#803 The Cold Girl by Rachel Caine

The Cold Girl by Rachel CaineThe Cold Girl by Rachel Caine

Kiley always wanted to date her boyfriend, but no one else really saw why. People flat-out didn’t like him, but she did. One night,they were going out, there was a carnival in town. There was a mix up with their phones. Kiley’s ended up smashed and she ended up with her boyfriend’s phone. She knew she shouldn’t peek, but she decided to anyway. He had been really concerned about photos and videos on the phone. She saw the photos; they were of her boyfriend and another girl. She saw that there were videos, she decided to watch one. The video wasn’t what she was expecting. The video showed her boyfriend strangling this girl and then raping her.

Kiley knew she had to get away from her boyfriend. He knew she had seen the phone. He tried to take her on a ride, but the carnie people seemed to know she was in trouble. They told her to go and see the fortune-teller. Kiley’s fortune was not good. She would die tonight. It would take her two days to die. The cold girl would come for her. Her boyfriend did catch up to her and he did kill her. She lay there, for two days, no one found her, but one boy did find her ghost. The cold girl finally came. She had been with the carnival for some time. Her touch froze skin. She told Kiley she could save her. She was a vampire, of course. She liked revenge and maybe Kiley could enact some revenge on her murdering boyfriend.

What I liked

I thought this story was interesting. I’m not all into vampire stories, but this one was kind of neat. I love how this mythology seemed to follow the cold girl, who was cold not only in temperature, but in her lack of human feeling. It seems the murdering boyfriend got what he deserved, much like Rosalie’s one-time fiance in the Twilight series. The story is a bit similar between the two characters.

I, like many people, tend to like retribution stories. If the bad guy gets what’s coming to him, we feel better about the story. We have this deep-rooted sense of right and wrong. We always feel that punishment must accompany a bad deed and we can get upset when it doesn’t. Think something like the Casey Anthony case, most of us feel punishment was not meted out. In this story though, the bad guy does get what’s coming to him.

What I didn’t like

I think I would have liked a full-length book rather than just this little bit. Who knows–I may read more from the series,

Overall

Just one more reason to think carnivals are creepy, as if the Freakshow version of American Horror Story wasn’t enough.

Weigh In

Do you find the mythology of vampires interesting?

Should evil-doers always be punished or are you the bigger person for not punishing them?

#791 The Girl Who Cried Monster by R.L. Stine

The Girl Who Cried Monster by R.L. StineThe Girl Who Cried Monster by R.L. Stine

Lucy Dark loves to tell her little brother monster stories. She makes up every kind of monster you can imagine. Some at your toes. Some are under the bed. Her parents get kind of irritated with her for telling so many monster stories.

One day she’s at the library for her Reading Rangers meeting and she sees something strange. The librarian transforms before her eyes, turning into a monster, who will eat flies, and turtles, and snails. Lucy tells her brother, who doesn’t believe her. She tells her friend, who doesn’t believe her, but is willing to do a stakeout in the library, which he skips out of. Lucy tries to take a picture, but it doesn’t turn out.

The librarian finds out that Lucy knows he is a monster though and Lucy narrowly escapes. When her friend sees that the librarian is a monster with his own eyes, he tells Lucy’s parents, who finally believe her. Their course of action is to invite him over for a dinner, which he will never forget.

What I liked

I liked the twist in this book. I like the idea of something existing, that doesn’t. I like the idea of depicting those somethings as normal people, with human qualities. After all, aren’t the most interesting monsters those you can relate to? I also like this idea of being more than human. I like the idea of living with a secret that makes you both powerful and vulnerable. It makes for some very interesting stories.

What I didn’t like

I don’t like that Lucy’s parents didn’t believe her, but, then again, what parents would? Monsters aren’t real. Also, kids tell a lot of tall tales. Kids make up crap all the time. Sometimes, I side with children on these types of arguments. Let a kid be a kid–and all that, but looking at it from the adult point of view, it can be exhausting to listen to irrational stories and fears about things that don’t even exist. The Boogeyman? Monsters? Something under the bed? Just shut up and go to sleep already.

I know being a kid can be frustrating because adults don’t take you seriously…well, that’s because you’re a kid and not meant to be taken seriously most of the time. When you cross the line into teenagerland, then you can get to have more of your thoughts and words taken seriously.

This whole parent not listening to the kid thing is so cliché, probably because it’s true. It’s not the most exciting. While I liked the story, we can all see this from a mile away.

Overall

My librarian was not a monster. If anyone was a monster, it was the gym teacher.

Weigh In

Do you think that kids should be taken seriously more often?

If you were a monster, like Bigfoot, or whatever, but you could hide it, would you want other monsters around?

#784 After Alice by Gregory Maguire

After Alice by Gregory MaguireAfter Alice by Gregory Maguire

Alice goes to Wonderland, but was she the only one? Couldn’t someone else fall down that rabbit hole just as easily as Alice did? Well, someone did. At first, Alice thought that she might be someone else, but she wasn’t. She knew she wasn’t Ada, because Ada was too unwieldy. She went on as Alice in the world of Wonderland.

In the meantime, Ada wanders away from her governess and finds herself down the very same rabbit hole that Alice went, but things are a bit different for Ada because Ada actually is a bit cumbersome. She has a bit of a disability and cannot move easily.

Ada soon encounters doors that stand in the middle of nothing and all sorts of strange people. There’s a strange tea party. There’s a mad queen.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, Alice’s sister Lydia is finding life uncomfortable. Her mother died recently and her father is having a meeting with Charles Darwin. He’s brought with him a man named Mr. Winter, who has brought with him an escaped slave named Siam.

Siam soon tires of everything as well. He wonders into the drawing-room. There he finds a mirror on a mantle and decides to go right on through. He ultimately finds himself in the same place Alice and Ada found themselves. Where did everyone end up in Wonderland? Will they get back to the real world? What about that  governess? Can one stay in Wonderland indefinitely?

What I liked

I like pretty much everything that Gregory writes. I love how he looks at traditional stories and thinks up new  back stories for the characters in traditional stories. He gives life to characters that may have only had a brief mention in the traditional story. Ada was mentioned in the Alice books, but a mention was all she got.

I do like that other people went to Wonderland. Why should Alice be the only person to experience it?

What I didn’t like

I quite enjoyed it. Sometimes Gregory’s writing style is a little ethereal, and I don’t mean in a good way. I mean it flows, but in a flighty manner. It’s a bit difficult to keep up with at times. It’s kind of like you’re hearing the story second-hand by listening over someone’s shoulder.

This story isn’t quite as edgy as some of Gregory’s other stories.

Overall

What happened to Ada after she went back?

Weigh In

Would you go to Wonderland if you had the chance?

Would you be Ada?

#780 The Enchantress Returns by Chris Colfer

The Enchantress Returns by Chris ColferThe Enchantress Returns by Chris Colfer

It’s been an entire year, a whole, long year since Conner and Alex have been to the Land of Stories, in fact, they haven’t even seen their grandmother. What in the world is going on? Things are changing in their lives in the regular world. It turns out their mom has a boyfriend, Dr. Bob. The children didn’t expect this at all. They thought Dr. Bob was a friend and now Dr. Bob wants to marry their mom.

The kids come to terms with this and on the night Dr. Bob is set to propose, Mom doesn’t show up back at home. Mom is late and Mom is never late. Who does show up is their grandmother, the Fairy Godmother, and a bunch of soldiers from The Land of Stories. Conner and Alex are put under lock down in the house. Their mom is gone. The story finally comes out though, their mother has been kidnapped by the most bad enchantress of them all. Everyone thought she was dead, but she’s back in full force and she wants to take over not only The Land of Stories, but also the regular world.

Conner and Alex feel that they have to get back to The Land of Stories, but they’re not sure how. They think the best place to look is their grandmother’s cabin. It’s a bit treacherous getting there, but they finally do and find a painting. If the kids from The Chronicles of Narnia can get into Narnia through a painting of Narnia, Alex and Conner decide they can get into The Land of Stories through a painting of The Land of Stories. It works, but not without sinking the house.

The two are back in The Land of Stories, but things are bad. People start getting kidnapped left and right. Awful things are happening. The twins learn that they can create a want to counteract the power of the enchantress, but they must go collect the most prized possessions of so-called villains. The quest will not be easy, nor will it be fun, especially since Red Riding Hood is along for the adventure, and we all know how she is.

What I liked

I’m still liking the series. I like that Alex and Conner go back to The Land of Stories. I was kind of hoping that their Dad would still be alive somewhere in The Land of Stories, but I guess it’s not going to happen.

I like that this series gives a back story  and second-opinion to many of the so-called villains of the fairy tales. Yeah, some of them were truly awful, but if you look at their situations, almost anyone would be awful if they were in their places.

What I didn’t like

I’m not sure about this Dr. Bob guy. What an ordinary name. I think Bi-lo has a knock-off of Dr. Pepper called Dr. Bob. Go get me some Diet Dr. Bob. We’re Dr. Pepper drinkers in this house, because it’s the drink of agnostics…that was South Park, but I do prefer Dr. Pepper. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve drunk/guzzled, a lot of Diet Cokes, but Diet Dr. Pepper  and I have a committed relationship. I’m also not an agnostic.

Getting back to the book–as I said, I’m not sure about Dr. Bob yet, maybe he’s great, or maybe he’s an evil sorcerer disguised as a doctor.

Overall

You know, in some part, if you think about it, fairy tales are very female-centric…well, at least the ones Disney likes to remake. The rest of them are quite male-centric.

Weigh In

Would you go live in a fairy tale world?

What do you think about Dr. Bob?

#777 Night of the Living Dummy by R.L. Stine

Night of the Living Dummy by R.L. StineNight of the Living Dummy by R.L. Stine

Lindy and Kris are identical twins, who compete at everything. They try their hardest to stand out, against the other sister. One day the twins find an old dummy in some trash at a nearby construction site. Lindy takes to the dummy right away, which she calls Slappy. After Lindy starts getting a lot of attention for her ventriloquist act, Kris wants to try her hand at it as well. Her father ends up buying her a dummy as well, but this one is wearing casual clothes. Kris calls her dummy Mr. Wood, versus the more formal looking Slappy, with the less formal name.

Things are fine. The kids get some laughs. They perform at birthday parties. Some strange things start to happen though. Mr. Wood starts to do some things of his own accord. He says some awful things, that get blamed on Kris. He tears up the kitchen. One night Lindy sees Mr. Wood moving, but the girls’ parents won’t have any of it. The girls know they have to deal with the dummy alone. It starts talking to the girls, calling them slaves. They know they have to get rid of it.

Ultimately, a steam roller becomes their last hope, but have they just gotten rid of one evil to make way for another?

What I liked

I like the idea of dueling evils, just hiding out. We tend to have stories with only one villain, why not more than one villain? Maybe your villain isn’t that bad, but he’s not nearly as bad as the one that would replace him if you got rid of him.

What I didn’t like

I don’t like dummies. I don’t like ventriloquism. It’s not that it’s not kind of  cool, because it is, a little, it’s just not that cool. It’s boring. Seriously… it’s a trick. You expect me to be all impressed because you can make it look like a doll is taking? You know what, I can make a doll talk. I could put a voice box in it and put a pull string on its back and make it talk. I’d rather see Muppets, at least they’re entertaining.

I had a Furby that could talk and dance on its own, but a ventriloquist dummy has to have a person to be able to make it do those things. I’m just not that impressed. Ahmed the Dead Terrorist is funny and all, but there are funnier things I would enjoy.

An evil dummy is a bit of a gimme. This creepy wooden doll isn’t going to be possessed? Like, who believes that? If we see some creepy doll out somewhere, we pretty much assume the thing is haunted. How about a haunted tea kettle? I could go for that. It moves around the house on its on. It makes tea, without tea packets. It pours cold water on the cat.

Overall

Leave the dummy alone, if not for the threat of it being haunted, leave it alone because it’s not funny.

Weigh In

Would you buy a dummy?

Do you think dummies are funny?