Friday, March 27, 2015

Bailey School Kids #2: Werewolves Don't Go to Summer Camp

Bailey School Kids #2 is Werewolves Don't Go to Summer Camp. The premise is that the kids are in summer camp, and the head counselor is a disgustingly hairy man. He likes to talk about wolves, and he eats raw hamburgers. The kids all agree that he's a werewolf, and they fear he will kill everyone during the big night hike. So they use wolfsbane and mistletoe to stop him. The end.

I didn't like this book. With the first book, Mrs. Jeepers is interesting, whether or not she's a vampire. With this book, Mr. Jenkins is only interesting, if he's a werewolf. If he's not a werewolf, then he's just an old, hairy man who likes to creep out little kids. In fact, when he started eating spiders, that's what I thought. I thought, "This guy isn't a werewolf. He's just trying to freak everyone out."

This book is a little weird, in that all the kids instantly agree Mr. Jenkins is a werewolf. In every other book, the kids debate whether or not they've met a monster. Usually Eddie says, "[Person] isn't a [monster], and I'm gonna prove it!". Then, Eddie does something ridiculous or mean-spirited.

Overall, not as good as the previous book. I think that, perhaps, the authors weren't sure how to turn their vampire book into a full series at this point.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Ghostwriters

Guess what? The Hardy Boys database keeps track of the various Hardy Boys ghostwriters. They know one of the authors for the five 1980's books I read.

Granted, knowing 20% of the authors isn't so great, but it's better than nothing! "Nothing" is what we have for the ghostwriters of the 1980's Nancy Drew series. 124 books, and no known authors.

(Rumor has it that there is a secret Yahoo Group, which has a list of most of the ghostwriters. I haven't seen it.)

Since the Hardy Boys fans are so on top of things, they've discovered the authors of the Nancy Drew / Hardy Boys series. I reviewed three books in that series, and they know the authors for two of them.

This is kind of awkward now. The authors of Buried in Time are Peter Lerangis and Larry Mike. I guessed it was the one Nancy Drew author, who was a professor in Oklahoma. In fact, that's a running joke in my review, since the book's victim is an Oklahoma professor. Should I go back and update my original review, to account for this new information?

I also want to go back and update the first few book reviews I did--the really long, awkward ones where I read portions of the book out loud. (I did that because I was imitating the guy who does Animorphs book reviews.)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Nancy Drew - Sea of Darkness Song

The official webpage for Nancy Drew #32 is up! We also have a fancy song!



This is looking pretty fancy. I'm still holding out hope, for Pirate Nancy Drew.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Bing Rewards

I'm part of the Bing Rewards program. Basically, Bing gives you "credit points" if you use their search engine. Get enough points, and you can turn them in for an Amazon gift card or other cool stuff.

This is the ONLY reason I use Bing. Once I've gotten my daily amount of points, I go back to using Google.

It takes about three weeks to get a $5 Amazon card. I use Amazon to buy birthday/Christmas presents for my relatives, so I'm trying to be fair and balanced. Half of the money I get goes into the present fund, and the other half goes into the "Michael buys stuff he wants" fund. The downside is that, if I want to buy something for myself that's more than $5, I have to wait a few months. So, normally, I buy a paperback Nancy Drew book that's not available at the local library.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Nancy Drew: Girl Detective #24: Murder on the Set - Book Review

Girl Detective Book #24 is so awful that I'm sharing my review with you all, ahead of time.

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Today's book review will be extra-long. I want to describe EVERYTHING in "Murder on the Set", because it could be the worst book in the entire Girl Detective series. Worse than paranoid Nancy inventing kidnappings? Yes. Worse than the investigation that was the author's last vacation? Yep. Worse than the book where the culprit only spoke two sentences? Hmm...maybe not THAT awful, but it's still pretty bad.

The book begins with Nancy and her friends gossiping about movie stars, because everyone loves to read about fictional celebrities. Brett Harley is dating Fiona Gibson. Nancy says it's because Fiona has big blue eyes, big red lips, and big...Nancy pauses for a moment...blonde hair. *shocked look* Guh, did this book just start off with a boob joke?

Deirdre Shannon is there. Deirdre Shannon is always there. Only she's not! Deirdre Shannon has been replaced with DIErdre Simmons. Yes, they got her first name AND her last name wrong. It's like the editor hasn't actually read any of the previous books.

Dierdre announces that they're filming a movie in River Heights! The movie will star Brett Harley and Fiona Gibson. Best of all, the movie is hiring local townspeople to act as extras!

Nancy says she's too afraid to audition, which is a HUGE *continuity!* error. She signed a TV contract three books ago, she'll be on TV again in the next book, and what's this? She starred in a movie, in Books 5 and 6! So, yeah, why is Nancy acting like she's never been onscreen before?!

For the first time in this series, someone makes a joke about Bess being fat. Dierdre Simmons makes THREE jokes about Bess' weight. Bess starts to get sad and self-conscious, so Nancy cheers her up, by agreeing to join the audition.

We are not even finished with the first chapter, and I have at least four things to complain about. Better tighten your seatbelts, viewers, because it's going to get worse.

Nancy overhears her father talking with Police Chief McGinnis. Someone sent a death threat to the movie director, and McGinnis wants a professional detective to investigate. Um...why is McGinnis bringing this problem to Mr. Drew? I mean, I know he's doing it so Nancy can "accidentally" overhear all the details of the case, but it doesn't make sense that a police chief brings confidential matters to a random lawyer.

I don't know how movie auditions work in real life, but in this book, all the characters have to do is show up and get their picture taken. About thirty women are chosen to be extras, including Dierdre Shannon. Oh, hey, her last name is back to normal now! They're still misspelling her first name, though.

The movie producers suddenly realize that they forgot to get a stand-in for Fiona. By huge coincidence, *eyeroll* Bess and Nancy are right there. Director Gordon MacIntyre hires Nancy on the spot, since she has the right hair color, and she's the right height.

Bess doesn't understand basic logic, so she has a huge meltdown. "How could you do this to me, Nancy? I thought you were my best friend! How DARE you not be the same height as me?!" Bess is five foot two, by the way, and why have none of the books mentioned that she's a full foot shorter than Nancy's boyfriend?

To make the Bess drama in this book even weirder, Nancy purposely doesn't tell Bess about the mystery. She tells George, but not Bess. Why is Nancy keeping secrets from Bess? I dunno, the book never says! We're left to guess that Nancy doesn't trust Bess, because she's an airhead in this book.

The Bess drama intensifies, when George's car is hired as an extra. Yes, the car. Randomly, George has a car from 1978. I guess she bought it during "The Mystery of Crocodile Island"! [The Nancy Drew book from 1978] Weird car aside, I'm pretty sure the REAL reason George got hired is because she agreed to date the pyrotechnics guy.

Nancy meets the big movie stars. Fiona is a bigger airhead than Bess, if that's possible. Brett is a slimeball, who hits on Nancy, because she looks like his girlfriend. That is creepy on multiple levels.

Finally, Nancy meets the director. He agrees to let Bess be an extra, if Nancy goes out with him tonight. That's clearly sexual harassment, but Nancy agrees. She starts work as a stand-in, when Brett shows up. The director orders the two of them to make out with each other. Before Nancy can respond, Brett starts passionately kissing her. Again, that's clearly sexual harassment.

Nancy and Brett run through the makeout scene, six times in a row. This causes Nancy's boyfriend to run away, crying. Nancy makes a half-hearted attempt to apologize to Ned for cheating on him, then she immediately turns around and goes on her date with the director. *facepalm* The director starts the date by kissing Nancy, because she STILL hasn't learned her lesson about kissing men in public. The romantic date is interrupted by Dierdre, who spreads the news about Nancy all over town.

For once, I'm on Dierdre's side. Nancy is cheating on Ned, with two guys at the same time. You can't _accidentally_ start a double love triangle and claim the entire thing is a misunderstanding.

The next day, they film the scene with George's car. Nancy decides she wants to be in this scene, so she jumps in the car, and hey, now she's an extra. What? If becoming an extra is THAT easy, why was there such a big stink earlier about Bess not becoming one? Apparently, all you have to do is run in front of the camera, without permission!

The book has been pretty bad so far, but the final third is a definite improvement. That's 'cause the author finally remembered, "Hey, wasn't there a mystery to solve, or something? Oh, yeah, there were death threats! I should follow up on that."

The culprit tries to kill Brett, by sabotaging his car. Nancy saves his life, and he is so grateful that he promises to do ANYTHING she asks. Nancy hands him her phone, and tells him to explain things to Ned.

I'm kidding, of course. She asks Brett to write an autograph for Bess. Nancy doesn't want Brett to resolve the misunderstanding over the kiss. Nancy and Ned prefer to augment their relationship drama, by not talking to each other like normal people.

That night, Nancy breaks into the car junkyard, to examing Brett's sabotaged car. She hears noise coming from a dumpster. Inside is Dierdre Shannon, bound and gagged. The culprit kidnapped tied her up and threw her in a dumpster, because...um...the book never says why. All we're told is that she was in the wrong place, at the wrong time. That sounds like a cop-out explanation to me, but I'd be lying if I said I expected something else.

The culprit isn't very observant, because they open up the dumpster again, without noticing Nancy inside. The culprit throws a dead body on top of Dierdre, which could be the grossest moment of the entire series. Nancy waits a few minutes, then she leaves the dumpster and calls the police like this:

"Safely inside my car, with the doors locked, I called the police. In my best phony voice, I told them about Dierdre and the body in the dumpster. I knew the voice wouldn't fool Chief McGinnis, but I hoped that by the time he got around to me, I'd have solved the case myself."

Yes. Nancy reports a murder, by talking in falsetto. How is that NOT super suspicious? Either way, the plan works! The police don't realize it's her, and we never hear about the dead body again. Which is a shame, because I _really_ wanted to hear Dierdre try to explain the situation to the police.

The culprit steals a bunch of explosives from George's pyrotechnic boyfriend. Nancy realizes the police should know about this, but she doesn't call them because...I dunno, I guess she can only call the police once a night.

We're at the end of the book now, so it's time for Nancy to solve the mystery! She puts all her clues together, and realizes...oh, wait, she doesn't have any clues. She does a mad dash to get some last-minute evidence, which proves the director is the culprit. He's ruining the film as part of a misguided revenge plot against Brett and Fiona.

The director traps Nancy in the same room as the bomb. She gets rescued by George's pyrotechnic boyfriend. It turns out that he is secretly the private investigator, who Mr. Drew hired in Chapter Two. So...Nancy being on the case was 100% pointless. Her father hired someone else to solve the case, and they did.

Nancy and the detective get everyone to evacuate the area, before the bomb goes off. The director is arrested, and the book skips ahead to when the movie is finished. _Of course_, the new director decided to include the footage of Nancy making out with Brett. But that doesn't bother Nancy! Nancy and Ned are a solid couple again, after resolving all their problems offscreen.

The End

Post Book Followup

Why is this book so awful? I mean, they couldn't even be bothered to get the characters' names right! That's a really special kind of awful.

It's possible that they rushed the book through production, to coincide with the release of the Nancy Drew movie. It's also possible that this was the point where they decide to reboot the series, again, and so they decided to show all remaining books out the door, as quickly as possible. That would explain why the series broke its regular release schedule and gave us five books in four months, instead of the usual two.

The first two chapters of the book are extended flashback. Interestingly enough, Nancy provides sarcastic commentary on the events. She says things like, "Boy, was _I_ wrong!" and "I have no idea why I said that." Snarky Nancy Drew was kind of interesting. It's too bad she didn't continue that, throughout the entire book. It MIGHT have made the book more tolerable, if Nancy pointed out some of her mistakes.

Overall, this is a really, really bad book. The relationship drama is completely horrible, Bess is out of character the whole time, and the author couldn't even bother to spell the characters' names correctly! Is there any doubt as to what my final score will be? I give Nancy Drew Girl Detective 24, Murder on the Set, a zero out of ten.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Book Reviews

I'm probably going to keep doing Nancy Drew Girl Detective reviews, until the end of the series. Because I'm, like, halfway through the series at this point.





As you can see, I'm counting the Supermystery books as part of the Girl Detective series. I'm not sure how to classify the Nancy Drew / Hardy Boys crossover, though. It clearly takes place in the Girl Detective continuity, so it is part of that series? Or is it just an extension of the older Nancy Drew / Hardy Boys series?

I'm leaning towards putting all FOUR Nancy Drew / Hardy Boys crossover series in the same playlist on YouTube.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Nancy Drew: Sea of Darkness - Cover

Behold, cover art for the next Nancy Drew game!

Embedded image permalink

In news taken from their website, the game itself is finished, and work on the next game has started. I'm excited! It sort of looks like Nancy is going to solve a mystery on a haunted pirate ship! I've played at least two other (AWESOME) games with that premise.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Bailey School Kids #1: Vampires Don't Wear Polka Dots

Mary and I were going to do reviews for all the books in the Bailey School Kids series. Those plans were discarded, but there's no reason I can't write up the reviews on my blog.

Book 1 is Vampires Don't Wear Polka Dots. The premise is that the third grade class at Bailey Elementary is made up of some really, really horrible kids. They misbehave so badly that their teacher quits. The replacement teacher is named Mrs. Jeepers, and some kids think she's a vampire.

Mrs. Jeepers has a hypnotizing effect on the class, and everyone starts to behave. This upsets Eddie, who doesn't like vampires or doing schoolwork. He starts misbehaving worse and worse, as the book goes on. Eventually, Mrs. Jeepers' eyes flash, she rubs her magical green brooch, and she takes Eddie outside to the hallway. When they come back inside, Eddie is as pale as a sheet. He says he will never misbehave again. The end.

I really disliked that ending. What did Mrs. Jeepers say to Eddie in the hallway? We never find out! The book builds up to a big confrontation between these two characters, but we never see the confrontation. It takes place offscreen, and we don't even get a second hand explanation of what happened. I thought that was a huge disappointment.

Besides for the ending, the book is pretty solid. Mrs. Jeepers is an interesting character, whether or not she's a vampire. I liked seeing her deal with the misbehaving students, without getting angry or being mean. She appears regularly in the series, and she continues to be rather interesting. So I guess the series got off to a good start! It started with the most interesting monster.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Trail of the Twister

Someone made an "Everything Wrong With" video for Nancy Drew: Trail of the Twister.



I think the video would have been nicer with video clips, instead of photos, but good effort! I liked it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

M-Rated Games

Sometimes I get asked if I ever play M-rated games. I do, but not often. The ones I've played are these:
  • Zero Escape series
  • Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem
  • Prince of Persia: Warrior Within
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies

Mainly, my criteria for a good M-rated game is "Would this game be fun, if all the M-rated content was removed? Or is the M-rated stuff a distraction, so you don't realize the game is awful?". I prefer to play good games, regardless of content.

Tomb Raider 2013 is probably the next M-rated game I'll play, although keep forgetting to buy it. That kind of makes it hard for me to play. Maybe I'll do Assassin's Creed instead.

I'm told that Americans in general are fine with excessive blood and violence, but they don't like nudity and sex. That seems to be the trend I'm following with my M-rated game purchases.

I bring this up, because I've been warned that Sherlock Holmes VS Jack the Ripper is filled with blood and boobs. So either I'll start the walkthrough with a warning/disclaimer about mature content, or I'll get grossed out and decide not to play it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Saint Patrick's Day

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! Here is me, dancing in college.



This is the sort of video I made, before I started with Nancy Drew walkthroughs.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Subtle

Okay, okay, I get the hints that you commenters left on my schedule! I'll play a Zelda game sometime soon. Just not before April 25th, because that's the expiration date for a copyright strike against my channel. Nintendo is unpredictable, when it comes to copyright.

Example: For my Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask walkthrough, they put a copyright slap against the Lost Woods segment. They are fine with all the other videos in that walkthrough. Kind of odd, right?

The next Nancy Drew game comes out on May 12th. I don't think there is enough time to start a Zelda game on the 26th and finish by the 12th. The Zelda game I'm most likely to play is either Oracle of Seasons or Twilight Princess

Speaking of unexpected video walkthroughs, I got a coupon for a free game at Big Fish Games. I turned it into a "pick my next walkthrough!" Twitter contest. The winner is Sherlock Holmes VS Jack the Ripper. People have mentioned that game to me before, which is why I picked it as a winner. I would have been less likely to pick some obscure game I don't know about.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Lost Island+

In the past few weeks, I've been playing Lost Island Plus. I'd write a review for it, but I don't have too much to say. It's a dating sim, which takes place during a zombie uprising. I played the game, mainly for the premise.

The game's main problem is that it doesn't know if it wants to be a romantic dating sim, or a gritty zombie killer game. It oscillates haphazardly between the two. So in one segment, our heroes escape the zombies and hide in a cabin. In another, the heroes make out inside the cabin.

In the end, our heroes find the cure to the zombie virus, and they return to Japan, where they get married. The game becomes way less interesting, at this point. Sorry, but the characters aren't interesting enough to carry the story, by themselves. Without the fear of imminent zombie death, the characters devolve into saying, "I love you." "No, I love you" over and over.

I'm playing through a second storyline right now, but the instant it gets boring, I'm deleting the app and moving on to a new game.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Schedule Update

Well, looks like I have to update the schedule from last week.

The surprise book reviews I was going to do with Mary? It was the Bailey School Kids series. I'm not completely throwing out the idea of doing videos with the six-year-old, but a whole week of nothing but Mary reviews is probably not the best idea. Here's the new schedule!

March 16: Shadow Wolf Mysteries: Under the Crimson Moon
March 23: Princess Isabella 2
March 30: Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove
April 6: Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove, Sacred Grove
April 13: Fire Emblem Gaiden
April 20: League of Light
April 27: Grim Fa├žade: Sinister Obsession
May 4: Sherlock Holmes VS Jack the Ripper

Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove got moved up, because it's short. As in, one hour long. So I'll beef up that week with an April Fools Day video, if I can think of a good joke. Right now, all I have in mind is a parody of that AWFUL YOUTUE VIDEOS that six-year-old Mary watches.

Fire Emblem Gaiden was pushed back a month, for safety reasons. This week's walkthrough, Dark Strokes, was a pretty big failure, in terms of views. Fire Emblem has the potential to be a big failure, too, simply because it's so different from the games I usually walkthrough. I figured it was best to push it back, rather than risk two big failures in the same month. Who knows? I originally thought Zelda: Ocarina of Time would be a failure of a walkthrough, and it ended up being popular! Maybe Fire Emblem will do the same thing!