Release Day: BLACK HEART, RED RUBY

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To Pike with Love

For the better part of this year, I’ve been on a scavenger hunt for Christopher Pike novels. So far, my search has only proved disappointing and whenever I hear of people picking up a stack Pikes from their used bookstores and library sales, I gnash my teeth in uncontrollable jealousy.  Someone in the Southern California area is collecting vintage Pike paperbacks and I consider that someone my arch-nemesis! If I ever meet that someone in a dark alley, I will be forced to to kick him or her… in the FACE. Every bloody time I visit The Dollar Bookstore, I leave soul-crushed and Pikeless.

Until now…

A few days ago, my luck changed:

Ho Ho! The loot!

You may express your envy.

Guess what I also found? A pristine 1971 edition of The Witch of Blackbird Pond! No broken spine. No bent cover. The pages are a little acid-eaten but that’s expected for a paperback that is OLDER than I am. This cover brings back so many fond elementary school/tween memories!

I spent the afternoon gleefully scrubbing my loot with a generous dose of rubbing alcohol.

An intense internet search session yielded squeal-able information:

More Christopher Pike reissues! The Remember Me trilogy (Remember Me, The Return, and The Last Story) and the To Die For Omnibus (including Slumber Party and Weekend).

I’ve vowed never to say ‘OMFG’ again but what the hey? Pike is writing a sequel to The Last Vampire sextet! THIRST NO. 3: ETERNAL DAWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He’s also penning a new YA that involves magic carpets and a genie! The Secret of Ka. ZOMG!!!!!

I think I broke my ! button.

Detouring from my Pike worship, I snagged a new summer dress from the sales rack and frolicked about town. To answer your question: yes, many Smurfs had to die to make that handbag you see on my person. Under my gentle guise, I am a Cruella Deville at heart and my next project is to skin an Oompa Loompa colony to make a coat. Cue sinister cackle.

And if I were a librarian (why aren’t I a librarian?), my life would be a collage of cardigans, cat eyed spectacles, cupcakes, and Austen.

Happy reading!

Thirst No. 1

Thirst No. 1 by Christopher Pike

Remember in Rambo II when Rambo spears some unfortunate evil dude and said evil dude BLEW UP? Something of that nature happens in this re-issue of a ‘90’s vampire classic. Rest assured, people will explode, sometimes spontaneously, sometimes on account of sniper rifles and rocket launchers, and, if you’re a pro at suspending your disbelief, Pike will take you on a high octane roller costar ride and then blow YOU up.

In a thinly veiled attempt to ride the YA vampire train to riches and glory, the publishers of Christopher Pike’s backlist have re-issued the first three novels (The Last Vampire, Black Blood, Red Dice)  of his bestselling Last Vampire series in this thrilling pulp omnibus.

Sita is a five thousand year old vampire: blond, beautiful, and a certified badass. She’s also the last of the bloodsuckers and, as the story begins, she’s the new girl in Mayfair, a sleepy town in the Pacific Northwest. In history class, she meets Ray, a sensitive teen hunk and here I almost sent this book back to the library unread; I felt like I read this story before. In this case, I’m secretly beating a certain author who shall not be named with the plagiarism stick because I suspect Pike was probably rocking out to Nirvana when he penned The Last Vampire which is to say this chick came before that egg hatched at twilight. Plus, Sita glittered too…for logical reasons, radioactive fallout being one of them.

Out of loyalty to Pike, I soldiered through the “I drink blood and you must think this is unique” bit to the “So the lion falls in love with the lamb: I have no soul, but he has soul enough for two” crap and I am glad. There are…HELICOPTER CHASES, DEADLY FLUTE PLAY-OFFS, RABID VAMPIRE DOGS, and someone gets SPEARED with a JAVELIN (I do love a good spearing).

Let’s speak plainly. Ray—Sita’s mortal lover and ‘soul mate’—was such a sniveling wimp he makes Bella Swan look like Chuck Norris. I doubt I’m the only reader who felt this way, which is why it was so cool when Christopher Pike, probably sensing the inherent lameness of this character, BLEW HIM UP!!!! Have you ever come across a character you can’t stand and wish the author would make him or her (*cough* Bella) spontaneously combust and then the author READ YOUR MIND and plopped this annoying character next to a leaky gas tank and lit a match? This…and helicopter chases, is why Christopher Pike is the king of YA pulp.

Count me in for Thirst No. 2. I have to find out what happens after Sita launched the nuclear warheads and nuked Vegas. Don’t you dare laugh! The way I see it, vampire stories are already far-fetched; why not crank the lever to full-throttle and juice the horror/sci fi genre for all it’s worth? Pike holds nothing back. And it shows. I suspect Pike had as much fun writing The Last Vampire as I had reading it.

This series may win no awards, but an annoying character is blown up and that’s the biggest award of all. Suffice to say, many a coma-inducing classic could use an unnecessary explosion.

As for a rating, I give this a B+ for Blockbuster.

R.I.P Challenge IV

I’ve signed up for Carl’s R.I.P Challenge. This is my first time!

Here’s my reading pool:

R.I.P Challenge Pool

1. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne de Mauier

2. Nothing but Ghosts by Beth Kephart

3. Exquisite Corpse by Poppy Z. Brite

4. Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink

I’ve picked Peril the Second, which requires me to read 2 books of a spooky nature between September 1-October 31.  First challenge, baby steps. I might read all 4 from my pool and promote myself up to Peril the First. We’ll see.

I’m also doing the Short Story Peril.

My selection: Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories

This cover creeps me out

I never thought I’d say this, but the cover of A Certain Slant of Light creeps me out. Another way of saying it is: this cover scares the crap out of me! Guys, I’m serious. I’m not even trying to be sarcastic.

I currently have this book faced down on my TBR stack, buried under harmless covers such as The Goose Girl. I’m even contemplating not reading it because a) I have a very active imagination b) do I really want some macabre image of a tripped-out Ophelia lurking around my head when I use the bathroom in the middle of the night and hear a drip in the bathtub?

The cover art seemed harmless enough when I checked it out. Just a girl taking a bath, right? Ironic this book is titled A Certain Slant of Light because if you look closely, it appears to be some girl with lackluster hair drowning herself in the bathtub. And let’s not mention that unsettling gauzy white nightgown in her hands. Oh yeah, and the chipped Victorian-era bathtub doesn’t help alleviate the chill factor.

A while back, I posted on how I use to be a big horror fiction fan. But I seemed to have forgotten that I’ll have these twisted, macabre images circulating in my head for years! Everything is fine during the day, but on nights when I have trouble sleeping, these images tend to seep out of my head like some ghostly smoke and merge with the shadows on my wall.

So to anyone who has read A Certain Slant of Light, please tell me that the content is not as creepy as the cover art. Should I give it a chance? Yea or Nay?

And while I’m on the topic of macabre subject matter, here are a list of things that also scare the living crap out of me.

Don’t get any ideas and send me the following in the mail!

  • Creepy Historical Eras.
    • Puritan Era, 17th century. I’ve always thought Puritans were scary. Their solemn clothes, fanatical beliefs, stockades, and witch hunts chill me to the bone. Imagine if you woke up and saw a Puritan looking down at you, tell me if you don’t pee your pants then!
    • Victorian Era, 19th century. I think a lot of the creep factor has to do with their dour clothing and solemn sepia portraits. Oh yeah, they also prop up the dead and dress them up for pictures in a freaky practice called Victorian post-mortem photography. An image search on Google produces some disturbing photos which, for your sake and more for my sake, I will not post up.
  • Glassy-eyed dolls and marionettes. Glassy-eyed dolls give the impression that they can come to life at any moment and call you “Mommy.” They are always watching! Marionettes dangle around like a hanged man. They also have that wide, grotesque painted mouth that looks like a smile, but is really a sneer. These toys just look evil.
  • Children singing demented nursery rhymes in the middle of the night. “Ring around the Rosy.” (Not that I’ve ever been scared witless by a demon child, but I’ve seen it in movies…)
  • Jack-in-the-box. Okay, what kind of sick sick sicko invented this toy? Do you think it’s funny to have some psycho clown jump out at you and take out an eye?
  • Clowns. I can’t get near clowns. I’ve always thought they were psycho killers in disguise. Their big red mouths remind me of the portal to hell! Get the <insert F word> away from me Bozo!
  • Historical houses. I always want to live in an old Victorian mansion or an English manor house. That’s my line of thinking during the day. Imagine the terror if you were to stay in one overnight, what with the stuffy old house smells and the ancestral portraits of unsmiling dead people…
  • Remarkably, only two movies scare me.
    • The Sixth Sense
    • The Others

I believe that’s all I can think of for now. I’m sure my next insomniac night will produce more bullet points. If I keep thinking along these lines, I may grow up to be the next Stephen King or Edgar Allen Poe…

Oh, one more bullet point: Edgar Allen Poe. Need I mention that the Travel Channel says he’s haunting some Baltimore hotel room. And just to let you know, Virginia Clemm, his thirteen year old child bride, fell victim to consumption. While singing at the piano for Edgar, a blood vessel burst in her throat and she started bleeding profusely during her song. But she kept singing for a few moments longer, unaware that she was bleeding through her mouth. Yeah, think about that…

I’m not posting Edgar Allen Poe’s daguerreotype up either because quite frankly, his picture scares me. We all know what he looks like.

Do the same things that scare me scare you? Or can you think of something creepier? Let me know; share with words, don’t send pictures. If I receive even one picture of a dead Victorian, so help me God…