The Prom Queen by R.L. Stine

What do you get when you mix Mean Girls and Fear Street?  The Prom Queen!

Seriously, this was about the funnest Fear Street I’ve read so far.  It starts on an eventful day.  First, everyone is talking about the dead girl that was found in the Fear Street Woods.  Then, there’s an assembly to announce the Prom Queen candidates!  There are five.  Simone, who is rich and flashy and dating the cutest boy in school.  Elana, who is the most popular girl in school.  Dawn, a tennis player who always wins.  Rachel, who has to study a lot because she doesn’t have any money.  Finally, Lizzie, the every-girl of the group who’s nice, has a long distance relationship, and works on the sets for the school play.  After school, the prom queens all go out for pizza together and make jokes at each other’s expense and then the next day Simone is kidnapped!  They find only a pool of blood in her bedroom.

It seems there is a killer slowly picking off the prom queen candidates.  But who can it be and what is the motive?  Is it the weird guy, Lucas, who used to date Simone and makes terrible jokes to Lizzie all of the time?  Or could it be Justin, Simone’s other ex who ran around on her all of the time and is suddenly acting really weird around Lizzie?  One thing is for sure:  She better figure it out soon or she’ll be next!

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Graphic Friday- Psychic Academy by Katsu Aki

As I continue my discovery of the graphic novel connection, I want to take a minute to be real here.  I would not call myself a fan of manga.  I like graphic novels and comic books but the backward reading always drove me nuts.  Only, not really.  What I have learned through the years is that a good story is readable in any format.  When I was looking through books I’ve read in the past decade, there were some manga series that stuck out.  I liked R.O.D. and Hellsing, Princess Ai and Monster.  I know that it is possible for me to like good stories in this format.

But let’s be real here.  This is kind of a shit story.  It’s very… flat.  I know that I only read the first volume but there was nothing in that first volume that makes me want to continue.  Some of it even actively bothered me.

Like, cool, your two female characters are smoking hot and both into the main character and you have your typical love triangle where one girl has known him forever and the other is edgy and perfect for him or whatever.  BUT I do not think that I have ever seen so much accidental boob grabbing in my life.  The first time it happened I was surprised enough to send a picture of the frame to my husband with a chuckle.  Around the third time it happened I was rolling my eyes.  There is a lot of sexy for sales sake going on here, I think.  None of the sexiness makes any sense for the story.  And, for the love of God, why do their gym suits have nipples??!??

Suffice to say that I won’t be continuing this series.  In fact, I considered removing it from the collection so that I could replace it with something better but it appears to still check out.  This one was not even laughably bad in my opinion, just irritating.

The Knife by R.L. Stine

This is one of the Fear Street books that I definitely read as a child.  I’m not sure if I owned it or borrowed it from the library.  I have never been a big fan of hospital related stuff so I’m actually really surprised that I remember some of this one.  A+ for great horror and drama!

Laurie has always wanted to be a doctor but her aunt Hillary, who raised her, worried that she might get bored.  Laurie decides to spend her summer volunteering at the local hospital with her best friend, Skye.  Skye is a bit boy crazy and always has multiple dates lined up but she sure wouldn’t mind getting her hands on Laurie’s boyfriend if he were available!  It seems like a great start to the summer.  Laurie loves to volunteer, especially on the children’s floor, and soon she meets a cute med student, Rick, who is volunteering too.  But something isn’t right.  There’s a little boy whose records disappear when he leaves the hospital and while Laurie is trying to figure out why the boy seemed so sad and scared, she sees Rick follow a nurse into the new wing that’s under construction.  When she follows them, she discovers that the nurse has been stabbed but nobody will believe her!  What is wrong with the little boy and how is it tied to the murdered nurse and what is Rick up to?

I do just love these books.  I always describe them as being cheesy horror but they really aren’t.  They’re classic.

Graphic Friday: Archie, vol 4 by Mark Waid

It is no secret that I am in love with the new Archie, sometimes called “hot Archie.”  When the newest in the series lands on my desk, I have been known to squeal and hug it.  This updated comic has branched out into other things, too.  I love CW’s Riverdale, though I am watching on Netflix so don’t ruin the second season for me!  The revamp of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is also pretty great.  I even saw an Archie Diegest the other day that was a special Riverdale edition that I did not buy and have been beating myself up about ever since.

This new volume is more serious than the last and it was a roller coaster ride for me.

Now that Veronica has returned to Riverdale, her relationship with Archie is strained.  Veronica has matured slightly, at least on the surface, and she’s starting to talk like the future heir of her father’s billions while Archie is the same old Archie.  Things already shaky between them, Archie is worried about Veronica finding out that he could be cut from the football team so when Reggie threatens to tell her if Archie doesn’t drag race him in Betty and his newly restored 1969 Mustang Mach 1 Cobra, Archie feels trapped.  He takes off in the car without telling Betty where he is going but when she finds out there are dire consequences.

Even though this was a much more serious run than the previous volumes, it was still loads of fun.  Plus, cliffhanger!  I can’t wait to see what happens next.  (Also, so much fun to read the car stuff out loud to my husband. Ha ha.)

Dirt Under My Nails by Marilee Foster

The thing about my TBR list (journal) is that I have kept it so long that I really have no idea where a lot of the titles come from.  I started it seventeen years ago, lost it to a computer death and tried to recreate it, populated it with lists I found online, and added books that I wanted to check out from work when I knew I wouldn’t get around to reading them.  Where did I find this title?  Was it on the new book shelf or did I read about it somewhere?  Either way, this has been languishing on my list probably since publication in 2003.

Foster writes about her life as a farmer on Long Island.  The book is organized by season and each season contains vignettes about her rural life.  She talks about planting, irrigating, and harvesting.  She talks about the birds that come and go through the year.  She discusses the history of her family farming the island.  She writes about the wildlife that encroaches on the fields as well as the developing land around her.  More and more of the farmland is giving way to summer homes and summers are full of tourists.  Foster recognizes that these tourists may contribute to her income through her farm stand but they also can cause a lot of trouble.

This was a quiet and enjoyable read for me.  I found myself thinking that maybe I should take up bird watching, at least from my front window, and I remembered the smell of a hay barn in the hot summer and all the silly things we got into as children in the middle of nowhere.  I read this book with Google Maps pulled up and looked at some of the landmarks that I couldn’t resist, like the nature preserve and cemetery.  A great book to dip into.

Landscape with Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson

There is something that I cannot resist about a slim novel and this one comes in at 149 pages plus has a great cover.  I’ll be honest and say upfront that this isn’t a book for everyone but I really liked it.  It was weird, which I love, and it was scifi without feeling like scifi.

This is our world after the vuvv, an alien race shaped somewhat like coffee tables, have landed.  The vuvv are all about efficiency and when they first landed they promised Earth a world with no more work and no more disease.  However, all of their tech was sold to the highest bidders and now the economy is in ruins.  Adam used to have a normal life but now his father is gone, there’s another family living in his basement, and his mother has been unemployed for months.  Adam is a painter in a world where most art is digital and each short chapter feels like a painting.  Adam is trying to find ways to support his family, by recording his relationship with Chloe for the vuvv and entering in an art contest, while dealing with a disease makes digestion miserable.

I thought this was a really interesting book.  It looked at the line between the haves and have-nots in a way that didn’t feel heavy handed.  Adam’s family used to be middle class and I like how it painted the picture that anyone could lose everything.  Adam’s mother never gives up hope and Adam is always trying to come up with a better way.  Great scifi for someone who doesn’t necessarily like scifi.

Summer Promise by Robin Jones Gunn

When it got to be time for me to choose my next young adult, I kind of freaked out.  There were so many books that I had been wanting to read for such a long time that I couldn’t make a decision.  I ended up grabbing the first Christy Miller because I had been suggesting this series to kids who wanted inspirational fiction for a while but I had no grasp on anything about it.  The books seemed to check out a lot so I figured that they couldn’t be that bad and my curiosity got the best of me.

I was reading a chapter of a YA book before bed every night and this actually ended up being a great book for that.   It’s very fluffy but tries to touch on edgy subjects.  I am definitely not the intended audience here.  I’m a 33 year old woman and I am not a Christian.  Though, I actually ended up really enjoying this book.  As much as I was reading it tongue-in-cheek, it was fun and amusing and completely and utterly unrealistic.

Christy is spending the summer with her aunt and uncle in California.  Back home, her parents are having some financial problems and her aunt seems to think that Christy needs help blossoming.  Here we have our typical makeover scenario.  Her aunt buys her all kinds of new clothes and makeup and takes her to get her hair cut and highlighted.  Christy feels like a “real” California girl afterward and goes back to the beach where she promptly makes a fool of herself.  Christy is one of those characters who reminds me a lot of my tween self.  She doesn’t have a lot of confidence.  She’s always over reacting or making mistakes that feel like the end of the world to her.  She whines.  She realizes that she’s been ungrateful or mean and then feels bad.  Very human.  Not perfect.

Christy makes a couple of friends at the beach that day, Alissa and Todd.  Alissa abandons her when everyone is laughing at her but Todd is nice enough to help her out.  Christy LIKES Todd.  He’s so cute, giggle giggle.  Todd is a Christian though, with a capital “born again”.  When Christy goes to a party with Alissa and Todd and some of Todd’s friends, she is innocent to go looking for Coke to drink and instead everyone thinks she wants coke to snort which was actually the funniest thing I had read in a while.  After the party, one of Todd’s old friends gets into an accident and dies, sending Christy down a road of questioning.  The only person she feels able to talk to about all of her new questions is Todd.  She really wants him to like her, so she even pretends to like nuts on her ice cream because he does.

This whole book is supposed to be about Christy finding herself.  Her aunt is pushing her to become a social butterfly.  Her uncle keeps telling her to be true to herself.  Her parents tell her not to do anything she’ll regret.  It’s actually a pretty great message and a well handled theme until the end when Christy pretty much says, “I don’t need to be true to myself!  I’ve got Jesus now!”

There’s a pretty good chance that I’ll continue with this series some day.  It was pretty enjoyable, like a tame soap opera.