Posted in General

Annoucement: New Movie Recap Guest Column

Another big announcement about guest recappers. Once a quarter, starting on June 13, we’ll have a new regular column recapping horror movies: Let’s Do It! A Virgin Does Horror. Guest recapper Virgin will take on horror movie series, and look at all the ways she would be a Final Girl.

(In other guest recapper news, I’ve had the privilege to read the first Goosebumps recap, which goes up at the end of this month, and it is hilarious. Jude did a great job, and I can’t wait for you to read it.)

Posted in General

Announcement: Guest Recappers

As you may have noticed, there are some changes going on behind the scenes at The Devil’s Elbow. There are still a few more in the works, but I can announce three things now:

1) Dove is taking a break from recapping and podcasting at The Devil’s Elbow. You can still find her creating recaps and podcast episodes over at Sweet Valley Online.

2) The Devil’s Elbow podcast is temporarily on hold until I work out some technical issues and line up a few guests. I will keep you updated.

3) I’m bringing on a few regular guest recappers! I’m super excited to get to share their recaps with you.

First, Dade will be returning! You may recall that he wrote the excellent recap of The Train. He’s returning now to tackle the Nightmare Hall books. I’m looking forward to his insight into YA genre publishing as much as I am his recapping.

Second, I’d like to introduce Jude Deluca, of the delightful If It Were Stine tumblr (if you haven’t checked this out, you should! It reimagines horror movies as Goosebumps books, and is hilarious). He will be taking on the Goosebumps books (which means I can focus my Stine feud on a different series, oh goody).

I’ll update the pinned post, too, but the new posting schedule will be Dade with a Nightmare Hall recap on the first Monday of the month, Wing with a Point Horror or similar recap on the 15th of the month, and Jude with a Goosebumps recap on the last day of every other month.

Like I said, there are still more surprises in the works, but for now, I hope you’ll help me welcome our reoccurring guest recappers and thank Dove for all the work she’s done for the project!

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 #62: Twins by Caroline B. Cooney

Twins by Caroline B. Cooney
Twins by Caroline B. Cooney

Title: Twins by Caroline B. Cooney

Summary: Twice the evil.

Twins Mary Lee and Madrigal are living double lives – with some shocking secrets

Mary Lee and Madrigal are twin sisters, beautiful and deeply attached to each other. Then in high school, Mary Lee and Madrigal’s parents decide to send Mary Lee away to boarding school – cruelly separating the girls. The twins have only been apart a handful of times in their lives. Mary Lee is devastated at first, and then horrified as Madrigal betrays her by approving of their parents’ shocking plan. Spending high school apart, as two separate sisters – not as twins?! What about their special twin bond? Madrigal seems to be thriving in her new solo life, and even finds a fabulous boyfriend. Mary Lee, lonely and unhappy at boarding school, begins to wish she had her sister’s seemingly perfect life. But when her secret wish disastrously comes true during a weekend ski trip, Mary Lee learns more about Madrigal’s new life than she could have ever dreamed… or feared.

Every kid’s fantasy is to be a twin. Now, that innocent dream is turned into a nightmare by a million-copy selling author. Caroline Cooney spins a shivery tale about a young girl who steps into the shoes of her dead identical twin sister and uncovers a horrifying legacy of evil.

Tagline: Twice the evil.

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, but I kind of wish we’d done this one before Perfume, because I am ridiculously charmed by their names. Still, at this point, I’m pretty attached to “Wing,” so I guess it’s no problem. Back to the book, I’m both looking forward to Cooney’s whimsy and also braced for it, because the last couple of her books that we’ve recapped have been a little bit much for me, whimsy-wise. Ah well, on to the evil twin shenanigans. (I certainly hope they’re better than the Perfume shenanigans. God forbid someone skip brushing their teeth.)

[Dove: I loathe this book. Actually, when I was recapping The Stranger, I thought the plot of this book happened in that one. I was glad to be wrong, because I actually liked The Stranger.]

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

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Posted in Nightmares Recaps

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

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

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

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

Tagline: Playing games of death…

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

Initial Thoughts:

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

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

Recap #60: Bad Blood #3: Judgment Night by Debra Doyle and James Macdonald

Bad Blood #3: Judgment Night by Debra Doyle and James Macdonald
Bad Blood #3: Judgment Night by Debra Doyle and James Macdonald

Title: Judgment Night by Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald

Summary: “I HAD A BAD DREAM…”

Valerie Sherwood knew all about nightmares. Three years ago she was turned into a werewolf, and ever since that strange moonlit night, she understood the power of the darkness. The only thing to fear was fear itself. And tonight, that fear came to her in her dreams.

“IT SEEMED SO REAL…”

When Valerie awoke, the nightmare didn’t end. Even by day, she was haunted by terrible shapes and sensations: The horrible vision of a giant, skeletal bird. The foul smell of decay. The chilling sound of eerie music. And that was just the beginning.

“I’M SCARED…”

There are some things so dark and evil that even a werewolf would be afraid. Now Valerie is about to learn the awful truth about the ancient force that calls to her from the mountains: It feeds on her fear. And it’s hungry for more…

JUDGMENT NIGHT

The dark legacy of terror lives on — in the shattering sequel to BAD BLOOD and HUNTERS’ MOON.

Tagline: It’s the One Night That Every Werewolf Fears

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. Except I pretty much never call anyone the Muffin Man, so moot point.

Initial Thoughts:

I don’t know how many times I can say I love this book and this series, but it still holds true. I love this book and this series. To be fair, this is probably my least favorite book in the series, but I still adore it. [Wing: Note from the future. In recapping it, I realized how damn much I loved it.]

[Dove: I had never read this before — apparently in my excitement of finding the series, I read the first two, then passed out in the sheer joy of finding them. So if you heard me sounding proud on the podcast when I told Wing I’d read this, that’s why.]

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Posted in Point Horror Recaps

Recap #59: Freeze Tag by Caroline B. Cooney

Freeze Tag by Caroline B. Cooney
Freeze Tag by Caroline B. Cooney

Title: Freeze Tag by Caroline B Cooney

Tagline: Cold Hands Evil Heart… Tag you’re dead

Freeze Tag by Caroline B Cooney - Scan by Mimi
Freeze Tag by Caroline B Cooney – Scan by Mimi

Summary: Meghan and West, girl and boy next door, play an innocent game of Freeze Tag with their neighbour Lannie. But Freeze Tag is no ordinary game… when Lannie is playing. For when she tags someone, they really do freeze-like an ice blue statue-like death.

One that same day, ice hearted Lannie extracts a horrible promise from Handsome West: “You must always like me best…”

Now they’re older and Meghan and West are in Love. That one terrifying game has been forgotten… until Lannie reminds West of the promise he was forced to make all those years ago.

And if he refuses, she will freeze Meghan… to death.

Notes: Hello readers! I’m Tuesday and I’ll be doing the recap this week for Freeze Tag, I just want to give a huge shout out to Dove and Wing for giving me this opportunity and I shall try my hardest not to screw it up. I thought I’d start by introducing myself so: Hi y’all I’m Tuesday and this is my first recap, I adored Point Horror, Nightmare Hall, Fear Street and even Point Crime I can’t remember exactly how I got in to Point Horror I think it was a progression from The Babysitters Club to Sweet Valley High to Point Horror which my sister, Noodle, and I devoured. We probably read the books for far longer than we should have before making the giant leap to Karen Slaughter, Kathy Reichs, Stephen King, etc. and I blame Point Horror for my love of the crime, horror and mystery genre in fact I can’t read a book unless someone dies and there is a huge mystery to solve. So enough about me on to the recap… hooboy.

[Wing: Thanks so much for taking on the recap, Tuesday! We’re glad to have you.]

Initial Thoughts:

I remember reading this as a child and having lots of questions about the ending, about Lannie, about her ability to freeze people so it will be interesting to see if I have those same questions… and I remember enjoying the book but not loving it like I did some of the other Point Horrors. The story of a girl with the ability to freeze people always struck me as really cool way before anyone was into Frozen plus in this book No Singing yay! The cover of this book always creeped me out as a kid with the hands and the blood and the ice that looked like knives. As an adult it still creeps me out but for far more different reasons, I recently got diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes so those bloody fingers just remind me of what I look like after a blood checking session when my fingers don’t want to cooperate.

Update: I did not love this book nor did I enjoy it.

[Wing: I’ve never read this book before, but just from the very first page, I can tell it is written in typical, whimsical Cooney style, which rarely works for me in Point Horror. We’ll see how the rest of it goes.]

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Posted in Podcast

Podcast Episode 3: Books of Bad Blood 2: Electric Boogaloo

Wing and I get together to discuss the second in the trilogies we are each recapping: Books of Blood 2: The Hunger by M. C. Sumner, and Bad Blood 2: Hunters’ Moon by Debra Doyle and James MacDonald.

Posted in General

Wing Recommends the Teen Creeps podcast

Recently one of our readers suggest we listen to the Teen Creeps podcast, where comedians Kelly Nugent and Lindsay Katai recap YA genre fiction (starting out, mostly Christopher Pike, and you all know how much I love Christopher Pike). I think they are hilarious and their discussions smart, funny, and sometimes heartbreaking; they talk about the books, of course, but also their personal lives, racism, mental illness, rape, the dumpster fire that is USA politics right now — many of the same things we talk about in our recaps. (Warning: They go to the crazy = dangerous trope a lot.)

Dove doesn’t love the podcast as much as I do (I basically marathoned the available episodes in a week), but agreed with my plan to link to their episodes where appropriate. I just went back through and added links from our recaps of Christopher Pike’s Weekend and Whisper of Death, and in the future when our recaps cross, I’ll link there too.

We are not affiliated with the podcast, it’s just something I enjoy and want to share with our readers.

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 Podcast

Call for Podcast Questions and Topics

No recap today, per our schedule, but we wanted to let you know that we’re recording the next podcast episode this weekend. If you have any questions  you want answered or any topics you specifically want addressed, let us know by Friday, and we’ll use them to outline the episode.

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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