Friday, January 1, 2016

The Baby-Sitters Club #102: Mary Anne and the Little Princess


Logan and Kristy are outside playing football with some of their charges while Mary Anne reads a book when they see a moving van. Kristy immediately thinks of new clients and takes over a flyer. They later learn that she dropped off a new flyer every day until she actually met the parents. Watson then invited them over for dinner with his family. All they really know is that they are very posh and British.

During the next BSC meeting, they get a call from someone Mary Anne thinks is the mom but is really the nanny Mrs. Rutherford. The family wants someone to spend time with their daughter Victoria and help her acclimate with her new surroundings. The woman instantly assumes that Mary Anne will be the one to work with Victoria and plans to send a car for her before she can say much, though she does inform her that Victoria is a princess.

Mary Anne is obviously a little freaked out and worries over what to wear but eventually settles on a white blouse, plaid skirt, knee socks, and loafers. She meets Lord and Lady Kent, who are way too posh for words and spends some time with Victoria. Victoria is actually a little brat. She won't let Mary Anne play with her and keeps her nose up in the air all the time.

This turns out to be the same way she acts around other kids. The BSC plans a few outings to get her more involved, but she pretty much ignores them. Becca becomes obsessed with the idea of having sleepovers in a castle, but even she gets turned off. They all go to a football game, but Victoria bosses around her nanny and ignores the other kids. When Mrs. Rutherford tells them that they're taking a trip to NYC and Victoria learns that Stacey grew up there, she demands that she go with them. Mary Anne suggests they bring someone else, and Victoria decides to take Kristy after pointing out that the other kids are pretty much dreadful.

This trip goes about as well as you would expect. Mrs. Rutherford spends the whole trip complaining about her feet, the crowds, the noise, and dozens of other things, which leads to the kids ditching her after establishing where they would meet the driver later. They take Victoria on a tour of all the hot spots in New York and then meet up with Mrs. Rutherford who was so upset that she called the cops.

They had plans to meet the Kent parents for dinner, but they later announce that they don't have time to eat with them. Victoria is so upset that she refuses to eat anywhere other than Pizza Hut. Mary Anne realizes that she acts out because she misses her parents. They have a long talk with Victoria agreeing to talk things out with her mom and dad. She also asks if she can invite Karen and maybe some other kids over to play.

At the same time, it's once again Thanksgiving time. Richard has to work on a case in Wisconsin, which leaves Mary Anne and Sharon home alone. Mary Anne comes home one day and finds a note from Sharon that she signed as mom. Sharon keeps looking through and crying over pictures of her kids, and she takes Mary Anne shopping and tries to buy her stuff that Dawn would like. She eventually tells Mary Anne that she would cry if she lost her too because you cry when you lose something/someone you love.

Dawn, Mary Anne, and Richard sneak around to get Dawn to Stoneybrook for Thanksgiving. They invite Mrs. Rutherford, the driver George, and Victoria to eat too. George picks up Dawn and Richard at the airport and brings them back. Sharon gets misty eyed over Dawn before realizing that she forgot to turn on the oven. Richard decides it's the perfect time to show them slides from his trip, while Dawn and Mary Anne take Victoria over to Kristy's for awhile.

*Kristy says her mom noticed they were wearing designer Georgie Mannie clothing, which cracked me up when I realized she meant Georgio Armani.

*Dawn coming to Stoneybrook is totally not fair. Her dad says she can go if she agrees to stay in California for Christmas. Um, isn't there some type of custody agreement going on? Does that mean Jeff will come to Connecticut on his own for the holidays? This seems like something Sharon should agree to.

*I really don't like Victoria at all. She's a complete and total brat. Missing her parents is no excuse, and frankly, you would think she would be used to it by now.

*Victoria is 29th in line for the throne. Now, I don't know how the royal family thing works, but it doesn't seem like she should be a princess. Is the daughter of a Lord and Lady really a princess?

*There's a comment about how the Kents are probably renting the house they live in because the kids know the owner. Given that they pick up and take off later, I figure they rented too. But, they actually wallpaper Victoria's room and make other big changes to the house too.

*Mary Anne spends way too much time worrying about Sharon calling herself mom and referring to MA as her daughter. Considering that every MA book mentions how her mom died, you would think that she would appreciate that.

*Lord and Lady Kent are supposedly working for the UN, which makes me think they should have probably found a townhouse or a hotel in the city.

*When the kids hear about the Kent name, they automatically think Superman is moving to Stoneybrook. Kristy even makes a joke about how they need to charge extra to sit for a flying baby.

*Speaking of Kristy, she isn't exactly herself in this one. She lets Mary Anne take a job without it going out to everyone, and she even agrees to skip a BSC meeting to go to the city.

*The kids are all astounded that Victoria never learned about Thanksgiving in school or that the founders left England because of religious persecution.

*Victoria has her own credit card and goes a little crazy at the Washington Mall, but Mrs. Rutherford tries to reign her in a little. The Kents don't really seem like the type to care how much their kids spends though.

*Sharon is at her worse in this book. Not only does she forget to turn on the oven to cook the turkey, but she also puts one of Richard's ties in the dictionary, puts a loaf of bread behind the throw pillows on the couch, and leaves a pan of eggs on the stove. I really don't know how Richard can deal with all this or how she hasn't been committed yet.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

More Tales to Give You Goosebumps







The Werewolf's First Night

Brian is a little nervous about going to Thunder Lake with his parents on summer vacation because he's now old enough for the boys' teen camp and he heard stories about werewolves roaming the camp. He hears wolf noises coming from the woods, sees one of the guys eating raw hamburger meat, and sees fur on another. Just as he starts to freak out, they reveal that it was all a big joke play on all new guys. That's when Brian completely transforms into a werewolf and starts chasing them all around camp. Unexpected.

P.S. I Don't Write Back

David is spending the summer at Camp Timber Lake Hills and is upset that his parents never write him. While all the other campers get letters, he gets nothing. He finally gets a letter from his mom that they aren't coming to visit him and to not write back. Then he gets another that says his parents are sending them to live with his uncle and to not write back. When he looks closer, he sees the letters are addressed to Camp Timber Lane Hills, which is the camp across the lake. He sneaks out, finds the other David, and tries to give him the letters before the other David starts screaming at him to leave. When he gets back, his counselor yells at him for sneaking out and reveals that the camp across the lake burned down 30 years ago. David heads back to his cabin, looks closer at the letters, and finds that each one is dated from 1964. Dah dah dum.

Something Fishy

Eric is a normal kid who loves fish. It's super hot outside but since he loves his fish, he spends all his money on his tank instead of stuff like ice cream or swimming. One day, he starts looking deep into his tank and suddenly shrinks down to the size of his fish. The fish attack, he grabs a spear from one of his decorations, and attacks them back. His sister yells at his mom that there's a dead fish in the tank, and when she goes to scoop out the fish, she grabs him too. As she flushes him down the toilet, he wakes up in his bed regular size. A few days later, the temperature rises again and he does the same thing. Only this time, his mom comes in and tells his sister that she picked him up some fighting fish and dumps them in the tank right on top of him.

You Gotta Believe Me

Stan's parents don't believe in television, so he reads a lot of science fiction. That's why he realizes aliens are real after seeing a spaceship by his neighbor, Mr. Tribble's, house. Unfortunately, Mr. Tribble tells him it was nothing and sends him home. He then sneaks over and sees the aliens talking about the stages of their invasion. The aliens nab him and make him watch a bunch of sci-fi shows before letting him go. When no one believes his stories of aliens invading, he decides to stop them himself with a bunch of aluminum foil. Seriously. In the end though, the aliens come back anyway.

Suckers!

Ashley, Greg, and Jack are hanging out on the beach with Greg eating his trademark gummy worms and picking on Ashley. They find a treasure chest that washed up on the beach and open it to find a huge blob monster trying to get out. The monster eats the gummy worms and then drags Greg inside when it can't find anymore. Ashley and Jack rush to the store, get more gummy worms, come back, and tempt the blob monster until it lets Greg go. Greg looks back, sees a bag of gummy worms hanging out the side of the chest, and starts to go back until they stop him. As they wander off, they see two guys walk up to the chest, comment on the gummy worms, and start to open the chest without even attempting to stop them. Nice Ashley, nice.

Dr. Horror's House of Video

Ben loves horror movies so much that he and his friend Jeff make their own. While on a trip into town with his mom, he stumbles onto a new video rental place called Dr. Horror's House of Video. The owner, Dr. Horror, tells him that he makes his own movies in his garage and lets him watch part of his Lizardman movie. Ben sneaks back the next day because he wants to see how the movie ends. The store is closed, so he sneaks in and later finds himself locked inside. He then wanders into the garage and finds both Dr. Horror and Lizardman. Dr. Horror offers him a role in his next film, they start acting, and Ben quickly realizes that all the monsters are real. Though he thinks Dr. Horror wants to help him escape from the ropes that tie him to a tree, he really just fixes his hair and keeps on rolling...

The Cat's Tale

Marla's parents moved her and her brother to the middle of nowhere from NYC, so she isn't a happy camper. One night when the electric goes out, she has a nightmare about a monster attacking and wakes to see a furry streak run by. The streak is actually a black cat that somehow found a way into her room. Marla falls in love with that cat she names Misty. They spend every day together until she eventually goes to the swimming pool. The water freaks her out, something claws her leg, and she gets pushed into the pool. Her brother then hands her Misty and says the cat followed her there. Marla keeps hearing whispers singing a song about a cat's nine lives as she slowly becomes more cat like, including only wanting to eat tuna, drink milk, and having a fear of water. She tries to give the cat to an animal shelter, but Misty comes back. Marla then takes her out in a carrier, and while stopping to grab a soda, she hears screeching tires. A guy jumps out of his truck and freaks out that he hit and killed her cat. Marla goes home with a smile on her face, only to hear the whispered song come back later that night about eight lives left.

Shell Shocker

Tara and her brother Tommy find some shells on the beach and fight over one in particular. She wins and holds the shell up to her ear to hear someone talking. The little voice tells her where she can find the biggest shell in the world. Not really believing the voice, she follows its directions and finds a cave filled with bones. Though the voice says it's just fish bones, Tara thinks it might be human bones. She does find the biggest shell and starts celebrating before a huge hermit crab climbs out and attacks her. As it seemingly eats her, a tiny hermit crab pops out of the smaller shell and cheerfully tells its mom that it brought her another.

Poison Ivy

Matt's parents send him off to camp for the summer, which is horrible for a city boy. On his very first day, he nearly tumbles into a patch of poison ivy. On that same night, he hears a scratching at the door, checks it out, and sees the poison ivy creeping over the camp. Though no one believes him, they have to the next night when the poison ivy comes creeping over the doors and windows and blocks them in the cabin. Luckily, one of the guys has aftershave that the plant hates. They spray enough to kill the poison ivy. Just then, they see a funnel cloud in the sky. Aftershave boy then admits that the smell attracts mosquitoes...

The Spirit of the Harvest Moon

Jenny's parents take her to a lodge near the end of summer where it turns out there are no other guests. She meets this dog Bravo, the lodge owner, and his son Tyler. That first night, the owner locks her windows and won't let her open them, and she then hears someone calling her name and saying it's cold from outside. Tyler tells her that there was a hiker who mysteriously went missing and now comes back as a ghostly mist. The ghost takes one person every year on the harvest moon. Though she tells her parents, they say he was probably just playing a joke on her. On the night of the harvest moon, they leave her alone but tell her that Bravo will be outside to protect her. She later hears Tyler yelling for help and claiming that he locked himself out. Jenny tells him to stay away because he's the ghost and hears Bravo barking. Bravo then comes back to the door and barks. When she lets him in, the dog looks up, says thank you, and then tells her that it's cold outside, making this my favorite story in the whole book.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #162: The Case of the Last Song


Nancy, Bess, and George are off to Chicago for an antiques fair a la Antiques Roadshow. Bess finds out that the antique bracelet from the 1920s that her grandmother gave her is glass and only worth $50, and Nancy meets an annoying know it all named Wes Clarke who tells her that the Al Capone poster a client gave her father is a worthless reproduction. George brings along an old reel to reel she found hidden in her parents' antique that Clarke tells her isn't worth much.

Bess then runs into a college student she knows named Lisa who works for the company throwing the fair. She invites them to stay in her aunt and uncle's fancy apartment that overlooks the lake and takes them to meet someone who specializes in antique appliances. The guy, Dave, finds a hidden recording in George's player that is actually a recording of Lou Knight, a famous jazz musician. It's one of his lost recordings that is worth thousands of dollars. They also meet Jason, a publicity agent for the company, who wants to take some pictures of it.

At a party later that night, Nancy sees a woman storming off after having a fight with Jason. She introduces herself later as Inez. Not only does she also work for the company, but she plays it off like she barely knows Jason. It also turns out that Jason has a twin brother named Ethan who hits it off really, really well with George.

When they go back to Lisa's apartment later, they find that someone store the recording. Lisa claims that no one else has access to the apartment and that you need a key just to get into the lobby. She does, however, recommend that Nancy investigate the disappearance and lets it slip that some other items were stolen after making an appearance at similar antiques fairs across the country.

Nancy gets approval from the president of the company and starts sneaking around the whole office. She sees Inez acting sneaky and hiding what she was looking at on her computer. Inez lies and says there were never any other robberies until Lisa shows up and tells her Nancy is on the case. Inez keeps acting suspicious, and Lisa whines that Nancy will suspect her next, which actually does make me suspect her.

Not a whole lot happens in the middle of the book, except that Nancy has another run in with Clarke. She previously admired an antique fingerprinting kit from the 1920s that he had on his table. After having another run in with him, he finds the kit missing from his table. He then accidentally knocks her bag out of her hands, and the kit conveniently falls out. The head of the company shows up and announces that she's working for him, which leaves Clarke all pissed off.

Ned also shows up but has no real story except that he knows someone who knows someone who is a jazz historian. While talking with Nancy, they hear Bess screaming in another room and run in to discover that she found the missing tape in Lisa's dresser.

They all go to a party at Jason's fancy loft. Nancy finds out that Ethan is perpetually broke but always seems to have money for the so-called important things in life, including a Rolex watch and an original Beatles poster. Ethan catches her rummaging through his brother's room, which she plays off as just looking for a picture of Bess that was taken the day before.

Nancy, Ned, and Bess take the tape to Ned's peeps. It turns out that everyone in the jazz world heard about the tape and now wants to hear it. When they play it though, it's a woman singing. Lisa then storms in, reveals that it's her demo tape, and that she's pissed they stole it from her room. How they confused a new tape with an antique tape is beyond me.

Nancy gets a list of all the items stole in the past. They do an online search and keep seeing the same website turn up. After looking closer, they find that every item stolen in the past was listed on that site for sale under the same seller. Lisa then realizes that the name the seller uses is the same nickname given to Inez. Ah-ha, I knew I couldn't trust that sneaky bitch!

Ned, as the only one Inez doesn't know, agrees to send an email and ask about an item for sale. While checking out the head office, Nancy hears people coming and manages to hide before Ethan and Inez walk in and start fighting. It turns out that she really is stealing and selling stuff on the site and that Ethan knew about it and even helped her. She got the email from Ned but thought it was suspicious. They leave, but when Nancy comes out, someone hits her over the head and knocks her out. How does this chick not have serious head damage?

She wakes up on the train and manages to get to Jason's apartment. Just as she walks in, someone comes up behind her and comments on her hard head. The person holds a gun to her head, and while he says he's Ethan, she thinks it's Jason. The other twin then shows up, which leaves her feeling even more confused.

Nancy finds the missing recorder, presses a button, and tapes the two fighting and then Jason's confession. In a majorly confusing move, we find out that he somehow stole the antiques from people and sold them but set it up so people would blame the website and Inez. It makes absolutely no sense. In the end though, he gets arrested and Nancy managed to save the main part of the recording. It's the real thing and will probably net George a few thousand dollars.

*Bess rocks a gold metallic top with black pleather pants at one point. That is so totally 2001! I remember having my own pair of pleather pants that I wore to a Godsmack concert lol.

*George is apparently an excellent swing dancer. Does that seem odd to anyone else?

*They eat slices of Chicago deep dish pizza by hand at a party, which makes me wonder if the ghostwriter knew what deep dish pizza looks like.