Wednesday, 28 October 2020

FORTUNE AND GLORY by Janet Evanovich

When Stephanie's beloved Grandma Mazur's new husband died on their wedding night, the only thing he left her was a beat-up old easy chair... and the keys to a life-changing fortune. 

But as Stephanie and Grandma Mazur search for Jimmy Rosolli's treasure, they discover that they're not the only ones on the hunt. Two dangerous enemies from the past stand in their way-along with a new adversary who's even more formidable: Gabriela Rose, a dark-eyed beauty from Little Havana with a taste for designer clothes. She's also a soldier of fortune, a gourmet cook, an expert in firearms and mixed martial arts-and someone who's about to give Stephanie a real run for her money. 

Stephanie may be in over her head, but she's got two things that Gabriela doesn't: an unbreakable bond with her family and a stubborn streak that will never let her quit. 

She'll need both to survive because this search for "fortune and glory" will turn into a desperate race against time with more on the line than ever before. Because even as she searches for the treasure and fights to protect her Grandma Mazur, her own deepest feelings will be tested-as Stephanie could finally be forced to choose between Joe Morelli and Ranger.

It's always awesome to step back into the very hilarious and dangerous world of Stephanie Plum & Co. I LOVE catching up with them every year and get hooked back in right away. So, of course, this one was no different.

Stephanie might have promised Grandma Mazur that she'll help her find her late husband's hidden treasure, but she didn't expect to be put in even more danger than usual. Or to meet even shadier people along the way or cause friction in her on-again, off-again relationship with Morelli.

At least she's got her job and Ranger...

Well, this was yet another awesome addition to a super fun series! 

No wonder it's one of my faves. The world of Plum is fast-paced and the unpredictable nature of the story is exciting.

Also, the mayhem never stops and a new cast of characters--both good, bad and terrifying--fill these pages with intensity and a mystery that isn't easily solved. Unfortunately, Steph's doubt in herself and the feeling that she's not good enough still bugs her. She still hasn't found her sense of direction, but at least she tries out a new hairstyle and clothes. LOL.

As for her love life... Yikes! This is even more complicated than everything else she's going through. In this installment, Morelli is out and Ranger is definitely in. 😉 And this provided some pretty sexy interactions, which leads to more relationship confusion. But hey, it's understandable. Who could choose between Ranger and Morelli?

Fortune and Glory is another entertaining addition to this awesome series. Like usual, just when I think Stephanie's life can't get any worse, I finish reading the next book and the stakes never stop escalating. Yet, I still managed to laugh because so many funny things happen.  

Now that the treasure hunt has revealed so much, I can't wait to find out what happens next.

Thank you Hachette Australia for sending me a copy! 

Fortune and Glory, November 2020, ISBN 9781472246196, Headline Review

Friday, 23 October 2020

THE TRENCH by Steve Alten


The Trench (Meg, #2)The Trench by Steve Alten
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed Meg, so when we found an old library copy of the second book in a nearby Street Library, of course we grabbed it.

And I was excited, even though the book smelled like fucking cigarette smoke and needed WEEKS of scented-candle-in-bag treatment before I could even consider reading it. Actually, even after picking it up I thought I might not be able to concentrate on the story because of the shitty condition... BUT! The story is SO good that it hooked me in right away.

Stinky book or not, I was HOOKED!

Jonas Taylor is a professor and paleo-biologist. He's former Navy and a deep-sea diver. But his days on the Mariana Trench are done because his PTSD is still severe. Even after four years and being married to Terry, he continues to suffer from nightmares and is still obsessed with the Carcharodon megalodon. Well, with one in particular...

Wow. Just like the first book, this one hooked me in right away.

It was so good to catch up with Jonas and Terry, but I was disappointed to find out that things between them weren't exactly rosy because Jonas is still distracted, refuses to get help and is in total denial. And I know a lot of his problems stem from the fact people are still not listening to him about the danger of having a 'pet' megalodon, but I was hoping he'd be in a different and better place by now.

Although, all of these problems and a whole new plate of stuff sure make a thrilling adventure. This story moves fast and doesn't waste time getting violent. Yet, at the same time manages to keep many shitty secrets hidden beneath the surface.

These books are just like movies because the imagery is so vivid everything played out very clearly inside my head. And I love that! Not to mention the tension. It's so thick and escalates so quickly that I was on the edge of my seat most of the way through.

Also, more than one ancient monster hiding in the depths of the ocean is always a cool thing. Although, as usual, the biggest and worst monsters are the fucking humans. 😒

During Meg, my only problem was how annoying I found it that every woman was introduced as being 'good looking'. It bugged the hell out of me. In this one, it's how the only two women in the story instantly hate each other. Um, nope. Women competing against each other might be a thing because after all, women are people (gasp!), but this silly assumption of instant hate needs to fucking stop. Unlike the first book, it wasn't as easy to ignore because it sucks up too much of the main storyline.

This monster series needs more monsters and less forced relationship drama! 

Thursday, 22 October 2020

NaNoWriMo is around the corner!


Since I signed up the other day, I thought I might write a little blog post about my National Novel Writing Month experience.

I've been taking part in NaNoWriMo for a long while now. My first time was way back in 2006. Can you believe that? 😯  

It's something I make room for every year.

Anyway, here's my history:
  • 2006: UF (Angie)
  • 2007: SFR (Shade of Grey)
  • 2008: SFR (Shade of Blue)
  • 2009: Horror (Sinful)
  • 2010: Futuristic (Embracing Sunlight)
  • 2011: N/A
  • 2012: UF (Torn from the Shadows)
  • 2013: SFR (Dash)
  • 2014: UF (Willow)
  • 2015: YA Historical (MixedTape)
  • 2016: YA Horror (Haunted) 
  • 2017: YA SF Thriller (Cosmic Girl) 
  • 2018: YA Horror (Madness)
  • 2019: SF Historical Horror (Neon)

Since I started taking part, I missed out on one year: 2011. That year, I was working on edits for my first Samhain Publishing novella. Ah, memories. 😉

Another thing you'll notice is that I've written drafts in a variety of genres, which is something I lurve to do.

By the time November comes around, I like to squeeze in one last 50-70k first draft. I think it's a great way to end the writing year. And this year is definitely a time where unleashing my creative ideas as much as possible is a great thing!

This time, I've decided to work on a story that's been inside my head for quite a while. It's a horror idea about a pesky character who ends up in a creepy ghost town after she's hired to look for someone. And there's going to be a lot of danger, adventure and monsters.

I've already started a Word doc with a bunch of notes about the characters, jotted down the important story stuff, and have a folder full of inspirational pics. 

Let the NaNoPrep continue! 

Well, what's yours about?

Happy planning!

PS. If you wanna be buddies, I'm YolandaS. 😁

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

THE BUS ON THURSDAY by Shirley Barrett


The Bus on ThursdayThe Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've had this book for a while and today, I decided to get stuck into it. Actually, I read it in a few sittings because I couldn't put it down.

Eleanor's life isn't going well. First, she broke up with her boyfriend and he moved on pretty quickly. Then, she's diagnosed with breast cancer and her friends aren't exactly supportive.

So, when she's offered a new job as the teacher in a remote mountain town, she decides to go. It's a fresh start in a nice place. Except, she finds herself in the middle of a lot of new stress...

Wow. This is one trippy, surreal and totally addictive book. I seriously fell right into this and couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next.

I really enjoyed Eleanor's snarky voice because she's so entertaining and has such a cool dark sense of humour. Also, a lot of her snark was very Aussie and it made me laugh even more!

The story is told via blog posts in a way that reveals important events as she remembers them. And sometimes doesn't. She often throws the reader all over the place. She's also not very reliable, and I had a great time picking up all of her inconsistencies.

Another awesome thing about this book is how atmospheric the small town vibes are. Talbingo is both eerie and beautiful. Seems like a place full of weirdos and also an idyllic place to live. Yeah, there's a lot of contradictory things going on in this book and all of them tie this fantastic story together in the strangest way possible.

The cast of characters is also great! Gregory and Ryan are two very creepy brothers she can't shake. Friar Hernandez the Praying Mantis is a strange and freaky man spewing weird shit all over the place. Daphne the Little Sparrow is an enigmatic woman who (for me) provided the biggest answers about what was really going on. And Glenda was an annoying character hung up on the past. Not to mention those freaky weepy kids.

All of these factors put together make an awesome story with several ambiguous, haunting paths. The storytelling reminded me of The Turn of the Screw, because it works on several levels. On one hand it's a nightmarish horror story, and on the other it's also very sad because cancer is so awful.

I LOVED THIS BOOK. And that ending was totally cool. 😳

Also, personally, I would say that this is more Bridget Jones meets Twin Peaks, or even The Shining. Not so much The Exorcist.

View all my reviews

Monday, 19 October 2020

THE ALCHEMIST by Paulo Coelho


The AlchemistThe Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Last month, hubby found a great deal for this beautiful paperback on Amazon and asked me if I knew anything about it. I didn't, but after reading the blurb and the beginning, I was instantly interested.

Santiago is a shepherd boy from Andalusia. He's happy doing his thing every day and has a nice routine with his sheep. Until a dream and several encounters with two interesting people spark his sense of adventure.

So, he leaves Spain to travel to the Egyptian desert in search of treasure. Upon his arrival in Africa, things don't go according to plan. But he takes everything in stride and continues his quest to find an unknown treasure near the Pyramids that might not turn out to be what he expected...

This is such a lyrical and beautiful story. It's lush and interesting and the writing style ensured I was never bored. It's also such a comforting and easy read.

As soon as I started, I got swept up in Santiago's life. He starts out simple enough, but he's smart and wants more from life than an endless routine. Following him on this very personal journey was an adventure in itself.

The poor guy suffers some awful hardships along the way, and although they affect him deeply, he's not afraid of hard work. Or of using his brain to figure out how to expand on what's right in front of him. He also doesn't give up. Santiago is a nice and kind character, so I really wanted him to find himself. And the treasure, of course.

This book touches on a lot of very interesting things, such as religion, faith, philosophy, love and alchemy. Sometimes, all these elements are very different from each other. Sometimes they're wound together so tightly they're just about the same thing. That's another great thing about this story, how well it digs into a person's personal quest. Is it necessary to travel outside the confines of your safety zone in order to do so? Or are all the answers found within?

It's also very much about facing your own fears, finding yourself as well as the truest place where you belong. Your Personal Legend.

Yeah, this is the kind of book that makes your mind go to unexpected places in a way that expands your thoughts without you even realising. It's also a book I'll think about often.

I'm really glad my husband found this because it's also a very pretty book with some lovely illustrations and a wonderful ending.


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