jeanne25's review

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I enjoyed this story and liked the concept. I found myself getting distracted early on but it seemed to hold my attention well at about 60% in. The ending was solid but left me with some questions. If there is a second novel to answer those questions, I am not sure I will read it. I did think this was a solid, entertaining read though.

kelliowen's review against another edition

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An amazing read!! I couldn't tell which author wrote which section. [a:Matt Hayward|7243628|Matt Hayward|] and [a:Robert Ford|8391637|Robert Ford|] blend together so beautifully, you'd think they'd been collaborating for years... and hope they do it again. No favoritism, no nepotism, this is truly a great story and must-read from both of them.

motherhorror's review against another edition

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Review originally published on Cemetery Dance Media, May 15th, 2019
As far as introductions go, I couldn’t ask for a better way to familiarize myself with the talented voices of Bob Ford and Matt Hayward. A Penny For Your Thoughts is the collaborative effort of both authors. I’m impressed with how harmoniously they blended their storytelling because this read like one, seamless narrative.

Readers follow our main protagonist, Joe Openshaw, as he finds himself experiencing freedom after serving time in prison. On a hike, Joe finds a dirty jar full of pennies that had long been buried. Upon closer inspection, Joe realizes that the pennies have been taped to scraps of paper that read like childhood wishes. He decides to bring the jar home where he is painstakingly rebuilding his broken relationship with his dad.

Bob and Matt do an excellent job bringing Joe to life through a series of events involving colorful characters from Joe’s past. I especially loved Joe’s best friend, Kenny. I got a real sense that maybe if it wasn’t for Kenny, Joe was going to have a rough time adapting to his new life outside. He had an annoying tendency to want to act like this “changed man” at every single turn and it’s his buddy, Kenny, who keeps Joe from thinking he is in control of everything.

Even though the reader knows that the jar of wishes will serve as a catalyst for some unsavory circumstances, the authors make the bold choice of bringing some levity to the story. I find that the most enjoyable dark stories are the ones that can run you through a full spectrum of emotions. In one chapter, I’m cracking up and in the next, I’m totally creeped out—still, other chapters feel poignant and sad.

We’ve all heard the phrase “Be careful what you wish for”—and all of us probably think that we would make wise decisions if we were given the opportunity to make wishes—but this story reminds us that fate and destiny aren’t the only forces at play. There might be even something more sinister at the bottom of a wishing well. Perhaps we should think twice about what we wish in our hearts as we hold an old wheat penny in our fingers. How far would anyone be willing to go to get exactly what they want, and what would be the ultimate price?

I loved the way these two authors took a classic cautionary tale and spun it into an original journey I would recommend to anyone and everyone. This is a must read!

beverleyleeauthor's review against another edition

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My first time reading both of these talented authors and it won't be my last!

A Penny for Your Thoughts is a beautifully crafted little novel with an emotionally charged depth. The characterisation is on point, and reminded me a lot of King's early work.

The story evolves around a jar of old pennies complete with wishes, found by the protagonist, Joe, as he tries to rebuild his life after a stint in prison. But there is a price to pay for such wishes, and Joe quickly realises that there is nothing innocent about his discovery.

Relationships form the foundation to this story and I absolutely adored Joe's bond with his father, and grew to despise his former girlfriend, Angie, as her actions dragged Joe further and further towards the edge.

I'll leave you with simply this - if you want a book that will leave you wanting more, pick this one up, definitely one of my favourites of this year!

ericarobyn's review against another edition

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If you found a jar of pennies attached to wishes that would come true after you read them, would you be able to leave the jar alone?

A Penny For Your Thoughts by Robert Ford & Matt Hayward is a tale that centers around exactly that. It’s a tale that is filled with suspense and unease, a splash of violence, and a ton of heart.

The main character, Joe Openshaw, has recently gotten out of prison. While he’s determined to turn his life around, he can’t help but waver from time to time. And sometimes, the pull toward something he knows he shouldn’t be doing is just too strong…

The phrase “be careful what you wish for” is definitely at play here!

This tale totally sucked me in right from the first chapter. It has such wonderful pacing throughout that will keep you fully engaged and a writing style that flows easily from scene to scene. I loved that the style was both beautiful when it came to the heartwarming bits and some of the description, but then it was also jarring and harsh when it needed to be.

The main plot was so interesting! I loved how we slowly got deeper and deeper into the mix as the story progressed to see just how this little town was affected by the wishes. Just like the characters- even though I knew reading more wishes was a dangerous endeavor, I also had a ton of curiosity that had me hoping that they would read a few more.

I also absolutely loved each of the characters with all of their quirks and harebrained ideas, even if I wanted to scream at them through the pages!

My Favorite Passages
There was a momentary swirling of expression as the woman turned back to me, like watching thunderheads in a smoked mirror. Her eyes grew dark as her fears vanished, leaving nothing but hot anger.

Hearing Ava say it out loud back to me made it seem insane, but then, the waters we’d been swimming in lately were all a bit murky when it came to defining crazy.

Angie stayed on my mind like bubblegum on a shoe.

Joe, there are things out there that make this life worth living. Rain tapping the window while you read a good book in bed. Christmas as a child. The taste of something warm on a winter’s day… and the first honest-to-God compliment that scares the butterflies all across your stomach.

My Final Thoughts
I couldn’t write down anything negative about this book if I tried! It is such an awesome tale; so original and captivating! I highly recommend this!

I cannot wait to read the follow up, Lady Luck, which is expected to be published on August 27th 2020 by Poltergeist Press!

charshorrorcorner's review against another edition

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4.5/5 stars, rounded up due to the laugh factor! Who knew how powerful a jar of pennies could be?

Fresh out of prison, Joe enjoys walking in the woods of his hometown, (who wouldn't when they had been confined for so long?) A glint of glass beneath the leaves catches his eye, and he doesn't know it yet, but it will change his life forever. How could a jar do such a thing? You'll have to read this to find out!

Even though Joe is an ex-con, he's a good guy. He's trying to do the right thing. He's off the drugs, he's off the lousy wench of a girlfriend, and he's trying to make things right with his dad. It's not long after he gets home that his friend Kenny is trying to talk him into returning to a life of crime and it's hard for Joe to resist. I think this is part of the reason that I liked Joe so much, he was realistic. It's easy to say you're going to go straight when you get out, but nothing is easy about reestablishing your life, and his character reflects that reality.

I'm not going to delve further into the plot, because it should unfold as the authors intended. However, I will say that there were portions of this book that were LAUGH OUT LOUD FUNNY. Not just for people like me, (I've been told I have a juvenile sense of humor at times), but for anyone. I DARE people to read about what happened to Kenny without laughing. (I read that part on my lunch hour and couldn't tell my co-workers what made me laugh so hard I cried.)

Joe was my favorite among the main characters, but I did like the others as well-they were well drawn and felt real to me. There were a few people and items mentioned that I would have liked to learn more about-namely the Crimson Sisters. And what was up in that room full of statues and goat guts? This inquiring mind wants to know!

Be prepared to read this rather quickly, as I posted an update last night at 80% and about 2 minutes after that, I knew I was staying up to finish this book. It was exciting, it was hilarious at times, it was scary, it felt realistic and the ending was only slightly predictable.

I don't know if these authors are planning to collaborate again in the future, but let this serve as my plea...I need more! Preferably, as soon as possible!

Highly recommended!

Available June 1st, but you can preorder here:

*Thanks to Mr. Ford for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my review consideration. I considered it, said HELL YEAH! and here we are.*

teamredmon's review against another edition

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Oh man. This was so dang good.

When Joe Overshaw finds a full penny jar in the woods he thinks it's weird. When her sees the pennies have paper inscribed with wishes taped to them, he thinks it's even weirder. But when those wishes start coming true, THAT'S when it all goes to hell. First, the wishes are innocent enough but slowly Joe realizes that there's a cost to these wishes that he may not want to pay.

This will probably shake out as one of my favorite reads of this year and I'm highly anticipating the sequel in August. Matt and Bob can write characters that pull you in emotionally in both positive and negative ways. I loved Ava, Kenny, and Pop but there was a character in here that I just deeply despised, I won't say who to avoid spoilers but they made my blood boil at every appearance. One thing I wish there was more of was the Crimson Sisters because I thought there was so much more to explore but I have faith that the sequel will deal with them in more detail. That's not enough of a complaint for this to not be a full 5 star read and the last 30-40 pages had me tearing up. If you like books, no qualifiers, just if you like books you should read this one, it's exceptional.

errantdreams's review against another edition

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The story that gradually unfolds about these wishes, and the pennies taped to them, is fascinating. It’s handled well, and the pacing is great. It absolutely kept me glued to the page. This world is strange, and even stranger than the main characters realize. I’ve already pre-ordered the sequel (don’t worry–this volume ends somewhere satisfying; it isn’t a cliffhanger).

The characters are fascinating. It’s hard to really like any of them, but they all feel very real. I did get, I guess, attached to some of them, is the best way to put it. The plot twists and turns, and I get the impression that whatever was fulfilling those wishes was deliberately trying to spread things around and keep things going.
The town is vividly portrayed, and really comes across as the kind of town where there’s a lot of drug use and a number of problems going on. Much like the characters, it felt… real.

All in all this is definitely a diverting read! It’s great for when you need to distract yourself from everything else that’s going on.

Postscript: OMG! Someone besides me remembers Sho Kosugi in “Ninja III: The Domination”!

Original review posted on my blog:

charmandareads's review against another edition

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Oh, A Penny For Your Thoughts, where do I even begin?

This book is AMAZING. I never thought I could fall so in love with such a hodgepodge collection of folks, but I have. These characters are tangible, people we can sympathize with, and I appreciate the careful crafting of Joe and his friends. Penny and its cast made me laugh, made me cringe, and by God did it make me cry.

The incredible writing of this book makes me wonder how two others could be one seamless voice. However that works, Hayward and Ford did an amazing job. There was not a single point in this book that I felt was out of place. The story and the settings are immersive, the plot both familiar (be careful what you wish for) and completely original. It won't be long before I go to reread this book. Please, please, please pick this up.

brennanlafaro's review against another edition

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I have mixed feelings about my experiences with Bob Ford and Matt Hayward. Don’t tar and feather me, yet. Let me explain. Despite having books by each author on my shelf, this is my first time reading either one. While I’m a bit embarrassed about that, I kind of like the way that the two styles blended together as I remained blissfully unaware of which aspects came from which author. The storytelling is masterful in this book. Come to think of it, masterful may not cut it. Hayward and Ford take a really good and unique story, and elevate it to the next level with the execution on display.
Ford and Hayward create a place in the Lowback Trail that warrants repeat visits, not necessarily just because of the locale, but because of the people. Joe is an ex-junkie and ex-con, and yet we’re unequivocally on his side just a chapter or two in. His friendships with Kenny and Ava are entertaining and put a smile on our faces, but the heart of the story comes from Joe’s relationship with his Pop. It’s written in such a subtle way that the reader doesn’t realize until later in the book just how invested they are in the father-son dynamic. As you might imagine, with the son having the issues he does, their relationship is a complicated one, but the love on display allowed this story to work on me.
The authors have a sequel story coming out later this year in Lady Luck and they’ve said that there’s no finite amount of stories they might have to tell in this world. What works so well here, is that Ford and Hayward have created a world where magic is possible. The jar of wishes the story revolves around sets a precedent for what is and isn’t possible. It may or may not figure into future books, but the idea of grounded characters with just a hint of fantasy has this reader very excited for what comes next.