#957 Deep Trouble by R.L. Stine

Deep Trouble by R.L. StineDeep Trouble by R.L. Stine

Billy and Sheena are spending the uncle with their uncle, Dr. D, who is a marine researcher. The kids are with him on his ship, as well as an assistant named Alexander. Billy is told not to swim in the lagoon area beside the fire coral, but he soon finds out why fire coral is called fire coral. Some big time zoo people want to pay Dr. D to find a mermaid, which seems absurd. Mermaids aren’t real, or so everyone thinks.

One morning Billy is out swimming, where he’s not supposed to be, and a shark tries to attack him. Something comes to his defense. He’s incredibly surprised to find out that the creature that came to his defense is a mermaid. She’s caught up in a net along with Billy. Dr. D wants to study her, but it isn’t long before mean people show up. How in the world did they know about the mermaid? Can everyone make it out of this situation ok?

What I liked

I did not read this Billy and Sheena book, which goes with the Creep from the Deep on purpose. I didn’t even know that this was what the book was about. I liked that I inadvertently read this.

I do find the folklore surrounding mermaids interesting, although, I do not think they exist. It’s pretty much impossible. People are mammals and fish are fish. A person who had a fish tail wouldn’t work out very well.

What I didn’t like

Part of me thinks this idea of animals being in a zoo for people to see is great. Zoos have certainly helped preserve some species of animals by initiating breeding and conservation programs. On the other hand, I do find it’s a bit sad for some animals, as great as they are, to be locked away in cages.

Overall

Just don’t swim over there.

Weigh In

If you found an officially unknown creature, what would you do?

Would you capture an animal if you knew you would get a lot of money for it?

#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?

#947 The Werewolf of Fever Swamp by R.L. Stine

The Werewolf of Fever Swamp by R.L. StineThe Werewolf of Fever Swamp by R.L. Stine

Grady and his family, including six deer from South America, have moved to Florida, the middle of nowhere Florida, not the beach Florida. There is nothing around but swamp. There are a few other houses and there’s not really much of a town to speak of. The local swamp is called Fever Swamp. Apparently, some time back people who had gone into the swamp had gotten a fever and starting acting strange.

Grady and his sister, Emily, explore the swamp not long after moving in, where they get lost and encounter a hermit who lives in the swamp.

The pair soon meet the other neighborhood children Will and Cassie. Will says Cassie is weird. She’s always talking about werewolves. The family also acquires a dog, a rather large dog. They hear howling in the night and wonder what it is. They soon start finding animals that have been torn to pieces. They’re not sure what that’s about either. One day one of the South American deer is torn to pieces. Everyone thinks the new dog has done it, but Grady soon finds out that this isn’t the case at all. It’s something much more horrible and unexpected.

What I liked

Florida is a strange place sometimes, why wouldn’t there be a werewolf down there? There are supposedly swamp monsters, after all.

Florida isn’t a place I think of as having “backwoods,” but it does. There is a whole interior of Florida that’s full of pine forests, and swamps, depending on where you’re at. I haven’t explored any Florida pine forests or swamps myself. I always went to the coast, or Orlando, when I went to Florida. I’ve lived in the South most of my life and Florida is a place that you don’t really consider “the South.” It’s just too full of people who moved there from somewhere else and so much weird stuff happens there that no one is really sure how to classify it. It doesn’t really fit it with any other region of the United States. It’s just its own thing.

What I didn’t like

Someone’s always got to blame the dog. I get it, sometimes dogs are jerks. They kill chickens or tear up the neighbor’s petunias, but it’s not always the dog. Maybe neighborhood hooligans did that thing. Maybe a bobcat did that thing. Maybe someone did that thing and is trying to blame it on the dog. Dogs aren’t without blame in many situations and they’re certainly a lot of upkeep, but the first response shouldn’t be to blame all the problems on the dog.

Overall

Just don’t go in the swamp; this solves a lot of issues, whether it’s werewolves or swamp creatures.

Weigh In

Would you go live in the swamp?

Would your mosquito bites ever heal if you lived in the swamp?

#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?