#872 The Old Motel Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Old Motel Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler WarnerThe Old Motel Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Aldens are on vacation again, this time with Aunt Sara in Florida. There’s a friend who has an old motel and the Aldens are going to stay there a while. The friend is set on selling her motel when the Aldens get there, but they decidedly tell her that it isn’t going to happen. They start helping her fix up the place by getting new bedding and freezing tons of orange juice. The problem is that someone is thwarting their efforts. The power gets turned off. There is water leaking into one of the rooms. Someone dumped the oranges into the pool. Who could have done such a thing?

What I liked

I kind of like the idea of running a small hotel. It would be a job and a place to live, which is great because you never have to leave home to go to work and there’s more downtime than you would get at other jobs. Although, if you wanted to go on vacation to someone else’s hotel, you’d have to find someone to watch yours. Is there some sort of hotel swapping program for motel and hotel owners?

What I didn’t like

The person that ends up having done all of these things, doesn’t get any charges pressed against them. Some of this stuff is mostly harmless, but some of this stuff is damaging to property. It’s expensive to fix something on your house. At one point, the motel gets a new roof. With what money? Roofs are expensive. You can’t just go to someone’s house and be like, “You should put a new roof on it,” then go to the store and buy everything and get the new roof put up just like that. It’s tens of thousands of dollars for a new roof. Not everybody has that kind of money lying around like Grandfather. This makes me wonder if the Aldens ever understand the value of a dollar. Also, getting back to the perpetrator of these nefarious acts, you can’t just let someone cause you, at the least, a couple thousand dollars worth of damage, and not expect them to pay recompense in any way, either through financial repayment or legal action. I don’t think it’s the greatest example to children to let someone get away with something this big. There’s a possibility kids will be like, “Well, so and so in the book did it, and got away with it, maybe I can too.”


Who has so much freezer space that they can freeze orange juice, seemingly to last for months and months?

Weigh In

Would you ever own your own motel?

Do you feel like the Aldens get the idea of money and what a person can reasonably do with it?

#871 The Mystery of the Purple Pool created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

 The Mystery of the Purple Pool created by Gertrude Chandler Warner The Mystery of the Purple Pool created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

Because Grandfather is made of money, the Aldens go and stay in a fancy hotel for a while. It’s in New York City. Grandfather is going to work part of the time so the Aldens have the free range to do mostly whatever they want. They want to go swimming, but the pool is purple. Someone dyed all the water purple. Weird things keep happening in the hotel. Someone says their room wasn’t cleaned. There was a guy who got fired. All manner of things just keep happening. Who is doing it? Is is the guy who got fired? What about his sister? What about the other guy?

The Aldens don’t mind a little purple water and tourism, but they also don’t mind a bit of mystery solving.

What I liked

I kind of like the idea of purple water in a swimming pool. Wouldn’t it be whimsical?

What I didn’t like

Do you have any idea how much a fancy hotel suite is in New York City? A whole lot. I’ve stayed in $200 a night hotel rooms and they weren’t even that fancy, well one of them was  a Waldorf-Astoria hotel. It was fancy, but it wasn’t a suite. When you take your kids on vacation, you stay at a Holiday Inn and you save the nice hotels for when you’re alone with your sweetie. Pstch! Kids in a fancy hotel! The Aldens are so spoiled.

Heck, when I was little and we went on vacation, we stayed in places like The John Wayne Motel. There were bullet holes in the wall and they weren’t there for ambiance. We stayed in a Holiday Inn one time, we thought we were fancy. It was the first time my brother and I didn’t have to sleep in the same freaking bed. My family was super cheap.


I kind  of want to know how the grown-up Aldens turned out after this childhood of being super spoiled.

Weigh In

Would you swim in a purple pool?

How do you feel about taking kids to a fancy hotel?

#870 The Animal Shelter Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Animal Shelter Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler WarnerThe Animal Shelter Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

A strange cat shows up at the Aldens’ house. They have no idea where it came from. Later, when they go to do their volunteer work at the local animal shelter, it’s chaos. There are animals everywhere. They get the bad news that the shelter is closing. Meanwhile, they volunteer their boxcar as a temporary shelter and try to figure out who the cat belongs to, but they end up with even more animals.

A local woman is gone and some strange people are in her house. Of course the Aldens have to figure out what’s going on. They find out that some of the animals belong at the woman’s house, but she’s not there. They also find an old deed, but what does it have to do with the animals shelter?

What I liked

I like animals. I’ve had my share of them over the years. Right now I have three pets, and assorted plants. I think animals do make life better, although, at times, they can certainly be trying, like when the dog gets up on the kitchen table. Really, he climbs on the table like a cat. You’d expect that kind of thing out of a cat, but a dog?

I do like that the Aldens are friendly to animals. Grandfather Alden may not believe in ghosts, but he does appreciate animals, so that’s a point for Grandfather. He never dissuades the Alden children from having various adventures with animals.

What I didn’t like

Why can’t the Aldens have a pet cat? Every time it looks like they’re about to get a cat, they don’t. Does Grandfather hate cats? What’s the deal? Grandather, you’ve got a house with extra bedrooms, you have room for a cat, or two, or twenty. The cats could solve mysteries like, “Is that a bug on the wall or just a piece of fuzz?”


Get the Aldens a cat! Get the Aldens a cat!

Weigh In

If a bunch of animals showed up at your house, what would you do?

Would you ever volunteer at an animal shelter?

#869 The Abduction by Gordon Korman

 The Abduction by Gordon Korman The Abduction by Gordon Korman

The Falconer family has been through heck. The parents were arrested and imprisoned, which made life difficult for their two children, Aiden and Meg. One day, a van shows up and snatches Meg. Aiden tries his best, but he cannot catch them. The police and FBI are soon involved.

There’s a demand for ransom and Meg is trying to escape on her own. It’s up to Meg, Aiden, and the FBI to get out of this situation.

What I Liked

I liked that Aiden was so dedicated to his sister.

What I didn’t like

There’s a story here, but I’m not sure what it is. I feel like I’m missing a whole lot. I know there are books after this one in the series, but I feel like there should be books before it. I hope there are because I’m confused.

Also, kidnapping is not cool.


A girl got kidnapped for some reason.

Weigh in

What would you do if your sibling was kidnapped?

If a member of your family was wrongfully imprisoned, what do you imagine the charges would be?

#868 World of the Innocent by Nadine C. Keels

World of the Innocent by Nadine C. KeelsWorld of the Innocent by Nadine C. Keels

One of Joy’s friends tells her that Marcas wants to get to know her better and Joy has to pause for a bit. What does that even mean? Joy is part of a community where she participates in a program for college students. There are performances and the arts are encouraged. She is friends with an older man, Mr. El, Elmer. They play chess together and Joy gets advice about life during the games. She has a mother and a father, but things haven’t really been the same with them.

Joy does take Marcas up on his offer. She doesn’t really know what to do or how to act around a man. The two enjoy each other’s company. They talk about life and admire each other’s talents and work in the community. There isn’t this burning passion between either of them, but something does grow between the two and Joy feels it’s right.

What I liked

This is a romance story, but it’s not sappy. It’s not obsessed or frantic, like so many so-called “romance” stories. There is a difference in being obsessed with somebody and loving somebody for who they are. When you’re that kind of “love obsessed” with someone, you’re afraid to show them who you really are. You’re afraid they’re going to run away screaming if they find out about some perceived flaw on your part. When you love someone for who they are and they return the favor, you’re not scared to show them who you are and you might find yourself opening up to them about things you never thought you’d open up to anyone about. There’s a difference between these two. I think Nadine gets it and she was able to put it in words with this story.

Joy is a little hesitant, but she knows she doesn’t have to hide her fears or her flaws from Marcas. Neither of them mind the other’s past or family situation. It’s purely because Joy is Joy and Marcas is Marcas, not because Joy is pretending to be who she perceives Marcas wants.

I also like that Joy has some hangups about stuff, but Marcas doesn’t push her into anything. Look, if you date a guy and he’s trying to push you into something you’re not ready for, he’s a jerk. What’s the saying, “Love is patient; love is kind…”

What I didn’t like

I can’t really say there’s anything I didn’t like, although, there’s some sad.


Find that person who appreciates you for who you are.

Weigh In

Have you experienced both loving someone for who they are and love obsessed kind of loves?

If so, which one turned out better?