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Friday, 3 July 2020

Time to revise this Thing

Hi, how are you this week?

I can't believe it's July and the world is still a mess. If anything, it seems to get worse every single day. Everything's so out of control that the best and only thing to do is to get on with your own thing and shut out all the other crap.

The Covid-19 pandemic isn't over and it still pisses me off (a lot) that so many idiots insist this isn't a problem. It never stopped being a problem. And here in Australia, there's been a huge outbreak in another state. Bad enough that there are a bunch of suburbs on lockdown. Bad enough that it goes up every single day. Bad enough that it looks like it might have spread to Sydney already.

Ugh.

If only this scary pandemic was the only shitty thing going on. Last week was a terrible time for the SF/F/H community because a bunch of creepy men were finally exposed as the vile creepers they are. It was all really gross and I hope that readers don't forget about their shocking behaviour.

I've deleted several books from my Paperwhite, am glad I haven't read any books by any of them, and don't even own any books by the SF/F ones. 

There are just too many books to read to waste time on trashy male authors. Actually, since last week I've found myself reading books exclusively written by women. It happened by accident, really.

Anyway, enough about the shitshow that is this fucked-up world.

This week, I gave myself a goal: to revise my current WIP by the end of the week.

Here's how I went:
  • Monday: 40/40pgs (14,640w)
  • Tuesday: day off
  • Wednesday: 41/41pgs (15,119w)
  • Thursday: day off
  • Friday: 42pgs (15,085w)

So, it looks like this little violent story about some seriously dark sibling rivalry turned out to be a novelette.

This is a story I've had in my head for several years now and wasn't even sure it would turn out okay. I was actually going to delete the idea file earlier this year because it was missing something. BUT, I'm so glad that I stuck with it because I love the direction it took and how it turned out.

Now I can take some time off, which is cool because my birthday's next week. 😁

Well, I guess that's it. Take it easy and have a nice weekend!


Tuesday, 30 June 2020

THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES by Mindy McGinnis

The Female of the Species
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a book I've been meaning to read for AGES. I picked up the Kindle version a while ago, and found a gorgeous hardback version during one of our many thrift store adventures last year.

I'm glad I did, because this book is fucking amazing. Amazing, I tell you.

Alex's sister was murdered years ago and it changed her. Hardened her and turned her into a recluse. And she's keeping some dark secrets.

Peekay is the preacher's daughter and is mostly a good girl. She's struggling after her boyfriend dumped her, but finds a new friendship with Alex.

Jack is your typical cocky, horny teenager interested in scoring as many hits with the girls as he can. But he's also smart, and has his eye on Alex.

The connection between these three turns out to be explosive...

Wow. What an emotional ride!

Okay, before I start let me mention that this book is not for everyone. There's a LOT of stuff in this storyline that's bound to make people uncomfortable. There are many triggers. After all, it deals with the harsh reality of rape culture, features some animal cruelty, and doesn't shy away from violence.

But, as I said above: it's AMAZING.

This book is gritty, doesn't shy away from everything and anything that deals with the casual way men/boys are always excused for their sexist actions/words, and how women/girls are judged harshly for just about everything they say/do. And to be honest, I'm not even doing it any justice by saying these things. This is a story that has to be read to truly understand what I'm saying, and experienced at your own pace to see just how utterly brilliant it really is. To see how clever the commentary is, while at the same time telling an intriguing story about a small town and the people who live there.

A story about the only abduction and murder case that still rocks its foundation. About how the sister of the victim turned out, but not for the reasons expected. About a preacher's daughter trying to find her own way while respecting her beliefs. About your average horny teenage boy trying to be better and finding himself in a world of hurt the first time he opens his heart.

This is one heavy book. It also moves fast because the chapters are snappy, to the point, and shared by three very different and interesting POVs. And I loved every second of it.

I seriously can't express just how much I loved this book. Or how badly it broke my heart because these kids got deep inside my head and I felt everything they did.

Not everything about this book is sad or horrifying, though plenty of what happens is. There's also a lot of fun moments, some hilarious conversations, plenty of touching moments, and some of the most beautiful depictions of friendship I've ever read.

The Female of the Species is an outstanding book that deserves all the stars. It's definitely one I won't forget.

I highly recommend this dark gem.


Sunday, 28 June 2020

MEM by Bethany C Morrow

Mem
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Last night, while going through the books on my Paperwhite, I stumbled on this novella. It's one I've had my eye on for a while, so I started reading.

During the 1920s Dolores Extract #1 is called back to the Vault. After living in the real world, she's not sure why they want her back where she began.

She's an anomaly, and is able to make her own memories, instead of the one extracted memory from her Source. As she waits to find out her fate, several of her own memories rise to the surface...

This story is delightfully strange. Throws you right into the middle of an alternate 1920s Montreal, where the glitz is very much alive with the added ability of having painful memories extracted from people who then become life-sized versions of the original person.

That's wild, right? But the weird stuff doesn't stop there, because as this incredible Mem--Elsie--remembers her experiences on the outside, deeper twisted things are revealed. And the more time I spent with Elsie, the more her intelligence shines through. As well as her ability to form real friendships, emotional attachments, and keep secrets.

I really enjoyed this story because it challenges so much about humanity and what people are willing to do to escape bad memories. Or when other people decide for you. It really gets your mind thinking and questioning the ethics of doing something this drastic. Love that!

Mem is a thought-provoking, weird little tale featuring a lot of pseudo-science and some beautiful imagery.


Saturday, 27 June 2020

THE SILK HOUSE by Kayte Nunn

The Silk House
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed Kayte Nunn's first two books, so I was interested in checking this one out too. Especially since I was intrigued by the blurb.

Thea Rust is an Australian history teacher who starts working in an exclusive boarding school in the British countryside, in an old building called Silk House. A place with a mysterious past. 

Rowan Caswell leaves her village in the 1700s to work in the home of an English silk merchant to help care for her brothers. But her talent captures unexpected attention.

Mary-Louise Stephenson lives in London near the weaving trade. She dreams of becoming a silk designer, but this is a job only men have.

The lives of these three women converge in an unexpected way...

I was looking forward to checking this out and while I enjoyed the lush writing style, and the way the different timelines and characters were blended, in the end I wasn't hooked in the way I thought I would be.

There was something keeping me at a distance from what was going on, as well as from the three POVs. I think it was because the haunting part of the story didn't satisfy my personal gothic mystery expectations fully.

So, it could be a case of it's me, not the story syndrome.

Either way, this is an interesting book with some nice imagery, fascinating use of plants, deals with a part of history we don't hear about much, and has a bit of a twist at the end.


Friday, 26 June 2020

THE MERCILESS by Danielle Vega

The Merciless (The Merciless, #1)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've had this book on my Paperwhite for a while and have been tempted to start it many times. This time, I gave into the impulse and I'm SO glad I did.

Sofia Flores is the new kid in a small town where her mother's been stationed. She moves around a lot, so it's hard to make friends. But this time, on her first day, the popular trio--Riley, Grace and Alexis--befriend her.

She has enough to worry about at home with her strict mother and sick grandmother, but getting caught up with these girls leads her down a very dark path that ends with an exorcism...

Yikes! 😳

This book turned out to be an unexpected wicked little tale. A sick and depraved story wrapped in a sugary sweet pink cover. One that deals with the most toxic of friendships between girls hiding behind their belief in God to justify some pretty messed-up stuff.

Everything starts out simple enough. The new girl in school is excited about the attention the popular girls are paying her. Even though something doesn't feel right. Even though she doesn't really see anything wrong with the girl they've decided to target with their malice. BUT, nothing gets in the way of a teenage girl's desire to belong to the cool group and the peer pressure attached to such a friendship.

Of course, we're not dealing with your average teen girls here. They're devout, mysterious, total manipulators and downright creepy. Oh, okay, so this totally describes high school cliques. 🤣

I really enjoyed how this book doesn't take long to go from familiar into full-on horrifying violence. Then quickly tips into WTF? is going on territory. Until the depravity and brutality of what these girls are actually doing hit my horror-loving heart.

Also, I loved how unpredictable it was. I might've had suspicions as the story moved along, but the bloody reality unravelled in a way I wasn't expecting. Oh, and that ending was so cool I can't wait to read the next one.

I need to know how Sofia's story ends.


 
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