Tuesday 30 May 2017

Time for a New WIP!

Um, okay. Technically, that's not correct. And yet, it is.

Although I am getting stuck into a new WIP, I have a bit of a head start. Why? Well, that's what I thought I'd talk about today. I did mention this on Twitter yesterday when I posted my daily update, but it would take too many tweets to recap everything.

If you read this update post, then you already know what I'm talking about. And if you read this one, you also know what happened initially.

Back in March I started writing what I thought would be a short story that I wanted to sub to an anthology. I was aiming for 10-12k words. But when I wrote 5k the first day and almost 3k the second, I knew right away that the story had longer potential. There was no way I could squeeze the scope of these characters and their story into those w/c limitations.

So I put it aside. But not before taking a bunch of notes and setting up a folder to add/collect inspirational pics and research stuff. Then I got stuck into a different shortie, one that I did sub to the market I had in mind.

After that I took a bit of a break because of school holidays, annual leave and just general real life stuff. But I continued to brainstorm, collect pics and a bunch of relevant research.

Last week, I decided to work on the first draft during June. But because the month starts midweek, I'm already working on it.

Yesterday, I opened the doc and added a new first chapter. Then I started reading the rest of what I'd already written. By the end of my writing session I'd reached page 16/27 and added 2,342 new words. That means that I've now reached 10,306 words.

Not bad for the first day, right? :P

I'd like to write 2-3k words/day, and am aiming for a 50-70k-word total. As long as I get this story out of my head, I'm not too concerned about the initial draft's word count. I've been carrying this story in my head for several months now and it's definitely time to let it spill onto the page.

The reason for the (slightly) smaller daily word-count target is because of the headstart and because I want to squeeze in some brainstorming for another story whenever possible.

So, what's this current WIP about? As you can probably tell by the above graphic (which I made from a photo I took), it's about urban legends, suburban myths, and ghost stories. With a demonic twist, of course. It's a YA horror, which happens to be the  type of ideas my brain/muse has been feeding me lately.

And I'm totally okay with that.

I've been a horror fan most of my life, so it's not surprising that these are the stories I'm conjuring up during a new path in my writing adventure. :)

Well, there you have it. For June, there will be no new short story--just like there wasn't in May--but I'm working on a novel.

Wish me luck!

Saturday 27 May 2017

BLOODSHIFTED by Cassie Alexander

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Edie Spence urban fantasy series is one of my faves. So I've been putting off reading the last book. Don't ask me why, but I do this all the time. O_o

Anyway. This week, I decided it was time to find out how her tale ends.

After almost dying on the cruise from hell, Edie finds herself tied to a vampire. She'd rather not be, but it was the only thing that would guarantee her survival. The only way to give her unborn baby a chance at life. Only problem is that she's now a daytimer. She's got Raven's blood in her, and while it makes her stronger, it also means she's hidden away in the catacombs beneath a nightclub in LA.

Edie is basically a slave, but to make the time go faster, she throws herself into the work of cleaning and serving and trying to stay out of trouble. But with a few Shadows tagging along, an ancient vampire invading her dreams, and the other daytimers to compete with, she has to keep her wits and be willing to do whatever it takes to survive. Even if it means she has to surrender to a darkness she never expected...

Wow. I knew this book would be good, but I didn't expect to be so captivated by every page that I didn't want to put it down. Oh, okay, I did expect that. LOL.

Edie has been through a LOT, but what she goes through in this book is heart-wrenching. In order to keep her baby safe, she's separated from the man she loves, her family and her friends. And although she finds herself sinking fast into darkness, she fights it all the way. That's one of the best things about Edie. That no matter what she has to do or how far she's pushed, she never forgets she's a nurse and her need to help others always wins.

I really enjoyed this last gruelling adventure, but I'm sad to see her series end. I would've loved to find out what happened to Anna, and to her latest ally. Plus it would've been awesome to meet her baby. But I had a great time reading this series and all five books will permanently have a place on my keeper shelf.

Tuesday 23 May 2017


The Fallen Children has one cover design but 360 different colourways. Each one is numbered from 1 to 360 on the spine. The colour you receive will be completely random.

Young people on the Midwich Estate don't have much hope for their futures. Keisha has lived there her whole life, and has been working hard to escape it; others have just accepted their lot.
But change is coming...

One night everyone inside Midwich Tower falls mysteriously unconscious in one inexplicable 'Nightout'. No one can explain what happened during those lost hours, but soon afterwards Keisha and three other girls find they're pregnant - and the babies are growing at an alarming rate.

As the news spreads around the tower its residents turn against them and the situation spirals toward violence. Keisha's life unravels as she realises that the pregnancy may not have just ruined her hopes for the future: she might be mother to the end of the world.

I have to admit that I've never read The Midwich Cuckoos, but I have seen The Village of the Damned, so I do have a clue about the main story elements tying into this book. And I was very interested in checking it out.

The Midwich Tower houses a lot of people. The kinds of people society sometimes forgets. The kinds of people who constantly face economic struggles. The kids are judged even more harshly than the adults, because no one expects them to have an actual future.

Yet, the night when everyone inside the tower falls asleep at the same time, something weird happens. Most have no idea what happened but soon after, three teenagers and one woman find out they're pregnant. Someone--or something--violated the four and they suddenly find themselves facing the consequences, as well as the judgemental residents who know something weird has happened and fear the girls. After the babies are born and grow unnaturally fast, the fear soon turns to anger. If these four are going to survive they'll have to stick together, which isn't as easy as it sounds when they face so many internal and external obstacles...

Yikes. This book hooked me in from the very beginning. As soon as the story starts, the ominous feeling creeps through and doesn't stop until the very last word.

The story is told in the alternating POV of Keisha, Siobhan, Maida and Morris. Each teen gives the story its own perspective and delves deep into how this is affecting each one individually and as a group.

Keisha has tried so hard to be a good student, by distancing herself from her friends, to hopefully escape a dead-end future. Morris can't catch a break, has borrowed money from dangerous people and desperately wants to get back with Keisha. Siobhan doesn't trust that Keisha won't bail out on their friendship again and hates the predicament she's now in. Maida has very strict and religious parents she wants to defy and escape, and maybe this is her chance.

While I enjoyed all the POVs because they help round out the story so well, my favourite was Keisha. She tried so hard to become more than everyone expects and is doing so well, but the universe has other plans for her. Plans she never expected or wanted, but link her to the others deeper than she ever imagined.

I loved how the realness of everyone's living standards, and the daily pressures they put up with, is balanced out by the bizarre events that change all of their lives. The children are super creepy but I also felt sorry for them. None of what happened is their fault, or their mothers' fault, but circumstance forces them to play their part to survive.

The Fallen Children is a fast-paced, often violent, yet always intoxicating story. I struggled to put it down because I just had to know what was going to happen next. The air of mystery throughout kept me turning the pages because I couldn't get enough. It's part contemporary, part SciFi, part supernatural, and totally awesome.

Oh, and the design I received was 131/360, which is the blue cover.

I can't help but wonder if there's going to be a sequel...

The Fallen Children, May 2017, ISBN 9780349002699, Atom

Saturday 20 May 2017

Thinking Ideas

Last week I posted this tweet:

While that's totally true, shortly after posting it, I realised that since my daughter went back to school several weeks ago, I haven't started writing anything new. Asides from book reviews, that is.

So, I decided to write a blog post.  :)

The main reason why I haven't gotten stuck into anything new is because I've got a bunch of ideas, thoughts, scenes, characters, etc. crowding my brain. At the same time. 

Unfortunately, when that happens, I get so cluttered that I can't settle on a single project because I want to write EVERY STORY RIGHT NOW. o.O And of course I can't. It kinda sucks, but it's all part of my process. And I'm not going to stress about it.

Instead, I've been filling my days with reading, writing reviews, sorting and real-life stuff. But I also pulled out my Idea Folder and Idea Notebooks, to start combing through the most immediate and loud ones. The weird thing is, that one of the strongest is a newish idea that hit me upside the head a few weekends ago. Bizarre, but true.

I'm actually having a good time picking out names, inspirational pics, researching and taking notes for the two loudest ideas. I also pulled out my Moleskine planner and made a rough plan about what to work on and when. It's flexible, but if I write down my goals, it'll at least help me stay focused on one particular project at a time.

I'm just happy that the ideas keep coming. Even if they try to overwhelm me, having to sort through a bunch of them is better than not having any at all.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday 16 May 2017

THE LANGUAGE OF DYING by Sarah Pinborough

Tonight is a special terrible night.

A woman sits at her father's bedside, watching the clock tick away the last hours of his life. Her brothers and sisters - all broken, their bonds fragile - have been there for the past week, but now she is alone.

And that's when it always comes.

The clock ticks, the darkness beckons.

If it comes at all.

I'm a big fan of Sarah Pinborough's writing. She certainly has a way with words and knows how to spin an addictive tale so well the reader gets pulled into the thick of things and can't stop until the very last word.

I was very excited about reading this one, and thanks to Hachette Australia, I did. :)

When the father she's caring for is so close to death that it feels like a dark shadow consuming the house, she knows she has to call her siblings. They deserve the chance to say their goodbyes and see their formerly robust father one last time. But inviting them back into their family home also rouses a lot of memories.

Some memories are good and somewhat coloured by the innocence of childhood. Others are peppered with pain. And most hold some sort of sadness. But she relives everything one last time, knowing that their father's death might also be the end of their family...

Wow. This book is dark. Heartbreaking. Emotionally beautiful. Uncomfortable. And so very raw.

The narrator's struggle is so vivid that by the end, I felt like I'd always known her. For a book so enriched in sorrow and grief, it sure is wonderful. Because beneath the darkest of thoughts, the many tragic actions, and the heavy bereavement, is a thread of magic. A little magical promise that no matter how strange and dangerous and bleak everything might seem, a sliver of hope is also possible.

The Language of Dying is a very powerful story about family, memories and what life does to people. Sarah Pinborough took a very sad and awful subject and turned it into an unforgettable experience. Every single word in this novella is vital and brings the reader closer to the inevitable, whimsical conclusion.

BTW, this hardback edition is very nice.

As expected, I thoroughly enjoyed another one of this author's books.

*looks for more titles to read*

The Language of Dying, February 2017, ISBN 9781782067542, Jo Fletcher Books

Tuesday 9 May 2017

MY SISTER by Michelle Adams

My name is Irini. I was given away. 
My name is Elle. I was kept. 

 All her life Irini thought she was given away because her family didn't want her. What if the truth is something worse? 

Two sisters. Two separate lives. One family bound by a harrowing secret. 

I'm a sucker for an intriguing psychological thriller, so of course I wanted to read this. Especially since that cover is so freaky.

Irini lives in London with her boyfriend. She's a doctor, currently working as an anaesthetist in a hospital. Her life isn't exactly comfortable or happy or good, but she survives. When her estranged sister--the one she's managed to avoid for six years--calls out of the blue to tell her their mother has died, she can't resist her. And just like it has every other time Elle has tracked her down, Irini's life is thrown into turmoil.

Elle is older, pretty, demanding and unstable. She's the one her parents kept. And has come in and out of Irini's life for years, always bringing along a mix of excitement, belonging and violence.

Irini isn't going to Scotland so she can pay her final respects to a mother she hardly knew, she's going because she wants to finally get answers to the questions that have always haunted her: why was she sent off to live with her aunt and uncle when she was three? And why didn't her parents want her?

Soon after arriving at the family home to find a detached father and staff obviously keeping secrets, she settles back into the toxic relationship she's always had with her sister. What she didn't expect was to stumble on explanations that run deeper than she ever imagined...

Yikes. This story is all kinds of messed up. It was seriously screwed up.

These two sisters are so toxic together that I found myself constantly cringing, and hoping that Irini would just forget about the past and leave that suffocating old house. But of course, she doesn't. She can't.

Pretty much every character in this book is somehow damaged. From the parents willing to do the unthinkable to protect their child, to the townfolk passing silent judgement, to the boyfriend so determined to break down the emotional walls between them, and even the man she meets via Elle. But the most damaged of all are the Harringford sisters.

Irini, with her constant need to find out the truth and always putting herself down about her disability. Elle, with her despicable cruelty masking something much darker. These two were awful together, and just as bad apart. I despised every bit of page time spent with Elle because she was so cruel and horrible. Her words cut deep into her sister, but she didn't seem to care. Also, although Irini was interesting, she still managed to get on my nerves a lot. Her passiveness is too much. She takes shit from just about everyone and shuts herself off from anyone trying to get close. While I totally understood why, it drove me crazy how she gave up so easily.

Actually, the story did get a bit frustrating in some sections because it takes quite a while for everything to be revealed. Plus, it's sometimes hard to watch how easily Irini lets her sister lead her down a dark and hurtful path. Still, it's a good book because no matter what, it kept me glued to the page.

My Sister is a tense and very disturbing psychological thriller that keeps the reader interested until the truth starts becoming clearer, and there's no denying what's going on. Although some of the twist does become obvious early on, it's still worth discovering everything else at the same time as Irini, because there are several unexpected surprises.

Yep. This is definitely a creepy story.

My Sister, April 2017, ISBN 9781472236586, Headline

Friday 5 May 2017

COOKIE JAR by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been meaning to read this story for months, but kept forgetting. Today I decided it was time to finally read it, and I'm glad I did.

When young Dale visits his 90-year-old great-grandfather Rhett for a school assignment, the two connect on a level that reaches past the many years between them. Rhett shares a very personal story about the weird life and death of his strange mother, as well as the fictional place she imagined. Plus the miraculous cookie jar that never runs out of cookies...

Stephen King sure can tell a story. Not only was this interesting and full of wonder, but the sights and smell were vivid. There's so much emotion packed into this short story: sadness, happiness, the horror of war, the emotional scars of loss, and the mental ones war imprints on those on the frontline.

This is quite a tale! It's beautifully written, filled me with sadness, but ultimately made me crave a cookie. LOL.

But seriously, this is a great story that leaves you wondering long past the last word...

BETRAYALS by Kelley Armstrong


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the previous three books in the Cainsville series, so of course I was looking forward to reading this one.

Olivia Taylor-Jones hasn't been the same since she found out the truth about her parents. Her average, content life took on a new path and revealed connections she didn't know existed. It also comes with a downside. The privileged Chicago family who raised her aren't actually her biological parents. Her parents are high-profile convicted serial killers who are both in prison, and the reason why the Larsens killed is directly related to Liv and their family's hidden origin.

She can see omens, and has visions that reveal valuable information, but are dangerous and take a toll on her body. During her latest vision, she comes across young girls being murdered. Lost girls who need her help and turn out to be a lot more than what they seem. And when Ricky's pulled into a police investigation, Liv finds herself discovering yet another facet in the world of the fae.

But if she's not careful, her life might turn out to be the one in danger. Again...

Yikes! So much happens in this book. It starts with a murder investigation and leads deeper into the ancient world of the fae. As usual, nothing is clear and instead is muddled with seemingly unrelated clues and betrayal at just about every step.

I love the love triangle in this series! Although Liv is happy with her boyfriend, Ricky, her boss and friend, Gabriel, is always there. Even when he seems to be distant and not concerned, his POV reveals a lot. And that's another thing I really enjoyed in this installment. Although it's primarily in Liv's POV, we get a few glimpses into Ricky and Gabriel. I just adore how their present lives are tied to the past lives of the three that came before them.

Betrayals is an intriguing, interesting, and very-well written addition to this dark and fascinating series. I love how all the loose threads are slowly tied, coming together gradually and ending in a shocking revelation that should've become clear sooner. And that's the beauty of this series. It hooks you in, takes you under and shares so much, but keeps withholding information.

I've heard that there's only one more book to go. That makes me sad because spending time in Cainsville is always a joy, but I am excited about finding out how it all ends.

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