Tuesday 29 August 2017


These Deathless Bones: A Tor.com Original
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, that was certainly a great way to start the day. What an awesome tale!

This is an incredible story about what happens when the second wife of the king gives the god-awful prince his just desserts. LOL.

Everything about this story is wonderful and wicked: the writing style, the narrator's voice, the language, the story... It's a perfect blend of beautiful narrative and truly horrifying events. Not to mention that while the conclusion was certainly satisfying, it leaves the reader wanting more. So much more!

A short story worth reading. Probably more than once.

And that cover is perfect!

Friday 25 August 2017

Revision: Week Three

Hey! What's up?

This week has been a loooooong one. It feels like we packed so much stuff into it. I'm serious. By the time Wednesday rolled around,  I was already exhausted and wishing it was Friday. O_o

But you gotta keep moving.

Anyway, this is what I wanted to do this week:
  • Finish the second draft of Haunted
  • Read either a review book or a library book
  • Continue brainstorming next WIP
  • Get to know my new phone & (finally) say goodbye to my old one :(

I was really hoping to finish the revision I've been working on this month... 

And this is what I ended up doing:
  • I reached The End of Haunted on Wednesday afternoon & on Thursday I rewrote a few chapters & adressed the revision list. (Second draft: 82,391/217pgs)
  • Read a library book: COMING UP FOR AIR by Miranda Kenneally.
  • Instead of brainstorming my next WIP, I ended up developing/researching a different idea.
  • Slowly--and eventually--said goodbye to my Galaxy Note 3 & am getting used to my LG G6.
  • Got a bunch of RL stuff done!

I'm very excited about finishing the second draft. Yay! Don't get me wrong, there's still plenty of work to do, but I'm really happy with my progress. It was so nice to catch up with these characters and their creepy little town.

Now it's time to put this novel aside for a bit so I can get some space before doing the third draft. Although... I might have already started a new Revision List. LOL.

Now that I've completed the project I assigned for this month I'm going to take next week off. Well, I'm hoping to squeeze in a bit of reading, some brainstorming, spending time with new ideas, getting comfier with my phone AND watching the Wynonna Earp season 2 finale. :/

But first, I'm going to enjoy the weekend with hubby.

Have a good one!

Tuesday 22 August 2017

COMING UP FOR AIR by Miranda Kenneally

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I've really enjoyed reading the Hundred Oaks series, so I was really excited about reading this one. But after finishing (and unfortunately skimming a bit), I'm actually sad this is the last one.

This installment turned out to be the one I enjoyed the least. :(

Although I (mostly) liked Maggie because she's so motivated and has personal goals, I just didn't like some of her odd motivations. I also didn't much like Levi. So, add those two things together with the fact that I found the swimming angle really boring, and... yeah. This was just okay for me.

It's such a shame that I couldn't connect with this story, especially since I read Defending Taylor a few weeks ago and absolutely adored it!

Also, I usually love the friends to lovers trope--which worked great for Jordan and Sam--but this one was missing something. I just didn't buy the love connection. The way they got together just didn't grab or convince me that these two fell in love. Oh well.

At least I enjoyed the epilogue. A lot more than Maggie's story, to be honest.

Friday 18 August 2017

Revision: Week Two

Hey! How are you today?

Well, another work week is over, so it's time to post a writing update. 

You might remember that this time last week I was feeling a little wonky because I pushed myself a bit too much. That resulted in losing an output day (last Friday), but I wasn't too concerned. I took it easy last weekend, my ribs stopped hurting and when Monday rocked around, I was ready to get productive.

Here's what I wanted to do this week:
  • Continue revising Haunted. (But this time aim for 12 pages/day)
  • Read BREAKING & post the review
  • Update photos, pics & writing files
  • Keep brainstorming my next WIP

Although I'd initially wanted to get the second draft done by the end of this week, I decided to slow the pace a bit. Mostly it was so I wouldn't push myself so hard, but I also wanted to pay proper attention to the narrative.

I actually ended up doing a bit of backtracking during the week to fix certain details, and it helped strengthen the story. Gotta be happy with that. LOL.

So, this is what I ended up doing:
  • Reached page 150/210 & added 4,773 words.
  • Read & reviewed BREAKING by Danielle Rollins.
  • Updated ALL files on laptop & ALL external devices.
  • Spent a lot of time thinking about next WIP & started jotting more notes + figured out the beginning.
  • Caught up on washing & other stuff.
  • Went for two walks every day.

There it is. I'm really happy with how everything turned out this week. I got a lot done and am feeling really good about this story. And new things keep coming to mind... love it when I get caught up in the story like this!

Anyway, that's it for now.

I'm looking forward to taking it easy during the weekend. I might squeeze some reading in, hopefully take more notes, go for walks, and spend time with hubby.

Have a good one!

BREAKING by Danielle Rollins

Charlotte has always been content in the shadow of her two best friends at the prestigious Weston Preparatory Institute. Ariel is daring and mysterious. Devon is beautiful and brilliant. Although Charlotte never lived up to the standards of the school--or her demanding mother, Dr. Gruen--her two best friends became the family she never had. 

 When Ariel and Devon suddenly commit suicide within a month of each other, Charlotte refuses to accept it as a coincidence. But as the clues point to a dangerous secret about Weston Prep, Charlotte is suddenly in over her head. There's a reason the students of Weston are so exceptional, and the people responsible are willing to kill to protect the truth . . . 

 With suspense and danger at every turn, Danielle Rollins keeps readers on the edge of their seats with this haunting thriller.

Last year I read a very creepy and fascinating book called Burning. So when I received the companion novel last week from Bloomsbury Australia, I couldn't wait to read it.

Charlotte attends a prestigious boarding school because her mother is a very busy doctor who travels a lot. Weston isn't the ideal home, still she's managed to make two friends who are more like family. But when Ariel and Devon commit suicide within a month of each other, Charlotte's left all alone and with so many questions.

Now she feels like an outsider and doesn't even want to fit in. Her only real connections are her dead friend's ex-boyfriend and her nosy new roommate. When Charlotte stumbles onto an enigmatic message from Ariel, the note sets her on a path filled with dangerous secrets, unlawful experiments, and self-improvements bordering on superpowers.

But she's not the only one caught up in this web of mystery and deceit. The clues lead back to her secretive and callous mother. The more Charlotte investigates, the more horrifying the answers become. And if she keeps following the clues, she might end up helping the whole school. As well as a bunch of forgotten kids caught in the middle of wealthy ambition...

Wow. The writing in this book is exquisite. So intimate and lyrical that Charlotte's words dragged me into her life instantly. As soon as I read the Prologue, I wanted to follow her down this very dark path. I felt a lot of things for this young girl--confusion, pity, anger, frustration, pride--and all at the same time. Her life is a lonely one made better by two friends who, as the plot starts to unravel, don't seem as wonderful as they did at the beginning.

Actually, even Charlotte isn't exactly a good girl. She's odd, considers herself average, an outsider, and certainly sometimes behaves in a questionable manner. But she's determined, and sympathetic, wants to explore who she really is. Even as the dark mystery of what happened to her friends pushes her forward and makes her do some very risky stuff, I couldn't help but feel sorry for her. I just wanted her to find her own way to happiness and  be free of her mother's restrictive control.

BTW, it was so cool when a very familiar, vital character bridged the connection from Breaking to Burning. There are several clues along the way, so many breadcrumbs left scattered for the reader to make the connection between what happened at the Brunesfield Correctional Facility and Charlotte's dilemma.

I also loved the many fairy tales threaded into the overall storyline. Very clever!

Breaking is an intense and very intriguing book that's so addictive I was totally engrossed into the story. Walden might not be juvie, but it's still a place where the students are isolated and are imprisoned by the endless drive to succeed. The narrator dives headfirst into some pretty shocking situations, but is very honest and analytical about her motivations.

This story turned out to be an excellent dark thriller that toes the line of the supernatural as brilliantly as the first book. It also leads the reader to a very satisfying conclusion.

I loved this book as much as the first one. I will also always love stories about girls and monsters.

Breaking, September 2017, ISBN 9781408878262, Bloomsbury Childrens

Tuesday 15 August 2017

The Forgotten Short Story Goal...

You know what I realised the other day? That I haven't posted a short story update for a while. 

The main reason is because I haven't actually written any new ones for a while. o.O

So, here I am today. To chat about the projects I've started/completed since my last shortie update.

Here's how my short story progress looks:
  • January: wrote a fantasy-esque, fairy tale-ish story about odd girls, strange spells, lost love and the mysterious sea. (w/c: 9,233, subbed a few times, got nice comments but still unpubbed)
  • February: wrote an adventurous UF story set in the underworld. (w/c: 4,880, didn't make it into antho because the guidelines were misleading) 
  • March: started writing a horror story about urban legend tropes and demons. (By the time I reached a certain point (w/c 7,964) I realised it was going to become a novel.)
  • April: wrote a YA horror story about an urban legend featuring a haunted train station. (w/c: 10,852, subbed to an anthology that is still open...)

And that, I'm afraid, is where the short story WIPs end.

So much for this:


It's not that the short story ideas have dried up or that I've given up on shorter works. It's quite the opposite. I have several I want to write and even a bunch to revise. While doing my massive file overhaul the other week, I even found some I wanted to go back to. So there's plenty of material there.

I'm just concentrating on novel-sized stories right now because they happen to be the loudest. Not to mention that I now have TWO completed first drafts that need revising. 

Anyway, here's what I have done (instead of short stories):
  • May: spent the month taking a reading break while brainstorming and preparing for the urban legend trope novel.
  • June: wrote the first draft of URBAN LEGEND. (w/c 70,035).
  • July: took most of the month off because of hubby's awesome 2-week annual leave and school holidays. Ended up dreaming about new stories and setting up Idea Files for them.
  • August: am currently working on the second draft of HAUNTED.

As you can see, I've taken a bit of time off lately, but I think it's important to rest between projects. Plus I'm really happy with the revision I'm working on right now, and excited about my next WIP.

I'm at that cool stage when I have several WIPs at various stages, and can pretty much set up a production line of projects. :D

So there's no point in stressing about that pesky ONE SHORT STORY EVERY MONTH thing. Think I'll remove the graphic from the sidebar...

Wow. This turned out to be quite a long post!

Thanks for reading.

Sunday 13 August 2017

DEFENDING TAYLOR by Miranda Kenneally

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love the Hundred Oaks series, and yesterday I decided it was time to start the next book in the series. So I grabbed my Kindle and got started... less than 24 hours later, I finished it. Because I couldn't put it down.

Taylor comes from a wealthy family. Her father is a senator, both of her siblings are attending good colleges, and she loves her boarding school. But when she covers for her boyfriend when the school finds pills in his backpack, she gets expelled.

Now she finds herself in a public high school, and is a disappointment to her family. Her family thinks she's addicted to pills and when her ordeal becomes public, it even affects her father's chance of re-election. So she can't tell the truth without making the situation even worse.

The only things getting her through this difficult time in her life is re-connecting with an old crush, and soccer. But will Ezra and soccer be enough when her carefully-planned future seems so out of reach?

I loved this book!

Taylor's voice is so strong and interesring that it sucked me right in. Her ambition and motivation comes across through her actions. But she's also vulnerable. As much as she pushes herself in her studies to achieve the future she's always dreamed of, she's not always doing it for the right reasons. But she desperately wants to do the right thing and speaks her mind. I loved that about her!

Her connection to Ezra is so sweet. He's got his own problems. An old misunderstanding derailed them, so it was so nice to see them get to know each other again.

It's also very cool how these books deal with love and sex in such real and honest ways. Even with the conservative backdrop around them, these kids follow their hearts and hormones. :)

I'm so glad I decided to check this out. I missed Hundred Oaks

This is still one of my favourite series.

Also, the bonus short story about Jordan & Henry was a perfect treat. It's always great to catch up with the couple that started everything

Can't wait to read the next book.

Friday 11 August 2017

Revision: Week One

So, another week is almost over. Yikes! And this time I went in with some goals.

If you read last week's blog post, then you know that I wanted to tackle a few things this month. I like to break them down into weekly lists because it makes it easier to achieve. :)

So, this week I had three things I wanted to do:
  • Start the second draft of YA Horror novel--let's call it Haunted from now on--and hopefully reach page 92
  • Read library book (ONE OF US IS LYING)
  • Keep brainstorming next WIP

I started the week strong and kept the momentum steady by working on revision during the day, and reading at night. But I also had a bunch of non-writerly things to do so that took up time I might have used for brainstorming/taking WIP notes.

Not to mention that I woke up feeling super wonky this morning and with a pesky pain on my (left side) ribs. I have no idea how I hurt myself, but I reckon I must have pulled a muscle or something. Like I said above, I did a lot of stuff. Plus, the NBN technicians were scheduled to come and set it up, so... that threw things out even further. 

Long story short: I took today off. Which for me means finishing the book I was reading. Of course. ;)

Anyway, this is what I achieved this week:
  • Started the Haunted second draft and reached page 77/196. Added 7,373 words and I'm really enjoying getting back into the creepy life of this small town.
  • Read and reviewed ONE OF US IS LYING by Karen M. McManus. Even returned it to the library!
  • Soooooo much washing and other real-life stuff that EXHAUSTED me.
  • Went for two walks every day.

What I didn't do:
  • Any brainstorming for next WIP. :(

Even though I didn't get everything on the list done, I'm still quite happy with the progress and will keep working on the revision next week. Not sure if I'll reach the end by next Friday, but I've got the rest of the month anyway.

So, that's this week's hits and misses.

BTW, Atomic Blonde was okay. It was a case of style over substance. It looked stylish and the fight scenes were awesome, but the story was weak. The characterisation too flimsy. Oh well.

Looking forward to a relaxing weekend of hanging out around the house with hubby, going for walks, eating nice meals and just bumming around.

Have a good one!

ONE OF US IS LYING by Karen M. McManus

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been looking forward to reading this book for a while, so I was super excited when the library got a copy. I mean, The Breakfast Club gets thrown around a lot when this book is mentioned, right?

The afternoon Bronwyn, Cooper, Addy and Nate end up in detention together, their lives become a living nightmare. The other person in the detention room is Simon, the guy who runs the very annoying gossip app. He's not a popular guy and a lot of people hate him for spreading rumours, but this time around he's the story.

And shortly after, these four become murder suspects. People start to talk about them, everyone wants to interview them, and the police won't stop hassling them.

Bronwyn is a good girl and an even better student, but she has a secret. Cooper is an exceptional baseball player, but his secret could ruin his career options. Addy is a loyal girlfriend, but her secret could end her relationship. Nate is a drug dealer, but more than that, he's a guy with trust and abandonment issues, and his whole life is wrapped in secrets.

So who killed Simon? Which one of these kids wanted their secret buried so badly they would kill a classmate? Or is there someone else calling the shots?

Wow. This book is fantastic! I enjoyed every single moment of it.

The story is told in the alternating POVs of Bronwyn, Cooper, Addy and Nate, so it took me a few chapters to slot each voice into the right place. Once I did, I relaxed into the flow and enjoyed learning more about each person. I especially loved how these completely different kinds of kids end up depending on each other when the world turns against them. As awful as this experience is, all of them end up learning a lot about themselves and each other. The character growth in this story is exceptional.

I also thought the writing style was awesome because it delved very deeply into each character in such a casual and natural way. Yet still managed to keep certain things concealed until the time is right. Everything just fit so well together!

Oh, and the sibling connections were as amazing as the amount of secrets squeezed into one book. So many secrets, so many lies... so much hidden beneath the surface. I LOVED it!

This is such an awesome book.

Friday 4 August 2017

Time to plan for August!

Welcome to a new month.

OMG. Can you believe it's August already? AUGUST! Why is the year moving so fast? O.o

Anyway. A new month means new plans. A new set of goals to tackle. Especially since July was mostly hubby break time with a side of sorting + researching. LOL. 

Although the first week of this month is pretty much over, I decided not to get stuck into a new writing project until next week. This gave me the chance to sort through my digital folders/files. What I thought would take one morning to get through ended up taking THREE DAYS! That's quite a bit of time, but I'm really glad I did it because my epub and writing files were a total mess.

Seriously, I had a bunch of duplicated files & pics, zip files I no longer needed, missing docs and a bunch of stuff that was filed in the wrong place. It was seriously messy. A total nightmare. 

But after much thought and organisation, everything is nice and tidy. It should now be a lot easier to keep track of files.

Like I said above, this was a very time-consuming project that was frustrating and repetitive... BUT, it had to be done. Now I just have to make sure I file everything in the right place and keep it neat.

I also started a new notebook so I can add notes for the WIPs that keep dropping snippets into my brain. So far, whatever isn't stored inside my head, is in the folders I've set up on my phone for inspirational pics and research.

Feels good to sort through my ideas on paper. And even better to have a place to jot everything down.

So, what else do I want to accomplish this month? Revision! I'd like to complete the second draft (of one of the two) YA horror novels I've recently written. I'd also like to brainstorm and research my next WIP. I already know which one it is and the story is really speaking to me, so it would be cool to start developing the storyline.

Oh, and I want to squeeze in some reading, of course!

Well. That's it for now. We're going to watch Atomic Blonde tomorrow. Really looking forward to it.

Have a great weekend!
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