What will my skeleton key candle unlock?

41. Summer of Fear – Lois Duncan

This book features a main character with the same name as me, which is, of course, vastly important. And this other me is totally manipulated by this girl named Julia, who is a total witch. No, really. She moves in with her extended family (Rachel’s family) after some sort of “accident” happens to her parents, totally steals Rachel’s boyfriend and her family’s affections and attention, and does it all with her haunted eyes and apparently some herbal mixture. Thou shalt not commit crimes against Rachels. Not cool, fictional character Julia. Full disclosure, the first time I thought of saying “thou shalt not commit crimes against Rachels” was at a Kills show in New Orleans. This guy behind me was talking to a girl about how he and Rachel were “like, really close” and they were dating, but, then they decided (right) to have an “open relationship” and guy ended up making out with this girl Adrienne, like so much so that people at the bar asked them to stop (probably not for the reasons he assumed based on his tone) and he’s “like, feeling really guilty about it” and didn’t want to tell Rachel – and there’s another girl now that he’s interested in, plus there was the one he was fucking talking to right behind me…he was trying to seem so very desirable – so many ladies want a piece of him! – I was about thirty seconds away from turning around and telling him that his sentence for committing such crimes against a Rachel was to own up and tell Rachel that he wasn’t interested in seriously dating her, he just wanted to continue to feel desirable and be an asshole about it so his life seemed dramatic. Boys. Seriously.

Mixtape 8:

1. Blodsvept – Finntroll

2. Wild Witch – Restavrant

3. Speaking in Tongues – Eagles of Death Metal

4. Under the Spell – Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats

5. You Don’t Look So Good – The Urges

6. Nomad – Orchid

7. Night City – The Sword

8. Adrenochrome – The Sisters of Mercy

9. Black Nails – Pictureplane

10. Spectrum – Florence & the Machine

11. Dirtywhirl – T.V. on the Radio

12. I Might Be Wrong – Radiohead

13. Twisted Light – The Black Angels

14. Teenage Disease – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

15. Creeping Death (cover) – Apocalyptica

I am totally serious about no one committing crimes against Rachels. I’m over that shit.

New little ladies Merricat and Peregrine. They’re new and very young and they are beginning to build their legend without the help of witchcraft.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Review

We just want to see the hot hot side of Randy

24. Mirror, Mirror – D. E. Athkins

So, it’s possible that D. E. Athkins realized that all together her name spelled “deathkins,” which seems like a cutesy nickname for death. It’s also possible that it’s a nom de plume, but still, “Deathkins” would be a good name for a cute little grim reaper action figure, like my Tokidoki death action figure with his little cape and the “Adios” across his chest. Adorable.

Anyway, I’m wandering around nicknames because this book uses a pretty standard set of tricks, including a shortened name, to let you know who the villain of influence is. You can probably guess who it is based on me calling them a “villain of influence” and maybe somebody caught on just now that I’ve pointed that out. That’s fine and actually a decent idea. It wasn’t executed well. This book reads like a mixtape made from the radio. There are bits and pieces and scenes missing like those songs that get stuck at the end of the side and you think there’s room but there just isn’t. At a mere 130 pages (followed by a preview of R. L. Stine’s new one – Beach House!) there was room to write full scenes. It may be an example of an overzealous editorial situation. Somebody trying their best to cut the parts people tend to skip and not realizing that there’s room to create multiple fully realized scenes, especially when you’re trying to draw a picture without saying anything outright. A warm picture. Of somewhere that hasn’t frozen, yet, and probably won’t. And they have a hukilau.

Mixtape 2:

1. All I Have To Do Is Dream – The Everly Brothers

2. Eden Prison – Swans

3. Crystal Baby – Dum Dum Girls

4. Candy Cane Children – The White Stripes

5. Randy’s Hot Tonight! – Electric Six

6. Some Kinda Hate – The Misfits

7. Hazy Shade of Winter – The Bangles

8. Cheryl vs. Darryl – Electric Six

9. Captain Fantasy – Ween

10. Wet Nightmare – The Cramps

11. You Want the Candy – The Raveonettes

12. Teenagers from Mars – The Misfits

13. Devil In Me – 22-20s

14. Rolling Home – Gallon Drunk

15. God Monster – The Cramps

16. Isolation – Joy Division

17. Lucretia My Reflection – Sisters of Mercy

18. Ghost Rider – Suicide

19. Lucifer Airlines – Electric Six

The first thing I thought of when she mentioned the song was the last part of Interview with the Vampire. I love that damn movie.

Everybody loves a hukilau…even Murderface.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Review

I’m going to type every word I know! Rectangle…America…Megaphone…Monday…Butthole

15. Die for Me – Carol Gorman

My copy of this book is signed to Carol Gorman’s good friend Marilyn. The book is also dedicated to someone named Marilyn. I can’t remember where I got my copy. I’m pretty sure I picked it up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where Carol Gorman lived when she wrote it and possibly still does live, but I can’t recall exactly where. That bothers me because I’d like to know how I ended up with the copy of the book that’s signed specifically to the person it’s dedicated to. I have a lot of YA books with their owner’s names in them, and some books I’ve picked up have been signed and weren’t labeled that way, but this is a little more personal and to me, it has the potential to be related to a sad situation like a falling out, a death, or an unfeeling book purge. Hmm. Mysteries.

Carol Gorman is able to do a lot more with a few words than most of the YA thriller writers I’ve read. This book clocks in at 138 pages (damn that’s short) and she’s got subtle clues, characters that feel real enough that I could remember their names throughout the story (Sometimes thrillers just need somebody to be there, you know? Like the murder victim who is quickly lost in the shuffle.), a very realistic motivation for murder, and supernatural tomfoolery. Once an Ouija board is involved, tomfoolery is sure to follow.  Or possession. Die for Me hints a bit at supernatural possibilities, but doesn’t engage and it works nicely because teenagers are gullible and paranoid. Also, there is a lot of driving around and threatening notes composed on a typewriter. Awesome! You have to really know what you want to say to use a typewriter and not end up with whiteout everywhere.

Mixtape 4:

1. First and Last and Always – Sisters of Mercy

2. Heart Attack Kid – Bass Drum of Death

3. Show Me What Your Lights Mean – Electric Six

4. So Many Ways – Morphine

5. Love Me Forever – The Black Angels

6. I Want Your Love – Chromatics

7. Is Vic There – Department S

8. I Hear Satan – Dax Riggs

9. Everything’s Ruined – Faith No More

10. Dirty Eyes (Sex Don’t Sell) – The Raveonettes

11. Down Boy – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

12. Spike Island – The Icarus Line

13. Unnatural Beauty – Electric Six

14. Bad Blood – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

15. Cutt Off – Kasabian

16. Dead Souls – Joy Division

One time Duncan spoke to me in a dream in a very creaky high pitched voice and it messed with me substantially, so my caption isn’t totally anecdotal.

If Duncan was contacted by teenagers via Ouija board, I’m sure she’d mess with them substantially. Or just have them spell out “wheek” over and over. That would be confusing.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Review

My favorite movie about abandoning a baby is Willow.

17. Hush Little Baby – Caroline B. Cooney

I’ve never been a person who has wanted to have children, so this was quite the horror story for me to read. When you stop by your father’s house and your ex-stepmother shows up, about the last thing you’d expect her to do is run away and leave you with her child. Before embarking on a wacky game of twists and turns taking care of the ditched baby, narrator Kit makes it very clear that her ex-stepmother is not the smartest. None of the characters in this book seemed to be particularly smart though, they made very strange decisions. It did remind me a bit of the end of Drive Angry. I enjoyed that movie quite a bit, but felt very annoyed about the “here, have a baby!” ending. The girl’s stuck in the middle of an abandoned prison, she just left her job and her living space with her stupid fiancee, and Nicolas Cage destroyed her car to help rescue said baby, and now she’s got a baby to take care of forever. Not Nicolas Cage, who, granted, is not really in a position to take care of a baby at the end of that movie – but who is? Wacky.

Mixtape 7:

1. Livin Thing – ELO

2. Bedlam – Gallon Drunk

3. Hold Tight! – Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick, & Tich

4. Everybody’s Going Wild – The Detroit Cobras

5. 96 Tears – The Stranglers

6. Infected Girls – Electric Six

7. Heads Will Roll – The Yeah Yeah Yeahs

8. Halfway Home – T.V. on the Radio

9. Willow’s Theme – James Horner

10. I’m Your Villain – Franz Ferdinand

11. Don’t Play With Guns – The Black Angels

12. Plowed – Sponge

13. The Seeker – The Who

14. Burnin’ In – Spirit Caravan

15. Heavy Soul – The Black Keys

16. Mister Mental – The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster

17. Sucker – Peaches

Thaddeus’ little face looks so cute and so hopeful in this picture. He could have been in Willow.

Thaddeus is about to climb the ridge of this pillow and see if there’s a baby on the other side. Pammy turns her back on any potential babies. She was spayed. She took care of her little one already.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Review

Oh, the old “shove them in a ravine.” If ladies really want to kill someone, Deadly Women has taught us that they use poison.

64. The Overnight – R.L. Stine

OMG Suki Thomas is such a skank! Like, how many dudes at Shadyside High has she gone out with? Did you hear that she’s fast? Her clearly terrible hookeryness has to be the reason why Della ends up killing a man. Damnit, Gary, why couldn’t you just stay a couple? Why did you have to move on so quickly? Why? Della didn’t even have time to listen to side one of her Pretty on the Inside tape before you were with Suki.

I know that whenever my relationships have ended, I’ve been able to reignite them by joining an outdoors club with my ex and his new girl, wandering off into the wilderness once I get pissed off at their canoodling, and killing some random dude. It’s very endearing, not at all insane. A stress reliever, really. In other news, this is the third Fear Street book and it takes place mostly on an island.

Mixtape 5:

1. So Hard – The Panderers

2. Wall of Death (cover) – Dax Riggs

3. Crab – Weezer

4. The Sweater – Meryn Cadell

5. Tonight – Basement Jaxx feat. Phoebe

6. I’m On Fire – Dwight Twilley Band

7. Sing – Blur

8. When the Lights Go Out/We Own the Night – UNKLE

9. Down in the Park (cover) – Foo Fighters

10. Teenage Disease – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

11. Mediocrity Rules – Le Tigre

12. Perhaps Vampires Is a Bit Strong But… – Arctic Monkeys

13. Tropical Pets – The Diableros

14. It’s Not Right – The Creeps

15. You Really Wake Up the Love in Me – The Duke Spirit

16. Howlin’ for You – The Black Keys

17. Like Calling Up Thunder – The Gun Club

18. Chaw – Spirit Caravan

It’s just funny to me that several of the early Fear Street books only have tenuous ties to the street. When did R.L. Stine decide that he should figure out its history and start cultivating some weird evil and misspellings?

Mortemer’s leaving. He doesn’t like gossip and he’s not going camping with you. Not now, not ever. No matter how many people you kill.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Review

You don’t want to go down that run. That run’s got a history.

28. Ski Weekend – R.L. Stine

Icy roads, teenagers, and stranger danger all come to play in this tale from Fear Street. Well, it’s labeled as Fear Street, but it’s quite a stretch to consider an out of the way ski resort and creepy middle of nowhere cabin to be part of Shadyside, it would almost be nice to start the story via a meeting of Fear Street’s version of the Midnight Society – flashlights up! Anyhow, there is some decent tension in the story once the teenagers run off the icy road and end up shacking up with some weirdos in their hilltop lodge. As much as I like a good supernatural twist, sometimes in R.L. Stine books those seem like a total reach and it works better to stick to just people. I am a little pissed that there was virtually no skiing in the book though. I blow at skiing, but I do enjoy a good 80s ski movie parody and I wish someone would have foreshadowed at them about how they’re “gonna have a bad time.”

Mixtape 3:

1. Montage – Team America

2. Acceptable in the 80s – Calvin Harris

3. Five Seconds – Peeping Tom

4. Temple Music – The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster

5. Cold War – Death from Above 1979

6. Let the Poison Spill from Your Throat – The Faint

7. Wannabe in LA – Eagles of Death Metal

8. Handsome Devil – The Smiths

9. Den Frusna Munnen – Finntroll

10. Laboramus – The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster

11. Weapon of Choice – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

12. Romantic Rights – Death from Above 1979

13. Running Fire – The Duke Spirit

14. Leaves – Bass Drum of Death

15. Twisted Nerve – The Damned

16. The First Vietnamese War – The Black Angels

17. Alaska Highway – Dan Bern

Asspen is frankly one of the greatest South Park episodes of all time. Of all time.

Pickles knows that hibernating in a down quilt is the best possible way to get through winter.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Review

The suspense in this book was a lot like the suspense in Parasite by Mira Grant.

14. The Fever – Diane Hoh

This book was a bit of a cross between the hospital episode of Buffy way back in the second season with Der Kindestod and Emergency Room , that oh-so-specific tale from Caroline B. Cooney. Duffy Quinn has enemies, apparently, and she’s sick. And she’s confident and has no trouble finding boys despite being in the hospital and apparently very ill, unlike her chubby best friend. Duffy is bed-ridden, but she still makes time to pity her pretty faced-chubby best friend…what a peach. She also uncovers a scandal in the hospital and is plagued by delirious dreams of weirdly squeaky noises and a malfunctioning wheelchair and all the volunteer workers she knows don’t believe her! Well, maybe they do. Especially after she makes her chubby best friend do the work to prove there is a scandal afoot. I guess it is helpful to have a friend who isn’t sick and isn’t so busy trying to hit on the hospital staff.

Mixtape 6:

1. Top Floor, Bottom Buzzer – Morphine

2. Fast Fuse – Kasabian

3. Sidewalking – Jesus and Mary Chain

4. The Sanity Assassin – Bauhaus

5. Naked Cousin – PJ Harvey

6. Aneurysm – Nirvana

7. So Long Goodnight – Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster

8. Running Joke – Queens of the Stone Age

9. D.R.U.G.S. – The Raveonettes

10. Eleven O’Clock – Morphine

11. Drain You – Nirvana

12. Hang Wire – Pixies

13. After Hours – Electric Six

14. Vomiting Mirrors – Clockcleaners

15. The Difference Between Us – Dead Weather

16. Ulysses – Franz Ferdinand

A beast! A sweet little beast!

Shortly after Danger Crumples made it to my house, I found that Thaddeus had symptoms of pneumonia…it was massively stressful. Six weeks of medicine later, all six pigs who took it pulled through and baby Danger never showed any symptoms. Now he’s three and a total beast.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Review

My log saw something that night.

43. The Lost Mind – Christopher Pike

I never read Christopher Pike’s books when I was in middle school. They were rampant, and shelved right next to all kinds of 1990s YA pulp that I did read, but for some reason I thought they would be “too adult” for me or “too scary.” I now know that I was clearly deranged in my thinking after reading The Lost Mind. I’ve acquired several Christopher Pike books now and I intend to read them, despite my experience with The Lost Mind, which was terrible to say the least. Next to nothing in this book made sense to me and for the most part I thought the story was constructed using a blender and some random ideas that seem like good ideas until you put them together: girl wakes up covered in blood not knowing who she is – good idea; girl turns out to be a total asshole – sort of good idea, I do like Laura Palmer; random Egyptian mysticism – bad idea…because although it starts with amnesia and maybe this girl could have been an asshole and a practitioner of mysticism, these elements never really come together in a sensible way in this book.  It needed Special Agent Dale Cooper to sort it out in a dream.

Mixtape 9:

1. Bang! – The Raveonettes

2. Twist of Cain – Danzig

3. Crying Lightning – Arctic Monkeys

4. Jennifer’s Body – Hole

5. Hank is Dead – Red Fang

6. Secret Plans – Eagles of Death Metal

7. Warsaw – Joy Division

8. Naked Cousin – PJ Harvey

9. The Bat’s Mouth – Bat for Lashes

10. Turn My Blue Sky Black – The Mooney Suzuki

11. You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar but I Feel Like a Millionaire – Queens of the Stone Age

12. Who Was in My Room Last Night? – Butthole Surfers

13. Lithium – Nirvana

14. Idle Hands – The Gutter Twins

15. Gone Forever – The Raveonettes

16. Walkin’ with the Beast – The Gun Club

17. Everybody’s Under Your Spell – The Duke Spirit

18. Ablivion – UNKLE

I can’t believe I ever thought Pike’s books would be too scary for me. Too dumb, maybe, I should have just read the blurbs.

Look into Belvedere’s eyes – if you can – you will find the ability to coherently develop a plot about mind switching there.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Review

Her library card and the books she checked out and needed to return became her best means of escape.

Welcome to my YA Thriller Megamix Summer! All Summer I will be barely reviewing the works of authors on the Point Horror & Point Thriller imprints and they will come with mixtapes, if you wished to create a sixty minute  cassette tape of these tunes you totally could, as long as you have the songs and a double cassette deck. These will be some of the most useful reviews I have ever written.

20. Mother’s Helper – A. Bates

This is the first book I’ve been able to locate by the elusive A. Bates, one of the luminaries of the Point Horror novels. It features a character named Cleve. Yes, Cleve. That’s an unexpected name for the male love interest/potential psychopath, so I approve. Also, reading this made me glad I’ve never had to live with anyone that I work for. Finding that balance of “I have my own needs as a human and they involve not being at work 24/7” and “I’m paid to take care of your child who is alive 24/7” is apparently very complicated. It was hard for protagonist Becky to find the time to hang out with/be suspicious of Cleve and his potentially murderous/amorous nature. This was a book of dualities.

The elusive A. Bates. I’m coming for you D.E. Athkins! Actually, you’re coming to me, I broke down and ordered one of your Point books for $3 on Amazon.

Pammy is on the lookout. If anyone, Cleve or otherwise, sneaks up on this chair in my former living space, she will see and they will not get to her towels.

 

Mixtape 1:

1. Kiss Them for Me – Siouxsie & the Banshees

2. Love Song – The Cure

3. 867-5309/Jenny – Tommy Tutone

4. Dance Hall Days – Wang Chung

5. Nightcall – Kavinsky & Lovefoxxx

6. Velvet – The Big Pink

7. To Never Know You – The Black Ryder

8. So Alive – Love and Rockets

9. Atari Baby – Sigue Sigue Sputnik

10. Stop Me If You Think… – The Smiths

11. Lips Like Sugar – Echo & The Bunnymen

12. Just Like Heaven – The Cure

13. Antmusic – Adam and the Ants

14. Our Love’s in Jeopardy – Greg Kihn

15. Black Sheep – Metric

16. Interchangeable Knife – Electric Six

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Review

Skin tags, the Pacific Trash Vortex, and a nuclear standoff cannot stop the pursuit of a vintage Cure t-shirt

13. Worst. Person. Ever. – Douglas Coupland

The department I’m currently a part of is stationed in the basement of the main branch of the 11th largest university library system in the country (last I checked). I spend most of my time in the main branch searching either virtually or physically for books and articles and one of those searches led me to a reshelving room where I found this book peeking out from underneath the Diary of Edward the Hamster 1990-1990. I didn’t even know he had one coming out this year! So, I promptly stole it away and checked it out. Finders keepers and also, sorry, person who was trying to secretly keep these two books in the second floor reshelving room, but now I’m done with it so I might just check it in and return it right back to that spot like library magic.

Anyway, this is the second Coupland book that I was a mite disappointed with. I adore Generation X and there was some level of flashback to that in this with all the little explanatory aside paragraphs – some did mimic what I was wondering and that was sort of fun. My problem with it is that although I get the book’s purpose and was generally having a good time reading it, I don’t understand the purpose of bringing in pristine sixteen year olds. Also, the poop fixation was not my cup of tea. I also found nothing useful about any of the female characters, but at least there were several – although there’s a problem with the best one and that problem is a little annoying when considering this book is written by a man. I guess that’s the only way to be a relatable character, be a man. Neal was great and the description of Neal in the beginning was one of the most disgustingly tangible smell scenes I’ve ever read. I usually don’t review anything remotely close to when it came out – just City of Devils and this one, maybe a Charlaine Harris, um, tangent- and so I’m trying not to spoil things, sort of, technically I don’t care if I spoil literary fiction for anyone [maniacal laugh] (if I was in this book, I’d now be explaining why a ‘maniacal laugh’ is the right end to that sentiment).

Perd Hapley? More like Turd Crapley. – Reading this made me want to re-watch that episode of Parks and Rec where Ben melts down on Ya Heard? With Perd.

“Ozymandias’ World” A photo in which Ozymandias the guinea pig contemplates living in a world where women are fully allowed to explore the same range of ideas in their writing that men are and be published without impunity. There’s a reason why his rump is positioned toward the camera.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Review, Writing