Tuesday, 20 October 2020

THE BUS ON THURSDAY by Shirley Barrett


The Bus on ThursdayThe Bus on Thursday by Shirley Barrett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've had this book for a while and today, I decided to get stuck into it. Actually, I read it in a few sittings because I couldn't put it down.

Eleanor's life isn't going well. First, she broke up with her boyfriend and he moved on pretty quickly. Then, she's diagnosed with breast cancer and her friends aren't exactly supportive.

So, when she's offered a new job as the teacher in a remote mountain town, she decides to go. It's a fresh start in a nice place. Except, she finds herself in the middle of a lot of new stress...

Wow. This is one trippy, surreal and totally addictive book. I seriously fell right into this and couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next.

I really enjoyed Eleanor's snarky voice because she's so entertaining and has such a cool dark sense of humour. Also, a lot of her snark was very Aussie and it made me laugh even more!

The story is told via blog posts in a way that reveals important events as she remembers them. And sometimes doesn't. She often throws the reader all over the place. She's also not very reliable, and I had a great time picking up all of her inconsistencies.

Another awesome thing about this book is how atmospheric the small town vibes are. Talbingo is both eerie and beautiful. Seems like a place full of weirdos and also an idyllic place to live. Yeah, there's a lot of contradictory things going on in this book and all of them tie this fantastic story together in the strangest way possible.

The cast of characters is also great! Gregory and Ryan are two very creepy brothers she can't shake. Friar Hernandez the Praying Mantis is a strange and freaky man spewing weird shit all over the place. Daphne the Little Sparrow is an enigmatic woman who (for me) provided the biggest answers about what was really going on. And Glenda was an annoying character hung up on the past. Not to mention those freaky weepy kids.

All of these factors put together make an awesome story with several ambiguous, haunting paths. The storytelling reminded me of The Turn of the Screw, because it works on several levels. On one hand it's a nightmarish horror story, and on the other it's also very sad because cancer is so awful.

I LOVED THIS BOOK. And that ending was totally cool. 😳

Also, personally, I would say that this is more Bridget Jones meets Twin Peaks, or even The Shining. Not so much The Exorcist.

View all my reviews

Monday, 19 October 2020

THE ALCHEMIST by Paulo Coelho


The AlchemistThe Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Last month, hubby found a great deal for this beautiful paperback on Amazon and asked me if I knew anything about it. I didn't, but after reading the blurb and the beginning, I was instantly interested.

Santiago is a shepherd boy from Andalusia. He's happy doing his thing every day and has a nice routine with his sheep. Until a dream and several encounters with two interesting people spark his sense of adventure.

So, he leaves Spain to travel to the Egyptian desert in search of treasure. Upon his arrival in Africa, things don't go according to plan. But he takes everything in stride and continues his quest to find an unknown treasure near the Pyramids that might not turn out to be what he expected...

This is such a lyrical and beautiful story. It's lush and interesting and the writing style ensured I was never bored. It's also such a comforting and easy read.

As soon as I started, I got swept up in Santiago's life. He starts out simple enough, but he's smart and wants more from life than an endless routine. Following him on this very personal journey was an adventure in itself.

The poor guy suffers some awful hardships along the way, and although they affect him deeply, he's not afraid of hard work. Or of using his brain to figure out how to expand on what's right in front of him. He also doesn't give up. Santiago is a nice and kind character, so I really wanted him to find himself. And the treasure, of course.

This book touches on a lot of very interesting things, such as religion, faith, philosophy, love and alchemy. Sometimes, all these elements are very different from each other. Sometimes they're wound together so tightly they're just about the same thing. That's another great thing about this story, how well it digs into a person's personal quest. Is it necessary to travel outside the confines of your safety zone in order to do so? Or are all the answers found within?

It's also very much about facing your own fears, finding yourself as well as the truest place where you belong. Your Personal Legend.

Yeah, this is the kind of book that makes your mind go to unexpected places in a way that expands your thoughts without you even realising. It's also a book I'll think about often.

I'm really glad my husband found this because it's also a very pretty book with some lovely illustrations and a wonderful ending.


Friday, 16 October 2020

I signed up!

That's right. It's that time of the year again! And that means I signed up for NaNoWriMo 2020


This year, there were two story possibilities for me to consider. But it didn't take long to pick the one that was most ready to be told. After all, this one has been on my Possible NaNo Project List for the past two years. 😏

Here's the description I posted on the website:

When she's hired to find a missing 'person', it leads her to a ghost town full of monsters. And a dangerous adventure of self-discovery. 

This is an idea I can't wait to get stuck into because I've carried this character and her creepy world around for a (long) while. There's a lot of creepy shit going down in this story and it features some of my most fave horror tropes. 😈

Anyway, as you can probably tell, I'm really excited about this new WIP. 

Now I've got a few weeks of NaNoPrep ahead of me, and that's definitely enough time to go through my inspirational pics, think, take notes and get lots of brainstorming done.

Are you taking part?

Have a great weekend!

BLOOD SUGAR by Daniel Kraus


Blood SugarBlood Sugar by Daniel Kraus
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I bought this book last year but didn't read it then, so I thought Halloween 2020 would be a great time to get stuck into it.

Jody, Dag and Midge are three very different kids with their own set of problems, but they all hang out at Robbie's shitty house on Yellow Street.

Robbie is much older and has plenty of problems of his own. And this Halloween he wants to get some revenge on the town that hates him so much by doing something awful to the candy...

Yikes. This is one strange and dirty book! Trust me, you'll feel like taking a shower many times during this very unclean story.

The writing style is so unique that even though it shocked me at first, it didn't take long for me to get lost in Jody's narration. I was totally hooked on the problematic and downright awful lives of these kids and couldn't remember when/how it happened.

When that happens, you know the writing and story are totally working.

Although Jody is the primary storyteller, there are also letters written from the POV of some of the other characters. And together, these different angles quickly start to make sense of everything that's going on.

I thought this story was bizarre in the way that it managed to be both fun and disturbing. It's also sad in spots and features a group of characters that I couldn't help but feel sorry for. Even though a lot of what Jody says is quite wrong and often made me cringe because he doesn't have a PC filter, I was still intrigued and was utterly compelled to keep reading.

I think this is a very clever story wrapped up in the simplistic voice of a boy who's trying to find his way in the world. Not to mention the other characters. Dag was the one who surprised me the most. Yikes.

And that ending was really something!

Oh, and I LOVE this cover. So it was really cool when I found out exactly why there's a pretty witch featured front and centre. 😁 

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

It's Time to Finish This!

Hey! How are you today? What's new this week?

The world is still a hellhole suffering through a global pandemic too many morons are trying to convince themselves is over, so we're still staying away from people and protecting ourselves with masks and hygiene.

This week I completed the WIP read-thru on my Paperwhite, added all the changes to the Word doc, and this morning I made some last-minute alterations. 

So, the story is now done and the final word count is 40,335. 🎉

I'm SO excited about finishing this novella for several reasons. Firstly, this gothic horror story turned out a lot better than I expected and broke my heart in so many unexpected ways. 😭💔 And secondly, it's the fourth novella I've written this year.

And why is that important to me? Well, writing a novella is something I've carried forward on my Goals List for several years. And each year, I failed. But 2020 turned out to be the year I finally met that goal. Who would've thought THIS year would be the one? LOL.

Anyway, I'm really excited about finishing another project and can now concentrate on other stuff. Like reading. Something I've barely done during the last few weeks. 😲 Not to mention that I can now sign up for NaNoWriMo and get stuck into NaNoPrep. 😃 

Most importantly, I'm taking a bit of a mental break.

Have a great week!

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