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A young woman discovers a strange portal in her uncle’s house, leading to madness and terror in this gripping new novel. Pray they are hungry. Kara finds these words in the mysterious bunker that she’s discovered behind a hole in the wall of her uncle’s house. Freshly divorced and living back at home, Kara now becomes obsessed with these cryptic words and starts exploring t A young woman discovers a strange portal in her uncle’s house, leading to madness and terror in this gripping new novel. Pray they are hungry. Kara finds these words in the mysterious bunker that she’s discovered behind a hole in the wall of her uncle’s house. Freshly divorced and living back at home, Kara now becomes obsessed with these cryptic words and starts exploring the peculiar bunker—only to discover that it holds portals to countless alternate realities. But these places are haunted by creatures that seem to hear thoughts…and the more you fear them, the stronger they become.


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A young woman discovers a strange portal in her uncle’s house, leading to madness and terror in this gripping new novel. Pray they are hungry. Kara finds these words in the mysterious bunker that she’s discovered behind a hole in the wall of her uncle’s house. Freshly divorced and living back at home, Kara now becomes obsessed with these cryptic words and starts exploring t A young woman discovers a strange portal in her uncle’s house, leading to madness and terror in this gripping new novel. Pray they are hungry. Kara finds these words in the mysterious bunker that she’s discovered behind a hole in the wall of her uncle’s house. Freshly divorced and living back at home, Kara now becomes obsessed with these cryptic words and starts exploring the peculiar bunker—only to discover that it holds portals to countless alternate realities. But these places are haunted by creatures that seem to hear thoughts…and the more you fear them, the stronger they become.

30 review for The Hollow Places

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    This is something extremely dark, gory, twisted, inspired by H. P. Lovecraft’s story and I have to admit its dark humor and quirky, absurd characters acted like just left a Cohen Brothers movie fit interestingly well with its horrifying combination. If you love the Twisted Ones, short stories of King, Lovecraft, Tremblay, this one is matched made in heaven with your dark, weird and nerdish soul! There are two leading characters of the book carry the story from the beginning and making us get use This is something extremely dark, gory, twisted, inspired by H. P. Lovecraft’s story and I have to admit its dark humor and quirky, absurd characters acted like just left a Cohen Brothers movie fit interestingly well with its horrifying combination. If you love the Twisted Ones, short stories of King, Lovecraft, Tremblay, this one is matched made in heaven with your dark, weird and nerdish soul! There are two leading characters of the book carry the story from the beginning and making us get used to their antics, peculiar attitudes. Dear Kara and Simon. Kara, newly divorced, penniless, losing her house, is forced to live with her mother who never stops talking. Her story starts like a surprisingly a romcom character. She gets an offer from his Uncle Earl who is owner of one of the weirdest museums of the earth: Natural Wonders, Curiosities and Taxidermy, located at Hog Chapel, North Carolina. He suffers from his bad knee and needs help in exchange of providing rent free life to Kara. She says okay without questioning because she cannot stand to live with her own mother and since her childhood, the museum has always being amazed her. Kara’s cyber-stalking her ex and her inner monologues are entertaining at the beginning, using the coffee shop’s free WIFI, befriends Simon: queer, interesting taste of fashion, insisting he ate his twin in his mother’s womb and carries her eye which helps him have different kind views about the outer world. You may sense he is uniquely original and lovely kind of weird. Then one day, Uncle Early leaves the museum for getting knee operation, is driven by Kara’s mom. Now she is alone in the place. It won’t be problem. She can handle it. Right? But wait for it… She finds a carved hole in the museum wall and asks Simon for help to patch it up but then they realize it’s not a regular carved wall. It’s a secret tunnel opens into other alternated universes. Two adventurers take their first step to find out where the tunnel takes them. But their curiosity may get them to the hollow places they’d never imagine at their darkest, spookiest, bleakest nightmares! Their journey to Narnia meets Pan’s Labyrinth force them face the ugliest, most terrifying creatures, the person from alternate universe who already lost the last pieces of humanity. They think they achieved to escape. They think they can run away from it. But everything starts and connects with the willows which get more powerful and brightening at each day! This is fast pacing, entertaining, smart, dazzling, horrifying story that I’ve devoured at half day. I loved the characters, I enjoyed the references, I liked the eerie, depressing atmosphere! I’m giving my 4 taxidermy stars and I highly recommend this to the genre’s lovers! Special thanks to NetGalley and Gallery/Saga Press for sharing this remarkable ARC with me in exchange my honest review. I honestly had so much fun! blog instagram facebook twitter

  2. 4 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    The Hollow Places is a super WEIRD, extremely well-written Horror story penned in Kingfisher's signature quirky style. I think it's really hard to nail weird, yet she does it. The humor and heart brought to her stories is so refreshing to read. If you haven't read anything by Kingfisher yet, this would be a great place to start. With the low-key fangirling out of the way, let's get into the story, shall we? Recently divorced, Kara, known as Carrot to her family and friends, returns to her beloved U The Hollow Places is a super WEIRD, extremely well-written Horror story penned in Kingfisher's signature quirky style. I think it's really hard to nail weird, yet she does it. The humor and heart brought to her stories is so refreshing to read. If you haven't read anything by Kingfisher yet, this would be a great place to start. With the low-key fangirling out of the way, let's get into the story, shall we? Recently divorced, Kara, known as Carrot to her family and friends, returns to her beloved Uncle Earl's Museum of Wonders to live, lick her wounds and help him out. The museum, think smaller version of Ripley's Believe It or Not, is her Uncle's pride and joy. He has spent years curating the various items, including a vast collection of taxidermy, and tends to it all with care and dedication. Carrot's favorite piece is an elk head, known as Prince, which her Uncle has now placed in her room above the bed to make her feel more comfortable. With Carrot around to help, Uncle Earl finally plans to have the knee surgeries he has been in desperate need of. As he heads off to hospital, Carrot falls into a groove of running the museum on her own. Along with her cat, Beau, it begins to feel like a home. She even kindles a friendship with the barista at the coffee shop next door, Simon. After a tourist knocks a hole in the wall of the second floor of the museum, Carrot, definitely lacking the skills to repair such damage, enlists Simon's help. As they peer through the hole, Carrot and Simon discover more than general building innards. They find a portal to another world. More specifically, Narnia from hell. That's what they find, Narnia from HELL!!! As anyone would, they go explore this unexpected world. Let's call it the Willow World, scenes from which chilled me to the bone. I refuse to tell you more, you will have to pick this one up and discover for yourself. Kingfisher's writing is so much fun. Her characters are hilarious. As frightening as this got, there were still many, many times when I laughed out loud. One of my favorite things about her writing is how real her characters seem; and how likable. They also don't magically turn into superheroes who can overcome all obstacles with grace and without breaking a sweat. Carrot and Simon, although not helpless, were bumbling around trying to figure this out just like you or I would. I mean, unless you know how to defeat mysterious monsters and close the portal to hell before it swallows your entire town. Maybe you do, who am I to judge? In summation, as you can clearly tell, I want you to read this book. I loved it and if you are into weird and scary things, I think you will too! Thank you so much to the publisher, Gallery Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I truly appreciate it. This was one of my most anticipated books of the year and it didn't disappoint for a second. I will read ANYTHING Kingfisher writes.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    See the beautiful gif below of a willow tree woman all serene and peaceful...THIS AIN’T THAT BOOK! First off, I had no idea this was the author of THE TWISTED ONES, I loved that book too! I live in my own little bubble. (I wish I could have my own bubble because - nevermind) This particular book went to my favorites list!! I love the hell out of it and I am preordering the paperback!! I freaking love the characters! Kara (Carrot) moves in with her uncle at his WONDER MUSEUM after her divorce. Al See the beautiful gif below of a willow tree woman all serene and peaceful...THIS AIN’T THAT BOOK! First off, I had no idea this was the author of THE TWISTED ONES, I loved that book too! I live in my own little bubble. (I wish I could have my own bubble because - nevermind) This particular book went to my favorites list!! I love the hell out of it and I am preordering the paperback!! I freaking love the characters! Kara (Carrot) moves in with her uncle at his WONDER MUSEUM after her divorce. All of the taxidermy and weird stuff doesn’t bother her as she grew up there. And next door there is the coffee shop that Simon runs. He also lives above the shop and Kara’s uncle owns that building too. Simon is a sweet pea!! He’s gay and he’s hilarious. Oh I can’t wait to get the book to add ALL the quotes. The Hollow Places is creepy as hell and freaking hilarious! I haven’t laughed out loud this hard in a long time. The scary and humor and quaintness of the museum have a wonderful balance. The friendship between Kara and Simon are spot on...well...if you’re lucky enough to have friends like that!! Soooooo....uncle goes into surgery and leaves Kara to watch the museum while he gets better at her moms house. Kara finds a hole in the wall and things get cray from there!! I mean scary, whackado and all things in between! We have creepy willows, shadow things, scary people, other worlds, bizarre bunkers, deranged taxidermist raccoons and the list goes on. I just want to highly recommend this book if you like a bit of humor with your horror books! Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾 *Thank you to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster for an advanced, digital copy of this book. BLOG: https://melissa413readsalot.blogspot....

  4. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ~ Bantering Books

    All my reviews can be found on my blog, Bantering Books, at https:www.banteringbooks.com. Are you looking for a super scary read for Halloween? Yes? Then look elsewhere. Because T. Kingfisher’s newest horror novel, The Hollow Places, isn’t really a horror novel. And it’s not super scary. It’s a fantasy. More accurately, it’s a humorous fantasy, with occasional moments of creepy, squirmy Weird/Lovecraftian horror. (And I do mean, occasional. The moments are very few and far between.) But it works. All my reviews can be found on my blog, Bantering Books, at https:www.banteringbooks.com. Are you looking for a super scary read for Halloween? Yes? Then look elsewhere. Because T. Kingfisher’s newest horror novel, The Hollow Places, isn’t really a horror novel. And it’s not super scary. It’s a fantasy. More accurately, it’s a humorous fantasy, with occasional moments of creepy, squirmy Weird/Lovecraftian horror. (And I do mean, occasional. The moments are very few and far between.) But it works. At least, it did for me. As a fantasy, the novel is imaginative and fun. And even though the genre mix-up may have initially resulted in a few ruffled feathers, all were quickly smoothed and forgotten as I became more and more captivated by Kingfisher’s unique world. Newly divorced and homeless, Kara gratefully accepts her Uncle Earl’s unexpected invitation to live with him at The Wonder Museum, her childhood sanctuary. Home to numerous taxidermic specimens and other intriguing curiosities, not only is the Museum a popular, beloved tourist attraction – but unknown to Kara, it’s also a portal to another world. One night, while patching an unexplained hole in one of the Museum’s walls, she and her friend, Simon, stumble into what is, essentially, a world between worlds. There, they discover countless other portals to different realities . . . and monstrous creatures far worse than any they could have imagined. For Kara and Simon, what initially begins as an exciting adventure soon turns into a terrifying nightmare -- a nightmare they are unsure they will survive unscathed. Scary or not, The Hollow Places is truly an incredible read. Kingfisher has skillfully written an engrossing, page-turning portal fantasy that is distinctive and complex. Her characters are appealing – both Kara and Simon are comical and likable – and the narrative is infused with warmth and heart. The book brings a smile to my face, just thinking of it. And have I mentioned the novel is funny? Like, really funny? The humor is sharply clever, and there is witty and quirky dialogue galore. If not laugh-out-loud, the story is at least chuckle-out-loud. There are moments, however, especially in the beginning, when it all does feel a bit forced and over-the-top. But as the narrative progresses, the awkwardness settles down nicely, and the humor eventually slips into a more natural rhythm. (Or I just became more accustomed to it, which is equally possible, I suppose.) I do wonder, though, if the novel’s overabundance of humor is part of the reason why The Hollow Places fails to create much, if any, fright in the reader. It’s almost as if too much lightheartedness is mixed into the narrative, thus diluting the darker horror aspects to the point where it is difficult to take any of the story seriously and be truly scared by it. Hmm. Just a thought. But again, the fact that the novel lacks any real fear factor did not in any way diminish my enjoyment. I loved The Hollow Places for what it is – a refreshingly creative, humorous, and entertaining fantasy. I enthusiastically recommend it. My sincerest appreciation to Gallery/Saga Press and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy. All opinions included herein are my own.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    "Does your uncle know there's a portal to Narnia in his museum?" Kara is living and working with her uncle after her recent divorce. When she finds a secret tunnel/portal in her uncle's museum, she and her friend Simon decide to check it out. Needless to say, they will wish that their curiosity did not get the best of them because entering the bunker/portal/tunnel leads them not to Narnia but to alternate realities which will have their hair standing on end, their hearts thumping and we will "Does your uncle know there's a portal to Narnia in his museum?" Kara is living and working with her uncle after her recent divorce. When she finds a secret tunnel/portal in her uncle's museum, she and her friend Simon decide to check it out. Needless to say, they will wish that their curiosity did not get the best of them because entering the bunker/portal/tunnel leads them not to Narnia but to alternate realities which will have their hair standing on end, their hearts thumping and we will witness them trying to control their own thoughts. "We're going to die here, aren't we?" Well, they will not be going on a joy ride or a happy stroll through some underground secret tunnel. This was a refreshing, chilling, creepy, humorous, and horrific book. Love horror with a twist of humor? This is for you! I really enjoyed the originality and the inner dialogue of Kara. This was a nice fast-paced read which did not disappoint. This was my first book by Kingfisher and it will not be my last. Pray they are hungry. I also prayed that this book did not end. I found it to be an enjoyable walk on the dark side. The characters are likable, and the story sucked me in immediately. Do not miss this book. Highly Recommend! Fans of H.P. Lovecraft will enjoy this one. Be sure to read the author's note at the end! Thank you to Galley/Saga Press and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea Humphrey

    This is a remarkably clever work of horror fiction with a marvelous sense of humor as well! I typically prefer my scary novels to be complex and intelligent, as I like the challenge of thinking through things more than straight up jump scares, and The Hollow Places has a great deal of smarty pants, thought provoking science fiction aspects mixed in with a good bit of gore. While I could have done with a little less dialogue clogging up the flow, I did whole-heartedly enjoy the way that the story This is a remarkably clever work of horror fiction with a marvelous sense of humor as well! I typically prefer my scary novels to be complex and intelligent, as I like the challenge of thinking through things more than straight up jump scares, and The Hollow Places has a great deal of smarty pants, thought provoking science fiction aspects mixed in with a good bit of gore. While I could have done with a little less dialogue clogging up the flow, I did whole-heartedly enjoy the way that the story unfolded, and the quirky characters were a delightful contrast to the oppressive atmosphere. If you're looking for an enjoyable, spooky read for October: look no further! *Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.

  7. 4 out of 5

    karen

    oooh, goodreads choice awards finalist for best horror 2020! what will happen? ************************************ since we are in the opening round of the 2020 goodreads awards, i suppose i should mention that i have read 9/15 of the 'best horror' selections (update: aaaand 10/20 of the semifinalists), and although it hurt my horror-loving-heart to choose between so many strong candidates, choose i did: ************************************ it's HERE!! and just in time for spooktober!!! A man who h oooh, goodreads choice awards finalist for best horror 2020! what will happen? ************************************ since we are in the opening round of the 2020 goodreads awards, i suppose i should mention that i have read 9/15 of the 'best horror' selections (update: aaaand 10/20 of the semifinalists), and although it hurt my horror-loving-heart to choose between so many strong candidates, choose i did: ************************************ it's HERE!! and just in time for spooktober!!! A man who had devoured his twin in the womb and was now carrying her eye around in his head was pitying me. That seemed as if it should be a good metaphor for my life, although I'd be damned if I could make sense of it. and that, folks, is why i love t. kingfisher. additionally, this one is set in (and beyoooond) the Glory to God Museum of Natural Wonders, Curiosities, and Taxidermy, and features (he would say stars) a cat named beau, (ultimately prevented from using up any of his nine lives despite his somewhat reckless curiosity), a mad hatter sidekick, and a lot of taxidermied critters. including an eight foot long amazonian giant otter, which may be too big to qualify as a 'critter.' more broadly, not only are these two books pretty excellent both inside and out: but another no-doubt unintentional selling-point similarity is that in both of these, kingfisher has taken stories by authors whose olde timey horror does nothing for me—using machen's The White People as the bass notes to The Twisted Ones and blackwood's The Willows here—and, by filtering them through her spooky-quirky storytelling finesse, has made of their dry bones a fresh and hot and altogether delicious stew. cosmic horror has never been my thing, but somehow, when sheee does it, i don't mind all the blurred edges and spatial and temporal tomfoolery that goes along with that genre. unlike her inspiration-sources, there's an ease to her writing; a flow that supports and carries the reader along without drowning them in ineffables along the way. and she's funny—even the big action sequence in this one is pretty absurd. don't get me wrong, it's not silly and you will be sufficiently freaked out, but it is, in fact, bonkers. i just love her—she's spooky and smart and she's got a unique style that never disappoints, and when she speaks of That kind of bleak down-at-the-bone enchantment, i'm nothing but swoon. long may she reign. come to my blog!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    My thanks to Gallery books, T. Kingfisher and Netgalley. This book was definitely my kind of strange! The theory "as convoluted" as it was, was even my kind of strange! This tale and others like it are what keeps my mind occupied. Some people have faith in all their religions. I don't. I have faith in science. I never think in terms of a god. I am cursed with Physics, alternative universes "not string theory!" and what happens to the soul! Yeah. No religion, but I believe in the soul! I actually d My thanks to Gallery books, T. Kingfisher and Netgalley. This book was definitely my kind of strange! The theory "as convoluted" as it was, was even my kind of strange! This tale and others like it are what keeps my mind occupied. Some people have faith in all their religions. I don't. I have faith in science. I never think in terms of a god. I am cursed with Physics, alternative universes "not string theory!" and what happens to the soul! Yeah. No religion, but I believe in the soul! I actually do have reasons for all of these, but? I flashed through this story rather quickly. Loved the characters, especially the barista! I've had a few good to beat friends that were gay, but nobody I know could have pulled off those fishnets with boots! 4 stars instead of 5. Only because I should have been more afraid. Also, while I enjoyed the heck out of this, it felt like it was geared more for a young adult market.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mir

    NOW AVAILABLE! In time for your Halloween scares. **** Well, thanks for destroying my childhood dream of stumbling upon a portal to another world, author. If I see one now I'm running like hell. **** It's here! I am reading it! In bed with my cat to protect me from the creepy parts! **** Yay! I won a giveaway for this! Not sure if it's coming in October (the scheduled release date) or immediately, but I'm looking forward to it. I really enjoyed her previous Weird Horror-inspired novel, The Twisted One NOW AVAILABLE! In time for your Halloween scares. **** Well, thanks for destroying my childhood dream of stumbling upon a portal to another world, author. If I see one now I'm running like hell. **** It's here! I am reading it! In bed with my cat to protect me from the creepy parts! **** Yay! I won a giveaway for this! Not sure if it's coming in October (the scheduled release date) or immediately, but I'm looking forward to it. I really enjoyed her previous Weird Horror-inspired novel, The Twisted Ones, which used Arthur Machen's The White People as its base.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    1.5 And I see from other people's reviews that I'm once again in the minority ... I initially enjoyed this but I got really annoyed with the repetition, ignoring clues (some real TSTL moments here), and the stereotypical sassy gay sidekick (in the author's note she said he's based on real people and that she even toned him down ... but idk how many people would make jokes about anal and wear fishnets and a top hat while exploring another world. And how many times did it have to be pointed out tha 1.5 And I see from other people's reviews that I'm once again in the minority ... I initially enjoyed this but I got really annoyed with the repetition, ignoring clues (some real TSTL moments here), and the stereotypical sassy gay sidekick (in the author's note she said he's based on real people and that she even toned him down ... but idk how many people would make jokes about anal and wear fishnets and a top hat while exploring another world. And how many times did it have to be pointed out that Kara is SOOOO not his type. All of it was just so over-the-top and didn't really match the tone, imo.) At about the 30% point, those things started to bug me. Every time something scary or unusual would happen, Kara would make a sarcastic joke and try to laugh it off. The first few times, this was funny and made sense as a coping mechanism. After like the 5th time though it got really old. It kind of ruins the atmosphere if every time something horrifying happens you make inappropriate jokes. Here's an example of those two things that bothered me, at about the 64% point and on the same page, and this isn't the first time something like this comes up: For some reason, that struck me as hilarious. I started laughing and nearly fell over. The giant otter gazed past me as I howled. "Oh god! Oh god, I'm trying to pick a fight with another universe!" "Could happen." Simon grinned. "I mean, it'd be better if you just shouted Yo Mama jokes at it, but, hey ..." [...] "First we're going to fix the drywall patch. Then we're going to tie you to the bed." "... Kinky." "Yes, but you're not my type, hon."🙄 Aside from the annoying sarcasm and jokes, Kara kept ignoring so many signs. Simon even makes a couple comments early on about how he's seen horror movies before and so knows what not to do. Kara apparently has not because she repeatedly ignores clues about what is going on to the point where you just want to scream at her. Early on too, she makes a really dumb decision to mark where the door to her world is with a stick in the ground. Because, you know, nothing could possibly disturb a stick and I'm sure that stick is super identifiable from all other sticks. 🤦‍♀️ Now this might've just been a problem with my brain, but I had a really difficult time visualizing what the willow world and the bunkers looked like. Even the layout of the museum and the building it's in was confusing to me. Usually I have no issues with creating a map in my head of corridors and rooms (thanks, video games) but for some reason while reading this I was completely lost. I kept getting confused about whether the stairs were leading up or down and how the doors were arranged: are they in a hill or flush with the ground or something else entirely? Idk, maybe I read it too quickly and just missed something. Something else interesting, is that for me the actual monsters weren't the scariest part. I found the school bus and the dude in the bunker to be WAY creepier than the hungry things. Oh, and speaking of that. The whole "PRAY THEY ARE HUNGRY" was ... eh. After you get the explanation I thought it would've been creepier if it was revealed that the person who scratched it on the wall just missed a comma. "PRAY, THEY ARE HUNGRY" seems way scarier. One last thing. Kara gets divorced and is looking to move in with her mom but thankfully her uncle who owns a weird museum has space for her. Then he conveniently has to go to the hospital for surgery and she's left all alone to deal with things. And of course her mom is too far away and can only frantically call Kara to find out what's going on. So even though the MC is in her 30s, that didn't stop the author from using the absent parent trope. In the end, I was confused about and annoyed with a number of things so my enjoyment waned as the story progressed. It probably sounds like I hated this, but that's only really true for the last half, so ... I suppose that isn't good lol. This kind of reminded me of the books I read as a teen in that I flew through it and it was mildly scary. The concept was a cool idea (even if it referenced Narnia [checks Kindle ...] 17 times), but the execution wasn't so great. I think if she writes a sequel though, I might check it out just to see what happens next ... though that's probably not the brightest idea I've had. ARC provided by NetGalley

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    Imagine that you take a job in your crazy uncle's taxidermy museum, bunking in the back, following a marriage that went sour, a life falling apart. And one day left to your own devices you find a hole in the wall and a corridor that can't possibly be there behind the hole. Physics says nothing could possibly be there. We all think that it would be cool to travel to another world and meet Barsoomian princesses, firebreathing dragons, Humpty Dumpty, and Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. But, maybe the Imagine that you take a job in your crazy uncle's taxidermy museum, bunking in the back, following a marriage that went sour, a life falling apart. And one day left to your own devices you find a hole in the wall and a corridor that can't possibly be there behind the hole. Physics says nothing could possibly be there. We all think that it would be cool to travel to another world and meet Barsoomian princesses, firebreathing dragons, Humpty Dumpty, and Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. But, maybe the other world ain't all that much like Alice falling down the rabbit hole. Well, it's a rabbit hole alright. But, it leads to a world where Newton's rules don't really apply and reality is warped beyond your imagination. It's not safe as in not safe like you can't comprehend. With a great narrative voice, Kingfisher takes us on a horrifying journey to places we never wanted to go. Many thanks to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    "Does your uncle know there's a portal to Narnia in his museum?" This was a surprise. I've read books before that I started and the novel was not anything like I expected it to be from the description. Sometimes that's disappointing and other times it works out better. In this case, I think this is a much better book than I expected it to be. This is the story is something of a spin on Algernon Blackwood's "The Willows." Our tale follows Kara; recently divorced, low on money and moving into her un "Does your uncle know there's a portal to Narnia in his museum?" This was a surprise. I've read books before that I started and the novel was not anything like I expected it to be from the description. Sometimes that's disappointing and other times it works out better. In this case, I think this is a much better book than I expected it to be. This is the story is something of a spin on Algernon Blackwood's "The Willows." Our tale follows Kara; recently divorced, low on money and moving into her uncle's Glory to God Museum of Natural Wonders, Curiosities and Taxidermy in Hog Chapel, North Carolina. She's planning to help out and catalogue his assortment of random... things, until she gets back on her feet. He uncle though goes in for surgery and one day a hole appears in the wall. Together with her friend Simon (a barista from the coffee shop connected to the museum) they discover this hole leads to another world filled with fog, willows and something else... a comforting warning just saying "Pray they are hungry." Now given the plot description, you may expect a sad story dealing with divorce. You may expect terror from another world. You may even expect to see a religious mania based on the name of the uncle's museum... Would you be expecting a comedy? While yes, Kara does have to deal with the hurt of the divorce, it is not the main focus of the story. Terror from another world of course does happen, but it's more of an unnerving/atmospheric sort of horror that never gets too panic inducing. The uncle, while religious, is also an extremely nice guy, who ignores the "meaner" aspects of the religion, because frankly he can't imagine any of the people he likes in hell and likes just about everyone. Honestly this has been the perfect election day/post election day read as it has been shockingly humorous (there was even a nod to Terry Pratchett in the first couple of pages setting the actual tone of the novel) and it was a pleasant diversion from election anxiety which hit me harder this year than previous ones. This may sound almost paradoxical, this is a “comforting” horror novel. There are unnerving scenes, terrible things happen and there is at least one literary equivalent to a jump scare in it that somehow the author pulled off, but at the same time it’s a relaxing read that has made me smile, laugh and generally just put me in a good mood. This is one of those rare books where I genuinely liked pretty much every character in it that has more than a few lines (with the exception of Kara's ex-husband). While I enjoyed all the characters, Simon definitely stands out as the best "If I'm Stuck In Another World, You're One of the People I'd Want With Me" sort of characters. He managed to be realistically quick thinking, but also have a genuine sense of terror to the situation that fit. He managed to provide a significant amount of the comedy to the book, but never came off as a comedic sidekick (which was much appreciated). Overall I enjoyed this book immensely (though I actually enjoyed the earlier sections more before the "horror" kicked in as I liked seeing her uncle as a character and the history of the museum was an enjoyable read and I'd love to have seen more of the origin of the items there). The other world was just strange enough to keep me wondering what would happen there and try to figure out its rules. (view spoiler)[The fact that not everything about the other world was explained appeals to me, especially as at the end Kara gives some theories that work, but we are left to question them as much as she is. (hide spoiler)] Also, if I had to make an award for best cat in a novel, Beau, the museum's sarcastic without saying a word feline, certainly would be up there. A solid 4/5 stars and a recommendation to fans of humor in horror.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sheena

    Kara stumbles upon a portal in her uncles museum that leads to a terrifying world that seems to be full of other portals. These portals all lead into different worlds and universes. That premise alone is what got me to read this book - I hear alternate reality or parallel universe and I’M IN. This book gave me strong Stranger Things vibes like the similar world of the upside down. There was some quirky humor which I did enjoy but at certain times I felt that it tried a little bit too hard. I sti Kara stumbles upon a portal in her uncles museum that leads to a terrifying world that seems to be full of other portals. These portals all lead into different worlds and universes. That premise alone is what got me to read this book - I hear alternate reality or parallel universe and I’M IN. This book gave me strong Stranger Things vibes like the similar world of the upside down. There was some quirky humor which I did enjoy but at certain times I felt that it tried a little bit too hard. I still enjoyed the humor as Kara also used it as a coping mechanism for dealing with the portal to hell. Certain parts were extremely creepy, I think this would actually make a pretty cool movie because of the imagery and descriptions. I wanted more from the other worlds, I felt like that could’ve been explored more so I was a little disappointed with that. I also think that the location of a creepy museum is terribly convenient of a location. Other than that, this is a fun book just in time for spooky season. Thanks to netgalley and to the publisher for sending me an advanced copy!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    DNF @ 20% It's not you...it's me. I'm just not into this. I think the humor is quirky and I enjoy that aspect, but it's not moving fast enough for me. All I'm doing is thinking about all the other books I would rather be reading and that's not fair to me or this book and the author who worked hard to bring it to print. I encourage you to give this a try if you think it will interest you! **I marked this as a DNF on Netgalley, so there will be no rating there. I also do not give a DNF a star rating DNF @ 20% It's not you...it's me. I'm just not into this. I think the humor is quirky and I enjoy that aspect, but it's not moving fast enough for me. All I'm doing is thinking about all the other books I would rather be reading and that's not fair to me or this book and the author who worked hard to bring it to print. I encourage you to give this a try if you think it will interest you! **I marked this as a DNF on Netgalley, so there will be no rating there. I also do not give a DNF a star rating on Goodreads as I do not wish to negatively impact the author at all. Thanks to Netgalley, Gallery/Saga Press for the opportunity to read and provide an honest review. Publication Date: 10/06/2020

  15. 5 out of 5

    K.J. Charles

    Tremendous horror novel from T Kingfisher, beautifully written and profoundly disturbing. It's inspired by The Willows by Algernon Blackwood, which is insanely creepy in a hard to define way, with bonus taxidermy. And even though it's a combination of cosmic, existential and body horror, there is also enough of Kingfisher's deep warmth and kindness here to give you hope: cursing the darkness, but still lighting the candle. Writing this on day 4129 of the US election and this is the only book I've Tremendous horror novel from T Kingfisher, beautifully written and profoundly disturbing. It's inspired by The Willows by Algernon Blackwood, which is insanely creepy in a hard to define way, with bonus taxidermy. And even though it's a combination of cosmic, existential and body horror, there is also enough of Kingfisher's deep warmth and kindness here to give you hope: cursing the darkness, but still lighting the candle. Writing this on day 4129 of the US election and this is the only book I've managed to read in about a week, which is high praise.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tammie

    The Hollow Places, a sci-fi/horror book was a solid 4 stars. The book centers around main character Kara, a young woman who goes to live with her Uncle Earl after her divorce leaves her penniless and no place to go. Earl is a kind and eccentric older man that owns The Glory to God Museum of Natural Wonders, Curiosities and Taxidermy in NC. Kara is to help her uncle at the museum while trying to get back on her feet. The museum itself is exactly as it sounds-a popular museum that is filled to the The Hollow Places, a sci-fi/horror book was a solid 4 stars. The book centers around main character Kara, a young woman who goes to live with her Uncle Earl after her divorce leaves her penniless and no place to go. Earl is a kind and eccentric older man that owns The Glory to God Museum of Natural Wonders, Curiosities and Taxidermy in NC. Kara is to help her uncle at the museum while trying to get back on her feet. The museum itself is exactly as it sounds-a popular museum that is filled to the brim with odd, old and unique stuff. The Hollow Places really takes off when Earl has to leave (to get surgery) and Kara is left alone and in charge of the museum. After finding a hole in one of the walls, Kara enlists the help of local barista Simon to help patch it up. They discover that this is no ordinary hole and actually a portal to other realms. I throughly enjoyed The Hollow Places-it’s creepy, dark and full of adventure. I loved the chemistry between friends Simon and Kara and found them to be both funny and snarky at the same time; these two characters and their personalities “made” the entire book for me. Highly recommend to fans of sci-fi and horror that want to read an entertaining and engaging book. Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Marialyce

    3.5 stars If you are in the mood for weird, creepy, alternate worlds, creatures that hear your thoughts, shadowy things, and run for you life things that are fearsome frightening, and ghastly, I do have a book for you! However, there are many moments of laugh out loud fun in the pages that will help you to be able to wrap your arms around and love the main characters of Carrot Kara) and her friend Simon. Kara, newly divorced and in need of a place to find respite and a place to live, volunteers t 3.5 stars If you are in the mood for weird, creepy, alternate worlds, creatures that hear your thoughts, shadowy things, and run for you life things that are fearsome frightening, and ghastly, I do have a book for you! However, there are many moments of laugh out loud fun in the pages that will help you to be able to wrap your arms around and love the main characters of Carrot Kara) and her friend Simon. Kara, newly divorced and in need of a place to find respite and a place to live, volunteers to take charge of her uncle Earl's Wonder Museum when Earl suffers a medical emergency. The museum has been a place of childhood memories, a place that always provided hours of fun with its curiosities and weird objects. However, Carrot finds a portal in an upstairs wall to what eventually will become a place of nightmares where threatening and ominous things reside, where willows are treacherous, and where one's life is in constant peril. The undaunted, most times yet scared out of the wits duo of Kara and Simon, realize not only the peril they are in but also our world should these things invade and we succumb to their trappings. Will the duo succeed or will the "possessed" objects win, especially the assorted "swamp" creatures that seem to fill up the pages? Enjoyable fun with a witty aside, this book is one that blends a mixture of fantasy, horror, friendship, and bone chilling creepy scenes. Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this story.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    This is my first T. Kingfisher book, and I was extremely impressed by the quality of the writing. A sci fi/horror buffet with a Steven King and Lovecraftian flavor, with a side of Stranger Things. Here we have a bad breakup, a curious museum, and a portal to another dimension. (I mean, who HASN'T wanted to teleport to another dimension after a crappy breakup?) The description of the landscape - gorgeous; the dialogue - great; the plot....leaned a little too much on the sci fi "creature" aspect a This is my first T. Kingfisher book, and I was extremely impressed by the quality of the writing. A sci fi/horror buffet with a Steven King and Lovecraftian flavor, with a side of Stranger Things. Here we have a bad breakup, a curious museum, and a portal to another dimension. (I mean, who HASN'T wanted to teleport to another dimension after a crappy breakup?) The description of the landscape - gorgeous; the dialogue - great; the plot....leaned a little too much on the sci fi "creature" aspect and lighter on the horror for my tastes, but should be very pleasing to those more sci fi inclined than I am. Basically a haunted evil Narnia, and who doesn't enjoy that? There's also a little bit of HItchcock flair in the horror of the unknown here. Overall a very entertaining book by an extremely talented and lyrically inclined writer. This book made me very interested in picking up one of T. Kingfisher's more traditional horror novels. A very talented voice to watch, especially if you are into sci fi. Big thanks to NetGalley, Simon and Schuster, and the author for the ARC of this book which is available today!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Latasha

    First of all- Thank you NetGalley!! I finally got it. I LOVED THIS BOOK! I liked it just as much as I did The Twisted Ones. Congratulations T. Kingfisher, you have a new fan. This book takes place in Hog Chapel, North Carolina. Kara has just gotten divorced and agrees to move in with her Uncle Earl. He owns and runs The Glory to God Museum of Natural Wonders, Curiosities and Taxidermy. "Carrot" as she is called through most of the book, settles in. She helps Uncle Earl and rekindles he First of all- Thank you NetGalley!! I finally got it. I LOVED THIS BOOK! I liked it just as much as I did The Twisted Ones. Congratulations T. Kingfisher, you have a new fan. This book takes place in Hog Chapel, North Carolina. Kara has just gotten divorced and agrees to move in with her Uncle Earl. He owns and runs The Glory to God Museum of Natural Wonders, Curiosities and Taxidermy. "Carrot" as she is called through most of the book, settles in. She helps Uncle Earl and rekindles her friendship with the barista next door, Simon. Everything is moving forward and Carrot is adjusting to her new life. Uncle Earl has to go away to have knee surgery so he's out of the museum for most of the story. One day, visitors to the museum tells Kara she has a hole in the wall upstairs and that is when everything starts. Upon investigation, she and Simon discovers it opens up into some kind of bunker. And that's all I'm telling you because once you get to this part, it's impossible to put this book down. The investigation of the world they find gave me such anxiety. I know I probably missed a few things because I was speed reading through this part. I could not read it fast enough to find out what was going to happen to them. The world T.Kingfisher creates is so terrifying and mysterious. She admits in the author's note she was inspired by Algernon Blackwood The Willows. That's easy to figure out and being a fan of his, that filled my heart with such happiness. The relationship the characters have is refreshing and feels real and natural. I just loved everything about this book. I would've finished this in one day if I didn't have to sleep and my dang tablet didn't die. So, yes, read this book. Buy it and The Twisted Ones while your at it. If you love one, your going to love the other.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Anna Luce

    / / / Read more reviews on my blog / / / 3 ½ stars The Hollow Places is a thoroughly entertaining novel that plays around with parallel worlds, portal fantasy and cosmic horror. When our narrator, Kara, moves back to her hometown (Hog Chapel, North Carolina) she is still reeling from her divorce. To avoid sharing a house with her mother she volunteers to work in her uncle's peculiar museum (Glory to God Museum of Natural Wonders, Curiosity, and Taxidermy). She decides to catalogue the many curio / / / Read more reviews on my blog / / / 3 ½ stars The Hollow Places is a thoroughly entertaining novel that plays around with parallel worlds, portal fantasy and cosmic horror. When our narrator, Kara, moves back to her hometown (Hog Chapel, North Carolina) she is still reeling from her divorce. To avoid sharing a house with her mother she volunteers to work in her uncle's peculiar museum (Glory to God Museum of Natural Wonders, Curiosity, and Taxidermy). She decides to catalogue the many curios and bizarre objects that live there. After her uncle is forced to take a break from the museum due to some health problems, she offers to look after it. Things however take a creepy turn when a hole in one of the museum's walls leads to her bunker and that this in turn is connected to a rather horrifying reality which often defeats human comprehension. Simon, the gay barman who works next door to the museum and believes that he devoured his twin in the womb, is Kara's offbeat companion. The two get in over their heads when they decide to the bunker. Kara and Simon are immediately endearing. Kara, who is down-to-earth and incredibly witty (ranging from caustic to silly), is a likeable and diverting narrator while Simon is such a weird yet genuinely nice guy (capable of coming out with or believing in some seriously bizarre things). Their banter made the novel, and it was really refreshing for the main relationship in a book to be a platonic one. While readers will probably feel some sense of anxiety or apprehension now and again, I would not classify this novel as a horror one. It certainly has horror elements, but ultimately, it seems more of an adventure/weird fiction type of thing (Stephen King by way of Terry Pratchett with some Jeff VanderMeer). Moments that have the potential of being disturbing (such as those scenes in which certain things appear to be 'inside out') and the willow trees were kind of creepy are alleviated by Kara's humour. While I enjoyed the meta aspect of this novel and I do think that T. Kingfisher showcases some pretty impressive creative talent, part of me did find the latter part of the story to be a bit repetitive. Overall I would probably recommend it to those who are looking for a fun read with some horror undertones.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    Okay ... that was downright creepy! I’ll never look at a willow tree the same way again. RTC. Initial post: This is a "Read Now" book on NetGalley right now, and T. Kingfisher (aka Ursula Vernon) is amazing. So I think I'll read it even though horror novels aren't generally my thing. :D

  22. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    The sign out front of the Glory to God Museum of Natural Wonders, Curiosities, and Taxidermy mostly has small print, but the word WONDERS is large, so most people call it the Wonder Museum. There are a lot of jokes - "I wonder what Earl was thinking," "I wonder where he gets this stuff." They stopped being funny a long time ago, but we all smile politely anyway, in case the person saying it has money. October is really delivering on the great and spooky read front so far. The Hollow Places remind The sign out front of the Glory to God Museum of Natural Wonders, Curiosities, and Taxidermy mostly has small print, but the word WONDERS is large, so most people call it the Wonder Museum. There are a lot of jokes - "I wonder what Earl was thinking," "I wonder where he gets this stuff." They stopped being funny a long time ago, but we all smile politely anyway, in case the person saying it has money. October is really delivering on the great and spooky read front so far. The Hollow Places reminded me in parts of Gravity Falls and The Call, but though there's similar elements, there's nothing out there quite like this book. Kara, fresh from a divorce and thoroughly at sea, is such a likeable character. Not just because she also thinks of keeping the cat out when she finds a portal to another world, but it doesn't hurt. She's not a character of extremes; I couldn't describe her physically, but I like the quietness of her, as well as the choice to put someone that unassuming into the lead role. As for the horror itself - absolutely excellent. I don't want to give away too much, but this is one of those unsettling horrors rather than loud-shouty-gory horror, and often that's the kind that does best at living quietly in your brain so it can better terrify you when it pops up unexpectedly in a dark place at 3am. It's also wrapped in a layer of comfort and the feeling of having true friends and family behihnd you no matter what happens. I loved it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ari

    BLOG | Instagram | Twitter | Amazon | Waterstones Thank you NetGalley and Gallery / Saga Press for this ARC. All thoughts and opinions are mine. They Can Hear You Thinking Pray They Are Hungry It had been a while since a horror book had dug under my skin. Until now. The Hollow Places is inherently creepy and otherworldly. Told through the very likable voice of Kara—Carrot—alongside her new and Mad-Hatter-styled friend, Simon, the story builds to an unusual crescendo that gives you a lot of food BLOG | Instagram | Twitter | Amazon | Waterstones Thank you NetGalley and Gallery / Saga Press for this ARC. All thoughts and opinions are mine. They Can Hear You Thinking Pray They Are Hungry It had been a while since a horror book had dug under my skin. Until now. The Hollow Places is inherently creepy and otherworldly. Told through the very likable voice of Kara—Carrot—alongside her new and Mad-Hatter-styled friend, Simon, the story builds to an unusual crescendo that gives you a lot of food for thought, and now makes me take a second look at the walls around me every time I enter a room. Because the possibilities behind them are endless! To enjoy a book that's been written, in part, to scare me, I don't need it to be splashy and outrageous. This story is the type of story that puts you into a false sense of security while the weird creeps up on you little by little. It does a really great job of foreshadowing and the tension builds up beautifully 'til you're thrust into a new and strange world that's waiting to either kill you or tear you apart—the second, I assure you, far worse than the first. The idea behind this, with the willows in such a stark limelight—which Kingfisher appears to have taken as inspiration from Algernon Blackwood's “The Willows,” per the author's note—begins subtly. The realization of how strong a role they play into the novel hits too late to take cover. And the multi-dimensional way of seeing things is not just a puzzle sometimes, but it amplifies the horror of the terrible things that something you cannot fully see is capable of doing to a person that steps into this apparently banal new land. I devoured the book, it's so deliciously readable that putting it down was never a choice. Kingfisher's imagination splashes through the pages one alien footstep at a time.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    THE HOLLOW PLACES is the second novel I have read by T. Kingfisher. This one takes place in Hog Chapel, North Carolina, in a store named the "Glory to God Museum of Natural Wonders, Curiosities and Taxidermy". Our main characters are Kara (Carrot), her Uncle Earl (owner of the "museum"), and Simon, the barista from next door. "Eighteen years to the day after Uncle Earl accepted Bigfoot into his life, my marriage ended." After Kara's divorce, she moves into the museum to help out her Uncle. Whi THE HOLLOW PLACES is the second novel I have read by T. Kingfisher. This one takes place in Hog Chapel, North Carolina, in a store named the "Glory to God Museum of Natural Wonders, Curiosities and Taxidermy". Our main characters are Kara (Carrot), her Uncle Earl (owner of the "museum"), and Simon, the barista from next door. "Eighteen years to the day after Uncle Earl accepted Bigfoot into his life, my marriage ended." After Kara's divorce, she moves into the museum to help out her Uncle. While he's away, she and Simon discover a hole in one of the walls upstairs--one that simply CAN'T be . . . ". . . there's a hallway that can't exist and a giant locked door at the end . . ." The characters are absolutely phenomenal here! I love the sarcasm and dark humor that compose much of the novel. Even in light of the horror facing them, this adds so much enjoyment and depth to the tale. ". . . we'll discuss this like people who don't die in the first five minutes of a horror movie." The story itself put me in mind of a certain classic novella to an extent, but only slightly. This book was all Kingfisher's vision. To have this unique idea, coupled with some great characters, and an enjoyable writing style, you have a narrative that's rocketed to the top of my "Best Books Read" list for the year. ". . . I was no longer willing to swear that nothing weird was going on . . ." There was a strong psychological horror element present here, as well as the physical. I felt that the author did a great job of balancing the two out, while utilizing the quirky personalities of Kara (Carrot) and Simon to offer some "comic relief" at times. "'A giant bolted metal door seems a little excessive just to keep out your relatives.'" "'You only say that because you don't know my mother.'" Overall, I absolutely loved the style of this novel. Everything from the writing, characters, location, and . . . horrors . . . felt like something completely new when brought together like this. ". . . if there's a way into hell, someone will always find it . . . " T. Kingfisher is now on my list of auto-buy authors. Highly recommended.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Heidi The Reader

    Kara is going through a hard time and is grateful for a chance to help out at her Uncle Earl's museum. She has always loved it there. "Nobody ever believes me when I tell them my uncle Earl owns a museum. They start to come around when I explain that it's a little tiny museum in a storefront in Hog Chapel, North Carolina, although there's so much stuff jumbled together that it looks bigger than it is." But when Kara and Simon, the barista next door, attempt to repair a hole in the wall of the muse Kara is going through a hard time and is grateful for a chance to help out at her Uncle Earl's museum. She has always loved it there. "Nobody ever believes me when I tell them my uncle Earl owns a museum. They start to come around when I explain that it's a little tiny museum in a storefront in Hog Chapel, North Carolina, although there's so much stuff jumbled together that it looks bigger than it is." But when Kara and Simon, the barista next door, attempt to repair a hole in the wall of the museum, they discover a hallway that shouldn't be there. "Frankly, I wasn't even sure what you were supposed to do when you had an impossible hallway in the walls. Did you call the police to report that the laws of time and space were getting broken?" What lies beyond the hallway? Kara and Simon are going to find out, and their lives are never going to be the same. First, I am not a big fan of the horror genre. But, The Hollow Places, is horror done the way I like it best. There's an unknown world with as-yet unknown dangers. The story is one of exploration and carefully-crafted reveals so you feel as if you're on an adventure. The characters are fantastic. Kara and Simon are people I would walk down a mysterious and magical hallway with, no question. The author slowly builds the tension of the story so, for the most part, the main emotion the reader feels is a growing sense of dread. It's an emotion a reader with an anxiety disorder (like me) is familiar with and there's something very satisfying about having that feeling validated and then resolved. I believe life rarely gives the same kind of closure. The voice of the main character, Kara, is down-to-earth and, occasionally, quite funny. I liked how the author gave her all sorts of relatable, every-day type problems and then, once the story started rolling, she re-evaluated the importance of issues that would have caused her major headaches prior to her life-changing experience. I could see myself doing the same sort of thing if I was in her shoes. The Hollow Places contains some nightmare-inducing moments but nothing I considered gratuitously violent. There's some mild sexual references in the banter between the two main characters. This book might work for older teens who are looking for a spooky October read. Highly recommended for readers of horror or who like their fantasies to have some thrills and chills. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a free digital copy of this book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Justine

    My first book by T. Kingfisher, a.k.a Ursula Vernon, but not my last. This was creepy portal fantasy horror of the best kind. Think Annihilation but with regular, everyday people just going about their business of running a small town kitsch museum, the Glory to God Museum of Natural Wonders, Curiosity, and Taxidermy. Unfortunately a hole to a world empty of everything except willows and unspeakable horrors opens up in a wall in the museum. As one character later says, it's "not good." I loved the My first book by T. Kingfisher, a.k.a Ursula Vernon, but not my last. This was creepy portal fantasy horror of the best kind. Think Annihilation but with regular, everyday people just going about their business of running a small town kitsch museum, the Glory to God Museum of Natural Wonders, Curiosity, and Taxidermy. Unfortunately a hole to a world empty of everything except willows and unspeakable horrors opens up in a wall in the museum. As one character later says, it's "not good." I loved the characters, who were so well developed as to feel like people I know. The writing is easy to read, and wraps you up in comfortable familiarity before taking you on a chilling ride. Definitely recommended!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rosamund Hodge

    It's basically Narnia meets ANNIHILATION, so I loved it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Caidyn (he/him/his)

    I received an ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review! CW: divorce, cheating, death, gore, and general violence This book is going to be a hit in the horror community. My thing is that I picked it up when I wasn't exactly in the mood for it. I was looking more for a book I didn't have to pay rapt attention to and that's totally my fault. I lost track of the plot and characters, which was a shame because when I started engaging more I wanted to know it. It's a very fast book. I read I received an ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review! CW: divorce, cheating, death, gore, and general violence This book is going to be a hit in the horror community. My thing is that I picked it up when I wasn't exactly in the mood for it. I was looking more for a book I didn't have to pay rapt attention to and that's totally my fault. I lost track of the plot and characters, which was a shame because when I started engaging more I wanted to know it. It's a very fast book. I read about 40% of it in one sitting because I was so interested in finding out what happened. I also wish I had known that this was based on a short story by Algernon Blackwood, so I could have read it before and had some idea of the basis. Either way, this is a good book and one that I will be picking up in the future to reread it when I know I'm in the mood!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mogsy (MMOGC)

    4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2020/10/20/... I absolutely adored T. Kingfisher’s (Ursula Vernon) The Twisted Ones, so I was looking forward to The Hollow Places with a great deal with anticipation, as you can imagine. To my delight, this book also featured the same superb balance of humor and horror, with some added portal fantasy and Lovecraftian elements besides. All throughout, I was strongly reminded of 14 by Peter Clines and if, like me, you’re a fan of the Thre 4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2020/10/20/... I absolutely adored T. Kingfisher’s (Ursula Vernon) The Twisted Ones, so I was looking forward to The Hollow Places with a great deal with anticipation, as you can imagine. To my delight, this book also featured the same superb balance of humor and horror, with some added portal fantasy and Lovecraftian elements besides. All throughout, I was strongly reminded of 14 by Peter Clines and if, like me, you’re a fan of the Threshold series, then I think there’s a good chance you’ll also get a huge kick out of this one. Our story begins with an introduction to Kara, our newly divorced and strapped-for-cash heroine who now faces the unenviable reality of having to move back in with her mother. Fortunately, Uncle Earl comes to the rescue at the very last minute. For as long as she can remember, Kara’s eccentric uncle has been the owner and curator of the Glory to God Museum of Natural Wonders, Curiosity, and Taxidermy in her hometown of Hog Chapel, North Carolina. It’s a place she remembers fondly, where, as a little girl, she would spend hours exploring its strange and exotic exhibits while listening to her affable uncle share his stories and pearls of wisdom. Lately though, Earl has been having some trouble with his bad knee and needs some extra help around the museum, so he offers Kara a chance to work for him in exchange for free accommodation. Happy to be back at the museum (and relieved to be free of her mother), Kara immediately sets to work cataloging Earl’s massive collection of curios and oddities in between taking care of daily operations. She also befriends some of the townsfolk, including the museum’s regulars as well as Simon, the happy-go-lucky gay barista from the coffee shop next door. But then Earl’s condition takes a turn for the worse, requiring knee surgery and a prolonged stay at a hospital out of town, and Kara readily agrees to hold down the fort while he is away, determined not to let him down. So when a hole is later discovered in one of the walls of the museum, presumably caused by some careless tourist’s elbow, Kara is understandably annoyed. Recruiting Simon to help patch up the damage, the two of them go to inspect the wall…only to find a portal that leads to a whole different world! Intrigued, they decide to investigate, unaware that they’ve just stepped through a door to another reality, one where their darkest nightmares lurk. Once again, readers are treated to a narrative told in a light and breezy tone which belies the creepiness and macabre nature of the story’s contents. That’s because Kara isn’t your typical horror novel protagonist. Like Mouse from The Twisted Ones, she’s in desperate need of a distraction from a relationship that ended badly, moving back to the tiny podunk town she grew up in to manage a museum of wacky exhibits and artifacts from around the world (some admittedly not so genuine). Heck, if I hadn’t known any better, I would have thought this was the intro to a contemporary romance, especially given Kara’s distinctive voice—which was by far my favorite thing about this book. Her personality is good-humored with just a bit of snark, but she’s also only human, giving in to the occasional breakdown whenever she sneaks a look at her ex’s Facebook page because she simply can’t help herself. It’s this candidness and wit that makes Kara such an incredibly genuine and relatable character, and I loved every moment spent in her head. It’s also this energy that helped carry me through some of the novel’s slower parts—because as much as I enjoyed myself, I have to admit there were a few sections that dragged. The time Kara and Simon spent in the “on the other side” was perhaps a little too drawn out for my tastes, for instance, and I was also somewhat underwhelmed by the ending revelations, in the light of the considerable buildup leading to the conclusion. More than that I don’t want to say in case it gives too much away, but I did feel the finale and its “explanations” were a bit rushed. That said, I still had a great time with this book. The fabulous Glory to God Museum of Natural Wonders, Curiosity, and Taxidermy also deserves a mention, as I couldn’t imagine a more apropos setting for a story about weird shit happening than in place full of actual weird shit. I was riveted by Kara’s descriptions of all the different exhibits, and some of them even made me laugh out loud. Best of all, the museum was integrated into the horror and mystery of the plot in the most mind-blowing way, and it’s definitely worth experiencing for yourself. In conclusion, The Hollow Places is a book I would recommend, especially if you find the premise of a weird horror and portal fantasy mashup intriguing. The novel’s slower parts meant that I probably still enjoyed The Twisted Ones just a tad more than this one, but nevertheless I would say my second time with a T. Kingfisher book was another resounding success. I look forward to reading even more.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Faith

    This book is a horror story with an interesting premise. Kara is looking after her uncle’s curiosity museum when she discovers a portal to hell through a hole in the wall of the museum. She and Simon, who runs a coffee shop, go through the portal, see some disturbing things and have a hard time finding their way back. Unfortunately, the sarcastic/jokey tone of the book dilutes any possible scares here. And the scares are also pretty scarce. The biggest action scene features Kara’s cat, who did a This book is a horror story with an interesting premise. Kara is looking after her uncle’s curiosity museum when she discovers a portal to hell through a hole in the wall of the museum. She and Simon, who runs a coffee shop, go through the portal, see some disturbing things and have a hard time finding their way back. Unfortunately, the sarcastic/jokey tone of the book dilutes any possible scares here. And the scares are also pretty scarce. The biggest action scene features Kara’s cat, who did a good job eviscerating a foe. The plot is muddled, the descriptions of the exact menace aren’t really clear, and pretty much nothing happens other than a lot of breaking holes in walls and sealing them up again. I kept waiting for something to give me chills. No luck. 2.5 stars I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

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