Annelies by David R. Gillham

 A “what-if” novel. This novel attempts to answer the questions: what if Anne Frank had survived the Holocaust? What would her life after internment be like?

DESCRIPTION:


A powerful and deeply humane new novel that asks the question: What if Anne Frank survived the Holocaust?
 

The year is 1945, and Anne Frank is sixteen years old. Having survived the concentration camps, but lost her mother and sister, she reunites with her father, Pim, in newly liberated Amsterdam. But it’s not as easy to fit the pieces of their life back together. Anne is adrift, haunted by the ghosts of the horrors they experienced, while Pim is fixated on returning to normalcy. Her beloved diary has been lost, and her dreams of becoming a writer seem distant and pointless now. 

As Anne struggles to overcome the brutality of memory and build a new life for herself, she grapples with heartbreak, grief, and ultimately the freedom of forgiveness. A story of trauma and redemption, Annelies honors Anne Frank’s legacy as not only a symbol of hope and perseverance, but also a complex young woman of great ambition and heart.

Anne Frank is a cultural icon whose diary painted a vivid picture of the Holocaust and made her an image of humanity in one of history’s darkest moments. But she was also a person—a precocious young girl with a rich inner life and tremendous skill as a writer. In this masterful new novel, David R. Gillham explores with breathtaking empathy the woman—and the writer—she might have become.
     – Goodreads

Genre(s): Fiction, Historical Fiction

Publisher:
Viking

Expected Publication Date:
January.15.2019

*Thank you FirsttoRead for providing an ARC in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own and based solely on the book*

REVIEW:

When it comes to writing a novel like this, about a much beloved person, you have to do it with a lot of grace. And I think this book accomplishes that. The thing is, I can’t reconcile the girl whose diary we’ve all read and loved with the one presented in this book. 

The book begins around the same time Anne receives her diary. Her day-to-day life is dramatized for the reader. Then the book transitions to the time in the attic. We get snippets of further insight. And then, the camps. A glimpse at Anne struggling to survive. Finally, back home with her father. 

The Anne that leaves the camp is not the same optimistic, bright-eyed young girl from her diary. Instead, we get a guilt-ridden and extremely bitter Anne. Because of all the atrocities and pain she has suffered, Anne has a big chip on her shoulder. This interpretation of Anne hurt. Her voice is different. Her ideals are all different. She is changed. Haunted. 

In a way, I get it. I can see someone doing a complete reversal like this. But Anne Frank? I feel it does a disservice to her memory. Her relationship with her beloved Pim is strained (to say the least). And events are changed and completely dramatized… If the author had instead written the book about a fictional character, I think this story would have, personally, worked better. 

Recommend? Sure. Especially to those who think Cinderella 3 is a good movie…
 

RATING:
3/5 stars

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3 Day Lyrical Challenge: Day 3

A final THANK YOU to Sahi for tagging me in this challenge! I’ve had a blast listening to tons of music haha.

RULES:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Share one of your favorite song/lyrics one at a time for three days.
  • Nominate three other bloggers each day.

So this song is in spanish. A version of it was the theme song to a telenovela my mom and I used to watch when I was a little girl. It’s such a sweet love song. 



Te Quiero Tanto
Si talvez pudieras comprender

que nose, como expresarme bien

si talvez pudiera hacerte ver

que no hay otra mujer mejor que tu para mi.

Si talvez me harias muy feliz,

si talvez me lo podrias decir,

si talvez, detalle a detalle, podrias conquistarme seria tuuya.

Te quiero tanto, tanto,tanto, tanto, tanto, cada dia un poco mas

te quiero tanto, tanto, tanto, tanto, tanto, para mi no hay nadie igual, no lo hay

te quiero tanto, tanto, tanto amor, que ya no puedo mas.

Pues talvez, el mundo aprendera con nuestro amor, lo bello que es amar

y talvez lo vuelva a repetir pareja por pareja el mundo entero al fin.

Te quiero tanto, tanto,tanto, tanto, tanto, cada dia un poco mas

te quiero tanto, tanto, tanto, tanto, tanto, para mi no hay nadie igual, no lo hay

te quiero tanto, tanto, tanto amor, que ya no puedo mas, ya no puedo mas, ya no puedo mas.

I TAG:
Anyone and everyone that wants to participate!

HAPPY BLOGGING EVERYONE! 😀

3 Day Lyrical Challenge: Day 2

Once again, thank you Sahi for tagging me in this! It’s kind of nice to do something a little different on my blog 🙂

RULES:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Share one of your favorite song/lyrics one at a time for three days.
  • Nominate three other bloggers each day.


Okay so Jack Johnson makes the loveliest little love songs. Plus he met his wife while at the DLG so my heart has a soft spot for this guy haha. #Gauchoalum 😉


Do You Remember

Do you remember when we first met?

I sure do, it was some time in early September

You were lazy about it, you made me wait around

I was so crazy about you I didn’t mind

So I was late for class, I locked my bike to yours

It wasn’t hard to find, you painted flowers on it

I guess that I was afraid that if you rolled away

You might not roll back my direction real soon

Well I was crazy about you then and now

The craziest thing of all is over ten years have gone by

And you’re still mine, we’re locked in time

Let’s rewind

Do you remember when we first moved in together?

The piano took up the living room

You played me boogie-woogie I played you love songs

You’d say we’re playing house now you still say we are

We built our getaway up in a tree we found

We felt so far away but we were still in town

Now I remember watching that old tree burn down

I took a picture that I don’t like to look at

Well all these times they come and go

And alone don’t seem so long

Over ten years have gone by

We can’t rewind, we’re locked in time

But you’re still mine

Do you remember?

I TAG:

The Blue Moon Archives

*No pressure to participate!*

HAPPY BLOGGING EVERYONE! 😀

3 Day Lyrical Challenge: Day 1

Thank you Sahi for tagging me in this! I know I’ve lagged it. So sorry. But who knew narrowing it down to 3 songs would be so difficult?? 

RULES:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Share one of your favorite song/lyrics one at a time for three days.
  • Nominate three other bloggers each day.

Okay, I love love love this song and listen to it a billion times a day *shrugs shoulders

Sometimes 

Sometimes sunshine

Does not want to shine on me

And sometimes I find myself blind

At first I cannot see and then I see it’s me

I chose a road when I was young

In search of fun temptation won

And all my soul I did surrender

If I had a chance to go back now

Would I redeem my moral vows

Or would I repeat for my own laughter

Sometimes I hide somewhat

Like a bulb behind a shade

And sometimes I ask myself why

Is it ’cause the lights are too bright

Or because my eyes are closed too tight

Sometimes I find myself blind

Don’t use my brain don’t use my mind

Distorted feelings always leading my way

But I must forgive myself and let the past lay

Down to rest

And I’ll be prepared to face myself in another

Day, hey

From now on I will behave

But in the back of my mind I will be enslaved

From now on I will behave

But in the back of my mind I will be enslaved

Sometimes sunshine

Does not want to shine on me

And sometimes, sometimes

I get lost, I get lost

I chose a road when I was young

In search of fun temptation won

And all my soul I did surrender

If I had a chance to go back now

Would I redeem my moral vows

Or would I repeat for my own laughter oh hey

From now on I will behave

But in the back of my mind I will be enslaved

From now on I will behave

But in the back of my mind I will be enslaved

From now on hey hey hey yeah

From now on oh hey hey

From now on I will behave

But in the back of my mind I will be enslaved

Sometimes I find myself blind

Don’t use my brain don’t use my mind

Distorted feelings always leading my way

But I must forgive myself and let the past lay

Down to rest

And I’ll be prepared to face myself in another

Day, hey

From now on I will behave

But in the back of my mind I will be enslaved I

Mean it

From now on I will behave

But in the back of my mind I will be enslaved

Woo

From now on, from now on

From now on yeah

Oh ooh ooh

The back of my mind, the back of my mind, I’ll

Be enslaved yeah

From now on hey yeah

From now on ho I mean it I mean it

From now on I will behave I will behave

But in the back of my mind I will be enslaved

I TAG:

Sophski 

No pressure to participate! 😉

Tune in tomorrow for the second day of this challenge!
HAPPY BLOGGING EVERYONE! 😀

An Improbable Pairing by Gary Dickson

An interesting premise that unfortunately fell flat. 

DESCRIPTION:


It began as a simple flirtation . . .

In September of 1963, Scott Stoddard, an American graduate student, is traveling to Switzerland, when he meets the Countess de Rovere, a French divorcee; he is smitten, and she is intrigued. What begins as a little coquetry soon becomes a serious love affair, much to the consternation of the Countess’s ex-husband and mother, not to mention the Countess’s friends of European high society. A meeting of equals poses problems enough, but what about one between two people who seem to have so many differences? And when a man of traditional attitudes couples with an independent and self-confident woman, something’s got to give. It won’t be the countess. As their liaison transcends an affair that cannot be dismissed, they all agree that something must be done.
 
An Improbable Pairing
is a historical romance that chronicles the enduring themes of a young man’s coming of age and the rebellious love of the mismatched. This pas de deux, set in the golden years of 1960s Paris, Geneva, Gstaad, and Cannes, provides an insider’s peek into the worlds of haute couture, three-star gourmet restaurants, and lavish hotel suites—the domains of rank and privilege. But society’s privileged resist when an interloper threatens to upset their cozy structure. 
     – Goodreads


Genre(s):
Historical Fiction, Fiction, Romance

Publisher:
Greenleaf Book Group Press

Expected Publication Date:
January.8.2019

*Thank you BookishFirst for providing an ARC in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own and based solely on the book*

REVIEW:

Scott Stoddard goes abroad to get away from his parents. To gain a bit of freedom. While on his trip, he falls for a beautiful, extremely wealthy Countess. And then nothing happens. Nothing.
 
The writing is okay. The cover is gorgeous. But the story lacks a certain, je ne sais quoi. Everything just happens to go Scott’s way. Every perceived “issue” is resolved favorably towards him. I wanted to put this book down so many times because there was nothing happening. Seriously. There’s nothing in the story to hold your attention. I also didn’t care for Scott or the Countess. Their love story didn’t engage me. I actually found Scott to be frustrating sometimes. 

This was just not an enjoyable read. It didn’t captivate me in any way.  


RATING:
2.5/5 stars

Book Haul: December 2018 Edition

Hello everyone! *waves arm wildly* December was an interesting month. I disappeared from the blogosphere. I’m still lagging actually. But that’s something I mean to rectify soon. I also  spent a lot of money on books. But they were all gifts I bought for others. So I didn’t think I would have a book haul for December. Yet, here we are haha. These were all gifted to me during the holidays 🙂

FROM TOP TO BOTTOM:

Trump and Me by Mark Singer 

I know absolutely nothing about this book. Zero. But my sister bought it for me. Because it’s about Trump? This will be wild.

The General in His Labyrinth by Gabriel García Márquez
My sister knows that I’ve enjoyed his works in the past. So I’m actually pretty excited to read this one. 

I am Malala: The Story of the Girl That Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb
Yes!!! I want to read this book so badly!!! 

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
A gift from BFF. She recently listened to me talk endlessly about A Thousand Splendid Suns. As with any Hosseini book, I need to emotionally prepare before I take this book on.

The Great American Read: The Book of Books: Explore America’s 100 Best-Loved Novels by Jessica Allen and PBS
When my sister asked me what I wanted for Christmas, this was it. This was the only book I asked for. I watched the television series and was extremely excited to have this book in my hands. That is, until I started going through it. It’s poorly edited. And I mean poorly. For example, on one page there is a fact about Alexandre Dumas. But on the following page, it attributes that particular fact to his father! What gives?! Talk about copy and paste/editing gone wrong!! And, I’ve only gotten through 25 of the 100 books…

When I told my loved ones I wanted to read more diversely, they really came through! I’m grateful to have them in my life ❤ Ah, lots of great books. I should also mention that the likelihood of future book hauls are pretty slim. With the new year came a new work schedule. Which means I won’t be able to make it to my library’s book store! I have a large physical TBR so perhaps this may be a good thing…

HAPPY BLOGGING EVERYONE! 😀

December 2018 Audiobooks

December was a disappointing month in terms of audiobooks. None of these listens really blew me away. 

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

I’ve always found this book to be a bit intimidating. Not because of it’s length, but because of the story. Granted, my knowledge of said story only extended as far as knowing Oliver is an orphan that is punished for daring to ask for more food. That’s it. That’s all I knew. And that premise has never caught my attention.
 
But, I wanted to check this classic off my list so I audiobooked it. And… while it wasn’t what I was expecting, I still only feel “meh” about it. 

Dickens has a way to of bringing the drab, dirty city alive. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed about his writing. And his characters! They all vary from one to the next. Although Oliver’s childish innocence reminded me of a young Pip. Anyway, the writing is great, the characters are interesting, the narration was on point, and yet I didn’t really care for the story. Hm.

The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking

This book first came to my attention when my book twin Morgana @Morganas Book Box reviewed it. Now, I need to learn how to be happier so of course this book quickly went onto my TBR. When the audiobook became available on OverDrive, I jumped at the chance to listen to it. 

The main point I got from this book: comfort is key. The Danish embrace comfort on a whole other level. Candles, books, food. Anything can be Hygge if it makes you calm and relaxed. Seems simple enough to do. 

It was a quick, fairly interesting read. As an introvert, Wiking’s description of Hygge sounds like a beautiful dream. I’m not a writer, so I can’t really put it into words. But. If you read this book, then you’ll figure out what I mean 😉

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides 

I thought the concept of this book was interesting. A college love triangle where the girl in the middle (Madeleine) is writing her thesis on the marriage plot found within Romantic and Victorian novels. But it fell completely flat for me.

My biggest gripe is how utterly pretentious this book is. Dropping author names left and right and expounding their ideas. So you know who Marquis de Sade and Cheever are. Kudos to you, sir. 

I think this book is designed to be read and appreciated by a certain group of people (i.e. English majors and people who thoroughly enjoy discussing literary themes). Me, I don’t like to overthink books. So I didn’t like this book. 

The only reason I gave this book 2 stars on Goodreads: Leonard. He is one of Madeleine’s love interests. He is also a manic depressive. I thought his representation was fairly done so I bumped my rating up. Other than that. Nope. Couldn’t stand listening to this book.

Recommend? Only to fans of The Secret History

Favorite listen? Definitely The Little Book of Hygge. A great little book from the CEO of The Happiness Institute. Plus, I found his voice to be so soothing! 

Reading Challenges + 2019 Reading Goals

A general wrap-up of the challenges I participated in this year followed by my reading goals in 2019.

READING CHALLENGES




POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

This year was the first year I ever did a reading challenge. And boy did I hate it. I started off fine. But then there would be a book I really wanted to read but couldn’t because it wasn’t on my designated TBR. Ugh. Frustrated the heck out of me. I did read books that I had been meaning to read for a while. But still. Sticking to my challenge TBR proved to be a pain. I did manage to complete all the prompts though. Whoo!

Now, with all that being said and done, I am planning to participate in the 2019 Challenge. I know, I know. What am I thinking? But this year I plan to go about it differently. Instead of compiling a list of books to fill each prompt, I am going to read whatever I want and if it happens to fill a prompt… well, yay. Let’s see how well I do in the challenge this year by doing it this way. 

2019 prompts can be found HERE

Nostalgia Read

So, I spent the past year reading the original Nancy Drew books. Books that I hadn’t read since I was a kid. This was a personal reading challenge. And I’ve been debating whether or not to embark on another beloved childhood series read in 2019. I have one particular series in mind… And with only 19 books in the original series, it seems manageable. I’m still going back and forth on this one so we’ll see what happens once the new year arrives.

Back to the Classics Challenge

I unofficially participated in this challenge hosted by Karen’s Books and Chocolates. And I say unofficially because I did not put my name into her drawing nor mention this challenge anywhere on my blog. But I ticked off every prompt. And once again read books that I had been hesitant to pick up before. 

This year, I am once again unofficially participating. I use the prompts more as a push to read more classics. I love reading them, but over the past few years I noticed I’ve been reading less and less of them. 12 books in 12 months seems feasible though. As long as I read 12 I’ll be happy. 

2019 prompts can be found HERE

2019 Bookish Challenge

I discovered Bookish this year. And it’s been amazing. They have their own reading challenge for next year. I’ve been looking over these prompts and I kind of like them better than the POPSUGAR ones. I think I will participate. Doing it the same way as POPSUGAR. Choosing whatever book I’m in the mood to read and then attaching a prompt to it. We’ll see how it goes. 

2019 prompts can be found HERE

2019 READING GOALS

So goals. Reading goals. I think of these more as personal challenges and guidelines for the upcoming year.

1) Read more diverse books. Specifically books by or about POC. Because looking at my 2018 stats… um… let’s just say I spent the year reading books by authors that are overly represented in society. I read 197 books this year. Of all those books only about 20-25 of them were written by a POC. I’m Latina. I am a woman of color. I need to support authors whose stories are relevant to my experience. I think our stories have been silenced long enough. We exist in this world too. So, I need more books written by POC in my life. I’ve been white-washed long enough. Sorry, absolutely not sorry. 

Anyway, this will prove to be a challenge as most of my physical TBR is *ahem* not diverse. Sigh. That’s on me.

2) Read more books in my native tongue. This year I read more books in spanish than I ever have in my life. 5. I read 5 books in spanish. Up until this year I had only read 1 novel in my mother tongue. In 2019 I hope to increase that number. No specific number in mind. Just more than 5. It’s the language of my people and I’ve been letting it slip through my fingers. 

So… my country’s political climate is getting to me. I was born and raised in this country. I’m as American as they come. Yet, my country doesn’t see me that way. Honestly, it really makes you question your identity. Which is what my 2019 reading goals are all about. Me trying to figure out where I stand and embracing my culture. That’s pretty much where my mind is going into 2019 *shrugs shoulders*

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! 😀

Tag: A Trip Down Memory Lane Through Pictures

I saw this a while ago on Sophski’s blog (her post here) and thought it would be a great way to look back on this past year. Since I wasn’t tagged, I am tweaking it a little. Instead of 10 pictures, I am posting 18 😉 And they’re all from this year. Well, except for one picture that appears towards the end…

Birthdays aren’t a big deal in my family. Actually, my birthday was often forgotten. This year, I spent the day with my BFF and the babies. My anxiety had been unmanageable for weeks. So all we did was watch movies and eat cake. It was one of the best birthdays I’ve had in a very long time. And I got flowers! ❤

This is the face of anxiety. My favorite band was in town and I got birthday tickets from my sister to go see them. Yay! Sort of. Again, my anxiety was crippling me. I really debated going. The band I had been waiting to see for years. Suffice it to say, I went. And I enjoyed myself as much as I could. As soon as I got home I had an anxiety attack.

I believe this poem is from Whiskey, Words and a Shovel (volume I) by R.H. Sin. (I need to keep better track of my book screenshots smh). It’s simple. But I think it really captures how I felt in the photo above. 

BFF and I went to this bookstore months and months ago. The outside of the store is wrapped in a literary mural. There are portraits of authors, famous book scenes, music artists, etc. It’s amazing! And the inside is just as great. Stacks of books everywhere. A small nook amongst the children’s books where you can sit and read. Two cats that roam inside. And a Princess and the Frog themed bathroom. This place is dope! 

As much as I didn’t like A Farewell to Arms, I actually loved this quote: 

“If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.”

This is not a drill. Repeat. Not a drill. Drive-thru Krispy Kreme’s are a thing!! Why did I not know this before??!

Hello, I am the crazy cat lady that owns 0 cats and 1 dog lol. Stray cats follow me. Idk why. I don’t feed them or anything. Okay, I do talk to them. Occasionally. How can I not? This little cat spent the summer waiting to see me leave my house. And followed me up to a certain point. Whenever I got home, it would be there. Waiting. When I peeked through the window, it would be walking away. Nowadays,there’s a white cat following me around. I have guardian cats. *shrugs shoulders*

Remember when Ihob was a thing? I do! IHOP would probably like to forget that fiasco though haha. It was all a marketing ploy, right? They weren’t really going to permanently change their name? I guess this IHOP didn’t get that memo…

This is my dog. She is a princess. When I feel down, she comforts me 🙂

This squirrel. Every few days this squirrel would climb our little fruit tree and feast. Drove my dog nuts. Bark bark barking up at the tree. Squirrel only climbed higher and kept munch munch munching. Dropping leftovers to the ground. Nearly hit my dog once. Rude. 

A poem by Tupcac Shakur from The Rose That Grew From Concrete. I like the sentiment. It gets me thinking about our current political climate. 

First, I didn’t take this picture. BFF did. I’m using her image because she’s a much better photographer than I am. Second, I have no idea what this is. My brother told me to look out the window. I did and saw… this. Texted BFF then went outside to get a better look. Years ago I saw a green light which was some kind of space rocket or something. I’m assuming this was something similar? 
 

This is what I get for being cheap haha. A messed up puzzle. Two, actually. We bought two. Note to self: don’t buy puzzles at the dollar store. 
On another note. I have another story related to this picture. 
I was reading Beauty and the Beast to my goddaughter (3yo) and her sister (6yo). When 3yo interrupts with: I don’t like that boy *pointing to Gaston*

Me: Why?

3yo: He mean. He don’t read. And he throw books! I don’t like that boy. You like him?

Me: No. I don’t like him either.

6yo: I like him. 

3yo: *aghast* You like that boy?

6yo: *giggling* He’s handsome.

3yo: He not handsome! My brother handsome. He *pointing to Gaston* not handsome. 

6yo: I think he’s nice.

3yo: No. He mean *flips ahead to where Gaston is manhandling Belle* See! He grab beauty and the beast.

6yo: *trying not to laugh* He’s not grabbing her. They’re holding hands.

3yo: *mouth drops

6yo: *still trying not to laugh*

3yo: *flips ahead to where Gaston injures the Beast* He hurt beauty and the beast *starts choking up* He kill him.

Me: He didn’t kill him. Remember the Beast transforms?

3yo: *Nods* Look! *pointing to injured Beast* Look! He hurt!

6yo: *Doesn’t look*

3yo: Look! No, don’t look at me. Look at the book! [Yes, she really did say this] Sister! Look at beauty and the beast.

6yo: *walks away into the next room and is heard laughing*

Me: Your sister was teasing you.

3yo: *laughs and flips back to where Gaston first appeared* I don’t like that boy. I like her *points to Belle* She read a lot a lot. 

Me: I like her too.


Something useful to keep handy. I’ve tried it before. It worked. 


Not a picture from this year. Brings back very happy memories though. Plus, how Californian is this picture? Palm trees, mountains, ocean, blue sky and sunshine. Ah, home ❤


Reading Peter Rabbit to my goddaughter. Laughed when I got to the bit about the pie. Talk about dark. 


My baby brother turned 18. (The only birthday we actually do celebrate haha) How does time fly?? Seems like only yesterday he was learning how to walk…


We put a treat in wrapping paper. My dog is high-key spoiled. I know. 

This was a fun tag! Thanks Soph for creating it! 


HAPPY BLOGGING EVERYONE! 😀

The Hardy Boys Collector’s Edition by Franklin W. Dixon

I’ve read this collection before. A long time ago. And I was still able to remember some of the details! So the mystery wasn’t as much of a mystery to me. I still enjoyed it though and was thoroughly entertained. 

The Hardy Boys are great. Frank and Joe are like the dynamic duo. They have fun and have a penchant for solving mysteries. And this love seems to stem from their retired cop father and loving mother. Love it. 

This collection concludes my foray into Nancy Drew and the Stratemeyer Syndicate. Well, that is unless more of these syndicate books happen to fall into my lap 😉

The Caribbean Cruise Caper (#154)

The Hardy Boys are invited by a teen magazine to be advisors in an amateur detective contest they are sponsoring. The contest is being held aboard a yacht traveling through the caribbean. From the onset, problems arise. It seems that someone is trying to bring the contest to an abrupt end. With each antic getting more dangerous. Luckily, the Hardy Boys are on the case.

What I particularly like about this story was the mystery within a mystery. The other teen detectives were able to see firsthand how the Hardy Boys work together. The dynamic duo bounce ideas off of one another, they tackle different aspects of the case, effectively working together. 

An entertaining trip!

Daredevils (#159)
The Hardy Boys and their family are helping an old family friend, Terrence McCauley. Terrence is a young stuntman working in Hollywood, California. And someone seems to have it out for him. Danger is lurking everywhere, not just on the sets. Who is trying to hurt him and why is what the Hardy Boys have to figure out.

This is a fast-moving, action-heavy mystery. The Hardy Boys have to work hard to keep Terrence safe. But doing so puts their own lives at risk, as they quickly find out. An exhilarating story, for sure. Although, the discovery of the who and why is a bit anticlimatic, in my opinion.

There was a line in this book that made me laugh. Frank Hardy has just confronted a suspect. As he’s getting ready to leave, he says: “Then you’d have to start looking for a new job… I hear they need ghostwriters for kids books.” Ha! Don’t you just love that self-awareness? Kudos to the writer! 😀

Skin and Bones (#164)
The Hardy Boys are vacationing in San Francisco. They’re staying with Sergeant Chang, a friend of their father’s. The boys are quickly involved in a mystery when Cody, Sergeant Chang’s son, confides that he needs their help. His store Skin and Bones, which specializes in exotic animal specimens, has been robbed and ransacked multiple times. Cody has also been receiving threatening emails. He’s hesitant to tell his father, so he wants the Hardy’s to uncover what they can.

This was an interesting little mystery. From the onset the boys have a likely suspect. Although, certain things don’t add up. And before they know it, the real culprit is unmasked. But not before everyone’s life is put in danger. 
 
While the story was entertaining, I didn’t really like how the case was resolved. I mean, they figured out who the real criminal was after he took a gambit and showed his hand. Which is probably why criminals always get caught. Taking unnecessary risks. Hm. 

Final Thoughts
As I said in the beginning, this is my last Stratemeyer book. And. This is also my last review post of the year! 😮 Seems a bit apropos that I end my reviews of the year with a nostalgic read 😉