Nostalgic Bookshelf

Snarky recaps of nostalgic media, including Making Out, Baywatch, Blyton and Baby-Sitter's Club
17
Oct 2018

Famous Five 8: Five Get into Trouble by Enid Blyton

Title: Five get into Trouble

The Famous Five #8: Five Get Into Trouble

Summary: Curious about the big house on Owl’s Hill, the Five go into the grounds one night….only to find that the big wrought-iron gates have closed mysteriously behind them.

Initial Thoughts:

Everything about that summary is wrong. For one thing, they don’t go into the grounds because of some random curiosity about the house; they go LOOKING for the house for reasons. For another, more important, thing, that ellipsis should have three dots, not four, because the sentence doesn’t end during the dot part.

Anyway. I remember loving this book, and my own copy is incredibly battered and soft.

But what I DON’T remember is ever being aware of how bloody old Julian is in this. Okay, if book six was set at Easter, and they were thirteen (Anne), fourteen (George and Dick), and fifteen (Julian), and book seven is the following Easter (so…they’re the same ages?), then THIS book, which is Easter again, is another year entirely. JULIAN IS SIXTEEN? In my head Julian is never that old. Even Anne is fourteen by now. [Dove: I think the last book was summer from the comments about the moors being cold in the summer, but it wasn’t clear. But otherwise your maths lines up with mine.]

That…that isn’t how I ever thought of them, when I was young and reading these. It completely changes everything. THE FAMOUS FIVE ARE OLD ENOUGH TO BE POINT HORROR CHARACTERS.

…damn, now I want to read that. Five Find a Body. Five Accidentally Run Someone Over. Five and the Kirrin Island Phantom. Five Visit Fear Street. [Dove: *blink* Well, I think we’ve found Necro’s NaNo project!] [Necromommycon:OMG, that sounds like fun. I think I have to try this. ] [Wing: Well this sounds delightful.]

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11
Oct 2018

Image result for happy birthday molly american girl

Title: Happy Birthday, Molly! – A Springtime Story

Author: Valerie Tripp

Illustrator: Nick Backes

Summary: Molly is excited to learn that an English girl is coming to stay at the McIntires’, and just in time for Molly’s birthday! But Emily Bennett turns out to be different from the glamorous girl Molly pictured. Emily is shy, and she seems unfriendly. Then Molly discovers that Emily is worried about her family in war-torn London, just as Molly is worried about her father, and the girls become good friends. They even plan to turn Molly’s tenth birthday celebration into a real English tea party. But they can’t agree about what’s important, and it takes a special birthday surprise to patch up their hurt feelings.

Initial Thoughts

I’m really ashamed of myself because of how late this is. Between work and getting sick and things just being God awful over here, I really slipped up and now I have to scramble before the year ends.

This one was difficult to re-read because a lot of the characters display a nasty side that wasn’t totally present in the last few books. But it also presents a much more sobering look at what life during wartime was like for these girls, in a manner different than Molly’s fears about her father’s life. But mainly, this book introduces Emily Bennett, who becomes a semi-reoccurring character in the “Molly” books. She even received her own spotlight tale, “Brave Emily.”

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10
Oct 2018
Making Out #9: Zoey Plays Games by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Making Out #9: Zoey Plays Games by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Title: Zoey Plays Games

Front Blurb: Life was bliss for Zoey and Lucas until Aaron showed up on the island. Now Aaron wants Zoey. Claire wants Aaron and Zoey’s got a secret that EVERYONE is talking about. How long before Lucas finds out that Zoey Plays Games

Back Blurb: Zoey plays games with Aaron and sets off a wave of broken hearts. Because Lucas is in love with Zoey, Claire has vowed to make Aaron her own. But the island is too small for big secrets.

Initial thoughts:

I don’t remember this book. It’s Zoey story, so that’s probably why.

Fun fact- this is the first Making Out book that wasn’t written by Grapplegate – they handed the series over to ghostwriters from book 9. Also, there are also no more reprints for these later books, so it’s firmly nostalgia from here onwards.

[Dove: Oh good, a Zoey book. You know how highly I regard the Passmore family in general, and Zoey in particular. This is the point where I really got sick of her nonsense, I think.]

[Wing: I’m pretty sure life wasn’t bliss for Zoey and Lucas, book, but cool. Coooool.]

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9
Oct 2018
My Little Pony (Gen 1)

My Little Pony (Gen 1)

Title: The Ghost of Paradise Estate (Parts 3-4)

Summary: So far: Paradise Estate was haunted, except it wasn’t, it was a shapeshifting bird called Pluma, who’s on orders from Squirk, some kind of evil red squid with a purple lobster sidekick to… I don’t know, do something. Pluma ties up the ponies, and steals/moves/destroys/something Paradise Estate, but the ponies free themselves, and shit’s about to get real, yo.

Grade: C

I will refer to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic as FiM, to save typing it all the time.

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3
Oct 2018
The Baby-Sitters Club #9: The Ghost at Dawn’s House by Ann M. Martin

The Baby-Sitters Club #9: The Ghost at Dawn’s House by Ann M. Martin

Title: The Baby-Sitters Club #9: The Ghost at Dawn’s House by Ann M. Martin

Summary: Dawn has always thought there was a secret passage hidden in her house. But she never thought there was a ghost… until now. All kinds of creepy things go on whenever Dawn’s at home. There are even spooky noises behind her bedroom wall!

Dawn is sure there’s a ghost in her house. And so are the other baby-sitters. But they’re so busy with their baby-sitting jobs that they hardly have time for a ghost hunt. Will Dawn and her friends ever solve the mystery, or will Dawn have to share her house… with a ghost?

Tagline: Creaky stairs, spooky noises, secret passages — it must be a ghost!

Initial Thoughts

That tagline sure did escalate quickly! I’m thrilled to be recapping this one. I love Dawn, I love ghost stories and secret passages and spooky noises. It’s September, which means my Halloween horror season has already begun, because I believe in long celebrations. [Necromommycon: Me too, me too! I’m already into my ancient-horror-movie binge, which starts up in late summer with monster beach movies and continues on through Halloween. And we’ve got costumes and some interior decorations happening, too. I hold off on the outdoor stuff until the end of the month because the neighbours have enough to put up with, I think.] [Wing: Some of my neighbours have put up their decorations and I am so thrilled I’m actually considering sending them a thank you card.] [Dove: *sigh* Being English sucks.]

We’re going to have a good, good time.

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25
Sep 2018
My Little Pony (Gen 1)

My Little Pony (Gen 1)

Title: The Ghost of Paradise Estate (Parts 1-2)

Summary: The Ponies finally remember that, hey, The Moochick gave us a wonderful play set of condos named Paradise Estate! We better move into them! (Dream Castle who?) But, of course, because this is Ponyland, there’s a ghost haunting Paradise Estate and that ghost wants the Ponies OUT. But when is anything ever as it seems in Ponyland? And what should be a simple fix is never the case! (Magical powers? How don’t those work!)

Grade: D

Initial Thoughts:

Hello and welcome back, that is if you’ve actually decided to return after the nightmare that was The End of Flutter Valley, the never-ending saga that kicked off this series of G1 MLP cartoon recaps by Dove and I. THANKFULLY Flutter Valley has been “saved” (boo, hiss) and we’ve moved on to… well, just as stupid things. This is the My Little Pony cartoon series. Don’t set your bar too high. But no more Flutter Valley. I think?

I just want to point out that, unconsciously, we somehow manged to near-sync this recap with the original air dates! Which were September 29 & 30 and October 1 & 2, 1986. Yeah, it’s super weird and entirely unintentional. Can’t say this will happen for the next batch but hey, celebrate when you can, amirite?

Thus begins the “spooky” 4-parter, The Ghost of Paradise Estate! (BUY OUR MERCH!) Let’s jump right in, shall we?

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20
Sep 2018
Famous Five #7: Five Go Off to Camp by Enid Blyton

Famous Five #7: Five Go Off to Camp by Enid Blyton

Title: Famous Five #7: Five Go Off to Camp by Enid Blyton

Summary: Spook trains in the dead of night! And they seem to vanish into thin air – but where do they go? The Famous Five are on to it! But discovery of an unusual underground tunnel system, and a secret train-service, has them puzzled. If they follow the tracks, will they solve the mystery?

Initial Thoughts

Spook trains, secret, underground tunnels, and a mystery? Sounds like a typical Blyton holiday. And also like an A++ story for me to recap. Halloween season starts 1 September and so we are well into it. SPOOK TRAINS AND GO.

[Dove: I always wished that we could have a supernatural Famous Five – like the way Sweet Valley would leap off into the supernatural and then do an Etch-A-Sketch reset.]

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11
Sep 2018
The End of Flutter Valley (G1 Cover)

The End of Flutter Valley (G1 Cover)

Title: The End of Flutter Valley (Parts 9-10)

Summary: The ponies are on their way to Flutter Valley for the Sun Tuesday celebration with the Flutter Ponies. Meanwhile, the Witches from the Volcano of Gloom are busy hatching a plan to destroy Flutter Valley and the ponies, allying with an army of giant bees to get their revenge on the Flutter Ponies. The bees steal the precious Sun Stone, and if the Flutter Ponies can’t get it back, their home will be destroyed.

The End of Flutter Valley (G2 Cover... why?)

The End of Flutter Valley (G2 Cover… why?)

Grade:

[Dove: D- (see Final Thoughts for my reasoning)]

[bat: D]

Recap:

Just so you know, instead of running around like headless chickens and trying to recap 2 hours’ worth of episodes between the two of us in a single post, we have decided to do this in two-episode batches. Also, if any one person had to recap this whole thing, I think that person would resign.

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7
Sep 2018

That Alisa's so hot right now

Title: Alisa of the Silver Hair

Japanese Title: Gin’iro no Kami no Arisa

Author/Artist: Shinji Wada

Translaions: The Distaff Side & 4chan

Summary: As a child, the eponymous heroine is betrayed by three jealous friends who throw her into a pit and leave her to die. But Alisa perseveres: She trains herself to be smarter, faster, and more beautiful than any of them and returns for revenge. Years of living underground have left her with the silver hair of the title, so her victims can’t be sure whether the resemblance is real or only the product their guilty consciences…

Initial Thoughts

For July I wanted to do some more comic related posts for Point Horror and Nostalgic Bookshelf since it’s Comic Con International time. For Nostalgic Bookshelf, alongside the Molly recap I wanted to do a manga recap and a comic recap.

So “Alisa” is an obscure gem I learned of because of its creator, Shinji Wada. He’s the genius who created “Sukeban Deka,” a.k.a. “Delinquent Girl Detective.” It’s the story of Saki Asamiya, a juvenile delinquent recruited by the Japanese police force as an undercover detective within the country’s school system. Armed with a special yo-yo, Saki goes up against drug dealers, rapists, and international terrorists while the threat of her condemned mother’s execution is hung ovee her head.

But that is not this story.

“Alisa of the Silver Hair” is a very short story, only two chapters long, and came out years before “Sukeban Deka.” While I would’t say I’m the total authority on “Sukeban Deka” I’m familiar enough with it to realize “Alisa” appears to be some sort of prototype for “Sukeban.”

Alisa by Retrosofa

(Alisa by Retrosofa: Sal’s a big fan of Sukeban Deka so I thought he’d be a natural for a commission of Alisa)

Wada’s style evokes the shoujo tales of the 1970s, but his use of the tropes masks some truly sinister and depraved villains, many of whom are teenage girls. In fact, as pointed out over on Empty Movement, one of the later stories is eerily predictive of “Revolutionary Girl Utena,” a 90s anime masterpiece that deconstructs misogyny and incest in fiction through picking apart the Prince/Princess/Witch dynamic.

(Analysis on the story seen here: https://forums.ohtori.nu/viewtopic.php?id=2740)

Because no one talks about this story, and “Sukeban Deka” is pretty niche itself (the manga still hasn’t been officially distributed through English markets), I decided to do a recap to shed some light on this beautiful little story of vengeance. But no, I have no idea if her name is supposed to “Alisa” or if it’s “Arisa” and the name was romanized by the translation.

You can read the entire story here: https://mangadex.org/manga/6931/alisa-with-silver-hair

(TW for suicide)

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31
Aug 2018
Goosebumps 33 - Horror at Camp Jelly Jam by R L Stine

Goosebumps 33 – Horror at Camp Jelly Jam by R L Stine

Title: Goosebumps #33 – The Horror at Camp Jellyjam, a.k.a. “R.L. <3’s H.P.”

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus

Tagline: Tennis… canoeing… monsters, anyone?

Summary: Sometimes, Winning Is Everything!

Swimming, basketball, roller hockey, King Jellyjam’s Sports Camp has it all. Too bad Wendy isn’t a sports freak like her brother, Elliot. But how excited can you get about softball? It’s just a game, right?

WRONG!

Because Camp Jellyjam is no ordinary sports camp. And Wendy’s about to find out why. Why the counselors seem a little too happy. Why they’re a little too obsessed with winning. And why the ground is always rumbling late at night…

Initial Thoughts

Since it’s now summertime I wanted to surprise everyone with one of the legendary summer camp Goosebumps books. But I couldn’t decide which to choose from. I’d already recapped “Ghost Camp” last year on my birthday, but I decided to go with one of the classic books since I reviewed a 2000 book earlier this summer.

This is one of the most bizarre books from the first 62, and looking back on it as an adult I’ve come to realize this is probably R.L. Stine’s attempt at doing an H.P. Lovecraft-style tale, but for reasons I’ll have to explain in the Final Thoughts. Unfortunately, the big twist in this story has been spoiled numerous times by the various international additions’ covers and the Classic Goosebumps reprint. Even the Goosebumps Graphix adaption (drawn by the legendary Kyle Baker), has the twist spoiled by the cover.

[Wing: Stine doing Lovecraft? I’M SOLD.]

READ AT DEVIL’S ELBOW

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