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review 2017-10-27 15:42
Strange Weather by Joe Hill
Strange Weather: Four Short Novels - Joe Hill

 

Strange Weather is the novel I most anticipated this year and I'm happy to report that it lived up to my high expectations. It consists of four short novels, (Joe Hill dislikes the term novella), and I enjoyed them all!

 

Snapshot is a story about memory and a camera that steals them. Set in the 80's with a teenage boy as the protagonist, this story packed some powerful imagery along with a bit of nostalgia for good measure.

 

Loaded is a tale about guns. Joe Hill says it's not political, but I think that both pro gun and anti gun proponents will bring their own views to the party. I tried to keep my politics out of it and enjoy it for the fast paced horror story that it was. Oh yeah, and the ending was KILLER.

 

Aloft was the story of a man on a cloud. It wasn't cloud 9, in fact, it wasn't a cloud at all, really. What imagination and creativity this story showed! I can't seem to put my finger on why this tale appealed to me so much, but the fact remains that it did. It reminded me somewhat of Hill's short story Pop Art , in that the tale doesn't break its back trying to provide explanations or reasons why...it just IS. And what it IS, is fantastic. (Junicorn!)

 

Rain was my favorite story in the book. The protagonist, Honeysuckle Speck, was one of the most interesting characters I've ever met. She is so much more than what you first suspect and I would love to read more about her in the future. It's hard to say what one would do if the sky suddenly began raining sharp crystal nails. I would love to think that I would act with the same bravery and smarts as Honeysuckle did, but I suspect I don't have the strength. Hill says in the Afterword that this book was sort of his anti-Fireman story, but one thing they both have in common is strong female characters and I like that. I like it a lot.

 

I received a digital review copy of this book from Edelweiss, but I also received my own (signed) copy, (whoohoo!),courtesy of Joe Hill at a book festival. This gave me a chance to check out the VERY cool illustrations, before and after each story, and also the little icons at the top of each page. They give the book a unique look and feel.

 

I've come to love and admire Hill's work over the last few years and I think he has developed a strong voice, independent of, but respectful, of his father's. Strange Weather was worth every minute of my time and I'm sure I'll be devoting more time by reading it again in the future.

 

Highly recommended!

 

You can get your copy here: Strange Weather

 

*Thank you to Edelweiss and to the publisher, (who I unabashedly emailed for the e-ARC of this awesome book), in exchange for my honest review. This is it.*

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review 2017-09-27 18:45
The Girls by Emma Cline, narrated by Cady McClain
The Girls: A Novel - Cady McClain,Deutschland Random House Audio,Emma Cline

Evie Boyd was 14 when she joined a cult, even though they didn't call themselves that. They were more like a group of teenage girls surrounding one main guy and a few other male hangers-on. There are few things in this world that can be as cold and selfish as a young girl on the cusp of womanhood.

 

I listened to this on audio because the premise interested me and it was available. I've always been fascinated with cults and how people get caught up in them. In this case, Evie was young, her parents had just gotten divorced and she was at loose ends for the summer. (Idle hands and all that.) To me, she came off as a spoiled brat looking for attention, but I did come to feel a little sorry for her as the story progressed.

 

Even though I did enjoy this book, looking back on it-the "cult" members didn't have much depth to them. I can tell you how they looked and what they did, but why they were like they were? I have no clue. I think the charisma that generally pulls people into cults, (think Koresh or Manson), was missing here. I would have liked to know more about them and how they got together.

 

Cady McClain, the narrator, was excellent and reminded me of the audios of Megan Abbott's books, which I loved.

 

Overall, I enjoyed The Girls more than I thought I would and I would recommend it to people who, like me, are fascinated by cults and what draws people to them.

 

Thanks to my awesome library for the audio book loan!

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review 2017-05-02 18:45
The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger -The Little Sisters of Eluria
Dark Tower: The Gunslinger - The Little Sisters of Eluria #5 (of 5) - Robin Furth,Peter David,Stephen King,Luke Ross,Richard Isanove

 

This was a disappointing foray into a side story of the Dark Tower.

 

What I liked about it was its connection to King/Straub's novel, The Talisman. (Which is one of my favorite books.) If you've read it, you know that young Jack is trying to save his mom, (who is a Queen in another world), and she is very sick. When we first meet her, she is in a huge tent, fighting for her life. That huge tent is the main setting for this story. (A nice explanation of this comes in the foreword.)

 

This tale comes before the last entry in the graphic novel series, so we've gone backwards a bit in the timeline. I was okay with that but I'm not really okay with the change in how Roland looks and the artwork. While I loved the pencil drawings in the back, Roland looks like an entirely different person than in all the previous comics. I am having a hard time dealing with that. I think that the graphics in the previous novels are superior than the ones in this volume.

 

Overall, I liked the story and the setting, just not as much as the previous entries in this series.

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review 2017-04-18 18:30
Nightmare of the Dead by Vincenzo Bilof
Nightmare Of The Dead - Vincenzo Bilof

 

Nightmare of the Dead was a different kind of zombie/cannibal novel and I'm torn over it.

 

On the one hand, I enjoyed the creativity and imagination that went into this story. We have the Union and the Confederacy battling it out, with one side using medical experimentation to create the perfect type of soldier. And somehow this was done with a horror/western type feel to it-kudos to the author for that.

 

On the other hand, the writing felt disjointed. At times there seemed to be parts that were rewritten and inserted without regard for the paragraphs before and after. There were also a lot of missing words. These issues did bother me and took me out of the flow of the story more than once.

 

The author's descriptive skills were excellent and believe you me, there is a lot of blood, gore, torture, and rape here to describe. In that vein, Mr. Bilof's writing put me in mind of Tim Curran, whose imagination is beyond compare.

 

This was a quick reading, short novel and I did enjoy it, it's just that the writing could have been better. I would read more of this author's work in the future, in the hopes that he's honing his craft. If that's the case, then we certainly have not seen the last of Vincenzo Bilof.

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review 2017-02-01 18:26
Fatale by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
Fatale Deluxe Edition Volume 1 HC - Ed Brubaker

 

Fatale is about the classic Femme Fatale character, (in this case, her name is Josephine), except this time the story is from her point of view. Plus, she doesn't want to be what she is. Her powers draw men in even when she tries to stop it from happening. By taking a character trope that has long served as an evildoer and turning it on its head to have it become a sympathetic character instead, a whole new world of story-telling possibilities opens up! I hope to read all of them.

 

 

 

I loved every aspect of Fatale. I loved the intro from Meggan Abbott. I loved the two essays in the back, (one about Lovecraft and his impact on the horror genre and the other about Edgar Allan Poe and his influences), both written by Jess Nevins. Also, the artwork kicks major ass. This deluxe edition is gorgeous, the story is super cool, (Noir meets Cthulhu), and I can't wait to get my hands on the next one!

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