Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Spooksville #22 The Creepy Creature, #23 Phone Fear, and #24 The Witch's Gift

In Spooksville #22, The Creepy Creature, Cindy and Bryce are hiking in the woods when a big blob attacks Bryce, and then eats him. The blob then disappears.  Cindy tells the others that Bryce is dead, but later, Bryce reappears.

Bryce is acting very strange, but the others cannot figure out what is wrong.  The children's quest to find out what is wrong with Bryce takes them to another world where they learn of a battle between two enemy forces. The children return home, thinking that all is well, but they soon learn that an unwelcome presence has returned with them.

This is another very creative story.

This is a very good book.

In Spooksville #23, Phone Fear, the residents of Spooksville are receiving creepy phone calls from someone with a mechanical voice.  The caller, known as Neernitt, makes demands, and if the recipient does not comply, they are attacked immediately.

Later, the children realize what Neernitt really is, and that he is truly everywhere all at once. The children end up held hostage in Watch's house, forced to follow Neernitt's orders. Can they escape?

This book ties in with the previous title in the series and also has a highly creative plot. This is an excellent story.

In Spooksville #24, The Witch's Gift, Ann Templeton is leaving Spooksville forever. Before she leaves, she allows each child to make a wish, which will be granted the next morning.  The only stipulation is that each child cannot reveal their wish to any of the others. By the events that occur, children are able to guess each other's wishes, even though none of them have been actually revealed.  The wishes don't make them as happy as they expect, and the wishes have unforeseen consequences.

This is the final book in the series.  Pike made Bum the mayor again at the end of the story, so he had to have known that this would be the last title.  My only regret is that we never learned why Watch doesn't have a last name and why he lives alone.

Spooksville is a good series, and I enjoyed it.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Christopher Pike The Visitor and The Starlight Crystal

In The Visitor, Mary's boyfriend, Jerry, is dead because of a stupid decision that Mary and Jerry made.  At a party, Mary and some friends hold a seance hoping to contact Jerry's spirit.  A spirit answers, and the responses sound sinister. Later, an alien spaceship hovers in the sky over Mary's house.  Mary then gets the chance to bring Jerry back to life.

If this book had been written in Pike's typical style, I might have enjoyed it.  Instead, Pike adopted R. L. Stine's style for this book and used short, choppy sentences all through the book.

The book is formatted in an odd fashion with lots of very short chapters, probably in an effort to take up space.  Additionally, the book consists of very long seance scenes with short answers that also serve to take up space.

The ending of the book is annoying and goes in a circle.  It has no conclusion.  The epilogue is an earlier part of the book repeated almost verbatim but from a different point of view.  Pike used every shortcut imaginable to fill lots of pages with content that is not interesting.

I feel like Pike wrote this book very fast in order to meet a deadline, but get this:  Pike actually likes The Visitor.  In Christopher Pike's Tales of Terror #2, Pike states, "Virtually none of my readers enjoyed The Visitor, but it is on my top-five list."  At least Pike likes it.

I would never read this book again.  I love crazy Pike plots, but I can't stand this one.

In The Starlight Crystal, Paige Christian will be traveling on a spaceship that will circle the solar system at near light speed.  Each day on the spaceship will be like 10 years on Earth.  Paige will be gone for 200 years, yet she will age only slightly.

Right before Paige is to depart, she falls in love with Tem.  Tem won't be on the spaceship, so he will be long dead by the time she returns to Earth. Even worse, something goes wrong during the journey, and Paige ends up billions of years in the future.

The Starlight Crystal is fast-paced with no lengthy descriptions.

I read this book quickly due to the high suspense. The story has lots of time travel, with Paige looping back through time.  The story doesn't really make sense.  I gave up trying to understand, but in spite of that, the book is good.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Spooksville #19 Night of the Vampire, #20 The Dangerous Quest, and #21 The Living Dead

In Spooksville #19, Night of the Vampire, Ted, a student from school, stumbles onto the tennis court as Adam and his friends play tennis.  Ted passes out and appears to have lost a lot of blood.  Ted has neck wounds, and Watch suspects that Ted has been bitten by a vampire.

Watch's suspicions is correct, and the children learn that the people of Spooksville are rapidly being turned into vampires.  Can the children find a way to destroy the vampires?

I enjoyed this book.

The high-numbered Spooksville books are extremely hard to find.  The first two books shown in this post are from the United Kingdom.  I had to order them from the UK due to the scarcity of the books.

In Spooksville #20, The Dangerous Quest, a mysterious stranger shows up in Spooksville and uses a spell to infect Watch with a deadly disease.  Watch will die, unless the children can reverse the spell.  Sally, Adam, and Watch use the Secret Path to follow the stranger.  In the end, the children discover that someone must die, regardless of what they do.

The ending of this book ties in with a previous title in the series.  These books towards the end of this series are very creative.

This is an excellent story.

In Spooksville #21, The Living Dead, skeletons rise from their graves in the town cemetery.  The skeletons are after Watch, because they feel that Watch has cheated death.  The children will be required to time travel in order to try to outsmart the Grim Reaper.  Can they do it?

This book ties in with two previous books in the series.  All of the stories that tie in with other books are stronger, since they have more meaning.

This is a very good book.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Nancy Drew Book Club Editions with a Possible Anomaly

I purchased a bulk lot of Nancy Drew books which arrived today.  The books are a mixture of early picture cover books with some book club edition picture covers.  This is what I received, which have not been placed in order.

The books are generally in nice shape, although some are in rough condition.  The books smell like new books.  They smell quite nice, so they must have been kept somewhere that prevented the books from taking on an old book smell.  This is quite unusual for books that are 45 to 55 years old.

I love purchasing bulk lots, because this is how I have acquired most of my printing anomalies.  As I pull the books from the box, I always check each book for anything that appears different.  One copy of Blackwood Hall has the Tandy art matched with the revised text.  I already have one, but this one is much nicer.  I will have to keep both my copy and the new one, since my copy is an earlier printing even though in worse shape.

The lot also contains a Ski Jump PC where the red on the front cover doesn't look right, similar to the one pictured in this post.  I will have to compare the two books to see how different they are.

The lot contains quite a few of the Nancy Drew book club edition picture cover books. Most of them are in pretty nice shape.  I will have to make certain that none of them are better than my copies.  I still have just a few that need to be upgraded.

As I looked at the book club editions, I suddenly realized that four of them have ink on the top edge.  This is quite strange.

My first thought was that some text blocks for the regular edition were bound in the book club edition bindings.  However, all four state "Book Club Edition" on the title page, so that doesn't explain it.

My next thought, which is the most likely explanation, is that the original owner colored the top page edges with marker.  I set out to prove that this is the case, since it just about has to be the explanation.

I found my Nancy Drew book where I know that someone colored the top page edges with marker.  That book has smudges all through the book near the top edge that were caused from the marker application.

The above book is the book from this post.  By the way, the seller of the above book always uses marker on the books she sells.  I wish she didn't do that.

Back to today's book club editions.  The four books show no sign of smudging like the above book.  I then looked at the top edge of each fore edge to see how much ink has bled down.  They have a small amount.  I decided to compare them to other early picture cover books in my possession that did not come from this lot.  In the below picture, the four book club editions with ink on the top edge are the four books at the left.  The remaining six books are regular editions that are early picture cover books. Hollow Oak was placed on top to force the camera to focus.

Some of the six books to the right actually have slightly more ink bleeding down than the four book club editions do.

My results are inconclusive, but I found no evidence to indicate that the owner used marker on those four books.  On the other hand, I have to assume that marker was carefully applied even though the top edges look identical to the regular editions with ink on them.  However, if marker was applied, the person who did it managed to match the color exactly.

Here is one last photo, showing the four book club editions to the left and four regular editions to the right.  If the ones on the left were colored on top by hand by someone, they did an awful good job of making the books look like they came from the bindery that way.

Have any of you ever found Nancy Drew book club edition picture cover books that have ink on the top edge?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Christopher Pike The Midnight Club and The Lost Mind

In The Midnight Club, Rotterham is a hospice for teenagers who have fatal illnesses.  A small group of teens in the hospice form the Midnight Club. They meet nightly and tell each other scary and crazy stories.  The teens experience love and loss as each one awaits the end.

The cover art and synopsis of this book are completely misleading.  The cover art shows extremely attractive, healthy teens, but in the story, the teens are near death and look quite sick.  The synopsis makes the book sound like a horror novel, but it is not that at all.  This is a thoughtful novel about teens who are facing death and must come to terms with it.  The story is also quite depressing.  After all, every character will die.

In Christopher Pike's Tales of Terror #2, Pike remarks, "I still don't understand why my publishers put scary covers on my books.  Once I would like to see a beautiful painting under my name."

That would have been more appropriate for this particular book, but it probably would have sold fewer copies.

From page 106:
"Mary had been really popular at school, but lost it.  The year before she was a cheerleader and had every guy in school asking her out.  But at the end of the year she was at a party and got real drunk.  Driving home in her father's huge semi, she smashed into a car holding six guys from the football team—including the quarterback—and wasted them all."

"Wait a second," Ilonka said.  "Her father loaned her his semi to go to a party?"

"Exactly," Spence said.  "He knew about his daughter's drinking.  He figured if she crashed into something in his semi she wouldn't get hurt. And she didn't get a scratch, although she did destroy the heart of the football team.
Even though the story is in very bad taste, I had to laugh at the absurdity of Mary driving a semi to a party.

For me, this is a below average Christopher Pike book, mainly because it depressed me.

In The Lost Mind, Jenny wakes up in the woods next to a dead girl.  She can't remember anything and has no idea who killed the girl. Jenny worries that she might have done it. Jenny finds a car nearby and in it her driver's license. She still can't remember anything, but at least she is able to find her way home.

The body in the woods turns out to be Jenny's best friend, and Jenny is the prime suspect for her murder.  Jenny still can't remember anything, but she must find a way to defend herself against a charge of murder for which she hopes she is not guilty.

This is a pretty good book.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Spooksville #17 The Thing in the Closet and #18 Attack of the Killer Crabs

In Spooksville #17, The Thing in the Closet, Cindy is afraid of her closet.  She wakes up at night, fearful of what might be inside the closet.  One night, she sees a strange green glow coming from behind the closet door, which is slightly ajar.  The second time that Cindy sees the light, she calls Adam, who races over to help.  When Adam arrives, Cindy has disappeared.  The children devise a scheme that will allow them to follow Cindy and hopefully save her.

I think we can all relate to the idea of being afraid of what lurks behind a slightly open door at night in a dark room.  I prefer my closet door to be shut.  There is something about an open door...

I enjoyed this book.

In Spooksville #18, Attack of the Killer Crabs, huge crabs that are forty feet in diameter come ashore near Spooksville, destroying everything in their path.  Bum, of course, knows all about the nearby underwater city inhabited by the ancient race of Lemurians. Bum believes that the Lemurians have sent the giant crabs on shore.  The children must find a way to get down to the underwater city so that they can talk sense into the Lemurians.

I love how Bum, who is the town's resident homeless person, knows all about the supernatural creatures that live in the area.

I greatly enjoyed both books.

I feel like the higher-numbered titles in the series are the more creative ones, and it's a shame that these titles have not been reprinted.  Strangely Simon and Schuster has only reprinted the first half of the series, and the first half is easier to find in the original editions.  Publishers always reprint the books that are easier to find, presumably because those titles sold more copies.  They fail to understand that the later titles are the ones in greater need of being reprinted.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Nancy Drew Reporter Lobby Card

I do not go to antique shops or estate sales very often these days.  The reason is that these days I tire easily and cannot tolerate going many places.  It's just no longer any fun at all.  I'd rather sit at my computer and browse online listings.  I do try to skim the estate sale pictures just in case, but I will only attend a sale if it is in my immediate vicinity or if I see something extremely good in one of the photos.

This afternoon I decided to skim the estate sale photos, and I actually hoped that I wouldn't see anything of interest, since I had no desire to go to any sales this weekend. I scanned the photos quite quickly, only looking for photos of books and ignoring everything else.  The books I saw were of no interest.  And then I paused while scrolling one page of photos, because I had seen something.  I did not know what I had seen, but I knew something had grabbed my attention.  I scrolled back up and found the following photo.

Most of you are probably just like me in that you can sense an item of interest in a glance without consciously processing what was seen.  Somehow, I spotted the Nancy Drew lobby card in a flash, and I was only looking for books.

I then discovered that the sale was in progress, and I assumed that it had started this morning around 4 1/2 hours before.  Was it even worth bothering?  My expectation was that the lobby card would be gone, but I decided that I needed to go just in case, even though the sale was 15 miles away.  I immediately got in the car and left.  When I arrived, I discovered that the sale had started only 50 minutes before and that people were still waiting to get inside. This meant that there was a chance that the lobby card was still there.  I added my name to the list and had to wait 30 minutes to get inside.

Once inside, I went from room to room trying to locate the lobby cards.  I couldn't find them and assumed they had sold.  On a second trip through one room, one of the people running the sale was explaining something to a customer and mentioned Nancy Drew.  Just my luck.  I stood there waiting, hoping that the card I wanted was not going to be selected.  The customer put the lobby cards down, and I picked them up, removing the Nancy Drew lobby card from the sleeve that contained the lobby cards.

Have you ever noticed that people always make a big deal about seeing Nancy Drew on anything?  Shortly after I picked up the Nancy Drew lobby card, an employee wrote up my ticket.  She made a point of saying, "Nancy Drew!"  They always say it with a lilt to their voice.  Have you noticed that?  I am glad that everyone has nice memories of Nancy Drew, but at the same time, I wish my primary interest were a bit less likely to attract attention, especially when I am about to purchase something priced at below value.

Here are two photos of the lobby card, one with the camera flash and one without.

I have never been very interested in purchasing the memorabilia associated with the Bonita Granville Nancy Drew films.  I also am not interested in the memorabilia associated with the television series of the late 1970s.  My focus has always been on the actual books more than anything else.

I have never even purchased the reproduction lobby cards.  It's just not an interest.  I have always thought that I would never own anything associated with the Bonita Granville Nancy Drew films unless I got really lucky one day and found something inexpensively.  And so it finally happened.

I am not going to divulge exactly what I paid, since I could always decide at some point to sell the lobby card.  For now, I will keep it and will most likely frame it and hang it on the wall.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Christopher Pike The Immortal and The Wicked Heart

In The Immortal, Josie vacations in Greece with her father, his girlfriend, and her best friend, Helen.  Josie doesn't get along with her father's girlfriend, and quite often, she doesn't get along with Helen.  Helen wants Josie to stay away from a boy she likes, so Josie meets him privately, gaining his affection.  Later, Josie ends up alone on a sacred island.  She finds an ancient statue of a goddess, which she decides to keep and smuggle out of Greece.  Too late, Josie learns that someone is trying to kill her.

Doesn't Josie sound like a lovely person?  She's awful, and Helen is just as bad.  It's hard to enjoy a book when the protagonists are unlikable, horrible people.  The story is also boring.

I found an old bookmark of mine between pages 96 and 97.   During a reading of this book years ago, I obviously lost interest and quit.  I don't know if that occurred the first time I read the book or upon attempting to read it again.  I remember just about nothing about the story, and I have no idea if I had read the last part of the book before.

This is not a good book.

In The Wicked Heart, Dusty Shame is a high school student and a serial killer.  He has killed three teenage girls already, and a voice in his head compels him to continue killing.  Dusty has to kill to silence the voice, but then the voice starts back up, causing him to continue killing girls.

When Dusty kills Sheila Hardholt's best friend, Sheila begins looking for clues to the identity of the serial killer.  Little does Sheila know that her lab partner, Dusty, is the killer.

On page 79, "Dusty Shame sat in his car down the street from Wendy Bart's house and contemplated dark deeds."  This description makes me think of Dexter.

This is a creepy book.  Near the beginning is the scene in which Dusty kills Sheila's best friend.  It is quite disturbing and bothered me more than it did as a teen.  I have experienced events since then that have changed my perspective and reading about a serial killer actually killing someone is unsettling.

This is a very good book.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Reduced Prices in eBay Store

I just reduced prices on many of the books in the following categories of my eBay store: Billie Bradley, National Park Mysteries, Judy Bolton, Connie Blair, Cherry Ames, and Dana Girls. Some of the books have been reduced sharply because I have had them for sale for at least two years. I am hoping to move some of them out so that I can list other books.

The promotion "Extra 10% off when you buy 2 or more" has been made active again. Make sure you have at least two items in your shopping cart when you check out so that the offer will be activated.

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

I have also listed some new books on both eBay and Etsy.

Jennifer's Series Books on Etsy

A coupon code is present on the main page of my Etsy shop.  Use it when you checkout to receive that discount.

I have a large number of Spanish, French, and Italian Three Investigators books for sale in the following Facebook group.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Sppoksville #14 The Evil House, #15 Invasion of the No-Ones, and #16 Time Terror

In Spooksville #14, The Evil House, on Halloween night the children are out trick-or-treating when Adam decides that he wants to check out Evil House.  The others insist that no one who has entered Evil House has ever come back out, but Adam won't back down. The children enter Evil House, find a stairway to the basement, and become trapped in a carnival full of all of the people who have ever entered Evil House.

In this mysterious place, everyone has become the character their costume represents.  Unfortunately, Bryce and Sally are dressed as vampires, and they want to drink the blood of their friends.  Can Adam find a way out before someone gets killed?

This is a very good book that is quite suspenseful.

In Spooksville #15, Invasion of the No-Ones, strange balls of light appear near Spooksville. The children's new friend, Tira, seems to lead them to the balls of light.  Adam is touched by one of the balls.  Adam appears to be okay, except that he insists that nothing has happened, like the ball of light never touched him.  The others fear that Adam has been changed somehow.  Even more concerning, Tira suddenly disappears.  Will the others be attacked by the balls of light?

I greatly enjoyed this book.

In Spooksville #16, Time Terror, Adam and his friends find a strange toy in the alley near the movie theater.  The children touch the toy and are sent back in time.  Watch figures out what happened and gets them back to the present.  Sally decides to take the toy home, and she uses it with Adam.  The other children are forced to find a way to help Sally and Adam make it back to the present.

This is a good book.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Christopher Pike Road to Nowhere and The Eternal Enemy

In Road to Nowhere, Teresa is running away from home.  She picks up two hitchhikers, Poppy Corn and Freedom Jack.  Poppy and Jack alternate telling Teresa the story of Candy and John while Teresa tells them her own sad story. The various stories take up most of the text of the book.  In the end, the stories end up becoming a strange moral tale.

This was a book that I never read years ago since it was published during the time that I began to lose interest in Pike's books.

It is hard to remember this story weeks after reading it because the entire story is so convoluted.

I enjoyed the ending.

In The Eternal Enemy, Rela has purchased a new VCR.  She sets the VCR to record a movie, but it instead records the news—the future news.  Rela learns about future deaths, and she cannot help but try to prevent them.  She then learns of her own murder and must try to prevent it from happening.

I did read this book years ago, and at that time, it was not dated.  It now is, because the book is full of culture references that date it tremendously, including VCRs that cost $300-400 and Blockbuster Video.

This is another crazy Pike book, especially crazy for the 1990s, since it involves time-traveling robots that were once humans.  The idea of humans becoming robots is less far-fetched now than it was 20 years ago, since technology has advanced greatly in recent years.

I enjoyed this book.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Spooksville #11 The Deadly Past, #12 The Hidden Beast, and #13 Creature in the Teacher

In Spooksville #11, The Deadly Past,  a doorway from 60 million years ago opens in the hills near Spooksville.  A pterodactyl enters Spooksville and takes Cindy back to its nest.

The children soon learn that a war is raging between two groups of aliens, and that one group has opened the doorway in an attempt to destroy the world.  The other children must find a way to defeat the aliens, rescue Cindy, and close the doorway to the past before it is too late!

Aliens show up in these books rather often.

I enjoyed this book.

In Spooksville #12, The Hidden Beast, Bryce's cousin, Leah, brings the children a treasure map.  They agree to help her find the treasure, even though some of the children have doubts about Leah and her motive. After all, Leah seems to have all the answers even though she claims not to understand the directions to the treasure.

Too late, the children realize that they should have been more careful.  The hunt for treasure unleashes a deadly creature that plans to destroy Spooksville.

This is a good book.

In Spookville #13, Creature in the Teacher, the children return to school after summer break.  The children suspect that their new science teacher, Mr. Snakol, is eating the lab animals.  After a new student named George disappears after meeting with Mr. Snakol, the children fear that Mr. Snakol has killed him.

Of course this all ends up having to do with aliens.  That's just a given in Pike's world.

The blurb on the front cover cracks me up:

"Their teacher was not normal."

I remember thinking that about my teachers quite a few times.

I enjoyed this book.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Christopher Pike Master of Murder and Monster

In Master of Murder, Marvin Summer is a famous writer of teen horror books.  He writes under the pseudonym, Mack Slate.  None of Marvin's classmates has any idea that their favorite writer is a student at their school.  Marvin enjoys picking up his fan mail each day, but his joy turns to fear when he opens a letter that states, "I KNOW WHO YOU ARE."  The letter was sent from Marvin's town.

Marvin soon realizes that events in his town are mimicked by events that he wrote in his current series, Mystery of Silver Lake.  Or is it the other way around?  Mack Slate's hit series is coming true in real life.

Mystery of Silver Lake is a great series name.

Master of Murder is so delightfully screwed up. The characters are all crazy and make absolutely horrible decisions.  This is a fun book.

Fans of this book will want to read both of Pike's Tales of Terror books.  Each one contains a Marvin Summer story.

In Monster, Angela Warner is horrified when her best friend, Mary Carlson, rushes into a party with a gun and begins killing people.  Angela helps the police stop Mary as Mary pursues her boyfriend, Jim.  After Mary is arrested, Angela asks her what happened.  Mary tells an unbelievable story of how several football players and cheerleaders have turned into monsters. They eat other people.

Mary warns Angela to stay away from Jim, because he is one of the monsters.  Angela believes none of it, and she immediately begins dating Jim.  What a smart girl.

Of course the reader knows that everything Mary says must be true and that Angela is an idiot.

Angela has a friend named Kevin Christopher, whose name strangely changes later in the book. That aside, Kevin Christopher is an interesting name for Christopher Pike to use in one of his books, since Pike's real name is Kevin Christopher McFadden.

This is an excellent book and is similar to modern young adult dystopian novels.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Spooksville #9 The Wishing Stone and #10 The Wicked Cat

In Spooksville #9, The Wishing Stone, Sally finds a black hand sticking out of a rock. The hand is holding a cube-shaped stone.  Sally decides to take the stone.  Look, if I saw a hand holding a cube while sticking out of a rock, I certainly wouldn't remove the cube from the hand.  I'd probably run the other way, especially if my town were constantly under attack by magical creatures.

Anyway, Sally accidentally discovers that any wish she makes comes true while she holds the stone.  Suddenly, the children have everything they could ever want, until the evil debt collector arrives.  The children are destined to be slaves on a distant planet for the rest of their lives.  Ouch.

I enjoyed this book.

In Spooksville #10, The Wicked Cat, the children encounter a beautiful black cat in the woods.  Sally takes a fancy to the cat, although the others sense that the cat is not normal.  The children fight about the cat, and Sally goes home with it.

The next day, a new girl named Jessie acts like she already knows Adam, Watch, and Cindy.  Jessie knows everything that happened to them the previous day.  And Sally is nowhere to be seen.  Jessie also has curious habits, like licking her fingers then rubbing her arms.  Hmm.

Adam, Watch, and Cindy figure out that Sally has been turned into a cat while the black cat has turned into Jessie.  Poor Sally does not make a very attractive cat.

This book is pretty funny.  I greatly enjoyed it.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Christopher Pike Die Softly and Bury Me Deep

In Die Softly, Herb wants to photograph the cheerleaders while they take their showers in the locker room.  He sets up his camera, which is attached to a VCR and a timer.  A girl dies the next day, and when Herb views his tape, he sees someone about to attack the girl on his tape.

This is a really screwed-up story.  Pike can come up with some real doozies.  I won't say anything else since it spoils the plot.

I can't say that this is one of Pike's better stories, but it does deliver in terms of sheer craziness. The teens in this book are definitely crazy and behave in the most absurd fashion.  Where does Pike come up with this stuff?

In Bury Me Deep, Jean meets Mike on the airplane while she flies to Hawaii.  He sits next to her and tells her about the trip he won. But then he gasps for air and dies on the plane.  After Jean debarks, she learns that Mike has been dead for a month and apparently was not on the plane.  Jean later realizes that Mike was murdered while on his vacation to Hawaii and that he is reaching out to her from beyond the grave in hopes that she will find his killer.

This book reads like a murder mystery except that the clues come from the spirit of the deceased.

The cover art is excessively stupid.  Why does the tombstone just say "MIKE"?

I enjoyed this book.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Loss of Enthusiasm for Facebook and Online Interaction

I have lost much of my enthusiasm for the Facebook series book groups, for my own Facebook page, and even for this blog.  This is because of people who tease, ask overly inquisitive questions, fail to read carefully, make assumptions, make thinly concealed catty comments, bait others with controversial topics, fail to follow group rules, and so on.  The examples given in this post concern specific situations that have involved me and do not cover all situations that I have witnessed.

Normally, I don't allow this behavior to bother me, but I have been especially busy and tired for most of the last year, which has weakened my emotional strength.   I will regain my enthusiasm at some point, but for now, I have a low tolerance for much of the behavior that I see online.  This has caused me not to post as much specific information on my Facebook page, Jennifer's Series Books, so that I can avoid seeing comments that might bother me.  I also do not find the series book groups on Facebook to be as much fun as they once were, and for the reasons I have already mentioned.

Last year, I was making regular updates about my reading progress on my Facebook page.  I had set a goal to read 300 books.  After several comments that expressed utter disbelief or that asked how on earth it was possible to read that much, I began to feel like I was viewed as abnormal.  I know that nothing is wrong with me, but I can't help how I feel sometimes after reading some of the comments.  So I quit updating my 2016 progress for the most part.  I have only given one update for 2017, which was my total for January.  Since then, I have not revealed how many books I have read, because I no longer enjoy sharing that information.

I have been getting an increasing number of comments about how much room my books must take up, and I'll confess that the tone of some of them has bothered me. Some people apparently think my house is full of books and nothing else, and they crack jokes about how many shelves I must have.  I don't like being teased.

Let's clear something up.  Yes, I have around 6,000 books in my collection.  I probably own an additional 2,000 books.  They are in three rooms, not everywhere.  Series books are small books.  They are not textbooks, and they are not huge.  They don't take up much space.  Many of my books are softcover, which take up even less space. Most of the books are double-shelved.  It's amazing how many books can be placed on one shelf.

Some of you must be under the impression that I keep everything I read forever. Actually, I sell books after I read them if I don't like them enough to want to read them again.  I built a set of Phyllis Whitney books in 2015, since other collectors find her books to be excellent.  I overall enjoyed them, but not enough to want to read any of them ever again.  I put the books up for sale, and most of them are now gone.

I sold my set of Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers books.  They are gone, freeing that shelf space for more recent arrivals.  My Nancy Drew On Campus set is currently up for sale, and I'm sure it will be gone before too long.

I got rid of all of my duplicate Ruth Fielding, Betty Gordon, and Billie Bradley books, keeping just one of each title.  I have sold my Whitman movie star books.  (By the way, some of you may have just read the first sentence in this paragraph and thought that I sold all of my books from those series.  I find most people skim everything online and miss the real meaning.  It's so frustrating, and I wonder why I bother to write anything!)

The pace at which my collection is growing is less than what others assume.  I get rid of lots of books, and I do it all the time.  I shouldn't have to explain this.  That I sell books should make it apparent that I don't keep everything.

Let's cover some assumptions.  I was organizing my books and published a photo. The following photo is not the exact photo, but it was of this portion of my shelves.

Someone assumed that I only collect hardcover books because only hardcover books are in the photo.  Never did I say that the photo was of all of my books, yet someone made that assumption.

Another time, I photographed some of my Nancy Drew Wanderer hardcover editions.

Someone immediately asked if they could purchase some of the books and wanted to know how much they would cost.  They just knew (or so they thought) that I had to be selling some of them since the library stickers are still present on some of them and that there is no way that I would have left the library stickers on books that I am keeping.

Actually, some of the library stickers are underneath the laminate and cannot be removed.  Second, on the day that a book arrives, I may not feel like spending five to ten minutes picking away at a library sticker that is affixed to the book with monster adhesive.  Some library stickers are almost impossible to remove, so I leave them instead of struggling with them.

I have never been in the habit of showcasing books that I plan to sell.  This is because those books are shelved in a disorganized fashion.  I also think it is far more interesting to showcase my collection than showcase a bunch of random books.  But for whatever reason, people will make their assumptions.

Over a year ago I happened to read four different series books in the same month that had the same very specific theme.  It was purely coincidental and rather unlikely that it would ever happen randomly.  I photographed the four books and put the photo on my Facebook page.  Someone immediately commented that I forgot one and mentioned another series book with that theme.  Never did I say that my photo was of every series book with that theme.  I stated that the photo was of books I had read in the last month. I certainly did not forget one of the books I had read in the last month.

I put some books up for sale on Facebook.  I wrote a short statement summarizing what would be seen in photos. Someone apparently barely looked at what I wrote and thought I was selling completely different books.  Let's say that my short statement was "Nancy Drew Picture Covers and Trixie Belden Library Editions."  I was asked to provide photos of the Nancy Drew Library Editions that I had for sale.  I also had a second person shoot off a question at the same time asking about the prices, when I had placed the prices on sticky notes on every book in every photo.

It's a bit disheartening to see how much of what I write is completely misunderstood. Again, I do wonder why I bother.  Facebook has seriously caused me to question my own communication skills.  Each time I get questions or comments like the examples I have given, I have gone back and read what I wrote to try to see if I had caused any of the confusion.

Finally, I grow so weary of rules violations in the Facebook groups. I have stated multiple times that members should never post anything having to do with religion and politics.  I have also stated that altered book covers with religious or political content are never okay.  The reason is simple:  We do not all share the same religious or political beliefs, and those two topics always cause trouble.

So, a political post shows up in one of our Facebook groups at least once every six months.  Most members do not see the posts, since we manage to get each one pulled down within 30 minutes.  The political post is typically a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys book cover that has been altered by a media organization to include political commentary.  Each time I see one of these posts in a group in which I am a moderator, I feel like I have just been attacked.  I am not kidding.  It causes me great stress when I see one of these posts, because I have to make a decision.

Facebook has become a very nasty place.  The comments on news stories and on personal Facebook walls are horrible, especially concerning politics.  Allowing even the slightest mention of politics to occur in the group opens the door to that nastiness spilling over into the group.  It cannot be permitted.

I become very stressed when I see the post because it always causes trouble regardless of how I react.  Strangely, I am considered at fault when I didn't make the post, but that is how Facebook groups work.  Blame the moderators for everything.

If I were to leave the post, then some people would be angry that I left it.  Leaving the post condones it, and the half of the group that is on the opposite side will be offended. Almost certainly, an unpleasant political discussion will ensue.  Since I can't have that, I have to delete the post, which is what I always do.  The result is that the person who made the post becomes upset because they feel that I should not have deleted their political post, even though the rules have always stated that political posts are forbidden.  Some people have actually left the group after their political post was deleted.

All posts that mention current politicians or that link to videos containing those politicians must be deleted from the groups.  The reason is the same as given above. No matter which side is represented in the post, we can be certain that half of the group's members are on the other side.

I will admit that I have had a few moments in the last year in which I have actually regretted that I ever created any Facebook groups.  If I had known in 2013 what I know now, I might not have ever created a Facebook group.  Running a group is stressful and a great responsibility, which I don't take lightly.  I will protect the group at all cost, even if someone feels wounded that their post disappeared.  It's unfortunate that some series book enthusiasts now dislike me because of my protection of the group.

You can see why I have lost my enthusiasm.

Monday, May 22, 2017

13 More Nancy Drew Digest Hardcover Books Left to Find

In November in my post, "Building a Set of Hardcover Nancy Drew Digest Books," I wrote of my quest to acquire the complete set of Nancy Drew Digest books, #57-175, in hardcover editions.  In November I had acquired 12 more titles to bring the number needed down to just 14 more books.

Today I acquired the lowest-numbered title that I needed, #109 The Mystery of the Masked Rider.  I really appreciate everyone who doesn't check eBay well and lets me get these books when they show up.  There is a reason why I continue to tell people that they should always search eBay everyday.  You never know what might show up.

Now I need just 13 more hardcover Nancy Drew Digest books.

114. The Search for the Silver Persian, 1993
115. The Suspect in the Smoke, 1993
122. The Message in the Haunted Mansion, 1994
123. The Clue on the Silver Screen, 1995
130. The Sign of the Falcon, 1996
145. The Missing Horse Mystery, 1998
148. On the Trail of Trouble, 1999
158. The Curse of the Black Cat, 2001
160. The Clue on the Crystal Dove, 2001
168. The Bike Tour Mystery, 2002
169. The Mistletoe Mystery, 2002
170. No Strings Attached, 2003
175. Werewolf in a Winter Wonderland, 2003

I have been very skeptical of whether I can acquire #175 in a hardcover binding.  The final titles of any series are always harder to find in library bindings.  However, I have recently acquired Hardy Boys #190 in a hardcover library binding, along with some other very high-numbered titles.  #190 was the final Hardy Boys Digest book.

If the final Hardy Boys Digest book exists in hardcover, then I have hope that the final Nancy Drew Digest book also exists in hardcover.

I concluded my November post with the following statement.  "Keeping in mind that this recent transaction is an anomaly, my present acquisition rate of just one or two per year means that I cannot expect my set to be complete for at least another seven years.  I am not sure that I will complete the set, but I am ever hopeful and enjoy the process."

I noted my acquisition rate at "one or two per year."  After that November acquisition, it took six months for me to find the next title that I needed.  More than likely, I will have to wait for around another six months before I find the next one.  

Spooksville #7 The Dark Corner and #8 The Little People

In Spooksville #7, The Dark Corner, Sally tells the others about a boy named Bryce who uses the Secret Path to fight against all of the evil creatures of the world.  Sally finally convinces the others to come to the entrance to the Secret Path where they find Bryce's backpack.  Sally admits that she is worried about Bryce.  Cindy decides to stay behind while the other three enter the Secret Path. Adam, Sally, and Watch find themselves trapped in a horrible place.  Will they ever get home?

The back cover synopsis is completely wrong. It states that Bum told them about a fun place in the Secret Path, so the children enter the path.  Bum has nothing to do with their decision!

This is a very good book.

In Spooksville #8, The Little People, the children go on a picnic in the woods.  Their belongings are stolen by leprechauns. The children find Pan as they search for the leprechauns.  Pan was tricked into gambling away his world to an evil magician and is now stuck on Earth.  The children go with Pan to his world to help him reclaim it.

I enjoyed this book.  However, I enjoy the ones set on Earth with magical creatures more than I do any of the books that are set in other worlds.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Christopher Pike See You Later, Witch, and Whisper of Death

In See You Later, Mark is a successful computer game writer.  He meets Becky, who works at the record store.  He strikes up a friendship with Becky, but Becky has a boyfriend, Ray.  Later, Mark meets Vincent and Kara, who live in a nearby mansion.  While Vincent encourages Mark with his computer games, Kara insists that Mark pursue a relationship with Becky.  Kara deliberately interferes with Becky's relationship to make certain that Mark has a chance with Becky. Why does Kara care so much about whether they get together?

On page 25, we learn that Vincent has an extremely good computer with one megabyte of RAM.  Oh, it's that wonderful technology of the 1990s.  One megabyte.

This is one of those books that did not hold up well for me.  I did not like it as much as I did years ago.  It's still pretty good, however.

In Witch, Julia has the ability to heal others. Julia's mother was a witch.  Her mother warned her never to look into water that has moonlight shining on it.  Unfortunately, Julia accidentally does just that and sees an unpleasant vision of the future, which puts her life in jeopardy.

While I enjoyed this book, I did not like it as much as I once did.

In Whisper of Death, Pepper takes his girlfriend, Roxanne, to a nearby town to have an abortion. During the procedure, the doctor leaves the room and does not return.  Roxanne finally leaves, and she and Pepper are the only people around.

Roxanne and Pepper return to their own town, and the town is empty.  Finally, they find three other teens in town.  The teens realize that they are all connected to a girl who killed herself, and that the girl wrote stories about them.  The teens find the stories and soon realize that the stories are destined to come true.

This book is a lot like current young adult dystopian fiction.  The story is very creepy with the teens being picked off one by one.  I had read this book before, but I couldn't remember anything about it.  My experience ended up being like I was reading the book for the first time.

The book is excellent up until the end, when it quits making sense.  The ending is left open. After I read some reviews and thought about the story some more, I then understood better.  The story does make sense and is actually quite clever.

This is an excellent book.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Spooksville #5 The Cold People and #6 The Witch's Revenge

In Spooksville #5, The Cold People, the four children come across blocks of ice out in the woods in the middle of summer.  Watch decides to thaw one out.  What could possibly  go wrong?  A frozen zombie man comes to life and changes Watch into one of them.  Soon, all of the blocks have been thawed, and Spooksville is overrun by the cold people, who are determined to make everyone just like them.

Spooky!  This story is very similar to a zombie story, even though the cold people are technically not zombies.

On page 97, "Ten minutes after saying goodbye to Adam and Sally, Cindy and Bum began to feel guilty about not doing more to help their friends.  At least Cindy felt guilty. She didn't know if guilt was an emotion Bum allowed himself to experience."

This book is excellent.

In Spooksville #6, The Witch's Revenge, Adam, Watch, Sally, and Cindy decide to visit Ann Templeton in her castle.  Once inside, the four children find necklaces labeled IMMORTALITY, STRENGTH, MATURITY, and BEAUTY.  Each child chooses one necklace and puts it on.  The children find that the necklaces do give them exactly what was promised, but at the same time, they learn that they are now trapped inside the castle. Ann Templeton tells them that this is a test and that they must find their way out on their own.

I greatly enjoyed this story.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Christopher Pike The Remember Me Trilogy

The Remember Me books were published in 1989, 1994, and 1995.  I read Remember Me when it was first published and definitely read it more than once.  I did not recall anything about Remember Me 2 and had no memory of having ever read it.  However, I owned it, so I knew I had read it at least once.  I did not own Remember Me 3, so I never read it.

In Remember Me, Shari Cooper is dead.  Shari tells the reader the story of her death and how she figured out the identity of her killer.

The first half of the book did not hold up well for me.  As I read the book this time, I decided that I would have preferred for the beginning of the book to have been written in a different fashion.  I think that the story would have had greater impact if the reader had not known that Shari was already dead and would have realized that Shari was dead at the same time she realizes it as the story is told.  I mainly felt this way because I had read the book before.

I instinctively knew the killer as I began the story, although I couldn't remember details.  As I read the book, I gradually recalled the motive and other details.

The second half of the book is excellent.

In Remember Me 2: The Return, Jean Rodrigues has a rough life on the wrong side of town.  The future looks grim for Jean, and she doesn't want to continue living.  Meanwhile, a deal is worked out so that Shari Cooper can get a second chance by taking Jean's place in Jean's body.

This book dives deeply into the mystical world, and that part is a bit much.

This is a good book but parts of it are boring.

In Remember Me 3: The Last Story, Shari Cooper continues to live as Jean Rodrigues, but her time is running short.

This book is pretty good, but it does divert from the main plot a number of times in various ways. Some of the diversions are interesting, while others are not.

I partly liked and partly didn't like the ending of the trilogy.  I wish that one scene had ended differently, although I am overall fine with the ending of the story.