Posted in Super Chillers

Sweet Valley Twins Super Chiller #2: The Ghost in the Graveyard

Super Chiller 2: The Ghost in the Graveyard by Jamie Suzanne

Title: Super Chillers 2: The Ghost in the Graveyard

Tagline: Is Sweet Valley Haunted?

Summary: Strange things have been happening to Sam Sloane ever since he moved from San Francisco to Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield’s neighborhood in Sweet Valley. He can’t work out why everything in town looks so familiar—or why he’s mysteriously drawn to a crumbling old mansion in town. When he visits a cemetery in the dead of night and sees a ghost who looks just like him, he turns to Elizabeth and Jessica for help.

At first the twins think Sam is imagining things. After all, who believes in ghosts? But the more the girls get to know their new friend, the more they feel he’s telling the truth. Something is out there. The twins are going to have to do a little ghost hunting of their own. But what happens if they do discover the ghost? Or worse, what happens if it discovers them?

Initial Thoughts:

Although my chosen moniker is suitably gothic, I do not have a horror pedigree.

Sure, I like horror films. They are fun, and scary. And horror books? I love me a bit of Stephen King. I’ve screamed at Freddie and Jason, cowered from Samara, laughed at Chucky and was Finally Destined to face down Fate itself.

I enjoy it… but I don’t live and breathe it.

Both Wing and Dove have a much more visceral pull into the fright genre. They devour it whole, consuming all they can in a search for more thrills and for the love of the form. It’s a long love, from childhood, and it informs their nostalgia for this very site. Go check out all the fine work on point horror dot com for proof. [Wing: Well, he’s not wrong. Even our names come from a Point Horror book.]

But me? I’m a fairweather frightmeister. If pushed, I prefer a belly laugh or a pewpewpew space epic.

The point of this confession?  A mere FYI.

This Super Chiller isn’t really in my wheelhouse. So take all you read with a hefty pinch of salt.

Onward!

(more…)

Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #40: Danny Means Trouble

Sweet Valley Twins 40: Danny Means Trouble by Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins 40: Danny Means Trouble by Jamie Suzanne

Title: Danny Means Trouble

Tagline: How do you help a friend who doesn’t want to be helped? [Dove: I dunno, Elizabeth, maybe don’t? He’s not your friend and he doesn’t want your help, so how about you back the fuck off?]

Summary: Jessica Wakefield can’t wait to get to school to see what Danny Jackson will do next. He’s only been at Sweet Valley Middle School for a couple of months but he’s already well known as the best runner on the athletics team and as a major troublemaker. While Jessica is enjoying the effect Danny’s bad behavior is having on her classes, her sister Elizabeth is worried. Doesn’t Danny realize that his pranks are going to get him thrown off the team for good?

When Elizabeth writes a story on Danny and the team for the school paper, she discovers the real reason he’s been getting into trouble. It’s something he’s been hiding from everyone. Can Elizabeth help Danny without betraying him? [Raven: Is it drugs? It’s drugs. It’s drugs, isn’t it. Or, he’s actually a cauliflower!]

Initial Thoughts:

I don’t like this book. It’s not so much that I think Danny should wallow in his issues without help, I just want to stab Elizabeth for butting in. She’s such a busy-body I want to staple her to a wall and have people walk past, muttering about their issues, leaving her impotently unable to act. I think the stress of being incapable of interfering might be the only true way to kill her.

Also, Danny Jackson is not Denny Jacobson. Denny Jacobson is Pamela’s brother and Janet Howell’s love interest. This kid? No fucking clue. And this comes from someone who’s read almost every book in the Twins series. [Raven: Oh, I thought the book title was actually his name. “Hello, nice to meet you. the name’s Trouble. Danny Means Trouble.”]

[Wing: The only initial thought I had was that of course the girl on the cover is Elizabeth. Look at that outfit. JESSICA WOULD NEVER.]

The cover

Two things:

At work, someone once said to me, “Go see, $person. You know who she is, she’s the one with the proper twattable face.” And the thing was, even though I’d only been there for three weeks, I knew exactly who she meant. Elizabeth too has a “proper twattable face”.

Love the white socks/ankle-swinger trousers/brown loafers combo, Elizabeth. Could you look like more of a bell?

[Wing: I see I should have saved my comment for here.]

[Wing: NOTE: This recap contains vague references to abuse, including child abuse (within the text and in real world) as well as scientific violence to animals.]

(more…)

Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #33: Elizabeth’s New Hero

Sweet Valley Twins 33: Elizabeth’s New Hero by Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins 33: Elizabeth’s New Hero by Jamie Suzanne

Title: Elizabeth’s New Hero

Tagline: Can the twins keep their new friend from making a terrible mistake?

Summary: When a team of East German gymnasts visits Sweet Valley, it’s one of the biggest events in the town’s history. Jessica and Elizabeth – and the whole Wakefield family – are right in the center of things. They’re playing host to Christoph Beckmann, a cute blue-eyed boy who happens to be one of the best gymnasts on the team.

As the days go by, the twins learn more and more about their new friend. He tells them that it is his parents who wish him to be a champion and that he just wants to have fun and be like other kids his age. [Raven: Didn’t we just do this with Prince Arthur?] So with the help of the Wakefields, he gets his wish. Between hamburgers, basketball and surfing, Jessica, Elizabeth, and Steven may have done too good a job. Now Christoph refuses to go back to his country. Can Jessica and Elizabeth make him understand all that he’ll be missing if he stays?

[Wing: Why is the underage boy in a foreign country not all that friendly with his country even making that choice?]

Initial Thoughts:

Cute Boys! Gymnastics! Defection!

This book promises everything!

Let’s look at the cover… Elizabeth Wakefield meets Ellen Degeneres. I swear the artists for these covers can only draw three faces, tops.

[Dove: Raven’s not wrong. That blonde male model is Ken Matthews and Tom McKay too.]

Also, GYM EQUIPMENT! It looks like Phys Ed is pretty underfunded at Sweet Valley Middle School. Explains why a lot of the girls have been spotted using a recumbent Mr Nydick as a pommel horse.

(more…)

Posted in Super Editions, Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins Super Edition #3: The Big Camp Secret

Super Editions 3: The Big Camp Secret by Jamie Suzanne
Super Edition 3: The Big Camp Secret by Jamie Suzanne

Title: The Big Camp Secret

Tagline: Sleep-away camp has some hidden surprises for the twins!

Summary: Identical twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield can’t believe they’re finally at sleep-away camp! Even though there are no boys, and Elizabeth’s friend Grace had to cancel her plans to go at the last minute, it will be two whole weeks of fun, fun, fun!

The twins waste no time diving into their favorite activities. Jessica begins to arrange a rendezvous with the boys’ camp across the lake. Elizabeth spends much of her time riding horses and making new friends. But the real excitement starts when Grace turns up in the most unexpected place.

Should the twins take a chance and hide Grace? If they do and they’re caught, camp may just turn out to be the worst two weeks of their lives!

Initial Thoughts:

The Big Camp Secret?

Joke just writes itself.

[Raven: Hi everyone! Quick note for you: this recap went up VERY LATE INDEED, all down to me, and both Wing and Dove have yet to comment on my asinine blatherings. So, if you’re a big fan of the comment back-and-forth, come back tomorrow morning (Tuesday) when, hopefully, all will be complete and I’ll delete this note. Cheers!]

[Dove: Thanks to my insomnia, I’m up in time to comment, but keep in mind I’ve only had a maximum of five hours’ sleep, you may want to wait for Wing.]

[Wing: And on Wednesday, 25 Oct, I finally have a chance to comment. Nothing like a lot of build-up for not a lot of snark.]

(more…)

Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #30: Princess Elizabeth

Sweet Valley Twins 30: Princess Elizabeth by Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins 30: Princess Elizabeth by Jamie Suzanne

Title: Princess Elizabeth

Tagline: Did Elizabeth break her promise to her new friend? [Wing: It is always Jessica and some sort of twin shenanigans. Why are they even bothering to make it seem like a question?] [Raven: Spoilers!]

Summary: Arthur Castle, an exchange student from a small country called Santa Dora, is coming to Sweet Valley Middle School and the sixth graders can’t wait! They have planned all kinds of welcoming events and parties for him.

Arthur doesn’t want anyone to fuss over him. He wants more than anything to be treated just like any other boy. He also wants to discover what real American kids are like. When Arthur meets Elizabeth Wakefield, his dream comes true. Their friendship grows quickly, and soon he even tells her his deepest secret – that he is actually a prince! The next day his secret is all over the school, and Arthur is furious. He thought he had made a true friend in Elizabeth. How could she betray his trust!

Initial Thoughts:

I don’t like this book. I’ve been on a run of books I don’t like, and I’d like to get off.

On reflection, my anti-royal stance has made this book impossible. I should have swapped with Wing. I did come up with a reason – I’ve found Wing will always swap books as long as you come up with a reason. Raven won’t. He knows me too well. [Wing: Well, since I dislike pretty much every book in some way or another, it’s no skin off my nose to recap a specific one (except for things like dogs or adoption or USA politics — oh, wait, that’s in this book. However, Dove was too slow this time, and I’d already written my last recap and couldn’t switch. Actually, now that I know she’s just switching to get away from the books she hates, I’m going to start saying no.]

The Front Cover: Why is Elizabeth getting married? No, really, Elizabeth, why are you getting married? You’re twelve.

(more…)

Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #23: Claim to Fame

Sweet Valley Twins 23: Claim to Fame by Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins 23: Claim to Fame by Jamie Suzanne

Title: Claim to Fame

Tagline: Which twin will go down in history? [Raven: Jessica, of course. Murder One.]

Summary: For its 25th anniversary celebration, Sweet Valley Middle School is burying a time capsule – and a special school-wide contest will decide what goes inside. Identical twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are each determined to win. Jessica is teamed with her fellow Unicorns, and Elizabeth and her friends are with George Henkel, the shyest boy in school, who is without a mother and hardly ever sees his father.

With the race just about even, Elizabeth stumbles on the one thing that will definitely make her team win – an old football that belongs to George Henkel’s father! It’s the football that was used to score the winning touchdown at Sweet Valley’s first state championship. Now, there’s more at stake than just winning. Maybe Elizabeth can also bring George and his dad back together again… if Jessica doesn’t get to the football first!

Initial Thoughts:

Thrilling cover. The twins. Being twinny.

What the hell has this got to do with fame? Maybe a promo shot for whatever fame-related escapades occur in the narrative. Either that, or it’s an advertisement for a specialist massage parlour.

Hopefully the book will have a happy ending.

(more…)

Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #22: Out of Place

Sweet Valley Twins 22: Out of Place - Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins 22: Out of Place – Jamie Suzanne

Title: Out of Place

Tagline: Is there room at Sweet Valley for an outsider? [Dove: No. Absolutely not. Not even if she’s white.]

Summary: Ginny Lu Culpepper had such high hopes for her life in Sweet Valley. But after just one day of being ridiculed by her new classmates, she’s beginning to wish she was back home in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, Then Elizabeth Wakefield comes to her rescue. Ginny Lu realizes that being different doesn’t have to be bad. Being different makes her quite special.

Even Elizabeth’s twin sister, Jessica, is willing to help Ginny Lu – especially when it will mean getting herself out of a jam at the same time. But how can the twins convince the other kids to give the new girl a chance?

Initial Thoughts:

Don’t wanna. Don’t wanna. DON’T WANNA.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not as bad as some books (Class Trip, I’m eyeballing you right now), but it’s just not good either. In all honesty, I’d have been happier doing Left Behind. This is just stupid. The only reason I didn’t ask for a swap was because this is a horse book, and I get them (just like Wing gets adoption, and Raven gets… whatever Wing and I are actively trying to avoid). [Raven: Thanks for that.]

As an indication of how much I don’t want to do this: since opening this document, I have re-organised my “rock” folder in my music, including re-naming all of my Aerosmith songs, and finding HD cover artwork for them. While I was at it, I updated the settings of Mp3tag, so if I need to update anything else with the specific settings I used for “The Very Best of Aerosmith”, then I have them saved.

Side note: If, like me, every time you listen to Crazy by Aerosmith, you wonder just how high Steven Tyler’s range is, well, here’s a breakdown of all the best singers.

What do you mean I’m shirking? Oh, all right, let’s get on with this.

tl;dr: DON’T WANNA.

(more…)

Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #16: Second Best

Sweet Valley Twins 16: Second Best - Jamie Suzanne
Sweet Valley Twins 16: Second Best – Jamie Suzanne

Title: Second Best [Wing: Why does the boy on the left — Tom? — look like a male Wakefield twin? What is going on with the genetics in Sweet Valley?] [Raven: Really? You wanna pull at THAT thread?] [Dove: Or it’s all very simple, and Alice has mothered more than three children.]

Summary: Things are happening fast for the Wakefield twins. The biggest party of the year is coming up. If Jessica can get “un-grounded” in time, she’ll be able to go. Elizabeth is entering a state-wide essay contest, hoping to win the $100 prize. And both twins are putting in extra time on their special school projects.

Cute, smart and popular Tom McKay is in Jessica’s work group. His anti-social brother, Dylan, is in Elizabeth’s. Dylan feels that he will never be as good as his brother. So why should he even bother to try? Elizabeth really wants to prove to Dylan that he can be the best at something, too. But can she help him without coming between the two brothers?

Tagline: Is the boys’ problem too tough for even Elizabeth to handle… [Wing: EVEN ELIZABETH WTF]

Initial Thoughts

Oh, god. I’m not ready. What if I like another book? What am I going to do?!

[Dove: Not a fan of this book – the story itself is good, but like Tug of War, there’s a lot of Elizabeth smugness in it.]

(more…)

Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #10: One of the Gang

Sweet Valley Twins 10: One of the Gang
Sweet Valley Twins 10: One of the Gang (Image not mine, it’s from Calibre’s data scrape, so probably Shannon’s Sweet Valley page)

Title: One of the Gang

Tagline: Is Jessica really as perfect as she thinks she is? (No. Jessica is a barely functioning sociopath – used in the literal sense, not the salacious.)

Summary: Jessica Wakefield has always been the center of everything at school. And Pamela Jacobson has always spent her time on the sidelines, especially in gym. When Jessica hurts her ankle, she starts to feel left out, too. Suddenly, the two girls have something in common.

Jessica, who is chairman of the Mini Olympics, can hardly get to and from class, let alone run the committee meetings. And bossy Lila Fowler begins to take advantage of Jessica’s injury to gain more power so she can run the Olympics her way! That’s when Jessica comes up with a plan. With Pamela’s help, it might just put both of them in the winner’s circle!

Initial Thoughts:

I actually asked for this one. I was due to do Buried Treasure next week, but we have agreed between the three of us that at any point you can request or suggest books that you’re not assigned, based on your experiences or interest. For example, if it hadn’t turned it out that way naturally, I was quite determined Wing should get the books with the adoption storylines, because she is very outspoken on adoption. Raven will be recapping A Christmas Without Elizabeth, because It’s a Wonderful Life is one of his favourite movies of all time [Raven: Every time a fatty is mocked, an angel gets its wings.].

And I wanted this because it deals with physical disability in school. Something I have oodles and oodles of experience with. And now’s probably a good place to explain everything, so you don’t have to wonder which disability I have. (more…)

Posted in Sweet Valley Twins

Sweet Valley Twins #9: Against the Rules

Sweet Valley Twins 9: Against the Rules
Sweet Valley Twins 9: Against the Rules

Title: Against the Rules

Tagline: Is Elizabeth about to make the biggest mistake of her life? I’m guessing no, unless the book focuses on her decision to attend a private tutoring session with Mr Nydick.

Summary: Good friends are big trouble…

Sophia Rizzo is a good writer on the school newspaper, she’s nice, and Elizabeth likes her But all the other kids at Sweet Valley Middle School – including Elizabeth’s twin sister. Jessica – make fun of Sophia because her family is poor and her brother as always in trouble. Even Elizabeth’s parents tell her to stay away from Sophia.

To show Sophia that she’s her friend no matter what anybody says. Elizabeth decides to go against strict orders from her parents and throw a secret birthday party for Sophia.

But is Elizabeth willing to pay the price if she’s caught?

Initial Thoughts:

This promises to be a Very Special Episode of the Sweet Valley Twins saga. Today, we learn about poor people. And Italian Americans. And, thanks to another inspired cover, we know a brunette enjoys a cake.

Woo. And, indeed, Hoo.

[Wing: But the girl on the left appears to hate cake, the brunette, and Liz. And maybe all of Sweet Valley. Girl on the left, are you me?] [Raven: In all seriousness, who is that meant to be? Maybe Amy Sutton? She’s not wearing purple so she’s not a Unigibbon.] (more…)