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A Penny For Your Thoughts

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  169 ratings  ·  69 reviews
Fresh from a stretch in prison, Joe Openshaw is living at home with his father and trying to get his life together again. He has let go of old habits, especially the ones that turned him into an addict and helped land him in prison.

On a hike along the Lowback Trail, Joe stumbles on one of the town's oldest secrets--buried long ago, if not forgotten.

It's an unusual but safe
Paperback, First edition, 292 pages
Published June 1st 2019 by Poltergeist Press
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Average rating 4.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  169 ratings  ·  69 reviews

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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
Cameron Chaney
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult, 2019, horror
This book was sent to me by Poltergeist Press in exchange for an honest review. Video review coming soon!

Typically, I don't give five stars to a book unless it is on my 'favorites' list. Four stars tends to be the highest praise I give, praise that I've had the pleasure of awarding several books this year. Four stars means--while it may not be my favorite book of all time--I was very happy with the reading experience. But every once in a while, a book will come along that blows my brains out and
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Easily the best book I've read this year, and it'll take a heck of a read to knock it out of its place. A refreshing, unpredictable page-turner. I can't say enough good about it. The characters are real and 3-dimensional. The story is unique, giving you the sense that anything could happen. A very enjoyable ride. ...more
Michael Hicks
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My review of A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS can be found at High Fever Books.

Fresh out of prison, Joe Openshaw is hiking the Lowback Trail when he discovers a glass jar filled with pennies taped to scraps of folded paper. Curious, he opens one scrap and finds a young girl’s handwriting and a wish for a bike. It’s not just mere coincidence when his friend Kenny gives him a stolen bike to fence a short time later, and Joe sees a few other wishes come true. As a recovering addict, though, Joe knows noth
Cover art by Ben Baldwin.
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An amazing read!! I couldn't tell which author wrote which section. Matt Hayward and 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. ...more
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Robert Ford and Matt Hayward take the adage, "Be careful what you wish for," and twist it into, "Be careful what someone else has wished for." Thus the premise for A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS goes. This is a killer angle for an eerie horror tale and is executed beautifully by two skilled writers.

The opening chapters grab you and pull you into the backwoods Pennsylvania town of Lowback and drag you through the seedier parts that exists just out of view from the everyday townsfolk. That's where the
Tim Meyer
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Incredible story. Well-written, great plot twists, and characters that make you want to dive into the pages to help them. Put this on top of your must-read list for 2019. It's THAT good. ...more
Frank Errington
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Review copy

I recently started reading Matt Hayward's work with his most recent book, The Faithful, of which I said, "If you're a fan of Lovecraftian horror, you don't want to miss this one. Certainly recommended."

I've long been a fan of Bob Ford. Read anything by Bob and I can promise you won't be disappointed.

One of the cool backstories to A Penny For Your Thoughts is that Matt lives in Ireland and Bob in Central Pennsylvania, a distance of about 3,300 miles, not to mention an entire ocean. Tha
Review Copy

A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS by Bob Ford and Matt Hayward is exactly what I want in a book. Not just a well planned and well written book, but well edited as well. A collaboration is not easy to pull off, usually the authors simply round robin the chapters or the characters. It can be easy to tell who wrote what. But this story flowed very well. It's clear a lot of thought went into the preparation of this before putting it out for review.

The characters are people. Just people. People wi
Beverley Lee
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book. I read the last 100 pages in one sitting. Couldn’t put it down. In short, I loved it.
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Collaborative novels by horror authors seem to be increasing lately. A Penny for your Thoughts combines the literary talents of Bob Ford and Matt Hayward. Mr Hayward is a young author who has had a great output in recent years. I think Mr Ford has been at it longer but he is finally getting the recognition he deserves. The novelists have done a fantastic job at making the writing seamless. I never knew which author wrote what. This is a novel with well created characters who all have plenty of f ...more
Kim Napolitano
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
First off I was graciously provided this ARC by the author pre-release and my review is my own.

Joe is a post addict released from prison with demons already at his heels. Growing up in a blue collar forgettable neighborhood with a Dad who loves his son more than anything. Joe finds a jar of wheat penny wishes that seems amusing at first, until they become to come true. Kenny, his best not best friend and Eva? She’s an amazing character rounds out a supporting cast of who are on an adventure to
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
From the forward this book exudes magic. In one sitting I was able to fly through the pages grasping for the next. With dark humor to make light of troublesome pasts and possible new beginnings, Ford and Hayward created a seamless story together. I loved everything about this novel and the emotions it gave me and left me feeling. Their only wish was for us to enjoy it and my only wish is that these two continue to collaborate and feed us more of their “wheat” penny driven world.
Jim Coniglio
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ok, so I am not going to beat-around-the-bush on this review. I LOVED this book. Robert Ford and Matt Hayward have taken one of the oldest idiom's "be careful what you wish for, you just might get it" and put a new twist on the story with horrifying outcomes.

And it all starts with a jar of pennies. Our main character Joe is trying to get his life together after serving time in prison. While hiking he stumbles upon an old jar of pennies with strange written notes attached to them. A seemingly inn
Matt (TeamRedmon)
Apr 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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 anti
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

A heart-warming story of life, its mistakes, forgiveness, love, and commitment. Our choices in life pave the path to our future. But having control over that can be great or devastating. A great story about life’s choices and consequences. I loved this one and recommend it highly.
Suz Jay
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
“Something I learned on the inside is if you’re going to do something, then do it fast and hard and don’t let up until you’ve achieved your goal.”*

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Joe was recently released from prison for a robbery conviction. He’s doing his best to keep his parole officer and his dear dad convinced he’s staying away from drugs and a life of crime. Unfortunately, bad influences like his friend Kenny, his former
Amanda (spooky.octopus.reads) Turner
This book seriously had so much packed into the almost 300 pages. I didn't know what to expect going into this, but it had been recommended to me by some friends in the #bookstagram community, so I knew I had to give it a go. Matthew Hayward and Robert Ford are well-established names in the horror community, so the only thing I expected with this book was an enjoyable, wild ride, and it certainly delivered!

I don't want to get too much into the plot, but I did really enjoy the realistic and relat
Jun 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not taking down my review, but note that I no longer support Matt Hayward in any way, and will not be reading/reviewing works he is involved with going forward.

**Full review HERE at The Literary Hooker. Thanks to the authors for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**

Guys, this book is a fucking trip! It's been a while since I've had this much fun with a book. It's hilarious, it's gross, it's creepy, it's touching...this book gave me a lot of very conflicting feels an
Kevin Lucia
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful mix of what I'd like to describe as "country noir," cosmic horror with a bit of bizzaro-weird, and the supernatural. But here's the thing: this novel isn't just a riff on "be careful what you wish for." That's just the surface vehicle for some deeper stuff, as far as I'm concerned. It's really a pretty disturbing/sobering/gut-wrenching examination of an addict in recovery, trying desperately to resist that all-consuming desire (one which never goes away, no matter how long in re ...more
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a great spin on a classic tale. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story from Bob Ford and Matt Hayward. As I was reading, I forgot that I was reading something blended from the minds of two separate authors because it came together so well at every turn.

I thought Ford and Hayward did an excellent job bringing our characters to life. Kenny was easily my favorite character in this story. He kept our friend Joe on his toes and in the real world when Joe may rather keep his head higher than one
Paul Ataua
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
I’m pretty new to reading in this area and just beginning to realize what I like and don’t like. And I didn’t much like this. The writing was good, but I like my strangeness nesting in a predictable normality. That is what grabs me. Once the tree that locks earth to sky is gone and everything becomes unpredictable, then that unpredictability has less effect on me. I am also not much taken by a sort of boyish humor that accompanies the story. Strange how so many reviewers I respect and even follo ...more
Andrew Tucker
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great fun seeing what can happen from a simple jar of wishes. Loved the character depth and the unexpected twists. Highly recommended.
Josh reading
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love discovering authors that are new to me and that goes doubly for co-authors Robert Ford and Matt Hayward. As always, thanks to fellow book lovers for recommending this book. A Penny for your Thoughts is such a fun read that even though it has horrific elements, there are moments of absolute hilarity that occurs throughout the story. Other reviewers have hinted at a really funny moment that occurs to the character Kenny, you just have to read it to understand! Without giving to much away, J ...more
Brennan LaFaro
May 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
A very satisfying read filled with spine-tingling tension, glorious gross-outs, hilarious high jinks, and damn if it didn't bring a tear to my eye near the end. Smart, surprising, and worth every penny! ...more
Apr 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great story with an interesting premise. I loved the characters, but there were still a lot of loose ends that I wanted to follow up on. Give me more from this story...the second book in the series is due out later this year, but I'm ready to dive into it now. ...more
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