Vegas Trip: Drum Lessons w/ Ryan!


Ryan from Recycled Percussion is doing drum lessons for free if you donate at least $60 to Save The Children.  If you’re in the Vegas area you should check out his website and see about getting lessons!   On Friday, Kim and I got our lesson at one of the parks in Vegas.  It had a lake and some really, really obnoxious ducks that either really liked or really hated our drumming and let it be known! Turns out I am the better drummer (woohoo) but have no regard for the tempo whatsoever. Which earned me the nickname “The Speed Demon” from Ryan.  Oops.  The lessons were fun and I learned a lot.  Ryan’s website is

Book Review: The Secrets at the Chocolate Mansion

The Secrets at the Chocolate Mansion is actually the 3rd book in a series, but I didn’t find that I was lost having not read either of the first two book when I decided to pick up this one.  This is the type of book I absolutely would have loved reading as a kid – and still enjoyed a lot as an adult.  The book follows Maggie Brooklyn who is a bit of an amateur detective.  The book starts with her and her twin brother and their dates at their friend Sonya’s Sweet Shop.  While they are there, they have pie that is salty instead of sweet, the window is shattered and a note saying “take your cookies elsewhere” is found outside attached to a box of girl scout cookies.

Meanwhile, she has a dog sitting business on the side and one of her clients has moved into a mansion that is believed to be haunted.  Not only is she now walking a dog from the mansion, the moms of one of the dogs want her to babysit their son for a night as well.  He says his friend Margaret comes to visit him at night if he leaves his closet door open.  Margaret is the name of the 19 year old girl that died in the mansion years ago.  Could the boy be seeing ghosts? Are there really such a thing as ghosts?

Maggie has the two mysteries she is trying to solve – all while trying to not freak out about the ghost in the mansion.  She does end up figuring everything out and things end happily ever after.

I thought this was a cute book and it had a couple of  good sub stories going in it and a lot of characters for Maggie to bump into and help her with her investigation.  She seemed to solve the mysteries without getting into too much trouble as well – something some other amateur sleuths I’ve read about have had problems with.  A great YA book to read in the fall – since it has a Halloween theme to it with the ghost.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.


About the Book

The third book in the Maggie Brooklyn Mysteries—with a ghostly twist!

Take your cookies elsewhere.” That’s what the note said in neat, block-like print, attached to a box of Girl Scout Cookies. Someone is out to sabotage the new sweet shop in the neighborhood, and Maggie Brooklyn is on the case. If only she weren’t so freaked out herself lately. Maggie’s new dogsitting gig has her and her twin brother Finn hanging out in what they fear may be a real haunted mansion. And it’s hard to solve real life mysteries when you think you’re seeing ghosts!

LESLIE MARGOLIS is the author of the successful Annabelle Unleashed series, including Boys Are Dogs, Girls Acting Catty, Everybody Bugs Out, and One Tough Chick; and two other books in the Maggie Brooklyn Mysteries: Girl’s Best Friend and Vanishing Acts. She lives with her family in Los Angeles, CA.

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