Saturday, March 25, 2017

Girls of Canby Hall #22 Troublemaker and Super Edition The Almost Summer Carnival

In Girls of Canby Hall #22, Troublemaker, Toby is depressed, so Jane and Andy decide to throw her a Winter Blahs party to cheer her up.  Gigi Norton can't help causing trouble, so she decides to throw a party where everyone is to come as someone she hates.  When Gigi's party doesn't go the way she intended, she plays dirty tricks on the girls of 407, turning them against each other.

While at the pond and with Gigi and Yolanda hidden nearby, Toby complains about Andy's selfishness for no reason when Andy is not even being selfish.  This scene occurs only so that Gigi and Yolanda can use the information against the girls of 407.  I hate that sort of contrived scene that goes against the girls' personalities.

Laura Lee is a quiet girl who is the focus of the girls' attention in this book, at least when they aren't worrying about Gigi.  By the end of the story, all I could think each time I saw the name was Laura Lee Hope, the pseudonym used as the author's name for the Bobbsey Twins series.

This book does not have reminiscing in it.  I really enjoyed it.

In Girls of Canby Hall super edition, The Almost Summer Carnival, the maintenance crew has gone on strike.  Canby Hall will be closed if their work does not get done.  Jane, Andy, and Toby decide to set up task lists so that all of the girls can get the work done, which includes cooking meals, laundry, and all cleaning duties.  Of course this doesn't go well.

It's strange how the girls do their own laundry in the early books, but suddenly in this book, they have never done their own laundry.

A hailstorm breaks out most of the windows.  The windows are covered with blankets to help keep the rain out.  I have trouble understanding how a blanket would keep the rain out.  It would help for the first few minutes, but the blanket would get wet and moisture would still come in.

Jane is incredibly rude and snobbish in this book.  While Jane has always been a bit snobbish, she is written out of character in this book.  Jane is outright cruel.

This book is better than the other super edition, which I did not like, but not by much.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

River Heights Junior Class Trip and #12 Hard to Handle

In River Heights Super Sizzler, Junior Class Trip, the junior class goes to Washington, D.C., on a field trip.  Nikki wants to get back together with Tim, but she worries that Tim isn't interested. Meanwhile, Nikki keeps confusing another boy with Tim.  The lookalike, Tom Connors, is staying at their hotel and seems to be followed around by bodyguards.  Both Kim and Brittany fall for Tom and scheme to keep him away from the other.

The cover art is dreadful.  Yuck.

I greatly enjoyed this book.  After the terrible Girls of Canby Hall super editions, I was concerned that this book might be boring.  I was delighted to find that this story is quite interesting and does not contain any filler.  The story has some intrigue and danger, which is what one expects in a super edition.

In River Heights #12, Hard to Handle, Rick is finally out of the hospital, and he's returning to school.  Lacey fears that he has fallen for a girl he met in rehab, and unexpectedly, Lacey falls for Rick's brother, Tom.  Lacey isn't brave enough to tell Rick about Tom, so she keeps their relationship a secret.

Nikki and Tim are back together again and plan a skit for the upcoming talent contest.  Brittany is jealous as always and devises a way to ruin the skit.

I like this fun quote from page 40.
Brittany closed her chemistry book with a snap.  She was tired of staring at the periodic table and trying to figure out how she could possibly use it later in life as a nationally famous reporter.
Each book leads into the next book with a hint of future events during the closing chapter.  In this book, we learn that someone plans to blackmail Brittany.  How interesting!

I really enjoyed this book.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Girls of Canby Hall #20 Friends Times Three and #21 Party Time!

In Girls of Canby Hall #20, Friends Times Three, Jane and Toby spend their Christmas vacation in Chicago with Andy's family.  Andy's family owns a restaurant, and they are shorthanded.  Jane and Toby volunteer to help out.  Jane meets Zach, a boy who thinks she is poor.  Jane pretends to be what Zach thinks she is and finds herself in a difficult position.

On page 37, an announcement is made on Jane's flight for all passengers to "extinguish all smoking materials" as the plane approaches the airport for landing.   Times have changed.

I was quite bored by all the descriptions early in the book.  The text has too much explanation on how to be a waitress.  Jane's romance with Zach also annoyed me.  I did not like the first part of the book, but I did greatly enjoy the last one-third of the book.

In Girls of Canby Hall #21, Party Time!, Jane's family is hosting its annual Barretts' Landing party to commemorate when the Barretts arrived in America.  Jane invites Andy, Toby, and Cary to the party.  The friends do not fit in well, and their presence may cause problems at the party.

Way too much text is devoted to describing Alison, who is departing as housemother, and all three girls' personalities.  The lengthy description of information we already know is so extremely boring.  Jane's party is also boring.

On pages 95 through 98, the girls randomly discover a secret passage and explore it.  Oh, yeah!  The girls briefly turn into Nancy Drew.  I'm all on board with that.

I find it hard to believe that the Barretts' stuffy friends loosen up at the party just because of the presence of Jane's friends.  Give me a break.

I enjoyed the book a lot more once the setting returns to Canby Hall and deals with the new housemother.  That should have been the focus of the book and not some stupid boring party.

The book is mostly boring except for the new housemother plot and the totally awesome secret passage.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Many Books Listed on eBay and Etsy

This is an explanation of what I listed on the two sites as well as my reasoning behind it.

I spent much of my spring break listing books on eBay and Etsy.

On eBay, you can get 10% off your order when you purchase two or more books.  As long as you pay for the books in one transaction, then you will get the discount.  Using the shopping cart is the easiest method.

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

A coupon code can be found on the main page of my Etsy shop.  Use the coupon when checking out to receive 10% off any order of $10 or more.

Jennifer's Series Books on Etsy

I list different books on the two sites.  Some books will never be listed on eBay.  A certain seller on eBay is nasty and hurts his suppliers through feedback.  I don't understand that logic, but some people think if they damage the reputation of all people who sell the same items that they will get more sales.  It's not logical to damage the reputation of one's own suppliers, since those people might then quit selling those good deals that are used to build one's inventory.

Another seller on eBay used to hurt her suppliers through feedback, but she quit long ago when someone left a feedback calling her out on it.  I don't think she initially realized that others could tell.

The first person I mentioned is ruthless and does not care what anyone thinks.  I have three of his IDs blocked, and he will just keep creating them if necessary.  Therefore, I don't sell the books he wants on eBay.

Note:  I do not mind sellers purchasing my books.  I only mind when the seller then tries to hurt me through feedback.  Other than those few people, I welcome purchases from all sellers.

Fortunately, the books that I can't sell on eBay due to the one seller are among the books that do well on Etsy.  I have had good success on Etsy with Nancy Drew books with jackets, Nancy Drew picture covers, Dana Girls books, and Three Investigators books.  The more obscure series do poorly on Etsy.

I list all of my international editions on eBay.  I find that international editions are ignored on Etsy, so I must list all of them on eBay.

I am limited to 250 free listings per month on eBay, which is why I must use Etsy.  I do have to pay $0.20 per listing on Etsy, and each listing is good for four months.  The listing fee is offset by the low final value fees on Etsy, which are much lower than eBay's final value fees.

I listed 62 items on Etsy this week at a total cost of $12.40.  I have already sold eight books, and the amount that I saved in final value fees over what I would have paid on eBay is more than $12.40.  So my listings have already been paid for by the few that have already sold.  The rest of the listings are still good for four months, and more of them will sell.  Etsy is a good place to sell with very reasonable fees so long as the seller lists items that are likely to sell on Etsy.  That's the key.

I listed a large number of French Nancy Drew books, Nancy Drew picture covers, Hardy Boys books with jackets, and other miscellaneous on eBay this week.  Due to my limit of 250 free listings, I also combined some of my stagnant listings into bulk lots. Those bulk lots are scattered through my eBay store, since most of them were converted from existing listings.  I will also be combining additional listings into bulk lots in the next two weeks as more items expire.  This will allow me to begin listing additional books on eBay.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

River Heights #10 Mixed Emotions and #11 Broken Hearts

In River Heights #10, Mixed Emotions, Michael Quinn has a crush on Robin Fisher, and he won't leave her alone!  Robin has no interest in Michael, but her boyfriend, Cal, is becoming jealous.  Nikki is worried because Niles' British girlfriend will be visiting soon.  Karen also has worries, since Ben's old girlfriend, Emily is returning to River Heights.  Will each couple break up?

Brittany decides to drastically cut her hair, which is long.  She's only taking two inches off, but she acts like she is cutting 12 inches off.  Talk about an overreaction!

Michael looks so stupid on the cover.  At first, I didn't like the depiction.  Later, I decided that the cover is perfect, because Michael does act that silly.

I enjoyed this book.

In River Heights #11, Broken Hearts, Niles' girlfriend has arrived, and Nikki is beginning to think she should be back with Tim.  I would agree, since Tim never wanted to break up!

Karen thinks Ben will pick up with Emily where he left off, so Karen decides to become the perfect girlfriend.  She types Ben's papers for him and even fixes him a homemade dinner. Unfortunately, Karen's plan backfires.

On page 44 we learn that Karen's mother thinks that Ben is "the best thing since pocket calculators."  That does sound like something we might have said in the 1980s.

I also enjoyed this book.


Friday, March 17, 2017

20 Years Ago Today

I registered on eBay on March 17, 1997, which was 20 years ago today.  As now, it was spring break, although that day was a Monday.  I wrote in detail about how I was introduced to eBay eight years ago in the post "12 Years Ago Today."  
I had discovered eBay! eBay was called "Auction Web" or "eBay's Auction Web" in those days. I was so amazed that there were actually - gasp! - 50 Nancy Drew books up for sale at a time! And they were collectible ones with dust jackets and any type you could want! I remember how the search results were in random order and you could not order the search results by date or price or anything. And the searches would often take around 2 minutes or longer because eBay was growing fast and could not keep up with the rate that it was gaining new users. People would joke on the message boards that one could hit "search" and then go take out the trash or fix a sandwich and come back to view the results!

While I discovered eBay in around January 1997, it took me two months to get around to registering and bidding. I wasn't used to paying more than $5.00 for a book, so it took that long for me to change my mind about what I was willing to pay.
................................................

I remember that the very first book I bid on was on the afternoon of March 17, 1997, and it was a tweed copy of Larkspur Lane that had a chipped dust jacket. I'm not sure what I bid, but it was around $8-10. Of course I lost, since I was not willing to pay very much.

It was not until April 1997 that I was successfully able to win an auction, actually two of them. During the first four to five years that I bought online, I always made printed copies of the item pages. I'm now glad that I did, because I still have those copies, and they are very interesting.
Go to the above link to see a scan of one of my printed copies of an eBay listing from 1997.

I started collecting series books in the summer of 1991.  From then until early 1997, my books were all purchased locally.  From 1997 on, most of my books were purchased on eBay.  While I don't have any data on how many of my books were purchased on eBay or elsewhere, I have no doubt that the vast majority of the books now in my collection were purchased on eBay.

eBay does not have anywhere near the quality of inventory that it had from 1997 through around 2002 or so.  The decline has been steady since that time and continues to worsen.  However, eBay is still the first place I look for books.  On one browser, eBay's main page is my home page.  On another browser, eBay's advanced search page is my home page.  eBay remains very important to me, although I now must also use other sites to find books that I need.

The beauty of eBay is that anything can be listed at any time.  It doesn't matter if you have checked eBay everyday for two months and found nothing, the most fabulous item imaginable could suddenly be listed, like the one mentioned in my post "Grosset and Dunlap Series Book Advertising Sign."  Amazing items show up unexpectedly. When the items are Buy It Now, the first person who sees the item gets it.  That's why I check eBay all the time and never get discouraged.  I usually make at least one purchase per week on eBay.  I am always able to spot something.

Recently, I wrote a description of how to use eBay properly in a post on Facebook.
You should save searches for all series books that interest you. This is done by first running the desired search. On the results page at the top, you will see a link to follow the search. If you click on that link, you will then see a box that says:  
"Yay! You're now following _____ in your eBay Feed. You will receive email alerts for new listings. 
Don't send me email alerts."  
In most cases, I don't want to receive emails, so I deselect the alerts by clicking on that last sentence. For extremely scarce books that seldom appear, I do receive emails. Since I currently follow 78 searches, I don't wish to receive potentially 78 messages per day about new listings. 
Whether you choose to receive the emails or not, the search results always show up in your eBay feed. I love my eBay feed.  
Go to the main page, www.ebay.com. You will find a tab labeled "following." Click on that tab to see the most recently listed items in your saved searches.  
Even better, saved sellers' listings show up as well. If you like the books offered by certain sellers, then you should follow them. The link to follow a seller can be found on the right side of any of that seller's eBay listings right underneath the seller's user ID.
Very often on Facebook, members ask where they can find vintage Nancy Drew books. They are usually told that eBay has a great selection.  Strangely, the person often responds with a statement like "I don't do eBay."  It's a shame that people aren't willing to try something new.

For some, eBay is overwhelming.  If that is the case, I suggest using the saved searches and eBay feed as described above.  Don't run the searches yourself; go to your eBay feed.  That way, you'll only see the most recently listed items and won't be overwhelmed.  You can just see the new items listed each day and gradually get used to eBay and how it works.  Take it slowly, just like I did in early 1997.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Girls of Canby hall #19 One Boy Too Many and Super Edition Something Old, Something New

In Girls of Canby Hall #19, One Boy Too Many, Jane's boyfriend, Neal, is coming to Canby Hall to visit.  The problem is that Jane has a new boyfriend, Cary, and neither boy knows about the other.  Andy and Toby disapprove of the way that Jane is handling the situation, but Jane does not care.

Cary doesn't have long hair or an earring on the book cover.  He is depicted as the exact opposite of what he is supposed to be.

Andy states that she has never been to Oakley Prep.  That's odd.  Jane and Andy went to a dance at Oakley Prep in the previous book.

I appreciate that Jane's roommates understand that Jane's behavior is disrespectful to both boys. Faith and Shelley seldom had a problem with Dana's fickleness.

I enjoyed this book.

In Girls of Canby Hall Super Edition, Something Old, Something New, the girls' housemother, Alison, is getting married.  For some inexplicable reason, Dana, Faith, and Shelley are the only previous Canby Hall girls invited to the wedding. Furthermore, they and the three new Room 407 girls plan a bridal shower together.  The planning goes poorly because the old 407 girls apparently hate the new 407 girls, and nobody can agree about anything.

This is a pretty bad book.  The original Room 407 girls act awful all through the book.  For instance, Faith tells the waitress to add anchovies to the new girls' pizza.  That doesn't even sound like Faith, and besides, it's a low trick to tamper with someone else's food without their knowledge. Later in the book, all six girls have a childish food fight.  Ugh.

This book is padded with lots of filler.  The original 407 girls just graduated a few books ago, but the reader gets to read pages and pages of reminiscing about everything the girls ever did at Canby Hall.  Spare me.

I did not like this book.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

River Heights #8 The Trouble with Love and #9 Lies and Whispers

In River Heights #8, The Trouble with Love, Lacey blames herself for the accident that put her boyfriend, Rick, in the hospital.  Lacey spends all of her spare time at the hospital, much to the concern of her family and friends.

Karen is thrilled to be dating Ben, but she worries that he is still thinking about his old girlfriend. Meanwhile, Karen's friend, Ellen, seems preoccupied.

I found that Brittany's schemes didn't annoy me in this book.  I am still tired of Nikki pining after Tim. She's the one who broke up with him over absolutely nothing when he didn't want to break up!

I enjoyed wondering about Ellen's story, which will come out in the next book.

In River Heights #9, Lies and Whispers, Brittany cannot stand Chip Worthington, but if she could become his girlfriend, she would be in the top social circle.  Brittany must break up Chip's current relationship.

Ellen's father has been accused of embezzlement, and Ellen must deal with vicious rumors.  Even worse, money disappears from the junior class funds, and Ellen will be blamed if she cannot recover the money.

I enjoyed Ellen's subplot.  The back cover synopsis makes it sound like Nancy Drew helps solve the mystery of the missing money.  Nikki and Ellen speak to her, and she gives some advice.  Nancy has nothing to do with anything since she is leaving on a trip.

Nikki and her friends stake out the student council room by standing by the water fountain near the room.  They apparently do this for hours.  Wouldn't the suspect notice and stay away?  Nancy should have explained that they needed to hide in the closet inside the room instead of standing in plain site in the hallway.

I really enjoyed this book.