Review: Strange Weather by Joe Hill
4 Stars , Reviews / October 24, 2017

Strange Weather is a collection of 4 short novels, each telling a unique story. They are all independent of one another, and could be read in any order. I may not rate this one quite as high as most of the works I’ve read by Hill, but I suspect most of that comes from my preference for longer works. The stories are quick and varied covering funny to horrifying to creepy and the main character in each are varied. One aspect of these that some readers will love, but some may not is the endings can ;eave the reader just on the edge of “what happens next”. You can probably guess, for good or for bad, how the cards will fall, but Hill will leave you right on the precipice, giving the reader something to think about and let their own imagination fill in the details. This is something I have always enjoyed, I feel like endings like this make a book last a bit longer for me because I find myself thinking about the ending more than if every last detail had been provided. That said, I know not all readers love this type of ending as much as…

Review: The Fireman by Joe Hill
5 Stars , Reviews / May 2, 2016

Fun fact, Hill mentioned in the foreward/introduction that the title of his book came from Bradbury’s original title of Fahrenheit 451. The Fireman felt very different from Hill’s other books. There is not the magical call of Christmasland, though there was a nod to it in the book as well as  a slew of references to other genre books, particularly Harry Potter. There was not a ghost haunting a rock star or magical keys that unlock abilities, or horns that appear overnight. This book felt less fantastical and more thriller, but you’ll find absolutely no complaints here because it is an extremely thrilling read that I found almost impossible to put down. The premise is that there is a new, incredibly dangerous plague called Draco Incendia Trychophyton (aka Dragonscale). Dragonscale is quite frightening because it can cause its victims to burst into flames, incinerating anything and anyone near by. Dragonscale is absolutely fascinating. I have to admit, it sounded like it would take a stronger suspension of disbelief until I read the book. Hill presents the Dragonscale in such a way that if feels clinically/scientifically possible. There are many traits he assigns to it, and when broken down makes it sound more plausible. Granted it is still fiction,…

New Series or Standalones to Look For in 2016
Lists / December 17, 2015

During this season of List Making and Anticipation for the year to come, I really enjoy focusing on the books that anyone can jump into. This means brand new series and standalone novels that don’t require previous reading. As always, there are many great books to look forward to! I tried to mark if the book is a standalone or the start of a new series, but I’ll be honest, it’s not always easy to tell and sometimes books that are initially offered as a standalone wind up getting follow up book deals. For those interested in seeing a list of everything I am currently looking forward to, you can see my running list of 2016 Anticipated Releases that is updated through out the year as I hear of books and release dates. Its nothing fancy, just a list of dates and titles with links to reviews when I have them.   NEW STANDALONE The bestselling author of the ground breaking novels Under Heaven and River of Stars, Guy Gavriel Kay is back with a new novel, Children of Earth and Sky, set in a world inspired by the conflicts and dramas of Renaissance Europe. Against this tumultuous backdrop the lives…

Stacking the Shelves – July 18, 2015
Stacking the Shelves / July 18, 2015

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature all about sharing your good luck in book acquisitions! So here’s what came my way since my last post! It’s been another couple of great weeks for book additions! Received for Review                 I’m a big fan of the Tao series, and was quite excited to see what other worlds/stories Chu had in store for us readers! I finished this very quickly, and it is definitely different than Tao, but with all the familiar strengths (my review will be up sometime shortly). My thanks to Audible Studios for the review copy!     I received this one as part of the Ace Roc Stars street team. Our last box of books had Magic Breaks in it, and I saw it was seventh in a series, and figured I was unlikely to read it. When they sent this book, they mentioned that Magic Breaks can work as an introductory book for new readers to the series. Knowing that, I may give that book (and then this one) a read. As always, I’m grateful to be a member of this group and many thanks to Ace/Roc for the generosity…

Tough Traveling – Vampires

Nathan over at Fantasy Review Barn is the mastermind of Tough Traveling. What’s Tough Traveling? Pretty much, it’s a weekly feature on Thursdays where we dig around to come up with examples of common tropes in fantasy, using Diana Wynne Jones’ The Tough Guide to Fantasyland as our inspiration and guide. Nathan has invited one and all to join in the fun, so feel free to come up with your own lists and add the link on Nathan’s weekly post, which will also contain (unleash) the next weeks theme. So let the fun begin … This weeks theme? VAMPIRES VAMPIRES are increasingly rare on the TOUR. They have been attracted over tot he Horror Tour by offers of better pay. Where they appear, you will find up to date Vampires wear expensive sunglasses and wish to drain you of energy rather than blood.   1850s Steamboat Vampires from Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin Such a sense of setting in this one! Complete with a steamboat full of vampires gracing the Mississippi river. Some of these vampires are striving to blend with society, but others, well, they see mortal humans as cattle to sustain.     1950s Plague Victim Vampires from I am Legend by Richard Matheson A plague…

Tough Traveling – Holidays

Nathan over at Fantasy Review Barn is the mastermind of Tough Traveling. What’s Tough Traveling? Pretty much, it’s a weekly feature on Thursdays where we dig around to come up with examples of common tropes in fantasy, using Diana Wynne Jones’ The Tough Guide to Fantasyland as our inspiration and guide. Nathan has invited one and all to join in the fun, so feel free to come up with your own lists and add the link on Nathan’s weekly post, which will also contain (unleash) the next weeks theme. So let the fun begin … This weeks theme? HOLIDAYS Never too late to celebrate … holidays! Because fantasy festivals and feasts are always fun.  Thanks to Wendy for the suggestion!  And feel free to blame her if this proves to be as hard as it sounds.   Winterfest from Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb Ah yes, guests, traveling minstrels, puppeteers, tumblers, tinkers all get to converge to this feast of a holiday. And what better way to start a book than a holiday full of traveling strangers? How about including a murder plot? OK, murder is not technically a Winterfest tradition, but it certainly sets up a great atmosphere for it!   Genitalia Festival from Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie…

10 New Series or Standalones to Look For in 2015
Lists / December 7, 2014

This time of year runs rampant with lists, which I love. I like to list out books that are coming out that anyone can jump into, books that are either first in a series or stand alone. Narrowing it down was hard, I tried to include variety and there are still many great books coming out that are not on my list (you can see my on-going list for 2015 releases here). So, here are my top 10 picks listed in order of expected release date:   Title: The City Stained Red Author: Sam Sykes Expected publication: January 27th, 2015 (NOTE: The Kindle edition is already available) Publisher: Orbit  The first book in a new trilogy from the acclaimed author of the Aeon’s Gate series. A long-exiled living god arises. A city begins to break apart at the seams. Lenk and his battle-scarred companions have come to Cier’Djaal in search of Miron Evanhands, a wealthy priest who contracted them to eradicate demons — and then vanished before paying for the job. But hunting Miron down might be tougher than even these weary adventurers can handle as two unstoppable religious armies move towards all-out war, tensions rise within the capital’s cultural melting pot, and demons begin…

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
5 Stars , Reviews / December 1, 2014

It may not be Friday, but I couldn’t think of a better way to start December than a Flashback Friday review of NOS4A2. Since I’m impatient it’s going up on a Monday. Imagine a bridge that could magically take you to where you need to be, even when you don’t even know where that is. Imagine being a young girl with the freedom to ride her bike and wind up wherever. Imagine the reality for this girl, wondering if these things happened as she remembered or if she is losing her mind. Hill’s strength in writing is in his characters, in his ability to draw emotions from the reader and his ability to create atmosphere. I suppose that’s multiple strengths, but the sum of them creates powerful and memorable books. This book is a twisted ride to Christmasland. The question is, is it truly the Christmasland of boys and girls dreams and ideals? Or is it some mangled and deranged version? Or, is it even real, or is it just a product of a delusional madman with a 1938 Roles Royce Wraith who enjoys luring children away by playing on their innocent dreams? In NOS4A2, we are introduced to Vic McQueen,…

Tough Traveling – Shapeshifting

Nathan over at Fantasy Review Barn is the mastermind of Tough Traveling. What’s Tough Traveling? Pretty much, it’s a weekly feature on Thursdays where we dig around to come up with examples of common tropes in fantasy, using Diana Wynne Jones’ The Tough Guide to Fantasyland as our inspiration and guide. Nathan has invited one and all to join in the fun, so feel free to come up with your own lists and add the link on Nathan’s weekly post, which will also contain (unleash) the next weeks theme. So let the fun begin … This weeks theme? SHAPESHIFTING SHAPESHIFTING is frequent among both WERES and MAGIC USERS. The usual form taken is that of a WOLF, but lions, eagles, serpents, owls, and cats are common too. In all cases the rule is that the shapeshifter cannon stay too long in animal form without actually becoming that animal.   Shapeshifters in The String Diaries by Stephen Lloyd Jones Original/Natural Form: Looks human (but is actually not quite human, longer lifespan, ability to shift, etc) Shifted Form: Still looks human, but can take the appearance of other people This shifting isn’t so much to animals, but changing physical appearance so they can essentially look like a copy…

Horns by Joe Hill
5 Stars , Reviews / August 17, 2014

I read this book last year, and decided it was time to review it. It is easily one of my favorite reads last year and really reminded me why I used to read horror. The emotional connection with the characters is superb and really makes the book what it is. And the first few chapters … gah! Prepare for some majorly tense and hard reading. But it’s the type tense and hard reading that you (or at least I) love. The story is told in multiple timelines. This allows the reader to see the evolution of Ig’s relationships with Merrin and Lee from the very beginning. The other timeline is after Ig gets the horns. Personally, I think interspersing the two worked really well. It kept you from having to read too much of the horrible stuff without a break because really, reading all the post horns story straight through would be awfully grim. Plus reading about the relationships, watching them grow and keeping that fresh in your mind, really makes all the bad stuff have more impact. I think what I found so disturbing in this book was that some of the events in it seemed more of a possibility…