Monday, April 14, 2014

Nancy Drew #161 Lost in Everglades, #162 Lost Song, and #163 Clues Challenge

In Nancy Drew #161, Lost in the Everglades, Nancy, Bess, and George visit the Everglades in Florida.  They learn that Jade Romero, a park volunteer, has been missing for some time, and many people assume that she is dead.

George happens to look very much like Jade.  When Mrs. Fitzgerald sees George for the first time on pages 9 and 10, she screams repeatedly, saying nothing.  The entire scene is stupid.  It would have been more logical, and easier on the reader, for her to be astonished that Jade is alive instead of screaming and screaming.

Jade's boyfriend acts like Jade is dead with no possibility of being alive.  When someone disappears with no specific information about their disappearance known, there is always a chance. I thought that his behavior sent up a very obvious red flag.

The way Nancy nabs the villains is illogical.  All three are getting on a boat, so what does she do?  She crawls to the boat and jumps on it with them, right in front of them.  A struggle ensues, and of course it all works out.  However, the scene is not realistic.

I don't think I liked this book years ago, and I didn't like it this time, either.  I think it's another case of not really caring about the missing person, who was missing before the story began.  Besides that, much about the book is very strange.

In Nancy Drew #162, The Case of the Lost Song, Nancy, Bess, George, and Ned attend the Old Can Be Gold Show in Chicago.  George brings an old reel-to-reel tape recorder that has a tape inside.  After listening to the tape, the appraiser believes that it is of a rare jam session by a very famous singer.  Soon after the discovery, the recorder, along with the tape, are stolen!

I found it a bit annoying how offended Lisa becomes when Nancy suspects her coworkers.  Lisa knows that someone connected with the show must be responsible, and I can understand why she doesn't like Nancy investigating her friends.  However, I feel that her reaction is a bit much.

I really enjoyed this mystery.

In Nancy Drew #163, The Clues Challenge, Nancy and George visit Emerson University.  The girls plan to compete in the Clues Challenge on the same team as Ned and his fraternity, Omega Chi Epsilon.  A series of clues have been hidden by the sponsor of the Clues Challenge, and the teams compete to see who can find all the clues and claim the prize first.  Somebody sabotages the competition, causing some participants to become injured.

Initially, way too many characters are introduced in this story.  After a while, I was able to keep the main ones straight.

Page 43 has a mistake.  Nancy says that they need to get Randy to the infirmary, but C.J. was the person injured.

This is a very good book.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

My Summer Series Book Reading List

I am quite far ahead in my reading as compared to my published Nancy Drew reviews.  My goal was to be done with the Nancy Drew Girl Detective and Diaries series by the end of May, perhaps sooner.  I am now on track to be finished with the Girl Detective series by the end of the first week in May.  The Diaries series won't take long, so I expect to be finished with both by the middle of May.

I am so looking forward to reading something other than Nancy Drew.  Don't get me wrong.  I have greatly enjoyed reading the books, but I am also tiring of them.  There are way too many Nancy Drew books!  They go on and on.

I have a list of what I want to read (and do) after I finish the Nancy Drew books.  My list keeps getting longer and longer.  I have been denying myself all books other than Nancy Drew since late January.  This is my list.

1.  The new Nancy Drew game, The Shattered Medallion

Pre-orders start in just a few days.  Yay!

2.  The Valerie Drew stories

This was a recent discovery, and I am looking forward to reading the stories.  Valerie Drew was based on Nancy Drew and possibly also Judy Bolton.  Valerie is described as "plucky," and she has a dog who is even smarter than Judy's Blackberry.

3.  The Silence of the Library by Miranda James

This book was written by a series book collector and has references to series books.  I've heard that this book is very good.

4.  Brandon Mull's new book, Sky Raiders

I really enjoy Brandon Mull's books.  If you like Harry Potter, then consider trying Brandon Mull.  He does not get the attention that he deserves.

5.  Several new releases including Backs Against the Wall by Tracey Ward, Love at Last by Christine Kersey, and Enders by Lissa Price

These books are each the next installment in young adult series that I have read.  I have made certain to avoid them, because once I read them, I will be reading others, which will distract me from other books for at least a month.  Young adult books are kind of like a drug to me, and I can hardly tear myself away from them.  I will never get through the Nancy Drew books if I dare let myself read any of these books.

6.  The Three Investigators series

I have read the first two books and enjoyed them.  I want to read the entire series.

7.  The original text Hardy Boys books

I read these books around 20 years ago.  It's about time that I revisit them.

8.  Probably a bunch of other stuff that I've forgotten to mention  

I have so much to read and so little time!

I will hopefully be busy going down this list well before my last Nancy Drew reviews get published, so my plan is to intersperse reviews of other books among my Nancy Drew reviews once I reach that point.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Nancy Drew #158 Curse of the Black Cat, #159 Fiery Chamber, and #160 Crystal Dove

In Nancy Drew #158, Curse of the Black Cat, Nancy and George go undercover as interns at the Waverly Academy, a private school for girls.  A number of girls have received notes from the Black Cat, cursing them.  Nancy tries to find out who is responsible for the notes.

I enjoyed this book up until around halfway through it, then I began to lose patience.  I felt that too many characters had been introduced, and even worse, too many of them were suspects.  It got to the point where it felt like everyone was a suspect.

I began to enjoy the book again towards the end.

In Nancy Drew #159, The Secret of the Fiery Chamber, Nancy, Bess, and George take pottery classes at an arts festival.  Soon after their arrival, an old friend, Theresa Kim, tells Nancy that someone is producing fake pottery and selling it as valuable antique pottery.  Nancy agrees to investigate.

This book is not very memorable and is just somewhat interesting.  As I read the book, I had the same feeling as I had while reading the stretch of books from around #105 to #115, which was the highest concentration of sabotage books.  I felt like I was reading one of those books, and I wanted something more interesting to happen.  This book seems lacking.

On page 111, Nancy is eavesdropping and is shocked by something she hears.  She blurts out a reaction and pounds on the wall, and the suspects hear her.  I thought that Nancy had better control over her emotions than that.

Theresa is the one who asks Nancy for help, and she is clearly worried.  I am amazed that Nancy quickly decides that Theresa is the primary suspect.  Nancy idiotically assumes that since Theresa has the skill to make fake pottery that she must be the guilty person.  Nancy doesn't consider that Theresa asked her to help find the perpetrator.

I also lost patience in this book as more and more characters were introduced. 

The Secret of the Fiery Chamber is mediocre.

In Nancy Drew #160, The Clue on the Crystal Dove, Nancy, Bess, and George travel to New York City to attend to the opening of the Van Hoogstraten museum.  Nancy begins to investigate after a crystal dove is stolen from the museum.

This story is just average, but it flows well.  Even though I was not overly interested, the book managed to hold my attention.  The character list is not long, and this helps.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Nancy Drew #155 Tornado Alley, #156 Secret in the Stars, and #157 Music Festival Mystery

In Nancy Drew #155, The Mystery in Tornado Alley, Nancy travels to Oklahoma with her father, Hannah, Bess, and George to check out a property Hannah has inherited.  Nancy finds a green duffel bag in a tree after a tornado passes through.  She wonders whose bag it is. 

Nancy meets up with this random guy, Derek, at the tornado lab.  Derek is weird, but Nancy considers him her new best friend.  And he has a car!  Nancy gets him to take her places.  Bess and George both think something is wrong with Derek, but Nancy makes excuses for him.  Derek is Nancy's new BFF, and she doesn't care how bad he treats her!  Nancy clings to Derek as she tries to find the owner of the green duffel bag.

Yeah.  This book is a mess.  This book falls into the category of a book that is so bad that it is almost good.  I enjoyed it in a perverse fashion.

On page 2, Nancy is disappointed that the trip is to be by RV instead of by plane, since she likes to fly.  Really, Nancy?

I am about to spoil the plot, but this book is so awful that I hardly think it matters.  Besides, the villain is that obvious.  But if you really care, then skip down to the next image where the next review begins. 
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The culprit is Derek.  He's so obviously the villain from the very beginning, and we see warning signs every few pages, like on pages 50, 52, 57, 79, 84, 89, and 107.  Even Bess and George say that Derek is strange or flaky.  Derek must have mental problems, but Nancy trusts him completely and gives him tons of information.

About that duffel bag... the bag contains ransom notes.  Nancy goes to the police, who are not interested, because no one has been kidnapped.  However, Nancy is certain that someone soon will be, so she becomes best friends with Derek so that he can help her.  Way to go, girl!  Have the villain help you!

The climax of this book is terribly illogical, unbelievable, and irresponsible, since it portrays an F5 tornado as easily survivable.  Derek, nut case that he is, drives into the center of an F5 tornado with Nancy in the car with him.  The car is pulled into the air, and Derek is knocked unconscious.  Nancy is thrown around inside the car while the car tumbles through the air.  Somehow, Nancy is not knocked out.  She has the presence of mind to consider what to do.  She decides that she would be better off outside the car where the debris can hit her.  She somehow opens the car door against 300 mph winds, and then the tornado sets her on the ground.  Nancy is uninjured.

Of course, Nancy's friends just happen to drive up at that exact moment.  Nancy sees where Derek's car hit the ground.  She decides that he must be dead, and the young people drive off without checking.  I mean, if Nancy lived through the tornado, then why couldn't Derek have lived?  Of course, he didn't live, but the scene caps off a story that is bizarre from start to finish.  The Mystery in Tornado Alley rivals The Flying Saucer Mystery in overall weirdness.

In Nancy Drew #156, The Secret in the Stars, popular radio astronomy host, Bob "Dr. Stars" Stellar, comes to River Heights.  Nancy, Bess, and George arrive at his stargazing event in the state park to discover nobody there but his abandoned van.  Later, Dr. Stars arrives, and the girls become acquainted with him.

Meanwhile, a celebrity, Will Ryder, is in River Heights to be married.  The paparazzi are stalking him, and Nancy gradually realizes that the strange events surrounding Dr. Stars are connected to the paparazzi.

I feel that Nancy is a bit dense not to realize the identity of one of the two culprits.  This is a pretty good book, but the obviousness of the villain takes away from it a bit.  I sense that the books are beginning to deteriorate as we begin the countdown towards the end of the Nancy Drew Digest series and the beginning of the Nancy Drew Girl Detective series.

In Nancy Drew #157, The Music Festival Mystery, Nancy, Bess, and George attend a music festival at Emerson College with Ned.  The music festival is put on by the school's club of international students.  The club is riddled with controversy, with two students running for club president locked in a bitter feud. 

The book introduces too many characters too fast.  I was bored by page 25 and began skimming the book.  By page 50, I gave up.  I skipped to the end to see the identity of the villain.  I recognized the name as one of the dozen or so names that were introduced in the beginning, but I couldn't remember anything about that person.  I don't think I missed out on much by not reading this book.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Nancy Drew #152 Satin Pocket, #153 Whispers in the Fog, and #154 Emerald Lady

In Nancy Drew #152, The Key in the Satin Pocket, Bess insists that Nancy and George visit her favorite vintage clothing shop.  Nancy's eye is caught by a vintage blue satin jacket, and she purchases the jacket.  Later, Nancy discovers a piece of paper with a number written on it inside a pocket.  Sewn inside the pocket is what appears to be the key to a safe-deposit box.

Nancy learns that the original owner of the jacket once owned the estate which is now occupied by Haddon Hall, a private school.  The private school has been burglarized recently, and soon, Nancy realizes that the culprit knows she has the key.

On page 37, Nancy hides in a laundry bin full of clean laundry that is delivered to the school.  She does this as a means to smuggle herself inside the grounds.  Once the bin is delivered, Nancy has to stay in the bin for four hours until everyone goes to bed.  It's a bit of a stretch for Nancy to assume that she would be able to stay in the bin for hours undisturbed.  What if an employee had decided to put the clean laundry away?

The Key in the Satin Pocket is a very engaging, very interesting story.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.

In Nancy Drew #153, Whispers in the Fog, Nancy, Bess, George, and Ned vacation in California at the invitation of Katie Firestone, who owns a whale-watching boat and is a champion kayaker.  Someone is trying to sabotage Katie's whale-watching business, so Nancy investigates.

The Nancy Drew game, Danger on Deception Island, is based on this book.  I didn't note the page number, but at one point, the word "deception" is used in this book, and I am sure that was the genesis for the title of the game.

Whispers in the Fog is an excellent book.

In Nancy Drew #154, The Legend of the Emerald Lady, Carson Drew's friends, the Isaacs, invite Nancy, Bess, and Ned to stay at their plantation, Sugar Moon, in the Caribbean.  An intruder keeps breaking into the house and seems to be looking for something.  Nancy investigates.

I found it annoying that the Isaacs continually call Nancy, Bes, and Ned "kids."  It's quite natural that people who are middle-aged would call teenagers kids, but Nancy and her friends are not typically referred to in that fashion in the Nancy Drew series, so it bothered me.

The Legend of the Emerald Lady is an excellent story.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Nancy Drew #149 Gold Doubloons, #150 Moorsea Manor, and #151 Chocolate-Covered Contest

In Nancy Drew #149, The Clue of the Gold Doubloons, Nancy and George participate in the filming of a pirate movie in Baltimore.  A series of robberies occurs at the hotel where everyone is staying, and a gold doubloon is found at each crime scene, throwing suspicion on the crew.  Nancy wonders if someone is trying to sabotage the film or whether something more sinister is at play.  The situation becomes grim when George is accused of masterminding the robberies.

On page 35, Nancy and George have been awakened after the police arrive to investigate a robbery.  When the girls enter the hallway, the concierge apologizes to Nancy and George for the disturbance.  George replies, "We're used to robbery and mayhem."  The concierge looks at them, puzzled.  It's a typical day for Nancy and George!

I had a little trouble getting into this book at first, but once I did, I enjoyed it.

In Nancy Drew #150, Mystery at Moorsea Manor, Nancy and George vacation at Moorsea Manor in England.  Acts of sabotage plague Moorsea Manor, and the incidents quickly become dangerous.  Someone is trying to put Moorsea Manor out of business!

While investigating two brothers who run a real estate company, Nancy hears a dog in one of the offices.  Nancy figures that the dog is the Petersons' missing dog, so she opens the door.  The brothers are quite furious, saying that the dog's behavior causes them problems so they have to keep it confined to one room.  The brothers practically chase Nancy and George off their property.  On page 91, George remarks, "They kind of flew off the handle in a major way.  And just because you let their dog out."  Yes, George, I expect most people would be upset if someone decided to let their dog out.  Nancy was out of line.

Mystery at Moorsea Manor is an above average mystery, and I greatly enjoyed it.

In Nancy Drew #151, The Chocolate-Covered Contest, Nancy, Bess, and George go with the Science Sleuths and their sponsor, Andrea Cassella, to an amusement park owned by the Royal Chocolates Company.  Bess opens a Royal Chocolates chocolate bar to discover that she is the grand prize winner of their contest.  When the girls visit the Royal Chocolates headquarters, they are accused of forging the winning wrapper, because someone has already claimed the grand prize!

I dislike the title of this book and expected not to like the book.  I thought I recalled that I did not like the book when I read it years ago.  Perhaps I remembered wrong, because I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book this time.  This is an outstanding book.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Reduced Prices for Series Books on eBay

A few days ago, I reduced the prices of a number of my books when I relisted them on eBay.  The books can be found by viewing my store when sorted by newest first.

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

I also have many series books listed on Bonanza.  Remember that different books are listed on the two sites.

Jennifer's Series Books on Bonanza

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Nancy Drew #146 Lantern Lady, #147 Captured Queen, and #148 Trail of Trouble

In Nancy Drew #146, The Ghost of the Lantern Lady, Nancy, Bess, and George volunteer at Persimmon Woods Pioneer Village.  The village is a reenactment of a pioneer village.  The volunteers dress up in clothing from the 1830s and complete daily chores while tourists visit the village.  The girls see the ghostly Lantern Lady soon after their arrival and learn that someone is sabotaging the pioneer village.

Page 131 has a mistake.  "As George limped out to the car, Nancy was happy to see that his bandaged ankle was definitely better."  Strangely, George has become a male.

Even though the plot returns to sabotage, this one is a bit different and is very interesting.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

In Nancy Drew #147, The Case of the Captured Queen, River Heights hosts a major international chess tournament.  One of the competitors, Danitra Winston, stays at Nancy's house.  Danitra begins receiving threatening messages, and Nancy soon learns that another competitor, Greta van Leeuwen, is receiving similar messages.  Nancy must find the culprit before someone gets hurt.

Inexplicably, Nancy's nemesis from the Nancy Drew Files series, Brenda Carlton, appears in this book.  This makes me think that this book was originally intended to be a title in the Nancy Drew Files series, because Brenda's presence makes no sense.

The culprit is kind of obvious, yet Nancy never suspects this person until the very end of the book.

The plot of this book is very similar to #96 The Case of the Photo Finish as well as a few other books.

I enjoyed The Case of the Captured Queen.

In Nancy Drew #148, On the Trail of Trouble, Nancy, Bess, and George stay at the Black Hills Buffalo Ranch.  The girls have come to help their friend, Kincaid Turner, and her parents.  Someone is stealing their buffalo!  The situation worsens when someone steals a pet buffalo and its calf.  I must be a callous person because I did not care at all. 

This book bored me.  I really tried to read it and gave up partway through the book.  I then read #149, The Clue of the Gold Doubloons, which I enjoyed.  I wondered what was wrong with me that I couldn't get into On the Trail of Trouble, so I tried again.  I was still completely bored and uninterested.  I again wondered what was wrong.  This book doesn't have the usual exciting events and stunning cliffhangers.