Author: Joe Hill

Waiting on Wednesday – Phantoms: Haunting Tales from Masters of the Genre

October 10, 2018 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 4 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Phantoms: Haunting Tales from Masters of the GenrePhantoms: Haunting Tales from Masters of the Genre by Joe Hill, Marie O'Regan, Paul Tremblay, Josh Malerman, John Connolly, A.K. Benedict, Alison Littlewood
Published by Titan Books on October 9th 2018
Pages: 400
Genres: Horror
Format: Paperback
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
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Also by this author: NOS4A2, Twittering from the Circus of the Dead, The Fireman: A Novel, A Head Full of Ghosts, Bird Box, Black Mad Wheel, Barbed Wire Heart, Unbury Carol

A stunning new ghost story anthology featuring stories from bestselling authors Joe Hill, Josh Malerman, Paul Tremblay and M.R. Carey

The brightest names in horror showcase a ghastly collection of eighteen ghost stories that will have you watching over your shoulder, heart racing at every bump in the night. In “My Life in Politics” by M.R. Carey the spirits of those without a voice refuse to let a politician keep them silent. In “The Adjoining Room” by A.K. Benedict a woman finds her hotel neighbour trapped and screaming behind a door that doesn’t exist. George Mann’s “The Restoration” sees a young artist become obsessed with returning a forgotten painting to its former glory, even if it kills her. And Laura Purcell’s “Cameo” shows that the parting gift of a loved one can have far darker consequences than ever imagined…

These unsettling tales from the some of the best modern horror writers will send a chill down your spine like someone has walked over your grave…or perhaps just woken up in their own.

About Joe Hill

Joe Hill's debut, Heart-Shaped Box, won the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel. His second, Horns, was made into a film freakfest starring Daniel Radcliffe. His other novels include NOS4A2, and his #1 New York Times Best-Seller, The Fireman... which was also the winner of a 2016 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Horror Novel.

He also writes short stories. Some of them were gathered together in his prize-winning collection, 20th Century Ghosts.

He was awarded the Eisner Award for Best Writer for his long running comic book series, Locke & Key, co-created with illustrator and art wizard Gabriel Rodriguez.

He lives in New Hampshire with a corgi named McMurtry after a certain beloved writer of cowboy tales. His next book, Strange Weather, a collection of novellas, is due in fall of 2017.

About Josh Malerman

FUN FACTS ABOUT JOSH

1. Shares a birthday with Amelia Earhart
Is the middle child
2. At 12, got stung on the face by a jellyfish after father convinced him the ocean was safe
3. The Twilight Zone: The Movie was the first horror film he saw
4. Almost always writes as horror movie soundtracks play on the record player (The Howling, Poltergeist, and Zombi 2 are great, but Creepshow is best)
5. Sings for the rock n’ roll band The High Strung
6. Wrote/performs the theme song for Showtime’s Shameless (starring William H. Macy)
7. Has only read two books twice: William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! and Stephen King’s The Shining
8. Is a member of the Detroit Zoo
9. Lives with his fianceé (whose head he recently shaved) in Royal Oak, Michigan

About M.R. Carey

Mike Carey was born in Liverpool in 1959. He worked as a teacher for fifteen years, before starting to write comics. When he started to receive regular commissions from DC Comics, he gave up the day job.

Since then, he has worked for both DC and Marvel Comics, writing storylines for some of the world's most iconic characters, including X-MEN, FANTASTIC FOUR, LUCIFER and HELLBLAZER. His original screenplay FROST FLOWERS is currently being filmed. Mike has also adapted Neil Gaiman's acclaimed NEVERWHERE into comics.

Somehow, Mike finds time amongst all of this to live with his wife and children in North London. You can read his blog at www.mikecarey.net

Some of my favorite authors have stories in this! Can’t wait to hopefully find some new favorites too. 🙂

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Rapid Fire Reviews – The Dry, Strange Weather, Witch Creek, The Wolves of Winter

February 22, 2018 Bonnie Adult, Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2018 7 Comments

Sometimes review writing is hard. Sometimes you don’t have a lot to say. Sometimes you’re just lazy as fuck. These are Rapid Fire Reviews.

Rapid Fire Reviews – The Dry, Strange Weather, Witch Creek, The Wolves of WinterThe Dry by Jane Harper
Series: Aaron Falk #1
Published by Flatiron Books on January 10th 2017
Pages: 336
Genres: Mystery
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Short Summary: Federal Agent Aaron Falk returns to his small hometown for the funeral of his childhood friend who is accused of murdering his family and then committing suicide, but this small town is full of terrible secrets and shocking surprises.

Thoughts: This mystery is one of the most impressive debuts that I’ve read in a very long time, intertwining a past vs. present story, a captivating writing style, and a tangled mystery that was most thrilling when all is revealed.

Verdict: Whether or not this needed to be the start of a series, Jane Harper impressed me so much I’ll be reading anything and everything she writes.

four-stars

Rapid Fire Reviews – The Dry, Strange Weather, Witch Creek, The Wolves of WinterStrange Weather by Joe Hill
Published by William Morrow on October 24th 2017
Pages: 432
Genres: HorrorFantasy
Format: ARC
Source: Library Thing
Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Also by this author: NOS4A2Twittering from the Circus of the DeadThe Fireman: A Novel

Short Summary: A camera that slowly eats your soul with each picture, a mall security guard is believed to have prevented a mass shooting, a man on his first skydiving adventure lands on a seemingly sentient cloud, and a sudden apocalyptic event in Boulder, Colorado causes the clouds to rain deadly nails.

Thoughts: Strange Weather is an indelible collection of four short stories about vastly different topics that relate in some way to weather but all leave you with that unsettled feeling that Hill is oh so good at.

Verdict: While this was an impressive collection, it wasn’t consistent and I hoped for a little more from certain tales; however, it is apparent that Hill is just as talented in short story form as he is in novels.

four-stars

I received this book free from Library Thing in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Rapid Fire Reviews – The Dry, Strange Weather, Witch Creek, The Wolves of WinterWitch Creek by Laura Bickle
Series: Wildlands #4
Published by Harper Voyager on February 27th 2018
Pages: 384
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: Dark AlchemyNine of Stars

Short Summary: Petra Dee won’t let a little thing like cancer stop her from finding her husband who she fears is lost to the darkness that lies under her town, but the Tree of Life is growing strong again and the power behind it won’t be stopped.

Thoughts: Petra’s perseverance to find her husband was admirable, but quitting chemo halfway through to go in search of him was fairly asinine and this installment, the weakest so far, could and should have been more about her search for Gabriel.

Verdict: I love this magical series and despite this weak installment, the cliffhanger means there are more installments to come and I’m still definitely on board for more Petra (and 100% more of her coyote side-kick Sig.)

three-stars

I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Rapid Fire Reviews – The Dry, Strange Weather, Witch Creek, The Wolves of WinterThe Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson
Narrator: Jayme Mattler
on January 2nd 2018
Length: 8 hrs and 53 mins
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic
Format: Audiobook
Source: the Publisher
Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Short Summary: After a nuclear war and a devastating pandemic, Lynn McBride and her family are surviving in the wilds of Canada, but secrets her parents kept hidden are suddenly seeing the light of day and those secrets endanger everyone.

Thoughts: This can easily be compared to all the big names: The Road, The Passage, Ashfall, etc. because despite my continued love for the genre, it’s been done to death; however, Johnson manages to still make this a worthwhile tale (especially with the added help of narrator Jayme Mattler).

Verdict: As a debut author, Johnson’s pick of genre may be overdone but his writing skills shine with possibility for future novels.

three-stars

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

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Waiting on Wednesday – Strange Weather: Four Short Novels by Joe Hill

May 24, 2017 Bonnie Adult, Waiting on Wednesday 15 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Strange Weather: Four Short Novels by Joe HillStrange Weather: Four Short Novels by Joe Hill
Published by William Morrow on October 24th 2017
Pages: 448
Genres: Horror
Format: Hardcover
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
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Also by this author: NOS4A2, Twittering from the Circus of the Dead, The Fireman: A Novel

A collection of four chilling novels, ingeniously wrought gems of terror from the brilliantly imaginative, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Fireman, Joe Hill

“Snapshot” is the disturbing story of a Silicon Valley adolescent who finds himself threatened by “The Phoenician,” a tattooed thug who possesses a Polaroid Instant Camera that erases memories, snap by snap.
A young man takes to the skies to experience his first parachute jump. . . and winds up a castaway on an impossibly solid cloud, a Prospero’s island of roiling vapor that seems animated by a mind of its own in “Aloft.”
On a seemingly ordinary day in Boulder, Colorado, the clouds open up in a downpour of nails—splinters of bright crystal that shred the skin of anyone not safely under cover. “Rain” explores this escalating apocalyptic event, as the deluge of nails spreads out across the country and around the world.
In “Loaded,” a mall security guard in a coastal Florida town courageously stops a mass shooting and becomes a hero to the modern gun rights movement. But under the glare of the spotlights, his story begins to unravel, taking his sanity with it. When an out-of-control summer blaze approaches the town, he will reach for the gun again and embark on one last day of reckoning.

About Joe Hill

Joe Hill's debut, Heart-Shaped Box, won the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel. His second, Horns, was made into a film freakfest starring Daniel Radcliffe. His other novels include NOS4A2, and his #1 New York Times Best-Seller, The Fireman... which was also the winner of a 2016 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Horror Novel.

He also writes short stories. Some of them were gathered together in his prize-winning collection, 20th Century Ghosts.

He was awarded the Eisner Award for Best Writer for his long running comic book series, Locke & Key, co-created with illustrator and art wizard Gabriel Rodriguez.

He lives in New Hampshire with a corgi named McMurtry after a certain beloved writer of cowboy tales. His next book, Strange Weather, a collection of novellas, is due in fall of 2017.

I’m a mega fan of Joe Hill, sure, but not only does this compilation of stories sound incredible but that cover is all sorts of amazing too. Dying for this one. DYING.

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What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Early Review – The Fireman: A Novel by Joe Hill

May 10, 2016 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2016 2 Comments

I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – The Fireman: A Novel by Joe HillThe Fireman: A Novel by Joe Hill
Published by William Morrow on May 17th 2016
Pages: 608
Genres: Horror
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: NOS4A2, Twittering from the Circus of the Dead, Strange Weather

three-half-stars

From the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of NOS4A2 and Heart-Shaped Box comes a chilling novel about a worldwide pandemic of spontaneous combustion that threatens to reduce civilization to ashes and a band of improbable heroes who battle to save it, led by one powerful and enigmatic man known as the Fireman.

The fireman is coming. Stay cool.

No one knows exactly when it began or where it originated. A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else it’s Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies—before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe.

Harper Grayson, a compassionate, dedicated nurse as pragmatic as Mary Poppins, treated hundreds of infected patients before her hospital burned to the ground. Now she’s discovered the telltale gold-flecked marks on her skin. When the outbreak first began, she and her husband, Jakob, had made a pact: they would take matters into their own hands if they became infected. To Jakob’s dismay, Harper wants to live—at least until the fetus she is carrying comes to term. At the hospital, she witnessed infected mothers give birth to healthy babies and believes hers will be fine too. . . if she can live long enough to deliver the child.

Convinced that his do-gooding wife has made him sick, Jakob becomes unhinged, and eventually abandons her as their placid New England community collapses in terror. The chaos gives rise to ruthless Cremation Squads—armed, self-appointed posses roaming the streets and woods to exterminate those who they believe carry the spore. But Harper isn’t as alone as she fears: a mysterious and compelling stranger she briefly met at the hospital, a man in a dirty yellow fire fighter’s jacket, carrying a hooked iron bar, straddles the abyss between insanity and death. Known as The Fireman, he strolls the ruins of New Hampshire, a madman afflicted with Dragonscale who has learned to control the fire within himself, using it as a shield to protect the hunted . . . and as a weapon to avenge the wronged.

In the desperate season to come, as the world burns out of control, Harper must learn the Fireman’s secrets before her life—and that of her unborn child—goes up in smoke.

style-3 (3) review

“There’s something horribly unfair about dying in the middle of a good story, before you have a chance to see how it all comes out. Of course, I suppose everyone ALWAYS dies in the middle of a good story, in a sense. Your own story. Or the story of your grandchildren. Death is a raw deal for narrative junkies.”

In my opinion, post-apocalyptic fiction could easily be considered a sub-genre of horror so it only makes sense for Joe Hill to be tackling it. In Hill’s version of the apocalypse, the world has drastically changed after a spore begins spreading that is quite literally burning everything (and everyone) to the ground. It’s known as Draco Incendia Trychophyton, or more commonly known as Dragonscale. The infected show signs on their skin in black and gold dragon scales which could be considered beautiful were it not for the fact it causes people, and those in close proximity, to spontaneously combust. Harper Grayson is a school nurse who begins volunteering at the local hospital at least until it too burns down. She returns home to her husband, Jakob, only to discover shortly after that she’s pregnant. Harper is intent on keeping the baby, convinced she’d be able to give birth to a healthy child, but Jakob disagrees and becomes exceedingly violent. Harper is forced to find a new safe place to see this pregnancy through which ends in a chance meeting with The Fireman, a man who straddles the line between hero and villain.

“Do you spend a lot of nights keeping the fire department in hysterics with creative acts of arson?”
“Everyone needs a hobby,” he said.

This was an immense and time-consuming book, however, if you’ve read a Joe Hill book before you know that the man can’t seem to write a bad book. While this one was not nearly my favorite (that award goes to Heart Shaped Box, always) it’s always fascinating to see a well-loved author tackle a new genre and watch the world he created unfold. He also once again proves his talents for writing fantastic female characters. Merrin Williams in Horns, Victoria McQueen in NOS4A2, and now Harper Grayson in The Fireman. Where he really excelled though was with his created contagion, Dragonscale, and how it was built up and developed far more than most end of world diseases I’ve read about. Typically, stories such as these have a failure of sufficiently developing what led to the downfall of civilization and instead focuses on the world after instead. I could easily compare the time spent explaining and detailing Dragonscale (including the origins and scientific explanations) to how flawlessly Mira Grant handled Kellis-Amberlee in her Newsflesh trilogy.

‘Her Dragonscale pulsed with a disagreeable warmth, in a way that made her think of someone breathing on coals.’

Camp Wyndham ends up being Harper’s “safe” place for her to continue her pregnancy but once she arrives there the pacing of the book seemed to suffer. Camp drama, strange religious aspects that are pretty standard for any end of world story, and various other plot lines were ongoing but I felt that much of it was often superfluous and ultimately never amounted to much when you consider how much time was spent exploring said plots. I applaud his effort for writing such a tome, but alas, I feel it could have been trimmed down just a bit. There was also the requisite yet under-developed bad guy that I’ve already mentioned: Jakob. To summarize, Jakob was a big bag of dicks.

“I’ve never once met a woman who had any true intellectual rigor. There’s a reason things like Facebook and airplanes and all the other great inventions of our time were made by men.”

And that’s just one example. Basically, he went a little psycho after he discovered Harper had contracted Dragonscale. They had touched one another in recent days so he became a hypochondriac, convinced that she had also infected him and sentenced him to his death. I felt that there wasn’t enough basis for him as a villain and wanted a bit more backstory to find out how his perverse mind worked, even though I doubt it would have been an enjoyable experience.

Hill created a most enticing world full of love, bravery, and adventure in The Fireman. He also set the tone for possible future installments. I’ll admit, I did groan a bit because that’s just what this world needs more of: series. But this is Joe Hill, and I can’t not be curious.

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Short Story Review – Twittering from the Circus of the Dead by Joe Hill

August 10, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2013, Short Stories 1 Comment

Short Story Review – Twittering from the Circus of the Dead by Joe HillTwittering from the Circus of the Dead by Joe Hill
Published by William Morrow on August 6th 2013
Pages: 39
Genres: Horror, Zombies
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: NOS4A2, The Fireman: A Novel, The Dry, Strange Weather

three-stars

 

 

Come one, come all. The show's about to begin. Step right up for the Circus of the Dead: where YOU are the concessions. #CircusoftheDead

 

 

 

@TWITTERING It was just a family road trip to Colorado for snowboarding and skiing.
8:47 PM – 6 Aug 13

@TWITTERING The trip home turns disastrous when they stumble upon the #CircusoftheDead
8:51 PM – 6 Aug 13

@TWITTERING Stopping and taking a break sounds like a plan. Might as well take in some entertainment.
8:54 PM – 6 Aug 13

@TWITTERING The special effects are amazing but something is definitely off.
8:56 PM – 6 Aug 13

@TWITTERING Nobody takes it seriously. Those aren’t real zombies after all. Zombies don’t exist.
8:59 PM – 6 Aug 13

@TWITTERING Nothing goes according to plan. Not when you stop at #CircusoftheDead
9:06PM – 6 Aug 13

@TWITTERING #CircusoftheDead Creepy. Gruesome. Eerie. Full of startling horror.
9:10PM – 6 Aug 13

@TWITTERING #CircusoftheDead All too brief. Abrupt. Inconclusive.
9:11PM – 6 Aug 13

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Book Review – NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

May 17, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2013 10 Comments

Book Review – NOS4A2 by Joe HillNOS4A2 by Joe Hill
Published by William Morrow on April 30th 2013
Pages: 709
Genres: Horror, Paranormal
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Twittering from the Circus of the Dead, The Fireman: A Novel, Strange Weather

four-stars

NOS4A2 is a spine-tingling novel of supernatural suspense from master of horror Joe Hill, the New York Times bestselling author of Heart-Shaped Box and Horns.

Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.

Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”

Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son.

“Fantasy was always only a reality waiting to be switched on.”

I’m going to avoid my normal spiel about the basics of the plot because unfortunately, anything I say sounds silly. Truly. Imaginary bridges. Soul sucking cars. Creepy vampire children. Christmasland. I just can’t do it justice and describe the enormity of the plot sufficiently. It also fails to fall under a single genre. It’s classic horror, paranormal and even a bit of a fantasy. I will say though, this is one extremely well-told story that brings to life everything that’s considered out of this world and makes it real.

“No one had ever determined his age, but he looked older than Keith Richards. He even looked a little like Keith Richards–a bald Keith with a mouthful of sharp little brown teeth.”

The ‘bad’ guy was fantastically written. Charles Talent Manx has nothing but the best intentions for the children he takes to Christmasland. He believes that he’s taking them from broken homes and saving them from a life that will be less than satisfactory. How does he know this for sure? Well, he doesn’t But he’s completely convinced himself regardless. Charles Max is complex and fascinating and is undeniably one of the finest written bad guys I’ve ever read.

“But everyone also lives in the world inside their own head. An inscape, a world of thought. In a world made of thought–in an inscape–every idea is a fact. Emotions are as real as gravity. Dreams are as powerful as history.”

Another thing I loved was how the characters came to terms with the fantasy aspects. Vic has a gift for being able to find lost things by crossing a bridge that she brushes aside as a result of a hyperactive imagination. She had a brief stint in a mental institution but slowly came to terms with the fact that everything is in fact real. Vic is an amazing character and despite the implausibility of it all, it was given a slow and appropriate build before Vic finally believed it herself. I’ve read so many stories where characters have a gift or something impossible occurs and too many times it’s not flushed out and explained so when the character(s) accepts it completely almost immediately it makes the characters actions from then on illogical. Vic may have been damaged and imperfect but she was entirely believable.

This was a solid five-star book for me and was a complete delight throughout. The last 15 pages or so? Fell flat. It inevitably dropped that solid five star rating down to four. Despite that though, it was a pleasure. What I loved most about this was as creepy and full of horror as NOS4A2 is it still manages to produce an almost involuntary comicalness. It’s obvious that the author had an immense amount of fun writing this. Joe Hill is unquestionably one incredibly gifted storyteller.

Final Note: For those of you who have read Heart Shaped Box, did any of you catch the reference to it?
“There was Craddock McDermott who claimed that his spirit existed in a favorite suit of his.”
I take that to mean the world of NOS4A2 and Heart Shaped Box are one in the same.

I can’t resist matching up a Christmas cocktail to go with this book. This is perfect for the chilly atmosphere nestled in these pages and would even warm up Charlie Max and his little ‘pint-size vampires’.


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