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review 2019-08-12 19:17
High Tide, Fear Street Super Chiller #12
High Tide - R.L. Stine

A plot with genuine surprises and my admiration for some totally legitimate psychiatric practices combats with my absolute disgust for the relationship dynamics present in 'High Tide' makes for a noice Super Chiller! I remember the Super Chiller's being, uh, bigger, but its literally 16 more pages. Was the Super part, the Maturity of the protagonists? Everyone's in college and living in apartments or rented cottages with roommates. 


Adam can't stop thinking about how his girlfriend Mitzi drowned last summer, and about how it was all his fault. He's haunted by vivid nightmares of that fateful water scooter ride and awake he has hallucinations of missing limbs, phantom scooters, and dead girls. For some reason he and his doctor still feel he's adequate as a lifeguard at Logan Beach....


Another lifeguard and erstwhile buddy is Sean, who is violently jealous about his "girlfriend" Alyce, whose every word and gesture indicates she wants nothing to do with him. He entertains Adam with a story about how he once almost beat a guy to death for going out with his girl after a slow campaign of escalating threats. He tells Adam to not look at Alyce again. Fun guy.


Adam's current girlfriend is Leslie, who has some anger problems of her own, albeit a trifle more legitimate. She totally freaks out when Adam breaks a date with her, saying he isn't feeling well, being mentally ill and all, and she sees him holding hands with some floozy from the beach. She should really just calm down.


Rounding out the main cast is Adam's womanizer roommate Ian who consistently borrows all of Adam's clothes, his car, and doesn't buy groceries. But, he doesn't complain too much when Adam's screams wake him up in the night, so he's a keeper.

There are a couple of fellow Shadyside alums, Joy and Raina, who show up on the beach for a good time and then there's TV Psychiatrist Dr Thall who has been working with Adam for a year on those nightmares and may resort to some experimental treatments....


No one in this book deserves to be in the horrific, toxic relationship hell they are in. It was stunning. Sean's behavior is supposed to be disturbing, but where Stine ends up going with it....wow. The 1990s were not that long ago, but a whole lot more was tolerable. I enjoyed the insane plot twists, but its the couples that will keep me up at night. This should really get five batshit stars, but I just can't.


Fear Street Super Chiller


Next: 'Cheerleaders: The Evil Lives!'


Previous: 'Silent Night 3'

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review 2019-08-11 19:53
Truth or Dare, Fear Street #28
Truth or Dare - R.L. Stine

April sure is glad she sat next to Dara in that science lab. She doesn't know Dara that well, she only just moved to Shadyside, but she's loaded. She invited April to come to her family's ski cabin for the weekend - vacation cabins are, like, the number one murder sites but ok - and allowed April to invite Jenny and Ken, too. Jenny and Ken are the most beautiful people April has ever seen, they're so amazing, but she's sick of them making out in front of her all the time. In the limo that was sent to pick them up, is also Dara's friend Josh, who is cute in a nerdy way.


Dara meets them at the cabin - but it turns out Dara's parents couldn't make it! Also, Dara's family apparently shares the cabin with another family and their son Tony and his girlfriend Carly Rae are there by mistake, but have already made out in every room. Dara's none to pleased, but decides to make the best of mixed company with a little party game.


There are few shockingly over the top reactions to the truths that are shared, but other than April admitting she knows something she doesn't want to know, it all seems innocuous until the horror begins the next morning!


This brings us back to standard thriller territory, but I liked how April not only had some mean comments about everyone in her head, but totally took charge of the situation in-between freaking out about that murder stuff. At one point she leads the interrogation of the suspect, coolly making herself a cup of coffee before sitting down at the table. Right on April, but readers will have to find out for themselves if you can survive.


Fear Street


Next: 'Dead End'


Previous: 'Wrong Number 2'

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review 2019-08-09 19:07
Night Games, Fear Street #40
Night Games - R.L. Stine

Yeeesssss, this is what I'm talking about! 'Night Games' has a great pay-off.


Diane Brown is not your typical Fear Street heroine. She's apparently the ugly friend even though she has all the boys coming after her. Her scraggly blonde hair and poor clothes have nothing on her friend Cassie's red hair and model looks. Diane does have the requisite rage-fueled boyfriend, Lenny. Gauging from the cover though, Diane does seem to be a bit hard on herself. Also, why is she going into a cemetery with Lenny? They never go near a cemetery in this book. Huh.


The book opens with Diane, Lenny, Cassie and Cassie's boyfriend Jordan walking home late one cold night after dancing at Red Heat. They're surprised to see an old friend of theirs, Spencer, climb out the upper window of a darkened house and approach them. Is he a burglar now?! Naw, he's just sneaking out late and causing mischief! He calls it his Night Games. The boys are all in, and the girls reluctantly agree. They get into it later.


The Night Games get serious when the the pranks begin focusing on Mr. Crowell, the hardass math teacher who lives alone, has excellent taste in home furnishings and really, really loves Christmas. Uh-oh. What are they going to do to the gay man's house? Fear Street needs gay dollars to gentrify!


The book focuses on Diane's poor choice in boyfriends, because of course an ex gets involved and there's some history with Spencer, too; homework and lab partners; and academic probation; but stick with it! This turned into my favorite Fear Street book. I'm not even gonna hint.


Fear Street:


Next: 'Runaway'


Previous: 'Boy Next Door'

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review 2019-08-08 19:54
The Fire Game, Fear Street #11
The Fire Game - R.L. Stine

Jill Franks and her best friends Andrea and Diane are in the library alternatively studying geography and admiring Andrea's oversized purple sunglasses with the heart-shaped lenses, when Max and Nick interrupt by goofing around with their disposable lighters, like you do.


Some background: Andrea and Jill have been friends forever, but Diane is new this year, but they've really hit it off on the gymnastics team together, even if she's mousy. Max and Nick are totally in love with Jill and her long dark hair. Probably to impress Jill, Max sets a folder on fire. Dawn freaks out, but Andrea, with short red hair, waves the fire out and throws the folder away.


Next period, there's a fire, and it started in the library waste basket.


They get out of a pop quiz in geography and are ready to impress Diane's old friend Gabe who's just moved to town from Center City. Gabe is hot and all, but he's pretty lame in how he shoots down anything and everything in Shadyside, even when they start talking about all the mysterious death, serial killers, and attackers that have plagued their peers in the last few years. Doesn't faze him one bit.


He's more interested in the fire and he starts daring the other boys to set fires. This, somehow, escalates. The fires get bigger and Jill starts to think that Diane and her "unreasonable" fear of fire might be on to something.


This has an abrupt ending, but fairly satisfying and - unlike the villain - unexpected.


Fear Street


Next: 'Lights Out'


Previous: 'Ski Weekend'



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review 2019-08-07 19:00
The Second Generation by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman
The Second Generation - Tracy Hickman,Margaret Weis

I'm just a sucker for punishment, so I'm going to keep going down the Dragonlance rabbit-hole a few more books.


Unlike other recent reviews, this Dragonlance novel was new to me. It represented a return by Weis and Hickman to TSR in 1994, after the fairly successful 'Darksword' and 'Rose of the Prophet' trilogies and the still-in-print 'Death Gate Cycle' for Bantam-Spectra. Sidebar: 'Rose of the Prophet' had queer characters, which, despite other issues, made it ground-breaking and I have really fond memories of that trilogy that I won't ruin with a reread...yet.


Anyway, 'The Second Generation' is my first new Dragonlance in almost twenty years so I was a little too hopeful. My main problems with my other rereads have been the lack of depth to world-building and how the stories didn't seem to merit a second go-round.


Well, this first go-round wasn't that awesome. I had a lot of issues with how women are treated and the lack of depth to the stories in general. I've already read a little ways into 'Dragons of Summer Flame' and I'm not convinced that the insights into the characters provided here are necessary. 


There's a little blurb in the front of the book warning readers that these stories may contradict other books they've read, but don't worry, its because the Heroes of the Lance are so legendary all sorts of things have been written/said about them. This is patent bull-shit. I'm sorry TSR, but you made decisions with those 80-odd books covering every single side character and their histories and you should stick to them. How did it feel to the fans who had bought and enjoyed those novels and discover they're no longer canon? Boooo! 


So, these stories begin the over-writing and ret-conning of Dragonlance, for better or worse depending on your biases. I have strong feelings about it, obviously, but the real deciding factor is that these stories are just not that good. I don't think Weis and Hickman were feeling the characters the way they used to and the two new stories for this book dealing with Steel Brightblade and Gilthas Three-Quarter-Elven make women all the more insignificant in this universe. Where is the Weis that protested Hickman's decision that Laurana would betray millions to save her boyfriend?


We'll see if she turns up again.




Next: 'Dragons of Summer Flame'


Previous: 'The Test of the Twins'

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