Posted in Goosebumps Recaps

Recap #150: Goosebumps #10: The Ghost Next Door by R.L. Stine

Title: Goosebumps – The Ghost Next Door

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Tim Jacobus

Tagline: There’s a strange new kid on the block…

Summary: “How Come I’ve Never Seen You Before?”

Hannah’s neighborhood has gotten a little-weird. Ever since that new boy moved in next door.

But when did he move in? Wasn’t the house empty when Hannah went to sleep the night before? Why does it still look so deserted?

Shes not getting any answers from her new neighbor. He just keeps disappearing in the oddest ways. And he’s so pale…

Is Hannah being haunted by…

…the ghost next door???

[Wing: Adorable summary.]

Initial Thoughts

Now we’ve reached one of the true classics of the original series, the tenth of the first twenty books back when Stine was still establishing the trends and style of the franchise. For those who’ve read the early books, you know already a number of them had an atmosphere that hasn’t been properly revisited in any of the later works. They seemed to carry with them a sense of real despair and fear before Stine began to realize the books might’ve been too scary for kids. [Wing: Which is a shame. Kids are better at scary things than adults want to give them credit for handling.] I think he’s mentioned if he got the chance he’d rewrite “Welcome to Dead House” to make it funnier. Which I hope he never does.

This one’s got a twist in it most people might already be familiar with considering it was adapted for the trading card series, the TV show, as well as the movie. Well, I’m not spoiling it for new readers just yet, and since I don’t have any commissions related to this one I’m gonna be scanning the three trading cards depicting certain scenes. Luckily they were illustrated by Walter Velez, who provided some of the best artwork for the card series.

This is also going to be the last post in my series of discussions on my best friend’s death, and I feel like I dragged the discussion on for too long beyond “Magic Fire.” I’m sorry.

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Posted in Fear Street Recaps

Recap #149: Fear Street #31: Switched by R.L. Stine

Title: Fear Street #31: Switched

Author: R.L. Stine

Cover Artist: Bill Schmidt

Tagline: A mind is a terrible thing to lose.

Summary: She traded places with a killer…

There’s a little cabin in the Fear Street woods where a girl can really lose her mind. In fact, she can change it into someone else’s. That’s what happened to Nicole and Lucy. Now Lucy is in Nicole’s body and Nicole is in Lucy’s. What a trip!

But for Nicole, what a trap! Because Lucy is using Nicole’s body to get away with murder!

[Wing: Why oh why oh why do people ever think switching bodies intentionally (or letting someone else take over their body) is a good idea in these books? Why? I’m looking at you, The Accident.]

Initial Thoughts

I’m really not sure what I can say about this book right now without spoiling things or making blatant hints about how it will end. I can’t compare it to the other entries, other than I can safely say the main character might qualify as one of the few genuinely depressed protagonists in these books.

In the meantime, enjoy this awesome commission.

(Nicole Darwin and Lucy Kramer by Jerry Gaylord – I got this from Jerry several years ago at New York Comic Con. His wife Penelope did a commission of Holly Flynn from “Fear Street: Lights Out” for me at the same show. The two are awesome artists and they’ve become semi-regulars for me. I love the lightning bolt effect Jerry carried over from the cover)

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #148: Shivers #24: The Ghosts of Devil’s Marsh by M.D. Spenser

The Ghosts of Devil's Marsh by M. D. Spenser

Title: Shivers #24 – The Ghosts of Devil’s Marsh

Author: M.D. Spenser

Cover Artist: Eddie Roseboom

Summary: BIG GHOULS DON’T CRY…

Samantha should keep smiling. Otherwise, tears of fear might ruin her summer and probably her life. But the summer was already bad news. There she was on the coast with her cousins. Boy cousins, always around, acting like—well, boys. But cousins can be cool!

Especially when you might need them to save your life. Is that cozy coastal town they’re on really haunted? Could be! That might explain all those strange things Samantha sees and hears.

It gets stranger and stranger when Samantha discovers the shocking truth behind the terror. Will all the cousins stay safe and sound or is it the beginning of the end for everyone?

LISTEN FOR THE VOICE OF DOOM!!!

Initial Thoughts

You guys will remember the previous “Shivers” recap as one of the darkest books I’ve reviewed so far for this website. While this book isn’t necessarily as dark as “Weirdo Waldo’s Wax Museum,” I chose it because its primary theme is regret. And with the theme I’ve worked on for April 2017, an attempt to do some self-analyzing about my best friend’s death,  the regrets in this book obviously hit close to home, otherwise I wouldn’t have chosen to recap it.

The villain in this feature has got to be one of the most understandable and relatable villains I’ve found in these books. Saying anything further would spoil what comes next.

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #147: The Last Vampire #4: Phantom by Christopher Pike

Last Vampire 4 Phantom by Christopher Pike
Last Vampire 4 Phantom by Christopher Pike

Title: Last Vampire #4: Phantom by Christopher Pike

Summary: After five thousand years she was again mortal.

The dead alchemist’s experiment has worked. Alisa is no longer a vampire, but a frail and confused human. Not only that — she is pregnant. The baby grows in her at supernatural speed. As the stranger watches. The stranger from the past.

But what child will Alisa’s seed produce?

A demon or an angel? Alisa does not know.

But the stranger does. He nows everything that ever was.

And he knows everything that is to be.

Tagline: The monster might be an angel.

Initial Thoughts

Again, I remember nothing about this book, though I’m almost certain I read it. (It’s possible I didn’t, but I know I read book #3, even though I didn’t remember anything about it, either, and there’s very little chance I didn’t pick up the next book after that cliffhanger.) If the trend from the earlier books continues, this will be weirder and more entertaining than ever. (Also, I remember this cover, if nothing else about the damn story.

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #146: Magic Fire by Christopher Pike

Title: Magic Fire

Author: Christopher Pike

Cover Artist: Franco Accornero

Tagline: He loved to burn.

Summary: He just had a thing about fire.

Mark Charm is a pyromaniac. Since the time he was a child, he loved to watch fires. But it is only in his senior year at high school that he takes his personal obsession citywide. It is a dry autumn in Southern California and the desert winds are blowing. Mark has a box of matches, and it is late at night. Would it be so bad, he thinks, if the whole state burned?

Initial Thoughts

My first Christopher Pike recap! I ran it by Wing and made sure this wasn’t one of the books she plans to recap for the website. [Wing: I’ve never actually read this one before! Excited to see what it’s like.]

[Wing: We encourage recappers to tie the personal to their recaps if they’re comfortable doing so, because, as you may have noticed, we bring different perspectives and experiences to the table, and that’s a part of what I cherish about this site and this community, recappers and readers and podcast listeners. Jude talks about quite a personal story in this recap, and he wrote an introduction to why. For length and site design purposes, I have moved that to the end of the recap, where the bulk of the discussion takes place.]

This book is strange, because the online summaries didn’t do it nearly enough justice. This is one of those books like “Fear Hall” which I tend to cling to. A lot of you may feel the twist at the end comes from out of nowhere, but as I’ll discuss in the final thoughts, I believe there were clues from the beginning.

Also, I’m not sure how to feel about usage of the term “Pyromaniac,” if that falls under ableism or not. That type of thing’s never really been something I’ve thought about in regards to mental illness, so if anyone wants to start a discussion I wouldn’t argue against it. [Wing: That is an interesting point. It is an actual diagnosis, and I don’t think “pyromaniac” and “pyromania” themselves as words are ableist, no more than “mania” or “manic” is. To me, ableism comes in how the word is used, particularly whether it is being used pejoratively, whether it is being used in a way that causes harm to or others the people to whom it is applicable.] (more…)

Posted in Nightmare Hall recaps

Recap #145: Nightmare Hall #11: Last Date by Diane Hoh/Nola Thacker

Diane Hoh - Last Date
Diane Hoh – Last Date

Title: Nightmare Hall #11: Last Date by Diane Hoh

Summary: A night you’ll never forget. Call me. Demi does it on a dare. She places an ad in the personals column of the Salem Chronicle. Lots of guys call. And the nights are everything she advertised. Unforgettable. Unforgettably frightening. Because one by one, Demi’s dates start having nasty little accidents. Disappearing. Even…dying.

Tagline: None

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

Initial Thoughts

I didn’t even like this one when I first read it 24 years ago. 24 years. Bloody hell. If that weren’t bad enough, Nola “Hack” Thacker is back in the driver’s seat for this ride, so I’m anticipating severe bouts of carsickness and a strong urge to nap. (Note from the future: and a lot of swearing, too). [Wing: Another one I don’t remember reading. Somehow, I think I missed most of the Thacker ones, even though at the time, I didn’t know they were being ghostwritten.]

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Posted in Graveyard School recaps

Recap #144: Graveyard School #23: The Easter Egg Haunt by Tom B. Stone

Title: Graveyard School #23 – The Easter Egg Haunt, a.k.a. “Here Comes Peter Cottontail, Hoping Down The MUUUUUUUURDER Trail”

Author: Tom B. Stone, a.k.a. Nola Thacker, a.k.a. D.E. Athkins

Cover Artist: Mark Nagata

Summary: How Do You Like Your Easter Eggs? Fried, Scrambled, Or… Screaming?

It’s time for Easter and the annual Grove Hill Easter Egg Hunt. David Pike is taking his younger brother, weird Richie. Richie is excited, but for David it’s usually one big yawn.

But then David finds out that the egg hide-and-seek will be held at Graveyard School. An Easter egg hunt near a graveyard? This year, Easter will be more egg-citing than it’s cracked up to be!

Initial Thoughts

We’re having another short break from the chronological order again, but for a good reason!

Because I felt like that.

This month, as most of you might know, Easter and April Fool’s Day fell on the same day. If anyone remembers the list of Graveyard School books, there was also an entry called “April Ghoul’s Day.” Between this and that, I chose “The Easter Egg Haunt,” and I will not be saving “April Ghoul’s Day” for next year. That one’s going up in September as part of the chronological order. I do NOT celebrate April Fool’s Day anymore, for reasons I’m going to shed light on this month in my other recaps.

Guys seriously though, this isn’t a joke if you expect to click the read more link and it takes you to a jump scare or gag post or something.

Moving on…

This month we’re seeing the triumphant return of David and Richie Pike from “Revenge of the Dinosaurs,” and yes Richie has exactly the same capacity for self-preservation as he did in his previous appearance. The Easter imagery as juxtaposed with the usual Graveyard School setting is hilarious, and we further catch a glimpse of how committed Polly Hannah is towards her pink, yellow, and blue theme.

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