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Books Children

Papercutz Presents Nancy Drew

If you’re like me, you loved Nancy Drew as a girl.  Interestingly when I visited with Lisa Scottoline recently, she also enjoyed reading Nancy Drew as a child.  There’s something about Nancy’s pluck and feminism that makes her likable. Of course, Lisa Scottoline liked Nancy because Nancy was in charge of the cool car. Whatever the reason, if you like the young detective, you might enjoy her as a graphic novel from my friends at Papercutz:

Nancy Drew

A while back we had a tea party featuring Nancy Drew and it was so much fun! This Nancy Drew, however is not for little girls. It’s a little more sophisticated!

Nancy Drew is no ordinary teen; she’s the best detective in River Heights!Nancy uses her incredible intelligence and seemingly endless knowledge to solve the mysteries that trouble her town, and her smarts are only matched by her bravery. Nancy stops at nothingto right wrongs and protect the innocent, even when she’s put in harm’s way herself. Good thing she has her loyal friends Bess, George, and Ned to help her out of someserious scrapes!

I love everything about this series.

Are you a Nancy Drew fan? What’s your fave title?


Books Tea Parties

A Tea Party Featuring Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew

One day we had the privilege of hosting a tea party for a girl who loved Nancy Drew. We took the colors of the book, incorporated tea pots and a scavenger hunt into the party and it was great fun!

NancyDrew Collage.jpg


If you look closely at the photo you’ll see a small round object in the box. That was a tea pot that the partygoers had to make during the craft portion of the party. Leah and I made a video showing how to make this teapot except we added a twist. We decided to race to see who could finish first.

What did you think? I think they both look pretty nice, right? What crafts have  you used from Oriental Trading Company?



Legal stuff:

“This review is based strictly on my opinion. Others may have a different opinion or experience with the product listed above. I was provided the sample free of charge by the company or PR agency and I provided my honest opinion. No other type of compensation was received for this review.”




Books Tea Parties

Bookish Tea Party Fun: The Importance of Cookies

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There’s nothing worse than a party with no cookies. Well maybe there is but at a tea party, yummy cookies are ESSENTIAL.  Check out the different kinds of cookies we’ve had. WARNING: MAY CAUSE DROOLING!


Angelina cookies.jpg
Angelina Ballerina


and these

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Nancy Drew cookies


and how about

Mermaid cookies.jpg
Mermaid cookies


or maybe

pirate treats
pirate treats



Don’t they look delish? We couldn’t wait to nosh on these adorable and totally yummy cookies during our parties!


Books Feature Friday Young Adult

Robert Beck discusses Envisioning a Protagonist

Here’s my friend FunBobby discussing how authors do what they do.

In 1971 when I was twelve years old, I saw “Goldfinger” on television for the first time. This movie instantly captivated me! I loved a villain, Auric Goldfinger, who had the audacity to attempt to break in and enter what at that time was the most heavily guarded institution on earth—Fort Knox! I loved the villain’s bodyguard, Odd Job—a seemingly unstoppable juggernaut! I loved all the cool gadgets and ultra cool car that James Bond drove. Most of all however, I loved the character of James Bond himself! Here was a handsome, dashing hero who could do no wrong. I went to bed that night imagining I was him.

dawn of the knightThat same year I saw another movie on television titled, “Our Man Flint.” Derek Flint was the American equivalent of England’s James Bond and America, not to be outdone by the British, made their hero even cooler! Not only was he both handsome and dashing, he also had a superior intellect with an encyclopedia mind and he fought using a very cool martial art style! Much cooler than James Bond’s simple fisticuffs!

Finally, and around the same time, I began watching reruns of a 1960’s Western/action/spy series titled, “The Wild, Wild West.” James West as portrayed by the actor Robert Conrad was a secret service agent in the employ of President Grant. He was heroic, dashing, fought using a martial art style, and was extremely handsome. I used to go to bed at night imagining whole stories where I was the best of all three of these characters.

In my late teens and early twenties I happened upon a 1960’s young adult action series titled, “Chris Cool: Teen Agent” by Jack Lancer. In the series Chris Cool is an eighteen year old secret agent/operative in the employ of a secret US government agency. The series only lasted six books and after reading them, I decided that if I ever were to write a book, it would be about a teenage operative type character.

Jump forward to this present day. Three years ago I decided to finally write my book/series and this is how I came up with the character of Lance Rock. His named, rugged and tough sounding would be the exact same name of a boy I actually grew up with! When I was younger I thought that was the coolest name any boy could have and I was quite jealous of my friend Lance. My character Lance would be raised and trained by the US government’s former top covert operative. Think Jason Bourne now retired, taking a young boy under his wing and then teaching that same young boy, Lance Rock, everything he knows for twelve straight years! My character Lance would be handsome—incorporating the best looks from my favorite spy characters. He would also be muscular, having been trained in several different martial art styles for many years. Finally, he would have an IQ bordering on genius level. I had created the ultimate teenage hero.

I stepped back to gaze upon my creation and it dawned on me that while I had created a “perfect” spy-type teenage hero, I had also made him boring. A literary character with all those traits (although feasible and possible) would be boring to read about. Lance could do almost anything and I needed him to have flaws to make him “human” and “believable.” As you read through the story you will discover his weaknesses and flaws. He is prone to pride, recklessness, brashness, nosiness, insecurity around girls, and other traits, (both positive and negative) that illuminate his humanness. However, he is willing to admit his mistakes when confronted about them by others and his conscience! Being a teenage boy I have him battling his hormones throughout the story as he struggles to be in the presence of two exceptionally beautiful girls. Lance is a flawed character with exceptional skills and abilities, but I guarantee you’ll find yourself rooting for him as he battles evil in all its monstrous forms!

Coincidentally, I too, dreamed of being James Bond.  Only at the time when I was a girl, there were few powerful female characters, unless of course, you count Nancy Drew, whom I love, but it’s just not the same.  The young man FunBobby is talking about from the book Dawn of the Knight.  Here’ s preview:

In this thrilling and suspenseful action/romance novel, a fatherless Canadian high school boy, Lance Rock, has been raised and trained by the United States government’s former top operative. For his senior year, Lance decides to travel to California in the hope of finding a girlfriend as well as freedom from his regimented life. Once there, he inadvertently ends up in the home of a mother and her two teenage daughters. He is forced to use his skills to defend them and himself from the woman’s ex-husband—a crime lord who has been terrorizing the family for over a decade!

Sounds great, huh?  Download it here: Oh and Funbobby? Maybe the next book can have a gun toting, coffee drinking, librarian/crime fighter?




Books Young Adult

The Year of the Great Seventh by Teresa Orts

I just finished a fun romp called The Year of the Great Seventh by author Teresa Orts.  Here’s a synopsis:

Sophie has always felt out of step—an outsider, even amongst friends in her high school with all the hype about celebrity culture. Her life in L.A. seems to have been already written for her, but when her junior year starts, it all takes a drastic turn. When she cYear of the Great Seventrosses paths with the school’s heartthrob, Nate Werner, they fall for each other in a way neither can understand. What they don’t know is that by giving in to their desires, they are unlocking an ancient Egyptian prophecy that threatens to return Earth to the dark ages.

To undo the curse, Nate and Sophie embark on an adventure that takes them across the country. But their quest is not only to save the world as they know it. It is also a fight for their very survival. Behind the scenes, there are those that are counting on them to fail.

There’s a lot going on with Year of the Great Seventh.  I liken it to Twilight meets Beverly Hills 90210 meets Nancy Drew.  The main character, Sophie, lives in the glamorous world of LA, actors as friends, expensive parties, etc.  But yet, all she wants to do is study history like her father.  She is inexplicably attracted to Nate Werner, the uber-sexy uber-riche bad boy of the school.  Throw in a mix of Egyptian prophecy and you’ve got some confusing things going on.

It’s not that I didn’t like the story. To be sure, there were some fun parts and some psychological twists.  But what I’m not so keen on are the parts about this boy who is so bad for her but yet they are drawn to each other. I don’t want to add any spoilers so I’ll say no more about the bad boy.

I can see how a teen might enjoy the story:  Who doesn’t dream of having a handsome boyfriend to protect them from the bad guys?  It’s also fun to peek into the over the top lifestyle of the rich and famous and see what shenanigans they get into.

Another fun aspect of the story is what I’ll call the Nancy Drew stuff.  Sophie is smart. She loves history and she decides to research this prophecy and because her father has taught her much about history, she’s able to understand it.  Who doesn’t love a smart young lady? And? because I was just in NYC recently for BEA, I loved running the streets of New York with Sophie and Nate.

There is a sequel, so keep up with Teresa Orts so you can see what happens to our dynamic duo!