Wednesday, 12 August 2020

POWER by CS Alleyne

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really like the cover for this book, it's nice and colourful. Very pretty.

Maude Caulkin lives in Victorian London, which is hard for everyone, but so much worse if you're a young woman. When she finds herself alone with her terrible stepfather, he gets her caught up in a business she didn't expect.

One that might find her trouble, fortune, love and a new calling...

Yikes! I didn't expect the story to go there. 😯

Maude is an interesting character who finds herself under the control of just about every man she meets. One beats her. One offers her a job with ulterior motives. One attacks her. One encourages her to find her inner freak. It's interesting to see how she manages to suffer at the hand of some of these men but ultimately turns it all around to suit her own freakish nature.

She's fascinated by freaks and frequents the local freakshow, which fits perfectly with the atmosphere and imagery invoked in this story.

If you're squeamish, this might make you uncomfortable because what ends up happening is quite disturbing. But I was fine with it. I like to see a fucking asshole get what he deserves. And if it's at the hands of the one he hurt, so be it.

But hey, let's not forget that what happens to Charles Courtney-Duff is in the name of science. 😬

Interesting tale about violence and revenge.

Sunday, 9 August 2020

It's time to write!

Hey! Long time no blog. Well, I did post reviews, but I haven't provided any updates lately.

So, how are you? How's life treating you? How are you coping with this never-ending global pandemic situation and the foolish behaviour of those people who refuse to stop acting like selfish fucks?

Personally, I spent July with hubby, avoiding people and reading like a fiendish bookworm. I'm not even kidding, just look at all the reviews I posted below. I read SO many awesome books--including two different and fantastic 4-book YA series. I even managed to pass my 2020 Reading Challenge of 100 books. (Which I've now changed to 110.)

I also wrote the first 7,000 words of a new story on my phone, and took notes for a different idea. When the imagery is too strong to ignore, it's best to try and capture as many details as possible before they fade away. 😊

Yeah, my mind's really fertile at the moment. I keep getting random snippets for different story ideas I've had circling inside my head for ages, or new stuff that comes out of nowhere. So, I take a bunch of notes and then concentrate on the loudest.

The loudest right now is one I described like this on Twitter:

This week, I finally sat down at my desk and started adding words every day, and I'm very happy with the progress.

Here's how my word count went:
  • Monday: 8,804 (added 1637w) 
  • Tuesday: 13,130 (added 4326)
  • Wednesday: 17,296 (added 4166w) 
  • Thursday: 22,112 (added 4816w)
  • Friday: 25,472 (3360w)
  • Saturday: 29,031 (3559w)
  • Sunday: 32,415 (3384w)

Not a bad start. 

Like usual, I have no idea if this will end up being a novella or a novel. All I know is that I'm very excited about how it's going.

I got this idea last year after the first chapter came to me in a dream. I wrote a bunch of notes then, so I wouldn't forget a single detail. The most important thing I captured from the dream and never forgot was how it all starts so seemingly normal and fun, before the story takes a turn for the grim.

So, yeah, it's a horror story. A bit of a slasher with supernatural elements. It's also about the strong bonds of true friendship, the discovery of love, and dealing with loss.

I know a lot about what's going to happen, but some details are still a bit blurry around the edges. I'm at that stage where I'm juggling a whole lot of puzzle pieces and just need to put them together. It's exciting and creepy, plus I really like these characters.

Well, asides from all this writing, reading and walking, we've started watching The Golden Girls from the beginning. This is a show I used to watch when I was a kid, but never in sequence. We also loved the hell out of the second season of The Umbrella Academy, and I've been keeping up with the final season of The 100, while enjoying the return of Wynonna Earp. 😁

Yep. Keeping busy.

There's always so much to do. I honestly can't understand people who get bored at home. My only problem us that there aren't enough hours in the day to do everything.

Well, that's it for now.

Hope you have a great week!

MEG by Steve Alten

Meg (Meg, #1)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed The MEG movie starring Jason Statham, and have been interested in checking out the book for a while.

Jonas Taylor is a professor and paleo-biologist. He's former Navy, a deep-sea diver and is married to a self-centered woman who clearly can't stand him. He's also suffering from PTSD and is obsessed with the Carcharodon megalodon, which he's sure is still out there...

Yikes. That was a lot of violent fun!

I liked this book from the moment I got stuck into it. Jonas is a great character because he's flawed, troubled and misunderstood. Not to mention determined to spread the word about a prehistoric shark he's sure has survived and still lives deep beneath the ocean. Even though people ridicule him, refuse to believe his claims, and are too keen to prove him wrong.

Of course, this turns out to be a recipe for disaster. Mostly for everyone who refuses to listen to his warnings.

The imagery is so vivid and the tension captured my imagination throughout. Once the expedition gets started, everything escalates pretty quickly and goes off the aquatic charts.

I loved how the tension built a bit more with each chapter. And I have to admit that although the Meg was callous, relentless and fucking terrifying, I really enjoyed seeing the action unfold through her POV. She was a vicious creature. She was also a lot of gory fun to follow around. 🦈

This is actually a great adventure story and I enjoyed it on so many levels.

In fact, my only beef was how annoying it gets when every woman is introduced as being 'good looking'. That got old pretty fast, but I suppose it's expected from a book written by a man in the 90s. 😁 Besides, it was easy enough to forget about this pesky annoyance because the most important female in this book is Meg.

I had a great time reading this story, and enjoyed it as much as I hoped I would. 

I have a weakness for giant monster stories.

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

About my story...

Last month, GRAVEYARD SMASH: 2020 Women of Horror Anthology Volume 2 was released. Yay. 😁

I'm very excited to have a story included in this awesome publication. BTW, don't you just love that freaky-lovely cover? I sure do.

So, I wanted to talk a bit about my short story. It's called Love You to Death and is a tale about myth, love and Death. It's also set in the underworld and features a bunch of death-defying characters you'll probably recognise.

I got this idea after I stumbled across a lovely piece of artwork featuring a skeleton drinking at a bar. I remember thinking: Looks like Death might be waiting for his girlfriend Santa Muerte to arrive, but she's always late.

After that thought entered my mind, the story bloomed. 💀

The artwork is called Casadores by Carlos Torres:

I found it so inspiring and so sad, I had to write a story about this lonely skeleton I decided was Dea.

Here's the blurb for my story:

A story of myth and horror featuring the love between Death and Santa Muerte as they fight zombies in the underworld. 

I'm very proud to be a part of the second anthology released by Kandisha Press, alongside so many awesome Women of Horror.

The anthology is now available: 
Paperback | Kindle | Kobo | Nook Apple

Sunday, 2 August 2020


Pete Riley answers the door one morning to a parent's worst nightmare. On his doorstep is a stranger, Miles Lambert, who breaks the devastating news that Pete's two-year-old, Theo, isn't his biological child after all - he is Miles's, switched with the Lamberts' baby at birth by an understaffed hospital.

Reeling from shock, Peter and his partner Maddie agree that, rather than swap the children back, it's better to stay as they are but to involve the other family in their children's lives. But a plan to sue the hospital triggers an official investigation that unearths some disturbing questions about just what happened on the day the babies were switched.

And when Theo is thrown out of nursery for hitting other children, Maddie and Pete have to ask themselves: how far do they want this arrangement to go? What are the secrets hidden behind the Lamberts' smart front door? And how much can they trust the real parents of their child - or even each other? 

I've read three JP Delaney thrillers and loved every single one for different reasons, so I was really looking forward to reading this one too. Thank you Hachette Australia for sending me a copy. 😊 

Pete is a stay-at-home father, but doesn't like that term. He's also a freelance journalist but devotes most of his time to taking care of his two-year-old son Theo, while his partner Maddie works in advertising.

The day a stranger knocks on his door and tells him their sons were switched at birth, their lives change in some very unexpected and dangerous ways...

Wow. I was hooked from the beginning and struggled to put this book down because I wanted to know what was going to happen next.

I'm not surprised, though. This author has an uncanny way of spinning a wicked contemporary tale starring seemingly average people in totally messed-up and complicated scenarios.

Everything starts out normal enough. A father drops his son off at preschool and when he gets home finds out the child he's been raising isn't his son because a complete stranger tells him this new piece of information. See? Very normal circumstances. 😳 I just wish this was the worst of it for this poor couple, because it doesn't take long for their lives to start crumbling.

This is one of those stories where you can see what's going to go wrong and wish you could warn the characters. Try to stop them before they make the terrible mistake they're so easily manipulated into without realising what's happening. There were so many things they should've checked, so many details they should've paid attention to, and a sticky web they should've avoided by not being so trusting. You just can't take things at face value, especially something this serious.

The story is told in the POVs of Pete and Maddie, slowly revealing how their lives fall apart on the day they meet a psychopath. There are also court papers, texts, emails, articles and letters throughout that really add depth as this family's life is torn apart one piece at a time. 

Playing Nice is an addictive psychological thriller about what happens when you allow complete strangers into your life after they've bamboozled you into an unexpected and really complicated situation, while taking advantage of your good nature. It's a deep study of a bizarre situation and led me down a very twisted path with a lot of unexpected and clever turns.

I can't wait to see what this author decides to tackle next.

Playing Nice, August 2020, ISBN 9781529400854, Quercus

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