Tag Archives: Book Club

PHBC – Double Date by Sinclair Smith


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Do you remember the Point Horror Book Series from the 90’s?  The Point Horror Series was a series of young adult point horror books and was launched in 1991 by Scholastic always with the Point Horror banner on the spine and on the top of every point horror book.  There were a number of authors that wrote these books for Scholastic: R L Stine, Diane Hoh, Caroline B Cooney, Sinclair Smith to name but a few.

Are the Point Horror books we loved as a teenager still our favourites on the re-read?  Are you new to Point Horror?  Has our opinion changed?  Are they still as good?  Do they stand up to modern day YA Horror?  Or are they a whole load of cray cray?

Lets find out…

#pointhorrorbookclub

 Join in the discussion with this months title!

Double Date by Sinclair Smith

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Don’t forget to use the #pointhorrorbookclub on twitter so I can see your thoughts or tweet me using @chelleytoy

 There is a link to a poll at the bottom of this post to vote for your next #pointhorrorbookclub read! The next book will be announced on 17th February 2016

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new, Point Horror guest posts and interviews with Point Horror authors please click here


** Please note that as this is a discussion there will be spoilers**


The Tagline

Dating can be deadly

Okay ….so…What’s It All About?

It all starts in eighth grade where Tracey, who fancies a boy called Travis, pretends she doesn’t to the popular girl in school who is laughing at her!

Yep!  We’ve all been there!  What happens next?

Well Travis pretends to slit Tracey’s throat for saying such a thing and thus begging the revenge plot of all revenge plots….the pranks to beat all pranks ever….for revenge!

OMG!  This sounds terrifying!

Oooookkkaaaayyyy….lets move on!

Anyway jumping forward in time a few years after the above events Tracey and her low life (sorry, not sorry) boyfriend Kyle who loves double dating decide to spice things up in their relationship and go on a double date with Travis and his “girlfriend” now he’s all grown up and hot and stuff and thus the revenge plot begins.  Tracey goes along for the ride to a 1920’s hunting lodge complete with moose head called The Normandy where Travis attempts to put his revenge plot into full action.

Oh No!  What happens!

Well what Travis doesn’t count on is someone else in the 1920’s hunting lodge complete with moose head and he is watching them and playing some pranks of his own ……

The Girl

Tracey was how I would describe a classic point horror girl…old skool style.  In fact I made many notes next to her name in my note pad simply saying “Arrrrggghhhh”.  Blonde hair and sparkly dark eyes with a passion for dressing up at Halloween as a princess.  She goes along with the crowd and it just got a little tedious for my liking.  Although I do blame her boyfriend Kyle (who she seemed to know nothing about) a little as whenever she seemed to have an opinion or made a decision he was there putting her down or telling her to stop being silly.  This being said she always just seemed to roll over and say “okay then” to a lot of things.

Credit where credits due though when Kyle was tied up and apparently unconscious (no you cheered!) she did venture down into that cellar alone,  gain super strength to break out of a looked wardrobe, gets a new hair do,  tries to fool a convicted murder and then slashes said convicted murderer with a piece of broken glass!  Go Tracey!

But then she had to ruin it all at the end by telling Kyle she will save him *grabs sick bag* and staying with Kyle at the end of the book, acting all loved up and then showing she had changed by telling bitchy Tina Beston she didn’t want to help out with decorations!  Apparently that was meant to Tracey putting her foot down and saying no….but TO THE WRONG PERSON!

*looks at Kyle and gives him the look*

Also what was with that whole bracelet scene in the Mall?

The Love Interest

I suppose as I have a heading that says “Love Interest” I am obliged to talk about Kyle Farris.

Ugh!  Ugh!  Ugh!

He was Tracey’s so called boyfriend and a controlling one at that.  He decided everything they should do, basically almost cheats on Tracey in front of her very eyes and puts Tracey down constantly.  I was hoping for a full on dumping!

“Come on Tracey lighten up” was his catch phrase!  We should have realised what he was like when he staged that fight in The Burger Joint to “liven things up”!

He made be rage at the way he spoke to Tracey!

*angry face*

The Gang

I suppose I should start with Mr Prankster, Travis Judd.  With his flat cold eyes, brown dark wavy hair, geeky demeanour and apparent good sense of humour he was the ugly duckling turned into a swan and classic potential Chelley Point Horror crush (especially when he was dressed as a bat for Halloween)!

But OH NO!  He went and spoiled it didn’t he!  Yes I’m a little bitter!  He took Tracey crushing his eighth grade heart and his temperamental streak way too far with too many pranks!!!  I mean they were not even funny!  I mean, okay he got me at the prologue with his fake knife and what I thought was putting Tracey out of her misery, but No!  NO! NO! NO!  And just because of his crush on Tracey (he had a funny way of showing it) he had to come in at the end and pretend to be the hero with his shovel!  Laughing Bill soon showed him how we all felt about his pranks!  I mean gunshots on a tape, ghost stories, stealing candy, fake newspapers *rolls eyes*

Disclaimer – I may be slightly bitter…. either that or I kind of fancied Travis…a little 🙂

And then there good old Christie…..tall, long legs, long black hair, tight clothes, loves mints and the way she talks meaningless gibberish.  She was my fave!  I loved her a lot!  I especially loved the fact that she had a scholarship to study computer science and no one seemed to believe it.  I loved her temper tantrums and the revelation that she was playing along with the pranks and was really Travis’s cousin.  She had several personalities rolled into one and was seemingly so much better than the others.  I got very protective over her especially when the others think shes in on the whole car prank as she figured out the rotor was missing….basically saying that she can’t be that clever to have figured it out without being in on it….well she was that clever and I loved her!

Laughing Bill or Blockhead Bill as he gets renamed after being hit over the head with a shovel and going “Guhhhhhh”.  Wouldn’t you?!  The convicted criminal with the dead blue eyes and scar.  He actually made me chuckle a bit….did any one else think of….

Home-Alone-home-alone-30911991-1024-768

Shout out to best friend Laila Crandall…..why did we not get more Laila!  I did a yelp of excitement at the start for possibly a diverse character in Point Horror for her to only disappear and show up at the end of the book *sad face*

Also shout out to the underused character of Tina Beston…. oh she was the popular bitchy girl.  With her violet eyes, black lashes, catty attitude and boyfriend called Roger she was like something straight out of Scream Queens and I wanted more!  I mean she could shriek and took dressing as a witch to a whole new level with sparkles in her red hair, black satin costume and a peaked cap with silver stars!  I’m jealous!  She would have been a fab character, but again like Laila only featured at the beginning and the end!  Boooooooo!

And Sam The Waiter in The Stagger Inn….I think I speak for us all when I say I’m so sad those biceps where not used or featured more!

Fashion Faux Pas

I spotted some tight leather spandex mentioned in the form of a dress

sp(N.B – After what I’ve seen searching for this picture I dread to think what my husband will think when seeing my internet history!)

Dialogue Disasters

“Tracey looked down at her own princess costume.  She had thought it was so pretty…Now her costume didn’t seem spooky enough”

It was Halloween!

“The sound of a scream cut through the air.  It started as a thin, high wail and grew into an ear splitting shriek.  It’s only Tina Beston announcing her arrival”

This made me lol *screams*

“It’s great that your humour is so over the top”

Wait!  There was humour?

“Tracey’s heart flip-flopped”

Well flopped rhymes with plopped.  The word which appeared everywhere in this book!

“That doesn’t sound like something Kyle would do”

What does he do? *coughs*

“I just love mints”

I just love how we got to know the real Christie

“Oh come on Tracey can’t you take a joke?”

*eye rolls*

“At least Christie wouldn’t talk when she was eating.  Or would she?”

Only if she was eating mints?

“Plop.  Plop. Plop”

*sniggers*  Sinclair Smith uses the word Plop a lot throughout this book!

“That had better be it for the jokes.  I’ve had it”

You and me both Kyle.

“He got a dipstick from the trunk….”

*insert many jokes here*

“Some fast food meat companies buy beef blood to keep the meat looking red.  I think they use it so the meat won’t look dried out if it’s frozen for a long time”

IS THIS TRUE! *pulls face*

“Let’s Dance!…..No thanks I’m going to get a cup of cocoa”

My thoughts exactly!

Body Count

2!

That’s right!

Unfortunately not the people we were hoping for but still!

RIP Jack Whelan and William “Laughing Bill” Burke!

Also I guess if the old ghost stories were true then many hotel guests must have lost their lives too!  OMG this book was a blood bath! *whistles*

Is it scary?

No!  Not really scary at all.

I tell you what was scary though!  The fact that Tracey’s Mom and Dad did not get a mention until page 141!  Is this a Point Horror record?

Did the best friend do it?

No!  Try an escaped convicted criminal who was in hiding in the lodge!  Bet you didn’t see THAT coming!

Some Mild Peril?

Hmmmm I guess being snowed in a lodge with your date and your double dates going missing and then being threatened by a convicted murderer on the run after escaping what seemed like quite easily from prison classes as mild peril?

Oh and also angry store owner with a mop!

That is all 🙂

Is it any good?

Let’s put it this way….it was better than The Boy Next Door.  I mean I loved the whole premise once it got going of the deserted lodge, snowed in, strange things going on, secret passage ways, ghost stories, bloodied scissors, but there was just something missing for me in this one, but as I said we can’t complain after The Boy Next Door really can we?

I did like the shout out to Carrie though!

Final Thought

What happened to the cute, fluffy, adorable, full of rabies racoon!

Cover Wars

Which do you prefer?

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Over to you!

As well as your thoughts on the book I’ve added some fun questions to ponder!

  • Kyle!  Hot or Rot?
  • What happened to the racoon?
  • What prank would you have played that’s was better than Travis’s?
  • Which character would you double date with from the book?

See you at #pointhorrorbookclub on 13th March 2016 !

You can vote for your next #PointHorrorBookClub read here!

Voting closes on the 17th February 2016!

And the winner was…..

phmar16

The next read will be announced on the #pointhorrorbookclub page here and on twitter using the hashtag #pointhorrorbookclub on the 17th February 2016!

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new, Point Horror guest posts and interviews with Point Horror authors please click here

Thanks for joining in….

sig2

PHBC – The Window by Carol Ellis

 


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Do you remember the Point Horror Book Series from the 90’s?  The Point Horror Series was a series of young adult point horror books and was launched in 1991 by Scholastic always with the Point Horror banner on the spine and on the top of every point horror book.  There were a number of authors that wrote these books for Scholastic: R L Stine, Diane Hoh, Caroline B Cooney, Sinclair Smith to name but a few.

Are the Point Horror books we loved as a teenager still our favourites on the re-read?  Are you new to Point Horror?  Has our opinion changed?  Are they still as good?  Do they stand up to modern day YA Horror?  Or are they a whole load of cray cray?

Lets find out…

#pointhorrorbookclub

 Join in the discussion with this months title!

The Window by Carol Ellis

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Don’t forget to use the #pointhorrorbookclub on twitter so I can see your thoughts or tweet me using @chelleytoy

 There is a link to a poll at the bottom of this post to vote for your next #pointhorrorbookclub read! The next book will be announced on 17th January 2016

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new, Point Horror guest posts and interviews with Point Horror authors please click here


** Please note that as this is a discussion there will be spoilers**


The Tagline

She’s seen the killer.  Has the killer seen her?

Okay ….so…What’s It All About?

*Stares out of window*

*Grabs binoculars*

*Turns head to side to ensure window does not steam up*

*Writes name on window*

*Coughs*…erm excuse me your meant to be writing this months Point Horror Book Club about The Window not doing a Jody and being a nosy cabin housemate staring out of the window!

Oh yes!  Sorry about that! *coughs*

So poor old Jody Sanderson has been ditched by her friend Kate who is sick with flu and cannot make the skiing trip anymore so Jody goes on the skiing trip to Brevard Pass with six complete strangers!

Woah!  Brave girl…..hang on a minute where on earth is Brevard Pass?

Tuts!  You mean you don’t know!

Brevard Pass is THE place to go skiing!  Named after Charles Brevard it used to be just a plain old mountain pass used by wagons!

Who?!

You know Charles Brevard!  He was the first person to cross it back in 1852!

I’m disappointed in you!

Anyway….Jody starts to enjoy herself but then she has an accident whilst skiing!

Oh No!  She didn’t suffer the worst humiliation ever of taking the ski lift DOWN the slope did she?! 

Yes!  Yes she did!  But right after she slipped on some ice in her ski’s banged her head (she thinks) and sprained her ankle!

Oh the horror!  The humiliation!  What did she do?!

Well basically whilst laid up in bed she decided to snoop on a gorgeous girl in the cabin opposite and even uses binoculars and witnesses something she has to use her observation skills and brain to piece together!

Spoiler alert…. it involved red nail polish or possibly blood and some wilted roses!

What was it?!  Did someone lose their temper trying to paint their nails?

Let’s just say that someone saw her watching….and was not a happy wolfy!

Jody had witnessed a murder!

The Girl

Jody Sanderson!  With her dark curly brown hair and love of soup and staring out of windows watching people she was actually a pretty good skier!  That is until she sprains her ankle!  She was a little over the top on the old invalid act, but overall she was pretty likeable.  A Point Horror girl with a brain who thought things through and worked through things in her head.  Future detective in the making!  I will forgive her for falling for Drew!

The Love Interest

I’m going to class two characters as love interests in this book….

Drew “Mmm-bop” Hanson with his brooding brown eyes, dark blonde hair and quiet and moody manner…he flirts with Jody and basically falls in love with her without even speaking to her or getting to know her, but drooled all over Leahna Calder until she obviously told him bye bye.  I give him credit where credit is due though he brought back ribs and flowers for Jody!  What a guy!  Possibly a typical Point Horror love interest.

Beautiful Leahna Calder!  Gorgeous, rich and spoilt (kind of like that Lady Gaga song!).  Nothing / nobody lasts with Leahna Calder!  Described often throughout the book as poison, rotten, has claws and a beautiful creep she was the love interest of many a character in this Point Horror with Drew and Cal practically fighting over her.  I kept picturing Channel number one from Scream Queens!  She basically won my heart over when she got the orange peel!  She didn’t deserve to die!

The Gang

Oh wow!  This gang were like the cast of Made In Chelsea!  I could hardly keep up with all the goings on!

Ellen fancies Drew who flirts with Jody, but Chris fancies Drew who hates Leahna who Cal is crazy about who is killed by Sasha who is horrible to Billy who loves her then hates her and then it turns out Ellen really fancies Cal…… *heads spins*

Anyway….

Spiky blonde haired Christine “Chris” Castello with blue eyes that always stared at the air above your head.  With a personality as spiky as her hair and lots of bracelets and rings to boot I kind of liked her.  She was edgy and cool and just did not care about anything that was going on around her other than Drew, parties and skiing.  We needed to see more of her!

Frail looking thin Ellen Cummings with her soft hazel eyes, light brown hair and airy voice which was kind of sing songy was kind of what it says on the tin.  Although I did love it when she raged about Leahna!

Cal Wolf!  Twin of Sasha Wolf!  Beautiful, tall and slender and basically sexy!  He is crazy about Leahna and uses his blue eyes to communicate with his twin rather than speech.  I liked him better than Drew.

Sasha Wolf….. like Cal, beautiful, long dark hair, slender and blue eyes to help communicate non verbally with Cal.  She was the driver that makes you reach for the sick bag and with her apparently low throaty voice was a little pushy and liked to organise things…including killing her brothers crush…yes murder!  And then dumping the body and losing her bracelet in the process!  She got what was coming to her…..Smacked and knocked off her feet by a pair of binoculars!  She deserved everything she got….especially after being so horrible to Billy!

Which leads me onto….Billy Feldman (not to be confused with Corey Feldman who along with Point Horror Book Club member Billy I kept imaging throughout the whole book….like a Corey/Billy mix and match!).  I loved Billy!  He made me laugh!  He was the comedian of the group and of the book.  The laugh man!  He can’t ski, but went on a skiing holiday!  With his liquid brown eyes, his comedic charm and stuffy breathing he won me over.  I also loved how a rug sent him over the edge of one minute loving Sasha and the next hating her so much!  He deserved to be the hero at the end pinning Sasha on the floor in a citizens arrest and making her drop the knife!  Go Billy Go!

And just a quick mention to Kate, Jody’s “Best Friend”….. basically the most selfish worst friend EVER!

Fashion Faux Pas

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With the exception of bright coloured ski clothes which I presume are still in fashion (?) although I kept picturing them as shell suites I didn’t spot anything between the pink wool sweaters that appeared occasionally.

90s-neon-pink-tyrolia-by-head-ski-suit

Dialogue Disasters

I can’t believe these words are about to be typed….but I didn’t find that many dialogue disasters in this one!  I know!  Did I just miss them?

Of course I did find a few that made me chuckle….

“Who’s want to spend their time staring into windows?”

Do I win a prize for guessing the answer correctly?

“She’s beautiful like Snow White’s step-mother”

I think I wrote this down because I got confused with Cinderella and thought of the ugly step sisters and……. *brain explodes*

“But my parents are away”

That old chestnut!

“It’ll be wild!”

So you think this would be about the skiing or the parties or the fact that his sister is a murderer wouldn’t you….well no…this was Cal’s response to having a 5ft sub sandwich at the party!

“I’m fine, not frothing at the mouth or anything”

Jody…just before she says oh my ankle I couldn’t possibly have another pain pill for the 100th time for the sympathy vote!

“Don’t you think you’re taking this invalid act a little too far?”

I did not write down who said this to Jody but *hi fives*

And of course…..you totally knew this was going to happen Point Horror Book Club member Billy….

“Billy was kind of a klutz”

“Billy laughed a little too loudly at his small joke”

“I’m the laugh man”

Well now I feel as mean as Sasha!  *Stares at Billy to communicate my feelings*

Body Count

1!

A half on the page, half off the page murder!

*throws red nail polish at wall in homage*

Is it scary?

Hmmmmmm not really.  Mainly Jody sitting around the cabin feeling sorry for herself and…well basically staring out of the window and watching someone get murdered!

Actually I have to admit that I was slightly terrified by the whole knife from the kitchen I am going to murder you end!  It did get my heart racing quite a bit!

Oh and also when Jody is watching the killer looking for something in the snow and then looks directly up at her!  Oh that gave me the shivers!

Did the best friend do it?

Nope!  Jody was brave / crazy enough to go on the ski trip without her best friend and with six strangers…who would have thought one of them was a killer?!

Some Mild Peril?

Snow and Ice!  And lots of it!

Also Sasha’s driving!

Oh and SASHA!

Is it any good?

I liked this one!  Although I found quite a lot of the Jody in bed / cabin / invalid scenes a little stretched out and longish, but I liked the story.  I even liked the reveal and the ending and enjoyed it.

This one didn’t feel dated like some we have read or cheesy (pun intended) and would do well nowadays.

I also liked the reminder of the good old fashioned telephone in the kitchen and one in the bedroom and the click of either receiver being put down whilst on the phone….pre mobiles…those were the days!

Final Thought

Was it just me or did anyone think Jody’s friend Kate was really at Brevard Pass and was basically just avoiding Jody?!

Over to you!

As well as your thoughts on the book I’ve added some fun questions to ponder!

  • What colour ski suit would you don yourself in for Brevard Pass?
  • In honour of the character Billy in The Window what truth would you ask Point Horror Book Club member Billy which he HAS to answer?
  • What party food and games would you play?
  • Why was Kate so horrible to Jody?!

You can leave a reply by using the reply button at the top of the page!

Point Horror Book Club member Mark has sent me the American cover for The Window!

amphw

What does everyone think?

I think this is better than the UK one….and sums up the book well!  Although I do like the blood stain on the UK one I have to admit!

See you at #pointhorrorbookclub on 13th February 2016 !

You can vote for your next #PointHorrorBookClub read here!

Voting closes on the 17th January 2016!

And the winner was….

feb16ph

The next read will be announced on the #pointhorrorbookclub page here and on twitter using the hashtag #pointhorrorbookclub on the 17th January 2016!

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new, Point Horror guest posts and interviews with Point Horror authors please click here

Thanks for joining in….

sig2

 

PHBC – Halloween Night by R L Stine

 


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point

Do you remember the Point Horror Book Series from the 90’s?  The Point Horror Series was a series of young adult point horror books and was launched in 1991 by Scholastic always with the Point Horror banner on the spine and on the top of every point horror book.  There were a number of authors that wrote these books for Scholastic: R L Stine, Diane Hoh, Caroline B Cooney, Sinclair Smith to name but a few.

Are the Point Horror books we loved as a teenager still our favourites on the re-read?  Are you new to Point Horror?  Has our opinion changed?  Are they still as good?  Do they stand up to modern day YA Horror?  Or are they a whole load of cray cray?

Lets find out…

#pointhorrorbookclub

 Join in the discussion with this months title!

Halloween Night by R L Stine

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Don’t forget to use the #pointhorrorbookclub on twitter so I can see your thoughts or tweet me using @chelleytoy

 There is a link to a poll at the bottom of this post to vote for your next #pointhorrorbookclub read! The next book will be announced on 17th October 2015

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new, Point Horror guest posts and interviews with Point Horror authors please click here

We also have a fantastic guest post from the lovely Anne Finnis who was part of the team responsible for bringing the Point Horror books to the UK in the 90’s.  It’s so wonderful!  Check it out here!


** Please note that as this is a discussion there will be spoilers**


The Tagline

This party is a killer…

Okay ….so…What’s It All About?

WOW!  Where to start!  Brenda and her friends are plotting a Halloween party with homemade terrifying Halloween costumes including a clown, a monk and the most terrifying of all ever Halloween costumes….a peacock!

A Peacock?!

Yes you heard me right!  But that’s the least of Brenda’s worry and woes!  Halley, Brenda’s cousin, is staying whilst her parents sort out their divorce and not only is she content in pinching Brenda’s bedroom and Luke Perry poster she sets her sights on Brenda’s boyfriend Ted too!  And over a truck full of buns and a hard gear stick Ted falls for Halley and snogs her under Brenda’s bedroom window!  This makes Brenda mad enough to plot revenge!

Revenge?!  Like jumping out on her in her clown outfit?!

Pfffftttt don’t be silly!  Brenda means business….murder!  But not any old murder!  A Halloween Murder!  Whilst writing an assignment with her two friends Dina and Traci about the fictional murder of her cousin and after Halley dumping Ted and moving onto Traci’s boyfriend, but then back to Ted and then many study dates with other boys (?!) Brenda convinces her friends that the murder should become a reality!  For realises!!!  Especially after some strange goings on!

Strange goings on?!  This can’t be true of a Point Horror!!?

Oh yes indeed!  Someone is trying to scare Brenda with blood messages and off meat in her bed with added maggots!  Who could it be?!  Brenda points the finger well and truly at Halley!  But could it be true?!  And will Brenda really murder her for revenge?!  Or will some perfectly placed air vents scupper her plans?!

*Tosses hair*

The Girl

Emerald eyed, copper haired, Luke Perry loving Brenda Morgan!  Don’t make her angry or her freckles with darken in rage!  She is a sewing master and thinks her cousin Halley is a monster and mean natured!

Brenda decides that to murder Halley is the only option!  I mean how could that be the only option!?  Did she not read The Babysitter?!  *tuts*

She really was very self centred and a little bit annoying, but then in a way this was good as it made me laugh when she got scared of the creepy mask in her window and the creepy messages to beat all messages….SEE YOU ON HALLOWEEN!!!  I mean the horror!  Perhaps someone just couldn’t get through on the phone so went for a more traditional way of messaging in the 90’s with a Halloween vibe.  Quite frankly I think Brenda over reacted!

AND that’s not all!  Picture the scene!  Your hatred for your cousin who you are plotting to kill for being mean, stealing your boyfriend and Luke Perry poster spiralling out of control, but yeah sure it’s okay you can borrow my car Halley!  NO BRENDA NO!

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Don’t get me wrong I was cheering Brenda on a few times with how she handled Ted the slimeball….but then she went and got back with him…..then he went and abandoned Brenda at the prom and copped off again with Halley!  OMG!

Don’t forget though Brenda always did her best thinking with a needle in her hand!  Did she drop the needle?!

I think it’s fair to say I had a love/hate relationship with Brenda!  Most of my love came from the catfight scenes with Halley over the table and then on the driveway!  Meow!

It was nice to see that Brenda’s parents were in this particular Point Horror…although they may well have not have been!  They were as unsupportive and as useful as a chocolate teapot!  They even made her sleep in her blood stained room!  There was a point where I actually did feel sorry for Brenda but don’t tell anyone!

The Love Interest

I can’t believe I have to call Ted the slimeball the love interest!  Ewwwwww!  His thick mane / mop of curley brown hair and crinkly eyes did nothing for me except infuriate me into a Point Horror rage!

It annoyed me as I kept imagining him as Robert Sheehan!  Although Robert Sheehan would NOT be such a slimeball!

Robert-Sheehan-2

But fear not surely Stiney put a back up love interest in Halloween Night!

Pfftttt This ain’t no Point Romance!  Silly me!

I present to you Noah!  NOAH!  With a high pitched laugh that set peoples teeth on edge, straw coloured hair and pudgy hands…who could resist!  Well certainly not Halley who steals him of Traci (with an I) !

Basically Stiney gave us rubbish love interests who were selfish and thought they were gods gift to women!

Rant over!

I feel better now!

The Gang

Traci (with an I) Warner aka Milky Way lover!  With her straight black hair that she tosses over her shoulder so many times I lost count, her silvery eyes and her copy of Seventeen magazine that was originally going to be the murder weapon (I know how Stiney was thinking pre edits!).  She was a bit gullible and basically hung on Brenda’s every word and just went along with things.  You know as you do!

Long legged, tall, slender, short brown haired Dina Smithers who could rock a cat suit for Halloween and holding down a job at a vets as well as school was always complaining about her looks and sticking up for Halley!  She had her time to shine 3/4 of the way through the book when Stiney must have forgotten he was writing from Brenda’s point of view and switched to Dina for …wait for it….A WHOLE CHAPTER!  Full Point Horror glory right there!  Well that was until she tripped over the pumpkin and right into the hands of two policeman!  How shameful to say you were busted by a pumpkin!  Kudos to Dina for refusing to be part of the planned murder which ended up not being a planned murder but a trick to lure Dina into admitting she was the one behind the nasty (hilarious) tricks on Brenda.  I liked Dina!

Talk of the devil!  Little old Halley!  Oh dear oh dear!  To quote Point Horror book club member Paul….her milkshake brought ALL the boys to the yard!!!  Yep indeed!  Giving women drivers a bad name with her reverse parking, flirting with Ted and Noah and Ted and a pumpkin (probably) and taking Brenda’s things I really did not like her!  But then I guess I was not meant to?!  It had nothing to do with her gorgeous blonde hair, blue eyes, dry sarcastic sense of humour and a little miss perfect routine!  I highly disagree!  That gorilla scene when she jumps on the table was Point Horror gold!

Shout out to Randy Brenda’s ten year old brother who made me lol especially over pandagate and his enthusiasm over Prince Of Persia!  I LOVED THAT GAME!

Fashion Faux Pas

Did anyone else notice that we seemed to be told about what everyone was wearing in nearly every new scene?!

There were jumpers, turtle necks, leggings…you know the norm!

Until!

A leopard skin style jacket made it’s appearance on Dina!

It was so very Kurt Cobain!

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Woooohhoooooo!  I have never been so happy for a fashion faux pas in my life!

Dialogue Disasters

“Brenda thinks Halley is a monster”

Monster is a bit harsh I guess?

“You don’t even have room for your Luke Perry poster”

EVERYONE should have room for a 90’s Luke Perry poster!  *stares at Luke Perry poster on the wall*

“She promised she’d help me fertilize the rhododendrons this afternoon”

Brenda’s Mom is in the wrong book!  This is Point Horror Brenda’s Mom!  POINT HORROR NOT 50 SHADES!!!

“I wish a fly would fly into her mouth”

Brenda knows ALL of the evil plot twists!

“Maybe her face will crack and disintegrate into a thousand pieces”

Early Botox voodoo spell!?

“Lets murder her!”

See it was all your idea Traci with an i!

“It isn’t hard….once you get the back in”

*spits out buttery popcorn in horror* Ted is such a stud!

“That whole truck is filled with buns….amazing”

Ted really knows what to say to the ladies!

“Wow!  It doesn’t take you a lot to get excited does it!”

*coughs* Nope just a truck load of buns!

“Well plotting a murder mystery isn’t going to be easy”

Stiney has read The Boy Next Door and is looking at you Sinclair Smith!

“It’s a gorilla”

Something I never thought I would quote from a Point Horror!

“Why would Halley do a dumb thing like that?”

No comment!

“No.  Forget strangling.  It’s too good for her!”

No it really isn’t!  Do it already!  Oh come on I’m not the only one who shouted this at the book am I?

“It should be the person you never suspect”

Why did Dina have to say this?  Why?!  It was like waving a flag saying oh it’s me they would never suspect me!  Grrrrrrrr

“Yay”  She cheered “I’m a murderer”

Oh Dina!  If only buns did it for you like Ted!

“You look like a racoon”

Dina has ALL the insults!

“Goosebumps climbed her bare arms”

*Hi fives Stiney for some self promotion there*

“I’ll shove it down the laundry shoot.  No one will ever think to look there!”

We will let Brenda off as this was in the days before CSI!  They ALWAYS look in the laundry shoot Brenda!  ALWAYS!

Body Count

We can only dream!  0!

With the exception of many pumpkins!

Is it scary?

Not really!  But I did find that scene with the pumpkin coming alive in Brenda’s dreams and turning an talking quite terrifying and it made me dream I was pumpkin (this is not a joke!)!

I mean who knew that an evil pumpkin coming alive would make a wet sucking sound!  Mind = blown!

Also dead headless bird!  GROSS!

And also the most scary part of all was people dressing up as Princess Di and Cindy Crawford for a Halloween party! Just me who didn’t get the joke here?

Did the best friend do it?

DING DING!  We have a winner with this Point Horror!  One of the best friends did do it!  Or tried to and failed *curses Brenda’s sewing skills and extra padding*

Some Mild Peril?

Well apart from the constant hair tossing over the shoulder (did anyone else notice this?) the only mild peril was the hope that whoever was in the Gorilla suit was really brown bread!

Is it any good?

I’m honestly not sure how I feel about this book.  I think I liked it, but yet I’m not sure.  It took a long time to get going and the Halloween Night party was in the last 20 pages or so.  I do admit I did like the end although I had a feeling it was Dina I liked the uncertainty and I was hoping I was wrong.  I think the only character I liked was Dina (except Randy) and look how that ended!

Final Thought

Pudgy!

Over to you!

As well as your thoughts on the book I’ve added some fun questions to ponder!

  • Who would you go to a Halloween Party dressed as?
  • What happened to Dina after Halloween Night?
  • Ted or Noah?!
  • What extra prank should Dina have played on Brenda?

You can leave a reply by using the reply button at the top of the page!

See you at #pointhorrorbookclub on 13th November 2015 !

Billy is back with his Halloween Night in emoji’s!  I love it!

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You can vote for your next #PointHorrorBookClub read here!

Voting closes on the 17th October 2015!

And the winner was….

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Don’t forget to check out the fab guest post with Anne Finnis who was part of the team responsible for bring Point Horror to the UK here

Also the lovely Anne has said we can put some Point Horror related questions to her!  Do you have a question for Anne?  Let me know and I will include it in my Q&A with her which will go live next month!

The next read will be announced on the #pointhorrorbookclub page here and on twitter using the hashtag #pointhorrorbookclub on the 17th October 2015!

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new, Point Horror guest posts and interviews with Point Horror authors please click here

Thanks for joining in….

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Guest Post – Publishing Point Horror by Anne Finnis


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Do you remember the Point Horror Book Series from the 90’s?  The Point Horror Series was a series of young adult point horror books and was launched in 1991 by Scholastic always with the Point Horror banner on the spine and on the top of every point horror book.  There were a number of authors that wrote these books for Scholastic: R L Stine, Diane Hoh, Caroline B Cooney, Sinclair Smith to name but a few.

They were basically what I was reading and enjoying as a young adult and thanks to the author Juno Dawson, who started #PointHorrorBookClub on her website in 2013, I have started to re-read these books that I used to rush to the shops every weekend and buy and sit for the whole weekend reading.

Juno announced in January 2015 that she was no longer able to carry on #pointhorrorbookclub and with her blessing I am going to try and carry it on with version 2!  Juno has done a fantastic job – I hope I can keep up her good work *gulps*

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new please click here

I know lots of people who hold Point Horror close to their hearts and one of those people is one of the people responsible for bringing Point Horror to the UK!

Therefore I have invited the lovely Anne Finnis to do a guest post for us all about publishing Point Horror, her love for all things Point Horror and being a part of British history !

It’s very exciting to have Anne here on Tales…I feel very honoured…and I have to admit this guest post is just fascinating and amazing!  Thank you so much Anne!

*Hands microphone to Anne and hugs*


Publishing Point Horror

Love it or hate it Point Horror was a publishing phenomenon in the 1990s and I am delighted to say I had a part in it. I now meet people who grew up devouring Point Horror and tell me how much it was a part of their teenage lives. It makes me feel privileged to have been involved, though it reminds me that I must be getting old!

In the late ‘80s I was a young, upstart editor working at Hippo Books, part of Scholastic UK in Covent Garden.

We were the UK publishing outpost of Scholastic Inc – a publishing giant in the US. The US publishing output was enormous. Hippo’s was tiny in comparison and we published an eclectic mix of fiction, non-fiction and some novelty/activity books.

Every month we received a box of the books being published by Scholastic Inc and we were encouraged to publish some of what the Americans were publishing. (Most big publishing corporations have a dream that we should all be publishing the same books around the world though it rarely works like that.)

Scholastic Inc was enjoying massive success with The Babysitter’s Club. After much deliberating we decided to give The Babysitter’s Club a try in the UK. We rejacketed the books with covers that we felt would work better for our market and very quickly we too had a big success on our hands.

At about this time we realised that in these boxes from the States there were some spooky, glamorous and slightly dangerous-looking titles published under the Scholastic Inc teenage imprint Point.

There was little or no horror being published in the UK for teen readers, but I’d spent my teenage years being scared witless by authors like Stephen King, Ira Levin and Dennis Wheatley. I was desperate to have a go at publishing horror for a teen audience – I knew it was what I would have devoured had it been available. So I read some of the titles in the US boxes – The Lifeguard, Trick or Treat, April Fools – and realised they were page-turning, deliciously scary and with characters and plots based in teenage lives, albeit remote, glamorous, American ones.

I’m not sure many of the titles ever really constituted a horror story in the true sense of the genre (I’m squeamish and not very good with hardcore horror) but they were great psychological thrillers with plotlines that messed with your head – and that, to my mind, is much more enthralling.

So, Gavin Lang, the sales director, and I decided to give some of these titles a go. However, the authors were unknown – even RL Stine at this point – and there were several different authors so we needed to find a way to get them taken on by booksellers and noticed by readers. Our first decision was that we couldn’t publish them as Hippo Books – the logo was fun, but it was a cartoon drawing of a hippo’s big bottom – how was that ever going to be cool and scary? We thought the imprint name Point was good, though ultimately meaningless, so we decided to borrow it from the States. We then wanted to identify to readers exactly what these books were about. Point Psychological Thrillers was a mouthful. Point Horror told the reader what kind of story they were getting (or at least close enough) so we settled on that.

The American covers were bright, bold and stood out from the crowd. If we liked a particular cover image we used it. If not, our designer, Alison Gadsby, commissioned a new piece of artwork. She also devised the Point Horror logo and we agreed to pay for the cost of adding foil and/or a fifth colour to the lettering to make the titles really zing. At this time adult publishers were spending money on such lavish embellishments for their covers, but covers for kids’ books were generally very restrained.

We decided to launch with two titles – and here I become hazy. I think we launched in March 1991 with Trick or Treat by Richie Tankersley Cusick and Beach Party by RL Stine (April Fools was an early one too). We planned to publish a new book every other month, but we realised after the third or fourth title that sales were escalating and there was a growing demand for Point Horror. Because the US had been publishing these thrillers for a while there was a crop of titles which we could cherry pick from. We were therefore able to speed up publication and satisfy a growing appetite for the books.

Trick or Treat

At first some booksellers and librarians said to us “Point Horror?  What is that? What does it mean?” But readers quickly got it. And we achieved what we’d been hoping for – booksellers began to display all the books together as Point Horror titles rather than by author name. It had been our biggest fear that the books would be stocked conventionally by the author’s surname, meaning the books would get dispersed across the alphabet and lost on the shelves. Soon most booksellers had a Point Horror section which looked significantly different from the majority of other books being published for teens at the time. (Hodder was publishing Christopher Pike, but apart from Hodder and us there was no one else in this market.)

There was a lot of resistance. Not everyone was keen – the books were trite, too scary, not good for children – all of those things. But Point Horror was getting kids excited about books. They were being swapped in the playground; readers were looking out for the next title. They were getting non-readers to read. What can be wrong with that?

By the end of 1991 we had a phenomenon going that lasted throughout the 1990s.

As the success of Point Horror grew British authors began asking if they could get involved. However, the stories were distinctly American and all of them no matter how scary had that American gloss, shine and accessibility that sets a lot of American writing apart from British (a vast generalisation I know).

By now we were working with some fantastic British authors and we were keen for them to share in the success. We’d already published an anthology of short stories from the US, 13 Tales of Horror, and I set about commissioning a UK one, 13 More Tales of Horror, as we felt an anthology was significantly different from the main list that we could risk doing something different.  We published two collections of British Point Horror short stories – and the stories were darker, grittier and somehow much more real. However, they were taken up and published by Scholastic Inc in the States, which was gratifying.

US editions of UK Point Horror anthology

UK and Spanish editions of 13 more tales

We also wanted to commission and publish some full-length UK horror stories, so we launched Point Horror Unleashed to distinguish them from the American Point Horror brand. The stories were amazing but as with the short stories they were dark and gritty (arguably, something to do with British history and psyche).

Point Horror Unleashed

Building on the success of Point Horror we went on to commission and publish very successfully other genre fiction for teenagers. Nothing ever quite reached the heady heights of Point Horror but it was a great time in which we were actively seeking out authors and asking them to write for the Point list.

Ultimately, from being controversial and daring, Point Horror gradually became old-hat and mainstream. Readers, editors and buyers move on and look for something new, and so gradually Point Horror declined and was discontinued.

I left Scholastic when I was expecting my third daughter in 1998, but looking back I’m amazed at how much we achieved in a fairly short period of time and what an exciting time it was. And now when I meet people who loved Point Horror, I feel proud and privileged to have achieved something that’s always motivated my career – publishing stories that kids really want to read!

Anne Finnis

Photos by Caitlin Smith, my third daughter, mentioned above.

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Also check out Anne’s post for #Usborneyashelfies about Point Horror here

The #PointHorrorBookClub even gets a mention!  Thanks Anne!


Do you have a Point Horror question for Anne?

Anne has been lovely enough to agree to answer any questions we may have following the guest post or Point Horror related?

Send me your questions by leaving a reply and I will put them to Anne in my Q&A which will hopefully be love for next month’s Point Horror Book Club!

Thank you Anne!


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Anne is now the Fiction Deputy Director at Usborne and feels privileged to have worked with so many talented people. Mum of three. Wannabe salsa dancer. Love chats around her dining table.


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Why not join in Point Horror Book Club and the discussion on the 13th of every month?

Don’t forget to use the #pointhorrorbookclub on twitter so I can see your thoughts or tweet me using @chelleytoy

Are the Point Horror books we loved as a teenager still our favourites on the re-read?  Are you new to Point Horror?  Has our opinion changed?  Are they still as good?  Do they stand up to modern day YA Horror?  Or are the a whole load of cray cray?

You can find all #PointHorrorBookClub posts old and new here

A huge huge thank you to Anne for featuring on Tales and a huge round of applause for such a fab guest post!

I honestly cannot thank Anne enough!  Point Horror was my childhood and I feel so honoured to be able to still chat about it today! 

*claps hands excitedly*

Do you remember Point Horror?  Which was your favourite?  Would you like to join in on #pointhorrorbookclub ?

Happy Point Horror-ing!

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PHBC – The Boy Next Door by Sinclair Smith


n11869pointDo you remember the Point Horror Book Series from the 90’s?  The Point Horror Series was a series of young adult point horror books and was launched in 1991 by Scholastic always with the Point Horror banner on the spine and on the top of every point horror book.  There were a number of authors that wrote these books for Scholastic: R L Stine, Diane Hoh, Caroline B Cooney, Sinclair Smith to name but a few.

Are the Point Horror books we loved as a teenager still our favourites on the re-read?  Are you new to Point Horror?  Has our opinion changed?  Are they still as good?  Do they stand up to modern day YA Horror?  Or are they a whole load of cray cray?

Lets find out…

#pointhorrorbookclub

 Join in the discussion with this months title!

The Boy Next Door By Sinclair Smith

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Don’t forget to use the #pointhorrorbookclub on twitter so I can see your thoughts or tweet me using @chelleytoy

 There is a link to a poll at the bottom of this post to vote for your next #pointhorrorbookclub read! The next book will be announced on 17th September 2015

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new, Point Horror guest posts and interviews with Point Horror authors please click here


** Please note that as this is a discussion there will be spoilers**


The Tagline

He’s too close for comfort…

Okay ….so…What’s It All About?

Hi There!

*sets the scene*

A house full of creaks and groans isolated out on the edge of town!  The only house on a dead end street with spooky woods out back.  An absent father “away” for three weeks on a business trip.  An empty run down house next door!  A teenager all alone to fend for herself!

Wow this is the perfect Point Horror / Horror movie set up right!

Tsk Tsk!  If only it were that simple!

Basically Randy is the good girl, but then she falls in love with a complete stranger called  Julian, dumps her boyfriend, turns into a rebel and pulls some pranks!

Ohhhh that sounds fun!  What type of pranks?

Playing pranks on teachers and friends is how Randy rebels and all to woo her new man and basically to keep him from going all hulk and getting angry!

But someone discovers her little secrets!

Really?  Who?

Randy’s BFF Alice figures things out, but starts to think that Randy’s new boyfriend is a figment of Randy’s imagination and she’s gone bonkers!  Can this be true?!  We all think it until a piece of cheese tells us otherwise!

The Girl

Randy, Randy Randy! Miss Randy Bell *sniggers*  Always the sensible one who sometimes wishes she wasn’t!  Maybe she wishes she wasn’t called Randy when her real name was Charlotte!?  Whaaaaa??

She basically quits cheerleading practise, plays pranks on people at school which include a toy tarantula, a love note and an oil patch all to impress a boy!

She meets Julian over a romantic setting of garbage cans and within minutes she is captivated by his apparent television advertisement looks and basically becomes willing to do anything he says before you can say Stupid Point Horror girl!  Grrrrrrrr

She basically goes off into the woods with a stranger and calls Julian unusual!

But I gave her a few brownie points for using a piece of cheese to try and kill her attacker at the end of the book!  A PIECE OF CHEESE!  I hope it was extra smelly too!

The Love Interest

What can I say about Julian Dax that you are all not already thinking!  He can give horrible old Chuck from The Babysitter 1 & 2 a good run for his money!  Again with conveniently absent parents and a little hot headed!

Ice Blue Eyes.  Long Black Hair!  Golden Skin part tropical island water ski instructor part skiing instructor in Aspen and with such white teeth!

We could only wish he was a young Jared Leto with that description *heart beats*

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But no!  No! No! NO!  He’s the worst male love interest in the Point Horror re reads so far!  Yuk!  I felt rather uncomfortable with the way he manipulated and controlled Randy (even though she was willing) and not in a normal Point Horror I’m the murderer way…it was shockingly frustrating and just awful!

And his excuse for being this way I guess was because when he was hungry a guy who’s car he was working on wouldn’t give him a cupcake to eat!  A CUPCAKE!  I mean I like cake, but COME ON!

He basically controls Miss Goodie Randy Bell and turns her into Annie Douglas from Sunset Beach!

And what was with the “Hi There” all the time!  By about the 100th time I wanted to shove him off that roof myself!

Remember Denny Drake from the Beach House who accidently was in the wrong Point Horror book ….well I think we found him and he was not a happy bunny and developed a slightly deep masculine chuckle that went like this!

“AH-HA. HEH-HEH-HEH. HA HA”

Or like this

“AHHHHH.  HEHEHEHEHEHHH”

He also knows how to woo the ladies….

“I can’t stay away from you sweetheart.  I wanna get close to you…real close…SO I CAN PUT MY HANDS AROUND YOUR THROAT AND SQUEEZE UNTIL YOUR EYES BUG OUT!”

I mean who could resist someone who says this…

“DON’T WORRY SWEETHEART.  I’LL BE WITH YOU IN A JIFFY…AND BREAK YOUR NECK!”

Enough said!  *THROWS CHEESE*

The Gang

BFF Alice knows there something strange about Julian and cross examines Randy about him a lot!  Thinking there was something fishy she starts catching Randy out on her pranks and also calling her out on it!  She also is one tough cookie!  Entering the spooky empty house alone looking for evidence and being thrown down the stairs she was fab!  I really like Alice a lot!

Poor old Ted Kaminsky!  He gets dumped by Randy at the start of the book and up until the end when he miraculously shows up to save the day he is cast aside like Darlene’s appendix in the hospital!  Randy describes him as not handsome in a conventional sense, but such sincerity and good humour with thick red hair and deep green eyes with a tall muscular frame!  How could she be so cruel and dump him for Julian!  Disgraceful!  I feel he could have been the character that turned the plot around and was severely under used!

Randy’s Father or as I renamed him Bob after Bob The Builder.  He has his own tv show called Fix It Man, but never fixes anything in his own house which obviously and happily lead to Julian’s down fall (get it?)  although I still feel it was the cheese that did it!  I loved how his first words to Randy upon his return are about fixing the house up!  All the loll’s!

Maxine – head cheerleader and little miss bossy pants herself fell foul to Randy’s rebellious pranks!  I really wanted Maxine to get with Ted and hop on over to one of those Point Romances!

Special mention to poor old Mrs Newton!  I felt her pain!  Scared to death by a toy tarantula! Oh the shame of having your last word in a Point Horror to be “AAAGGGGGGHHHHHH!  AAAAAAGGGGGHHHHH!  AAAAGGGGGHHHHHH!  AAAAAGGGGGHHHH”!  Mind you I think this may have summed up my thoughts well!

I cannot move on without mentioning the names of characters in this book other than the ones mentioned above already!  They were very Point Horror and possibly one of the best parts of the book for me!

Durk Tupper!

The classic jock boyfriend of the head cheerleader Maxine!

Officer Covik and Office Diva!

Yes you heard me right they were da police and not a tennis player and Mariah Carey turning up at Randy’s door to investigate a light shining in the abandoned house next door!  And talk about giving a girl a telling off for calling the police!  The were more scary than Julian!

Wayne Dziezenowski

King of wrestling at Huntington High don’t you know!

Zizzy Maxwell

Who never stopped telling anyone he knew first aid and CPR and who couldn’t wait to give Mrs Newton the kiss of life!

Darlene Lund, Chris “The Mouth” Cavanaugh and Ernie Scozik!  The list goes on and on!

Fashion Faux Pas

Unbelievably I did not pick up any fashion faux pas!  Did I miss these or was I blinded by my obvious hate for Julian?

Dialogue Disasters

“You know nothing bad ever happens in Huntington”

Right at the start we should have known this was a sign of things to come?!

“I didn’t hear a sound… (Chelley becomes nervous) I didn’t even know he was right beside me… (Chelley gulps in anticipation at the big scare!) until he said, “Hi There” ( *Chelley blinks …wait what now?!)

“Ted adores you so much he probably wouldn’t care if you wore a burlap sack to the dance”

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I heard Ted’s sigh of relief when he got dumped!

“Whooah!  Whoosh!  Whoopie.  Well done kiddo!”

Well that makes a change from Hi There Julian!  Whoopie!

“You weren’t even falling unless you were falling for me”

Ewwwww Julian made me do a little sick!

“There isn’t anyone like me.  They broke the mould”

THANK GOD JULIAN!  THANK GOD!

“He was breathing like a human steam engine”

Choo Choo!

“Is it long, or short?  Is it bigger than a bread box?”

*Chokes on buttery popcorn*

“Maybe if he hadn’t eaten that other cupcake he would have made it home”

Julian takes Bake Off very seriously!

“Try to keep both oars in the water…as they say”

Do they say?

“I didn’t mean to scare you.  Is my makeup on backwards or something?”

Alice tested her new Halloween outfit and it worked!

“He howled in pain and rage as it [the cheese] hit him right between the eyes on the bridge of his nose!”

“Too much cheese is bad for your cholesterol Randy yelled at him”

Best. Line. Of. The. Book!  Ha ha ha ha ha

“Randy felt as deflated as a life raft with all the air let out”

Randy sums up my feelings about The Boy Next Door!

“Here’s Johnny!”

Now Julian thinks he’s in The Shining!  Oh Boy!

Body Count

We get one dead body at the end of the book!  And yes I cheered with joy and laughed that he got hit in the face with a block of cheese!

Is it scary?

NO!  Not at all.  Not one little bit!

Did the best friend do it?

We could only have hoped and dreamed for this plot twist!

Some Mild Peril?

I guess the ending had some mild peril when Randy goes all classic horror styley and runs up the stairs away from the attacker which she wasn’t sure if she had made up or not or if he was real!

Also why stand on the edge of a crumbling cliff in the woods with a stranger?  Randy made her own mild peril in my opinion!

Is it any good?

I have to be honest this book gave me a few laughs.  The Point Horror names, the cheese the cheesy lines, but it is my least favourite Point Horror to date.  I didn’t understand the point in the whole plot and it had no umph about it!  I expected a little more from a Point Horror entitled The Boy Next Door 🙁

Final Thought

What would have happened to Randy if she refused to do anything that Julian told her to do!  Now that would have made a while different The Boy Next Door Point Horror!

Oh and what was with that epilogue?!

Over to you!

As well as your thoughts on the book I’ve added some fun questions to ponder!

  • Who would have been the better plot twist?
  • What do you think happened to Mrs Newton?
  • Before reading what did you think The Boy Next Door would be about?
  • Thoughts on Julian!
  • What cheese would you have thrown at Julian?

You can leave a reply by using the reply button at the top of the page!

See you at #pointhorrorbookclub on 13th October 2015 !

And the winner was…

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I’m thinking of running a post of peoples favourite Point Horror Books or Point Horror Moments soon – so have a think about that over the next few months and we will see what we can come up with!

Also in other Point Horror news I have managed to get in touch with the lady who bought Point Horror to the UK!  I should have a fab guest post from her in November and then any questions fire them at me and she will be willing to answers these for our December post!

The next read will be announced on the #pointhorrorbookclub page here and on twitter using the hashtag #pointhorrorbookclub on the 17th September 2015!

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new, Point Horror guest posts and interviews with Point Horror authors please click here

Thanks for joining in….

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PHBC – Beach House by R L Stine

 


Beach-House

 

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Do you remember the Point Horror Book Series from the 90’s?  The Point Horror Series was a series of young adult point horror books and was launched in 1991 by Scholastic always with the Point Horror banner on the spine and on the top of every point horror book.  There were a number of authors that wrote these books for Scholastic: R L Stine, Diane Hoh, Caroline B Cooney, Sinclair Smith to name but a few.

Are the Point Horror books we loved as a teenager still our favourites on the re-read?  Are you new to Point Horror?  Has our opinion changed?  Are they still as good?  Do they stand up to modern day YA Horror?  Or are they a whole load of cray cray?

Lets find out…

#pointhorrorbookclub

 Join in the discussion with this months title!

Beach House by R L Stine

Beach-House

Don’t forget to use the #pointhorrorbookclub on twitter so I can see your thoughts or tweet me using @chelleytoy

 There is a link to a poll at the bottom of this post to vote for your next #pointhorrorbookclub read! The next book will be announced on 17th August 2015

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new, Point Horror guest posts and interviews with Point Horror authors please click here


** Please note that as this is a discussion there will be spoilers**


The Tagline

Don’t go near the water…

Okay ….so…What’s It All About?

All reet!

We get two Point Horrors with lots of characters for the price of one with the Beach House!  One half set in 1956 and one in present day with Mickey Mouse blankets in 1956, MTV blankets in the present day, swimsuits and burmuda shorts in 1956 and very tight blue spandex trunks and bikinis in present day..you get the picture!

Basically the gang in both 1956 and present day just want a relaxing holiday on the beach, but what they get is murdered!

Murdered?

Yes that’s right!  Well most of them anyway!  Some one is set on murdering the group of friends in 1956 and questionable goings on echoing the 1956 murders in the present day bear a spooky resemblance to the unsolved mystery!  Mind twirls!  And in both 1956 and present day there is a Beach House!

A Beach House?  Still standing after all those years are you crazy wouldn’t it rot?

Apparently it was one sturdy beach house hiding a secret which one member of the gang has discovered!

Spoiler alert – it may involve time travel oh an a huge closet ….basically this is the Narnia of Point Horror!!!!  Yes you heard me right Time Travel in Point Horror!  And with added chapter headings taking the tension to unbearable Point Horror status!

Chapter Headings?!  Your kidding right?!

Yes!  All this time travelling, murder spree beach holiday book was split into chapters with CHAPTER HEADINGS!  Woah I hear you say!  This can’t be true!  But yes!  CHAPTER HEADINGS ROCK! And maybe blew my tiny Point Horror mind a bit!  My personal favourite heading was WORRIED ABOUT SHARKS….not your average Point Horror you know!

The Gang

There were that many characters in this book I’m going to split them into different catergories this month…and lets face it the story was told from different point of views and they were all swapping partners like they thought they were on Love Island or something?!

So here goes….

The Girls

First up let’s talk about Maria with her straight black silky hair and dramatic brown eyes and her fun enthusiastic personality…basically she’s to blame for the whole Buddy turning all murderer by going on a date with Stuart tipping poor Buddy over the edge and then becoming shark food!  I actually thought she was TSTL (Too stupid to live) by falling for all of Buddy’s wobbly bottom lip but turning out to be the some what questionable twist in the end was a genuine surprise so she went up in my estimastion….she basically survived JAWS!!!

Amy “Mouse” with her tight blond curls, small boyish figure, grey blue eyes tiny button nose she resembled a mouse!  A very cute mouse!  I did actually kind of laugh when she was running from Buddy in fear #sorrynotsorry.  I feel she was thrust into the spotlight as Maria became shark food and was a little typical Point Horror girl I feel.

Ashley…the model…. and wannabe WAG… thin and beautiful with straight silvery blonde hair, high cheekbones, striking green eyes, perfect straight nose and delicate heart shaped lips!

*eye rolls*

Oh and wants a rich man!  aka future WAG!

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She literally would flirt with anyone….even the life guard…even Buddy!  Enough said!

Shout out to her swim suit which let Stiney get a cheeky reference to Madonna in!  *air punch*

The Boys

Ronnie was so tall and lanky he resembled a long lanky giraffe when he ran!  This is basically the only notes I made about Ronnie!  Uh Oh!  Was he that forgettable!  He was one of the main characters *mind goes blank*

Stuart ….Mr Rock and Roll.  Mr Real Cool Cat.  Mr I love Brylcreeme. The Joker.  Trying to look the tough guy but apparently he was too cute and funny!  Look where that got him!  Steeling Maria off Buddy got him clobbered of the head with a log and dead!  Our typical joker of a Point Horror character!

Ross “Matt Dillon” lookalike with straight black hair, heavy eyebrows, intense serious face and apony tail…he was a little bit possessive, but Ashley could calm him down with a kiss….I find this quite disturbing!  He got dumped and I laughed! #opppssiieess

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The Extras!

And not forgetting Mr Vanilla Ice on a bad day look alike himself…Kip with his diamond stud earring and rather protective over his ice cream!

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And of course auburn hair, enormous eyes, freckled Lucy!

Yep I forgot about them too!  #Gonetoosoon….they fell victim to the Point Horror extra discarded at the first chance Stiney had!  The poor children back in 1956 had no ice cream after poor Kip went missing and that’s just pure wrongness! *cries*  He’s a baad dude!

And classic point horror naming could not go a miss in this Beach House with Denny Drake (the animal!)….jumping out on poor Ashley at every opportunity and nicknamed Hulk!  He was a bit stalkerish!  I felt like he was jumping over from another Point Horror and just got muddled up in this story!  The Beast!  He beat up Ross…although I think he may have deserved it!

Oh I also want to mention the 1956 policeman, deep voiced, Officer Barrett, who with his short topped hair and blue eyes apparently looked like Tab Hunter (below)….do you think he conducted his investigations like this?

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BRAD.BUDDY.BUDDY.BRAD! 

Buddy in 1956, grey blue eyes who just popped up in the sand beside Maria one day, shy, aukward and clumsy….oh except when killing people!  Duh!  He wasn’t exactly a million laughs!  He basically seduced Maria to get in the sea with a towel….watch and learn peeps…watch and learn!  All this being said I really think he came out of his shell as the book went on…albeit normally when he was murdering people with a certain glint in his eyes but still!

All over a pair of stolen swimming shorts!  Was he worried the sea was too cold?! *winks*

Buddy was Brad in present day and basically the same so it was a bit guessable that he had something to do with the 1956 murders!  Oh and he wore blue spandex trunks that were very tight *my burning eyes* and t shirts that were too big for him (making up for the excuse of the coldness of the sea?  Proving a point? he he he).  Living in the posh mansion of Ocean Drive!

On a side note whenever Brad was Buddy I kept thinking of this song and film….

And whenever Buddy was Brad I kept thinking of this song….

HELP ME!

Fashion Faux Pas

There were lots of Hawaiian style swim trunks that people were running about in!

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Also reference to Orange Day Glo Baggies??!  Anyone?

And not forgetting those tight spandex shorts!  *wolf whistles*

Dialogue Disasters

“Buddy hates jokes like that”  “He’s so square he’s cubed”

I wouldn’t say that to Buddy if I were you…he will feed you to the sharks!

“When he tries to smile he looks like Howdy Doody”

Who?  Well I actually googled it!  Brace yourselves….

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“I can borrow my Dad’s Thunderbird tonight.  We can go to the drive in in style”

AWESOME!  5.4.3.2.1….Thunderbirds are go!

“You have a Thunderbird!  What colour?”

“Pink with grey leather seats and convertible!”

Yep…still would!

“All boys are immature”

Coughs!

“I’ve never seen his parents”

THIS IS POINT HORROR AMY!  POINT HORROR!  Amy has all the jokes!

“Where are Buddy’s parents?  Why haven’t they contacted the police”

Sighs!  Points to above!

“My mom isn’t here Buddy said quickly.  She had to go….somewhere”

I bet she did! “Somewhere” indeed”

“Here come your parents”

Last page joy *celebrates*

“I’ve always wanted a house with wings”

Awwww I hope Kip’s dream came true…where ever he ended up!

“What am I going to do?  She asked the moon What am I going to do?”

Awwww poor Amy never had Siri in 1956…poor thing!

“If it’s too loud your too old”

Rude Ashley!  Rude!

“My hair is soaked I must look like little Orphan Annie”  “No you don’t you look like Marilyn Monroe”

Buddy knows how to charm the ladies before he murders them!  Possibly Billy’s new chat up line?

“Elvis Presley?  That’s a stupid name isn’t it?  Is he any good”

I like Mr Stines jokes!  Although did people really say the phrase he’s really gone?!

“No-one likes to be laughed at”

These characters should have thought of this before laughing at Buddy / Brad!  Have they never read Point Horror!  Disgusting!

“He’s a crazy murderer”

It took Amy long enough to realise this!

Body Count

SO.MANY.DEAD.PEOPLE!

Yep this book knocked up a few of the old dead bodies!  There were people getting killed and disappearing all over the place in both 1956 and present day!  I definitely agree that Point Horror knocked up the body count as the books became more popular!

To sum up (and I hope I have this right!)

3 confirmed dead (Amy, Stuart…and eventually Buddy/Brad)

2 possibly dead not confirmed (Ronnie, Buddy / Brad)

2 missing (Lucy, Kip) – sent back to the past!

1 presumed dead, left to be eaten by the sharks, but became the shock twist ….oh and then presumably died (Maria / Mary)!

Like the Beach House at the end of the book – Mind blown!

Is it scary?

I actually thought the scene when Maria was in the sea and disorientated was actually quite scary!  And then Buddy coming for her with the knife!  I mean where did he keep the knife up until that point?!  He only has Bermuda shorts on! *winces*…..this could have led to a whoooollleeee other type of Point Horror story indeed!

Did the best friend do it?

Well not the best friend exactly no…but some one that both groups befriended on the beach!  I feel this is a warning to teenagers and their holiday romances!  Lol

Some Mild Peril?

Sea, Sharks, wooden logs, Buddy, a time travelling closet in a beach house, knives being pulled out of very tight shorts and lots of running, tennis and volleyball!  Lots of mild peril!  Lots!

Is it any good?

I actually really really enjoyed this one!  A few boom boxes aside it didn’t feel that dated and time travelling wardrobe / beach house aside also I liked the premise.

Yes there were a few plot holes (I want to know how Maria managed to get back to present day and ended up working as a servant!) and yes the 1956 part of the story needed more than a few TV and music references (Sh-Boom, Sh-Boom, Sh-Boom) to feel like the 50’s, but I actually really enjoyed this one.

I feel this was one of the better Point Horrors…I mean it was a plus Jenny from the Babysitter didn’t turn up to offer her services!

Final Thought

Classic Point Horror absent parents were evident in this book….although how dare they show up to comfort Ashley right on the very last page!  Rude!

Later, alligators!

Over to you!

As well as your thoughts on the book I’ve added some fun questions to ponder!

  • What happened to Denny Drake?
  • Was Ross the Chuck (from the babysitter) of this story?
  • If you has a time travelling Beach House where would you go?
  • How did Maria get to the present day?
  • Were those spandex shorts really too tight?!

You can leave a reply by using the reply button at the top of the page!

See you at #pointhorrorbookclub on 13th September 2015 !

Vote for the next #pointhorrorbookclub read here – what will you pick?

And the winner was….

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I’m thinking of running a post of peoples favourite Point Horror Books or Point Horror Moments soon – so have a think about that over the next few months and we will see what we can come up with!

Also in other Point Horror news I have managed to get in touch with the lady who bought Point Horror to the UK and possibly someone who had something to do with

The next read will be announced on the #pointhorrorbookclub page here and on twitter using the hashtag #pointhorrorbookclub on the 17th August 2015!

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new, Point Horror guest posts and interviews with Point Horror authors please click here

Thanks for joining in….

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PHBC – The Accident by Diane Hoh

 


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Do you remember the Point Horror Book Series from the 90’s?  The Point Horror Series was a series of young adult point horror books and was launched in 1991 by Scholastic always with the Point Horror banner on the spine and on the top of every point horror book.  There were a number of authors that wrote these books for Scholastic: R L Stine, Diane Hoh, Caroline B Cooney, Sinclair Smith to name but a few.

Are the Point Horror books we loved as a teenager still our favourites on the re-read?  Are you new to Point Horror?  Has our opinion changed?  Are they still as good?  Do they stand up to modern day YA Horror?  Or are they a whole load of cray cray?

Lets find out…

#pointhorrorbookclub

 Join in the discussion with this months title!

The Accident by Diane Hoh

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Don’t forget to use the #pointhorrorbookclub on twitter so I can see your thoughts or tweet me using @chelleytoy

 There is a link to a poll at the bottom of this post to vote for your next #pointhorrorbookclub read! The next book will be announced on 16th July 2015

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new, Point Horror guest posts and interviews with Point Horror authors please click here

Check the bottom of the post for the link to a fab Q&A with Point Horror Author A Bates or click here


** Please note that as this is a discussion there will be spoilers**


The Tagline

She has returned….from the dead!

Okay ….so…What’s It All About?

Oh the poor students of Philippa Moore Senior High School in Lakeside are suffering due to their school not being air conditioned!  Oh the horror!  So bunking off school is a must!  Whilst Megan is planning her sweet sixteenth party her friends have a terrible accident!

An Accident?

Yep!  A car loses control and three of Megan’s friends end up in hospital!  Whatever could have happened to them?!  And this is just the first of many strange terrifying accidents that occur!  And when Megan find drawings predicting who will be next in true Final Destination style it gets serious!

Drawings that show the next victim?!  Oh No!

Yep!  Not any old drawings either!  They were top notch sought after art….drawn in Crayola crayons don’t you know!  Drawings that have the meanings of names!  I present the evidence….a drawing with a cap and a pea = Cappie!  And a drawing of a hill = Hill!  And the crème de la crème of charade drawings a Bar and a Bee = Barbie!  Just genius really!  I’m just jealous!

*adds into my current wip!*

What kind of twisted mind would draw such a sick pictures about a tragic accidents?!

Oh maybe just the ghost that appears in Megan’s mirror and asks to swap bodies for a week!  Just a day in the life of good old kind hearted Megan!

Ghostly apparitions and body swaps!  Woah did Dove from The Perfume return?!

Dove from The Perfume would have had a field day with our ghosty in The Accident, Juliet.   After dying in a accident many years previously she appears in Megan’s mirror as they share the same birthday!  Poor old Juliet died before her sweet sixteen party and wants one last chance to live for a week so basically wants to use Megan’s body to do so!

WHAT?!  IS SHE CRAZY!  I bet Megan told her to go and visit the new Ghostbuster movie set instead of bothering her!

Ermmmm…nope….nope she didn’t….she kindly offers to help Juliet!

Dum dum dum!

The Girl

Oh Megan!  Megan with her hair as dark as crows wings , oval face and sea green eyes…..but remember she is shy and quiet so apparently this means she should have plain straight brown hair!

*looks in mirror at my plain, straight brown hair and ponders if I’m shy and quiet……..no comments!*

Always feeling sorry for people got her in a bit of bother when she felt sorry for a ghost in her mirror!  Yep that’s right…good old Megan felt that sorry for the cutey wooty little ghosty that she traded places with her for a week….with almost deadly circumstances!

I found Megan a little typical point horror girlish!  She winged quite a lot and said Oh No in that Point Horror Girl way.  And lets be honest she took being kind hearted a little to far really don’t you think?!

The Love Interest

Justin Carr!  Mr tall and thin like one of the reeds in the shallower coves of the lake.  With gorgeous sandy wavy hair and his grey eyes behind his wire-rimmed glasses!  With a kind heart and open mind….they don’t make these point horror love interests like they used to you know!  A not so typical point horror love interest as instead of the jock we have a kind of funny, geek who is actually quite adorable.  Just me?  I mean being THAT in tune with Megan to be able to communicate with her when she was a ghost was impressive *swoon*.  And personally on the audio book I listened to I thought he was lovely 🙂

He was born ready!

The Ghost!

Advert!

Are you exactly 15 years of age?!

Do you live near a lake?!

Are you open minded and have a kind heart?

Are you some with an imagination and belief that anything is possible?!

Then Juliet will appear in your mirror……poof!

What’s that wispy, shadowy plume appearing in that oval mirror!  It’s so purple and scary and…and….and…..oh it’s only Juliet!  Nothing to be scared of!  She’s only a ghost from the 1930’s come back for a bit of revenge!  Surely no one would fall for her butter wouldn’t melt routine!  Oh Wait!

I kind of liked Juliet’s passion and patience!  Imagine waiting all of those years for someone with the exact match to your advert to finally move into a house near the lake who just happens to be the granddaughter of the step sister who you hated and you drowned because of!  Phew that was mind baffling!  The perfect revenge!

PS….don’t quote me on this but I have an inkling that purple may just be Juliet’s favourite colour if you wanted to by her a dress…it suits her 😉

I also loved how Juliet wasted no time and got it on with Justin, who thought it was Megan and Megan had to watch….this sounds very dodgy indeed!

*Checks that this was a Point Horror I was reading*

The Gang

Drama loving Hillary Bench…..Silly Hilly!  With her thick, straight short blonde hair which was square around her ears in a shining cap she gave me a lot of chuckles (especially on the audio tape!).  I actually kind of liked her a lot…ESPECIALLY HER WARM MARSHMELLOW INSIDE!  Ghosty Juliet trys to push Silly Hilly off the balcony, but I think Silly Hilly must have the best reflexes!  She was wasted in Point Horror and needed in an action movie!

Lets not forget classic Point Horror named friends Jenny Winn, Barbie and Cappie Cabot!  Oh bless them ….they end up in hospital by the end of chapter one missing out on their breakthrough starring roles in a Point Horror Classic!  They had a nice yellow car though….well you can’t have everything can you!

Oh and poor poor short squat moustached, dead eyed Donny Richardson!  Rejected by all the girls in school, Silly Hilly calls him a dweeb, his parents are divorced so apparently his home life stunk and basically was blamed for every accident in the book when he was innocent!  They even accused him of having the personality of a hang nail (?)!  I felt kind of sorry for him….although I did find the perfect picture of him in his pink shirt trying to pull all the ladies 😉

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Also little mention has to go to sophisticated viper Vicki Deems, in her skin tight sexy red top and black spider eyes spotting men like spotting juicy flys….she’s try to hit on Justin!  The hussy!

Fashion Faux Pas

Megan did love her blue denim shoulder bag…a lot!  She took it everywhere!  Seriously it crops up all over The Accident…I was tempted to give it it’s own category!

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Dialogue Disasters

“Sitting in one of the classrooms was like being roasted over hot coals!”

Ouch!  Hot!

“People didn’t laugh at Justin.  People took him seriously”

Seriously?!  The audio tape casting got this description very wrong then…I laughed at him many a time!

“Megan marches to a different drummer”

Which drummer?

“All creative people have their head in the clouds.  Maybe she’ll write a great novel one day”

Yes maybe one day!

“I look like a melted daisy”

What does a melted daisy look like?!

“His alphabet might be missing some of its letters”

*chomps on an D and a Y – MMMM YUMMY!*

“The feeling of being watched slipped over her again, as chilling as a wet sweater”

*shivers*

“Mr Shattuck”

Just me who laughed at this…..yes okay I’m immature!

“Poof?  She would go poof?  And disappear?  Forever?”

You are not getting rid of Juliet that easy Megan – who you gonna call?  Surely they were around in the 90’s!

“You’re all over him like jelly on peanut butter”

Squishy!

“Little Miss Muffet in there pretended to be so sticky-sweet”

I thought little Miss Muffet ate curds and whey?

“Kind of like Cinderella” “Except that you won’t turn into a pumpkin.  You’ll turn into…nothing”

That Juliet could be so mean! *eats pumpkin pie*

“It’s fat white knobs poking her rudely in the back”

Sorry I couldn’t resist!  One of us was going to pick this up!  All the lol’s!

Body Count

Does Juliet count as a dead body?  Well she is dead I guess, but no dead bodies turn up throughout the book!  Although there were a few “accidents”! 🙂

Is it scary?

Hmmmmm not really scary!  But a lot of “accidents” happen to Megan’s friends and family including the normally elusive from Point Horror parents of Megan!  Poor old Connie nearly drowns and Megan’s Dad Thomas falls off a ladder!  And poor Tom, Megans little brother gets run over by a monster truck!

To be honest Juliet turning up in Megan’s mirror was quite comical rather than scary!

Did the best friend do it?

Nope!  It was the crazy ghost lady who you swapped bodies with Megan!  *wags finger*

Some Mild Peril?

I guess Megan’s mom nearly drowning and her brother being hit by a truck is defiantly mild peril!  And Silly Hilly falling off the balcony!  Wow!  Thinking about it Megan got off quite lightly really!?!

Is it any good?

I actually quite liked this….although I found Megan a little whiney at times I just thought the story flowed well and I can forgive some of it’s loop holes and un used characters and predictable end!

The Accident – The Audio Book!

So this month we picked The Accident to read along with listening to the audio book!

The links to some of the audio books on you tube is here

The link to The Accident audio book is here

Well what an experience it was indeed!  I have never laughed so much!

With added synthesizers for added effect which seemed to come on at really inappropriate times!  Highlights for me were the narrator saying “Spooky” and whoever voiced Megan….her “Oh No’s” and gasps had me laughing all the way to work when I had it on in the car.

I read the book first and then listened to the audio afterwards and I have to say I loved Justin far more on the audio that on the page!  He was kind of funny on the audio and had an adorable accident!

And the special sound effects like the car crash, the man going up the ladder and the lake were all added bonuses!

It was a little guilty pleasure!

What did you think?  What were you highlights of the audio book?

Final Thought

Huge shout out to the mall with the hair salon called Cut It Again and the ice cream shop called Lickety-Split where you could order half a gallon of Triple Trouble ice cream!!  #LifeGoals!

Over to you!

As well as your thoughts on the book I’ve added some fun questions to ponder!

  • Give me your best description of a drawing of a name ie A Cap and a Pea = Cappie!
  • What would your advert for ghostly body swaps be?
  • What do you think happened at Megan’s sweet sixteenth?
  • If you could swap bodies with some one for a week who would it be?
  • Give me your best shop name to go in The Accident shopping Mall!

Also Point Horror Book Club member Billy has done it again!  Summing up The Accident in emojis!  And it’s awesome!  Here it is!

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Don’t forget to check out the fab Q&A with Point Horror author A Bates….its so good!

Snapshot_20150702_1Check it out here !

You can leave a reply by using the reply button at the top of the page!

See you at #pointhorrorbookclub on 13th August 2015 !

Vote for the next #pointhorrorbookclub read here – what will you pick?

And the winners was….

Capture

I’m thinking of running a post of peoples favourite Point Horror Books or Point Horror Moments soon – so have a think about that over the next few months and we will see what we can come up with!

The next read will be announced on the #pointhorrorbookclub page here and on twitter using the hashtag #pointhorrorbookclub on the 16th July 2015!

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new, Point Horror guest posts and interviews with Point Horror authors please click here

Thanks for joining in….

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Tales Q&A with A Bates

 


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Do you remember the Point Horror Book Series from the 90’s?  The Point Horror Series was a series of young adult point horror books and was launched in 1991 by Scholastic always with the Point Horror banner on the spine and on the top of every point horror book.  There were a number of authors that wrote these books for Scholastic: R L Stine, Diane Hoh, Caroline B Cooney, Sinclair Smith to name but a few.

They were basically what I was reading and enjoying as a young adult and thanks to the author Juno Dawson, who started #PointHorrorBookClub on her website in 2013, I have started to re-read these books that I used to rush to the shops every weekend and buy and sit for the whole weekend reading.

Juno announced in January 2015 that she was no longer able to carry on #pointhorrorbookclub and with her blessing I am going to try and carry it on with version 2!  Juno has done a fantastic job – I hope I can keep up her good work *gulps*

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new please click here


The #pointhorrorbookclub have recently read the awesome The Dead Game by A Bates.

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I loved this book and it generated a fab Point Horror discussion and I have had the absolute honour of putting some questions to Auline!

For this task I recruited some awesome #pointhorrorbookclub members as well as myself with some burning questions for Auline!  Thanks for all of the brilliant questions!

Check out the #pointhorrorbookclub ‘s verdict on The Dead Game here

NB – as this is a discussion this will contain spoliers!

About A Bates

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Auline Bates, pen name A. Bates, is an American author, who has written the teen suspense novels Party Line, Final Exam, Mother’s Helper, The Dead Game and Krazy 4 U.

Bates’s early life was spent in Washington state, New Mexico, Idaho and California, with the family moving regularly to follow her father’s employment in the nuclear safety field. Eventually the family moved to Colorado.

While Bates won an essay writing contest in elementary school, and always enjoyed writing, she didn’t consider doing so for publication until encouraged by a college instructor. The Wall Street Journal references Final Exam in an article about “wildly popular spooky tales and murder mysteries tailored for teenagers” in an article entitled “Gnarlatious Novels: Lurid Thrillers for the Teen Set”. The Oregonian refers to Final Exam as one of four New paperback hit thrillers, and Westword gives a paragraph to her book signing for Party Line and Final Exam.

Bates resides in Colorado with her husband. She has three children.

I am so excited to have Auline (A Bates) talk to us today!

Here we talk about the Point Horror brand, experiences, writing and those whale earrings!

*breaks out buttery popcorn and settles in for the ride!*


Hi Auline.  Welcome to Tales Of Yesterday and to #pointhorrorbookclub!  Thank you so much for stopping by!  We are so excited and thrilled to have you here!

 Firstly, yay to Point Horror…we have read two of your contributions to Point Horror so far, Mothers Helper and The Dead Game!

Mothers Helper

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Becky can hardly believe her luck when she’s offered a job as mother’s helper on a holiday island. She can work on her tan and earn money at the same time! It’s the perfect holiday job, or so Becky thinks…

But then the accidents start to happen, and the frightening phone calls begin. Suddenly Becky’s island paradise seems more like a prison, and her dream job is turning into a nightmare. Mother’s helper is going to need all the help she can get.

The Dead Game

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Linnie, Ming and Jackson don’t like fakers, the people who cheat, lie and climb over others to get what they want. They make up a game to get back at them. The object is public humiliation, which the kids figure is appropriate retribution for cheaters. But the game goes wrong, almost as if it is playing itself. Or could someone else possibly have taken it over? When a student on their “hit” list dies, Linnie, Ming and Jackson know they have to do something to stop a game that is out of control. But how do you stop something when you can’t figure out the rules?

Michelle: How did writing for the Point Horror brand come about?

Sometimes people who have absolutely no clue what they’re doing wind up doing the right things by accident, and that’s kind of what happened with me and Point Horror. I sent Party Line to a newish editor and he asked if I’d be willing to rewrite it to suit Scholastic’s guidelines. I did, he bought the book, and we published the rest of my PH books together too. 

Michelle:  Did you create the titles or were they assigned to you by the Point Horror editorial team?

I was surprised that you thought to ask that because I had no idea publishers did assignments until Mother’s Helper was assigned to me, complete with title and the general idea of a teen au pair in an isolated situation where creepy things ensue. Other than that book, all titles and plots and characters are products of my own twisted imagination.

Mark:  Did you have any other ideas for the titles you were given?

I was happy with the title, Mother’s Helper. I thought it worked as a job description and also because Becky was helping Mrs. Nelson commit the kidnapping, though she didn’t know it, of course. All the other titles were mine. Some of them were really hard to think up, some just immediately seemed exactly right. For me, the title seems to gel in my mind about the same time the plot idea comes together, and once I start thinking of it by that title, I would hate having to change it!

Billy – What was the process of Point Horror publication like for you?  Caroline B Cooney, in another #pointhorrorbookclub Q&A by James Dawson (you can find that here) gave the impression that it was somewhat of a factory mentality, churning books out based on titles that would appeal to readers whereas Peter Lerangis seemed to have a free reign?

Publishers are always sensitive to the market! They will publish whatever they think will sell.

I think if I had been a churner, Scholastic would have happily supported that, but I just don’t write that way. I thought up ideas and wrote my stories and if they turned into a decent book, I sent them to my editor. We discussed what he liked and didn’t like, and then I changed what he didn’t like! 

But the churners won, you know. I had a fan letter from one kid who read RL Stine exclusively (I think he was forced to read my book for school) who flat told me if I couldn’t write like Stine, I shouldn’t be writing at all! Stine and Pike pretty much killed the whole teen suspense market by taking it over. They churned so fast and sold so well that there was no point in publishers or bookstores even bothering with the rest of us. Stine and Pike, and eventually just Stine, became the market! People got tired of them eventually but by then there was nothing else available because the other suspense writers had found something else to do. 

In contrast, by the way, JK Rowling made the fantasy market bloom. She wrote only the 7 widely spaced books and readers loved them so much it created a huge need for other fantasy stories, and that need got filled by lots of other writers while everyone waited for the next Rowling book. So instead of killing the market, she opened it wide for other writers. A much better way to do things!

This is a really fascinating and brilliant and honest answer to Billy’s question!

Michelle:  Did you have to work towards a specific word count for Point Horror?

I think I was probably supposed to, but nobody told me that! I used to write longhand in a spiral-bound notebook, college ruled. They were 70 pages, 140 counting both sides. I planned the story to fill a notebook and that’s how I chose the length. I rewrote as I put the story on the computer. My editor then slashed away happily until he was pleased with the word count.

Paul:  Which of your Point Horrors were you most pleased with?

You gotta love your first baby! Party Line taught me so much about the process of writing an entire book, about plotting and character, about the publishing industry, about working with an editor. When I got the phone call saying they wanted to buy that book it was such a thrill! Party Line was the book that sold me on being a writer.

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Of course, I loved something about each of the books or I wouldn’t have written them and it was so very cool to see each of them on the shelves in the bookstores!

Mark:  Did you utilise any pre-existing story outlines that you already had and rework them for Point Horror?

I don’t outline. English teachers the world over will scream when they see that, but I hate outlines for fiction. (They’re a different story for non-fiction!) I get an idea, and then a secondary image of some kind to play off the first one and I sit down and write until I run out of steam. Then I generate possibilities of what could happen next, and when the next direction grabs me, I write again until I lose momentum. And etc. The only time I even consider an outline is when the book is in the dreaded middle and could be going anywhere, including out of control. Then I might outline what I’ve done so far in order to figure out where I might go next.

So no, all the Point Horror books after Party Line were generated specifically for Point. I didn’t write only suspense to start out with, but when suspense became what I was successful at selling, then of course I concentrated on it!

Billy:  Did you have any interactions with any other Point Horror authors? With so many books being churned out how did you know as a writer that your stories were not heading down the same route as the other Point Horror contributions?

I’m pretty sure I’ve never met another Point Horror author. Surely we are a memorable lot so I think I would remember if I had. Editors are the first line of defense (oh my gosh, your q&a sheet has British spell-check! It just flagged the way I spelled defense, which is of course the proper spelling in the U.S.)

Okay, writers are a peculiar bunch when it comes to spelling and grammar and I got all excited about that! Sorry!

Back to the question, editors are the first line of defense against repeating ideas. They have editorial meetings and discuss that very thing—what’s selling, what’s being written, what they’re working on—and my editor would have steered me away from anything that was being done already. I didn’t have that issue with any of my books, happily! 

Paul:  Did you read any of your contemporaries’ Point Horror contributions? Did you have a favourite?

I had to be kind of careful about reading my contemporaries (my competition!) because I didn’t want them to affect my own work. My kids bought other Point Horror, though, and I really can’t help myself when there’s a book in front of my face; I read it. I thought most of them were pretty good, actually! But a favorite? I don’t remember any really standing out in my mind. I admired specific things rather than a specific book, like the way Caroline Cooney handled the atmosphere in The Fog, or a certain character description, or plot twist I didn’t see coming. There are a lot of good writers!

Michelle:  Can you give us three words that would describe the book The Dead Game!

Did you used to be an English teacher? Such a difficult assignment! It took me a whole book to describe The Dead Game! Okay, I’ll play—Payback for cheaters? Game goes wild? You die first? (I’m rotten at this!)

Michelle:  With regards to The Dead Game – Where did you get your inspiration?

In this case, my daughters took a trip with their band class to a somewhat distant competition and they played a (non-lethal) version of this game on their trip. It wasn’t easy to win and lasted pretty much the whole week they were gone. I loved it when I heard about it and knew I had to use it in a book. Who could resist? They even called it the dead game! 

Paul:  The Dead Game was almost unique among Point Horror in that it had three narrators, one of whom turned out to be the main antagonist. Did you intentionally set out to break the ‘rules’ of PH?

Me? Break rules? (Okay, I admit I’ve done that on occasion. On purpose. In fact, I think there were a few years in life when my entire purpose seemed to be the breaking of rules!) But I don’t think I broke any in The Dead Game. I jumped among 3 focal characters, but that’s done all the time. Having one of the characters turn out to be an unreliable narrator was a fun challenge for me, though. And intentional!

Mark:  In ‘The Dead Game’ there was an excellent red herring that saw all of the #PointHorrorBookClub convinced that Linnie’s sister would be revealed as the killer. It was written in so well that I have to ask whether she actually was ever set to be the killer? Or was Linnie’s always the killer from draft 1?

Thank you! It was always going to be one of the 3 people in the group, though I wrote most of the book before deciding on Linnie. I’m so glad you caught the red herring!

Michelle:  Have you ever played a game like The Dead Game?

It really sounds like fun, in its non-lethal form, but I never got the chance to play it. I had an icky party once, where I invited a bunch of people who didn’t like each other. I thought it would be fun to see them either fight and argue or try to get along, but really, it was just awful. That’s kind of like a dead game. I can’t recommend it!

Michelle:   I would have loved to have seen The Dead Game on the big screen! If you could cast your characters in a big Hollywood film adaptation who would you choose?

Tough question! Robert Pattinson from Twilight can do smarmy. He could play A & A the transfer twins.

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I always pictured Jackson as a hunky black guy, so maybe Michael B. Jordan? He looks athletic, but also sensitive.

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Ming? She’s tougher. I can’t think of too many Asian actresses. Lucy Liu when she was younger, maybe.

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I like Ophelia Lovibond from Elementary for Linnie. She can do the intense-wacko-but-sane look. 

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I think this is brilliant casting!

Michelle:  Can you give us three words that would describe the book Mothers Helper!

People who write entire books have a really hard time keeping things short! Remote island danger? Babysitter outsmarts kidnapper? Trust your instincts? Mrs. Nelson’s nuts?

Michelle:  Was Mothers Helpers cabin and remote island location based on anywhere in particular?

Yes. I was lucky enough to visit Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound, part of Washington State on the west coast. It was lovely and even though it was close to the mainland, we had to take a ferry to get there so it did feel isolated, especially overnight when no ferries were running. When I got the assignment for a remote and isolated place I immediately thought of Whidbey. And the whale-watching was wonderful.

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Upon searching for a picture of Puget Sound I found this picture!  It’s how I pictured Mrs Nelsons House!! (I got very excited about this! as you can tell!)

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Michelle: – With regards to Mothers Helper – Where did you get your inspiration?

This was the one book I was assigned, so there wasn’t so much inspiration involved. The basic idea was in place, at least the au pair and isolated place and danger. I had to do more actual plotting than I usually do (still no outline, though.) I immediately knew I had to have a ringing phone that couldn’t be easily answered. That’s a basic human need—to answer the *&$**# phone! Imagining Becky going slowly crazy over that helped focus her character, plus I had to figure out who was calling on the phone so that led to more plotting. This is the only book I’ve written that way, without the inspiration coming first.

Michelle: – Becky from Mother’s Helper was a refreshing strong female lead – was this important to you?

I have 3 daughters. Strong female leads are essential for me! Anyway, who wants to be in the mind of a wimpy girl for a whole book? My daughters are kick-ass (can I say that on your blog?) and my characters had to be someone they could look up to!

Billy:  We were all taken by the wonderful Whale Earrings that Becky from Mothers Helper  bought from the shop on the island.  Basically we all wanted them!  Do you own a pair?  We think these may have been a 90’s fashion?

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I read the comments on the blog about those earrings! It sounded like everyone hated them! I believe I mentioned them only once in the book, calling them graceful whale earrings. I had no idea they were a 90s fashion, loved or hated! I imagined them flat, silver, in the shape of leaping orcas. Tasteful, as they would have to be for Becky to buy them for her mother. After reading the comments on the blog about them I vowed never to mention the word earrings again—yet here I am doing it! (No, I didn’t have any. I don’t wear earrings. I’m a total wimp about getting holes pierced in my body. I would run screaming if they came at me with that piercing gun! I may be the only person in the world with no piercings at all. None.)

Michelle:   Again I would love to have seen Mothers Helper on the big screen! If you could cast your characters in a big Hollywood film adaptation who would you choose?

I think Emma Watson would be a good Becky. She can do intelligent and strong while still passing for the girl next door.

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Bitsy Tulloch (from The Artist) could pull off Mrs. Nelson as she has that slightly I-could-be-crazy thing going for her.

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Cleve…maybe Brenton Thwaites? He’s a bit sassy, not too tame and would look good on a boat. Or anywhere.

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Oh yes!  Again super fab choices Auline!

Paul:  How has your YA audience changed over the years? Do you think teen readers are more savvy now than in the early 90s Point Horror heyday?

Every year teens get smarter and more savvy! But there are teen themes that are eternal—fitting in, wanting money and love, temptation (typically cheating, sex and drugs,) morality—those issues were the same basic issues your grandparents faced and so will your grandchildren. The audience is still human and still teens, but I think the main differences are people read less now because they have so much entertainment available, and today’s teens were raised on fantasy instead of suspense.

Mark:  Why do you think the PH was so popular? And why do you think they’re still read today?

Suspense is the backbone of any good fiction read! People want to know what happened, why it happened, and who did it. A good story raises at least one of those questions right away and being nosy, we keep reading to find the answer. Suspense is just plain exciting.

Mark:  PH books were aimed at a teen market and themes such as racism, sexuality and divorce can be found in their pages. Were there any themes you felt were important to cover with your writing? For example, the inclusion of the character of Ming in ‘The Dead Game’. Not only an Asian character, but also a child whose parents are notably absent.

I wasn’t necessarily trying to include themes because I thought they were important, but I wanted my characters and their situations to be real (well, real fiction) and that was the reality I saw among my children’s groups of friends. Scholastic was very strict with me, though. I couldn’t kill anybody off till later books, no sex at all. So I had to get my reality in somehow!

Mark:  Which of your characters is most like you? Did you base any of your characters on people you knew?

I’d bet all writers base their characters on people they have known, with a healthy dose of imagination thrown in. The fun part is I can improve on the people I know. I can make them funnier, I can make embarrassing things happen to them, I can mix and match characteristics as I see fit. (My husband says I am most like Becky because I took care of my younger siblings, as Becky did, and I am strong, and sneaky when I need to be.)

Mark:  Would you ever return to writing PH? What title would you choose?

Billy:   I’d love to know what you’re up to now and where Point Horror has taken your  career?  Do you still write horror?   Is it a favourite genre of yours?

Michelle:  Could you tell us a little about some of your other books?

I’m answering Mark, Billy and Michelle all in one as the questions are linked. I never thought of myself as a horror writer. I write suspense, and yes, I do still write it. I would consider going back to a publisher, but right now all my books are available on my website, aulinebates.com  (books about things that are just a little bit strange.) I still write mostly for younger readers but I have some books for adults as well. 

While I have plenty of “normal” stories, I love writing tales that are just a bit odd but that don’t quite fall into the category of fantasy. So perhaps a ghost, or a theme that questions time, or something else that’s just a bit outside of what we usually think is real. I believe life is more complicated and more mysterious than we realize so I have fun writing stories like that too.

In Mr. Jones’s Bones a young boy wants to build a radio so he can talk to his mom in heaven.

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Actually, I’d just recommend going to the site. I explain a little about each book there.

Michelle:  Growing up who inspired you into writing?  Are there any Authors or books that inspired you?

It’s embarrassing to admit but growing up I didn’t realize actual people wrote books! I thought books just existed, like everything else in the world just existed. Libraries just sprang into existence, complete with shelves and books and librarians. And I loved books from the moment I heard my first story. I somehow learned to read before I started school and once I could read, I read everything.

I also loved to write. I think it’s fun, but it wasn’t until one of my college professors told me I should try to get published that it occurred to me I could actually do that. So I started trying. I sold the 3rd book I wrote so it wasn’t as easy as it might sound!

Michelle:  What do you think makes a good story?

Characters you like spending time with, at least a good measure of suspense about something, and an ending that is both surprising and satisfying. That’s the basic answer. I like to be emotionally involved with the characters, too, and if it’s appropriate, I like a bit of romance. And it’s fun to learn something new in a book.

Michelle:  How do you think your Point Horror contributions have stood the test of time compared to your writing now?

I’m a better writer now than I was then, which is appropriate! A writer should get better with practice. For my website I was tempted to rewrite my PH books completely because I know I could do a better job (and I wouldn’t have to write to Scholastic’s rules) but my daughters convinced me that the books have a right to exist as they are. So I just cleaned them up a little. In a couple of places I undid some of the edits that I wasn’t happy with and put the books back as they were originally written, but mostly I just smoothed them out so they read better without changing the story.

My newer books have more divergent themes, as I mentioned, and can be a bit more daring sometimes. And I think they’re better, overall, because I’ve improved my skills over the years and because I’m writing to please my own imagined readers, not to satisfy an editor.

But I will always be grateful to Point Horror for giving me my start! I had tons of fun writing those books and reading them to my daughters as I composed them. They turned into great critics and have been very helpful over the years! One thing they loved was when I asked them to name or describe a character and I used that in a book. And I still get feedback from people saying they loved the PH books, so I guess they’ve stood the test of time!

Michelle:  Are there any authors you would like to collaborate with?  Who?

Oh boy. The process of collaboration is very complicated and I don’t always share as well as I ought! I have a particular vision when telling a story and it would take just the right combinations of minds to clash, spark and blend. I don’t think I’ve met that mind! 

What I do enjoy doing is editing other writers’ work, at least if I have a truly free hand at the editing. I slice and dice and insult and cheer and suggest directions—and that’s fun. I had a free hand at editing Saragossa, the Vampire Legacy by Maurice Tuck.

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I think the result is a fantastic story and that was, in a way, a collaboration with Mr. Tuck. However, he did all the real stuff. I just kept kicking him to make it better and better until I think it’s excellent. Google Saragossa and link from there to Amazon.com if you’re interested in the best vampire lore I’ve ever read! Or if you like gay vampires, or if you just want to read an exciting tale that includes vampire history clear back practically to the beginning of time. Warning—not a Twilight type of story! And not Anne Rice, either! In my opinion, far better!

Michelle:   Over on Tales Of Yesterday I have recently been asking YA authors if music has any influence to their writing and/or characters.  Is there a particular song that influenced your Point Horror contributions and/or its characters and if so how or why?

If I can get real crazy, I’d have to say “The Monster Mash,” the old song “Laurie” by Dickie Lee, and “I Want My Baby Back” by Jimmy Cross—all very old songs that are a little spooky or a bit creepy, and which encouraged my tendency to like creepy or spooky stories. I mean, come on! The last part of “I Want My Baby Back” is sung from inside the coffin. Is that fantastic or what? Who wouldn’t be inspired by that?

As far as listening to songs while I write, I can’t because I ignore the writing and start singing. So I don’t use music to inspire me in that way. But try YouTube for those 3 oldies. I’ll bet, once you quit laughing, you’ll have a few creepy book ideas yourself!

Which of your Point Horror books shall we read next?

If you’re limiting your choices to official Point Horror books, you’ve got Krazy 4 U, Final Exam and Party Line left, all of which are available, digital only, in smoothed-out form on the site. (I must admit I did make a more major change in Party Line than in the others, but you might not notice it because it’s a subtle improvement!)

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If you’re not limiting your choices to official PH books, I have 4 more teen suspense books available that I wrote for PH while I was waiting for the suspense market to get over its RL Stine churning out phase. (Which it didn’t do, really.) So the time frame and the technology in the books are still older, like the original PH, but I was able to concentrate more on character development and depth than Scholastic liked to see in PH. A little bit of sex and drugs can also be found in the not-published-by-PH books. 

So many choices!

Thank you so much Auline for taking the time to answer these questions and feature on Tales Of Yesterday and #pointhorrorbookclub.  We all loved your contributions to Point Horror and wish there were more!  It really is an honour and I look forward to reading more of your books!

You can find out more about Auline Bates and her other books at here or follow her on twitter here

So there you have it #pointhorrorbookclub!  Auline answered everything we asked!  I think it was nice to read another slightly different side to the story of Point Horror and how they came to be.  Auline seemed to have a mix of free reign and structure with her Point Horror experience which is fascinating! Nice to see that the publishing team came up with some of the titles again…this seems to be the common ground of creating Point Horror!  I also love Auline’s honesty about the brand of Point Horror.

What did you all think?


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Why not join in Point Horror Book Club and the discussion on the 13th of every month?

Don’t forget to use the #pointhorrorbookclub on twitter so I can see your thoughts or tweet me using @chelleytoy

Are the Point Horror books we loved as a teenager still our favourites on the re-read?  Are you new to Point Horror?  Has our opinion changed?  Are they still as good?  Do they stand up to modern day YA Horror?  Or are the a whole load of cray cray?

You can find links to all #PointHorrorBookClub posts old and new here

Another huge huge thank you to Auline for featuring on Tales and a huge round of applause for such a fab answers!  And thank you Point Horror Book Club members yet again for fab questions!

*claps hands excitedly*

Do you remember Point Horror?  Which was your favourite?  Would you like to join in on #pointhorrorbookclub ?

Happy Point Horror-ing!

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PHBC – Teachers Pet by Richie Tankersley Cusick


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Do you remember the Point Horror Book Series from the 90’s?  The Point Horror Series was a series of young adult point horror books and was launched in 1991 by Scholastic always with the Point Horror banner on the spine and on the top of every point horror book.  There were a number of authors that wrote these books for Scholastic: R L Stine, Diane Hoh, Caroline B Cooney, Sinclair Smith to name but a few.

Are the Point Horror books we loved as a teenager still our favourites on the re-read?  Are you new to Point Horror?  Has our opinion changed?  Are they still as good?  Do they stand up to modern day YA Horror?  Or are they a whole load of cray cray?

Lets find out…

#pointhorrorbookclub

 Join in the discussion with this months title!

Teachers Pet by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Teachers-PetDon’t forget to use the #pointhorrorbookclub on twitter so I can see your thoughts or tweet me using @chelleytoy

 There is a link to a poll at the bottom of this post to vote for your next #pointhorrorbookclub read! The next book will be announced on 17th June 2015

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new, Point Horror guest posts and interviews with Point Horror authors please click here

Check the bottom of the post for information about a fab upcoming Point Horror Q&A!  Get your questions in!


** Please note that as this is a discussion there will be spoilers**


The Tagline

Look what the cat dragged in….

Okay ….so…What’s It All About?

 Kate Rawlins loves to be scared and wants to write a book someday that will really terrify people! She has bagged herself a writers conference trip with her teacher, Miss Bunceton after winning an annual fiction competiton to a remote writer retreat in a camp in the woods.  With the possibility of meeting one of her favourite authors, William Drewe she is very excited!  Assigned to cabin thirteen some crazy things begin to happen!

Crazy Things?  Oh No!

Yep!  Kate discovers a severed hand!  Or was it a glove?  And then when skinny dipping someone pinches and slashes all her clothes!  Her cabin is broken into and she thinks someone is following her in the creepy woods!

Following her in the woods?  Who’s there to protect her?

She befriends a lovely boy called Denzil and a girl called Tawney, but also falls in love with Gideon who’s best friend is Pearce who Kate ends up kissing too and it’s like Point Horror has taken a trip to Love Island!

Awwwww this sounds like a nice Point Horror!

Did I mention that something gets killed in Kate’s bath? No!?  Opppsssiiieeesss!

The Girl

Oh Kate!  Green eyed Kate who loves to be scared, but put a garbage bag or severed hand in front of her and she will do a full on Psycho horror scream!  Also don’t EVER walk behind her in the woods or basically anywhere as she will freak out over every little sound she hears especially if the sound comes from the bushes!  But please remember she is a budding horror writer so is never scared of anything! 🙂

She does talk to herself a lot and does get a teeny weeny bit obsessed with the old glove, but she was a reasonable Point Horror girl I would say!

I loved how when she suspects Denzil of all the goings on and accuses him many times she runs to him when shes scared!  Yep that’s right Point Horror lady….run to the person you think is the killer and scaring you to death!  Personally I think I would have run to Denzil too….I kinda loved him!

The Love Interest

Oh wow!  Where to start!  In the space of 200ish pages our Point Horror girl snogs all three love interests and basically all three males in the story giving a whole new meaning to the words Point Horror! From Gideon to Pearce, back to Gideon, a bit of a flirt with Pearce and then to Denzil!  The hussy!  A few times I thought I had picked up one of those Point Romances that were out the same time as the Point Horrors – does anyone else remember these? *fans self*

Okay so the main love interest is a violet eyed character called Gideon Drewe, missing William Drewe’s brother, who steps in to cover Williams lectures at the writers retreat and if I’m honest was a little creepy with obsession about fear!  He was an okay love interest I guess….meh!

The Gang

Before I start on the gang…I loved how we have classic Point Horror Style names in this book!  Teachers Pet did not disappoint on this!  Oh how I chuckled and chuckled!  I think the names alone made this book for me!

So as above we have Gideon Drewe…love it!.  Then we have Pearce Cronan…Love it more!  Then a girl called Tawney…more about her below but YES!  Then a black cat called Pet….Just !!!! But best of all, and I think this maybe my favourite EVER Point Horror name…..Denzil Doyle!  I think I have died and gone to Point Horror character name heaven! 🙂

Chauffer / Caretaker / tall dark Zombie type Pearce Cronan with his midnight black eyes was very mysterious and sometimes I liked him sometimes I was like eh?  I loved how he was the reveal dressing up and becoming Gideon and William’s sister Rowena showing he can be a serious writer too by rhyming every sentence but in a creepy way!  I kept imagining Rowena breaking out in a bit of a Taylor Swift song “I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream”!

Cowboy wannabe Denzil Doyle with his super cool cowboy hat and owlish grey spectacled eyes who knows how to woo the ladies by pinching them!  He did go a little to far though by trying to find the pocket watch in Kate’s clothes whilst she was wearing them!  I think I may have been a bit jealous!

Tawney….oh bless her long frosted hair…she was so adorable, clumsy and funny and never got any jokes!  Yes she made me laugh on numerous occasions from her poetry, her friendship with Denzil and best of all setting the kitchen on fire with her muffins and losing a contact lens in the ice cream!  She was just so scatty that I loved her and her spirit so much and her poems!  She made me laugh with her random screaming scaring everyone to death and it was just because she was scared!

Tawney reminded me of this character out of mean girls….

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And of course we cannot move on without mentioning budding romance author and lover of all things poison ivy Miss Bunceton!  She gets a bit of a bad time at the retreat and what seems to be over her weight.  She seemed to be the teacher who was trying to be all hip and cool especially saying the old “what happens at camp stays at camp to Kate”….cringe 🙂

Also special nod to the camp cat, Pet!  Clothes thief by day, with a passion for blood at night…well we were told she would eat anything and has no pride at all!

Fashion Faux Pas

I didn’t notice many – did you?

Maybe Gideon and his jeans and bulky knit sweater the exact colour of his violet eyes?!

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Dialogue Disasters

Again not really disasters but more lines that made me chuckle a little….

“Oh, you young people and your obsession with horror!”

Miss Bunceton is looking at all of us #pointhorrorbookclub !

“You’ve been reading too many horror stories”

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“Denzil Doyle.  Seriously.  Would I make up a name like that?”

I’m going all Billy here with his love of Point Horror girl Jenny, but I LOVE YOU DENZIL!

“Is a brick a brick?”

Denzil I have just confessed my love for you and you say something like that!

“I’ll be moseyin’ along.  Sleep tight, don’t let the fleas bite, or whatever the hell these little critters are out here”

That’s my man!

“It’s my imagination.  It’s a curse!”

This is Kate’s excuse for hearing everything in the bushes!

“Gideon Drewe.  Don’t you just love his name!”

Nope Tawney!  Chelley hearts Denzil!  4EVER!

“Kate was beginning to feel like one giant goosebump”

Don’t we all Kate!  Don’t we all!

“Oh isn’t this just our luck!” “Some bear hauled off our clothes and ate them”

Nope Tawney…your clothes were fine…Poor Kate!  The bear must have had a passion for watching people skinny dip!

Or maybe theres another explanation for the missing clothes like…

“Maybe Pet got hold of it!  Maybe she hid the rest somewhere!”

*blank face* Pet is the cat!

“Hey look!  Theres Igor!”

Classic line from Denzil!  My love grows stronger!

“See you later pardner”

*swoons* And stronger!

“Her brain felt like wet sand”

We all have those days right?

“I’m plumb starved – I could eat a horse”

What?

“Don’t go sidewinder on me.  Back!  Back!”

Eh?

“Maybe he had to go to the bathroom” “That always makes me want to hurry”

Bless Tawney!

“You’ll have – to – pull hard”

Okay….let’s not go there!”

“Oh I thought he was a recluse.  Like a lot of writers are”

Ouch Cusick!  Ouch!

“I’m sticking to you like needles on a cactus”

Lol! Prickly!

“I believe he refers to them as the Horror Groupies”

*group hug everyone*

Body Count

Teachers Pet provides us with zero live action dead bodies in the book, but the prologue opens up with the hint that William has snuffed it and his body parts turning up all over the camp!  Ewwwwwww

We also get a back story about the death of Gideon, William and Pearce’s parents and also another student ex lover of Gideon, Merriam’s death.

So lots of back story but unfortunately all of our characters in Teachers Pet lived!

Is it scary?

Not scary scary…..more point horror scary.  The most scary scene for me was the whole ransacked cabin / lets kill something in Kate’s bath tub (although later on she has a shower in there….WHY?).

Did the best friend do it?

Huzzah!  Nope the best friend of Kate was not the culprit, but the best friend of Gideon was the baddie!  So yeah, in a kind of way it was the best friend!  Classic point horror styley!

Some Mild Peril?

There’s a lot of running through the woods that goes on in this book, plus your usual shadowy unknown person wielding an axe and “ghostly apparitions” which would class as mild peril!  Also Pearce and the whole setting a lethal hunting trap for Kate and then standing in it himself (no YOU laughed at this!) was genuine mild peril!

And not to mention someone running off with Kate and Tawney’s clothes whilst they were skinny dipping and slashing them to smithereens!  A little disturbing!

Oh and killing something in Kate’s bathtub!  Gross!

Is it any good?

Reading these books as a teen my favourite ones were always the Richie Tankersley Cusick books, but as we have found now we are a little older we have….lets say struggled with her Point Horror efforts.  For me this was third time lucky and I am glad we gave her another chance.  I actually liked this Point Horror.  It had a very Friday the 13th / Psycho vibe and I actually did like the whole twist on the reveal and basically that Pearce was a little do lally tap with a split personality!

For me the book had a few makings of those classic style horrors including remote cabins, bonfire parties, skinny dipping, plenty of “I’ll be right backs”, people holding axes, comedy and scary moments.

Special shout out to the Horror Hunt!  Let’s set one of these up!  They sound awesome!

Final Thought

Why didn’t health and safety shut down the camp?!  There were fires, deaths, missing people, contact lenses in food!  Enough said!

Over to you!

As well as your thoughts on the book I’ve added some fun questions to ponder!

  • Lets hear your best Rowena scary rhyme!
  • Give me your best Point Horror charter name?
  • Has any one ever been to a camp like this?
  • Has this given us faith in RTC’s books again?
  • What happened to Pet at the end of the book?

Just wanted to add this fab emoji tweet that #PointHorrorBookClub member Billy tweeted!  It made me LOL so hard!

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You can leave a reply by using the reply button at the top of the page!

See you at #pointhorrorbookclub on 13th July 2015 !

I also have some exciting news for you all!  Following the brilliant Q&A with Peter Lerangis last month (find it on the Point Horror Page here) I have managed to get a Q&A with author for The Dead Game and Mothers Helper – A Bates!  Do you have any questions for her you would like me to ask?  Leave these in the comments and I will add them to mine 🙂

All being well the Q&A with A Bates will go live with next months Point Horror Discussion!

Vote for the next #pointhorrorbookclub read here – what will you pick?

And the winner is….

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The Accident by Diane Hoh!

I thought we could do things with a bit of a twist for next month…read the point horror book then listen to the audio book too!

The links to some of the audio books on you tube is here

The link to The Accident audio book is here

The next read will be announced on the #pointhorrorbookclub page here and on twitter using the hashtag #pointhorrorbookclub on the 17th June 2015!

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new, Point Horror guest posts and interviews with Point Horror authors please click here

Thanks for joining in….

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PHBC – The Dead Game by A Bates


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Do you remember the Point Horror Book Series from the 90’s?  The Point Horror Series was a series of young adult point horror books and was launched in 1991 by Scholastic always with the Point Horror banner on the spine and on the top of every point horror book.  There were a number of authors that wrote these books for Scholastic: R L Stine, Diane Hoh, Caroline B Cooney, Sinclair Smith to name but a few.

Are the Point Horror books we loved as a teenager still our favourites on the re-read?  Are you new to Point Horror?  Has our opinion changed?  Are they still as good?  Do they stand up to modern day YA Horror?  Or are they a whole load of cray cray?

Lets find out…

#pointhorrorbookclub

 Join in the discussion with this months title!

The Dead Game by A Bates

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Don’t forget to use the #pointhorrorbookclub on twitter so I can see your thoughts or tweet me using @chelleytoy

 There is a link to a poll at the bottom of this post to vote for your next #pointhorrorbookclub read! The next book will be announced on 16th May 2015 🙂

For links to #pointhorrorbookclub posts old and new please click here

Please do check out the fab Q&A with Point Horror legend Peter Lerangis here


** Please note that as this is a discussion there will be spoilers**


The Tagline

Someone is playing for keeps!

Okay ….so…What’s It All About?

A group of kids, Linnie, Ming and Jackson who appear to all want to be top dog at everything decide to “have a bit of fun” and play a game to teach all the people who are doing better than them a lesson and it’s called….The Dead Game!

Woah!  The Dead Game!  That sounds cool for Point Horror! What are the rules?

It’s simple – all you have to do is embarrass your chosen public enemy number one!  The liars, the cheats, the bullies!  Sound fun?

It started as one simple target…an idea to pinch a letter jacket and leave it on a grave stone and go all Blair Witch a few years before it’s time…..but when that doesn’t really work out a list of targets is set and the rules are put in place…….

Pick a name from a hat

You have approximately two weeks to do your hit

If you can’t do it within a reasonable amount of time, put the name back and let someone else try

A successful kill is a public humiliation

The more appropriate the humiliation, the more humiliating ad the more public, the better the kill

Work alone.  No telling whose name you have.  No help from the group, no telling the game to anyone else.  You can get help from others outside the group, but only if you do it without letting anything slip about the game, the purpose, or the group

After everyone’s been hit, we’ll vote on the best kill and treat the winner to something

But then things start going horribly wrong!

Horribly wrong?!  Oh No!

Oh Yes!  Their first “hit” is a disaster and someone ends up in hospital.  Their second shown up to be a womaniser and the third…..death by steep stairs and sprinklers!

But when the group decide to stop playing someone carries on playing The Dead Game and targeting all their hits!  Who could it be?!

Dum Dum DUUUUUUMMMMMM!

The Girl

In this instance I am going to class the girl as Linnie….she is after all the one who tells most of the story even though we do get alternative perspectives from the rest of the gang too.

Oh Linnie, Linnie , Linnie…..with her love for all things napkins…..wiping her sausage fingers on them, wadding them and shredding them and eventually later on in the book moving on to tearing at grass….and being creative making an urn in pottery class and feeling rather satisfied what are we going to do with you!

I actually quite liked Linnie….I know I know….but without her we wouldn’t have had a story as she came up with the game…and she wasn’t a typical point horror girl crying and scared all the time *coughs at Jenny from the babysitter*…..she was ….interesting…….

Don’t forget Linnie still has that ribbon from when she won second place…..yep SECOND place…..was it this that tipped her over the edge?!

And it’s all her Sisters fault!

The Love Interest

There’s not so much as a love interest in this Point Horror offering….which was quite refreshing….Linnie was left to her own devices!  Yay!  …..oh wait!

The Gang

The only hint of romance in this book was the constant hints that Jackson liked Ming (Yes Ming!) and Ming maybe liked Jackson, but nothing really developed for a change as they both thought they were not good enough for each other….makes a change from some other Point Horror books…..I’m looking at you Nightmare Hall Silent Scream where everyone was with …well everyone!

Anyway, back to the gang…….

The Dead Games offered us pep talking, sober eyed, frail and tiny Ming with a love for graphs and data!  She really got on my nerves in the first part of the book whining about how she’s third in the class and not the best!  But I have to admit I grew to like Ming!  Especially at the end of the book when she goes all Kill Bill styley jumping of a rock on her unsuspecting victim!

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Oh and don’t forget she is always there to offer Tylenol (?) and tissues!  I grew to love Ming in the end after a rocky start…I loved her over reaction of when one of her hits, Rafe, is in hospital when she convinces herself that she will have to attend nursing school and feed him and look after him for the rest of her life and her little references to X and O’s (kisses and hugs)….oh bless her!

Then there was Jackson and of course he is into sports (there’s always one jock or sporty type in a Point Horror)….the human garbage disposal who walked with an aggressive gait of a defensive back on the football team!  What was with all the girls bringing him food?!  He literally did not stop eating the whole way through the book….well that’s until the dead body of his “hit” turns up!  Oh but how I laughed when Brenda asked him to the party and he said he couldn’t as he was washing his hair!  A classic knock back!  I think I may love him!

Talking about the gang!  What’s with the deciding to go to the police, but then making every excuse in the book not too including dentist appointments late at night and typing letters for Daddy oh and having dinner (guess who that was!)……

The “Hit” List

Yep the list of “hits” listed by Linnie, Ming and Jackson were a mixed brilliant bunch!

Austin and Alder….the little so called cheats!  These are the two that are top of every class and making Mings blood boil!  They are popular, good looking, have huge egos, successful images and rich!  But a pinched lettered jacket and a copy of an exam being found in their possession won’t stop them….they are super Point Horror beings!  I have to admit that I did a little laugh when it took the gang the whole book to figure out the Austin and Alder would have the same letter on their jacket! *face palm gang….face palm*

You had milk loving Rafe!  The boy who abandoded the football team so his comeuppance was to slip on some spicy Barbeque Beef in a bun and end up in a coma due to being trampled on whilst in said spicy Barbeque Beef in a bun sludge…….what a waste….of yummy food!  Nom Nom Nom

Then there’s John “Baby Baby Baby” Stanley the biggest sleaze in the school who because of his catchphrases I kept imaging as Justin Beiber…….I KNOW!  I FEEL ASHAMED!  I really wanted to discover that author Bates had actually foreseen or even wrote that Justin Beiber song and projected it around the school over the intercom instead of Stanley’s ideas for chat up lines!  *shivers*

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And don’t tell me you didn’t practise his confidentially-speaking-doesn’t-my-deodorant-smell-good-pose Billy….I know you!

Lets not forget fuzzy haired Brenda who knows how to work her way at getting an A in studio aka pottery class….throw a tantrum and smash that pot!  Demi Moore would be ashamed!  In fact I thought that maybe the Ghost of Sam pushed her down the stairs towards the sprinklers as punishment for a minute (If you have never seen Ghost I understand if this sounded like gobbledygook!).

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She was “hit” with sketches of her shoplifting (SKETCHES?! WHY NOT PICTURES?!).  I think she hands down wins the best kill in The Dead Game *claps hands*….to soon?

Ps – I imagined Brenda like this……don’t judge me….they said she looked like a doll dead at the bottom of the stairs!

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Let’s not forget Julie and Karl (who?) – taken down my the school magazine…Vine…having an affair now poor old Rafe smelt of Barbeque Beef!

Then there was John and Price……erm……

Fashion Faux Pas

I cannot believe I have read another Point Horror and found no Fashion Faux Pas!!!  WHAT IS THIS HORROR!!!!!  Not a whale earing in sight aka Mothers Helper by A Bates!

Did anyone else find any?

Dialogue Disasters

“Ax them, ice them, knock them off…..bump them off.  Chop….Death.  I’m completely serious.  It’s the perfect solution!”

Linnie had the right idea from the start and gave us alllll the clues!  *runs away scared*

“After all these years you have known me you actually think I could turn into a murderer?  You know I don’t like blood.  It’s messy”

Yep….lets all listen to sweet old Linnie!

“He’d taken her directly to the place everybody called Beer Can Hill”

*sniggers*…I don’t know where this place is but I’m intrigued!

“I’d practise karate on trees, I’d wrestle anybody who’d come close enough to challenge….what a little terror I was”

I will give you three guesses who said this!  Nope not our usual suspect…..it was Ming!  Shocking!

“It’s kind of fun being an airhead”

Ouch Ming!  Ouch!

“If he dies, I’m a killer.  That’s a whole lot worse than losing Scholarships and being number three!”

*Ding Ding* Light bulb moment for Ming!

“You can’t get chocolate milk out of a bathroom faucet!”

Erm….why not?!

“Her right arm flopped like a dead fish….a screaming dead fish”

WHA…..?

“This is high school.  People don’t murder each other in high school”

Well dur……this is Point Horror!  BEST.LINE.EVER!

And to finish….

“She wasn’t evil. She was just Linnie!”

Oh Ming!

Body Count

We get one dead Point Horror body in this book……I think it may have been for the Point Horror good though don’t you think?  I mean she was horrible!

Is it scary?

Not really scary…more mystery!

Did the best friend do it?

Well it depends who’s point of view you look at it from?  In a kind of way yes!

Is this the first Point Horror where the person telling the story end up being the reveal?

Mind = Blown….again!

Saying that I did ponder if the reveal would be Linnie about half way through….but then I thought…nooooo it can’t be! *gulps*

Some Mild Peril?

Not really any mild peril in this book either…..ohhhh a psychological Point Horror maybe?!

Is it any good?

I actually really liked this one!  Yep I really did!  I liked the whole game idea….very John Tucker Must Die-ish with a hint of mystery thrown in…who is making the hits worse than planned?  Who carried on the game?  I’m not sure what you all thought at this stage but this book did grab me and I feel it could have actually been a decent standalone novel in 2015!  Just me?

IT HAD A CD PLAYER FEATURE AND NOT A TAPE RECORDER!!!

AND THE CD PLAYER COULD MIX SONGS FROM ALL 5 CDS!!!

I rest my case 🙂

It was better than Mothers Helper by the same author which we read before 🙂

Final Thought

Re-read the description above of Jackson and Ming!  How on earth did Linnie manage to pull Jackson all the way to the river at the end of the book?  And how did Ming become so super strong to take down Linnie…..was it all the weight loss that Jackson suffered after the death of Brenda…..or a super power role reversal….or a little flaw in the ending?  YOU DECIDE!

X O X O X O

Fab Point Horror Q&A by Peter Lerangis!

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Today we also have a fab Point Horror Q&A with Peter Lerangis!  Click Here for the post!

Over to you!

As well as your thoughts on the book here are some questions to consider.

  • Share your thoughts on the final thought above!
  • Come on give us your best John Stanley chat up line!
  • Who had the best “hit”?
  • Would you play the Dead Game?
  • Team Austin and Alder or Team Ming!?

You can leave a reply by using the reply button at the top of the page!

See you at #pointhorrorbookclub on 13th June 2015 !

Vote for the next #pointhorrorbookclub read here – what will you pick?

And the winner was…….

A shock victory for Teachers Pet by Richie Tankersley Cusick!

Don’t forget to check out the Q&A with Peter Lerangis here

The next read will be announced on the #pointhorrorbookclub page here and on twitter using the hashtag #pointhorrorbookclub on the 16th May 2015!

Thanks for joining in….watch you’re not the next target…in The Dead Game!!

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