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Thursday, 23 January 2020

THE PERFECT WIFE by JP DELANEY

"There's something I have to explain, my love," he says, taking your hand in his. "That wasn't a dream. It was an upload."

Abbie wakes in a hospital bed with no memory of how she got there. The man by her side explains that he's her husband. He's a titan of the tech world, the founder of one of Silicon Valley's most innovative startups. He tells Abbie she's a gifted artist, a doting mother to their young son, and the perfect wife. 

 Five years ago, she suffered a terrible accident. Her return from the abyss is a miracle of science, a breakthrough in artificial intelligence that has taken him half a decade to achieve. 

But as Abbie pieces together memories of her marriage, she begins questioning her husband's motives - and his version of events. Can she trust him when he says he wants them to be together for ever? And what really happened to her, half a decade ago? 


really enjoyed The Girl Before and Believe Me, so I was curious about this one too. As soon as I picked it up, I was hooked.

When Abbie wakes up in a hospital room, she can't remember how she got there. Luckily, her husband is there to fill in the blanks and tells her she had an accident. He also claims it took him five heartbreaking and work-consumed years to figure out how to get her back.

Yet, the deeper Abbie tries to settle into everyday life, the more she realises things aren't quite as simple and definitely not what they seem...

That's all I'm going to say about the actual story because the less you know about this fantastic book, the more you'll enjoy it.

OMG. This book was SO addictive. I couldn't stop reading because I was hanging on every word and couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next.

The story alternates between the POV of Abbie and a mysterious narrator watching from the sidelines. Abbie's POV was written in second person, a style that I usually find jarring. Yet, for this story it was perfect. And the mysterious POV was very cool because it filled in a lot of the questions gathering inside my mind.

There's just so many awesome things about this book: the intriguing characters, the techie side bordering on SF, the mystery at the core of everything, the writing style that keeps you hanging on until the very end, the unreliable narrators, and the incredible surprises that pop up when you least expect them.

Everything builds at a nice pace, slowly setting the scene until the narrative reaches a point where everything clicks into place. And it's jaw-dropping.

Okay, I can't say more without spoilers.

The Perfect Wife is another gripping story by this great author. It deals with a lot of very interesting and complex things, especially about what really makes someone human. The unique way the story addresses this issue really makes an impact, and made me despise one of the characters.

Also, it's got such a twisty ending that you'll probably find yourself reading the last four chapters several times to make sure you got it right. And when you realise you did, can't help but admire its brilliance. 

JP Delaney is definitely an author that hits all the right mystery/thriller notes. As well as tapping into the darker underside of human nature, and how it can complicate the simplest of situations until they become outrageously dangerous.


The Perfect Wife, January 2020, ISBN 9781786488558, Quercus

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

THE LAST WISH by Andrzej Sapkowski

The Last Wish (The Witcher, #0.5)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After watching and LOVING the hell out of The Witcher on Netflix, I decided I wanted to read this book of short stories in 2020.

THE VOICE OF REASON:

Well, that was a short and very well-written introduction to the world of the witcher's easy seduction.

THE WITCHER:

When Geralt, witcher of Rivia arrives in Wyzim, things take a violent turn. But he's there for a reason that involves King Foltest and the striga terrorising his land...

I really enjoyed this story about a cursed princess, the father determined to believe she can be saved, and the witcher who might be able to help them both.

Loved how on the surface, this story seemed so simple but introduced the shitty prejudices against Geralt, the undermining of a clever king, and how many shadowmen are willing to exert their shifty ways into the mix.

THE VOICE OF REASON 2:

Oh! The interlude that started with The Voice of Reason continues to reveal Geralt is inside a temple (after his encounter with the striga) with an old wise friend immune to his charm.

A GRAIN OF TRUTH:

While Geralt and Roach are travelling through the forest, they stumble on a few corpses, a beast and a very mysterious woman...

This was such an excellent story! I love how Geralt and Roach have wonderful conversations when they're alone together. It was also awesome how this is a very loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast, with a wicked twist I wasn't expecting.

THE VOICE OF REASON 2:

Looks like the interludes just took a violent turn with the introduction of the obnoxious Knights of the Rose entering the temple of Melitele in Ellander with threats and warnings. But Nenneke's relentless nature keeps them at bay and pushes them towards trouble.

I have no doubt about that.

THE LESSER EVIL:

When Geralt arrives in Blaviken it's to a warm reception from an old friend. But as he discovers a wizard is also in town, things take a turn for the worst...

Loved this one too! It was just like watching the show, but with an awesome addition of Snow White. Renfri was just as dangerous, clever and ruthless as she was on-screen, but I got a deeper attachment to her plight. It was a shame that she was poisoned from such a young age, but it made for an amazing tale.

THE VOICE OF REASON 3:

A very clever interlude where Geralt talks freely about his past, how he became a witcher, and how talking it through helps him feel better. Not to mention, he teases about the child and Yennefer. 😳

A QUESTION OF PRICE:

During a banquet hosted by Queen Calanthe of Cintra, where she's meeting possible husbands for her young daughter, things take a strange turn when her use for a witcher twists their destinies together...

This was quite action-packed and full of devious political turns that get shattered by an unexpected voice. It's so much like the scene in the show, yet has several differences. Some, which strengthen and further explain why destiny is so important to Geralt the witcher.

THE VOICE OF REASON 4:

An awesome way of meeting the cheeky poet and bard, Dandilion. And a great way for Geralt to ponder about the ever-changing world and his refusal to kill anything that isn't an actual monster.

THE EDGE OF THE WORLD

While travelling with Dandilion looking for work, Geralt stumbles on a beautiful field that is being tormented by what the locals call a devil. But there's a lot more hiding in the flowers...

I loved this story, and Dandilion is a great companion. He's annoying and foul-mouthed, doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut, but he's also a very loyal friend. And I enjoy their banter so much. Plus, adding a member to this group is very cool.

Not to mention that I'm intrigued by the elves, and especially Lille.

THE VOICE OF REASON 5:

Another interlude consisting of Nenneke and Geralt. This time they're in a beautiful cave full of flora and are discussing what a bad idea it is for him to leave the temple before he's fully healed. Oh, and then the mysterious Yennefer becomes the focus of their uneasy exchange.

She's finally taking shape as a real person and the importance of her in Geralt's life. Can't wait to meet her.

THE LAST WISH:

While trying to do a spot of fishing, Geralt and Dandilion stumble on a djinn that gets them into so much trouble they end up crossing paths with a powerful sorceress who has some very wicked plans...

Yennefer! We finally meet Yennefer in this crazy story, and she doesn't disappoint. This is one powerful and wicked woman who does what she wants, even if that involves holding an entire town hostage. Yikes.

Personally, I think Yennefer and Geralt are totally meant for each. They're so different, yet so alike. Two very powerful beings warped by magic and living their lives by their own rules who don't really fit anywhere... Yeah, soulmates. 😍

THE VOICE OF REASON 6:

Ah, the Knights of the Rose are waiting for Geralt to leave the temple and things don't go the way these morons expected.

Great way to end the book!


Wow. This short story collection is something else. It's an incredible introduction to a magical and dangerous world full of monsters. The people who live in it lead complicated lives, the creatures are dwindling away, and the royals are too busy trying to get the upperhand.

I loved how the interludes happen in a different timeline to the main short stories, yet complement each other. Not to mention how well the fairy tales we all know are interlaced into this world, but have a bloody twist of their own.

Oh! And the writing was outstanding. I'm really fussy with fantasy stories and that's usually because I get bored with the stilted writing style. That didn't happen here! The storytelling is smooth, modern, and reveals all the relevant information via very cool dialogue.

And Geralt. I love Geralt. He's one of those misunderstood characters who's just trying to live his life under the shadow of labels other people put on him. He doesn't need to explain who he really is because he shows them with his actions. He's awesome and I can't wait to find out more about him.

I LOVED this book as much as the show. The differences are small and varied, but also shed a brighter light on the important stuff.

I'll DEFINITELY be reading more books in this world. Definitely.



ADDITIONAL NOTES:


In December, we decided to watch a fantasy show on Netflix called The Witcher.

I wasn't expecting much because fantasy stories often disappoint and I didn't know much about the games. Still, we decided to give it a go and were hooked instantly. We loved it so much we ended up watching the whole season over the weekend.

There was so much to love about the show: awesome characters, interesting monsters, complicated relationships, the magical and dangerous world of the Continent. It was AWESOME!

So awesome that I wanted to read the short story collection it was based on. And, now that I have, I want to read more. 😁

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

About my story...

On Monday, I announced that the UNDER HER BLACK WINGS: 2020 Women of Horror Anthology was released.

I'm very excited about this publication and love the shiny-freaky-lovely cover.

So I wanted to talk a bit about my short story. It's called Somewhere to Belong and is a tale I enjoyed writing because it was in my head for a long while before I finally sat down to write it. 

I got the idea on a rainy day. While walking past the playground near the river, I remember thinking: there's nothing sadder than a playground without kids. I was the only person on the path, and couldn't help but wonder if the imprint of children playing might always remain in a place made especially for them.

This is the playground:


The river:


And here's the blurb for my story:

A lonely woman finds a home among a group of lost-and-found souls, all cared for by a tentacled sea-creature called Mother.

I think it captures the essence of the story perfectly. 

When it came to giving the story a title, there was a song that stood out. Linkin Park's Somewhere I Belong fit perfectly. Except, I substituted I with to, because of obvious reasons.

I'm very proud of the story that started with a simple idea during a rainy day and turned into something much darker.

It's also awesome to have a story in an anthology alongside so many awesome Women of Horror.


The anthology is now available: 

Paperback | Kindle | Kobo | Nook Apple



   

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

ZOMBIES HATE STUFF by Greg Stones

Zombies Hate Stuff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a book that hubby found last week in a thrift store. It's a bit of a jokey pick that we HAD to buy because as soon as he showed me, I laughed. A lot.

I just finished reading a pretty intense and awesome book, so this was the best read to follow it up with. 😁

So, there's really not much to this book. It's broken up into three sections featuring what Zombies Hate, what Zombies Don't Mind, what Zombies Really Hate, and you might even find out if they actually love anything/anyone.

I enjoyed this because it made me chuckle. I also liked the artwork, and even felt sorry for Zombie a few times. He sure gets himself into some sticky situations. And I couldn't help but wonder why he didn't like several things. 😂

This picture book is a lighthearted and fun look at the dreaded zombie. Even though I laughed a lot, there's also an underlining disturbing air about the whole thing.

Because, you know, zombies! 🧟‍♀️




ADDITIONAL NOTES:

The thing about this book is that although it might be a hilarious and fun read without many words, it reminded me that I'm still a big zombie fan.

Unfortunately, the zombie market became inundated a few years ago so people started to switch off. But the truth is, I'm still a zombie fan. And I think it's been too long since I read a brain-eating undead tale.

I want to thank this book for the very cool reminder.


 
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