Friday, April 25, 2014

Hearts Still Broken

Back to my recap of R. L. Stine's Broken Hearts. The first half of the recap is here.

Title: Broken Hearts
Fear Street Super Chiller #4

Part Two: February, One Year Later
Melissa is now dating Luke. You remember Luke: he was the devoted boyfriend to Rachel-who-fell-on-her-head. Melissa has had a letter from Dave, who is in "some military-style boarding upstate." Wait, what?

But the police investigation couldn't link Dave to Josie's murder. And Erica never pressed charges, never accused him of stabbing her. "It was too dark," she had told police. "And I was attacked from behind. I never saw who did it." (location 1471)
I'm pretty sure that in places other than Shadyside, the police thoroughly investigate stabbings whether or not the victim wants to press charges. But these guys can probably barely keep on top of the actual murders and pet killings, so I'll cut them some slack.
"Do you know about the skating party?" Luke asked. "On Valentine's Day? At Fear Lake?" (location 1507)
Seriously, guys? Seriously? I'm glad Luke is moving on with his life and all, but what kind of teenage sociopaths hold a Valentine's Day ice-skating party a year to the day after some girl was stabbed in the back with an ice skate? Also, no event for teenagers should ever be held at a place called Fear Lake.

Maybe Fear Street is in an alternate universe, and horror movies haven't been invented there.

Anyhow. Melissa tells him she's a poor skater with weak ankles, but he wants them to go to the party anyway. Then she finds a card in the mail addressed to her:
Roses are red, Violets are blue, On Valentine's Day, You'll be dead too. (location 1517)
Googling "ice skating accident" brings up this sort of thing.
Meanwhile Erica is brushing Rachel's long red hair, and Rachel is angrily destroying a teddy bear Luke gave her last year, and screaming about how she hates Melissa. Uh oh.  Steve (remember Steve?He dating Josie?) calls and invites Erica to the ice skating party. Hey, going skating with your dead girlfriend's younger sister is the way to spend the anniversary of the night she got stabbed with a skate!

She turns him down because she has to look after Rachel, and also because ick.

Rachel gets out of the house and goes into the front yard, and a big deal is made over this. I get why plot-wise: it proves she does go out alone. But...she cannot actually spend her life in one room, Erica.

Melissa gets another card. Luke AND her parents dismiss these as jokes. Seriously? You live ACROSS THE STREET from where part one happened, remember?

In a startling moment of intelligence Luke gets Melissa to compare the handwriting on Dave's letter to the threatening valentines, and they're a match. Also Dave's mom calls to tell Melissa Dave's run away from his school.

Melissa goes across the street to tell Erica all of this.

Later that night I develop a full-on hatred of Erica's mother:
Rachel took up so much of her time these days, Erica thought with a bitter sigh.
She waited until Rachel had slipped under the covers, said good night, and turned  off the light. Then she headed downstairs to see if her mother needed anything before she started her homework.
Mrs. McClain was about to go out. "Your aunt Beth asked me to come over and look at some fabric samples," she explained.... (location 1697)
It's all getting a bit full-blown Cinderella at the McClain house. Erica and her mother share a laugh over how they've forgotten what Mr. McClain loos like, so it's a good thing he's coming home tomorrow. Is running hardware stores really all that intensive and hands-on? Surgeons spend more time at home than this guy.

Luke sneaks into their house that night to leave a valentine for Rachel, which I think is touching, but makes Erica scream at him because he's dating Melissa now. Um, does she think he should spend his life with Rachel, who will never recover, just because they dated in high school?

I hate Melissa's father too:
"That's not why you're losing, Beanpole. You're losing because I'm a good defensive player. You have to have a strong defense in Scrabble."
"Don't call me beanpole," Melissa grumbled. "You know I hate it." She shoved her letters around on the holder, frowning. "Want me to call you Fatso?"
Mr. Davis raised his head abruptly. "Don't you dare."  He was a big bear of a man, weighing around two hundred  pounds, and was very sensitive about his weight. (location 1742)
But not sensitive about other people, including his own daughter? Also, what kind of raging blowhard boasts about his prowess at SCRABBLE?

Dave breaks into Erica's room, assures her he didn't kill Josie or stab Erica, looks at the cards she's gotten, declares that now he knows who the killer is, and leaves without telling her.

The next day (I think) Melissa looks after Rachel while Erica is attending rehearsals of a play. So...Erica has MORE free time now that Josie is dead? Also, Melissa plays outdoors with Rachel. They jump in a leaf pile. Maybe the family could hire Melissa part-time or something? It seems like that would work well for everyone. When Erica gets home Melissa tells her about the conversation with Dave.

Later that night Melissa hears a prowler, and sees a girl with long red hair running away. Melissa's parents, having heard the prowler, call the police. So either they care more about their garbage can getting knocked over than they do about their daughter getting death threats, or they secretly are actually worried about the death threats.

The police show up and inform them there's a dead guy in the driveway. It's Dave, of course.

Across the street Erica is awake, and exhausted; Rachel is awake, energetic, and wants her hair brushed;  and their mother gets woken up when the police arrive to question Rachel about Luke's murder (because of Melissa's claim about seeing a red-haired girl).

The scene on the cover happens.
This cover.

FINALLY it's the night of the skating party. Chapter 30 is called "The Party" and we're at the 90% mark according to kindle, so the killer had better show up promptly.

Melissa falls a couple of times to demonstrate that she's a poor skater, and some guy warns her and Luke that the ice is cracking "over there," so naturally Luke takes her further out on the ice, away from other people and also away from the lights, for a "private skating lesson." Of course he does. She can actually HEAR the ice cracking.

He grabs her, because an evolutionary adaptation to life in Shadyside means that guys from there are sexually aroused by the threat of death. At least, that's my theory. She--understandably--mistakes his lunge for a different more murderous type of attack, and he gets OFFENDED and then LEAVES HER THERE.




I actually tensed up reading this. How embarrassing. But, see, an evolutionary adaptation to life in Canada makes me hypo-alert to ice skating accidents, particularly at places called Fear Lake.

After Luke is gone, a girl with long red hair shows up, wielding a knife. I'm disappointed it isn't a letter opener. In true Fear Street "thrilling twist" style it looks like Rachel is the killer for ABOUT TWO SECONDS before Melissa knocks the red wig off and IT'S ERICA. She thinks she's been avenging Rachel by killing Josie and now going after Melissa. But Erica? Stabbing yourself and killing Dave were things you did to cover your tracks, so you aren't as self-sacrificing a psycho as you claim.

Erica goes through the ice. So does Melissa, but Luke shows up to rescue her. Why doesn't he rescue Erica? Well. According to Luke, Erica is staring up at them from under the [thin] ice because she doesn't  want to come up.

Seriously? Not because, like, she's expecting you to BREAK THE ICE and rescue her, or because she's afraid if she swims she'll get further away from the hole and it'll be harder to get her out? Maybe? Possibly?

Oh my God they're all idiots. Anyway, Erica drowns.

In the last chapter it's three weeks later, and Melissa and Luke visit Rachel, who says she's going to get better and go outside by herself. I honestly don't know if that's meant to be hopeful, or meant to be so obviously not-going-to-happen that we should all feel depressed.

(Next I'm reading THE DEAD LIFEGUARD which I'm actually expecting will be less depressing.)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

So I'm spending the week after my birthday just like you'd expect.


Which right now is taking the specific form of "rereading R. L. Stine."

Title: Broken Hearts
Fear Street Super Chiller #4

Before I started this I had a vague memory that in Fear Street books, the parents aren't around a lot. Which makes sense: it's hard to be menaced if your mother is right there with you. But the parents in this book are infuriating along with being mostly absent. Is that a thing in these? FURTHER INVESTIGATION IS REQUIRED.
You can tell it's an older book because it doesn't say "ur ded."

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Broken Hearts begins with three sisters and one other girl going horse riding, and I had no idea who was who for ages, so I had to keep flipping back and forth. For you, a cheat sheet:

Erica = youngest sister, 14; non-athletic, boyfriendless, about to start her first year of highschool (grade 9).
Josie = one of the twins, 16; goes through boyfriends rapidly. Dark hair and eyes.
Rachel = the other twin, 16; red-haired, gorgeous, and kind to Erica.
Melissa = the girl from across the street. 16.

So, the prologue opens with them going to Shadyside Riding Club, which has to be a bad idea. Josie chickens out and refuses to ride. Rachel gets Josie to help her saddle the horse, which Josie does by loosening it, and if you don't see where this is going you don't belong on Fear Street.
"Did I do Rachel's saddle right, Melissa?" 
Melissa had already led her horse outside and mounted it. It was a dappled white and brown Appaloosa with a weary expression. (location 122)
You and me both, horse.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lucan the Wolf-Boy?

I was LOOKING for a Love's Baby Soft commercial (and I did in fact find one. Oh boy. The seventies were not even a little bit subtle about telling girls how to behave).
But I ended up being way way more interested in the tiny snippet of an ad for "Lucan the Wolf-Boy" that appears at the end.
You know, it's mildly disconcerting to realize that if I had access to time travel, one of the things I would feel DRIVEN to do is visit the 1970s and watch their strange, strange television. (And also steal as many of their romance novels as I could carry...)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Mystery of Why I'm Watching this Show

Last night I watched the first episode of The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, as one does, and I am unable to resist the urge to share it. In the form of a recap, I mean, though if you really want to see the whole thing in all its seventies' glory I think it's on YouTube.

The first episode is called "The Mystery of the Haunted House," and that title is a complete rip-off, because there's no haunted house in the show, just a nightclub/restaurant/wood-panelled hellhole named The Haunted House. This is kind of a thing in this series: the titles all sound like something supernatural might be going on, and instead it turns out to be smugglers or spies. It's like Scooby Doo with more hair.

About the hair. I know it was the seventies, but these boys have a lot of hair. Sort of...feathery, fluffy hair. I think the hair might be why they were considered attractive. It's the only reason I can come up with, because the guy playing Frank Hardy has a pointy chin and smirks a lot, looking uncannily like John Travolta (only, hold on, I just realized this was the same era in which Travolta was also considered good looking, so I guess pointy-chinned smirkers were in style then?); the younger brother, Joe, is played by Shaun Cassidy and looks like a nervous hamster. You think I'm kidding, but I'm not.
That's Hamster on the left and Travolta-ish on the right.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

It's April. Why is it snowing?

I am so done with winter. Sadly, winter does not appear to be done with me.

I am impatient for spring; I have all these spring activities planned, but the new swingset is sitting in its box being lightly snowed on at the moment, and none of my eagerly awaited plants can ship from Vesey's Seeds yet because the people who run Vesey's seeds, wisely, know enough not to send things out until the ground has thawed.
'tis the season to drool over seed catalogues.

I have things I should be working on (mostly a Secret Project which is actually just a gift for a friend), but instead I keep pacing impatiently past the windows as though spring might arrive all at once while I'm hitting refresh on my facebook page or something.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow I shall be productive. (Ha.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013



We have a windchill of -25C today. It's going to be an indoor kind of day. Right now Bug and Trouble are happily watching Enchanted (they love the part with the rats helping to clean the apartment).
This afternoon we're going to bake. I have a mix, which is cheating, but which is also delicious and easy. Easy is a huge virtue when you have two small "helpers" in the kitchen. They love it, though. They get to take turns stirring with the whisk.
Namaste Foods Cookie Mix
I'm pretending these are a health food.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Blue Monday

Bryant & May and the Memory of Blood

I don't feel particularly blue, but I do understand the sentiment. It's that point in January where you start to feel just a little worn down by winter.

All is well, though. I'm reading Bryant & May and the Memory of Blood; I'd forgotten how much I enjoy Bryant and May. Was astonished to learn from my husband that Bryant & May is the name of a match manufacturer; now want to own matchboxes from them.

Had to restrain myself today from buying a couple of Tetley Tea Folk. I think they're adorable, but my budget for this month (and next month, and quite possibly March) is well and truly blown. I know they're inexpensive, but that's not the point; the point is I need to quit buying things until I'm solvent again. Le sigh.

In other dreadfully boring news, the kitchen island is nearly cleared off, my desk is more or less organized, and I've hung the calenders. The post-holiday chaos is nearly subdued. Bug and Trouble keep asking where the Christmas tree has gone, though, which makes me feel a bit sad. Possibly I shall have to decorate the tiny mantel-top one for Easter.