Author: M.R. Carey

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, 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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Short & Sweet – Final Girls, The Boy on the Bridge, The Twilight Pariah

December 15, 2017 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2017, Short & Sweet Reviews 7 Comments

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

Short & Sweet – Final Girls, The Boy on the Bridge, The Twilight PariahFinal Girls by Mira Grant
Published by Subterranean Press on April 9th 2017
Pages: 112
Genres: Horror
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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Also by this author: Feed, Deadline, Countdown: A Newsflesh Novella


three-half-stars




What if you could fix the worst parts of yourself by confronting your worst fears?

Dr. Jennifer Webb has invented proprietary virtual reality technology that purports to heal psychological wounds by running clients through scenarios straight out of horror movies and nightmares. In a carefully controlled environment, with a medical cocktail running through their veins, sisters might develop a bond they’ve been missing their whole lives—while running from the bogeyman through a simulated forest. But…can real change come so easily?

Esther Hoffman doubts it. Esther has spent her entire journalism career debunking pseudoscience, after phony regression therapy ruined her father’s life. She’s determined to unearth the truth about Dr. Webb’s budding company. Dr. Webb’s willing to let her, of course, for reasons of her own. What better advertisement could she get than that of a convinced skeptic? But Esther’s not the only one curious about how this technology works. Enter real-world threats just as frightening as those created in the lab. Dr. Webb and Esther are at odds, but they may also be each other’s only hope of survival.

‘Reality was a hard habit to quit sometimes, especially for someone who knew what lies could cost.’

Esther Hoffman is a journalist seeking the underlying story of Dr. Jennifer Webb who has created a new virtual reality therapy program which uses horror movie style dream sequences in an attempt to change the long-term behavior of its patient. Esther is convinced that Dr. Webb is nothing but a con artist and during their interview, Webb suggests she personally experience the program and Esther agrees, hoping to get the inside scoop. While inside the sequence, Webb decides to join Esther in the zombie apocalypse simulation in an attempt to develop a relationship with her and possibly change her outlook towards her program. The problem is, while the two are locked inside a fabricated horror movie, there’s actual horror developing in the real world.

‘Everything they were before they came here is behind them now, and soon they will be free, soon they will be able to start to heal, soon—’

Grant is no doubt a skillful short story writer, able to develop characters and plot effectively, drawing in readers with her consistently original narratives. Final Girls is a fantastic blend of science fiction and horror with a Nightmare on Elm Street feel to it where dreams quickly become a reality. This novella manages to even touch on more serious topics regarding doctors and treatment and the dangers of such an effective program like this falling into the wrong hands. The creative blend of science fiction and horror in the beginning did, admittedly, morph into something less unique by the end, transitioning instead to a storyline more commonly seen, but Final Girls is still a worthy read if you’re looking for some thrilling psychological horror.

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

Short & Sweet – Final Girls, The Boy on the Bridge, The Twilight PariahThe Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey
Series: The Hungry Plague #2
Published by Orbit on May 2nd 2017
Pages: 392
Genres: Horror
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Girl With All the Gifts, Fellside

three-half-stars

Once upon a time, in a land blighted by terror, there was a very clever boy.

The people thought the boy could save them, so they opened their gates and sent him out into the world.

To where the monsters lived.

In The Boy on the Bridge, M. R. Carey returns to the world of his phenomenal USA Today and word-of-mouth bestseller, The Girl With All the Gifts, for the very first time.

Expectations are a bitch.

The Girl With All the Gifts was one of my all-time favorites of 2014 and I was filled with trepidation when this prequel was announced. Sure, there was a story that could be told but did it need to be told is the real question. The Boy on the Bridge is a prequel story that tells of the original mission of the Rosalind Franklin, the mobile science lab that Melanie essentially hijacks in Girl. Knowing the end result of the mission will lead any reader to understand that there can be no happy ending, only a story to be told. It’s bittersweet to see this new crew of scientists searching the world for a cure to the hungries, still filled with a chance of hope for the few surviving individuals of the world.

“Things don’t end, after all. They only change, and you keep changing with them.”

The Boy on the Bridge wasn’t nearly as compelling as I had hoped or anticipated. The writing was oftentimes overly technical which resulted in a definite detachment from the emotional tale at its center and it seemed as if Carey was writing it as something that had already passed rather than something happening presently.  I often found myself wondering if my overall opinion would have been different if this had been released prior to Girl. If I had been more interested in discovering these intriguing details of a widespread infection if I didn’t already know the outcome. I’m not really sure. I don’t feel Carey was being opportunistic by writing this but simply chose to expand on this fascinating world he created, and that’s fair. It’s also fair that I simply didn’t care for it and think Girl was solid and complete enough to stand on its own, but it is what it is.

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

Short & Sweet – Final Girls, The Boy on the Bridge, The Twilight PariahThe Twilight Pariah by Jeffrey Ford
Published by Tor.com on September 12th 2017
Pages: 176
Genres: Horror
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
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two-stars

Three friends go looking for treasure and find horror in Jeffrey Ford's The Twilight Pariah.

All Maggie, Russell, and Henry wanted out of their last college vacation was to get drunk and play archaeologist in an old house in the woods outside of town. When they excavate the mansion's outhouse they find way more than they bargained for: a sealed bottle filled with a red liquid, along with the bizarre skeleton of a horned child

Disturbing the skeleton throws each of their lives into a living hell. They feel followed wherever they go, their homes are ransacked by unknown intruders, and people they care about are brutally, horribly dismembered. The three friends awakened something, a creature that will stop at nothing to retrieve its child.

“You can’t kill the dead. You’ve got to outsmart them.”

Tor.com released a “Fall of Fear” sampler which included A Long Day in Lychford by Paul Cornell, Switchback by Melissa F. Olson, The Murders of Molly Southbourne, and this title. This one enticed me the most. I’m also a terrible sucker for a great cover, and this one is a winner. It gives you the impression the story you’re about to embark on is atmospheric and eerie, and something perfect for any horror fan. Admittedly, I had high hopes having heard great things about Jeffrey Ford but this one a total dud. The blurb on the cover “Richard Linklater meets Stephen King meets Indiana Jones meets, well, Jeffrey Ford” by up and coming author Paul Tremblay is admittedly extremely off base. Just because something is tagged as horror doesn’t make it the next Stephen King and just because there’s some mild excavation of an old house doesn’t make these characters the next Indiana Jones, let’s be real.

The Twilight Pariah is a novella that tells the story of a final college summer between three friends. Maggie, the budding archaeologist of the group, convinces Russell and Henry to help her excavate an old privy at the Prewitt mansion. Ironically, the only thing I kept thinking about was an article I had recently read about archaeologists digging up Paul Revere’s outhouse. But also, there’s nothing particularly horrifying about the prospect of digging out an outhouse. Of course, finding a skeleton of a horned child should change things when shortly after a series of horrifying murders start taking place in town, but that sense of horror simply never coalesced. The characters are nothing but cardboard cutouts with a few quirky descriptive lines thrown in as a half-assed attempt to differentiate, which is pretty typical of characters in most short stories/novellas but there isn’t a credible plot to at least support the lacking characters. Ford tries to take this centuries-old mystery and link it to the present but it was a pretty flimsy connection, to say the least. And that ending. It felt like the author realized he was past his word count limit had to wrap shit up, pronto. Lackluster characters, middling plot, and an inadequate conclusion. Disappointing.

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Waiting on Wednesday – The Boy on the Bridge (The Hungry Plague #2) by M.R. Carey

February 8, 2017 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 10 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – The Boy on the Bridge (The Hungry Plague #2) by M.R. CareyThe Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey
Series: The Hungry Plague #2
Published by Orbit on May 2nd 2017
Pages: 400
Genres: Horror, Zombies
Format: Hardcover
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Girl With All the Gifts, Fellside, The Boy on the Bridge

A new standalone novel set in the same world as the USA Today bestseller The Girl With All The Gifts.

From the author of USA Today bestseller The Girl With All the Gifts, a terrifying new novel set in the same post-apocalyptic world.

Once upon a time, in a land blighted by terror, there was a very clever boy.

The people thought the boy could save them, so they opened their gates and sent him out into the world.

To where the monsters lived.

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

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I raved about The Girl with All the Gifts but never expected anything more set in that world. The Boy on the Bridge is intended as a standalone story set in the same world and whether or not reading Girl before is a requirement or not remains to be seen. But color me intrigued.

confused adam levine maroon 5 interested intrigued

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Book Review – Fellside by M.R. Carey

April 28, 2016 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2016 2 Comments

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

Book Review – Fellside by M.R. CareyFellside by M.R. Carey
Published by Orbit on April 5th 2016
Pages: 496
Genres: Horror
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Girl With All the Gifts, The Boy on the Bridge


two-stars




The highly anticipated new thriller from the acclaimed author of The Girl With All the Gifts.

Jess Moulson is convicted of murder. But it's a murder she can't remember committing.

Nothing is quite clear from the drug-fuelled night when a blaze set in her apartment killed the little boy upstairs. But when the media brands Jess a child killer, she starts to believe it herself.

Now she's on her way to Fellside, the biggest, most formidable women's prison in Europe, standing in the bleak Yorkshire moors.

But Jess won't be alone in her prison cell. Lurking in the shadows is an unexpected visitor... the ghost of the ten-year-old boy she killed. He says he needs her help - and he won't take no for an answer.

FELLSIDE is a powerful, thought-provoking and heart-wrenching new standalone novel by M. R. Carey.

style-3 (4) review

Jess Moulson has been sentenced to prison after being convicted of setting a fire that not only left her face destroyed and her boyfriend injured but unintentionally killed a young boy named Alex. The problem is, she doesn’t remember setting the fire, but she quickly begins to believe herself capable what with all the evidence stacked against her. Resigned to her fate she beings her life in Fellside, a prison deep in the moors of Yorkshire, knowing she won’t have to suffer for long after she begins refusing food. As her body and mind weaken more and more each day, she’s visited by the ghost of Alex, and he proposes that she work to discover who truly killed him so that they can both be at peace.

Honestly, I don’t remember even reading the synopsis of this before falling all over myself in excitement. I simply adored The Girl with All the Gifts and maybe that’s where I went wrong. My expectations were astronomical. Regardless, there’s nothing in the synopsis that would have normally turned me away from reading the book but ultimately this one fell flatter than a pancake for me.

Yep, I’m definitely part of the black sheep crowd with this one. I’m pretty broken-hearted about it though because this was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. The majority of my complaints are spoilers so I’ll do my best to explain without revealing too much.

There are not only a ton of characters and scenes told from various points-of-view but somehow they all managed to be completely lackluster. Jess Moulson is not a likable character having been convicted of killing a child, however, that’s never been an issue for me since I liked Lolita and even Tampa. There just wasn’t anything about these people that captivated me or even interested me in the least. The storyline started off slightly interesting with the mystery of the fire but that quickly dissolved into prison drama with a “bad” warden that’s helping bring drugs into the prison and all the threatening of inmates to be the drug mules. There was the prison doctor that had a sad personal story that wasn’t explored very much that did nothing in the pity part of my heart, the nurse with her questionable yet excessive anger towards Jess for the crime she was convicted for, and the various stories of other inmates and the lives they’ve led and the losses they’ve suffered. There was a really strange side story about Jess’ lawyer too that I felt was pretty ludicrous to say the least. AND THEN, enter the ghostie to really complicate shit further.

You’d think adding a flair of paranormal to a story would help it but it ended up just being strangely bizarre and by the end it left more questions than answers. This book was a whopping 496 pages but it still shouldn’t have taken me over a month to finish. It’s one of those really slow-going stories where you feel that pressure slowly building in the background and you’re waiting for that big reveal that’s going to take your breath away. That eagerness to find out the truth of it all was the only thing that kept me going. Sadly, by the time the “secrets” are all revealed I couldn’t help but feel equal parts

and

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Book Review – The Girl with All the Gifts (The Hungry Plague #1) by M.R. Carey

June 12, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2014 15 Comments

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.

Book Review – The Girl with All the Gifts (The Hungry Plague #1) by M.R. CareyThe Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
Series: The Hungry Plague #1
Published by Orbit on June 10th 2014
Pages: 448
Genres: Horror
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Audible
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Also by this author: Fellside, The Boy on the Bridge


five-stars




Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her "our little genius."

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

“Pandora […] was a really amazing woman. All the gods had blessed her and given her gifts. That’s what her name means – ‘the girl with all the gifts’. So she was clever, and brave, and beautiful, and funny, and everything else you’d want to be. But she just had the one tiny fault, which was that she was very – and I mean very curious.”

Melanie is a curious little girl, much like Pandora was. She loves school, loves learning but loves her teacher Miss Justineau even more. She’s never seen the outside world, only her cell, the corridor, the shower room and the classroom which is located on an army base. Melanie is an incredibly intelligent little girl, capable of extremely high level classes for someone her age. Other than being near genius, she’s just a normal little girl, until she catches the scent of human flesh.

‘…the Breakdown, when the world filled with monsters who looked like people you knew and loved, and every living soul went scrambling and skittering for cover like mice when the cat wakes up…’

The normal hungries that roam the earth are your classic type zombie: they’re mindless and single-minded when it comes to obtaining their next meal. Melanie and her classmates are high-functioning zombies or “hungries” that are capable of speech and emotions, things the normal hungries are incapable of. These children have been captured for the sole purpose of experimentation, in hopes that they are the key to a possible cure for this terrible disease that has consumed the world.

There are many interesting aspects to this novel that I wouldn’t normally expect to find in a normal zombie-type book. First and foremost is the cognitive abilities of these children despite their undead status. It was an interesting aspect and leads to the next aspect: the ethics behind the experimenting on these coherent children even if it’s done for the good of the human race. The doctor conducting the experiments, Doctor Caldwell, has completely disconnected herself from the belief that what she is doing is wrong and successfully convinces you as a reader in the chapters told from her POV that it’s for the greater good. Switching to the chapters told from the POV of Miss Justineau offers you the opposite stance as she’s become attached to not only Melanie but the whole of her students even though she fully understands exactly what they are and the danger they represent. The perplexity of the situation their forced into isn’t simple nor straightforward.

The other aspect to this novel that is the main driving force is the relationship that develops between Melanie and Miss Justineau. Melanie has suffered through a life of solitary and Miss Justineau’s teachings are the shining beacon of hope that she always has to look forward to. In turn, Miss Justineau develops an affection for Melanie despite her best intentions to remain distant. The relationship was surprisingly heartfelt and touching.

Setting all the unexpected aspects aside, my favorite aspect of zombie novels is always the why and seeing what route each author takes. Zombie novels have become quite common these days and thus requires them to have an original aspect that hasn’t been done before. The Girl With All the Gifts does just that. The individuals in this novel are infected with Ophiocordyceps, a genus of fungi that actually exists in our world today but grows only on insects. I can’t express enough what a superb job M.R. Carey does at explaining the details of this fungus and how it came to be possible for it to infect humans. He goes into incredible detail yet explains it in such a skillful way as to avoid leaving us non-scientists completely clueless.

While The Girl With All the Gifts had many incredible facets to it, the ending was the most memorable. Shocking and unexpected yet such a fitting ending to this amazing story. Engaging, shocking and thrilling, The Girl With All the Gifts is one incredible read that thankfully manages to live up to all the hype.

Parasite (Parasitology #1) by Mira Grant {PurchaseMy Review}
The Host (The Host #1) by Stephenie Meyer {Purchase}
Raising Stony Mayhall by Daryl Gregory {PurchaseMy Review}

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