Friday, March 27, 2015

Spooksville #9: The Wishing Stone (Christopher Pike)

Sally sees a flash of light in the woods while out walking with Watch, Cindy, and Adam. They look around for a bit and don't find anything, but them she literally stumbles across a glowing stone on the ground. Sally wants to take it, they all think she should leave it, and they eventually agree to walk a few feet behind her in case anything happens. When she wishes that she had new shoes, new shoes suddenly appear on her feet, and Watch decides it must be a Wishing Stone.

Sally wishes for a few more things, including a million dollars, and she gets everything she wants. When she wishes for things for Cindy, nothing happens. Watch thinks that they all need to make their own wishes. Cindy wishes for new clothes, Watch wishes for a laser gun and a force field, and Adam wishes for intergalactic world peace because he doesn't want anything for himself, though he does seem hurt when Cindy tells him he needs new clothes because he dresses like a nerd.

A dude in a dark red robe appears in front of them and announces that he's a collector. They owe him thousands of gratoms for their wishes, and if they can't pay, he'll send them to a slave planet to work off their debts. Sally speaks up and disappears, followed by Cindy. Adam hides in the bushes, and Watch shoots the guy with his laser pistol, which kills him.

Sally and Cindy find themselves on a weird planet. They end up in a barracks type room with an alien girl. She tells them that she's the only other one there that speaks English and that she learned it from a earth being who died while trying to escape. In four years, she only earn four gratoms. The system is set up so that you can never work off your debt.

Adam and Watch make a wish that takes them to what turns out to be an astroid. A robot tells them that they have food from earth and that they should order. They do, eat, and then meet a guy named Fur who is completely hairless. After what seems like eternity but is really only a few pages, they work out an agreement. Fur will take them to their friends, but they have to let him use their force field.

Cindy and Sally start work and have no idea what they're doing, but their new friend comes over and helps them. They basically weld parts on these giant lamps with some weird laser tool. One of the leaders come over and snaps at the girl for helping them before yelling at the other two to shut up and do their jobs. She then warns them to watch themselves and never talk back.

Fur takes the other two out on his ship, but he has to make an emergency stop. This gives him the chance to hack a computer and find their records. He plans on deleting all their debts, but the Kasters (aka the bad peeps) feed him a bunch of bad information and then attack. Luckily, he had the force field on him, which caused their lasers to bounce off him and kill them.

Sally tricks the leader of the Kasters into helping her disable the force field around the planet, which lets the guys get through. They arrive at the same time as another ship does. Sally and the other gals somehow managed to bring down hundreds of robots controlling the planet. The captain on the ship wants to put them all back into slavery and take Fur into custody.

Turns out that intergalactic law says that all wishes on the same order must be fulfilled before the Kasters can collect. Since they never fulfilled Adam's wish for world peace, the order isn't done. The captain begs him to wish for anything else but he refuses. They then offer to give back all the things they wished for in exchange for their friends' freedom. Fur and the girls' friend get to roam free, and the rest will go back to Earth.

*When Adam tells her to be careful with her wishes because she doesn't know the cost, Sally says it's a stone and not a bill collector. I totally giggled.

*Cindy actually first tells Adam that he looks like his mom dresses him, and they all laugh when he says his mom buys all his clothes. Is that really so hard to believe of a 12 year old? I probably still let my mom pick out my stuff until junior high for the most part.

*Watch depresses me. There's always a little more to his backstory in each book. In this one, even the collector can't find a last name for him.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sweet Valley High: Jessica's Secret Diary Volume III

Jessica's been out on a few dates with this guy Michael at the same time that she dates some other guys. She loves that he's tall, on the basketball team, and is crazy about her, but she just isn't the kind of girl who settles down with any one guy. Things are fine up until they go out again and she reminds him of their upcoming date to the big dance.

Michael uses this excuse to tell her that she can have every Friday and Saturday night for all he's concerned. He is so crazy about her that he doesn't want to see anyone else and suggests that they go steady. Jessica tells him that she wants to keep doing what they've been doing, but it isn't enough for him anymore. It's all or nothing. When she turns him down, he ends things completely.

The twins have Maria, Enid, Amy, and Lila over to the house, which seems like an odd mixture to me. Since they all have boyfriends, they kind of gang up on Jessica about how settling down isn't necessarily bad. Jess points out all the reasons why relationships suck but they all laugh it off.

After realizing that every member of every team now has a girlfriend and she can't find a date for the dance, she stays home with her parents. Ned springs tickets to some fancy show on Alice, and she suggests that Jess watch a movie that she rented. While watching the credits, she sees a special dedication from director Charles Sampson to her, which leads to her reading through her old diaries.

This book covers a lot of the Sam books and starts with Cara and Steven planning to elope. Instead of going through all those books, I'll just cover the "new" story introduced in this one.

While out one day, Jessica meets a hot guy in a hot car. He introduces himself as Charles Sampson. He's the son of a famous director, the brother of a famous actress, and wants to make a movie too. Charles saw Jessica on that lame soap opera and though she was perfect for the main character of Blythe in his movie. Blythe is some random girl trapped between being a woman and a teenager who meets an older man and becomes Bonnie to his Clyde.

Jessica is super excited about starring in a movie, but then she remembers what happened with Sam and how he warned her that if Hollywood went to her head again, he'd leave her. She keeps juggling meetings with Charles and dates with Sam, and she lies to Sam a lot about where she's been. At one point, she and Charles kiss, which leads her to tell him that she won't be in the movie.

But, Charles really needs her help. He is super close to getting the money he needs, and he needs her to wow a famous producer. She blows off Sam to go with him to an investment meeting. The producer loves her so much that he agrees to give Charles the rest of the money. Jess then decides that she'll be in the movie.

On the way back to Sweet Valley, his car dies and they end up on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. Luckily, he has snacks for them and a heavy flannel shirt she can wear. They make a fire and sit and talk for hours. Charles makes a move on her again and admits that he's in love with her. She backs out, saying that she can't do that to Sam again. Charles promises that he can put his feelings aside for the sake of the movie, but she turns him down again.

Jess and Sam have plans the next day, and Sam seems really quiet. He finally tells her that he brought her breakfast that morning to make up for their latest fight, but he saw her getting out of a car with another man. When she tries to explain, he cuts her out and says that as long as she loves him, he can forgive and forget about what he saw. Better yet, they can just move on.

After reading everything, Jessica closes the books and cries a little. She thinks about how much Sam meant to her in the past and how she never really got over him. No matter what she does, she knows that she'll always carry a little piece of him with her. Aww.

*Doesn't Amy have shorter hair, like a bob? Jessica describes her as having long blond hair when she gets out of the pool.

*Charles is apparently 25, which makes this book so freaking creepy. First of all, he doesn't know her address, so he just drives around Sweet Valley in the hopes of finding her. When he does, he actually just calls her over to his car. He's literally nine years older than her and thinks it's appropriate to kiss her.

*Jessica says that she knew going over to some strange man's car was wrong but that it didn't matter because he was cute. How did we not get a book about her getting snatched off the street?

*Charles takes her to a couple of fancy Hollywood parties, and she never bothers telling her parents where she's going. Please see my above comment. Also, some super famous actor gushes over her because he watched her on the soap opera.

*I love how she keeps claiming that she loves Sam, even when she's lying to him and kissing another guy. You would think that at some point these girls would realize that none of what they do equals love.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Spooksville #6: The Witch's Revenge

Adam, Sally, Watch, and Cindy are all sitting around and drinking vanilla milkshakes as they lament the fact that there's nothing to do in Spooksville. The conversation somehow turns to Ms. Ann Templeton, who most of the kids in town this is a witch. Supposedly, she once turned a girl into a sand statue after the girl beat her in a chess match. Cindy is the only one who doesn't really believe, which makes Adam agree with her.

They all decide to go her castle. Even though they don't see anyone, the door magically opens on its own. After seeing a strange hourglass, they come across four necklaces, each with a different stone. Everyone feels drawn to one specifically, but Sally urges them not to wear them in case they turn into toads or something. Watch puts one on anyway, and it causes his eyes to get better. He previously had some problems, and the doctors said he couldn't get a better prescription. Cindy wears one that makes her look and feel more beautiful, and Adam's necklace makes him feel like an adult. Sally still doesn't want to wear one but she puts it on, and right then, the witch turns up.

Templeton tells them that the necklaces weren't meant for them, then literally turns around and says that she created a special necklace for each one of them. They all hastily tell her that they'll take them off and give them back, but when Watch tries to take his off, it gets stuck. Templeton then tells them that if they can find a way out of her castle, they can keep the necklaces; they can even take them off and put them back on whenever they want. Before she leaves, she cryptically warns them to watch out for her men.

The further they go, the more they change. Cindy goes from giving off a beautiful glow to actually glowing like a radioactive explosion. Watch can now see in the dark, Adam keeps growing, and Sally keeps getting younger. They wind up having to cross this chasm with big ass glowing red eyed monsters underneath. The path breaks, Sally grabs Adam, and they both go over the side.

Watch and Cindy end up alone, and Watch is convinced that their friends are dead. Given that there's like 20 more books in this series, I bet they're okay. And guess what? They are! They fell onto some type of net, and Adam worries that it's the web of a giant spider. Sally uses her ever present and trusty lighter to help them escape. They stumble around for awhile before running into some beautiful young woman who introduces herself as Mireen.

Cindy and Watch wind up in the basement, and Cindy worries about trolls attacking. The trolls really do attack and then take them hostage. The trolls plan to cook and eat them but then fight over the best way to cook humans. Cindy scares them by talking about the Marines and then saying that they have chicken pots and that if they eat them, the trolls with catch it too. The trolls decide to wait six hours and see if they're really sick.

Mireen reveals to Adam and Sally that she's Ann's daughter. Her father is part of a race called the Star People, so he lives on another planet and she never got to meet them. She also denies that her mother is a witch. After some back and forth, with Sally now the size of a four-year-old and Adam reaching middle age, she agrees to help them save their friends.

The head troll comes back and wants to know more about the Marines. Cindy pretends that Watch has a promotional brochure in his pocket about them, and they convince the troll to undo his chains. Watch then knocks him over the head until he passes out. When he comes to, they make him go with them to find their friends.

Mireen, Adam, and Sally reach them just as Sally reverts to age two. The other trolls attack, and Mireen does a bunch of spells that send them running. They then exit into a large room with the witch in the center. She tells them that they still haven't found a way out and makes some threats. Mireen refuses to leave with her mother and says the other kids are now her friends. She gives them another chance to leave before exiting with the troll.

Turns out that the witch gave them a hint about getting out. Something about remembering why they came there. This leads them back to the hourglass, which Watch tips over in the hopes of going back in time. They all pass out and wake up outside of the castle. Watch still has his glasses, but now he can see a lot better. He tells them that the witch told him he should keep the glasses because he looks good in them, and Sally laughingly agrees. Haha?

*Cindy threatens the trolls with the Marines. When they ask who the Marines are, Watch responds "the proud and the few," which made me giggle. One of my close friends is a Marine and he got a kick out of it too.

*Sally tells Mireen that her dad probably just skipped town and her mom made up a story for her. It kind of makes me feel bad about her home life.

*These books are kind of hard for me to recap. There are so many mentions to books that happened before, but I only have a handful of them, so I don't really know what they're talking about sometimes.