Saturday, 13 October 2018

CLOCKWORK CITY by Paul Crilley

Cop. Drunkard. Low-grade magic user. 

My name is Gideon Tau, but most people just call me London. (Because that's where I'm from. Get it? Hilarious.) Three years ago, someone killed my daughter. I sacrificed everything (the human race included) to learn his name - and then had to allow that knowledge to be erased from my mind in order to save the world I'd doomed. Fantastic. 

Now I have to start over from scratch, and who do I have to help me find my daughter's killer? The reanimated corpse of my boss, a low-rent P.I. who's heavily into conspiracy theories, and my alcoholic, foul-mouthed demonic sidekick dog. 

Our journey will take us from Durban, South Africa to London, England, where we'll have to contend with Fae gangs fighting for territory, the murder-suicide of two Delphic agents and the seven deadly sins. 

Oh, and did I mention planning a heist to break into the most secure bank in Faerie? Because that's on the agenda too. And if we fail? An ancient horned god will destroy London. (The city, not me. Although, to be fair, I don't think I'll survive either.

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, and for some bizarre reason had forgotten I had this sitting in my TBR pile. 😬 

This week, I decided it was time to get back into London's strange and dangerous world.

After London--aka Gideon Tau--discovered the name of the one responsible for killing his daughter, he was forced to forget in order to save the world. But what he didn't forget was that his daughter wasn't killed, but taken. And that she's still alive.

So every time he's on a case for the Delphic Division, his need to find Cally is first and foremost on his mind. However, when he ends up going to London (the actual city) he'll have to deal with the Fae gangs ruling the place, solving a murder-suicide, an Oracle, and the Seven Deadly Sins.

But with London under siege by crazies determined to unleash an old god, his team will have to venture into Faerie to perform an impossible heist. One that will either save, or destroy the human world... 

Okay. Like I mentioned above, I enjoyed the first book. A lot. So it pains me to admit that this one disappointed me.

I pretty much loved every minute of the first half of this book because the characters are cool, the magic world is intriguing and the supernatural cases are interesting. But when I got to the heist in Faerie, everything fell apart.

There were too many POVs added, some bits that didn't make sense--the story was all over the place. The more I read about the team's time in Faerie, the less I felt invested in what was happening and even how it would turn out.

There were a few twists and turns I liked, but the fact so much is left up in the air and there's no clear indication if there will be more books in the series, made the ending not so sweet.

Clockwork City is an action-packed urban fantasy book and packs quite a punch. It managed to hook me in from the beginning, dragged me around into the middle because I wanted to see where everything would lead, and even kept me interested past that. It wasn't until the heist section that my interest crumbled.

After that, it was hard to stay invested. It's a shame when that happens, but what can you do? I'm still glad I read this.

Clockwork City, July 2018, ISBN 9781473631670, Hodder Paperbacks

Friday, 12 October 2018

Break Time!

Hey! How's it going?

Asides from the shitty weather we're having in Sydney at the moment, we're enjoying a nice break. A lovely time with hubby. But man, I'm SO ready for the rain to go away. I need some sunshine in my life, because a couple of glimpses during the week is not enough. 🌞

I swear, it feels like we're in the middle of autumn instead of spring. Ugh. At least daylight savings started last weekend, so bring on the longer days. (Sorry vamps.)

Speaking of last weekend... I spent a rainy Sunday proofreading the short story I was working on last week. I even finished, polished and subbed my macabre tale about skulls, love and death. The anthology is a total longshot, but this shortie--3,997 words--fit the theme, so I think it's was worth taking a chance.

It's exciting and scary. Not just because I submitted it to a very cool anthology, but because this is a story I'd had in my head for a few months. And when it all came together in a rush of inspiration, it was very exciting.

Now I'm free to go through my Idea Files and decide what to work on next, because NaNoWriMo is just around the corner. The fact I got a few new ideas this week doesn't help. There are just so many possibilities...

But no writing right now. We're having such a great time sleeping in, relaxing and going on adventures. We've gone into the city several times, have gone on heaps of long walks everywhere, went to several thrift stores, picked up a bunch of bargains, and are just having an awesome time.

We're not about to let a bit of rain ruin our time off together. And we've got another week left. 😄

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

BROKEN THINGS by Lauren Oliver

It's been five years since Mia and Brynn murdered Summer Marks, their best friend, in the woods. 

Increasingly obsessed with a novel called The Way into Lovelorn and by their fan-fiction imagining of its sequel, the girls were drawn by an undertow of fantasy into the magical world they'd created. But eventually, their delusions turned sick, and the Shadow, Lovelorn's central evil, began to haunt them. 

Or so the story goes. The only thing is: they didn't do it. 

Brynn and Mia have both found different ways to hide from their notoriety, seeking refuge from a world that hates them-a world that will never feel magical, or safe, ever again. 

On the anniversary of Summer's death, a seemingly insignificant discovery resurrects the mystery and pulls Mia and Brynn back together once again. But as past and present, fiction and reality, begin again to intertwine, Brynn and Mia must confront painful truths they tried for so long to bury-and face the long shadow of memory that has, all this time, been waiting. 

I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this very intriguing book, and was instantly hooked.

Summer died five years ago. Her two friends, Mia and Brynn, plus her boyfriend, Owen, were blamed for the grisly murder. Except, there wasn't enough evidence to convict any of them. The police fumbled the investigation, the small town judged them harshly, but all three went unpunished.

The law might not have punished the trio, but the fallout of what happened that day followed each of the kids like a sticky shadow. Ruined their young lives in different ways. Brynn spends her days in and out of rehab. Mia is dealing with her mother's hoarding by retreating into herself. And Owen has come back to sell the family home tying him to the town and its memories.

The secrets are everywhere, kept by everyone. But the truth, that's a lot harder to find, especially when it's deeply tied to a work of fiction...

Yikes. What a great story! 

This book is so many things--creepy, dramatic, mysterious, intriguing. It's also a very messy and disturbing story about three young friends who love and hate each other in equal amounts. It's a tale of children growing up, of childish games leading into real danger, and the way an unsolved murder puts the lives of the ones who stayed behind on pause.

Told in the alternating first-person POV of Brynn and Mia, the story starts five years after the events that turned one girl into an addict of addiction, and the other into a stuck version of herself. I especially enjoyed how well the Now and Then complemented each other, as well as the Lovelorn excerpts that added to the overall narrative.

I loved how Brynn and Mia's journey, into finding out what really happened to Summer, was ultimately the only way for these friends to break out of the self-imposed prison sentence they each placed on their own lives. Summer wasn't the only one whose life ended five years ago, but by searching for the answers, they hope to reach some level of personal closure.

Broken Things is such a great, twisty book. It's also quite unique, because the story blends the awful events these three girls went through, with the work of fiction dominating their lives. The way reality and fantasy is blended so well they became reflections of each other added a freaky edge to the narrative and inevitable tragedy. 

The outcome was both shocking and unexpected. And there are also some uncomfortable themes, issues and scenes some people might find hard to read.

But my favourite thing of all is how it actually ends, because it mirrors something that keeps coming up in the book. But I can't tell you what, because it would be a total spoiler.

I really enjoyed this!

Broken Things, October 2018, ISBN 9781444786859, Hodder & Stoughton

Friday, 5 October 2018

October is here!

And that means it's Halloween! ALL month. 🎃

It's also hubby & daughter's birthday month. When hubby will take a 2-week break. Daughter will do her HSC. Halloween the movie comes out. And it's time to start NaNoPrep.

Before I get stuck into that, I need to polish the short story I wrote last weekend.

Okay. Let's back up a bit. As you probably already know, last week I finished writing my latest novel first draft. That usually means I take a few weeks off before I even start thinking about another story. BUT, on Saturday night while sorting through the files on my phone, I stumbled on the beginning of that short story idea I mentioned a few weeks ago.

Before I knew it, I'd written over 1,400 words on my phone's QuickMemo. It was almost midnight, I was tired, but the words wouldn't stop coming. We eventually went to bed, and the next night while hubby watched the footy grand final, I wrote the rest of the story. 

The first draft ended up being 3,519 words.

Monday was a public holiday, so I didn't touch the story. On Tuesday, I added the story to my laptop. Wednesday, I did the second draft. On Thursday, I didn't touch it. And today, I completed the third draft. 

Of course, the word count went up to 3,996.

I've added the story to my Paperwhite and will read it one more time during the weekend. Then I plan to sub it to an open anthology that's a total longshot, but still worth a shot.

I'm so excited about how this melancholy, macabre tale about skulls, creepy houses and love turned out. I wanted to establish a certain vibe, and am very happy with how it turned out.

So, between the fact this story demanded to be told NOW, that there's an antho closing date, and that hubby will be taking annual leave, I squeezed in another writing project. Yay.

Once this is proofread and subbed, THEN I can start thinking about what my next NaNoWriMo project will be. Looking forward to going through the possibilities. 😊

Asides from this dark story taking so much of my time this week, I also DNFd several books. Yeah, my reading experience hasn't been good this week. But I've finally settled on an ARC that's still got me intrigued 90 pages in.

Oh, and I watched the 2-episode Wynonna Earp S3 finale! It was SO full of awesome revelations, action, surprises, one-liners, and all-round badassery. LOVE this show. Heaps. It's so cool how it seamlessly does diversity. Very cool.

Well, that's it for this week. I'm going to enjoy some time off with hubby & daughter, catch up on some reading, keep thinking about my many ideas... I need a bit of a break.

Have a great weekend! 😃

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