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Book Review Blog


Title: A Hardy Day's Night

Series: Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers Graphic Novel

Author: Scott Lobdell

Release Date: November 13, 2007

Publisher: Papercutz

Purchase: Since this book is out of print, you can keep your eyes out on it in your local secondhand bookstore, used Amazon, or Better World Books. Or, check if your local public library has it.

Add it on Goodreads


Rating: ★★★★★




Synopsis from Goodreads:


In this change of pace adventure, Frank and Joe Hardy discover a rogue mentor agent within A.T.A.C. (American Teens Against Crime) -- when that agent tries to kill them! But it's soon discovered he was being manipulated by malevolent forces who kidnapped his child -- and now the Hardy Boys have only until dawn to find the man's son!


 

My Review:


I still can't believe I finally got my hands on this Hardy Boys graphic novel! I swear, with the cover looking so damned intriguing, I've been dying for this particular Hardy Boys graphic novel since, like, forever! 😭 I kept my eyes out on it in used Amazon, but unfortunately, with no luck. The prices were either too expensive for a used book or not available at all. Then finally, one day, after recently discovering Better World Books (https://www.betterworldbooks.com/), "a global online bookseller that collects and sells new and used books online", I found myself looking this particular Hardy Boys graphic novel up... and you can imagine my excitement when I found it! 😭 Sure, the price Better World Books offered for it may not have been the best, but it was quite acceptable.


This installment of the Hardy Boys graphic novel series, A Hardy Day's Night, follows Frank and Joe as they discover a dishonest mentor agent within ATAC when he tried to kill them. Soon, they find out that he was actually being threatened by the bad guys, who kidnapped his son! I found that to be such a great example of how fear can reveal one's true colors!

I loved how despite the dangers, the boys went out of their way to save the man's son, and I absolutely loved the smart plan they came up with! I swear it's like they read my mind as I thought of it. 😉 Their plan explains the intriguing cover of this graphic novel. You'll have to read it to find out! Definitely the Hardys I know and love, who step up to do good despite the dangers involved.


Okay, so I'm not gonna lie, but as I was reading it, I did feel like some parts were a little slow, as the Hardys were searching the old hotel for the kidnapped boy. It's probably just me... as I'm someone who doesn't read graphic novels often.

Also, when I think about it, I do agree with my HB/ND reading friend, Ann, that after the Hardys have disarmed a bad guy, they should have kept the weapon with them, instead of tossing it aside with the risk of the other bad guys, kidnappers, etc. finding it and reloading it. As she said, they should have used it to bluff the bad guys. Good point, Ann! (Check out her review here)


Fenton, the father of the Hardy Boys, shows us a great example of the length a father would go to save his sons. Loved it! I also loved his smart comebacks to the bad guy who took him.


Finally, as I was reading it, I thought I'd give it a 4.5 with some parts being a little slow... but in the end, I felt like it deserved 5 stars for how in-character Frank and Joe have been in this installment. For instance, the brother teamwork as usual, and the fact they'd step up to do the right thing despite the dangers involved, of course.

To be honest, I was a little nervous about reading it at first as I'm someone who usually has fear of ending up not loving books I've been excited for, but I'm so glad I loved this Hardy Boys graphic novel that I've been wanting to read forever, despite some slow parts!

Overall, I found A Hardy Day's Night to be such a cute story, and I really adored the heartwarming ending. 🥺

I would read it again sometime in future.



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Updated: Aug 25


Title: Everything That Makes Us Feel

Author: Chuck Murphree

Release Date: July 28, 2020

Publisher: TEN16 Press

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Add it on Goodreads


Rating: ★★★★☆







Synopsis from Goodreads:


Fifteen-year-old Neil lost his brother to suicide one year ago, and in the process, he lost his voice. Now, with his parents drifting apart and another first day at a new school, his life feels like it's spiraling out of control. That is, until Neil meets a high school counselor who gets him involved in the Polar Bear Club, where he connects with a group of classmates he can finally relate to. As their friendship grows, so do their adventures. Life throws out many challenges, and death forces us to ask "why" far too many times. In Everything That Makes Us Feel, Neil tries to navigate a world in search of the answers to those questions.


 

My Review:


"Life can be complicated. It's full of everything that makes us feel. Good, bad, and everything in between. It's what makes life interesting. It's also what makes life hard, but we can survive it together."

Where do I begin with reviewing this beautiful novel? I have so much to say about it, I don't know where the heck to start! :')


Chuck Murphree's Everything That Makes Us Feel is a powerful novel about dealing with mental illness, as it explores sensitive subjects.

As someone who's passionate about the subject of mental health and raising awareness, I've been following Mr. Murphree on social media for awhile, before finally having the chance to pick up his novel, Everything That Makes Us Feel, after hearing great things about it and procrastinating on it for awhile.


Everything That Makes Us Feel follows Neil, a teen who deals with a tragedy that hit his family one year ago, and who lost his voice in the process. Murphree shows us how one traumatic event can affect a family, as Neil's parents drift apart and his depression only increases as a result.

As I read, questions posed in my head as I wondered why Neil was feeling guilty about David's death and why he felt like it was his fault. Posing questions in a reader's head is one of the most important aspects in writing to keep a reader hooked. I give Murphree that!


As someone who goes through anxiety sometimes, there were some things I found myself relating to Neil about. Such as, wanting to fit in and having the fear of losing the people I love in my life.


The part where Neil was admitted to the psychiatric ward gave me a little of Neal Shusterman's Challenger Deep vibes. 😉


I've enjoyed watching Neil grow throughout the novel as he joins the Polar Bear Club, which is run by the high school counsellor, Mr. C, and makes new friends whom he connects with and relates to, as he slowly finds his voice. I also admired his determination to get better and start speaking again.

I liked Mr. C right away. I instantly saw him as someone who you could talk to about anything. I agree with one of the reviewers on Amazon saying that he is a "father, mother, sibling, and friend all wrapped up in one warm good-hearted man". He is such an amazing counsellor who is genuinely passionate about helping students.

Another character I really loved was Travis, one of the members of the Polar Bear Club. He is a true friend who accepted Neil and saw him for who he was. He is definitely someone who you'd be comfortable with right away, and would wish to have as a best friend.

As someone who's obsessed with brothers, bromance, and guy friendships, I really adored the beautiful friendship between Neil and Travis, and it melted my heart when they started counting each other as brothers. I wanted more. 🥺

Speaking of that, besides searching for books about close brothers, I swear I was also on the lookout for books with a particular character dynamic between guys where an older guy and younger guy bond, and the older guy treats the younger guy like a little brother. Everything That Makes Us Feel did have a little of that between Neil and Travis. 😭

I was also impressed with how Murphree normalized affections between men and their emotions.


Before he got into the car, Travis hugged me, which I didn't find strange. I think I needed it. It wasn't a typical "man hug" with a slap on the back. He really held me tight.

I loved all the other members of the Polar Bear Club, but in their own unique ways. I loved Devo, as I found his addiction to '80s music kind of amusing. 😜

I loved Lux for her caring attitude. Mel... I liked her a little. And H, I found him kinda cool even though he did make me feel a little uncomfortable in the beginning.

Besides the Polar Bear Club, I also loved Neil's amazing grandfather. A cool grandpa and a wise man, who you'd want to tell anything to.

While I basically loved all the characters in Everything That Makes Us Feel, one character I strongly disliked was Neil's father. He stigmatized mental health by referring to the psychiatric ward as a "nuthouse". Good for Neil speaking up for them!


In one part, I was really impressed with how Murphree showed the bad effects of drinking without being preachy about it. He showed us that drinking is never the answer for depression.


I loved how Everything That Makes Us Feel was realistically depicted, and all the wise words about life. Sure, it may have been kinda sad, but it was the reality. For instance, the novel shows us that life is not perfect all the time and that we all experience the good and bad in our lives. One that hit me the most was the fact that nothing stays the same in life; things change and people come and go in our lives.

Murphree also shows us that some people aren't always what they seem. For instance, even a confident girl like Mel, who doesn't seem to care about anything, has her own struggles.


The last part of the book was intriguing as I anxiously wondered what happened to Lux and whether she was okay. 👀


Finally, as I was reading the book, I thought of a 4.5 or 5 stars, but there were some things I felt were unnecessary and made me feel uncomfortable that made me knock out a star. Also, there was one thing about experiencing life that I strongly disagreed with.

Overall, I mostly loved Everything That Makes Us Feel and found it to be such a beautiful novel. I would definitely recommend it to those suffering from mental illness as it strongly destigmatizes the subject and gives the reader hope. I would also recommend it to those who don't suffer from mental illness as well, as it would educate them about the important subject.

Everything That Makes Us Feel encourages us to move forward in life despite the hard times we go through. It's a novel that made me think, and I was kinda sad after I finished it. I already miss the amazing characters. 😭

What has always made a book successful for me is feeling attached to characters and rooting for them.

A tiny part of me wishes for a sequel, even though I know it's very much unlikely as I can see Everything That Makes Us Feel already perfect as a standalone.


Thank you for writing this important book, Mr. Murphree.

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Updated: Aug 29


Title: Burned

Series: Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers

Author: Franklin W. Dixon (Pen name)

Release Date: October 1, 2005

Publisher: Aladdin

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

Add it on Goodreads


Rating: ★★★★★






Synopsis from Amazon:


ATAC BRIEFING FOR AGENTS FRANK AND JOE HARDY
MISSION:
To smoke out the mastermind behind and learn the structure of an illegal international CD-burning operation that employs teenagers.

LOCATION:
Local and global. Start close to home.

POTENTIAL VICTIMS:
Misicians. Record companies. Unsuspecting customers who are unaware that they are participating in illegal activity.

SUSPECTS:
Start with Julian sanders, your classmate. Work from there.

THIS MISSION REQUIRES YOUR IMMEDIATE ATTENTION.
THIS MESSAGE WILL BE ERASED IN FIVE SECONDS.

 

My Review:


Okay, so I'm not usually the queen of rereads as I'm usually someone who gets nervous when it comes to rereading a favorite book. Afraid I wouldn't love it as much as before. Afraid my feelings for it wouldn't be the same as the first time. After all, rereading a favorite book is usually never the same as the first time, right?


Well, but more than anything, I was so glad and relieved that that wasn't the case with the Hardy Boys UB #6 Burned.


After procrastinating for a long time on rereading a favorite Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew book, I'm so glad to finally have the courage to pick up one of my favorite Hardy Boys book, UB #6 Burned.

This installment of the Hardy Boys UB series follows the Hardy brothers as they investigate the person behind the illegal international CD-burning operation.

I enjoyed the interaction between the Hardy family near the beginning of the book, and as usual, I loved the brother teamwork between Frank and Joe and their determination to do justice against evil, as well as the brotherly love and banters added between them, which obviously reminded me of why I got into the Hardy Boys in the first place.

This Hardy Boys mystery was intriguing as I couldn't wait to discover the identity of the mysterious C.D. Burns (it's been awhile since I've last read the book after all, so I kinda forgot who the culprit was 😉), and anxious for the Hardys to catch him.

One of my favorite parts was when the Hardy brothers were chasing that Mr. Ski Cap guy at the mall, and how Frank managed to kick butt (according to Joe), despite his injured foot. Great brother teamwork! I was so proud of him for that! Definitely the Hardys I know and love!


Finally, as I was reading that Hardy Boys book, I was feeling kinda nostalgic as I remembered my early bookworm days, and now all of a sudden, I have that burning urge to dig out all my other favorite Hardy Boys (and Nancy Drew) books, and start rereading. The joy of rereading a favorite!

Reading Burned, I also learned a lot about how illegal it is to burn CDs; shame for my ignorance back then! 🤭 Honestly, it kinda reminded me of my days in sixth grade when I attempted to burn CDs for my siblings. 🙈

Overall, I would recommend Burned to all the Hardy Boys and mystery fans out there.

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