Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #33: The Waitress by Sinclair Smith

The Waitress by Sinclair Smith
The Waitress by Sinclair Smith

Title: The Waitress by Sinclair Smith

Summary: The food is great. The service is deadly. Dying for a good meal? Come on over to the Dog House, where Paula works after school. It’s a great place to meet friends – if they are still alive. At the Dog House accidents can happen, and they often do. You could wind up with more than just an upset stomach. You might just wind up dead. Of course, when things go wrong everybody always blames the waitress. Now Paula’s first job might be her last.

Tagline: The customer is always … wrong. Dead wrong.

Note: As Dove requested, I’ve updated my template, because we now apparently call the Bad Guy the Muffin Man. Hey, it makes as much sense as most Point Horrors.

Initial Thoughts:

That is very clearly ketchup smeared on the plate, not blood. The scariest thing on this cover is the spilled salt. Salt is gross.

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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 #25: 13 Tales of Horror Part Four

13 Tales of Horror
13 Tales of Horror

Title: 13 Tales of Horror edited by T Pines

Summary: Can you face your worst nightmare? These thirteen horror stories guarantee to chill you to the bone. Read about the mysterious Black Walker and discover his grim secret. Shiver in fevered anticipation as Mark enters the House of Horrors, perhaps for the last time… And uncover the truth of the murder who leaves a message on his victim’s computers before he leaps in for the kill. Each take draws you further into a web of horror exquisitely woven by thirteen master storytellers. Prepare to be terrified!

Tagline: No tagline.

Note: As Dove requested, I’ve updated my template, because we now apparently call the Bad Guys Muffin Man. Hey, it makes as much sense as most Point Horrors.

Initial Thoughts:

I’ve never read this before, and we’ve never recapped a short story collection. I guess each story will be its own mini-recap, plus its own counter totals and final thoughts. I’m splitting these into a couple different posts, though, because in just the first three stories, I was already approaching 6000 words. No way do I want to subject you guys to 50k of snark in one post.

If the editor’s introduction is anything to go by, we are in for a world of pain.

We are, shall we say, thrilled to “death” that you’ve decided to join us on this trip into darkness. Ask any vampire, it’s so much easier to see once your eyes have become adjusted to the dark, and we have so much to show you….

This anthology is a compilation of the best horror writers of the young-adult thriller genre. With the overall success of horror novels and “thrillers,” it was just a matter of time before this book became a reality.

What we have here is true horror: everyday occurrences gone awry. The supernatural is frightening, what with ghosts, zombies, witches, and ghouls. But when you discover that your best friend has a nasty habit of doing away with the people he or she no longer likes – that is horror.

We read horror because we like to be frightened. It is a way to delve into other people’s fears and feelings, knowing all the while that if it gets too scary we can always close the book. But what happens when we can’t close the book? That is horror.

The authors who have contributed to this anthology have mastered the art of conveying horror through the written word. In Christopher Pike’s “Collect Call,” the going rate is a little too costly – it will make you think twice before accepting the charges. Patricia Windsor’s “A Little Taste of Death” is a compelling tale explaining why your parents told you never to take sweets from strangers. R. L. Stine spins a story of a self-defeated young man who decides to let his hypnotic gate help erase his problems… but it gets a little out of hand. Similarly, Ellen Emerson White tells of an average girl in a quiet New England town, neither of which are what they appear to be.

So sit back and relax. Don’t worry, that creaking noise you hear is only the house settling, and that soft fluttering noise is nothing more than the turning of the pages of this book. And those footsteps…

–T. Pines

Everything is going to hurt, and nothing will be good. Deep breath, grab your alcohol, and let’s do this. This is, of course, the fourth and final part. First part can be found here. Second part can be found here. Third part can be found here.

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #21: Beach Party by R.L. Stine

Beach Party by R. L. Stine
Beach Party by R. L. Stine

Title: BEACH PARTY by R.L. Stine (Not to be confused with BEACH HOUSE, which we already recapped. Unfortunately.) [Dove: What do you mean “unfortunately”? It was better than this. It had time travel. Nothing beats time travel. Especially this.]

[Wing: This had better characters. Mostly. Also, what part of FEUDING WITH STINE means I’m supposed to be happy to recap ANY of his books. Ha!]

Summary: It’s the ultimate beach party in California. And Karen, who’s just broken up with her boyfriend, is going to enjoy every minute of it – especially having two new guys who like her. But the party takes a nasty turn when Karen realizes someone is out to spoil the fun by getting rid of her.

Tagline: Some come to party. Some come to die.

Note: As Dove requested, I’ve updated my template, because we now apparently call the Bad Guys Muffin Man. Hey, it makes as much sense as most Point Horrors. (Note from the future: Never had to refer to the bad guy, so no Muffin Man.)

Initial Thoughts:

Don’t think I’ve read this one before, but I started a recap awhile back, and now can’t access where it is saved and must start over. So it’s sort of like I’ve read it before, in that I’ve put up with this shit before, damn it, and I want to be done.

[Dove: I thought I hadn’t read this, but I have. I didn’t like it then, and I don’t like it now. So I’m consistent.]

[Wing: Unlike Point Horrors.]

Had this thought the other day and need to share: I don’t actually hate R.L. Stine. I’m a big fan of how he helped popularize middle grade and young adult horror before YA was really a huge book category. I’ve heard him on podcasts, and he’s smart and funny and delightful. I even enjoy some of his books.

Just not the books we’ve recapped so far. Damn.

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #20: The Mall by Richie Tankersley Cusick

The Mall by Richie Tankersley Cusick
The Mall by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Title: The Mall by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Summary: There’s a stalker on the lose at the mall—and there’s no safe place to hide

Working at the mall is supposed to be fun. Trish’s job at Muffin-Mania is hardly intellectually challenging and her boss is a piece of work, but it’s worth it to have a job in the same building as her two best friends, the Hanson twins. And the hot guys who hang out there are an added bonus. But something isn’t right about this mall. It’s the oldest mall in the state, remodeled over a dozen times without rhyme or reason, and there are many strange nooks and secret passages behind the bright gleaming storefronts. Someone has been stealing housewares, furniture, and food, and now a mysterious man with ash-gray hair and a whisper-soft voice has started harassing Trish on the phone. He knows her secrets, and he has dark plans for her.

The Mall by Richie Tankersley Cusick - Scan by Mimi
The Mall by Richie Tankersley Cusick – Scan by Mimi

Tagline: Shop till you drop… dead

Note: 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 use the term “Muffin Man” to refer to our bad guy, because that’s what the text calls him. In fact, I want to call all future Bad Guys the Muffin Man. Wing, make this happen. Update your template.

WARNING: Just so you know, the entire book has a very rapey vibe (not just from the Bad Guy). It’s mild, because this is Point Horror, but I thought I’d better give a warning regardless. My own personal issues can be triggered by watching Brave, so honestly, there’s no guessing what can upset people. So consider yourself warned. Additionally, as I warned Wing when I first read this, “Just because I enjoyed it, doesn’t mean I won’t be using the phrase ‘statutory rape’ in my recap.” So, again, tread carefully if you have triggers.

Apology

First of all, I’d like to apologise for the delay in getting this up. It has taken me ages, because my skin keeps falling off my face, and sometimes the only way I can deal with it is to hold a wet cloth to my face to numb and moisturise the skin. Currently I look like the love child of Freddy Krueger and Sloth from Goonies.

Also, I posted this for Wing to comment on, and told her I was too tired to sort out all the things I wanted to link to. Wing went through and cleaned it up for me. I love Wing. Best friends means never having to hyperlink. ♥

[Wing: *preens*]

Initial Thoughts:

I had not read this before. I think I’d read the first few chapters a couple of times and bailed out, but I don’t actually remember anything from it, so I have no initial thoughts other than, “Oh god, when will the Cusick end.” So imagine my surprise when I found myself enjoying it.

Disclaimer: You may require: an obsession with abandoned buildings, a high level of love for the Silent Hill franchise (especially SH3), and to be listening to the soundtrack as you read to enjoy it the way I did.

[Wing: I had all of those things and I did not enjoy it the way Dove did. In fact, I may have actively hated it. Possibly I wanted to burn things to the ground by the end.]

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #15: The Diary by Sinclair Smith

The Diary by Sinclair Smith
The Diary by Sinclair Smith

Title: The Diary by Sinclair Smith

Summary: Was she going to die… again?

Delia can’t stop reading the old diary which mysteriously appears in her locker one day. Little by little, she starts to become more like the girl whose words she reads – even having her memories and seeing the world through her eyes. A dead girl’s eyes. Soon Delia is convinced that she was the girl who wrote the diary – in a past life.

But the terror is about to come alive once more. For the girl who wrote the diary was murdered. And the killer is after her again…

Tagline: A dead girl’s diary … in her own handwriting.

Note: I will use “Bad Guy” throughout my reviews to refer to the anonymous killer/prankster/whatever. Doesn’t mean it’s a guy. Also doesn’t mean it’s ever successful at killing/pranking/whatevering.

Initial Thoughts:

I don’t remember reading this at all when I was younger, so odds are I didn’t. Oh joy. I always have so much fun when I read one for the first time to recap it. /sarcasm

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #9: The Lifeguard by Richie Tankersley Cusick

The Lifeguard by Richie Tankersley Cusick
The Lifeguard by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Title: The Lifeguard by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Summary: Kelsey’s summer should have been paradise: An invitation to rich and famous Beverly Island, complete with sun-drenched beaches and three gorgeous lifeguards on duty. But Kelsey’s summer is the opposite of paradise. It starts with the note under her pillow from a girl who’s missing. Then there’s the crazy man in the lighthouse who won’t leave Kelsey alone. And there have been a number of suspicious drownings… At least she has the lifeguards around to protect her… Poor Kelsey. Someone forgot to tell her that lifeguards don’t always like to save lives.

Tagline: Don’t call for help… he may just kill you.

Note: 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 refer to the Bad Guy throughout as “Justin” because it’s fucking obvious it’s Justin. It’s never been so fucking obvious ever before. Seriously, the Bad Guy is fucking Justin and I’m on page five. It’s fucking Justin, ok?

[Wing: WUT? NO! How dare you spoil it for me! I really thought it was Isaac Skip Neale Kelsey’s dead dad come back to take vengeance.]

Initial Thoughts:

Right, so I must have read this at some point because it’s in the box that came from my mother’s house. Also, it’s stamped with “Property of Sackville School” on the sides, which means it came from my home town. (No, I didn’t steal it… wait, I’m the evil twin, I totally stole it from a very posh public* school.) I have no recollection of ever reading this. Ever. So let’s just say I hate the cover and that’s all I’ve got.

*I’m English, so if you’re American, I mean private. Either way, a posh, pay-for-your-education-and-associate-with-toffs school.

Recap:

First things first, since it’s Cusick, the punctuation will be abused so here, have some stats:

Ellipses used: 691
En Dashes used: 764
Appropriate usage of the above: less than 10%

Yeah. This pisses me off on an epic scale. And not just because I had to format the fucking thing for my Kindle. Why can’t we use commas, semi-colons and full stops? Why… is it… always… ellipses – well, except for when – to be dramatic – we start – needlessly – using – wait for it – en dashes. *sigh*

To illustrate just how often they showed up, I created a worldle.

The Lifeguard - Wordle
Yes, she uses these more than the protagonist’s name

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #3: Trick or Treat by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Trick or Treat by Richie Tankersley Cusick
Trick or Treat by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Title: Trick or Treat by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Summary:

From the beginning Martha knew there was something evil about the house. It was so cold and sinister. And it wasn’t just the house that was giving her the creeps. Martha was sure someone was following her, watching her every move.

Then the practical jokes began – the scarecrow with the carving knife in its head, the fire. And, worst of all, the phone calls…

Tagline: Trick or Treat, trick or treat, candy is dandy, but murder is sweet

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

Note II: Electric Boogaloo: There are 584 instances of ellipses used to end a sentence. I would say 572 of them would be better suited to the single full stop. Then she goes mad with dashes instead of full stops. In total there are 863 badly ended sentences in this book. Seriously, no more than 20 of them need either ellipses or dashes. The rest is just… unnecessary – to give the impression… of atmosphere – I wouldn’t have noticed… if I hadn’t been scanning in my copy… for my… kindle – Argh.

[Wing: It is a sad, sad thing that you counted.]

[Dove: I didn’t count, Word did when I did a find and replace. Is that still sad?]

Note 3 (3D): Ok, new format, see if I can make these things a bit shorter while retaining the information. [Note from the future: I can’t.] I’m going to read a chunk, recap, read a chunk, recap, etc. Rather than recapping as I read.

Initial thoughts

This was the first Point Horror I ever read, it had a great picture on the front cover, an interesting summary and I was ready to be terrified.

I’m still waiting. I remember powering through it and finding it to be a jumbled mess at the end. I remember feeling that it was quite a dull book, and although I read it cover to cover, probably in about one sitting, I never really got into it. Let’s see how it pans out 20 years later…

Also: Wing, did you see that there’s another twee poem! This time it’s the tagline. *happiness* … *coughs* … *evil happiness*

[Wing: That is not evil happiness, that is pure, good happiness.

It is a good cover though. Minus the horrible twee poem.]

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #1: Funhouse by Diane Hoh

Funhouse by Diane Hoh
Funhouse by Diane Hoh

So, I’m going to start things off with my favourite Point Horror of all time, Diane Hoh’s Funhouse. In my opinion, Diane Hoh writes the best Point Horror, and her characters are actually likable, rather than the soulless bastards that I remember running rampant through everyone else’s books.

However, it’s been years since I really read these books, so I could be wrong. Not about Diane Hoh, she is my PH goddess, but about how unlikable everyone else’s characters are.

I love this book so much I have three copies of it. The first is nearly dead and accompanied me on my trip to Austria (yes, Wing, we have been to Austria), someone’s Ribena exploded all over it, and I very unhappy. Ribena is now a banned substance.

(Wing: Since I am the evil twin, I have taken over this recap and littered it with comments. First comment. Why didn’t we destroy said Ribena monster?)

As a side note, I love theme parks/thrill rides. I know a lot of people do, but I like to believe I have a special kind of love for them, because I like them when they’re shut down and spooky, and this book has brief mentions of this.

So, let’s go.

Title: Funhouse by Diane Hoh

Summary:

The Boardwalk is the focal point in the lives of the teenagers of Santa Luisa. When the Devil’s Elbow roller coaster flies off its rails, everyone thinks it was a terrible accident. So no-one believes Tess when she says she saw someone tampering with the track…

But one person knows that Tess is telling the truth. That person is playing a deadly game and Tess is in the way. When another “accident” occurs in the Funhouse, Tess knows she was the intended victim. But who is doing this? And why?

Tess is beginning to realise that the Funhouse can scare you… to death.

Tagline: You can die laughing…

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

Trope definitions are found here.

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