Thursday, December 5, 2019

Hardy Boys Adventures #18 The Disappearance and #19 Dungeons and Detectives

In Hardy Boys Adventures #18, The Disappearance, Frank and Joe attend a comic book convention with Jones and her friend, Harper.  After the convention, the young people enjoy pizza in Harper's apartment.  After the Hardys and Jones leave, Jones realizes that she has Harper's phone instead of her own.  When the boys return to Harper's apartment, they find it ransacked and Harper missing.

I kept confusing the characters as I read this story.  The characters might have been introduced too quickly, which often causes confusion.  Additionally, online chat names are given, which is more information than I needed.

I forgot to write a review of this book early this year, so I cannot remember exactly what I thought of it.  I do recall that I enjoyed it but not as much as other Hardy Boys Adventures books.

In Hardy Boys Adventures #19, Dungeons and Detectives, Sir Robert's Comic Kingdom has become a popular hangout for RPG fans, who especially love playing Sabers and Serpents, which is similar to Dungeons and Dragons.  Sir Robert plans to have a massive Halloween party to unveil the contents of a rare comic book that he owns, but the comic book is stolen!  The boys must find the culprit and locate the comic book.

On page 105, Charm from the Story Thieves series is mentioned.  It's rather odd for an actual name to be mentioned from another series, since names are usually changed or just not mentioned.  In this case, mentioning the name promoted another Simon and Schuster series, so of course they would be okay with it.

Nancy Drew is mentioned on pages 106 and 107.  This is a cross-promotion tied to A Nancy Drew Christmas.

A "missing map" is mentioned several times.

The book is a bit slow for the first 40 to 45 pages, then it gets pretty interesting once the boys arrive at the old castle.  After that point, I feel that the book continues to drag at times.  I was partially not interested and wished that the plot would speed up.  My problem might have been that the focus of this story is on activities that are not of interest to me, like role-playing games. 

Too much of the last part of the story is taken up with a lengthy explanatory session about what happened with the comic book.  The lengthy explanatory session is much like the lengthy sessions from the later titles of the original Grosset and Dunlap Hardy Boys series.  The rest of the story also contains great detail, and quite frankly, it was too much for me.

Interestingly, a review on Amazon highly praises the book for being like the old Hardy Boys books.  That was exactly my problem.  I actually do not particularly care for a large number of the original 58 Hardy Boys books.  After reading that review, I decided that this book is much like those which is part of what turned me off.

If you are a big fan of the original Hardy Boys books and have never read a Hardy Boys Adventures book, then this is probably the one to try.  I found it partially boring, but the people who have reviewed it on Amazon really enjoyed it.  My opinion of Hardy Boys books tends to be the opposite of many Hardy Boys fans, so there you go.  I am not in the target audience, which makes it not surprising that my opinion differs.

While I was not thrilled with this book, I suspect that is a very good book for Hardy Boys fans.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Nancy Drew Diaries #18 The Stolen Show

In Nancy Drew Diaries #18, The Stolen Show, Carson Drew's old friend, Louise Alain, has broken her ankle.  She requests that Nancy come to Quebec City to take her place in the dog show.  Just before the competition, a dog is drugged, presumably so that gum could be stuck in its coat.  Nancy must find the saboteur before any other dogs are targeted.

Like Nancy Drew Diaries #17 Famous Mistakes, this story appears to be about sabotage but isn't.  The publisher's summary and most of the story lead the reader to believe that the story is about sabotage.  The same approach was taken with Famous Mistakes.  It's like the people at Simon and Schuster are turning the sabotage into a running gag.

The two words "chuckled" and "smirked" are used a bit much in this story.  Use of "chuckled" doesn't mean anything, but I thought of Harriet Adams each time since I recently read through her Dana Girls books.  Harriet used "chuckled" excessively in her writing.

Use of "smirked" in these stories annoys me.  "Smirk" means "to smile in an irritatingly smug, conceited, or silly way."  I noted use of "smirked" on pages 3, 6, 29, and 67.  Nancy is guilty of three of the smirks, and George commits one of them.  In my opinion, Nancy smirking is out of character.  It bothers me.

From page 67:
I smirked.  "You just don't like that she calls you Chuck."  
I paused when I read that sentence and considered that "I smiled" or "I laughed" would have sounded so much more like Nancy Drew and would have retained the same overall meaning.  I cannot stand the use of "smirk" in these books.

Up until page 92, this book bears some similarity to The Haunting on Heliotrope Lane.  Really, it does, and that's very bad.

Nancy is portrayed in a negative fashion, like she was in Heliotrope Lane, on at least 13 pages.

Page 5:  Nancy is nervous.  She admits that she doesn't like being "in front of huge crowds of people."

Page 34:  Nancy feels "like a clumsy oaf."

Page 52:  Nancy panics and tries "to breathe through the nausea rising in [her] throat."  Admittedly, Nancy does have good reason to feel this way at this moment, but the original Nancy Drew would have been concerned and then would have taken action.  She would have solved the problem and single-handedly kicked someone's butt.  She would not have been nauseated.

Page 59:  Nancy's heart leaps into her throat.

Page 61:  Nancy is called "la petite inspecteur" which makes her cringe.

Page 67:  Nancy is called "little girl detective."

Page 79:  Nancy experiences "self-doubt."

Page 85:  Nancy admits that she is nervous.

Page 87:  Nancy says that she is "clumsy" and a "nervous wreck."

Page 89:  Nancy's stomach does a "few uncomfortable somersaults."  Also, Nancy hates being in front of an audience.

Page 90:  Nancy wills her "stomach to stop its gymnastics."

Page 91:  Nancy's heart hammers in her ears.

Page 92:  Nancy breathes "a sigh of relief."

Some of these examples of Nancy's fear are extremely like the examples from Heliotrope Lane.  The same person might have written both books.  Could we please keep this person away from Nancy Drew?  Surely some other writer could be found.

The main reason I am so offended by Nancy being portrayed as scared is that the Hardy Boys and Tom Swift are not portrayed in this fashion.  They do experience nervousness, but the way the emotion is conveyed to the reader is very different.  The way nervousness is conveyed in the Nancy Drew Diaries series comes across as an attempt to take Nancy down a notch.  The approach is different in the other two series.  I feel like Nancy is being treated differently for some reason.  It's very strange.

George also once again likes to eat and shows up in Nancy's room with a large amount of food.  I don't get it.

On page 94, the girls give the excuse that they are going to the bathroom to cover their exit from the show.  They don't go to the bathroom, but at least this book did get in the obligatory bathroom mention that is a staple of this series.  I would have been disappointed if it hadn't.

The first 50 pages of this book are quite boring.  I had to fight the urge to begin skimming during that part of the story due to my extreme boredom.  There is no reason why the reader should have had to endure so much information about how dog shows work.  Furthermore, the conversations are boring.  Absolutely nothing interesting happens during the first 50 pages.  This part of the story should have lasted no more than around 20 pages, and even that might have been too much.

The culprit is revealed during the first chapter—not so that the average child would know.  Perhaps some adult readers new to the Nancy Drew Diaries series might miss spotting the culprit.  On the other hand, anyone who has read through all the Nancy Drew Diaries books will spot the culprit immediately during the moment of the first encounter.  The Nancy Drew Diaries books do not have diverse plots.  Simon and Schuster must have one plot outline with empty spots where different names and places can be filled in, just like Mad Libs.  One story outline is copied over and over.

While the book becomes interesting beginning on page 51, it is still below average and weak for the Nancy Drew Diaries series.  On page 95, Nancy declares that she is done being "obedient" and that she will "bite back."  From that point on, Nancy is on fire.  Notice that my list of negative statements about Nancy Drew occur no later than page 92 in the book.  It's like this book was written by two different people.  Pages 1 through 50 are boring with negative statements about Nancy.  Pages 51 through 94 are better but still have negative statements about Nancy.  Page 95 through to the end of the book have no negative statements.  The last part of the book is very good.

It's quite odd.  Nancy is in no danger during the first 92 pages of the book, yet she is nervous quite often.  She is nervous about being a dog handler.  While I can understand the average person being nervous, this is Nancy Drew (said with a lilt, of course).  Nancy Drew wouldn't be nervous about being a dog handler.

Nancy seems to have a split personality in this book.  She's nervous about a dog show, yet from page 95 through to the end of the story, Nancy does a bunch of dangerous stuff that does not make her nervous at all.  That makes no sense!

The book was written overall in the style of the The Haunting on Heliotrope Lane up through page 94, and then the book was written more like a Hardy Boys Adventures book for the rest of the story.

I don't know how good I can even say that this book is overall.  I probably would go with overall good, but I strongly dislike a good part of the book.

This book is a disappointment, since the the previous two books are quite good and this one falls down again.  The Nancy Drew Diaries books continue to be uneven in quality.  Some books are good, and other books are bad.

Several fans state that the Nancy Drew Diaries series is an improvement over the Nancy Drew Girl Detective series.  I concede that some Nancy Drew Diaries books are an improvement over some Nancy Drew Girl Detective books.  I disagree with the blanket statement that the Diaries series is more true to the character.  The way that Nancy Drew is picked at in the Diaries series comes across as a bunch of cheap shots taken for no reason.

I have questioned Simon and Schuster's intent and practices for some years.  I have even wondered whether they were trying to destroy Nancy Drew by giving the inferior stories to the Nancy Drew Diaries series and using bad authors.  While unlikely that Simon and Schuster would try to destroy a franchise that it owns, the company is at the very least guilty of neglect.

I feel that Simon and Schuster (S&S) is taking Nancy Drew for granted just like Grosset and Dunlap did during the 1970s.  Grosset and Dunlap's neglect caused the Stratemeyer Syndicate to sell its series to S&S.  The Nancy Drew books created by S&S were, in my opinion, an improvement over the final Nancy Drew books produced by the Stratemeyer Syndicate.

Nancy Drew is once again suffering at the hands of a company taking the franchise for granted.  This time, however, the franchise will not be sold to another company.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Promotional Items from the 2007 Nancy Drew Movie with Emma Roberts

I have made some nice recent purchases of promotional items and memorabilia associated with the Nancy Drew 2019 movie, Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase, and the 2019 Nancy Drew television show from The CW.  I will write up a post on those items once all of them have arrived.  Meanwhile, my recent purchases made me think of the 2007 movie with Emma Roberts.

In 2007, I was able to purchase a number of promotional items associated with the Emma Roberts movie.  I keep all of them in the bag seen in the next photo.


The bag was available for purchase at Barnes and Noble along with the items seen in the next photo.  Obviously, I purchased duplicates.


This next photo shows a small clutch, the press kit, the Emma Roberts cover of Nancy Drew's Guide to Life, and a metal tin that contains the Emma Roberts cover of Nancy Drew's Guide to Life.  Notice that the book in the tin has a magnifying glass attached, while the other one does not.


This last photo shows a Nancy Drew activity book, a sticker designed to be put on an iPod, a bookmark, three compacts, three pens/markers, a little spiral notebook, and a clue ball.


Sadly, the clue ball is leaking.  Fortunately, the plastic bag caught the fluid, and I now have the clue ball enclosed in a Ziploc bag.

I was disappointed that the clue ball is no longer functional.  I wanted to ask it who killed Lucy Sable.  What a shame.

There were also some other items associated with the Emma Roberts movie that I have not shown here.  I limited this post to what I keep in the bag, which is primarily the promotional items.

I will show off my swag for the 2019 productions once I have it all in hand.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Reading, Reviews, Medication, and Books Listed on eBay

This is a collection of several topics thrown together.

My reading pace continues to crawl.  Since I won't reach 200 books by the end of the year, I have no reason to try to reach any particular goal.  I recently set myself the task of choosing to read (or trying to read) books that I purchased one or more years ago that I have not managed to read.  It isn't going well.  The problem is that I don't want to read these books right now, but I am forcing myself to do so.  I have abandoned at least three of them halfway through.

I read seven books in October.  So far in November, I have read six books.  I might make it to seven... if I don't abandon the book that I am currently reading.

Since my reading pace has slowed down by a lot, I will begin spacing my reviews further apart.  That way I won't run out of reviews.  Look for reviews every three or four days.
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I decided to follow up on what I mentioned about my autoimmune condition in my post about my reading pace slowdown.  I went through a difficult couple of months because Acella changed its NP Thyroid pills.  So much for the company's claim that the medication did not change at all... I now have proof that it did aside from the obvious change in appearance.

I had an appointment on Monday.  The NP Thyroid pill contains two thyroid hormones, T3 and T4.  My T3 level dropped somewhat, and my T4 level dropped significantly.  My levels are back to where they were back in the spring before my medication increase of earlier this year.  Whatever Acella did to the pill reduced the pill's efficacy by 50%.  I can now see why I've struggled for two months.  My levels were dropping precipitously during that time.

I also take a second thyroid medication, Tirosint, that gives me extra T4.  My Tirosint has been doubled to make up for the reduction in efficacy of the NP Thyroid.  This means that I have now begun yet another difficult medication adjustment period which will last for 2 to 2 1/2 months.  This is the third medication adjustment I have had this year.

I am four days in and feel better than I did on Monday; however, I can tell that how I feel has just started to deteriorate.  I always feel better for most of the first week, then the drop begins.  I can feel the very beginning of the drop coming on.

This happens because the hypothalamus detects the sudden increase in thyroid hormone in the body due to the medication increase.  The hypothalamus then secretes a hormone that tells the pituitary gland to shut down the thyroid, which then makes the patient feel sick for two to five weeks or possibly even longer.  The lengthy adjustment period is caused by the long half-life of T4.  It takes weeks for the hormone to stabilize, which is why many thyroid patients feel bad for a lengthy period of time after any medication change.

I will bottom out at around four to five weeks after the medication increase, which will fortunately be during my winter break.  The third week is also usually a bit difficult, so semester tests will be a chore, but I will manage.  I always do.

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I have reset many of my eBay listings to bulk lots in order to move some books.  Check out the Bulk Lots category in my store.

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

I want the bulk lots to disappear fast, so I price them so that the buyer gets a deal.  Most of my bulk lots will go to sellers who are acquiring inventory.  The bulk lots are designed to be desirable, so the price per book is lower than when the books were listed individually.

I also often seed the bulk lots with at least one desirable book in order to give the prospective buyer a better value proposition.  Sometimes prospective buyers contact me wanting me to sell them that one book at what it would cost prorated according to the total cost of the bulk lot.  It doesn't work that way.  If I were to sell that one book individually, the price would be higher.

Any listings that contained books moved to bulk lots were converted to other books.  This means that I have many new listings that do not show as new listings in my store or in eBay's search.

Check out these store categories to find them.

Chalet School
Cherry Ames
Hardy Boys: Other Books
Nancy Drew: Library Editions
Rick Brant

I will most likely list an additional 10 to 30 more books between now and Saturday.

I also have books for sale on Etsy.

Jennifer's Series Books on Etsy

Monday, November 25, 2019

The Transformation of Nancy Drew into CW Nancy Drew

The Stratemeyer Syndicate switched from Grosset and Dunlap to Simon and Schuster for publication of new Nancy Drew books beginning in 1979.  The Stratemeyer Syndicate still fully controlled the series at that time.

The Stratemeyer Syndicate was sold to Simon and Schuster in 1984.  This is where Nancy Drew began to evolve into a character very different from what she was under the Stratemeyer Syndicate.  1984 was 35 years ago.  It has been so many years since the evolution began that it is astonishing how shocked people are about Nancy Drew's portrayal in CW Nancy Drew.

People who were exposed only to the original Grosset and Dunlap books must be, for the most part, near 50 years of age or older.  I was exposed to some of the Wanderer books when young, and I am 47.  I expected for fans younger than me to be more aware of how Nancy Drew has changed since the Grosset and Dunlap books, but it seems that many of them were just as shocked about the series.

The people who say that the new show is nothing like the books have not followed the evolution of Nancy Drew since 1984.  They cannot have followed it, or they would not be so surprised by how Nancy Drew is depicted in the show.  The character has been changing for 35 years and is now but a tiny piece of a corporate conglomerate.

Nancy Drew is owned by Simon and Schuster, but Simon and Schuster is owned by CBS Corporation.  CBS Corporation and Warner Brothers own The CW.  This means that, for all practical purposes, the current rights holder to Nancy Drew is responsible for the current television series on The CW.  Wrap your mind around what that means.  CBS Corporation can do anything it wants with Nancy Drew.  And so here we are.

Even though CW Nancy Drew uses the names of the classic Grosset and Dunlap books as Easter eggs sprinkled generously through each episode, the show is not at all based on the Grosset and Dunlap books.  The show is only based on versions of Nancy Drew that have been created since 1984.

Let's go over how Nancy Drew has evolved since 1984.  The versions pertinent to this discussion will be the only ones mentioned.  All media are considered.  Some fans feel that only the original books count, but that is not true.  The modern books are just as important, and so are all forms of media.  The importance of the Nancy Drew games fandom cannot be overstated.  Those fans are Nancy Drew fans, whether they have read the books or not.  Fans of other media, such as the comic books, movies, and television series, are also Nancy Drew fans.

In particular, note when Nancy has committed breaking and entering and when she has been arrested.  Many fans, particularly of the Grosset and Dunlap editions, have the mistaken belief that Nancy has never broken the law or been arrested in any of the books.

Simon and Schuster 1984 - present

The Nancy Drew Digest series ran from 1979 to 2003.  Simon and Schuster controlled the content of the series beginning in 1984.  Burt and Dave were dropped from the series.  It was a bit silly for Nancy Drew to have five friends (Bess, George, Ned, Burt, and Dave) who could travel around the world with her to solve mysteries.  By getting rid of the extra baggage, Bess and George could bring in mysteries involving various temporary boyfriends.  Ned sticks around.

Nancy does break into offices, hotel rooms, and other places in this series.  She uses either a lock pick or a credit card to open doors.  In one book, Nancy steals a master key to open a hotel room.

Simon and Schuster launched the Nancy Drew Files series in 1986.  This series ran until 1997.  In the Files, Nancy Drew investigates murder, which she never does in the original series.  Nancy and Ned do not get along, and Ned whines about Nancy's mysteries.  Nancy is arrested several times, and she quite often picks locks to break into various places.

The Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys Super Mystery series ran from 1988 to 1998.  Nancy also picks locks and commits breaking and entering.  Both Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys often break the law in this series.

The Nancy Drew On Campus series ran from 1995 to 1998.  This series was the first version to feature a gay character, and having a gay character in Nancy Drew adaptions becomes common by 2015.  George Fayne has sex and faces pregnancy fears.  The series deals with issues concerning drugs, date rape, and other modern teen issues.

The Nancy Drew Digest series ended in 2003, and the Nancy Drew Girl Detective series was launched.  Girl Detective ran from 2004 until 2012.  In Girl Detective, Nancy is thoroughly modernized.  She is imperfect, forgetful, and impulsive.  In #20 Getting Burned, Nancy breaks into a business to look for clues and is arrested.

CW Nancy Drew is sourced from all of these modern book series.

1995 Nancy Drew Television Series with Tracy Ryan

This version is based on the Nancy Drew Files series.  Ned is whiny and doesn't like Nancy's fixation on solving mysteries.

Nancy picks a lock to break into an office.  She also picks a lock to break into a house and then disables the alarm.  These are additional examples of breaking and entering.

Her Interactive 1997-present 

Nancy maintains her fearless personality quite well in the Nancy Drew games.  Furthermore, since the player is Nancy Drew, no one complains that she doesn't look right.  Nancy has quite a habit of breaking into buildings and taking things that don't belong to her.  The games wouldn't be much fun if Nancy were to avoid burglary and theft.  Nancy's behavior in the second episode of CW Nancy Drew is strongly inspired by her behavior in the Nancy Drew games.

A bulletin board featured in CW Nancy Drew in the police station is designed exactly like the bulletin boards seen in the Nancy Drew games.  One show features a scene in a pantry where there is a wine rack in front of a hidden safe.  The wine bottles are placed in the wine rack in a fashion that strongly resembles similar displays from the Nancy Drew games.

CW Nancy Drew has gone full-on supernatural, which is a distinct departure from the books.  However, the Her Interactive games have often had supernatural content.  In one game, Nancy goes around capturing ghosts.  The spirit seen in CW Nancy Drew looks very similar to the spirit seen in one of the Nancy Drew games.

A gay primary character is featured in Her Interactive's 2015 game, Sea of Darkness.

CW Nancy Drew is without doubt strongly based on the Nancy Drew games.  And interestingly, Her Interactive recently redesigned its Nancy Drew silhouette to match the silhouette seen in the title credits of CW Nancy Drew.

2002 Nancy Drew Pilot with Maggie Lawson

I remember the fan uproar over this version.  The movie opens with Nancy driving a car with her hands not on the wheel.  She also dodges in and out of traffic in a reckless fashion.  Nancy breaks into the athletic director's office and is arrested.

Nancy's behavior is much like the Nancy Drew of Nancy Drew Girl Detective, yet this movie came first.  Perhaps this movie inspired Nancy's characterization in the Girl Detective series.  In any case, the Nancy of this movie seems just like Nancy Drew Girl Detective.

Dynamite Comic Books 2017-2018

The Dynamite comic books relocate Nancy Drew to Bayport, where the Hardy Boys live.  The original draft of the pilot script for CW Nancy Drew also places Nancy Drew in Bayport.  By the time the show was filmed, the producers changed the location to Horseshoe Bay in Maine.  They likely did not wish to use River Heights because that name could be confused with Riverdale.

The Dynamite comic books feature George as Asian and lesbian.  George is Asian in CW Nancy Drew.  This development is logical, since George easily passes as an Asian girl, Chi Che Soong, in the 1961 book, The Mystery of the Fire Dragon.  Why not make George be Asian?

George is not lesbian in the television show, but another primary character is.

Since CW Nancy Drew uses several aspects of the comic books, it is definitely sourced from them.

Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase 2019

Nancy also breaks and enters in this movie and is arrested for it.

Some fans don't like Nancy's portrayal in this movie, but she's not that different than Nancy Drew Girl Detective.  She's just younger.

George is African American in the 2019 movie.
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George may no longer be Caucasian in future filmed versions.  Filmed versions will likely feature gay characters from this point on.

Simon and Schuster has so far avoided having any of the primary characters be gay or racially diverse in the Nancy Drew book series.  At some point in the future, that could change.

As the years pass and different people become involved with a franchise, the franchise takes on additional qualities that it never had before.  Some qualities may not stay with the franchise, but others will.

Are you exactly the same person you were earlier in life with no changes?  Nobody remains exactly the same.  Like all of us, Nancy Drew has changed over her lifespan, which in a few months will reach 90 years.  Nancy Drew will continue to change, regardless of what we think.  While new versions may not be based on the original 56 Nancy Drew books, those books will always be there for us.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

What I Think of CW Nancy Drew

In "Figuring Out My Nancy Drew," I wrote about how I respond to filmed versions of Nancy Drew.
The inherent problem with filmed versions of books is that a filmed version cannot replicate what we see in our minds when we read the books.  Filmed versions will always fall short of expectation for that reason.

I am rather open-minded about various filmed versions of Nancy Drew, since I know that they cannot replicate my reading experience.  I do not like some versions very much or do not care about them, but they do not upset me.  I also keep quiet and don't tell other people when I don't particularly care for a certain version.  I don't want to spoil someone's joy or put negativity out there.  It just doesn't matter to me.
Books and filmed media are not at all the same, so there's no point in comparing one to the other.

After exploring my feelings about the different versions of Nancy Drew, I drew the following conclusion.
Regarding the different filmed versions of Nancy Drew, most of them are not my Nancy Drew.  In particular, Bonita Granville is not my Nancy Drew.  She's too silly.  The filmed versions that I like the very best are the 1995 television series starring Tracy Ryan and the 2002 television movie starring Maggie Lawson.  I tend to prefer the modern filmed versions over the vintage filmed versions.

Okay, so I figured it out.  I am a modern Nancy Drew girl.  I prefer the modern filmed versions, and I am quite fond of most of Simon and Schuster's Nancy Drew output from the 1980s to the present day, with the exception of the Nancy Drew Files and Nancy Drew Diaries series.  My Nancy Drew is a more modern version, which is why I am open-minded about new versions.  I just don't see a problem with Nancy Drew changing to fit modern society.
It was a foregone conclusion that I would like CW Nancy Drew.  There was never a question.  Now, let's go over details.

The opening sex scene of the first episode is disgusting.  I made two observations about the scene which skeeved me out tremendously.  One observation will remain unstated.  The other is that Nancy leaves Nick, walks immediately into the diner, and then begins serving tables.  She doesn't wash her hands.  Eww.

So, I hate that scene as much as anyone else, but I can overlook it.  The first episode is the pilot, and pilots are usually off.

Nancy did get some action a second time in the pilot episode and then again in the next episode.  That may be it so far.  It's not like I'm keeping track of Nancy's conquests.  The sex has not been the focus; rather, the show has gone full-on supernatural.

At first, some people thought that there would be a logical explanation for the spirits.  Um, no.  Vapors going into and coming out of objects made it apparent to me that the spirits would be real.  At this point, nobody is still saying that there might be a logical explanation.  The spirits are real, real, and real.

We are seven shows in, and George has been possessed.  Two séances have been conducted, the second one with unmistakable spirit contact.  A toy is currently possessed.  Nancy is being haunted by the ghost of Lucy Sable.  Black shadow figures are after Nancy and her friends.

It turns out that the sex at the beginning of the series was less of a problem than the supernatural aspect.  Some fans bailed at the beginning because of the sex.  Others are now losing interest because of the supernatural.

As for me, I was disconcerted by the spirit vapors and glimpses of spirits during the first few episodes.  It was just so weird for Nancy Drew.  By the end of the third episode, I accepted it.  Fine, Nancy Drew sees and talks to spirits.  Whatever.  It's cool.

I read young adult dystopian novels with really crazy stuff that makes no sense.  If I can suspend disbelief for those books, then I can watch a Nancy Drew show with spirits in it.  No problem.

This show with spirits everywhere is no different for me than any other filmed version of Nancy Drew.  No filmed version replicates what I experience when reading, so I have always seen filmed versions as alternate versions.  Supernatural Nancy Drew is no less real than Emma Robert's goody-goody Nancy Drew or Bonita Granville's silly Nancy Drew.  I have never expected any filmed version to be much like the books, so this one is no less valid than any of the others.

I actually like CW Nancy Drew quite a lot.  The whole supernatural thing is a lark and great fun.  Why not?

The show is like a soap opera.  The story continues from one episode to the next, and each episode features a different mixture of characters, just like in a soap opera.  The story moves slowly for that reason, but the journey is a lot of fun.

I have not heard a single negative comment about Kennedy McMann as Nancy Drew.  Even people who are put off by the sex or the supernatural aspect of the show seem to like Kennedy.  She is outstanding.  Based on her appearance, personality, and delivery of lines, Kennedy is the best Nancy Drew of all time.  She nails it in every way.  I am in awe of her.  I predict that Kennedy McMann will have a very successful career.

Carson Drew is problematic.  I think of him as a weasel.  I didn't dislike him at first like many people did, but I currently do not like him.  I expect my opinion will change for the better once he stops being so shady.  He's hiding something from Nancy, so he comes across as a... weasel.

George is awesome.  She gets all the best one-liners.  Nancy tries to help George carry an ice chest, and George snaps, "Get your hands off my chest!"

George's mother is hilarious.  She can communicate with spirits, and she gets drunk a lot.

I like Bess.  While the Bess from this series has a different background than Bess of the books, this Bess does have a similar personality.

I also like Ace.  I hope he is okay.  The ending of episode #7 has left us wondering about Ace's fate.

I go back and forth on Nancy's boyfriend, Nick.  I liked him at first and not as much currently.  Most likely, my opinion will keep fluctuating.

Ryan Hudson is supposed to be the bad guy.  I didn't like him at first, but I currently do.  The information revealed in episode #6 changed my opinion.

Chief McGinnis is beginning to grow on me.

I am neutral on Laura Tandy and the other supporting characters.

I typically do not watch television.  I used to be devoted to Survivor, but due to my autoimmunity and often feeling bad after a day's work, I lost patience for watching it around five to eight years ago.  Big Brother is the one show that I have continued to watch over the years.  However, I barely watched it this last summer due to my intense dislike of most of the cast, especially Jack and Jackson/Michie.  Ugh.

I watch very little television.

But I am watching this show.  I am making an occasion of it.  I sit in front of the television for the entire hour, doing nothing else.  That's astonishing that I'm actually sitting down and paying attention.

I really like this show.

Friday, November 22, 2019

The Blue Shadow Mystery by Josephine Chase

In The Blue Shadow Mystery, Ann Porter arrives in Philadelphia six months after her father’s death.  Ann hopes to get help from her uncle.  Ann is shocked to learn that her uncle has passed away, leaving his entire estate to his housekeeper.

Ann left her possessions at the Y.W.C.A. while on her errand.  The Y.W.C.A. burns, leaving Ann with nothing!  A kind woman directs Ann to a boarding house, where Ann gets a room. A blue shadow is seen in an upstairs window at night, and Ann suspects that something sinister is at play.

Ann is 18 years old.

This book starts off very good and is quite engaging during the early chapters.  The story weakens once Ann arrives at the boarding house.  The book has too many characters which are introduced too quickly.  This almost always loses me.  I plunged ahead, even though I had already forgotten who some of them are.  As the story progresses further, the tone changes, and I lost interest.  I did not read the ending of the story.  I didn’t care by that point.

This book disappointed me.  It starts off so promising and then falls apart.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The Golden Imp by Josephine Chase

In The Golden Imp, Diane Prothero has been on her own for three years, ever since her high school graduation and the death of her mother.  Diane is devastated to learn of her uncle's sudden death.  She decides to run his inn, the Golden Imp.  Diane is a bit worried about the mortgage payment that will come due soon, but she hopes to have the inn running well enough to make the payment.

Diane learns that her uncle might have left her a treasure, and she finds a cipher that might provide a clue.  It soon becomes apparent that one or more of the people staying at the inn might be trying to find the treasure before Diane can find it.

Diane is three years out of high school, so her age is probably around 20 or so.

Very early in the book, I guessed where the hidden fortune would be found.  It's that obvious.  I won't make any other comment, but I think most all adult readers would immediately guess the location.

Even though the location of the treasure is a given, the story is still quite suspenseful because of the danger.  Someone is trying to kill Diane, and the culprit could be anybody who is staying at the inn.  Through the course of the story, the reader learns about one murder.  Two other people and a dog also die premature deaths.  A man is shot, but he doesn't die.

Josephine Chase died two years before this book was published.  Since this book is a bit gritty and quite unlike books written by Josephine Chase, I feel confident that she did not write this book.

This is an excellent book.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Behind the Purple Mask by Josephine Chase

As I mentioned previously, Behind the Purple Mask is a very difficult book to acquire.  This is unfortunate, because it is possibly the best book in the set.

This book was probably not written by Josephine Chase since she died a year before it was published.

In Behind the Purple Mask, Gay Larimore has been hired as elderly Mrs. Simpson’s companion.  Mrs. Simpson is demanding and unpleasant, but Gay soon learns that Mrs. Simpson is cranky because of her selfish son and daughter-in-law.

A prowler who wears a purple mask roams the house at night, and attempts are made on Mrs. Simpson’s life.  Gay tracks down several leads that she hopes will lead her to the identity of the man in the purple mask.

Gay has recently graduated from college, so she is probably in her early twenties.

The author used misdirection to cast suspicion on several characters.  I always enjoy mysteries the best when the solution is not blindingly obvious.  Overall, the mystery works out just as I anticipated, but a few plot points were at least somewhat unexpected.

This is an excellent book.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

The Green Jade Necklace by Josephine Chase

In The Green Jade Necklace, Leslie Page has been recently orphaned.  She must earn her living, and she finally gets work at a newspaper.  Leslie's boss requests that she go undercover at a friend's party so that she can find out about the valuable green jade necklace whose previous owners have been murdered.  Leslie is supposed to seek information that will hopefully prevent the current owner from being murdered.  Instead, Leslie uncovers a plot to steal the valuable necklace, and she must try to prevent the theft.

Leslie is 16 years old.

I commented in my previous post that I do believe that Josephine Chase did actually write this book, published in 1931.  She died in 1931.  The word "toppo" appears on page 14.  I recall this odd word being used in the Marjorie Dean series. 

I purchased this book around 10 to 15 years ago after hearing that Josephine Chase's Detective Stories for Girls are well worth reading.  I did not get around to reading it until 2017.  I enjoyed it and knew that I needed to find the other four books.  I regretted that I waited so long to read it, since building the set was quite difficult and I must have missed many buying opportunities over those many years.

From page 22:
As a child [Leslie] had turned impatiently aside from the pleasant conventional books for girls, to revel instead in the stir and thrill of adventure stories.
I agree with that.  Conventional books for girls from the early part of the 20th century can be a bit dull at times.  Ironically, Josephine Chase's books for girls, such as the Grace Harlowe books, fall into that category.

This is a very good book.

Friday, November 15, 2019

My Reading Pace Slowdown or What Has Led Me Astray

This post is mostly off-topic for this blog.  The information shared should fully explain why my reading pace has slowed to a crawl.

In June, I wrote about how my reading pace had slowed.

2019 Mid-Year Reading Update
With everything that has happened in recent months, my interest in publishing reviews continues to be rather low and does appear to be further diminishing.  I can also see by my reading progress to this point in the year that I am reading at a slower pace than in each of the previous five years.

2014:  262 books
2015:  231 books
2016:  355 books
2017:  403 books
2018:  315 books

So far in 2019, I have read 114 books.  If I keep that pace, I will read 228 books by the end of the year.  Yes, that is still a fabulous number of books to read in one year, but it does show that my pace is dropping off.
Right.  Well, I'm not going to have read any 228 books by the end of the year.  I was recently still on pace to read 200 books by the end of the year, but I no longer expect that to happen.  It is possible, but my habits would have to change.

I detailed in the post linked above how stressful last school year was due to a textbook adoption that didn't go well.  I ended the school year very sick and sick into nearly half of my summer break.

I have autoimmune thyroid disease, known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.  The autoimmune aspect causes the trouble.  My body even launches attacks on the medication sometimes.  When that happens, I feel like I have the flu.  By the way, if you search online for information about the condition, the websites say how easy it is to treat. Clearly, the writers don’t have the condition, or they’d know better.

In early August, I finally was near optimal for the first time in five years.  It was great. Unfortunately, Acella Pharmaceuticals changed to a different supplier for one medication I take, NP Thyroid.  While Acella claims that the pills did not change, they actually did.  The pills are a different size and color.  Just know that any change in thyroid medication is the kiss of death for me.  My body goes through a hard adjustment that takes 2 to 2 1/2 months.  This doesn't mean that I feel awful all of the time, but I do have a lot of bad side effects and can feel sick for parts of each day.

Understand that my life is not horrible.  I am actually doing okay and often fine, in spite of what I just mentioned.  However, I often feel bad for part of each day.  I can actually feel fine one moment, awful a minute later which can last for just a few minutes or for 30 minutes up to a few hours, then instantly feel fine again.  On some days, I feel fine all day.  Unfortunately, I usually pay for it by feeling awful the entire next day.

I am nearing the end of my body's current hard adjustment to the change in medication.  I bottomed out right about on Wednesday, October 16, which coincided with the events described in this post.  It’s really unfortunate to be in a position where I must limit stress, and then I have people going off on me because they aren’t getting what they want.  I don’t think much of people who throw fits online in an attempt to bully others.

I also want to point out that my medication dosage has to be changed fairly frequently and that I typically go through at least one hard adjustment per year, sometimes two of them.  If I ever seem off, then you know why.  I cannot always cover the symptoms, even though I try hard to do so.

All of this, of course, slowed my reading pace.  But that wasn't the main cause.

In early 2017, I felt like I needed to explain why I read so many books in 2016, due to comments that expressed a bit too much amazement.
As I updated my reading progress this year, a few people had trouble grasping how I read so many books.  Reading is my favorite activity.  That should be enough explanation, but here's some more.  I read instead of watching movies.  In fact, I believe that I watched not even one movie in 2016, which may be the first time that has ever happened.  Think about how much time you have spent watching movies, and there you go.  There's nothing surprising about watching lots of movies, and there shouldn't be anything surprising about spending that same time reading lots of books.
My obsession has been reading, and I have stayed away from all other obsessions during the last six years.  Of course my reading pace was going to be fast.  Why wouldn't it have been?  I remain astounded that people thought it was so weird.  I can’t imagine what they will think when they read the rest of this post.

This is what happened.  Since around late May, I have been completely, totally obsessed with watching YouTube videos of Queen, Freddie Mercury, Queen + Adam Lambert, Adam Lambert, and anything connected with any and all of them.  I have been sucked into an abyss, and I cannot escape.

Now, here's the backstory.  This has been a latent interest for years.  I have liked Queen since the 1990s.  I watched American Idol in 2009 and liked Adam Lambert back then.  I didn't follow his career because I have no interest in modern music.  Besides, I was too busy reading.

It was earlier this year that I heard that Queen + Adam Lambert would open the Oscars, so I watched.  It still took a couple of months for the reaction to set in, but by late May, the flame had been lit.  I watched dozens of Queen + Adam Lambert videos and concerts.  Actually, I probably watched hundreds of them.  I spent the summer watching video after video and watched some videos over and over again.  I watched at least five Queen documentaries, the biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, and the Queen + Adam Lambert documentary.

I thought that this would die down when school started in August.  I would have less time, right?  No, that didn't stop me, not that I wanted to be stopped... Don't stop me now, I'm having such a good time, I'm having a ball...

Next, Adam Lambert released his Velvet: Side A.  I didn't think I would care, because this is modern music.  I was wrong.  Adam Lambert reeled me in with his "Superpower."

I read only seven books in October.

Last night, I got the great idea of searching YouTube for performances of “Somebody to Love” by Queen and Adam Lambert from 2014.  I watched “Somebody to Love” over and over from different venues.  I didn’t get much reading done last night.

Reading is currently a low priority, although at least I am still reading.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Mark of the Red Diamond by Josephine Chase

As stated in my previous post, the Detective Books for Girls series consists of five books, all attributed to Josephine Chase.

1.  The Mark of the Red Diamond, 1929
2.  The Green Jade Necklace, 1931
3.  Behind the Purple Mask, 1932
4.  The Golden Imp, 1933
5.  The Blue Shadow Mystery, 1935

However, Josephine Chase died in 1931.  Her death makes it unlikely that she wrote the last three titles in the series.  Having read all five books, I am certain that Chase did write the first two books.  The writing style changes somewhat with the third book and even more so with the fourth and fifth books.  Chase probably did not write the third book, and she definitely did not write the fourth and fifth books.

In The Mark of the Red Diamond, Dale Arden's aunt recently passed away, leaving her alone in the world.  Dale inherited a small sum of money, but she must now earn her living.  She takes a job as a social secretary to Mrs. Treverton in Palm Beach, Florida.  While traveling to Florida by train, Dale witnesses a hold-up by a man wearing a mask.  The man has a curious red diamond on his arm.  Later in Florida, that bandit is once again spotted.  Dale begins to suspect Mrs. Treverton's son, Adrien, of being mixed up with the bandit, who remains at large.

Dale is 17 years old.

On page 138, Dale and a detective need to follow the bandit by automobile.  The detective says that he cannot drive, so Dale drives the car for him.  I was surprised that a man cannot drive a car.  Usually in these old series books, the men all can drive, and the women might not be able to drive.  Of course, the female protagonists of series books always can drive.  They have special powers.

In one passage, Dale actually shoots the bandit in the leg.

Parts of this book are quite suspenseful.  This is a very good book.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Judging People Who Sell Books Part 2

This is the second part of a blog post from October 28, 2015.  It was written four years ago.  I believe that I delayed publication of the post for a month or so for some reason, then it slipped my mind. 

Please read "Judging People Who Sell Books" before proceeding.

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When I wrote about sellers being judged, some readers were concerned that they are being judged.  I actually do not believe that the vast majority of the collectors who sell are being judged.  I could be wrong, but I tend to think that just some sellers of series books are the ones who are judged. 

I have noticed that some collectors are rather apologetic when they sell their extras, as though there is something wrong with it.  They comment that they are not trying to be dealers.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with selling your extras.  There is nothing wrong with purchasing large lots of books to get just one or two books.*  Most collectors end up with extras when we end up finding a better copy of a book that we already had.  How else are we to be expected to get rid of those extras?  The books have to be sold.

Some sellers get judged because they have sold so much for so many years.  It can also have to do with a certain attitude they give off.  I can think of a few sellers who are rightfully judged by a small group of collectors, but it has to do with problems that those collectors have had with them.  Some sellers are very difficult buyers.  When those sellers purchase books to resell from other collectors, they make complaints to get partial refunds and also leave low DSRs in eBay feedback to try to hurt other collectors.  However, the few of us who are aware of what is really going on with those particular sellers never mention which sellers in a public forum, so the rest of you have no idea.  In fact, some of the people who should be judged by most collectors somehow do not get judged by the average collector.

The sellers who are judged are the ones who are perceived to be openly purchasing books solely for the purpose of selling them.  The point of my post was that collectors should not be so quick to condemn those particular sellers, that sometimes more is going on than is apparent.  Some collectors assume that other collectors are making this rich profit off of books purchased, when they may only be breaking even or making a narrow profit because they have to sell many books purchased years ago at a loss.

In my case, I am often upgrading books I have had for many years.  I also grow tired of books and decide to sell them.  In these two cases, I almost always have to sell the extras at steep losses.  I have no choice; the books are worth much less than what I paid for them 10 to 15 years ago.

I do use the extra books from large lots to balance that out.  It's the only way I can justify selling my older purchases.  If I can get a large lot for cheap enough, then I can sell the extras at enough of a profit to cancel out the losses from books purchased 10 to 15 years ago.  Since I use this method of reducing my losses, I assume that some other collectors are doing the same.  That's why I don't mind when collectors purchase books from me that they intend to sell in order to make a small profit.  Those collectors, like me, are also selling some books at steep losses.  That's also why I contend that collectors should keep a more open mind about people who sell series books.

Fortunately, I am not one of those collectors who paid $500 for the Judy Bolton book, The Secret of the Sand Castle, back in the early 1990s when it was impossible to find.  Imagine if you were one of those collectors and wanted to sell it now.  You'd be lucky to get even $100 for it and would probably have to take less.  That is the sort of situation that faces many collectors.  Can you blame them for trying to offset their losses?

Another reason that some collectors resent sellers is that they wish never to pay more than around $5.00 for a book, regardless of scarcity.  Since they want their books cheap, they don't like others selling them at high prices, even though other buyers are willing to pay that amount.  Furthermore, some collectors resent other collectors who are willing to pay high prices for books.

I'm not saying that everyone feels this way.  Probably most collectors do not, but since some do, it explains why those collectors have a problem with some sellers.

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*Note added November 10, 2019:  There is also nothing wrong with purchasing books solely for the purpose of reselling them.  If I am in a local store and see a book priced low that is worth a good bit more, then I will purchase it.  I recall that around five or so years ago, someone in one of the Facebook groups said that series collectors should never purchase books in a local store unless the books are needed for their collection.

That practice would only work if all series book collectors avoided purchasing books that are extras.  It's never going to happen.  If I don't purchase the book to resell, then most likely another local collector will purchase the book to resell.  Why should I pass on buying the book when it can offset some of the losses from selling the books I purchased many years ago?  Not only that, but I enjoy purchasing books to offer to other collectors online.  Sometimes I might purchase a book and offer it at just a slightly higher price online.  I'm not making much, but I am helping to get the book into someone's collection.  There is nothing wrong with that.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Detective Stories for Girls by Josephine Chase

In 2017, I became interested in the Detective Stories for Girls series by Josephine Chase.  The books were published by the Penn Publishing Company.

1.  The Mark of the Red Diamond, 1929
2.  The Green Jade Necklace, 1931
3.  Behind the Purple Mask, 1932
4.  The Golden Imp, 1933
5.  The Blue Shadow Mystery, 1935

I wrote about these books on my Facebook page on June 29, 2017.


I had owned The Green Jade Necklace for many years and had finally followed up on reading it during the summer of 2017.  I regretted that I had not tried it years before, since these books are extremely scarce and hard to find.  I had to have missed many purchasing opportunities.  I immediately set out to purchase the other four books, discovering quickly that completing the task was close to impossible.

I was able to acquire three of the four remaining titles in 2017.  I could not locate a copy of Behind the Purple Mask.  In the intervening time, I ran searches online quite often hoping that a copy, any copy, of Purple Mask would come up for sale, to no avail.

Several times I almost read the other three books in the set, but I held off hoping that Purple Mask would surface.  The books feature different characters, so it might seem silly that I did not go ahead and read the books I had.  I knew that if I were to read the other three and then later acquire Purple Mask, I would very likely never read Purple Mask.  I told myself that I would keep waiting.

I sometimes feel that certain actions in life can bring about other events.  I don't think that we can actually make things happen, aside from the obvious cause and effect, such as applying for a job can result in getting that job.  However, I like to think that certain decisions can somehow cause other things to come in line, in sort of a vague happenstance.

In August, I decided to try to get around to continuing to read the Grace Harlowe series, which I broke off reading in 2011.  I couldn't quite manage to start Grace Harlowe, so I decided to read Marjorie Dean.

Josephine Chase wrote the Grace Harlowe High School Girl and Grace Harlowe College Girl sets under the pseudonym of Jessie Graham Flower, A.M.  Chase also wrote the entire Marjorie Dean series under the pseudonym of Pauline Lester.

I must say that I thought of Josephine Chase's Detective Stories for Girls as I read through the Marjorie Dean books.  Perhaps my reading a set of books written by Josephine Chase brought about what I wanted to have happen.  Probably not, but I'd like to think so.

During the time that I was reading Marjorie Dean, I checked eBay one night and saw that a copy of Behind the Purple Mask had been listed on eBay.  That book had not been up for sale online to my knowledge at any time between June 2017 and August 2019, over two years.

I was able to purchase the book and knew that once I finished my reading of Marjorie Dean and possibly Grace Harlowe that I would immediately dive into the Detective Stories for Girls series by Josephine Chase.  This was a thrilling development which made me very happy.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Trying to Continue Reading the Grace Harlowe Series

It's bothered me for many years that I broke off reading the Grace Harlowe books in early 2011 and never got back to them.  On September 14 on Facebook, I posed questions about what I should try to do with the Grace Harlowe situation.  I have reordered the questions to match the order in which I actually tried the different options.

1. Should I read my reviews of the first 10 Grace Harlowe books and then try to read the 11th book, Grace Harlowe's Golden Summer

I read my reviews, but they meant nothing to me.  After reading my reviews, I tried to read Golden Summer (the book where I left off almost nine years ago) and couldn't do it since I didn't know the characters.

2. Should I read the first 10 Grace Harlowe books again so that I can read the 11th book, Grace Harlowe's Golden Summer?

This option was the only way I had any hope of reading Grace Harlowe's Golden Summer.  It was suggested that I was being too restrictive when I stated that I would need to read the first 10 books again.  Not at all.  I simply cannot force myself to read a book where the story continues from previous books and where I have no memory of the characters.  I only read books when I get some kind of enjoyment out of them.  I would get no enjoyment without refreshing my memory.

Therefore, I tried to begin reading the first 10 books again.  I read part of the first book and quit. I tried the tenth book, Grace Harlowe's Problem, and quit.  I then tried to read Grace Harlowe's Golden Summer again and quit again.

Grace Harlowe's Golden Summer is the counterpart to Marjorie Dean's Romance. Marjorie's romance was not interesting to me.  Grace Harlowe doesn't have a Leslie Cairns to liven up the series, so I have no interest in reading Golden Summer.

At this point, I wanted to skip to option #4 and forget the whole thing.

3. Should I try to read Grace Harlowe Overseas just to figure out whether I can stand that set? I fear that I needlessly spent lots of time and money assembling the Overseas and Overland Riders series a decade ago and that I may not like any of them. Others have said that Overland Riders is mostly unreadable.

I had already read the first 46 pages of Grace Harlowe Overseas before I tried option #1 and #2, so I continued with this option.  I continued reading Grace Harlowe Overseas and read all of it.  Grace Harlowe Overseas is a pretty good book, although I wasn't particularly in the mood to read books set during the First World War.  I had hope that I could continue with the Overseas set.

I lost hope temporarily at the start of Grace Harlowe with the Red Cross in France due to too many bombs going off over and over, and I wanted something else to happen.  Yes, the content is typical of a book about war, but I didn't want to read about war.  I was simply trying to follow up on a commitment I made a long time ago when I spent a lot of money on these books, started reading them, and then never finished reading them.

Fortunately, Red Cross in France gets past the constant bombing, although more bombing happens later.  Now, if you like things constantly getting blown up, then I highly recommend the beginning of Red Cross in France. You will love it.

I then tried to read the Grace Harlowe with the Marines at Chateau Thierry.  Grace faces explosions constantly.  Grace is braver and smarter than the soldiers.  I couldn't deal with it.

I tried the next book, couldn't read it, and decided to abandon the Grace Harlowe Overseas series.

4. Should I forget the whole thing? This one is tempting, but I hate that I have never gotten back to Grace Harlowe.

It's option #4 then.  I can't read these books.  I never liked the original two Grace Harlowe sets that much, which is why I broke off reading the books in 2011.

The Grace Harlowe situation has bothered because I put forth much effort and spent a lot of money acquiring all four sets of the Grace Harlowe books over 10 years ago, most of the books with dust jackets in the original Altemus editions.  It has nettled me that I never have read them and have never even tried to read them. If the books had been cheap, I wouldn't care.  These were not cheap books.

I have given it a good shot, so I have to be satisfied with that.  At the time that I wrote this post, I planned to sell all of my Grace Harlowe Overseas and Grace Harlowe Overland Riders books.  I decided to hold off on selling the Grace Harlowe High School Girl and Grace Harlowe College Girl books in order to make certain that I wanted to part with them.  Since then, I have decided to rid myself of all of my Grace Harlowe books.  Some of them have already been sold.  I am happy to have freed up some shelf space.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

The Marjorie Dean Post-Graduate Series

The Marjorie Dean Post-Graduate series consists of the following books.

1.  Marjorie Dean, Post-Graduate, 1925
2.  Marjorie Dean, Marvelous Manager, 1925
3.  Marjorie Dean at Hamilton Arms, 1925
4.  Marjorie Dean's Romance, 1925
5.  Marjorie Dean Macy, 1926
6.  Marjorie Dean Macy's Hamilton Colony, 1930

Marjorie Dean has graduated from college and returned to Hamilton to work on Brooke Hamilton's biography.  Leslie Cairns also remains in Hamilton, solely for the purpose of getting even with Marjorie for what she perceives to be Marjorie's wrongs against her.

Marjorie's role throughout all of the Marjorie Dean books is to serve as a good example of how to live.  Her perfection does not bother me as it does some other readers.  My problem is that I do not find Marjorie to be very interesting in the Post-Graduate series.  I need a certain amount of excitement in my books—the excitement can be psychological without any kind of action.  I dislike lame romance, detailed event planning, and excessive teasing between the characters.  The Marjorie Dean Post-Graduate series is full of that kind of content.

I found Marjorie to be rather boring in this set of books.  Her story arc had pretty much run its course by the time these books came around.  I was not interested in Brooke Hamilton or his biography.  I didn't care about Marjorie's social events or various charitable endeavors.  That is, Marjorie is a wonderful person and her various endeavors are splendid, but I did not find reading about them to be interesting.

Marjorie's nemesis, Leslie Cairns, is a different story.  She is the real star of the Marjorie Dean College and Marjorie Dean Post-Graduate sets.  Leslie is the most interesting of out all series book rivals.  I would go so far to say that she is easily one of my very favorite characters out of all series books, top five for certain, but more probably in the top two.

I have always loved Lenora Whitehill from the Beverly Gray series, and I love Leslie Cairns just as much as Lenora.  It's odd to love a villain, but Leslie experiences remarkable personal growth.  She begins as a completely awful character who hates Marjorie for no reason that anyone can tell.

Leslie does terrible things to Marjorie over and over.  She causes endless trouble, but Marjorie perseveres.  Foreshadowing lets the reader know that Leslie will face consequences eventually.  Leslie's story gets really interesting as that time approaches and each of Leslie's schemes ends in utter disaster for Leslie.  Still, she schemes.  Finally, Leslie loses something very important to her.  She continues to scheme.

Marjorie does Leslie a favor anonymously, and Leslie is later informed that Marjorie was the person who helped her.  Slowly, Leslie begins to understand.  She realizes that Marjorie is not the horrible person she thought.  Leslie even reflects that she has no idea why she didn't like Marjorie.  She slowly begins the process of becoming a better person.  As Leslie works to right her wrongs, she then becomes the victim of bullying and gets to experience how she made others feel.

Leslie's transformation from a snobbish, selfish, and mean bully to a caring, worthwhile person occurs over the course of 10 books and is a magnificent story arc.

From Leslie's first appearance in Marjorie Dean, College Freshman:
"I have heard that some of those high schools are really excellent," drawled Miss Cairns.  "I have heard too that they turn out a lot of digs and prigs.  Girls, you understand, that have to get all they can out of high school because college is out of the question for them.  I feel sorry for them.  I never knew any of that sort, though.  In fact, you are the first high school girls I have ever met.  What?"
Leslie has an interesting habit of punctuating her speech with "What?"  I came to love that interesting quirk.  Leslie also has what is described as a "hob-goblin laugh" where she leans her head back and laughs silently.

From the last book, Marjorie Dean Macy's Hamilton Colony:
Leslie shook hands warmly with Delia, pleased by the maid’s friendly sincerity.  She could not help mentally contrasting her present democratic attitude with that of her former snobbish contempt for persons in humbler circumstances than herself.  "Cairns II, you're improving," was her whimsical thought.  "There’s a lot of room yet for improvement, though, so don't get chesty."
Even though Leslie has magnificently transformed, a touch of her imperious attitude comes out at moments.  In another passage, Marjorie sees the old Leslie for just a moment.  "Watching Leslie’s face Marjorie glimpsed the shadow of the old dominating leader who had ruled the frivolous San Soucians by sheer determined will."  After all, Leslie's transformation would not be convincing if a touch of her former self were not present.  Nobody changes completely without retaining some of their former personality.

Leslie is the only character featured on the cover of Marjorie Dean, Marvelous Manager.  It is highly unusual for a series book villain to be pictured on the cover instead of the titular character.  And the final book in the Marjorie Dean series is mostly about Leslie with very little about Marjorie. I like Leslie so much that I wish she had had her own spin-off series.

I highly recommend the Marjorie Dean College series and Marjorie Dean Post-Graduate series.  This recommendation is based on Leslie Cairns and her extraordinary redemption.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The Marjorie Dean High School Series and College Series

Josephine Chase wrote the Marjorie Dean books under the pseudonym of Pauline Lester.  The books were published by A. L. Burt.  The Marjorie Dean series is split into three smaller sets of books:  the High School Series, the College Series, and the Post-Graduate Series.

The Marjorie Dean High School series consists of the following four books.

1.  Marjorie Dean, High School Freshman, 1917
2.  Marjorie Dean, High School Sophomore, 1917
3.  Marjorie Dean, High School Junior, 1917
4.  Marjorie Dean, High School Senior, 1917

I do not care to try to write summaries of the individual books, so instead, this is an overview of the set.

Marjorie Dean moves to a new city.  She begins high school and becomes close friends with Jerry, Connie, and several other girls.  Mignon is the class bully, and she hates Marjorie.  Mignon causes most of Marjorie's problems throughout the four-book set.

Mignon is bitter and awful all the way through the set until near the end of the fourth book, when she has a sudden awakening.  The awakening is sudden, forced, and not realistic at all.

These books are overall interesting, but they do have some boring parts.  Marjorie Dean, Sophomore is really good, but then the last one-third of the book drags.  Marjorie Dean, Junior is extremely boring at the start due to an unnecessarily lengthy farewell to a visitor.  The story then gets good.

I enjoyed all four books, except for the boring parts which I just skipped over.

The Marjorie Dean College Series consists of the following books.

1.  Marjorie Dean, College Freshman, 1922
2.  Marjorie Dean, College Sophomore, 1922
3.  Marjorie Dean, College Junior, 1922
4.  Marjorie Dean, College Senior, 1922

In these books, Marjorie and her friends attend Hamilton College.  Their rival is now Leslie Cairns, who is pretty awful.  Marjorie is known as the beauty of the college, and everyone loves her, except for Leslie and her allies.  Marjorie has a great desire to know more about the founder of Hamilton College, Brooke Hamilton, and she finally becomes friendly with Hamilton's niece, elderly Miss Susanna.

While I really enjoy the parts of the stories that center around Leslie Cairns, I find most of the rest to be a bit boring.  The first 80 pages of Marjorie Dean, College Freshman, bored me due to excessive reminiscing.  A portion of Marjorie Dean, College Junior bored me when I had to endure a party that was described in excruciating detail.

I skipped parts of each of these books.  I enjoyed the portions that I did read.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Review of the Manuscript for Dana Girls #18 Strange Identities

In 1979, the last hardcover Nancy Drew book, #56 The Thirteenth Pearl, was published by Grosset and Dunlap.  The rights to publish new titles went to Simon and Schuster, which continued the numbering with #57, publishing the new titles in softcover Wanderer editions.

The last hardcover Dana Girls book, #17 The Witch's Omen, was published by Grosset and Dunlap in 1979.  Simon and Schuster planned to continue the Dana Girls series in softcover Wanderer editions, but the plan never came to fruition.

In Nancy Drew #58, The Flying Saucer Mystery, the Dana Girls are mentioned.  Nancy doesn't have time to solve a mystery, so she suggests that the Dana Girls solve it.  This was a cross-promotion for the softcover continuation of the Dana Girls series that never came to be.

Strange Identities was the proposed 18th book in the 2nd Dana Girls series, which would have been issued as a Wanderer softcover book.  The draft manuscript of Strange Identities can be found online, and a simple search will locate it.  This review is based on a cleaned-up version of the draft manuscript, which I saved from a now-defunct Yahoo! group.

According to James Keeline, the draft manuscript of Strange Identities was written by Camilla McClave, daughter of Harriet Adams.

In Strange Identities, Brenda Trowbridge wants the Dana Girls to help her locate her missing twin sister.  She originally asked Nancy Drew to solve the case, but Nancy suggested that the Dana Girls take it.  Brenda tells Jean and Louise that her sister, Bonny, was kidnapped when the girls were three years old.  Both girls had matching dolls that were designed to look like them.  Brenda's doll has blonde hair, and Bonny's doll had dark hair.  Brenda still has her doll, and she hopes that her sister still has hers.  During the search, the girls have Brenda wear a dark wig so that she will look like her sister.

An odd statement made by Brenda is that she just wants to find her twin because of a deadline concerning their inheritance.  She has supposedly never before had any desire to find her sister.  I find this rather odd that a twin wouldn't care about finding her missing twin.

A woman named Dame Ryerson has ESP.  She suggests that the girls meditate about their mysteries, and the girls proceed to follow her suggestion.  Jean apparently is clairvoyant and comes up with quite a few clues through meditation.  The girls conclude that Jean is indeed psychic and are enthused that this will really help them solve mysteries.

Jean dreams about the number 17.  The psychic tells the girls to "watch number 17."  The girls learn that a girl who looks like Brenda but is instead a brunette was seen on a parade float with men dressed as the numbers one, seven, seven, and six to make up the date 1776.  This is rather stupid.  Anyway, later in the story, a boat is named "17," and the girls go to Disco 17.

A woman in the town's health department is named Miss Trask.

The girls are warned not to get on a certain boat.  Jean meditates and retrieves the name of the boat.  The girls decide not to go on that boat, which then explodes.  This proves that Jean is clairvoyant.

Louise says, "One little bomb shouldn't scare us off the case."

Uncle Ned tells the girls some stories that have been passed down through the generations.  He relates a story about an encounter with cannibals.

This book has some really stupid plot points, but that did not decrease my enjoyment.  I wish this book had been published.  It would have been a good companion book to The Flying Saucer Mystery, which is a really crazy Nancy Drew book.  Strange Identities is just as crazy.  So long as I am entertained, books do not necessarily have to make sense.

I also don't care that Jean Dana suddenly has psychic ability.  In fact, Jean having psychic ability is logical considering how many psychics appear in the later Dana Girls books of the original set.  Not only that, but the Danas often think in unison without speaking, so they must have psychic ability.  Either that, or the girls are robots.

I love this story and consider it to be very good to excellent.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Thinning Out Impulsive Purchases from Years Ago

I first began collecting series books in 1991.  An old post of mine will explain how and why I began collecting series books.

Where It All Began

In those early days, I acquired books from garage sales, thrift stores, antique stores, and used book stores.  Garage sales were especially fun, since the books were cheap.  A wide variety of old books were available.  I was only interested in finding Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden books, but I was so enamored with the idea of collecting old books that I purchased many cheap old books that I found.  The books I purchased were on all subjects, a little bit of everything. 

As I expanded my series book collection to include many additional series, I gradually let go of most of those books purchased in the early days.  A few of them still linger here and there, scattered around the house out of sight in various places, not shelved with my other books.  I was able to find four of them in the garage on a shelf and photographed them.  These books represent the type of random book that I purchased in the early 1990s.




These particular books date from the late 19th century up to around 1910 to 1915.  I used to have at least 200 to 300 books like these.  I gradually sold them in the late 1990s and early 2000s. 

I expect that many collectors start wide and narrow down their focus as they go much deeper into collecting the books that they like the best.  Most of us have to narrow down our focus since we simply do not have enough room for everything. 

While I did quit acquiring random old books, I rapidly expanded the number of vintage series books that I collected during the 2000s.  Some of the books I decided to acquire were not wise decisions.  Grace Harlowe was one of those unwise decisions.  I'll mention more about Grace Harlowe in a future post.

In 2014, I expanded my collection into boys' series, and I gradually realized that some of the series I collected in the 2000s were probably not sets that I would ever be able to read.  I enjoyed boys' series more than I ever thought I would, and I concluded that some of those girls' series sets would likely be too boring for me.  I continued to hold onto all of those sets, however.  There was always a chance that I just might someday read them.

I also expanded my collection to include nearly 1,000 international edition series books and well over 1,000 library edition series books.  Therefore, I have been very short on space for the last five years.  I have acquired some more shelves, but I filled them very quickly.

When I first started collecting international editions, I bought pretty much every series book that came up for sale.  I have greatly expanded my Nancy Drew international editions in the last five years, so I have begun to thin out the other series.  I have sold all of my boys' series international editions.  I have sold all of my Vicki Barr and Cherry Ames international editions.  I sold most of my Dana Girls French editions in recent months.  I have sold some of my Trixie Belden international editions.

I now have such a large quantity of Nancy Drew international editions that I am content mainly to focus on them.  By selling some of the other international editions, I free up shelf space.

I also have debated back and forth about those series books purchased in the 2000s that I have never read.  I recently listed my Grace Harlowe books for sale.  Last weekend, I listed my Motor Girls and Dorothy Dale books.  I am never going to read them, so why keep them?

Most of these old series will not sell on Etsy, so I must list all of them on eBay.  I am limited in how much I can have for sale at any given time since I only get 250 allotted free listings on eBay each month.  I ran my recent 20% off sale in order to avoid an overage in fees for October.  I estimated that I would have to pay an overage on around 45 listings if the books didn't sell first.

Yesterday morning, I realized that I had avoided the October overage, and that I was actually going to be three listings short of using my 250 free listings.  Right after I made that observation, I saw that eBay had granted me 500 additional free listings good if used within the next few days.  Just when I think I've pulled free of the dreaded overage, eBay pulls me back in!

Of course, I had to use some of the 500 free listings, which will likely cause an overage in November.  I'll worry about that in November.

Since I suddenly had extra listings, I got busy listing some of my books.  I have listed my entire set of Shirley Flight books in individual listings.  I also listed a few of Capwell Wyckoff's books and the last six of my Dana Girls French editions.

I had another set pulled down and was going to list those books.  I'm going to keep those a bit longer and try to read them.  There is also another set, really collectible books in jackets that I do not think I will ever read.  I may sell those sometime soon.  I do not wish to state either series name at this time.

Check out my eBay listings for my Grace Harlowe, Motor Girls, Dorothy Dale, Shirley Flight, and French Dana Girls books.

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

I also have books on Etsy.

Jennifer's Series Books on Etsy

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Dana Girls #17 The Witch's Omen

In Dana Girls #17, The Witch's Omen, two men dressed as a witch and a scarecrow crash Jean and Louise's Halloween party and start a fire in a closet.  The witch warns the girls that he is the keeper of the storm petrel.  Valuable petrels begin disappearing, and the girls work on finding the culprits.

On page 5, Jean and Aunt Harriet look for clues.

On page 6, the guests flee because of the fire in the closet.  I have always loved Louise's response.  "Oh, please don't go.  We have so much to eat."

The kids quit coming to the Danas' house for treats because word of the fire had gotten around to everyone.  I think the opposite would actually be true, at least for any kids not with their parents.  The parents might avoid the house because of the fire, but the kids would love to get in on the action.  In today's social media world, the Danas' house would be swamped with people trying to get video in order to post it online.

On page 7, Aunt Harriet is described as a "lovely, motherly person."  This amuses me, simply because I just know that Harriet Adams was describing herself.

On page 14, Aunt Harriet discovers that Uncle Ned's expensive barometer is missing.  Aunt Harriet is the one who calls the police.

On pages 49 and 50, some birds have been stolen from a bird collector's home.  The girls are told that "someone broke in and left three vicious cats" in the room to maul the birds that were not stolen.  I found that statement kind of amusing.  Cats are just cats.  However, they would by default be vicious if they see something that they want to chase.

On page 51, Jean concludes that the "thief must have had the cats in a bag or container."  A bag?  What a horrifying thought.  It can be near impossible to get the average cat into a cat carrier.  I am picturing a heavy burlap bag, but even so, having a cat in a bag sounds rather scary.  I wouldn't want to be carrying a thrashing cat in a bag.  Yikes.

On page 73, the reader learns that the girls have a break from Starhurst School because the school was flooded.  I'm just glad that the girls didn't go to Europe.

On page 84, Louise notices that a phone is unplugged from the wall.  She is surprised that the phone uses a jack instead of being permanently installed.  During my entire life, every landline phone (aside from pay phones) that I recall seeing has used a jack, so I don't think use of a jack is odd at all.

As I read through the book, I thought about how stupid it was for the men to set the Danas' closet on fire, since the fire alerted them to the mystery.  I had to laugh on page 176 when one of the men agrees that it was stupid to start the fire.  Awesome!

This is an overall good book, but I was bored with most of the second half.  The story has too many culprits, and the business with petrels is a bit stupid.

I consider the final four Dana Girls books to be overall better reading than the final five Trixie Belden books.  The Trixie Belden series has a much more precipitous decline in quality towards the end of the series, since a large portion of the Trixie Belden set is actually pretty good.  Reading the final Trixie belden books is a rather disappointing and jarring experience as compared to the earlier books. 

The Dana Girls series is a bit odd from start to finish and is a bit mediocre during the entire second half of the set.  The final Dana Girls books provide about the same level of craziness as one expects from the Dana Girls series, and these books are actually overall better than some of the earlier Dana Girls books, such as most of #19-24 in the original set. 

I cautioned in my introductory post for the Dana Girls reviews that my reviews for the later books in the series would be much different from what others think.  I do not find the final Dana Girls books to be anywhere near as bad as most other people say that they are.  Certainly the books have problems and are extremely strange, but I found the final books to be mostly enjoyable to read.

I will close out my Dana Girls reviews with a review of the unpublished manuscript for what would have been Dana Girls #18 Strange Identities.  As far as I know, I am the only person who likes Strange Identities.  I think it's awesome.