Monday, April 15, 2013

WOOL by HUGH HOWEY ★ ★ ★★★



If you haven’t heard of ‘Wool’ or Hugh Howey, hold on to your e-reader, you soon will. The hype around his journey from indie author to major book deal is making publishing headlines.

‘Wool’ was first published as a novella in mid-2011 but reader demand from Amazon reviewers had Howey hurrying back to his apocalyptic world to spin out some follow-on stories, five self-published over the next six months.  In January 2012, he released the ‘Wool Omnibus’ containing the stories and shortly later the publishing industry courted him with a seven-figure publishing deal. As well, Twentieth Century Fox and legendary Director Ridley Scott bought the film rights. 
Were there many changes from the self-published e-book to the publisher’s paper-book? “Minor revisions and localization edits,” says Howey.  “The biggest rewrite came from a small request from my extraordinary editor, Jack Fogg. He thought a couple of characters should get an earlier mention. The next day, I sent him a brand new chapter, which we slotted into the original book two. It’s now my favourite chapter in the entire book, and I was excited to record a reading of it for readers who had read the original.”  Howey sees the 550 page Omnibus as “a director’s cut”. 
Set in a post-apocalyptic future, ‘Wool’ tells the story of inhabitants of a two-hundred-level Silo who are bound by strict rules.  Breach them and you are sent outside in a specially made suit to participate in a ‘Cleaning’.  You then clean the only wall-screen that allows the inhabitants a view of the desolate world, before your suit disintegrates and you die.
‘Wool’ opens with the Sheriff who has lost his wife to a ‘Cleaning’.  Then we move through the volumes to view the Silo habitat through the eyes of various characters including Juliette, an engineer who begins to question the values and laws of the Silo. Then the fun really begins.
‘Wool’ is an extraordinary, rare gem. Howey has a talent for creating character depth, pacing, and his world-building is all encompassing. Putting ‘Wool’ down unfinished each reading session felt like I was leaving good friends in peril. The ‘Wool’ saga continues with ‘Shift’, already available on e-book and just released in paper-book.  Go visit the Silo. You won’t want to leave.

My review copy of Wool thanks to the hardworking people at RANDOM HOUSE Australia.
For more information please visit

Release Dates: Australia and New Zealand: January 2013
To purchase:   click here


Hugh Howey is the author of Wool, a bestselling novel that has appeared in the top 5 of science fiction on Amazon. He is also the author of the award-winning Molly Fyde Saga. He lives in Boone, N.C. with his wife Amber and their dog Bella.

Fuse (Pure #2) by J.C. Baggott ★ ★ ★★


Last year I fell in love with ‘Pure’ and the marvellous talent that is Julianna Baggott.  So my hand was firmly in the air for ‘Fuse’, part two of this dystopian trilogy.  I wasn’t the only passionate fan.  In between the books, ‘Pure’ has become an award-winning novel. 
The New York Times named ‘Pure’ in its ‘2012 Top 100 Notable Books’.  It was a People Magazine pick for its ‘“Still Hungry?” List’, as suggested reading for ‘The Hunger Games’ fans.  Entertainment Weekly picked it for “Find Me a Twilight” and the list goes on.  It even featured on Suspense Magazine’s “Best Book of 2012” list. 
If you haven’t read 'Pure' then put the first two of the trilogy on your reading list.  As Fox2000 has acquired the film rights and Karen Rosenfelt, the lead producer of ‘The Twilight Saga’ film trilogy will produce, expect to hear a lot more of ‘Pure’ in the future.
Do you need to have read the first book to enjoy ‘Fuse’?  Yes and you will enjoy every minute of the catch-up.  In ‘Pure’ we met Baggott’s finely imagined characters and the devastating and mesmerising post-apocalyptic world of the Dome-dwelling Pures, untouched by the Detonations.  The survivors, the Wretches, live outside in the wasteland, scarred by horrible fusions of whatever object they were nearest during the detonations; dolls heads fused to wrists, wings fused to backs, babies fused to hips and even a boy fused on his brother’s back.
In ‘Fuse’, Baggott hits the ground running as the determined group of Partridge, Pressia, Lyda and Bradwell embark on a plan to save the Wretches from the Dome-dwellers who seem intent on wiping them out. Told via multiple perspectives, our heroes separate on various quests.  Partridge returns to the Dome to confront his dictator Father Willux.  Pressia, El Capitan and Bradwell embark on an odyssey for the antidote to reverse the Wretches disfigurements and Lyda joins the savage Mothers. 
‘Fuse’ thrusts us deeper into Baggott’s horrifying future vision and expands the central characters without slackening the pace.  On the final page, we are left hanging precariously over a literary cliff but if anyone can leave you gladly dangling, it’s Julianna Baggott and her band of extraordinary ‘Pure’ heroes.

My review copy of 'FUSE' supplied by Hachette Australia.
For more information about this book, click through to Hachette website HERE.  
RELEASED:  Febuary 2013


           Julianna began publishing short stories when she was twenty-two and sold her first nove
l while still in her twenties. After receiving her M.F.A. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, she published her first novel, Girl Talk, which was a national bestseller and was quickly followed by The Boston Globe bestseller The Miss America Family, and then The Boston Herald Book Club selection, The Madam, an historical novel based on the life of her grandmother. She co-wrote Which Brings Me to You with Steve Almond, A Best Book of 2006 (Kirkus Reveiws).
           Her Bridget Asher novels include The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted, The Pretend Wife, and My Husband’s Sweethearts. Asher’s novels are widely published overseas.
          She has also published award-winning novels for younger readers under the pen name N.E. Bode as well as under Julianna Baggott. Her seven novels for younger readers include, most notably, The Anybodies trilogy was a People Magazine summer reading pick alongside David Sedaris and Bill Clinton, a Washington Post Book of the Week, a Girl’s Life Top Ten, a Booksense selection, and was in development at Nickelodeon/Paramount; The Slippery Map, The Ever Breath, and the prequel to Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, a movie starring Dustin Hoffman, Natalie Portman, and Jason Bateman. For two years, Bode was a recurring personality on XM Sirius Radio. Julianna’s Boston Red Sox novel The Prince of Fenway Park (HarperCollins) was published in spring 2009. It is on the Sunshine State Young Readers Awards List and The Massachusetts Children’s Book Award for 2011-2012.
          Visit the "Pure" website for the first chapter of "Pure", loads of cool stuff and to learn more. Information on purchasing “Pure” and "Fuse" is also there. I highly recommend you buy yourself a copy of each. You will want to read them more than once.
            Visit author Julianna Baggott’s website and blog, with fabulously informative information for writers there.
Click here to purchase Pure

Monday, April 8, 2013

PSYCHOS Anthology edited by John Skipp ★★★★★

(Serial Killers, Depraved Madman and the Criminally Insane)


               Stephen King is arguably one of the master storytellers of our time.  Yet, even he felt he’d fallen out of touch with short story fiction in 2006 when invited to edit ‘The Best American Short Stories 2007’.
In an interview promoting his own collection, ‘Just After Sunset’, inspired by his editing of the volume, he said, “People have forgotten how to read the short story. They’ve fallen out of love with the short story.  People are too lazy to pick up a short story and start over and over again. It’s (too much of) a grab bag.’
John Skipp, editor of ‘Psychos-Serial Killers, Depraved Madman and the Criminally Insane’ certainly ensures it is not a grab bag.  He knows something about great short stories, with his first published short story in ‘The Twilight Zone’ Magazine in 1982.  He’s a New York Times Bestselling author and has co-authored over a dozen successful horror novels, ‘Psychos’ being  his third anthology with publisher Black Dog and Leventhal in the fantasy-horror genre.  So he has credibility in choosing a gripping yarn.
These stories will restore your faith in the short narrative.  Some will stick in your mind, even if you don’t want them there.  These are thirty-eight gems that will keep you reading like the addiction that follows that first black jelly-bean.  Your need for ‘just one more’ will keep you up into the psycho-prowling wee hours. 
You will meet perfectly normal people—you’ll think at first—that hide twisted, dark secrets. And you will meet normal people who don’t realise they have crossed evil’s pathway. Dark humour and light prose dance in perfect combination. Alongside, genre royalty of Neil Gaimin, Thomas Harris, Ray Bradbury, and Edgar Allen Poe, Skipp has included some astonishingly polished emerging authors.
The pleasure of reading a good story is that you don’t want it to end. The wonderful thing with ‘Psychos’, at over six hundred pages, there are plenty of beginnings.

My review copy of Psychos thanks to the lovable people at Murdoch Books and Allen and Unwin Australia

To buy or learn more visit Psychos
Release Dates:
 Australia and New Zealand: December, 2012  
U.S.A.: October, 2012


John Skipp is a New York Times bestselling author and editor whose 23 books have sold millions of copies in a dozen languages worldwide. His first anthology, Book of the Dead, laid the foundation in 1989 for modern zombie literature. He later edited three more zombie anthologies, including Mondo Zombie, which won the Bram Stoker Award for best anthology. He is the editor of three books in Black Dog’s horror series: Zombies, Werewolves and Shapeshifters, and Demons, which also won the Bram Stoker Award. He lives in Los Angeles, CA.