Wednesday 31 December 2014

Books Read in 2014...

HIDDEN (Firelight #3): Sophie Jordan

GENERATION V (Generation V #1): ML Brennan

QUICKSILVER (Ultraviolet #2): RJ Anderson

TRUTH (XVI #2): Julia Karr

BITTER SPIRITS (Roaring Twenties #1): Jenn Bennett

GONE GIRL: Gillian Flynn

VENGEANCE (Fracture #2): Megan Miranda

DOLL BONES: Holly Black

SANDMAN: The Dream Hunter: Neil Gaiman & P. Craig Russell

THE TWIN'S DAUGHTER: Lauren Baratz-Logsted

DEADLY STORM (Derrick Storm #1): Richard Castle

AGE OF DESIRE: P. Craig Russell & Timothy Bradstreet (Clive Barker)

WRITTEN IN RED (The Others #1): Anne Bishop

HEAT WAVE (Nikki Heat #1): Richard Castle

THE WALKING DEAD Issue #116: Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn

THE WALKING DEAD Issue #117: Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn

THE WALKING DEAD Issue #118: Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn

THE WALKING DEAD Issue #119: Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn

THE WALKING DEAD Issue #120: Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn

THE WALKING DEAD Issue #121: Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn

THE WALKING DEAD Issue #122: Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn
DEAD AND BURIED (The Murder Notebooks #4): Anne Cassidy



BLOOD ORANGES: Kathleen Tierney

MIDNIGHT CROSSROAD (Midnight, Texas #1): Charlaine Harris

WOLF STRAP: Naomi Clark

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: Tomorrow's Avengers: Brian Michael Bendis

CURED (Stung #2): Bethany Wiggins


FAIRIES IN MY FIREPLACE (Monster Haven #3): RL Naquin

WHAT ZOEY DOESN'T KNOW (Monster Haven Short Story #3.5): RL Naquin

TAKE BACK THE SKIES (Take Back the Skies #1): Lucy Saxon

THE WALKING DEAD Issue #123: Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn

THE WALKING DEAD Issue #124: Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn

THE WALKING DEAD Issue #125: Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn

THE WALKING DEAD Issue #126: Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn

MURDER OF CROWS (The Others #2): Anne Bishop

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (Free Comic Book Day): Brian Michael

ROCKET RACCOON (Free Comic Book Day): Joe Caramagna



GALILEE: Clive Barker

CHASING STARS (After Eden #2): Helen Douglas

THE WALKING DEAD Issue #127: Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn

APPLE AND RAIN: Sarah Crossan

TO HAVE: Alessandra Torre

TOP SECRET TWENTY-ONE (Stephanie Plum #21): Janet Evanovich

PROS AND CONS (Fox & O'Hare #0.5): Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg


Mr. MERCEDES: Stephen King

EASY (Contours of the Heart #1): Tammara Webber

A STITCH ON TIME (Sierra Fox #5): Yolanda Sfetsos

THE WALKING DEAD Issue #128: Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn



THE SILKWORM (Cormoran Strike #2): Robert Galbraith

VISIONS (Cainsville #2): Kelley Armstrong

THE WALKING DEAD Issue #129: Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn

THE WALKING DEAD Issue #130: Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn


WICKEDLY MAGICAL (Baba Yaga #0.5): Deborah Blake

CAPTURED (Fallen Siren #0.5): SJ Harper

HEIR OF FIRE (Throne of Glass #3): Sarah J Maas 
THE GRAVEYARD BOOK (Graphic Novel, Vol. 1): Neil Gaiman, P. Craig Russell & More 

ETCHED IN SILVER (Otherworld #0.5): Yasmine Galenorn

SAY HER NAME: James Dawson
THE ASSASSIN'S BLADE (The Throne of Glass #0.1-0.5): Sarah J Maas
THE ASSASSIN AND THE HEALER: (The Throne of Glass #0.2): Sarah J Maas
THE ASSASSIN AND THE DESERT: (The Throne of Glass #0.3): Sarah J Maas
THE ASSASSIN AND THE CAPTAIN (The Throne of Glass short story): Sarah J Maas
THE ASSASSIN AND THE PRINCESS (The Throne of Glass short story): Sarah J Maas 
THE WITCH OF DUVA (The Grisha #0.5): Leigh Bardugo
MAD MAUDLIN: Marie Brennan
THE TOO-CLEVER FOX: (The Grisha #2.5): Leigh Bardugo
LITTLE KNIFE: (The Grisha #2.6): Leigh Bardugo
HEIR TO THE EMPIRE (The Thrawn Trilogy #1): Timothy Zahn
*HEIR TO THE EMPIRE (The Thrawn Trilogy Graphic Novel #1): Mike Baron, Olivier Vatine, Fred Blanchard, Isabelle Rabarot, Mathieu Lauffray
SAM'S STORY (Morganville Vampires Extras): Rachel Caine

LUNCH DATE (Morganville Vampires Extras): Rachel Caine
MYRNIN'S TALE (Morganville Vampires Extras): Rachel Caine
AMELIE'S STORY (Morganville Vampires Extras): Rachel Caine
THE GRAVEYARD BOOK (Graphic Novel, Vol. 2): Neil Gaiman, P. Craig Russell & More
THE GOETIA: The Lesser Key of Solomon the King: Aleister Crowley & S.L. MacGregor Mathers  
DARK FORCE RISING (The Thrawn Trilogy #2): Timothy Zahn
*DARK FORCE RISING  (The Thrawn Trilogy Graphic Novel #2): Mike Baron, Michael A Stackpole, Kevin Nowlan, Terry Dodson
SELFIES: Lavie Tidhar 
BRISK MONEY (LA Trilogy #0.5): Adam Christopher
 SWINGERS: Robert Reed
CEMETERY GIRL: The Pretenders (Cemetery Girl Trilogy #1): Charlaine Harris & Christopher Golden
THIS IS NOT A TEST: Courtney Summers
THE FARM (The Farm #1): Emily McKay
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (Volume 1: Cosmic Avengers): Brian Michael Bendis, Steve McNiven, Sara Pichelli
CONJURED: Sarah Beth Durst
SWEET DAMAGE: Rebecca James
*/**RAGS & BONES (New Twists on Timeless Tales Anthology): Edited by Melissa Marr & Tim Pratt    
MADE FOR YOU: Melissa Marr  
THE SLEEPER AND THE SPINDLE: Neil Gaiman & Chris Riddell 
THE VINES: Christopher Rice
NEXT OF KIN (A John Cleaver Novella): Dan Wells
BIRD BOX: Josh Malerman
THE 100 SOCIETY: Carla Spradbery
HANSEL & GRETEL: Neil Gaiman & Lorenzo Mattotti
ELEANOR & PARK: Rainbow Rowell
REVIVAL: Stephen King
THE WALKING DEAD Issue #131: Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn
THE WALKING DEAD Issue #132: Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn
THE WALKING DEAD Issue #133: Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn
THE 99th BRIDE: Catherine F King
HORRORSTÖR: Grady Hendrix
THE LAST COMMAND (The Thrawn Trilogy #3): Timothy Zahn
*THE LAST COMMAND (The Thrawn Trilogy Graphic Novel #3): Mike Baron, Eric Shanower & Edvin Biuković
DEAD BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: edited by Charlaine Harris & Toni LP Kelner
PORPHYRIA'S LOVER: Robert Browning
ANYWAY: ANGIE (A Bone Street Rumba Short Story):
SKIN LIKE PORCELAIN DEATH (A Bone Street Rumba Short Story):
THE WALKING DEAD Issue #134: Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn
THE WALKING DEAD Issue #135: Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn
2014 Reading Challenge
Books Read in 2014: 137/100
:: Re-read
*Some skimming involved

Sunday 28 December 2014

DEAD BY NOT FORGOTTEN edited by Charlaine Harris & Toni LP Kelner

A fantastic new anthology of tales told in the Sookie Stackhouse universe, to unite all fans of paranormal romance everywhere!
Charlaine Harris' smash-hit Sookie Stackhouse series may have reached its conclusion, but the world of Bon Temps, Louisiana, lives on in this all-new collection of 15 stories. Written by a killer line up of authors, including New York Times bestseller Seanan McGuire New York Times bestseller MaryJanice Davidson An introduction by Charlaine Harris herself! 

 DEAD BUT NOT FORGOTTEN puts your favourite characters, written by some of your favourite authors, centre stage.

I loved the Sookie Stackhouse series, so when I heard about this anthology I was definitely interested in checking it out...
"Nobody’s Business” by Rachel Caine (featuring Kevin Pryor & Kenya Jones)

Interesting story about Kevin and Kenya--cops who are partners, and have a bit of a thing going. Well, not initially because there are several obstacles in their way. But this gives us a glimpse into their connection, work ethic, and we get to visit a different vampire club.

It's full of action, has a police chase, creepy vampires, an even creepier human, is well written and very entertaining.

Rachel Caine sure knows how to write a story!
Tyger, Tyger” by Christopher Golden (featuring Quinn)

Quinn the weretiger was one of my favourite characters in this series. I enjoyed reading about his time with Sookie and felt sad when they broke up. But the reason was his family, and this story once again shows how much his mother and sister mean to him. Not to mention his girlfriend and son.

When Quinn gets the runaround from the nursing home his mother is staying in, he decides to drop in. And what he finds leads to his imprisonment and making the hardest decision of his life.

I loved this story! The humans and their despicable ambitions bring the beast out of Quinn. Great story.
The Real Santa Claus” by Leigh Perry (featuring Diantha)

I loved this story! Not just because I always liked and was curious about Diantha and her uncle, Mr. Cataliades, but also because we catch a glimpse of Sookie & Sam several years after the series is over.

Also, it's a fun Christmas tale that's full of mischief and mystery. Perfect for this time of year. 

Taproot” by Jeffrey J. Mariotte (featuring Andy Bellefleur)

Now this was a story I wasn't sure I would enjoy. Andy Bellefleur isn't the most exciting character in the Sookieverse, and I'd never read anything from this author. But... I loved it!

This actually takes part shortly after Lafayette is murdered and dumped in Andy's car. Some reality TV show people take over Merlotte's, but Sam can't remember signing a contract. 

As it turns out, the one girl who broke Andy's heart back on high school is one of the crew, and she might be back to hurt him a little bit more... 

Knit a Sweater Out of Sky” by Seanan McGuire (featuring Amelia)

Well, this turned out to be a fun but dangerous witchy tale! 

It all starts in Amelia and Bob's apartment. Amelia is testing her ability by growing a cherry tree, and the results lead to pie. LOL. But when she goes to the river with the intention of summoning a breeze, something much worse happens because Bob and her aren't the only witches testing the weather.

I really enjoyed this story. I always liked Amelia. 

Love Story” by Jeanne C. Stein (featuring Adele Hale Stackhouse)

A quick glimpse into what happened between Adele and Fintan. Was written in diary format and didn't really bring anything new to the table. Well written, though. 

The Million-Dollar Hunt” by Jonathan Maberry (featuring Mustapha Khan)

I struggled with this one. I love the way the story is told, but just couldn't get into it. 

Borderline Dead” by Nicole Peeler (featuring Desiree Dumas)

Well written, sassy and fun. Though I barely remember this character from the series. LOL. 

Extreme Makeover Vamp Edition” by Leigh Evans (featuring Bev & Todd)

I skimmed most of this one. Just wasn't feelin' these characters, or their underwhelming tale.  

Don’t Be Cruel” by Bill Crider (featuring Bubba)

I honestly thought I would like this story because I've always liked Bubba, but I found it hard to get into. In the end, it lagged and went far too long. 

Though it was good to see Bubba have a good time, I wish I could say I enjoyed it. :( 

What a Dream I Had” by Nancy Holder (featuring Alcide Herveaux)

Alcide has always been one of my favourite characters, so I was excited about this story.

It focused on his first love, which is when his girl trouble began. It was prom night and he's hoping to have a nice night with his date during an after party for two. But what they find inside the trailer changes their lives forever.

This turned out to be a weird little tale of woe. Poor Alcide. :( 

Another Dead Fairy” by Miranda James (featuring Claude & Claudine Crane)

This was an excellent story! A lovely surprise, since the fairy twins usually annoyed me, LOL. 

Claude is performing at Hooligans when his cousin Seamus dies. It doesn't take long for Claude and Claudine to realise that Seamus was murdered on the couch in the male dressing room--and probably while doing the deed. ;)

What follows is an intriguing murder mystery as they try to figure out which female stripper us responsible.

I loved it! Very well written, paced very well, and had a just conclusion. This is how a tight and tidy short story is written. 

The Bat-Signal” by Suzanne McLeod (featuring Luna)

Interesting story featuring Luna the batshifter, Hunter and Remy. 

“The Sun, The Moon, and The Stars” by Dana Cameron (featuring Pam Ravenscroft)

This was a good one! Enjoyed the glimpse into Pam's past, and how it blended with her present. 

Widower’s Walk” by MaryJanice Davidson (featuring Eric Northman

This melancholy tale was too slow for me. It featured Eric 201 years after the series is over. So there's no Sookie or Sam, just their descendants. This was just okay for me.

The Dead But Not Forgotten anthology is a nice blend of short stories guaranteed to satisfy any Sookieverse fan. I enjoyed some stories more than others, but overall it's a great book. Every author featured in this anthology did a great job at keeping the atmosphere, mood and characterisation familiar.

It's a great addition to your Sookie Stackhouse collection. :)
Dead But Not Forgotten, November 2014, ISBN 9781473208155, Gollancz

Saturday 27 December 2014

THE LAST COMMAND by Timothy Zahn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well, I've finally finished reading The Thrawn Trilogy. I managed to complete the challenge my husband set for me. Yay.

Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy it as much as I was hoping. I actually loved the first book, enjoyed the second, and by this one I admit I just wanted it to be over.

There was a lot going on and some of it--the smuggler Karrde storyline comes to mind--felt like filler. Also, one thing that really bugged me was how easily Leia left her newborn twins behind. Seriously. Mothers don't do that easily, not with newborns. I realise that she's a politician and cares about her family and friends, but still... she actually left them behind on another planet! Um, no. o_O

I was however really happy when Leia & Mara were narrating the story. I reckon if it was just their POV with a bit of Luke thrown in, I might have liked it more.

Also, was it just me or was Thrawn super boring towards the end? And that Jedi clone, ugh.

Yeah. This book was just okay for me. I really wanted to love it but just couldn't. :/

Thursday 25 December 2014

Happy Holidays


Have an awesome, super fun and safe festive season. :)

Wednesday 24 December 2014

Mind Meld at SF Signal

Today, I'm over at SF Signal.

I'm taking part in their awesome Mind Meld feature.

The topic happens to be about TV shows in 2014. So stop by and check out which genre show really caught my eye this year.

HORRORSTOR by Grady Hendrix

HorrorstörHorrorstör by Grady Hendrix
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've wanted to read this book since the moment I found out about it. When I found out my local library had it, I put it on hold. And it arrived this week, so I couldn't wait to get stuck into this story.

Orsk is a furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. It's actually a lower-budget version of Ikea. One morning, when the employees arrive for their shift they find a bunch of broken items. And the escalator is running the wrong way.

Something is definitely going on, but all Amy cares about is avoiding her manager, Basil. Except, all she does is grab his attention. When he asks her and another employee, Ruth Anne, to work the dusk-till-dawn shift with him to see if they can figure out what's going on, she accepts. After all, she needs the money.

What seems to be an easy shift soon becomes a nightmarish situation when they find out that the store isn't being vandalized, but haunted.

Soon, the monotonous tale of retail employees trying to survive another day while hoping for a better tomorrow, becomes a seriously twisted horror story.

This was a lot of fun! While it's spooky and even gruesome, I really got lost in the characters and their struggles to stand out. Not to mention that it was also funny. And a clever portrayal of consumerism.

I also love that it's designed to look like an Ikea catalogue--which I always love perusing. ;) But there are a few differences. Check out the frames on the wall, and then the back, for some freaky clues about the story.

I really enjoyed this book! So much that I read it in only a few sittings. It was an easy, breezy read and it's so cleverly packaged I'm pretty sure I'll be getting myself a copy. This is a book that you have to get in this original format.

Very cool. :)

View all my reviews

Tuesday 23 December 2014

I've been a terrible blogger this year

I really have. :/
I think it's because of Twitter. Yeah, let's blame Twitter. LOL. I usually post there throughout the day and before I realise it, another day is done and I still haven't blogged.
Really need to change that, because I actually like to blog. It's time that gets in the way. Where can I buy some?
Well, last week I had a to-do list all ready to go and ended up not doing much because I wasn't feeling well. I somehow hurt my jaw and just didn't feel like doing much but sitting around or napping. It sucked, but the doctor prescribed some antibiotics and anti-inflammatory tablets that really helped.
I feel like I've got a lot more energy than I had this time last week, so that's a good thing.
At the beginning of the month I tackled the LAVIE second draft. In case you've forgotten, this is a Sierra Fox spin-off story featuring the demon hunter Lavie Grye. It's a road trip story that takes her from Sydney to Victoria, and I was glad to get it done. But instead of taking one week, which is what I usually take for a story that size (at the time it was in the early 70k region), it took me two.
The problem was that after writing the first draft I decided that there were a bunch of things I was going to change. The direction and main plot was the same, but I wanted to enhance it with some demonic myth and occult references. Not to mention that I wanted to make sure I caught the essence of the places they stop. It was pretty much Lavie and Saul driving down a highway without much feel of the scenery. Well, that's all changed now.
And that means that I ended up rewriting a lot, cutting even more, and doing a bunch more research than I expected. BUT, it was all worth it. Actually, I opened up the doc this morning to deal with the last bits on my Additions List and ended up adding another 1,027 words.
Final second draft word count: 80,561.
That makes me happy for several reasons:
1). I've passed the 80k mark, which I was aiming for,
2). The second draft is completely done before the end of 2014,
3). I'm MUCH happier with the story now,
4). There's only one more draft to go!
Now I just need to settle on a title. I have a few possibilities, but haven't decided yet...
Oh, and did I mention that my daughter's on school holidays now? Yeah, she doesn't go back until the end of January, so sticking to goals is going to be a lot harder. LOL.
That's it for now, I suppose. I just wanted to post an update because I've been so terrible about updating here. I must organise myself a lot better next year. Even if I end up blogging once/twice a week, it'll be a lot better than just posting book reviews.
Well, see ya!

Thursday 18 December 2014


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I heard about this book on Twitter. Someone mentioned that it was written by the female cenobite, so of course I had to check it out. ;)

Michael Friday is one sick puppy. After a car accident that kills his wife--which he causes because he finds out she is cheating on him--he survives, and months of rehabilitation later he goes home. But his life is not a comfortable place to be. He's constantly bored and spends too much time alone. He becomes addicted to trashy TV even though he despises it. And it's not until he has a very vivid dream about a dead girl that he realises what it is that's missing from his life.

So he starts on a horrible and disgusting path of chasing the high he can only capture while killing someone. But that isn't enough, and when he spots the beautiful Doctor Elene Sheppard, he decides he's going to create a serial killer persona. One that will get her attention, and because he's focusing on what he teaches--art history--she might just need his help to solve the case...

OMG. This book. It's one of those books that is so well written I was hooked from the first word. It's a story that made me squirm many times, to the point where I actually felt dirty just by reading it. The subject matter is one that we're all familiar with--serial killers--and while I've read many books from the POV of one, this guy's sexually depraved fantasies and actions were very disturbing.

He makes no apologies for his immoral thoughts or desires. He's one-track minded and obsessed with getting what he wants. While I'd like to admire his determination, the subject of his obsession deterred me from doing so.

If you like reading wicked stories dripping with raw descriptions, or are just curious about this book, go ahead and read it. But if you're squeamish, stay away from it. Luckily, I've been reading and enjoying horror for many years, so I could keep what I was reading at a distance.

I have to admire Barbie Wilde for writing such an intense thriller, starring a very awful person. I'm not sure if it was because of the brain damage he got from the accident, or just because he's one sick puppy... but Michael is despicable. I'm glad he's a fictional character.

Having said that, this was a great book! The fact that the author hooked me in and kept me intrigued all the way through--no matter how uncomfortable I got--says just how good a writer Barbie is!

Monday 1 December 2014

REMEMBER ME THIS WAY by Sabine Durrant

'Everyone keeps telling me I have to move on. And so here I am, walking down the road where he died, trying to remember him the right way.'
A year after her husband Zach's death, Lizzie goes to lay flowers where his fatal accident took place. 
As she makes her way along the motorway, she thinks about their life together. She wonders whether she has changed since Zach died. She wonders if she will ever feel whole again. 
 At last she reaches the spot. And there, tied to a tree, is a bunch of lilies. The flowers are addressed to her husband. Someone has been there before her. Lizzie loved Zach. She really did. But she's starting to realise she didn't really know him. Or what he was capable of . . .

I didn't know anything about this book when I received it, and after not particularly enjoying the author's first book, I wasn't sure what to expect. But then I started reading, and before I realised it I'd read three chapters. I was hooked!

It's been a year since Lizzie lost her husband. He was involved in a car accident and she's finally decided to visit the spot where he crashed, as well as the house he kept by the sea. A place where Zach used to go to paint. But when she leaves flowers, she notices someone else has left a bunch before her. Along with a note featuring a name she doesn't recognise. And at his holiday house, she finds out that he did actually read the letter she wrote and sent him telling him she wanted a separation.
Then she finds the lonely painting that makes her believe Zach might not be dead after all.
There are other things, like phone calls. Hearing his favourite song played outside her bedroom window. Her lost lipstick suddenly appearing. Zach's pens disappearing. A dead bird thrown through the window. She feels like he's one step behind, watching her. And one step ahead, anticipating her next move.
Lizzie is so consumed with the possibility of him being alive that she starts to uncover some awful truths about him.
Everything he told her about his past is a lie. His possessive nature had nothing to do with a violent, unstable childhood and everything to do with Zach being a sociopath. A person who was as possessed with her as she was obsessed with him. 
The appearance of a strange young girl called Onnie, someone Zach supposedly tutored but never told Lizzie about, throws her already unstable life into chaos.
The story is told in the alternating POV of Lizzie--in the present--and Zach--in the past. We get to experience how she stumbles on his many deceptions, and the carefully constructed patchwork of lies he's left littered in his past. It's also interesting to delve into Zach's messed up way of thinking. He's very aware of how much he lies, manipulates and even hurts the people around him, but always blames the other person. It's never his fault, it's always someone else's fault.
Remember Me This Way is a compelling, page-turner that keeps you guessing until the end. Once Lizzie uncovers the first lie, the dominoes start to fall and reveal that her husband was a very messed up individual. He was a man who made up scenarios because of his blinding jealousy, and she's a woman who is determined to please others. Zach is like a disease that keeps infecting her even after his death, and what she goes through in order to purge his aftereffects is chilling, creepy, and leaves you on the edge of your seat.
This was one very intense and screwed-up psychological thriller. I couldn't put it down!

Also, my theory turned out to be right. I just never imagined it would, not after I found out what Zach's connection to this particular character was. O_o

Remember Me This Way, December 2014, ISBN  9781444762457, Mulholland Books

Thursday 27 November 2014

REVIVAL by Stephen King

In a small New England town, in the early 60s, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister, Charles Jacobs. Soon they forge a deep bond, based on their fascination with simple experiments in electricity. Decades later, Jamie is living a nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll. Now an addict, he sees Jacobs again - a showman on stage, creating dazzling 'portraits in lightning' - and their meeting has profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil's devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings. This rich and disturbing novel spans five decades on its way to the most terrifying conclusion Stephen King has ever written. It's a masterpiece from King, in the great American tradition of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe...
I say this every time I read one of his stories, but I'll say it again: Stephen King is one of my favourite authors. So whenever he has a new book out, I can't wait to get my hands on it. Thankfully, Hachette made sure I got a copy early on. Thank you, Hachette. :)
This is the story of Jamie Morton and Charles Jacobs. Two men who meet when Jamie is just a boy and Charles is the new, young minister with the lovely family. Jamie is fascinated by Charles who is quite the inventor and shows him some pretty cool things he does by using electricity. Skills that help one of Jamie's brothers after a freak accident makes him lose his voice.
When tragedy strikes and the minister's life is turned upside down, he loses faith. He doesn't believe in what he's preaching, and after the Terrible Sermon he's fired. Jamie is devastated to lose his friend, but life goes on.
And that's what this book is. It's Jamie's memoir, starting when he first encountered the shadow of a man much older than himself and never quite escaped it. Jamie's life is full of sadness, hardship and addiction. An addiction so bad he loses everything and once again stumbles on Charles Jacobs.
Now the minister has a different name, and he isn't a minister. Instead, he fascinates people with his electric trick photography. Charles never stopped testing the limits of electricity. It became his new religion, the pursuit of the special electricity that can cure addictions and illness. Just as it cures Jamie so he can continue his life.

Until Charles resurfaces again as an evangelist and travels all over the country healing people.
It seems innocent enough, but there are dire consequences. Even Jamie experienced aftereffects from his miracle healing, but what happens to others turns out to be a lot more serious. And after he expresses his disgust, he makes an enemy out of Charles. One that will use the past against Jamie to force him to help with his one final experiment.
Something that reveals what Charles Jacobs is really obsessed with--death.
OMG. This book is so well written and so captivating that I was quickly hooked into Jamie's life, going through all his hardships and happy times. His story sucked me in so deeply that the disturbing elements--and there are many--slowly crept up on me. The horror is woven from the very start, but once it's revealed. Yikes!
Revival is as electrifying as it is horrifying. It's amazing and frightening. What seems to be the simple tale of one man's life soon reveals the obsession of another. I found this story addictive and very disturbing. I loved the study of religion and how it was portrayed by Jacobs. I was also shocked by the imagery these two men eventually experience, but not surprised because there were glimpses of it dropped like breadcrumbs along the way.
After seeing that, how can anyone have faith?
And this is why Stephen King is #KingForAReason

Revival, November 2014, ISBN  9781444789188, Hodder & Stoughton

Sunday 23 November 2014

I just validated my NaNoWriMo story!

That's right! After figuring out how to scramble my novel--because for some reason the website no longer tells you how, just sends you to some website to do it--I validated my story.
The second Sierra Fox spin-off is now done. Well, the first draft is done and ready for the revision process. Awesome! So excited.
This is actually the 8th time I've won NaNoWriMo! :)

Thursday 20 November 2014

ELEANOR & PARK by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and she's never felt more alone. All mismatched clothes, mad red hair and chaotic home life, she couldn't stick out more if she tried. Then she takes the seat on the bus next to Park. Quiet, careful and - in Eleanor's eyes - impossibly cool, Park's worked out that flying under the radar is the best way to get by. Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall in love. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you're 16, and you have nothing and everything to lose. Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR & PARK is funny, sad, shocking and true - an exquisite nostalgia trip for anyone who has never forgotten their first love...

This is actually a book that my daughter read before me (she borrowed it from the library) and kept telling me I had to read because it was sooo good. Well, now that I have, I have to agree with her.
Eleanor is the new girl, and she stands out. She dresses differently, her hair is red and she's a little strange. So she instantly becomes a target for bullies. Park is quiet and likes to keep to himself because it's best not to attract too much attention. The day they meet on the bus because there's nowhere else for her to sit, both of their lives change forever.
What starts out as mutual dislike for each other, soon becomes an accidental connection. Which blends into a comfortable, low-key friendship. And soon becomes an out of control love story.
These two are kindred spirits and via comic books, mixed tapes and weirdness they get to know each other and start something that's impossibly cool, and dangerously amazing. Together, they change each other. Their separate worlds collide and the fallout is devastating.
OMG. This book is SO good. No, it's better than good. It's awesome! I loved every minute of it. This is a love story like none that I've read before, but experienced as a teenager while watching John Hughes movies. I'm a kid of the 80's, and this book captured that time perfectly! Sometimes it felt like I was there in my teens, reading this amazing book that I could totally relate to and just couldn't put down.
The story is told in the POV of both Eleanor and Park so we get to experience every shattering and wonderful action they each experience. Eleanor's home life is messed up because of her deadbeat stepfather. Her mother's caught in a really bad relationship and her five kids are the ones paying for it. Everything is out of control and so chaotic that all Eleanor wants to do is escape. Park's family is great because he has loving parents and a lovely place to come home to everyday, but it's not without it's problems.
Eleanor & Park is the quirky story of two teenagers who come together and fall in love for the first time. It made me laugh, get angry, frustrated, and even made me teary. It's a touching tale of first love in a time that I remember very clearly. And it totally broke my heart--sometimes in a good way, others in the worst way possible.
I might have been a little younger than Eleanor & Park in 1986, but the nostalgia was in every word and action.
Also, I have to mention that ending... so if you don't want any spoilers, stop reading now.
After reading the author's note at the end of the book about those three words, I have to admit that at first I thought they were 'I love you'. But after thinking it over, I'm pretty sure they were: 'Nothing ever ends'. Yep, right out of Watchmen. And because it totally fits. ;)

Loved this book. So much!
Eleanor & Park, April 2014, ISBN 9781409120544, Orion

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Willow's first draft is done!

Yep. That's right.
The first draft of Willow's story is done & done. (As Homer Simpson would say, LOL.)
I'll probably start writing down bits and pieces that I want to add--because that always happens when I finish writing a story--but for now: the FIRST DRAFT IS DONE.

I'm so excited.
This is a story that I've wanted to write for months, so when I sat down and got started it kinda poured out of me. Willow was very chatty and I had a great time delving into her life. It's an urban fantasy book set in a fictional suburb located in Wollongong. That's where Willow ended up going to Uni, and she liked it so much she decided to stay. Oh, and it also takes place 5 years after A STITCH ON TIME.
Willow's all grown up and might be away from Sierra's influence, but trouble still has a knack of following her as much as it did her sister.
I'm so glad that both Lavie and Willow now have their own stories. Well, only the first draft of their stories are done at this stage. I need to revise both of them, but still.

I'm also really excited about these spin-off novels, because these two characters were screaming for me to write their book even before Sierra's series was written. But they had to wait. ;) Now that they're out of my head (because they wouldn't stop hounding me all year!) I might be able to concentrate on other stories--other worlds and characters.
Anyway, here's the word count:

I reckon that after the revision process is done, both stories will end up with a word count of 70-75k. There are a bunch of details and lists that I'll need to add/layer when I get stuck into them. And I'm really looking forward to it.
Anyway, just thought I'd post an update. I've been working so hard on writing this story as well as meeting my annual NaNoWriMo goal, that I think I might take the rest of the week off. Catch up on some reading, stationery sorting, and maybe even some brainstorming.
See ya!
BTW, if you're interested in finding out about the SIERRA FOX series, click below:

HANSEL & GRETEL by Neil Gaiman & Lorenzo Mattotti

Hansel and Gretel
The enduring story of the children, the breadcrumb trail and the gingerbread house is brought to life by master storyteller, Neil Gaiman. Who better to retell the Brothers Grimm's greatest, and perhaps darkest, fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel? Coupled with breathtakingly haunting illustrations from Lorenzo Mattotti, you will be enticed into the world and into the woods . . . so beware.
I love Neil Gaiman's work so I was keen to read this story.
Gretel and Hansel are the children of a woodcutter and his young wife. They live a modest life in a small cottage near the woods. The children love to spend time playing in the woods and lead a healthy, happy life. Until war strikes and everything starts wilting. Crops are drying, animals are scarce, and the family suffers. They go hungry most days, and that's when the young wife decides to take drastic action.

She decides the children need to get lost in the woods.
The woodcutter hates the idea, but he knows it's the only way they'll survive. So he takes the kids to work with him, something he never does. But Hansel overheard their conversation and manages to drop white stones to guide their way home. And when they return, their father is truly happy but eventually he takes them to work again.

This time, Hansel and Gretel really do get lost.
The children are in the woods by themselves, and find their way to a lovely-smelling cottage where a harmless old woman offers them food and shelter. They accept, even if they don't know the true nature of the woman. She isn't as weak as she seems, and like everyone else craves the meat missing from the land. So she keeps the kids prisoner.
Yet, the old woman, much like their parents, didn't think Gretel and Hansel's smart enough to hatch a plan of their own...
This is a lovely retelling of a timeless classic about selfish parents and smart children. But it's about more than that, because during extreme times people deal with things differently, and this shows just how far some are willing to go in order to survive. Even forgetting how resourceful they taught their children to be.

This beautiful hardback edition looks lovely inside and out. The dark illustrations enhance the story. At first they help set the eerie mood, and then keep the feeling going throughout. I loved how the artwork helped keep the tension between the pages of the story. Very clever!
Hansel & Gretel is a dark and familiar, but wondrous story. It was equal parts intriguing and disturbing. It's another timeless classic that will continue to be retold into the future. I also liked the history of the story. I thought that was a lovely way to finish off such an engaging book.

This is another Neil Gaiman keeper, and it's going right next to The Sleeper and the Spindle. 

Hansel & Gretel, November 2014, ISBN  9781408861981, Bloomsbury Childrens

Sunday 16 November 2014

THE 100 SOCIETY by Carla Spradbery

 For sixth-form student Grace Becker, The 100 Society is more than just a game; it's an obsession. Having convinced her five friends at Clifton Academy to see it through to the end, Grace will stop at nothing to carry out the rules of the game: tagging 100 locations around the city. With each step closer to the 100-mark they get, the higher the stakes become. But when the group catches the attention of a menacing stalker - the Reaper - he seems intent on exposing their illegal game, tormenting Grace with anonymous threats and branding their dormitory doors with his ominous tag.

As the once tight-knit group slowly unravels, torn apart by doubt and the death of a student, they no longer know who to trust.

 With time running out, Grace must unmask the Reaper before he destroys everything she cares about for ever...

I received a copy of this book on Friday and found the concept so intriguing that I started reading it that night. I got so caught up in what was going on that I ended up reading it in one day.

Grace and her friends attend boarding school. She's convinced them to join the 100 Society, which means they have to tag 100 different locations around the city. Actually, it's become an obsession for her. Something she feels she needs to do in order to prove herself to her father and brother, since this is something her brother wasn't able to achieve.
But when someone calling himself the Reaper starts stalking them, what started out as fun, challenging and exhilarating, soon becomes a dangerous game.
The mysterious Reaper starts out by tagging over the 96 tags they've already made. Then he seems to be one step behind them, always watching--going through their computers, lockers and rooms. But things get really bad when one of them is the victim of a vicious attack, and it becomes obvious that this Reaper has an endgame none of them are expecting.
Now, the group is falling apart and distrust runs deep, until Grace doesn't know who she can trust...
This book turned out to be an amazing read! I got sucked into this story as soon as I was thrust into the middle of Grace doing an actual tag. These kids are talented artists who want to make a mark and decide to do it via a very dangerous way, while breaking rules that can get them kicked out of their school. And once the stalker gets involved, there's just one red herring after another until you can't wait to find out who is responsible for all this madness. And then realise just how deeply the betrayal runs.
The 100 Society is an awesome, well written YA thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat. I loved how the story unravelled as quickly as this tight-knit group of kids, and kept me guessing until the end. Also, when the truth is revealed...wow!  
I loved this great book! And that cover rocks.

The 100 Society, November 2014, ISBN  9781444920086, Hodder Children's Books

Friday 14 November 2014

NaNoWriMo Goal Met!

As you can see, I crossed the NaNoWriMo 50k-word mark yesterday. Yay.
I'm very excited about winning another NaNoWriMo, but I'm even more excited about how this draft is turning out. The story is flowing fast and I'm really into what's going on, but I haven't finished yet. I'm still writing...
I'm hoping to get to the end of the first draft this week. So, fingers crossed.
Happy writing!

Monday 10 November 2014

Why NaNoWriMo Works for Me

It's that time of the year again. When a whole bunch of people from all over the world get together to write their own 50k novel. 

Like everything else, there are (many) varying opinions about NaNoWriMo. Some people love it, some people hate it, and others aren't fussed. Personally, I think the only opinion that matters is your own.

If writing 50k words in one month seems like too much for you, don't do it. If you think the goal of this exercise is wrong, don't do it. If you think it's a stupid gimmick, don't do it. If you like to revise while writing your first draft, then definitely don't do it. But, if you like the idea of writing the first draft of a novel before the end of the year, then by all means: GO FOR IT!
As you can see from the badges I've collected, I love taking part in NaNoWriMo. There are several reasons why I enjoy it...

I'm the kind of writer who writes quick first drafts, anyway. I love to tell my story as it comes--get the bulk written, and deal with everything else afterwards.

The first draft is about getting the story out of your head. The revision process is when you fix things, and make everything pretty.

I actually do a variation of NaNoWriMo more than once a year, and often aim to write more than 50k. So taking part is always exciting. Besides, you can also make your own rules as you go along. For example, my daily word goal is 4k. And I take weekends off.

Another reason I love to take part is because it's November. Getting one more first draft written before the year is over sounds very appealing to me.

So, there you go. This is why I like NaNoWriMo. :)

BTW, this is me.

Saturday 1 November 2014

BIRD BOX by Josh Malerman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Someone mentioned this book on Twitter because it was on special at Amazon, so I decided to grab a copy. The storyline sounded creepy enough to suck me in. And as soon as I started reading, I was hooked!

Malorie and her two young children live in a house with covered windows and locked doors. The world fell apart years ago, and as a result, you can't look at the outside world. You can still go outside but have to wear a blindfold because there are horrible creatures out there that drive people mad. As long as you keep your eyes closed and covered, you can survive.

She's trained her kids to depend on their hearing instead of their sight, and does pretty well herself. The house might be safe and they have well water, but when she wakes up one foggy morning she knows it's time to head for the river and search for a better, safer place to live. But heading out into the world with a blindfold is hard, especially while rowing along the river...

This is an amazing story! It's so tense. I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next. And it's told in a way that takes you on Malorie's current journey while taking the reader back to when it all began. To a time when the world started to fall apart and she'd just found out she was pregnant. To when she decided to head out until she reached a safe house and met a bunch of survivors who made life worth living. Their positive attitudes and kindness kept them going for a while, but even that soon starts to crumble.

It's really great to watch the past and present unfold to reveal the core of each story.

This tale is a great study of how hard, or how easy--depending on the person--it is to break someone's mind. Is it the weak-minded who lose it when they see these creatures, or is everyone affected? Not to mention how even after something so serious is going on, there's always at least one asshole left to ruin everything.

I loved this very unique, frightening story not just because of the subject matter and the characters, but also because of the way it was written. This is fantastic!

Friday 31 October 2014

NEXT OF KIN by Dan Wells

Next of KinNext of Kin by Dan Wells
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the John Cleaver trilogy about a teenage psychopath who quiets his murderous thoughts by killing demons. So when I found out that more books were on their way and this novella ties them together... I decided to check it out ASAP.

The novella is in the POV of a different character. His name is Elijah and he's one of the 'demons'. An ancient creature that steals dead people's thoughts because his own are fading fast.

He keeps to himself and has a job, but when one particular person's memories haunt him with the love the man felt for his wife, he finds himself seeking her out. And because he's been watched by some of his kind, he puts this innocent woman in danger. Does he love her enough to save her?

I really enjoyed this story. It was great to read about a different character in this world, while getting the monster's POV. Also, it was cool to see John through someone else's eyes.

It's that time of the year...

Hope you all have an awesome day filled with spooky books and creepy movies.
And if you happen to cross paths with Michael Myers, just remember that this is the time of the year where he shines most. So, turn and run the other way! ;)
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