Tuesday 31 October 2017


Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper's true identity, Audrey Rose has no choice but to flee London and its memories. She journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe's best schools of forensic medicine...and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend. But her life's dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school's forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.

After absolutely loving Stalking Jack the Ripper, I just had to read the next book in this wonderful series. Besides, there was just no way I could leave a book with such a beautiful cover on my TBR pile for too long. :)

After the horrifying and heartbreaking toll the Jack the Ripper murders left on Audrey Rose Wadsworth, she leaves London for a new adventure with Thomas Cresswell. But while travelling to Romania and headed to the Bran Castle to attend the Academy of Forensic Medicine and Science on the Orient Express with their flaky chaperone, a murder is committed outside their cabin. A strange murder that sets the scene for their new surroundings in a new land.

Once at the castle, they encounter the grouchy headmaster, who is not thrilled to have a girl taking lessons. As well as their competitive fellow students, who also don't take to her. Not to mention that Thomas is keeping secrets, and becomes so overprotective she fears he'll end up being as restrictive as all the other males in her life. At least she makes a few very delightful and clever female friends. 

Until one of the girls goes missing, and the bodies start piling up. In spite of the rules these crimes introduce to the academy, Audrey Rose is determined to find out what's really going on. She needs to figure out if Prince Dracula has really returned to exact a vengeful plan, or if the killer is another human monster hellbent on their own agenda...

Wow! Okay. Let me just take a deep breath so I can say: THIS BOOK IS AWESOME! I mean it. This sequel is not a formulaic follow-up. It not only stands on its own very capable feet, but enhances Stalking Jack the Ripper in so many unexpected ways.

I loved how Audrey Rose is still determined to pursue her interest in forensic medicine, even after what happened to her family. The ripples from that event continue to cause her pain, fill her with suspicion, makes her second guess herself and even tricks her mind into seeing things that aren't there. Her struggle with grief is so sad, and how Thomas tries to help ends up frustrating everyone involved.

Still, these two are adorable in their constant bickering, the way their minds complement each other, and their endless flirtation. They're so much fun to read. :)

Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell are not only perfect for each other (I ship them so hard), but they're also fast becoming one of my favourite detective teams. No matter how complicated things get, or how dangerous the situation, I love their tenacity to search for the truth.

And what a treat it was to meet Thomas's brazen and strong-willed sister, Daciana. Her story is intriguing, shrouded in suspicion and riveting. Just like Liza (who sadly is only present in letters) I can't wait to catch up with her and Ileana again.

Hunting Prince Dracula is another fantastic installment to this very charming gothic series. This book took me on an awesome dangerous, bloody ride through a very dark mystery with a fascinating conclusion. I loved how the story deals with Vlad the Impaler and all the folklore attached to Dracula. The description of winter in Romania is so vivid and dark that I could practically feel the malice inside and outside the castle.

I was once again intrigued to the point of sneaking in a little more reading whenever I could--which isn't an easy thing to do during a weekend where I watched Thor: Ragnarok and binged Stranger Things 2

This book is part Sherlock Holmes, with a tease of Dracula and a hint of Agatha Christie. 

The historical pictures were as creepy as ever, and the way the letters were presented was also a nice touch. 

I can't wait to read the next book!

Let me end my review with this very awesome Audrey Rose quote:

"I will gladly accept any and all books, however. A person can never have too much reading material."

Hunting Prince Dracula, October 2017, ISBN 9780316514828, Little, Brown US

Monday 30 October 2017

Guest Blog post from Danica Davidson

As part of The Danica Davidson #BooksForMinecrafters BLOG TOUR,
the author has dropped by.

Welcome Danica by checking out her post! :)

The genres of fantasy, sci-fi and horror let you explore wherever your imagination takes you. They can also allow you to talk about real issues from our world, because sometimes the incredible elements of these genres allow you to reflect back on what is happening from a safe distance. I try to do all of the above with my series Overworld Adventures and its spinoff, Overworld Heroes. 

The books take place as if Minecraft is a real world. 11-year-old Stevie, who feels he doesn’t really fit in, accidentally finds a portal to Earth. It takes him through the computer of an 11-year-old girl named Maison, and the two become fast friends and co-adventurers. Anyone familiar with the mega popular game Minecraft will know it’s full of different worlds and creatures, and many of these show up in the various ventures the kids take, from their journey to the End to their battles against zombies, armed skeletons and creepers. 

At the same time, there is some real world stuff. When Stevie and Maison meet, Maison is having trouble fitting in at her new school. No one seems to be aware of her smarts or creativity, and some eighth grade boys like to bully her. Following books take up the subject of cyberbullying as cyberbullies hack into Maison’s computer and let themselves into Minecraft, turning it into a world of eternal darkness. Cyberbullying is a reality many of us know well, but the fantasy, sci-fi and horror elements of these books let me talk about it in a way that isn’t preachy or boring. The books are full of cliffhanger chapter-endings, so it’s my aim to keep kids turning the pages for the adventure while understanding that if they’re cyberbullied, they’re not alone and there are things that can be done about it. Stevie, who is not from this world, is fascinated by how the internet can be used for both good and harm, and I hope that’s a message we can all remember, no matter what our age is. 

The first six books – Escape from the Overworld, Attack on the Oveworld, The Rise of Herobrine, Down into the Nether, The Armies of Herobrine and Battle with the Wither — make up the Overworld Adventure series, and a box set of it is coming out on November 7. That same day, the first book in my spinoff series, Adventure Against the Endermen, comes out. Stevie and Maison will be going on new adventures and fighting new villains, but I keep up with blending fantasy, sci-fi and horror with real stuff kids go through. Sometimes the most fantastic stories can hit the closest to home.

Thanks for stopping by, Danica!

If you're into Minecraft, this sounds like an interesting book.

Friday 27 October 2017

100 NASTY WOMEN OF HISTORY by Hannah Jewell

100 fascinating and brilliantly written stories about history's bravest, baddest but little known 'nasty' women from across the world. 

In the final debate of the 2016 US presidential election, Donald Trump leaned into the microphone as Hillary Clinton spoke about social security and called his opponent 'such a nasty woman'. The phrase has stuck around and has since become something of a badge of honour for women around the world. 

What better time than now, then, for us to look back and learn a thing or two from the 'nasty' women of the past? Compiled and written by BuzzFeed writer Hannah Jewell, 100 Nasty Women of History contains profiles of women from across every century, race and continent, united in the fact that they were all a bit 'nasty'. From 3rd-century Syrian queen Zenobia to 20th-century Nigerian women's rights activist Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, these are the women who were bold and powerful, but maybe put people (men's) backs up by being so. 

100 Nasty Women of History is an accessible, intelligent, hilarious (and sometimes sweary) guide to the history-making women whom you probably don't know - but definitely should.

As soon as I spotted this book listed in the Hachette Australia catalogue, I knew it was something I would definitely like to read. I thought it might quench my feminist heart's desire to learn as much as I can about the real history sexism has tried so hard to conceal.

I'm always interested in reading about women in history. Whenever we deal with textbooks and biographies about the people who helped shape and change our world, the focus is usually solely on men. And I find it very hard to believe that only men are responsible for absolutely everything. Well, except for senseless wars. I have no problem believing that. :P

There's a lot of historical erasure of the female species in our education system. So it's awesome to see that so many women from the past are finally being unveiled for the many important contributions and groundbreaking discoveries they made along the way.

This book focuses on some lesser known women. Some I'd never even heard of, and am now glad I have because of Hannah's research. 

The cover is eye-catching and gives the reader a sense of the book's tone instantly. There are many intriguing stories within these pages. Some about ancients, killers, geniuses and revolutionaries who dictated their own lives. The style is casual, comical and doesn't shy away from 'bad' language. 

So it's informative and fun!

100 Nasty Women of History is a nice addition to any (every, really!) woman's bookshelf. It not only informs, but also inspires and reminds us that when people say behind every great man is a great woman, they really mean: strong, clever and very capable women stand beside real men.

If you've ever wondered about some of the lesser known women--both good, bad and in-between--you'll probably want to check this out.

I'm shelving this book in my reference section, and will no doubt keep referring back to it for future research.

100 Nasty Women of History, November 2017, ISBN 9781473671263, Hodder & Stoughton

Wednesday 25 October 2017

THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo, illustrated by Sara Kipin

Love speaks in flowers. 
Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid's voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy's bidding but only for a terrible price. 

 This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.

OMG. There's only one way to start this review: this book is beautiful. The  cover is so pretty, and the page illustrations are stunning.

Let's talk about the six stories...


In a kingdom where one handsome prince is treasured and the beastly one is trapped inside a labyrinth beneath the castle, there lived two very different sisters. One is beautiful and treasured, the other is treated like a maid.

Her name is Ayama, and she looks like an average girl but has more strength than most give her credit for, and a knack for telling stories that might end up saving everyone from an unseen threat...

Wow. What a great story! I loved Ayama's innocence and how smart she is. I also really liked the Beast. He's misunderstood, victimised and exiled by people too quick to judge others on how beautiful or ugly they are. These two are similar in so many ways, and together manage to change the world.

I love the beauty doesn't always equate to good moral in this story. It's a good one, that's for sure.


Koja is born an ugly, yellow-eyed, patchy-furred fox. His mother almost eats him, but he's very clever and talks his way out of an early death. Actually, he spends his life talking himself out of a lot of potentially lethal situations. And makes a string of friends because of it.

The day a skilled and silent hunter comes to the woods, the animals start vanishing. Koja knows he must do something, but for the first time, this too-clever fox might have fallen into a trap he can't talk his way out of...

Wow. This is another awesome story! So seriously awesome that I've read it several times already. This wasn't my first time.

Not only is it well written but it's riveting, and has a killer twist. I loved Koja so much. He was smart and always so willing to help others that he almost got himself caught in the worst trap of all. He might not be the prettiest fox, but he's certainly the kindest.

The true friendship that shines through at the end, put a smile on my face. And is the hidden gem in this tale.


Nadya lives in the little town of Duva. A place where the forest eats young girls. When her mother dies and her older brother is preparing to leave, her father is pursued by Karina and ends up marrying her.

Karina is cruel and doesn't like Nadya. Actually, she tells her to leave. And when she does, finds sanctuary in a hut. When Nadya eventually returns home after winter, she finds out the awful truth...

Wow. What a fantastic folk tale. It hooked me in right away. It's creepy, mysterious, and reveals a shocking ending.

Sometimes, the real monster isn't the one we first assume.


In the town of Velisyana, a stunningly beautiful girl is born. Yeva Luchova is the daughter of a wealthy Duke, but because everyone who looks her way becomes captivated by her beauty, she spends most of her days inside.

Until her father gets a selfish idea and starts setting tasks for the competitive men, making her hand in marriage the reward. Things don't go according to plan, and a man just as greedy as the duke uses the river to do his bidding. But in the end, the river might be the only one really listening to Yeva...

Another great folk tale! This time about how beauty can be a curse, how consuming greed can become, and being unheard.


Droessen is a gifted clocksmith with a miraculous touch of wonder. He mystifies wherever he goes, with whatever he creates. But what he longs for is a better, more lavish and secure life. That's when he sets his sights on a young girl from the wealthy Zelverhauses. 

He makes her a nutcracker and tells her to tell the toy all her secrets. For this toy soldier is meant to spy and entice her enough for Droessen to win her over.

But while Clara loses herself in the promise of magic and romance the nutcracker offers and real life loses all its allure compared to fantasy, the opposite happens to the soldier. He slowly begins to covet those around him and searches for a way to come to life. A way that might ultimately ruin everyone...

Wow. This is another amazing tale! One able to blend fantasy and reality so well they become tangled until no one knows what or who is real.

It also warns of what happens when we mistreat our own creations.


The sildroher live under the sea and wander out onto the shore periodically to learn the secrets of man and enjoy their company.

This is where Ulla lives a life full of rumours about her origins and why she looks so different to everyone else. But her voice and her songs are powerful, and when mixed with her eventual friend, Signy, they catch the eye of the youngest prince and become a tight trio.

When the girls are invited to be the prince's guests on shore, they're ecstatic. But strange turn of events start to change the trio, because where loyalty and friendship burn deeply in Ulla, ambition and cruelty burns brighter in Roffe. And that, plus finding out a few surprises along the way, make for a very dangerous combination that will transform all of them forever...

OMG. This story is amazing! This tale of mermaids and friendship and song and what ultimately tears them apart is beautiful to its wicked end.

I loved this retelling because it focuses on a well-known villain with a heartbreaking origin story.

The Language of Thorns story collection is truly special and deserves to be treasured. Each story is raw, heartbreaking and so beautiful in its characters and messages, that I couldn't help falling in love every time. The illustrations echo the words in a way that feels like two interwoven tales being told at once. And the conclusion for each artwork is breathtakingly beautiful. 

In case you can't tell from my constant gushing above, I LOVED this book. The stories within these gorgeous pages tell intriguing tales of family, friendship, love, betrayal, and all of them are full of good and evil. Because there can't be evil if there's no good, and there can't be good if there's no evil. But my favourites are the ones set in the nooks and crannies of the grey areas.  

This book of folklore and fairy tales is going on my keeper shelf right now! :)

The Language of Thorns, September 2017, ISBN 9781510104518, Orion Children's Books

Tuesday 24 October 2017

I signed up!

That's right. I finally got around to doing it!

Yesterday, I officially signed up for NaNoWriMo 2017

I originally planned to do this last week, but I was busy sorting my stationery and reorganising one of my bookshelves. I also went through my review TBR pile, updated my pics, photos + files. I even (finally) got a chance to get back into reading, by finishing an amazing book called STALKING JACK THE RIPPER.

Oh, and I needed a bit of extra time to  just think. To make sure the idea I'd picked was the loudest/right one. And... it is! Yay.

This is the description I posted on my Novel description page over at the NaNoWriMo website:

A YA summer thriller with whimsical SF elements. 

It's kinda like The X-Files meets Stranger Things with a good dose of Roswell

But mostly, it's the story of a not-so ordinary girl.

I'm starting to get really excited about this story. There are a bunch of scenes already swirling around inside my head. I have a bunch of inspirational pics on my phone that really get me in the zone. Plus I've already taken a bunch of notes.

This week I plan to write MORE notes.

I'm gonna fill my head with the story and the characters. I want to be immersed so that I'll be ready to start the novel on the 1st of November. Plus I'll be fitting in some reading, and will be watching a few movies. Not to mention sorting my Idea pics.

You know, things that inspire me. :)

So, are you taking part?

Sunday 22 October 2017


In this spine-chilling gothic murder mystery set in gritty Victorian-era London, an intrepid society girl finds herself inescapably embroiled in the investigation of a ghastly serial killer known as Jack the Ripper.

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

I have to start this review by mentioning how beautiful the cover for this book is. It's such a perfect combination of pretty and eerie. Also, I've always been morbidly interested in Jack the Ripper, so of course I was interested in checking out this YA title! :)

It's 1888 in Victorian London, and while most girls are interested in having tea parties, gossiping and trying to snatch up a wealthy suitor, Audrey Rose Wadsworth only cares about science. She might be the daughter of a lord determined to restrict her every movement in order to keep her safe, but this doesn't stop her from secretly apprenticing with her uncle. And even sneaking into his forensic classes posing as a boy. 

This is how she meets the charming, but devilish, Thomas Cresswell.

Thomas is smart, works with her uncle, has many interesting medical theories, is willing to work alongside a girl, and is just mysterious enough to entice her attention. He captivates Audrey Rose in a way no other boy ever has. To the point where she even finds herself admiring the way he looks and dresses. But she's got more important things to focus on because the East End is under siege by a maniac who is slicing up ladies of the night and stealing their internal organs. This makes it harder for her to slink around at night to use her amateur sleuthing skills on this case, but certainly doesn't stop her. Not when everything eventually leads too close to home...

Yikes. I LOVED this. So much!

This book is an excellent and unique retelling of one of London's most notorious killers. Over a century after it happened, the mystery of Jack the Ripper is one that still haunts us, and the way it's tackled in this tale is outstanding.

Audrey Rose is such a compelling character and her voice is so honest and intimate that I was instantly drawn into her story and the restrictive world everyone is so desperately trying to strap her into. She's ambitious, unapologetic, isn't afraid to be herself, indulges in what others consider to be unsavory interests, and can even be somewhat conniving. I really liked how she was so clever and capable that the men around her had no choice but to take her seriously and even respect her choices.

And Thomas Cresswell. What can I say about this very interesting character? Well, he's certainly a match for Audrey Rose in every way, especially intellectually. They're both thrill seekers, problem solvers, investigators, and SO made for each other! I can't wait to see what other adventures they get up to next.

Also, Audrey Rose's cousin Liza might have been a minor character and mostly off-page, but I really liked her. On the surface the two girls seem so different, but Liza had an adventurous streak that hints at trouble. I hope we get to spend more time with her in future books.

Stalking Jack the Ripper is a fantastic and very atmospheric book that portrays Victorian London so vividly the events came alive in my mind. I was hooked, and didn't want to put it down because I wanted to go along on this macabre ride until the last stop. The mystery at the heart of the story might be familiar but it's presented in such a refreshing way that it thrilled me every step of the way, and kept me guessing until the very sad and shocking conclusion.

This book is part Sherlock Holmes, some Jekyll and Hyde, and even has a hint of one of my favourites, Frankenstein.

If you're looking for a well-written historical YA with strong characters, an intriguing mystery, quite a few creepy situations and a good dash of horror, then you must read this! You won't be disappointed.

Oh, and the inside of this book is as gorgeous as the outside. The morbid historical pictures randomly added throughout were a great touch.

Stalking Jack the Ripper, October 2017, ISBN 9780316273510, Little, Brown US

Monday 16 October 2017

Writing Numbers

Since finishing my latest first draft a few weeks ago, I've been thinking about how I work through each draft. Especially first drafts.

So I thought I'd post a bit about how I tackle these projects by allocating daily, weekly and monthly goals. I always find it easier to break things down into smaller goals to reach the big one.

Even though my process is similar every time, each project is a little different. But they all start with brainstorming an idea that's been simmering in the back of my mind for months. 

When I pick my next WIP, I grab a notebook and fill it up with pages and pages of notes. Every thought, scene and/or dialogue relating to the story goes in here. As well as character names, descriptions, traits and research. Not to mention pictures. These help me visualise the characters, locations and some of the things the characters will do and/or face. Then I start the chapter breakdowns. Sometimes I'll have loose notes for the entire book. Other times I'll only have the first 5-10 chapters.

I just fill my brain with stuff before I even begin to create the Word doc. I keep going until it feels like I'm about to burst if I don't start telling the story. LOL.

Then I grab a calendar and figure out how many actual writing days there are in my chosen month. What I mean by this is how many Mon-Fri there are, because I take weekends off. It's important for me to make sure I don't work on weekends, and instead spend time with hubby, go out, read, go for walks, and have my brain working on the story in the background. That way when Monday hits, I'm ready to go.

Usually I end up setting a 4k words/day goal. That totally works for me because I write in the morning and then in the afternoon. I like to call my sessions: before and after lunch. It's nice to break for an hour to eat and get a breather before adding more words.

Although the 4k thing totally works for me because I write fast first drafts, the projects I've tackled this year have started with 3k/day goals. That end up turning into 4k+/day when my need to get the story out becomes a word count frenzy. 

The reason for the smaller w/c goal lately is because I have a tendency to needlessly push myself, and I'm trying to stop that. If I add 4-5k on any given day, excellent. If not, as long as I have my 3k, I'm good. 

It's all about not putting too much pressure on myself. Which I always do. And strangely, the story ends up doing because everything gets so vivid that I go nuts in my quest to reach The End.

Another thing I find myself doing is reading the last chapter I wrote (the day before) to get back into the story groove and get a feel for what comes next. I usually don't look back and keep moving forward but lately, if something doesn't work or needs to be changed for better direction/plot/motivation, I don't mind backtracking. It saves time later.

The bottom line is: get the raw story out of my head and onto a Word doc as fast as I can. Thorough revision comes later.

First drafts are all about getting the story out.

When I finish the first draft I spend a bit of time updating my chapter and story notes. Plus, I get rid of all the scraps of paper and sticky notes I've accumulated.

Then I feel mentally exhausted and lost for a few days. I miss the story. I miss the process. And start a Revision List before putting it aside for a while. I make sure to take a few months away from the story and start thinking and dreaming about other ideas.

BUT first, I take a few weeks off to refuel. I read, go for walks, search for inspirational pics and watch stuff.

This part is important to avoid burning out.

After that, it's time to either start a new story or revise a first draft.

Well, there you have it. 

This is my process. What's yours?

Thursday 12 October 2017

NaNoWriMo is Around the Corner

I posted this tweet the other day:


I might have written a (YA horror) first draft during mid-September/beginning-October, but now it's time to start thinking about NaNoWriMo.

*rubs hands together*

What is NaNoWriMo? Well, it takes place during the month of November. The goal is to write a 50,000-word fast draft. Writers from all over the world sign up, take part and share their progress on the NaNoWriMo website. You also get badges and word count metres and a snazzy certificate after you verify your novel.

It's fun and a great chance to squeeze in one last WIP before the year is over. :)

I've taken part since 2006. Actually, I've only missed one year (2011) since.

So, this will be my ELEVENTH attempt. Yay!

Here's a breakdown of the stories/genres:
  • 2006: UF (Angie)
  • 2007: SFR (Shade of Grey)
  • 2008: SFR (Shade of Blue)
  • 2009: Horror (Sinful)
  • 2010: Futuristic (Embracing Sunlight)
  • 2011: N/A
  • 2012: UF (Torn from the Shadows)
  • 2013: SFR (Dash)
  • 2014: UF (Willow)
  • 2015: YA Historical (MixedTape)
  • 2016: YA Horror (Haunted)

It's interesting to see how many different genres I've tackled throughout the years. It's also exciting that several of these titles (4) were actually published. And another three were contracted. Even if the publishing companies are no longer alive.

Published is published, I suppose.

Back to NaNoWriMo...

As you can probably tell, I'm a fan of this process. It's pretty much how I tackle my first drafts anyway. 

So: of course I'm going to sign up for 2017! 

But before I do that I have to decide which of my current WIP ideas (there are currently 10) I'm going to focus on.

I've been riding a creepy girls horror story vibe lately, and would love to do that again. Yet, I've got my eye on a project that isn't horror. It's more a YA summer thriller with whimsy SF elements. It's kinda like The X-Files meets Stranger Things with a good dose of Roswell.

There will be some spooky stuff, a dangerous summer adventure, strong friendship bonds and romance. This is also a story that's been in my head for MONTHS, and 50k sounds like the perfect word count goal. So...

Yeah. It looks like I might be leaning towards this story because:
  1. Switching genres--after writing such a dark & emotionally overwhelming demonic possession horror story--will be refreshing.
  2. It'll be fun to write a story set in summer.
  3. I'm enjoying the research & finding inspirational pics for this project.
  4. This story is very much ready to be told.

Um, it looks like I might have made a next-WIP decision. Maybe. I still need a bit of time to think. In the past, I've picked a NaNo idea and then changed my mind at the last minute. Especially since I've got that pesky dragon idea bugging my brain... ;)

Right now I'm enjoying a wonderful, relaxing week with hubby. After everything that's been going on around here, I really needed this time off with him. When he goes back to work next week (*cries*) I plan to spend the rest of the month taking a break between drafts. I need a bit of a mental break. 

I'll keep you posted on what story I decide to write. Either way, I just wanted to share a bit about my NaNoWriMo love and experiences

Are YOU taking part?

Tuesday 10 October 2017


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After reading Our Chemical Hearts, I couldn't wait to read this book. And as soon as I started, I was hooked. The writing style is beautiful, Esther is fascinating, and her family so intriguing I was instantly addicted.

Each member of the Solar family is destined to die from their greatest fear. Ever since Reginald Solar met Death during the Vietnam War, his family has been cursed. Everyone in Esther's family suffers from one great fear: her father won't leave the basement because of his agoraphobia, her mother fears bad luck, and her twin brother is terrified of what lurks in the dark.

As for Esther, she has a list full of fears she calls her semi-definitive list of worst nightmares, and after reconnecting with an old friend from elementary school in the oddest way possible, he convinces her to face these fears.

Jonah Smallgood is an enigmatic young man with his own set of very serious problems. The more time they spend together, the more Esther realises he might lead her to that one big fear she's never wanted to face...

Wow. This book is: awesome! I enjoyed every single minute of it, and couldn't wait to see where it would end.

The only reason I took so long to finish is because I was super busy finishing a first draft last week, and had several things to tidy up, then we went out several times. There was so much going on. But hey, if you're going to take your time with a book, this is definitely the one to do it with. :)

Anyway, back to the story.

I loved every single damaged character in this book. I loved how the Solars used the curse as a way of justifying everything. I loved the way mental health was displayed so honestly and dealt with in such a raw way. Plus, I loved the whole Horowitz mystique. Everything fit so well, and when tied together formed a fantastic tale.

The kids were also awesome. Esther, with her anxious ways and always hiding behind some very cool costumes. Jonah, who is so kind and just such a wonderful human being but also a pickpocket. Eugene, with his desperate desire to not be consumed by the darkness of depression manifesting as fear of the dark. Hephzibah, with her selective muteness and ghostly but uplifting constant presence. And of course, the adorable Fleayoncé.

Each one of these characters affected me in a different way, but they all toyed with my heartstrings. And that, my friend, is some brilliant writing right there!

Yeah, I loved this story. It's dark, odd, sad, moody, heartbreaking & beautiful. Plus the ending was perfect, in so many ways!

I'll be looking out for more books written by this very talented author.

Friday 6 October 2017

Current WIP: Week Four

Welcome to my fourth current WIP update! :)

This week started with a public holiday, so I didn't actually add any new words until Tuesday. But the word count was pretty heavy for the rest of the week because I knew exactly where the story was going and how it was going to end. Mostly. ;)

So I pushed ahead. Even though I did backtrack several times because everything was swamping my brain at the same time and sometimes didn't come out in the right order.

Here's how this week's w/c turned out: 
  • Monday: 62,932 (added 0w) 
  • Tuesday: 68,213 (added 5281w) 
  • Wednesday: 71,799 (added 3586w) 
  • Thursday: 76,971 (added 5172w) 

Yes! The first draft is now DONE. Yay.

I actually finished one day before my self-imposed deadline. Just in time for hubby's one-week break. How's that for good timing? Phew.

After writing this book, I really need a break. This story was an incredible experience. I knew a demonic possession book would take me into some pretty screwed up places, but I didn't realise it would be so overwhelming. It was a LOT more emotional than I expected, and so many surprises popped up.

It's also made me realise that I can't write a story without kissing. I was so sure there would be no complicated love story, but there is and that just adds to the horror. *rubs hands together*

I'm very happy with how the novel turned out and can't wait to revise it, but it'll also be good to get a bit of distance from it.


Today I sorted all of my random WIP notes so everything's in the one spot. I also updated all of my inspirational pics. This is a pesky job that I have to deal with after finishing a draft. It kinda sucks, but has to be done.

I'm feeling a bit wonky today. Not sure if it's the usual change of season thing, the clogged up rhinitis that returns when I least expect it, I might be coming down with something, or it could be the ongoing stress of these freaking endless remedial works. They're bringing out the worst in people and I'm so ready for everything to go back to normal.

At least school starts again on Monday and I get to laze around with hubby for a week. I need a break. I need to take a deep breath. And I REALLY need a break. Especially with NaNoWriMo just around the corner.

Oh, and we're going to watch Blade Runner 2049 tomorrow. We actually watched the original last weekend, and the replicants were still the most humane characters.

Have a good one!

Monday 2 October 2017

OUR CHEMICAL HEARTS by Krystal Sutherland

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My daughter borrowed this from the library, so when she finished with it I decided to read it too. And I'm so glad I did!

Henry is a senior who's got two best friends, devotes most of his time to doing schoolwork so he can get into a decent college, and desperately wants to be the editor for the school newspaper. He's never been romantically interested in anyone because no one has captivated him enough.

That all changes when Grace walks into his classroom. She's got a cane, dodgy hair and dresses in oversized boy's clothes. She's also going to be an editor for the paper too. This obviously means he can spend more time with her.

Before he realises it, Henry is totally falling for her but Grace is secretive and damaged. She's hot and cold, fun and depressing. But one thing is for sure, he's addicted to her and most addictions don't end well...

Wow. This book is HEAVY.

It's also super awesome. And so addictive I read it in less than 24hrs. It's also very well written.

Henry's voice shines and he's such a funny and nice kid that I really wanted things to work out for him. Even when I could tell they wouldn't because he wasn't seeing clearly and was falling way to deep too soon.

He's a romantic at heart, but still manages to sometimes be a bit too pushy when it's clear that Grace is not in a good place.

And Grace. OMG. This poor damaged girl has suffered such a traumatic accident with devastating results. She's sad, grieving and all while trying to find a new path in life. A path she's clearly not ready for. As selfish as she seems to come across sometimes, when everything is revealed, you can't help but feel sorry for her.

I also really liked Lola, she was feisty and such a good friend she wasn't afraid to call Henry out on his bullshit. Murray was more of a pain than anything else. His constant Aussie slang was usually out of place and just too much, but I totally got what the author was doing. Plus, he was a bit stalkerish, which is always ew.

Another thing this book did right was the adults. They were actual people with their own set of problems. None of them are perfect, but I got a kick out of his parents and sister because they made me laugh.

And that's another thing. For a book that's so sad and full of complicated love because of each character's life experience, it was so funny!

Yeah, this is an awesome book.

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