Snowball by Gregory Bastianelli #Review #BlogTour #Horror

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“Readers will be riveted by this genuinely scary holiday phantasmagoria.”– Publishers Weekly

A group of motorists become stranded on a lonely stretch of highway during a Christmas Eve blizzard and fight for survival against an unnatural force in the storm. The gathered survivors realize a tenuous connection among them means it may not be a coincidence that they all ended up on this highway. An attempt to seek help leads a few of the travelers to a house in the woods where a twisted toymaker with a mystical snow globe is hell bent on playing deadly games with a group of people just trying to get home for the holidays.

Review

Okay, I’m holding up my hands and admitting that when I agreed to review this novel, I thought it was a thriller. It’s actually horror!

Well, while I’m embracing this openness, I will admit that the author scared the crap out of me. As a result, there are things I will never do, ever!

I will not sit in an RV during a winter storm with a bunch of people I don’t know.

I will certainly never share stories of my worst winters, while ghosts from my past haunt the wilderness around me.

Oh, and most of all, I’m never throwing a snowball again.

I have been left with a phobia about snow. I was never really found of it.

Last of all and on reading the book you will understand. Snowmen the new clowns. Never going near one again.

Now that I have revealed all of that, I can confirm that Snowball is all the things a horror book should be about. It takes you on a journey into your worst fears and plays them all out over a night and day, during a winter storm. It takes characters that all have a connection, though they don’t know it to start with and plagues them nightmares, that made me hide behind my pillow and only read with the all the main lights on. It is as scary as hell, but also clever, very clever. The tension builds gradually, but by the end it matures into chest thumping pressure. I scare easily, I admit that. Not for me the latest adaption of Frankenstein on TV, the tweets were enough to leave me twitching with fear. So maybe I’m over analysing my reaction to this book, but as I hit the last page, it was only after a while I could turn the light off, following a comforting hot drink and my Chewbacca night light on!

I loved how the writer managed to take an ensemble cast and create with them a tale that left me thinking that all actions have consequences and that for some, the devastation they wreck can’t be contained. Nightmares are made real, within a story that pulsates with darkness and horror. The writer understands that if he delves below the surface of each of our fears, he can and does in Snowblind, turn them back on ourselves, leaving us wondering at the horrors we all shy away from.

I have a friend whose fear of the dark, means she has to sleep with some form of light on, I may be doing the same for a while.

Please don’t let it show this year, I don’t think I can cope!

You can purchase this novel from Amazon

About the author 

Gregory Bastianelli Author Pic

Gregory Bastianelli is the author of the novels, “Loonies” and “Jokers Club.” His stories have appeared in the magazines Black Ink Horror, Sinister Tales and Beyond Centauri; the anthologies “Night Terrors II”, “Cover of Darkness” and “Encounters”; and the online magazines “Absent Willow Review” and “Down in the Cellar”. Gregory’s novella “The Lair of the Mole People” appeared in the pulp anthology “Men & Women of Mystery Vol. II”.

He graduated from the University of New Hampshire where he studied writing under instructors Mark Smith, Thomas Williams and Theodore Weesner. Gregory worked for nearly two decades at a small daily newspaper, where the highlights of his career were interviewing shock rocker Alice Cooper and B-Movie icon Bruce Campbell.

He became enchanted with the stories of Ray Bradbury as a young child, and his love of horror grew with the likes of Richard Matheson, Robert Bloch, Stephen King and Ramsey Campbell.

Gregory lives in Dover, NH, in a Colonial home built in the 1700s. He enjoys kayaking, hiking and bicycling in the summer and snowshoeing and racquetball in the winter. Along with spending time with family, he enjoys traveling … especially to Italy, where he has visited his ancestral home and relatives residing there, also hiking the Path of the Gods on the Amalfi Coast and to the top of Mount Vesuvius.

Gregory Bastianelli is a member of the Horror Writers Association and the New England Horror Writers.

You can follow the author on Twitter

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My wonderful reading Year ~ 2020~ January #Fiction #Nonfiction #MyWonderfulReadingYear

Welcome to a series of posts that chart my wonderful reading year, 2020. I don’t have the time to review all the books I read and wanted I way to celebrate each one. So I’m going to do a monthly post of all the wonderful books I’ve reading that month. Short snappy reviews, simple comments about why I enjoyed them so much.

So welcome to my celebration of my reading in January 2020 😀

Well the year got off to the best possible start with a simply stunning book.  The Boy, the mole, the fox and the horse by Charlie Mackesy is a tender tale about the beauty of friendship and being kind to both yourself and those around you. It is also a work of art, the illustrations done by the author are destined to mark this book out as a classic that should brave every book shelf in the country.

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The second book I was lucky to have read this month was The Home by Sarah Stovell, my full review appeared on booksaremycwtches on the 22nd of January.  Shocking, deeply moving and a first class thriller.

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Next I read a book whose cover is stunning! What makes it such a great book to read, is it’s full of atosphere, beautifully crafted characters and a gripping story.

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Firewatching by Russ Thomas is not only a fabulous read, it contains a lead LGBT+ character. This is a particular passion of mine and add in a story that had me gripped throughout, it was another 5* read for me.

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Next came the first non fiction book I finished this year, The Diary Of A BookSeller by Shaun Bythell. Funny, moving and utterly fascinating, I loved it so much, on entering Waterstones for the bookclub meet, I bought the sequel, Confessions of A Bookseller, even though I’m on a self imposed book buying ban.

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Next came a thriller from the publisher Bloodhound Books, Apartment 6 by Stuart James. I felt a bit smug when first reading this, thought I’d sussed the plot out within a few pages! I was wrong. Great little read.

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Okay, I admit that when I agreed to review Snowball by I thought it was a thriller. It’s not it’s horror and I was very scared. I’m never ever throwing a snowball again!

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I am ashamed to say that the next book has sat on my bookshelf for a  few years!  Thankfully I got around to reading it this month and it is beautiful, emotional and funny. It might seem an odd thing to say that humour was present, given its a diary about her time caring for a father with Alzheimer’s! Humour though often emerged from the darkest of times. This is a book everyone should read.

It has recently been published as The Man He Used To Be and My Mad Dad.

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Next came a thriller from a new author Chris McDonald, A Wash of Black. Exciting and thrilling to read.

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The last book I read this month is the non fiction, The Dark Side of The Mind by Kerry Daynes.  Amazing read, very thought provoking, especially for me, I work in this field.

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Well that is the first month of 2020 and it was a wonderful start. I’ve loved every book I’ve read and I’m excited for what is coming in February.

 

 

 

Book Covers As Art ~ Tin Man by Sarah Winman. #Bookcoversasworksofart

 

This is almost a love story. But it’s not as simple as that.

Ellis and Michael are twelve-year-old boys when they first become friends, and for a long time it is just the two of them, cycling the streets of Oxford, teaching themselves how to swim, discovering poetry, and dodging the fists of overbearing fathers. And then one day this closest of friendships grows into something more.

But then we fast-forward a decade or so, to find that Ellis is married to Annie, and Michael is nowhere in sight. Which leads to the question: What happened in the years between?

With beautiful prose and characters that are so real they jump off the page, Tin Man is a love letter to human kindness and friendship, and to loss and living.

I admit I’m a little biased about this book, story and covers! I would definitely hang either cover on my wall. I’m fact both next to each other would be perfection. I don’t think I could pick a fsvourite! The sunflowers have a special place in the story and a special place in my heart, yet the cover with Ellis on the front is the one I own and I adore it.

“We haven’t got to the Sunflowers yet, said Michael.
No, we haven’t, she said. You’re right. OK, so Vincent hoped to set up an artists’ studio down there in the South because he was keen to have friends and like-minded people around him.
I think he was probably lonely, said Michael. What with the ear thing and the darkness.
I think he was, too, said Dora. 1888 was the year, and he was waiting for another artist to join him, a man called Paul Gauguin. People say that, in all probability, he painted the Sunflowers as decoration for Gaugain’S room. Did lots of versions of them too, not just this. It’s a lovely thought, though, isn’t it? Some people say it’s not true but I like to think it is. Painting flowers as a sign of friendship and welcome. Men and boys should be capable of beautiful things.
Never forget that, you two, she said, and she disappeared into the kitchen.”
― Sarah Winman, Tin Man. 

About the author 

Sarah Winman grew up in Essex. She attended the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art and went on to act in theatre, film and television. WHEN GOD WAS A RABBIT is her first novel. She lives in London.

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Apartment 6 by Stuart James #Review #BlogTour #Apartment6 #Thriller

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Be careful what you wish for…

When Meagan was five years old her mother was viciously attacked and murdered.

Now an adult, she herself is the victim of an abusive relationship. Meagan is desperate to escape but doesn’t have the courage to leave.

So, when Meagan meets Oliver, a decent guy who is on the rebound after a failed relationship, the two strike up a connection. But when Meagan confesses that her husband is abusive, it leads Oliver down a dark and dangerous path.

Just how far would you go to protect someone?

Oliver is about to find out and be pushed to his very limits…

 

Review

I felt a bit smug within a few pages of starting Apartment 6 by Stuart James. Having read a lot of thrillers over the last few years, I thought I had the characters of Meagan and Oliver sorted in my head, I knew their motives and the outcome of the book.

I am delighted to say, I was wrong and that they were far more nuanced that first appeared and by the time I had read the last page, the writer had delivered an ending I had not seen coming. It was such a surprise and one I was delighted with. It’s not fun working the end out from such an early point. You want it revealed in gradual stages, at least I do and I loved how Stuart James, managed to knock that smug look off my face and deliver a thriller with a twist that managed to both surprise and shock me.

I might seem like a cliché to cast a female character from an abusive family background, growing up and becoming part of such a relationship herself, but it happens. But Meagan is more than this, she far more complex. It’s hard to explain without revealing too much, but what I liked about her is she is chameleon like and has hidden depths that only become apparent, the further you read. Oliver is cast as an almost reluctant ‘hero’. But the writer makes us sit back and ask, of all the characters in the book, who is the actual victim and when I finished, I actually had to admit I wasn’t sure and that is the mark of good characterization.

The story is to quote another cliché, thrilling! It is also clever in the way it flips the idea of who is exactly in control on its head and manages to fool the reader. The pressure builds, developing from a gentle feeling of unease and into chest thumping pressure.

It is a great little thriller and I think the writer has delivered a strong  novel. It all points to an exciting writing career.

About the author 

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I have always loved scary stories, especially ones that shocked me, left me terrified, looking under my bed or in the wardrobe before going to sleep.
There was just a fantastic buzz whenever I watched or read something that took my breathe away.
I remember going to my nan’s house in Ireland as a youngster with my mother and sister, on the West Coast, staying in a cottage, surrounded by miles of fields and my family sitting around the table in the kitchen at night telling ghost stories. Going out and exploring derelict farmhouses in the middle of nowhere. I remember clearly the field at the end of the road was supposed to be haunted by headless nuns.
My cousins often remind me of the great times we had, frightening each other and running for our lives whenever we’d see something that didn’t look right.
This is why I love nothing more than to tell a story.

I started writing two years ago, penning The House On Rectory Lane.
I got the idea from something that has often seemed scary to me. I know that a terrifying story has to be something that you’re frightened of doing, something that makes the hairs stand on the back of your neck, something that fills you with dread, yet also with excitement.
To me, the thought of going to a house in the middle of nowhere, upping and leaving a busy town and moving to the country is something that scares lots of people and me: the seclusion, the quiet, the darkness.
That’s what inspired me to write my first novel.

My second thriller is called Turn The Other Way.
I have multiple stories running, past and present. A family who want answers from the surgeon responsible for their daughter’s death.
A young woman looking for her parents after they go missing from a party.
A couple driving home and hearing screams for help from the back of the van in front of them.
A serial killer on the loose in North London, dragging victims off the street.

I’m so grateful when people not only read my thrillers but also take the time to get in touch and leave a review. To me, that is the greatest feeling, hearing from people that have enjoyed my work. I know then that I’m doing something right.

I’m currently working on my new thriller, Apartment Six, which Will be released 29th of January.

I’m 45, married and have two beautiful children. Currently, I’m a full-time plumber but would love nothing more than to make a living from my writing.
I hope I write stories and people continue to enjoy them for years to come. That would be completely amazing and a dream come true.

You can follow the author on Twitter and Facebook

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