Thursday, March 5, 2015

Books Listed on eBay

I just listed 60 books on eBay.  The books are all new stock and are not relisted items.

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

The new books include Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, the Hardy Boys, Dan Carter, Cherry Ames, and Troy Nesbit.  A number of the Nancy Drew books are first printing revised text picture cover books.

I also have over 200 books listed on Bonanza.

Jennifer's Series Books on Bonanza

Don't forget that a coupon code can be applied on Bonanza from any of my listings.  I also still have free bookmarks and free Nancy Drew buttons in my booth.  You can get one free item for each item purchased.

Remember that you can also follow me on Facebook.

Jennifer's Series Books on Facebook

Power Boys #4 The Mystery of the Million-Dollar Penny

In the Power Boys #4, The Mystery of the Million-Dollar Penny, Mr. Power and his sons are hiking in Missouri when they spot a plane in trouble.  The plane crashes, but nobody is in the plane!  Later, the boys meet the man who was flying the plane.  He ends up staying at the same farmhouse as Mr. Power and the boys.  Two other men join them, then Mr. Power has to leave on business so that the boys can run wild and torment the others in the farmhouse.

That's not exactly what happens, but it might as well be.  In this story, the author breaks a basic rule in series books.  The boys slip warning notes under the doors of their suspects, hoping to intimidate them.  No, no!  The villains are the ones who are supposed to give the sleuths warning notes so that the sleuths have clues to follow.  While it might be more logical for children to play around with warning notes, that's not how series books work.  The grown men are supposed to give warning notes to the intrepid sleuths.  Yeah.

We finally learn that Chip is 15, two years younger than Jack.  I assumed that Chip was probably a couple of years younger as I read the first couple of books, mainly because of his behavior.  Of course, Jack has not been much more mature.

The arguing between Jack and Chip has increased again.  There were a few times when I wanted to slap both of them.

This story is a bit convoluted.  I found that the further into the story I got, the less I cared.  I enjoyed this story less than I did the third book.  I probably didn't enjoy it anymore than I did the first two books.

By this point, you might be wondering why I am reading these books.  Believe me, I've already been asking myself that very question.

Strangely, I'm enjoying these books because they fall into the category of a book that is so bad that it's kind of good.  These books remind me of the higher-numbered Nancy Drew books from the original 56, many of which are so bad that they are entertaining for that very reason.  The Power Boys books are fun in a quirky fashion.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Ken Holt #11 Grinning Tiger and #12 Vanishing Magician

In Ken Holt #11, The Mystery of the Grinning Tiger, Timothy Crandall, the world's youngest millionaire, is whisked away in a limousine after he arrives in the United States.  Ken and Sandy think something strange is going on.  When they reach the Crandall estate, they are forbidden from speaking to Timothy, even though Timothy knows them.  The boys notice some strange events near the estate and fear that Timothy has been kidnapped.

It is strange how in one book after another, the Allens are slow to accept Ken's theories about possible crimes and even subject him to ridicule.  Over and over, Ken is proved to be correct.

I enjoyed this book.  As usual, I skimmed some of the falling action as well as some of the scene where the villains get captured.  I'm always eager to move on to the next book.

In Ken Holt #12, The Mystery of the Vanishing Magician, Magnus the Magician performs in Brentwood High School.  Bert is certain that he recognizes Magnus as Chris Bell, a man who saved his life several years ago.  Magnus denies it and then vanishes before the performance is over.  Magnus later ends up in the hospital, where it is confirmed that he is Chris Bell.  Ken and the Allens learn that Chris Bell is wanted for the robbery of a jewelry store, and Bert knows he is innocent.  Ken and Sandy set out to prove it. 

This book really interested me.  I only skimmed just a little bit here and there.  I even enjoyed the lengthy discussions and deductions, which I had found tiring in earlier books.  For whatever reason, I greatly enjoyed the deductions.  The ending of the book is quite thrilling, and the falling action does not drag. I greatly enjoyed this book.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Power Boys #3 The Mystery of the Burning Ocean

Mr. Power and the boys are in the Bahamas enjoying a vacation.  Jack and Chip help an injured man on the beach, and a short time later find the guest house owner tied up in her office.  Mrs. Wilson does not want the police told; she is certain that she will lose business if anyone hears about the trouble.  Jack and Chip are intrigued and glad when Mr. Power has to leave on an assignment.

Whew!  Those lucky boys.  They manage to get rid of dad so easily at the start of each book.

So that you won't be kept in suspense, the title of this book is about... nothing.  There is no "burning ocean."  The book is named for a single paragraph in the book that has nothing to do with the plot. 

In Chapter 4, the boys actually have a coherent discussion that lasts for several pages without them yelling at each other or taking great offense over nothing.  Perhaps the boys have taken some medication for their mood disorders.  Maybe there is hope for them.

On page 75, "Chip looked at Jack.  It was plain he didn't again want to say something of which his older brother would disapprove.  He was leaving it up to Jack to answer."  Wow, I'm speechless.  Since when does Chip care what Jack thinks?  This is so normal and so refreshing. 

Throughout most of the book, the fighting between Jack and Chip is greatly toned down.  Either this book has a different author, or the author was told to tone it down.  Towards the end of the book, the boys seem to argue more, but the arguing isn't nearly as annoying or significant as the arguing in the first two books.

I don't know what happened, but this book actually has a decent story and is an improvement over the first two books.  The book could have been written better and does have flaws, but in spite of that, the story is enjoyable.  I will continue to the fourth book. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Ken Holt #9 Galloping Horse and #10 Green Flame

In Ken Holt #9, The Mystery of the Galloping Horse, Richard Holt is in grave danger.  In just four days, Holt will testify before a grand jury.  In the meantime, Holt is concerned about his safety as well as Ken and Sandy's.  Holt fears that his enemies will target Ken as the easiest way of preventing him from testifying.  Ken and Sandy join an archaeological dig as a means of staying in hiding.  At the dig, the boys find a mystery.  The sounds of a galloping horse are heard at night, and residents think it is a ghost.  The boys investigate.

The boys have to fight a grass fire that threatens their camp.  They are losing the battle when coincidentally it begins to rain.  I swear that every single time a fire gets out of control in a series book that it promptly begins raining.

The plot of this book is quite contrived.  Ken and Sandy go into hiding from the men who are threatening Mr. Holt.  They find a mystery where someone is messing with their camp.  Here we have two completely events, right?  No!  The same group of men is responsible for the threats and for the problems at the excavation.  How ironic that Ken and Sandy escape from the criminals to the very place where the criminals go.

I greatly enjoyed the first half of the book.  I then felt that the book had begun to drag with it taking forever to get to the point.  I regained interest shortly before the boys were captured, then I lost interest again. 

I am still trying to articulate exactly why I enjoy parts of these books greatly but then have trouble with other parts of the books.  The Ken Holt books do spend large amounts of text with the boys trying to figure something out, making a decision, doing more figuring, and going back and forth like that.  I think that's part of what gets to me.  Also, the plots often seem to plod along slowly in their great detail.

These books are very detailed and feel much more lengthy than other series books.  I compared the text of this book to a Nancy Drew book, and the lines of text are closer together, so each page has more text than other series books.

As with the other Ken Holt books, this is a good book, but much of it doesn't appeal to me.

In Ken Holt #10, The Mystery of the Green Flame, Ken and Sandy travel to Mexico.  Soon after their arrival in Mexico, a man approaches them and uses a lighter with a green flame.  The man then realizes that Ken and Sandy are not the people he is seeking.  This event plunges the boys into their latest mystery as they help to locate the headquarters of a group of criminals.

Finally, I get to one of the books that is set in Mexico.  I like series books set in Mexico, and this book is no exception.

On page 3, Ken suggests that Sandy doesn't know what enchiladas, tacos, and tortillas are.  I always find it interesting how these old series books treat Mexican food as something with which Americans are not that familiar.  That's hardly the case now, since we all know what tacos are. 

Sandy creates a radio transmitter towards the end of this book, and the description of the process strongly reminded me of the science in the Rick Brant books.  In fact, I felt like Ken and Sandy had morphed into Rick and Scotty during that scene.

I greatly enjoyed this book.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Power Boys #2 The Mystery of the Flying Skeleton

Jack, Chip, and their father are heading to Key West so that Mr. Power can photograph the International Conference.  As the group prepares to board a plane, it blows up!  Mr. Power decides that the delegates were being targeted and that Key West is too dangerous for the boys.  He rents the boys a motel room and has them stay behind.  Quickly, the boys find a mystery.

Since Indians were featured so prominently in the first book, I expected one to jump out of the hangar on page one of this book.  Alas, no Indians appeared.

Both this book and the previous one get rid of dear old dad by having him go somewhere on business so that the boys can sleuth on their own.  At least the boys sort of sleuth; they fight more than anything else.  On pages 34 and 35, the boys overhear the suspected villains in the adjacent motel room and then hear them leave the room.  Any other pair of series sleuths would have managed to pursue the villains or at minimum have had a coherent discussion about what had transpired.  But these geniuses?
The boys remained motionless for a long moment.  Chip was the first to snap into action.  He switched on an overhead light.  Jack lunged for the switch and switched off the light.

"Are you crazy?" Jack demanded.  "You want them to know that we think they are—"

"I want to get my clothes on," his brother snapped.  "Let go!  We're wasting time.  We'll lose their trail.  Let go—"

They wrestled in the darkness—Jack holding on, Chip trying to break free.  Blaze halted the wrestling match by barking.  Both Jack and Chip turned to quiet him.

"What a good job you did," Chip snapped at Jack.  "Great!  We had a chance to follow them—"
I have about decided that both boys have a mood disorder, perhaps several of them.  They have some serious problems.  The boys don't even get along well with other people.  They meet a boy named Matt, and pretty soon, Chip is telling him off for something he plans to do, something that should be none of Chip's concern. 

This story is disjointed with seemingly random events.  Of course, every random event is somehow part of the mystery, although the reader is never quite sure exactly what the mystery is.  Somehow the randomness fits together with a rough end result.  I enjoyed this story less than the first book but still enough that I will continue to the third book.  I have read far worse books, and I am interested enough in these two screwed-up boys to want to see what happens to them.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Ken Holt #7 Iron Box and #8 Phantom Car

In Ken Holt #7, The Mystery of the Iron Box, Richard Holt has purchased Mom Allen an iron box for Christmas.  Someone broke into Mr. Holt's apartment and later into the Allen home.  Ken is certain that someone wants the iron box, and as a result, he is the subject of much ridicule from the Allen family.  Ken doggedly pursues a series of clues, determined to discover who wants the iron box, and why.

On page 77, a statement is made about it being odd to wear dark glasses in the winter.  I have never thought it odd, since the sun is still bright in the winter.  Some people might consider it strange to wear dark glasses on a cloudy day, but I wouldn't think anything of it, since some people's eyes are very sensitive to light.

Ken and Sandy spend 46 pages trying to get free from being captured.  It then takes them an additional 20 pages to be rescued.  I ended up skimming a lot of it, since I have read the book before.  I found that I did not care this time.  The scenes in Ken Holt books where Ken and Sandy are captives and their escapes are described in painstaking detail are my least favorite parts of the books.

While I overall enjoyed this book, the last half of the book was not that interesting to me.

In Ken Holt #8, The Clue of the Phantom Car, Ralph Conner runs off the road on a rural hill, and as a result, he and his brother, Mort, are forced to sell their company since their insurance company has dropped them.  Ralph and Mort have had too many accidents in the last six months, which is unusual for them.  Ken suspects that someone has sabotaged the Conners in order to force them to sell their business.  Unfortunately, Ken is unable to find any evidence, but he and Sandy refuse to let the matter die.

I greatly enjoyed this story.  It's interesting how some books don't appeal to me while others do.  The book takes place entirely in and near Brentwood, and that is part of the appeal.  I found this book to be thoroughly engaging from start to finish. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Power Boys #1 The Mystery of the Haunted Skyscraper

In the Power Boys #1, The Haunted Skyscraper, Mr. Power and his two teenage sons, Jack and Chip, arrive at their sublet apartment.  As soon as they arrive, a boy asks for their help with a mystery, thinking that Mr. Power is the private detective who owns the apartment.  Once the boy leaves, Mrs. Marsh arrives, wanting help with the poltergeists in her apartment.  Mr. Power has to travel to California to photograph a fire, leaving the boys alone in the apartment.  They decide to work on both mysteries.

This book is full of great lines.  On pages 27 and 28, the boys are threatened by a man whose face looks like a "grotesque mask."  Chip decides that the man must be the poltergeist.  Jack asks him why he would be involved in something like that, and Chip replies, "With a face like his, does he need a motive?" 

On page 32, Jack wants to be cautious before the boys get themselves in trouble.  Chip parries with "Why wait?  A mess is a mess no matter when you get into it."

We are told on page 38 that teenagers who have problems with aggression can often act out their aggression in the form of poltergeist activity.  This is presented as fact.  Somehow, I don't think that kind of statement would have made it into a Grosset and Dunlap book.

The cover art of this book makes the boys seem very young.  Jack is 17, and I'm guessing that Chip isn't much younger.  The cover shows two boys who look to be middle school age or younger.  The cover shows the red-haired boy as smaller, yet Jack has red hair and is the one who is older and taller.  The cover art does depict the boys accurately by how mature they act in the stories.  The boys come across as bratty and immature.

The boys quarrel constantly.  It's really a bit odd and unnecessary.  Here's an example from page 163.
"We still don't know," Chip said, "how we're going to get by that watchman."

"He can't be everyplace at once," Jack said irritably.  "I thought I told you that."

"He seemed like a lively character, that's all I know."
They talk like that to each other during the entire book, almost never getting along.

On page 67, the boys are amazed to see Indians on the construction job.  Oh, wow.  Seeing an Indian must be even more bizarre than seeing a horde of Centrovians in River Heights.  Boys, there are Indians in North America.  Get a grip.  They won't hurt you.

Later, Chip again expresses amazement about the Indians, and Jack informs him that Indians are suited for construction work.  The Indians get mentioned yet again, and this time we learn that the Indians are the only ones who will work at the top of the skyscraper because they are not afraid of heights.  While true that Indians traditionally worked on skyscrapers, the part about them not being afraid is a myth.

This is a quick and easy book to read, simplistic and nothing special.  I wish that the story had greater detail.  Near the end of the book, the boys were on the top of the skyscraper after dark in a thunderstorm.  It was not until after I finished the book that I realized how truly scary that situation could have been.  It was a little scary, but the author wrote the scene in a non-descriptive straightforward fashion that expressed little feeling.  Even though the book could have been written better, I found it interesting and enjoyed it enough to continue to the second book in the series.