Thursday, February 26, 2015

Book Review: Nancy Drew #18


January 24 was National Readathon Day. We weren't at an event, but we chose our books, read, and rotated until we each read all five books. Two were much longer so it's taken some time.

During our reading time we were introduced to and decided to join the 53rd Kit Lit Blog Hop. (We didn't get to link up properly.) It's a real honor and we'll be adding this logo to our future book reviews. Click the link to find more participants.

Now on with the reviews!

The Mystery of the Moss Covered Mansion

by Carolyn Keene


Truly a classic - I love the original Nancy Drew mysteries. There aren't a lot of gadgets or technology to rely on, but Nancy and her friends get the job done. Boring? Absolutely not! Chases by car and wild animals, fires, surly caretakers...that's just the tip of the action iceberg when Nancy is on the case. A great read; the story flows well and we get to learn new words. 


Nancy rocks! The way she and her friends are willing to use their skills to help someone in trouble is really cool. The best part is she usually ends up helping more than one person. Her mysteries always have more than one level to them.


This was a fun mystery to read. The way Nancy gathers clues is very interesting. She is very careful not to accuse someone without fully thinking out the situation. She doesn't do it all herself either; she shares her ideas and theories with her "team." I love that everyone can contribute to solving a case. 


I never knew there were so many types of oranges. Nancy was able to track down clues and prove someone innocent with the help of a special type of orange. Too bad the thugs weren't as smart. Way to go, Nancy!


Nancy Drew is my hero! She is always thinking, polite, and considerate. In this story Nancy and her friends stop a plan to sabotage a rocket launch, but they also help a lot of mistreated animals too. It's neat to see how she collects information without some of the tools we rely on today. I liked how this story was written and have created a short list of words that I looked up to understand what was happening.

Xyra's Review

Mystery of the Moss-Covered Mansion (Nancy Drew, #18)Mystery of the Moss-Covered Mansion by Carolyn Keene
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Four and a half stars.

For all intents and purposes this is an amazing story - well written and plotted. Some of the details in this one are definitely dated; however, the overall theme of homegrown terrorism is not. I'd actually like to get my hands on the original 1941 release to see what has changed (since NASA was not created until after WWII). I'm thinking the 1969 rewrite replaced themes and activities more closely related to WWII.

I love that you don't have to read the Nancy Drew mysteries in order. Each adventure is a complete story unto itself. There might be a tiny reference to a previous adventure, but nothing is heavily based on them so the reader is not confused. This is #18 and before this I read #41. Not an issue at all.

In this installment Nancy and her friends travel to Florida and Cape Canaveral to help figure out how exploding oranges got into the NASA compound. While on an unrelated excursion the group happens upon the moss-covered mansion. In the end...nope not giving any spoilers.

Nancy, as always, is courageous and thoughtful. She puts her deductive and intuitive powers to work helping free the innocent and imprison the sinister and nefarious.

The vocabulary in this book is wonderful! Furtive, nefarious, alight, and many more lovely words sew this story together. Great for young readers...get your dictionaries ready (book or on smartphone/tablet) your language base.

Do you like mystery books?

Best wishes,


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tea Review: Bingley's Sweet Jane

Bingley's Teas

Pride And Prejudice Anniversary Notions Sampler

Sweet Jane

Kaya, Melody, both

Calling All Jane Austen Fans

I think it's time we tried another tea from the Pride and Prejudice Anniversary Notions Sampler.
We have two left, right? Which one?
Wedding...hmmm...I think we should try the Sweet Jane. What do you think?
Oh, yes. This sounds yummy. "Floral green jasmine meets sweet vanilla black tea. Tea of an angel according to Mr. Bingley." 
Perfect for a cold day.
Let's get the kettle on!
Smells wonderful. can see the green leaves with the black.
Two teaspoons of leaves for half a pot?
That sounds right.
Water in and timer set.
Look at the color already! 
And the leaves dance so nicely together.
Ready to pour!
This has great color to it. Smells very nice too.
The jasmine rises well. I wonder how it tastes? First try with nothing added, right?
Sure thing. This is really good. The green and black mix well.
Yeah, they do.
Second try with honey. 
Yeah, yeah. 
Hmmm, the honey accents the green tea. Brings out the jasmine.
Mmm, I agree. 
Third try just white sugar.
Neat, this accents the black tea.
Yeah, brings out a malty flavor.
Last try with white sugar and 1% milk. Not sure about this one; it masks the flavors... 
But does make the vanilla a bit more creamy. Still, I think it's best without milk.
(nodding in agreement)
The best can be resteeped and looks as good as the first time.
Yes, it does. And I bet it would taste really good with an emergency scone.
I bet! Let's have some!

Xyra's Notes

Our little glass pot holds 3 cups of water. Typically you add one teaspoon for every 8 ounces of water that's why we use 2 teaspoons for half a pot of tea.

So far Sweet Jane is my favorite of the four blends in Bingley's Teas Pride and Prejudice Anniversary Notions Sampler. The vanilla is present, but not overwhelming. The jasmine pairs well with the vanilla. Neither green nor black tea compete with each other, but blend into a smooth cup. I re-steeped these leaves two times after the original tasting; I did not add new leaves, but added a minute to the steeping time. All three steepings produced a full-body, floral, creamy flavor. The last two I drank plain (no sweetener).

The scones were made with Trader Joe's Triple Berry Scone mix. 

Who is your favorite female character from Jane Austen's books? Why?

Best wishes,

Note: Tea Time with Melody Q is not affiliated with American Girl or Bingley's Teas. We met representatives from Bingley's Teas at The Philly Coffee and Tea Festival in November and purchased the sampler at that time. The above review is unsolicited and reflects our own opinions. All links provided are for educational and informative purposes; no purchase is required.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Fashion Review: OG MAP

Fashion Forward

Our Generation: Mad About Plaid

Yes, another new outfit. I think there is only one more Our Generation outfit we'd like to least in this current release. Mad About Plaid is a great outfit for mixing and matching; it includes a plaid tunic, denim leggings, socks, and boots.
The plaid blouse is a navy, red, and white with three red buttons on the placket. The placket includes ruffled detailing. I called it a blouse because a tunic usually hangs to the top of the thighs. Here the hem stops just below my waist. I love the long sleeves and how the hem flares a bit. Very flowy.
The leggings are soft and have an elastic waistband. The socks are thick with an open sweater knit. Very soft and cozy and warm. Not to mention long or high; however, you choose to describe them.
The boots are molded plastic. I was worried they wouldn't fit, but they went on easily even over the socks. Finally, I love how the vest from the Boho Beauty outfit goes with this.

Xyra Note

The blouse opens in the back and closes with Velcro. It does not open all the way down the back so you have to "step into" it. The leggings were a bit snug and took some patience when putting them on. The socks are outstanding! I want a pair for myself. The boots are very nice and, because they are sturdy, help with balancing and posing.

Would you wear this outfit? What is your favorite part of this outfit? Would you like to see a "Who Wears it Best" post featuring this outfit?

Best wishes,

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


A Snowy Discussion

Lanie, Melody, both

Look at all the snow!
It's pretty; it's even sparkling like someone dumped white glitter.
But it's soooo cold.
Well, you didn't wear a coat...
I know.I should have grabbed the cape...You know, I'm worried about Xyra's sorting and tossing trend.
Why's that?
What if that means no new goodies for us?
(laughing) You don't have to worry about that. If she doesn't get tired of all the sorting she has to do at work to move into her new area and continues to sort at home it means more room for us and our stuff.
Besides, if I hadn't chosen warmth over fashion you'd see our new outfit.
I do love those leggings, boots, and socks.
Thanks, Mel!
Anytime, Lanie!

Xyra Note

Lots of changes with my desk area. Since I'm moving to a smaller area I'm sorting through everything. It's kind of fun because I get to see some fun things I've collected. It's also sad because the old area had the most natural light and I could get great pictures looking out over the field. You've see the location in many posts. Until I am fully ensconced in the new area, posting will be a bit sporadic. Stay tuned in though - lots of fun stuff to come.

Have you ever moved? What were the best things about moving?

Best wishes,