Wednesday 28 June 2017


Bring Me the Head of Ivy Pocket
Our magnificently infuriating heroine is on the very brink of her greatest adventure: bound for London and Prospa House to save Anastasia Radcliff and young Rebecca Butterfield from fates worse than death. But there are difficulties at every turn. The devious Miss Always and her devilish Locks are in hot pursuit. Anastasia is gone, taken by her evil sister-in-law Estelle and hidden in a place no one will ever find her. And worst of all, the Clock Diamond is no longer working, blocking Ivy's route to Prospa. There's a mystery to be unpicked and if anyone can do it, it's Ivy Pocket. After all, she has all the natural instincts of a Russian chess master.

You might remember that I absolutely loved the first and second Ivy Pocket books because they were such hilarious fun! Ivy's adventures are always zany, dangerous, and her quick wit is balanced out by her somewhat clueless nature and random insults.

Yes, our Ivy is a girl of many talents and I was excited to read her final book.

Ivy Pocket is once again on her own, and she has a mission. She's going to free the imprisoned Anastasia from the madhouse, and will then reunite her with her lost child. Plus, she's going to slip into another world to rescue her lost friend Rebecca. But while on her way to London, the devious Miss Always and her nefarious Locks track her down.

Before she knows it, Ivy is on the run. But that won't stop her from pursuing her mission. Nothing is going to stop her, and that includes being homeless and penniless. She has a perfectly good pair of snooping ears, connections and some serious plans. Not even feeling sick and wearing an unresponsive Clock Diamond can dampen her spirits.

So when a little good fortune comes her way, first she offers a home to two kind women in need, and then sets out to Butterfield Park. Back where some of the trouble began and will surely come to an end...

Well. That was quite the adventure! Poor Ivy sure goes through a LOT in this book, but in usual fashion, she's able to take it all in stride. 

Ivy Pocket is a survivor, and if she can't outwit her enemies, she'll accidentally set the wheels of hilarity in motion. Or even frustrate them so much they become virtually useless. LOL.

One of my favourite things about the conclusion to this super fun trilogy is how all the events, people and places she met along the way provided such relevant breadcrumbs to the conclusion of her tale. It's all quite clever.

Bring Me the Head of Ivy Pocket is another quirky and really fun book that kept me hooked until the very satisfying conclusion. As expected, Ivy's witty fibs and miraculous remedies take centre stage, but this time with surprising results. Her blatant disregard for etiquette always cracks me up. I loved how this story turned out, and enjoyed the pace at which the mysteries were slowly revealed, yet kept coming until The End.

I also got a kick out of catching up with so many familiar characters. And once again thought that the female representation was vast and varied. It's also effortless, which is even more wonderful.

Oh, and the illustrations were very nice too.

Well, that's it. While I'm sad that the trilogy is over, I'm very happy to have shared this adventure with Ivy.

Thank you Bloomsbury Australia!

Bring Me the Head of Ivy Pocket, June 2017, ISBN 9781408858721, Bloomsbury Childrens

Monday 26 June 2017

Multitasking Time & Stories

The other day I posted this tweet on Twitter:

Writing is hard work. But it's also exciting, fun, something I'm compelled to do, and yes... even cool. :)

I have a bunch of ideas cluttering my brain at any given time, but when I get stuck into a WIP I usually get so consumed by the story I'm working on that I hardly have time to devote to other projects.

This is EXACTLY what happened this month. I spent the last 4 weeks writing the first draft of my YA horror novel about a bunch of kids and the scary stories they tell each other. Every spare moment I had during the day was spent adding new words, or figuring out what was coming next.

But this time I decided to do things a little differently:
  • Writing during the day
  • Note-taking during the afternoon
  • Researching other stories at night

It's amazing how much you can get done on your phone while sitting on the couch with hubby and watching Judge Judy on YouTube. LOL.

After a day full of words, the evenings are a good time to let my mind wander and lose myself in the possibility of other worlds and characters. So I collected heaps of inspirational pics, researched a bunch of concepts, named characters, made relevant graphics, and then sorted through all the files I created for easier (future) access.

Not only is this super productive, but I also had a lot of fun planning ahead. I now have about 6 ideas at different stages, and another I've just started to develop.

All of this has worked out very well, but there's one thing that suffered: reading. Working on stories fills my brain with so much I become obsessed with what's inside my head and don't have time for anyone else's stories. *cries*

Now that my current WIP is done, my new challenge will be to add reading time to the mix! I definitely want to keep developing these new ideas between projects and want to allocate more writing/revising time, but I need to include my reading habit back into the routine. I have TOO many books on my TBR pile not to.

Wish me luck!

Thursday 22 June 2017

Current WIP: Week Four

Welcome to my fourth current WIP update! :)

This week, I was more concerned with figuring out how the downward spiral of this novel was going to play out, rather than the daily word count, but still ended up with several 5k days. That's mostly because I got so caught up in what was happening that my fingers went nuts over the keyboard and I didn't want to stop. LOL.

It's almost magical when that happens.

Reaching the stage where the story has totally taken over my brain means I'm constantly thinking ahead. Or taking notes of things I don't want to forget. Or deciding to add stuff after the scene has already been written. O.o

Yep. That means backtracking, which I did several times this week. But that's cool. The process for writing this story has been a little different from the start, but it definitely worked.

So, here's my daily w/c progress for this week:

Monday: 57,523 (added 5501w)
Tuesday: 61,225 (added 3702w)
Wednesday: 66,425 (added 5200w)
Thursday: 70,035 (added 3610w)

That's right. I finished the first draft today! I'm very excited about this particular novel because it's lived inside my brain for several months now. I visualised a lot of what was going to happen constantly, like a never-ending pesky movie that wouldn't stop until it was written.

And now it's done!

So. What now? Well, I'm going to post this update a day earlier than usual and will take tomorrow off. I wonder if anything will pop up during the next few days... If that happens, I'll either start a revision list or go back and add/tweak some last-minute things next week.

Well, that's it for now. Hubby and I are going to watch Wonder Woman again on Saturday.

It might be a bit early to say this, but: enjoy your weekend!

SAGA #43 by Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I absolutely LOVED the Saga series, and that shocking cliffhanger ending in the last volume was a killer. So when I found #43 available for 25c at Amazon, of course I had to buy a copy for my Kindle!

Yikes! What a sequel. I honestly didn't expect things to take such a morbid turn as far as what happened with Alana's pregnancy. So sad and disturbing, and I'm wondering where it's going.

The gang is back and they're on a planet that is under Landfall's jurisdiction, which means that Marko, Hazel and Petrichor have to hide so no one sees their horns. While Alana looks for someone to help with her problem. But when they're attacked by shitty people (LMAO!), something bizarre happens to Alana!

I really enjoyed this new arc. The story continues to be interesting, the artwork is still beautiful, the world bizarre, and I do believe I'm once again addicted.

Oh, and I found the social commentary--about women's bodies, transgender issues, racial tensions--to be very well done, and unfortunately, also too familiar.

Looking forward to reading more...

Friday 16 June 2017

Current WIP: Week Three

Welcome to my third current WIP update! :)

This week started with a public holiday so I only added new words from Tuesday-Friday. I actually compensated for missing this day while putting together my goals for June, so it wasn't a big deal.

I might not have written on Monday, but I took a bunch of notes and even made a few graphics relating to my WIP. I've reached that point in the story when it's ALWAYS ON MY MIND, because things are starting to click into place and I'm definitely past the halfway mark.


I'm having a great time writing this first draft and am getting a kick out of all the creepy stuff I'm adding. I love creepy, freaky books about girls, which means I'm loving how vividly these scenes are playing out inside my head.

Anyway, here's my daily w/c progress for this week: 

  • Monday: 36,084  (added 0w) 
  • Tuesday: 41,101 (added 5017w) 
  • Wednesday: 45,191 (added 4090w) 
  • Thursday: 48,614 (added 3423w) 
  • Friday: 52,022 (added 3408w)

Not bad. :)

Like I said above, I'm so caught up in the story that I didn't grab a new book to read. O.M.F.G. How is that even possible?! Guess I'll have to make it up next week. LOL.

BTW, do you know what I noticed today? While updating my word count spreadsheet, I realised that my ytd w/c is currently sitting at 117,098. We're halfway through the year and I've already surpasses my total w/c for 2016. Last year I wrote 110,543 words. That's a pretty good total, but I was hoping to write more this year, so I'm really happy with my progress.

Well, that's it for now.

Have a nice weekend!

Friday 9 June 2017

Current WIP: Week Two

Welcome to my second current WIP update! :)

This week turned out to be a little topsy-turvy because I had a few real life things to deal with. I had an appointment to go to, my daughter started school later than usual a few times, and just basic headspace stuff that sucked up more time than expected.

Nothing huge, and not enough to completely derail my progress. Though I did miss one writing day. But I'm not stressing about it. For this draft, I promised myself that getting 2k done on any given day was fine & dandy.

I've given myself a whole month to get this done, and I'm pretty sure I'm still on schedule. Well, I'm actually ahead of my target word count because the story was already started, but you know how neurotic writers can be. At least, I am. Sometimes.

Anyway, here's my daily w/c progress for this week:
  • Monday: 27,394  (added 3273w) 
  • Tuesday: 27,394 (added 0w) 
  • Wednesday: 29,517 (added 2123w) 
  • Thursday: 32,183 (added 2666w) 
  • Friday: 36,084 (added 3901w)

The story itself is moving along nicely. There's plenty of creepy stuff happening, the plot gets darker and thicker, and I'm enjoying the hint of romance. Not to mention that I really like my main character.

Plus I'm having a great time researching urban legends and other freaky stories from around the world. It's so much fun!

I squeezed in a bit of reading and loved this super geeky book.

Well, the weekend is here and this one goes for three days, so yay.

Have a nice one!

Thursday 8 June 2017


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OMG. This was such an AWESOME book! I loved every second of it. I borrowed it from the library and enjoyed it SO much I'm pretty sure I'll eventually buy my own copy.

Charlie, Taylor and Jamie are best friends from Melbourne, and they're in the U.S. to attend their first ever SupaCon. Charlie is there to promo her YouTube channel and the indy movie she was in. Taylor is excited about the possibility of meeting her favourite author. Jamie is there to geek out and have a blast with his friends.

All three might have their own reasons for wanting to be at SupaCon, but their friendship comes first. And although they were counting on a good time, each one gets to experience so much more than they expected...

Like I said above, this book was a blast. It's told in the POV of Charlie and Taylor, two very different girls with their own hopes and dreams. I adored both of their voices and just wanted to hug them because they're so adorkable!

Seriously, this book is a total geek-out and I got a huge kick out of all the very familiar pop culture references. Oh, and the diversity is absolutely excellent! All representation was so smooth, just there. Which is how it should be because real life is like that, right?

I also liked the two romances. They're both sweet, full of confusion, a few misunderstandings, and a whole bunch of cuteness. I loved all the characters. Um, no, that's not true. I didn't like Reese one little bit. He was such an annoying pesky fly. Ugh. He sucked!

Anyway, I think this book is fantastic and I'm really glad I got the chance to experience it. Because it seriously is quite the experience. I thought the author did a great job at putting the reader in the heart of the convention. The sense of atmosphere was vivid.

This book is cute, fun and full of dorky goodness.

Friday 2 June 2017

Current WIP: Week One

It's June and I have a goal. I'd like to write the first draft of my latest YA horror idea.

As I mentioned the other day, this week I got stuck into a new story. Well, it's a new story now that I'm working on it, but I wrote almost 8k words back in March. So I spent the first 3 days reading the 27 pages I already had, and I'm quite happy with how it's shaping up. 

It was cool to get back into the narrator's voice and the way her life changed after something awful happened. I also enjoyed getting to know the other characters and even found myself injecting a bunch of extra details I'd come up with since first starting this draft

I'm really excited about this story for several reasons:
  • My heroine
  • Urban legends
  • Potential creepy factor
  • The research
I've always found urban legends--urban myths, ghost stories, folktales, campfire stories, small town tales--fascinating. Whatever you want to call them, I love reading about them. And they feed my inspiration, too.

It feels good to get back into a novel-sized story, especially one that's been living inside my head for months. And even then, it's managed to surprise me along the way.

By the end of Wednesday the initial 27 pages had turned into 41. O.o I added a new first chapter, have decided on how to label the chapters, figured out some stuff that was unclear, and got back into the swing of things enough to propel me forward.

Anyway, here's my daily w/c + reading progress:

Monday: 10,306 (added 2,342w + read 16/27pgs)
Tuesday: 12,377 (added 2,071w + read 28/32pgs)
Wednesday: 15,728 (added 3,351w + read 41/41pgs)
Thursday: 19,789 (added 4,061w)
Friday: 24,121 (added 4332w)

I was hoping to reach 15k by the end of this week, so I'm super excited about this progress.

Well, that wraps up my first week of this WIP.

I'm going to take the weekend off to recharge, think about what's to come, and go watch Wonder Woman.

Have a good one!


The arranged marriage YA romcom you didn't know you wanted or needed... 

 Meet Dimple. 
 Her main aim in life is to escape her traditional parents, get to university and begin her plan for tech world domination. 

 Meet Rishi.
 He's rich, good-looking and a hopeless romantic. His parents think Dimple is the perfect match for him, but she's got other plans... 

 Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways. 

This is a book that I've seen mentioned on Goodreads for several months now. The reactions were so positive that I just had to read it myself. I mean, the story sounds interesting and the cover's cute and bright, so why wouldn't I want to check it out? :)

So, thank you Hachette Australia for sending me a copy. 

Dimple has just finished high school and has ambitions of joining the technology world. To help this happen, she's hoping her parents let her attend a six-week program during summer. As much as her mother encourages her to find a suitable husband, Dimple's plans don't include a relationship. So when her parents agree to let her go to Insomnia Con, she can't believe her luck.

Rishi is a traditional kind of guy from a wealthy family. He's the eldest son and is determined to please his parents because he wants them to be proud. So he's going to study engineering in college. When his parents pick a potential future wife for him, he's all for it and agrees to attend a summer program that'll get him closer to her.

When these two meet in San Francisco, sparks fly instantly. But not the fireworks Rishi was hoping for. Dimple is determined to push Rishi away because she wants to concentrate on her work. But the more time she spends with him and gets to know him, the more she realises he's actually a very nice, fun and loyal guy. Will that be enough to change her predetermined path? 

Well, people were right about this book. It's definitely worth reading. It's a lighthearted story of calamities, the search for independence and finding unexpected love. There are a lot of ups and plenty of downs, but all of it was interesting.

The story is told in the POV of both Dimple and Rishi, which really helps move the story at a nice pace. This also serves to provide personal insight into each character when they're together as well as when they're apart.

My favourite POV was Rishi. I found him to have such a caring soul. Initially I thought he might be pushy in his determination to follow tradition, but he was the complete opposite. He was so nice! Actually, the more I read, the more I liked him. Which was the opposite of how I felt about Dimple. The more I read, the less I liked her. Until I got to the point where I really disliked how she acted after a certain incident, and thought the way she treated Rishi was unfair and immature. 

I also have to admit that compared to the rest of the book, I found the downward spiral to the end quite weak. Some of what was going on seemed to be glossed over, too. Which was disappointing because the rest of the story was SO GOOD.

Anyway, in spite of these few niggly things, I really enjoyed this very colourful and original book.

When Dimple Met Rishi is a fun and super cute romcom with heart. It's a love story between an ambitious and very independent girl who wants to pursue her dreams, no matter what. It's also the story of a traditional boy who wants to make his family happy above all else. While Dimple wants to take charge of her own future and dreams, Rishi is willing to put them aside for others.

When you combine both, you get a lighthearted book with a lot of cool things.

When Dimple Met Rishi, May 2017, ISBN 9781473667402, Hodder Paperbacks
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