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Thursday, 4 March 2021

THE GIRLS I'VE BEEN by Tessa Sharpe

 

Meet Nora. Also known as Rebecca, Samantha, Haley, Katie and Ashley - the girls she's been.


Nora didn't choose a life of deception - she was born into it. As the daughter of a con artist who targeted criminal men, Nora always had to play a part. But when her mother fell for one of the men instead of conning him, Nora pulled the ultimate con herself: escape.

For five years Nora's been playing at normal - but things are far from it when she finds herself held at gunpoint in the middle of a bank heist, along with Wes (her ex-boyfriend) and Iris (her secret new girlfriend and mutual friend of Wes ... awkward). Now it will take all of Nora's con artistry skills to get them out alive.

Because the gunmen have no idea who she really is - that girl has been in hiding for far too long...


This is a book I first noticed because of the striking cover. After reading the blurb, I knew I definitely wanted to read it.

Nora O'Malley is a girl with a lot of secrets. She's the daughter of a con-artist who targeted criminal men during Nora's childhood. But she's not that girl anymore, she escaped that life.

The morning she gets caught up in the middle of a bank robbery, she's forced to forget 'normal', so she can tap into the girls she used to be. And these men don't know who they're dealing with...

Wow. This book is absolutely FANTASTIC! 

As soon as I started reading, I was hooked. The writing is engaging and so beautiful. I couldn't tear myself away from Nora's story. Speaking of Nora, her voice is strong and raw, so honest my heart broke a little more with every revelation. What this girl is forced to endure because of her own mother's doing is seriously terrible.

This book is a lot of things.

Starts out introducing a unique trio of friends with several levels of romantic complications, and soon becomes a dangerous bank heist. Before spinning everything around and turning into a fast-paced thriller with tension so thick the only way to go is forward. That's until you fully understand it's about the struggles of a young girl fighting the memory of what her con-artist mother groomed her to be and how easily she exposed her to the worst kind of danger.

BUT, it's also about the strongest of bonds: your own found family. Not bound by blood, but by something so much deeper. And at the centre, is a wonderful love story.

I don't want to say more about this book because it's an amazing and moving story that needs to be fully experienced on a very personal level. It delves into the power of teenage girls and how strong they are, even though they're so easily disregarded and seen only as pretty tokens.

The Girls I've Been is an explosive YA thriller that gets under your skin. It's packed full of tension, danger and some shocking situations. It might even tear your heart out along the way, but it's an honest tale about survival. About what trauma turns you into. It's also captivating.

Loved this!

Thank you Hachette Australia for sending me a copy.


The Girls I've Been, February 2021, ISBN 9781444960112, Hodder Children's Books

Sunday, 28 February 2021

DO NOT DISTURB by AR Torre

 

Do Not DisturbDo Not Disturb by A.R. Torre
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Here's another book I picked from my bookshelf that I should've read ages ago because I enjoyed the first book so much.

Deanna's life has changed since she wandered out of the apartment she'd locked herself in for three years. Now she's excited about going on dates with her boyfriend, and even dares to go across the road for snacks. But her deadly urges are still there, and might have to rise to the surface when a new online threat appears...

Wow. What an amazing and exhausting story! I was totally invested and couldn't stop reading.

This book turned out to be as addictive as it was dark. As intriguing as it was shocking, and so unpredictable. I was definitely hooked from the very beginning. A.R. Torre's writing style is captivating, which makes Deanna's voice very easy to get lost in.

Once I started, it didn't take long for me to lose myself in the narrative and head down a pretty screwed up and dark path. Mostly told in the POV of Deanna and a new disgusting character, as well as snippets from some of the other secondary characters, this approach provided multiple angles. Led the story into some pretty tense and atmospheric situations.

I love how Deanna's tale is romantic, seductive and sexy. Manages to take us into the very intimate and often harsh world of being a camgirl. Some of the people who engage the services of these girls aren't exactly shiny beacons of society. It's raunchy one second, creepy the next, and so very disturbing most of the time.

I mean, we are dealing with a woman trying to control her killer tendencies. A very real struggle that never ends. And is made both easier and harder as she finds herself falling in love.

This turned out to be a very suspenseful ride that first seduced me into following Deanna's plight, and then kept me on the edge of my seat once things got very real during the second half. Which is made so much better by the snappy, action-packed chapters

Love it when a sequel is as good as the first book, yet manages to feel original. Not only does this add to Deanna's series, but takes us deeper and into an unexpected direction.

Can't wait to read the next one.

Great News!


Hey! How are you?

If you follow me on Twitter, then you've already seen my book announcement. But I'm super excited, so I wanted to post a little something over here too. 

I signed a contract with Otranto House! That's right. They're going to publish my supernatural YA horror book, Wall of Dolls


Yay. I'm SO excited! 😁🎉

I actually worked on the first edit last week and it was very cool to spend time with these characters again. I really love these girls, the strange town they live in, the secrets, and the creepy dolls. I'm really looking forward to sharing their story with everyone and can't wait to hear what readers think.

Also looking forward to seeing the cover and will announce the release date as soon as I know.

For now, I've actually got a short story in Otranto House's first anthology. It's called The Girls Who Walked into the Woods and it's available now:



Have a great day!

Thursday, 25 February 2021

DISAPPEARING NIGHTLY by Laura Resnick

 

Disappearing Nightly (Esther Diamond, #1)Disappearing Nightly by Laura Resnick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After completing a very detailed first edit, and not reading anything else for a week, I wanted to read something completely different to my own story. And this book definitely did the trick.

It's actually another book I've had on my bookshelf for years. Do you remember the paranormal romance/urban fantasy/fantasy imprint called LUNA? Well, this is one of them.

Esther Diamond is an actress in New York. She's the understudy for a play, and when the lead disappears, she gets her big shot. If only she could be excited about it, instead of thinking about the danger this brings.

So, she tries to avoid the part, dodge a cop investigating the disappearance, while discovering there's so much more in the world...

This was so much fun! Seriously, I had such a great time reading this funny UF story. I laughed so many times, but it's not all fun and games. There's plenty of darkness lurking beneath the surface, and an unexpected supernatural malice. But mostly, I enjoyed meeting the cast of colourful and interesting characters.

I really liked Esther. She was hilarious, witty and reacted well when forced into some pretty shitty situations. I really enjoyed getting caught up in her voice.

There's a bit of everything thrown into this book and it all appealed to me. Even the hint of romance was great. And the whole magicians thing was very cool. Yeah, I had an awesome time with this!

Also, any book that mentions how great it would be for that disgusting Trump to disappear, is a good one.

Sunday, 14 February 2021

THE FURIES by Katie Lowe

 

The FuriesThe Furies by Katie Lowe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've had this book on my TBR pile since I bought it over a year ago, so it was definitely time to check it out.

When Violet was a teenager, she attended Elm Hollow Academy, where a sixteen-year-old girl was posed on a swing and found dead on the school grounds. Years later, Violet recalls what happened when she joined an advanced study group and befriended the other girls...

Yikes. This is quite a book and it sure packs a punch. As soon as Violet's story begins, tragedy strikes. Yet, this girl continues on with her life. Actually excels in her self-taught schoolwork even though her mother has resigned from life and doesn't offer much support. Violet does so well she ends up in a girls academy. Where she finds herself to be an outsider but also an insider with a particularly 'weird' group of girls most stay away from.

Her alienation and desperate need to belong catches the attention of Robin. A self-confident troublemaker who ends up influencing Violet into some very dark territory. By slipping into a passive state, Violet becomes a passenger in her own life and watches all the bad things that happen to her and around her without taking charge. It's quite disturbing to watch, but not surprising.

I actually found it quite sad. Violet is so easily pressured into going along, without much of a push, because she's in a bad place. She's obviously got a lot of grief she hasn't dealt with properly, and this affects her on a deeper level than she herself realises. It becomes very frustrating at times, but totally fits the scene.

And this is all before we consider the toxic and harmful friendship she's so devoted to. This story definitely deals with a lot of disturbing facets of teenage girls. This is as bad as it gets, goes beyond peer pressure and cuts straight to downright cruel and criminal behaviour that can fester when girls are so often hurt and manipulated by guys/men.

Some of the content in this book is truly shocking. There are no heroes within these pages, but it sure is an engrossing read. That's for sure. I enjoyed the use of the female rage and injustice via various artworks, Greek mythology and Shakespeare, to name a few. It totally worked to deepen the severity of what happens and adds a surreal quality to the storytelling that makes so much of it feel so ambiguous.

Also, the writing style is thick with description that might have felt like a slog in any other book, but provided the perfect narrative in this one. And that ending! Didn't quite expect that. 👀

I really enjoyed this. It's a very powerful book, and it's not pretty. Everything about this story is raw, ugly and seen through the gritty lens of anger.

Thursday, 11 February 2021

SLEEP LIKE A BABY by Charlaine Harris

 

Sleep Like a Baby (Aurora Teagarden, #10)Sleep Like a Baby by Charlaine Harris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love the Aurora Teagarden mystery series, so it's always great to read the next book.

Aurora and Robin might have embarked on the new adventure of parenting, but that doesn't mean trouble won't find them.

While Robin goes to a conference, Roe gets sick and needs the help of a nurse to look after their baby. But it doesn't take long for the nurse to disappear and a corpse to appear in their backyard...

As soon as I started, it was easy to slip back into Roe's life. Charlaine Harris sure knows how to write an interesting mystery, and characters that keep you coming back.

The mystery in this one was hard to figure out because there was a lot going on, plenty of red herrings and a bit of misdirection. I like it when it's hard to solve because the story kept me guessing most of the way through.

One of my favourite things about this series--and something Charlaine Harris does very well with all her stories--is how well she weaves everyday stuff into intriguing and dangerous situations. And she did that perfectly here. This time featuring Roe as a new mother, while dealing with sickness, family problems and murder.

Another great addition to this series!

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

TALES OF THE SUPERNATURAL is now available!

 

Today, I'm very excited to announce that my short story, The Girls Who Walked into the Woods, is included in this YA horror anthology!


TALES OF THE SUPERNATURAL
Otranto House


Demonic forces lurk in the woods. 

The death of a teen leads to an eerie police interview.

A vengeful spirit of an executed prisoner.

Fear and superstition leave young women vulnerable in a provincial village.

Voices from a well that whisper dark secrets. 

A small English town with sinister traditions. 
 

Tales of the Supernatural is a collection of six chilling tales that will haunt every reader and delight fans of horror. 


Featuring chilling tales from:

Yolanda Sfetsos
Sam Pope
Neve York
Martha Watson
Karen Featherstone
Jessica Allen



 Edited by Elizabeth Kennedy



 It's now available:
Otranto House | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Amazon Australia | Amazon Canada




THE POWER OF THREE by Eliza Willard

 

The Power of Three (Charmed, #1)The Power of Three by Eliza Willard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved watching the show Charmed. So when I found this book in a local Street Library, I had to grab it.

The Halliwell sisters aren't exactly close. After their grandmother died, Prue and Piper moved back into their childhood home. They get along well enough and lead their own lives. But when Phoebe returns and reads a magical incantation from a book she finds in the attic, everything changes.

Now, the three sisters must face their dangerous destiny as the Charmed Ones...

Wow. I enjoyed the hell out of this little book. What a fun and quick read!

This is the novelisation of the very first episode of the show, but because the narrative features the alternating POVs of the three sisters, there's extra insight into each of their personal experiences, thoughts and emotions. This added depth to what I already knew about the sisters and made the book even more interesting.

There's something about this story that felt like slipping into a very familiar and comfortable place. Like catching up with old friends. It made my reading experience so much better.

As far as the story goes, there weren't many surprises for me because I've watched this episode multiple times, but it was still exciting. And I really liked the author's writing style. It was straightforward, mysterious and delved deep into each POV.

Always enjoyed how the Halliwell sisters get back together and become the Charmed Ones.

I loved this story so much I'm going to have to read more books in this series. 😈


View all my reviews

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

A LINE IN THE DARK by Malinda Lo

 

A Line in the DarkA Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love the cover of this book and was intrigued from the first time I saw it. So when I found the hardback on special at Amazon, I grabbed a copy.

Jess Wong cares a lot about her best friend Angie Redmond. More than Angie knows. She doesn't mind hanging out on the sidelines and keeping her true feelings hidden. But when Angie starts seeing a girl called Margot from a nearby boarding school, everything changes. It puts an uncomfortable distance between them, and invites a certain darkness into their seemingly average lives...

I was instantly hooked into Jess's sad and lonely world. A sad world where she's secretly in love with her best friend. And the lonely world it becomes when Angie starts seeing someone. When this happens, Jess changes. It was so unexpected, how easily the story turned from two happy friends who spend heaps of time together, to Jess losing herself in anger and jealousy. To the point of becoming a withering shadow who only finds solace in the comic book she's creating.

The first part in this book is written in the first-person POV of Jess. We get to see the events unfold through her eyes, experience her personal thoughts, and start to understand her uneasy family dynamics. But when I reached the second part, the POV shifted to Jess's third-person POV and a variety of transcripts. A move I wasn't expecting, but certainly turned the story's direction sideways and deepened my interest even further.

I thought this writing style worked so well for this story.

On the surface, Jess seems like a quiet, mousey character who is easy to take advantage of. But she's so much more. Actually, I loved that all the characters were complex and nothing is quite as it first appears.

I really enjoyed this twisty tale of how complicated and toxic teenage friendship between girls can become. How easy it is for secrets and feelings to fester when they keep the truth hidden, and how quickly everything can get totally out of control.

This is such a great book!



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