Tuesday, 17 April 2018

GERALD'S GAME by Stephen King

Gerald's Game My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm a huge Stephen King fan, and although I've read heaps of his books, I have a lot yet to read. So this year I've decided to add a new SK book to my TBR pile every time I finish one.

When Gerald and Jessie Burlingame go to their summer house after the season is over, the married couple start to play the kinky game Gerald enjoys--including handcuffs.

But this time, Jessie isn't into it and even after she tells her husband, he doesn't stop. That's when she strikes out and Gerald ends up dead on the floor, while Jessie is chained to the bedpost.

With the cuff keys too far away and the constant torment of the voices inside her head, Jessie is left to face an awful nightmare that gets worse by the hour...



This book is insane! So nerve-racking.

I honestly didn't know what to expect. I mean, I've known about the main plot for ages but didn't expect it to actually turn out the way it did. The twists and turns are unpredictable and totally crazy, plus pretty gory. I won't go into it, but the initial (awful) dog scene was so unexpected, yikes!

The way Stephen King can take one character left alone and tied to a bed for most of the book, and turn it into a suspenseful story that keeps the reader glued to the page, is amazing. Even the way she gets lost in her surreal memories, eventually revealing the horrid event that fucked her up for life is done in such a way that I didn't want to stop.

But this is an emotionally heavy book, and I needed to take breaks. That eclipse scene is SO disturbing and very uncomfortable to read. When added to the rest of Jessie's ordeal, everything totally fits.

This is definitely going to be one of those books that the more I think about, the more I will remember its brilliance. I mean, the frustration of going through her ordeal is so claustrophobic and well written that you start to feel like you're stuck in there with her.

Something else I need to mention is Jessie. She's a very well-written character. Someone who doesn't shy away from her opinions, doesn't take any shit, yet is haunted by her past. And her strength and determination to keep going even when everything gets bleak, really kept me cheering for her.

There's a certain fragmented quality to this story that solidifies as you near The End.

And who the hell can ever listen to the Space Cowboy song without remembering how this book ends? OMFG.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

When the Story is Done...

Last week I mentioned it was time to tackle the final draft of the YA horror novel I planned to finish last month.

Well, yesterday I finally finished. Yay.

The final word count is 78,716.

This story has taken quite a while to complete, but every bit of work was worth it. I'm SO happy with how it's turned out. There was a time when I thought this day would never come because my vision of this book and what was on the page seemed so far away from each other. 

The road to Haunted was a longish one. I wrote the first draft during NaNoWriMo 2016. Back when I planned to tell a creepy story about four friends who lived in a peculiar small town with some pretty horrific secrets.

And I did. Kind of.

I wrote a fast draft I was happy with, but put it aside for most of last year. Not just because I like to get a bit of distance from my first drafts, but also because 2017 was all about reconnecting with my love of writing. And that meant (mainly) concentrating on first drafts.

After Samhain Publishing closed and all of my books disappeared, as if they'd never been published, I was a little lost. I took some time off to write short stories, and then lost myself in new novel ideas. I ended up writing 3 novels and even squeezed in the second draft of Haunted.

But after finishing that draft I decided to change several things, including the location. So I needed extra time to take notes, research and brainstorm. By that time the new year ticked over, but I was determined to get it done during the first half of 2018.

Only problem was that after the third draft, the read-thru ended up being just another detailed draft because I did some pretty intense rewriting. And SO MUCH cutting! 

When it was finally time to sit down and read the story ONE last time on my Paperwhite... that's exactly what I did.

This time I read the novel from start to finish and only found minor typos, and other nitty-gritty stuff I changed along the way. I actually reached the end on Friday, but during the weekend started a 2-page list of things to take care of before really calling it done.

And that's what I did yesterday. I finally reached The End. Awesome!!

The story is now finished, and I'm so happy with how it turned out. And after I write the synopsis, I'll be free to move on to some of the other stories hounding my brain.

I can't wait.

But this week I'm going to celebrate THIS by taking a mental break! 😃

Monday, 9 April 2018

Y: THE LAST MAN, Vol. 1: Unmanned by Brian K Vaughan & Pia Guerra

Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1: Unmanned (Y: The Last Man #1) My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've been meaning to read this for ages, and now that I have a 2-in-1 laptop, I finally started this comic book series.

When all the mammals with a Y chromosome die out of the blue, the world is thrown into chaos. All of a sudden, there are corpses everywhere, and the women have lost their marbles. The world's gone crazy--violence is everywhere, there are shortages, the government's in turmoil, and some women are even hunting men.

Too bad the only man (and his monkey) left alive is a whiny loser with a penchant for magic tricks and bravado.

The human race is in trouble, but this guy, a mysterious agent, and a geneticist are on a quest to save it...

I enjoyed this volume, but I have a few problems. Starting with how much I dislike the Y guy because he's annoying af. The Amazons are as sketchy as their motivations. What better way to destroy the patriarchy than to BECOME A NEW VERSION OF IT? O_o As well as the fact that society has fallen because of the tight grip men have on everything... Okay, you know what? The more I write/think about it the more I realise this was probably the point.

I love Saga by Brian K. Vaughn, so I have faith in all of the prickly stuff bothering me balancing itself out.

Besides, I like the cheeky monkey. And I want answers to my many questions. :D

BEFORE YOU WAKE by Adam Nevill

Before You Wake: Three Horrors My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After reading Adam Nevill's other free anthology, I couldn't wait to get stuck into this one...


Well, this turned out to be a dark and disturbing creepy story dipped in a vat of paranoia.

Frank rents a small dingy room above a shitty, derelict bar and pays way too much. Between his crappy security job and the annoying landlord hassling him for money, he wants to escape his life.

But the real collectors don't let anyone leave...

Such a grimy story. While reading it I actually felt the dust and dirt clinging to me. The imagery is pretty dark. I love it when angels are portrayed as the vile and violent creatures they really are. ;)


What a bizarre story! It's a revenge story told through the eyes of the unsuspecting sinner.

Ray is a taxi driver who finds himself going around in circles while dropping people off, and picking new ones up.

Only to find himself back at the beginning...

Such an uncomfortable story. The more I read of this one, the more I disliked the main character. He's obsessed with accidents and is way too pervy for my liking. So I kept waiting for a really bad thing to happen to him, because karma's a monstrous bitch.


Okay, that was one very descriptive piece of narrative.

There's an empty ship in the ocean filled with unfathomable horrors...

Yep. That's all I'm going to say about this one because it's the best way to describe the experience. This isn't so much a short story, but a collection of details stitched together in the same way that a camera does as it pans out across a location, slowly revealing its many horrid secrets.

This is another great collection. While I personally preferred the three stories in BEFORE YOU SLEEP, the writing in this anthology is so outstanding I couldn't help but be swept away by the imagery the words formed inside my head.

Glad I bought two other anthologies by this author!

Saturday, 7 April 2018

AUTO REWIND by Jason Arnopp

Auto Rewind (A Novelette)
After reading and really enjoying American Hoarder yesterday, thought I'd read this one too.

Stephen Skipp lives with his hard-working mother. He loves Saturday, Christmas and renting VHS movies. He also wants his mum to watch Doctor Who with him. As the awful truth slowly reveals itself, he might get his wish...

Um. Okay. I couldn't connect with this character or his twisted story. The 80s references felt forced, the situation was meh and I didn't find anything about this comical. I kept waiting for it to get better, but it only got worse.

Yeah. I didn't like this one. :/

Friday, 6 April 2018


American Hoarder
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've had this short story on my Paperwhite for a while, and decided to read it today.

During an American Hoarder episode, something goes terribly wrong. And Bill is telling the bizarre story to someone who is very interested...

I really enjoyed this!

The writing style gets the story across so well, and the creepiness keeps the suspense going from start to finish.

I've watched a few hoarder episodes and like all reality TV, there's always a set formula for how the person deals with their clutter and emotional state. And this story certainly dealt with it in a comical, yet horrifying way.

Plus it leads back to Last Days of Jack Sparks, which is an awesome book everyone should read.

Very cool shortie that'll make you think twice about clutter. O.o

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