Making Out #1: Zoey Fools Around by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

by Dove 10 January 2018
Making Out 1 - Zoey Fools Around by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Making Out 1 – Zoey Fools Around by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Front Cover Blurb: Ben heard it first, and he told Nina, who told Claire not to tell… but now EVERYBODY (except Jake) knows, and Claire’s wondering if she ought to say something because Jake ought to know that… Zoey Fools Around.

[Dove: Yeah, um, that’s not really what happens, that’s sort of the path of Ben’s theory of the crash, but no, doesn’t relate to Zoey fooling around.]

[Wing: I think it’s like that game where you write something, cover it up, and the next person writes the next scene without seeing what you wrote. No one writing the cover blurb got to see what was written for the back blurb or for the book itself.]

Back Cover Blurb: Zoey fools around and it turns their world upside-down. New couples are formed, friends become enemies and secrets are unearthed…

Initial Thoughts

One thing I love about this series is the wacky formats they throw in there, journal entries, quizzes, one week squashed into a daily countdown. I’m not being sarcastic, I genuinely love this about them.

[Wing: I used to work in publishing, and while this sort of thing can be difficult to work with when designing the book itself, as a reader, I love when publishers include it, including pieces in the character’s handwriting, as long as it’s legible (unlike in the original Baby-Sitters Club books). The daily countdown is probably my favourite formatting trick the authors use.]

… continue reading Making Out #1: Zoey Fools Around by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Mermaid Saga #10 – 11: Mermaid’s Scar by Rumiko Takahashi

by jude 9 January 2018

Cover of Mermaid's Scar by Rumiko TakahashiTitle: Mermaid Saga Chapters 10 & 11 – Mermaid’s Scar

Author/Artist: Rumiko Takahashi

Cover Summary: N/A

Initial Thoughts

For Wing’s birthday I’m recapping the best part of Mermaid Saga by far. I know it’s my favorite, certainly. It gets to showcase how freaking awesome Mana is. [Wing: This month is full of fun recap surprises for me. I’m thrilled!]

This is the second story besides Mermaid’s Forest to be adapted more than once, receiving an OVA in the 90s and included in the TV series from the 2000s. Personally, I feel the OVA is the better of the two adaptions, sporting rather beautiful early 90s anime art.

I only defer to this version when I need commission reference for Mana and Yuta.

I’ve watched the English dub, which used to be on Youtube, but you can still find the original version online somewhere. They still haven’t released it on an official DVD, but luckily I’ve got the complete soundtrack on CD. What shocked me about the dub was learning Yuta’s voice actor was Jason Gray-Stanford, who also voiced Sherlock Holmes in “Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century,” and was RANDY DISHER, the dorky police detective, on “Monk.”

This is also one of the bloodiest stories in the series. And, keep in mind, this is one of those stories where we, the readers, know more about what the villain is really up to before the main characters do. Also, a bit of clarification. One character never got a name in the actual story, but the OVA dubbed her “Misa,” so I’ll be referring to her by that name.


Sweet Valley Twins #37: The War Between the Twins

by Dove 8 January 2018
Sweet Valley Twins 37: The War Between the Twins by Jamie Suzanne

Sweet Valley Twins 37: The War Between the Twins by Jamie Suzanne

Title: The War Between the Twins

Tagline: The twins are fighting mad… at each other!

Summary: Bitter rivals…

Jessica Wakefield has written an article about the Unicorn Club for the class newspaper The Sweet Valley Sixers. As its editor, her twin sister Elizabeth has promised to run the article in the very next issue. But when Elizabeth has to take Jessica’s article out at the last minute, Jessica is furious!

Jessica and her fellow Unicorns decide to teach Elizabeth a lesson by starting their own paper, The Unicorn News. Before long, it’s clear that Sweet Valley Middle School isn’t big enough for two newspapers, and Jessica’s begins to take the lead. Will Elizabeth’s beloved Sixers be able to hold its own against the sensational news that the Unicorns print?



Baby-Sitters Club #1: Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M. Martin

by Wing 3 January 2018
The Baby-Sitters Club 1: Kristy's Great Idea by Ann M Martin

The Baby-Sitters Club 1: Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M Martin

Title: Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M. Martin

Summary: When Kristy Thomas has the great idea to form a baby-sitters club–a chance to earn money and spend time with her friends, all while doing something they each love to do–she has no idea how much the club will change everything.

Crank calls, uncontrollable toddlers, wild pets, untruthful clients . . . running a business is hard work! Kristy and her co-founders, Mary Anne, Claudia, and Stacey, are sure they can handle anything. But only if they stick together . . .

Tagline: Four friends and baby-sitting–what could be more fun?

Initial Thoughts

Well, here we are, kicking off 2018 and Nostalgic Bookshelf with my favorite cheesy contemporary preteen series, The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M. Martin. Unlike the Sweet Valley books, I read these obsessively, and still sometimes reread them as an adult. I was a baby-sitter from a young age, and I loved the focus on friends and having adventures together. I’m excited to revisit them now, with a recapper’s eye.

My favourite baby-sitters before recapping: Dawn, Stacey, Claudia, Abby, Jessi, and Shannon.

Least favourite: Kristy, Mary Anne, and Logan.

Say hello to your friends, everyone. We’re in this for the long haul.

[Dove: And I have never read any of these before, so this is Wing’s payback for Sweet Valley. And I’m cool with that.]

… continue reading Baby-Sitters Club #1: Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M. Martin

Nightmare Hall #8: The Experiment by Diane Hoh

by Wing 2 January 2018

Diane Hoh Nightmare Hall 8 The ExperimentTitle: Nightmare Hall #8: The Experiment

Summary: Professor Maximillian DeLure. Award-winning poet, scientist, and professor at Salem University. Dark, sexy, attractive…dangerous. Caryl Amberly is excited to be one of the few students specially selected for his new seminar. Until she finds out what his previous students think of him. Everyone says he’s a real killer. And they’re not talking about his exams….

Tagline: None.

Notes: I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall.

Initial Thoughts

I’ve been procrastinating when it comes to this recap. We’ve once again got Nola Thacker doing ghost-writing duties, and I’m simply not a fan of her work in this series so far. Possibly in general. Sigh. Here we go.

[Wing: Normally, I try to go for the original cover, but I’ve been dreading this cover, which has a spider in that window frame part. So … have this cover instead. I couldn’t handle seeing the other one over and over. Sorry.]



Sweet Valley Twins #36: Mary is Missing by Francine Pascal

by Wing 1 January 2018

Sweet Valley Twins 36 Mary is Missing by Francine PascalTitle: Mary is Missing by Francine Pascal

Summary: Missing person…

Jessica Wakefield is convinced that Mary Wallace has disappeared. No one has heard a word from her in three days. She hasn’t been at school, she didn’t turn up for Lila’s ice cream party, and worst of all, the Unicorns’ treasury money seems to be missing. [Wing: Oh, god, are we back to “stolen” money actually being misplaced?] What’s more, Mrs. Wallace, Mary’s mother, is acting very strange.

Jessica’s twin sister, Elizabeth, thinks that Jessica is just being her usual overdramatic self, until the twins get a mysterious and confusing phone message. Maybe Jessica’s idea isn’t so farfetched after all. Maybe Mary has been kidnapped. If that’s the case. Mary is in big trouble… and the twins had better figure out that cryptic phone message fast.

Tagline: How can a twelve-year old girl disappear into thin air? [Raven: Mr Nydick’s Love-Wagon?]

Initial Thoughts

Well here we are, and I survived one year in Sweet Valley. I think it’s like dog years, because the past twelve months feel like they’ve lasted a decade. #sweetvalleytime

This time last year, I was horrified by what I’d agreed to when I read my first Sweet Valley book. This year, I know that while I hated a huge amount of the books, I did love a few and enjoy even more.

Dove swears we’re into the good books. We’ll see about that.

[Dove: This is a ridiculous book. The premise is so full of holes and silliness that there are multiple idiot balls that need grasping with an iron grip in order for it to happen (and believe me, Wing covers them), but on the other side, this book is fun.]

[Wing: Oh lord, here we go.]


Welcome to Nostalgic Bookshelf

by Dove 28 November 2017

Welcome to, where we recap all sorts of nostalgic media from our childhoods. After much debate, Wing set the hard rule that “nostalgic” means it must be at least ten years old. [Wing: Oh, yeah, throw me under the bus. This is starting off well.]

We currently recap: The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M. Martin, Making Out by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant), Enid Blyton books (including Famous Five and Malory Towers), the Dungeons & Dragons television show, and anything else that strikes our fancy. In the future, we’ll add Baywatch, Dawson’s Creek, My Little Pony (generations 1-3), Fighting Fantasy by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson, Jem, and more.

This site is owned by Dove, Raven, and Wing, who you may know from their recaps on The Devil’s Elbow or Sweet Valley Online, which are both now a part of the Nostalgic Bookshelf network. (Devil’s Elbow: Where evil twins and friends come together to lovingly snark Point Horror and other teen genre fiction. Sweet Valley Online: Evil triplets take on Sweet Valley one book at a time.)

We have a number of guest recappers across all three sites, including: Bat, Dade, Donna, Jude, Necromommycon, Rosey, TheeCountOlaf, Tuesday, and Virgin.

Our format: One person writes each recap, but any of the other recappers may comment throughout, which adds to the discussion, snark, and Wing Goes Boom moments that make up this fun nostalgic community. We’ve had a great experience with readers.

Our schedule: At least one recap a week posted here and at Sweet Valley Online and The Devil’s Elbow. At the beginning of each month, we’ll update the recap list for that month in case you want to read along with us.

If you have ever wanted to be a part of this nostalgic recapping, podcasting, and discussions, or if you have any questions or comments, email us at


March Recap Schedule

9 March – Podcast episode: Sweet Valley Twins #42: Jessica’s Secret by Francine Pascal (Dove, Raven, Wing) (at Sweet Valley Online)
12 March – Sweet Valley Twins #43: Elizabeth’s First Kiss by Francine Pascal (Raven) (at Sweet Valley Online)
13 March – Friday the 13th: Final Nightmare (Virgin) (at Devil’s Elbow)
14 March – Making Out #3: Nina Won’t Tell by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant) (Dove)
15 March – Last Vampire #3: Red Dice by Christopher Pike (Wing) (at Devil’s Elbow)
16 March – Graveyard School #7: Slime Lake by Tom B. Stone (Jude) (at Devil’s Elbow)
16 March – Podcast episode: Sweet Valley Twins #43: Elizabeth’s First Kiss by Francine Pascal (Dove, Raven, Wing) (at Sweet Valley Online)
19 March – Nightmare Hall #10: Sorority Sister by Diane Hoh (Dade) (at Devil’s Elbow)
20 March – American Girls: Molly by Valerie Tripp (Jude)
21 March – Famous Five #2: Five Go Adventuring by Enid Blyton (Necromommycon)
21 March – Dungeons & Dragons #2: The Eye of the Beholder (Raven)
22 March – The Mermaid Saga #3-4: The Village of Fighting Fish by Rumiko Takahashi (Jude) (at Devil’s Elbow)
23 March – Podcast episode: Famous Five #1: Five on a Treasure Island by Enid Blyton, Making Out #3: Nina Won’t Tell by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant), Dungeons & Dragons #1: The Night of No Tomorrow, and review of available recaps (Dove, Raven, Wing) (at Sweet Valley Online)
26 March – Sweet Valley Twins Super Chiller #3: The Carnival Ghost by Francine Pascal (Wing) (at Sweet Valley Online)
28 March – A Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (Zachary)
30 March – Podcast episode: Sweet Valley Twins Super Chiller #3: The Carnival Ghost by Francine Pascal (Dove, Raven, Wing) (at Sweet Valley Online)
31 March – Goosebumps: Screams in the Night by R. L. Stine (Jude) (at Devil’s Elbow)

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