Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Sweet Valley High #126 Tall, Dark, and Deadly, #127 Dance of Death, and #128 Kiss of a Killer

In Sweet Valley High #126, Tall, Dark, and Deadly, most of the girls at Sweet Valley High immediately fall in love with the new student, Jonathan Cain.  Liz senses something wrong with Jonathan, and she deeply dislikes him.  Enid is especially smitten, and she rejects Liz's friendship when Liz criticizes Jonathan.

Jessica will stop at nothing to gain Jonathan's affection, despite Jonathan's rude behavior and warning that she needs to stay away from him for her own safety.

In Sweet Valley High #127, Dance of Death, Jessica and the rest of the girls continue chasing after Jonathan.  Jessica shares a passionate kiss with Jonathan, but the next day she learns that Enid spent the rest of the evening with Jonathan and has a hickey on her neck.

Liz's summer fling, Joey Mason, has moved to Sweet Valley.  Liz is confused, torn between Todd and Joey.

Jonathan throws a party at his mansion.  The evening ends in tragedy with one person dead.

On page 102, Jessica paces around the school's gravel parking lot.  This surprised me.  I always thought that Sweet Valley High had a paved parking lot.  Why would the pampered students of Sweet Valley High put up with gravel?

In Sweet Valley High #128, Kiss of a Killer, Jonathan nearly kills Enid, after losing control.  Enid lies in the hospital, unconscious.  Liz breaks into Jonathan's house to search for clues.  She finds some books about vampires.  Liz looks into the history of vampires and concludes that Jonathan is a vampire.  Can Liz save Jessica before it is too late?

It's clear that Jonathan really is a vampire.  Unlike the werewolf trilogy, this trilogy leaves little doubt.  Actually, there is slight doubt, since nobody witnesses Jonathan drinking blood, but I feel confident that he is really a vampire.  Like with the werewolf trilogy, the subsequent books in the series make no mention of vampire and simply refer to Jonathan as a "disturbed serial killer."

Liz is so disgusting.  She decides that she is in love with Todd, but she can't bring herself to tell Joey the truth.

I greatly enjoyed this trilogy.  I found all parts interesting with nothing boring.

I did not make note of which book, but one of these vampire books is the first book in the series to mention the Internet by name.

The next books in the sequence are The Fowlers of Sweet Valley and The Patmans of Sweet Valley.  I decided not to read either book.  I am not interested in reading about Lila and Bruce's ancestors.  I want to stick with modern day Sweet Valley,  Let's get this series finished as soon as possible.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Sweet Valley High Falling for Lucas, #123 Elizabeth's Rival, #124 Meet Me at Midnight, and #125 Camp Killer

In Sweet Valley High Super Edition, Falling for Lucas, a group of students from Sweet Valley High goes on a ski vacation at Snow Mountain Lodge.  Jessica and Lila both immediately fall for Lucas, who is one of the ski instructors.  Both girls scheme to keep Lucas away from the other.

Todd tries to trick Liz into spending the night with him in his room.  It's not clear exactly what Todd intends to have happen, since the text is vague.  I figure we can assume the worst, which is what Liz does.  Liz is furious, so she and Todd have a big fight.  Todd chases after Liz late one evening on the slopes and is swept away in an avalanche.  Liz is remorseful and fears for his safety.

For most of this series, I have not liked Liz and Todd's relationship that much.  By this point in the series, their relationship is unbearable.  They fight in nearly every book, and then they make up.

This book is just okay.

In Sweet Valley High #123, Elizabeth's Rival, Liz and Jess have signed up to be junior counselors at Camp Echo Mountain in Montana.  They are joined by several other Sweet Valley High students as well as Liz's childhood friend, Maria Slater, who is going to be moving back to Sweet Valley, and Maria's best friend from New York, Nicole.

Liz and Nicole both fall for Joey, who is one of the counselors.  Nicole pulls dirty tricks on Liz, and Maria refuses to believe that Nicole has done anything wrong.

It's really odd that most of the junior counselors selected for a camp in Montana either come from Sweet Valley or once lived in Sweet Valley.  This series is no longer trying to be in the slightest bit believable.

On page 182, Liz lies to Joey about Todd, telling him that she and Todd are both free to date others.  Liz now lies just as easily as Jessica.

In Sweet Valley High #124, Meet Me at Midnight, Liz and Nicole hate each other.  Liz wants to keep dating Joey, but Todd Wilkins unexpectedly arrives.  Nicole threatens to tell Todd about Joey.  Poor Liz doesn't know what to do, refusing to tell Todd the truth or break it off with Joey.

Jessica sneaks out of camp to see a boy in town, which is strictly against the rules for junior counselors.

Liz is really much worse than Jessica at this point.  Jessica has cheated on serious boyfriends in the past, but Jessica did not have the deep commitment to them that Liz claims to have to Todd.  Liz is supposedly deeply committed to Todd, but she cheats on him constantly.  It's pathetic and shows Liz to have no morals.

In Sweet Valley High #125, Camp Killer, Nicole continues to threaten Liz, who is still in love with Joey and hasn't told Todd the truth.  Jessica sneaks around after dark with her boyfriend.  Rumors fly about a killer lurking in the woods.  Everyone assumes that the story is a legend until several people are kidnapped.

I enjoyed these books, but I can't stand Liz's awful behavior.  I really believe that Todd and Liz's relationship should have ended many books ago.  It would have been far better for Liz to have had various serious boyfriends over shorter periods of time, like how Jessica's relationships were handled from #49 on.  Jessica has had relationships that lasted for a stretch of books, then the relationships would end due to the boyfriend's convenient death or Jessica cheating.

It's illogical for Liz and Todd to fight in every book, then they make up.  Liz cheats, and Todd forgives her.  Liz cheats again, then Todd forgives her again.  Todd cheats, with Liz getting angry since Todd's cheating is somehow different, but then she forgives him.  Both of them are losers.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

What to Read Next

My reviews lag weeks behind whatever I am currently reading.  I am not a machine, and I do not write the reviews immediately after finishing the books.  For that reason, I prefer to be reading many books past the books that are currently being reviewed in the blog.  This keeps my stress level low.  I am done with the Sweet Valley High series, but those reviews will continue to be published well into March and could extend towards the end of the month depending upon how I space them out.

I keep private most of the series that are high on my reading list.  I have been pressured by readers of this blog to review certain series.  I understand that you want me to get to certain favorite series, but I will not read those series until I feel like it.  The secret behind my high reading rate is that I read what I most want to read when I want to read it.  I cannot read a book because someone wants me to read it, so I have never participated in book clubs.  Book clubs probably help the average person read more, but they would cause me to read fewer books, since I would have to stop and read what someone else has selected to read.  That does not work for me.  I read on my own schedule.

After I finished reading Sweet Valley High, I wanted to give the Sweet Valley High Senior Year series another chance, even though I find the cover art and style of Senior Year to be quite repulsive.  The first book begins with a series of obnoxious diary pages and is interspersed with more of them.  I refused to read all the Sweet Valley High Secret Diaries books because I hate that sort of thing.  I tried, but I cannot read Senior Year.

I still thought I would like Sweet Valley University, so I read the first book.  Sweet Valley University is set up in the same fashion as Sweet Valley High, in third person and with no diary pages, so the style is not obnoxious.  However, the story is depressing.  Liz is lonely, isolated from Jessica and her friends.  In fact, the story is eerily similar to the first Nancy Drew On Campus book, which was published two years later.  Now I understand.  Nancy Drew On Campus was modeled after Sweet Valley University.  I could not read Nancy Drew On Campus, so I cannot read Sweet Valley University.  

Thus I abruptly ended my entire Sweet Valley experience, well before I intended to do so.  My set of Sweet Valley University books is already up for sale, and I will soon list the Senior Year books.

I wanted to continue with modern books at least loosely similar to Sweet Valley High.  I decided to try the first Hardy Boys Casefiles book.  The story doesn't appeal to me.  I looked at summaries of other Casefiles books, and they seem to be about espionage.  I really enjoyed the Hardy Boys Digest books, but the Casefiles series does not seem appealing.  The only reason I have a complete set is because of a large book purchase from two years ago.  I'm going to get rid of the Casefiles set sometime soon.

Next, I tried to read the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys Super Mystery series.  I got through the first two books and lost interest as I read the third book.  The stories are not as good as I would like, and Nancy's romantic thoughts about Frank are annoying.  I don't feel anything, and a story that hints at romance should have romance that connects with the reader.  The romance is forced and unnatural.  These books have nothing on Sweet Valley High in that respect.  Sadly, I'd rather be reading the final books in the Sweet Valley High series than the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys Super Mystery series.  It should be noted that the final Sweet Valley High books are not very good, but I would rather read them. 

I realized that I had no choice but to go back to vintage series.  This was a dilemma.  I find it difficult to switch between reading modern books and vintage books.  I had read 171 Sweet Valley High books since late September.  I do best when I read many books of the same type consecutively without changing around to different types.  Since I had spent months reading Sweet Valley High, I was at a loss as to what to read.

I wasn't quite ready to try reading the books of Augusta Huiell Seaman.  Her books are high on my reading list and are, by the way, the only books I have admitted to having high on my list.  I feel that I need to work into Seaman's books because of the difficulty I have in switching between modern and vintage books. 

Additionally, I want to wait a little longer because I still need to acquire one book.  Please don't ask which book, because I am not going to tell you.  I prefer to keep that information private, since I have had people take advantage of me when they know that I need a certain book.  They will price the book much higher than if I did not need the book.  I will hopefully be able to locate the book in the next few months, and if not, then you'll know by which book I skip when I read and review Seaman's books. 

So Augusta Huiell Seaman was not an immediate consideration.  My interest in reading Kay Tracey and the Dana Girls was rekindled recently when I made a post about the two series to one of the Facebook groups.  I would like to try to read the Kay Tracey books again.

I started reading the original text of The Secret of the Red Scarf and struggled through it at first, due to my difficulty with the vintage text.  After all, the first Kay Tracey book from 1934 is not remotely like the Sweet Valley High books.  The two worlds are so different.  Nevertheless, I made it through the book plus a few additional books, which is far enough that I feel confident that I can read through the Kay Tracey series.

So, I am now reading Kay Tracey and should continue with other vintage series which are yet to be determined.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Sweet Valley High #120 In Love with the Enemy, #121 The High School War, and #122 Kiss Before Dying

In Sweet Valley High #120, In Love with the Enemy, the students of Sweet Valley High and Palisades High escalate their rivalry into dangerous territory.  Bruce Patman heads a group of students who seek revenge against the students of Palisades High.  A group of Palisades students retaliate, and the war escalates.

Jessica decides to enter a surfing contest.  She gets up early every morning to practice, and she quickly falls in love with Christian Gorman.  Too late, Jessica learns that Christian is leading the Palisades gang against Sweet Valley High.

Liz drives recklessly just because she is excited.  Liz is very much like Jessica in these books.

The students have a dance that is advertised at school, yet the dance has no faculty supervision.  Only in Sweet Valley would that happen.

This story is annoying since it rehashes several past plots.  The series has already had gangs from rival schools attacking each other in A Night to Remember.  Bruce Patman has already led a group of boys in pranks in #86 Jessica Against Bruce.  Liz has taken surfing lessons in secret in #63 The New Elizabeth, and this time, Jessica does it.

Jessica has already cheated on past serious boyfriends in a similar fashion to what she does in this book.  So pretty much the entire plot is recycled from various past books.  This is why the higher-numbered books in long-running series tend to be tiresome to read.

In Sweet Valley High #121, The High School War, the situation between Sweet Valley High and Palisades High has worsened.  The rival gang attacks are quite serious.  Jessica continues to see Christian, and she lives in constant fear since he goes to Palisades High.  Jessica also worries that Ken will find out about Christian, and Jessica is not ready to break up with Ken.

I found the first half of the book to be boring at times.  The second half is rather suspenseful.

In Sweet Valley High #122, A Kiss Before Dying, Elizabeth tries to find a way to keep the students of Sweet Valley high and Palisades High from fighting with each other.  She becomes friendly with Rosie Shaw, a student from Palisades High.  Rosie comes up with a plan to get the two groups to settle down.  Liz tells Rosie about where the Sweet Valley High boys are meeting, and it is not until later that Liz realizes that Rosie was using her to cause more trouble.

This book is pretty suspenseful.  The title implies that someone will die, and it's not too hard to guess who that will be, considering the cover art and some melodramatic remarks made during the story.

This is a very good book.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Sweet Valley High #117 Jessica the Genius, #118 College Weekend, #119 Jessica's Older Guy, and Return of the Evil Twin

In Sweet Valley High #117, Jessica the Genius, everyone is worried about the SAT, except for Jessica.  Liz studies for hours, while Jessica has a good time.  When the scores come in, Liz finds that she did much worse than she expected, while Jessica made a high composite score.  Many students think that Jessica cheated, and even Liz and Ken doubt Jessica.

Both Liz and Jess take the test again.  This time, Liz takes it easy while Jessica studies.  Liz does great, while Jessica does bad.  The school insists that Jessica cheated and expels her.  Liz gets the school board to let Liz hold a trial for Jessica so that she can prove that Jessica did not cheat.

This book is like the typical Sweet Valley High book.  It is very good.

In Sweet Valley High #118, College Weekend, Liz and Jess spend a week at Sweet Valley University.  They stay with Steven and Billie.  Jessica throws a party the first night when Steven and Billie are away, and the apartment gets trashed.  Meanwhile, Liz learns more about the journalism program.  She gets to attend a class and writes an essay about college life.  Liz's essay is the best in the class, so the professor offers her a job on the university's newspaper.  Liz decides to get her GED and begin college immediately.

How typical that Liz can write a better essay than an entire class of college students.

I enjoyed this book.

In Sweet Valley High #119, Jessica's Older Guy, Jessica continues her relationship with Zach Marsden, but she has to keep it a secret.  Jessica plans to pledge Theta Alpha Theta, but one of the girls wants to date Zach.  Jessica convinces the girl that Liz is the one dating him.  Jessica comes up with a scheme where both she and Liz show up at a fraternity party as Jessica.  To the Theta girls, however, Jessica will pretend to be Elizabeth.

I enjoyed this book less than the other two in this miniseries.

In Sweet Valley High Magna Edition, Return of the Evil Twin, Nora discovers that she has a twin sister, Margo, who was separated from her years ago.  Nora tracks Margo to Sweet Valley.

Nora also learns about Margo's scheme to take over Elizabeth's life.  Nora is devastated to learn that Margo is dead and pledges to get revenge on the Wakefields.

Nora wants to take over Jessica's life, but she soon learns that Margo is actually still alive.  Margo was believed dead, but she held her breath until the ambulance drove off.  Margo made it wreck, killing the paramedics.  Margo then vanished.  It's rather odd that the Wakefield family never learned about this sequence of events.

Now reunited, Margo and Nora plan to take over as the Wakefield twins.

This is crazy.  We are supposed to believe that a set of identical twins is identical to Liz and Jess, so Sweet Valley now has four identical twins.

This is not a good book.  I felt almost no suspense and skimmed most of the story.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sweet Valley High Stranger in the House and A Killer on Board

In Sweet Valley High Super Thriller, Stranger in the House, Ned Wakefield learns that John Marin is out of prison and on parole.  Of course, the reader has not heard of John Marin until this moment.  Ned helped send Marin to prison, and he has never forgotten Marin's threat to get even with him.  Ned worries about his family and what Marin might do to them.

So of course, Ned does not tell even his wife about John Marin.  He keeps his worries a secret so that no one in his family can take precautions.  Ned soon learns that Marin has been in their house.  But he still tells no one!  I'm sorry, but this is unforgivable.  Ned should have spoken up.  An omission like this could have caused the entire family to have disowned Ned Wakefield, but naturally they don't seem to think he did anything wrong later.

I found this book quite suspenseful.  Both Liz and Jess have new boyfriends, and I knew that at least one of the two boyfriends, and possibly both, had to be Marin.  Creepy!

In Sweet Valley High Super Thriller, A Killer on Board, John Marin is back behind bars.  The Wakefield family goes on a trip to Catalina Island to recuperate after the recent stressful events.  Soon after the family departs, John Marin escapes from prison and learns their destination.

I found this book rather boring.  I did not care at all.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Nancy Drew Twin Thriller Promotional Papers

The purchase detailed in this post is why I love eBay and why I check my eBay feed everyday.  If you have saved searches on eBay, then you have an eBay feed.

Many collectors have stopped checking eBay, because eBay no longer has the excellent selection that it once did.  However, you never know what might suddenly appear on eBay at any given moment.  That's why I check eBay every single day without fail.

I found nothing of interest on eBay from December 18 through February 9.  That is almost eight weeks.  Others would have given up on eBay, but I keep checking no matter what.  I was finally rewarded in the late evening of February 10.

I checked my eBay feed and saw a picture of the promotional papers for the Nancy Drew Twin Thrillers book club editions.  I have wanted to get the promotional papers for quite some time.  I saw the low price of $9.99 plus postage and clicked on the listing as quickly as I could.  I saw that the listing was set as Buy It Now and didn't bother to read the description.  I knew that I had to act fast, because the listing would not last long.  I managed to complete the Buy It Now just 11 minutes after the seller listed the item.  The good items always go fast on eBay.

The paperwork is missing the original mailing envelope and the order form, but the letter and the color brochure are present.

Use the following link and scroll to the bottom of the page to see the mailing envelope, order form, and return envelope that I do not have.

An advertisement for the book club can also be found in the first issue of Pizzazz magazine from October 1, 1977.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Sweet Valley High Murder in Paradise, #115 Treasure of Death Valley, and #116 Nightmare in Death Valley

In Sweet Valley High Super Thriller, Murder in Paradise, Alice Wakefield has won a trip to Paradise Spa.  Liz, Jess, Enid, Lila, and Mrs. Fowler go on the trip with Alice.  Both Liz and Jess immediately fall for boys who work for the spa.  Everyone is enjoying the trip, but soon, the girls sense that something is wrong.  All of the employees are runaways who are not allowed to leave.  One employee turns up dead, and Alice Wakefield vanishes.

The girls discover the spa director's sinister plot.  The director, who has a severely disfigured face, plans to steal Alice Wakefield's face.  Wow.

This book mostly bored me.  On the upside, at least this thriller edition does not use the ridiculous summer intern story of all the previous thriller editions.

In Sweet Valley High #115, The Treasure of Death Valley, Liz, Jess, Todd, Ken, Bruce, and Heather are dropped off in Death Valley for a four-day hiking trek.  The six students were selected via a mandatory essay contest run by Sweet Valley Survival School.  The students are placed in pairs for the trek:  Liz with Bruce, Jessica with Todd, and Heather with Ken.  Clearly, the survival school wants maximum drama.

Heather brought her portable television on the trip and watches her favorite soap opera.  It is then that the teens learn about three escaped convicts who are in the area.  Meanwhile, Liz finds a map to hidden gold, and Jessica makes certain that the group goes off course to find it.

It's quite odd that this particular group of six won the essay contest.  It's even more odd that Liz is the only one interested in the survival trek.  Nobody else is happy.  How did the others win?  I don't guess that we are supposed to question any of this.

The author was not good at suspense or at the humor that is supposed to be present in the Sweet Valley High series.  The books are not anywhere near as interesting as they should have been.

The dangerous scenes are like vignettes.  The danger comes on suddenly, is described minimally, and is resolved extremely easily.  There is no suspense whatsoever.

In one scene, Jessica and Todd are trapped in a tunnel after the entrance collapses.  On page 73, the pair suddenly pushes through the "loose pile of debris" like the rocks are lightweight Hollywood props.  I must say that I have never seen a tunnel cave-in resolved like that.

Each time the teens are in trouble, they yell and bicker constantly.  It's awful.

In Sweet Valley High #116, Nightmare in Death Valley, the nightmare continues.  That is, the reader's nightmare continues.

Page 122 is from Liz's point of view, but the escaped convicts are called names that Jessica thought up.  Liz hasn't had a chance to talk to Jessica, so it's rather strange that she uses Jessica's names.  Perhaps some twin telepathy is at play, or maybe just bad writing.

One of the escaped convicts dies while trapped in a cave with the six teens.  The teens take the time to bury the dead man before trying to get out of the cave.  This is stupid!

Finally, the teens try to find an exit from the cave, but water runs into the cave.  Oh, no!  This is exactly why the teens shouldn't have taken the time to bury the dead man.  The water rapidly rises higher and higher, but before the reader can feel concern, the water suddenly begins falling.  That's what I mean about no suspense.

Shortly thereafter, Ken punches the wall of the cave in frustration.  You'd think he would break his hand, right?  Of course not!  The cave's wall is not hard packed.  The soil is loose.  They start punching a hole in the wall, then they see stars in the sky.  The hole that was just created is right next to the 7-Eleven.  I'm speechless.

These two Death Valley books are by far the worst Sweet Valley High books that I have read so far.  The werewolf books are pretty bad, but at least they were written by a decent writer.  The Death Valley books are just completely awful.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Sweet Valley High #112 Jessica Quits the Squad, #113 Pom-Pom Wars, and #114 "V" for Victory

In Sweet Valley High #112, Jessica Quits the Squad, Heather Mallone is a new student at Sweet Valley High.  Heather tries out for the cheerleading squad, and all the other cheerleaders love her.  Jessica cannot stand Heather, and she is the only one who can see Heather's true personality.

Jessica is falling for Ken Matthews.  Everything is wonderful, until Jess reads Liz's diary.  Jess learns that Liz once had a fling with Ken and that Liz still has feelings for him!

I was annoyed with Liz for pining after Ken.  It's considered such a betrayal that Liz had a brief relationship with Ken during the months that Todd lived in Vermont.  Um, what about Jeffrey French?  Liz had quite a lengthy relationship with him, and these later books ignore that Jeffrey ever existed.

Also, the fling with Ken occurred pretty far back in the series, and Todd has been back from Vermont for ages.  And Liz is just now feeling guilty?

In Sweet Valley High #113, The Pom-Pom Wars, Jessica starts a new cheerleading squad since she can't get along with Heather.  She blackmails Liz into joining her new squad.  Either Liz becomes a cheerleader, or Jessica tells everyone about her fling with Ken.  Both Jessica's squad and Heather's squad hope to compete in regionals, but the squads are forced to merge since the school can only send one squad.

This book is quite boring until Jessica blackmails Liz into becoming a cheerleader.  Oh, yeah!

In Sweet Valley High #114, "V" for Victory, the Sweet Valley High cheerleaders compete in the national competition.  Heather's old squad tries to sabotage the SVH squad.  Todd, Ken, and Winston try to crash the event so that Todd and Ken can mend their relationships with Liz and Jess.  The event does not allow any boys, so the three boys dress up as cheerleaders so that they can get in the gate.

I found it really hard to believe that no boys are allowed at the event, since many schools have coed cheerleaders.  Furthermore, I found it impossible to believe that the audience could not contain boys.  Last, it's ridiculous that three large boys could wander around the event dressed as cheerleaders and have others believe them to be girls.  Right.

Some parts of this trilogy are interesting, but I was mostly bored.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Sweet Valley High #107 Jessica's Secret Love, #108 Left at the Altar, #109 Double-Crossed, #110 Death Threat, and #111 Deadly Christmas

In Sweet Valley High #107, Jessica's Secret Love, Sue Gibbons, the daughter of Alice Wakefield's college roommate, comes to stay with the Wakefields.  Sue's mother recently passed away, and Sue regards the Wakefields as family.  Sue plans to marry in Sweet Valley, and the Wakefields help her plan her wedding.

Meanwhile, Jessica falls in love with Jeremy, a young man she meets at the beach.  Jessica falls so hard for Jeremy that she is certain that he is her destined love and that she will marry him.  Jessica is shocked when she learns that Jeremy is Sue's fiance.

Jessica has dinner with Bruce at the same restaurant where Sue and Jeremy are dining, in an attempt to make Jeremy jealous.  This scene is utterly hilarious.

I enjoyed this book.

In Sweet Valley High #108, Left at the Altar, the wedding plans continue.  Jessica pulls a few dirty tricks, but the wedding proceeds as planned.  During the ceremony, Jessica speaks up on why Sue and Jeremy should not marry, which stops the ceremony.  The book ends on a cliffhanger.

I also enjoyed this book.

In Sweet Valley High #109, Double-Crossed, the Wakefields seriously consider sending Jessica away to boarding school due to her outrageous behavior.  Jeremy has to go away for a few weeks, and he leaves his phone number with Jessica.  Oddly, Jessica cannot ever get through to him, but Jessica trusts Jeremy completely.  Sue continues to live with the Wakefields, even though the wedding is off.

Jeremy returns, and he and Jessica attend a Halloween party, which is also attended by Sue.  At the party, Jessica sees Jeremy and Sue kissing.  Jessica is devastated.

I enjoyed this book somewhat less than the previous two books in this miniseries.

In Sweet Valley High #110, Death Threat, Jeremy shows up at the Wakefields, telling them that Sue has been abducted.  Jeremy also convinces Jessica that Sue initiated the kiss and that he is still in love with Jessica.

Very early in the story, the reader learns that Jeremy and Sue have faked Sue's abduction.  Sue is supposed to receive an inheritance, but her mother stipulated that Sue could not marry Jeremy.

Jeremy's love affair with Jessica, the canceled wedding, and the faked abduction are all part of a plan for Jeremy and Sue to get the inheritance and stay together.

I found this book boring until around page 72.  The first part has no suspense, since the reader knows that the abduction is fake.  The story becomes very funny when Jess talks to Lila on the phone and tries to tell her about Sue being held hostage.  Jessica cannot talk freely, since she is not supposed to tell.  Lila misunderstands and thinks that the entire Wakefield family is being held hostage.  This leads to a hilarious series of events.

Nancy Drew is mentioned on page 79.

In Sweet Valley High #111, A Deadly Christmas, Jessica finally realizes that Jeremy has been using her.  Elizabeth and Jessica also learn that Sue has been in on the scheme from the very beginning, but they pretend that they do not realize this.  Later, Sue confesses and claims that she will help them bring Jeremy to justice.  However, the girls are not certain whether Sue is telling the truth.  She might still be working with Jeremy.

While I overall enjoyed this book, I was a bit bored with the story by this point in the miniseries.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Sweet Valley High #104 Love and Death in London, #105 Date with a Werewolf, and #106 Beware the Werewolf

In Sweet Valley High #104, Love and Death in London, Liz and Jess arrive in London in order to work as interns on the London Journal.  Liz quickly falls for Luke, a strange young man who works for the newspaper, while Jessica falls for Lord Robert Pembroke.  The girls investigate after they learn about a grisly string of murders.  Details about the murders have been withheld from the newspapers, and the girls sense a cover-up.

This book is boring.  It's full of travelogue details.  The reader is supposed to feel fear, but I never felt it.

In Sweet Valley High #105, A Date with a Werewolf, Liz learns all about werewolves from Luke, and she soon suspects that Robert Pembroke might be a werewolf.

On page 38, Elizabeth feels like Nancy Drew.

This book is also boring.

In Sweet Valley High #106, Beware the Wolfman, Robert Pembroke is now in hiding, accused of murder.  Liz thinks he is a werewolf.  Jessica believes he is innocent.

On page 27, Jessica decides that Liz isn't the only one who can be like Nancy Drew.  On page 131, Jessica ruefully thinks about how she's no Nancy Drew, since she hasn't been able to find Robert.

Boring, boring, boring!  Ugh.

These books are painful.  They are supposed to be horror books, but the reader feels nothing.  The books are surreal, and the reader isn't certain what to think about the werewolf situation.  All along, the reader is led towards believing that werewolves are real.  For instance, the elder Pembroke hunts werewolves, which implies that they are real.

When the werewolf finally appears, he is called by that name.  In the next scene, the text states that he is wearing a werewolf mask, but Liz acts completely like she is with a real werewolf, thinking of his fangs and blood.  The werewolf gets killed, and the falling action is vague about what happened.  The reader can infer that the culprit either really was a werewolf or that he was mentally ill.

The next paragraph spoils the identity of the werewolf, although it doesn't matter.  I knew who the werewolf would be all through this awful trilogy.

In the next book in the series that takes place after the girls return to Sweet Valley, Liz is embarrassed that she fell in love with a boy who believed that he was a werewolf.  Okay, so now we know that Luke was not a werewolf.  Then what was the point of the entire trilogy?  I would never read these books again.  They are awful.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Sweet Valley High #101 Boyfriend War, #102 Almost Married, and #103 Operation Love Match

In Sweet Valley High #101, The Boyfriend War, Jessica and Lila go to the Caribbean during spring break.  Upon their arrival, Jessica learns that Lila tricked her.  She and Lila have been hired to watch over very young children all week.  Jessica and Lila also go after the same boy.

Meanwhile, Liz does research on a report that she plans to write about her mother.  To her shock, she finds a wedding photo of her mother with Hank Patman.  Even worse, Liz suspects that the two are having an affair, since the Patmans are getting divorced.

This is an excellent book and exactly what one expects from Sweet Valley High.  The book contains lots of great humor and is fun to read.  It was a welcome relief after the depressing nature of the previous group of books.

In Sweet Valley High #102, Almost Married, both Todd and Liz's parents will be away all week.  Liz and Todd come up with the crazy idea of Todd staying at Liz's house so that she and Todd can pretend that they are married.  So that Jessica won't tell on them, they agree to cook Jessica's meals and do all of her chores.

Meanwhile, Liz spends time with Bruce as they worry about their parents.  Bruce doesn't want his parents to divorce, and Liz worries that Bruce might become her stepbrother.  Through it all, Liz and Bruce develop a bond and seem to be falling in love.

This book also contains lots of humor and is a very good story.

In Sweet Valley High #103, Operation Love Match, Liz and Bruce have realized that they don't really love each other.  They have also learned that Mrs. Wakefield is not having an affair with Mr. Patman, but the Patmans are still planning to divorce.  Liz, Jess, and Bruce develop a scheme to try to get the Patmans back together.

The trilogy should have ended with the previous book.  This book is mostly boring, and I did not enjoy it much.  It does have some good humor, so I was able to laugh a few times.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Rayn Mirago Series by B. D. Messick

The Rayn Mirago series consists of four books written by B. D. Messick.

1.  Sojourn: The Wildlands, 2015
2.  Sojourn: The Deadlands, 2016
3.  Sojourn: The Beastlands, 2016
4.  Sojourn: Enclave, 2017

In Sojourn: The Wildlands, the oceans have risen, and the world's climate has been destroyed.  The United States has fallen, and five cities remain as enclaves:  Las Vegas, Spokane, Dallas, Chicago, and Atlanta.  The rest of the former nation is in ruin.  Rayn Mirago lives in the Las Vegas enclave and is about to turn 17.  Teens are forced to leave their enclave at 17 and must sojourn to another enclave, which is chosen by lottery.  Only the strong will survive the sojourn, so this practice keeps the remaining population strong.  Teens are forced to go to another enclave so that the population will remain diverse.

In the lottery, Rayn ends up with the Atlanta token in her lottery.  As she leaves Las Vegas, she says goodbye to her parents, knowing that she will never see them again.  A couple of days into Rayn's journey, she is joined by Luk, who left before his birthday so that he could join her.

In Sojourn: The Deadlands, Rayn and Luk continue their journey through what was once Colorado, Kansas, and Missouri.  This part of the country is desert with dangerous hybrid creatures and vicious wind storms.  The teens are captured by members of a dangerous cult run by an insane man named Jacob.  An important character dies, and Rayn is consumed by hatred.  Rayn and Luk reach Graceland, where they stay with a group of people who are fugitives from Jacob.

In Sojourn: The Beastlands, Rayn and Luk depart from Graceland for Atlanta.  The rumors are that Atlanta has fallen, but Rayn wants to find out the truth.  She also wants to seek revenge against Jacob.  Alee sneaks away from Graceland to join Rayn and Luk.  The group soon consists of four after the teens encounter Trace during their journey.  The teens fight through the jungles of Mississippi and Alabama as they slowly get closer to Atlanta.

In Sojourn: Enclave, Rayn, Luk, Alee, and Trace reach the final stages of their journey into Atlanta.  Once the teens reach Atlanta, they face their final showdown with Jacob.

The romance is excessively overdone in this series and is not believable most of the time.  Rayn and Luk are constantly kissing, touching, giving each other seductive looks, and admiring each other's bodies.  They even stop to do this in the middle of dangerous scenes or right after nearly getting killed.  The kissing and ogling of each other is extreme and obnoxious.

I enjoy romance when done properly, but the romance is not developed right in these books.  It's nauseating.  Each time Rayn and Luk began their antics, I coped by quickly skimming over as many paragraphs as needed to get past the smooching.  Yuck.

The romance is somewhat less obnoxious by the third and fourth books, but it is still excessive and annoying in those books.

I was really bothered about Luk's token in the first book.  I knew instinctively that he probably did not get Atlanta as his destination, but Rayn accepts that he did without even asking.  How stupid.  The topic was ignored for the entire first book, and I considered it rather important.  I was bothered about the token the entire time, and I would have been less bothered if Rayn had even considered the possibility of Luk not having the same token.  Instead, Rayn smooches with Luk constantly instead of thinking about this rather important detail

It was not until page 69 of the second book that Rayn finally asks about Luk's token.  Oddly, she accepts his lame answer and doesn't begin questioning his story until later.

Aside from the annoying romance, this is a rather good dystopian series.