Monday, 22 April 2019

THE CUNDY by R.H. Dixon

When 13-year-old Sullivan Carter and his younger brother, Colton, are forced to hide from school bullies in the cundy (a water conduit in Castle Eden Dene), they are attacked by a terrifying creature which goes on to haunt their dreams. 

Rumour has it that some older teens have been performing strange rituals at the cundy. As such, Sullivan is convinced that he and Colton are now being hunted by an ancient creature that’s been unleashed from its dark lair. A creature that’s been lurking since the time Scula the Danish Viking warlord ruled the area in the 900s. 

When Colton begins to hear voices which draw him back to the cundy, he tells Sullivan he believes one of them belongs to their dead mother. 

Sullivan must reach beyond his own profound grief in order to defend Colton and himself against the wily creature. 

Does he have what it takes to defeat it? Or will he need to sacrifice himself in order to save his little brother?

I received an eBook review copy of this book from the author. And I was happy to because after reading the blurb, I was intrigued.

Sullivan Carter is being hassled by bullies, and while trying to get away from them he's forced to hide in the cundy with his younger brother. That's when they're attacked by a scary creature who starts to haunt them. 

At the same time, things at home are complicated with their dad and Sullivan's starting a new friendship with a girl. But things get worse when the dreams come and the voices start whispering... 

Okay. I was really excited about this book. I love coming of age stories, especially featuring siblings. But I have to admit, I started reading this a few weeks ago but... couldn't get into it. 

There was something keeping me from connecting with the characters and the story. And I'm not sure why. I mean, both Sullivan and Colton were interesting in their own way, and I felt bad for Sullivan getting bullied by asshole kids. Plus the writing was good, it really was. 

But I just wasn't hooked. Still, I kept reading until the end.

One thing I did enjoy was the sense of atmosphere and location in this story. The dark and dreary days added to the damp and gray feel of the place, and the sadness of what was going on. It was bleak, but not as frightening as I was expecting. 

It's a shame that I wasn't captivated by this book, because that's what I was hoping would happen.

Sunday, 21 April 2019

A Break Packed with Stuff

So, is a break packed with stuff really a break? It is when you can sleep past 4am every morning and do the stuff you want.

The first week of hubby's two-week annual leave is almost over, and there's only one word I can use to describe it. That's right, it's awesome! 😁

We did so much this week. All things we planned but slotted in better than we thought they would. For example, first thing Monday we walked to the doctor on empty stomachs to get our annual blood tests done. And by Thursday afternoon, we went back for the results. Everything is good, and most importantly, both hubby and I are immune to measles and chickenpox.

Yeah, who would've thought that adults in the 21st century would have to do this? But with these selfish idiots who refuse to vaccinate their kids growing in numbers, you just have to make sure. Ugh.

We also got the flu shot so we'll be covered for winter.

And we finished watching Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. I adore this show! It's quirky and cute, yet dark and wicked. It's not afraid to venture into the darkest witchy and demonic themes. Loved it.

On Tuesday, we went for a long walk to one of our local (bigger) thrift stores and I found a bunch of cool books. Then we stopped by Ikea to check out couches and ended up having lunch at Harry's Cafe de Wheels. When we got home, we took a nap. This resulted in the start of a new story. It came out of nowhere! That night I wrote the first 400 words and have since added another 1k+.

Wednesday was HELLBOY day. We took off early and went to several bookstores, where I picked up more bargains. Oh, and let me tell you, I absolutely LOVED the movie. I don't know why everyone hates it because we all thought it was a gory, action-packed UF gem with so many cool creatures. It was so much FUN!

On Thursday, we went on another adventure. We took a new bus route to an out-of-the-way shopping centre to pick up the Captain Marvel tees hubby ordered for me. Plus we found another one in the girl's department, so that makes three.

See, I didn't lie when I said we packed the week full of stuff! So by Friday it was time to settle back a bit and enjoy a nice walk, some Rock Band and finishing up the book I was reading.

Now we have a new week to look forward to!

Friday, 19 April 2019

THE DARK GAME by Jonathan Janz

Ten writers are selected for a summer-long writing retreat with the most celebrated and reclusive author in the world. Their host is the legendary Roderick Wells. Handsome, enigmatic, and fiendishly talented, Wells promises to teach his pupils about writing, about magic, about the untapped potential that each of them possesses. Most of all, he plans to teach them about the darkness in their hearts. 

The writers think they are signing up for a chance at riches and literary prestige. But they are really entering the twisted imagination of a deranged genius, a lethal contest pitting them against one another in a struggle for their sanity and their lives. They have entered into Roderick Wells’s most brilliant and horrible creation.

Not only is this a Flame Tree Press ARC I've been looking forward to reading, but it's also another Jonathan Janz book. 

I'm quickly becoming a fan of this author, so it was awesome to get stuck into his latest release.

Ten writers are invited to a summer writing retreat hosted by the reclusive, yet well-known author, Roderick Wells. Every writer is at a different stage in their careers, so this competition will give them the chance to fulfill their writing dreams.

As well as get expertise feedback from Wells about the horror story he challenges them to write. They'll also get the chance to mingle with fellow like-minded writers and compete against each other.

However, when people start leaving without saying goodbye, and they all start seeing things that stir different traumas from their pasts, the truth soon starts to dawn on the writers who got themselves caught up in a sick game capable of destroying their reputations. Or worse, ending their lives...

Yikes! This book hooked me in right away, but I took my time because there were so many characters and quite a few intertwined threads, so I wanted to capture the experience fully and not miss a thing.  

I'm glad I did, because this story is awesome. 

This year, I've had a few problems with books packing too many POVs into the narrative but this wasn't one of those. Just like I said after reading The Making of Gabriel Davenport by Beverley Lee, THIS is how you juggle a large cast and make every POV count.

Told in the POV of a bunch of characters, every time someone is on the page, we get to see how their personal story unfolds and their secrets are revealed, as the main story unravels. 

I kept up with all the characters and didn't feel lost at all. Of course I connected with some more than others--Lucy, Rick, Will, Sherilyn--so I kept hoping they would survive. While I hoped some wouldn't--Bryan and Anna annoyed the hell out of me.

This book is many things: well written, intense, creepy, interesting and isn't afraid to delve into the darkest corners of the human mind. While also stumbling into gross and unexpected horror paths.

Oh, and I absolutely LOVED how Jonathan Janz managed to squeeze in so many Easter eggs about his other books! I got such a kick out of that. Not to mention all the literary mentions peppered throughout the narrative.

The Dark Game is an intriguing horror story wrapped up in a mysterious thriller shell and an excellent premise. The mansion and surrounding areas establish the perfect gothic setting. The action starts instantly, and the characters are tested as soon as they arrive at the secret location. 

This book isn't afraid to push the limits of storytelling. And that's a great thing about this author. All his stories are different, but so distinctly his.

This is definitely the kind of book horror nerds will get a kick out off.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

First post this month

Hey! I just realised that aside from reviews, I haven't posted an update this month. 😬 

So, how's April treating you? Mine has been pretty busy. There's a lot of real-life stuff going on this month, and no writing. But I did that on purpose. After unexpectedly writing a novel-sized first draft during March, I decided to give myself a few weeks off.

This was for a few reasons:
  • Firstly, it's always good to take some time  off between projects. Trust me, it's been really cool because the demonic tale I wrote keeps circling my brain. And by the looks of it, after all the things I want to add and enhance, I expect the word count to go up quite a bit during revision. 
  • Secondly, hubby is taking a two-week break. So it's always a good idea not to get stuck into any new writing projects before hubby's annual leave.

Instead, I spent the last few weeks sorting my bookshelves (yes, again, because this is a never-ending thing), my new stationery and reading. I spent quite a bit of time sampling books and DNFing a few, but mostly I've enjoyed a nice mix of short stories and novels.

(Check below if you'd like to read my recent reviews. 😁)

We've also been going to the movies to watch these:
  • US was such a disappointment. It had so much potential, but there were too many plots holes. The more I think about this movie, the less I like it. 
  • PET SEMATARY turned out to be such a great movie! It might have taken the source material and twisted it in a different way, but the heart was there. And the creepy vibes too.
  • SHAZAM! was the biggest shock for me because I LOVED it. I know virtually nothing about this character, but this movie had so much heart, went to unexpected dark places, and turned out to be so much FUN!

We're also in the middle of watching the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which is deliciously wicked and dark. It's full of so many of the things I research for my own stories. I'm loving it and can't wait to see where it ends.

Well, there you have it. This is what I've been up to lately. 

I might be immersing myself in lots of reading and watching, but story ideas and thoughts are constantly circling my mind. And I'm excited about my upcoming projects.

But first, I'm looking forward to enjoying a nice break with hubby. 😊

Have a nice week!

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