Sunday 30 July 2017


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Last year I read an awesome book called The Accident Season, so when the next book by this author showed up on my local library's database, I put it in hold.

After a bonfire party where friends Olive and Rose drank a bit too much and can't remember most of what happened, they start to lose things. Some are simple things like a hairclip or a bracelet. Other things are a much bigger deal. Soon after the party, Olive can't find her friend, and when she does Rose seems sad and tries to avoid going to school.

Something strange happened that night, and it looks like everyone in town is going to have to pay somehow.

Things take a much stranger turn when random diary pages written by someone called Laurel begin to appear all over the place, at the same time that the girls meet three mysterious teenagers. Hazel, Ivy and Rowan are squatting in an abandoned housing estate and are clearly running from something, or someone.

But that doesn't matter because soon Olive and Rose find themselves drawn to these three. And when they find the spellbook, the five decide to use it to find their own personal losses. But using magic comes with a price and a sacrifice...

This book is so addictive! From the moment I started, I couldn't wait to find out where it was going to lead. The writing style is beautiful, and so captivating. The characters are intriguing and full of secrets and diversity. The story is magical and intriguing.

I have to admit that at first, there seemed to be too many characters and I had to get my bearings straight with each chapter POV change, but it didn't take long to get everything--and everyone--straight so I could immerse myself in the story. And when I did, I didn't want to put it down.

This story is charming and lovely and full of magic and loss. It's atmospheric, with such vivid imagery that I could see and feel everything described. There's also plenty of mystery and loss, as well as a very clever twisty path that becomes clearer the deeper you lose yourself in what's going on.

I obviously loved this excellent book that challenges what's real and what's not while entangling the past and present.

Can't wait to see what else this author comes up with.

Friday 28 July 2017


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Earlier this year I read Ira Levin's The Stepford Wives and REALLY enjoyed it. So when the Fiftieth Anniversary edition of Rosemary's Baby was on special, I grabbed it. :)

Just like The Stepford Wives, I know all about this story because I've seen the movie and had heard all about it even before then. And just like TSW, reading RB felt like discovering Rosemary's sad story for the first time. I got swept away instantly and couldn't stop.

Anyway, here are the story basics:

Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse move into a flashy NYC apartment building called the Bramford. This place has a reputation for freaky stuff, but that's not going to keep the young couple away. Guy is a struggling actor always looking for his big break, and Rosemary is the dutiful wife who takes care of the house while decorating and wishing for a baby.

Shortly after meeting their elderly neigbours, Roman and Minnie Castavet, good things start to happen. Guy gets a good part and Rosemary gets pregnant. But Guy spends too much time working or with the Castavets, and doesn't seem all that interested in the baby. The neighbours are very interested, though. Suddenly, they seem to be everywhere--willing to help out with vitamin drinks and good luck charms.

As her pregnancy moves along and Rosemary is constantly feeling ill, she starts to notice that something really strange is going on within these old walls... and she might be at the centre of it.

This story is SO GOOD. It's so well written and gets under your skin so much that the tension keeps building and building until the last word. This book is certainly a classic that I'm glad to have finally read.

I really liked Rosemary and found her to be a lot stronger and smarter than the other characters give her credit for. She's also likeable and her voice sincere. The story was as excellent as the very dark undertones shadowing the narrative all the way through. The other characters--even the pesky evil ones--were also very interesting. Actually, the only character I didn't like was her husband.

Guy is a total a-hole with only one thing on his mind: ambition. The way he treats Rosemary seems to be an extension of his acting career. Which makes what he does to her THAT MUCH WORSE! Still, I had to hate someone, right?

Once again, although this book deals with covens and the devil and other dark things, the true horror is how a woman is used and abused without a second thought. What these people do to Rosemary is despicable and so awful. And that she happens to be a pregnant woman with so much to lose during a time when even her body is out of her control, is chilling.

Although it's a story written so long ago and set in the mid-1960s, it still holds up. The only things I found cringy were the awkward and very dated way of referring to POC, as well as the Husband Takes Care Of Silly Little Wife thing. Luckily, neither of these things were enough to stop me from reading because (unfortunately) these were the attitudes of the time. But as I said above: cringy.

Asides from that, I loved this. It's another thought-provoking story that fills my head with so many thoughts that I'm sure I'll be thinking about this book for years to come.

Wednesday 26 July 2017

FRIEND REQUEST by Laura Marshall

When Louise Williams receives a message from someone left long in the past she feels sick. 

Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. 

Because Maria Weston has been missing for over twenty-five years. She was last seen the night of a school leavers' party, and the world believes her to be dead. Particularly Louise, who has lived her adult life knowing herself responsible for Maria's disappearance. But now Maria is back. Or is she? 

As Maria's messages start to escalate, Louise forces herself to reconnect with the old friends she once tried so hard to impress, to try to piece together exactly what happened that fateful night. But when another friend's body turns up in the woods outside their old school, Louise realises she can't trust anyone and that she must confront her own awful secret to discover the whole truth of what happened to Maria...

This is a thriller that caught my attention after I received an email from Hachette Australia. The premise sounded interesting, so I was very excited when I received a copy.

Louise Williams is a single mother with her own interior design business. She adores her four-year-old son, only has one real friend and a handful of colleagues she barely keeps in touch with. She mostly looks through Facebook to anonymously watch other people's lives, and only sees her ex-husband when she delivers their son for visitations.

Her life isn't exciting, but it's orderly and helps her move on from the haunting teenage events that never left her.

So when she gets a friend request from a girl she used to know in high school, her world is turned upside down. Maria Weston disappeared in 1989 and was presumed dead, so how can she be sending any messages? A simple message that affects Louise so much memories begin to drown her just as the paranoia of being watched threatens to engulf her.

When she decides to attend her high school reunion, everything intensifies. Because trying to piece together what really happened that night while desperately keeping her very incriminating actions secret, might put herself and son in grave danger...

Yikes! Wow. Okay.

I really enjoyed this book. It was very addictive, well written and SO interesting. Seriously, one of my favourite things about this story was the honest simplicity of Louise's everyday existence, and how the reader is so easily fooled into believing her life is average and boring, when it's anything but. There's so much hidden beneath the surface, and the pace of the revelations is perfect.

The characters are also an amazing feat. I mean, asides from Polly--who is awesome and such a good friend--there was so much to dislike about the characters. Even Louise frustrated me so much that sometimes I couldn't believe what she was actually doing, and hated how easily she lets others dominate her. But as the story moves along and we get to know her better, every reaction makes total sense. Louise might be all grown up but she never overcame her many teen failures and weaknesses. Her interactions with an old school 'friend' (because Sophie was never much of a friend)  confirms this.

Although the majority of the story takes place in 2016, there are several very insightful chapters that jump back to 1989.

Friend Request is an engrossing and very suspenseful story that hooked me in and kept me riveted to every page. It was seriously addictive, got into my brain and I couldn't wait for the secrets to be revealed. When they were, I wasn't disappointed.

This is a seriously awesome book, with several unexpected twists and turns.

Also, I love the cover. It's so creepy!

Friend Request, July 2017, ISBN 9780751568332, Sphere

Monday 24 July 2017

Long time no post!

Actually, that's not technically correct because I have posted several book reviews and even a Q&A with an Aussie author... but I haven't added any actual update posts for a while.

So, how are you?

This month has been an excellent one. We've enjoyed a bunch of adventures, had lotsa fun, done plenty of chilling, sleep-ins, relaxing with hubby,  and I'm now a year older. That's not so great, but you know.

Hubby took a two-week break at the beginning of July and it was AWESOME! (Especially since I thought he was home for one week and he surprised me with TWO!)

It was a break we both needed. And as I mentioned above, we went on several adventures. We watched Spider-Man: Homecoming (loved it!) and then hung out in the city, spent the best Monday ever in the city and Milson's Point (to do the Bridge Walk & visit Luna Park), walked to IKEA (which is always an adventure), went for two daily walks, caught up on some reading, watched several movies, bought a bunch of stationery & toys, found some jeans that fit super nice instead of falling down, and just enjoyed the hell out of spending time together.

Only problem is how hard returning to our real-life routine turned out to be. LOL. Last week was a little harder than usual and felt plenty wonky. Which is why I spent most of it sorting my toy, stationery and book clutter.

This week, it's time to deal with my brain clutter.

See, although we did take it easy during hubby's annual leave, my mind kept working. A bunch of idea snippets started to develop into something more solid, which is always cool. So I found myself adding inspirational pics, character names, research, and even started seeing scenes play out in my mind. When this happens, I make sure to set up files and keep adding things as they come.

It's an awesome process, really.

So, there you have it. This is what I've been doing lately. What have you been up to?

Have a great day!

Friday 21 July 2017

THE GIRL IN BETWEEN by Sarah Carroll

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I borrowed this book from the library because the blurb sounded intriguing, the cover is amazing (not this one, the other one) and it was added on a YA must-read list. :)

Sam and Ma live in an abandoned mill in the city. Their home is old, boarded up, the floorboards are in bad shape and the old machinery is mostly still there. Sam doesn't care about that because this is their Castle, and they live a somewhat comfortable life. But the best thing is that Sam feels safe, because as long as she stays hidden within the walls of The Castle, the Authorities can't take her from her mother.

Ma is feeling better and only takes off to buy food or to find new furniture or to beg for coins. While her mother is away, Sam watches people on the street and finds the painful memories that brought them here surfacing vividly.

As ghosts start to stir in the shadows and structural developments increase in the buildings around them, Sam might stumble onto the most shocking memory of all...

This book is amazing. It's so well written that I was captivated by Sam's voice and her story instantly. OMG. This is such a powerful story about a child forced to live on the streets because of her mother's many mistakes and addictions.

I went through so many emotions while reading this book, and read the bulk of it today because I couldn't put it down. I got so angry at her mother's selfish nature one minute, and then felt sorry for her the next. But mostly I couldn't believe she dragged her young daughter into so many dangerous situations. :(

Even though it was very sad, I really enjoyed Sam's story. In spite of being hidden away and living in isolation because her childhood was stolen from her, she was still willing to learn and always found ways to keep herself entertained. Not to mention that no matter what, she's super loyal to her mother.

Yeah. There's a lot to love in this book.

The story delves into some very serious topics: homelessness, addiction, the effect bad decisions have on innocent children, the harsh reality some people face on a daily basis. All of these situations are treated honestly, with respect and certainly moved me to the point where I wanted Sam's story to end happily.

And lastly, although I worked out the twist at the end, I still definitely loved this book and think it's worth checking out.

Q&A with Angela Slatter

Today I have a guest on my blog.   

 Angela Slatter is an Aussie author of dark fantasy and horror with a slant of mythology thrown into the mix.

The second book in her Verity Fassbinder urban fantasy series has just been released, and I was lucky enough to read an ARC copy. It's quite the mythological ride.

Hi Angela, and thank you for popping in today!

Thanks so much for inviting me, Yolanda!

I read VIGIL last year and really enjoyed it. I was hooked! So I couldn't wait to get stuck into the second book, CORPSELIGHT. How did you come up with the concept of old myth and legends co-existing with humans in an Australian contemporary setting?

It’s very much founded in ideas about how we bring our mythologies and legends with us, and that a lot of us have these tales from our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents, etc, that are handed down … even though we’re no longer living in the countries that spawned us! I’m quite fascinated by how stories and our ghosts travel with us, and then change when immersed in a new atmosphere, rather like humans change when they shift and travel to a different place, and stay there for a time.

Verity's adventure began as a short story, didn't it? At what stage did you realise there was enough story to become a novel-sized series/trilogy?

Ha! When my friend Jonathan Strahan said “This would make a great novel!” and then publishers started asking “So, where’s the novel!?”

It was a big process of mental evolution to get myself into the headspace where I could think differently about the story and how it might look in a larger setting. That took a while!

What came first: Verity, the world, or the plot?

Verity. It’s always characters with me, I get their voices in my head, they start talking to me. Then I start thinking about where they fit in the universe, what environments they bounced around in … and then I start thinking about how to make life difficult for them.

I'm a huge fan of urban fantasy because it mixes the best parts of so many different genres. And reading a series set in Australia is always extra awesome. What was it about Brisbane that made it the perfect setting? Did you always plan to set it in Brisbane?

I think that for me, having been away from Brisbane for four years, it was really interesting to see the city again and to view it with new eyes. I also use public transport (I don’t drive), so that’s a really good way to see things in a different fashion, you’re not separated from other humans in quite the same way (of course, that’s not always a good thing!). And because I was also walking a lot I was seeing and exploring places I normally wouldn’t, or wouldn’t have paid attention to … and I’m kind of naturally inclined to imagine weird things in ordinary places anyway! 

And lastly, is the world of the Weyrd open ended, or do you have a set number of books in mind for Verity & Co?

Well, as with every series it depends entirely on how the books are received by readers as to whether or not a publisher decides to go ahead with other books. I have a second trilogy plotted out, but whether or not I will write it is another matter! I wrote the first trilogy to be self-contained, but there are definite possibilities. I’d love to take Verity back to Europe to investigate her family there, but we’ll just have to see what happens.

Thank you so much for answering all of my questions, and I look forward to reading more of your books.

You’re more than welcome!


There you have it! I hope you enjoyed reading the Q&A as much as I did. 

I'd once again like to say thanks to Angela for stopping by today and answering all of my questions. 

I look forward to reading more of her books. 

Plus, I'd also like to thank Jessica from Hachette Australia for sending me an ARC, and passing on my questions. :)

Wednesday 19 July 2017

GIRLHOOD by Cat Clarke

Harper has tried to forget the past and fit in at expensive boarding school Duncraggan Academy. Her new group of friends are tight; the kind of girls who Harper knows have her back. But Harper can't escape the guilt of her twin sister's Jenna's death, and her own part in it - and she knows noone else will ever really understand. 

But new girl Kirsty seems to get Harper in ways she never expected. She has lost a sister too. Harper finally feels secure. She finally feels...loved. As if she can grow beyond the person she was when Jenna died. 

Then Kirsty's behaviour becomes more erratic. Why is her life a perfect mirror of Harper's? And why is she so obsessed with Harper's lost sister? Soon, Harper's closeness with Kirsty begins to threaten her other relationships, and her own sense of identity. 

How can Harper get back to the person she wants to be, and to the girls who mean the most to her? 

A darkly compulsive story about love, death, and growing up under the shadow of grief. 

I was really looking forward to reading this book, so I got stuck into it shortly after receiving a copy from Hachette Australia.

Harper attends an expensive boarding school in Scotland and is part of a tight group. Rowan, Lily and Ama are her best friends, so she can't wait to make long-lasting memories with them during their last year of school. 

All that changes when a new girl arrives.

Kirsty is nice but doesn't seem to fit in with the rest of the group. Yet she has something in common with Harper. They've both lost sisters, and bond over their shared loss because no one else will ever understand the grief and guilt attached to such a devastating experience.

As Harper gets closer to Kirsty and finds herself confiding in her new friend, it comes with a downside--alienation from the others. With the distance growing between the girls and Harper, and her parents trying to move on with their lives, everything around her is changing too quickly. And Kirsty hiding something isn't helping...

Wow. This is such a great book! I really, really enjoyed it. From the beginning, Harper's voice is easy and relaxed, but also dripping with grief. Everything she does, experiences and remembers is measured against the memory of her sister. The twin sister who died several years ago. She feels responsible about what happened, and just can't shake the guilt.

I liked how flawed Harper was, and how easily she compensates for others' mistakes and strange behaviour, but is super tough on herself. She's a good person with good intentions, but lets everything rub her the wrong way and then reacts too impulsively. Her reactions come across as judgement, but that's not what she's aiming for. She's just so weighed down with sorrow all the time.

I also really liked the friendship group, and how they're all so close that they're virtually family. Even though each girl is very different, they are perfect friends, so at times it was hard to watch the slow deterioration of their tight-knit group. I especially liked Rowan, who was headstrong and no-nonsense, but still vulnerable in so many ways.

Yep. There were SO MANY small things I loved about this story that form an intricate and intriguing plot.

Girlhood is a gripping book. A page turner that made me fear the worst the deeper I got into the story. It's a story about the shadow grief casts over the ones left behind. It's about the highs and lows of amazing friendship. It's also quietly wicked. This book definitely got under my skin, so I had to keep reading until everything unravelled.

This is my second Cat Clarke book, and I can't wait to read more.

Girlhood, July 2017, ISBN 9781784292737, Quercus Children's Books

Sunday 16 July 2017


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I started reading this odd but wonderful book on my Kindle the other night, and have been captivated ever since.

Nancy slipped into another world and now that she's back, she just can't adjust. She hardly eats, dresses in monochrome shades, and stands so still she practically becomes a statue. These were all qualities she learned and perfected in the dead place she really calls home. Not to mention that her hair is mostly white.

So her parents send her away to boarding school. But Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children isn't an average school. It's a place where these returned kids go to stay and hopefully learn how to deal with adjusting back into the world they were born into but just can't live comfortably in anymore.

When Nancy arrives she's as lost as ever, and slowly becomes friends with the kids who've returned from darker places. But when the bodies start showing up, there's no denying someone is targetting the school...

Wow. This story is quite amazing. And whimsical. Magical. Full of so much pain and wonder. I absolutely loved everything about it. The characters are all fascinating in their very own way. It's also very diverse and challenges gender roles so well. The concept itself is also genius! Kids who were lost after finding and stepping through magical doorways into strange worlds who then can't return to their previous lives, and instead are left haunted and yearning for the other worlds.

Like I said: amazing.

Also, the way the story is told is so nice. It's like a modern fairy tale with a dark fantasy slant that's been cleverly dipped in horror. It's really beautiful and sad and strange.

Yes, I did love this story a lot.

Tuesday 11 July 2017

GWENDY'S BUTTON BOX by Stephen King & Richard Chizmar

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was very excited when I found out the library was getting this book. And even more excited when I borrowed it. :)

Gwendy Peterson is twelve and has decided to climb the Suicide Stairs to lose some weight. She's sick of getting teased and now that she's starting middle school she's decided to do something about it.

The day she meets the man in black her life changes forever. He gives her a very special box, one with mysterious buttons, tasty treats and silver coins. She's left in charge of the button box and soon finds it consuming her life. Something that might be obsessive and can be dangerous, but might also offer quite a few unexpected rewards...

Wow. This book is amazing. Intoxicating. Addictive. I read the first chapter yesterday and the rest today in one sitting because I didn't want to put it down.

Gwendy's story is intriguing and wonderful and sad. There's plenty of happiness and excitement, but when there's darkness it's sad and devastating. :( But SO GOOD. I also loved Gwendy so much, she's such a great character.

Stephen King and his co-author Richard Chizmar have written a gem of a story. It's so well written, hooked me in from the first word, and also looks so pretty. Love that cover, and the illustrations inside are lovely too.

This novella is outstanding. Loved it!

Monday 10 July 2017

ADULTHOOD IS A MYTH by Sarah Andersen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My daughter's had this book for a while and I've been meaning to read it for AGES. She was sorting her bookshelves today and let me borrow it. Then I picked it up and read the whole thing in one sitting because I couldn't put it down.

It's hilarious--I was laughing my ass off so much--and totally adorable. So cute! And accurate as fuck. I mean the manicure and pedicure thing was SO DAMN TRUE! And so was the bookworm stuff, the PJ stuff and the introvert stuff. Also, the internet connection and the leg hair panels were hilarious. Oh and the slow walkers!!

The artwork is simple but so effective. Comic strips that perfectly portray so much about adulthood and everyday life.

Yeah, this is an awesome book!

Sunday 9 July 2017

CORPSELIGHT by Angela Slatter

Life in Brisbane is never simple for those who walk between the worlds.

Verity's all about protecting her city, but right now that's mostly running surveillance and handling the less exciting cases for the Weyrd Council - after all, it's hard to chase the bad guys through the streets of Brisbane when you're really, really pregnant. 

An insurance investigation sounds pretty harmless, even if it is for 'Unusual Happenstance'. That's not usually a clause Normals use - it covers all-purpose hauntings, angry genii loci, ectoplasmic home invasion, demonic possession, that sort of thing - but Susan Beckett's claimed three times in three months. Her house keeps getting inundated with mud, but she's still insisting she doesn't need or want help . . . until the dry-land drownings begin.

V's first lead in takes her to Chinatown, where she is confronted by kitsune assassins. But when she suddenly goes into labour, it's clear the fox spirits arenot going to be helpful.

I read Vigil last year and really enjoyed it. I thought it was an awesome urban fantasy book set in Australia. So I was looking forward to reading the next book.

Verity deals with a lot of otherwordly stuff every single day, but she's now dealing with a new challenge: pregnancy. She's expecting her first child and because she's temporarily lost her strength, can't really perform her usual PI duties.

She's doing odd, less dangerous jobs. But when she starts looking into what first appears to be a very strange series of insurance claims, Verity finds herself getting caught up in something a lot deeper. As if being pregnant isn't hard enough, soon she finds herself the target of a pack of kitsune. Girls who lead her to someone very unexpected, but also might shatter the normal life she's trying to live...

Well. That was quite the ride through Brisneyland and beyond. I didn't expect so much to be revealed, and definitely didn't see the root of the very messed up main storyline coming. There were some very cool surprises and quite a few secrets revealed, but it's obvious that there's still plenty left to unravel.

I also liked the fact that insurance cover for the Weyrd stuff average humans know nothing about is explored. Very interesting concept.

Corpselight is another energetic and intriguing addition to this very entertaining urban fantasy series. The world of the Weyrd is full of strange and interesting characters. It also opens even wider in this book, and leaves the reader wondering what will happen next to Verity, her family and friends. Especially after that ending!

No matter what, it looks like Verity will always end up in the middle of all the trouble.

Corpselight, July 2017, ISBN 9781784294342, Jo Fletcher Books

Sunday 2 July 2017

Random Week

July is here! Can you believe it? Yikes. That means my birthday is just days away. O.o

The last week of June was very random for me. Because I finished writing my latest WIP a week earlier than expected, I got the chance to slow down a bit.

The problem with finishing a first draft is that when I'm done, I usually feel a little restless. It's a time when my head feels both cluttered and unfocused. So I spent the week reading, sorting, researching, thinking, daydreaming and looking forward to the coming week.

Hubby has the week off. Yay! Plus my daughter's also got the next two weeks off between school terms. So of course that means I'm taking time off too.

But my brain doesn't know how to relax entirely. There's always something ticking over. As I mentioned last week, I've got several story ideas bubbling at different stages, so bits and pieces keep slipping through the cracks. But I have to admit that I love when that happens!

I've also been doing a bit of sorting. I have a bunch of stationery, books and toys to reshuffle. It mostly involves moving things from one place to another, but that's okay. :D

Anyway. This week we're going to see Spider-Man: Homecoming, we'll celebrate my birthday, hang out, go for plenty of walks, and if the weather allows will go on an adventure or two.

Hope you all have an awesome week!

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