Friday, June 24, 2016

Hardy Boys #140 Slam Dunk Sabotage, #141 Desert Thieves, and #142 Gator Swamp

In Hardy Boys #140, Slam Dunk Sabotage, Frank and Joe's basketball team is on the verge of winning the conference championship.  Someone is trying to keep the Bayport team from winning by seriously injuring Frank and Joe.

Even though this story is a sabotage book, it is an interesting sabotage book.

I wasn't sure I would enjoy this book, but the story isn't the usual sports story where gamblers bet on a game.  The culprit is obvious, but not because of any mistake the author made.

I greatly enjoyed this book.

In Hardy Boys #141, The Desert Thieves, Frank, Joe, and Fenton vacation in the Arizona desert.  The boys soon find a new case when they discover that valuable organ pipe cactus is being stolen from the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

The author makes the villain extremely obvious because he protests way too much about the Hardys helping find the thieves.  He continues to protest for no good reason, since he ought to want help.  Even though on the surface this person is quite improbable as the culprit due to his role in the story, his bizarre protests make him the most likely culprit.  The author should have had this person protest a little bit and then act happy to have the boys help.  This is another case of an author messing up and making the clues too obvious.  I like for a book to have a little mystery.

I enjoyed this book.

In Hardy Boys #142, Lost in Gator Swamp, Frank and Joe vacation in the Everglades.  The boys soon learn of a bank heist, and the loot is said to be missing in the swamp.  The boys attend a rodeo, where they observe that several participants behave suspiciously.

As I read this book, I wondered why the Hardy Boys can't have a good adventure in a swamp that is actually written well.  Every Hardy Boys book set in a swamp falls far short of what it could have been.

This book is a bit convoluted.  I don't see why it is necessary to have a rodeo.  Furthermore, the book has too many characters, and I had trouble keeping them straight.

Early in the story, the boys are told that the money stolen from the bank was not currency.  Hmm.  It takes the boys forever to figure out that the money had to have been in coins, which likely are in the swamp and recoverable.  Idiots.

Frank and Joe suspect Randy is one of the culprits because he seems suspicious to them.  Randy is participating in the rodeo and is very touchy about his age, continually angrily declaring that he is 18 years old and old enough to compete in the rodeo.  Gee, I wonder what Randy's problem could possibly be? 

On page 82, Frank and Joe are actually told that Randy is in junior high.  They don't pick up on the statement and keep suspecting poor Randy of criminal acts.  This is an example of an author insulting the reader's intelligence.  Frank and Joe should have picked up on the statement about Randy and eliminated him as a suspect.  In fact, young readers would have appreciated Randy's dilemma even more if it had been revealed earlier in the story.  Randy could have then helped the boys from earlier in the story instead of them chasing him around like a suspect.

There is a lot wrong with this book, just like some other Hardy Boys swamp stories I could mention. 

This is a weak story.  I did enjoy it, but it was a bit annoying at the same time.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Hardy Boys #137 High-Speed Showdown, #138 Alaskan Adventure, and #139 Snow Leopard

In Hardy Boys #137, High-Speed Showdown, Gerald Magnussen is in charge of the Northeast Nationals boat races.  He asks Frank and Joe to help him figure out who is sabotaging the event.

This is another sabotage book that is boring.  The sabotage does not affect the Hardys.  They are simply at the event, asking everyone questions and watching other people get sabotaged. 

The story is okay, but it's another variation of the typical boring sabotage book.  If it were the first sabotage book I had ever read, I might have liked it a lot.  Since I've read a variation of this story many times, this one was not very interesting.  I skimmed parts of this book and doubt I would ever read it again.

I did not enjoy this book.

In Hardy Boys #138, The Alaskan Adventure, Frank and Joe visit their new friend, David, in a remote village in Alaska.  David is set to compete in the Iditarod in a few days, and the Hardys plan to watch the beginning of the race.  Meanwhile, a company wants to turn David's village into a tourist destination.  The plans have divided the town, and some residents have fallen victim to acts of mischief.

This is an excellent story from the very first page.  The village is remote and isolated, which adds to the suspense.

This book is excellent all the way through.

In Hardy Boys #139, The Search for the Snow Leopard, a snow leopard is stolen from the Bayport Zoo.  Frank and Joe look for it.

It's funny when the title of a book successfully summarizes the entire story.

The primary culprit is quite predictable.  A man who collects and hunts rare animals is introduced early in the story, so I knew he had to be involved.

Despite the predictability of the overall plot, the last part of the story takes a turn I did not expect.  The climax is quite thrilling.  This is a very good book.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

How to Avoid Trouble When Buying and Selling Online

Recently on Facebook in one of the groups, someone did not honor a transaction.  I posted a cautionary note on Facebook, explaining how to be careful.  I want to expand on it here.

Do not mail items before you receive payment unless you know the other person quite well and know they can be trusted.

Do not trade items with another person unless you know that person quite well and know they can be trusted.  If you offer items for trade and someone you don't know well responds, the person who responds to your offer should mail their items first.  You should wait to receive the items from the other person before you mail anything.

Conduct all negotiations in such a manner that the other person cannot delete record of the negotiations.  On Facebook, the negotiations should be through private messages, because neither person can delete the messages.  If you negotiate through a message thread in a group, the person who started the thread can delete everything so as to remove all record of what transpired.  This is also true for comments.   If you respond to a comment in a Facebook group and negotiate there, the person who made the original comment can delete the comment and your responses.  That's apparently what happened on Facebook.

If someone sounds a bit desperate or is rather bold in how they contact you, be very careful.  I find that people who come across as desperate tend to fall victim to temptation much more easily than others.  In other words, desperate people are willing to do anything to get what they want.

On eBay, desperate buyers contact sellers of valuable items asking them to end the auction early.  They will tell the seller that they need the item quickly, because they have a sick relative who is about to die and would just love to have that item before death.  What they don't tell the seller is how valuable the item is and that they want the auction ended so that they can purchase it for a low price.  Never close an auction early at a buyer's request.

Be wary of anybody who comes across as overly friendly.  These are the people who send private messages giving you wonderful compliments.  They act like you are their new best friend during the very first exchange of messages.  If you have a transaction with one of these people on eBay, they might tell you that they will leave you "glowing feedback." 

I have had several people who were overly friendly with me at first who later turned on me, attacked me, or tried to take advantage of me in some fashion.

Be wary of anybody who reveals too much information.  If somebody tells you about their life story, their disabilities, or other revealing information, you should be careful.  That information is irrelevant in a business transaction.

Do not reveal your insecurities.  If you are a new seller or do not feel knowledgeable about what you are selling, don't reveal that information to your buyers.  This is because dishonest buyers will use that against you.  They look for inexperienced sellers to target with their schemes.

Be wary of sellers who declare how honest they are in their descriptions.  I have encountered a few sellers who made a point of stating that they were "honest sellers" and then proved later by their actions that they weren't honest at all.  It's a red flag.

Since I'm sure some of you are already getting upset, I must state that I am well aware that some honest people volunteer that information in their listings.  However, telling people you are honest is not necessary and sounds strange.  Think about it:  Would you walk into a store, approach management, and declare that you are an honest customer?  Don't you think they would wonder about you?  That's why sellers should not make that kind of statement; it sounds odd.

If you follow these guidelines, you can avoid most trouble in your online transactions.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Books for Sale on eBay and Etsy

I have listed many books on eBay and Etsy in the last week.  The newest books on Etsy show up at the top of my shop page.

Jennifer's Series Books on Etsy

On eBay, the newest books are on the first page and the third page of my store.  In between are books that were relisted in the last week, which is why some new books are on the third page.

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

You can also follow me on Facebook.

Jennifer's Series Books on Facebook 

We have some collector groups on Facebook that are very active.  If you are registered on Facebook, you should consider joining some of them.  There is a wealth of information in the groups.

If you are not registered on Facebook, consider creating an account so that you can view the groups.  You don't have to get Facebook friends or do any of the Facebook stuff.  You don't have to enter all your personal information; my account has very little information in it. 

Collecting Vintage Children's Series Books

Nancy Drew Book Fans

Nancy Drew Game Fans

Series Book Swap & Sell

Hardy Boys Fan Club

Trixie Belden

Judy Bolton Fans

Hardy Boys #134 Cross-Country Crime, #135 Hypersonic Secret, and #136 Cold Cash Caper

In Hardy Boys #134, Cross-Country Crime, Frank and Joe are taking a cross-country run across the Canadian Rockies.  The boys stumble upon a mystery in a remote town.  The town's bank has been robbed, and the boys' host may be the culprit!

This is an excellent book from the very first page.  It caught my attention quickly.

The way the boys encounter the mystery is interesting and unnerving.  They have found a man in the snow who has amnesia.  They help him into his cabin, and they turn on the radio.  The news begins, reporting a bank robbery and describing the suspect.  The boys' host matches the description, causing them to fear for their safety.

This book is outstanding.

In Hardy Boys #135, The Hypersonic Secret, Jamal Hawkins' father has vanished!  Mr. Hawkins was piloting a charter flight carrying millionaire Ian Fairbanks when the plan vanishing from radar.  Frank and Joe help Jamal look for the plane and the missing men.

This book introduces the Hardys' new friend, Jamal Hawkins, who becomes a recurring character in the series.  Jamal is pictured on the front cover.

The next two paragraphs spoil the identity of one of the culprits, although I think the author makes it so obvious that my spoiler doesn't matter much.

Sometimes authors make big mistakes when they try to drop clues to the culprit's identity, while trying not to make the culprit obvious.  The boys had learned Ken McCafferty's history with the air force that resulted in a dishonorable discharge.  On page 73, McCafferty makes a bitter remark about the air force.  Frank notices the bitter remark and asks himself, "What could that be about?"

This was a mistake, because the reader already knows why McCafferty is bitter.  Frank knows the story as well, but he plays dumb.  I concluded that McCafferty is the culprit.  It would have been far better for Frank to think, "Boy, he sure is bitter about being discharged!"

The ending of the story is quite improbable.  It's quite impossible for Jamal to show up when he does and how he does in order to rescue the Hardys at the precise moment they need to be rescued.  The police and two fighter jets also arrive at the same moment!

This is an excellent book. 

In Hardy Boys #136, The Cold Cash Caper, Frank and Joe are helping with security at the Bayport Winter Festival.  Several thefts of money raised occur, and Chet is framed.  Frank and Joe must clear their friend's name and keep the festival from being a failure.

On page 31, Joe asks, "But if he wants us off the case so badly, why would he draw attention to himself by throwing the rock?"  I've asked myself that same question in book after book.  The criminals are so stupid in Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books!

I had trouble enjoying this book because the boys play into the obvious criminal's hands.  They give the money bag directly to him, never considering that he could be a potential suspect.  Even though the police aren't around at that moment, the money bag should have been kept and given directly to them.  Later, the boys give other evidence to the same man.  It's no surprise that the police never find fingerprints on any of these items, since they were given to someone else first.

The boys don't figure out the motive until page 119, when I knew the motive and culprit since very early in the book.  This book has no real mystery, since the solution is so obvious.

On page 147, Joe realizes "that every step of the way, he and Frank had helped [name withheld] keep tabs on them."  I'm glad he finally figured it out!

This book is a bit bland.

Friday, June 17, 2016

An Overview of Nancy Drew #57-175

I am compiling information in order to make a comparison between the Nancy Drew Digest series and the Hardy Boys Digest series.  This post consists of information I compiled today in preparation for making my comparison between the two series.

I went through my reviews of the Nancy Drew Digest books and made note of how much I enjoyed each book based on what I wrote in my reviews a few years ago.

 57. The Triple Hoax - not good
 58. The Flying Saucer Mystery - excellent
 59. The Secret in the Old Lace - not good
 60. The Greek Symbol Mystery - not good
 61. The Swami’s Ring - not good
 62. The Kachina Doll Mystery - very good
 63. The Twin Dilemma - not good
 64. Captive Witness - very good
 65. Mystery of the Winged Lion - not good
 66. Race Against Time - good
 67. The Sinister Omen - very good
 68. The Elusive Heiress - very good
 69. Clue in the Ancient Disguise - not good
 70. The Broken Anchor - excellent
 71. The Silver Cobweb - not good
 72. The Haunted Carousel - good
 73. Enemy Match - excellent
 74. The Mysterious Image - good
 75. The Emerald-Eyed Cat Mystery - very good
 76. The Eskimo’s Secret - good
 77. The Bluebeard Room - good
 78. The Phantom of Venice - not good
 79. The Double Horror of Fenley Place - good
 80. The Case of the Disappearing Diamonds - very good
 81. The Mardi Gras Mystery - very good
 82. The Clue in the Camera - not good
 83. The Case of the Vanishing Veil - good
 84. The Joker's Revenge - very good
 85. The Secret of Shady Glen - excellent
 86. The Mystery of Misty Canyon - very good
 87. The Case of the Rising Stars - very good
 88. The Search for Cindy Austin - very good
 89. The Case of the Disappearing Deejay - good
 90. The Puzzle at Pineview School - good
 91. The Girl Who Couldn't Remember - good
 92. The Ghost of Craven Cove - good
 93. The Case of the Safecracker's Secret - good
 94. The Picture-Perfect Mystery - very good
 95. The Silent Suspect - very good
 96. The Case of the Photo Finish - good
 97. The Mystery at Magnolia Mansion - very good
 98. The Haunting of Horse Island - good
 99. The Secret at Seven Rocks - good
100. A Secret in Time - not good
101. The Mystery of the Missing Millionairess - very good
102. The Secret in the Dark - good
103. The Stranger in the Shadows - good
104. The Mystery of the Jade Tiger - excellent
105. The Clue in the Antique Trunk - very good
106. The Case of the Artful Crime - good
107. The Legend of Miner's Creek - good
108. The Secret of the Tibetan Treasure - good
109. The Mystery of the Masked Rider - good
110. The Nutcracker Ballet Mystery - good
111. The Secret at Solaire - good
112. Crime in the Queen’s Court - not good
113. The Secret Lost at Sea - not good
114. The Search for the Silver Persian - not good
115. The Suspect in the Smoke - not good
116. The Case of the Twin Teddy Bears - very good
117. Mystery on the Menu - very good
118. Trouble at Lake Tahoe - very good
119. The Mystery of the Missing Mascot - good
120. The Case of the Floating Crime - good
121. The Fortune Teller’s Secret - very good
122. The Message in the Haunted Mansion - good
123. The Clue on the Silver Screen - not good
124. The Secret of the Scarlet Hand - good
125. The Teen Model Mystery - good
126. The Riddle in the Rare Book - excellent
127. The Case of the Dangerous Solution - very good
128. The Treasure in the Royal Tower - very good
129. The Baby-Sitter Burglaries - not good
130. The Sign of the Falcon - very good
131. The Hidden Inheritance - excellent
132. The Fox Hunt Mystery - very good
133. The Mystery at the Crystal Palace - not good
134. The Secret of the Forgotten Cave - excellent
135. The Riddle of the Ruby Gazelle - not good
136. The Wedding Day Mystery - excellent
137. In Search of the Black Rose - not good
138. The Legend of the Lost Gold - very good
139. The Secret of Candlelight Inn - very good
140. The Door-to-Door Deception - very good
141. The Wild Cat Crime - very good
142. The Case of Capital Intrigue - not good
143. Mystery on Maui - good
144. The E-mail Mystery - not good
145. The Missing Horse Mystery - good
146. The Ghost of the Lantern Lady - very good
147. The Case of the Captured Queen  - good
148. On the Trail of Trouble - not good
149. The Clue of the Gold Doubloons - good
150. Mystery at Moorsea Manor - very good
151. The Chocolate-Covered Contest - excellent
152. The Key in the Satin Pocket - very good
153. Whispers in the Fog - excellent
154. The Legend of the Emerald Lady - excellent
155. The Mystery in Tornado Alley - not good
156. The Secret in the Stars - not good
157. The Music Festival Mystery - not good
158. The Curse of the Black Cat - not good
159. The Secret of the Fiery Chamber - not good
160. The Clue on the Crystal Dove - not good
161. Lost in the Everglades - not good
162. The Case of the Lost Song - very good
163. The Clues Challenge - very good
164. The Mystery of the Mother Wolf - very good
165. The Crime Lab Case - very good
166. The Case of the Creative Crime - excellent
167. Mystery by Moonlight - very good
168. The Bike Tour Mystery - excellent
169. The Mistletoe Mystery - very good
170. No Strings Attached - not good
171. Intrigue at the Grand Opera - not good
172. The Riding Club Crime - not good
173. Danger on the Great Lakes - not good
174. A Taste of Danger - very good
175. Werewolf in a Winter Wonderland - not good

Out of 119 books:

not good - 35 books or 29.4%
good - 32 books or 26.9%
very good - 38 books or 31.9%
excellent - 14 books or 11.8%

I rated 43.7% of the series as very good or excellent.

I created my Hardy Boys Digest list yesterday and will figure out the percents for that series later.  So often when I compile statistics for books I have read, the end result is inconclusive.  Even if that occurs, I will make certain that I do not draw any incorrect conclusions based on faulty memory.

The Hardy Boys Digest overview will be published once the last Hardy Boys Digest review is published, which will probably be around the beginning of August.

In the meantime, I am currently reading the Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers series and will finish up my Hardy Boys reading experience with the Hardy Boys Adventures series.  Currently, I am not planning to read the Hardy Boys Casefiles series, since I am not willing to commit to 127 more Hardy Boys books.  I will keep that series in mind, but I feel that reading a total of over 250 Hardy Boys books is quite enough for now.

Hardy Boys #131 Flaming Sword, #132 Maximum Challenge, and #133 Crime in the Kennel

In Hardy Boys #131, Crusade of the Flaming Sword, Frank and Joe work undercover at a local medieval fair.  Someone is sabotaging the event.

I was strongly reminded of the Nancy Drew book, Crime in the Queen's Court, as I read this book, and that is not good.

The book bored me at first.  The text has way too much information about medieval times, medieval armor, and other historical aspects.  The story is blatant sabotage with no clear reason at first as to why.  Towards the end of the book when the motive becomes clear, the book finally becomes interesting.  I overall enjoyed the last part of the book.

In Hardy Boys #132, Maximum Challenge, Frank and Joe are on the Bayport team that is participating in a hit television competition show.  Frank and Joe notice a string of burglaries began right after the production arrived in town, and they soon have reason to believe that someone connected with the show is responsible for the robberies.

I enjoyed the early part of the book.  The middle part of the story is less interesting.  After the boys learn the identity of the cat burglar, the book gets very interesting.  I was not expecting the plot to play out the way it does.

I overall greatly enjoyed this story.

In Hardy Boys #133, Crime in the Kennel, Iola has been fired from her job at the Doghouse Pet Motel.  A collie has disappeared from the kennel, and the owner believes that Iola is responsible.  Frank and Joe take the case to prove that Iola is innocent.

Other dogs also disappear from around Bayport, so I already knew that this book would tie the thefts in with the possibility that the dogs are being stolen for research purposes.  This does turn out to be the motive.

Frank and Joe once again own their boat, The Sleuth, in this book.

The first half of the book is very good, and the second half is excellent.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Hardy Boys #128 Day of the Dinosaur, #129 Dolphin Bay, and #130 Sidetracked to Danger

In Hardy Boys #128, Day of the Dinosaur, Frank and Joe investigate what appears to be sabotage at a museum that is preparing for its grand opening.  Someone has tampered with exhibits, and prowlers enter the property after hours.

This book is not about sabotage, but the back cover synopsis describes the plot as sabotage.  Even when the plot isn't sabotage, the publisher found it easier just to call it sabotage anyway.

The museum has a outdoor exhibit of mechanical dinosaurs that can make limited movements.  At one point, one of the dinosaurs goes on the rampage, resulting in a hilarious scene.

Frank and Joe discuss the case on page 67.
"So like I said, do you think it was stolen?" Joe said.

"And as I said, I don't know," Frank snapped.
Ooh, Frank and Joe are channeling the Power Boys.  I like it.

This is an excellent book all the way through.  I read it quickly.

In Hardy Boys #129, The Treasure at Dolphin Bay, the entire Hardy family is vacationing in Hawaii.  Frank and Joe soon become involved in a mystery at the dolphin research center.  One of the dolphins has been injured, and an employee has vanished.

I noticed that Fenton is not involved at all in the case, nor does he seem even slightly interested.  In one scene, the boys have dinner with their parents and discuss the case in front of their parents.  Fenton never says a word. 

I enjoyed this book from the opening page.  It's great to find a story interesting from the very beginning.  My enjoyment of the text decreased slightly towards the end, but overall I greatly enjoyed this book.

Hardy Boys #130, Sidetracked to Danger, is so boring!  Frank and Joe get to see a collection of model trains, but then the collection is stolen.  The theft might have something to do with another person's attempt to get a building condemned.  Or it might not.  I don't even remember.  I didn't care, and the story is boring.

I didn't like this book.  I have nothing else to say.