**spoiler alert** Tagline: Bad dog. Really BAD dog. Book #: 32
It’s not easy being a scaredy-cat in a new town, especially when local ghost dogs (former**spoiler alert** Tagline: Bad dog. Really BAD dog. Book #: 32
It’s not easy being a scaredy-cat in a new town, especially when local ghost dogs (formerly humans) plot to drag you into the forest and swap bodies with you. But that’s what 12-year-old Cooper Holmes finds himself contending with in The Barking Ghost. Watching Cooper problem solve and summon courage he never knew he had makes for one of Stine’s more engaging thrillers.
Moment That Gave Me Goosebumps: It’s so creepy when Cooper becomes a ghost dog and tries to go to his parents for help. When that first “woof woof woof” leaves his lips, it touches such an unsettling nerve. And then he sees the former ghost dog now living his life. Unbearable...more
**spoiler alert** Tagline: Now you see him. Now you don’t. Book #: 06
Stine, when he’s really on, can hold tension with the best of them, and Let’s Get**spoiler alert** Tagline: Now you see him. Now you don’t. Book #: 06
Stine, when he’s really on, can hold tension with the best of them, and Let’s Get Invisible! does a great job of creating the creep all the way until the final twist. Despite the slightly weird “what if the military gets this?” element, this installment has a great good vs. evil/split personality/body snatcher vibe.
Moment That Gave Me Goosebumps:
Actual Max and Mirrored Max battling it out for control over reality is a great The Thing-type creep-factor that has always hung around, tickling the hair on the back of my neck....more
The story line to the Pink Carnation series finale? Brilliant rogue meets consummate professional and have either finally met their match?
Napoleon hasThe story line to the Pink Carnation series finale? Brilliant rogue meets consummate professional and have either finally met their match?
Napoleon has invaded Lisbon and Jane Wooliston (AKA the Pink Carnation) has been assigned the impossible task of locating and spiriting away the aging Queen Maria from the clutches of French troops. Finding herself out of her element in a foreign country she knows little about and with scant knowledge of the language, Jane Wooliston desperately needs a partner to guarantee success. Her unlikely partner turns out to be the unpredictable and turncoat operative known only as the Moonflower. He is Jack Reid, the illegitimate half-caste son of the Scotsman Colonel Reid and a royal Indian princess. Relying on hear-say and rumors about each other's perceived reputations, their partnership gets off to a wary and untrustworthy start as their modes of operation have always been of a solitary nature.
Thus begins an arduous journey through the primitive Portuguese country side accompanied by a recalcitrant mule that neither Jane nor Jack can hilariously pin a name on. (pun intended) It soon becomes apparent that Jane is out of her element, in spite of the notion that SHE is in charge. Patiently Jack defers to Jane's fumbling attempts to keep the mission going until she grudgingly accepts his ideas on how to improve their chances. Thus the two unlikely partners move from paranoid dislike to a grudging partnership to mutual admiration to deep affection to Love (?) Can the Pink Carnation really be tamed? A certain Augustus Whittlesby in The Garden Intrigue begged for her hand only to be rebuffed as Miss Gwen declared the Pink Carnation too cold and calculating for romantic passion.
Who should show up in the middle of their sojourn but the treacherous Monsour le Comte de Brillac otherwise known as the Gardner. Clever, sly, and seductive, Jane's former lover becomes an obstacle to Jack's growing jealousy for Jane. And what of the growing sexual attraction between Jane and Jack? We are treated to some of the most highly charged eroticism in all of the Pink Carnation series. It is absolutely molten in its depictions!
What carries and intensifies the story is the author's brilliance in carefully crafted dialogues between these two as they thrust, parry, and seek out the truth in each other, rather than what they have gleaned from gossip. Years of isolation have deprived each of them with the human qualities of kindness, honesty, trust, and yes....unconditional love that neither of them knew they still possessed.
To reveal more would delve into spoiler territory but there are shocking and unpredictable turns-of-events as the book reaches its climax. Pink Carnation fans are treated with cameo appearances from some of the most beloved characters in the series.
Dear readers: The grand finale is a grand slam indeed. Beyond the last words in this epic series is a cornucopia of delights from a generous and appreciative author who offers up an alternative but rejected final chapter. (Jane Austen and Persuasion come to mind) There is also an interview with the slippery but charming Comte (the Gardener), an interview with author Lauren Willig herself, a brief history of Portugal during the French invasion, and challenging questions for astute readers.
Yes, this reader got a little teary-eyed as I finished but the author has hedged her bets in that she has still not ruled out the possibility of another Pink Carnation installment. A virtual standing ovation for you, Lauren!...more
**spoiler alert** Tagline: Homework was never this gross before! Book #: 21
Todd’s got worms — on the brain that is. He collects them, uses them in scho**spoiler alert** Tagline: Homework was never this gross before! Book #: 21
Todd’s got worms — on the brain that is. He collects them, uses them in school projects, and torments his sister and friends with them. However, once Todd begins slicing specimens in half, the worms decide the kid needs a new hobby. If creepy crawlies gross you out, boy will Stine have you squirming here.
Moment That Gave Me Goosebumps: If the book cover on this one doesn’t freak you out, you’re as sick as that worm Todd....more