Friday, June 30, 2017

Wallace Boys #1 Skulduggery in the South Atlantic and #2 Sands of the Skeleton Coast

In Wallace Boys #1, Skulduggery in the South Atlantic, Bruce and Nigel Wallace voyage to St. Helena Island to visit their uncle, William Wallace, who is the governor.  Late at night, Bruce spots Stedson Benjamin skulking about near a lifeboat.  Bruce listens and realizes that Benjamin is taking supplies to two stowaways.

Bruce and Nigel learn that the captain is aware of the stowaways, and that officials are hoping to discover what their business is. Upon their arrival on St. Helena Island, the boys keep track of Benjamin and his accomplices.  Later, the boys learn of a plot to take over control of the island, and they hope to thwart it.

This book starts off a bit slow for my taste, but I still found it interesting.  The book becomes more interesting during the later part of the story.

I enjoyed this book.

In Wallace Boys #2, The Sands of the Skeleton Coast, Bruce, Nigel, and their friend, Jimmy, agree to join Barry Jones on a voyage to the Skeleton Coast of Africa.  Barry wants to get a glimpse of the shipwreck of the Dundee Star, a ship that wrecked during World War II with his father on board.

The boys like Barry and agree to join him. During the voyage, the boys begin to suspect that Barry has not told them the real reason for their destination.  Soon, the boys are dismayed to discover that Barry is involved in a scheme with their old enemies, Vronski, Isaacs, and Lambert.

I like that during the voyages in this series, the characters tend not to use electronic devices for navigation.  In the following passage, Barry explains his preference for navigating by using charts and a chronometer.
"Surely you can do all this by computer these days?" asked Nigel.

“Yes, you can.  And I could.  It’s a lot easier but I prefer to find my own way.  In fact, I could use radio direction finding equipment, and by taking readings from various geo-stationary satellites in space I could pin-point my position to within half a hair!  But I feel that these modern ways are all very well and good, but computers and electrical equipment can break down.  And I’ve got no one to mend the stuff out in the middle of the ocean.  So I don’t have any fancy equipment, except for radio, radar and echo sounder; I want to feel that I have done the job; not a lot of electronics!”
This is a very good book.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Christopher Pike The Listeners and The Cold One

In The Listeners, FBI agent David Conner has been asked to investigate the Listeners, a channeling group that has knowledge of highly classified information.  David quickly falls in love with Lucy, who is a member of the group along with her twin sister.  Too late, David learns that the group has tapped into an ancient evil that is growing in power.

The entire first half of the book consists almost entirely of an excessive amount of background information.  The reader doesn't need to know about David's entire life history in extreme detail. The second half of the story finally gets to the point and should have been expanded into the entire book.

Parts of the second half of the story are easy to guess by anyone who has read Pike's young adult book, Spellbound.  There are some obvious parallels to that story.

The first half of the book is boring, and the second half is good but rather unsatisfying.

In The Cold One, journalist Peter Jacobs receives an anonymous phone call from someone who knows inside information about a series of grisly murders.  Peter suddenly finds himself in the middle of the case.

This is a pretty good book and does not have as much filler as Pike's other adult novels.  It was supposed to have a sequel, but that book was never written.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Christopher Pike Hollow Skull and Magic Fire

In The Hollow Skull, some scientists recently visited the abandoned mine near the town of Madison.  The scientists got the mine's elevators working again and forgot to get them turned off. Cass, Fred, and a couple of friends decide to explore the old mine at night.  After the teens leave the mine, one of them starts acting strangely, and his illness seems to be catching. Soon, the residents of Madison roam the streets at night, and Cass fears for her life.

Basically, this story is similar to an alien takeover of the world.  The book is grimly scary from the very beginning.  When the teens first go down in the mine, the reader knows that someone very awful will happen.

This book is excellent and reads in a fashion similar to modern teen dystopian fiction.

In Magic Fire, Mark Charm loves to start fires.  He especially enjoys burning down abandoned buildings.  One night, Mark uses a stolen gasoline truck to hose down miles of brush and start a fire that is fueled by the Santa Ana winds.

Goodbye, Pacific Palisades!

After torching that entire city, Mark learns that his life is not what he thought. He then meets some aliens and goes to another part of the universe. Mark then travels into the future and even more really crazy stuff happens.

The story starts out fairly ordinary for a Pike book with a pyromaniac and then gets really bizarre with the aliens, space travel, and time travel.  After that another plot twist occurs where the reader learns what is really going on. After the final plot twist, the book does make sense.

I enjoyed this book.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Christopher Pike Sati and Season of Passage

In Sati, Michael Winters picks up a female hitchhiker in the middle of the desert.  The hitchhiker's name is Sati, and Sati believes she is God.  Sati ends up staying with Michael, and she immediately captivates everyone who comes in contact with her.  Sati holds meetings, and soon she has a large number of followers.  But is Sati really God?

I did not enjoy this book very much when I read it around 25 years ago.  I don't care for it any more now than I did then.  The story is okay but not that great.  The problem is that the book is not horror but instead has a large amount of spiritual mumbo-jumbo.  Pike tends to lose me when he goes into his lengthy spiritual discussions.

In The Season of Passage, Lauren Wagner leaves on a mission for Mars.  The purpose of the mission is to discover what happened to the Russian mission that disappeared on Mars two years before.

When I read this book in 1995, I didn't notice anything off, but now, the story is dated.  The book is set in 2004, and the failed Russian mission was in 2002.  Everything mentioned in this book seemed logical by 1995 standards when I read the book in 1995.  Some events that occurred between 1995 and 2004 cause parts of this book to be impossible to take seriously.

For instance, the mission takes off in the space shuttle Columbia.  In 1995, one would have thought that Columbia would have still been in use in 2004, but as we know now, Columbia disintegrated during re-entry on February 1, 2003.  In retrospect, it would have been better for Pike to have used a fictional name, but who could have predicted that disaster?

The Mars part of the story is very creepy, suspenseful, and horrifying.  This is a true horror story.

I feel like one aspect of the ending was not wrapped up.  A character named Kathy has a sister who apparently came in contact with someone who has the Mars infection.  I guess she didn't get infected, but it's a gaping plot hole.

Another aspect that is tied in with Kathy's sister is also glossed over.  The infected person was said to be not interested in spreading the virus, so they didn't worry about finding and killing that person.  Um, okay...

This book has way too much expository information in the opening chapters.  That part of the book should have been shorter, and the ending part of the story should have been less rushed.  It's not logical to go after one infected person with great fervor and then just to assume that the other person will quietly go off and die without infecting anyone.  They shouldn't be unconcerned about the other person.

I figure that the entire human race becomes extinct shortly after the "happily ever after" conclusion of the story, since that other infected person is running amok somewhere.

This is an overall excellent story, but it is way too long.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Christopher Pike The Star Group and Execution of Innocence

In The Star Group, Daniel has always liked Gale, and he finally asks her out just before graduation. Gale also likes Daniel, and the two get along well.  Later, Daniel uses a string with a magnet tied to the end to contact a spiritual being known as Mentor.  Mentor tells Daniel to get his friends together and meet in a certain location so that they can achieve their greater purpose.

Sounds like a good idea to obey a strange spirit voice!  Of course, the plan does not go well at all, and people end up dying.

This book reminds me somewhat of Christopher Pike's Final Friends trilogy.

There are some things that come out towards the end of the book that are absolutely hilarious.

I enjoyed this book.

In Execution of Innocence, Mary and her boyfriend, Charlie, get into a fight because Mary went to a dance with another boy, Dick.  When Dick gets killed, both Mary and Charlie are suspects.  The only problem is that Charlie is missing.  The police question Mary and her friend, Hannah, and can tell that the girls are holding something back.

This book is set up the same way as Gimme a Kiss with the police interrogation alternating with past events leading up to the murder.  My knowledge of Gimme a Kiss also helped me very quickly guess the identity of the culprit.

This book has nothing supernatural in it and is like an early Pike book.

I enjoyed this book.

Interestingly, Pike does not like either of these books.  He wrote in a comment on Facebook, "With Star Group I could have done so much more with the idea if I'd had time.  It was my fault I did not start on the book until a month before the due date.  With Execution of Innocence, I feel I could have developed it more, been more clever.   A week after it was put into galleys I remember I came up with an idea that could have made it so much better. But that idea is long gone. Now, I am onto other things as they say..."

Certainly neither book is perfect and neither is Pike's best work, but I did enjoy both of them.  When I read Christopher Pike books, I want to enjoy a fun, crazy horror story. Both of these books deliver just that.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Wallace Boys Series

The Wallace Boys series was written by Duncan Watt.  This is a series that is practically unknown in the United States, and it's not surprising why.  Only some books in this series have been published in print editions, and the rest of the books are only available in electronic editions.  The few print editions are quite scarce, and it's highly unlikely that anyone in the United States would ever run across one of these books.

This series was recommended by another collector as a series that is similar to Rick Brant.  Since I enjoyed the Rick Brant books, I decided to give these books a try.

 1.  Skulduggery in the South Atlantic, 1995
 2.  The Sands of the Skeleton Coast, 1993
 3.  Trouble in Tristan, 1991
 4.  The Legacy of Lobengula, 1996
 5.  Killers against Kariba, 1992
 6.  Kidnapped in the Kafue, 1991
 7.  Crash in the Caprivi, 1993
 8.  Mischief in 'The Mousetrap', 2010
 9.  Hostage in the Highlands, 1995
10.  Assignment in the Alps, 2010
11.  Traitors in the Tyrol, 2010
12.  The Monks of Montafon, 2010
13.  Rebels across the Red Sea, 2000
14.  Rebels across the Red Sea II: Nemesis of the Nefud, 2000
15.  Rebels across the Red Sea II: The Terrorists of Tibesti, 2001
16.  South from the Seychelles, 2010
17.  The Treasure of the Tiger, 1994
18.  The Sultan of the Sulu Sea, 1997
19.  Missing in the Mekong, 2000
20.  The Pagodas of Pahang, 1996

The copyrights are all over the place because the author wrote books later that fit into the original chronology.  This list is the correct order in which to read the books.

All 20 books can be found in inexpensive electronic editions on various sites.  I was able to purchase 19 of the 20 books in the Kindle format on Amazon.  I had to go to another site to purchase the remaining book.

The books contain a large amount of historical information about the areas in which the books are set.  This information is sometimes very interesting, and at other times, it is way too lengthy.

This series is very similar to the Biff Brewster, Sandy Steele, and Brad Forrest series. If you are a fan of any of those series or are a fan of Rick Brant, then you need to give this series a try.

Since I found it hard at first to find information about this series when I began reading the books, I decided to create a page on the Wallace Boys series for my website.  I created the page since most people in the United States have never heard of it. Even though some of the books drag at times, the series is overall too good to be ignored.

The Wallace Boys Series

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.