Thursday, 29 September 2016

Writing & Revising

Can you believe this is the last week of September? O_o

Hubby & I celebrated our 17th Wedding Anniversary last weekend, which was super cool. And October means birthday month for both hubby & daughter. Plus daylight savings!

Anyway.

As usual, I had a to-do list I wanted to tackle this week. But because hubby's having a week off and it starts today, plus my daughter's already on break, I only had stuff planned from Monday-Thursday. And that's also why I'm posting an update a day early. 

So here's the list:
  • Write first draft of horror short story
  • Do second draft of UF short story
  • Write & post review for UNDER THE HARROW by Flynn Berry
  • Read RUN by Kody Keplinger
  • Start thinking about NaNoWriMo

And here's what I actually did:
  • Posted review of UNDER THE HARROW by Flynn Berry
  • Wrote the first draft of a creepy monster short story (3,343w)
  • Read and reviewed RUN by Kody Keplinger
  • Completed the second draft of UF short story (6,973w)
  • Decided what story I would like to write during NaNoWriMo
  • Took care of a bunch of RL stuff
  • DNFd a book that just wasn't working for me

Well, there you go. As you can see, I once again got a bunch of stuff done before the weekend hit. And I'm really excited about all of the above.

I'm now going to take the week off, so I won't be writing or revising or brainstorming until the second week of October. Which is when I'm hoping to finish the UF story and start revising the monster one.

I might squeeze in some reading, but mostly, I just want to relax and spend the week with my hubby and daughter. I'm looking forward to it.

So, October will start without a to-do list and I'm totally okay with that.

Have a great week! :D

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

RUN by Kody Keplinger


Bo Dickinson is a girl with a wild reputation, a deadbeat dad, and an alcoholic mom. Everyone in town knows the Dickinsons are a bad lot, but Bo doesn't care what anyone thinks. 

Agnes Atwood has never stayed out past ten p.m., never gone on a date and never broken any of her parents' overbearing rules. Rules that are meant to protect their legally blind daughter - but Agnes isn't quite sure what they are protecting her from. 

Despite everything, Bo and Agnes become best friends. And it's the sort of friendship that runs truer and deeper than anything else. 

 So when Bo shows up in the middle of the night, police sirens wailing in the distance, desperate to get out of town, Agnes doesn't hesitate to take off with her. But running away and not getting caught will require stealing a car, tracking down Bo's dad, staying ahead of the authorities, and - worst of all - confronting some ugly secrets. 

A story about the ferocity of friendship and the risks we'll take to save our friends ... And ourselves. 


I loved The Duff, so I was really excited about reading Kody Keplinger's latest book. And it didn't disappoint.

Even though Bo Dickinson is from a family with a bad reputation in the small town of Mursey, and Agnes Atwood is from a respected Christian family, they become good friends. Because Agnes is legally blind she's either treated like a delicate angel, or like a burden. And because Bo is a Dickinson she's treated like a sexually-obsessed criminal.

Neither girl is any of those things, and their very unique and close friendship soon makes them realise they don't have to live within other people's expectations and restraints.

However, when something really bad happens to Bo, both girls go on the run to find the freedom they both crave. But one of them has a secret that could tear everything apart and destroy their mutual trust...

As soon as I started this book, I knew it wouldn't take long to finish it. The writing style is addictive, the alternating POV chapters are short and crisp, and I loved getting to know both of these very different characters. I also loved (absolutely loved) how one POV was in the present, and the other covered the story that led Bo and Agnes to the point of no return.

This is the very sad story of a teenage girl who has known so much abandonment in her young life that she's full of fear. It's also the empowering story of a teenage girl who wants to break out of the overprotective shell she's been wrapped up in all of her life.

I really liked how a character with a disability is treated just like everyone else, because she totally is. As well as how people reacted differently to her, and how it affected her. This is such a deep and well-written novel. It seriously is.

Run is an awesome book. It's super fun. It's sweet. It's sad. It's happy. It's about taking risks. But ultimately it's a story about the ups and downs of growing up in a small town, and an unlikely friendship between two very different girls that took me on a bittersweet road trip. I really enjoy stories where a deep and strong friendship is the core of everything.

Oh, and I loved Utah! She was so cute.

I loved this book and highly recommend it.


Run, September 2016, ISBN 9781444932706, Hodder Children's Book

Sunday, 25 September 2016

UNDER THE HARROW by Flynn Berry


Enchantingly dark, a novel for dark psychological gems. 

 When Nora takes the train from London to visit her sister in the countryside, she expects to find her waiting at the station, or at home cooking dinner. But when she walks into Rachel's familiar house, what she finds is entirely different: her sister has been the victim of a brutal murder. 

Stunned and adrift, Nora finds she can't return to her former life. An unsolved assault in the past has shaken her faith in the police, and she can't trust them to find her sister's killer. Haunted by the murder and the secrets that surround it, Nora is under the harrow: distressed and in danger. As Nora's fear turns to obsession, she becomes as unrecognisable as the sister her investigation uncovers.


While looking at the review books on my TBR pile (there are heaps!) I decided an adult thriller would be perfect for my next read. I grabbed this one and enjoyed the shocking, sad and tense first chapter so much that I kept reading.

Nora and her sister Rachel are close, and she often travels from London to visit her in the countryside. When Nora arrives at Winshaw and doesn't find her sister at the train station, she just assumes Rachel is waiting for her at her house, so she walks there. But when she arrives, the scene sends Nora into a confused spiral of shock.

Unable to go back to London to continue her own life, Nora decides to stick around to answer the many police questions, and be kept in the loop. Then promptly starts to suspect everyone.

Nora is suspicious by nature, especially since Rachel was assaulted on the street when she was a teenager. Now she can't help but wonder if her sister's assailant from so long ago returned to finish what he started, or if someone else wanted her dead. As she sifts through her memories and investigates her sister's murder, Nora wonders if she knew Rachel at all...

Like I said above, this story grabbed me from the very beginning and I didn't want to put it down. I love the writing style because Nora's meandering mind and way of sorting through memories and present adds to the surreal nature of her experience. Not to mention the short, sharp chapters that keep the tension flowing.

Nora also pays attention to every detail around her and shares a lot about her relationship with Rachel. They were so close she can't deal with the loss and simply can't get on with her own life until she finds out what really happened. Yet isn't prepared for some of the things she discovers along the way.

Oh, and the other part of the book that I really enjoyed was when it hit me that sometimes, Nora isn't as reliable as she first appears. She conveniently left out information and some situations go unexplained until someone else pointed them out.

Anyway. That's about all I can say without revealing something important.

Under the Harrow is an excellent, gripping psychological thriller that keeps the reader guessing all the way through. And although I picked up several of the more important clues along the way, there's no way I could've guessed the revelation at the end. Which is totally awesome!

Yep. I will definitely be interested in reading more books written  by this author.


Under the Harrow, July 2016, ISBN 9781474605274, W&N

Friday, 23 September 2016

Words, Sorting & Reading

Yikes! Can you believe another week is almost over? This year is going way too fast.

Anyway. The production line must keep moving, so I had a bunch of things I wanted to achieve this week:
  • Write 5k UF short story featuring a character from the Sierra Fox series
  • Brainstorm another shortie
  • Clear my out-of-control stationery clutter
  • Organise my writing stuff
  • Read 13 MINUTES by Sarah Pinborough

Here's what I actually did:
  • Wrote first draft of UF short story (6,447w) 
  • Cleared all the stationery clutter & actually reorganised everything
  • Organised my writing stuff to make it easier for me to file & access notebooks, pens, sticky notes, etc.
  • Brainstormed & figured out the start (plus other details) for another horror shortie
  • Read and reviewed 13 MINUTES by Sarah Pinborough
  • Finished reading EVERY EXQUISITE THING by Matthew Quick

There you have it. Another productive week! Yay. :)

I have to admit that I didn't plan/expect to read two books this week, but I'm glad that I did because they were both AWESOME! I've been having such a cool run this month, which is great after so many DNFs last month. LOL.

Oh, you know what else I really enjoyed doing this week? Because I was writing a short story set in Sierra's world I actually grabbed the books in her series and read through them to check some details. And I loved it. It's always a nice combo of exciting and weird when you can read back one of your stories and still love it.

The Sierra Fox series will always have a special place in my heart.♡

The shortie might be set in her world, but it focuses on different monsters and myth. Plus Sierra isn't in it. I can't promise she's not mentioned, though. ;)

Today was my daughter's last day of Term 3, so she now has two weeks off school. I'm still hoping to get a few things done next week, because the week after that, hubby's home. Can't wait!

And on that note, I'll sign out.

Have a great weekend!

EVERY EXQUISITE THING by Matthew Quick

Nanette O'Hare is an unassuming teen who has played the role of dutiful daughter, hard-working student, and star athlete for as long as she can remember. But when a beloved teacher gives her his worn copy of The Bubblegum Reaper - the mysterious, out-of-print cult-classic - the rebel within Nanette awakens. 

As she befriends the reclusive author, falls in love with a young but troubled poet, and attempts to insert her true self into the world with wild abandon, Nanette learns the hard way that sometimes rebellion comes at a high price. 

A celebration of the self and the formidable power of story, Every Exquisite Thing is Matthew Quick at his finest. 


This month, I've read some really awesome Hachette books and wanted to keep the momentum going. So when I noticed this one on my bookshelf, I picked it up. This title happened to be one of those surprise books that I received but knew nothing about. So, I started reading it yesterday afternoon, you know, to try it out... an hour later I was still reading.

Yep. Hooked is the word I'm looking for.

Nanette O'Hare outwardly appears to be an average teenager. She's a good student, doesn't skip school, is a good daughter and happens to be one of the best players on the girl's soccer team. But she's really nothing like her peers.

She loves to read, doesn't relate to the other kids, feels disconnected from her parents even though she spends time with them, and doesn't like soccer. Oh, and she happens to have lunch with a teacher! Yep. She's definitely not like other kids, but has managed to cruise through eighteen years by living her life according to what others expect from her.

Well, until her favourite teacher gives her a copy of an out-of-print cult classic he claims changed his life when he was her age. The Bubblegum Reaper (I love this title!) is a thought provoking story that's often shared by teachers with their 'weird' students. And when that happens, their lives are never the same. They develop theories and so many questions, along with the need to rebel.

So when her teacher organises a meeting with the reclusive author, Nigel Booker, she jumps at the chance.

The real story behind the elusive book is stranger than fiction, and introduces Nanette to a new circle of friends she feels more connected to than anyone else. But when the passion of fiction and reality collide, there's no way of turning back...

Wow. This book totally took me by surprise.

The story starts out mainstream enough, but soon unfolds in the strangest, most wonderful and unexpected way possible. 

I love how Nanette, Alex and Oliver become friends even though they go to different schools and one of them is only twelve. I also thought that it was so cool that they all considered an old man to be their friend. Age was no barrier for any of these characters because they had a book in common. They also had their weirdness to share.

Another thing I really liked is how it deals with loners. So often, people who enjoy and choose to be alone are labelled as lonely or lost in loneliness. Almost as if they're this way because others have left them, when in fact that's not always the case. Sometimes, people are actually comfortable enough being on their own to do their own thing. But somehow, they get judged quite harshly because this is seen as challenging convention.

But as any good work of fiction does, this book takes the above concept and spins it on its axis. It introduces us to a bunch of memorable characters, and others who become collateral damage during Nanette's search for herself. They are all different, yet alike. Nanette is determined to learn how to become her own person without conforming. Alex is determined to use brawn in order to make things right and then writes a poem about it. Oliver is determined to be a good kid even though he gets bullied. Booker just wants to connect like minds and make people think.

No matter what each one wants or looks for, the reader is swept up along the way. There are moments of sheer joy, others that fill you with devastating sadness. There are even cringe-worthy moments, like Nanette's disastrous social experiment and the expectations placed on her from all angles.

Every Exquisite Thing is a total gem. It's odd, yet familiar. It's sad, yet full of heartfelt passion. I fell in love with this book almost instantly. It's an unconventional story that challenges the many conventions we all face every single day of our lives. Especially those of us who dare to be different and choose to travel our own path no matter what.

There's so much to love about this incredible book. SO MUCH. And that includes the adorable cover!

Yep. Thanks to Hachette Australia, I've found myself another keeper!

P.S. I also identify with Unproductive Ted. :P

Every Exquisite Thing, May 2016, ISBN 9781472229557, Headline

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

13 MINUTES by Sarah Pinborough


Natasha was dead for 13 minutes. And it changed her world completely... 

 I was dead for 13 minutes. 

 I don't remember how I ended up in the icy water but I do know this - it wasn't an accident and I wasn't suicidal. 

 They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but when you're a teenage girl, it's hard to tell them apart. My friends love me, I'm sure of it. But that doesn't mean they didn't try to kill me. Does it? 


I was really looking forward to reading this YA thriller. And as soon as I started, I couldn't put the book down. 

Natasha was technically dead for 13 whole minutes. If it wasn't for the insomniac musician and his dog, she would never have been saved from her watery grave. But she was, and when she eventually wakes up, she can't remember what happened and how she ended up in the river.

Everyone's excited about the most popular girl in school surviving. Especially her fellow Barbies, as well as the friend she dumped years before. Now, while Tasha tries to unravel the mystery of what happened, and hopefully get her memory back, she starts to suspect her two best friends, Hayley and Jenny, are hiding something.

With Becca's help, she might be able to figure out why someone would want her dead. As things start to unravel and tragedy strikes, the girls soon realise that sometimes you really can't trust anyone...

Wow! I just need a moment to let everything sink in. Yes. I'm okay now. LOL.

This book is amazing. Not only does the story highlight the very complicated friendships teenage girls weave around each other, but it's also an intriguing study of popularity and control. About just how crazy people can get when they feel like they're spiralling out of control.

In spite of all the BS, I really liked Becca. She was probably one of the most accurate portrayals I've seen of a teenage girl trying to enjoy the everyday things that make her happy. She has many emotional scars from her past friendship with Tasha and Hayley, so she's not big on friends and pretty much floats between a few people. But even that's not enough to stop her from falling back into old habits. 

Tasha, however, is the complete opposite. Where Becca is insecure, Tasha is confidence incarnate. When Becca is easily strung along, Tasha is not. Although Becca wants to focus on her boyfriend, Tasha doesn't care much about boys. They are the complete opposite of each other, but it doesn't stop them from working together. It also doesn't stop them from being the perfect opponents.

And that's about as much as I can say about this book without going nuts with spoilers. ;)

13 Minutes is a super twisty story about friendship, betrayal and lies. It's a story that keeps you guessing until the wicked truth starts to seep through. And when THAT happens, you just can't believe what is actually happening! Oh my... This is one awesome thriller, that kept me guessing and led me along quite nicely until the wow! bit hits.

Yikes! I'm not kidding here. This story is not to be missed. Seriously. There's just SO MUCH that I couldn't include in my review because the best way to walk into this book is to just know the basics.

Loved this book. It's definitely another keeper!

I'm having a great reading month. :)

13 Minutes, April 2016, ISBN 9780575097230, Gollancz

Friday, 16 September 2016

Staying busy & falling over

o_O

So. Another week is almost over, and I once again managed to cross everything off my to-do list. Yay.

Love that feeling!

We've had some strange weather lately. It's mostly sunny and the days are warming up, but there's also random rainfall and a fair share of dark and dreary. You know which one I prefer, but I'm just enjoying spring. ;)

Anyway, let's list what I wanted to complete this time:
  • Proofread & revise my SF/horror short story
  • Write reviews for 2 colouring books
  • File & photo admin
  • Brainstorm the next short story
  • Go through stationery & writing stuff
  • Read VIGIL by Angela Slatter

And here's what I actually achieved:
  • Proofread, revised, finalised SF/horror story (4,109w) & subbed
  • Wrote & posted reviews for The Throne of Glass Colouring Book and Supernatural: The Official Colouring Book
  • Organised a bunch of writing-related files & photos & inspirational pics
  • Scanned short story notes & filed the PDF with corresponding story
  • Brainstormed 3 new short story ideas (one takes place in Sierra's world)
  • Organised (or rather, moved around) my pretty notebooks & writing notebooks
  • Finished reading VIGIL by Angela Slatter

Once again, there were a bunch of RL things I also had to take care of, but I'm super excited about this week's productivity. I'm liking this production line thing I've got going. Especially since I didn't let a little thing like tripping over a footstool in the dark--and landing on my face--stop me.

Seriously, though, I tripped right over! I gave myself a fat lip, a bruised right shin and scraped the back of my right hand. Then the next day my left side hurt too. Probably because I (luckily) cushioned the worst of the fall with my left arm. Still, it was OUCH! and OW! for several days. :(

In spite of the injuries, I consider myself lucky. It could've been so much worse. *shiver*

After working hard all week, I'm really glad that the weekend is here. It'll be nice to take it easy for a few days. Looking forward to napping, hanging out with hubby, going for walks, and just taking a deep breath.

Have a good one!

VIGIL by Angela Slatter

From award-winning author Angela Slatter comes her first full length novel, VIGIL, where the normal and the weyrd combine on the streets of Brisbane. 

Verity Fassbinder has her feet in two worlds. The daughter of one human and one Weyrd parent, she has very little power herself, but does claim unusual strength - and the ability to walk between us and the other - as a couple of her talents. As such a rarity, she is charged with keeping the peace between both races, and ensuring the Weyrd remain hidden from us. 

But now Sirens are dying, illegal wine made from the tears of human children is for sale - and in the hands of those Weyrd who hold with the old ways - and someone has released an unknown and terrifyingly destructive force on the streets of Brisbane. 

And Verity must investigate - or risk ancient forces carving our world apart.


I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book from Hachette Australia--huge thanks to Jessica--and was keen to check it out. I mean, an urban fantasy story set in Brisbane? I'm totally in! Love reading urban fantasy books, and one that's set in Australia definitely grabbed my attention.

Verity Fassbinder walks between the very fine line of Normal and Weyrd. Her mother was human, but her father was a bit of a monster. After he was imprisoned, her maternal grandparents adopted her and raised her as human. But she was bound to find her way back to the Weyrd side, even if they don't look kindly on halflings.

The only power she inherited from her father was strength, so she can certainly kick butt. She's smart, stubborn and resourceful, which comes in handy in her sorta-PI job--especially since she works for her ex. Bela is old and definitely not human. He's also infuriating and omits a lot of pertinent details. After she was hurt by a 'serker, she was assigned an otherworldly driver called Ziggi and is never short of jobs.

Verity also consults with a feisty human inspector. So when word on the street is that someone is making wine from the tears of kids and sirens start turning up dead, she's on the case. But she seems to constantly be one step behind. As the truths start coming out and they get closer to home, she's not only racing against the clock to ensure ancient creatures don't destroy everything, but also has a very personal stake...

Yikes. What a wild ride into a very interesting and dangerous alternate Brisbane! The characters are memorable, the mystery intriguing, and the way everything fits together is perfect.

I can't go into too many details about the flesh and bones of this story because I don't want to give away the meaty goodness, but I will say that it's got heart. There are twists and turns, lots of dubious and shadowy 'people', plus  a multitude of Weyrd resentful about the rules the rise of human civilisation has forced them to adopt. When you consider that, there's no doubt problems are bound to arise.

And it looks like Verity will keep finding herself in the middle of it.

Vigil is an intoxicating, dark urban fantasy story that first hooked me into a world where myth and monsters exist alongside humans. Then somewhere along the line, Verity's voice and plight was what kept me glued to the page. There's a bit of everything in this story, but the mysteries will suck you in, deep. I also enjoyed the casual and subtle way in which Verity meets a cute guy and before long, we're falling for him too. :)

I don't care what anyone says, urban fantasy stories totally rock! They combine some of the best stuff in stories: fantasy, myth, legend, monsters, mystery, horror, drama and awesomeness. And I'll always enjoy them.

OMG. This book is soooooo good, I can't wait to read the next one.


Vigil, July 2016, ISBN 9781784294021, Jo Fletcher Books

Thursday, 15 September 2016

THE THRONE OF GLASS COLOURING BOOK by Sarah J. Maas, Yvonne Gilbert, John Howe & Craig Phillips



The Throne of Glass Colouring Book

For the first time, fans of Sarah J. Maas's sweeping New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass saga can experience the vivid imagery of her expansive world. Celaena battling the ridderak in the catacombs, Chaol in the gardens of the glass castle, Manon riding her wyvern through the Crossing, and many other favourite moments, characters and objects come to life as readers explore the vibrantly detailed realm of Throne of Glass. Stunning original black and white drawings will bring fans deeper into the series than ever before – making this a must-have companion to Sarah J. Maas's beloved books.


I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this beautiful colouring book from Bloomsbury Australia--thank you so much--with a copy of Empire of Storms

While I can't bring myself to start the fifth Throne of Glass book just yet, because I need to be mentally prepared for what I'm expecting to be an emotional onslaught, I did read this.

Well, you know, reading might be stretching it a bit. LOL. But every colouring page does have a really cool quote to accompany the impressive illustrations, which brought back memories from each book. I also got a kick out of seeing the way the different artists portrayed each character. It really is very cool.

The Throne of Glass Colouring Book is a beautiful addition for the collection of all devoted Throne of Glass fans. It really is stunning, which is probably why I just can't bring myself to colour anything in. I'm going to add it to my Keeper Shelf.

It's SO pretty! I love it.


The Throne of Glass Colouring Book, September 2016, ISBN 9781408881422, Bloomsbury Childrens

SUPERNATURAL: The Official Coloring Book by Insight Editions


28187197
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The other day, I received my beloved Horror Block--which is always full of awesome, creepy horror collectibles--and this was one of the items.

I might have fallen behind on Supernatural, but I love my Winchester Boys and will eventually catch up. LOL.

Anyway, about the colouring book... What can I say? There wasn't much actual reading required, but I did enjoy flicking through the pages. The art is nice. The subject matter is cool. And I really like it! BUT, I doubt I'll be adding colour to any of the pages. It's probably going to go on my urban fantasy Keeper Shelf, because I think it'll fit right in.

This is definitely a collector's edition. And if you're a fan of Supernatural, you should probably grab one.

Friday, 9 September 2016

To-do Week

Hey! How's everyone today? 

Well, the first (official) week of September turned out to be very productive. I put together a weekly to-do list--which I then broke down into daily blocks--and this process worked really well. It's not the kind of thing I can see myself doing all the time, but it was perfect this week.

Here are the things I wanted to achieve:
  • Add proofreading changes to superhero short story, read one last time & sub
  • Go through YA bookshelf & purge a series I'll probably never read
  • Finish writing SF/horror short story
  • Read THE LAST DAYS OF JACK SPARKS
  • Spring cleaning

And here's what I ended up doing:
  • Finished superhero story (5,988w) & subbed
  • Purged ten books from my YA bookshelf
  • Reorganised all my YA bookshelves
  • Wrote first draft of SF/horror story (3,254w)
  • Began the time-consuming task of going through my stationery, books & toys to organise everything!
  • Trimmed my unruly hair

Of course, there were a bunch of other non-writing daily things that needed to be done, but I'm concentrating on the bigger goals. :)

I'm actually really happy about getting one short story finished, and the first draft of another written. The superhero story turned out a lot better than I expected. I love the character's voice and I had an awesome time paying (cheeky) respects to some of my faves. The SF/horror story turned out to be even freakier than I envisioned, so that's cool.

It feels good to be back on the productive train. If I can spend September getting these short story ideas outta my head so they can become the stories I've been carrying around, that'll be awesome!

Dreaming about, brainstorming, and turning ideas into actual stories is one of my favourite things. And I've had TOO MANY circling my head lately. :)

Anyway. That's about it for now. Well, except that we've had some gorgeous, warm weather all week. I can definitely get used to this. I love spring.

Have a great weekend!

THE LAST DAYS OF JACK SPARKS by Jason Arnopp

Jack Sparks died while writing this book. This is the account of his final days. 

 In 2014, Jack Sparks - the controversial pop culture journalist - died in mysterious circumstances. To his fans, Jack was a fearless rebel; to his detractors he was a talentless hack. Either way, his death came as a shock to everyone. 

It was no secret that Jack had been researching the occult for his new book. He'd already triggered a furious Twitter storm by mocking an exorcism he witnessed in rural Italy. 

Then there was that video: thirty-six seconds of chilling footage that Jack repeatedly claimed was not of his making, yet was posted from his own YouTube account. 

Nobody knew what happened to Jack in the days that followed - until now. This book, compiled from the files found after his death, reveals the chilling details of Jack's final hours. 

Read on and decide for yourself what really happened to the notorious Jack Sparks - in this razor-sharp tale about the dangers of mocking what you don't believe . . .



O.M.F.G. This book is amazing!

It's no secret that the words demonic possession and/or exorcism are guaranteed to grab my attention. So, as soon as I found out about this book, I wanted to read it. And I was lucky enough to get a copy from Hachette Australia!

Jack Sparks is a journalist and writer known for being erratic and taking the whole 'research' thing a bit too far. I mean, when he wrote Jack Sparks on a Pogo Stick he actually traveled less-used roads on an actual Pogo stick. Then he went underground while writing Jack Sparks on Gangs, and actually became a drug addict when he wrote Jack Sparks on Drugs. Plus he loves to talk about himself and is constantly updating his social media.

Did I mention that he's also an ego-maniac? Yep, he is.

After his stint in rehab, he decides to write a new book. This time he's going to tackle the occult by writing Jack Sparks on the Supernatural.

That's how he ends up inside a small, remote church in Italy. Where he's about to witness the exorcism of a thirteen-year-old girl. But being the skeptic that he is, during the exorcism he makes a stupid mistake that affects the rest of his life. Everyone knows you're not supposed to get the Devil's attention, but when you don't believe, why would you care? When someone posts a video on his YouTube channel, he's determined to figure out what the hell is going on.

What follows is an insane journey across the world. As Jack tries to outrun the problem he created, he puts a bunch of people in the direct line of danger. And doesn't give a crap...

Jesus! This book is something else. Yikes. What an adventure. The narrative is so addictive that I didn't want to put the book down. But, I took my time reading it, which is great because I enjoyed every single bleak moment.

Jack isn't a very nice person. Actually, the more I read, the less I liked him. He's totally self-absorbed, doesn't care about anyone, and is downright mean. He rides a roller-coaster of emotions and crazy, mean thoughts that inevitably become paranoia. Not to mention that he's totally unreliable and continually withholds important information. On purpose! And when he is honest, there are still lies woven in. But you know what? In spite of him being such a dick, when everything finally unravels, I felt bad for him. Especially when I read the completely opposite way other people's interactions with him were portrayed.

I guess that's the difference between most people and Jack--whether an asshole or not--we actually care about what happens to others.

Also, I have to mention how much I liked Sherilyn Chastain and Bex Lawson. They are two strong women with so much heart and attitude that I loved every time they were on the page. It's always awesome when a male author writes female characters who are actual people. And I have to mention the super creepy Maria Corvi, too. Because damn, was she super trippy and scary. Yikes!

The Last Days of Jack Sparks is one unstable, super freaky ride into darkness that kept me guessing all the way through. It's a thriller wrapped around a demented mystery, with some serious horror at its core. It's also creepy, intense, fun and filled with exciting aha! moments. And that ending was both, Wow and God no! If Jack's heinous story doesn't haunt you, the way everything comes together most certainly will.

No matter what I say, it just won't do this book justice. This is a story that needs to be experienced in order to truly understand the power of Mimi. So go, read it now!

I seriously loved this book.

The Last Days of Jack Sparks, September 2016, ISBN 9780356507187, Orbit

 
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