Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Dark Deception (Daphne and Velma #2) by Morgan Baden


*No Major Spoilers*

Despite their differences, Daphne and Velma were able to solve the mystery of The Vanishing Girl. But there are a lot of secrets buried in the town of Crystal Cove. And the biggest case of all still remains unsolved… why did the town’s original settlers all disappear? What happened to them?

Velma is determined to find out… especially because her family’s ancestors were among the disappeared. And now that she and Daphne have started to get a reputation for solving mysteries, everyone in town is looking to them for answers.

But digging up the past can be dangerous… especially when some people in town have profited from the mystery for so long. Can these two intrepid teen detectives crack the case… and escape with their lives?

~~ Trigger Warnings for mentions of bullying ~~

As you know, I love Scooby-Doo and, the franchise is something near and dear to me. When I found out about this series existence, I read and reviewed The Vanishing Girl in March. I loved the novel overall, and I couldn’t wait to read the sequel Dark Deception. So let’s see how the sequel stands up. 

Since the previous book tackled most of the drama between Velma and Daphne, that’s now resolved. Though there are hints here and there that times haven’t healed things completely, overall things are better. 

This novel takes place shortly after the previous one. I loved how there was a smooth transition back into Crystal Cove and, hijinks abound. Shaggy is in trouble and, it’s up to Velma and Daphne to figure out what has their childhood friend troubled. Don’t worry, no mention of child abuse!

However, Shaggy’s family troubles are the least of their worries when gems start washing up on the shores of Crystal Cove. It seems like Velma and Daphne have more investigating to do!

If teenage drama is not your thing, then I would say to start with this novel. There’s a little high school drama, but it’s nothing like the previous entry in the series. Velma continues to deal with the insecurities that high school gives. Daphne received an internship to work at the local paper and quickly develops a crush on one of her coworkers.

Overall, I liked this sequel. I think this one was a bit of a letdown because the mystery was predictable. Of course, I am a twenty-something reading a book series meant for kids. Even though the case was easily solvable for me, it doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the story.

I enjoyed the characters and the familiar nostalgia that the Scooby-Doo series brings. I am already looking forward to the next entry in this series! I would recommend this novel for lovers of Scooby-Doo, mysteries, YA fiction, and female detectives. 

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Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Vanishing Girl (Daphne and Velma #1) by Josephine Ruby

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*No Major Spoilers*

Popular Daphne Blake and über-nerd Velma Dinkley are not friends. They aren’t enemies either, but they don’t have any reason to speak to each other, and that’s how they prefer it. The two girls grew up together—they’d been best friends since pre-K—but when they hit middle school, Daphne dropped Velma and never looked back.

These days, Daphne’s deep in the popular crowd, daughter of the richest family in town, while Velma’s an outsider, hiding from the world behind her thick glasses. When they run into each other in the halls of Crystal Cove High, they look the other way.

But then Daphne’s best friend, Marcy—who happens to be Velma’s cousin—goes missing. A century ago, there was a wave of disappearances in Crystal Cove, and many local people believe that supernatural forces were behind it. Now the whole town believes those same forces are back…and up to no good.

Daphne and Velma may be the only ones who can solve the mystery and save Marcy—if they can trust each other enough to try. Especially since the truth might be stranger—and scarier—than either girl can imagine…

~

If you are a fan of the Scooby-Doo franchise, the fan service is all here. You have references to fan-favorite characters, as well as characters the author created herself. So let’s see how The Vanishing Girl stands up to the typical Scooby-Doo formula.

This novel handles a lot of difficult topics in a very realistic way. Daphne is dealing with the hurt of her parents being divorced and co-parenting. Velma is dealing with being an outcast to everyone around her while her dad is suffering from crippling depression and her mom is the manager at the local theme park. Not only that, but Velma is also working at the same amusement park just to help her family make ends meet.

I felt the issues were handled as any teenager would handle something they couldn’t see the big picture of. Wounds take time to heal, and this novel shows us this throughout the unraveling mystery. After so many hurtful words and actions between Velma and Daphne, they’re not going to be going back to being BFFs overnight.

The mystery of who or what is haunting Crystal Cove is your typical Scooby mystery, a case that seems complex but actually, once solved and explained, is pretty simple. However, since it’s primarily Velma and Daphne working on the case, Shaggy, Scooby, or Fred make many appearances throughout the story.

Even though I was able to solve the mystery before Velma and Daphne, I felt the emotional ride the author took us on was more important and more valuable than the mystery itself. I had to take small breaks at points in the novel to keep myself from getting upset. So get those tissues ready when you read this one!

Overall, as easy as it is to write this off as glorified fanfiction, I really enjoyed The Vanishing Girl. The mystery is well thought out and the drama feels genuine and realistic. I would highly recommend this novel to fans of the Scooby-Doo franchise, fans of female detectives, and young adult readers alike.

Read more of my Scooby-Doo reviews if you enjoyed this review.

~

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Posted in Movie/TV Reviews

My Thoughts So Far on Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?

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Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? focuses on the Mystery Inc. gang as they solve bigger mysteries while also encountering many memorable celebrities, just like in The New Scooby-Doo Movies. Guest stars that have been announced for the show include Chris Paul, Sia, Halsey, Ricky Gervais, Kenan Thompson, Wanda Sykes, Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Mark Hamill, along with fictional characters such as Steve Urkel, Batman, Sherlock Holmes, the Flash and Wonder Woman.

I grew up watching Scooby-Doo as many of my long-time readers know. This show has inspired my love of paranormal, horror, and mystery. One of the more memorable Scooby-Doo series was The Scooby-Doo Show where celebrities of the times would guest star and help Scooby and the gang solve a mystery.

The more memorable ones for me are the episodes where celebrities like The Globe Trotters, Don Knotts, and Batman helped out with a mystery while adding a fresh breath of comic relief. A lot of people on the Internet has been wanting this idea of celebrity crossover with Scooby-Doo to be brought back. Well, they have responded with Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?. The first season isn’t over just yet, but I feel like I’ve watched enough to be comfortable giving my thoughts and feelings.

My excitement for this series following the abomination of Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! was palpable. I have been DVR’ing every episode and I’ve been more or less enjoying them so far. The art style is reminiscent of What’s New Scooby-Doo? which is the series I grew up on more or less. I don’t remember a time of my life where Scooby and the crew haven’t been there.

As with all shows, each episode is a hit or miss. Not all famous people can act. Voice acting also isn’t as easy as it looks. My favorite episode so far is “Peebles’ Pet Shop of Terrible Terror” where Wanda Sykes guest stars. Most of the guest stars are more for the older generation and adults.

The reason why I liked this episode so far out of the four I’ve seen so far, is because I felt like the writing was good. I have my nitpicks with the episode, but they’re just subtle observations I’ve made. I felt like Scooby being good friends with Wanda was believable and adorable. I also liked how the writers use their friendship to show how much Scooby loves his best friend Shaggy. It felt like good character development and even though the story wasn’t the best, I still had fun watching this.

I would totally check it out if you’re a Scooby-Doo fan yourself!

Posted in Movie/TV Reviews

REVIEW: Scooby-Doo Pirates Ahoy!

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The Mystery, Inc. gang are caught in the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle, while vacationing on a creepy eerie cruise, with ghost, pirates, and monsters.

This direct to DVD movie was based on the What’s New Scooby Doo era. I grew up on all of the variations of Scooby Doo. I recently revisited this movie, and I thought I’d share my thoughts on Scooby-Doo Pirates Ahoy! 

Overall, I enjoy this movie. It’s not my favorite, but it’s not terrible. I think the fascination with pirates is something that we will always enjoy.

I thought the motives for the bad guys were weak. I won’t spoil what their motives were, but let’s just say that I felt the writers cared more about wreaking havoc to other ships rather than developing motives for the villains.

I love the music they made for this movie, that is something that will always keep me watching this movie in particular. The chase scenes with the pirates were comical and funny. The music made me feel like I was ready to join a pirate crew and have some fun.

Overall, I enjoy this movie even though it’s not my favorite, this doesn’t mean it’s my least favorite. I think it’s a fun watch for people of all ages, especially for those who love pirates, adventure, and Scooby-Doo!