Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #138: The Last Vampire #3: Red Dice by Christopher Pike

Red Dice by Christopher PikeTitle: The Last Vampire #3: Red Dice by Christopher Pike

Summary: Alisa and her former FBI partner, Joel, learn of a government plan to capture them in order to steal and analyze their vampire blood for the purpose of duplicating it, and when Joel is caught, Alisa risks her life to free him.

Tagline: This time the world hunted her…

Initial Thoughts

I remember nothing about this book. I know I’ve read it. I’ve probably even read it multiple times, though not since my early 20s, if not even before that. But I have no idea what the plot is here, or even who, besides Alisa, is around.

ALISA NEVER GONNA DIE BECAUSE I’M GODDAMN PERNE IS BACK.

Let’s do this.

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #132: Last Vampire #2: Black Blood by Christopher Pike

Last Vampire 2 Black Blood by Christopher PikeTitle: Last Vampire #2: Black Blood by Christopher Pike

Summary: Believing that she and her partner, Ray, are the last remaining vampires, five-thousand-year-old Alisa is stunned when she learns about a series of brutal murders in the United States that can only be the work of their own kind.

Tagline: The wave of death spread like a plague…

Initial Thoughts

I know I’ve read this one before, but I have no memory of what happens. Apparently, my memory, like the last book, ends in that cliffhanger of whether Alisa will live or die. I mean, I’m assuming she lives, considering there’s still a number of books to go, but I suppose Ray could be the new last vampire. But I doubt it.

Reminder: Last book ended with Sita: breaking her vow to Krishna and making another vampire; blowing up Yaksha, her creator; accidentally getting impaled by a piece of wood; and potentially dying in true peace because she realises she didn’t actually break her vow to Krishna.

ALISA I’M BETTER THAN ALL Y’ALL PERNE ROUND TWO.

Let’s do this.

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Posted in Graveyard School recaps

Recap #130: Graveyard School #6: Camp Dracula by Tom B. Stone

Title: Graveyard School #6 – Camp Dracula a.k.a. “The Purple Bear Jamboree”

Author: Tom B. Stone/Nola Thacker/D.E. Athkins

Cover Artist: Barry Jackson

Summary: Camp At Your Own Risk!

Welcome to camp – Camp Dracula, as Jeep Holmes jokingly calls it. [Wing: JEEP.] Jeep may be joking, but he isn’t laughing. He can’t take this weird new summer place! Never mind that the counselors always wear dark glasses and the activities are all at night. What bothers him most are the other campers, a bunch of sickly-looking creeps who like to keep bats in the bunks! Why did his parents send him to this horrific place? Will Jeep make it through the summer without going batty?

Initial Thoughts

And now we get back into the chronological order of things (at least for a little bit), but hey, this is a vampire book, and what goes better with February than vampires?

This is the first book in the series to take place outside of the school and Grove Hill, and the first summer-themed story. I mentioned there were only two camp-related books, and it’s interesting it would involve vampires since they’re nocturnal by nature and camp tales take place mostly during the day. This is also the first to have a protagonist who can be genuinely grating on the reader. It’s admittedly one of the few books I haven’t reread as much.

But you’d be surprised at the use of Dracula references.

[Wing: I love summer camp stories and vampire stories and Dracula references, and that cover is adorable. I’m excited.]

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Posted in Graveyard School recaps

Recap #129: Graveyard School #26: Little School of Horrors by Tom B. Stone, a.k.a. “The Most Popular Ghouls in School”

Title: Graveyard School #26 – Little School of Horrors

Author: Tom B. Stone/Nola Thacker/D.E. Athkins

Cover Artist: Mark Nagata

Tagline: N/A

Summary: It’s The Most Horrifying Time Of Year In Grove Hill – Back-To-School Time!

Back to school.

Ghouls rule. Teachers drool.

Dead things walking are nothing shocking.

Blue is new at Graveyard School. But he knows right away that he’s going to class at Creep Central. Just look at the teachers. The principal. Even the janitor. But worst of all, look at the kid who wants to be Blue’s best friend. With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Welcome to Dead Kid 101.

[Wing: This summary made me laugh. I’m delighted.]

Initial Thoughts

Looking at the cover Wing you can guess why I picked this for your b-day month, and lucky for you this is also one of my favorite books in the series.

What’s weird about it is this book has got some world building shit going on, and the way it reads you’d THINK it would’ve been the first in the series. It gives a much better sense of how big the sixth grade class is, even for a small town, which puts it at odds with the Fear Street Seniors series for how it only focused on a handful of the 12th grade class and then made sporadic, frustrating references to all the OTHER kids in the graduating class.

But this is frustrating for me because this was the third to last in the line, and none of the other kids introduced in this book appeared in “Here Comes Santa Claws” or “The Spider Beside Her.” I can’t help but wonder what Thacker might’ve had planned for this series if #28 wasn’t the last. God knows I still have some notes from way back in high school on ideas I had for stories with these guys.

And we also get a look at racism through the eyes of a kids horror book!

[Wing: I do love the surprise on that cover, thank you! It’s strange that this isn’t the first book in the series, or that the world building here wasn’t included in the first book, at least. Though, I did like the pacing on the first book, and this information might have slowed it down.

No matter what, I’m super excited about this!]

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #126: The Last Vampire by Christopher Pike

Cover of The Last Vampire by Christopher PikeTitle: The Last Vampire by Christopher Pike

Summary: Alisa Perne is the last vampire. Beautiful and brilliant, she hunts alone, living among humans, living off humans. But someone is stalking her. Someone wants her dead. And Alisa has a choice to make – to keep a long held promise or protect the mortal she seems to be falling for.

Tagline: This time someone is hunting her…

Initial Thoughts

Oh god, here we go. Five years into recapping on Devil’s Elbow, and I’m finally spending an entire year focused on my favourite of the 80s and 90s teen horror authors, Christopher Pike. I’m saving my absolutely favourite books for the end of the year, but first, I’m taking on The Last Vampire series, which is significantly longer now than the first time I read it.

Note: There’s a lot of religion throughout this, particularly centered around Krishna and Vishnu. I do some basic research as I read, but I have very little knowledge here. My guess is that Pike’s taking a ton of liberties. I think that reading this as an adult, it’s going to smack of cultural appropriation, so keep that in mind when you read the book and this recap.

I loved this series growing up, especially the first book, but oh my god, does it get weird. So weird. Complicated and twisty and fun, but weird.

Though I’ve reread a lot of my Pike books often, this is not a series I read more than the first couple books obsessively, so I’m excited to go through the entire thing again.

2018: The Year of Christopher Pike. Let’s do this.

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Posted in General

Halloween Extravaganza: Atypical Halloween Films

I, for one, welcome our new overlord: the Great Pumpkin!

It’s October! It’s Fall! It’s the best season of the year!

Each year about this time, there’s always the general consensus list post of “Halloween” films – among them Halloween, Friday the 13th, the Universal Monsters movies, Hocus Pocus, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Halloweentown (and its three sequels, though that fourth film is purely awful) – and there are the staples that several generations have grown up on, i.e. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!, which is the one film that still airs on a major network every year (or twice in the same month, some years.)

I don’t want to write one of those lists.

So, instead, I decided to pick some of my favorite spooky and/or horror-themed films that always seem to put me in the mood for Fall and its haunted delights. Join me and check this list of atypical not-exactly-Halloween films you should check out for the Fall season! Spookiness, ahoy!

It meeeeeeeeee!

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #82: Song of the Vampire by Carmen Adams

cover of Song of the Vampire by Carmen Adams, dramatic image of white dude vampire holding a fainting white woman

[Wing: OH NO THAT COVER. We’ve come a long way from the fun of The Band.]

The Author

I stand corrected with now knowing that Adams also wrote THE CLAW, a Point Horror addition that the lovely ladies at The Devil’s Elbow already recapped. I’d never heard of it, but should I stumble across it in my used bookstore wanderings I’ll have to grab it.

Remember how I said Adams wrote level-headed and realistic characters that weren’t caricatures of humans? Well, that’s still true, but where Adams’s development was a little better in THE BAND, in SONG OF THE VAMPIRE we got some major plot-serving going on served with a tall Dumbass Daiquiri, complete with a tiny umbrella. She got significantly better with descriptions in this book, throwing down on page two what Megan and Iris look like, however, she does bleed a little more into making Megan look a little more than average in this book.

I had a harder time separating my Lost Boys love from this book, and maybe it’s just me, but I ultimately felt her descriptions were a little lacking here. Where she really amped up the setting of Blue Mesa and ambiance as their own characters in THE BAND, here, while she didn’t short on description, it definitely didn’t feel as involved. There was a moment, and I’m pretty sure it was just the one, where her grasp of feeling and setting really came back to life. But I found myself really looking for that mood-setting tone that Adams has throughout the book and didn’t find it.

Still, she watched The Lost Boys and was like I WANT TO WRITE THAT. And she did. And despite the flaws I still love her for it.

Fair warning: this recap is going to be gif-heavy to supplement the heinous eye roll moments and to throw down the epic Lost Boys love that is this story.

[Wing: This is legitimately the most Lost Boys story I’ve ever read, and I own the damn movie novelisation. It is fucking amazing. And sometimes terrible, because COME THE FUCK ON, MEGAN, YOU ARE BETTER THAN THIS.]

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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 Other Recaps

Recap #57: Bad Blood #2: Hunters’ Moon by Debra Doyle and James Macdonald

Bad Blood #2: Hunters' Moon by Debra Doyle and James Macdonald
Bad Blood #2: Hunters’ Moon by Debra Doyle and James Macdonald

Title: Hunters’ Moon (Bad Blood #2) by Debra Doyle and James Macdonald

Summary: Bitten by a werewolf, Valerie had no choice but to accept the bloodthirsty call of the full moon. Even though she vowed never to kill humans, children were being murdered in the night–drained of blood. On their necks was the mark of the vampire. Valerie knew she had to stop the creatures from killing again. But she didn’t know the vampires had the power to control werewolves.…

If werewolves are only folklore…

…then why does Val Sherwood transform into a savage wolf every full moon? Because the legends are real. Val has no choice but to accept the ancient curse — and try to live a normal life in the town of Hillside.

If vampires are just a myth…

… then why are children slowly drained of blood, drop by drop, night after night? Because a dark master and his thirsty brood have come to feed upon them all, using their unearthly powers to enslave and destroy. Val is determined to track down the vampires’ lair with her own predatory powers. But…

If vampires are able to control wolves…

…then Val and her family are dead meat.

Tagline: Night calls the hunter — and the hunted…

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. I don’t actually use it here, even though there is a Muffin Man. Sort of.

Initial Thoughts:

I love this book so damn much. As we mentioned in the second episode of the podcast, Dove and I spent years searching for this series based on Dove’s hazy memory of some of the details of this specific book. I was both shocked and delighted when she told me there was a teen werewolf book I’d never even heard about, and probably built my expectations way too high, though I tried to keep them low, after some of the books I was most excited about recapping turned out to be terrible.

As with book one, I love this book. I marathoned the entire trilogy when I first bought it, and have already reread it multiple times since, over the course of less than a year. I’m so excited to share this recap with you all.

(THAT COVER YOU GUYS, THAT COVER IS SO RIDICULOUS AND SO WONDERFUL.)

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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 #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 #26: The Cheerleader (Vampire Series: Book 1) by Caroline B. Cooney

The Cheerleader by Caroline B. Cooney
The Cheerleader by Caroline B. Cooney

Title: Cheerleader (Vampire Series: Book 1) by Caroline B. Cooney

Summary: Cheerleaders are beautiful, popular and exciting – girls that Althea longs to be. But Althea is nobody – she gets no phone calls, shares no laughter and has no friends. Then one day she meets him, a vampire who offers to make her a cheerleader in exchange for a simple bargain.

Tagline: She wants it all. But he wants blood…

Note: I will use “Bad Guy” throughout my reviews to refer to the anonymous killer/prankster/whatever. Doesn’t mean it’s a guy. The “Bad Guy” is a vampire, and owns it proudly, so no need to be coy.

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

Initial Thoughts:

I remember loving this book back in the day. Not least of all because I had a strong desire to be popular. Not that I wanted to be the centre of the world, just that I wanted a few friends, so let’s just say this one hit home and if someone had asked me to hand over [popular kid] in exchange for it, I totally would’ve done it. In fact, I was pissed off by the end of the book, which I’ll cover when I get there.

Note from the future: it was really hard to trope count this since most of the tropes were triggered by the vampire. I went with it, but they don’t really count for the most part. I probably should’ve used the “I beat you because I love you” tag on every sentence, but didn’t really think about it. (more…)