone will believe you, and maybe it will turn out ok. Greg may have been able to tell someone else all about the evil camera and just have them be like, “Oh, that’s awful! I’m so glad you’re safe now!”


Couldn’t Greg have just talked about that time he went to a water park?

Weigh In

Have you had something happen to you, that was really weird, and when you told people they didn’t believe you?

Do you think people are generally scared to tell society about things that happened to them because the other people will not believe?

#992 Say Cheese and Die Again by R.L. Stine was originally published on One-elevenbooks

Fiction, Keels-Nadine, Romantic Fiction

#991 Love Unfeigned by Nadine C. Keels

Love Unfeigned by Nadine C. KeelsLove Unfeigned by Nadine C. Keels

Lorraine was pretty good at hand ball when she was younger. Her brother Earl, who was a good brother, invited her to play hand ball with the older kids. One of those kids was Isaiah James. Lorraine kicked his butt at hand ball, but left with a friend. Isaiah began hanging out around Earl and Lorraine quite often. He even went to church with them on Sundays. As their middle school years progressed, Isaiah revealed to Lorraine that he liked her, like-liked her. He asked if she could be his–if they could be a thing. For a while, they were, but home trouble took Isaiah away from Lorraine and she didn’t see very much of Isaiah for a while.

Time passed and each went their way, but both remembered the other. One day, Lorraine heard her name shouted and she was surprised to see a familiar face that she had not seen in a while. It was Isaiah and they had a lot of catching up to do, but Lorraine also needed explanations. What had happened to them?

What I liked

Nadine’s stories are sweet. If you’re the kind of person who likes to read sweet love stories without all the heaving bosoms and Fabios, Nadine’s books are a good choice. I have found the characters in Nadine’s books to be respectful and good examples of how people should treat each other. Of course everyone screws up from time to time, but they do try their best to make it up.

I also like that Nadine has a little religion in this book, but it’s not over powering. I feel like Lorraine has a religious belief, but shows it through action, in her behavior and treatment of other human beings. If you’ve read any Janette Oke or Beverly Lewis, the religion in those sweet romance stories is much more prevalent.

What I didn’t like

Lorraine has suffered from a traumatic experience because someone else thought they had a right to her. They saw themselves as entitled enough to expect Lorraine to do the things they said, but also disregard Lorraine’s ownership over herself. I hate that Lorraine suffered because of this. I also hate that there are still a whole lot of people like that out in the world. Where do people get off being this entitled?


Aw…so sweet.

Weigh In

What kind of romance novels do you prefer?

What do you think makes people entitled enough to think they have a right to another human being?

#991 Love Unfeigned by Nadine C. Keels was originally published on One-elevenbooks

Children's, Fantasy, Fiction, Stine-R.L.

#990 The Haunted Mask II by R.L. Stine

The Haunted Mask II by R.L. StineThe Haunted Mask II by R.L. Stine

Steve made the wrong choice when he chose to coach the six-year olds’ soccer team. They’re awful. They’re hellions wearing the clothes of small people instead of actual children, not really, they’re just children, very bratty children. Steve determines that he really wants to scare them for Halloween. He remembered that Carly Beth had a really scary mask last Halloween, so he asks her where she got it, but she’s reluctant to tell.

When Steve finally finds out where the mask came from, he goes and gets one, by nefarious means, only to find out that he can’t take the mask off. He feels and sounds like an old man and people aren’t scared of him at all. He has to ask Carly Beth about getting the mask off. She tries what she knows, but maybe this mask is different. Maybe they should go back to the party store.

What I liked

I liked that R.L. was able to continue this story without having it get too crazy and unbelievable, if you can believe in a haunted mask in the first place. Knowing the original story, none of what happens is too far from the events that made the first story possible. I don’t know if any of that makes sense, essentially, I’m saying that this book fits in the world of The Haunted Mask and the reader doesn’t feel like the author is reaching for extreme ideas to continue the story.

What I didn’t like

I don’t feel like this story has the same moral as the last story. Steve does become another person while wearing the mask, but he doesn’t necessarily have different motivations. He does feel different. He essentially steps into someone else’s shoes. He learns what it’s like to be an old man and scaring small children soon ends up at the bottom of his list of things to do. Maybe Steve learned that things that once seemed important, are not important at all. He wanted to be petty, but when he put himself in the shoes of someone else, he saw that it wasn’t really that big of a deal. Sometimes, we just need a change of perspective.


Don’t put on weird masks you find in basements. I feel as if I’ve said this more than once and I shouldn’t have to.

Weigh In

Have you ever had a moment where something you thought you cared a lot about became not a big deal when you thought of it from another person’s point of view?

Would you put on some random mask you found in a creepy basement?

#990 The Haunted Mask II by R.L. Stine was originally published on One-elevenbooks

Fantasy, Fiction, Gaiman-Neil, McKean-Dave

#989 The Day I Swapped my Dad for Two Goldfish by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean

The Day I Swapped my Dad for Two Goldfish by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKeanThe Day I Swapped my Dad for Two Goldfish by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean

One day a child gets an offer he doesn’t want to refuse. He is offered two goldfish, but he doesn’t want to trade his action figures or any of that for the goldfish. He finally decides he does have something to trade–his dad. So he swaps his dad for the goldfish, but when his mother gets home, she’s not happy at all about this whole thing. So he has to go track down the kid he traded his dad to, but that kid had already traded the dad to someone else. In turn the next kid had traded the dad for something else.

This goes on for a while, until the boy finally finds his dad and figures his dad is a pretty good dad after all and he shouldn’t have traded him for two goldfish.

What I liked

This was rather short, but it was be Neil Gaiman, so I kind of had to read it.

This story is built on cascading actions, which is a thing in children’s tales or nursery rhymes. Actually, you might even say it’s like completing a string of side quests. One action, ends up leading to another action, which leads to other actions. It’s all very the-old-woman-who-swallowed-the-fly.

In truth, this is how real life works. Our actions, no matter how small, have consequences. While these types of stories are outlandish, they do help us come to realize that our actions have subsequent effects.

Sure, someone could trade their dad, but their mother isn’t going to be happy about it and they might miss their dad, nor will their dad stay at the place he was left.

What I didn’t like

This was a fun story.


Actions have consequences, especially if you trade your dad for two goldfish.

Weigh In

Is there something you would swap a parent for?

Was there a specific series of consequences that made you more careful of your actions in the future?

#989 The Day I Swapped my Dad for Two Goldfish by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean was originally published on One-elevenbooks

Children's, Fiction, Mystery, Warner-Gertrude Chandler

#988 The Mystery Girl created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Mystery Girl created by Gertrude Chandler WarnerThe Mystery Girl created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Aldens are visiting with their aunt Jane who has a friend who owns a general store, but things aren’t going so well for him. A new shopping center has opened up nearby and people are going there to shop instead of his general store. His only employee also left to go and work at the shopping center. He’s desperately in need of help, so the Aldens volunteer themselves.

Another girl also comes to work at the store, but it seems like she doesn’t know how to do a darn thing. Some things also start to go missing around the store, basic things, nothing fancy. The Aldens want to get to the bottom of this strange girl and the missing items. What’s going on? Is the shopping center behind all of it?

What I liked

I like shopping well enough and general stores are kind of neat to walk around in. There’s a chain of them around here called Mast General Stores. They don’t have produce and things like that, but you can get all manner of clothes, items, and candy from their stores. It’s not exactly cheap though. They’re fun to browse through. I don’t think I’ve ever bought anything at one of them though.

What I didn’t like

First of all, the Aldens shouldn’t be working in a general store. They’re not old enough and they’re not getting paid either. Second of all, who cares if this girl doesn’t know how to do a lot of things? That’s what getting a job is about. You get a job and you learn how to do things. You may not have any experience in whatever the thing is before you get the job, but the entire point of getting the job is to get the experience. Everyone had a first job. We didn’t know how to run cash registers, or use a restaurant grill, or whatever before we took that job. Hopefully, the people who hired us were patient with us as we learned how to do those things.

It’s completely unreasonable to expect a new hire to know how to do everything on the job, especially if it’s their first job.


I’m going to the general store to get a side of bacon, a horse shoe, a vacuum, a stroller, and a sign for my yard that lets everyone know how sassy I am.

Weigh In

Were unreasonable expectations placed upon you at your first job?

Do you like browsing in general stores?

#988 The Mystery Girl created by Gertrude Chandler Warner was originally published on One-elevenbooks