Wednesday, 11 November 2015


Madame Tussaud’s Apprentice
A sweeping story of danger, intrigue and young love, set against one of the most dramatic moments in history.

Célie Rousseau is a talented young artist who, along with her partner Algernon, resorts to petty thieving on the streets of Paris to survive. It is 1789: rumours of rebellion against the monarchy are starting to spread in the capital, and the two of them get involved in the idealistic revolutionary fervour. But when she is caught stealing from the brother of the King himself, Célie is saved only thanks to her drawing skills and the intercession of Marie Tussaud, the famous waxworks artist and a favourite at the French court, who decides to employ her.

Suddenly Célie finds herself whisked away from the tumult of Paris to the safety and opulence of Versailles. This raises a difficult moral dilemma for the young lady who had until recently dreamt of overthrowing the very people who now treat her with kindness: should she compromise her ideals and risk losing Algernon – whom she loves – or should she stay true to the cause of the poor and the revolution?

When I received this book from Bloomsbury, I didn't know anything about it. After reading the blurb, I wasn't sure if I would actually enjoy it. I haven't read many books about the French Revolution, and I'm really fussy about historical stories. But I do know who Madame Tussaud is, and the thought of her having an apprentice intrigued me.

So I decided to give it a go... and I'm glad I did.

Célie and Algernon are teenage orphans who live on the streets of Paris and survive the only way they know how--by stealing from the rich. After she lost her family, she nearly died on her way to Paris but was saved by Algernon. Not only does she owe him her life, but she's secretly in love with him.

The young girl also has a peculiar talent. She can remember every single detail she sees in front of her, and is then able to draw the scene. It's her artistic talent that gets her out of trouble after she is caught stealing.

When Manon Tussaud takes her into her care as her apprentice, she finds herself living in a comfortable home with nice, caring people who also teach her the trade of waxworks. Now she has shelter, food and a place to belong. The only thing missing is Algernon. She misses him, but he's caught up in his own cause.

Célie has always wanted equality in France, but after spending some time living in Versailles she realises that the royal family might actually be as much prisoners in their life of privilege as the poor people are in their misery. Nothing is black and white, but once she helps incite the revolution there's no going back. And as they say, heads will roll...

Wow. This book wasn't at all what I expected. In a good way.

I found myself swept up in Célie's story instantly, and couldn't wait to see where it would lead. I also really liked most of the characters. Actually, the only one I didn't like was Algernon. He was just so determined to change the world that he ends up being blinded by ambition, and often comes across as a callous user. Sometimes, when good people with good intentions attempt to shift the power away from oppressors, they become just as bad.

Madame Tussaud's Apprentice is a wonderful--yet sometimes quite bloody--coming-of-age story about a young girl trying to find her way in a miserable and dangerous city. It's also a story about finding hope after everything she cared about is taken from her, and realising that family isn't always blood. I also think that the French Revolution provided an intriguing and very violent backdrop for this timeless tale. Because this might be a historical story, but the hardship of the poor and the drama of love will never change.

I'm really glad I read this. And as soon as I finished it, I realised just how fitting the red cover is.

Here's the trailer:

Madame Tussaud’s Apprentice, November 2015, ISBN 99781846883811, Alma Books

Friday, 6 November 2015


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Today I finished proofreading one of my upcoming books and wanted to reward myself with an interesting short read. And this story definitely turned out to be a treat.

I mean, check this out:

It was half past eleven when I saw her. She was standing at the top of the staircase, with restless fingers and defiant eyes, wrapped in blue silk that clung to her hips.

How can you not be intrigued by this? :)

Jimmy Prince is a PI who lives in Spindle City and has a teenage assistant. When he meets an alluring woman called Ella at the Prince family gala, and then finds her bloody glass slipper, he gets caught up in a mystery that is bound to get him into deep trouble. Which seems to be something he's really good at.

Absolutely loved this story! It's such a clever noir mystery set in a city full of fairy tale characters. But they're not what you're used to. This is a place full of strong, murderous women and intriguing people. Not to mention the story! And the writing! Loved everything about it.

Can't wait to read more.

BTW, you can read it for free HERE!

Sunday, 1 November 2015


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love creepy stories, especially when they deal with demons, so when I found out about this one I couldn't wait to check it out. Luckily, my local library had a copy so I borrowed it on Friday and decided to get stuck into it during Halloween.

Amanda Verner lives with her family in a cramped cabin in the mountains. After a hellish winter where they were all trapped inside for a long time and her mother developed a serious fever while pregnant and gave birth to a sick child, Amanda also had a mental breakdown.

Now she considers herself a sinner, and behaves in a way that is sure to lead to trouble. Especially since she gets involved with a boy and winds up pregnant. She doesn't tell her parents, and the boy rejects her. So when her father uproots the family and takes them to the prairie for a better life with more space, she thinks it might help.

As soon as they arrive they find the cabin looks great from the outside, but inside is a different story. The floor is ruined, the walls covered in blood, but their father fixes and cleans everything. They even meet a young boy and his doctor father. Everything seems to be better here, but only on the surface because Amanda is hearing phantom baby cries, knocking on the window, and starts to feel things.

It doesn't take long to realise why these cabins are abandoned...

I loved this book! The setting is written in such a vivid way that I felt like I was transported back in time. The creepiness is always there, like a threatening undercurrent that slowly rises to the surface. And I really liked Amanda. She did a lot of things that only added to her troubles and continually kept secrets, but it was mostly because she was thinking about how it would affect her family.

This story was unsettling, and spooky. It hooked me in right away. It's just what I expect--and enjoy--from a good horror story. Loved it heaps!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

THE DEAD HOUSE by Dawn Kurtagich

Carly gets the day.
Kaitlin has the night.
But what is the truth?

Twenty-five years ago, Elmbridge High School burned down. The blaze killed three and injured twenty, and one pupil, Carly Johnson, disappeared. For two decades, little was revealed about what became known as the Johnson Incident.

Until now.

A diary has been found in the ruins of the school. In this diary, Kaitlyn Johnson, Carly's twin, tells of the strange and disturbing sequence of events leading to the incident.
But Kaitlyn doesn't exist. She never has.

October is here, which means it's time to get stuck into some creepy books. So when I received this from Hachette--thanks for sending me a copy!--I had to get stuck into it first chance I got. :)

Carly Johnson isn't like other girls. For one, she finds herself spending plenty of time in a mental hospital ward because she suffers from DID (Dissociative identity disorder). When she's not there, she attends and resides at Elmbridge High School. She's one person during the day, and another at night. Carly lives during the daylight hours, and Kaitlyn exists during the night. 

They are two souls living in one body. Two very different personalities. They never see each other and have never spoken because one fades when the other appears. The two girls leave each other messages and keep separate diaries. They also share friends, though Kaitlyn prefers to be alone in the darkness of night. Until she meets a guy who really seems to get her.

When Kaitlyn wakes up one morning, she figures out that Carly is missing. She's vanished and Kaitlyn can't get her back. Did something happen while messing around with a spirit board during a Halloween party? Did someone make Carly vanish? Or is there something more dubious going on? If Kaitlyn wants her sister back, she'll have to delve deep into her own mind and face a darkness she never imagined. Not to mention put trust in friends who might be working against her...

This is such an interesting book! Told via newspaper clippings, diary excerpts, random messages, interviews, and camera footage, a wicked story slowly unhinges. Throwing the reader into some pretty screwed up situations that keep you guessing until the very end.

The Dead House is an intriguing, freaky, spooky story that will make your skin crawl as you start to doubt what's real and what isn't as much as Kaitlyn does. There are quite a few creepy scenes, and the found-footage format really worked in this book. I was wondering how that would go... but I really liked it, and thought the way this story was told added to the reading experience. I also have to mention how pretty this book is. The pages are marked, the font is different for each situation, and the inside cover is lovely.

I really enjoyed this! It's perfect for Halloween.

The Dead House, October 2015, ISBN 9781780622347, Orion Children's Books

Monday, 12 October 2015

I have some news!

Last year I wrote two Sierra Fox spin-offs.

This year, I revised and submitted them.

 Now I'm very happy to announce that I just signed a contract for the second ELSEWHERE book.

So, yep, I signed another contract with Samhain Publishing.

The second spin-off book features Sierra's younger sister, Willow. She's a necromancer and parapsychologist, so her story deals with the darker side of the poltergeist phenomena. Willow also shares my love for 80’s horror, so her story is full of movie references.

Now all of the stories set in Sierra's world will be available in one place. :)

BTW, Willow's stand-alone book is called...


Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Print Release: A Stitch on Time

The fifth and final book in my Sierra Fox urban fantasy series is now available in print!
Like the ones before it, this paperback is absolutely beautiful.

All it takes is a little death and mayhem to make a spook catcher’s day.

Sierra Fox, Book 5

Sierra Fox has finally inherited her grandmother’s power to destroy demons, but what good is it when her werewolf boyfriend still lies in a coma? Worse, the decision she’s about to make could save him—but ruin their relationship.

If that’s not enough bad stuff on her plate, she’s got a soul to save—the soul of her closest friend, killed by the Lamia that got away.

Another untasty side dish: The Obscurus refuse to give up their relentless pursuit, and they’ve upped the ante. Mace is dead set on blowing up the Spook Catcher Council Tower, and the blowback will have devastating effects on Sydney and for Sierra. At least these demon-obsessed freaks aren’t counting on Sierra having a Goddess and a trusty demonic conduit as backup.

All of this leads to a one-way ride into the abandoned part of town, where the Obscurus plan to summon Legion. With her demon hunter friend by her side, Sierra prepares for the final battle…because even she knows this will be The End.

Warning: Phantasms, wraiths, orbs, demons, all guaranteed to ruin any spook catcher’s day. But you can always count on werewolves, land spirits, and a Goddess. Beware of explosions, demonic obsessions, and the battle that will tip the scales and change Sydney forever.
Samhain Publishing | The Book Depository | Amazon | Amazon UK

Friday, 2 October 2015

October is 'ere!

That's right! It's Michael Myers month, everybody.
Also happens to be the birthday month of both my hubby and my daughter. And the time to celebrate all things spooky. That time of year where all I want to do is read scary books and watch horror movies. When it's time to start listening to The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack.
I might be listening to it right now... :)
Wow. I can't believe I've been MIA for so long. OMG. I think this is my last real post. Back in August! O.o Seriously, was I trying to set some kind of record? Nah. Just been caught up doing a bunch of things, and not feeling well. The change of season always gets me.
I even lost my voice last week. Luckily, it's back now.
Shortly after the above blog post, I received the first round of edits for HELL OF A RIDE. While it was awesome to return to Lavie's world, and I had a great time strengthening everything, it almost broke my brain a little. LMAO. It took me almost two weeks to do, which is way too long for me. But the results were great!
Then I took a reading break before the second round came back. This time around, I actually enjoyed it a LOT more and managed to get it done in half the time. Not to mention that my new editor--Laura--pointed out a bunch of things that needed fixing. After I did, the story is definitely shinier. And the love story at the core of it is deeper.
I'm so proud of Lavie & Saul's story, and am super glad that Laura is just as excited about it.
I'm not sure when the FLE round will come back to me, but I hope it's not next week. Hubby has a week off work, so I won't be working on anything. It's going to be a nice break. Though it'll probably go way too fast. :/ Still, I'm gonna enjoy some time alone with him.
So, what have I been doing this week? I've been wrapping up a few guest blog posts that I committed to. I've also been thinking a lot about new story ideas. My daughter and I watched SERAPH OF THE END the other day. It's one of her favourite animes. Though she loves a LOT of them.
Hubby and I also binge watched S1 & S2 of PENNY DREADFUL. What an AWESOME show! I love the humanity, the wickedness, the ideas, and the darkness of the world. I can't wait to see more of what these characters get up to.
There's always something to do around here. LOL.
Anyway. That's about it for now. I just wanted to pop in for an update.
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

MUD VEIN by Tarryn Fisher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I grabbed a copy of this book for my Kindle as soon as I finished Marrow . And I'm glad I did.

Senna is an author who wakes up one morning to find herself trapped inside a house with another person. The house is surrounded by snow. It's also got power, food, and other supplies to last them a long time. The one thing they can't do is leave, because there's an electric fence around the property. Besides, they're in the middle of nowhere.

Alone and desperate to figure out who brought them here, and how they can escape, Senna is forced to remember bits and pieces of her life. Mainly the things that made her the sad individual she has become: a mother who abandoned her, a disconnected father, an attack and disease. Of course, hidden in all the sadness is her one true light. The only person who truly cared. Also the one she pushed away.

Yikes! This book is so emotionally heavy. It's a very interesting human study. It's a twisted drama wrapped up in a creepy thriller shell. It's also very depressing.

Senna is not a happy narrator.

She's... complicated. She's negative and hounded by misfortune. She's hard to love, but somehow makes others want to look out for her. Senna is antisocial, a recluse, and half the time doesn't know what she wants. She can be so frustrating! But her character development is interesting, kept me hooked to the page.

And the way this story ties into Marrow only raises more questions about both books. Which I think is both awesome and clever. How much of what Senna and Margo go through is real and how much is delusion? Great question!

Yep. I really enjoyed this and will certainly read more books by this talented author.

PS. I think it's very sneaky to give a bleak, sad character a name that means brightness. :)

Friday, 25 September 2015

SUNKISSED by Jenny McLachlan

Kat can't believe her family are sending her to Sweden for the summer. But without her friends, or even a phone signal, can Kat make it on her own?
In a land of saunas, nudity and summer sun, Kat soon realises she has nowhere to hide. It's time to embrace who she really is, underneath what she's been thinking people want her to be. Especially if she's going to win the heart of mega fit Swede Leo! Can Kat find her inner strength and prove she's got what it takes?
Kat soon finds that when you're surrounded by phosphorescence and wonder it's easy to sparkle. Or maybe that's what happens when you fall in love… Or maybe you only shine when you're true to yourself.

I absolutely loved the first two books in the Ladybirds series, so I was really looking forward to reading Kat's story.
After getting caught hiding inside her wardrobe with her sister's ex-boyfriend, Kat's parents have had enough of her getting up to mischief. So instead of staying home for the summer with her older sister Britta, or going to the USA with her parents, she's shipped off to Sweden. Where she will stay with her Aunt Frida.
She hates the fact she'll be leaving her friends Bea, Betty and Pearl behind to stay on a boat, but at least she'll be in Stockholm. She can go shopping, enjoy the sun, and hang out with her aunt. However, the day she arrives, Aunt Frida tells her they're going to a small island. All of a sudden, the summer just got worse. They're staying in a cabin with no electricity, she can hardly wear the outfits she's taken with her, and she can't even call or text her friends because there's no mobile phone service.
Stråla doesn't start out being the ideal place for a summer holiday, but soon she meets the funny Nanna and her twin brother Sören. Not to mention the teenage boy everyone keeps talking about. Leo's supposed to be a fit, outdoorsy kind of guy, but when she meets him she's not all that impressed. Well, until she hangs out with him and starts to enjoy herself.

But when his Tuff Troll partner arrives on the island, Kat is disheartened and can't believe what a fool she's been. The only way to survive the rest of the summer is to show everyone what she's capable of, by actually taking part in the upcoming Tuff Troll. To do that she'll need a partner, so she sends an SOS to her friends. Hoping that at least one of them will be able to help her...

Kat's story turned out to be really interesting. It's about discovering yourself, and pushing out of your comfort zone until you realise you're a lot stronger, and more determined than you ever imagined. Kat's voice isn't fiery and funny like Bea's, or quirky and hilarious like Betty. She's a lot more serious and seems to find herself constantly (accidentally) falling into bizarre situations. She feels like an outcast in her own family, which has a huge effect on her behaviour.

I enjoyed the awesome cast of secondary characters in this story. Frida is a fun, free spirit with a kind heart. Nanna is a lovely, bubbly girl who turns out to be a great friend. Otto is a clever wise man, and pretty much the King of the Island and makes everyone's stay a lot more fun than expected. I also liked seeing a different side of the usually bitchy Pearl. The only character I didn't warm to was Leo. I didn't find him as fascinating as everyone else seemed to. But it made no difference, I still loved the story.

Sunkissed is another entertaining instalment in this super cute series about a group of teenage girls who were childhood friends, lost each other, and are now finding their way back. It's also a very different take on a summer romance. The boy takes the backseat and Kat finding herself--as well as enjoying the true meaning of friendship--takes the driver's seat. Oh, and Kat might not be as quirky as her friends, but she's certainly surrounded by several quirky characters in what turned out to be another fun book!

Can't wait for the next one.

Sunkissed, September 2015, ISBN 9781408856116, Bloomsbury Childrens

Thursday, 24 September 2015

NIGHT OWLS by Jenn Bennett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just knew I would love this book! Why? Well, because the blurb sounded intriguing. And because I loved the Arcadia Bell series. :)

Jenn writes awesome books. Her heroines are smart and strong. Her heroes are totally swoon-worthy. And she knows how to weave a story, that's for sure.

Anyway. I wasn't feeling well yesterday and spent most of the day reading this cool book.

Beatrix--Bex--is an artist. Her fascination with anatomy means she loves to draw the inner-workings of the body. Her art is dark, and some might say gory. Jackson--Jack--is a street artist. His art is bold, gold words spray-painted all over San Francisco. Which some might call illegal.

When these two meet on the night bus, the mutual attraction is instant. But she has a feeling he's nothing but trouble. Problem is, he might be the kind of trouble she needs.

The more they get to know each other, the deeper their bond becomes. As their separate family troubles and secrets are slowly revealed, will their need to be together overcome the hardships?

OMG. This book was SO awesome. Just like I knew it would be! I loved Bex. She was a loner with so much depth. Jack is also a loner in his own way. Their art keeps them apart from others because both are so different. But it was so cool how they respect each other's art choices, and it kinda brings them together. They're an awesome couple, and their journey is interesting and heartfelt.

I absolutely adored this book!

Also, the cover is gorgeous. I've got the UK cover. The US cover--which has a different title--is also cool.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My daughter borrowed this book from the library after I pointed it out to her. She actually read it before me and really enjoyed it.

I started yesterday afternoon and finished this morning. I loved it! It's one of those books that suck you in, and before you realise it you're halfway through!

Maddy is allergic to everything. Her whole world is inside the house she shares with her mother. Even though she loves her mother--who's also her doctor--and they get along really well, Carla--her nurse--is Maddy's only friend.

When an intriguing cute guy with obvious family issues moves in next door and starts showing an interest in her, Maddy finds herself in the middle of an impossible friendship. One that leads to so much more.

Maddy and Olly find a lot more than they bargained for in each other. But how is a girl who can't step out into the world supposed to let herself fall in love?

OMG. This book was adorable. Such a bittersweet love story between two seemingly unlikely kids. There was also a twist, that although I saw coming while reading, hadn't expected before that.

There were a lot of awesome things about this book. It's full of hope and love. On the flipside it's also about fear and isolation.

Loved it!

Saturday, 12 September 2015

MARROW by Tarryn Fisher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OMG. I just finished reading this amazing book and needed a moment to let it all sink in...


Okay. I'm ready to talk about this trippy book.

Firstly, I love this:

In the Bone there is a house.
In the house there is a girl.
In the girl there is a darkness.

And secondly, I LOVE the cover. It's what I like to call creepy pretty. And captures the feel of the book.

Margo lives in a crappy place everyone calls the Bone. She lives inside what she calls the eating house with her detached mother, who only orders her around but doesn't actually talk, listen or even looks at her.

In spite of her sad home life, Margo still manages to make it through school and get a job. She's also caring, and hates injustice against innocent people. Plus she has a great friend she loves spending time with. Judah is in a wheelchair, but he doesn't let that get in the way of living a full life.

The day a local girl she knows disappears, Judah and Margo decide to do whatever they can to help find her. What she discovers changes her forever, and turns her into a calculated vigilante...

Wow. This story is awesome! I loved Margo. She's such an awesome character with a huge character arc. I also loved Judah. I loved the way the story was written. Loved how the story unfolded. AND, I LOVED how everything gets turned upside down and inside out. Until I had to go back to a few places in the story to double check a few things.


I absolutely love stories like these. I always enjoy books that make you doubt your perception. And BLOWS YOUR MIND!

Oh, and I found out that Mud Vein fits in with this book, so I just bought it. Can't wait to read it as well.

I seriously loved this book!

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