Episode 28 is up!

What is this sudden wellspring of posts on the blog? I have no doubt there’s a drought to come blog wise, so let’s just let these words flow for now.

In episode 28, we discuss Fear Street: The New Boy by RL Stine. Surge was positive that The New Boy would be a gender flipped The New Girl. Needless to say, he was wrong. There were a few callbacks to the book that started the series, but overall, it didn’t quite follow in The New Girl‘s footsteps. What’s interesting is that there have been many books in the series thus far that could have been called The New Boy, for instance First Date was all about Chelsea going on a series of dates with the new boy in school, The Fire Game was all about a new boy in school starting up a fire game. In fact, a new kid in school tends to be the plot to many of the books in the series. So what makes The New Boy so special in regards to that specific plot point to earn the title? Probably because the main plot title would just be too odd or super generic. Fear Street Stolen MoneyFear Street The Bet? Fear Street Fixed TransmissionFear Street: Gotta Pay for Yale? And this whole thing leads to why we weren’t blown away with this book. It seems like RL Stine didn’t quite know what to do with these plot points and they were hamfisted together pretty obviously. All the plot points suffered and so did the characters. Poor Eve and poor Faith. And poor readers.

On the bright side, we were able to review a fantastic collection of short stories at the top of the cast. Sarim Baig’s debut collection of short stories Saints and Charlatans from Mongrel books. Currently, it’s only available in Pakistan but we’re told the ebooks will be available world wide shortly. A fantastically well written collection of stories that makes us look forward to any future works to come from Sarim Baig.

Without further ado, episode 28 can be heard here.


Season 2

If you thought we were bad about posting, well here we are again.  Posting months later. We recently started season 2 of the podcast. You may be wondering about the what’s and why’s. It isn’t quite the one year date from when we started nor does it have anything to do with the number of episodes we’ve done. Instead, it’s based on the publication year of the books. Season 1 encompasses the books published from 1989-1992. Season 2 starts with the books published from 1993 on. We haven’t decided on the cutoff year, but RL Stine does seem to get quite prolific with the Fear Street books, so we don’t think that it’ll cover quite as many publication years. It seems like we might make the cutoff for Season 2 1995, but that remains to be seen.

What have we learned doing our first season? To make a checklist and follow it. To write outlines otherwise we’ll ramble and lose the plot. If we wait too long to record, we depend solely on these outlines. Segues are important. If we schedule a recording session but neither of us are feeling it, just don’t record. It just sounds bad. We don’t hate the books. We’re more surprised by that than you’d think.  We also figured out more technical things like how to record with two micorphones and how to set it up. Perhaps it’s not right to say we’ve figured it out, as we’re still making silly technical mistakes even in season 2. But that’s a story for another time.

What do we think of our first season? There’s an entire episode where we ended up recording with the laptop microphone instead of our dedicated podcast mic. It sounds awful, but we thought the episode was good enough that we wouldn’t have to re-record it. Would we make the same decision now? Hard to say. But overall, we’re proud of the content we put out. We created and fleshed out our Fear Street mythos. We got really into the series and tried our hardest to make it fun for both ourselves and listeners.

We hope to bring some of our favorite aspects to season 2. Surge loves making weird graphics for our #youcasts. Anna is still arranging music for the show. We’re reading and reviewing more books outside the series together, whereas that was definitely more an Anna thing in season 1. We hope to promote more diverse authors, independent authors, and up and coming others in our first segment. We definitely hope to do more interviews.  And above all else, we hope to read more Fear Street books and keep building on that mythos.

If you haven’t listened to them yet, we currently have 2 episodes out for season 2. Take a listen, enjoy, and stick around for the rest of our journey!

Episode 26 – Fear Street 18: The Cheater

Episode 27 – Fear Street 19: Sunburn

Episode 23 is now up!

Wow, it’s been awhile. 2017 came and went and now we’re at the 2nd year of our podcast. We had highs and lows last year for our podcast and kind of disappeared at the end of the year due to work and travel. But 2018 brings a new year and new goals and a fresh slate.  And what’s a better way to welcome in a new year for a podcast than posting a new episode?

In this episode, we talk about Fear Street Cheerleaders: The Second Evil. It’s a continuation of the First Evil (obviously), but because it’s serialized, we get to know some of these character a lot more than we do in normal books. This book deals with Corky’s loss. Not only is she battling a demon, but she’s battling internal demons as well.  Returning to normalcy is something I imagine all Fear Street protagonists strive to achieve after their book is done, but it’s not something we get to see. The reader is left to assume that their aftermath is positive off the pages. For Corky, is there for us plain as day. However, normalcy isn’t something that Fear Street is quite ready to give her yet.

We also review two books that we quite enjoyed in 2017. First was C. Robert Cargill’s Sea of Rust. A book about the post-human robot apocalypse apocalypse? A scavenger bot doing her best to live when all signs point otherwise. Yes humans are extinct, but in a way we were able to live on with these robots.  The second book was Nina Berkhout’s The Mosaic. A book about a young woman finding herself in a town that wants her to become one thing.  In a weird way these two book are connected. Both Brittle and Twyla are faced with questions about their independence and their existence. Both Brittle and Twyla fight back in their own ways.

One interesting thing in The Mosaic are the namesakes in the book. Gabriel is making mosaics in his silo made of spent ammunition. If you’re interested in seeing what it may look like, check out the work by artist John Tan has created.

Without further adieu, take a listen at episode 23 up now!


Episode 20 Fear Street First Date is up!

Once again, Surge and Anna return to discuss the next installment of the Fear Street series. Here, we talk about Fear Street 16: First Date.

To be honest, it wasn’t our favorite book of all time, but at least it wasn’t our least favorite. The first date wasn’t what really stood out to us. Well, that’s kind of a lie, that first date was hilarious. But what really stood out was Chelsea’s storyline of moving into a new town and being the new kid in school. Both of us moved around as kids, so we felt Chelsea’s pain of trying to make new friends and feeling like we didn’t fit in. It’s a horrible feeling that you don’t need to move to Fear Street to feel. Of course, moving to a street that kids avoid (but are oddly drawn to) doesn’t help matters.

Listen to our review of Fear Street 16: First Date here!

We’re back with episode 19!

Hey guys, sorry for the lack of posting here on the blog. It’s a mix of busy and lazy.  In the mean time, we have been recording and posting episodes and a lot of youtube versions. We have a few more in the can ready to go.

Our latest episode is a discussion on Fear Street Super Chiller 2: Silent Night.

We start with a review of Seanan McGuire’s latest book in the October Daye series, The Brightest Fell. Anna had reviewed the first book in the series, Rosemary and Rue in episode 18. Now that we’re on book 11, Surge joins Anna and jumps into the series. We don’t want to spoil our review, but Surge is going back and reading some other books in the series. We want to thank DAW for sending us the books. Our review was no way influenced by this.

On to the meat of it all, we discuss Fear Street Super Chiller 2: Silent Night. In it, we get introduced to Reva Dalby. Reva is one of the most memorably protagonists in the series so far, and she’s everything you’d hate in a person. If you met Reva in real life, you’d want nothing to do with her. But there’s something oddly compelling to read a character like her in a book. You don’t cheer for her per se, nor are you necessarily cheering for her demise. But it hooks you in a very different way than the rest of the protagonists do.

One interesting thing is how similar this is to the Archie show, Riverdale on CW/Netflix. Reva’s description is, to a T, Cheryl Blossom. Pam is obviously Betty Cooper. Serious Riverdale fans will see ALL the parallels, and we’ll leave it at that.

This book does deal with poverty and the wealth gap in a town like Shadyside. We have rich characters, middle class characters, and poor characters. While the poor characters do seem to get the short end of the stick here, the richer characters are never quite off the hook.

The best part of the book is the contribution to our mythos. Welcome to Fear Street, Hawkins National Lab. Stranger Things – Fear Street tie in. Yeah, it happened.

Without further ado, Episode 19.



Episode 10 now up!

The last of the episodes we recorded before Anna went off to Europe is finally up!

Fear Street: The Stepsister involves Emily grappling with the fact that her stepsister Jessi is moving in to her room. They got along at the wedding, but things are just falling apart. Going from a single room to a shared room is inherently pretty difficult. But moving in to a room with someone who you believe might be out to get you might just be worse. Add to that a misogynistic stepdad and a quiet and slightly odd stepbrother and it’s an interesting situation you have going on. Good thing Emily has the support of a older sister Nancy who seems to always be there when she needs a shoulder.

Divorced kids were THE topic in MG and YA books in the 90’s. This is the first Fear Street book that deals with two families coming together.  We’re not entirely sure RL Stine did the situation justice, but family dynamics are not his forte.

Anna also gives a brief rundown of Pilot X and Spaceman of Bohemia.

Without further ado, here’s Episode 10 – Fear Street 9: The Stepsister. Give it a listen!

Episode 09 is FINALLY up!

Anna had a fun time in Europe but now she’s back and spent the weekend editing. Thanks to our listeners for being so patient and understanding. We apologize for not getting this out sooner.

Fear Street: Halloween Party is about Justine throwing a party in a mansion on Fear Street for Halloween. But it’s really a story about friendship, revenge, and rising above pettiness. It’s shorter than the other Fear Street books we’ve read by a few pages, but it’s the most action packed. Everything about the story clicked – from the characters to the setting. Haunted introduced the supernatural elements to the series, but Halloween Party is the first to really introduce genuine fear.

Anna also gives a midread review of Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar.

Thanks for being patient. Here it is, Episode 09 – Fear Street 8: Halloween Party on Spreaker!

Episode 8 is now up!

Going into the recording session, Surge hadn’t quite figured out how he felt about Fear Street: Haunted. In fact, immediately after finishing the book, he ran downstairs and said something along the lines of “let’s record, I need to figure this out”. Anna was in the middle of the season 3 finale of Black Mirror but hey, you record when you have to.

What can be said about the book without spoiling too much? Well, we can say that our predictions were off. We can also say that numerology still seems to play a large role in the Fear Street books, if you know Mandarin and German. RL Stine, we’re on to you.

What can we say with tons of spoilers?  HOLY SHIT THERE’S A REAL GHOST ON FEAR STREET! This is what we’ve been waiting for!! Yeah.

What the main point of Haunted was though? Income and class disparity in Shadyside. We saw that a bit in Fear Street: The Sleepalker, with Mayra having to earn money to help the family out. But it’s clear as day here. Melissa comes from a very well to do family: both her parents are lawyers, she lives in a Victorian mansion, she gets a car for her birthday, and her family has a live in maid. Part of this book also takes place in the “poor” part of town, or the Old Village. RL Stine goes out of his way to describe the shabbiness of this part of town. The yards are more overgrown and smaller. The houses are falling apart. We enter Paul’s house and the contrast could not be more stark. Whereas Melissa has everything she could ever want in her room, Paul has a utilitarian room. A bed, a light, a counter built in to the wall, and a trashcan. Paul has grown up in an environment where he doesn’t always get what he wants, and he can see that there are people on the other side of town who don’t struggle the same way. And this rage boils within him and causes him to do some pretty awful things. But the thing is, the “rich” in the book doesn’t necessarily come off much better. Melissa’s friend makes fun of a less well to do girl in the mall who “dares” to be poor. However, because her dad grew up in poverty, he instilled values in Melissa to make sure it never went to her head. So Melissa stands up to her friend and lectures her about what she is saying. The thing is, the friend  didn’t really care despite Melissa’s best efforts.

RL Stine could be writing horror shlock to sell more books, but he chose to write about something more. This isn’t a book about being haunted by something. It’s a book about how much the environment we grow up in shapes and affects us. And even more importantly, how much we let it shape us.  Income inequality is an important topic, and for it to be a issue in a Fear Street book was a big deal.

Before our discussion on Fear Street:Haunted, Anna reviews We Are Okay by Nina LaCour. A new YA book that was recommended by booktuber ProblemsOfABookNerd.

Without further ado, check out Episode 08 – Fear Street 7: Haunted on Spreaker.

Episode 7 now out!

In the latest installment of the Fear Street series, The Sleepwalker, we see Mayra sleepwalking down to Fear Lake. It’s actually kind of terrifying if you think about it. Even the most relaxed person likes to have a semblance of control over their life. To have a sleepwalking problem is basically having no conscious control over what you are doing. Mayra almost drowns in Fear Lake in her sleep. Terrifying.

Surge and Anna do make light of it at times, but seriously, if you have this problem, go get a sleep study done. We also come off pretty judgey about how her mom handles it. Which, hey, we’re not parents. Maybe it’s not fair for us to do that. Props to her mom for trying her best.

On a lighter note, we did struggle in figuring out how to pronounce Mayra. We couldn’t decide if it was like “Myra” or maybe “May-ra”, so we just went all out and found a different perhaps unique way. It actually sounds pretty cool, but you need to listen to find out how.

Anna also reviewed The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker at the start. It’s a stellar book about friendship and unbreakable bonds that people should definitely check out. For a longer review you have to listen to the episode!

On that note, listen to Episode 07 – Fear Street 6: The Sleepwalker on Spreaker.

Sixth Episode out!

We released episode 6 of our podcast!

We talk about Fear Street The Wrong Number, which ostensibly is a story about how prank calling people is not only rude but can end in disaster. Also surprised it was never a plot on any of the crime procedural shows. Then again, it might have been and we just never watched enough of them.

Did any of you guys ever prank call people? Neither one of us really did anything like that in the 90’s. The worst was probably Anna calling her parents from a friends house and pretending to be someone else for a few seconds. But since she had to ask permission to be at the person’s house, it never made sense to make it a thing. Neither one of us really saw the point of it, or we just had other things to do with our lives.

Deena uses prank calls as a sort of crutch because she’s so shy and can’t muster up the courage to talk to her crush. By the time we were teenagers, we had AIM so we never had to really speak to our crushes. We just IMed, which gave us a chance to sit back and think about what we wanted to say.

Come to think of it, maybe the advent of the internet age killed prank calls. Instead of prank calling people, now people just troll each other. It’s sort of similar in many ways, no? Any thoughts?

Anyways, on top of discussing The Wrong Number, we also get into a brief discussion on graphic novels vs manga.

Listen to “Episode 06 – Fear Street 5: The Wrong Number” on Spreaker.