Saturday, May 21, 2011

Book Review: The Secret of the Sealed Room by Bailey MacDonald

✰✰✰½ Young Patience Martin is a bright, spunky, and witty teenaged girl with a knack for getting into trouble. Facing four more years as an indentured servant is wearing thin with Patience. However, she gets more than she bargained for when her mistress, Mrs. Worth, dies from poisoning. Add a missing strongbox into the mix and Patience decides to run off. With a reward being offered for her capture, Patience turns to an unlikely friend, a young printer's apprentice named Benjamin Franklin, for help.

Before Patience can get into even deeper trouble, the two adventurous teens set out to solve the mystery of Mrs. Worth's death and to find the missing cash . Follow them through the streets of colonial Boston as the two devise various schemes to reveal the real murderer and thief.

The Bottom Line:
The Secret of the Sealed Room: A Mystery of Young Benjamin Franklin is a fun and quick read for the middle school set; this is a great introduction to historical fiction. Kids who enjoy mysteries will be intrigued.

The Secret of the Sealed Room: A Mystery of Young Benjamin Franklin by Bailey MacDonald. Hardcover published by Aladdin in 2010. 224 p. ISBN: 978-1-4169-9760-3

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Cookbook Review: Good Housekeeping Budget Dinners!

✰✰✰✰½ This gem of a cookbook is chock full of easy dinners to make on a budget. There's no need to panic when the kids ask, "What's for dinner?" Simply pull out a copy of Good Housekeeping Budget Dinners!: 100 recipes your family will love, and you'll have a delicious, homemade meal ready in no time without breaking the bank.

The Editors at Good Housekeeping have come up with a collection of recipes are easy to follow and presented in step-by-step format. Unlike most cookbooks that are organized by beef, chicken, or fish, this one is organized by "eight roads into feeding your family frugally." These roads include "Cook It Slow and Easy," "Breakfast for Dinner," and "Supper in a Salad Bowl." However, there are still plenty of recipes that include beef, poultry, and seafood; plus, there's pork, pasta, soups, salads, ethnic dishes, and vegetarian delights.

This cookbook includes everything from slow cooker recipes to grilled sensations that your family will love. The book's physical format is a spiral-bound hardcover that lies flat when in use, a handy feature that works well for lots of cooks including me. Additionally, beautiful full-color photos are included for many recipes.

The Bottom Line:
The home-style recipes found in this cookbook are both convenient and easy to prepare. Wallet-friendly tips are included throughout. Highly recommended for home cooks who are thinking frugal in these challenging economic times.

Good Housekeeping Budget Dinners!: 100 recipes your family will love by The Editors of Good Housekeeping. Hardcover published by Hearst Communications, Inc. in 2010. 176p. ISBN: 978-1-58816-812-2