Friday, September 30, 2016

Hardy Boys Adventures #9 Curse of the Ancient Emerald and #10 Tunnel of Secrets

In Hardy Boys Adventures #9, The Curse of the Ancient Emerald, the Phantom, a man once brought to justice by Fenton Hardy, is back to his old tricks.  The Phantom is believed to be responsible for a string of robberies.  He sends clues to Frank and Joe, daring them to try to stop him.

This is a very good mystery.   There is more than one suspect, and it's not apparent who is guilty.  Frank and Joe suspect several different people at various points in the story. I couldn't decide for sure who was guilty.  The book even has a few twists.

This is an excellent book, and I greatly enjoyed it.

In Hardy Boys Adventures #10, Tunnel of Secrets, a sinkhole opens up in the center of Bayport, swallowing up an large statue of Admiral James T. Bryant, one of the founders of Bayport.  Frank and Joe learn of a hidden treasure, and their search takes them into the tunnels underneath Bayport, where they make an astonishing discovery.

Parts of this book read like a young adult dystopian novel.

This is an excellent story.  It has the same tone as the first four books in the series.  I like the undercurrent of tension that runs through those books and this one, like evil is lurking somewhere near and could strike at any time.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Hardy Boys Adventures #7 Shadows at Predator Reef and #8 Deception on the Set

In Hardy Boys Adventures #7, Shadows at Predator Reef, Bayport Aquarium unveils its new exhibit, Predator Reef.  The crowd is shocked to discover that the star inhabitant, Captain Hook, is missing!  Captain Hook is a five-hundred pound sea turtle.  Frank and Joe search for the turtle.

The reader learns some interesting information about Bayport that I won't reveal since it spoils how the turtle was stolen.  This information is important in a later book.

Near the ending is a scene that is lacking information.  Without getting into specifics that spoil the plot, Frank and Joe are swimming after having not been in the water.  It's not clear whether they have scuba gear or whether they are wearing their regular clothing.

I enjoyed this book.

In Hardy Boys Adventures #8, Deception on the Set, a zombie film is being made in Bayport.  Frank and Joe have signed up to be extras so that they can investigate who is sabotaging the film.

On page 6, we learn that Frank and Joe have been working on cases since the ages of 8 and 9.

The story has way too much boring detail about zombie makeup.

Why are the other zombies random kids from Bayport High that have not appeared in this series?  The story would have been more meaningful if Neanderthal or Chet had been present.

Since this book lacks the recurring characters from the previous books, the story was likely an unused plot from the Undercover Brothers series, which would explain the excessive detail about zombie makeup.  A mainstay of the Undercover Brothers series is excessive detail about a bunch of nothing, always imparted in the most boring fashion possible.

At least this story has fewer characters than other similar movie set sabotage stories.

This story is weakly good.  It could also be considered not good.  And that's exactly how I described much of the Undercover Brothers series.  I bet this was supposed to be one of them.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Discussion of Vintage Teen Books

Prior to Sunday night, Facebook did not have a good group to discuss vintage teen books.  All of the teen and young adult book groups on Facebook are full of spammers and are useless for discussion.

I created a group for discussion of vintage teen and young adult books.

Vintage Teen Books

The group is for all young adult books, past and present, but the group is styled as a discussion group for vintage books in hopes of avoiding some of the spammers of the modern books.

We also have some excellent well-established groups for series book enthusiasts.

Collecting Vintage Children's Series Books

Nancy Drew Book Fans

Nancy Drew Game Fans

Trixie Belden

Judy Bolton Fans

Monday, September 26, 2016

Hardy Boys Adventures #5 Peril at Granite Peak and #6 Battle of Bayport

In Hardy Boys Adventures #5, Peril at Granite Peak, Frank and Joe enjoy their winter break at Granite Peak Ski Lodge.  A series of accidents endangers several people at the resort.  Frank and Joe soon suspect that someone is sabotaging the resort.

This book has a different tone than the first four books.  The author uses a more colloquial approach, and it reminds me of some of the Nancy Drew Diaries books that I don't like as much. The plot is also blatant sabotage, which doesn't help.

On page 15, Chet smirks at Frank and Joe. Bess and George also smirk at Nancy in some of the Diaries books that aren't as good. I don't like it when the protagonists' friends smirk. It's a word that is better used to apply to an enemy, not a friend.

I wouldn't be surprised if the author of the subpar Nancy Drew Diaries books is also the author of this book.  This book is kind of annoying just like those books.  In fact, I refer to that Nancy Drew Diaries author as the "Obnoxious Author," because that person's writing is obnoxious.

On page 25, we learn that Chet has an old yellow roadster named Queen.  Good grief! How long has it been since we've seen Queen?  She last made an appearance in the era of the revised text Hardy Boys books from the original set, which is no later than the 1970s.

Bathroom needs are mentioned on page 66 and 97.  This is important since I plan to compare this series to the Nancy Drew Diaries series.  It is also important as further circumstantial evidence that this book might have been written by Obnoxious Author.

I enjoyed this book, but it's not as good as the first four books in the series.

In Hardy Boys Adventures #6, The Battle of Bayport, Bayport is conducting a Revolutionary War reenactment, with one group playing British redcoats and the other playing American rebels.  During the battle scene, Don Sterling is shot and killed. Someone's musket had a musket ball inside!

This book begins with an excessive amount of description about the reenactment, and it is all boring.  Even the killing of Don Sterling is not written in an interesting fashion.

I love the quote on page 54 about teachers.
You don't ever think much about your teacher's personal lives.  Or even that they have them.  They're supposed to be kind of like scholastic vampires, who just climb into big school lockers after the day ends and only come back out to teach when the bell rings the next morning.
Pretty much.

Bayport High School is a strange school.  A teacher doesn't show up for class, so the principal cancels it.  The students get to wander around the school or go home.

Except for one chapter, I was never very interested.  I was never compelled to keep reading.  The story is good, but something is missing.  I didn't feel much suspense. While the book is overall good, I did not enjoy it very much.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Vintage Teen Horror Series

I am currently reading the Twilight and Dark Forces teen horror series from the 1980s. The experience is going so well that I want to find other older teen horror books to read.  This is where you can help me.

I ran some searches for teen horror books and came upon Scholastic's Point Horror set.  I am definitely going to purchase and read some of those books, since I spotted Richie Tankersley Cusick's name as the author of a number of them.  I recently read Evil on the Bayou by Cusick and greatly enjoyed it.  Evil on the Bayou is one of her first books, and authors typically get better as they write additional books.  I have to try some of her Point Horror books since they came later.

Of course this means that I am also interested in sampling some of the Point Horror books by other authors.  The other author that interests me is Diane Hoh and her Nightmare Hall set.  I want to try at least one of those.  Has anyone ever read books by Diane Hoh?  If so, what did you think of them?

And then there's that other author who shows up in the Point Horror Set:  R. L. Stine.

I read most all of Christopher Pike's teen horror books in the 1980s and 1990s.  Pike is an author I hold in high esteem.  I lived and breathed those books.  I read them over and over again.  Last Act, Spellbound, Gimme a Kiss, and all the rest.  I still remember many of them vividly even though I haven't read them in around 15 years.  I plan to read them again sometime in the next year.

I read exactly one R. L. Stine book during the time that I was reading Christopher Pike. I believe it was Stine's Blind Date, which happens to be the first book in the Point Horror set.  I did not like it very much.  When I read it, all I could think was how it paled in comparison to Christopher Pike.  I never purchased another R. L. Stine book, and they were shelved in abundance in bookstores in those days.  I saw them everywhere but refused to buy them.

I want to make sure that I still would not like R. L. Stine, so I need to purchase at least one to try.  I am quite reluctant since I can't get Blind Date out of my mind.  Have any of you read R. L. Stine's books and do you like them?  How does Blind Date compare to Stine's other books?

As I have looked to see what is available in the Point Horror series, I have spotted other teen horror books.  If you are familiar with any teen horror books from the 1980s and 1990s, let me know what you think of them.  I want to go on another buying spree.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Hardy Boys Adventures #3 Vanishing Game and #4 Into Thin Air

In Hardy Boys Adventures #3, The Vanishing Game, Hector Rodriguez owns Funspot, an amusement park in Bayport.  Funspot is old and dilapidated, but Hector is hoping to increase business with G-Force, a new ride which is the park's premiere attraction.  But on the very first ride, a teenage girl vanishes without a trace, and later, another teenager vanishes on the ride.

The premise of this book is very interesting. Frank and Joe are on the ride when the girl vanishes without a trace.

Joe throws up after riding G-Force.  He even throws up after thinking about a certain situation connected with the ride.  I won't give details since it would spoil the plot.  I find the continual throwing up to be a bit hard to believe.

One of the culprits is extremely obvious.  In fact, this person's name is used in the back cover excerpt.  The nature of the back cover excerpt makes it apparent that the named person is the culprit, so the back cover excerpt basically reveals the culprit.  I don't get why publishers do that.

The story ends with a cliffhanger.  The mystery has been solved, but... now Daisy Rodriguez has disappeared!

This book is very good.

In Hardy Boys Adventures #4, Into Thin Air, Daisy Rodriguez is the latest teenager to vanish off of the G-Force ride.  The problem is that the culprits have already been arrested. Frank and Joe reluctantly conclude that someone else must be responsible.

The first book in the series, Secret of the Red Arrow, centered around a criminal gang headed by someone known as the Red Arrow. The culprit was arrested at the end of the book, but it was apparent that the true mastermind was still free.

I was puzzled when the Red Arrow wasn't mentioned again in the second and third books.  Finally, the Red Arrow is mentioned again briefly in this book, which tells me that we might learn more about the Red Arrow in a future book.  I like having an undercurrent of mystery run through the series.

This book is excellent.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Hardy Boys Adventures #1 Red Arrow and #2 Phantom Heist

In Hardy Boys Adventures #1, Secret of the Red Arrow, Frank and Joe are supposed to be retired from detective work.  Their detective work had begun to cause too many problems, so they had to agree to quit or be sent to reform school.  The boys find themselves pulled into another case after violent pranks occur around Bayport.  The boys soon learn that a criminal mastermind known as the Red Arrow is responsible.  The boys seek clues as they try not to let anyone know about their investigation.

This book reads in a similar fashion to a young adult novel.  The text is smaller than in the Nancy Drew Diaries series.  The smaller text also makes the book seem more like a young adult novel.  The target age for the stories is 8 through 12, the same as the Nancy Drew Diaries.

The story is very suspenseful and has none of the stupidity of the Undercover Brothers series.

This is an excellent book.

In Hardy Boys Adventures #2, Mystery of the Phantom Heist, a group known as the Scaredevils breaks windows and is responsible for other criminal acts around Bayport.  Soon, Frank and Joe suspect that Lindsay Peyton's Sweet Sixteen party may be the next target of the Scaredevils.

On page one, I was a bit worried after seeing the word "sick" used twice, as in calling something "totally sick."  I was afraid that the story was going to degenerate into another Undercover Brothers story.  Fortunately, that does not happen.

While the writing and story are not as good as in the first book, this story is still better than most all books in the Undercover Brothers series.

This is an overall very good book.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Nancy Drew Diaries #12 The Sign in the Smoke

In Nancy Drew Diaries #12, The Sign in the Smoke, Nancy, Bess, and George sign up to be counselors at Camp Cedarbark.  After the girls arrive, they learn that the previous camp, Camp Larksong, closed five years ago after some kind of tragedy.  Another counselor, Bella, insists that a camper drowned and that her ghost haunts Camp Cedarbark.  Nancy and her friends are skeptical, but when several swimmers are held underwater by something, they must consider all possibilities.

On page 70, Bella tells the story of the drowning.  "The rumor is, one of the counselors went nuts.  She was having mental health issues or something, but nobody knew. And she kind of lost it during the middle of the night of the campout."

George then mutters, "I'm pretty sure that's not how mental illness works."  Actually, mental illness can work in any way that it manifests itself.  Each time I read a statement like this, I realize that the author of the book is clueless about mental illness.  I have interacted with severely mentally ill people, and I can assure you that mental illness does not fit a tidy textbook definition.

I find it interesting that cell phones don't get signals in the camp.  One of my complaints about the Nancy Drew Diaries has to do with cell phones, and I was glad that phones are not part of the plot.

On page 115, Nancy hopes that there is not a mystery, since she wants to have time off from solving cases.  This is a character inconsistency, but it's not anywhere near as bad as what was done with Nancy in previous titles.

I knew as I read the book that it would turn out to be a sabotage book.  However, this is the type of sabotage that is not boring.  Sabotage is not mentioned until page 135.

Whenever I read the modern Nancy Drew books, I hear Bess's voice just like she sounds in the Nancy Drew games.  On page 154, George suggests that the dead camper would haunt what actually killed her, rather than someone else.  Bess replies, "Maybe the other thing was really boring.  Like an allergy to bee stings or something. Would you want to waste your afterlife haunting a bee?"  Now imagine that in Nancy Drew game Bess's voice.  Perfect.

There are some things about this story that are less than ideal, but I didn't notice them until after I read this review.  There are a lot of spoilers in the review, so don't read it unless you don't mind being spoiled about the entire plot including the ending.  The reason I totally overlooked the flaws is because I had just slogged my way through the Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers series.  That was some difficult reading which traumatized me.  I didn't realize until after I finished that series exactly how bad my experience had been.  This book, while flawed, is great literature in comparison to those books.

After I finished this book, I decided that if every Nancy Drew Diaries book were like this one, I would be very happy.  I rated the book as excellent.  After I had read the review to which I linked above and had time to think about it, I changed my mind.  I would now rate this book as very good and suspect that my rating would go down if I ever read the book again.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Nancy Drew Diaries #11 The Red Slippers

In Nancy Drew Diaries #11, The Red Slippers, Maggie Rogers returns to River Heights to perform in Sleeping Beauty.  A famous producer will be watching the performance, and Maggie is concerned because someone is trying to sabotage her career.

I struggled with the previous four Nancy Drew Diaries titles because each was read right after extremely good books.  As a result, the flaws were very obvious to me.  This time was different.  I just read a bunch of truly awful books in the Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers series, so I knew that I would like this book even if flawed.

I was incredibly relieved as I began reading this book.  I was finally free of the Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers series, which had gotten on my last nerve.  This story reads like a normal book; the Undercover Brothers books do not read like normal books.

This book is written in a way that makes the reader care about Maggie.  Since the reader cares, the mystery is interesting, even though the mystery is sabotage as usual.

The number of characters is not too many, and I was never confused.  For instance, quite a few dancers perform in the production.  We are told none of their names.  After all, we don't need their names.  Authors of other books have made the mistake of naming too many characters, thereby confusing readers.

I am glad that Bess and George don't "smirk" when Nancy decides to start the investigation.  The girls want to help and are supportive and interested, which is as it should be.

Nothing is mentioned about George and food.  She is a tech genius, but that's fine. George uses the computer, but we are spared from stupid text messages.  Nancy isn't forgetful.

Almost every complaint I had about Nancy Drew Diaries #7 through 10 were fixed for this book.  The only one not fixed is the endless sabotage, but at least the book is written well enough to make up for the sabotage.

I did guess the culprit fairly early in the book, but I wasn't absolutely certain.  The author does a good job of leading the reader to see a few others as possible culprits. In fact, more than one person is responsible for the threats.  One person does a few threats for a certain reason, and then the real culprit does the rest.

This book reads like a Nancy Drew Digest book.  Nancy, Bess, and George's behavior is quite similar to the Digest series, and nothing is wrong with their characterization.

This is a very good book and an improvement over the previous several books.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers Series Overview

I have been reading through the Hardy Boys books in order to compare them to Nancy Drew.  After I finished the Hardy Boys Digest series, I concluded that I enjoyed that series slightly more than the corresponding Nancy Drew series, although the difference is not enough to be decisive.  I also concluded that the Hardy Boys are allowed more interesting cases in the Hardy Boys Digest series than Nancy Drew in the Nancy Drew Digest series.

The Nancy Drew Girl Detective series corresponds to the Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers series.  I previously published my ratings for the Girl Detective series.  I like the Girl Detective series a lot, probably more than most collectors.  If you are a collector who really likes the Girl Detective series, please let me know because I feel like I am the only one.  Maybe I am the only one...

I struggled with giving a rating to many of the Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers books. Many of the books that I have labeled good are probably somewhere between good and not good.  I went with the higher rating, so these ratings are generous.  Therefore, it should be noted that many of the "good" books are more along the lines of weakly good and some may not be good.

  1. Extreme Danger - very good, sabotage
  2. Running On Fumes - not good, sabotage
  3. Boardwalk Bust - excellent
  4. Thrill Ride - very good, sabotage
  5. Rocky Road - excellent
  6. Burned - not good
  7. Operation: Survival - very good
  8. Top Ten Ways To Die - good, sabotage
  9. Martial Law - not good
 10. Blown Away - good, sabotage
 11. Hurricane Joe - not good
 12. Trouble in Paradise - not good
 13. The Mummy's Curse - good, sabotage
 14. Hazed - excellent
 15. Death And Diamonds - good
 16. Bayport Buccaneers - good, sabotage
 17. Murder At The Mall - very good, sabotage
 18. Pushed - excellent
 19. Foul Play - excellent, sabotage
 20. Feeding Frenzy - good, sabotage
 21. Comic Con Artist - good

 Murder House Trilogy - sabotage
 22. Deprivation House - not good
 23. House Arrest - not good
 24. Murder House - not good

 Double Danger Trilogy
 25. Double Trouble - good
 26. Double Down - good
 27. Double Deception - good

 Galaxy X Trilogy - sabotage
 28. Galaxy X - good
 29. X-Plosion - good
 30. The X-Factor - good

 Killer Mystery Trilogy - sabotage
 31. Killer Mission - good
 32. Private Killer - good
 33. Killer Connections - very good

 Lost Mystery Trilogy
 34. Children of the Lost - excellent
 35. Lost Brother - excellent
 36. Forever Lost - excellent

 Deathstalker Trilogy - sabotage
 37. Movie Menace  - not good
 38. Movie Mission - not good
 39. Movie Mayhem - not good

Out of 21 books (not including the trilogies):

Not good - 5 books or 23.8%
Good - 7 books or 33.3%
Very good - 4 books or 19.1%
Excellent - 5 books or 23.8%

Overall out of 21 books - 42.9% very good or excellent  

Out of 39 books (including the trilogies):

not good - 11 books or 28.2%
good - 15 books or 38.5%
very good - 5 books or 12.8%
excellent - 8 books or 20.5%

Overall out of 39 books: 33.3% very good or excellent

I enjoyed the Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers series noticeably less than I did the Nancy Drew Girl Detective series.  I rated 48.9% of the Girl Detective series as very good or excellent and only 33.3% of the Undercover Brothers series as very good or excellent.  This is a significant difference.  Even more significant, many of the books I labeled as good really aren't that good, so you could say that as much as 66.7% of the series is not that good.

I mentioned in my overview of the Hardy Boys Digest series that it is stronger than the Nancy Drew Digest series because Nancy Drew is constrained by her gender.  The reverse is true for the Undercover Brothers series.  In the Undercover Brothers series, the Hardy Boys are constrained by their gender.  They are only allowed stories with lots and lots of action.  

The Nancy Drew Girl Detective series is largely character-driven.  The Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers series is action-driven.  In fact, most of the series reads like sports sabotage, which is my least favorite plot type.  Even when the Undercover Brothers series is not sports sabotage, the stories are endless action of some type with sabotage thrown in for good measure.

Each book opens in the middle of an action scene as the Hardys wrap up a previous case.  I read these scenes during the early books, but later, I skimmed or skipped all of them. They annoyed me tremendously.  I don't want to read the conclusion of a story not featured in the series.  I want to read the story that is the focus of the current book.

After the action scene introduction, the Hardys receive orders for their next case.  This always occurs by someone bringing the boys a pizza or something else, them acting incredibly dumb like they don't know this is how they get their cases, and then the boys finally figuring it out and watching a DVD about the case.  This was mildly annoying in the early books, but by later in the series, I found these scenes to be highly obnoxious.

The Undercover Brother stories feature an excessive use of gimmicks.  The gimmicks are comic book characters, amusement park rides, or special devices that do crazy things.  All of the gimmicks are described to an excessive degree.  It's important that the reader know every minute detail about every single gimmick.  And I found all of it to be boring!

Apparently many boys really enjoy this type of story; at least, they do if any of the reviews on Amazon can be believed.  Amazon is rife with fake reviews of all products. Since the positive reviews appear to be from children who are probably boys, I suspect that they are real reviews.  However, the series is not good from my point of view as an adult female reader.

I did generally enjoy the early stories in the series.  By the time I reached the trilogies, I could no longer stand the series.  The Lost Mystery trilogy is outstanding, but even during that trilogy I was weary from the rest of the series.  So when I started reading the final trilogy, I just wanted to quit.  I skipped those books and forced myself to read the two super mysteries.

As I tried to read the final trilogy and as I read the two super mysteries, I noticed how tense, stressed, and unhappy I was.  Right after I finished the second super mystery, I started reading the first Super Mystery book.  Since the book features Nancy Drew Girl Detective, whom I like very much, I relaxed and felt much happier.  This drove home the fact that the last part of the Undercover Brothers series tortured me.

Most likely, I will never read these books again.  I will probably sell the set sometime soon.  I read these books so that I would have the full knowledge of the progression of the Hardy Boys series from 1927 to the present so that I could compare the Nancy Drew Diaries series to the Hardy Boys Adventure series.  Reading the Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers series was worthwhile for that reason only.  Otherwise, it was a horrible experience.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The New Hardy Boys Web Series

First imagine these two guys, the infamous Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers.

Notice how stupid they look.  Now imagine the two dorks dressed exactly like this.

This is what happens.

You get the "New Hardy Boys," a parody web series featuring Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. The web series can be seen on YouTube.

The New Hardy Boys on YouTube

Fair warning, some Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys fans will not like the videos.  These are videos with adult humor and crude language, and both Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys are depicted in a negative fashion.  But for fans who can appreciate a good parody, the web series is brilliant and great fun.

The web series plays off of the public's perception of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. Nancy Drew is that annoying person who gets credit for solving all the mysteries. Consider that the titles of all the books featuring the sleuths solving cases together have always been "Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys," not "The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew."  Nancy Drew has always received more credit.  As for the Hardy Boys, they are inept and hopeless, dressed just like the 1959 cover of The Tower Treasure.  The boys look like perfect little goody-goodies, but their behavior is the opposite.

I particularly love the videos since I recently read the Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers series. I see the videos as depicting the Undercover Brothers come to life and dressed like they are stuck in 1959.  The Undercover Brothers are idiots, just as the Hardy Boys are in this web series.  I love it.

You can also follow the New Hardy Boys on Facebook.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The 2007 Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys Super Mystery Series

Early in my reading of the Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers series, I decided to read the six titles in the 2007 Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys Super Mystery series and purchased the titles that I needed.  I later regretted this decision.  Since I had built the set, I read the books anyway.  That is... I tried to read them and was partially successful.

The set consists of the following books.

1.  Terror on Tour
2.  Danger Overseas
3.  Club Dread
4.  Gold Medal Murder
5.  Bonfire Masquerade
6.  Stage Fright

As I began reading Terror on Tour, I was dismayed that the book opens in the middle of an action scene in which the Hardys are wrapping up a case.  I grew so sick of those scenes from the Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers series.  I thought I would be past those annoying scenes.  Somebody please save me!

The next chapter features Nancy and her friends.  As I read this chapter, I quickly remembered how much I enjoy the premise of the Nancy Drew Girl Detective series.

On pages 40 and 105, George calls the Hardy Boys dorks.  I cannot express how much I appreciate that.  The Hardy Boys are the Undercover Brothers version in these books, and they are dorks.  They are also idiots and the very worst incarnation of the Hardy Boys.

The parts of the text featuring the Hardy Boys have too much discussion and information about the rock stars.  I was bored.  I only enjoyed the parts of the book that feature Nancy Drew.

The mystery is lame and uninteresting.  The book is worth reading only for the interesting interaction between Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.

Danger Overseas is a travelogue, so I found it boring.  I did not like it.

In Club Dread, the sleuths solve a mystery in Florida.  On page 6, the text states that Nancy forgets to eat while on a case.  I can understand not eating all day when busy, since I have done that, but forgetting to eat?  Like, wouldn't Nancy get hungry eventually?  This is the type of detail that makes the Girl Detective series flawed.  It's not logical.  Even though I like the Girl Detective series a lot, the series does go too far in depicting Nancy's imperfections.

I enjoyed Club Dread.  I guessed one of the culprits early in the book and was interested in how it would work out.

I also enjoyed Gold Medal Murder, although it's just good and nothing special.

Bonfire Masquerade opens with Nancy wrapping up a case.  Oh, no!  Now we get an action scene at the very beginning with Nancy.  Even worse, the book then switches to the Hardy Boys who also are wrapping up a case in another action scene.  I'd rather get on with the real story.

The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew do not cross paths until halfway through the book, which is odd.  Around that time, I quit reading the book.  I found it boring.

Stage Fright also opens with Nancy wrapping up a case and then the Hardy Boys wrapping up a case.  Again, this not interesting to me.  This book also bored me, and I did not read most of it.

Overall, I did not like this series.  I was already stressed by the horrible Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers trilogies, and this series added to my stress.  Ugh.

I am glad that I read the first book, however.  I found it useful to remember exactly how much I enjoy the Nancy Drew Girl Detective series, which helped me realize how much better it is than the Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers series.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers Super Editions Wanted and Kidnapped

Unfortunately, early in my reading of the Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers series, I purchased the two Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers super editions to read.  As I neared the end of the series, I wished that I hadn't.  Now I must live with the consequences of that decision.

In the first super edition, Wanted, a bank robbery is committed by two teenage boys who use the names Frank and Joe.  The boys even resemble Frank and Joe.  ATAC notifies the Hardys, telling them to run and not to try to solve the case.

Say what?  This makes no sense!  Why tell the boys to run?  They have been accused of crimes before, and they were able to solve the case without running from the police.

Of course Frank and Joe decide to work on the case.  In one scene, the boys behave shamefully during a parade.

This is an overall good story, but it has many problems and is rather annoying.  I skimmed the last few chapters, which cover a very lengthy chase.

In the second super edition, Kidnapped, Frank and Joe investigate the disappearance of Katie Boutry.  Katie is a college reporter who was investigating a casino.  Frank and Joe head to the casino to look for clues.

This book is decent, but I did not enjoy it very much.  The Undercover Brothers series wore on me as I read through the trilogies, and my stress level became quite high as I forced myself to finish the series as quickly as I could. By the last trilogy, I felt like I was being tortured.

Super editions are a money grab.  The publisher creates a special edition that is marketed as a better, special story.  These stories aren't special.  This was just an easy way to make money.  The publisher couldn't even bother to create decent cover art.

I did not purchase the Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers special edition, Haunted, which features the boys investigating supernatural events.  I have no idea if I missed out on a good story, but somehow, I don't care.  I probably dodged a bullet.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers #37-39: The Deathstalker Trilogy

The Hardy Boys Deathstalker Trilogy consists of the following three titles.

#37 Movie Menace
#38 Movie Mission
#39 Movie Mayhem

In #37 Movie Menace, Frank and Joe are asked to investigate who is threatening Anya Archer, who is starring in a movie based on a popular comic book series, Deathstalker.

The text describes the premise of Deathstalker in excessive detail.  This is a fictitious comic book series, and we learn everything there is to know about it.  I was bored.

This is a "sabotage on a movie set" plot, and everything about it is so boring!  Character after character is introduced rapidly, and I cared about none of them.  I couldn't keep any of them straight.

I found the story to be at least somewhat interesting during the first half of the book.  I skimmed the story during the second half.  The book ends with a culprit who isn't the only culprit.  How predictable and totally unsatisfying.

In #38 Movie Mission, I have no idea what happened.  I started the story and found it to be extremely boring.  I then quit and moved to the third book.  I was feeling quite stressed.  I first thought I was just bored, but later I figured out that the Undercover Brothers series was about to make me crack up.

I started #39 Movie Mayhem without having read the second book.  This should have been a problem, since I had not read the previous book in the trilogy.  It's like nothing happened! I hadn't missed anything, and the setting seemed about the same as the beginning of the first book.

The plot of this trilogy goes in circles.

I read some of the third book, then I skipped to near the end where exactly the same stuff is happening.  I skipped some more, discovered the culprit, and was not surprised since I had already figured out that the culprit was one of two people early in the first book before I began skimming.  This was pointless.  Why would anybody want to read this garbage?

I am sure you have already figured out that I did not enjoy this trilogy.  In fact, I hate this trilogy.  These are probably the worst three books in the series.  Fortunately, they are also the final three books in the series.  Thank goodness.

It's strange that the best three books in the series are followed by the worst three books in the series.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers #34-36: The Lost Mystery Trilogy

The Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers Lost Mystery Trilogy consists of the following titles.

#34 The Children of the Lost
#35 Lost Brother
#36 Forever Lost

In #34, The Children of the Lost, ATAC sends Frank and Joe to Idaho to investigate the disappearances of eight children over the course of twelve years from Misty Falls State Park in Idaho.  One of the children, Justin Greer, has reappeared and has amnesia. Frank and Joe interview Justin and camp in the state park during their search for clues.

This book begins with a prologue, which details Justin's reappearance.  Normally prologues annoy me, but this one is good.  The suspenseful atmosphere set up by the prologue is then ruined when the next scene shows Frank and Joe in the usual Undercover Brothers story introduction where they are in the middle of wrapping up a previous case.  I hate those scenes!

This book deals with a character who has amnesia.  I typically do not enjoy those kinds of books, because I have trouble caring about someone whose identity we do not know.  This one is different because we know who Justin is.  Since Justin doesn't remember who he is or where he has been, the amnesia is intriguing.

This first book in the trilogy is very suspenseful.  I knew that Frank would disappear by the end of the story, since the next book is Lost Brother.  I was tense with expectation as I waited for the disappearance.

In #35 Lost Brother, Frank has vanished.  Joe has no clue where he is and is left trying to solve the case on his own.

In this type of story, the dual first person perspective pays off.  We get to see what is happening to Frank and what is happening to Joe.

Very early in this story we learn for certain who the culprit is.  That is, Frank and the reader learn.  Joe still does not know, and the culprit is a tremendous threat.

Poor Joe looks so forlorn on the cover. Actually, Joe looks like that on every trilogy cover, but at least he has a good reason to look sad on this book's cover.

In #36 Children of the Lost, Frank continues to try to escape, and Joe continues his search.

I have one minor complaint about the names of two characters.  Justin's father is Jacob, and I kept confusing the two characters. Authors should be careful about using names that begin with the same letter.

I love young adult dystopian trilogies, and this trilogy is very similar to those.  This story is dark and is not for younger children.

All three books are excellent.  This is an outstanding trilogy.  This type of story is perfect for a trilogy, with the story developing throughout the three books.  These three books are by far the three best books in the entire Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers series.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers #31-33: The Killer Mystery Trilogy

The Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers Killer Mystery Trilogy consists of the following titles.

#31 Killer Mission
#32 Private Killer
#33 Killer Connections

In #31 Killer Mission, Frank and Joe go undercover at a private school.  Frank is posing as a student, and Joe is the new dog handler.  Several staff members and students have met with accidents, and influential parents want answers.  Frank and Joe must discover the truth behind the accidents.

I was happy as I began this book, since the plot does not have the gimmicks of the previous trilogy.  The book is very good at first, but the story quickly becomes boring as it devolves into nonstop discussion of the sabotage and possible saboteurs.

The book ends as usual with the discovery of a culprit who is not the only culprit.

In #32 Killer Mission, Frank and Joe have concluded that the sabotage centers around members of the Gamma Theta Theta fraternity.

On page 90, Frank considers that they "might be after multiple suspects."  No kidding!  Of course there are multiple suspects!  Every trilogy has at least three culprits.

In #33 Killer Connections, Frank and Joe investigate more sabotage at the school.

On page 141, a certain character knows something about a crime that Frank and Joe have kept secret from everybody.

The boys do not immediately realize that this person is responsible.  Once again a trilogy author insults readers by making Frank and Joe ignore the obvious.

I guessed the culprit in the first book.  In every trilogy so far, I have guessed the final culprit during the first story.  The culprit becomes fairly obvious during the later part of this book, especially after page 141, but the boys never suspect this person.  The culprit is revealed just a few pages before the end of the story.

This book is very good, while the other two books in the trilogy are just good.  This book would have made an excellent stand-alone book.