Pork Pie Hat – Peter Straub

“Back then, I didn’t know anything about grief, and Hat wore grief about him daily, like a cloak. Now that I am the age he was then, I see that most of what is called information is interpretation, and interpretation is always partial.”

This novella is about a jazz saxophonist, his memories about something horrible that he experienced on Halloween night when he was just 11 years old & the journalist he recounts his story to. In ways, this could be considered a coming-of-age story about childhood horror. That childhood horror then lapses into something much more. Real harrowing adult fears like addiction, aging & prejudism.

I received this in the Stephen King Nocturnal Reader’s Box. I have yet to read anything by Peter Straub (I STILL need to read The Talisman novels with King. I know. I KNOW!) so this was my first introduction to his writing (that I recall, anyway!)

I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had a bit of time to squeeze in a shorter read before jumping into a MASSIVE FANTASY EPIC OF STABBY EPICNESS. You know, my usual kind of read! I read it in a day, which isn’t all that impressive, considering how short the book is. But it was an entertaining enough autumn read! Straub is obviously a competent writer & I will definitely be checking out more of his work outside of his books with King.. because there isn’t a question about those. I will literally read the phone book if King wrote it!

Inside the physical book is quite lovely. Not only are the black & white illustrations fantastic & atmospheric, but the extra details on the pages are quite pleasing to my eye! Cemetery Dance did a nice job with this, for sure!

-Holly

 

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Battlefront: Twilight Company – Alexander Freed

“He would die with a grin & a battle cry.”

Alexander Freed is quickly becoming one of my favorite Star Wars writers. Not surprising really, considering he used to work at BioWare on probably my favorite gaming franchise of all time, Mass Effect! He is a great fit within the Star Wars universe.

Battlefront: Twilight Company was inspired by the video game, Star Wars Battlefront. It is about the war between the Empire & the Rebellion, while focusing on the Sixty-first Mobile Infantry. This is better known as the Twilight Company. It’s rare that we get to see so closely into the grim war side of the Rebellion, especially with the prior Legends novels. Canon really is about expanding & diversifying the universe, which is a fucking righteous thing for me to see happen as a long time fan.

Twilight Company allows the reader to viscerally experience what it is like on the battlefield. It is described as being Band of Brothers, set in the Star Wars universe. Which ticks so many boxes for me, personally! I really enjoyed this interstellar adventure. It was a fast-paced, gripping, realistic, gritty read. There are even a few brief encounters from some recognizable faces, which is always fun for us nerds!

There were a few questionable things that happened towards the end of the book, which I didn’t think flowed with the rest of the story. But it hurtles towards a worthy conclusion.

I have read close to 60 Star Wars novels & besides Lost Stars, another fantastic canon tale, this is the only other one that I can think of that focuses so deeply on the militarization of Star Wars. It shows a more realistic side to both the Rebel Alliance & the Empire. A grittier side to the Rebellion, comprised with many soldiers that had nowhere else to go & where not all of the Empire were horrific monsters.

I hope this will open up the door for more military-themed Star Wars books. The possibilities are endless when it comes to this ever immersive galaxy far, far away!

~Holly

Gwendy’s Button Box – Stephen King & Richard Chizmar

“I am what you might call a rambling man, and America is my beat.” 

Would you take candy from a stranger.. in a park.. wearing a bowler hat.. who wants to “palaver?” Hmm. But what if he offered you a magical box filled with special animal-shaped chocolates & silver coins & various buttons & WORLD DOMINATION?! Or something like that.. yeah. No. I’m good. Thanks, but no thanks. Continue reading “Gwendy’s Button Box – Stephen King & Richard Chizmar”

Fuzzy Nation – John Scalzi

“Get off my planet, you son of a bitch.”

This is a retelling of the 1960’s H. Piper Beam novel, Little Fuzzy. I was unfamiliar with this source material prior to reading this, so I cannot compare the two. However, I enjoyed this John Scalzi interpretation!

Continue reading “Fuzzy Nation – John Scalzi”

Thunderbird – Chuck Wendig

Miriam just laughed, because, c’mon. Titmouse. Titmouse. The ranger just stood there, annoyed –blink, blink, blink–and Miriam of course explained because Miriam of course enjoys digging holes and jumping in them. She said, “Because first you imagine a mouse, a little squeaky mouse, and then you imagine a tit–a boob, a breast, a sweater monkey that has escaped its underwire cage–and now it’s attached to the mouse? Like, on its back? Or the top of its head? Flopping around like a damn Jell-O mold? Huh? Right? Oh, come on. That’s funny. That’s just… that’s just good humor, lady.”

Thunderbird is the fourth book in Chuck Wendig’s Miriam Black series. Just like the three books that came before it, this was fucking glorious! I devoured it within 24 hours, a major thing for me these days between life & writing. It’s one of my favorite series for a reason! I find it so easy to fall into this messed up, authentic world that Wendig has created. Continue reading “Thunderbird – Chuck Wendig”

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Alexander Freed

In the instant before he’d risen from the bunker, he’d questioned his own wisdom: How might he separate the will of the Force from his will, his ego, demanding action where action was unneeded? But there was no doubt in his heart now. The Force expressed itself through simplicity, and all it asked of him was to walk.

I am one with the Force and the Force is with me.

Well fuck. Just when I think I am finally emotionally stable enough to delve in before watching the movie again, this. THIS. I devoured this like the masochist I am! Continue reading “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Alexander Freed”

King of Thorns – Mark Lawrence

I drive my knife in low, at the base of his scrotum. I leave it there. I don’t want it back. Also, if I pull it free he will bleed to death quickly. I think he should linger.

I am in love with this series! Mark Lawrence is a new favorite, for sure. This is a violent story told in a grim future, but with Lawrence at the helm there is a haunting elegance about it which makes my senses tingle in all of the best ways! Continue reading “King of Thorns – Mark Lawrence”

Last Argument of Kings – Joe Abercrombie

“Dance!” laughed the Bloody-Nine, and the sword reeled around him. He filled the air with blood, and broken weapons, and the parts of men, and these good things wrote secret letters, and described sacred patterns that only he could see and understand. Blades pricked and nicked and dug at him but they were nothing. He repaid each mark upon his burning skin one-hundred fold, and the Bloody-Nine laughed, and the wind, and the fire, and the faces on the shields laughed with him, and could not stop.” 

Continue reading “Last Argument of Kings – Joe Abercrombie”

The OA

The OA, a Netflix original, premiered on December 16 2016. The series is a mix of mystery; sci-fi; fantasy; supernatural; drama; interpretative dance; Lost; Stranger Things; mind-fuckery; this that & the other thing, etc.

The series was created by Brit Marling (who stars as “The OA”) & Zal (BATMAN) Batmanglij.

Synopsis:
The series centers on Prairie Johnson, an adopted young woman who resurfaces after having been missing for seven years. Upon her return, Johnson calls herself “The OA”, exhibits scars on her back, and can see, despite having been blind when she disappeared. While many believe she is a miracle, others worry that she could be dangerous.

Continue reading “The OA”

Prince of Thorns – Mark Lawrence

The town-square ran red. Blood in the gutters, blood on the flagstones, blood in the fountain. The corpses posed as corpses do. Some comical, reaching for the sky with missing fingers, some peaceful, coiled about their wounds. Flies rose above the wounded as they struggled. This way and that, some blind, some sly, all betrayed by their buzzing entourage. Continue reading “Prince of Thorns – Mark Lawrence”