Posted in Sweet Valley recaps

Recap #228: Sweet Valley Twins Super Chiller #1: The Christmas Ghost by Francine Pascal

Sweet Valley Twins Super Chiller #1: The Christmas Ghost by Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins Super Chiller #1: The Christmas Ghost by Jamie Suzanne

Title: The Christmas Ghost by Francine Pascal

Tagline: This year Jessica is in for a very scary Christmas

Summary: Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are looking forward to the most glorious Christmas ever. The tree is decorated, the presents are wrapped, and movie star Beau Dillon is coming to town! The actor, who’ll be in Sweet Valley to publicize his new movie, has agreed to help Elizabeth raise money for the children’s wing of the local hospital. But when the teen star arrives at the Wakefields’ house, it’s Jessica, not Elizabeth, he meets.

What’s the harm in pretending to be your twin? No harm, Jessica thinks – until strange things start happening and three ghostly visitors appear. Is Jessica’s imagination working overtime or have the spirits of Christmas past, present, and future come to teach Jessica the lesson of a lifetime?

Initial Thoughts:

[Wing: A couple years ago, Dove and I, along with our secret evil triplet, Raven, started recapping Sweet Valley Twins over at sweetvalley.online. We’ve recapped a handful of the Super Chillers, and Dove suggested that we cross-post them here, considering the subject matter. I’ll be doing that over the next few weeks.]

Ok, first of all, I think if you’ve listened to the podcast you may know this, but I don’t assume that everyone does: I LOVE THE SUPER CHILLERS. Actual ghosts are here.

Before I was confident enough to ask Wing to take on this gigantic recapping project, I used the “mentionitus” method of testing the waters. While we sat on PointHorror.com, griping about how rarely the bad guy (known on that site as the “Muffin Man”) was supernatural, I would say lightly-casually-oh-I’m-not-hinting, “It’s funny, Sweet Valley Twins has a much younger audience, but they always had real ghosts in their ghost stories.” Wing would raise a scathing eyebrow and say that she’d never read Sweet Valley. Ever. And she was sort of proud of that.

Then curiosity would overcome her. “Really? Because in Babysitters’ Club, it was always the Scooby Doo villain – a human pretending to be a ghost. So you have actual ghosts?”

“Actual ghosts,” I would say. “And it’s odd, they seem to act up the most over Christmas.”

And that is the groundwork of how you get someone who clearly is going to hate something, to do it anyway. [Raven: I have such an inappropriate comment here.] Mention that one thing they like. (Also, there will be werewolves in Sweet Valley High.) [Wing: I feel like I should be more upset that my BFF so blatantly exploits my weaknesses, and yet.] [Dove: I do realise that the above is basically “how to brainwash your friends”. But I had an agenda. And here we are.]

Second of all, I adore A Christmas Carol. I know most people do, but I feel like I might go the extra mile. I feel like I’ve seen every fandom-variation of this story – heck, I’ve even written one. I adore this story.

I’ll admit The Carnival Ghost is a better story on its own merits, because it’s not fanfic of an iconic tale, but this one holds a special place in my heart.

The Cover: Why is the ghost awkwardly pointing to the left? Jessica looks great, but the ghost looks like it wasn’t happy to be modelling for the cover.

[Wing: Tis truly the season for Christmas Carol retellings. We did a few over at the Devil’s Elbow (Fright Christmas and The Fright Before Christmas), and yet somehow this has the best versions of the ghosts. I mean, come on: an angry flying unicorn? Clearly this was going to win.]

[Dove: … seriously? I win?]

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Posted in Movie Recaps, Other movies

Recap #214: Necromentia (2009)

Necromentia (2009)
Necromentia (2009)

Title: Necromentia (2009)

Tagline: Hell awaits the foolish

Summary: Inspired by the work of Clive Barker, Necromentia tells the story of what happens when you meddle with superstition and try to cross into another dimension using the powers of a Ouija board.

Hagen has a dead wife and believes he can bring her back to life. Travis is a man who lost his brother and wants to join him in the afterlife, and Morbius has been betrayed by those he loves and wants to come back from the dead to take revenge. A strange man only known as Mr Skinny protects the secrets of the powerful Ouija board, as all cross the gateways of hell to fulfil their own purpose, facing the hideous monstrosities that reside there as they go.

The above was copy typed from the back of the DVD box. It’s pretty much accurate. It’s also nothing like what happens in the movie. It’s odd that it’s exactly right but so misleading.

Trigger Warnings: Murder, suicide, self-harm, torture, necrophilia, flashing lights, terrible dialogue. [JC: Not making light of trigger warnings, but I’m greatly amused by “terrible dialogue” being right up there with “necrophilia.”]

Notes: I love this movie. I’m not even sorry. I was talking to JC, of Oh God Why?! Nostalgia, and we were talking about our favourite terrible movies. I asked her if she’d like to comment on my recap, because it would be great to see the reaction of someone who’s never seen this movie before (which, as far as I can tell, is anyone who is not me, or did not act in this movie). She said yes. I told her I’d return the favour, so who knows how she’ll feel about this movie and what I’ll end up watching as my penance. [JC: I watched this on YouTube with a watermark in the upper corner and Spanish subtitles at the bottom. So, if nothing else, I at least brushed up on some conversational torture-related Spanish, although I don’t foresee using it much. Except maybe “Hey, I’m not the one fucking a corpse.” I can see that one coming in handy.]

This movie is fucking weird.

Final note: I recapped this in vague detail back in 2011 for my own personal site. The recap has since gone offline, but if you think you’ve read any part of this recap before, don’t worry, I’m only plagiarising myself. Also, thank you, one person, for reading it. That site really didn’t get much traffic.

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #182: After the Hole by Guy Burt

After the Hole by Guy Burt
After the Hole by Guy Burt

Title: After the Hole by Guy Burt

Tagline: Death is always to be found beneath the ground.

Summary: On a bright spring day in England, six teenagers laugh and joke as they make their way to a neglected part of the institution they mockingly call Our Glorious School. Hidden in the dark hollow of a buttress is the door to a small windowless cellar. Behind the door, the old stairs have rotted away. A boy unfurls a rope ladder and five descend into The Hole. The sixth closes the cellar door, locks it from the outside, and walks calmly away down the flagstone path.

The idea is simple. While their parents think they are on a field trip, and the school thinks they’re at home, Frankie, Geoff, Alex, Mike, and Liz will spend three days locked in The Hole. Martyn will remain above ground, promising that when the five emerge into daylight, they’ll have been part of the greatest prank the infamous schemer has ever engineered.

The three days pass predictably: a lot of talking, some booze, flirting, a few friendly fights. At five P.M. on the third day, they drink a celebratory bottle of vodka and wait for the mastermind to arrive and release them. Thirty hours later, they realise that Martyn is not coming to let them out… ever.

Note: As before with the movie, I will take scenes at their face value and comment on them, and then loop back if they are contradicted/expanded. I’ll actually use footnotes for this though – it will be a number in square brackets. They may even be links if WordPress lets me. This makes it a very hard book to recap, so bear with me.

[Wing: I’m scheduling this post to go public on the first day of fall in the Northern Hemisphere, because it is the start of my favourite season, and this is a creepy and twisty way to start it, and it is also a sad family day from which I want to be distracted.]

Warning: There is a rape in this book. I’ve tried to keep the language I use as non-threatening as possible, and keep discussion of it down to a minimum. However, it’s there. You have been warned.

Initial Thoughts:

This is less initial thoughts and more a warning. If you want to read the book, go read the book. It’s a lot easier now than it was in 2003, when I read it. I had to get an out-of-print second-hand copy from a seller on Amazon marketplace, using a friend’s account (my ex got me blacklisted for six years from 2001 onwards), because eBay didn’t have it.

It’s on the kindle now. It’s £3.99. Go read it, because if you’re interested you’ll enjoy the book much more if you just read it, rather than read my recap (which is spoilerific), and then the book.

The book doesn’t have much in common with the movie, so seriously, this is your last chance, go buy it and read it. It’s about the length of the average Sweet Valley Twins, so it’s like an hour out of your day. And you might enjoy it.

(Oh, and forgive some of the prose. Guy Burt was seventeen when he wrote it.)

Also, I’m actually going to note the chapters in this, because it becomes very significant later, and you may want to check something. You’re welcome.

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Posted in Other movies

Recap #174: The Hole (2001)

The Hole (2001)
The Hole (2001)

Title: The Hole

Summary: Four teenagers at a British private school secretly uncover and explore the depths of a sealed underground hole created decades ago as a possible bomb shelter.

[Dove: Yeah, no, sorry imdb, but that makes it sound like a caving adventure. What happens is four teenagers are locked in the bunker, with no means of escape, and the film explores what put them there and what happened in the hole.]

Grade: B

Note 1: In England, public school means publicly funded, e.g., the parents of the students, the public, pay for its running costs. I know this means the opposite in America. [Wing: Americans, it’s a private boarding school. It’s great.]

Note 2: I’m trying to recap the story as it unfolds, and if you’ve seen this you’ll know that what you see in one scene can well be contradicted in another. So my comments take the scene at face value. I’ll loop back to anything on the contradicting scene, rather than “spoiling” what comes next. [Wing: Smart plan! And so is the one below.]

Note 3: I won’t mention the contents of the book. However, when I recap the book, I will definitely mention the contents of the film.

Initial Thoughts

Just FYI, this is one of my favourite movies. Please note the difference between “favourite” and “best”. If you want my “best” movie, it’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest or Stand By Me. This falls firmly in the guilty pleasure category.

It was one of the first movies Raven and I watched when we moved in together. It was so early on in our relationship that we didn’t have a TV licence (we were waiting for payday) and so we were very naughty by watching it.

Also, I will be recapping the book. If you’ve always wanted to read the book but never got around to it, go buy the book now. The book is a very different entity to the movie, and it really should be read if you enjoy this story or any variation of it.

Also, I did screen caps of this entire movie for the cap_it community at LiveJournal. Who knew that 12 years later, it would save me a task when I came to recap the movie? [Wing: I remember people frantically asking you to screen cap Kiera Knightley’s tits, and you refusing, like the A+ person you are.]

[Wing: I love this movie so much. Dove introduced me to it, and the book, as she does many things, and I adore it to this day.]

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Posted in Nightmare on Elm Street movies

Recap #95: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Title: A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Tagline: If Nancy doesn’t wake up screaming, she won’t wake up at all.

Summary: Several people are hunted by a cruel serial killer who kills his victims in their dreams. While the survivors are trying to find the reason for being chosen, the murderer won’t lose any chance to kill them as soon as they fall asleep. (from imdb.com)

Grade: A+

Notes: Be warned: I love this movie. I have watched it so often I know it by heart, I own the novelisations, I bought the VHS tapes separately, then in a box set. Then I bought the DVD set of movies 1-4; then the 1-5 box set; then the 1-6 box set; I spent a fortune hunting down Wes Craven’s New Nightmare on DVD (pre-Amazon era). Then I repeated this ridiculous process on Blu-Ray. I own, and frequently re-watch, Never Sleep Again, but I can’t get through I Am Nancy, which seems to just be Heather Langenkamp wandering around talking to Freddy fans. I have retained a lot of trivia, fan theories, alternate timelines (from the books), and my recaps will be filled to the hilt with this nonsense.

The only place where I draw the line is reading the original stories based on Freddy (official book releases). I’ll take (and love) Seven Sweetest Dreams (a compilation of short stories), but the thick, heavy books lose me every time. They’re just far too away from cannon – much like the TV series, which I have watched once from beginning to end, and several episodes more than once, but do not love, and cannot remember much about.

I haven’t read much of the comics, partly because they’re so expensive (to me) for a media type that doesn’t hold my interest. Partly because they’re still quite hard to come by. And if I’m going to get into a bidding war on eBay over something from the 80s, it’s going to be Gen 1 My Little Ponies.

[Wing: Surprise! Dove has returned to help us celebrate this year’s Halloween Extravaganza, and she brings a horror movie, all her nerdy trivia, and a hell of a lot of fun. I hope you all are as excited as I am about having her back for a very special recap.]

(Jude: Ah, so you’re the infamous Dove I’ve heard so much about. Hi! I’m Jude. And you better fasten your seatbelt because this ain’t gonna be no cakewalk! Among the famed slasher movie franchises, the Elm Street one became my go-to favorite. I watched the first (and some of the fourth) when I was 9. After spending four years horrified beyond belief by these movies I fell in love with them, but I still can’t really look at any pictures of Freddy Krueger where he’s looking RIGHT at you. I actually HAVE read the comics, but if you were to ask, I by far prefer the ones published by Innovation. The Avatar Comics were awful, and so were the Wildstorm ones. I was especially disappointed by the Freddy Vs Jason Vs Ash comics, if only because of what they did to Alice Johnson and Maggie Burroughs. However, you CAN read the Marvel and Innovation comics on nightmareonelmstreetfilms.com. I look forward to ruining-I mean, enhancing your post with my comments. Yes, enhance. I covered that up pretty good. BTW, one of the first entries I worked on for “If It Were Stine” was this movie.)

[Wing: Is it this one?]

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #63: Wickedpedia by Chris van Etten

Wickedpedia by Chris Van Etten
Wickedpedia by Chris Van Etten

Title: Wickedpedia by Chris van Etten

Summary: It’s the return of Point Horror for the Internet generation! Don’t open the door. Don’t answer your phone. And whatever you do, DON’T turn on your computer…

Cole and Greg love playing practical jokes through Wikipedia. They edit key articles and watch their classmates crash and burn giving oral reports on historical figures like Genghis Khan, the first female astronaut on Jupiter. So after the star soccer player steals Cole’s girlfriend, the boys take their revenge by creating a Wikipedia page for him, an entry full of outlandish information including details about his bizarre death on the soccer field.

It’s all in good fun, until the soccer player is killed in a freak accident… just as Cole and Greg predicted. The uneasy boys vow to leave Wikipedia alone but someone continues to edit articles about classmates dying in gruesome ways… and those entries start to come true as well.

Wickedpedia by Chris Van Etten
Wickedpedia by Chris Van Etten

To his horror, Cole soon discovers that someone has created a Wikipedia page for him, and included a date of death. He has one week to figure out who’s behind the murders, or else he’s set to meet a pretty grisly end.

[Note: There is no Greg. His name is Gavin. A+ editing there. 10 points!]

Tagline: COLE is about to go off-line… forever.

Notes: I will use “Bad Guy” throughout my reviews to refer to the anonymous killer/prankster/whatever. Doesn’t mean it’s a guy. I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall.

Initial Thoughts:

I don’t wanna. I don’t wanna. I DON’T WANNA.

First of all, before we even start, let me just say that I’m not entirely enthusiastic that the new books have male leads (not all, but half). The last male lead was an obnoxious, hipster twat, with all the charisma of week-old semolina. Second of all, the new books are written – as far as I can tell – by people who don’t know what they’re on about regarding technology. For example, in Defriended the willful denial of catfishing was the only thing that allowed the story to progress – a quick watch of Nev and Max in action would have sorted the problem in 20 minutes.

And regarding wiki, the idea that these morons usually edit articles and they stay up long enough to fool everyone in school and bugger their reports: no. I remember when Randy Orton (from WWE and “RKO out of nowhere” meme fame) got new branding as the “apex predator”, someone went trolling on Wiki, and kept putting him down as an example on the apex predator page. A studious wiki editor was on that edit in seconds. And for the lolz, I screencapped it as it was happening. Who knew that five years later it would be handy? (Also, in 2014 either the same or a different joker tried again and got shut down just as quick.)

Randy Orton is an Apex Predator. No he's not. Yes he is. etc.
Randy Orton is an Apex Predator. No he’s not. Yes he is. etc. (Click for readable size)

So tl;dr: I DON’T WANNA.

[Wing: I am no fan of the new Point Horror, but Dove’s hatred of them entertains me endlessly. We were actually on a call when she finished reading this one, and being able to see her expressions as she did so was by far the best choice I’ve made this year.]

(Here’s the podcast episode for this book.)

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Posted in Nightmares Recaps

Recap #61: Books of Blood 3: The Coach by M. C. Sumner

The Coach by M C Sumner - Scan by Mimi
The Coach by M C Sumner – Scan by Mimi

Title: Books of Blood 3: The Coach by M. C. Sumner

Summary: The town is plagued by vampires who can change shape to appear to be anyone they like. The baseball coach is convinced Chris killed his daughter – and he’s out to get him. But it was the vampires, and Chris is out to get them. Finally Chris saves himself, his friend and his town from the vampires.

Tagline: Playing games of death…

Notes: I will use “Bad Guy” throughout my reviews to refer to the anonymous killer/prankster/whatever. Doesn’t mean it’s a guy. I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall.

Initial Thoughts:

I really didn’t get along well with the second in this series, so I’m really not looking forward to this one. However, it’s the third in a trilogy, so maybe it will perk up.

[Wing: I quite enjoyed the second book, and I find that cover both ridiculous and fun, so I have hope that I will enjoy this book.]

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Posted in Nightmares Recaps

Recap #58: Books of Blood 2: The Hunger by M. C. Sumner

Books of Blood 2: The Hunger by M. C. Sumner
Books of Blood 2: The Hunger by M. C. Sumner

Title: The Hunger by M. C. Sumner

Summary: Her friends are disappearing – and Talli will be next.

Chris is still in high school, but his sister is a teacher, and together they move to Westerberg after the death of their parents. Driving into town they notice posters on every telegraph post depicting missing teenagers. Slowly Chris finds out they were killed by vampires.

Tagline: The Hunger will eat you alive…

Notes: I will use “Bad Guy” throughout my reviews to refer to the anonymous killer/prankster/whatever. Doesn’t mean it’s a guy. I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall. Nope, I’m going to refer to the bad guys by name, because that’s the kind of book we’re in.

Initial Thoughts:

Well, since I really enjoyed the last one, I have high hopes for this, although sequels generally are not as good as their originals. And if you guys want to get into a lively debate in the comments section on successful sequels, I’m all for it. (I personally like Scream 2, Terminator 2, and Halloween H20, better than the originals.)

Once again, I’m going to recap as I do my first read through. True, last time this resulted in one of the longest recaps ever, but I can see the benefit. If this sucks, I only have to read it the once.

Note from the future: Thank god I did. As it is, it took me four days to do this book.

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Posted in Nightmares Recaps

Recap #56: Books of Blood 1: The Principal by M. C. Sumner

Books of Blood by M. C. Sumner - Don't you just love it when the cover is so exciting and intriguing?
Books of Blood by M. C. Sumner – Don’t you just love it when the cover is so exciting and intriguing?

Title: The Principal by M C Sumner

Summary: Talli knows a deadly secret – and wishes she didn’t.

Principal Volker is tough on discipline, and anyone who steps out of line is summoned to his office, and gets a detention. But no one seems the same afterwards and pupils start disappearing. Talli knows it has something to do with Volker. She follows him to his house and discovers he’s a vampire.

Tagline: You’ll die if you get detention… (Yeah, nope, another Nightmares tagline written by someone who’s never read the book.)

Notes: I will use “Bad Guy” throughout my reviews to refer to the anonymous killer/prankster/whatever. Doesn’t mean it’s a guy. I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall.

Initial Thoughts:

Books of Blood 1: The Principal by M. C. Sumner
Books of Blood 1: The Principal by M. C. Sumner or “Robert distracts Class 4 during assembly”

I have been dreading doing this. So I can only assume that this book is significantly better than I think it will be. Or at least it shouldn’t be as bad as Hall Pass.

I’m doing a Wing here, and recapping as I read for the first time. Usually I read through the entire book, then recap. I’ve only done it this way once or twice before. And generally it highlights how bad I am at guessing what’s going to happen.

One of the reasons I’m so loathe to recap this is that bloody cover to the right. It looks stupid. I remember when I was in primary school, aged around eight, Robert, a kid in the year below me, was sent out of assembly for goofing off. He spent the rest of the assembly pressing his face against the glass in the door and making silly faces to crack up anyone who could see him. This cover sums up that memory perfectly. This is going to be ridiculous. (Also, I get unnaturally angsty when I can’t find a nice high quality cover for my recap.)

[Wing: I love it when the summary just flat out tells me the mystery behind the principal.]

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #27: Haunting Christmas Tales – Part Two

Haunting Christmas Tales by Various
Haunting Christmas Tales by Various

Title: Haunting Christmas Tales by Various

Summary: It’s Christmas Eve and a group of friends have gathered round a fireside in a remote cottage. As a hushed anticipation falls over the group, the only sound is the hiss of logs on the fire.

Safe inside, where surely nothing can harm them, the friends begin to tell tales eerie stories of restless spirits eternally condemned to walk the earth, stories that will haunt you long after you have closed the covers of this book.

Tagline: Disappointingly, there is none.

Notes: No Bad Guys or Muffin Men to be seen.

Recap:

So, if you listened to our podcast, you know I managed to shirk this for a year. And if you didn’t listen to our podcast, you probably still noticed that I only did half of this book last year and never finished it. So, time to get this done.

Also, you can find Part 1 here.

[Wing: I can’t believe I let you get away without finishing this for an entire damn year.]

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Posted in Nightmares Recaps

Recap #52: Hall Pass by Robert Hawks

Hall Pass by Robert Hawks
Hall Pass by Robert Hawks

Title: Hall Pass by Robert Hawks

Summary: I have to get rid of the bodies… They’re clawing back to the surface.

The hall pass is a privilege, but Mr Elliot gives it out freely. His students are the problem kids – they need to roam.

Melissa has roamed too far and stumbled upon a gruesome truth.

Now she knows what happened to the others.

Join your classmates, Melissa.

Tagline: Don’t be too sure you want to get out of class.

Notes: I will use “Bad Guy” throughout my reviews to refer to the anonymous killer/prankster/whatever. Doesn’t mean it’s a guy. I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall.

Initial Thoughts:

I had never read this before, but I do like Nightmares, because they tend to have an actual bodycount and crimes that go beyond gaslighting (which is pretty bad when you’re the victim, but when you’re the reader and have been sold on a murder-death-rampage, and all you get is an abusive boyfriend and a few poison pen letters, it’s a bit of a letdown). Also, Nightmares is the series that gave us the ISUZU TROOPER, BITCHES, so there is that.

[Wing: I had never read this before either. Now I have. It is certainly something.]

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #50: The Accident by Diane Hoh

The Accident by Diane Hoh
The Accident by Diane Hoh

Title: The Accident by Diane Hoh

Summary: On the eve of her “sweet sixteen” birthday, a girl meets a ghost with a tragic past.

Megan Logan’s sixteenth birthday party is in eleven days, and she still doesn’t have a date. For months she’s been secretly in love with her best friend, Justin, but she’s afraid to tell him how she feels. By the time her party starts, though, boys will be the last thing on her mind. While Megan tries on her party dress, three of her friends go for a ride to the lake. As the car makes a sharp turn, the steering malfunctions, and the girls fly headlong into a utility pole. Two escape with minor injuries, but one is rushed to the hospital in critical condition. As Megan worries about her friend, a spirit appears in her mirror: the ghost of a girl who died decades before, on her sixteenth birthday. As the ghost attempts to take over her life, Megan just hopes she can make it through her party alive.

Tagline: She has returned. From the dead…

Notes: I will use “Bad Guy” throughout my reviews to refer to the anonymous killer/prankster/whatever. Doesn’t mean it’s a guy. I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall.

Initial Thoughts:

I used to love this book. It had actual ghosts in it. Instead of being lured in with the promise of supernatural, only to find out it’s a regular human being, this one had actual supernatural. And it was lovely. I also remember that it had a heavy dream summer/romantic feeling throughout, slightly hazy and lazy. It’s one of the reasons I love Diane Hoh so much. I have not read it as an adult though, and I’ve been putting this off, because I’m worried that, like so many before, I won’t enjoy it as an adult.

In other news, I am addicted to Planet Coaster, and this recap is taking me away from it. If anyone else is playing, let me know, and we can discuss how utterly swoon-worthy the game is.

[Wing: I’ve never read this book before. It is a little strange, but not nearly as weird as last week’s Pike. In comparison, this one is practically reality.]

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #48: Fatal Secrets by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Fatal Secrets by Richie Tankersley Cusick
Fatal Secrets by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Title: Fatal Secrets by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Summary: After her sister drowns, Ryan McCauley is haunted by the dead girl’s past

Two sisters walk through a snowy wood, collecting pinecones for Christmas decorations. Something has frightened Marisa, and she’s about to explain it to Ryan, her younger sister, when she steps onto a patch of thin ice. Marisa plummets into the frigid water below, and though Ryan tries to save her, there’s nothing she can do. Even though the accident wasn’t her fault, Ryan is consumed by guilt. But guilt is not what she should be afraid of. Three weeks after Marisa’s death, Ryan sees her everywhere. At night she feels something following her, but when she turns around there’s nothing there. A creepy college friend of Marisa’s shows up at Ryan’s house, and her mother asks him to stay through Christmas. To free herself of guilt, Ryan must unlock Marisa’s terrible secret – before death takes her too.

Fatal Secrets by Richie Tankersley Cusick - Scan by Mimi
Fatal Secrets by Richie Tankersley Cusick – Scan by Mimi

Tagline: Skating on thin ice…

Note: I will use “Bad Guy” throughout my reviews to refer to the anonymous killer/prankster/whatever. Doesn’t mean it’s a guy.

Warning: Even by my own standards, I swear a lot towards the end of this bag of shit recap.

Initial Thoughts:

I read this for the first time a few months ago. Based on the front cover alone, my hopes were that it was going to be some hi-jinks romp set at a ski resort, with all the standard clichés that requires: alpha bitch who is possessive over men, protagonist torn between a serial killer and a nice guy (but which is which? OMG???) and some very tame parties, where everyone drinks Pepsi and plays monopoly.

I was wrong.

Also, I could not get it into my head that the protagonist, Ryan, is a girl, so I kept thinking it was very progressive, what with the m/m relationships.

I was wrong.

I have forgotten all of the intricacies of this story, I know how it ends, but I can’t remember anything that happens in the middle or who is who and all that nonsense. I’ve purged almost everything except the WTF-out-of-nowhere-like-an-RKO plot from my mind.

Also, I started this recap in July. Seriously.

[Wing: Dove really, really hated this book. I … did not. We’ll see how well this recap goes. Also, Mimi’s cover is weird.]

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #45: The Invitation by Diane Hoh

The Invitation by Diane Hoh
The Invitation by Diane Hoh

Title: The Invitation by Diane Hoh

Summary: For the high schoolers of Greenhaven, Cass Rockham’s fall party is the social event of the year. Each October, students wait by their mailboxes, praying for the gilt-edged invitation that grants entry into the inner circle of the most popular crowd. And now Cass has planned her finest party yet, with a new sauna, a hot band, and no parents for miles. But to make this party really killer, Cass tops it all off with a sinister twist. Nerdy Sarah Drew is shocked when she and her friends receive invitations to Cass’s affair. For years she’s steered clear of the popular kids, and now they want her to come to their party? Sarah is wary, but her friends talk her into coming with them. But she regrets it quickly, for at Cass Rockham’s mansion, the only party favor is death.

Tagline: At the party of the year, a rich girl’s practical joke turns deadly

Notes: I will use “Bad Guy” throughout my reviews to refer to the anonymous killer/prankster/whatever. Doesn’t mean it’s a guy. I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall.

Initial Thoughts:

I remember this being one of my favourites as a teenager. I never had a copy of it, just borrowed my friend’s once, so it could be that I read it quickly and thought it was awesome and never checked back in. Or it could actually be awesome. It is Diane Hoh, after all.

Welp, here goes…

[Wing: I read this for the first time not too long ago. I’m not sure why I didn’t recap it at the time. Maybe it was while I was traveling.]

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #40: The Stranger by Caroline B Cooney

The Stranger by Caroline B. Cooney
The Stranger by Caroline B. Cooney

Title: The Stranger by Caroline B. Cooney

Summary: From the first moment she sees him in class, Nicoletta is drawn to Jethro, fascinated by his dark, mysterious face. She is attracted yet repelled, interested but afraid. Nicoletta becomes obsessed, unable to think of any-thing but this strange boy.

But she knows so little about him.

Until she follows him to a deserted cave on the edge of town… and learns the truth.

Jethro is not like the others. No, not at all.

He has a terrifying secret. A secret no one must ever find out.

The Stranger by Caroline B Cooney - Scan by Mimi
The Stranger by Caroline B Cooney – Scan by Mimi

Tagline: He’s not like all the other guys

Notes: I will use “Bad Guy” throughout my reviews to refer to the anonymous killer/prankster/whatever. Doesn’t mean it’s a guy. I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall. Nope, no bad guys.

Warning: I like this. A lot. Despite its faults.

Further Warning: This story is Twilight. Really. Only it gets to the point quicker. And it’s a lot less offensive.

Once again, Mimi has provided her copy of the front cover, which gives a much better idea of what this book will be about.

[Wing: I agree, Mimi’s cover wins this one. I enjoyed this, though not as much as Dove did. Mostly, I found it ridiculous.]

Initial Thoughts:

I thought I’d read this before, and that Jethro was a dickhead who invited our protagonist to play a “dangerous” game, which involved scaring people. Apparently that was Twins. This I had not read before.

[Wing: Gee, that certainly makes me want to read Twins immediately — wait, is the dude in Twins actually named Jethro too? Because that is ridiculous.]

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #38: The Vampire’s Promise (Vampire Series: Book 3) by Caroline B. Cooney

The Vampire's Promise by Caroline B. Cooney
The Vampire’s Promise by Caroline B. Cooney

Title: The Vampire’s Promise by Caroline B Cooney

Summary: Lacey and her friends are looking/or excitement a night to end all nights. So they break in to the Mall House, the mysterious, dark house with the circular tower. The Vampire Tower…

They wake the Vampire from his slumbers and he comes to them, holding them prisoner in the crumbling ruin. And the Vampire promises them one thing – that he will let them go – except for one who will satisfy his hunger.

And between them, an horrific decision must he made. They must decide which one of them will he his…

Tagline: Never make a deal with a vampire…

The Vampire's Promise by Caroline B Cooney - Scan by Mimi
The Vampire’s Promise by Caroline B Cooney – Scan by Mimi

Notes: I will use “Bad Guy” throughout my reviews to refer to the anonymous killer/prankster/whatever. Doesn’t mean it’s a guy. I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall. Thanks to Mimi for the alternate cover art, with the big spoiler on the front cover!

[Wing: My god, publisher, what were you thinking with that cover? WHY SPOIL THINGS?]

Initial Thoughts:

You can also read my recaps of The Cheerleader and The Return of the Vampire.

Well, as I said on the last recap:

I believe I have read the third, but can’t remember a thing about it. I will be recapping it next time. I personally hope that, since the hatefulness of the protagonist is escalating, the next book is about a girl who is utterly ruthless. No dithering about, she basically goes to the vampire with a laundry list of things she wants. “I want Suzie’s hands, and Jenna’s eye-shape, but Cathy’s eye colour, and Jo’s hair, and Beth’s boobs, and Kayla’s butt, and…” and the vampire is at first delighted that he’s found his perfect mate, but ultimately ends up killing her because she’s far too demanding.

I doubt that will happen. If anyone wants to write it for me, I’ll love you forever.

The summary leads me to believe this is not the case, so I’m already disappointed.

[Wing: I know I’ve read this book, though not until I became an adult. I never found a copy when I was reading the first two. And yet I remember nothing about it. NOTHING. So clearly it is a wonderful, memorable story.]

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #36: Return of the Vampire (Vampire Series: Book 2) by Caroline B. Cooney

The Return of the Vampire by Caroline B. Cooney
The Return of the Vampire by Caroline B. Cooney

Title: Return of the Vampire by Caroline B Cooney

Summary: Devnee is tired of being ignored. Tired of feeling ordinary. All she wants is to be beautiful. If she’s beautiful, everything else will fall in to place: popularity, friendship, even love. Devnee’s family has just moved into a new house – a house with a vampire in it. He can grant Devnee’s wish, but there’s a price. Is she willing to pay it?

Tagline: He’s back for more…

Notes: I will use “Bad Guy” throughout my reviews to refer to the anonymous killer/prankster/whatever. Doesn’t mean it’s a guy. I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall.

Initial Thoughts:

Return of the Vampire by Caroline B Cooney - Scan by Mimi
Return of the Vampire by Caroline B Cooney – Scan by Mimi

I remember that I found Devnee particularly loathsome when I was a teenager, so I have no doubt she’s even worse now I’m an adult. Back in the day, I actually read this before The Cheerleader. Despite having Return in the title, it did not occur to me it was a sequel. This is one of those things like how it never occurred to Wing to hunt down Class Trip, after reading Class Trip 2.

[Wing: Yours makes sense, though. I mean, Return of the Vampire works as a title of a stand-alone book just as well as it does for a sequel, because vampires. Always with the returning and acting alive even when they’re dead, etc.]

Also, thanks to Mimi, the sublime, who has provided alternative covers.

[Wing: I had the same cover as  Mimi back in the day, but I really like the mirror cover a lot better.]

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #32: My Secret Admirer by Carol Ellis

My Secret Admirer by Carol Ellis
My Secret Admirer by Carol Ellis

Title: My Secret Admirer by Carol Ellis

Summary: Jenny is new in town. Her parents go away, leaving her all alone in an isolated house. The mountains surrounding the town loom ominously, guarding the secret of what really happened the day of Diana Benson’s accident. Then the phonecalls start…

Jenny has a secret admirer, who courts her with sweet messages and flowers. But she also has an enemy, who chases her on a lonely road. Does she know too much about the “accident” on the cliffs? And is there anyone she can trust?

Jenny has no-one to turn to.

Except her secret admirer…

But who is he?

Tagline: He was crazy about Jenny. Crazy enough to kill her.

Notes: I will use “Bad Guy” throughout my reviews to refer to the anonymous killer/prankster/whatever. Doesn’t mean it’s a guy. I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall.

Warnings: NONE. After the past two recaps, which have handled touchy subject matter (with varying degrees of success), we are back to a regular Point Horror, which features the standard tropes. Boys. Alpha bitches. DEATH (not really, it’s actually a convenient coma). Wing and I will resume our usual level of goofing off, adding silly gifs, and using “BITCHES” to mean “dearest readers, who I love to pieces” (that last one is just me).

[Wing: I am still really angry at the world, for a lot of reasons. Not sure how much fun times I’ll be providing in recaps for awhile, to be honest.]

[Dove: Yes, I probably phrased that wrong, I just meant it was more appropriate to goof off in this silly recap than the serious one of last week.]

Initial Thoughts:

I read this back in the day, but it didn’t really stick with me. Generally speaking, I like Carol Ellis. When I was younger, Camp Fear and The Window were my favourites. As an adult… I still enjoy Camp Fear, but The Window had a lot of faults. I remember it being a story that didn’t really move very fast. And given that it’s one of the shorter PHs around, that’s a worry. [Wing: Camp Fear remains one of my favorites. I’ve never read this one before, but since I have good memories of Ellis from Camp Fear, I am excited.]

Right, let’s do this thing.

Also, please note the various covers for this book. I particularly like the one of the right. BEWARE THE JAZZ HANDS, BITCHES! [Wing: The middle cover isn’t terrible, but the jazz hands one is the greatest thing I have ever seen, and by greatest, I mean most terrible. And also, I definitely thought that phone booth was a window standing in the middle of nowhere when I first saw it. Because in Point Horror, things don’t have to make sense.]

My Secret Admirer Covers - (l-r) Sinister Stalker, Oozing Flowers and JAZZHANDS WILL GET YOU.
My Secret Admirer Covers – (l-r) Sinister Stalker, Oozing Flowers and JAZZHANDS WILL GET YOU.

Edit: Extra fun – our lovely Mimi has provided a copy of the American cover, so you can see the glorious jazz hands in high quality. Enjoy!

My Secret Admirer by Carol Ellis (American Cover - Jazz Hands Edition - Scan by Mimi)
My Secret Admirer by Carol Ellis (American Cover – Jazz Hands Edition – Scan by Mimi)

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #30: Help Wanted by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Help Wanted by Richie Tankersley Cusick
Help Wanted by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Title: Help Wanted by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Summary: Robin’s convinced her new after-school job is going to be easy money. The only problem is, it means working at Parker Swanson’s house the most arrogant, attractive boy in school…

And Parker’s family is seriously weird. Scary, too. They’re all morbidly obsessed with Parker’s dead stepmother… And if she’s dead, how can she be scaring the life out of her daughter, Claudia?

And what is it that Robin keeps hearing, alone in the house at night…?

Tagline: Part-time job or full-time nightmare…?

Notes: I will use “Bad Guy” throughout my reviews to refer to the anonymous killer/prankster/whatever. Doesn’t mean it’s a guy. I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall.

Help Wanted by Richie Tankersley Cusick - Scan by Mimi
Help Wanted by Richie Tankersley Cusick – Scan by Mimi

WARNING: This book contains a rapist. Not the usual Cusick fare of “lol no means yes, I’m your boyfriend so it’s just a joke” but an actual rapist. In my opinion, it’s actually less creepy because the text presents this as a bad thing (for once), but still, my triggers are not your triggers, so a warning is needed.

SECOND WARNING: Suicide is a plot point and the book is heavy with mental health being dealt with in a callous manner. Not the usual “crazy people kill” but “woman up, crazy chick, who cares if your mum killed herself, quit your moaning”.

Good lord, this book has a lot of issues. Wing is not going to like it.

[Wing: No. No she is not.]

Dove’s final note: given how awful this book is, and Wing’s book choice for the next recap. I have decided that I’m going to recap a wacky, hi-jinks style book next time around. Probably a Goosebumps.

Initial Thoughts:

I have never read this before. I ordered it off eBay when I realised I was running low on Cusick, so my initial thoughts are simply that I’m sure ellipsis are being abused in this book.

According to my Wordle, not so much. It’s all about the EnDash here.

Also: CUSICK! I’M BACK! I HAVE MISSED YOU. *snuggles the books*

It speaks volumes of how much I hated Defriended by Ruth Baron when I’m delighted to be back in Cusick world. Still, I love/hate her so much.

Help Wanted Wordle - apparently Cusick is over her elipsis
Help Wanted Wordle – apparently Cusick is over her elipsis

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #27: Haunting Christmas Tales – Part One

Haunting Christmas Tales by Various
Haunting Christmas Tales by Various

Title: Haunting Christmas Tales by Various

Summary: It’s Christmas Eve and a group of friends have gathered round a fireside in a remote cottage. As a hushed anticipation falls over the group, the only sound is the hiss of logs on the fire.

Safe inside, where surely nothing can harm them, the friends begin to tell tales eerie stories of restless spirits eternally condemned to walk the earth, stories that will haunt you long after you have closed the covers of this book.

Tagline: Disappointingly, there is none.

Notes: No Bad Guys or Muffin Men to be seen.

Initial Thoughts:

I have never read this before, but who doesn’t love a nice ghost story? Especially at Christmas.

Since this isn’t a full story, but nine short stories, I’m going to switch up the recap format. There will be no counters in here. And I’m going to rate each story from one to five (bad to good). This rating will be based purely on how much enjoyment I got from the story. Therefore, if I rate something five, I don’t believe it should win Book of the Year, it just means that, comparatively, this was a fun read for the genre.

[Wing: Fail, Dove. I include counters where I can.

I love good ghost stories all the time. We’ll see if these live up to that. I did expect more of a set-up of the frame story, the friends telling eerie tales; I love scenarios like that — Are You Afraid of the Dark remains one of my favorite tv shows — and I’m disappointed this book just went straight into the stories.]

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