Saturday, March 31, 2018

Outdoor Girls Series - Titles and Printing Information

This is the text of an eBay guide that I created in 2006.  The guides are now orphaned pages that can only be found through an Internet search.  eBay plans to delete the guides in April 2018.

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The Outdoor Girls Series is a series of books published by Grosset and Dunlap from 1913 to 1933.  The books were written by Howard Garis (volumes 1-6) and by Elizabeth M. Duffield Ward (volumes 7-23) under the pseudonym of Laura Lee Hope.  Garis and Ward followed outlines provided by the Stratemeyer Syndicate and were paid a flat fee for each volume written.  

List of titles:

  1. The Outdoor Girls of Deepdale, 1913
  2. The Outdoor Girls at Rainbow Lake, 1913
  3. The Outdoor Girls in a Motor Car, 1913
  4. T he Outdoor Girls in a Winter Camp, 1913
  5. The Outdoor Girls in Florida, 1913
  6. The Outdoor Girls at Ocean View, 1915
  7. The Outdoor Girls on Pine Island, 1916
  8. The Outdoor Girls in Army Service, 1918
  9. The Outdoor Girls at the Hostess House, 1919
10. The Outdoor Girls at Bluff Point, 1920
11. The Outdoor Girls at Wild Rose Lodge, 1921
12. The Outdoor Girls in the Saddle, 1922
13. The Outdoor Girls Around the Campfire, 1923
14. The Outdoor Girls on Cape Cod, 1924
15. The Outdoor Girls at Foaming Falls, 1925
16. The Outdoor Girls Along the Coast, 1926
17. The Outdoor Girls at Spring Hill Farm, 1927
18. The Outdoor Girls at New Moon Ranch, 1928
19. The Outdoor Girls on a Hike, 1929
20. The Outdoor Girls on a Canoe Trip, 1930
21. The Outdoor Girls at Cedar Ridge, 1931
22. The Outdoor Girls in the Air, 1932
23. The Outdoor Girls in Desert Valley, 1933

Availability:

Volumes 1 through 18 and volume 23 were only published by Grosset and Dunlap, while volumes 19 through 22 were originally published by Grosset and Dunlap and were later reprinted by Whitman.  As with all discontinued series, the higher-numbered titles are more scarce and valuable than the lower-numbered titles.  Volume 23 is extremely scarce.  Volumes 19 through 22 are also scarce in the Grosset and Dunlap editions, but are readily available in the Whitman reprints.  This may have suppressed the value of the Grosset and Dunlap editions somewhat.

Except for volume 23, it is not too difficult to acquire reading copies of the books in this series.  However, most buyers desire the original dust jackets, and the original dust jackets are quite scarce.  It is very difficult to come even close to completing a set of Outdoor Girls books in dust jacket.

Printings:

As with all other series books published by Grosset and Dunlap, the copyright page is the last place to look in order to date a book.  All printings of each book have the identical copyright page.  For instance, all printings of The Outdoor Girls of Deepdale from 1913 through 1933 have the copyright page stating 1913 with no other dates or printings indicated.  One of the many ways that Grosset and Dunlap saved money was by never updating the copyright pages.

In order to determine the age of a book, find a list of titles present somewhere on the dust jacket or inside the book.  Do not use any list that may appear on the copyright page.  Since the copyright page was never updated, a list that appears on the copyright page will almost always be wrong.  The dust jackets will have a list of Outdoor Girls titles either on the front flap, the back flap, or the back panel.  The inside of the book will normally have a list of Outdoor Girls titles on one of the post-text pages in the back of the book.  Again, do not use a list that may appear on the copyright page.

Once a list has been found, make note of the last title on the list; this title will reveal the age of the book.  For instance, if the dust jacket or a post-text page lists to The Outdoor Girls at Pine Island, then the book was printed in 1916, which was the year of publication of The Outdoor Girls at Pine Island.  Or, if the dust jacket or a post-text page lists to The Outdoor Girls at Cedar Ridge, then the book was printed in 1931, the year of publication of The Outdoor Girls at Cedar Ridge.

What is mentioned above in terms of determining the age of a book only applies to the original Grosset and Dunlap editions.  Volumes 19 through 22 were reprinted by Whitman, and only these four titles are listed on the Whitman dust jackets.  Sellers sometimes advertise the Whitman reprints as early printings because of the short list of titles.  For instance, some sellers think that since a Whitman reprint of The Outdoor Girls in the Air lists to The Outdoor Girls in the Air that it is a first printing.  The Whitman reprints were done years after the Grosset and Dunlap editions went out of print.  As a result, none of the Whitman reprints can be considered either first or early printings.

Commentary:

The Outdoor Girls series is generally overlooked by most collectors of Nancy Drew, the Dana Girls, Judy Bolton, Beverly Gray, Trixie Belden, and other similar series books.  This is likely due to the series being a much earlier series and to the bland title of the series.  This series is well-written and full of interesting adventures.  I rank it as third on my list of favorites behind Nancy Drew and Beverly Gray.  The reason why is that the series appeals to my sense of adventure, just like Nancy Drew and Beverly Gray.

I have a section of my website devoted to the Outdoor Girls series, including scans of all of the dust jackets.   

Friday, March 30, 2018

Kay Tracey #2 The Strange Echo

In Kay Tracey #2, The Strange Echo, Kay vacations with the Worth family at Lost Lake.  Many strange events have occurred recently in the area.  The residents have heard strange echos, warnings, and explosions.  They have seen smoke from hidden fires.  Kay investigates and believes that the mystery is tied to the theft of pages about echoes from a valuable book.  A strange foreign woman is involved, and possibly an insane man who worked for a scientific company.

Kay is called "Little Detective" all through this story, which is a bit strange.  She is not called that in other stories.

Cousin Bill likes Elise Conklin, so he wants Kay to find out what her favorite perfume is.  On page 12, Kay calls Elise and gets that information for Cousin Bill.  Kay believes that Elise does not have any suspicions about why Kay needs to know her favorite perfume.  If someone were to call me and ask what perfume I like, I would know something was up.

The villains have hired a farmer's mules and carts.  On page 181, the farmer is upset that the mules and carts still have not been returned.  Kay and her friends "[assure] him that the animals soon would be."  This is a rash promise.  Of course, the plot does get satisfactorily resolved, but Kay and her friends have no idea what will happen at this point.

The last part of the story has some really strange man-made events, including a giant bellows that can create a tornado, and a strong suction that pulls Kay towards a shed.  The suction is caused by some kind of machine that gets turned off just in time, but no explanation is given.

I read only the original text, since the revised text story is very similar.  The revised text is shorter and was significantly rewritten.  However, it follows the same story, and I was not interested in reading the same story again.

I enjoyed this book because of the rural setting, exploring all around in that location.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Girl Scouts Series Books - A List of Titles and Authors

This is the text of an eBay guide that I created in 2006.  The guides are now orphaned pages that can only be found through an Internet search.  eBay plans to delete the guides in April 2018.

This eBay guide was viewed approximately 9,400 times.

The purpose of this guide is to list the many different vintage series books for children that have featured Girl Scouts as the main characters.  

Building a series around a troop of Girl Scouts was a frequently ploy by publishers during the first half of the 20th century. 

This list is likely not a complete list of all of the different Girl Scouts series books, but it should list the majority of the different books that can be collected by Girl Scout and series book enthusiasts.  Keep in mind that to date I have not collected the majority of these titles and cannot comment as to how much scouting is present in each book.  

Additionally, this guide is not intended to be a price guide.  Values are constantly changing based on supply and demand, and a price guide would soon be be inaccurate.  Many of these books sell for very low prices due to lack of demand, while others sell for higher prices.  It depends upon who is looking on the week that a book is listed.

The Brownie Scouts Series by Mildred A. Wirt

 1. The Brownie Scouts at Snow Valley, 1949
 2. The Brownie Scouts in the Circus, 1949
 3. The Brownie Scouts in the Cherry Festival, 1950
 4. The Brownie Scouts and Their Tree House, 1951
 5. The Brownie Scouts at Silver Beach, 1952
 6. The Brownie Scouts at Windmill Farm, 1953

Girl Scout Country Life Series by Lillian Elizabeth Roy

1. Natalie: A Garden Scout, 1921
2. Janet: A Stock-Farm Scout, 1925
3. Norma: A Flower Scout, 1925

Girl Scout Mountain Series by Lillian Elizabeth Roy

1. Girl Scouts at Dandelion Camp, 1921
2. Girl Scouts in the Adirondacks, 1921
3. Girl Scouts in the Rockies, 1921
4. Girl Scouts in Arizona and New Mexico, 1923
5. Girl Scouts in the Redwoods, 1926
6. Girl Scouts in the Magic City, 1927
7. Girl Scouts in Glacier Park, 1928

Girl Scouts Mystery Series by Virginia Fairfax
       
1. The Secret of Camp Pioneer, 1933
2. The Mysterious Camper, 1933
3. The Trail of the Gypsy Eight, 1933
4. The Secret of Halliday House, 1933
5. The Curious Quest, 1934
6. The Camp's Strange Visitors, 1936

The Girl Scout Series by Katherine Keene Galt
      
1. Girl Scouts at Home, or Rosanna's Beautiful Day, 1921
2. The Girl Scouts Rally, or Rosanna Wins, 1921
3. The Girl Scout's Triumph, or Rosanna's Sacrifice, 1921

Girl Scout Series by Lilian C. Garis
     
1. The Girl Scout Pioneers; or Winning the First B. C., 1920
2. The Girl Scouts at Bellaire; or Maid Mary's Awakening, 1920
3. The Girl Scouts at Sea Crest; or the Wig Wag Rescue, 1920
4. The Girls Scouts at Camp Comalong; or Peg of Tamarack Hills, 1921
5. The Girl Scouts at Rocky Ledge; or Nora's Real Vacation, 1922

Girl Scout Series by Edith Lavell
     
  1. The Girl Scouts at Miss Allen's School, 1922
  2. The Girl Scouts at Camp, 1922
  3. The Girl Scouts' Good Turn, 1922
  4. The Girl Scouts' Canoe Trip, 1922
  5. The Girl Scouts' Rivals, 1922
  6. The Girl Scouts on the Ranch, 1923
  7. The Girl Scouts' Vacation Adventures, 1924
  8. The Girl Scouts' Motor Trip, 1924
  9. The Girl Scouts' Captain, 1925
10. The Girl Scouts' Director, 1925

Girl Scout Series by Harriet Pyne Grove
 
The Girl Scouts' Problem Solved, 1931
The Girl Scouts of the Cardinal Patrol, 1931

The Girl Scout Series by Margaret Vandercook
     
1. The Girl Scouts of the Eagles Wing, 1921
2. The Girl Scouts in Beechwood Forest, 1921
3. The Girl Scouts of the Round Table, 1921
4. The Girl Scouts in Mystery Valley, 1923
5. The Girl Scouts and the Open Road, 1923

Girl Scout Series by Mildred Wirt

1. The Girl Scouts at Penguin Pass; or Trail of the Snowman, 1954
2. The Girl Scouts at Singing Sands, 1955
3. The Girl Scouts at Mystery Mansion, 1957

Girl Scouts by Amy E. Blanchard

1. A Girl Scout of the Red Rose Troop, 1918
2. Lucky Penny of Thistle Troop; A Girl Scout Story, 1920
3. From Tenderfoot to Golden Eaglet; A Girl Scout Story, 1921

Girl Scouts by Fjeril Hess

1. Shanty Brook Lodge, 1937
2. Castle Camp, 1938
3. Toplofty, 1939

Nancy by Jean Henry Large
        
1. Nancy Goes Girls Scouting, 1930
2. Nancy's Lone Girl Scouts, 1930
3. Nancy Goes Camping

Sal Fisher by Lillian S. Gardner
      
1. Sal Fisher, Brownie Scout, 1953
2. Sal Fisher's Fly-Up Year, 1957
3. Sal Fisher at Girl Scout Camp, 1959

For more information about the Brownie Scouts and Girl Scouts series by Mildred A. Wirt and the Girl Scouts Mystery Series by Virginia Fairfax, please visit my series book website.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Cherry Ames Nurse Stories Series Information

This is the text of an eBay guide that I created in 2006.  The guides are now orphaned pages that can only be found through an Internet search.  eBay plans to delete the guides in April 2018.

This eBay guide was viewed approximately 10,000 times.


The Cherry Ames Nurse Stories were published by Grosset and Dunlap from 1943 to 1968.  The series was written by Helen Wells and Julie Campbell Tatham.  Both Wells and Tatham also wrote the Vicki Barr Flight Stewardess series.

List of titles:

  1. Student Nurse, 1943
  2. Senior Nurse, 1944
  3. Army Nurse, 1944
  4. Chief Nurse, 1944
  5. Flight Nurse, 1945
  6. Veterans' Nurse, 1946
  7. Private Duty Nurse, 1946
  8. Visiting Nurse, 1947
  9. Cruise Nurse, 1948
10. At Spencer, 1949
11. Night Supervisor, 1950
12. Mountaineer Nurse, 1951
13. Clinic Nurse, 1952
14. Dude Ranch Nurse, 1953
15. Rest Home Nurse, 1954
16. Country Doctor's Nurse, 1955
17. Boarding School Nurse, 1955
18. Department Store Nurse, 1956
19. Camp Nurse, 1957
20. At Hilton Hospital, 1959
21. Island Nurse, 1960
22. Rural Nurse, 1961
23. Staff Nurse, 1962
24. Companion Nurse, 1964
25. Jungle Nurse, 1965
26. Mystery in the Doctor's Office, 1966
27. Ski Nurse Mystery, 1968

Formats:

Volumes 1 through 22 were originally issued in hardcover with dust jacket.  The first printings of volumes 3 and 4 have dust jackets and frontispiece illustrations featuring pictures of Cherry in a military uniform.  The dust jackets and frontispiece illustrations of these two volumes were quickly changed to pictures that do not show Cherry in a military uniform.

In 1961, the series changed to the picture cover format, and volumes 1 through 22 were issued in picture covers with yellow spines.  The spines were soon changed to green, and volumes 1 through 27 were printed in green spine picture covers during 1961 to 1968.

Volumes 19 through 22 were reprinted in paperback by Grosset and Dunlap in 1972 and are renumbered as volumes 1 through 4.  Volumes 20 through 22 were reprinted again in paperback in 1978.

Availability:

The higher-numbered titles are more scarce than the earlier titles since each higher-numbered title went through far fewer printings than the earlier titles in the series.  Volume 27 is the most difficult volume to acquire.  There is also a volume entitled Cherry Ames' Book of First Aid and Home Nursing that was printed in hardcover with dust jacket in 1959 and was reprinted later in picture cover.  Cherry Ames' Book of First Aid and Home Nursing is also a more difficult to acquire volume.

Printings:

As with all other series books published by Grosset and Dunlap, the copyright page is the last place to look in order to date a book.  All printings of each book have the identical copyright page.  For instance, all printings of Cherry Ames, Student Nurse printed from 1943 until 1968 have the copyright page stating 1943 with no other dates or printings indicated.  One of the many ways that Grosset and Dunlap saved money was by never updating the copyright pages.

In order to determine the age of a book, find a list of titles present somewhere on the dust jacket or inside the book.  Do not use any list that may appear on the copyright page.  Since the copyright page was never updated, a list that appears on the copyright page will almost always be wrong.  The dust jackets will have a list Cherry Ames titles, usually on the front flap, and the inside of the book may have a list of Cherry Ames titles on a pre-text page in the front of the book.  Again, do not use a list that may appear on the copyright page.

Once a list has been found, make note of the last title on the list; this title will reveal the age of the book.  For instance, if the dust jacket or a pre-text page lists to Cherry Ames, Night Supervisor, then the book was printed in 1950, which was the year of publication of Cherry Ames, Night Supervisor.  Or, if the dust jacket or a pre-text page lists to Cherry Ames, Island Nurse, then the book was printed in 1960, the year of publication of Cherry Ames, Island Nurse.

For the picture cover editions, there will be a list of titles on the back cover of the book and another list that will appear on a pre-text list inside the book.  Refer to these two lists to date the picture cover editions.   

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Hardy Boys Adventures #16 Stolen Identity

In Hardy Boys Adventures #16, Stolen Identity, an original Sherlock Holmes manuscript is on display at the Bayport Museum.  Frank and Joe's friend, Hector, works at the museum.  Hector invites the Hardys to come see the manuscript after hours at the museum the night before the opening of the manuscript exhibit.  Frank discovers that some pages are loose, then he realizes that the pages are copies.  Someone has stolen pages from the manuscript!

Even worse, in the coming days, the actual stolen pages begin to reappear—planted among the brothers' personal possessions.  And someone is tipping off the police that the boys might have the pages.  Someone is trying to frame the brothers!  Frank and Joe are certain that the culprit is someone from a past case, but who?

After the disaster of Nancy Drew Diaries #16, The Haunting on Heliotrope Lane, I was a bit leery about reading this latest Hardy Boys Adventures book.  I read the first chapter.  Wow.  The boys are not scared, but they do realize that the acting police chief is out to get them.  The boys act like they are supposed to act, meaning normal, while Nancy Drew acts like she has been taken over by an alien in Heliotrope Lane.

Since at least 50 pages of The Haunting on Heliotrope Lane portray Nancy Drew in a negative fashion, I read carefully for anything that would portray Frank and Joe in a negative fashion.  There really isn't anything.  The acting police chief is not respectful to the boys, but she has a valid reason, which is a newspaper article that makes it sound like the boys solve mysteries that the police can't solve.  That certainly doesn't make the Hardys look bad; rather, it makes the police look bad and the Hardys look good.  I can see why the acting police chief doesn't like the brothers.

Frank and Joe don't jump around in fear, shake, panic, or feel their hearts flutter like Nancy Drew does in Heliotrope Lane.

Pee is seldom mentioned in the Hardy Boys Adventures, but it is a hallmark of the Nancy Drew Diaries series.  The book does mention pee on page 39, so the pee is beginning to seep out of the Nancy Drew Diaries series and into this one.

On page 76, Frank gets in a smirk at Joe.  "Smirk" is another word I track in the Nancy Drew Diaries series, simply because it annoys me.

In The Haunting on Heliotrope Lane, the book contains the following quote:  "That sounds funny.  It's like one of those old mystery stories—do you remember that series with the yellow covers, Geo—."  I commented that the remark pulled me out of the story, due to the oddness of it.  A Nancy Drew book should not be mentioning the old yellow Nancy Drew books.  In Nancy Drew's world, Nancy Drew is real.  The books about her would not exist in her world.  I could not appreciate the reference due to how bizarre it sounds.

I mention the quote from Heliotrope Lane because of the especially sly reference to Nancy Drew that appears in this latest Hardy Boys Adventures book.  The reference is so sly and clever that I missed it at first, then when I realized it, I made an exclamation of pleasure.  It thrilled me.  Everything that is executed poorly in the Nancy Drew Diaries series is done right in the Hardy Boys Adventures series.

I'm going to tell you what the sly reference is, so skip the next paragraph if you would rather have the pleasure of reading the book for yourself and discovering it on your own.

Frank and Joe ask some younger skateboarding boys to help them out on the case.  On page 63, the reader is introduced to Drew, who "flipped his auburn bangs away from his eyes."  That went right over my head until pages later when I realized that the name Drew is not just a first name but a surname known all too well to me.  I went back to page 63 and noticed the auburn hair.  I was delighted.

This Hardy Boys Adventures book is excellent and has the same tone of the early books in the series, which I love.  It also should be noted that the story is not sabotage, unless one wants to argue that the story is about sabotaging the Hardy Boys.  I consider the story to be creative revenge, not sabotage.

Now I have to get in my obligatory rant about the Nancy Drew Diaries series.

I knew as I read and enjoyed this latest Hardy Boys Adventures book that I would be very angry by the time I finished.  And so I am.  I am angry that Nancy Drew is being treated like an idiot and like an obnoxious child who is scared 100% of the time.  In contrast, the Hardy Boys are treated about the same as always.  They solve mysteries better than the police and don't get scared.  What else could we want?

On November 20, 2016, I wrote about gender inequality in the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series, particularly in the Nancy Drew Diaries as compared to the Hardy Boys Adventures.
Oddly, Simon and Schuster is giving all the creative plots to the Hardy Boys, and I can't figure out why, unless they want to destroy Nancy Drew.  Surely they don't, because that wouldn't make sense.

For whatever reason, Simon and Schuster is treating the two series in a sexist fashion and is slighting Nancy Drew as a result.
Volume 16 in each series shows how sexist the treatment of Nancy Drew is.  The Hardy Boys act just like always in volume 16 of their series, as in not scared to death, yet Nancy Drew is scared for most of volume 16 of her series.  So, Nancy Drew is being portrayed as a scared little girl who doesn't like solving mysteries, while the Hardy Boys truly are "hardy boys," who bravely solve dangerous mysteries.

In the quote I included from my previous blog, I stated that I did not understand why Nancy Drew is being treated so badly, "unless they want to destroy Nancy Drew."  With each Nancy Drew Diaries book I read, I more strongly believe just that.  I am now close to convincing myself that the person in charge of Nancy Drew at Simon and Schuster is seeking to destroy her out of some sort of vendetta.  If not that, then perhaps the person in charge of both series hates women and wants to destroy Nancy Drew for that reason.  I know I sound like a wingnut, but I fail to understand any logical reason why, in 2018 when females are supposed to be portrayed as strong, that Simon and Schuster is doing the exact opposite with the Nancy Drew franchise.

I plan to keep purchasing and reading the Hardy Boys Adventures.  Most of the books have been very good to excellent.  I greatly enjoy them.  I have given up all hope for the Nancy Drew Diaries series.  However, I will keep purchasing the Nancy Drew Diaries books, but only because I enjoy tearing each one apart here in this blog.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Dana Girls Series - Titles and Collecting Information

This is the text of an eBay guide that I created in 2006.  The guides are now orphaned pages that can only be found through an Internet search.  eBay plans to delete the guides in April 2018.
This eBay guide was viewed approximately 14,000 times.


The Dana Girls Mystery Stories series is a series of books published by Grosset and Dunlap from 1934 through 1979.  The series consists of 34 titles that were written under the pseudonym of Carolyn Keene.  This series is popular with collectors of Nancy Drew, Judy Bolton, Beverly Gray, Trixie Belden, and other similar series.

The series was always advertised as "by the author of Nancy Drew books," and this message appears prominently on the cover of each Dana Girls book.  As a result, people who do not look carefully at everything written on the cover of a Dana Girls book may actually mistake it for a Nancy Drew book.   

The first 30 titles were published from 1932 through 1968.  The series went out of print briefly from 1969 to 1971.  In 1972, the series was reissued with new cover art.  The first 16 titles, as well as volume 18, stayed out of print permanently, and volumes 17 and 19 through 30 were reprinted with different volume numbers.  Four new titles were added to the series from 1976 to 1979.  The second run of the series ended in 1979, and the Dana Girls series is still out of print in the present day.

First Set (1934-1968):

  1. By the Light of the Study Lamp, 1934
  2. The Secret at Lone Tree Cottage, 1934
  3. In the Shadow of the Tower, 1934
  4. A Three-Cornered Mystery, 1935
  5. The Secret at the Hermitage, 1936
  6. The Circle of Footprints, 1937
  7. The Mystery of the Locked Room, 1938
  8. The Clue in the Cobweb, 1939
  9. The Secret at the Gatehouse, 1940
10. The Mysterious Fireplace, 1941
11. The Clue of the Rusty Key, 1942
12. The Portrait in the Sand, 1943
13. The Secret in the Old Well, 1944
14. The Clue in the Ivy, 1952
15. The Secret of the Jade Ring, 1953
16. Mystery at the Crossroads, 1954
17. The Ghost in the Gallery, 1955
18. The Clue of the Black Flower, 1956
19. The Winking Ruby Mystery, 1957
20. The Secret of the Swiss Chalet, 1958
21. The Haunted Lagoon, 1959
22. The Mystery of the Bamboo Bird, 1960
23. The Sierra Gold Mystery, 1961
24. The Secret of Lost Lake, 1962
25. The Mystery of the Stone Tiger, 1963
26. The Riddle of the Frozen Fountain, 1964
27. The Secret of the Silver Dolphin, 1965
28. Mystery of the Wax Queen, 1966
29. The Secret of the Minstrel's Guitar, 1967
30. The Phantom Surfer, 1968

Second Set (1972-1979):

  1. The Mystery of the Stone Tiger, 1972
  2. The Riddle of the Frozen Fountain, 1972
  3. The Secret of the Silver Dolphin, 1972
  4. Mystery of the Wax Queen, 1972
  5. The Secret of the Minstrel's Guitar, 1972
  6. The Phantom Surfer, 1972
  7. The Secret of the Swiss Chalet, 1973
  8. The Haunted Lagoon, 1973
  9. Mystery of the Bamboo Bird, 1973
10. The Sierra Gold Mystery, 1973
11. The Secret of Lost Lake, 1974
12. The Winking Ruby Mystery, 1974
13. The Ghost in the Gallery, 1975
14. The Curious Coronation, 1976
15. The Hundred-Year Mystery, 1977
16. Mountain-Peak Mystery, 1978
17. The Witch's Omen, 1979

The illustrations:

Only volumes 1 through 6 were printed with the four glossy illustrations during the 1930s.  Volumes 7 through 9 were printed with one glossy illustration during the late 1930s and early 1940s, and during the same time period, volumes 1 through 6 were reprinted with only one glossy illustration.  Volumes 10 and up never had glossy illustrations; these volumes had the plain paper frontispiece illustration.

First printings:

The copyright page is the last place to look when you are trying to discover the age of a Dana Girls book.  Grosset and Dunlap very rarely made changes to the copyright page. Even when a list of titles does appear on the copyright page, the list will almost always not be accurate.

The two easiest places to look in order to determine the age of a Dana Girls book are on the dust jacket’s front flap, if present, and on an interior list of titles.  The last title present in the list of Dana Girls titles will tell you what the age of the book is.  For instance, if the dust jacket's front flap lists to The Clue in the Ivy, then the book was printed in 1952, which is the year of publication for The Clue in the Ivy.  Or, if the dust jacket's front flap lists to The Haunted Lagoon, then the book was printed in 1959, which is the year of publication for The Haunted Lagoon.

When the book is missing its dust jacket, refer to the interior list of titles, if present.  The earlier books from the 1930s and early 1940s have post-text ad pages with lists of titles.  The later Dana Girls books will usually have a pre-text list of titles which will give you the same information.

Important:  When I refer to a pre-text list of titles, I do not mean a list that may appear on the copyright page.  Since Grosset and Dunlap rarely updated the copyright page, any list of titles that appears on the copyright page will almost always not be accurate.  If there is a pre-text list of titles that can be used to date a book, it will appear on a separate page from the copyright and title page, usually right after the endpapers.

Identifying the age of a book:

It helps greatly to learn what the outside of a Dana Girls book looks like for the different formats so that you can easily see by a seller’s picture how old the book likely is.  I have chosen not to add detailed pictures to this page since I already have a detailed formats page on my own website.  My formats page has pictures of all of the different types of Dana Girls books.  

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Nancy Drew Collecting Tips




This lack of information in auctions causes buyers to have to ask many questions of many different sellers.  This process quickly becomes tiring.  It does help, though, if the buyer is aware of certain facts so that the buyer can avoid having to ask certain questions. 

What I have noticed is that many buyers are not aware of which books were printed with the glossy illustrations or with the original text.  The purpose of this guide is to eliminate some of the confusion experienced by buyers.  Additionally, this guide can help sellers determine what they have.

Prices: 

The purpose of this guide is to provide a starting place for buyers and sellers who are attempting to discover the age of a Nancy Drew book and to give buyers a better idea of what to seek.  This guide does not attempt to give the value of the different Nancy Drew books.  The values are constantly changing based on supply and demand.  If I were to attempt to give values, they would soon be meaningless.  There are way too many factors to consider when valuing Nancy Drew books.

If you are planning to sell some Nancy Drew books and need to get an idea of the current pricing, search the completed Nancy Drew auctions on eBay to get an idea of the selling prices.  If you are planning to buy Nancy Drew books, you should also search the completed auctions to see what the selling prices are.

If you wish to collect Nancy Drew books, the only way you will get a firm grip on current values is to invest in a Farah's Guide to the Nancy Drew books.  David Farah almost always has his guide up for sale on eBay.

Original text: 

The original text books have 25 chapters while the revised text books have 20 chapters.  Only volumes 1 through 34 were ever printed in the original text books.  Volumes 35 and up never had the 25 chapter texts.  Volumes 35 and up each had the 20 chapter text in the very first printings and still are printed with the original 20 chapter texts to this day. 

It is only necessary to ask sellers how many chapters are present for the first 34 books, since these are the only volumes that were ever revised.  Thus, #37 The Clue in the Old Stagecoach is impossible to find in the 25 chapter text since it was never printed with a 25 chapter text.

The illustrations: 

Only volumes 1 through 13 were printed with the four glossy illustrations during the 1930s.  Volumes 14 through 17 were printed with one glossy illustration during the late 1930s and early 1940s, and during the same time period, volumes 1 through 13 were reprinted with only one glossy illustration.  Volumes 18 and up never had glossy illustrations; these volumes had the plain paper frontispiece illustration.

First printings: 

The copyright page is the last place to look when you are trying to discover the age of a Nancy Drew book.  Grosset and Dunlap very rarely made changes to the copyright page.  All copies of The Secret of the Old Clock printed from 1930 through early 1959 have 1930 as the only year listed on the copyright page.  From 1959 and on, The Secret of the Old Clock was printed with 1959 as the year on the copyright page.  Clearly, the copyright page does not narrow down the year of printing very well.
The two easiest places to look in order to determine the age of a Nancy Drew book are on the dust jacket’s front flap, if the book still has its dust jacket, and on an interior list of titles.  The last title present in the list of Nancy Drew titles will tell you what the age of the book is.  For instance, if the dust jacket's front flap lists to The Clue in the Crumbling Wall, then the book was printed in 1945, which is the year of publication for The Clue in the Crumbling Wall.  Or, if the dust jacket's front flap lists to The Hidden Window Mystery, then the book was printed in 1956, which is the year of publication for The Hidden Window Mystery

When the book is missing its dust jacket, refer to the interior list of titles, if present.  The earlier books from the 1930s and early 1940s have post-text ad pages with lists of titles.  The later Nancy Drew books will usually have a pre-text list of titles which will give you the same information. 

Important:  When I refer to a pre-text list of titles, I do not mean a list that may appear on the copyright page.  Since Grosset and Dunlap rarely updated the copyright page, any list of titles that appears on the copyright page will almost always not be accurate.  If there is a pre-text list of titles that can be used to date a book, it will appear on a separate page from the copyright and title page, usually right after the endpapers.
   
Note:  The dust jacket and interior book lists do not always match.  In fact, it is quite common for the dust jacket to list one or two additional titles than what is listed inside the book.  The vast majority of dust-jacketed Nancy Drew books that come up for sale are mated with the correct dust jacket.  When there is a mismatch, it is usually very obvious, such as a dust jacket that lists to #35 while the book lists only to #19.  The 1950s printing history of Nancy's Mysterious Letter is an exception.  The books all list only to #30 while the dust jackets list from #30 up through #38.  These books are not mismatched.

List of Nancy Drew Titles with the 25 Chapter Texts:

  1.  The Secret of the Old Clock, 1930
  2.  The Hidden Staircase, 1930
  3. The Bungalow Mystery, 1930
  4. The Mystery at Lilac Inn, 1930
  5. The Secret at Shadow Ranch, 1931
  6. The Secret of Red Gate Farm, 1931
  7. The Clue in the Diary, 1932
  8. Nancy's Mysterious Letter, 1932
  9. The Sign of the Twisted Candles, 1933
10. The Password to Larkspur Lane, 1933
11. The Clue of the Broken Locket, 1934
12. The Message in the Hollow Oak, 1935
13. The Mystery of the Ivory Charm, 1936
14. The Whispering Statue, 1937
15. The Haunted Bridge, 1937
16. The Clue of the Tapping Heels, 1939
17. The Mystery of the Brass Bound Trunk, 1940
18. The Mystery at the Moss-Covered Mansion, 1941
19. The Quest of the Missing Map, 1942
20. The Clue in the Jewel Box, 1943
21. The Secret in the Old Attic, 1944
22. The Clue in the Crumbling Wall, 1945
23. The Mystery of the Tolling Bell, 1946
24. The Clue in the Old Album, 1947
25. The Ghost of Blackwood Hall, 1948
26. The Clue of the Leaning Chimney, 1949
27. The Secret of the Wooden Lady, 1950
28. The Clue of the Black Keys, 1951
29. The Mystery at the Ski Jump, 1952
30. The Clue of the Velvet Mask, 1953
31. The Ringmaster's Secret, 1953
32. The Scarlet Slipper Mystery, 1954
33. The Witch Tree Symbol, 1955
34. The Hidden Window Mystery, 1956

List of Nancy Drew Titles with the 20 Chapter Texts:

  1. The Secret of the Old Clock, 1959
  2. The Hidden Staircase, 1959
  3. The Bungalow Mystery, 1960
  4. The Mystery at Lilac Inn, 1961
  5. The Secret of Shadow Ranch, 1965
  6. The Secret of Red Gate Farm, 1961
  7. The Clue in the Diary, 1962
  8. Nancy's Mysterious Letter, 1968
  9. The Sign of the Twisted Candles, 1968
10. The Password to Larkspur Lane, 1966
11. The Clue of the Broken Locket, 1965
12. The Message in the Hollow Oak, 1972
13. The Mystery of the Ivory Charm, 1974
14. The Whispering Statue, 1970
15. The Haunted Bridge, 1972
16. The Clue of the Tapping Heels, 1969
17. The Mystery of the Brass Bound Trunk, 1976
18. Mystery of the Moss-Covered Mansion, 1971
19. The Quest of the Missing Map, 1969
20. The Clue in the Jewel Box, 1972
21. The Secret in the Old Attic, 1970
22. The Clue in the Crumbling Wall, 1973
23. The Mystery of the Tolling Bell, 1973
24. The Clue in the Old Album, 1977
25. The Ghost of Blackwood Hall, 1967
26. The Clue of the Leaning Chimney, 1967
27. The Secret of the Wooden Lady, 1967
28. The Clue of the Black Keys, 1968
29. The Mystery at the Ski Jump, 1968
30. The Clue of the Velvet Mask, 1969
31. The Ringmaster's Secret, 1974
32. The Scarlet Slipper Mystery, 1974
33. The Witch Tree Symbol, 1975
34. The Hidden Window Mystery, 1975
35. The Haunted Showboat, 1957
36. The Secret of the Golden Pavilion, 1959
37. The Clue in the Old Stagecoach, 1960
38. The Mystery of the Fire Dragon, 1961
39. The Clue of the Dancing Puppet, 1962
40. The Moonstone Castle Mystery, 1963
41. The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes, 1964
42. The Phantom of Pine Hill, 1965
43. The Mystery of the 99 Steps, 1966
44. The Clue in the Crossword Cipher, 1967
45. The Spider Sapphire Mystery, 1968
46. The Invisible Intruder, 1969
47. The Mysterious Mannequin, 1970
48. The Crooked Banister, 1971
49. The Secret of Mirror Bay, 1972
50. The Double Jinx Mystery, 1973
51. Mystery of the Glowing Eye, 1974
52. The Secret of the Forgotten City, 1975
53. The Sky Phantom, 1976
54. The Strange Message in the Parchment, 1977
55. Mystery of Crocodile Island, 1978
56. The Thirteenth Pearl, 1979

Identifying the age of a book: 

It helps greatly to learn what the outside of a Nancy Drew book looks like for the different formats so that you can easily see by a seller’s picture how old the book likely is.  It can save time in having to ask a seller if a book has the glossy illustrations if you already know by the outside of the book that it is a type that never had the illustrations.

I have chosen not to add detailed pictures to this page since the number of pictures that eBay will allow on the guide is too restrictive for me to show you what you need to see.  I already have a very detailed formats page on my own website.  My formats page has pictures of all of the different types of Nancy Drew books from 1930 to the present day.  

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Kay Tracey #1 The Secret of the Red Scarf

The Kay Tracey Mystery Stories series consists of 18 books that were originally published by Cupples and Leon.

  1. The Secret of the Red Scarf, 1934
  2. The Strange Echo, 1934
  3. The Mystery of the Swaying Curtains, 1935
  4. The Shadow on the Door, 1935
  5. The Six-Fingered Glove Mystery, 1936
  6. The Green Cameo Mystery, 1936
  7. The Secret at the Windmill, 1937
  8. Beneath the Crimson Briar Bush, 1937
  9. The Message in the Sand Dunes, 1938
10. The Murmuring Portrait, 1938
11. When the Key Turned, 1939
12. In the Sunken Garden, 1939
13. The Forbidden Tower, 1940
14. The Sacred Feather, 1940
15. The Lone Footprint, 1941
16. The Double Disguise, 1941
17. The Mansion of Secrets, 1942
18. The Mysterious Neighbors, 1942

Kay Tracey is sixteen years old and lives in Brantwood with her friends, twin sisters Betty and Wilma Worth.  Betty has fair hair and a lively personality.  Wilma has dark hair, is timid and serious, and recites poetry at strange moments.  Kay has a jealous rival, Ethel Eaton, who is always causing trouble.  The girls all live in Brantwood and commute by train to Carmont High School.

Kay lives with her mother and Cousin Bill, who is an attorney.  Kay's father worked at a newspaper and is deceased.  Kay has a boyfriend, Ronald Earle.

The Cupples and Leon editions contain the original text.  Later printings by other publishers may be slightly revised, greatly revised, or not revised at all.  Three books were never reprinted outside of the Cupples and Leon editions:  The Mystery of the Swaying Curtains, The Shadow on the Door, and The Forbidden Tower.

The Kay Tracey series is often criticized because the stories tend to be rather absurd and crazy.  The plots consist of a bunch of seemingly unconnected events that sometimes come together as part of the same mystery.  Other times, the events are truly unconnected. 

I have always enjoyed the Kay Tracey series.  Life is often full of random events, like car accidents and conflicts, that come out of nowhere.  Life takes unexpected detours all the time.  The Kay Tracey series is just like that.  The reader never knows what will happen next, since the events can be so random.  I find the stories highly interesting and amusing.  As long as a story holds my attention and doesn't bore me, I will enjoy it, random or not.  Kay Tracey meets all of my requirements for good entertainment.

In the original text version of Kay Tracey #1, The Secret of the Red Scarf, Kay Tracey rescues a boy who was thrown from his horse.  Kay learns that the boy is Dick Ludlow, and he is looking for his sister, Helene.  Helene ran away from home to become an actress and hasn't been seen since.  Dick father has passed away, and most of Mr. Ludlow's fortune was stolen by crooks.

Kay goes to a masquerade, dressed in a red scarf with a design copied from a magazine.  Another guest has the same scarf, and Kay believes that the girl is Helene, who goes by the name Barbara Brown.  Barbara will not admit to her true identity and runs away frightened.  Kay soon learns that two swindlers are making unwanted advances upon Barbara and her friend and that these swindlers might be the same men who stole the Ludlow fortune.  Can Kay speak to Barbara in time to save her?

I notice that Kay Tracey acts a lot like the revised text era Nancy Drew.  She is unruffled and cool in this story.  I like her.

On page 129, a statement is made about the villains.
"So they've descended to the level of pickpockets," he added scornfully.  "Instead of being so-called gentlemen crooks, they're now just common thieves."
I don't see a difference.  A thief is a thief, whether a swindler or a pickpocket.

This book was written by Elizabeth Duffield Ward, author of the Blythe Girls series, many Outdoor Girls books, and most of the May Hollis Barton books.  The book reads a lot like early series books, which have a slower pace than most series books published after 1930.  I did not like this book years ago, but I found it much better this time.  I suspect that this is because I have read many early series books in the years since I first read this book.

In the revised text of The Secret of the Red Scarf, Kay, Wilma, and Betty find a young man unconscious in his car.  They take him to the Tracey home, discovering that he has been robbed of his papers and money and has amnesia.  Kay decides to call the young man Bro, since he at first thinks Kay is his sister.  Kay has a scarf that looks like one owned by Bro's sister.  Kay copied her scarf from one pictured in a magazine, so Kay deduces that the girl in the photo is probably Bro's sister.

Ethel Eaton overhears Kay speaking about Bro and spreads rumors that Kay has a crazy brother who has been released from an institution.  Betty decides to play a trick on Ethel to get back at her.

Early in the story, Kay and Wilma cause an explosion in the chemistry lab at Carmont High School.  Kay absentmindedly places a chemical in the wrong location, and Wilma uses it without reading the label.  The explosion causes some damage, but the girls are fine.  There is really no point to the explosion, and it is an odd scene.

The explosion scene is atypical of the Kay Tracey series, since Kay and her friends never cause trouble or any kind of destruction.  I have no idea why the revisionist felt that this explosion was appropriate, since it has nothing to do with the story.  The revisionist should have had Ethel cause the explosion rather than Kay and Wilma.  The explosion is a complete anomaly.

In the revision, the basic story elements are the same, including a man after an inheritance, the search for Helene, the masquerade, and the red scarf.  However, the text of the story is completely different.  Both stories are enjoyable.  I enjoyed the original text much more this time than I did years ago, but I still feel that the revised text is an overall better story.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Sweet Valley High Series Overview

The Sweet Valley High series began in 1983 and ended in 1998.  When I was a teen, I read most of Sweet Valley High #1-32 plus most Super Editions that were published up through 1988.  I quit reading the series in 1988 when I read the back cover synopsis for #41 and learned that Regina Morrow dies in #40 due to a rare reaction to cocaine.  I was devastated, since Regina was my favorite character.  I felt like the series had betrayed me, so I no longer wanted to read the books.

I revisited the series around 10 years ago and read up to #35 at that time.  I refused to read any higher since I wanted to pretend that Regina doesn't die.  Furthermore, I did not like the cover art changes and refused to consider reading any higher-numbered books.

I found that during this most recent reading that I was no longer as emotionally connected to the characters, so I did not mind reading past Regina's death.  I had purchased the entire series, although I did not know how far I would get.  I have never liked the cover art changes of the higher-numbered books, but I was open to reading them so long as I was able to enjoy the stories.

I ended up reading the entire series, including most of the special editions.  The books I elected not to read are the six secret diaries books for the twins and the four sagas that feature the past history of the prominent Sweet Valley families.  The entire set consists of 181 books, so I read 171 of 181 books.

During this reading, my feelings towards most of the main characters shifted somewhat from how I once felt.  Here are my opinions of the main characters.

Elizabeth Wakefield - I like Liz of the early books, but Liz from the last part of the series is awful.  I hate that Liz.

Jessica Wakefield - I still like Jessica as much as ever.  I don't like her outright mean stunts, but aside from those, I greatly enjoy her escapades.

Steven Wakefield - I liked him okay when I was a teen, but I now find him quite boring.

Enid Rollins - Enid has always been boring.  The funny thing is that I am more like Enid than any other character.  However, I wouldn't want to read about myself, so there you go.

Todd Wilkins - I liked Todd when I was a teen, but I find Todd of the early part of the series to be boring.  The Todd of the later books is boring and a loser.  He's a loser because he forgives Liz for cheating on him in every book.  He also cheats on her sometimes, but he thinks that's okay.

Jeffrey French - Liz should have stayed with Jeffrey.  The main flaw in this series is that we don't get enough of Jeffrey.

Bruce Patman - I like Bruce.  Sure, he's arrogant and not somebody I would want as a friend.  But Bruce is a lot of fun.  I enjoy reading about him.

Lila Fowler - I used not to like Lila that much.  I now consider her a goddess.  She tells it like it is, and the reader does get to see that Lila has a vulnerable side, which is why she acts like such a snob.  Lila is another person I would not enjoy in real life, but in a book, she is awesome.

Regina Morrow - Regina was once my favorite character, but I now like her no more than any of the other characters.  My teen mind did not realize how how unrealistic and superficial the treatment of her deafness is.  Now that I can see that, I do not like Regina as much and did not mind reading about her death.

Mr. Collins - I always liked Mr. Collins, and I still do.  However, when I read the books this time, I found him a bit creepy at times.  It didn't help that I read some online reviews mentioning Mr. Collins' pervy behavior.  He does seem to like Liz a bit too much in the early books.

The Sweet Valley High chronology is very confusing, since the set consists of 143 numbered books plus 38 special editions interspersed throughout the set.  I will only mention the numbered books in the following summary, but each section of numbered books contains many unnumbered special editions.  It would be too cumbersome to try to list all the special editions in the label for each section.

#1-39 from 1983 to 1987:  These are the books from before the death of Regina Morrow.  The series is completely innocent at this time.  Nothing is a big problem.  Even when characters are nearly raped, they shrug off the event like it was nothing.  Students haze each other, but this seems to be a normal activity with no consequences.  No one gets charged with assault.  These are the most idealistic books in the series.  Watch a music video from the early 1980s like Madonna's Borderline or Material Girl, and you get a clear picture of what these books are like.  The books are very much a product of the time.  These are very good books.

#40-94 from 1987 to 1993:  The series still has the same overall premise and quality as the original books, but it has begun to tackle some harder issues, like homosexuality and interracial families.  Rape is no longer considered an act that a girl can just brush off as nothing.  Hazing is still accepted as normal, but at least the characters see it as somewhat of a problem.  Liz becomes a feminist and protests against beauty pageants and soap operas, since she sees both as demeaning to women.  #94 marks the end of the canon Sweet Valley High books.

#95-100 from 1993:  Beginning with these books, the series switches to a miniseries format, with most stories spanning multiple books.  The series also gets a new look and a new attitude.  This group of books is unlike all others in the series.  Liz drives drunk, Jessica's boyfriend dies, and the twins have a murderous doppelganger.  These books are deeply depressing and don't fit in with the rest of the set at all.  I do not like them.

#101-128 from 1993 to 1996:  These books vary widely in quality.  Some books are very good while others are awful.  Some of the writers clearly did not understand the Sweet Valley High premise and how to write the series.  That kind of problem is always the fault of the person in charge of the series, so someone wasn't doing their job.  During these books, Liz's personality shifts where she constantly cheats on Todd, even though she is supposedly committed to him.  Todd and Liz break up in practically every book, but somehow, they end up back together.  I never liked Todd, but it was during these books that I began to hate him.  I also began to hate Liz as well.  Oddly, Jessica calms down slightly in these books and is somewhat more stable.

#129-143 from 1997 to 1998:  The cover art changes to photographs of the stars of the Sweet Valley High television series.  Most of these books are not good and are rather tiresome.  Devon Whitelaw arrives in Sweet Valley, and the love triangle between Devon, Liz, and Todd is awful.  The series should have been ended rather than being allowed to deteriorate to this extent.

I cannot understand why Liz is stuck with Todd for most of the 181 book series.  I feel that this was a big mistake.  Liz and Todd's tiresome relationship and Liz's odd personality change are the two largest contributing factors to the decline in quality of the series.

I do understand why Liz gets back with Todd when he comes back from Vermont, since it makes for a good story line for Liz to dump Jeffrey for Todd.  I don't understand why she is stuck with Todd from #59 through to the very end of the series, especially since she cheats on him constantly from #101 on.  Liz is supposed to be a character who does the right thing under all circumstances, or at least that is Liz at the beginning of the series.  Liz of later in the series has got some serious problems.

I read an interesting opinion about Liz in the comments to a now-defunct Sweet Valley High blog.  One person theorized that Margo really does switch with Liz in #100, which would explain Liz's permanent change in personality.  That person made a comment that went something like "Well played, Margo."

I find that theory rather intriguing, although I don't believe that Margo actually makes the switch.  After all, we get Liz's point of view many times during #101 and up, and besides, in Return of the Evil Twin, Margo reappears and definitely had not taken Liz's place.

I do believe that one can conclude that the terrible events of #95-100 had such a profound effect on Liz that her personality shifts permanently.  After all, Liz drives drunk in those books, through no fault of her own, and her passenger gets killed.  Those events would cause psychological problems.  Furthermore, Jessica suffers the death of her boyfriend in those books, so this could explain why Jessica is slightly calmer in later books.

I enjoyed reading through the entire Sweet Valley High set, although the best books are the canon books, #1 through #94.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Sweet Valley High Last Wish, Earthquake, and Aftershock

For the final photo cover of the series, used on Last Wish, the television twins mimic the cover art for the very first book in the series, Double Love, which was painted by James Mathewuse.  Jessica is once again in denim, and Liz is off to the side.


In the antepenultimate volume of the Sweet Valley High series, Last Wish, Liz and Jess prepare to celebrate their seventeenth birthday.  Elizabeth plans a surprise party for Jessica at the Beach Disco.  Meanwhile, Jessica plans a surprise party for Elizabeth on the beach.  When the invitations go out, all of the twins' friends figure out that both girls are planning parties.  The twins' friends get together and figure out how to salvage the situation.

On page 40, Liz states that maybe she and Todd shouldn't have gotten back together after all of their fights.  I heartily agree.

This is a surprisingly good book.  The plot is utterly ridiculous, but that's why this is a good book.  Somehow each twin thinks that her twin is uninterested in having a party and thinks that the surprise party that she is planning will be the only one.  While unbelievable, this is exactly what the early Sweet Valley High books are like, with a total lack of realism.  This book captures all that perfectly for one last time, so it is a good story, at least until near the end when the earthquake strikes.

In the penultimate volume of the Sweet Valley High series, Earthquake, a devastating earthquake strikes Sweet Valley during the twins' seventeenth birthday party.  The Wakefields' home is destroyed, and their neighbor's house catches on fire.  As the fire spreads, Liz tries to rescue Enid, and Ken tries to rescue Olivia.  Devon shows himself to be a despicable coward who only cares about himself.  He refuses to help Liz rescue Enid.

Meanwhile, Jessica tries to help a boy rescue his younger sister, who has fallen into a deep crevasse.  The rescue fails, and the girl dies.  Jessica is devastated.

After the Wakefields' house collapses, Lila and Todd are trapped in the bathroom together.  On page 132, Lila is "totally, passionately sick of Todd Wilkins."  On page 196, Lila reflects, "Dying with Todd was worse than dying alone."  On page 218, Lila thinks she and Todd are about to die, so she makes a confession.  "I have to tell you something.  I never really liked you."  Lila is such a goddess.  She doesn't hold back.

Both this book and the next book make a point of mentioning as many past events as possible from the entire run of the Sweet Valley High series.

I did not like this book much.  It is too depressing.

In the final volume of the Sweet Valley High series, Aftershock, Liz has lost her memory of the events immediately following the earthquake.  Liz and Enid think that Devon is a hero, and he doesn't mind letting them think that.  What a loser.

By the end of the story, Liz regains her memory, and Devon rides off into the sunset, never to be seen again.  Not that this matters, since the series is over.  Todd and Liz don't get back together.  I don't care, since I was done with Todd and Liz's relationship several dozen books ago.  Even worse, the horrid Liz, Todd, and Devon love triangle lasted for nine books, which was eight books too many.

I did not enjoy this book.

After finishing this book, I fully intended to read the entire Sweet Valley University series.  But first, I tried again to read Sweet Valley High Senior Year.  Nope, Senior Year is still repulsive.

I then read the first Sweet Valley University book, or at least I partially read it until I had to begin skimming.  What a depressing story.  I now understand that the dreadful Nancy Drew On Campus series was modeled after Sweet Valley University.  Nancy Drew On Campus was published two years after the first Sweet Valley University book, and the premise is very similar.  I couldn't read Nancy Drew On Campus, so I can't read Sweet Valley University.

So rather suddenly, my Sweet Valley High reading experience ended.

A Sweet Valley High series summary will follow.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Sweet Valley High #141 A Picture-Perfect Prom?, #142 The Big Night, and #143 Party Weekend!

In Sweet Valley High #141, A Picture-Perfect Prom?, Elizabeth and Jessica's junior year in high school is drawing to a close.  It's time for the prom, although there was that Jungle Prom that we are probably not supposed to remember.  Jessica and Lila create a list of all the boys at SVH and rank them, while listing their negative traits.  Unfortunately, the list gets leaked, and none of the boys will go to the prom with Jessica or Lila!

Liz has dumped both of her boyfriends, but she wants to go to the prom with one of them.  She thinks both want to be just friends, but she waits for a signal from one of them. 

Liz has serious problems.  In the previous book, Liz declared herself independent of men, but now she waits for one of them to choose her.  I hate Liz.  I hate her so much.  I also hate Devon and Todd.

On page 3, Lila states that the store, Lisette's, is "so early eighties."  I guess that's right, since the Sweet Valley series began in the early eighties.

On page 9, Jessica understands how ridiculous Liz and Todd's relationship has become.  "He's forgiven you—and you've forgiven him—so many times it makes me sick."  Same here, Jess.

The first half of the book is completely boring.  I did not enjoy this book.  This needs to end and fast.

In Sweet Valley High #142, The Big Night, Liz somehow ends up with two dates for the prom with both Devon and Todd.  Jessica ends up without a date.  I think we can see where this is going.

Liz goes to the prom with Todd, and Jessica goes to the prom with Devon while pretending to be Liz.  Jessica lets Liz know what she is doing, and Liz is mostly okay with it.  Of course the boys find out, and Liz gets dumped by both of them.  Yay!

I also did not enjoy this book.  I don't like reading about a bunch of losers.

In Sweet Valley High #143, Party Weekend!, ... I am quite dismayed that the stories keep coming.  This terrible story arc should have ended several books back.

Anyway, the prom is over, thank goodness.  Now, the students of Sweet Valley High and surrounding schools celebrate with a weekend of competitions.  This will end up a disaster just like everything else—mainly a disaster for the reader.

Jessica starts seeing Christian Gorman's ghost and even speaks to him.  But she might be dreaming.  The rivalry between the schools gets really bad, and someone could get hurt.

I can't even remember much about the book.  I was so bored.

#143 Party Weekend! is the final numbered volume in the Sweet Valley High series.  But wait, we're not done yet!  Three more books remain.  Can we survive the twins' 17th birthday and the earthquake?  Probably not.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Sweet Valley High #138 What Jessica Wants..., #139 Elizabeth's Mine, and #140 Please Forgive Me

In Sweet Valley High #138, What Jessica Wants..., Devon Whitelaw has enrolled at Sweet Valley High.  Jessica has decided that he is the boy for her.  As Jessica plots how to get Devon to notice her, she helps Todd plan a special date for Liz on the beach.  Unknown to Jessica and Todd, Devon and Liz have fallen in love.

I really liked Devon in this book and was all for Liz and Devon's budding romance.  Notice that "liked" and "was" are in the past tense.  The rest of the miniseries completely spoils the romance.

I greatly enjoyed this book, but I doubt I could ever enjoy it again or even read it again since I know what happens in the rest of the story arc.

In Sweet Valley High #139, Elizabeth's Mine, Devon and Todd fight over Elizabeth.  The situation gets so bad that Elizabeth dumps both of them.  Good riddance, but sadly, the story doesn't end here.

I can't even tell Devon and Todd apart on the cover.  They almost look like twins.  It's not worth any effort in trying to figure it out.

I did not enjoy this book as much as the previous one.  Liz and Devon's romance is quickly going stale.

In Sweet Valley High #140, Please Forgive Me, both Devon and Todd try to get Liz back.  This is such a sorry love triangle.  I hate all of them.

On page 196, Liz finally realizes that she doesn't need a man.  "Look, Jess.  I've had a steady boyfriend since... forever!  It's time I learned how to fly on my own—taste freedom for what it really is.  How am I supposed to learn who I am if I always see myself reflected in someone else's eyes?" 

It sounds great, but it won't last.  Liz is such a loser.  I hate her.

I did not like this book.  I found it boring.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

High International Shipping Costs and Free Domestic Shipping

Chinese sellers are able to list items on Amazon, eBay, and other sites for as little as U.S. $0.99, shipping included.  The Chinese receive subsidized postage rates, and the rest of the world is paying their postage for them.  Read the following article for more information.

As U.S. Postage Rates Continue To Rise, The USPS Gives The Chinese A 'Free Ride'

I still offer to ship books internationally, but most of my prospective international buyers think I am ripping them off.  They think I am choosing to use the most expensive shipping method instead of using a less expensive method.  The United States Postal Service no longer offers surface mail.  It does not exist.  We are only allowed to use the expensive method.

As I mentioned in a recent post, I do not offer to ship internationally for heavy bulk lots.  This is because it takes time to weigh the lots and figure out exactly what the postage will be.  It's not worth my time to do that when I know that no international buyers will be willing to pay the high cost.

I recently learned that deselecting international shipping on eBay was not enough to block international buyers from purchasing the bulk lots.  An international buyer purchased one of my bulk listings recently, which both surprised and dismayed me.  I was surprised since I thought I had blocked them.  I was dismayed because I knew that the buyer would back out.

I sent the requested invoice with the postage of $82.00 along with an apologetic message stating that I did not have a cheaper method to use.  The buyer immediately stated that she could not pay that much and asked for the transaction to be canceled.  That's why I don't offer international shipping on heavy bulk lots.  The transactions are always canceled.

After investigating, I learned that I must also select "exclude shipping locations" and select all continents in order to prevent international buyers from purchasing the heavy lots.  Each time an international buyer expresses interest in a heavy lot, they always back out, since the shipping is very high.  I understand completely, and I prefer to save trouble by not allowing them to initiate the purchase.

...........................................................

Some buyers really get hung up on free shipping and whether it helps or hurts them.  Many think that I have $3.95 fully built into the price of each book on eBay and think they are being ripped off when they purchase two items together that have free shipping.  These days, I don't think about the shipping when I price my items, except when I price bulk lots where I may be selling the books at or below cost.

Let's say that I have a book priced at $19.99 on eBay with free shipping.  This same book would have still been priced at $19.99 without free shipping, but then $3.95 would have been added to the base price of $19.99.  This means that my shipping is really free on eBay, so don't overthink it.

Others think that free shipping is always better and worry when they purchase like items that don't have free shipping.  I received an order on Etsy for six books.  On Etsy, postage is set at $3.95 for the first book and $0.50 for each additional book.  The buyer realized right after submitting the order that I have an eBay store which offers free shipping.  She told me, "Oh no you have an ebay store and it offers free shipping ... :'( I should have shopped there instead."

I had a feeling it didn't matter, but out of curiosity, I decided to see how much difference it would have made.  I found the same books in my eBay store and figured out how much she would have paid.  I sent her the following explanation of what I discovered.
I thought I'd compare my prices on eBay to what you paid here, just because I wanted to see if it did matter.  First, the books are different copies that are offered on the two sites.  Four of the titles are on eBay.  For the books that are there, with the eBay 10% discount and free shipping, the total for those books would have been about $58.

The four books that you purchased here with the 10% discount and paying for shipping ended up being around $58.  The difference looks to be just about $0.35, so it really didn't make a difference since some of the books on eBay are priced higher.  I try to price my items in a fashion so that it doesn't make a difference where you purchase the books.
I price many of my books cheaper on Etsy than what I do on eBay, which causes the shipping cost on Etsy not to matter.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Sweet Valley High #135 Lila's New Flame, #136 Too Hot to Handle, #137 Fight Fire with Fire, and Mystery Date

In Sweet Valley High #135, Lila's New Flame, Fowler Crest burns, and Lila is accused of arson!  Steven Wakefield interns for the district attorney, and he is certain that Lila is innocent.  Despite clues that point to Lila's guilt, Steven continues to try to prove her innocence and finds himself falling in love with her.

Devon Whitelaw's parents were recently killed in an accident, and Devon is set to inherit a fortune.  He must find a guardian, and Devon's search leads him in the direction of Sweet Valley.

I dearly love the cover art of this book.  I am not a fan of the photo covers, but Jessica's face captures the expression of disgust perfectly.

I greatly enjoyed this book.

In Sweet Valley High #136, Too Hot to Handle, Devon reconnects with his uncle in Las Vegas.  Devon is certain that Uncle Pete will be the guardian he needs, but Devon learns some shocking information about his uncle.

Steven and Lila have really fallen for each other.  Steven finds more evidence that could prove that Lila is the arsonist, but later, he uncovers more information that could lead to the true culprit, someone who is out for revenge against Lila.

What I love about these books is that the idea of a romance between Steven and Lila, while ridiculous, is also strangely alluring.  Additionally, the books are suspenseful since the reader wonders who burned down Lila's home.

This is another very good story.

In Sweet Valley High #137, Fight Fire with Fire, Steven Wakefield is certain that he knows who tried to kill Lila when her house was set on fire.  But he must prove his suspicions.

Devon Whitelaw arrives in Sweet Valley.  He has finally found his guardian, and he plans to attend Sweet Valley High.  Devon attends a football game, and he spots a beautiful blond-haired girl.  Moments later, Devon spots the same girl in a cheerleader outfit and is puzzled how she changed so quickly.  Devon doesn't know her name, but he knows that she is his destiny.

All three books in this trilogy are quite good.

In Sweet Valley High Super Romance, Mystery Date, Olivia Davidson feels like a misfit.  She only feels normal in a chat room, where she feels like she can be herself.  She falls in love with a boy who visits the chat room.  The two arrives to meet, and Olivia is horrified to learn that the boy is Ken Matthews.  Does the couple have a chance?

I did not like this book.  It bored me, and I did not read much of it.  I probably would have liked the book better if I had read it when young.

The next paragraph contains a major plot spoiler about the final two books in the series.  Stop reading now if you don't want to know.

I feel like the main purpose of this book was to set us up to be devastated by Olivia's death in the earthquake that strikes Sweet Valley.  In my case, it didn't work, even though I do like Olivia.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Sweet Valley High #132 Once Upon a Time, #133 To Catch a Thief, #134 Happily Ever After, and "R" Is for Revenge

In Sweet Valley High #132, Once Upon a Time, Liz and Jess take jobs as nannies for a royal family in France.  On the trip to France, Jessica falls in love with a handsome young man.

Todd and Liz fight just before the twins depart on their flight, so Liz is miserable.  The children don't like Liz, so she goes off by herself, leaving Jessica with the children.  Liz falls in love with Prince Laurent on first sight.

I cannot stand all the conflict between Todd and Liz.  Just break up already.  Oh, wait.  They break up in every book, but then they get right back together!  Ugh.

This book bored me.



In Sweet Valley High #133, To Catch a Thief, Elizabeth is madly in love with Prince Laurent, but she learns that he is engaged to a dreadful shrew, Antonia.  Prince Laurent wants to break off his engagement, but if he does, Antonia's mother will seek revenge.

Jessica's love interest turns out to be a thief.  Jessica is devastated.

This book has no suspense.  The back cover reveals the entire plot of the book.  If I had not known that information, I would have found the book to be at least somewhat interesting.  The scene pictured on the front cover, which shows the girls in a dungeon, is the final scene in the book.  When a publisher spoils the entire plot on the back cover and pictures the ending on the front cover, you know there is a serious problem.

This book also bored me.

In Sweet Valley High #134, Happily Ever After, Prince Laurent breaks off his engagement so that he can be with Liz.  But wait...

If I had read this book when it was first published, I might have felt some suspense.  Since I knew that the series continues through to #143 and has several special editions, I knew that Liz could not possibly marry Prince Laurent, despite the title and cover photo.  For that reason, this book also bored me.

Why do the twins almost always go to France when they go on international trips?  Aren't there other places that might be interesting?  I suppose that France was chosen since Francine Pascal lives in France.

In Sweet Valley High, "R" for Revenge, the officials at Sweet Valley High have decided that all school activities must have a faculty adviser.  The cheerleaders get the librarian, Nancy Swanson, to agree to be their adviser.  All goes well until the cheerleaders begin to disappear, one by one.

I was shocked that the Sweet Valley High officials finally decided that school activities need a faculty adviser.  Wow.  It only took them until nearly the end of the series to figure this out.  The hazing and assorted criminal activity could have been stopped long ago if only faculty members had been present at school activities.

Todd and Liz aren't speaking because Todd doesn't like how much time Liz is spending on the cheerleader story.  Liz finally calls to make up, and Todd won't listen.  He hangs up on her.  What a baby.  I hate both of them.

I enjoyed this book.