Review: 20th Century Ghosts – Joe Hill

20th century ghosts cover

SYNOPSIS: A collection of short stories.

Imogene is young and beautiful. She kisses like a movie star and knows everything about every film ever made. She’s also dead and waiting in the Rosebud Theater for Alec Sheldon one afternoon in 1945….

Arthur Roth is a lonely kid with big ideas and a gift for attracting abuse. It isn’t easy to make friends when you’re the only inflatable boy in town….

Francis is unhappy. Francis was human once, but that was then. Now he’s an eight-foot-tall locust and everyone in Calliphora will tremble when they hear him sing….

John Finney is locked in a basement that’s stained with the blood of half a dozen other murdered children. In the cellar with him is an antique telephone, long since disconnected, but which rings at night with calls from the dead….

The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past… – via Goodreads

GRADE 7.5I am sure it is common knowledge by now that I am a massive Joe Hill fan (thank you Cara). This is one of the few books I haven’t read, so when Melissa at The Creative Fox Den let me know she was reading 20th Century Ghosts, she sparked all sorts of envy in me and I jumped at the small gap in my schedule to fit in another book. Wow, worth every single second. This book is a compendium of short stories by Hill. Some are brilliant, some are alright, some are downright bizarre (which I appreciate, it means he thinks outside the box), some are freaky, others make you think, and some are just so weird you don’t even know how to comprehend what you just read. Some of the shorts showed you small ideas that were later realised in his bigger novels, or you can draw parallels to, and those really get under the skin. I was fascinated from page one, and loved the collection of stories that came together in here, so many different types, some that stand out more than others, but all of them pretty well written. Voluntary Committal was an incredibly interesting and exceptionally creepy story, I loved it and think it was hands down my favourite one, and the longest short in the book. That could definitely have made one crazy novel, but I sort of like it just being that short little bit. Obviously the book is a good read and relatively fast read, too, and it is engaging (as if I expected any less). I enjoyed every moment with this book for so many reasons, and I can most certainly recommend it!

Completed Book Challenge 2014

completed book challenge

Another year, done and dusted! Here are the new books that I have made it through this year. I managed some rereads in between, but I cannot count those again. It was most enjoyable. Thanks to all who gave me recommendations that I got to, it was lovely!

1. The Fault In Our Stars – John Green

2. The Perfect Husband (FBI Profiler Series – Quincy #1) – Lisa Gardner

3. Sworn to Silence (Kate Burkholder #1) – Linda Castillo

4. One False Move – Alex Kava

5. Windmills of the Gods – Sidney Sheldon

6. Night Shift – Stephen King

7. The Third Victim (FBI Profiler Series – Quincy #2) – Lisa Gardner

8. The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt

9. Unseen (Georgia #5) – Karin Slaughter

10. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

11. Pray for Silence (Kate Burkholder #2) – Linda Castillo

12. The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1) – Stephen King

13. Horns – Joe Hill

14. The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

15. An Abundance of Katherines – John Green

16. Mailman: A Novel – J Robert Lennon

17. Whitewash – Alex Kava

18. Shutter Island – Dennis Lehane

19. The Rolling Stones: 50 – Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Ronnie Wood

20. Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk

21. Will Grayson, Will Grayson – John Green & David Levithan

22. Drive – James Sallis

23. Looking for Alaska – John Green

24. Are You Afraid of the Dark? – Sidney Sheldon

25. The Silence of the Lambs (Hannibal Lecter #2) – Thomas Harris

26. Under the Knife – Tess Gerritsen

27. A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) – George R.R. Martin

28. Dracula – Bram Stoker

29. Dead Until Dark (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #1) – Charlaine Harris

30. Tell Me Your Dreams – Sidney Sheldon



That was the original challenge. I finished all of those and then decided to up it to fifty.

31. Living Dead in Dallas (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #2) – Charlaine Harris

32. Paper Towns – John Green

33. Club Dead (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #3) – Charlaine Harris

34. One Scream Away (Sheridan #1) – Kate Brady

35. Dead to the World (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #4) – Charlaine Harris

36. Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies #1) – Isaac Marion

37. Dead as a Doornail (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #5) – Charlaine Harris

38. Heart-Shaped Box – Joe Hill

39. Definitely Dead (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #6) – Charlaine Harris

40. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

41. All Together Dead (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #7) – Charlaine Harris

42. Cop Town – Karin Slaughter

43. From Dead to Worse (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #8) – Charlaine Harris

44. The Bad Place – Dean Koontz

45. Dead and Gone (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #9) – Charlaine Harris

46. A Drink Before The War (Kenzie & Gennaro #1) – Dennis Lehane

47. Dead in the Family (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #10) – Charlaine Harris

48. The Villa – Nora Roberts

49. Dead Reckoning (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #11) – Charlaine Harris

50. Darkness, Take My Hand (Kenzie & Gennaro #1) – Dennis Lehane

Well, there we have it folks. I know I have some recommendations that were given to me, they are on my list, they will most likely make the new year’s challenge 🙂 Thanks so much to everyone who read, commented and recommended, it is much appreciated!

Rapid Review: Horns (2013)

horns movie poster

“You killed that poor girl, and now the devil has claimed you.”
– Father Mould

SYNOPSIS: In the aftermath of his girlfriend’s mysterious death, a young man awakens to strange horns sprouting from his temples. – via IMDB

horns laugh horns radcliffe

GRADE 7The  level of excitement I had been building for this is madness. I absolutely adored Hill’s book, and I was excited to see Daniel Radcliffe helm the role of Ig, it is something I was sure he was going to rock, and let me just tell you he did! I know I have said it before and I will say it again, but I never, ever liked Radcliffe in Potter. Always found him so wooden and boring. Yet the minute you take him out of that he is just amazing, no two ways about it. He was just perfect to play Ig, and he did a fantastic job embodying everything about the character. It’s like he climbed into the skin of Ig and it was just mesmerising to watch – probably my favourite role of his ever! I think if you have not read the book, you will miss out a lot of the finer things in the film, which is unfortunate. But lucky for me, I read the book, so I really, really enjoyed it and felt that it was well worth the wait. What I do wish, though, is that there was more of Ig’s past shown, especially featuring Lee, so that you could get a more solid feel for his character and the psychology behind him, it would have lent more credence to how everything went down. As someone who read the book, all the little things in between were filled up for me, but I am sure you might have a lot of questions if you haven’t read it. My other half was lost at a few places but righted when I explained it to him, so the film could surely have focused on that some more. There were times that I was annoyed by the changes made, but this is not a simple story to bring to screen. I must say, I had a good few laughs throughout, which is something I didn’t really expect. The acting all round was pretty good, and naturally I was thrilled to see David Morse in here, though he didn’t have a huge role. The character were decently cast. The film was shot beautifully, and I loved the colours and effects thoughout. I adored the soundtrack, too. Just an example: I got goosebumps at the usage of Marilyn Manson’s Personal Jesus in here. I thought that was absolutely perfectly done. Ig getting out that car, to the bar, all that ensues prior to entering – that song just worked. And then, as you think it’s over, Ig leaves, and lo and behold, Personal Jesus just pops up and closes that whole scene out. WOW. That’s all I have to say about that. Alright, so from all of this I am sure that you are able to tell that I loved it and will definitely be watching it again and adding it to my collection. At the end of it all, what I am trying to say, is definitely watch it!

Review: Heart-Shaped Box – Joe Hill

joe hill heart shpaed box

SYNOPSIS: Aging, self-absorbed rock star Judas Coyne has a thing for the macabre – his collection includes sketches from infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy, a trepanned skull from the 16th century, a used hangman’s noose, Aleister Crowley’s childhood chessboard, etc. – so when his assistant tells him about a ghost for sale on an online auction site, he immediately puts in a bid and purchases it.

The black, heart-shaped box that Coyne receives in the mail not only contains the suit of a dead man but also his vengeance-obsessed spirit. The ghost, it turns out, is the stepfather of a young groupie who committed suicide after the 54-year-old Coyne callously used her up and threw her away. Now, determined to kill Coyne and anyone who aids him, the merciless ghost of Craddock McDermott begins his assault on the rocker’s sanity. – via Goodreads

GRADE 8I am doing the synopsis thing because I really don’t want to have a spoiler out there, and anything that I say in a description just might do it. I would rather avoid it because really, this book is well worth the read. Another excellent read from Hill. Seeing as Heart-Shaped Box is his debut novel, it is extremely impressive. I was hooked from page one, and couldn’t put it down until I was done with it. I must admit that this one seems to have a lot of similarities with his father’s work. I don’t mean the story or the content so much as I am referring to the writing style. Heart-Shaped Box flows and it tells a great story, keeps you hooked from the off. I admit that I am officially a fan of Hill and his work. I absolutely adored Horns, so logically I decided to work through his other stuff, and it is rewarding. Jude presented an interesting character, that went from unlikable to someone I could understand, and on to someone who was actually not a bad person, but definitely in hiding, in his own shell. Georgia grew on me, too. Initially she is nothing worth writing home about, too bitchy, angry at the world, the whole shebang. The relationship that developed between them was bizarre – it started from being just sex and a little ridiculous, then blossoming into anger and love, and then moving on to something beautiful. I loved the concept of the nightroad, and Hill implemented this perfectly. There were scenes that ran chills through me because they were both creepy and executed perfectly (the best one being when Danny called Jude from the phone booth). It’s great for me, too, that music is referenced so much in this book. I love music, and being another book of his that references music so much, I take it that Hill, too, is passionate about it. The books flows wonderfully, and the plot moves along nicely, too. Nothing becomes too complicated, and Hill lets you in on the relevant information you need just before the mystery becomes frustrating, so he is very good at building and maintaining momentum. All I can say is that if you have never read Hill’s work before, or are interested, you really cannot go wrong with this.

Review: Horns – Joe Hill


Ignatius “Ig” Perrish has a problem in life: the Gideon, New Hampshire believes he is a violent sex murderer and a freak. The previous year he went from a respectable family name and coming from money to something unworthy after his girlfriend Merrin Williams was brutally raped and murdered out at the old foundry and naturally Ig became suspect number one. As freaked out as he was, he was sure that when the physical evidence returned he would be just fine because it would have to rule him out… he was not present and he is certainly not guilty. Instead the lab containing the evidence catches fire, and even a year on Ig is still a “person of interest”, though he knows everyone believes he did it. Ig wakes one morning to find horns growing out of his head, shockingly. The night before is a bit of a drunken mess, but he knows he was at the foundry at some stage. His new girlfriend of sorts, Glenna Nicholson, starts spilling her guts to Ig when he meets with her in their apartment that morning, some deep and dark secrets, and he cannot understand why she is not more freaked out by the horns. Ultimately she admits to him that she hooked up with Lee Tourneau the night before, Ig’s ex-best friend.

Ig escapes the apartment, and soon finds that his horns seem to be affecting people. They notice they are there, but are unperturbed by it and continue on as normal with the exception of sharing some pretty nasty things with him. Ig realises that people are sharing their darkest desires and thoughts with him as though he should okay it. He learns some terrible things about the people in town as well as what a lot of people think about him. He is crushed to learn that his parents truly believe that he butchered Merrin and that they both despise him. He runs into his incredibly successful and famous brother Terry, and here he learns that Terry swears he did not kill Merrin, though he might know who did. Paralysed, Ig learns that Lee Tourneau was responsible for killing Merrin, Lee who distanced himself after Merrin’s death, finally deserting him completely… Lee who was around since the day Ig and Merrin met each other at teens and were inseparable ever since… Matters are not helped by the fact that Lee has always lusted after Merrin, and that she and Ig had quite the serious fight the night she was raped and killed – this is why he is so high up on the suspect list.

Ig cannot deal with the possibility, and starts to think back to the past, his and Merrin’s past, as well as how Lee tied into everything. Deciding to confront Lee to accuse him of Merrin’s slaying as well as hear what Lee would say about it, he is shocked when Lee does not seem to be affected by the horns. He only tells Ig what he wants to and no more. Lee still wears Merrin’s gold cross around his neck, the beginning of their friendships as well as the relationship of Ig and Merrin. He suspects that the cross may have something to do with what is going on. Ig is furious and hurt and depressed and on a revenge mission. He does not know how exactly it is that the horns came to be and that discovery is no longer the most important thing for him to work out. He needs to avenge Merrin, he needs to get onto some form of equal ground, to punish someone for the injustice that she suffered, and he needs a plan to do it. Moving across town, Ig starts to cause discord and bring out the inner truths of people while he paves his path to Lee, who on his own has other plans to take Ig down, to not be held responsible for what has happened. Ig knows if he can get Merrin’s cross away from Lee and he can just touch him, just for a split second, he will know exactly what went down that night, as though has also become a truth-telling ability for him.

How does Terry tie into Merrin’s murder? What actually happened the night that she was killed? What will happen between Ig and Lee? How far will his horns tranformation continue? What will he change into? Will he avenge the fallen love of his life? Will it even make a difference if he does?

GRADE 7.5This was a book suggestion from Cara over at Silver Screen Serenade to add to my reading challenge for this year. I have never read any of his work before, so this was going to an entirely new experience for me. I must say that I enjoyed this, it was something different, another writing style. I had a giggle when Stephen King’s Carrie was referenced, I thought that was quite entertaining. It took me a little bit to get into it because of the sudden place in which it starts, but that also goes hand in hand with showing us how Ig was experiencing his inexplicable change, too. I liked the musical reference that were in the book, and the characters were pretty cool, too. Joe Hill lays the story out, not in a chronological order, but in a sequence that will make sense as you progress. The memories that come up as well as the impact in the present were great. Reading about how Ig is dealing with everything helps to identify with the character, while reading how Lee is going about something or how he perceives it lends another outlook as to what is happening. Merrin’s murder was not spread out in lurid detail from the off, but rather set out as a journey to which you collect pieces of the puzzle to get to construct by the end and read the story out like a map. It was a relatively quick read, and while not the greatest book of all time, it shows that Hill has immense amounts of potential and should be recognised for it. I am looking forward to reading more of his work.