Sunday, December 22, 2013

R.L. Stine Book of the Week: Silent Night 3

Rich, snobby Reva Dalby wants a little fame for Christmas. And since her daddy owns Dalby's Department Store, she can have whatever she wants. Someone else will always pay. Except this year Reva goes too far. Now someone is watching her. When she's sleeping and when she's awake...until she's dead.

My Thoughts:

Silent Night 3 may not be as good as the first book, but at least it's not as awful as the second one. The book is fairly predictable - I knew the identity of the killer a few chapters in - but I guess a 26-year-old who has read a lot of horror should be able to easily figure out the ending of a book written for children and teens. There was a second twist at the end that surprised me, though. 

The plot isn't the most exciting. Reva is in college now and has brought her roommate, Grace, home for the holidays. Unfortunately, Grace's abusive ex-boyfriend won't stop calling and she's paranoid that he will show up and kill her. Meanwhile, Reva's poor cousin, Pam, has designed scarves with her friend, Willow, and wants to sell them at Dalby's Department Store. Naturally, Reva takes all the credit for them and arranges a fashion show at Dalby's to create buzz about the scarves.

Nothing bad happens to Reva in this book. In the first one, she's the victim of horrible pranks and in the second one, her arm is broken, but in this one, nothing! It's disappointing since I enjoy when a bitchy character like Reva gets her comeuppance, but it was still fun when Reva said or did mean things. Overall, Reva is an entertaining character, even though she's snotty and unlikeable.

I recommend reading the first Silent Night book and skipping the two sequels.

Rating: 3/5

PG-13 Gore: As she tried to catch her balance, she felt something sticky under her shoes. She glanced down.

A pool of blood had formed around Traci's feet.

Dark red blood, spreading out in a circle. 

Reva clamped her hands tighter against her mouth and closed her eyes. I'm stepping in it, I'm stepping in her blood!

Then she opened her eyes. Blood? But where did it come from? Traci had been strangled, right?

Where did the blood come from?

Shaking all over, Reva examined Traci's body. And saw the support pole. The pole that held up a mannequin. Jammed through Traci's back. 

Someone had murdered Traci! Strangled her, Then hung her from the pole like a plastic mannequin!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

R.L. Stine Book of the Week: Silent Night 2

Sure, she promised to be nicer after last year's horrors. But a rich, spoiled girl like Reva Dalby always thinks she can have anything—or anyone—she wants, and never, never pay.

But now it's payback time. Someone is out to kidnap Reva.

This year, Santa is bringing Reva a little holiday fear. And just around the corner is the biggest, most gruesome Christmas present of all—murder. And it's all hers!

My thoughts:

I enjoyed Silent Night when I read it a couple years ago, but unfortunately Silent Night 2 is the typical lousy sequel. 

The plot is very dull. A broke 18-year-old and his girlfriend attempt to kidnap Reva and use the ransom money to buy Christmas presents. Most of the book is comprised of failed attempts to kidnap Reva and nothing remotely scary or exciting happens. There are also plenty of chapters where Reva is bitchy to customers while she works at her father's department store, Dalby's, which is a bit entertaining, but not enough to redeem the book. Reva's cousin, Pam, is working at Dalby's again as well, despite the fact that she tried to rob it in the last book. I guess her uncle felt sorry for Pam because her family is poor and he's a millionaire? 

Silent Night 2 is too predictable: kidnappers tie Reva and her cousin Pam up, Pam loosens the ropes and they hide from the kidnappers, FBI shows up to save them. 

Also, where's the Santa from the cover of the book?! That actually might've been an entertaining book. I would choose a killer Santa story over a kidnapping story any day.

Rating: 1/5

PG-13 Gore:  With a loud groan he jumped up quickly and lumbered into the open elevator.

Reva shut her eyes tight. She heard Danny scream all the way down.

The scream ended four floors below in a sickening splat.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Hope you all have a great Halloween! This is the costume I wore to work today. It looked pretty cool but it was really hard to eat with all that fake blood and glue stuck to my face. I only had time to watch two horror movies tonight: All Hallows' Eve and Halloween.

How are you spending your Halloween?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Game Review: The Simpsons: Tapped Out Treehouse of Horror XXIV Event

It's no secret that I love The Simpsons (see previous post) and I'm a total Simpsons: Tapped Out addict. I hadn't played it in a few months (I decided to cut back after spending countless hours playing it), but I wanted to check out the Treehouse of Horror XXIV Event. I had to delete five apps to have enough space on my phone for the update, but it was totally worth it.

The appearance of the game has changed to be more spooky for Halloween. Springfield is shadowy, leaves are falling, the trees are dead, there's eerie music with intermittent screaming and bats squeaking and ghosts float around town.

The ghosts are an integral part of the Halloween update. When you tap them (or a character possessed by one), you earn Ghostly Organofluid Outflow (GOO) and Gremlins. If you get enough GOO, you can win prizes:
GOO can also be earned through tasks with certain characters - the kids go trick-or-treating, Homer deals with ghosts, Marge tidies up ghosts and Mr. Burns eliminates ghosts. The Gremlins can also find GOO when you release them in your neighbours' Springfields.

There are also community prizes to be won when enough GOO is collected to reach the community target:
  • First Church of Lard Lad
  • Clawing Zombie
  • Ghost Bomb
  • Frog Prince
  • King Homer's Skyscraper

If the GOO prizes aren't enough, there are tons of other Treehouse of Horror content to purchase with money or donuts such as Boobarella, Bad Dream House, Devil Flanders costume, The Raven, Talking Krusty Doll, a pumpkin patch and more!

In addition to the prizes and the spooky atmosphere, there are a few other neat aspects of the update. In Halloween quest, "The Ghost in the Machine-based App", you build the Gypsy Fortune Teller Shop. And the ghosts of Maude Flanders, Frank Grimes (or "Grimey," as he liked to be called) and James Bont also make appearances.

If you're a fan of The Simpsons (especially Treehouse of Horror) and don't already have this app, you should definitely get it. Feel feel to friend me on Tapped Out at melhelwig847.

Monday, October 7, 2013

TV Review: The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror XXIV

I always look forward to The Simpsons' annual "Treehouse of Horror" episode, but especially this week because I needed something to get my mind off the absence of Breaking Bad.

There has been a lot of hype surrounding "Treehouse of Horror XXIV" because Guillermo Del Toro directed the couch gag. It was released online last week as a teaser for the episode. I've watched it twice now and I still don't think I noticed all the horror references. While Bart writes "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" on the chalkboard, Stephen King is writing it on the wall of the classroom; Maggie is driving The Car; The Birds attack Mrs. Krabappel while sitting next to Hitchcock; Groundskeeper Willie is Hellboy; Carl is Blade and much more! It was the best couch gag ever made and a must-see for all horror fans.

Oh, the Places You'll Doh!
In this Dr. Seuss parody, Homer plays "The Fat in the Hat" and shows up to cure The Simpsons kids' mumps and take them on a crazy trick-or-treating adventure.

I'm not a big Dr. Seuss fan, so I didn't enjoy this much. The entire segment rhymes, just like a Dr. Seuss book, and it irritated me.

Dead and Shoulders

When Bart is decapitated, his head is attached to Lisa's body. Lisa controls all movement, but Bart discovers that he's in control when Lisa sleeps and plans to take over her body completely.
I hated this segment. I didn't laugh a single time and found it to be dull and unoriginal.

Freaks No Geeks

This segment is a spoof of the 1932 film, Freaks. In this version, Marge plays the trapeze artist and Homer plays the strongman. Many other Simpsons characters play freaks (Comic Book Guy is a snail and Barney is just a torso) but Moe is ugly enough to be a freak while remaining himself. Homer tricks Marge into marrying Moe and plans to poison him, then marry Marge to gain possession of Moe's emerald ring. When the freaks discover Homer's plan, they turn him into a human duck.

I really enjoyed this segment because I've actually seen - and like - Freaks. It also gave me the biggest laugh of the episode. Homer the Duck is sitting on the couch and says, "And that kids, is how I met your mother." Then the theme song from How I Met Your Mother plays.

Overall, this episode was a disappointment despite the awesome couch gag. Two of the three segments were pretty awful.

Bob's Burgers and American Dad both aired Halloween episodes tonight and I found them both to be funnier than this episode of The Simpsons.

Rating: 3/5

Here's Guillermo Del Toro's couch gag:

Sunday, October 6, 2013

R.L. Stine Book of the Week: The Haunted Mask

If looks could kill...


How ugly is Carly Beth's Halloween mask? It's so ugly that it almost scared her little brother to death. So terrifying that even her friends are totally freaked out by it.

It's the best Halloween mask ever. It's everything Carly Beth hoped it would be. And more.

Maybe too much more. Because Halloween is almost over.

And Carly Beth is still wearing that special mask....

My Thoughts: 

The Haunted Mask has always been one of my favourite Goosebumps books, mostly because it takes place on Halloween. It's much better than other Goosebumps Halloween books - Attack of the Jack-O'- Lanterns, I'm talking to you.  

Since the back cover synopsis doesn't give much away, I will enlighten you. Carly Beth scares easily and to get revenge on the two boys that constantly pull pranks on her, she buys the most terrifying mask she can find. But as Halloween night progresses, the mask changes her personality. She can't help scaring everyone she comes into contact with. Then, at the end of the night, she can't take off the mask.

Reading this again brought back lots of memories of trick-or-treating - the hunt for a good costume, jumping out and scaring friends, the candy. It isn't as scary as The Girl Who Cried Monster, or as gory as Welcome to Dead House, but it's still a good read - especially if you love Halloween.

The Haunted Mask was made into the first episode of the Goosebumps TV series. Unfortunately, it isn't available for streaming on Netflix, even though the rest of the series is.

There are also three sequels: The Haunted Mask II, The Scream of the Haunted Mask and Wanted: The Haunted Mask.

Rating: 4/5

PG Gore: I'm going to tear this woman apart! Carly Beth decided.

I'll chew her to bits! I'll tear her skin off her bones! Furious thoughts raged through Carly Beth's mind.

She tensed her muscles, crouched low, and prepared to pounce.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Book vs. Movie: The Lords of Salem

The Book

I wasn't aware that Rob Zombie had released a novel version of his film, The Lords of Salem, until after I watched the movie. I put a hold on the book at the library immediately, hoping that it would clear up some scenes I found confusing in the film - which it did.

I'm unsure how much of the book Rob Zombie actually wrote, since it says "with B.K. Evenson" in smaller letters on the cover. I'm assuming that Rob Zombie wrote the film script and B.K. Evenson turned it into a novel.

The Lords of Salem begins in 1692, with John Hawthorne and a few others executing a group of witches. But before the men have a chance to kill the coven, one of the witches puts a curse on their descendants.

In the present day, radio DJ and recovering addict Heidi Hawthorne is seeing things in the vacant apartment at the end of the hall and is having intense, realistic nightmares. Things keep getting stranger when a package arrives addressed to Adelheid Elizabeth Hawthorne in a wooden box with an odd symbol on it. Inside is a record from an unknown band called The Lords. When the song is played on Heidi's radio show, it puts the women of Salem into a trance which drives them to mutilate themselves and anyone near them. The Lords of Salem are back and ready to get their revenge.

The book adds a lot of scenes that are omitted from the movie. The first 40 pages are dedicated to the execution of the coven in 1692, which is only shown briefly in the film. The book also shows what happens to a few women when the song is played on the radio, while the film only focuses on Heidi. There is also more detail on Francis, the Salem Witch Trial expert, in the book than in the movie, which only shows him in a few scenes.

The story is the same as the movie, but there are still enough differences to enjoy both. It's not like other books made into films I've read that are identical to each other.

The Movie

I love Rob Zombie's non-Halloween horror films, so I knew I would probably enjoy this one, and I did. The Lords of Salem is very different from his other films. It's not a slasher and it doesn't have buckets of gore. Instead it relies more on atmosphere. I watched this alone, late at night, and it gave me the creeps. It has lots of disturbing imagery and made me jump quite a few times.

The cast in the film was awesome: Dee Wallace, Patricia Quinn, Judy Geeson, Meg Foster, Ken Foree, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Sheri Moon Zombie...and the list goes on.

The only thing I didn't like about the film was that it could be confusing at times. Especially the ending, which was the main reason I wanted to read the book.

I actually prefer the movie over the book (possibly for the first time ever) because the imagery in the film trumps what I could imagine in my head while reading the book. The book is still worth a read because it adds more details and it's entertaining, but if you only have enough time/money/effort for one, I would go with the film.

A soundtrack for The Lords of Salem was also released.

Book: 3/5

Movie: 4/5

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Dewey's Read-a-Thon Wrap-Up

I did it! I made it the whole 24 hours! I didn't read quite as much as I would've liked since I kept getting distracted by my boyfriend, but I still managed to read more pages than I did during the last Read-a-Thon, so I'll consider that an accomplishment.

Total pages read: 768

End of Event Meme
  1. Which hour was most daunting for you? From 1:00 a.m. until now I could barely keep my eyes open. I definitely recommend going to bed early the night before. I went to bed pretty late on Friday night and think it would've been easier if I had gotten more sleep.
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? I don't know if this question refers to books I read during the Read-a-Thon or just books in general so I'll give one of each: Video Night by Adam Cesare and The Castle of Los Angeles by Lisa Morton.
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Nope. I thought everything was great!
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? I loved the Mini Challenges. They were so much fun! A nice break from reading.
  5. How many books did you read? Almost four.
  6. What were the names of the books you read? I read the last 80 pages of The Blondes by Emily Schultz, Baxter by Jessica Hamilton, The Hollow Skull by Christopher Pike and 85% of Video Night by Adam Cesare
  7. Which book did you enjoy most? Video Night - well, what I've read of it so far.
  8. Which did you enjoy least? The Blondes - I've been trying to get through this book for weeks.
  9. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? I'm definitely going to participate again! I'm already counting the days. I would be a reader again.

Dewey's Read-a-Thon Update #2

I've been so focused on reading and struggling to stay awake that I forgot to post about my progress. Well I'm still eyes keep trying to close. I'm using the text-to-speech function on my Kindle so that I don't really have to read. I'm trying to read along though because the robotic voice pronounces some words incorrectly and it makes the book a bit hard to understand (for example, "yeah" is pronounced as "yay!")

I finished reading The Hollow Skull by Christopher Pike and thought it was OK. The plot was a bit like his book Monster, only not nearly as good. It's about four teenagers who go down into an abandoned mine shaft. One falls into a pool of black liquid and starts acting strangely afterward, then the whole town starts acting strangely. I didn't care for the ending. The explanation behind why everyone was turning into a pod person was too out there for me.

I'm currently reading Video Night by Adam Cesare and am halfway through it. But I'm getting so tired I don't know how much longer I can last.

Total pages read: 558

Books finished: The Blondes (well the last 80 pages), Baxter, The Hollow Skull

Snacks consumed: A coffee with Cinnabon International Delight, more spinach dip

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Dewey's Read-a-Thon Mid-Event Survey

Mid-Event Survey

1) How are you doing? Sleepy? Are your eyes tired? 

I'm not feeling tired at all yet, it must be thanks to all the iced coffee I drank.

2) What have you finished reading?

I read the last 80 pages of The Blondes by Emily Schultz, Baxter by Jessica Hamilton and I'm currently halfway through The Hollow Skull by Christopher Pike.

3) What is your favorite read so far?

I'm really enjoying The Hollow Skull. I love Christopher Pike and this is one of the few books I've never read by him.

4) What about your favorite snacks?

Spinach dip with pumpernickel bread. My boyfriend also made me a delicious dinner:

Prosciutto and Swiss cheese stuffed chicken breasts, asparagus and crescent rolls.

5) Have you found any new blogs through the readathon? If so, give them some love!

I haven't really been reading many blogs because I'm trying to focus on reading (when I'm not being distracted by my boyfriend), but there's still time!