Saturday, February 21, 2015

Sunday Post #83

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey

This has been a good week, although reading time has been mixed. It's been COLD, a good time to curl up with a book and a hot chocolate or a nice latte. The big news this week was a performance by The Real Group at our local arts venue. If you're not familiar with the Real Group, they're a quintet of a cappella singers from Stockholm. They were fabulous.

Here's a clip of them singing Silent Night. They are such a versatile, eclectic group.

My Hardy Boys project has grown a bit, I'm going to include other books - look for upcoming Trixie Belden reviews as well. I've also added The Happy Hollisters to the list- not only do I think they will be a great nostalgia read, but they were written by Andrew E. Svenson, who wrote many of the original Hardy Boys books for the Stratemeyer Syndicate. I'll be discovering these for the first time. I hope you'll join me.

This past week I reviewed The secret of Pirates Hill, and this week I'll have my thoughts on The Girl On The Train.


 The Girl on the Train The Happy Hollisters at Sea Gull Beach (Happy Hollisters, #3) The Mystery Off Glen Road (Trixie Belden, #5)


The Attic discusses fan fiction.

Read Me Away reviews The Lost Hero by Richard Riordan.

Books Are Life reviews The Fellowship of the Ring.

Tales Between The PAges reviews Bon Appetempt.

Ciao Amalfi talks about lasagna, and goats in the road.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Secret of Pirates Hill

The Secret of Pirates' Hill (Hardy Boys, #36)

The Secret of Pirates Hill has the  Hardy boys in search of a lost treasure off the coast of Bayport- near a sandy dunes area known as, you guessed it, Pirates Hill. This one starts off with a bang, as Frank and Joe are skin diving when another diver shoots speargun at them. Frank is nearly killed and they return to Bayport, where they are approached by a man who wants to hire them- to find a cannon. He offers them a thousand dollars to find it. Frank is skeptical of the man and his offer, and sure enough when their dad checks on him he finds that the man is a fake. He may also be involved in a swindling case that the elder Hardy investigating. Mr. Hardy advises the boys to stay friendly with the man, to earn his trust- it amazes me how he encourages the boys to put themselves in danger.

The girlfriends show up early in this one. They are all supposed to have a fourth of July beach party, complete with a clambake, but someone is watching them so Frank and Joe rush off to give chase. The trail leads to a possible connection between the man who hired them, and a man on a motorcycle who has been suspicious. As they investigate further they find that a missing treasure dates back to the 1700's.

Fourth of July arrives and as they prepare for their beach party another man in a boat warns them off, telling them he saw a stingray in the area. When they see someone else in the man's boat they get suspicious and try to get close, but the boat takes off. Hmm. They have their feast on the beach, and everyone is enjoying themselves but Joe sees someone on the hill watching them. After this the gang heads back to Bayport for fireworks, but they are in for a surprise one of the rockets is shot right at them and their boat!

The boys put together that one or more parties are looking for an old treasure in the Pirates Hill area. They soon find a message written in Portuguese that gives a clue as to the location, and they are off. They find a suitable place to dig, and after some help from an old timer who lives out there, they hit the jackpot. They also discover that a cannonball fired at the right angle will show the location of the treasure. They prepare to dive after the treasure when someone tries that, obliterating their pal Tony's boat. They survive but Tony's boat is history. All that remains is to find the treasure. Maybe Tony will get a new boat after all.

I didn't like this one as much as The Short Wave Mystery (reviewed last week), in spite of an interesting premise this one felt just average. As usual, i like the small touches- parties on the beach, the time spent with friends - the world was different when these were written, simpler perhaps- so yes they are nostalgia reads, but I also think in some ways they are a valuable glimpse into a different time, and I am enjoying them for that. The mysteries for me are not even the draw, instead I am enjoying the glimpse into a different time, and enjoying the interactions between the friends. I'm interetsed to see where the Hardy Boys take me next.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Sunday Post #82

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey

Another quiet week on the blog, I got some reading done and I've been binging on Agent Carter (that show rocks). If you haven't been watching it I highly recommend it, it's a lot of fun. 

My Hardy Boys project is going well, I reviewed The Short-Wave Mystery here. I'm enjoying this so much I've sketched out an informal schedule through March or so- in addition to my usual reads, I'll be doing more of these reviews and may include some other ones as well. I read Trixie Belden as a kid so I may give those a try. So keep an eye out for The Mystery off Glen road in the next few weeks. I appreciate everyone who comes by to comment on these- it's been fun to go a bit retro! 

I purchased some art from one of my favorite artists this week- you can click here and here to see some of my favorites. 

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone celebrating it. 


TUE: The Secret of Pirates Hill
THUR: My Thoughts on Agent Carter 


The Secret of the Lost Tunnel (Hardy Boys, #29) The Girl on the Train


The Attic interviewed Rather Be Reading YA last week

Read Me away announced their Away To Fairy Tale Land event- you can check that out here.

Fantasy Is More Fun and Books Movies Reviews Oh MY had some fun posts this week- they invited several cozy mystery writers to write competing endings to a mystery setup. Check out their posts- they were a lot of fun.

This week's transmission from the Hearts of space- Wintertones.

And since I'm loving Agent Carter so much- here's a couple clips.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Short Wave Mystery

The Short-Wave Mystery (Hardy Boys, #24)

The Short Wave Mystery is this weeks foray into the Hardy boys stories, and it's a good one. The Hardys are spending some time with their short-wave ham radio when then hear a garbled message- perhaps being scrambled? Their suspicions are aroused but before they can give it much thought, they are contacted by their pal Chet Morton, who has taken up a new hobby- taxidermy. Chet has a habit of taking up new hobbies- and they often factor into the mysteries. Chet asks them to come to an auction with him, where some taxidermy stuff will be up for sale, and they agree. True to form, the plot picks up quickly, and at the auction some thieves make off with some of the exhibits. They practically run the boys down in the process. Naturally they give chase, but the perps get away

Their dad then comes home from Europe and reports that his current case is industrial espionage- someone is stealing commercial aircraft secrets that could have military applications. And guess what - there's a link to taxidermy. No way! Shortly afterward the boys are asked investigate the theft of the exhibits. Later when the boys are listening to their ham radio they hear a coded message- could it be the gang their dad is after? As the story progresses they hear more coded messages which gives them valuable clues. The espionage and theft are related, and as the boys trace the clues down they find themselves in more dangerous situations, culminating in a trip to Canada and a showdown at a remote hunting lodge. I thought this was a nice touch, and provided a tense conclusion to a fine story.

I liked this one quite a bit, it has the usual coincidences and unrealistic elements,but I think this is one of the best ones I've read. I especially liked the short-wave radio element. I remember this when I was growing up, and thought it would be neat to do ham radio stuff. So this probably appealed to me as a kid, and still does today. There's a lot of old time goodness in this one, actually. Stops at diners, old fashioned family values, the kids are respectful, and it's just a very comfortable read. There's also a lot of food in this one- the boys' Aunt gertrude is constantly whipping up something for them to eat, and they're always having cocoa and cookies it seems like. There is some good chow going on at the Hardy household! I enjoyed this one a lot, and it has a lot of fun stuff going on.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Sunday Post #81

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey

It's been a quiet week on the blog. Not much going on, got some reading done- not a lot- but some reviews are on the way. Went out to Carabba's today (love that place), but other than that it's a quiet weekend too.  Maybe I'll get some reading done tonight. 

My Hardy Boys project is well underway, with two reviews up and more to come. I'm having a lot of fun picking out which ones to read, and it's fun revisiting that world again. It's been a long time...  I just finished The Short- Wave Mystery and my thoughts will be up on Tuesday. I'm thinking of expanding this to include other vintage juveniles as well. It is nice to go back and see how they hold up. 


The Wailing Siren Mystery 


The Short-Wave Mystery (Hardy Boys, #24) Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman: A Mystery


The Secret of Pirates' Hill (Hardy Boys, #36) The Girl on the Train


Bronze Age Babies discusses Agent Carter, and had a very interesting post on the Captain America movie.

Caffeinated Book Reviewer reviews The Girl On The Train.

Between My Lines reviews First frost by Sarah Addison.

Ciao Amalfi was nominated for Best Blog by Italy Magazine.

Bookd On A Feeling reviews Winter At The Door. I think I may need to get this one

Curious about George RR Martins's original plans for A Song of Ice and Fire? You can check out here.

Are you a Heart of Space fan? This week's transmission.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Wailing Siren Mystery

The Wailing Siren Mystery (Hardy Boys, #30)

In this installment of the Hardy Boys we start off with the boys on a boat ride when a nasty storm comes up. Their motor gives out and while they are trying to fix it they see a yacht in the distance. They send an SOS but get no response. Shortly thereafter a helicopter appears, and they hear a wailing siren. Something is dropped in the water near them, and when they fish it out of the drink they find two thousand dollars in it! The boys report it to the police, and place an ad in the paper mentioning the money has been found, but not how much.

In the midst of this their friend Chet shows up and mentions that his truck has just been stolen. Unfortunately it was full of his uncle's high powered hunting rifles, as well as camping supplies that Chet had purchased for an upcoming camping trip. Oops. Chet left the keys in the truck. Smart. The Hardy's manage to track down the truck, but the loot is gone. The boys are thinking about how to find the stolen items when Frank goes to see if there has been a response to their ad. Turns out there has. Someone dropped off a note telling them to hang onto the money pending further instructions -and it's signed Rainy Night. Ah ha! The game is afoot.

Frank notices as he leaves that he is followed, and later they find glasses under a window at their home- someone has evidently taken an interest in them. That evening Frank is abducted while heading to his girlfriends house, and a cage arrives with two carrier pigeons. Apparently this is how the money is to be transported. Okaaaay. Frank, meanwhile, manages to free himself and once reunited, they release one of the pigeons and attempt to track it, but are unsuccessful. At this point they find out that their dad's current case involves missing money and possible gunrunning to Central America, and they think that perhaps this is related to the two thousand dollars they found. Coincidences like this are the stuff of a Hardy Boys story!

The boys then go camping in the North Woods, the area where they suspect Chet's missing items are stashed. It's also where Frank was held when he was kidnapped- so it's kinda bizarre that their dad encourages them to go there, after Mrs. Hardy remarks that she would like the thugs to not know where the boys are. Yeah- send them away to a dangerous area! So Frank, Joe and their friends Chet, Biff and Tony head into the woods. That night they are awakened by a wailing siren. Hmm.

They soon put together that something has been happening at sea with the yacht and helicopter, and so they head back out. They are followed and attacked, and from there we get a thrilling boat chase and a showdown with the gunrunners, and their dad shows up to save the day at just the right time with the state police. This  one was good- not the best I've read, but it has its moments.

The cover on this one is probably one of my favorites.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Sunday Post #80 The Sun Is Out

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey

This was a good week, I didn't do a lot of reading but I did get a few reviews up. Going into February my reading is wide open- I have a few in mind but nothing set in stone yet. Vintage Science Fiction Month is wrapping up and has been a lot of fun You can check out the reviews at #VintageSciFi. 

This morning the sun is out and it looks like  nice day. We've actually had a few days now with sunshine, it hasn't been a bad week. I hope everyone out east who got blasted is staying warm and comfortable. 

Last week I also started my Hardy Boys project. Basically I'm going to revisit selected books and share my thoughts on them- the good and the bad. I started with The Secret of the Caves and will have another one up this week. It should be fun. I'm going to read them randomly, based on my mood and the cover art instead of in order, so I'll be jumping around a bit- but I think it will be more fun that way.   


The Secret of the Caves
Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore 


TUE: The Wailing Siren Mystery 


Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman: A Mystery 


Angela's Anxious Life spotlights Find Momo. You have to check this out- how fun. 

If you're curious about Mr. Penumbra's you can check out a prequel of sorts here... for $2.99. It's Mr. Penumbra 1969... set during the summer of love. Groovy baby. 

Of dragons and Hearts reviews Eleanor and PArk.

Little Red Reviewer has a roundup of the Vintage Science Fiction Month reviews here. Handy dandy. 

Snap Happy Gal has some nice shots

No Winds of Winter this year- are you surprised? The publisher has said it won't be this year- so this seals the deal that we will get the end of this story on TV. The good news, however, is that we will get a new edition of the hedge Knight stories later this year. 

I have not seen Agent Carter yet but this clip got some attention this week- do the moves look familiar?