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Tuesday, 3 October 2023

THE PRAM by Joe Hill

 

The Pram (Creature Feature collection)The Pram by Joe Hill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my second Creature Feature collection short story and it didn't disappoint.

After Willy and Marianne suffer a devastating miscarriage that changes the way they see and feel about everything, they decide to move into a farmhouse in Maine. But the day Willy walks to the local store and borrows a pram so he doesn't have to carry the groceries home, he falls into a dark and all-consuming obsession...

Yikes, what a fantastic story! Not just because the folk horror and imagery is so horrific and creepy, but also because of how well it deals with the unresolved grief the husband in the marriage has put aside and didn't deal with, so his wife could heal. But what starts as a very selfless act of love in a happy marriage, soon warps into something awful when Willy allows himself to fall down the rabbit hole.

I liked the twist at the end too, though I did suspect something fishy about some of these characters.

Really enjoyed it!


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SAGA # 65 & 66 by Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples

 

Saga #65Saga #65 by Brian K. Vaughan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! This was such an amazing issue!

We have three different stories happening at the same time. Alana is looking for her children to get the hell out of that place. Petrichor surprises The Will. Squire and Hazel find themselves in a bit of trouble. And the action never stops. Not until the very end.

I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.

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Saga #66Saga #66 by Brian K. Vaughan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another solid issue that kept me on my toes because I feared the worst would happen. 😫 I mean, Ghüs is back and I didn't want anything to happen to him.

The plot thickens, and this one has a nice twist ending.

Monday, 2 October 2023

ANKLE SNATCHER by Grady Hendrix

 

Ankle Snatcher (Creature Feature collection)Ankle Snatcher by Grady Hendrix
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I chose this short story as my first spooky October read, and I'm glad I did because it was a lot of creepy fun.

Marcus is enjoying a nice second date with a girl he really likes when he shares the unfortunate story about how his father killed his mother when he was six, and blamed the boogeyman under the bed. Except, after Tess spends the night with him, things take a terrible turn...

Yikes. There's a reason why Grady Hendrix is one of my favourite authors, and this story is yet another awesome example.

I particularly liked how there's a nightmarish, delusional vibe through the whole story. It's so well written that the ambiguity works on two levels. The supernatural angle, that Marcus finally accepts he's inherited a monster under his bed from his father. As well as the reality, that what he's really inherited is of the murderous kind. So, which one is it? That ending really makes you think.

This is like a twisted bedtime story meets true crime.

I REALLY enjoyed it!

Wednesday, 27 September 2023

This Novella is Done!

Hey, how are you today? What's new with you?

This week, I've been busy working on the final read-thru of my current revision project. That's when I sit down with my Paperwhite and read the story from start to finish. It's also when any weird sentences or  repetition really stands out. I get very focused on the nitty-gritty details and usually end up mentally exhausted by the end of the day. But it's SO worth it.

I ended up cutting quite a bit, then adding some back. There were a few things that needed to be tightened and had to match the previous story. But it's finished now! I wanted to get this draft done by the end of September and I did it. Yay. πŸ˜ƒ

The final word count is: 30,037.

I'm immensely proud of how this little dark tale turned out because when the idea initially came to me, during one of my afternoon walks, I pushed it away. Didn't want to waste time writing it. To be honest, I didn't think it was going to work. Yet, the characters wouldn't shut up and pieces of dialogue kept appearing out of nowhere. That's not even considering how vivid the imagery was... 

Anyway, I'm glad I gave in. And now it's finished before the long weekend.

I'm looking forward to spending three days with my husband. It's also daylight savings time. I can't wait for the longer days. It's really starting to feel like spring around here. When it doesn't feel like summer. Yeah, we had a few really hot days last week.

Well, that's it for now. I think it's time to enjoy the fact that another writing project is wrapped up. Instead of sitting on my hard drive for years. πŸ˜…

Have a nice day!

Thursday, 21 September 2023

THE FOLLY by Gemma Armor

 

The FollyThe Folly by Gemma Amor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was lucky enough to get an eARC copy of this novella and couldn't wait to get stuck into it.

After being convicted for the murder of his wife, Morgan's father spent six years in jail. Now that he's been released, she's determined to help him get back into the swing of life outside of prison. It starts with selling their tainted house and heading to the coast to stay in The Folly. A place in a lovely but harsh setting that hopefully helps heal past wounds. But strange things happen almost instantly, and Morgan has to face a reality she's been trying very hard to avoid...

Wow. What an intriguing novella!

I was hooked on this story straight away. Morgan's tragic situation dragged me in as quickly as the strength of her voice. It doesn't take long to realise that although she shares so much, she's obviously holding back certain details. And I couldn't stop reading.

When the weird and super creepy stuff hit, I was riveted. Totally hooked on the events that turned everything upside down. Suddenly, nothing seemed normal anymore, or remotely okay, and I shared Morgan's confusion and suspicion.

This is the kind of tale that grips the reader so tightly, it refuses to let go. I wanted to speed through, to get to the nitty-gritty of the mystery at the heart of everything. At the same time, I wanted to take my time because I didn't want it to end.

I think the pacing is as perfect as the ominous shadow that seems to follow Morgan and Owen. No matter what's happening, the dread is always there, dripping from every page.

Another beautiful thing about this novella is the location. This coastal structure Morgan and her father are staying in seems to have a life of its own, is as cruel as the ocean always ready to steal away careless souls. Not to mention how well the pandemic fits in with everything that's going on.

The Folly is an amazing story that delves deep into the effects of close familial ties after a horrifying tragedy. It's about how the past is never really gone, and shows that secrets have a way of festering. Until one day, everyone has to face their greatest fears.

I really loved everything about this tale, and the ending was unexpected. In the best way possible.

Wednesday, 20 September 2023

Still Revising...

 

How are you today?

Well, it's spring in Australia, but you wouldn't know it because we've been having summer temps since the weekend! 😳

Whenever I hear someone trying to argue that climate change isn't a thing, I get so pissed off because the evidence is there every single fucking day.

Anyway, enough about what annoys me. That list keeps getting longer and longer.

This week I got stuck into the third draff of the novella I'm currently revising, and it's going very well.

After I finished the second draft last week, I started a pretty long and extensive list of changes and additions that I made before I even sat down to tackle the next draff. I wasn't surprised, though. This kind of thing always happens during my revision process. The deeper I get into the story, the more I analyse every detail. Not to mention how my subconscious works in the background and always decides to deliver these gems while I'm out for my daily walk.

I've mentioned this before, but going on long walks around the local river always fills me with inspiration. It's when I work through the kinks, or develop new ideas.

Actually, both of the unexpected novellas I wrote this year were a result of letting my imagination run wild while enjoying a lovely walk. 😊

During this stage I ended up cutting quite a bit. I also added new bits and pieces too, but the word count went down again.

New word count is: 30,483.

I'm really happy with the overall progress of this project. I'm also excited about this story being only one more step away from completion. Not bad for a story I didn't think would work, and I fought all the way. Even while writing it. 😁

Well, the novella is now sitting on my Paperwhite ready for one last read-thru. I always enjoy this final step because this is when everything looks different and anything that doesn't make sense stands out. But that's a task for next Monday because I'm going to take a mental break for the rest of the week.

Asides from the revision, we also started some spring cleaning. Spent most of the weekend going through our built-in wardrobe. Ended up throwing a few things away, donating a bunch more, and even had to walk to IKEA on Saturday night to pick up a few things.

Well, that's it for today.

Have an awesome week!


Friday, 15 September 2023

PRE-APPROVED FOR HAUNTING AND OTHER STORIES by Patrick Barb

 

Pre-Approved for Haunting: And Other StoriesPre-Approved for Haunting: And Other Stories by Patrick Barb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'd like to thank the publisher for sending me an eARC of this short story collection.

The first thing I want to mention is the cover, which seems very simple at first glance, but perfectly sets the tone for the eighteen dark stories within.

PRE-APPROVED FOR HAUNTING AND OTHER STORIES is packed full of strange and weird tales featuring a cast of very different characters who lead their own personal haunted lives. No story is the same in theme or even format. But they're all an interesting variation of horror in its many forms, and each one stands out for its own eerie reason/s.

As is typical with collated tales, some grabbed me more than others. My personal favourites are: Lost Boy Found in His Bear Suit because of its subtle but strong horror, A Portrait of the Artist as an Angry God (in Landscape) because it's a fever dream of art and obsession, Rose from the Ashes because it's an intriguing revenge fantasy, Iggy Crane and the Headless Horse Girl because it's fascinating, and The Giallo Kid in the Cataclysm’s Campgrounds because it's slasher with a difference.

Another thing I really like are the actual story titles. There are some very clever and creative titles in this bunch.

Overall, I really enjoyed this collection.

Thursday, 14 September 2023

PARASOCIAL by Wendy Dalrymple

 

ParasocialParasocial by Wendy Dalrymple
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Firstly, I want to thank the author for sending me an ARC of this very freaky book.

Casey is nineteen and barely pays attention to the people in her real life. She likes animals and works in a pet store, but her obsession is social media. She's especially into StreamVid and idolises Della. When Della gets sick, Casey decides to set up a fund for medical expenses, but her helpful nature leads to an unexpected nightmare...

Wow. 😳

This novella is one hell of a ride! As soon as I started reading Casey's story, I was hooked and didn't stop until I finished. That's right, I read it in one sitting.

There's nothing better than a cautionary horror tale wrapped in a seriously messed-up social commentary package. And this one packs quite a punch.

I really liked Casey, and often sympathised with her helpful nature. While also cringing because the way she gets swept up in someone she doesn't really know is a situation that is often seen online. For every authentic person, there are a hundred with nefarious intentions. And this story takes that reality and spins it upside down, turns it into a super creepy story with a touch of body horror and plenty of gross imagery.

Like I said, this is highly addictive and relentless, kept me on the edge of my seat until the very last word.

Well, this is another Wendy Dalrymple gem! I seriously love Wendy's addictive writing style, and can't get enough.


View all my reviews

Wednesday, 13 September 2023

I'm back in Revision Town!


Hey! How's it going?

It's me again.

I took a week off to rest my brain after spending most of August revising a 45k novella, but now I'm getting stuck into another lot of revision.

Yeah, I can't stay away.

This time I'm working on this story. The one that came to me out of nowhere and I was convinced it wouldn't turn into anything. Then it became a 30k novella. 😬

I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy re-reading this tale of woe. Even thought I might end up scrapping it after all. But nope, once I got started I couldn't stop reading. It only took me two long evening sessions to revise. I cut quite a few words, moved a bunch of stuff around, and even added new words. Deepened the description and emotion, intensified the horrifying stuff.

It's now 31k, which is pretty cool for a story I didn't think would go anywhere. LOL.

Anyway, this is another horror novella. One that revisits old territory from a very different perspective. It's bleak and dark, takes the main characters on a pretty shitty journey that—of course—doesn't end well. But I knew this going in.

Funny thing is that while I was out walking this afternoon, my wicked writer brain decided that the ending I have right now needs to be changed. And even presented me with the new, darker ending. Ultimately it leads to the same place, but in a much faster-paced and more screwed-up way. I like it.

So, now I've got a bunch of notes to tackle during the third draft! 😳

That means I'll be taking the rest of the week off, and will get stuck into the third draft next week. The final read-thru the week after. Yeah, the plan is to have it finished/finalised by the end of September. That way, I can take October off to concentrate on reading creepy books while figuring out what novel I'm going to write during this year's NaNoWriMo.

Well, I've got a few crafty things I want to do during what's left of this week. And plenty of stationery/toy organising. 

Until then, have a great day!


FUNNYBONES by Allan Ahlberg & Tim Burton's the Nightmare Before Christmas Colouring book

 

FunnybonesFunnybones by Allan Ahlberg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a kid's book my husband showed me because he thought I might like it. Of course I was interested. Not only does it feature skeletons, which I love, but the cover glows in the dark!

And I really enjoyed it.

The skeleton family consists of an adult, a kid, and a dog. They live in a basement and decide to go for a walk one night. It's really all harmless fun that does have a bit of a creepy edge. I mean, they're skeletons. πŸ˜…

It's a lot of fun and it's going on my keeper shelf.


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Tim Burton's the Nightmare Before Christmas: Adult Colouring Book (Disney)Tim Burton's the Nightmare Before Christmas: Adult Colouring Book by unknown author
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yeah, you better believe I'm going to review this lovely colouring book. 😁

The Nightmare Before Christmas is one of my favourite movies. It's also one of my favourite things to collect. I love anything featuring Jack and Sally. And that explains why my husband picked this up for me!

Seriously, though. The illustrations are very pretty. So pretty I don't think I'll be able to do any actual colouring in. πŸ˜…


 
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