Thursday, 22 March 2018

BLOOD AND CHOCOLATE by Annette Curtis Klause

Blood and ChocolateBlood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

O.M.F.G. This book was such a disappointment. It's nothing like I thought it would be. In the worst way possible.

I was expecting an interesting werewolf UF, and instead got this.

I read the first half and then hate-skimmed the rest. :/ I just wanted to know how this trainwreck could possibly end in a good way. Spoiler: it ends horribly. Of course. 

The story started out fine: a werewolf pack who mostly keeps to themselves is attacked after a human is killed. This forces the surviving wolves to relocate to the suburbs. Vivian lost her father and leader that night and has trouble staying connected to the other teenagers in her pack, and then falls in love with a human and blah, blah, blah.

Yeah, everything goes downhill from there.

This is one of the worst stories I've ever had the displeasure of reading. All of the characters are awful. The girls and women hate each other and compete for no reason. The guys and men are all disgusting pervs with rapey thoughts and intentions. Seriously, in one scene the human boy's father insinuates some creepy shit that is just not o-fucking-k. Ever.

Vivian is horrid. She's arrogant, so perfect all the men in the world fall at her feet in the most sexist way possible, and she thinks of people as meat. All the wolves do. And her mother is even worse. She lusts after a male wolf and then pushes her daughter towards mating with him when he reveals his intentions. The humans aren't any better, either.

The narrative is full of bigroty and sexism and insults and hate towards people mixing and drums home how terrible it is to be different. Such pathetic dribble. And that a 24yo man is interested in a teenager and everyone--especially her mother--is a-okay with it is GROSS. So fucking gross!

Actually, if I had to sum up this book with one word it would be DISGUSTING. It sucks and has left a really bad taste in my mouth. I can't wait to get rid of it.

I don't know whether to donate this book or just put it in the recycling. Ugh.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018


A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Last night while watching Last Week Tonight, John Oliver's report about Mike Pence's bunny book announced THEY had a much better bunny book available.

So hubby donated money to The Trevor Project and we got a free copy of this charming picture book about an adorable bunny who falls for another boy bunny. All Marlon and Wesley want is to be happy together, but the stinky Stink Bug has other ideas. He doesn't believe in equality and tries to ruin everything...

I loved this!

Not only is the story awesome because it's adorable and has an amazing message, but the illustrations are so pretty. And all the animal characters are delightful! Plus, the very serious issues of tolerance, same sex marriage and how democracy is supposed to work are interwoven so well.

This is one clever, cute and fun book.

I think everyone should read it!

So go and grab yourself a copy from The Trevor Project: https://t.co/nP3btN5F0h

FULL DARK, NO STARS by Stephen King

Full Dark, No StarsFull Dark, No Stars by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've been meaning to read this anthology for ages, and have no idea why I haven't. LOL.

So, because I'm totally in the mood to read a bunch of catch-up books this year, I pushed this one to the top of the pile.


I'm curious about the Thomas Jane Netflix movie made for this novella, so I was pretty excited about getting stuck into it.

Wilf and Arlette James have a prosperous farm, a young son and a handful of animals. But when Arlette decides she wants to sell some land that belongs to her and is determined to make the deal whether Wilf likes it or not, he decides the only way to stop her is to kill her.

To do that he poisons his son's mind, manipulates him into helping, and sets off a chain of events that can only lead to ruin...

Well. That was quite a story!

Wilf is everything I hate: sexist, racist, entitled, arrogant. So I really shouldn't have cared about his story, but I did. Part of the reason is because I was looking forward to seeing karma slap him upside the head, but mostly it was Stephen King's ability to suck me into the story so easily. The man can sure weave a tale.

Following one man's vicious and selfish plan to eliminate the one thing in his way, turned into a character study of becoming unhinged by your own decisions, as well as sneaking in the moral of the story. And what's that, you ask? That nothing is easy. That every action has a consequence. And that sometimes, you just ain't right. What this man did to his child was as criminal as what he did to his wife.

Great story!


I went into this novella looking forward to reading a tale of revenge I thought might involve a strong woman versus some crazy hick killer. Instead, I was disappointed to find it's just another rape story.

So I stopped reading.

For a week I kept picking up the book, would read a paragraph or two and then put the book down, before finally deciding to DNF. I just couldn't.


I didn't know anything about this novella, but was instantly intrigued.

Dave Streeter is sick, really sick. Cancer might be what is killing him, but treatment is making him violently ill. The day he meets George Elvid, the strange man makes him an offer he can't refuse...

Yikes! This story was great. Good to see the anthology get back on track after the previous (very disappointing) story.

What I loved the most about this novella is how simple it is. Or at least, how simple it first appears: terminally ill man is made an offer to live a much longer life as long as he's willing to offload all his bad energy onto someone else. A simple concept loaded with so much.

This isn't the first time King has tackled something like this, but it's still different.

This story is so well written, and starring such a despicable man that although his narrative kept me hooked from start to finish, I couldn't believe just how cruel and heartless he turned out to be. Streeter is a truly awful individual so drunk on his own shit that he gets worse with every twist of fate his unfortunate target encounters.

King is such a great writer.


I've been interested in this one for a while, and want to watch the movie. So I was excited to get stuck into it.

After reading the other three stories I knew this one would be just as dark and screwed up, but didn't think it would go the way it did. Yikes!

Darcy and Bob Anderson have been married for twenty-seven years and have two grown children. One is just about to get married, and the other is embarking on a huge business deal. Both of them idolise their father and are close to their mother.

Darcy is happy. Bob is a good man--an accountant who likes to collect coins. He might not be the most exciting or handsome guy in the world, but they've got a good thing going. That is until Darcy goes into the garage looking for batteries and instead stumbles into a horrible secret her husband has been keeping...

Whoa. I already knew what this was about, but didn't expect where it went. Such a happy family situation quickly turns into a nightmarish reality anyone would struggle with, but how things turned out really surprised me. Didn't expect THAT to happen, but in a twisted way I was really glad it did.

This was another great one!

I really enjoyed the Afterword, too. Of course I did. I always love reading about how writers get their ideas.

I might not have enjoyed one of these stories, but enjoyed the other three enough to still like the collection as a whole.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Revision Continued

As I mentioned last week, I'm once again in Revision Town. And after taking the weekend off, on Monday I grabbed my Paperwhite, scrappy papers and laptop to get stuck into the last bit of the novel.

I actually reached The End on Tuesday afternoon, but then had to deal with a rep word list, last-minute stuff list, and a bunch of ideas inside my head. So I kept going and by Thursday afternoon, I was happy to finally call this draft DONE.

By this stage I would usually be finished with the story, but not this novel. SO MUCH has changed since the first draft that while the heart of the story is still the same, it's now set somewhere else, several threads were completely cut, the last few chapters are different, and a bunch of new things were added. Not to mention making it as creepy as possible.

I even cut over 3k words! Words that I'm glad are gone. The total word count has now dipped below 80k and I'm okay with that.

Like I told hubby the other day, I finally (really) like the first chapter. It captures everything I wanted to portray, and sets off the rest of the freaky journey just how I wanted it to. I had a certain vision for this book, and took a bit longer to craft.

Now that this draft is done, I'm going to put it aside for a week or two. Then I'll read the book from start to finish one last time.

In the meantime I might write the synopsis, clear my head, indulge in other ideas and read. My head's been so clogged up with this story that it's constantly tickling the back of my mind. Even while I'm sleeping. Oh, plus, I haven't read anything that wasn't my own story for TWO WEEKS! O.o

Asides from all this proofreading, we watched the second season of Jessica Jones. And it was AMAZING. So raw, messy, complicated and heartbreaking. I absolutely love this series. It's actually (apart from Daredevil S1 and 1st half of S2) the only Marvel show I can stand. My fave by miles.

Anyway, that's what I did this week.

Have a nice weekend!


A lyrical new text from the bestselling author of the How To Train Your Dragon series, Cressida Cowell, with striking illustrations from a talented, debut artist, Mark Nicholas.

Tantrum O'Furrily's kittens are hungry and doubt that a story can ease a stray cat's rumbling stomach. However, they soon learn that stories are powerful, and that if you're courageous you might find a saucer of milk at the end of that story.

I don't read many picture books, but every now and then one captures my attention. And Hachette Australia was kind enough to send me a copy of this one. :)

On a windy night while Tantrum O'Furrily is out and about with her three kittens, they ask her to tell them a story. So she tells them the tale of a kitty called Smallpaw, and what happens when kittens are too curious and so adventurous they eventually stumble into danger...

OMG. This is so cute! It's such a pretty hardback book with beautiful landscapes, colourful animals and a fun tale that works on several levels. I love cats so I find any story featuring smart and brave kitties interesting.

It's certainly not a long book--I read it in one very quick sitting--but perfect to entice young (and old) kids.

The Story of Tantrum O'Furrily is a simple, yet deep and meaningful contemporary fable. And with such gorgeous illustrations made by Mark Nicholas, the words and pictures perfectly complement each other. They also echo the safe and cozy side, as well as the dangerous quality, of the story.


The Story of Tantrum O'Furrily, April 2018, ISBN 9781444933802, Hodder Children's Books

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Back to Revision

After a week away from my current WIP, I got stuck into the next round of revision.

This is what I like to call the read-thru. It's when I read the novel on my Paperwhite. Changing devices is a great way to see the story differently, and anything that doesn't work REALLY stands out: typos, excess, repetition, inconsistencies, etc.

I started on Monday, and honestly thought it would take a week to get to the end. But as soon as I started, I realised this draft would be a bit more involved than expected. Why? Because I want to make this book as creepy and strong as possible. The atmosphere, imagery and format need to complement each other, as much as the plot and characters.

By the end of the week I reached 65% and made pages & pages of changes. I've cut SO many words that the total w/c has dipped below 80k. I cut anything that bogged down the action and/or slowed the story.

Writing is such a balancing act. Background, setting, dialogue, action and atmosphere all need to fit together and move the story forward at the right pace. As much work as this story is turning out to be, I don't mind. I'm determined to make sure this book ends up as close to my vision as possible.

Some stories take longer than others to become what they need to be. Some stories don't change much from first to final draft. And some, like this one, evolve in some way every step of the way.

That means the story is eating my brain. It also means that I've spent every single moment during Mon-Fri daytime working on it. So there's been no reading for pleasure. No updating files/pics. The only thing I slotted in was watching The X-Files because I'm loving S11.

Now my March writing plans need to be revised because I'd originally slotted two lots of revision for this month. Yeah, a bit ambitious and it's not gonna happen.

Asides from the read-thru, walking (twice a day) and spending time with family, we started watching iZOMBIE S4... and decided to quit it. The new season is just so ridiculous and pretty much destroys everything that made the show so awesome, fun and clever.

Such a shame when that happens.

Anyway, it's been a busy week, so I'm looking forward to taking the weekend off.

See ya! 😀

Friday, 2 March 2018

Between Week

Last week I finished the third draft of the book I'm currently revising. So the next step is to read the draft on my Paperwhite after taking a break from it.

Only problem is that I started another Tweak/Add List last weekend. So, first thing on Monday morning I opened the doc and made the changes. Then, I was able to put it away for the rest of the week.

The story's so in my head that I needed a bit of distance.

I spent most of this week sorting my notebooks and random book piles. Plus I read a bunch of awesome non-fiction titles and wrote reviews for them. I'm really enjoying finding out about the many innovative women the patriarchy has buried through the years and unfairly left off the history books. 

It's about fucking time these strong, intelligent and brilliant women are celebrated for their many achievements!

By midweek, a surpise arrived in my Inbox. The edits for my YA horror short story came in! Have I mentioned that I had a YA story accepted and will be published in an anthology called Locker Shockers? I'm very excited.

Anyway, long story short: I got the edits done and sent them back. Yay.

I also read one of my most anticipated books ever. I finally read PRACTICAL MAGIC. And loved it. Adored the magical and gorgeous writing.

Why did it take me so long to read this book? Well, mainly because I was afraid to start it. I had such high expectations that I was secretly scared, in case I was disappointed. I haven't seen the movie so I wasn't sure what to expect, but Alice Hoffman is such an amazing author that I really wanted to check it out.

Really glad I loved it SO MUCH.

There you have it. My week was full of loads of washing, walking, review writing, stationery sorting, editing, review book checking, reading and updating. I updated quite a few files too. Phew.

Looking forward to the weekend.

Have an awesome one!

SHE: A Celebration of Renegade Women by Harriet Hall

You are cordially invited to celebrate inspirational women... 

SHE is a love letter to all the women who have thrown out the rulebook and threatened the status quo. It's a toast to the brave, bold and brilliant women who make us proud to be ladies. 

 From fashion icon Coco Chanel to Queen Cleopatra, from literary legend Jane Austen to trailblazer Michelle Obama and from kick-ass activist Malala Yousafzai to the one-and-only Beyonce, SHE honours 100 truly renegade women, from history through to present day. 

 Gorgeously curated and expertly written by Stylist journalist Harriet Hall, and filled with stunning illustrations and stylish typography, SHE is a thing of beauty to be worshipped, just like the women that make up its contents. 

Wow, this hardback book is gorgeous! I love the size, and that it doesn't have a dust jacket. I even love the way the 100 renegade women are featured: a two-page spread with illustration on one side and awesome information on the other. It's so neat and crisp and to the point.

I've been reading quite a few books about women who aren't household mames, although most should be, and am continually fascinated with how powerful and strong women have been throughout history. Even though many didn't get recognition until recently, they pushed on and got things done. 

The bravery these women possessed is inspirational.

I also like the diversity in this book. Not only are there women featured of all colours and from all over the world, but also through the ages and different fields.

SHE: A Celebration of Renegade Women is much more than a reference book about kick-ass women, it's a celebration. An inspiration to encourage the rest of us to keep creating, fixing, inventing--just do what feels right for you and make a difference in a world that often tries to stop us.

This is another keeper, and it's going right next to all the other books in my growing collection.

She: A Celebration of Renegade Women, March 2018, ISBN 9781472249852, Headline Home

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