Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Sweet Valley High #98 The Wedding, #99 Beware the Babysitter, and #100 The Evil Twin

Note: This post contains major plot spoilers.

In Sweet Valley High #98, The Wedding,  Jessica's feelings towards Elizabeth begin to thaw, but she can't bring herself to begin speaking to her sister again.  Lila's parents remarry, and Todd tries to end his relationship with Jessica, to no avail.

Jessica organizes a memorial dirt bike race in honor of Sam's memory.  Margo has arrived in Sweet Valley and begins stalking the Wakefields.  She hires James to compete in the dirt bike race and then romance Jessica.  James is to learn everything he can about Elizabeth and Jessica and report back to Margo.

In Sweet Valley High #99, Beware the Babysitter, Winston's neighbor drops off a baby at his house.  She is supposed to be back soon, but she disappears for many days.  Winston and his friends are stuck taking care of the baby.

Josh is in Sweet Valley in order to track Margo down.  He wants to bring her to justice for killing his younger brother.  He soon learns that Margo is obsessed with the Wakefield twins, which places them in grave danger.

James regrets that he agreed to work with Margo.  He has fallen in love with Jessica and has realized that Margo is insane.

In Sweet Valley High #100, The Evil Twin, Margo becomes more daring, entering the Wakefield home and impersonating both twins at different times.  She plans to bring her plan into fruition at Lila's New Year's Eve party.

Meanwhile, Margo tells James to leave town, but he decides to warn Jessica first.  Margo overhears the phone call and manages to have Josh present at James and Jessica's meeting place.  She kills James, and everyone thinks that Josh did it.  With her two biggest threats neutralized, Margo is certain that her plan will succeed.

These three books are all better than the previous books in this miniseries.  #95, 96, and 97 are depressing, and the story of Liz's arrest, trial, and feud with Jessica is dragged out across too many books.  The brief glimpses of Margo were my favorite parts of those books.

#98 and 99 are not nearly as dark as the previous books, so they aren't depressing.  Margo comes more to the forefront, and it is interesting to see her plan develop.  #100 is the best of the group and hits the right tone for a horror story.  It is suspenseful all the way through.  That said, Sweet Valley High was never supposed to be a horror series.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Nancy Drew Diaries #16 The Haunting on Heliotrope Lane

In Nancy Drew Diaries #16, The Haunting on Heliotrope Lane, Willa is worried about her friend, Izzy, who has been acting strange ever since she visited the vacant Furstenberg house on Heliotrope Lane.  At times, Izzy acts like she is possessed.  Nancy agrees to look into the mystery.

I stated that the Nancy Drew Diaries series is an epic fail and called for a series relaunch when I reviewed the previous book in the series, The Professor and the Puzzle.  I knew when I read that book that the series might as well end at that point and that there was no hope.  Sadly, I was correct, and the problems plaguing the Nancy Drew Diaries series continue to worsen.

As I read this book, I noted all of the pages upon which Nancy is depicted in a negative fashion.  I include showing fear as a negative trait, since Nancy Drew traditionally does not show fear.  At least 50 pages contain one or more negative descriptive statements about Nancy Drew.  That is unacceptable, and I am quite certain that no previous Nancy Drew book has ever contained that many pages that contain negative descriptive content, not even the Girl Detective series.  This series is an epic fail, indeed.

The first four pages of the story are devoted to detailing how queasy Nancy is after watching a horror movie.  I guess the author thought that a compelling opening to the book would be to read in great detail about how upsetting Nancy's horror movie experience was.  I don't get it.

Here is a list of the 50 instances I noted in which Nancy is depicted as scared or in a negative fashion.

Page 1:  Nancy's voice is hoarse from screaming, and she wants Bess to stop talking about the movie.

Page 2:  Nancy has to grab her stomach because of the horror movie discussion.

Page 3:  George apologizes for Nancy getting freaked out.

Page 4:  Nancy has to breathe through her nose and mouth to calm down.

Page 6:  Nancy feels her "stomach leap up into [her] throat."

Page 7:  Nancy is told, "You're Nancy Drew, aren't you?  The sort-of detective?"  Nancy thinks of this as "unexpected fame."

Page 8:  Nancy tells herself that "honestly I was just happy I hadn't peed myself.  That was scary."

Page 9:  Nancy wants to go to bed instead of hearing about the mystery.

Page 20:  Nancy screams in fear.

Page 34:  Nancy is "still feeling a little shaky from the surprise."

Page 38:  Ned tells Nancy that she is "experiencing the spiked adrenaline that people get when they're afraid."

Page 39:  Frightened, Nancy jumps "straight up [into] the air, knocking [her] head on the ceiling."

Page 41:  Nancy is "trying to look (and feel) determined."

Page 42:  Nancy tells herself, "Stop psyching yourself out."

Page 44:  The house makes Nancy's heart beat faster.

Page 45:  Nancy shudders.

Page 46:  Nancy is relieved when her friends join her.

Page 47:  Nancy is again relieved to have someone with her who is not "scared out of her wits." 

Page 49:  Nancy lets George lead the way through the house.

Page 51:  Nancy is "losing it, screaming and too freaked to move."

Page 52:  Nancy has to breathe and has an adrenaline rush.

Page 54:  Nancy wants to "grab onto the doorframe and refuse to budge."

Page 55:  Nancy is "super grateful" that George goes first.  Nancy's arm is shaking.

Page 57:  Nancy shivers with fear.

Page 58:  Nancy is shaking and trying to hide it.

Page 60:  Nancy screams.

Page 68:  Nancy remarks that she was freaked out in the house.

Page 70:  Nancy admits that she was "being a wuss."

Page 71:  Nancy is horrified by a moaning sound.

Page 94:  Nancy is "trembling" and "shaken."

Page 113:  Nancy is shaking.

Page 114:  Nancy's heart gives "a little squeeze of fear."

Page 121:  Nancy feels "the same sick feeling in [her] gut."

Page 123:  Nancy shudders.

Page 124:  Nancy is shaking and also shudders.

Page 125:  Nancy shivers and tries to calm herself.

Page 126:  Nancy feels "her heart leap into [her] throat."

Page 127:  Nancy panics.

Page 128:  Nancy feels her "heart contract."  She wants to "run, screaming, up the stairs."

Page 129:  Nancy's voice is "high and shaky."

Page 130:  Nancy speaks "shakily."

Page 131:  Nancy is startled.

Page 132:  Nancy's heart falls "into [her] stomach."

Page 134:  Nancy panics.

Page 136:  Nancy feels a "flutter of fear" and is "scared witless."

Page 139:  Nancy's heart is "dancing a rhumba" as she thinks "terrified thoughts."

Page 146:  Nancy is asked, "[H]ow effective could a teenage sleuth be?"

Page 147:  Nancy feels sick.

Page 149:  Nancy feels her "heart thudding in [her] chest."

Page 150:  Nancy screams and is shaking and trembling.

This chick is pathetic.  She is Nancy Drew in name only. 

I may have figured out why Nancy is being depicted as overly scared.  The book was written in first person.  The author apparently felt that the reader would feel fear if Nancy was depicted as being scared.  The reader is told constantly that Nancy is "shaking" so that the reader will feel scared.  However, this approach fails miserably.

Second, I have long suspected that Simon and Schuster is hiring people who are either not good writers or will write for minimum compensation.  This has resulted in an inferior product.  The author is either not very skilled or not motivated to write well.  The author relies on using words like "shaking" instead of using descriptive language to describe a spooky atmosphere.  For instance, instead of simply stating that Nancy is "shaking" as she enters the basement, I would have come closer to feeling fear if descriptive language about the basement had been used, like describing the basement as having menacing shadows.

Here are some other notable quotes.  On page 9, Bess remarks about the phrase, "house on Heliotrope Lane."  "That sounds funny.  It's like one of those old mystery stories—do you remember that series with the yellow covers, Geo—."  This remark is bizarre, since Nancy Drew is the mystery "series with the yellow covers."   Statements like this pull me out of the story.  Actually, I never did get into the story, since I was pulled out of it constantly when I kept having to stop to make notes about Nancy's fear.

On page 47, George announces that "there's probably not a working bathroom" in the house.  I'm glad that they got in the obligatory bathroom mention, since the great minds behind this series think that girls love bathroom humor.

Nancy gets in a smirk on page 67.  That's another necessity in this series and one that I cannot stand.

On page 118, Nancy finally realizes an appropriate use of a cell phone to help solve a mystery.  It has taken Nancy 16 books to figure this out!

On page 129, Nancy tells herself that she needs to get answers, if not for herself then for Izzy.  This makes it sound like Nancy doesn't really care about solving the mystery.  Nancy has a continuing problem in this series of needing to motivate herself to solve the mysteries.

On page 151, Bess and George arrive to save the day.  They come because Nancy's phone supposedly went dead, and they know that Nancy always charges her phone.  Really?  This is new.  Nancy forgot to get gas in the previous book in the series.

When the summary of this book first went online, fans commented that we were finally going to get a title that was not sabotage.  I was skeptical, since haunted houses are typically some kind of sabotage.  Surprise, surprise.  While really creative, this story is actually sabotage.  This is the kind of sabotage I like, since the sabotage is not obvious, but it is still sabotage nonetheless.

Was my hardcover book worth the $12.20 that I paid for it?  The first half of the book is bad.  The second half is decent, although not written as Nancy Drew should be.  The book itself is very nice.  The cover art is quite attractive, and the book is aesthetically pleasing.  However, I look at the book in disgust.  Is the book worth anything?  I don't know.  Maybe this review is worth $12.20.

Should I purchase the next book?  I probably will because I will want to see how bad it is, but I wonder whether I should wait for a remaindered or reduced copy.  My local Half Price Books stores have lots of hardcover copies of Nancy Drew Diaries #11 The Red Slippers at half-off the cover price.  The books must not be selling well.  Gee, I wonder why?

Simon and Schuster may very well be damaging the monetary value of the Nancy Drew franchise.

Two Purchases: One Lucky and One Unlucky

In December, I purchased a bulk lot of Nancy Drew books with dust jackets from the 1940s from an eBay seller.  This was a risky transaction, since the seller had some neutral and negative feedback that indicated poor shipping and inaccurate descriptions.  This was one of those times when I decided to take a calculated risk.  Around a week later, the seller listed a bulk lot of general series books from the 1940s with dust jackets.  I thought long and hard before making that purchase, because I wasn't sure whether the first purchase would turn out okay.

Around a week after the second purchase, the first purchase arrived.  This was a very lucky transaction.

The above picture shows exactly what I saw when I opened the package.  There was no padding inside the package with the books.  Somehow, the package must have stayed upright the entire time it was in transit, and it was never tossed around.  None of the dust jackets were damaged in the slightest.  It's unbelievable.

I concluded that the books from the second purchase would probably get damaged.  After all, I considered it highly unlikely that a second package would receive the same gentle treatment as the first package.  So I waited, and the weeks began to pass.  Since the second package was overdue, I felt certain that those jackets were doomed.  As my wait approached one month, I lost hope that the second purchase would ever arrive and initiated an eBay claim for an item not received.  I did not bother to contact the seller, since recent feedback indicated that the seller never responds to messages that complain about problems.  I knew that I was on my own with this seller.

The package finally arrived today, four weeks and one day after it was mailed, and two days after I initiated the claim.

The package looked rough, so I knew the jackets would be damaged.  I was right.

I pulled the books out of the box.  The next photo shows the jacket pieces in the bottom of the box.

But then what is that dark object?

It's something made from metal that is curved and has holes along one side.  Sellers like this one have a habit of putting trash and assorted objects inside packages.  Don't they realize that a heavy piece of metal adds to their postage cost?  I guess not.

I also received some comic books that were not part of the bulk lot.

Okay.  Well, I don't want them, and I don't want the random piece of metal.

Here are the assorted jacket pieces. 

I put them in a sandwich bag.  I will reunite the larger pieces and some of the smaller ones with the proper dust jackets when I put the jackets in mylar covers.  Some pieces will be too small to save.  Some of the smallest ones are still on the carpet, and sadly, they will get vacuumed up.

Here is the seller's picture of the books.

This is what they look like now.

The Penny Parker jackets were mostly destroyed.  I do have some of the Penny Parker jacket pieces in the sandwich bag, but some pieces appear to be missing.  Those pieces may have fallen out of the package, since the seams of the package had holes in them.

My second purchase from this seller was definitely disappointing, and it makes the first purchase that much luckier.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Sweet Valley High A Night to Remember, #95 The Morning After, #96 The Arrest, and #97 The Verdict

Note: This post contains major plot spoilers.

In Sweet Valley High Magna Edition, A Night to Remember, Liz comes up with the idea of having a Jungle Prom.  The Jungle Prom will feature decorations that have a jungle theme.  Jessica suggests having a local environmental group sponsor the Jungle Prom.  The students will vote for a jungle king and queen during the prom, and the jungle queen will receive a trip to Brazil, courtesy of the environmental group.

Both Liz and Jess have their hearts set on being voted jungle queen.  Jessica resorts to dirty tricks, and Liz becomes insanely angry, screaming with rage at Jessica.  At the Jungle Prom, Jessica spikes Liz's drink with alcohol.  Liz leaves with Jessica's boyfriend, Sam.  Liz crashes the Jeep, and Sam gets killed.

While all of this is happening, Lila continues to struggle with the time that John Pfeifer tried to rape her, accusing her counselor of attempted rape.  Bruce Patman falls in love with a mysterious girl, but he doesn't know her name.  And the students of Sweet Valley High get into a huge brawl with the students of Big Mesa High.

In short, everyone has gone crazy.

I did not enjoy this book.  The book is too bizarre.  It was written this way to force a change in the series, but it didn't work for me.

In Sweet Valley High #95, The Morning After, Sam is dead.  Jessica hates Liz, considering Sam's death to be completely Liz's fault; it's not like the drink that Jessica spiked had anything to do with Liz being drunk.  Liz cannot remember anything about the Jungle Prom, so the police believe that she is lying.  Liz is arrested and charged with manslaughter.  Bruce continues to mope about Pamela, who has a horrible reputation.  Margo kills her foster sister and leaves home, beginning her journey west.

This book is better than the previous one, although I still struggled with it.  Having the twins hate each other so much is rather depressing.

In Sweet Valley High #96, The Arrest, Jessica has stolen Liz's boyfriend, Todd, out of revenge for Liz killing Sam.  Liz and Jess still hate each other.  Liz spends the night in jail with a prostitute.  Bruce and Pamela try to make up, but others intervene.  Steven meets his new roommate, Billie.  Lila's mother, Grace, returns to Sweet Valley.  Nicholas Morrow becomes a contestant on a dating show.  Margo kills another child as she continues her journey west.

Even though the title is The Arrest, Elizabeth was arrested in the previous book.

My opinion of this book is about the same as the previous one.  I overall enjoyed it, but the situation with Liz and Jess is way too depressing.

In Sweet Valley High #97, The Verdict, the Wakefields finally consider the possibility that someone might have spiked Liz's punch.  You think?  Of course, they have no idea who did it.  Jessica continues to date Todd.  Liz and Jess still hate each other.  Lila gets to know her mother better.  Liz is acquitted of manslaughter when a man steps forward, stating that he was driving drunk and was the person who forced Liz off the road.  How convenient.

Margo sees a story about Liz in the newspaper and realizes that she looks just like Liz, except that she has dark hair.  Apparently, Margo looks so much like Liz that absolutely every feature is identical except for her eyes and hair.  Wow.  Margo decides that Sweet Valley will be her new home and that the Wakefield family will be her new family.  Margo plans to become Elizabeth Wakefield, and she will let nothing stop her.

I enjoyed this book, but the story is way too dark.  I doubt I will ever read any of these books again.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Sweet Valley High #91 In Love with a Prince, #92 She's Not What She Seems, #93 Stepsisters, and #94 Are We in Love?

In Sweet Valley High #91, In Love with a Prince, Elizabeth's pen pal, Prince Arthur of Santa Dora, visits Sweet Valley.  He falls in love with Dana Larson, who at first will have nothing to do with him.  Soon, Dana falls for Prince Arthur, and he asks her to marry him.  Prince Arthur came to Sweet Valley to find his princess, and Dana now must make a big decision.

Royalty comes to Sweet Valley.  Yuck.

I did not like this book.  It bored me.

In Sweet Valley High #92, She's Not What She Seems, Jessica lands a starring role in Macbeth.  Jessica stops spending time with her friends so that she can study her lines.

Meanwhile, Paula Perrine acts like Jessica's biggest fan, while taking Jessica's place with her friends.  Only Jessica can see that Paula is manipulating everyone.  Can Jessica prevent Paula from hurting her?

The first half of this book bored me.  Towards the end, the book finally becomes interesting.

In Sweet Valley High #93, Stepsisters, Annie Whitman's mother is getting remarried, but to a black man.  Annie doesn't mind that her new stepfather and stepsister will be black, but she is worried about what others will think.  Annie hides the fact that her stepsister-to-be, Cheryl, is black, so when her friends arrive at the party Annie throws for Cheryl, everyone is shocked.

Hiding the truth has drawn more attention to Cheryl being black than otherwise would have been the case.  Annie then behaves in an overprotective fashion towards Cheryl, thereby endangering their relationship.  Can Annie come to terms with the situation and become close to Cheryl?

I really enjoyed this book.

In Sweet Valley High #94, Are We in Love?, Steven and Cheryl become good friends.  Everyone else thinks they are falling for each other, so Steven and Cheryl begin to think the same.  They become a couple, and only later do both begin to see that they were trying to prove a point.  Can Steven and Cheryl rescue their friendship?

This book is somewhat mediocre.  It's apparent from the start that Steven and Cheryl don't love each other, so reading the story is a bit tedious.  At the end of the story, Steven and Cheryl do regain their friendship, so you would expect them to spend time with each other as friends in the coming books, or at least for a few books.  But alas, the Sweet Valley High series goes in a new direction, so these events don't matter at all.

#94 is the last book in the Sweet Valley High series that can be considered canon.  From this point on, the series no longer has individual stories.  Each book is part of a miniseries.  Both Jessica's and Liz's personalities shift so that they are more like each other.  Jessica is somewhat more settled, and Liz is more willing to participate in activities that Jessica likes.  The stories tend to be either darkly disturbing or quite bizarre.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Sweet Valley High #89 Elizabeth Betrayed, Murder on the Line, and #90 Don't Go Home with John

In Sweet Valley High #89, Elizabeth Betrayed, Olivia's boyfriend is obsessed with Elizabeth.  Rod talks about Liz all the time while he is with Olivia, and Olivia begins to resent Liz.  Meanwhile, Liz has trouble with an English essay, and Rod offers to help her.  Rod gives Liz some good ideas, and Liz is able to finish the essay.  Later, Liz is accused of plagiarism and is kicked off of the staff of The Oracle.

This is all ridiculous.  The book's synopsis makes it sound like a mystery about who could have possibly betrayed Liz.  If Liz gets help from Rod and is then accused of plagiarism, then it should be obvious who caused the problem.

This book is mediocre.

In Sweet Valley High Super Thriller, Murder on the Line, it's a new summer vacation, yet the Wakefield twins have the same jobs as interns at the city's newspaper as in the previous Super Thriller editions.  The Wakefields also have the same house guest, Adam, and the girls have the same knack for running into dangerous mysteries.

The phones are messed up in the Western Building, and Jessica's phone allows her to eavesdrop on conversations.  Jessica learns about a planned murder before it happens.  After the murder, Jessica tells the police who connect the murder to a drug ring.  Jessica soon realizes that someone in the newspaper office is part of the drug ring, but she suspects the wrong person.

This book is pretty good, but it's time to drop the summer intern story and go with something else.

In Sweet Valley High #90, Don't Go Home with John, Lila Fowler and John Pfeifer become interested in each other.  On their first date, Lila and John park at Miller's Point.  John suddenly becomes aggressive, trying to force himself on Lila.  Lila is only able to get away after she stabs John in the neck with his keys.

In the following days, Lila blames herself for the attempted rape.  She cannot come to terms with it.  Lila finally blurts out the truth at a party, but John claims that what happened was consensual.  Only some of Lila's acquaintances believe her.  Will Lila ever regain her reputation?

This series actually gets serious about the topic of date rape.  The early books in the series feature several attempted rapes which are made out not to be a big deal.  Bruce tries to rape Liz?  No problem!  Scott tries to rape Jessica?  Whatever!  Finally, a girl reacts like this sort of thing might actually be serious.

I enjoyed this book.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Sleuth or Dare Series by Kim Harrington

Last month, I was in a local bookstore and happened to notice the book Sleuth or Dare #1 Partners in Crime on the shelf.  Hmm.  I decided to purchase and read the book in order to compare it to the Nancy Drew Diaries series.  I wanted to see if these girls are weak girl detectives like the current Nancy Drew.  After all, the people at Simon and Schuster apparently think that girls enjoy reading about weak and scared girl detectives who don't know what they are doing.  Anyway, I thought it might be interesting.

Sleuth or Dare is a short series by Kim Harrington.  The series consists of three books.

1.  Partners in Crime, 2012
2.  Sleepover Stakeout, 2012
3.  Framed & Dangerous, 2012

Norah Burridge and Darcy Carter are best friends, who are 12 years old and in middle school.  Norah and Darcy.  I find it interesting that I can come up with Nancy Drew's first name easily from the two girls' names.  Also, put the first letter of Norah and Darcy's names together, and you get Nancy Drew's initials.  Nancy Drew is mentioned on page 98 of the first book.

Norah is very smart and is considered a goody-goody.  The stories are told from Norah's viewpoint.  Her best friend, Darcy, is reckless and brash.  She dresses in black and has a purple streak in her hair.  Darcy is a technology expert.  Fiona is another girl who becomes close to Norah and Darcy.  Fiona is a very popular cheerleader and has a great fashion sense.  Maya is a shy girl who also becomes friends with the girls.

In Sleuth or Dare #1, Partners in Crime, the students are assigned a project where they have to create a possible small business, including the name and logo.  Norah and Darcy come up with a detective agency and name it Partners in Crime.  Darcy creates the website, using the school's server.  The girls present their project and think no more of it until they get an email:  "Please find my twin sister."  Suddenly, the girls' detective agency is real!  The girls know that a classmate must have sent the message, so they work on finding out who this person is so that they can solve the mystery.

The girls even get a warning note, which is so Nancy Drew, that is, classic Nancy Drew.

Darcy uses a couple of cell phones in a creative fashion, which leads to the solution of the mystery.  I appreciate seeing cell phones used this way, since cell phones are used in an inept fashion in the Nancy Drew Diaries series.

This is a very captivating book.  I read it quickly and decided to purchase the other two books in the set.

In Sleuth or Dare #2, Sleepover Stakeout, Maya has a mystery for Norah and Darcy to solve.  The baby monitor in Maya's home keeps picking up strange conversions, yet whenever Maya checks on the baby, nobody is there.  Norah and Darcy spend the night with Maya so that they can investigate.  The girls hear what sounds like someone being threatened, and Darcy points out that baby monitors can pick up sounds being transmitted on the same frequency.  The girls check all of the surrounding houses as they work on the mystery.

Towards the end of the story, Norah and Darcy have a huge fight because Darcy resents how much time Norah spends with Fiona.  The girls aren't speaking at the end of the book.

The beginning of this story also has a very clever use of a cell phone, different from how phones were used in the previous book.

On page 4, the text gives a good summary of the girls' interests.
We each have our own hobbies.  I'm an astronomy buff.  Fiona is a fashionista. She can't name any of Jupiter's moons, but I don't know any expensive shoe designers, so we're even.  Darcy's into technology, crime, and conspiracies, and she's totally obsessed with the TV show Crime Scene: New York.

Even though we all have our own interests, we work well together.
Not mentioned here is how Fiona's popularity enables her to advertise the detective agency simply by word of mouth.  The girls form a great group of diverse personalities that mesh together well.

On page 18, the case that Norah and Darcy solve in the first book is mentioned, but Norah states that it must remain a secret.  I wondered how the author would avoid spoiling the first book, and I'm pleased with how she handled it.

The second book is another solid entry in the series.

In Sleuth or Dare #3, Framed & Dangerous, the middle school's new field house burns down.  Zane, a boy that Norah likes, is accused of setting the fire.  Norah decides to take the case, but with Darcy not speaking to her, she isn't able to do much.  Even though the girls are still angry, they do come together to work on the case.

On page 119, Norah laments, "The odds are stacked against us."  Darcy replies, "News flash, Norah.  We're twelve.  We're geeks.  The odds are always stacked against us.  But we always pull through.  Together.  And we will again."

I finished the third book wishing that there were more of them.  These are good books.

I really think that Kim Harrington did model these books after the original Nancy Drew series.  She created three friends who are very different from each other, yet each are able to contribute in a unique way to the solving of each mystery.

In the original Nancy Drew series, Nancy's friends are the ones who are reckless (George) or scared (Bess).  Nancy is the stabilizing force.  In the Sleuth or Dare series, Norah is the stabilizing force.

The Sleuth or Dare girls do get scared at times, but this is logical given the situation and that the girls are just 12.  The reason the original Nancy Drew books work so well is that Nancy Drew remains brave, but Bess shows the fear.  In the Nancy Drew Diaries series, Nancy is the one who shows fear, and she gets scared and nervous over the silliest situations.

In conclusion, the Sleuth or Dare series is really good.  The girls are likable and fun, and the stories are engaging.  The books are everything that the Nancy Drew Diaries series should be.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Sweet Valley High Todd's Story, #87 Best Friend's Boyfriend, and #88 Love Letters for Sale

In Sweet Valley High Super Star, Todd's Story, Todd has never told anyone about one of his experiences from when he lived in Vermont.  Todd saw a young man, Kevin Holmes, assaulting someone and called the police.  Todd testified at Kevin's trial, which resulted in Kevin going to prison.  Now Kevin has shown up in Sweet Valley as one of Todd's fellow counselors at the summer camp at Secca Lake.

All of Todd's friends adore Kevin, so Todd keeps quiet about what he knows.  Soon, Todd realizes that he should have spoken up.  Kevin is in Sweet Valley to get revenge, and Todd's silence has helped Kevin with his scheme.

This story must have been written earlier in the sequence than when it was published.  Cara is supposed to have already moved to London, yet she still lives in Sweet Valley in this book.  Jessica's current boyfriend is supposed to be Sam, yet he doesn't exist in this book.

I found this story to be gripping.  I'm not a big Todd fan, but I really felt for him as he struggled with his knowledge about Kevin and tried to prevent Kevin from harming Elizabeth.

This is an excellent story.

In Sweet Valley High #87, My Best Friend's Boyfriend, Ginny Belasca volunteers at Project Youth.  She helps a boy named Mike, and he becomes a frequent caller to the hotline.  Soon, Mike wants to meet Ginny, but Ginny knows that she is not pretty enough and feels certain that Mike will not like her.

Ginny has her best friend, Denise Hadley, meet Mike for her, while pretending to be Ginny.  Denise falls in love with Mike, but the only problem is that he thinks she is Ginny.  Later, Ginny meets Mike, while pretending to be Denise.

This plot is such a mess.  It's totally stupid, and the story is just mediocre.

In Sweet Valley High #88, Love Letters for Sale, Jessica's latest money-making scheme is a letter-writing service.  Elizabeth agrees to write the letters while Jessica screens them.  The girls quickly earn plenty of money, but Jessica soon has a problem.  One letter requests a love letter to Elizabeth's boyfriend.  Jessica hides the identity of the requested recipient, which means that Liz unknowingly writes a love letter from another girl to her own boyfriend.  And it gets worse from there.

Liz looks just like Martha Stewart on the book's cover.

This plot is also a bit ridiculous, but I found it much more enjoyable than the previous book.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Sweet Valley High #85 Soap Star, The Wakefield Legacy, and #86 Jessica Against Bruce

In Sweet Valley High #85, Soap Star, Jessica is excited when she learns that the soap opera, The Young and the Beautiful, is auditioning sets of twins for a one-week story.  Unfortunately, Liz is not interested, so Jessica has to come up with a scheme to get Liz to show up for the audition.

Jessica gets caught up in a romance with soap star Brandon Hunter and neglects her boyfriend, Sam.  Will Jessica lose the boy she loves for what is likely a temporary fling?

On page 78, Lila comments that Jessica is really hung up on Brandon.  Jessica replies, "Not hung up, exactly.  Not yet.  I just see the possibilities.  Not only is he cute, and nice, and single, but right now he's my ticket to being seen in Hollywood."

This is the first time that Jessica has ever been honest about how she romances boys and men solely as a means to an end.

Each episode of this soap opera is filmed on the morning of the day it airs.  That's not how soap operas are done.  Of course, this one is done that way so that a problem on the final day will cause Jessica's final appearance to be done in a live show, so that Jessica can create a scene.

I enjoyed this book.

I did not enjoy the first Wakefield saga, so I knew that I wouldn't like The Wakefield Legacy.  I skimmed a little bit of the story, then I abandoned it.  Now, let's continue with the next book.

In Sweet Valley High #86, Jessica Against Bruce, Bruce forms an exclusive club known as Club X.  Each member gets to wear a leather jacket with an X on the back.  Jessica is annoyed that the club is open only to boys, and Bruce claims that Jessica doesn't have what it takes to be a member.  Jessica insists upon joining.

At Club X meetings, members spin a roulette wheel that has their names on it.  If the wheel stops on a member's name, then that member has to complete a dare.  Strangely, the wheel almost always stops on Jessica's name.  Jessica's dares become increasingly dangerous.  If Jessica stays in the club, she might end up risking her life.

The dares are extremely dangerous, and in one dare, Jessica is nearly killed.  While these books still have the canon Sweet Valley High premise, the series gradually becomes edgier as it moves closer to the upcoming changes to the series.

I enjoyed this book.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Sweet Valley High #82 Kidnapped by the Cult!, #83 Steven's Bride, and #84 The Stolen Diary

In Sweet Valley High #82, Kidnapped by the Cult!, Jessica has been grounded, her friends don't understand her, and she has a fight with her boyfriend, Sam.  Jessica feels all alone until she learns about the Good Friends cult.  The Good Friends are so caring.  They know how Jessica feels, and they encourage her to break ties with her family so that she can join their cause.

The title is misleading, since Jessica is never kidnapped.  Additionally, Jessica does not leave to join the cult until near the end of the story, just like in the books in which Jessica or Liz run away.  Lame!  Why can't the good stuff happen early in the story?

I enjoyed this book.

In Sweet Valley High #83, Steven's Bride, Steven learns that his girlfriend, Cara Walker, is moving to London.  Jessica gets the bright idea that Steven and Cara should get married, and Steven immediately runs with the idea.  Both Steven and Cara privately have misgivings, as is apparent from the dreadful cover art, but neither admits to their feelings.

Fortunately, Steven and Cara do not marry, and Cara does move to London at the end of the book.  Steven and Cara's relationship has always bored me, and I was thrilled to see it end.

I did not enjoy this book very much.

In Sweet Valley High #84, The Stolen Diary, Todd and Elizabeth decide to date other people.  Liz goes out with Kris Lynch, but soon realizes that she still wants to be with Todd.  When Liz tells Kris the truth, Kris gets revenge.

Jessica is great in this book.  I love Jessica the best when she champions her twin sister.

I enjoyed this story.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Sweet Valley High #80 Girl They Both Loved, Olivia's Story, and #81 Rosa'a Lie

In Sweet Valley High #80, The Girl They Both Loved, April Dawson's boyfriend, Michael Harris, is obsessed with an old rival, Artie Western.  April decides to find out what happened, even if it risks her relationship with Michael.

Meanwhile, Jessica meets Sam Woodruff, who will be her serious boyfriend for around two dozen books.

This is overall a rather forgettable book.  I can't even remember what I thought of it.  As best I can recall, the main plot bored me.  I think I overall enjoyed the book, despite it not being very interesting.

In Sweet Valley High Super Star, Olivia's Story, Olivia Davidson spends a lot of time with James Yates, an art student.  Meanwhile, Olivia's cousin, Emily, comes to visit.  Emily is very organized and dresses in a professional manner, while Olivia is disorganized and dresses in an offbeat fashion.  Soon, both Olivia and Emily become confused, each secretly thinking that she should be more like her cousin.

The first part of this book is very boring.  Once Olivia and Emily began trying to be like each other, the book grabbed my interest.  I enjoyed the rest of the story.

In Sweet Valley High #81, Rosa's Lie, Rosa Jameson is the daughter of immigrants from Mexico.  She does not look Mexican, so she has successfully hidden her heritage from all of her friends.  When Rosa's grandmother visits her in Sweet Valley, Rosa's is scared that her friends will learn the truth.  Rosa soon becomes ashamed of herself.  Can she come to terms with her heritage while keeping her friends?

Rosa pledges Pi Beta Alpha, and the sorority has the pledges complete various tasks.  I found it impossible to believe that the girls could do things like start a food fight, remove all of the furniture from the guidance counselor's office, and raid the boys' locker room without getting in trouble. 

I enjoyed this book.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Sweet Valley High Wakefields of Sweet Valley, #78 Dating Game, and #79 Long-Lost Brother

In Sweet Valley High Saga, The Wakefields of Sweet Valley, the history of the maternal side of Elizabeth and Jessica's family is detailed.  Oddly, most generations have a set of identical twins whose names tend to be very similar to Elizabeth and Jessica.  Even stranger, the sets of twins have personalities eerily similar to Liz and Jess.  This is too stupid for me.

This book bored me.  I knew within the first few pages that it wasn't for me.  I skimmed through the book.  I would have rather read detailed information about the young lives of Ned and Alice Wakefield instead of past generations and their friends that strangely had rather similar names to the teenagers of modern Sweet Valley.  It was too ridiculous.

In Sweet Valley High #78, The Dating Game, Scott Trost writes love letters to both Jean West and Claire Middleton.  The girls are furious when they compare letters and see that Scott wrote to both of them.  Jean and Clair confront Scott, who then proposes that the girls compete to see who can win his heart.

On page 55, "Elizabeth couldn't remember ever seeing Lila so excited.  Had someone named a shopping mall after her, Elizabeth wondered."

Now that is funny.

At least this book is less stupid than the Wakefield saga, but it is still a bit stupid.  However, I overall enjoyed it.

In Sweet Valley High #79, The Long-Lost Brother, Sara Eastborne's twin brother, Tim, got into trouble a few years ago.  Tim lives with their father, and Sara has lied about Tim's past, claiming that he is a sports star.  Tim comes to live with Sara and her mother, and Sara tries to keep his past a secret, which puts her own friendships in jeopardy.

From page 6:
The light changed and Jessica pressed her foot down on the gas pedal, sending the little car zooming through the intersection.  "You mean women who husbands hit them?"

"Yes," Elizabeth answered sadly.

Expertly, Jessica rummaged through her bag, keeping her eyes on the road the whole time, and brought out of stick of gum.  After unwrapping it, she folded it into her mouth.

"Bummer," she said, consulting the rearview mirror before signaling and changing lanes.
I love Jessica. She always delivers the laughs.

Sara really annoyed me.  She is quite hateful towards her brother.  I do understand that she fears embarrassment and that she wants to hide his past, but her nastiness is way beyond understanding.

I enjoyed this book.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Sweet Valley High #75 Amy's True Love, #76 Miss Teen Sweet Valley, and #77 Cheating to Win

In Sweet Valley High #75, Amy's True Love, Amy Sutton is certain that tennis star Tom McKay is the boy of her dreams.  Amy does everything she can, but Tom will not pay attention to her.

Meanwhile, Amy begins volunteering at Project Youth.  She becomes good friends with Barry Rork, who is another volunteer.  Barry has strong feelings for Amy, but she doesn't think that Barry is her type.  Amy ignores Barry while continuing to chase after Tom.

Partway through the book, the reader learns that the reason Tom wants nothing to do with Amy is because he is beginning to think that he might be gay.  Tom struggles with his feelings and goes to Project Youth for help.

Once again, I like that the series has begun tackling serious issues, but Tom's story was dropped after this book.  I would have liked to have read what happens to Tom next.  The series makes these feeble attempts to go deep but fails to follow through with anything of real meaning.

I greatly enjoyed this book.

In Sweet Valley High #76, Miss Teen Sweet Valley, Jessica has her heart set on becoming the first Miss Teen Sweet Valley.  Liz is equally determined to prevent the pageant from happening, since she feels that pageants are sexist.  Liz begins a campaign to force the city to reconsider.  Soon, Liz and Jess are not speaking to each other.

Liz is insufferable in this book.  I could not stand her behavior and her endless sanctimonious comments about pageants.  Liz goes too far, and I just wanted her to shut up.

On pages 110 and 111, Liz finally figures out how awful she has been.
She was ready to admit, to herself if not yet to Jessica, that she had been just a little pigheaded about the whole thing.

Her feelings about beauty pageants hadn't changed, but this was clearly a case where the best advice was to live and let live. Elizabeth couldn't understand why she hadn't grasped that idea before.
Neither can we, Liz.  Neither can we.

I greatly enjoyed the last part of the story, mainly because of what happens during the pageant.  I did not enjoy all the parts where Liz lectures everyone about pageants.

In Sweet Valley High #77, Cheating to Win, Tony Esteban hopes to get a track scholarship to college.  Tony's father puts tremendous pressure on him, and Tony is devastated when he tears his knee.  Tony begins taking magic vitamins that a friend from the gym gives him.  Deep down, Tony knows that he is probably taking steroids, but he refuses to admit it.  Meanwhile, Tony's girlfriend, Annie Whitman, suspects the truth.  Annie risks losing Tony so that she can prevent him from making a big mistake.

Towards the end of the story, Tony comes clean about the steroids, but he is still allowed to compete.  It is determined that the steroids didn't affect Tony enough to matter.  Huh?  Amazingly, Tony breaks the school record, and everyone is okay that he used steroids for three weeks.  I find this hard to believe.

I enjoyed this book.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Sweet Valley High #72 Rock Star's Girl, #73 Regina's Legacy, and #74 The Perfect Girl

In Sweet Valley High #72, Rock Star's Girl, Jessica's favorite rock star, Jamie Peters, has just moved to Sweet Valley.  Jessica and Lila hide in the bushes behind Jamie's property and eavesdrop on him.  One day, the girls are shocked to see new student, Andrea Slade, at the pool on Jamie's property.  Can Andrea be Jamie's girlfriend?

It's ridiculous that the girls assume that Andrea must be Jamie's girlfriend and that she cannot have any other possible relationship with him, like possibly being his daughter.  Duh.

This is a very good book.

In Sweet Valley High #73, Regina's Legacy, Mrs. Morrow gives Elizabeth a camera that belonged to Regina.  Coincidentally, at the exact same time, a photography club has just been formed at Sweet Valley High, and Elizabeth has joined the club.  This is rather convenient.

Anyway, Liz goes out taking pictures at the beach, and she photographs three men.  Soon, Liz realizes that someone is trying to get her photos and concludes that he is one of the men.  Can Liz solve the mystery before someone gets hurt?

I enjoyed this book.

In Sweet Valley High #74, The Perfect Girl, Robin Wilson fears that her boyfriend, George Warren, is losing interest in her.  Robin decides that she needs to lose weight, so she quits eating.  Soon, Robin has become anorexic, and everyone is worried about her.  Will Robin get help before it is too late?

I like how the series has begun to tackle serious problems, but unfortunately, the problems always get resolved by the end of the story, which is not realistic.

I enjoyed this book.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Books Read in 2017

When I wrote a summary of the books I read in 2016, I felt the need to explain how I can read so many books.  This happened because I received several comments in 2016 expressing shock about how many books I had read, and I felt that some people thought I was strange.  I did not see my 2016 reading total of 355 books as being that significant, simply because a large number of them were Hardy Boys books that I read very fast.  Modern books for children can be read faster than vintage books for children.

In 2017, I had a different attitude.  I had no concern about what others thought, but it also helped that I didn't get any odd comments.  I felt quite proud of my reading progress.  Many of the books I read during the first half of 2017 were rather long, and some contained old-fashioned language that made the books harder to read fast.

In my post on my middle of the year reading progress in 2017, I wrote:
The idea of reading one book per day appeals to me, even though it is a daunting task.  I set myself a goal of reading 365 books by the end of 2017.  I have some significant doubt as to whether the goal is reachable, and it depends upon the length of the books I read.  Indeed, I have set the goal at 365 to force myself to keep reading as many books as I can as quickly as I can. 
I have approximately 500 books on my "to read" list.  These are books that I truly want to read very soon, but even at one book per day, I will need around 1 1/2 years to get to all of them.  It's a bit overwhelming and even a little depressing.  By having a goal of one book per day this year, I will make good progress on my reading list.
I had read 181 books as of July 1, which was close to the pace needed to finish the year at an average of one book per day.  I commented about how many of the books I had read were longer books, which made my 2017 reading progress to that point mean a lot more than what my 2016 reading total meant.

On September 30, I updated my reading progress.  I had been on track to read one book per day, but not reading for two weeks due to a loss of interest in reading put that goal in jeopardy.  I finally decided to read Sweet Valley High and got started reading again.

I then realized that several of you misunderstood, so I explained further on October 2.
Some of you feel that my reading goal is causing me stress.  Not at all.  If I don't reach my goal, I'm not going to lose sleep over it.  When I lost interest in reading 2 1/2 weeks ago, it was because I got annoyed with what I was reading.

I had purchased a small number of Baby-Sitters Club books to try out.  I wanted to read every book that I had purchased to get a good sample of the series.  I greatly enjoyed the first few that I read.  I then read a few that I didn't like as much.  I next read one that had an excessive amount of background information done in the style of Girls of Canby Hall, obviously designed to take up many pages.  I became so annoyed that I quit reading.

I was at a loss as to what to read, and I had some other things that took my interest instead.  I wasn't stressed by the reading; it's just that I lost interest in reading temporarily.  I then forced myself into Sweet Valley High, and I'm set again, reading along at a good pace.  
In October, I adjusted my goal of 365 books up to 385 books.  I did not want to meet my goal early and then slacken off like I did near the end of 2016.  I also decided that I wanted to reach at least #100 in the Sweet Valley High series by the end of the year if at all possible.  In November, I decided that I would probably be able to read 400 books by the end of the year, so I made that my new goal.

On November 27, I matched my 2016 total of 355 books read.  I met my original goal of 365 books on December 5.  On either December 20 or 21, I met my first revised goal of 385 books.  I still wasn't absolutely certain even then whether I would actually reach 400 books.  I had known since around October that I would read between 395 and 405 books, but I didn't know exactly how far I would get until December 30.

Around 8 PM on December 31, I finished reading my 403rd book of the year.  I feel a tremendous sense of satisfaction in knowing that I was able to read over 400 books in 2017.

Of the 403 books read in 2017, 80 of them were books that I had read before.  Those books are in blue in the below list.  All books are listed in the order that I read them.

January:  31 books

Girls of Canby Hall #18, 19, Super Edition #1, #20-22, Super Edition #2, #23-26
Nancy Drew Diaries #14
Girls of Canby Hall #27-33
River Heights #1-11, Junior Class Trip

February:  26 books

River Heights #12-16
Nancy Drew On Campus #1-5
Last Act by Christopher Pike
Spellbound by Christopher Pike
Gimme a Kiss by Christopher Pike
Fall Into Darkness by Christopher Pike
Slumber Party by Christopher Pike
Scavenger Hunt by Christopher Pike
Weekend by Christopher Pike
Nancy Drew On Campus #6
Final Friends #1, 2, and 3
Remember Me #1, 2, and 3
Chain Letter by Christopher Pike
Chain Letter 2 by Christopher Pike

March:  29 books

Hardy Boys Adventures #14
See You Later by Christopher Pike
Witch by Christopher Pike
Whisper of Death by Christopher Pike
Die Softly by Christopher Pike
Bury Me Deep by Christopher Pike
Master of Murder by Christopher Pike
Monster by Christopher Pike
Road to Nowhere by Christopher Pike
The Eternal Enemy by Christopher Pike
The Immortal by Christopher Pike
The Wicked Heart by Christopher Pike
The Tachyon Web by Christopher Pike
Midnight Club by Christopher Pike
The Lost Mind by Christopher Pike
The Visitor by Christopher Pike
The Starlight Crystal by Christopher Pike
The Star Group by Christopher Pike
Execution of Innocence by Christopher Pike
The Hollow Skull by Christopher Pike
Spooksville #1
Magic Fire by Christopher Pike
The Grave by Christopher Pike
Spooksville #2, 3
Sati by Christopher Pike
Season of Passage by Christopher Pike
Spooksville #4, 5

April:  24 books

The Listeners by Christopher Pike
The Cold One by Christopher Pike
Spooksville #6-10
Cheerleaders #2
Spooksville #11-13
Tales of Terror #1, 2
Blind Mirror by Christopher Pike
Alosha by Christopher Pike
Shaktra by Christopher Pike
Yanti by Christopher Pike
Spooksville #14, 15, 16, 17
Don Sturdy #1
Spooksville #18
The Mystery of Pelican Cove by Ruby Radford

May:  25 books

Spooksville #19-24
Falling by Christopher Pike
Last Vampire #1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Thirst #3, 4
The Secret of Ka by Christopher Pike
Witch World #1, 2
Thirst #5
Strange Girl by Christopher Pike
Wallace Boys #1-5

June:  43 books

Wallace Boys #6-20
Vicky Loring #1, 2
The Ghost Hollow Mystery by Page Carter
Mystery at Ding-Dong Gulch by Page Carter
Patsy Carroll #1
Mystery of Sebastion Island by Margaret Goff Clark
The Haunted Cove by Elizabeth Baldwin Hazelton
Mystery in the Pirate Oak by Helen Fuller Orton
Mystery of the Missing Stamps by Margaret Goff Clark
Mystery in the Apple Orchard by Helen Fuller Orton
Mystery of the Lost Letter by Helen Fuller Orton
Mystery in Old Quebec by Mary C. Jane
Riddle of the Lonely House by Augusta Huiell Seaman
Mystery of the Missing Suitcase by Florence Parry Heide
Mystery at Keyhole Carnival by Florence Parry Heide
Mystery at the Weird Ruins by Christine Noble Govan
Mystery at Redtop Hill by Marjory Schwalje
Diana Winthrop #1
Tom Austen #1
The Mercer Boys' Cruise in the Lassie
Ghost of Follonsbee's Folly by Florence Hightower
Ghost of Windy Hill by Clyde Robert Bulla
The Serpent of Pirate Cove by Bill Knott
Trouble at Turtle Bay by Marie Holmstrand
Patsy Carroll #2
The Green Jade Necklace by Josephine Chase
Bailey Twins #1
Dan Perry #1

July:  42 books

Dan Perry #2, 3
The Girl from the Country by May Hollis Barton
Bob Dexter and the Storm Mountain Mystery
The Highview Mystery by Lawrence A. Keating
Connie Carl at Rainbow Ranch
The Linger-Nots and the Mystery House
The Ranger Boys to the Rescue
The Motor Boys on the Atlantic
Tom Stetson #1
The Motor Girls #1
Dorothy Dale #1
The Mystery of Seneca Hill by Margaret Goff Clark
The Mystery of the Buried Indian Mask by Margaret Goff Clark
Mystery of the Marble Zoo by Margaret Goff Clark
Mystery at Star Lake by Margaret Goff Clark
Adirondack Mountain Mystery by Margaret Goff Clark
Mystery Horse by Margaret Goff Clark
Death at Their Heels by Margaret Goff Clark
Mystery in the Flooded Museum by Margaret Goff Clark
Who Stole Kathy Young? by Margaret Goff Clark
The Latchkey Mystery by Margaret Goff Clark
Bearstone by Will Hobbs
Far North by Will Hobbs
Autumn Street by Lois Lowry
No Monsters in the Closet by Willo Davis Roberts
Don't Hurt Laurie! by Willo Davis Roberts
Three Girl Chums at Laurel Hall by May Hollis Barton
Patsy Carroll #3
Nell Grayson's Ranching Days by May Hollis Barton
Four Little Women of Roxby by May Hollis Barton
Plain Jane and Pretty Betty by May Hollis Barton
Little Miss Sunshine by May Hollis Barton
Hazel Hood's Strange Discovery by May Hollis Barton
Two Girls and a Mystery by May Hollis Barton
The Girls of Lighthouse Island by May Hollis Barton
Kate Martin's Problem by May Hollis Barton
The Girl in the Top Flat by May Hollis Barton
The Search for Peggy Ann by May Hollis Barton
Sallie's Test of Skill by May Hollis Barton
Charlotte Cross and Aunt Deb by May Hollis Barton
Virginia's Venture by May Hollis Barton

August:  33 books

The Disappearance of Anne Shaw by Augusta Huiell Seaman
The Charlemonte Crest by Augusta Huiell Seaman
Radio Boys #1
Diana Winthrop #2, 3
Doris Fein: Superspy
The Haunted Apartment by Margaret Sutton
Diana Winthrop #4, 5, 6
Mystery on Echo Ridge by Mary C. Jane
Mystery on Nine-Mile Marsh by Mary C. Jane
The Ghost Rock Mystery by Mary C. Jane
Mrs. Wappinger's Secret by Florence Hightower
Tom Stetson #2, 3
Dr. Doom: Superstar
Doris Fein: Quartz Boyar
Nancy Drew Diaries #15
Doris Fein: Phantom of the Casino
Doris Fein: The Mad Samurai
Doris Fein: Deadly Aphrodite
Doris Fein: Murder Is No Joke
Doris Fein: Dead Heat at Long Beach
Doris Fein: Legacy of Terror
Cassandra Best (Cassie B. Jones) #1-4
Mystery at Pemaquid Point by Mary C. Jane
Mystery Back of the Mountain by Mary C. Jane
Mystery at Dead End Farm by Mary C. Jane
Mystery Behind Dark Windows by Mary C. Jane

September:  24 books

Mystery by Moonlight by Mary C. Jane
Mystery in Longfellow Square by Mary C. Jane
Mystery of the Red Carnations by Mary C. Jane
Mystery in Hidden Hollow by Mary C. Jane
Indian Island Mystery by Mary C. Jane
Mystery of the Silent Friends by Robin Gottlieb
The Secret of Crossbone Hill by Wilson Gage
Mystery of Myrtle Grove by Ruby Radford
The Secret of Peach Orchard Plantation by Ruby Radford
The Mystery of Adventure Island by Ruby Radford
Hardy Boys Adventures #15
Secret of Ocean House by Ruby Radford
The Mystery of Magnolia Beach by Ruby Radford
The Mystery of the Nancy Lee by Ruby Radford
Baby-Sitters Club #1, 6, 7, 8, 9
Sweet Valley High #1-5

October:  38 books

Sweet Valley High #6-21, Perfect Summer, #22-24, Special Christmas, #25-27, Spring Break, #28, 29, Malibu Summer, #30-32, Winter Carnival, #33-35, Spring Fever, #36, 37

November:  43 books

Sweet Valley High #38-41, Double Jeopardy, #42-45, On the Run, #46-50, No Place to Hide, #51-55, 56, 57, Deadly Summer, #58-60, Lila's Story, #61-65, Bruce's Story, #66-70, Enid's Story, #71-73

December:  45 books

Sweet Valley High #74-80, Olivia's Story, #81-86, Todd's Story, #87-89, Murder on the Line, #90
Sleuth or Dare #1
Sweet Valley High #91-94, A Night to Remember, #95-111
Sleuth or Dare #2, 3

I do not have a reading goal for 2018.  I'll come up with one at some point.  I do not believe in New Year's resolutions.  I will set a goal when the mood strikes me, and I always set goals that are realistic based on what I know I can accomplish.  I am certain that I will read fewer books in 2018 than I did in 2017.

My immediate goal is one I have had since late September, which is to continue reading through the Sweet Valley High series as fast as I can.  I expect to finish the original Sweet Valley High series sometime in February.  I may read the Sweet Valley University series next, if I am able to get through the first book okay when the time comes.  After that, I might end up reading anything, although the books of Augusta Huiell Seaman are high on my list.