Tag Archives: news

SVH #105: A Date with a Werewolf

27 Jun

adatewithawerewolf

Estimated Elapsed Time: 1 week

Summary/Overview:

Turns out that it isn’t Jessica’s body in Jessica’s bed, but the body of Joy, another blonde girl who was spending the weekend at the manor.  Elizabeth is overcome with relief, because Jessica and Joy switched rooms midway through the night.  The entire house is up in arms about the murder, and after being interviewed by the local constable, everyone sort of goes about their business.  The next day, Liz and Luke head back to London while Jessica rides back with Robert later.  Liz and Luke talk about the murders and figure out a way to bring down the Pembroke paper cover-up.  Liz lets it slip that the missing princess–whom the paper is now offering a 1 million pound reward–is Lina.  Way to go, Liz.  That didn’t take long AT ALL.  Luke assures her he won’t tell, but does remind her that as long as the paper can use her as a cover-up, people will die.  Uh, okay.

Liz poses as Jessica to go interview Mrs. Pembroke and ends up offending her terribly.  Jessica finds out about the interview through Robert, and though she’s PISSED at Liz, she goes along with the story and tries to mend fences at dinner.  It doesn’t work, and she stays super mad at Liz, who continues to do things like pretend to be Jessica so she can solve these murders.  She also goes out with Rene, who tells her there are absolutely no such things as werewolves.  She believes him until she watches a horror movie with Luke and decides that there are totally such things as werewolves.

Liz poses as Jessica and goes back out to the Pembroke country estate to interview Robert Senior under the guise of his wife’s missing coat.  While she’s there, another person is murdered–this time it’s the (pretty, plump) cook, Maria.  Elizabeth snoops around the house and discovers a secret room in the library, filled with werewolf paraphernalia.  She also discovers that Lord Pembroke was in love with a woman named Annabelle years before.  While in the library, Robert Senior comes in with the police chief and they discuss the fact that Lord Pembroke is withholding evidence about the murders.  When the chief leaves, Lord Pembroke talks out loud about how he’s sure his son is innocent.  Then he warns Robert to go into hiding until the thing blows over.

Liz thinks Jessica is in danger, so she tries to get back to London.  Jessica has gone shopping to drown her sorrows about being abandoned by Robert in the middle of their day together, and on her way back to HIS, she gets attacked (?) by something in the subway.  Now she believes in werewolves, because the thing growled at her and seemed hairy.  She brings this news to Liz and Luke and Lucy and Tony, the newspaper people, and they discuss it for a really long time.  Jessica is resolute in her belief that it is not Robert.

Meanwhile, Lina (Princess Eliana) falls in love with David, a poor boy also staying at HIS.  The two hit it off, and then he puts two and two together when he sees a paper of the princess in the paper.  She runs away but then decides the way she can show him she really cares is by allowing him to turn her in and collect the reward.  That way, he can open a free clinic and go to medical school.  At a press conference at the newspaper, she makes a statement, coming out of hiding.  She and David are still totally in love.

Trivia/Fun Facts:

  • Elizabeth’s nightgown is flannel and Jessica’s is pink satin.  Why are they both wearing nightgowns?
  • The book repeatedly refers to the Pembroke’s country cook as “plump, pretty” and it’s annoying.
  • We’re definitely being force-fed the detective stuff: Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie are mentioned

Memorable Quotes:

  •  “Face it, Lina,” she concluded, “coincidences like that only happen to people like Jessica and Elizabeth.  They obviously lead charmed lives–unlike normal, everyday blokes like you and me.” (9)
  • “Elizabeth wrote a line in her notebook: ‘Keep an eye on the elder Pembroke.'” (14)
  • “‘I don’t know why Elizabeth is such a wimp all of a sudden,’ Jessica continued, ‘but I don’t scare so easily. You poets are too weird. I’m just glad I’m dating a normal guy.'” (109)

A (Totally Unqualified) Critical Analysis:

A couple of things: first of all, why on earth would everyone want to stay at Pembroke Manor after that horrible murder occurred?  Like, the constable just told people not to leave England.  They totally could have gone back to London–wouldn’t that be the natural response?  This is super weird to me, but not as weird as how nonchalant Jessica is about the entire thing.  At one point, she actually says that Joy would have wanted them to go on enjoying England.  Um, okay.  Crazy pants.

The other thing is that the book makes it so clear that there is not an actual werewolf roaming the streets, it’s not even funny.  Jessica gets chased by something, falls down and doesn’t look up to see what is standing over her?  Seriously?  UGH.  THIS MINI-SERIES NEEDS TO END.

SVH #104: Love and Death in London

25 Jun

loveanddeathinlondon

Estimated Elapsed Time: 1 week

Summary/Overview:

The twins are on summer vacation AGAIN and are heading to London to intern at a newspaper there.  You know, because it went so well for them the last time.  Upon arriving at their hostel, a place for international students that all the same seems to house quite a few Brits, the twins meet spunky Emily, an Australian, and their roommates, quiet Lina Smith and snobby Portia.  When they go to tea, they realize that Rene Glize is staying there (small world?), and he totally hits on Elizabeth.

The first day on the job at the newspaper, the girls are assigned to the society beat and are super disappointed that they don’t get to cover the exciting news, like the murder of a prominent doctor that has just occurred.  On the way to a story about a missing dog, the twins sneak onto the crime scene of the murder and see the dead body, whose throat has been ripped out.  Then they go cover the story about Poo-Poo, the missing dog, and laugh about the clumsy detective, Sergeant Bumpo, in charge of the case.  When they get back to the newspaper, Liz works on the write-up of Poo-Poo and talks to quiet, cute Luke Shepherd, who then takes her out to a pub for a sandwich and some googly-eyes.

Meanwhile, Jessica goes back out to cover a story about a missing fur coat at Lady Pembroke’s mansion.  While there, she meets Robert, the super handsome son of the estate.  They have tea, he asks her out.  She’s already in love.

The twins are startled to discover that the murder of the doctor, which should be front-page news, is buried in the back of the paper.  Then, when they discuss who the mysterious men standing over the body were, Jessica realizes that one of them was Lord Pembroke, Robert’s father.  When they find out that the Pembrokes own the London Journal, Liz is suspicious.

The girls decide to sneak out and go dancing with other tenants at the HIS.  Lina, Liz, Jess, and a bunch of other people sneak out after curfew and go dancing at Mondo, a club.  When they spot Princess Gloria, sister to missing Princess Eliana, Lina looks deathly pale and says she needs to leave.  Liz and Lina walk home and get lost on the way.  They encounter the mangled body of Poo-Poo.  It’s throat has been ripped out.

The next day at the paper, Lucy, the writer of the buried piece on the doctor, quits in a rage, accusing the paper of a cover-up.  Jessica and Elizabeth continue to work the Bumpo beat.  Liz and Luke go sightseeing, and she loses track of time and stands up Rene, whom she had accepted a date with.  He’s pissed about it.  Jessica continues to date Robert Pembroke, Jr.

Liz and Luke continue to investigate the murders and discover that there are many. They bring the information to Lucy, who confirms their suspicions: there’s a serial killer on the loose, and someone is downplaying it.  Luke is convinced it’s the work of werewolves.  He’s straight crazy, but Liz doesn’t see that.

The twins are invited to Portia’s play opening, and they’re amazed to see that she’s an incredible actress.  In fact, she’s so good that they realize she was in character the entire time she’s known them.  After the show, they have a heart-t0-heart with her where she tells them that she auditioned under a fake name so she wouldn’t be accused of nepotism (her father is a famous actor) and that she had to stay in character for her art.  Liz also discovers that Lina is the missing princess, Eliana, but promises not to say anything to anyone.

The twins and Luke head off to Robert Pembroke’s family’s estate in the country for the weekend.  While there, a butler mentions that a bunch of sheep have been murdered.  Liz doesn’t trust Robert or his family, but whatever. The first night, Liz has a nightmare about the full moon and wakes in a straight panic.  She runs to Jessica’s room and finds her dead body on the bed.  CLIFFHANGER.

Trivia/Fun Facts:

  • Pop culture mentions: An American Werewolf in London, Lois Lane
  • Portia has a role in a play called A Common Man.
  • Robert went to Eaton

Memorable Quotes:

  • “‘Remember what a blast we had interning for the Sweet Valley News? And that was just our local paper, ten minutes from home.'” (2)
  • “Jessica shook her head. ‘Still…two new suitors in twenty-four hours, Liz?’ she teased. ‘I’d say that’s moving pretty fast for somebody who’s not looking for romance. Poor, poor Todd!'” (67)
  • “She’d told Todd just about everything that had happened to her since she’d arrived in London except for the episodes involving Rene and Luke. I just kind of…left them out. Is that as bad as lying? she wondered.” (122)
  • “‘It does in my opinion,’ Jessica insisted. ‘You’re barking up the wrong tree, Liz. If you want to find some crooks and killers, start looking in the lower classes.'” (140)
  • How come some people have so much, and other so little? she wondered.” (176) [YOU’RE IN ENGLAND FOR THE SUMMER, LIZ]

A (Totally Unqualified) Critical Analysis:

Funny story: growing up, my library had only the first two books in this series and I didn’t know how to ILL.  I never actually read the conclusion to the mini-series, so while I have some suspicions about what is happening, I’m not actually sure if we have a legit werewolf on our hands or someone who is just really into horror movies.  I guess time will tell, right?

At any rate, I remember the first time I read this, I got to the last page and was like, “WAIT, WHAT?!” because Jessica can’t be dead, right?  Of course not.  But even so, it’s a pretty ballsy move on the book’s part.

So, Elizabeth is the worst, right?  Self-righteous, totally hypocritical, and bizarrely crazy when it comes to her own actions.  She’s away from Todd for like a second before she’s macking on some other dude and manages to justify it.  She might as well have said, “What happens in London stays in London! YOLO!” or something, because that’s how we’re supposed to interpret and accept her BLATANT CHEATING ON HER LONG-TERM BOYFRIEND.

Also, fuck the twins thinking that they would arrive in London for their unpaid internships and be put on the biggest murder case around.  Seriously?

Another Post Where I Talk About How I’m a Bad Blogger

2 May

I know, you guys.  I know.  I haven’t updated in forever and a day.  I just wanted to let you know that this semester has absolutely crushed me, and I plan on updating again soon.  Like, really soon.  I’m embarrassed about how long it’s been.

In the meantime, have you guys seen the covers for the Sweet Valley Confidential ebooks?  They’re up on the Sweet Valley Facebook page.  Snark Valley has a great rundown on the books and what readers can expect.

So from what I understand, the series will be produced as 6 ebooks, released every two weeks, starting in June.  A compilation of all the stories will be released in October.  At least, that’s my guess.

It’s kind of genius, really: release the book in what is essentially chapters for $1.99 each every two weeks, and then release a hardcover version a few months later.  More than one reader (read: me) will end up purchasing the damn thing twice.

What do you think?  Have you had enough of the bastardized version of Sweet Valley Confidential already, or are you game for more?  I’m not sure I’m game, but morbid curiosity is going to dictate my purchasing decisions.

(A real recap soon, I promise.)

 

SVH Super Thriller #4: Deadly Summer

30 Jan

Estimated Elapsed Time: 3 weeks?

Summary/Overview:
We’re back on summer vacation, and the twins are still working for the Sweet Valley News.  There’s a brief, disappointing recap of the previous three books in the thriller series, and the twins reflect on what a summer it’s been.  There’s some talk about going back to school, and my mind breaks trying to figure out if they’re going back for junior year part deux or senior year.

Jessica and Lila have been playing around with a Oujia board.  Liz thinks it’s dumb, and she tells them so.  After insulting her twin and Lila, the girls decide to play a trick on Liz using the Oujia board.  Jessica snoops in her stuff to find some private stuff from Jeffrey and they get Liz to use the board with them. Liz is unnerved, but Lila and Jessica then get the board to tell her that Bruce Patman is dying from a mysterious disease.  Liz buys it and starts spending all her time with him. Bruce goes along with it, hoping to hook up with her.  Lila is pleased, thinking it will piss Jeffrey off and give her an in with him.

MEANWHILE, Liz has started receiving weird phone calls that coincide with the escape of a patient from a nearby insane asylum.  This guy, named Donald Redman, kidnapped a cheerleader in his youth (her name was Melanie) and went crazy when she got her jock friends to bully him.  He thinks Liz looks like Melanie and has begun stalking him.  His sister happens to be a lady that Elizabeth babysits for.  I am trying to care.  Redman calls in bomb threats and generally causes panic in Sweet Valley.

The night of  the “Be True to Your School” night, the Droids play and Liz and Jeffrey fight about Bruce.  The next day, Bruce calls Liz threatening suicide and she runs off to meet him.  When Jeffrey finds them embracing at the tennis courts, he goes ape shit.  Bruce smirks and Liz realizes that it’s all been an elaborate ruse and runs into the nearby tunnels to hide.

You know what’s coming, right?  She runs into Redman who holds her hostage, manages to capture Jeffrey and Bruce, too, and threatens to blow them up.  Bruce takes away his bomb and Redman follows him.  The bomb goes off, and Liz and Jeffrey think Bruce is dead.  He’s not.  He saved the day, kind of.  Everyone goes to the Dairi Burger.

Trivia/Fun Facts:

  • Lila got the Oujia board on a trip to London, where it is “all the rage.”
  • The Droids play a song called “A-Plus.”  Gross.
  • Elsa, the sister of Donald Redman, claims he has a persecution complex, which is, believe it or not, an actual complex
  • Tropic Flame is the name of the nail polish Lila wears
  • Redman uses Dynamite to make his bombs.  Why not C-4?

Memorable Quotes:

  • “‘Can you die of leprosy?’ Lila asked with a malicious giggle. ‘I mean, if he’s got to go, he might as well have something really interesting.'” (61)
  • “It wasn’t something they could talk about, and Elizabeth knew they would never be able to describe what had really happened to them, deep inside.  The horrific experience had left an indelible mark on their souls.” (198)

(Totally Unqualified) Critical Analysis:

I guess I just don’t understand why this book exists.  It’s not interesting in any way, shape or form.  The Oujia board plays way too prominent a role in a book that is way too short on plot.  Redman doesn’t come into play until well into the story, and by then it’s hard to care about what’s happening.

Also, Elizabeth is a first-class BITCH in this book.  She insults Jessica and Lila at the beginning of the story and continues to look down at them as they play around with the Oujia board.  Meanwhile, she falls hook, line, and sinker for Bruce’s fake illness and rationalizes away her weird, clingy behavior as doing him a favor in his last days.  If anyone has a complex here, it’s her.

Next up?  Liz decides between Jeffrey and Todd, who’s moving back into town.

SVH Super Thriller #3: No Place to Hide

4 Jun

Estimated Elapsed Time: 4 weeks?

Summary/Overview:

You know what, you guys?  I tried to recap this one and couldn’t do it.  The story is so convoluted and terrible that I kept getting tripped up by the intricacies of the plot.  The truth of the matter is that I read this book a long time ago and can barely remember what happened.  I never got around to writing the recap when I finished because I was busy and because I hated this book so much.  I need the twins and their summer internship at the Sweet Valley News to be over.

Basicallly: the twins are still working as interns at the paper.  There’s a big mayoral race coming up, and the two candidates are Kincaid and Robinson.  Kincaid seems to be the shadier of the two.  Nicholas Morrow meets a mysterious girl named Barbara and falls in love with her.  She lives with her controlling uncle, who is named John.  It turns out that he is Kincaid’s brother.  There’s this stupid plot about them being in an artists’ colony back in the day and Kincaid falling in love with the same woman, who chose another man.  Kincaid pushed her over a cliff in a jealous rage and then went into business with his brother John?  When Kincaid decided to run for mayor, John didn’t want him to and devised a ridiculous plot to make him think he was seeing the ghost of the woman he loved (who was the spitting image of Barbara).  There’s some peril, attempted murder, and lots of suspense.  It’s pretty much the worst mystery ever.

Memorable Quotes:

  • “He had been a private businessman for years and had made a great deal of money.  His business was described as import/export, but it wasn’t exactly clear what that entailed.” (4) [Blogger’s note: Worst info-dump ever?]

Trivia/Fun Facts:

  • The Sweet Valley News holds its summer picnic in Ronoma County, which is 40 miles southeast of Sweet Valley

(Totally Unqualified) Critical Analysis:

Nope.  I’ve got nothing.  Sorry for the lamest post ever.  The next one will be better, I swear.

Sweet Valley Gets Another Spinoff

3 Jun

According to The New York Times, Sweet Valley Confidential isn’t the end of the Sweet Valley franchise.

A serial spinoff, called “The Sweet Life” (working title, and GAG), will be published starting next spring.  The catch: it’s going to be e-published, with the idea that people will mostly read the series on their phones.

Gross.  Gross.  Gross.

 

Sweet Valley Confidential Cover Reveal

20 Oct

Holy guacamole, y’all.  The cover of Sweet Valley Confidential has been revealed this morning on People.com’s website.  While I encourage you to check it out at the source, where there’s a short accompanying article, let’s talk about it here for a minute:

First impressions?  I think it’s great that they went with an altered version of the circle cover.  It’s a great throwback to the original series.  The font of “Sweet Valley” is also reminiscent of the original books.

It was an interesting choice to show just parts of the face/faces of the twins on the front and back.  Of course we get a shot of that infamous blonde hair, but no glimpse of the blue-green eyes?

Also, are we to believe that the necklace on the back is one of the gold lavalieres their parents gave them on their 16th birthdays?  That’s not how I remember them looking.  Ahem.  Please excuse my geeking out.

The red cover is eye-catching, though.  Okay, I’m done now.
What do you think?  Comments are encouraged, you guys.