Bepuzzled Jigsaw Puzzle Mysteries—My Family New Year Tradition

Bepuzzled Logo
The Bepuzzled Logo

Ok, so this will be a short post as I’m still recovering from Christmas. One of the things my family does every year is start a jigsaw puzzle on or after Christmas and try to finish it before midnight on New Year’s. Well, a few years ago—seven, maybe?—my mom and I found a puzzle that was also a little mystery story. By solving the puzzle, you get the clues you need to solve the mystery. It seemed like fun, and was—so much so that these mystery puzzles replaced regular ones as our New Year’s tradition.

The company that makes the ones we’ve like most—and each short story does vary in quality—are made by Bepuzzled. Like I said, they’re fun. There are also puzzles that are done as a full on dinner party, with roles for the guests to play, but we’ve never done those—too much trouble. But we’ve enjoyed the mystery puzzles we’ve done, and I always read the story aloud, complete with voices. Here’s some of the puzzled we’ve played.

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The Muppet Christmas Carol—the Best Rendition of the Classic Dickens Classic

muppetxmasposter
The Muppet Christmas Carol

Ok, so this isn’t a new movie to me, it’s a childhood favorite. But I did just see again for the first time in years and am pleased by how well The Muppet Christmas Carol holds up (there are so, so many movies best left in undisturbed, nostalgia-filtered memory). And while I haven’t seen all that many versions of A Christmas Carol, I will still lay money that the Muppet version is the best. Here’s why.

1—Gonzo the Great is Charles Dickens

How often do you get to have the narrator interacting with the movie? And have it benefit the story? Now, I admit to being biased—Gonzo was always one of my two favorite Muppets (the other is Miss Piggy). But I still say the pipe-nosed weirdo is a fantastic Charles Dickens. And having Rizzo the Rat as his skeptical sidekick is delicious frosting on the fuzzy blue cake. There’s so many great little moments that there’s really no way to describe how much fun these two are without taking up the rest of the post. So I’ll just segue into my next point. Continue reading “The Muppet Christmas Carol—the Best Rendition of the Classic Dickens Classic”

The Finishing School Series—Stylish Steampunk Espionage

Manner and Mutiny: Finishing School, Book the Fourth by Gail Carriger
Manners & Mutiny, Finishing School Book the Fourth

I just finished reading Manners and Mutiny, the fourth and final book in Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series, which charts the education of Sophronia through her years aboard a floating school for young women intelligencers (spies). Set in the same world as Gail’s The Parasol Protectorate series and the Custard Protocol series, and before either, Finishing School is a YA (young adult) series every bit as wickedly intelligent and fun as her adult novels.

1—Manners Made Interesting

When fourteen-year-old tomboy Sophronia Temminnick learns she’s being sent away to finishing school, she’s horrified. But the lessons at Madamoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality are far from ordinary. Flower arranging is done with as much care to concealment as to beauty. Perfume is used for blinding the eyes as well as enticing the nose. And when choosing a dress, one must consider the event, the current styles, and if the fabric will show bloodstains. Continue reading “The Finishing School Series—Stylish Steampunk Espionage”

The Un-Book Reporter’s Pet Peeves

spoiler dragon, beware
The Spoiler Dragon hates badly used tropes.

I’ve got two weeks of finals this semester, and I’ve been having some health issues. Nothing that can’t be fixed, but I just can’t get into the frame of mind for a story analysis this week. So here, in no particular order, are some of my most-hated pet peeves.

1—Serial Killer Nemesis

I’m so sick of this trope, mostly this is due to over-exposure. I’ve seen it in multiple shows—mostly crime shows—but some others too. Bones, in particular, had one every freaking season. I finally had enough and stopped watching. Some shows, even ones I’d heard good things about, I refused to even start watching. This same problem can be found in book series—again, mostly the crime genres—and likewise I’ve refused to read some because of it. Continue reading “The Un-Book Reporter’s Pet Peeves”