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Monday, 17 February 2020

Always About Stories

Hey! Long time no blog.

I was going to post a general update about what I've been doing this month: walking, thrifting, reading, writing... and since the running thread in all of those things is stories, I decided it might be cool to concentrate on THAT.

After all, this month has been full of ideas.

So far, I've written and revised two short stories, subbed a bunch of stories, had two short story anthology acceptances, started writing a novella, and got a new short story idea for an anthology call.

I don't know if it's because of Women in Horror Month, but my brain's super fertile at the moment and horror ideas keep buzzing around inside my head. There's so much in there I have to make sure I take notes on my phone. Or start writing the story so I don't lose any of what's hounding my brain. 😊

It's a great problem to have, really.

I'm especially excited about the novella idea because I've had Write A Novella on my annual goals for a few years now. And every time I started what I thought would end up a novella-sized story, it eventually became something much longer. 😬

So, what's different this time? Well, the story idea is definitely going to be in the 15-20k territory because I have a market in mind. I'm really liking the main character, her story is freaky and will definitely take her to even freakier places. Oh, and I've already got the final scene playing inside my head.

By February, I've usually put together some kind of writing plan, but this year has started very differently. I'm just letting the characters and their stories speak to me when they're ready.

I'm happy to ride this out for as long as it lasts, but will eventually like to start getting stuck into revision as well. I've got a bunch of novel first drafts I want to finish, while also enjoying writing new tales.

There are so many stories to tell...

Well, there you go. That's what I've been doing between thrifting, reading, sorting and hanging out with hubby.

Hope you're all having a good month! And don't forget to read as many books and watch as many movies written by women as you can. 😈


Sunday, 16 February 2020

DEAR LAURA by Gemma Amor

Dear Laura
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'd heard really good things about this novella, so I was really looking forward to reading it. And this afternoon, I did. In one sitting.

When Laura was thirteen she watched her best friend get into a stranger's van, and never return. She was scarred by the experience and is then forced to deal with creepy letters from someone who claims that in exchange for personal items, he'll reveal where Bobby is...

Okay. I liked this story, but not as much as I thought I would.

The writing is great, the story certainly sucked me in, and kept me reading because I wanted to know how Laura's horrible ordeal was going to end. While I mostly enjoyed the disturbing journey, the ending left me feeling a bit hollow. I'm not sure why, but the closer I got to the ending, the further away the narrative pushed me.

I liked Laura and felt sorry for her because she's so obsessed with the loss of Bobby--as well as the aftermath of allowing herself to be toyed with by a perverted stranger--that she's a total mess. She's barely able to hold her life together. And even when she does, this 'penpal' still manages to affect her as deeply as when she was a kid.

The tension and the psychological dread was good too. There were just a few issues that kept me from loving this.



Saturday, 15 February 2020

MARIA THE WANTED AND THE LEGACY OF THE KEEPERS by V Castro

Maria The Wanted and the Legacy of The Keepers (The Keepers Series #1)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm a sucker for a vampire story, so I was definitely interested in checking this out.

Maria is a young factory worker who gets caught up in the middle of a brutal attack and is turned into a vampire.

Lost and alone, she's forced to abandon her old life and focuses on searching for her maker because she wants answers. What she finds, sends her on an adventure across the world...

This book starts out with a heartbreaking scene that echoes through the whole book. It's also an interesting story about a Mexican vampire trying to do the right thing, while fighting her thirst for blood.

I liked that along the way, she delves into the vigilante life and helps young girls in desperate need of rescue. It's great to see real-life bad guys get what they deserve.

The vampire world is intriguing and uses historical events and familiar figures/situations to enhance the narrative. The unstable political climate of today is woven very well into everything that happens.

I really liked Maria's style, attitude and morals. Not to mention the cool music mentioned throughout.

Although I found the many backstories a little distracting at times, it didn't get in the way of Maria's story. Reading stories featuring strong women is always fun.


Monday, 10 February 2020

PATIENT K by Barbie Wilde

Patient K (Short Sharp Shocks! Book 1)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoy reading stories from the Short Sharp Shocks! horror series, so I was really excited about reading one written by Barbie Wilde.

Karla lost an eye during a childhood accident and has spent most of her life getting different artificial eyes fitted. But when she meets Dr Markham to have a new ocular prosthesis fitted, he betrays her trust in the worst way possible...

Yikes! What a great little macabre tale of revenge. The kind of revenge that makes you cheer for the victim every violent step of the way.

No one writes a pervert quite like Barbie Wilde, and she didn't disappoint here. In this story she created a horrible perv of the worst kind, one who uses medicine and vulnerability to prey on his victims. But lucky for us, she can also write quite the strong woman who responds to the abuse by taking us down a very twisted path.

Mix in a ghostly entity with their own agenda, and you have a very entertaining and intense story. Plus I liked the writing style and how everything starts out simple enough, before the bizarre takes over.

I read it in one sitting and really liked the way things turned out.

Sometimes, arrogant monsters do meet their match. And it's oh-so satisfying.


Sunday, 9 February 2020

BUNNY by Mona Awad

Bunny
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As soon as I found out about this book, I knew I HAD to get my hands on it. I mean, readers were comparing it to Heathers, Mean Girls, even The Craft. Which made me want to read it even more!

Samantha Mackey is a bit of an outsider in the selective MFA program she attends at Warren University. She's on a scholarship and isn't rich like a lot of the other students, so she mostly keeps to herself. She often gets lost in her imagination, or hangs out with her fellow outcast friend, Ava.

They both hate the pretentious Bunnies. A group of snobby, seemingly perfect girls in her writing program. The Bunnies mostly ignore her during Workshop. Until the day they invite Samantha to their 'Smut Salon' and everything changes...

Holy shit!

This book was an addiction I couldn't fight. Didn't want to fight because I enjoyed the hell out of every single weird and wondrous thing that happened. And trust me, there's plenty of weird within these dark pages.

Samantha is quite the narrator. Unreliable. Confused. Determined. Creative. Delusional. Loyal. Messed up. And totally likeable.

I loved the writing style because it captured the bizarre and truly horrifying things that happened so well. I constantly found myself saying: WTF? Because, just when I thought things couldn't get any weirder, I fell deeper into the rabbit hole and didn't know what to expect next. 😳

It takes talent to write a story that is so unpredictable every step of the way. To tell a tale full of seemingly magical situations able to blur the edges of reality before bringing you back to what's really going on. And then, when you start to get comfortable and think you've finally got a grip on what's real and what's not... the story pulls you down again.

This book is surreal and disorienting. It's like having a waking nightmare. It's hard to tell what's real and what's not.

Regardless of the constant confusion established throughout, I thought the wild and violent imagery was as awesome as the metaphors and commentary on the creative mind. Not to mention on the snobby attitudes of the privileged.

Another thing that I really liked was how the Bunnies were described. They dressed like Stepford Wives, behaved like cult members, ate like mini versions of themselves, and were saccharine to the point of being disturbing. These girls were super creepy and I had a blast spending time in their fucked-up world.

This book is deliciously wicked, dark af and often hilarious. Oh, and it's awesome. I loved it SO much. And there's definitely a lot of other really cool things going on--like Max--but it's better not to give too much away.

I'll definitely be thinking about this one for a while.


 
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