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 Point Horror Recaps

Recap #64: Identity Theft by Anna Davies

Identity Theft by Anna Davies
Identity Theft by Anna Davies

Title: Identity Theft by Anna Davies

Summary: Hayley is going to have the best year ever. After years of careful planning, she’s ready to serve as student council president AND editor-in-chief of the newspaper. Ivy League, here she comes!

However, just before student council elections, someone creates a fake facebook profile for Hayley and starts posting inappropriate photos and incriminating updates. It must be the work of a highly skilled Photoshopper, but the attention to detail is scary. The embarrassing photos of “Hayley” in her bathing suit reveal a birthmark on her back–a birth mark Hayley has never shown in public. . .

The situation escalates until Hayley’s mother reveals some shocking information. Hayley isn’t an only child: She has a twin sister who was adopted by a different family. And that’s not all. Soon, Hayley discovers that her long-lost sister isn’t just playing a prank–she’s plotting to take over Hayley’s life . . . by any means necessary. [Wing: Note: NO STUDENT COUNCIL ELECTIONS. No fucking birthmark. And if I’d read the summary before the book, it would have given away the big twist. What the fuck, publisher?]

Tagline: Some friend requests refuse to be ignored… [Wing: Note: NO FUCKING FRIEND REQUESTS ACTUALLY HAPPEN TO HAYLEY.]

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:

The dedication reads: To the NYC crew: For always keeping me on the right side of sanity

Unsurprisingly, I am not looking forward to reading this book. I know I’ve read it before (and it’s the book that made Dove quit all new Point Horror until we recapped them), but I don’t remember a damn thing about it except that Dove hates it. I’m hoping for lots of Dove Goes Boom moments to get me through.

[Dove: Yep, I haven’t read this from beginning to end. I actually refused to finish it because it was so awful, so… I guess my feelings about this pointless waste of my time can be inferred from that. Also this will mean my comments are largely useless. I’m actually very much looking forward to Wing’s recap of this, because it means I’ll get to find out exactly how it happens without having to revisit the book itself.]

[Wing: YOU DIDN’T EVEN FUCKING READ IT THIS TIME?! DO YOU KNOW THE TERRIBLE BOOKS I’VE READ SO I CAN PROPERLY COMMENT ON YOUR RECAPS?! YOU LEFT ME TO DEAL WITH THIS ALONE?! WHAT THE EVER LOVING FUCK, DOVE.]

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

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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 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 #42: The Dead Game by A Bates

The Dead Game by A Bates
The Dead Game by A Bates

Title: The Dead Game by A Bates

Summary: No-one was really supposed to get hurt. The Dead Game was something that Linnie, Ming and Jackson made up in their senior year to get back at all those people who really deserved it… the liars, the cheats and the bullies. To play the game, all they have to do is embarrass their chosen enemy in public.

But things start to go horribly wrong…

Their first “hit” ends up in hospital – and then someone dies. But when the three friends decide to stop playing, the dead game won’t stop.

Suddenly the rules have changed. How can they end the deadly game they have started…?

Tagline: Someone is playing for keeps

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 know I’ve read this. I bought it at the same time as The Cemetery, but I couldn’t remember a thing about it. In my mind, this book was some hazy combination of Freeze Tag and The Cemetery – something about being frozen in place while something supernatural hunted our protagonist and her friends. [Wing: I want to read the version that exists in your memory.]

As we have established, we cannot trust my memory. That’s not what this is about. At all.

Also, I read this about two weeks ago, and can barely remember a thing about it. It was ok, nothing so awful as The Stalker or whatever, but most of the plot points have vanished. Oh, this is the book where I used the “Parents? What Parents?” trope to figure out the Muffin Man.

[Wing: I’d never read it before. I quite enjoyed it, except for that ending. As usual, lately.]

Note: one of the leads is called Ming. I’m fairly certain that somewhere in here I will accidentally swap hers and Wing’s names over. Just go with it.

Also, I don’t know if it’s just me, but this whole process goes a lot better if you’re listening to Take On Me by Jeffster! (Vik Sahay makes everything better.)

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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 #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 #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 #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 #25: 13 Tales of Horror Part Two

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 second part. First part can be found here.

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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 #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 Nightmares Recaps

Recap #11: Arcadia 3: The Pool by T. S. Rue

Arcadia 3: The Pool by T. S. Rue
Arcadia 3: The Pool by T. S. Rue

Title: The Pool by T. S. Rue (Part 3 of the Nightmare Inn/Arcadia series)

Summary: Kelly is elated when she lands her dream job as a lifeguard at the New Arcadia Inn pool, but a string of bizarre poolside accidents soon convinces her that someone, or something, is after the lifeguards.

Tagline: Don’t go in the water…

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 remember all of these books being generally awful, but 1 and 3 being less awful than the others. It worked out well for me that Wing had to review 2 and 4. Also, it helps that I don’t really like the water. It doubly helps that I’ve just had to skim-read Room 13, and that’s probably the worst book we’ve had to recap for this site. So far. The Attic (Part 4) could be worse. I can’t remember.

Edit – 3 March 2015: I finally bought a copy of the book from eBay so I could have a nice high quality scan of the front cover, which is just as pretty as I remember. (I originally owned the book, then lost it, then replaced it with a 3-in-1 and now I have the lovely cover again. *blissful sigh*)

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Posted in Nightmares Recaps

Recap #10: Arcadia 2: Room 13 by T.S. Rue

Arcadia 2: Room 13 by T. S. Rue
Arcadia 2: Room 13 by T. S. Rue

Title: Room 13 by T. S. Rue (Part 2 of the Nightmare Inn/Arcadia series)

Summary: Erin Naughton wants to stay home with her boyfriend. Her father wants to take her on a family vacation. Dad wins: vacation time. Then Erin meets Sam, the mysterious boy in Room 13 at the Arcadia Inn, and her vacation takes a terrifying turn. Whenever she’s with Sam, Erin’s darkest wishes come true, and soon accidents begin happening to her parents.

Tagline: Don’t open the door to…

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 never read the first or second books of this series until Dove and I started recapping, yet I read the third and fourth. Once again, I read later books in the series but never tracked down the first. What in the world was wrong with me?

After having read it: Well. That was a thing.

Counters: Dove and I have started counters for the tropes we run into over and over again. You can read all the definitions in this sticky post. I’m going to try to define them the first time they are used in each post, too, if I can remember.

Pretty much every scene in this book should get a point, but I am not counting each one, so I am winging (heh) it:

World of fail: 1 billion

(World of fail = It’s meant to be scary or threatening or disturbing, and, in all honesty, it’s kinda lame.)

I am also not counting each time I hate Erin.

Cheer on the killer: infinity

(Cheer on the killer = Because the protagonist is such an insufferable wretch that you can’t help but side with anyone who wants him or her dead.)

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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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