#955 Creep from the Deep by R.L. Stine

Creep from the Deep by R.L. StineCreep from the Deep by R.L. Stine

Billy and Sheena are visiting their uncle who is like a marine biologist. He has a submarine, a real submarine. He takes Billy and Sheena in the submarine to go and investigate the ocean floor. Somehow they get separated. There’s a sunken pirate ship and what looks like a skeletal pirate. They end up on an island, thinking they’re saved, but it turns out there are other people on the island. They learn about a man named Captain Ben who was a terrifying pirate. There was a treasure.

It turns out the pirates are still around though, but not very alive, in the traditional sense of the word. They have Billy’s uncle, but Billy has something of theirs. Will they make it out alive?

What I liked

I don’t know how I managed to read two books concerning pirates one after the other. I didn’t even know this book had anything to do with pirates. In part, this kind of makes me want to read up on pirates. I did get a chance to spend some time on Okracoke island sometime back, which was Blackbeard’s hangout. It’s not very piratey today, but it’s neat to think that he frequented the area.

What I didn’t like

What’s the deal with pirates being undead? This is actually something I’ve heard about in multiple stories, including The Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Is there something about being a pirate that makes it more likely that you’ll end up as a person of the “undead” persuasion? I’m a pirate– alas, I live on even after death because…I had scurvy? From my knowledge of pirates, they weren’t necessarily going around disturbing ancient treasures that may or may not be cursed. They were stealing modern-day stuff from other ships, trade ships and royal ships. This was stuff like guns and the money they had on board. At the time the money was in fact gold, so the “treasure” aspect of this is still true. I would think that if any career choice would make you cursed, and therefore undead, it would be the explorers who forced their way into Native American lands murdering and stealing and destroying spiritual and cultural artifacts along the way, but we never hear about Cortez the cursed undead explorer out for blood.

Overall

I guess don’t mess with pirate ship wrecks because there’s a good chance the pirates might be undead and then you’ll just have a heck of a lot more trouble than you bargained for.

Weigh In

If you even began to believe that a pirate wreck might be cursed, would you still go near it?

In your opinion, what profession would be more likely to be cursed than pirates?

#953 Monster Blood for Breakfast by R.L. Stine

Monster Blood for Breakfast by R.L. StineMonster Blood for Breakfast by R.L. Stine

Matt is thrown together with a boy named Bradley quite often, but Bradley is annoying. He tries to copy things Matt does. He wears Matt’s shirts. He messes with Matt’s things. It’s not fun.

One day Matt finds a strange website on his computer that Bradley had gone to. It was about something called Monster Blood, whatever that is.

It turns out Monster Blood is real and it makes you grow. Bradley wants to take it you be like Matt. Some shuffling happens and Matt ends up getting the monster blood. What’s going to happen to him?

What I liked

We’ve all known someone annoying who bugs the heck out of us. That’s who Bradley is. While it is annoying to even think about people like this, it’s nice to commiserate.

What I didn’t like

It’s a bit cringe-y to hear about someone like Bradley. It’s just exasperating.

Why would you ever want to be someone else?

Overall

Strange mail-order items probably aren’t worth it.

Weigh in

Would you ever buy something called Monster Blood?

Has there been a person in your life who is as annoying as Bradley?

#945 Welcome to Camp Slither by R.L. Stine

Welcome to Camp Slither by R.L. StineWelcome to Camp Slither by R.L. Stine

Boone and his sister Heather are going to a camp called Hither, but everyone calls it Slither. Things aren’t right from the bus ride. There’s a big awful snake on the bus. This upsets everyone, of course. At the camp, there are more snakes. Snakes in the bunk houses, people getting bit by snakes, vanished camp counselors, who happen to be snakes–it’s just a lot of snakes. There was some secret experiment that went awry. Will Boone and his sister make it out alive?

What I liked

I don’t hate snakes, but I don’t necessarily like them. I’ve come across snakes several times over the years and I can’t say I was pleasantly surprised to see any of them. Most recently while taking the dog for a bathroom break, there was a small brown snake, maybe a water moccasin, at the bottom of the steps. The dog stepped right over it and I did too before I realized what it was. I wasn’t that excited about this encounter, not that I was that scared by this encounter either.

You have to expect a certain amount of snakes when you live in a country-ish setting.

What I didn’t like

This book was so much like the other R.L. Stine summer camp book I read, although the circumstances were not the same. Let’s go to summer camp, oh it’s really awful and the kids have to get away.

Overall

Just wait until you see the bathrooms at the camp!

Weigh In

If you liked snakes, would you go to a camp about snakes?

Did you ever have a bad summer camp experience?

#915 Say Cheese –and Die Screaming by R.L. Stine

Say Cheese --and Die Screaming by R.L. StineSay Cheese –and Die Screaming by R.L. Stine

Julie is the photographer for her middle school. She is highly competitive. She is competing with another student photographer for the best photo of the year for the yearbook, or one of them anyway. At a yard sale, she finds a camera, which wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but strange things happen when she takes pictures with the camera. The digital images do not reflect reality; they show terrible things. Those terrible things then happen.

When Julie ends up with a picture of herself, she’s too scared to take the photo that might be the best photo of the year. She has to figure out a way to get the camera to stop bad things from happening.

What I liked

This is yet another story about how cameras might be able to take your soul. People used to have some silly superstitions about a device that could reproduce their image in just a little while. This story moves it over to the digital realm. If digital photographs steal our souls, we’re all screwed, especially Kim Kardashian.

What I didn’t like

How many times can this darn camera, or one like it, show up? I kind of feel like this concept has been done…to…death. Dun, dun, dun! I wasn’t trying to be scary; I was really trying to say that I think the concept is a little overdone by R.L. Stine. He does put a twist on it in each book, but it’s still very much the same idea.

Overall

Strange cameras–you just never know what might be wrong with them.

Weigh In

Would you take your own picture with a strange camera?

If you found out that cameras did steal part of your soul, how would you feel about photography?