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 Nightmare Hall recaps

Recap #78: Nightmare Hall #3: Deadly Attraction by Diane Hoh

cover for Deadly Attraction by Diane Hoh, has a window with yellow shutters on the front, looking into a bedroom with a dresser and a clockTitle: Nightmare Hall #3: Deadly Attraction by Diane Hoh

Summary: The night Robert Q and Darlene meet, the attraction is immediate. The Big Man on Campus uses all his charm to sweep Darlene off her feet – and then dumps her a few weeks later. After all, he’s just playing around. Poor Robert Q. He doesn’t realize that Darlene is playing for keeps. He may think it’s over. But he’s wrong. Dead wrong.

Tagline: None.

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

Thankfully, we’re back to a Nightmare Hall book actually written by Diane Hoh. The Roommate, the previous book, was actually courtesy of ghost-writer Nola “Hack” Thacker, and it was downright TERRIBLE. So, yay for Diane Hoh! I remember being intrigued by the fact that the relationship described in the summary is actually viewed through an external party, our main character Hailey. I can still remember the identity of the bad guy, too. Funny how a thin piece of fluff from 24 years ago can stick with me longer than anything I read today…

[Wing: I still find it weird that Hoh apparently NOPED out of the last book, but came back for this one. Where did you go, Diane Hoh? Where did you go?]

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Posted in Other Recaps

Recap #73: Silent Stalker by R. T. Cusick

cover of Silent Stalker by R T Cusick, shows a white girl on a floor in what looks like a cave, cowering away from a bunch of ratsTitle: Silent Stalker by R. T. Cusick

Summary: Trapped in a madman’s castle, a young girl must fight to save her sanity

Thunder bellows as Jenny and her father pull up to the gate of Worthington Hall. As they inch onto the grounds of the ancient estate, a disheveled young woman thrusts her head through the open window. “Leave!” she yells. “Before it’s too late! He’ll kill you. I swear.” Jenny is terrified, but her dad laughs it off. The girl is just an actress – part of the medieval fair being held on the castle grounds. But it’s not long before Jenny wishes they’d heeded the warning.

The house is a drafty maze of narrow hallways and dungeons. Jenny wants to flee, but her father is intent on the work he’s come to do. Soon the Worthington family sets upon young Jenny, playing twisted tricks on her until she forgets what’s real. The Worthingtons play cruel games – and if Jenny loses, it will mean her life.

Tagline: None

Initial Thoughts

WELL THIS IS OFF TO A GREAT START.

[Note from the future: While I don’t remember anything else about this book, and didn’t think I’d read it, the rat scene from the cover seems immensely familiar. Not sure if I saw something similar in another book, though.]

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Posted in Nightmare Hall recaps

Recap #67: Nightmare Hall #1: The Silent Scream by Diane Hoh

Silent Scream book cover, shows a window into a dorm room with a girl's body on the floorTitle: Nightmare Hall #1: The Silent Scream

Summary: Jess is eager to start college – until she arrives at her off-campus dorm. She can see why everyone calls it Nightmare Hall. Especially when she learns the dark secrets hidden within the house. A girl named Giselle hanged herself there. In Jess’s room.  But was it really suicide? Or was Giselle murdered? Echoing through the house, Jess can still hear the sound of Giselle’s last scream….

Tagline: There isn’t one! The early Nightmare Hall books had one of those covers with a window, and you could open the front to see the bigger picture behind the window. Groovy! In the intervening 24 years, however, the window frames have broken off my copies! [Wing: The window covers remain some of my favorite covers of any book. It’s such a simple idea, and yet it charms me to no end. Only one of my cover windows broke, I think, but I’m always afraid the others will too.]

Notes: I will now refer to the bad guy as “Muffin Man” because of The Mall. Could still be either male or female, however. And heads up – I still remembered going into this who the killer was. [Wing: I don’t! This is awesome.]

Initial Thoughts

I have very fond memories of this series. I actually still remember reading this first entry, for the first time, back in 1993, at home on the weekend with the basketball on TV in the backgroud. Diane Hoh is also my favourite Point Horror author, so there are a lot of ticks in the plus box for this one. Strangely, it was one of only a few books actually set at Nightingale Hall – the rest just took place at Salem University. There were 29 books in all. Although all were credited to Hoh, she only wrote 22 of them – which is still a mighty effort!

[Wing: This was not my first Nightmare Hall, which means by the time I came back to it, I was shocked that it was actually set at Nightingale Hall. Most of the other books only reference it.]

(Podcast episode)

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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 Other Recaps

Recap #55: Bad Blood #1: Bad Blood by Debra Doyle and James Macdonald

Bad Blood #1: Bad Blood by Debra Doyle and James Macdonald
Bad Blood #1: Bad Blood by Debra Doyle and James Macdonald

Title: Bad Blood (Bad Blood #1) by Debra Doyle & James Macdonald

Summary: It started with a group of teenagers telling scary stories around a campfire. No one believed Jay’s wild tale of moonlight and werewolves. They thought he was kidding when he said, “By morning, you’ll all be dead.” But Valerie saw the strange hunger in the boy’s eyes – and that night, she felt the sharp touch of his fangs…

Tagline: The moon is full. Beware the beast.

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. There’s no actual hidden Muffin Man in this story.

Initial Thoughts:

I love this damn book so, so much. Dove read it when she was younger, and then lost it for years. It took us ages to finally track down the title, and then I read it for the first time and fell in love. With it, with the entire trilogy. Here’s hoping I can manage an entertaining recap when I adore a book this much.

[Dove: As Wing said, I bought the sequel to this from a bargain bookstore, and I think a friend “borrowed” it and it never came back. Knowing how much Wing loves werewolf books, I told her about it, hoping she’d know who it was by. She didn’t. So every so often, at the end of a writing session, we’d devote about an hour to searching for it, and after so many years, Wing found it. And it’s just as awesome as it was back then.]

NOTE: This recap will be without book cover and Dove’s comments for awhile on Monday morning. With the holidays, I didn’t finish this until too late for her to comment before it went live.

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #46: The Claw by Carmen Adams

The Claw by Carmen Adams
The Claw by Carmen Adams

Title: The Claw by Carmen Adams

Summary: The mark of death…

Kelly is excited about her summer job at the local zoo – even after the threatening phone calls warning her away.

Nothing can dampen Kelly’s resolve to work with animals.

But wild animals can be very dangerous and someone has left the door to the black leopard’s cage open. Who could be that careless… or that malicious? As the leopard leaves a trail of terror all over town, Kelly soon realizes that the bloody claw marks are leading straight to her…

Tagline: The mark of death…

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 one before, but it’s right up my alley. (Creature feature, potential shapeshifters, man-eating animals — I love them all.) I am already entertained by the fact that, per the summary, no one can catch a rogue black leopard. Come on, people! What kind of zoo are you?

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #41: The Surfer by Linda Cargill

The Surfer by Linda Cargill
The Surfer by Linda Cargill

Title: The Surfer by Linda Cargill

Summary: Surf’s up. You’re dead.

Jessie has never seen the daring beauty on the surfboard before. The one who gets a thrill out of surfing on the stormy seas. And now it seems Jessie will never know her.

The girl disappears beneath the treacherous waves… never to surface again…

So who’s the new girl in town?

The one who casts a spell over everyone she meets. She can’t remember her name. Or where she came from. Jessie thinks she knows… Has the beautiful surfer come back from the death? Or is it something worse… much worse…?

Tagline: Surf’s up. You’re dead.

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. I’d never even heard of it until Dove found it. And Dove has been super negative when talking about it, but y’all? I’m excited to read it. I love seaside horror and surfing, that summary is pretty thick with queer girl potential, and that cover makes it look like some sort of clawed monster attacked the board. EXCITING!

[Dove: Once I saw the cover, I knew this was a Wing book. That lady loves her oceans. And her surfing. And from the description, a girl falling for another girl. Actually, to be honest, this sounds like a Dove book too.]

[Wing: Right. I mean, I do love those things, BUT SO DO YOU. Possibly because I infected you with my love for most of it, but still.]

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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…)

Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #25: 13 Tales of Horror Part One

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. Stifle 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.

[Dove: Thanks to Wing’s decree that all short stories need counters in there, my recap isn’t even close to finished. Thank god Wing’s on fire here.]

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #23: The Train by Diane Hoh

The Train by Diane Hoh
The Train by Diane Hoh

Title: The Train by Diane Hoh

Summary: Hannah and her friends are on a train trip that begins as a fun cross-country tour – until they learn that Frog’s coffin is on board with them.

His real name was Roger, but he was nicknamed Frog by his classmates, who taunted and ridiculed him.

One by one, Hannah’s friends guiltily confess the nasty things they did to Frog. And then, one by one, they are viciously attacked.

It seems Frog is out for revenge. But Frog’s dead – isn’t he?

Tagline: A one-way ticket… to terror.

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. [Wing: And of course Dove tries to inflict “Muffin Man” on our guest snarkers.]

A quick introduction by Dove:

Hi all, Dove here, hijacking Dade’s post.  Since Wing and I were tied up with other stuff, we put out the feelers to see if anyone else wanted to recap in the interim.  Dade, who you’ve probably already met under a different name in the comments here, was the first to reply.  So, from Wing and myself, thank you for doing this for the site.

[Wing: Thanks so much, Dade! You did an excellent job on a book that overall bored me.]

Initial Thoughts:

Diane Hoh’s my favourite Point Horror author. She doesn’t try to be trendy. She writes solid mystery thrillers that just happen to be about teenagers. (Unlike D.E. Athkins/Nola Thacker, who was cringeworthy, and ironically ghost-wrote some of Hoh’s Nightmare Hall entries). [Wing: That’s news to me. Interesting.]

I was about 12 when I first read The Train. I liked it, but I can remember writing my own fan-fic sequel in which I killed off all the survivors, because I didn’t like them very much. (My first recap and I’m already confessing dark secrets about my juvenile fiction writing career). [Wing: We embrace fanfic around here.]

Time to regress to my 12-year-old self (unfortunately not hard) to see why I felt this way.

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