Book Haul – 15 to 21 May 2020

This week I reviewed:

Last week I found a Joe Hill comic book bundle at Humble Bundle. There are currently 13 days left for you to get this bundle for yourself if you’re interested.

I learned last week that people who are eligible to vote for this year’s Hugo Awards are also eligible to vote in New Zealand’s Sir Julius Vogel Awards. I’ve started downloading the files that are currently available in the Voter Packet. The list of the finalists and the link that provides instructions for the Voter Packet can be found here.

Yesterday I found some freebie Natasha Preston books. They are now floating around in my Kindle Black Hole of Good Intentions.

Bookish Highlight of the Week: I managed to snag an ARC of Alix E. Harrow’s The Once and Future Witches, one of my most anticipated reads of the year. Alix’s The Ten Thousand Doors of January was one of my favourite reads last year, one I loved so much I nominated it for this year’s Hugo Awards. Of course, I take personal responsibility for it being a finalist. 😜 A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies is also one of my favourite short stories. So, long story short, I can’t wait to fall in love with this new book!

Until next time, happy reading!


Joe Hill Comic Book Bundle

Comedy is Hard … but Dying is Easy!

The debut of an all-new creation by Joe Hill (Locke & Key) and Martin Simmonds (Punks Not Dead)! Meet Syd “Sh*t-Talk” Homes, a disgraced ex-cop turned bitter stand-up comic turned … possible felon?!

In Part 1 of Dying is Easy, Carl Dixon is on the verge of comedy superstardom and he got there the dirty way: by stealing jokes. He’s got a killer act, an ugly past, and more enemies than punch-lines. So when someone asks Syd Homes how much it would cost to have Dixon killed, Syd isn’t surprised in the slightest. He’s already got a figure in mind …


From the powerhouse team of Joe Hill (Locke & Key) and Martin Simmonds (Punks Not Dead) comes the second chapter in the inaugural Syd “Sh*t-Talk” Homes mystery!

Comedy may be hard and dying may be easy, but getting yourself off the hook for murder? For Syd Homes, that’s looking damn near impossible. The prime suspect in the death of joke stealer and general thief Carl Dixon, Syd’s on the run, and it’s going to take all of his investigative chops to suss out the real killer before he gets caught. And thrown in jail. With all the guys he locked up.

Luckily, he’s already got a couple of suspects in mind …


It’s 1969 and the war in Vietnam rages on. Captain Chase, a Medevac helicopter pilot for the US Army, is shot down over enemy territory. He and his crew are in a fight for their lives as they play a deadly game of cat and mouse with the Vietcong. We soon learn that machine guns and grenades aren’t the only scary things hiding in the jungle.

Find out what happens in this origin prequel to last year’s Eisner Award-nominated hit, with story by Joe Hill and Jason Ciaramella, and art and colors by Nelson Daniel (Road Rage, The Cape). Explore your dark side.


Every little boy dreams about putting on a cape and soaring up, up, and away … but “what if” one day that dream were to come true? 

Eric was like every other eight-year-old boy, until a tragic accident changed his life forever. The Cape explores the dark side of power, as the adult Eric – a confused and broken man – takes to the skies … and sets out to exact a terrible vengeance on everyone who ever disappointed him.

This critically acclaimed, Eisner-Award nominated story, written by Jason Ciaramella, based on the short story by New York Times bestselling author Joe Hill, with art by Zach Howard and Nelson Daniel, will linger with you long after you turn the last page, and force you to ask yourself the question: “What if?” 


If power corrupts, then surely with great power comes even greater corruption. Writer Jason Ciaramella and artist Zach Howard uncovers new folds in Hill’s cautionary anti-superhero tale with a story that takes place between the scenes of the original series. Eric’s already killed his ex-girlfriend and (spoiler alert) soon he’ll go after his mom and brother. But first he’ll go missing for three torturous days. What other atrocities will Eric commit? What violent secrets does the Cape still hide? There’s no telling, but the answers to those questions will further underline The Cape’s central theme – that no amount of power will make a bad person good.


Private Mallory Grennan had done terrible things as an Abu Ghraib prison worker. After being discharged from the army, Mal thought she was leaving her sins behind to start a new life back home. But some things can’t be left behind – some things don’t want to be left behind.

By Joe Hill and Jason Ciaramella, the writing team that brought you the Eisner-award nominated one-shot, The Cape, with art by Vic Malhotra. Thumbprint will turn your guts inside out. 


Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them.

Home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all …


Following a shocking death that dredges up memories of their father’s murder, Kinsey and Tyler Locke are thrown into choppy emotional waters, and turn to their new friend, Zack Wells, for support, little suspecting Zack’s dark secret. 

Meanwhile, six-year-old Bode Locke tries to puzzle out the secret of the head key, and Uncle Duncan is jarred into the past by a disturbingly familiar face. 

Open your mind – the head games are just getting started.


The dead plot against the living, the darkness closes in on Keyhouse, and a woman is shattered beyond repair, in the third storyline of the Eisner-nominated series, Locke & Key!

Dodge continues his relentless quest to find the key to the black door, and raises an army of shadows to wipe out anyone who might get in his way. Surrounded and outnumbered, the Locke children find themselves fighting a desperate battle, all alone, in a world where the night itself has become their enemy.


Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’s Locke & Key unwinds into its fourth volume in Keys to the Kingdom.

With more keys making themselves known, and the depths of the Locke family’s mystery ever-expanding, Dodge’s desperation to end his shadowy quest drives the inhabitants of Keyhouse ever closer to a revealing conclusion.


Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them … and home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all … ! After the gruesome murder of their father, the Locke kids, Tyler, Kinsey and Bode move with their mother Nina to the ancestral family home, Keyhouse. They soon discover that the house is full of secrets when they start finding magical keys which hold impossible powers such as turning people into ghosts, or being able to erase someone’s memories. They are not the only ones who know of the keys; a demonic creature known as Dodge is also after the keys, with the goal of opening the Black Door, which will allow the demons of hell to enter our world. The sprawling tale of the Locke family and their mastery of the ‘whispering steel’ thunders to new heights as the true history of the family is revealed to Tyler and Kinsey. Zack Wells assumes a new form, Tyler and Kinsey travel through time.

Tyler and Kinsey Locke have no idea that their now-deceased nemesis, Lucas “Dodge” Caravaggio, has taken over the body of their younger brother, Bode. With unrestricted access to Keyhouse, Dodge’s ruthless quest to find the Omega Key and open the Black Door is almost complete. But Tyler and Kinsey have a dangerous key of their own – one that can unlock all the secrets of Keyhouse by opening a gateway to the past. The time has come for the Lockes to face theri own legacy and the darkness behind the Black Door. Because if they don’t learn from their family history, they may be doomed to repeat it, and time is running out!

Colonel Adam Crais’s minutemen are literally trapped between a rock and a hard place; in the first days of the Revolutionary War, they find themselves hiding beneath 120 feet of New England stone, with a full regiment of redcoats waiting for them in the daylight … and a door into hell in the cavern below. The black door is open, and it’s up to a 16-year-old smith named Ben Locke to find a way to close it. The biggest mysteries of the Locke & Key series are resolved as Clockworks opens, not with a bang, but with the thunderous crash of English cannons.


The shadows have never been darker and the end has never been closer. Turn the key and open the last door; it’s time to say goodbye.

The final arc of New York Times bestselling Locke & Key comes to a thundrous and compelling conclusion.

An event not to be missed!


Three years after wrapping up their award-winning, best-selling Locke & Key saga, the team that built Keyhouse returns to Lovecraft, Massachusetts with a new tale of terror and suspense!

An impossible birthday gift for two little girls unexpectedly throws open a door to a monster on eight legs!


Two new stories by creators Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez – “Nailed It” and “Dog Days” – plus an 8-page preview of an all-new series by Hill and artist Martin Simmonds, too!


Three never-before-collected additions to the series the A.V. Club called a “modern masterpiece,” showcasing the depths of depravity and the beautifully heart-breaking heights New York Times best-selling author Joe Hill and artist Gabriel Rodriguez have to offer.

This special deluxe release finally reprints the oft-requested and long-denied Eisner-winning one-shot, “Open the Moon!” Plus the other long-sold-out one-shot, “Grindhouse!” PLUS, the even more hard-to-find IDW 10th anniversary Locke & Key tale, “In the Can!” And additional covers, behind-the-scenes photos and more.


On the isolated road of the American highway … terror rides on 18 wheels! Tales of diesel fueled fear from the masters of horror fiction. 

With Throttle, acclaimed novelist/Eisner-winning graphic novelist Joe Hill collaborates with his father, Stephen King, for the first time on a tale that pays tribute to Richard Matheson‘s classic short story, Duel. Now, IDW is proud to present comic book versions of both stories in Road Rage, adapted by Chris Ryall with art by Nelson Danieland Rafa Garres.


In Shadow Show, acclaimed writers and artists such as Joe Hill, Mort Castle, Audrey Niffenegger, Charles Paul Wilson III, Maria Frohlich, Eddie Campbell, Neil Gaiman, and more come together to pay tribute to the work of the one and only Ray Bradbury. In this collection are stories based on “By The Silver Water of Lake Champlain,” “The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury,” “Backward in Seville,” “Weariness,” “Live Forever!,” “Who Knocks?,” “Earth (A Gift Shop),” “Altenmoor, Where the Dogs Dance,” and “Conjure.”


Joe Hill’s nerve-shredding re-imagining of Tales from the Darkside never made it to TV … but the dead are restless and refuse to stay buried! Adapts the episodes written by Hill and illustrated by Locke & Key co-creator Gabriel Rodriguez!

Three stories of the macabre and malevolent! One coulda-been, shoulda-been TV epic on paper with pictures that don’t move! Step out of the warm, sunlit world you think of as reality and get ready to take a chilling walk … on the DARKSIDE!


A graphic novel prequel to Hill’s New York Times-bestselling novel NOS4A2. Discover the terrifying funhouse world of Christmasland and the ageless monster who rules it.

Climb into the passenger seat as Hill and artist Charlie “Talent” Wilson III explore Charlie Manx’s twisted beginnings, introduce a new and depraved cast of characters to Christmasland, and take us for a 100 MPH ride down an icy nightmare road in a car with no brakes…


Kindle Black Hole of Good Intentions

When two girls are abducted and killed in Missouri, journalist Camille Preaker is sent back to her home town to report on the crimes. Long-haunted by a childhood tragedy and estranged from her mother for years, Camille suddenly finds herself installed once again in her family’s mansion, reacquainting herself with her distant mother and the half-sister she barely knows – a precocious 13-year-old who holds a disquieting grip on the town.

As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims – a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.


Nina can never forgive Maggie for what she did. And she can never let her leave.

They say every house has its secrets, and the house that Maggie and Nina have shared for so long is no different. Except that these secrets are not buried in the past.

Every other night, Maggie and Nina have dinner together. When they are finished, Nina helps Maggie back to her room in the attic, and into the heavy chain that keeps her there. Because Maggie has done things to Nina that can’t ever be forgiven, and now she is paying the price.

But there are many things about the past that Nina doesn’t know, and Maggie is going to keep it that way – even if it kills her.

Because in this house, the truth is more dangerous than lies.


Hannah’s a witch, but not the kind you’re thinking of. She’s the real deal, an Elemental with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air. But even though she lives in Salem, Massachusetts, her magic is a secret she has to keep to herself. If she’s ever caught using it in front of a Reg (read: non-witch), she could lose it. For good. So, Hannah spends most of her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend (and fellow Elemental Witch) Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly By Night Cauldron selling candles and crystals to tourists, goths, and local Wiccans.

But dealing with her ex is the least of Hannah’s concerns when a terrifying blood ritual interrupts the end-of-school-year bonfire. Evidence of dark magic begins to appear all over Salem, and Hannah’s sure it’s the work of a deadly Blood Witch. The issue is, her coven is less than convinced, forcing Hannah to team up with the last person she wants to see: Veronica.

While the pair attempt to smoke out the Blood Witch at a house party, Hannah meets Morgan, a cute new ballerina in town. But trying to date amid a supernatural crisis is easier said than done, and Hannah will have to test the limits of her power if she’s going to save her coven and get the girl, especially when the attacks on Salem’s witches become deadlier by the day.


A tale of love, money, and family conflict – among Dragons.

A family deals with the death of their father.

A son goes to court for his inheritance.

Another son agonises over his father’s deathbed confession.

One daughter becomes involved in the abolition movement, while another sacrifices herself for her husband. 

And everyone in the tale is a dragon, red in tooth and claw. Here is a world of politics and train stations, of churchmen and family retainers, of courtship and country houses … in which, on the death of an elder, family members gather to eat the body of the deceased. In which the great and the good avail themselves of the privilege of killing and eating the weaker children, which they do with ceremony and relish, growing stronger thereby. 


At nineteen, Savannah Dean escaped her family, leaving behind a note and the people who caused her so much pain.

Now, she lives on her own and keeps to herself.

At nineteen, Kent Lawson’s girlfriend betrayed him, leaving him behind with a broken heart and a whole lot of mistrust in women.
Now, he lives on his own and shares himself with nearly every pretty thing that walks by but only for one night.

When Savannah and Kent meet, they can’t stand each other.

Kent knows she’s hiding something, and he despises liars.

And Savannah has nothing but secrets. 


When Bella stumbles upon her dead sister’s diary, she sets out on a mission to find her sister’s killer, but it leads her to the wrong side of town.

And right into the path of Rocco, a loner, a bad boy, who is determined to keep her away. After all, you protect your own, and Bella certainly doesn’t belong with the likes of him.

But it’s hard to move on when you’re chained to the past, and Bella is intent on getting justice for her sister … even if it’s at the cost of her own life.


For eleven years, Oakley Farrell has been silent. At the age of five, she stopped talking, and no one seems to know why. Refusing to communicate beyond a few physical actions, Oakley remains in her own little world. 

Bullied at school, she has just one friend, Cole Benson. Cole stands by her, refusing to believe that she is not perfect the way she is. Over the years, they have developed their own version of a normal friendship. However, will it still work as they start to grow even closer? 

When Oakley is forced to face someone from her past, can she hold her secret in any longer?


NetGalley

In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.

But when the Eastwood sisters – James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna – join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote – and perhaps not even to live – the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.

There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be. 


Sir Julius Vogel Awards

Best Novel Finalists

“Come here, my dearest calamity. I’ve a story to tell –
it starts with a shipwreck, and ends with a kiss.” 

A ship rolls through the fog, its doomed crew fallen victim to an engineered plague. Yat Jyn-Hok – disgraced cop, former thief, long lost love to a flame-haired street girl – stumbles across its deadly trail, but powerful men will do anything to keep it secret. 

They kill Yat.

It doesn’t stick.

An ancient intelligence reanimates her, and sends her out to enact its monstrous designs. She has her own plans: to find her lost love, and solve her own murder before the plague tears the city to pieces. But what are the golden threads she sees running through the city walls? What does her inhuman saviour want from her? Why can’t she die? 

Set in Hainak Kuay Vitraj – where lost gods live in the cracks in the sidewalk, where the miracle of alchemical botany makes flesh as malleable as clay – The Dawnhounds is a story of rebirth, redemption, and the long road home.


How is the king like a blacksmith? He has a hammer as well as a sword.

Duncan Archer has heard that riddle many times, but he doesn’t know what it means. No one does, not even the members of the Royal Guild of Swordsmiths. It isn’t Duncan’s business anyway. Good sense tells him to stick to beating iron into shape for the residents of his backwater town, and not worry about the king and his nobles pounding Frankland into the ground.

But good sense never stopped Duncan from poking his nose into everyone else’s business. If it had, he might not be a fugitive, the subject of the biggest manhunt in the country’s history.

With a charge of murder hanging over his head like a sword, understanding that riddle becomes much more urgent …


No longer content to rumble in anger, the great mountain warriors of New Zealand’s central plateau, the Kāhui Tupua, are preparing again for battle. At least, that’s how the Māori elders tell it. The nation’s leaders scoff at the danger. That is, until the ground opens and all hell breaks loose. The armed forces are hastily deployed; NZDF Sergeant Taine McKenna and his section tasked with evacuating civilians and tourists from Tongariro National Park. It is too little, too late. With earthquakes coming thick and fast and the mountains spewing rock and ash, McKenna and his men are cut off. Their only hope of rescuing the stranded civilians is to find another route out, but a busload of prison evacuees has other ideas. And, deep beneath the earth’s crust, other forces are stirring.


Well-bred women should not be seen kissing their butlers. Even when the butler in question is secretly a fae prince.

Wyn knows falling for Hetta Valstar is a bad idea. She’s not only human but the new magically bonded ruler of Stariel Estate. If their relationship gets out, it’ll cause a scandal that could ruin their attempts to sort out the estate’s crumbling finances.

And it doesn’t help that Stariel has decided it doesn’t like him.

But more than jealous sentient estates and Hetta’s good name are at stake. Wyn’s past is coming back to bite him. Ten years ago, he broke an oath and shattered the power of his home court, and the fae have been hunting him ever since. Now they’ve found his hiding place, they won’t rest until he’s dead or the debt is repaid – and they don’t play nicely. 


Best Novella / Novelette Finalists

This is no ordinary ghost story.

Wellington, 1931. Seventeen-year-old Phyllis Symons’ body is discovered in the Mt Victoria tunnel construction site.

Eighty years later, Aroha Brooke is determined to save her life.


When the state steals your words, you still have your voice. When they steal your family, will you have the strength to use it?

In the near future, the Librarian Algorithm enforces tailored censorship to protect citizens from stories and words that could cause trauma or crime.

Detective Virginia Wright is going undercover in the criminal world of spoken poetry to hunt down suppliers of illegal open-access e-readers. She has buried herself in her work ever since her mother died. But when her remaining family are arrested for literary solicitation, her world starts to crumble. And when the man she is supposed to arrest gives her the most precious gift of all, her moral compass is sent spinning.


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