Thursday, August 27, 2015

reading: Creepover: Off the Wall

Back cover description: Ancient artifacts provoke fresh fear when a night at the museum goes from fun to freaky! Jane is ready for the time of her life. Tonight she and forty-nine other girls will be spending an actual night in a museum! At first, she's making lots of new friends and having a ton of fun, but the stakes get raised when one girl, Daria, dares her to take a tour of the museum after lights out. The girls have heard that one of the mummies in the Ancient Egyptian exhibit comes to life when the museum closes. Jane accepts the dare. After all, there's no way a mummy can come to life. Or is there? And are there, perhaps, other secrets that will be revealed in a museum at night? This surprising story is rated a Level 4 on the Creep-o-Meter.

I am a sucker for all things Ancient Egyptian, from sensible scholarly non-fiction to the silliest Mummy movies, so there was little chance I wouldn't enjoy this.

The story begins from Jane's point of view. She's at a sleepover at a museum (I envy city people their access to museums, and I REALLY envy city kids if they actually get to do things like this). She's nervous, and thinking she's got nothing in common with the other girls, which immediately makes me think she's secretly the mummy. SPOILERS BELOW THE CUT.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

reading: Creepover: Read It and Weep!

I swear, I do read other things besides middle-grade fiction. But right now I'm binge-reading my way through this series.

One aspect I'm unexpectedly enjoying is the way these are marketed. I know marketing is often viewed negatively as an attempt to manipulate people, and that's undeniably true, but I already KNOW I'm going to buy books. I budget "books" in as a monthly expense (one that would get cut if we needed to "retrench," but mostly that doesn't happen). So from my point of view book marketing is an attempt to attract my attention to particular books; it isn't making me spend money I don't want to.

And whoever put together this line did a really good job. I love the cover art, the cute house pseudonym, the creep-o-meter on the back cover, even the webpage. Someone, or maybe a group of someones, has put together a neat little package here.

Which is great, because that "I must buy all of these!" appeal has led me to discover a few truly creepy stories, and so far,  Read It and Weep has been one of the best. This is partly because the premise (finding a cursed tarot card--sort of a chain letter; it has to be passed on) in an old book is exactly the sort of adventure I always half-hoped I'd stumble into on my own trips to the library. The execution is perfect,  moving the story along briskly and framing it with a brief glimpse into the book itself, which eerily depicts the lives of its victims.

It's not challenging fiction, but children don't need every book they pick up to be somehow improving or educational; voracious readers deserve some pure pleasure-reading too.

reading: Creepover #9: No Trick-or_Treating!

In an effort to balance the huge collection of Goosebumps I've somehow amassed, I started buying the Creepover series a while back. I figured my daughter might eventually grow into them, and I'm trying to put together a bookcase of "junk food books" to balance out the Good Books we also buy them.

You know what they say: bad books make good readers.*

But of course that means I've been reading them myself. They're pretty cute: gorgeous covers, slightly more conversation-and-character development than an R.L.Stine, and a persistent theme of "sleepovers" (also echoed in the house pseudonym, P.J.Night).

They mostly toy with scariness rather than becoming flat-out terrifying, but each achieves a few genuinely creepy moments. Right now I'm reading #9, No Trick-or-Treating!, which as a "superscary superspecial" is just a tad longer than the first eight. That gives it an edge, because it can develop the setting a bit more thoroughly (a small country town which mysteriously doesn't celebrate Halloween) and let events unfold slowly enough to build up some real tension.

I'm a fully-functional adult (more or less), and I had to resist the temptation to peek at the last chapter to find out what happens. Ha. I would have loved these SO MUCH when I was the right age. I'm enjoying them enormously even now.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Taking a break

Along with many other book review blogs, I'll be taking a break from reviewing books until at least Nov. 1, and possibly beyond then. I need to rethink what I'll be reviewing, and it's possible I won't be doing any new releases. I won't be accepting ARCs in the future. 

I'll be back sometime in November with lots and lots of Stine recaps and whatever else catches my attention.