Thursday, March 27, 2014

Smile and Say Murder

The cover. Definitely better than White Water Terror and Death By Design, although why Nancy's answering the phone is beyond me. She never actually does answer a phone in the book, unless I'm mistaken. Mainly she's just sleuthing. I'm not sure exactly what's up with her hair: she's supposed to be a reddish blonde, and yet she's pictured with no red in her hair at all.  Oh and that's Mick, the handsome photographer with a temper that can kill. He appears to be looking at something behind Nancy that we can't see - Yvonne, maybe? And then there's the would-be murderer, pointing what looks like a gun at him. Again I wonder: how can no one see this guy? If an armed robber-looking guy was walking into the room in a big publishing building, don't you think someone would see him?
 I guess security really is lousy.
On to the case:
In the glitzy world of magazine publishing Nancy Drew searches for a ruthless killer
A series of death threats send Nancy Drew undercover at Flash, the country's top teen magazine. The target is Yvonne Verdi, co-owner of Flash and wonder-girl of the magazine world. Hard-nosed and driven, Yvonne has a talent for making enemies, any of whom could be out to get her. But no one has more reason to want her dead than Mick Swanson, Yvonne's moody, violent partner.
   Fond of gruesome practical jokes and hungry for control of Flash, Mick quickly becomes Nancy's top suspect. Mick looks dangerous, so Nancy calls her boyfriend, Ned Nickerson, to play bodyguard. But that backfires when Ned falls head over heels for Mick's sister Sondra. Then the would-be killer strikes again. Nancy's on her own, and she's got some fancy footwork to do, before the killer strikes her.
The suspects:
Mick Swanson - the magazine's art director. He's creative and brilliant, but his temper is sheer murder.
Sondra Swanson - Mick's sister is fiercely loyal to him. Is she lying to Nancy to cover up for him?
David Bowers - the magazine's editor in chief and Yvonne's new boyfriend. Is he after her job - or her life?

Complications: Ned is getting sick of Nancy's sleuthing, and Sondra Swanson may be just the cure he needs. But Nancy has more to worry about than losing her boyfriend - she's losing her job. If she's off the case, how can she stop a murderer?

Contact: Yvonne Verdi, publisher of Flash. Her life is being threatened, but an investigation could ruin her career.
Setting: Chicago

In my opinion, Nancy got what was coming to her. She calls Ned up and asks him to help her, even though they had planned to go on a great vacation at his parents' cabin by a lake. She blows him off, promising that they'll go another time, and Ned gets pretty ticked off. Nancy totally takes him for granted and he feels under appreciated. In this book Nancy's very self-involved. She's always thinking about her own problems, worrying about Ned and Sondra and if they're getting together. It almost makes me sick. In the beginning when she calls him, she thinks, 'Ned was really holding out. She knew he'd give in in the end (he loved her too much not to) but she hadn't expected to have to work so hard for a simple yes' and says, "I need some protection. A strong, handsome would be just perfect," in an attempt to flatter him.
And, then when she meets Ned and he drives her to Flash, he says, 'I happen to want to spend a little time with the girl I love. Is that so wrong?"
Nancy [temper flaring]: "It seems as if you're being selfish. I mean, who cares about some stupid vacation when a person's life could be in danger?"
She totally does not deserve him.
Not a great book. When Nancy catches Mick with a gun that he claims isn't his, she tries to wrestle it from him, accidently fires it, and is arrested. Mick is too, and when Ned and Sondra go to the police station with them, Nancy gets extremely jealous to see that Ned is comforting Sondra, who's crying because she thinks her brother's going to jail. Nancy is bailed out, and she yells at Ned: "Look at you! You're hugging her, and I'm standing right here! You're supposed to care about me, Ned. I've been through a lot today. But you don't say so much as a comforting word!" Then she runs from the building, sobbing "I hate him, I never want to see him again," to her dad.
Sound at all selfish to you?
She pretty much hates Sondra, which I think is unfair since Sondra is extremely nice to her, even writing her a note thanking her for bailing Mick out (I won't tell you why, you'll have to read that on your own). Anyway Sondra's a very kind person; once she realized that Ned and Nancy were going out she apologized to Nancy (sort of).
I'll just tell you that Nancy and Ned end up getting back together, which I don't know why; Ned could go for someone much better, in my opinion. Oh well.

False Moves

Not bad. Nancy appears to be wearing makeup for the first time. I'm not sure who the guy in the background is - maybe Belinda's partner, Andre? And there's the thief, lurking in the background. Also, what exactly is Nancy doing wearing a leather skirt? Interesting.
The case:

A gala ballet becomes the turning point for a million-dollar jewel heist
A daring thief has managed to snatch the fabulous Raja diamond from a dancer's costume - right in front of a national TV audience. Although Ned and Nancy have split up, Ned asks her to investigate. The bad news is, he expects Nancy to clear his new girlfriend, the rising young ballerina who was onstage when the theft occurred.
Once the chase is on, Nancy discovers that the old magic with Ned is still there. And she can certainly use his help on the case. For one thing, she has too many suspects - from the ballet company's feuding directors to its star ballerina. But most disturbing of all is the mysterious black-clad figure stalking Nancy's every move.

The suspects:
James Ellsworth - managing director of the ballet company. It was his idea to use the diamond as a publicity stunt. Or was it really his elaborate plan to steal it?
 Ana Lokhar - trusted representative of the Raja family. Does her secret romance with dancer Andre Bernarde have anything to do with the diamond's disappearance?
 Kayta Alexandrovna - undisputed star of the company. She was wearing the diamond when it was snatched. Could she be the thief?
 Belinda Morrison - rising young ballerina and Ned's new flame. She'll let nothing sidetrack her career - and let no one come between her and Ned.

Complications: It's hard for Nancy to keep her mind on her work  with Ned around. Nancy's new boyfriend, Brad Eastman, just can't take his place. And then there's the ominous figure in black, stalking Nancy's every move.

Contact: Ned Nickerson. He wants Nancy on the case - to clear his new girlfriend.
Setting: Chicago

This was a very good book, although I wish Nancy and Ned were back together. Honestly I don't understand why Ned would fall for Belinda. She's your typical selfish, I'm-in-love-with-my-career type of girl. And Ned's so level headed and sensible it's hard to believe he can't see that. Ah well. He dumps her in the end. Mwahahaha!
 All in all a very good book. It was funny to see Nancy so jealous. She practically wants to kill Belinda by the second chapter. She literally thinks I hope she falls flat on her face on the third page when she's watching Belinda perform. And when she's asked by Ned to investigate, she thinks I'm going to find out who's responsible for this crime. And if it's you, Belinda Morrison, I'm going to make sure the entire city of Chicago finds out about it. Fast. And then what will happen to your precious career?
I mean, she really hates the girl and she's green with jealousy throughout the book. It was so funny to read about it.
Unfortunately I haven't read the next book, Buried Secrets, but I hope to soon. It ought to be gooood.

Till Death Do Us Part

The cover: Eh. Nancy doesn't look terrible, although I'm trying to make sense of her outfit. Why is she wearing a scarf? It's not even cold outside in the book. And Ned looks very different from what I pictured him looking like - and from the cover of High Risk. He looks...younger. Oh and there's Nancy and Jessica in the background, gliding precariously through the air. Nancy's the lower one, I think.

The case:
Another girl is out to get Ned - for eternity
Ned takes Nancy out for a special, romantic dinner. But when he asks her to marry him, she turns him down. Then, the next night, he announces his engagement to the new girl in River Heights, Jessica Thorne! Nancy is hurt - and suspicious.
Jessica goes out of her way to make friends with Nancy. She invites her to go skydiving, and when Nancy's chute fails to open, she saves her life. Still, Nancy is determined to uncover the secret of Jessica's past - and her true interest in Ned - before the final knot is tied.

The suspect:
Jessica Thorne - Ned's fiancé No one knows anything about her - except that she lives alone in a luxury hotel and has loads of charm and money.

Complications: Jessica seems to be truly in love with Ned. She won't even accept his expensive gifts. Could she really have some other scheme in mind?

Contact: Ned Nickerson, Nancy's boyfriend. He's sure Jessica has something up her sleeve, and he wants Nancy's help to figure it out.
Setting: River Heights.

You know, I wish Nancy had accepted Ned's proposal. It would be very interesting for them to get married. Heh heh heh, I wonder what would happen at the wedding. A criminal kidnaps Nancy, Ned chases them down, Nancy captures criminal, wedding continues, Nancy gives statement to police afterwards, then they go on the honeymoon and Nancy cracks another case. Hmmm...sound interesting anyone?
So anyway I'll give you the story:
Ned was jogging outside his house when this dark-haired girl jogs up, says she lost, and asks him to direct her toward the Royal Hotel. Ned drives her there and Jessica asks him if he knows any good restaurants in River Heights. He suggests one and she tells him she hates to eat alone. Could he possibly.....?
So they had dinner together. And he agreed to play tennis with her at the country club the next day. Jessica constantly invented new excuses to keep seeing him. She played on his sympathy, building in him a sense of obligation. Ned was too polite to refuse her, and before he knew it he was spending all his free time with Jessica.
Then, slowly, she began to drop little hints into their conversations. They were innocent ones at first: "Isn't it nice that we have so much fun together, Ned?" That kind of thing. Gradually, though, the hints got heavier. "Wouldn't it be great if we got close - I mean, really close?" she'd say.
  And then she mentioned marriage. Ned had a feeling she was planning something, scheming, and so he proposed to her to string her along until he figured out what it was. Doesn't work out the way he thought it would.
I recommend this book to Drew fans. I really loved it. It was different than the others, especially since there was only one suspect.
This book was so funny. Nancy has to be mean to Jessica to keep her from getting suspicious, and it's hilarious.
Nancy: "What a 'sweet' dress. It makes you look so young and innocent."
Jessica: [smirk] "Oh, that's why I bought it. Ned says he hates it when girls try to look older than they are. He says it's immature."
Nancy: "Really? That's odd. Ned told me loves the sophisticated look. He said he likes girls who've got the figure to carry it off."
Nancy gives Jessica a hand mirror.
Jessica: "Oh, how lovely!"
Nancy: "I thought you'd like it. You strike me as the kind of girl who likes to look at herself a lot."
Jessica: "Why, you little -" [runs to Ned with an outraged cry]
  And there was another scene I love too. Nancy and Ned meet at the mall, where Ned's supposed to meet Jessica later. They're kissing and Jessica spots them. So then Nancy has to really make an act to convince her that their kiss was a farewell.
Nancy fakes tears: "You're horrible, Jessica! I'm going to make you pay!"
Jessica [taken aback]: "Huh? What for? What are you talking about?"
Nancy works herself into a rage. "Me and Ned. The two of us had something really special - until you came along!"
Jessica smiles, gleefully takes the bait: "Oh, I get it. You think I stole him. Well, I've got news for you. Stealing isn't my style. You lost him. You didn't try hard enough."
  "That's not true. I love him!" Nancy wails.
Jessica starts to drag Ned away.
Nancy grabs his arm. "Ned! You can't leave me like this!"
Ned: "Nancy, it's over."
"Forget it. Let go of my arm!"
  Nancy holds on, tears flowing down her cheeks.
Jessica [furious]: "Let go of him. It's over."
Jessica pries Nancy's fingers off Ned's arm and pushes her headfirst into the mall fountain. Nancy gets completely soaked from head to toe, and Jessica storms off with Ned.
Is it just me, or did this seem funny?

Two Points to Murder

I present to you the cover. Is it just me, or is there something wrong with Nancy's face? And what's up with her hair? I'm also not sure about the all-green outfit she's wearing. Anyway, I'm not sure who the guy in the background is. It can't be the coach, Pat Burnett, because he's described as having silvery gray hair and in his late fifties. Hmm. And there's the dummy in the background. Apparently no one's taken it down. What confuses me is that in the book, it says that a sign was painted on the front of it saying 'Death To The Wildcats!' when in fact there is no sign at all. All I can make out are the words 'si' on the front.
Okay here's the case:

If Nancy solves this case, she'll lose Ned - for good
All Nancy has to do is catch the practical joker who's terrorizing the Emerson College basketball team - the team Ned plays for. But then the jokes turn deadly - and Nancy's main suspect is Ned's best friend!
When Nancy tells Ned her suspicions, he blows up. He says she's forgotten how to trust people and he wants her to leave Mike alone. Nancy can't stop now - too many people are getting hurt. But if she solves this case, can she hold on to the boy she loves?

Again, very true to the story. I actually hated this book mainly because Nancy and Ned are fighting, and I'm a huge Ned fan. I'll tell you this - they do end up breaking up. Temporarily, though. Don't worry.
The suspects:
Mike O'Shea - co-captain of the team and Ned's good friend. Ned swears he's innocent. So why is there incriminating evidence in his room?
Ray Ungar - he was dropped from the team for bad grades. Now he's bitter. Would he sabotage the Wildcats for revenge?
Tom Stafford - student council president. He's on a crusade to get the athletics budget cut. How far is he willing to go - all the way to murder?

So basically Nancy suspects Ned's best friend and team member, Mike O'Shea, and when she tells Ned her suspicions he really hits the roof. They have a really big fight, one that doesn't end up being resolved by the end of the book. Nancy's dead set on catching the prankster, who may very well be Mike O'Shea, and Ned's furious at her for thinking such horrible things about his teammate. I have to admit Nancy really does mess up in this book. I mean, she almost gets herself killed just trying to prove that she's right. And she even suspects Ned of being bribed to sabotage his own team. Ned! I really don't blame him for getting furious. He saved Nancy's life plenty of times and he's an excellent boyfriend, and yet she still suspects of being involved in dirty tricks. Ugh. Nancy, Nancy, Nancy.
   So anyway at the end Nancy and Ned do end up breaking up. Ned tells Nancy he feels unappreciated, that she takes him for granted, and that she's forgotten how to trust people. He says they can still try to be friends, but that they should see other people. And then he walks off and Nancy starts crying.
Actually this is a very good book; suspenseful, exciting. The only reason I disliked it was the Nancy and Ned part. But it really is a good mystery book.
  And on to False Moves.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Hit and Run Holiday

Here's the cover. Personally I think Nancy could be wearing a better {cough} swimsuit. I'm not sure how her sunglasses are staying on her head, given that they look like they're about to fall off. And there's Dirk in the background, looking all smooth and too-good-to-be-true. Somehow I imagined him looking different. But whatever. And there's Nancy again in the background, freaking out because she's been tied to the edge of the dock and the tide's rising.
  Anyway here's the case:

 A friend's near-murder plunges Nancy into a dark tangle of clues on Florida's sunny beaches.....
Sun, surf and boys are all Nancy, Bess and George have on their minds when they cruise into Ft. Lauderdale for a week of fun. But that changes abruptly when their friend Kim, who's been in town for a week already, is struck by a hit-and-run driver - and not by accident.

   As Kim lies close to death, Nancy sets out to find the driver. Her only clue is the name "Rosita" - Kim's last word before losing consciousness. Nancy combs the beaches for a face to match the name, but all she finds are handsome guys eager for romance and a jumble of clues that lead nowhere. Suddenly, the would-be killer strikes again. But this time it is Nancy who is wanted dead.

 It's remarkably true to the story. Actually Kim doesn't fall into a coma right after she's hit - that happens a little later. But don't worry, I'm not going to actually tell you who the culprit is. I've had that happen before when I was reading reviews to some of the books and I hated it. So don't worry, no spoilers here.
 Okay, the details:

The suspects are:
Ricardo: the lifeguard with a mean streak who knows Kim. He was at the scene of the accident, but he's not telling Nancy anything.
Rosita: Nancy found her photo in Kim's room, but the girl seems to have disappeared.
Dirk Bowman - the blond young man Bess met at the beach becomes very interested in Nancy and her case - maybe too interested.

The complications: Kim is near death, and Nancy's top suspect has just been murdered. Nancy, George and Bess set out to trap the killer on a midnight sail - a cruise that turns out to be a party to nowhere.
Contact: Nancy is called by Kim's mother, who is worried about her daughter because Kim has decided to stay an extra week in Ft. Lauderdale. Nancy doesn't think much of it - but the case turns out to be much more dangerous than she imagined.

You know, I always feel sorry for Bess and George. On almost every one of Nancy's cases in the Files, they get dragged into it. They either have to stake out a suspect's house or go running around with Nancy trying to catch some dangerous criminal. If I were their parents I don't think I'd be letting them hang out with her anymore. You know what I mean?
I also find it strange that Nancy never seems to carry a cell-phone. Like ever. In the older version I'll let that pass since it is, you know, the older version, but the Files are newer. And let's face it, a cell-phone would be a very handy device for some of the situations Nancy gets herself into. But no, she never carries a cell-phone. Or any kind of phone. Anyone else think this is a little strange? And how come her father never knows what's happening with her? She could be dead and he wouldn't know until about three weeks later. Maybe longer. Hmmm....
Anyway, all in all a very good book. An excellent book, in fact. Five stars. I read it in a day.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

White Water Terror

I give you, the cover. Yeah, pretty awful. Nancy looks extremely ugly, what with the black eyes and everything, and Max...well, personally I don't think he's very good looking. Maybe that's just me though. Yeah, this is one of the worst covers. Thankfully they're not all like this, but some come pretty close.

The case: When George wins a rafting trip on a wild Montana river, Nancy and Ned agree it's time for a vacation. Bess is persuaded to go because there will be boys in the group. But a sinister telephone warning and two near-fatal "accidents" soon put the vacation on ice and Nancy and her friends on guard.
Then when one raft capsizes and another is sliced to ribbons, it's obvious someone is sabotaging the trip. Everyone is a suspect - until one of the rafters is killed and another disappears. It's clear that Nancy and her friends are being stalked by a ruthless murderer. But why? If Nancy doesn't find some answers soon, she can kiss her vacation - and her life - goodbye.

The Suspects: Max, a master rafter with a troubled past. He seems interested in Bess, but is it just a ploy?

Tod, an immature loudmouth who plays with dangerous toys, like firecrackers - and switchblades.

Mercedes, Paula's cousin. She's watching Nancy's every move - and rifling through Nancy's backpack.

Complications: Both rafts are lost - one swept away, one sabotaged. Then Max and Paula disappear. Nancy has to get the group out of the wilderness alive. But that isn't easy when a maniac starts to stalk them - and the main target is Nancy Drew!

Contact: Paula Hancock, the leader of the rafting expedition. Nancy has never seen her before. So why does Paula seem so familiar?

My review: Despite the cover, this is actually a very good book. Suspenseful and intriguing, and the culprit was difficult to guess. I'll give it five stars.

Murder on Ice

Well, the cover is better than most. Nancy looks more like fifteen or sixteen, though, and I have no clue who that guy in the very back is. It can't be Ned, he's a lot younger than that. I don't know.

The case: A weekend on the slopes is just what Nancy and Ned need to rekindle their romance. Joined by Bess and George, they head for the mountains - and run straight into deadly peril. First, Nancy's towline breaks, then she and Ned careen toward cliff's edge in an out-of-control Jeep! Among the suspects is a good-looking ski instructor who's already got George falling for him. Nancy's got to move fast - before an avalanche of murder buries them all!

  The Suspects: Luke Ericsen - the handsome ski instructor has a mysterious - and maybe murderous - past.

Michael Price - the handsome, helpful stranger saved Nancy's life, but she's sure he has a dark motive.

Gunther - the cheerful German student is enjoying an American vacation. He came to the lodge for fun - or could he be there for revenge?

Complications: George has fallen hard for Luke Ericsen. How can Nancy tell her that Luke might be a killer? Then a blizzard cuts the lodge off from the rest of the world, and Nancy, Bess, Ned, and George find their lives on the line!

Contact: Liz Whitcomb, the owner of the lodge. She wants Nancy's help - but does she have something to hide too?

Pretty good. It's another one of my favorites, though there are a few things about it that bother me. For instance, Nancy goes behind Luke's back and uses the towline even after he's told her not to. It's not his fault she almost got into a serious accident.

''There's a rickety old tow rope I use when I'm checking the chair lift," Luke said, "but it's a very steep trail and I'm not letting anyone but an expert mess around on it."
"What makes you think I'm not an expert?" Nancy said hotly, but Luke just turned away without answering.
Wouldn't it have been great if Luke just snickered and said, "Everything about you."? Yeah, that would have been better.

'Nancy was always modest, even though her detective work had earned her an international reputation.' There's something about that line that bothered me, though I'm not exactly sure why.

Over all, though, this book was very good. Exciting and hard to put down. I'll give it 5 stars.