Thursday, July 28, 2016

Hardy Boys #182 Soldier's Gold, #183 Warehouse Rumble, and #184 Dangerous Transmission

In Hardy Boys #182, The Secret of the Soldier's Gold, Mrs. Rilke, a friend's grandmother, has asked Frank and Joe to find a buried suitcase full of gold bars during their trip to Portugal.  They are to dig up the suitcase of gold and bring it back to Bayport. What could possibly go wrong?

Frank and Joe's task is laughable.  There is no way they could dig up buried gold in Portugal and smuggle it back to the United States without getting into trouble.  Of course it turns out that getting the gold is much more difficult than the boys expect, and others are after the gold as well.  As the plot develops, the story becomes more logical and easier for the reader to accept.

This is a very good story.

In Hardy Boys #183, Warehouse Rumble, Frank and Joe are participating in a reality show competition that is being filmed in a group of abandoned warehouses near Barmet Bay.  Someone is sabotaging the competition!

The story is not that interesting.  It reads like a sports sabotage book.  They have a competition, and something goes wrong.  They have another competition, and something else goes wrong.  It's not apparent why this is happening for most of the story.

The story is not compelling, and I was more bored the further I read.  I skimmed the last part of the book.

I did not enjoy this book.

In Hardy Boys #184, The Dangerous Transmission, Frank and Joe are in London staying with their friend, Jax Brighton.  Jax has invented a transmitter that can be implanted inside a tooth.  When the transmitter is stolen, Frank and Joe take the case.

I was turned off as soon as I began the book.  I was reminded of Biff Brewster, British Spy Ring Mystery, and Brad Forrest, London Adventure.  I do not like either of those books, so I was not inclined to like this one. 

The author wrote a spooky scene in the fog of London, and that is my favorite part of the story.

I did not like this book.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Hardy Boys #179 Passport to Danger, #180 Typhoon Island, and #181 Double Jeopardy

In Hardy Boys #179, Passport to Danger, Frank and Joe volunteer to be part of the crew at a soccer match in Paris.  When the bleachers collapse and the fireworks malfunction, the boys realize that a saboteur is loose.  Fenton Hardy is also in Paris, and he lends the boys some high-tech equipment to help them find the saboteur.

I find it hard to believe that secret tunnels lead into and out of the Louvre, and nobody connected with the museum has any idea.

This book is okay, but I didn't like it very much.

In Hardy Boys #180, Typhoon Island, Frank and Joe visit San Esteban with Callie and Iola.  Soon, the boys fall victim to some scary accidents and realize that they are among enemies and cannot be certain who to trust.  Later, the young people are caught in a hurricane and must find their way to safety.

This book is thrilling from start to finish.  It has caves, tunnels, a hurricane, mudslides, a sniper, arson, snakes, and everything.  The story is sabotage, but it is so different and thrilling that it doesn't feel like sabotage.  I enjoyed every bit of the story.

This is an excellent book.

In Hardy Boys #181, Double Jeopardy, Frank and Joe have press passes to the Formula One championship in Indianapolis.  The top two drivers have a ruthless rivalry going, and it appears they are sabotaging each other.

I didn't like the beginning of the story.  The middle part caught my attention, although the book has too many characters.  Towards the end of the book, I became bored with the story.  This is just another tired-out sabotage book.  Furthermore, I am not interested in racing, so the details are of no interest to me.

I skimmed the last part of the story.  I did not like this book that much. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Hardy Boys #176 In Plane Sight, #177 Psychic's Vision, and #178 Black Rhino

In Hardy Boys #176, In Plane Sight, Frank and Joe travel with Jamal to pick up a new plane for Jamal's dad's company.  After the plane is stolen, Frank and Joe are plunged into their latest mystery.  Someone is sabotaging the airshow. 

On page 4, Frank and Joe reflect that they had "been dating Iola Morton and Callie Shaw for a long time."  Yeah, for around 75 years!

This book also introduced too many characters too quickly, so I kept getting confused.  Aside from that, this book is exciting and I greatly enjoyed it.

In Hardy Boys #177, The Case of the Psychic's Vision, Colin and his family are new arrivals to Bayport.  Frank and Joe soon learn that Colin and his family are psychics.  Colin is quite gifted, telling Fenton Hardy the solution to his current case the moment the two meet.  Colin then tells Frank and Joe that a girl who attends Bayport High School is not who she thinks she is.  Apparently, she was abducted as a young girl.  Colin helps Frank and Joe solve the mystery.

This is a rather bizarre Hardy Boys story, for obvious reasons.  It's rather odd for a Hardy Boys story to use psychic ability in the plot and to have a psychic reveal information that would have been impossible to acquire otherwise.  If it's that easy, why haven't the Hardys used psychics all along?

This is a pretty good story, but it shouldn't have been published as a Hardy Boys book, since it isn't the right kind of story.

While I greatly enjoyed this story, I don't like it as a Hardy Boys book.

In Hardy Boys #178, The Mystery of the Black Rhino, Frank, Joe, and Fenton travel to Kenya to fight against the illegal killing of wild animals.

This book bored me at first, but later, I found it interesting.  Overall though, this book is just average and nothing special.

Friday, July 22, 2016

July 2016 Reading Update

Here are pictures of my reading bookshelf.  Remember that you can always click on images to see a larger version.

I am reading through the Hardy Boys Adventures series and will be completely finished with my Hardy Boys experience within one week.  I had forgotten to order Hardy Boys Adventures #12, so I took care of that a few days ago.  #12 most likely will arrive in time for me to read it right after #11.  If #12 does not arrive in time, then I have decided that I will read one or more of the Morgan Bay Mysteries if necessary until #12 arrives. The Morgan Bay Mysteries are the books with the mauve spines in the middle of the top shelf.  They are readers and are quick and easy to read.

As I read through the Hardy Boys Adventures, I am also skimming the Nancy Drew Diaries to locate certain passages that are important in my comparison of the Hardy Boys Adventures to the Nancy Drew Diaries.  The reason I read through the entire Hardy Boys Digest and Undercover Brothers series was so that I could then read the Hardy Boys Adventures to compare them to the Nancy Drew Diaries.

I felt that I needed to be as knowledgeable about the Hardy Boys series as Nancy Drew in order to be able to decide whether Simon and Schuster is treating the two series equally.  I haven't been thrilled with the Nancy Drew Diaries, and I have wondered whether the Hardy Boys Adventures have the same issues.  I don't yet know for sure, although I have made some interesting observations.

I have not decided what I will read next after I finish the Hardy Boys Adventure series. I will delay reading the two Norvin Pallas books in hopes that Wildside Press will soon publish the other three titles that I need.  I would prefer to read all five books together. It is always my preference to read books in a series together and in order so that I do not get sidetracked.

I recently finished reading the Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers series.  I would never have made it through the entire Undercover Brothers set if I had allowed myself to read anything else during that time.  If I had let myself read something else, I would have abandoned the set.  That's because most of the books are not very good.

The Wynn and Lonny Racing Books and the Girls of Canby Hall series are a top priority.  That is, I want to read those two series, so they are a top priority for that reason.  However, I do have another top priority, one that I don't want to do that will be hard to force myself to complete.

I would like to finally try out the many series books I have in order to decide whether I like the books enough to complete the sets.  Many of those books have been placed in the middle row of the bookcase.  I figure if I have them in front of me that I will be more likely to try some of them.  I hope so, anyway.

My collection is based on readability.  While I do collect different formats, first printings, and books in excellent condition, I never keep a set of books when I do not find them readable.  If I do not enjoy the books, then I sell them regardless of how collectible they are.

That's why I have already sold my Melody Lane books and most of my Cherry Ames books. I did not enjoy the stories enough to want to keep them.  Meaning, I knew I would never read them again, so I did not want them taking up valuable shelf space.

I'd like to tackle the books on the middle shelf sometime soon so that I can send some of them away if they aren't good enough.  If the books are good enough, then I will complete the sets.  I do already have complete set of Marjorie Dean and the Boy Ranchers, so reading the first book of each will determine whether I keep my sets.  If I should read the first book of either set and like it enough, then I would probably go ahead and read the rest of the set in order without allowing myself to read anything else.

I set a goal to read 300 books this year.  I am currently reading my 212th book of 2016.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Hardy Boys #173 Speed Times Five, #174 Hide-and-Sneak, and #175 Trick-or-Trouble

In Hardy Boys #173, Speed Times Five, Frank and Joe participate in the Fire Creek Mountain Race in Canada.  Soon after the race begins, accidents occur, causing one contestant after another to drop out of the race.  Is someone sabotaging the race?

This book has too many characters which are introduced too quickly.  It took away from my enjoyment at times.  That aside, this is a very good book and is very exciting.

Page 147:
"The thing about sabotage," Frank said, "is that you don't have to actually do it many times.  After a couple of incidents, people start to get paranoid and see sabotage everywhere."
It's not paranoia.  We aren't imagining that almost every single Hardy Boys book is about sabotage!

In Hardy Boys #174, Hide-and-Sneak, Frank and Joe are one of three teams being filmed as part of a student film project.  Each team competes in an impromptu competition on  Barmet Bay.

I was quite dismayed as I began this book.  Having read #173 a few months previously, I had just finished #172 Trouble in Warp Space, which was quite boring, and this book appeared to be a repeat of #172.  Fortunately, the plot is a little different, although it is still weak.

The characters are all introduced fast and in one scene at the beginning with minimal description.  I made no effort to try to remember, especially since I expected this book to be as boring as #172.

The book is better than #172, since the boys are on Barmet Bay in The Sleuth.

It's odd the way the author describes The Sleuth.  It is an old boat, and it is described like the boys seldom use it.  I guess they don't use it much in the digest series, but that's never been mentioned before.

The book has no mystery until two-thirds of the way through the story, so this is a strange book.

I only mildly enjoyed the story.  It's decent but not that great.  I wouldn't want to read it again.

In Hardy Boys #175, Trick-or-Trouble, the Bayport Merchant Association is sponsoring a Halloween mystery contest.  Each merchant has different clues, and a wide range of prizes are available.  Some contestants play dirty, keeping others from getting the clues.  Frank and Joe seek out the culprits, hoping to even out the competition.

This book is also not that great.  The clues didn't interest me.  The entire book consists of the boys going around to get clues, seeing somebody not playing fair, trying to figure out the clues, seeing someone get a prize, and so on.  The boys also get into a few fights with the possible culprits.  The process repeats throughout the book.

This book mostly bored me.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Hardy Boys #170 Kickoff to Danger, #171 Test Case, and #172 Trouble in Warp Space

In Hardy Boys #170, Kickoff to Danger, Bayport High's star football player, Terry Golden, is a bully but nobody calls him out on it.  Golden is too valuable to the team, and he has a staunch group of supporters.  When Biff is severely injured, Frank and Joe try to find the culprit, but no one will talk.

The plot deals with a bully on the football team whose behavior is either excused or ignored by the coach, teachers, and administrators.  Sadly, this type of situation plays out in real life all too often.

This book is interesting from the beginning, although it is a bit strange.  The bullying is the sole plot until page 59.  And even then, the reader can be almost certain who is the probable culprit, although it turns out that someone else unexpected is involved as well. 

Even though atypical for a Hardy Boys book, this is an excellent story.

In Hardy Boys #171, The Test Case, a sealed standardized test is found in Tony's backpack.  Joe is present when Tony pulls the test out of his backpack, and both Joe and Tony are suspended.  Frank and Joe must prove that Joe and Tony did not steal the test.  Frank investigates at school while Joe investigates around Bayport during his suspension.

I like it when books have repeat characters.  The assistant principal, Old Beady Eyes, and student Liz Webling are repeat characters from recent books. 

This is an excellent book.

In Hardy Boys #172, Trouble in Warp Space, Iola has won a contest in which she gets to appear on a science fiction television show.  Frank, Joe, and Chet accompany Iola to the set, where they learn that someone is sabotaging the show.  Frank and Joe try to find the saboteur.

This is another boring sabotage book.  It fits the "sabotage on a movie set" premise, although the setting has been changed to a television show. 

On page 23 Frank says that "sometimes I feel like we've been chasing criminals for seventy-five years or so."  They have indeed, since this book was published in 2002. 

This book is boring.  I skimmed it.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Hardy Boys #167 Trouble Times Two, #168 Castle Conundrum, and #169 Ghost of a Chance

In Hardy Boys #167, Trouble Times Two, new student Tom Gilliam is placed in Frank's group in a class at school.  But Tom can't get along with anyone and constantly starts fights.  Later, Frank and Joe suspect that Tom's dad might be involved in Fenton Hardy's latest case.

I was interested in the story at the very beginning.  But then, Joe helps Fenton on a stakeout.  During the stakeout, Joe and Fenton get into a detailed discussion of motives for possible culprits on Fenton's case, and Fenton's case does not sound interesting at all.  I was bored.

Joe acts like a jerk when the teens plan to see a movie.  Callie even calls him out on it.  He smirks.  This part of the book was not enjoyable.

The first half of the book is nothing special and is not very interesting.  Finally, the story goes back to Tom halfway through the book.  At that point, the book gets interesting.   

The first half of the book is mediocre, and the second half is extremely good.

In Hardy Boys #168, The Castle Conundrum, Frank and Joe help Teen Village International rebuild a deserted town in France.  The town will be used to house refugee children.  The boys soon realize that one of the volunteers is trying to sabotage the project, and the saboteur must be stopped before someone gets hurt.

This story introduces too many characters at once, and I had trouble remembering them.

This is an excellent book.  The story flows well and is interesting from start to finish.  The author keeps the reader guessing at who the villain is.  The only drawback is that I struggled to keep the characters straight.

I mentioned this book in my reviews of #96 Wipeout and #119 Trouble at Coyote CanyonAll three books have very similar plot elements and may have been written by the same person.

In Hardy Boys #169, Ghost of a Chance, Frank and Joe are animal handlers on a movie set in Tennessee.  Someone is sabotaging the movie!

This is another "sabotage on a movie set" story.  I was quite bored during the early part of the book.  As with all books that feature a film production, too many characters are introduced too quickly.  I couldn't keep all of them straight. 

I felt like I was reading an alternate version of the Nancy Drew Girl Detective books, Light, Camera... and Action!  Like in the Girl Detective books, there is a hidden treasure in the area, and part of the motive for the sabotage is to keep others from finding the treasure.

This is not a satisfying story.  One culprit of the sabotage is discovered, and that person leaves without speaking to anyone.  Another person is also responsible for some of the sabotage.  Oddly, the treasure is not found nor does anyone search for it. 

I found this book to be just mildly interesting and was left with an empty feeling when I finished it.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Hardy Boys #164 Skin and Bones, #165 Crime in the Cards, and #166 Past and Present Danger

In Hardy Boys #164, Skin and Bones, Frank and Joe help Cody Chang figure out who has been burglarizing his store.  Cody specializes in the sale of animal skins and skeletons, and some of his incoming orders have gone missing. 

I greatly enjoyed this book.

In Hardy Boys #165, Crime in the Cards, Chet has gone crazy for Creature Cards, the latest fad at Bayport High School.  Many of the students own sets and seek out valuable cards that will help them win games.  When Chet's cards are stolen, Frank and Joe investigate.

The beginning of the story mentions Chet's hobbies and how this is the latest one.  It's been awhile since any of the Digest books have mentioned Chet having a hobby, which is a mainstay of the second half of the original Hardy Boys set.

Page 36 mentions Bombo Bear from Hardy Boys #160, A Game Called Chaos, which is a nice example of continuity.  This doesn't happen often.

On page 50, I was pretty sure that I had guessed the culprit.  I was correct, although a second culprit is involved.

I greatly enjoyed this book.

In Hardy Boys #166, Past and Present Danger, Aunt Gertrude's old friend, Clayton Silvers, shows up in town.  Clayton is a reporter trying to clear himself of false charges.  Gangsters are trying to kill Clayton, which puts Aunt Gertrude and the Hardys in grave danger.  Frank and Joe must solve the case before someone gets hurt.

This book is excellent from the very first page.  Aunt Gertrude is very involved in mystery.  She is even driving her car with Frank, Joe, and Clayton as passengers when the brakes fail, and she must find a way to avoid going off a cliff.

The Hardys' house and phone are bugged and tracking devices are placed on their van and Aunt Gertrude's car.  This causes the boys to have to ride their bicycles as they investigate, which makes the book a throwback to simpler times.  

This is an excellent story.