Wednesday, December 31, 2014

German Three Investigators Vampire City, Arctic Adventure, and Bite of the Beast

In Vampire City, Justus, Peter, and Bob go on a camping trip.  They end up in Yonderwood, a town in which most of the houses are locked and empty.  The boys visit the drug store, where they meet Josy, who tells them that most of the residents of the town have moved away.  One by one, people woke up in the morning with bite marks on their necks, their pillows drenched in blood.  The residents fled, believing the town to be inhabited by vampires.  Intrigued, the boys decide to solve the mystery.

The book contains mild expletives.

The plot is creative, and I greatly enjoyed this book.  It is very good.

In Arctic Adventure, the Three Investigators are asked to find out who is sabotaging the Canadian sled race.  Several mushers have dropped out of the competition due to illness and accidents.

Peter asks what "mushers" and "dehydrated" mean.  He must have lost some brain cells.  The questions are apparently asked for the benefit of the German students who are reading the book to learn English, but they make Peter seem like an idiot.

This book introduces too many characters too fast.  I couldn't keep them straight, and to be honest, I didn't try.  This caused me not to enjoy the book very much.

In Bite of the Beast, the Three Investigators look into strange events at a museum.

This book didn't grab me, and I think it was because the mystery was too vague.

In this book, we learn that the Jonas salvage yard has a rival.  Imagine that:  rival junkyards.  The Jonas salvage yard is known as T. Jonas' Secondhand Center.  The rival junkyard is named T. Madsen's Secondhand Center.

The boys have to babysit, which results in this amusing scene from page 77.
"You've used almost half a tube of toothpaste!" Peter looks down at the white ring in the washbasin and the foam over Sammy's mouth.

"We're playing rabies!" says Jamie by way of defence.

"That was Bob's toothpaste, you know: he'll punish you when he finds out.
I was not aware that children play "rabies."  How funny!

This book contains mild expletives.

I enjoyed the part about the rival junkyards, but otherwise, I did not find this book very interesting.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Rick Brant #12 Electronic Mind Reader and #13 Scarlet Lake Mystery

In Rick Brant #12, The Electronic Mind Reader, Steve Ames asks for Spindrift's help with a top secret government project.  Two scientists who were working on the project have been hospitalized with broken minds, and no one knows what happened.  Rick feels that someone has infiltrated the project, even though no evidence of infiltration can be found.  The Brants worry that the scientists on Spindrift Island will be the next victims.

This book grabbed me from the beginning.  The plot advances nicely without any boring parts.  Even the scientific descriptions were brief enough not to be annoying.

It was nice having Barby and her new friend, Jan, take a role in the plot, even though their role was secondary.

I greatly enjoyed this book.

In Rick Brant #13, The Scarlet Lake Mystery, Rick and Scotty go undercover at Scarlet Lake, a top-secret rocket launch site.  A saboteur, known as "The Earthman," has caused several projects to fail at a great loss of money.  Meanwhile, expensive electronic parts disappeared around the time of each accident. 

The boys visit several casinos, although they do not gamble since they are not old enough.  I thought it was interesting to have scenes in casinos.

Some parts of the plot are a bit hard to believe, especially the climax.  The entire time I was reading the climax, I kept asking myself how likely it was that the events would transpire as they did.  I decided that some aspects were narrowly believable, while others were not. 

This is a very good book.  As with many other Rick Brant books, I found the early part of the book to be somewhat less interesting, although I still enjoyed it.  The later part of the book is outstanding.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Readers with Strong Opinions

Some readers and collectors make extremely strong statements about how good or bad certain books are.  Sometimes their statements have a different impact than what they might have expected. 

Recently, someone made an extremely strong statement about a book.  Person A said that they were reading the book.  Person B said that it was awful.  Person A seemed surprised and stated that they were enjoying the book.  Person B said that Person A wouldn't enjoy it for much longer and that they wouldn't be able to finish the book.

Huh?  Why assume that someone will hate a book?  They might end up liking the entire book.  Just because some people do not like a book does not mean that others will not like it.  It's a shame to discourage others from reading a book.

This has also happened to me.  I recall one time when I mentioned I was going to read a series, and someone told me that I wouldn't enjoy the books.  They can't know.  I have to decide.

I try to tread lightly when others ask whether a series is good, since opinions are subjective.  Recently on Facebook, someone asked whether the Penny Nichols books are any good.  I don't like the Penny Nichols books very much, but I didn't want to discourage someone from reading Penny Nichols since all books by Mildred Wirt are worth reading.  I cautiously replied, "The Penny Nichols series is similar to the Penny Parker series. I believe most people like the books about as much as Penny Parker. I didn't like them as much as Penny Parker, but I may be in the minority in that opinion."  I was surprised when a few others agreed with me.

A second situation involves superlatives used to describe a series.  By describing a series in extremely glowing terms, readers might inadvertently set up others for disappointment.  I have had such high expectations for some series that I ended feeling letdown after I read the books.

The third situation involves fans who proclaim their love for their favorite series and in the same breath proclaim that they hate another series.  I have noticed that fans of some series do this more often than others and that they pick on a series that is more popular than their favorite series.  It's how it's mentioned and when it's mentioned that bothers me, not the fact that they don't like another series.

If you've ever noticed this, you'll know what I mean.  It's hurtful to some of us who like both series that are mentioned.  I've always wondered if I was being too sensitive, and perhaps I have been.  Someone contacted me privately and expressed frustration about some of the statements.  I guess I'm not the only one.

Friday, December 26, 2014

German Three Investigators Ghost Village and Soccer Trap

In Ghost Village, a boy named Darren asks the boys to come to Oregon to solve a mystery.  Darren is staying in Ridgelake, Oregon, and he keeps seeing a bright light shine out from the lake at night.  The Three Investigators have problems beginning their investigation, since Darren is quite excitable and has forgotten to give them key details, like how an old town lays flooded underneath the waters of the lake.

The book opens with the boys driving through Oregon wondering when they will reach Ridgelake.  Justus is using an old map from 1956 that is no longer accurate, and the other two are annoyed with him.

This book was written in 2007, and I find it interesting how the boys are not using GPS.  They use a paper map, and even worse, one that is 50 years old.

In these German books, the boys have cell phones, but they tend not to use them.  It's like the authors wanted the books to hearken back to an earlier time.

The search underwater through the submerged village is quite thrilling and harrowing.  That part of the story is quite memorable.

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

In Soccer Trap, Peter has been hired as an assistant to the U.S. national soccer team.  Soon it becomes apparent that someone is sabotaging the team, after several of the players become injured.  Meanwhile, Justus suspects that their old enemy, Hugenay, may be responsible for a series of art thefts.

Here is yet another soccer story, and once again, it involves sabotage.  One of the acts of sabotage involves a large wasp nest that was placed in a player's closet in the hotel.  I tried to figure out exactly how the saboteur would manage to get the wasp nest in the closet without being stung.  It would be tricky.

This book contains mild expletives.

This book has events that remind me of several of the original Three Investigators books.  The book has a mummy.  Hugenay is mentioned.  Venice Beach is mentioned.  A jackal scares people, and this reminds me of the dancing devil.  Bob once again works for Sax Sendler, when he hasn't in most of the other German books I have read.  The Jonas family has an unwanted house guest who hears voices, which makes me think of Singing Serpent.

I have grown tired of all of the soccer stories, but this one pleasantly surprised me.  Most of the book has little to do with soccer.  Aside from the soccer scenes, this book is outstanding.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Posts That Unintentionally Offend

The most popular blog posts are the ones that mention eBay and various aspects of buying and selling on eBay.  Invariably, those are the posts that offend people.  There is something that happens when prices are mentioned that gets people worked up.  People get offended when anyone suggests that they have priced something too high.  A post this fall offended a seller.

I had no idea that my post had even a slight chance of offending anyone.  In fact, I usually don't even get a negative response to posts that I consider risky.  Whenever I get a negative response, it is unexpected.  I began that post as follows.
Recently, a collectible Nancy Drew item was put up for sale on eBay at an exorbitant price.  The item is probably worth around $25 to $35 and was priced at $1,500.  The seller stated that money was being raised to pay for medical bills.  Unfortunately, the item will likely not sell for an amount that will help unless the seller gets very lucky.
All I was doing was using an overpriced item to lead into what I wished to discuss, which is what books I would select to sell if I had to sell books quickly to raise funds.  I did not link to the eBay listing, since the point of the post had nothing to do with the listing.

Nevertheless, the seller of the listing became deeply offended and let me know how she felt on Facebook.  She thought I was judging her for listing an item high.  She took offense that I made a statement about how she would need to get lucky for the item to sell.  She chided me, telling me that I had better hope I never needed to raise funds to pay bills.  Er... I think that was the point of my post.  It could happen to me, so I was reflecting about how I would approach the situation.

I was glad that after a couple of hours that the seller came back and deleted her comments.  It was turning into an ugly situation, since another collector posted a comment bluntly critical of the seller after she complained about the blog post on Facebook.  This type of stuff doesn't need to be aired publicly.  I didn't need to know what she paid for the item or anything about her personal issues.  The seller also removed her item from eBay at about the time that she deleted her comments from Facebook.

It's never a good idea to respond to perceived criticism.  I learned several years back after some skirmishes in the comments of this blog that I should ignore any comments that have a critical tone.  I simply do not respond to them.  I said what I wanted in the post, and the reader made a response.  That's it.  There is a reason why many blogs do not allow comments.  I like getting comments when they are not negative, so I continue to allow them.

I do have an upcoming post that I think could offend some people.  If that happens and you are the one offended, remember that it's best not to go into a tirade to tell me off.  In fact, you should just ignore me and consider me an idiot.  It's a very effective technique.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Rick Brant #10 Golden Skull and #11 Wailing Octopus

In Rick Brant #10, The Golden Skull, Rick and Scotty journey to the Philippines with Tony Briotti in search of a golden skull.  The priceless artifact is said to be hidden in the mountains of the Philippines.  Soon after their arrival, the boys find themselves in danger, as others wish to find the golden skull.

Like with some of the other books in this series, the story was a little slow getting started.  The story became very interesting around page 80 and continued all the way to the end of the book.

This book is full of information about the Philippines, which I found interesting.  None of it comes across as a history lesson, which is important.  I do not like travelogue books that devote lots of text to education about the country being visited.  This book imparts information in an engaging fashion without coming across as a school lesson.

I greatly enjoyed this book.

In Rick Brant #11, The Wailing Octopus, Rick, Scotty, Tony, and Zircon travel to the Virgin Islands.  For once, the trip is purely for recreation, although Rick and Scotty hope to unearth a shipwreck and find a golden statue.  The boys encounter Steve Ames in Charlotte Amalie.  Steve asks for their help in getting rid of a man who is shadowing him.  That chance encounter puts the boys in grave danger, and multiple attempts are made on their lives.

This book starts fast without the usual extended expository introduction.  Very quickly, the reader realizes that that Rick and Scotty are in grave danger from the villains, and that knowledge keeps the reader in constant suspense.  I felt tense with expectation the entire time I read this book.  The feeling was very similar to how I felt while reading The Phantom Shark.

The Phantom Shark was my favorite Rick Brant book up to that point.  I like this book even more than The Phantom Shark. This book is close to being a perfect book.  It engaging from start to finish.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Responding to Buyer Questions

I was asked this question about two Three Investigators books.

I know in the description it states something about hinges being cracked and spine slanted. I just want to make sure that these are not on the verge of falling apart when being read and that there are no missing pages.

I answered as follows.
I always check books for missing pages and don't place them up for sale. Books with missing pages are discarded. By "cracked," I mean that there is a slight crack in the hinge; as in, it is showing the early signs of separation. The hinges have not yet split, which is when they are completely separated. A slanted spine is when the spine is not square as it was when new; it is at a slant. This happens in books that have been improperly shelved over the years. Poor quality glue was used when the Three Investigators hardcover books were bound, so the hinges quite often crack or split. I can't guarantee that the hinges won't weaken further when the books are read.
I included the last line because I don't know what will happen when the book is read.  I haven't forgotten the softcover Nancy Drew book that was in one piece when I started reading it.  The book began falling apart as I read it and was in two or three pieces by the time I finished.  It was not good.

I also knew that by including the last line that I was guaranteeing that the buyer would not purchase the books.  I would rather the buyer purchase from someone else who is willing to guarantee what will happen when the books are read.

A couple months ago, I had a buyer take me to task for not including information that they felt should have been included.  Sometimes when I sell books, I am more interested in ridding myself of them than in trying to get top dollar.  I wish to get them off my hands with minimal effort, especially when I know that I will have trouble finding a buyer even at a low price.  For some books, going above and beyond does absolutely no good.  In those cases, I do not necessarily include all information that I might otherwise include.

In particular, when the book has a jacket, I might in some cases decide not to photograph the book without the jacket on it.  I realize that this could bother some prospective buyers.  I also realize that I didn't jump on it when the buyer mentioned the lack of a photo of a Ruth Fielding book; the listing only had a picture of the book with the jacket on it.  Instead of adding the photo, I replied that the book was most likely the final format since the dust jacket was the final format.  My mistake.  I was taken to task for not adding the photo, and it was suggested that using "probably" and "likely" along with the lack of a photo did not inspire confidence.  I added the photo after receiving the response, and I should have added the photo when it was first requested.

I had another buyer ask me about a matte picture cover edition of the Nancy Drew book, The Sky Phantom, that lists to Parchment on the back cover.  The buyer wanted to know if the book has the "multi scene endpapers" and if I had pictures of the endpapers and copyright page.  I also opted not to add photos in that case, either.

First of all, I replied that the description stated that the book has "black and white multi endpapers."  I explained that "black and white multi endpapers" mean the "multi scene endpapers."  I also described the endpapers as having many small scenes of black and white cover art pictures so that the buyer would know that I knew what was meant.

Next, I stated that the copyright page means nothing.  All matte printings with black and white multi endpapers have the same copyright page.  I explained how the back cover list dates the book.  Yes, I could have added photos in slightly more time than it took to type the response, but I believe buyers need to learn how to use a description that actually contains useful information so that they can draw conclusions about what is being sold.

I guess I'm being a rebel about the pictures.

I've been under a lot of stress in recent months, and I've unfortunately been catching one virus after another since the middle of September.  For that reason, I have tried not to spend large amounts of time answering buyer questions and putting up additional photos.  I don't have the patience right now.  That's why I didn't add the photo of the Ruth Fielding book when it was first requested.  That's why I didn't add photos of the Nancy Drew book.  One time in the past year, a buyer had me photograph the names written inside all of my Nancy Drew books with jackets so that she could purchase the ones where the names were neatly written or less obvious.  She ended up buying only a couple, so my time didn't really pay off.  I now wouldn't do that, and I wouldn't be worried about losing the sale.

I am trying to answer questions as briefly as I can.  I may have been curt in a few cases, but I try to avoid that even when replying with brevity.  It does little good to spend large amounts of time answering questions in great detail only to have this happen.  So unfortunately, I may not respond as well to questions as I could since I have spent so much time on them in the past and not felt that it helped.

Right now, I'm all about keeping my stress level down, and I apologize in advance if my listings do not meet your quality expectations.  I am not being sarcastic; this is simply how it is.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

German Three Investigators Hollywood Horrors, Web Phantom, and Pirate's Curse

In Hollywood Horrors, the boys witness someone falling from the Hollywood sign up in the Hollywood hills.  The boys find a talisman that contains a message.  The message was written by Casey Wye, an actress who is now deceased.  The boys feel certain that the message is important and holds a clue to an important secret.

This book did not keep my interest very well, and I was rather bored.  I think this has more to do with my reaction to the story rather than how good the story actually is.

For instance, the book opens with the boys sneaking up to the Hollywood sign, solely because Peter made a bet with another boy on whether he would write his initials on the sign.  That type of behavior is not fitting for the Three Investigators, so the book lost me on the first page.  I did not enjoy it very much.

In Web Phantom, Miss Bennett, the librarian, has disappeared!  The boys fear that she has been the victim of foul play as they search for clues to her whereabouts.

I haven't been noticing the expletives in recent books, and apparently, these later books have fewer or no expletives.

We learn that the library has 4,000 books.  This seems small to me, probably because I own more than 4,000 books.

This book grabbed my attention from the first page.  It reminds me of the original Three Investigators books written by M. V. Carey.  Unfortunately, the book began to lose me halfway through, and from that point, I found it a bit boring.  Later, the book got interesting again.

This book is overall good.

In The Pirate's Curse, the boys' rival, Althena, is in trouble and leaves them her cell phone as a clue.  The boys follow a series of clues found in the photos on the phone and discover that Althena was searching for a pirate's treasure that is reputedly hidden on an island.

This passage from page 40 pays homage to Alfred Hitchcock without ever mentioning his name.
Bob parked his vehicle directly in front of the bungalow with the sign Elivira Zuckerman.  It was up one step and then through a glass door.  The reception room was not occupied.  Justus walked up to a large door and knocked.

"Come in!"

Curious, [the Three Investigators] stepped into the office.  Elvira Zuckerman sat majestically behind a gigantic desk. She stood to greet them. "Mr. Shaw contacted you about us," said Justus. "This is Bob Andrews, here is Mr. Shaw's son, Peter, and I am Justus Jonas."

While Mrs. Zuckerman came over to them, Justus winked at Peter and Bob: a picture of a famous film director hung on the wall. Mrs. Zuckerman caught the look. "An important predecessor and an important role-model. This room was once his office." Justus nodded, smiling.
This book is very good.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Rick Brant #8 Caves of Fear and #9 Stairway to Danger

In Rick Brant #8, The Caves of Fear, Chahda sends a coded telegram to Spindrift Island.  After decoding the message, the boys discover that Chahda is in danger and that he needs their help.  Rick, Scotty, and Zircon travel to Hong Kong to follow the clues that Chahda provided.

While science plays a role as always, I did not find it distracting.  This book has no lengthy descriptions of scientific concepts.

I found this story to be very engaging, especially once the group arrives in Hong Kong.  I read this book much faster than I did the previous book.  The books I enjoy the most are ones that provide adventure without including an overabundance of tedious detail.  This book fit both conditions, so I enjoyed it greatly. 

In Rick Brant #9, Stairway to Danger, the scientists from Spindrift Island are building a robotic bulldozer for the government.  Meanwhile, Jerry and Barby's vehicle is struck by a hit-and-run driver.  Rick and Scotty are determined to find the culprit and soon believe that the culprit is hiding in an amusement park next to the building where the Spindrift scientists are working on the robot.

After Jerry and Barby are struck by the hit-and-run driver, the state police can't help much because they are looking for an escaped convict.  I drew the immediate conclusion that the escaped convict was the hit-and-run driver.  Who else would it be?  Series books are so predictable.

I find the cover art to be lacking.  The author's name is obscured by the background colors.  The villain looks so strange wearing what appears to be a beret.  Rick's pose disturbs me.  His left leg doesn't look right to me.  Last, the Tractosaur, or robotic bulldozer, looks like a funky flying saucer hovering over the ground. 

The climax of the book, which is the scene depicted on the cover, is hilarious.  You could also say that the cover art is unintentionally hilarious.

This book had some lengthy scientific descriptions that were boring to me.  I skimmed through those passages.  Other than those scattered parts, I found the story to be very engaging, and I read the book rather quickly.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

German Three Investigators Pharoah's Message, Black Madonna, and Soccer Mania

In The Pharaoh's Message, Rubbish George has disappeared.  Peter finds a strange message in George's shack.  The message gives clues to a hidden treasure.  The boys travel to Egypt in pursuit of the treasure.

On page 36, a cell phone is locked in a safe at the hotel because Justus does not like cell phones.  I'm not surprised, since the boys tend not to use cell phones in these books.  It's like the authors wanted the books to be similar to the older ones when the boys didn't have phones.

On page 38, a picture reminds Peter "of a good friend."  The man in the picture has a "large, half-bald head, cheeks that drooped..."  Although not mentioned by name, Alfred Hitchcock follows the boys on their adventures in spirit.

This book is very suspenseful and fast-paced.  Although I grew a bit bored towards the end, I still consider the book quite good.

In Black Madonna, the boys are witnesses to an attack on a dealer in a flea market.  As the victim loses consciousness, he asks that the boys find the black Madonna. 

On page 7, the book states that Uncle Titus manages a used car business, but on page 10, the boys are selling junk in a junk stand.  The statement about the used car business had to have been a mistake in the translation.

I enjoyed this book.

In Soccer Mania, Peter trains for a local soccer team.  Meanwhile, a boy asks the Three Investigators to help his grandparents, who are being threatened.  No connection appears to exist between soccer and the threats to the grandparents, but we soon learn that the threats have everything to do with soccer.

Soccer is very popular around the world, so I understand why so many of the books feature soccer.  However, I am getting tired of all of these soccer stories.

I find the cover art disturbing.  The picture is of a soccer ball with insects on it, but to me, it looks like a skull with insects crawling inside and out. 

I overall enjoyed this book, although the parts about soccer bored me.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Rick Brant #6 Phantom Shark and #7 Smuggler's Reef

In Rick Brant #6, The Phantom Shark, Rick, Scotty, and Barby travel on a South Sea voyage with friends of the Brants.  The purpose of the voyage is to survey the ocean in order to find new fishing grounds.  The young people soon learn about the Phantom Shark, a man notorious for hunting pearls and killing anyone who gets in his way.  Rick and Scotty have reason to believe that they have come in contact with the Phantom Shark and that the mysterious stranger is responsible for damage to their boat.

This story has very little to do with science and is instead a mystery and adventure story.  I really enjoyed having Barby come along on the trip and feel that she added another dimension to the story.  This book is the type of adventure story that I really enjoy.  During the entire book, I felt suspense leading up to the ultimate confrontation between Rick and his friends and the Phantom Shark.  For that reason, I read the book pretty quickly, eager to see what would happen next.  I greatly enjoyed this book, and this is my favorite Rick Brant book so far.

In Rick Brant #7, Smugglers' Reef, Rick and Scotty help Jerry as he tracks a story for the newspaper.  Captain Tyler ran his ship aground at Smugglers' Reef, and he claims that he was drunk.  Rick is certain that Tyler is afraid of something and is taking the blame on purpose.  Rick and Scotty believe that Tyler found out about a smuggling operation, so they set out to get proof of their suspicions.

I like the opening line of the book.  " 'Adventure,' Rick Brant said, 'is kind of hard to define, because what may be adventure to one person may be commonplace to another.' "  It's the same with books.  I find that I often respond completely differently to books than how other people did.

On page 4, an electronic mind reader is mentioned.  This caught my eye since one of the later titles in the series is The Electronic Mind Reader.

This book also has very little science in it.

The plot of this book is slow.  By halfway through this book, I felt like the text had really begun to drag and that I was reading a story that seemed like it was 400 pages long rather than slightly more than 200.  The book basically consists of a very detailed investigation into the smuggling, and I felt like the story took too long to develop and way too much detail was given.

Since I was not overwhelmingly thrilled with this book, I sought out reviews online out of curiosity.  I noticed that one person stated that many have compared this book to Ken Holt.  Perhaps that is it.  The comparison was most likely made because Rick and Scotty are acting like reporters, which matches up with Ken and Sandy's roles in the Ken Holt books.  I instead thought about the excessive detail of this book and how it reminds me of Ken Holt, and that detail is what bothered me about the Ken Holt books.

As I continued to read, I grew more and more tired of the book.  It's not that the story was bad; it's that it went on and on so very slowly.  It was realistic how difficult it was for Rick and Scotty to get proof of the smuggling, but it didn't make for a very engaging book.

The plot was weak.  Rick and Scotty were sure that the Kelsos were smuggling, but they had no tangible evidence to support that belief.  I'd hate for someone to decide I'm guilty of a crime just because they see me getting something out of my car at 12 AM.  That's a lot like what happened in this book.

It took me longer to get through this book than it should have.  I couldn't read much at a time because it kept going on and on.  Finally, I finished it.  While the book is overall good and has some really good moments, the story is tiresome. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Rick Brant Website Section and Related Thoughts

I was not planning to add a Rick Brant section to my website.  However, I decided to do it for two reasons.  First, I decided that I could do it with considerably less effort than it took to add the Three Investigators section this summer.  Rick Brant is a shorter series with fewer formats.  Second, I did it because many secondary series like Rick Brant are neglected on the internet.  There used to be an excellent Rick Brant site, but that site is now defunct.  The only way to view it is through the Internet Wayback Machine.  If you don't know how to find it, then you'll never see it. 

Rick Brant Science-Adventure Series

I do have a link to the defunct Rick Brant site down at the bottom of the page.  The section is complete as of right now except for some possible editing of my comments about the series on the main page of the section.  Additionally, I will be rewriting the summary of #24 from what was provided by the publisher.  I am currently reading #23, so I will get to the #24 summary sometime this week.

I created this section rather fast.  I already had the scans of the books, and I just needed to create the section.  I copied another section and changed the text for Rick Brant.  I created the entire section probably the fastest I have ever done, in just a couple of days.  The summaries were the hardest part, since I had to write them so that they were the length I needed to match the images. 

I do proofread by reading the text myself several times over.  Often, website owners get criticized by readers when typos slip through, and sometimes readers assume that everyone relies on a spell checker.  Not so.  While the HTML editor does underline possible typos in red, it won't let me know when I have typed a wrong word that is correctly spelled.  Those errors can only be spotted by reading the text over and over.  Many of them can slip by through repeated readings since the mind automatically reads the word as what was intended.

For instance, I finally noticed that I had typed "certainly" when I meant to type "certainty."  At a glance, the word looked like what I meant, but I finally spotted the one incorrect letter.  Elsewhere, I had typed "fisherman" instead of "fishermen" and kept reading it as "fishermen."  Finally, I realized that I needed to change one letter.  If I hadn't made that change, someone might have thought that I didn't know the difference between singular and plural.

I proofread the same way for this blog.  The blog editor does mark misspelled words, but it doesn't know when I have typed the wrong word spelled correctly.  Most of these posts get read six or more times by me before they get published.

Don't get too excited expecting for me to add more sections to my website.  I might, since I have now added two this year, but then again, I might not.  I can't promise anything, but if I do add another section, it will be done impulsively and fast.  I do feel more inclined to do so than I did this summer.  I really had to force myself to create the Three Investigators section, and it was grueling.  I had motivational issues, especially because I hadn't added a section in five years.  Doing Rick Brant was a breeze by comparison, but I'll just have to see how I feel after I start reading my next new series.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

German Three Investigators Evil Games and Ghost Train

In Evil Games, Justus awakens locked inside a room with a young man he has never seen before.  Meanwhile, Peter wakes up in a room separate from Justus.  A woman is locked up with Peter.  Nobody can remember what happened. 

Bob returns from a trip and discovers that both Justus and Peter are missing.  Justus' aunt and uncle are frantic with worry.  Bob's friend, Jelena, helps him investigate.

This book contains mild expletives.

I wasn't sure about this book at the very beginning.  Justus and Peter are prisoners in separate locked rooms, and each of them is locked up with someone they don't know.  The opening scene reads like a dream.  I was skeptical about the book, because I dislike extended dream sequences.  I want to know what is really happening and consider dreams a waste of time.  As I continued to read, I gradually realized that the boys really were prisoners.

Bob's friend, Jelena, uses a wheelchair.  On pages 62 and 63, she creates a distraction so that Bob can escape from an apartment.
"And I'm here to collect signatures.  It certainly hasn't escaped you that the elevator in your building is in catastrophic condition.  For someone in a wheelchair it is next to impossible to enter without help from strangers.  The Society for the Elimination of Life-Impeding Injustices for the Physically Impaired Citizens of West Hollywood, abbreviated S.E.L.I.I.P.I.C.W.H., of which I am the chairman and only current member, has taken on the task of combatting [sic] these scandalous conditions.  You can become a member at no cost and in turn receive the society's quarterly newsletter.  However, a small donation would also assist the society.  The Elimination of Life-Impeding Injustices for the Physically Impaired Citizens of West Hollywood impacts everyone, you too."
On page 75, another book in the German Three Investigators series is mentioned, and this is one of the books that was translated into English.  After that book was mentioned, I began to realize part of what was going on in this book.  The tie-in is great.

Once I determined that Justus and Peter's imprisonment was real, I found this book to be fascinating and read it in less than one day.  The story is very suspenseful, and the book is outstanding.

In The Mystery of the Ghost Train, Justus, Peter, and Bob travel on an old train to the Harrowville Railroad Museum.  The museum has been plagued with problems and is closing.  The owner has offered to give Titus Jones first pick at purchasing the museum's items.  Uncle Titus is unable to make the trip, so the boys go in his place.

The boys' train ride is plagued with problems, and they discover firsthand that the train tunnel through the mountains is haunted.  The boys suspect that someone has forced the museum to close, and they plan to investigate.

This book contains mild expletives.

A boy who works as a conductor on the train is named Fred Jenkins.  This amused me, since I couldn't help thinking of Fred Jenkins from the Nancy Drew book, The Phantom of Pine Hill.

The boys use different colors of chalk in this book just like in the original series.

This book is very engaging.  Finding the treasure is important, because quite a few people need help.

This book is comparable to the original Three Investigators books, and is just like those books in atmosphere and story.  This book is outstanding.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Rick Brant #4 100 Fathoms Under and #5 Whispering Box Mystery

In Rick Brant #4, 100 Fathoms Under, the Brants, Scotty, and the scientists travel to Hawaii on an expedition to explore a temple that is at the bottom of the ocean.  They will use their creation, the Submobile, for the exploration.  Rick quickly becomes suspicious of the captain of the ship, Turk, who alternates between friendly and sullen.  A strange Japanese man is found to be lurking near the ship, and Rick worries about sabotage.

This book has several derogatory terms including Jap, Nip, gooks, and yellow ape.  This isn't surprising since the book was published right after World War II.  The book also contains some very crude threats, including one where a man threatens to cut out another man's tongue.

Some of the banter between Chahda and Scotty gets on my nerves.  This is the sort of thing that occurs in boys' series that is not much to my liking.

I was temporarily bored a number of times during the descriptions of the Submobile and its parts as they worked on it.  I had to skim some of it.  I also found my mind wandering at times while I was reading the first half of the book.  The book doesn't get to the point until halfway through, when the Submobile is finally taken down underwater to the temple.  From that point on, the book is quite interesting.

The first half of the book is overall good although I was bored at times, and the second half is very good.

In Rick Brant #5, The Whispering Box Mystery, Rick is peeved because Hartson Brant and the scientists won't let him know about their current project.  Finally, Rick and Scotty are told a little bit about a whispering box used by villains to help them gain access to classified information.  The boys are sent to Washington, D.C. to help create a device to counter the effect of the whispering box . 

This book reads like a spy novel with lots of action and intrigue.  The reader is kept guessing at to what the villains' true motive is.  The book flows well and is interesting. I did find a few chase scenes to be a little long for my taste.  Towards the last few chapters, I grew tired of the story and was eager to finish.  That aside, I enjoyed this book.

Monday, December 1, 2014

German Three Investigators Poisoned E-Mail, Dangerous Quiz Show, and Canyon of Demons

In Poisoned E-Mail, Mrs. Baker was attacked by jellyfish while diving near Rocky Beach.  She is now traumatized, because her computer is infected with a virus that has filled the screen with images of jellyfish.  Both the Three Investigators and Santa Monica detective Dick Perry were called about the case, and Mrs. Baker ultimately gives the case to Perry.  Undaunted, the Three Investigators decide to try to solve the case before Perry.

This book contains expletives.

On page 9, the titles of several Hitchcock movies are mentioned, and on page 76, a man is said to look like he could be Alfred Hitchcock's brother.

In the German books, the ghost-to-ghost hookup is called a "phone avalanche."  In this book, the Three Investigators instead use an "e-mail avalanche."  The boys have adapted to modern times!

It took me a bit longer to get through this book.  The story dragged for me, and I felt like events were not progressing fast enough or in a very interesting fashion.  I began skimming the book during the last 30 or more pages.

In Dangerous Quiz Show, Justus won a contest and will appear as a contestant on a quiz show on television. Upon his arrival, host Nick Nobel behaves like a desperate man.  He pulls Justus aside and tells him that his daughter has been kidnapped.  Justus must answer riddles supplied by the kidnappers while live on the air, or else Clarissa may not ever return home.

Morton makes an appearance.  Morton is the name given to Worthington in the German books.  It is explained that Morton's service with the Rolls Royce was won in a contest for a period of 30 days, which was later extended by a thankful client.  The Three Investigators do not wish to take advantage of the offer, so they only ask for Morton's services occasionally. 

This story has mild expletives.

I enjoyed this story.

In Canyon of Demons, Ewan Donovan's beloved horse is stolen while at a horse show.  The Three Investigators take the case and soon learn that the horse may carry a clue to a hidden treasure.

Native Americans are referred to as "redskins" all through this book.  The story contains mild expletives.

While I enjoyed this story, I suspect that the quality was impacted when the story was condensed for the English translation.  The original German text is probably better.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Rick Brant #1 Rocket's Shadow, #2 Lost City, and #3 Sea Gold

In Rick Brant #1, The Rocket's Shadow, the scientists at Spindrift Island plan to launch a rocket to the moon.  If they are the first to do so, then they will win a $2 million dollar grant.  Rick soon suspects that someone on the island is sabotaging the project.

I like how the book is fast-paced and doesn't get hung up on minute details.  Yes, Ken Holt, I'm thinking about you.  Predictably, Rick and Scotty are captured, but it doesn't take forever for them to get free.  As in, Rick and Scotty get to the point much faster than Ken and Sandy usually do.

As expected, I didn't care that much about the rocket or certain parts of the plot.  However, I still enjoyed the story.  I like the setting of Spindrift Island and found this to be an enjoyable book.

In Rick Brant #2, The Lost City, Rick goes on an expedition to Tibet along with Scotty and two of the scientists.  The plan is to bounce a message from Spindrift Island to the moon and then down to Tibet.  Soon after Rick, Scotty, and the scientists depart, they realize that someone is trying to sabotage the mission.

On page 24, Scotty cleans his rifle and says "maybe I'll get a shot at a wild goat, or maybe a panda."  How times have changed.  Nowadays, a children's book wouldn't have a character talking about shooting a panda, since pandas are endangered.

I enjoyed this book more than I did the first book.  This book has less science, which helped.  The plot progresses nicely and is interesting. 

In Rick Brant #3, Sea Gold, Rick and Scotty take jobs at a plant that will harvest minerals from the ocean.  The fishermen from a nearby town are opposed to the plant, believing that it will harm fishing.  The plant has been plagued by problems, and it is apparent that someone is sabotaging it.

There was a bit too much science in this book for my taste.  I skimmed some of it, because I didn't understand it at all.  Towards the end, I understood how the electrodes would collect the metal since I have seen that in action, but the more technical aspects made no sense to me.

Some of the fight and chase scenes towards the end were a little too much as well.  Otherwise, I enjoyed the story.  The second half of the book is quite suspenseful and fast-paced.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

German Three Investigators Curse of the Cell Phone and Mysterious Testament

In The Curse of the Cell Phone, several children disappear, leaving behind their cell phones.  The phones are not ordinary cell phones; each phone has a ringtone that is a witch's cackle and has special features, including one where the user gets shocked.  When one boy is found locked in a cage, he swears that a witch attacked him.  The Three Investigators are certain that some connection exists between the strange events and the cell phone company.

This book features a transgender character.  I do mean someone who is truly transgender and not as part of a deception.  It's not a significant part of the story, and I only mention it because it isn't typical of a series book.

The book may possibly have had an expletive, but if so, I didn't make note of it.

I enjoyed this story.

In Mysterious Testament, the boys learn that the art thief, Hugenay, has died when they receive a letter sent after Hugenay's death.  In the letter, Hugenay informs the boys that he hid several paintings worth millions of dollars.  Since Hugenay had no heirs, he decided to give the Three Investigators a chance to find the paintings.  Hugenay's letter contains a riddle.  Meanwhile, Justus takes an immediate liking to a girl named Brittany, but he soon learns that Brittany has a serious problem.

This book has a bit of a twist, because Justus decides to do something illegal in order to help someone else.  As in, Justus decides to do something very illegal. I would be spoiling the story if I were to be more specific, but suffice it to say that this book is a bit unusual.

This book contains no expletives.

Hitchcock is mentioned on page 10. 

In this book, the boys solve a puzzle just like they do in the early books by Robert Arthur.

Even though this book is abridged, it is very good.  It's quick to read, but very well written.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Deciding What to Read Next

When I finished reading the Three Investigators German books in late September, I had to decide what to read next.  I spent approximately four months reading through the original series, the Crimebusters books, and the German books.  I was not at a loss as to what to read next, unlike when I finished reading through all of the Nancy Drew books.  I knew exactly what I would read next.

I first tackled some young adult novels,  I read the conclusion to Tracey Ward's two zombie apocalypse series, and then I read the follow-up book to Christine Kersey's Parallel Trilogy.  Finally, I read The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey, which I did not enjoy as much as I should have.  Parts of the plot of this series parallel some current world events a bit too much.  

After I finished The Infinite Sea, I still had two other young adult dystopian series that I needed to revisit so that I could read the recently released titles.  I always skim or reread the previous books in a series to refresh my memory before purchasing the new book.  I tried reading one book again and was not interested at all.  This was a book that I really enjoyed last year and had been looking forward to the conclusion, but I found that I didn't care at all.  I thought about trying another book that I read last year, but the idea of reading it was too unappealing.  I finally decided that now is not the time to read any additional young adult dystopian novels.  I don't have it in me.

I normally love these books, but I'm having trouble enjoying them right now.  The problem is that current world events are quite unsettling, and reading about the destruction of the world in a dystopian novel is not that enjoyable to me right now.  Furthermore, I have been under a bit of stress since the middle of summer.  Right now, I need to read books that serve as a complete escape from current events, which means that I need to stick to vintage series books.  Reading the Three Investigators series was a necessary escape, and I need something like that again.

As I've stated, I don't like boys' series books that much.  However, with very little thought, I knew exactly what I wanted to read.  I wanted to read some books that I hadn't read before, so I decided to read the Rick Brant series.  This decision was actually a bit bizarre since I have never had the slightest desire to read the Rick Brant books.

I had most of Rick Brant #1-21 on hand.  I started #1 and decided after a few chapters that I definitely wanted to move forward with reading Rick Brant regardless of how much I ended up liking the first book.  This was even more bizarre since I don't usually make such a rash decision, especially regarding a boys' series.  Inexplicably, I knew I wanted to read them and would enjoy them, despite how I normally feel about boys' series.

I purchased a few missing volumes to complete my run of #1-21.  Purchasing #22-24 was not a consideration, since I was not willing to pay $350 or more per book.  I quickly found PDF files of #22 and 23 online, so that gave me copies of all stories except for #24.  A few days later I was able to acquire a PDF of #24, so I had all of the books in some format.

After I finish Rick Brant, I will probably choose to read another series that I have never read before.  The top candidates are Biff Brewster and Cherry Ames since I own complete sets of both series.  When I tried reading Biff Brewster before, I only made it through the first book and half of the second book.  Since I am in the middle of reading boys' books, I might be more accepting of Biff Brewster this time.  I am also considering reading Ken Holt again to see how it compares to Rick Brant, and reading the Hardy Boys series again is still something I wish to accomplish in the next year.

Friday, November 21, 2014

German Three Investigators The Haunted Ship and Valley of Horror

In The Haunted Ship, the book opens with Peter and Kelly fighting as they drive after dark on a road near the shore.  Suddenly, a woman jumps out in front of them, insisting that they come down to the beach to see something.  The woman is terrified after seeing a ghost ship.  Peter tells the boys what happened, so they launch an investigation.

On page 15, we learn that the boys get to use the trailer in exchange for doing chores in junkyard.  The trailer is not a secret in these books.

I noticed that the units of measurement are in the British system, where yards is used instead of meters.  One of the previous books used meters.  Yards is more appropriate than meters for a book said to be in American English.

This book contains several expletives including sh**.  The expletives are used quite sparingly.

This book is outstanding and is comparable to many of the books from the original Three Investigators series.

In Valley of Horror, Ms. Sullivan asks the boys for help.  She drove through the Valley of Horror, but she can remember nothing.  All she knows is that she saw an Indian wearing a mask, and then she woke up the next morning.  She has bad dreams with images of events that might have happened to her in the Valley of Horror.  Ms. Sullivan is terrified.  The boys soon learn of other victims, so they decide to drive through the Valley of Horror late at night.

This book contains expletives including sh**, bull****, and s***less.  The expletives are used sparingly.

On pages 121 and 122, someone is described in such a way that I believe we are supposed to think of Alfred Hitchcock.

This book is outstanding and is also very much like an original Three Investigators book.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Dilemma of Free Shipping

I mentioned recently how some buyers ask for a shipping discount for multiple items purchased even when shipping is stated as free.  I explained that I have only partially included the shipping in my prices, so buyers have already received a discount on the first item even though they don't know it.  This means that I lose when only one item is purchased.  When two or three items are purchased together, I break even.

I changed to free shipping when I had a buyer leave a low DSR on shipping cost, since she didn't like that the shipping cost was higher than the price of the cheap book.  I couldn't risk additional low DSRs in cases like that.

It was suggested on my recent post that I consider charging a small shipping fee, like $2.00, on each item instead of having free shipping.  That is a good idea.  I have thought about it, but there is still a drawback.

eBay gives my items a boost in the Best Match search due to the free shipping.  When I changed my items over to free shipping, I noticed that my sales immediately increased.  While the increase in sales could be just a coincidence, I tend to think that a link exists.  I don't want to lose that boost in Best Match.

I next thought about having a shipping charge on just some items, which would be the low-priced items where I always take the greatest loss.  That would work, but it can cause a problem.  The last time I had a mixture of items with and without free shipping, I had buyers purchase a mixture of both types.  That meant that I felt compelled to refund at least most of the $3.95 charge for the item that didn't have free shipping.  I try to avoid having to refund overages, especially since eBay and PayPal track how many refunds sellers send, regardless of the reason.

I decided to stick with free shipping on all items on eBay for now.  Sometime soon, I might try charging for shipping again on all items just to see what happens, but I don't feel like messing with it at this point in time.

Remember that I offer books on both eBay and Bonanza.  I do have different books for sale on each site, and lately, I have made it a point to put certain special books on Bonanza instead of on eBay.

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

Jennifer's Series Books on Bonanza

You can follow me on Facebook.

Jennifer's Series Books on Facebook

Monday, November 17, 2014

German Three Investigators Soccer Gangsters and Hidden Fouls

In the German Three Investigators series, the Three Investigators are known as "Die drei ???".  "Die drei ???" are Justus Jonas, Peter Shaw, and Bob Andrews.  The boys retain their personalities from the original American Three Investigators series.  Justus is the brain and is overweight.  Peter is athletic but is easily scared.  Bob is good at research.

In Soccer Gangsters, Justus' cousin James arrives in Rocky Beach.  James plans to play soccer at a local school.  The boys become aware of a possible conspiracy involving soccer and have reason to believe that James' school is involved.

This is one of the German books that was first condensed and then translated into English.  The end result is awful, so awful that I have great doubt as to whether the original unabridged German version is that good.

On page 11, James agrees to be called "Jimboy" by the Jonas family because that's what they called him when they saw him many years before.  James doesn't go by "Jimboy" and is now grown, but he is immediately fine with his new name.  This is bizarre.

In this book, Bob's girlfriend is Elizabeth, and Peter's girlfriend is Kelly.  Both girls are from the Crimebusters series.  Justus' girlfriend is Lys de Kirk, who is an actress.  I infer that Lys is Qute from the last Crimebusters book. At least Lys is a better name than Qute.

On page 17, Justus decides that he can afford to eat cherry pie "since he had slimmed down lately because of his girlfriend, Lys, and all the exercise he'd been getting."  Is it just me, or...?

The transitions were quite awkward because too much text was removed when the book was condensed.  For instance, on page 21 Justus is talking to Bob in the trailer, and then almost immediately, Peter and Bob ride into the salvage yard on their bicycles.  I was confused because I thought Bob was already there.  Apparently he left and time passed, and that part of the text was removed.

We learn that Justus plans to become a lawyer.  This fits.

This book is not good, and I did not like it.

In Hidden Fouls, a German soccer team has come to Rocky Beach to play.  Peter plays on the Rocky Beach team, and the two teams compete.  Someone is sabotaging the German team, pitting the coaches and players against each other. 

The author mentions Robert Arthur on page 57, Alfred Hitchcock on page 88, and William Arden on page 111.  Nice!

With just a little polishing, this story would be as good as one of the original Three Investigators books.  There are a few typos and word usage problems.  A few sentences here and there make no sense.  Since the purpose of the book is to teach English and expand vocabulary, some words chosen to use are very awkward.  Take this quote from page 55:  "Most importantly: paws off of private property!"  That's the kind of awkward I mean.  "Paws off" is in bold print, so it is one of the vocabulary terms.

I enjoyed this book.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The German Three Investigators Series

The 43 original Three Investigators books and the 11 Crimebusters books, as well as the unpublished manuscripts for Crimebusters #12 and #13, were translated into German and published in Germany.  Additionally, over 100 new Three Investigators stories have been written and published in Germany.  23 of those books have been translated from German into English and published as school books for German students to help them learn English.

Here is a list of the translated stories in the order they fit into the German chronology.  There are many German books that fit in between these books, so these stories are just a small sample of what has been published in the German language.  For those of us who cannot read German, they give us an opportunity to read some of the German stories. The titles marked in green are the abridged softcover books.  The rest of the books are hardcover.

Soccer Gangsters, 1995, by B. J. Henkel-Waidhofer, translated by Patricia Wolf
Hidden Fouls, 1998, by Ben Nevis, translated by Melissa Morrow    
The Haunted Ship, 2000, by André Marx, translated by C. Vivien Arnold
Valley of Horror, 2001, by Ben Nevis, translated by C. Vivien Arnold 
The Curse of the Cell Phone, 2001, by André Minninger, translated by Andreas Zantop
Mysterious Testament, 2002, by André Marx, translated by Anneli Jefferson
Poisoned E-mail, 2002, by Ben Nevis, translated by Andreas Zantop 
Dangerous Quiz Show, 2003, by Marco Sonnleitner, translated by Patricia Wolf  
Canyon of Demons, 2003, by Marco Sonnleitner, translated by Verena Bremer  
Evil Games, 2005, by André Marx, translated by Chris Huber
The Mystery of the Ghost Train, 2005, by Astrid Vollenbruch, translated by C. Vivien Arnold 
Soccer Mania, 2005, by Marco Sonnleitner, translated by Andreas Zantop 
The Pharaoh's Message, 2006, Ben Nevis, translated by Chris Huber
Black Madonna, 2006, by Astrid Vollenbruch, translated by Marion Charles    
Hollywood Horrors, 2006, by Astrid Vollenbruch, translated by Chris Huber
Web Phantom, 2006, by Astrid Vollenbruch, translated by Chris Huber
The Pirate's Curse, 2007, by Ben Nevis, translated by Melissa Morrow    
Ghost Village, 2007, by André Marx, translated by Chris Huber
Soccer Trap, 2008, by Marco Sonnleitner, translated by Chris Huber
Vampire City, 2008, by Marco Sonnleitner, translated by Marion Charles    
Arctic Adventure, 2008, by Kari Erlhoff, translated by Anneli Jefferson  
Bite of the Beast, 2009, by Kari Erlhoff, translated by Brian Melican   
Master of Death, 2010, by Kari Erlhoff, translated by John Dalbey

The books can be purchased from the AbeBooks, Amazon's UK site, and Amazon's German site.  Ordering from Amazon's German site is similar to the US site, which helps with the process.  The button used to get to one's account is in the same place on the screen, and a buyer can use one's existing email and password.  While making my way through checkout, I ran some portions of text through an online translator to make certain that I did not make a mistake.

At the time that I purchased the books, I was able to get the best prices from AbeBooks for a few of the books.  Amazon's German site was slightly less expensive than Amazon's UK site due to the currency exchange rates at the time that I made my orders.  That may or may not be the case now.

Running a search by the English title and the author's name is helpful.  Searching for "Die drei ???" on Amazon's UK and German sites will yield multiple results at once.  On the UK site, the results can then be sorted into English versions only.

The books will end up costing between $10 and $20 each.

I will be publishing reviews of the German books.  Many of the books have expletives, which are used sparingly.  I will make note of whether the expletives are mild or not-so-mild, in case anyone is interested in purchasing the books for a child.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Selling Books to Raise Funds Quickly

Recently, a collectible Nancy Drew item was put up for sale on eBay at an exorbitant price.  The item is probably worth around $25 to $35 and was priced at $1,500.  The seller stated that money was being raised to pay for medical bills.  Unfortunately, the item will likely not sell for an amount that will help unless the seller gets very lucky.

This started me thinking about what items I might sell if I were ever in a position to need to raise funds quickly.  The fastest approach would be to sell my most valuable books, but those are not books I wish to sell since I would never find replacements.  I feel that the best approach is instead to sell lots of books that are not of great value that could always be replaced without an incredible amount of trouble.  Ideally, these books should be ones that are not of great importance to me that I don't think about very often.  And of course the books would need to be sold at current market value so that they would sell quickly.

At least half of my collection is double-shelved behind other books.  The books that are of less importance are the ones I cannot see that are hidden behind the books that I can see.  I do not see the hidden books more than once or twice per year, so I could let go of many of them very easily.  All of the books seen in the following photos are some of the books that are shelved behind others.




I don't care much for the white spine Dana Girls books, so I would sell them if necessary.  I could sell my Whitman books with jackets and my Kay Tracey picture cover books.  I do have a habit of selling books as I tire of them, and some of these books are ones that I have considered selling, which means I would have no trouble selling them if I needed to raise funds.

I could also sell the rest of my Melody Lane books.  I don't like them very much.  I have already sold my assorted Lilian Garis books, because I doubt I will ever read the stories.  I don't keep collectible books that I will never read.  I only keep the ones that I have read or believe that I will read someday. 

I don't like the Nancy Drew Diary that much.


I only have the white one because it was in with some other books that I purchased on eBay.  I have never cared about it and have considered selling it several times.

I have a lot of duplicates of the Nancy Drew books with internals.  Some of those could go.

I don't care much for autographed items, and I am probably one of the few collectors who feels that way.  I have already sold some autographed items.

I am currently selling some Mildred Wirt Benson documents that I purchased 5 1/2 years ago.  This is not to raise money.  I purchased the documents for the information contained within, and a PDF copy of each document is all that I need.  It is true that Benson owned and handled the documents, but that sort of thing doesn't matter much to me.  I regard the documents the same way that I regard autographed items, and I have begun selling what items I own that fall into that category.  They are great items, but it is best if they go to those who care more than I do.

The auctions can be found on eBay and close on November 16.

What items would you sell if you needed the money?   

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Three Investigators Crimebusters #9 Foul Play, #10 Long Shot, and #11 Fatal Error

In the Three Investigators Crimebusters #9, Foul Play, accidents plague the set of a local musical.  George Brandon asks the boys to discover who is sending him threats and trying to harm him.

This book grabbed me immediately.  I notice that I seem to like the Crimebusters books better when Bob is not present.  He's useless.  All he does in this series is hang out with girls and work for the talent agency.  He is also a bit obnoxious.  Bob's characterization bothers me a great deal.  I was able to accept Nancy Drew as clumsy in the Girl Detective series, perhaps because I found the situations to be amusing.  Bob's antics don't amuse me.  They just seem so wrong.

This book is outstanding.

In the Three Investigators Crimebusters #10, Long Shot, Pete is approached by the coach of a local college, who tries to recruit him to play basketball.  Later, Pete is offered a large sum of money to come play for the school.  The Three Investigators work to discover exactly who is behind the scheme.

I greatly enjoyed this book.

In the Three Investigators #11, Fatal Error, a computer virus has stricken most of the computers in Rocky Beach.  The boys track the virus to a computer programmer and then to a special-effects studio.  They learn that the company was the target of the virus and that they have been ordered to pay a large sum of money in order to get the effects of the virus reversed.

Jupiter appears to have found a girlfriend in this book, but why does she have to have a name like Qute den Zorn?

I enjoyed this book.

I overall enjoyed the Three Investigators Crimebusters series and would have greatly enjoyed the series if some major changes had not been made.  The books were made to be too boyish with names of karate moves and automobiles sprinkled generously throughout the texts.  Boring!  Bob's character was destroyed.  I have no problem with the boys having girlfriends, but Bob was given lots of girlfriends and an endless charm that, quite frankly, was highly obnoxious.

I also did not appreciate that Jupiter was made to be afraid of girls.  It would have been more logical for Bob to have retained his original characterization and for him to have been afraid of girls.  Jupiter has always been self-confident and portrayed as an excellent actor, so I find his inability to behave normally around girls to be difficult to stomach.

When I wrote my summary of the Nancy Drew Girl Detective series, I mentioned that a publisher should not change a premise.  I was able to accept the changed premise of the Girl Detective series because I found it amusing.  I did not find the changed premise of the Three Investigators Crimebusters series to be amusing.  While I was able to enjoy the books, I also found them sorely lacking.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Nancy Drew Diaries #7 The Phantom of Nantucket

In Nancy Drew Diaries #7, The Phantom of Nantucket, Nancy, Bess, and George visit Nantucket Island in Massachusetts.  Their friend, Jenna, has an exhibit opening at the museum, but the exhibit is being sabotaged!  Nancy tries to find the saboteur.

This is another of the typical Simon and Schuster sabotage mysteries, of which most modern Nancy Drew mysteries seem to be.  This book reminds me of the Nancy Drew Digest book, The Secret Lost at Sea, which centered around a museum in Connecticut that was being sabotaged.

George is more excited about food than Bess.  I still don't get the George thing with food.  At least quantities are not mentioned, so I will assume that while George loves to eat that she doesn't eat incredibly large amounts like in the first books in this series.  At least I hope not.

Even though this is the typical sabotage mystery, I enjoyed it.  I guessed the culprit rather early in the story.  I have noticed a trend in the Nancy Drew Diaries books where the stories tend to take unexpected turns.  I knew exactly who the culprit was by keeping that in mind along with noting some obvious clues that were presented early in the text.

This is an enjoyable book.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Three Investigators Crimebusters #6 Thriller Diller, #7 Reel Trouble, and #8 Shoot the Works

In the Three Investigators Crimebusters #6, Thriller Diller, actor Diller Rourke disappears while filming his latest movie.  Pete decides to solve the case by himself, and when he fails, he finally tells Jupe and Bob about the actor's disappearance. 

I suppose that the book is interesting enough, but I don't care for it a great deal.  I find it odd that Pete wants to solve a case on his own to prove himself.  The series is trying to bring in some conflict that doesn't need to be there.  The Three Investigators have always been a team, and messing with that formula is just wrong.  It is annoying.

In the Three Investigators #7, Reel Trouble, the boys work on a case involving the piracy of compact discs.  Meanwhile, Bob is busy helping a new band, the Hula Whoops, make it big.

I had trouble getting into this book due to the subject.  I quickly associated this book with Nancy Drew Digest books that contain too many characters, in particular, The Riddle of the Ruby Gazelle, which had a band with members I couldn't keep straight.  In this book, I couldn't remember all of the members of the Hula Whoops, nor did I care. Significant text was devoted to the Hula Whoops and the soap opera-esque romance between two of the members.  It was so boring!

This book has too many villains.  I skimmed the last few chapters so that I could move on.

In the Three Investigators Crimebusters #8, Shoot the Works, the boys become interested in paintball.  While playing paintball, a brief conversation is overheard, and the boys draw the conclusion that a robbery is being planned.

This book has way too many characters that are introduced way too quickly.  I gave up trying to keep them straight and plowed through the book, little caring about all of these people I couldn't keep straight. 

The boys' suspects are people who take paintball very seriously, and how they feel about paintball seems to be the major reason they end up suspects.  Um, I have a newsflash.  People who are interested in a particular recreational activity do tend to take it seriously.  That does not necessarily make them criminals.

The books now contain too much boy stuff.  What was so great about the original Three Investigators series is that it was not loaded with overtly boyish activities and language.  This series has a completely different premise, and that is the problem.

On page 32, Jupe recites the names all the paintball players they met and gives the names of their teams, which, by the way, is not that relevant.  Pete protests, "Give me a break!  I can't remember all that!"  Exactly.  That's what is wrong with this entire book.

On page 80, Bob whips out his pocket photocopier so that he can make a copy of a map.  Oh, that splendid 1990s' technology!  This struck me funny.

The book was good once I got more than halfway through.  However, I don't consider the book to be overall good since I had so much trouble with the first half of the book.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Nancy Drew Game: Labyrinth of Lies

In the Nancy Drew game, Labyrinth of Lies, Nancy Drew has been asked to investigate the disappearance of artifacts from a museum in Greece.  One of the performers in a Greek drama that is being performed in an amphitheater nearby might be involved.

A free download to the strategy guide is included with purchases of the game from Her Interactive's website.  My strategy guide had a typo in it that caused one puzzle not to be solvable.  I have heard varied reports about whether all of the strategy guides were affected.  Some people have stated that their guides are fine.

The mistake has to do with a puzzle that involves names that have to be entered in Greek characters.   A name given in the guide as "ΓPHΓOP" should instead be "ΓPIΓOP."

I found most of the puzzles in this game to be to my particular liking, which enhanced my enjoyment of the game.  How much I like the puzzles varies from game to game, and I was pleased that the puzzles matched my abilities.

The game flows quite well from event to event, and I did not have much difficultly advancing in the game.  There is something about the ending of the game that is interesting and a little different from other games. 

This game is a solidly good game and falls into the upper one-third of Her Interactive's Nancy Drew games.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Three Investigators Crimebusters #3 Rough Stuff, #4 Funny Business, and #5 An Ear for Danger

In the Three Investigators Crimebusters #3, Rough Stuff, the Three Investigators travel by plane with Mr. Andrews to a remote lake.  While in an unpopulated area, the plane crashes, stranding the travelers.  The situation worsens when Mr. Andrews disappears, and people begin shooting at the boys from inside the woods.

This is the kind of book I really like.  Since the boys are isolated from other people, Bob is not surrounded by his usual entourage of girls.  This story comes close to being similar to the original series.

This book is outstanding.

In the Three Investigators Crimebusters #4, Funny Business, the Three Investigators attend a comic book convention hoping to sell some valuable comics.  Many of the comics get stolen, and the boys begin an investigation.  Soon they learn that the thievery is but a small part of the crime.

On page 18, the Three Investigators discover that their old business cards are considered collectible by a comic book dealer.

On page 21 one person comments that people ruin collecting by selling comics for high prices.  I have heard this same statement from series book collectors about series book prices.

A few negative comments are made about comic book fans, for instance saying that they are fat.  Perhaps lots of comic book fans are fat, but lots of people in the general population are fat these days.  Statements are also made about collectors being weird and crazy.  On page 42, Jupiter adds, "And I don't think it helps that what they collect is something as childish as comic books."  I know enough about comic books to be aware that many have subject content that is far from childish.

I enjoyed this book.

In the Three Investigators Crimebusters #5, An Ear for Danger, Jupiter wins a free trip to a ranch in Mexico.  The contest was suspicious, and Jupiter suspects that more is at play.  Bob and Pete travel with Jupiter to Mexico, where they learn that someone is after a hidden treasure.

Jupe has yet another new diet.  I think he needs Hector Sebastian's cook, Don.  If Jupe had to deal with Don's cooking, he wouldn't have any trouble losing weight.  Speaking of Don and Hector Sebastian, Jupiter calls Sebastian on page 39.  

Just like in Rough Stuff, the boys are in an environment that does not include Bob's endless parade of girls and the other stupidity brought forth in this series.  With those qualities absent, the book is much more enjoyable than the others.

This book is outstanding.