Paranormal Book Giveaway from NYT Bestseller

Thea and Ana over at The Book Smuggler are having multiple contests this month where you can win free books.  Most of the contests involve simply leaving a comment on their blog in order to be entered.  For some weird reason, blog contest don’t usually get a lot of entrants, so if you want to win free stuff, this is the way to go.

Contest 1:  The Book Smugglers are currently in cahoots with bestselling author, Nalini Singh, to give away two of her paranormal romance books, The Magical Christmas Cat and An Enchanted Season.  Leave a comment on this post before Saturday, December 13th, at 11pm PST for your chance to win.

Contest 2: The Book Smugglers have also teamed up with Michael Stone to offer you a chance at your free copy of his book of four novellas of dark fantasy, Fourtold, as well as Graham Joyce’s Three Ways to Snog an Alien (funny excerpt from the description:  “The 3 ways to snog an alien are: Don’t; Don’t; and, Don’t”).  You’ll have to work a little harder for this one and leave a comment with a suggested title for the Irish-crime-with-a-fantasy-element anthology that Michael Stone is currently working on. 

For your chance at a free copy of Fourtold and Three Ways to Snog an Alien, leave your comment on this post.  And don’t worry — it appears that all commenters will be entered into the drawing, whether their suggested title is dripping with awesomeness or notsomuch.  I’m not sure what the deadline is on this one, but it looks like the drawing will take place in the new year.

Keep checking The Book Smuggler for more contests throughout the month of December.

Heart-Shaped Box

H.  It’s the eighth letter of the alphabet and the one I’m currently on in my ongoing alphabetical feature of 2007 novels.  Today’s book is Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (which is actually the pen name of Stephen King’s son, Joseph King).  Lev Grossman sums up the plot this way in his Time Magazine review:

“Heart-Shaped Box is about a very rich and very washed-up rock star named Judas Coyne. At 54 Coyne is jaded and cruel and bored and emotionally shut-down, living in rural splendor in a converted farmhouse with his various disposable goth girlfriends, his recording days long behind him. He likes to collect gruesome artifacts like snuff films. ‘When Danny Wooten, his personal assistant, told him there was a ghost for sale on the Internet and asked did he want to buy it, Jude didn’t even need to think.'”

He then goes on to state:

“…every artist has to work in the shadow of his or her father-in-art, and symbolically, Oedipally overcome him, and in Hill’s case his father-in-art is also his literal, biological father. Heart-Shaped Box isn’t about appeasing fathers, and learning to love them, and seeing that they, too, are human beings and not monsters. It’s not about that at all. It’s about knowing your father, and finding him, and then killing him. That’s what the best artists do.”

Daydreamingmom has this to say about the book in her blog:

“Run out and buy this book now. Seriously…it is that good. I have heard several people say it was great for a debut novel. But this book would be great even if it wasn’t a debut. It had just the right amount of creep factor to make me a bit skittish when I was reading in bed after midnight. It’s been awhile since that has happened.”

Here is an excerpt from the book:

“He had a stiff and worn noose that had been used to hang a man in England at the turn of the century, Aleister Crowley’s childhood chessboard, and a snuff film. Of all the items in Jude’s collection, this last was the thing he felt most uncomfortable about possessing. It had come to him by way of a police officer, a man who had worked security at some shows in L.A. The cop had said the video was diseased. He said it with some enthusiasm. Jude had watched it and felt that he was right. It was diseased. It had also, in an indirect way, helped hasten the end of Jude’s marriage. Still he held onto it.

Many of the objectsin his private collection of the grotesque and the bizarre were gifts sent to him by his fans. It was rare for him to actually buy something for the collection himself. But when Danny Wooten, his personal assistant, told him there was a ghost for sale on the Internet, and asked did he want to buy it, Jude didn’t even need to think. It was like going out to eat, hearing the special, and deciding you wanted it without even looking at the menu. Some impulses required no consideration.”

Click on the links above to read the full reviews, or visit Joe Hill’s blog here.

With Intent to Commit Horror

With Intent to Commit Horror is a website authored by librarian, Greg Fisher (also known as The Undead Rat), with the purpose of helping people find their next good horror novel.  It’s very well organized with author lists, series lists, theme lists, etc.  (Would you expect anything else from a librarian?) 

This site is a goldmine for horror fans like myself.  I don’t even know how he keeps up with all this information even if he is a librarian.  The posts, like all good blogs, are also written in a warm and personal style, and you learn a little bit about the blog author, as well as about the book authors.  For example, after his wife’s computer crashed and she took over his, he writes:

“Her late computer was a workhorse while mine, as we discovered crash after crash, was little more than a prancing pony.”

This blog is well worth a visit, so definitely check it out.