Monday 30 July 2018

Long Time No Blog

Hey! How are you? What have you been up to?

Wow. I can't believe I haven't posted an update since the beginning of the month. BUT, in my defence, July has been a pretty active month. 

For starters, hubby took two weeks off from work for an overdue break. And my daughter was home for the same two weeks because of school holidays. 

So, put all that together and it means I was too busy relaxing, going on adventures and catching up on stuff we'd put off. By the time we settled on the couch for the night, I was too tired to post anything. And instead sat back sorting through the Idea Files on my phone while Seinfeld eps played in the backround.

What did we actually do? Well, we started the break with my birthday weekend celebrations. There was much secondhand book shopping, delish meals, lots of walking, plus Ant-Man and the Wasp. Loved the movie, btw. It was SO MUCH fun and that ending was killer.

After such an awesome weekend, we took care of tax stuff, got blood tests done, walked over The Sydney Harbour Bridge, went on several city outings, bought a bunch of EOFY-sale books & stationery, walked everywhere, and hubby even found an awesome laptop for me!

If you remember, I actually bought a new one at the beginning of this year because my beloved Samsung lappy was getting sluggish. As it turns out, the Acer Switch is cute and fast and lovely, but just isn't a right fit for what I need. The 2-in-1 thing is great if you're on the go, but I need something sturdier, with a bigger screen, and more USB ports.

And hubby found a great deal on a 15" HP that is just what I need. Yay. Looking forward to testing it out when I get stuck into my next WIP...

I also spent quite a bit of time reading. Of course! And even more time buying books. 😳

It was a winter break we REALLY needed, and we had a great time. So good I wasn't ready for it to end. The first week back was a little strange and so I spent most of it reading, trying to shift gears, and thinking about what to do next. 

That's another problem. My brain is so cluttered with ideas that I STILL haven't settled on my next project. But that's a story for another day.

Have a great week!

Saturday 28 July 2018

WONDER WOMAN: Warrior for Justice by Liz Marsham

Wonder Woman: Warrior for Justice! (DK Readers L3)Wonder Woman: Warrior for Justice! by Liz Marsham
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm a huge Wonder Woman fan, so when hubby surprised me with this lovely book yesterday, I couldn't wait to check it out.

Technically, this is a book to help kids read. It's also a great way to introduce them to the awesomeness that is Diana of Themyscira. BUT, because I love anything Wonder Woman, I enjoyed it. A lot.

This superhero's life is told with simple, but detailed information. Ranging from her friends, fellow superheroes, and villains. The artwork that accompanies each bit of info is absolutely gorgeous. The colours, the drawings, how each page is set out--all of it is beautiful.

It's really lovely, and written in such a fast-paced and fun way that I can see kids losing themselves in the words and pictures.

I think this is definitely a book that every Wonder Woman collector should add to their collection. 😊

Thursday 19 July 2018

CAREER OF EVIL by Robert Galbraith

Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike, #3)
Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Since the fourth Cormoran Strike book comes out later this year, it was time to get the third one read. And just like the others, I absolutely LOVED it.

The day a package arrives at the office for Robin, she assumes it's something for her upcoming wedding to Matthew. But when she opens it and finds a woman’s severed leg, their small business is thrown into a chaotic spiral that threatens to tear apart everything Robin and Cormoran have worked so hard to build.

While the police focus on the wrong suspect, Cormoran is forced to face some very uncomfortable teenage memories. He also finds himself recalling several unsavoury and violent men he's had the misfortune of meeting during his career.

This situation doesn't just send Cormoran down the dark memories of his past. The same happens to Robin, because a killer has set his sights on her and she's determined to never become the victim again...

Yikes! This book is SO good.

Even though the subject matter takes the reader to some very dark places and the violence against women is sickening, this very well-written story pushed me to keep moving forward.

The characters are amazing. I love Cormoran. He might be grumpy and rough around the edges, but he's a big softy hiding behind the tough exterior he's cultivated for years. He cares about Robin, but usually comes across so gruff he ends up saying the opposite of what he's feeling.

And Robin is such a great character. She's smart, strong, caring, efficient, and ruthless with her determination to get the job done. I love her tenacity. The only thing that bugs me about her is Matthew. He's so annoying, and his attitude and actions in this installment got on my nerves.

Both Robin and Cormoran are awesome, but the supporting characters are just as interesting.

Career of Evil is a suspenseful addition to this great series. The gross mystery at the core of the story might be disturbing, but totally gripped me from start to finish. I didn't want to put it down, needed to read in long stretches because the intrigue kept me hooked to my Paperwhite.

Robin and Cormoran make such a great team.

Robert Galbraith has done it again!

Can't wait to see what happens next...

Saturday 14 July 2018


Blood and Magick (Deacon Chalk: Occult Bounty Hunter #3)Blood and Magick by James R. Tuck
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After enjoying the hell out of the first two books in this trilogy, I was really looking forward to reading the last book in the Deacon Chalk trilogy. BUT, I kept putting it off... for several years! LOL.

Anyway, this month I decided it was time to finally find out how his story ends.

Deacon fights monsters all the time and, since his encounter with an angel after his family was killed years ago, isn't fully human himself.

Monsters are everywhere, so the night he's out having dinner with his girl and some close friends and a trio of witches attack the restaurant, he's not surprised.

These crazy witches want the blood of three were-dog kids Deacon happens to know, so he's determined to get to the bottom of what's going on before they kill more innocent people. And that means teaming up with a tough agent, stopping these ruthless witches, and in the process putting his own people's lives in danger...


This book was so action-packed!

It's explosive, and doesn't let up. It's like a non-stop action movie that speeds ahead and never slows down.

There are so many awesome scenes in this book, but there's this one particular one that takes place inside a movie theatre that blew me away. There are zombies, vampires, guns, witchcraft, and a magical battle inside a cinema that I couldn't put down. Wow.

I love Deacon's voice. He doesn't take any crap, isn't afraid of anyone and isn't shy about voicing his opinions. He's also tough as nails and is willing to do whatever it takes to protect the ones he cares about. Which leads me to the amazing characters: Father Mulcahy, Tiff, Kat, Ronnie, Boothe, Agent Heck... They're all SO cool.

I'm very excited to have finally reached The End of Deacon's story.

This is a great UF trilogy!

Thursday 12 July 2018

THE PRETTY ONES by Ania Ahlborn

The Pretty OnesThe Pretty Ones by Ania Ahlborn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have a few of this author's books on my Kindle, so I decided it was time to sample her writing. I started with this novella.

It's 1977 in New York, and not only is the weather super hot, but there's a killer on the loose. Everyone in the city lives in fear of the Son of Sam, especially women.

But Nell Sullivan isn't afraid because she's not beautiful or popular.

Nell doesn't have any real friends, just her silent but judgemental brother, Barrett. Plus the office job that keeps a shitty roof over their heads and food on the table. But when she decides it's time to try and befriend some of her workmates, Barrett sabotages her attempts with violence...

Yikes. This book sure grabbed me from the very beginning! For being a novella, it's sure narrative heavy. Yet never dragged or got boring. Nope, I was gripped by Nell's simple but messed up life and couldn't stop reading.

Getting lost in this character's very confused mind was trippy, and kinda sad because Nell was a little nuts. Okay, maybe she was so much more: awkward, quiet, confused, angry and so self-conscious she doesn't give herself a chance to really breathe.

I thought all the details--big and small--and characters, even the atmosphere captured the 1970s perfectly. It was easy to slip back into Nell and Barrett's time and get lost in the crazy time when a serial killer held a city hostage. I mean, even the idea of setting THIS story during that time is genius.

Even though I worked out what was really happening before reaching the reveal, I still enjoyed the hell out of this story.

Now I'm looking forward to reading more Ania Ahlborn books. 😀

Tuesday 10 July 2018

TOOK by Mary Downing Hahn

Took: A Ghost StoryTook: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I picked this up for my Paperwhite because the story sounded intriguing. Plus, I'm a sucker for creepy dolls. Not to mention ghost stories get me every single time.

After the recession hit them hard, Daniel Anderson and his family had to leave their expensive life in Connecticut. Now they've moved into a shabby house in West Virginia and he hates it almost as much as his younger sister.

The people in Woodville aren't very nice, and the kids at school are even worse. While his parents get crappy jobs, Daniel and Erica keep to themselves. Except, Erica keeps withdrawing with her look-alike doll, and their parents are starting to act mean.

Daniel doesn't want to believe the stories about the old woman who supposedly lives on Brewster’s Hill with her razorback hog, but when his sister goes mising he's forced to believe in the unbelievable...

This book was SO spooky.

It might be advertised as a middle-grade story, but I still loved it. It's super spooky and mysterious, and so creepy. Loved how an ordinary, close family of four moves into a rundown house and slowly unravel to become four separate cogs distancing themselves from one another. Losing touch so badly even though they live inside the same house.

The atmospheric creepiness of the woods, and Auntie and Bloody Bones intensified as the story moved along. I couldn't wait to see what would happen next, and it didn't disappoint.

Although this is labelled a ghost story, I got fairy tale vibes all the way through. It's a little Hansel and Gretel, and a lot awesome.

I recommend this little tale to anyone who enjoys a good old fashioned dark children's tale.

You don't have to be a kid to get spooked out.

Wednesday 4 July 2018

CLEAN by Juno Dawson

It's a dirty business getting clean. 

When socialite Lexi Volkov almost overdoses, she thinks she's hit rock bottom. She's wrong. 

 Because rock bottom is when she's forced into an exclusive rehab facility. 

 From there, the only way is up for Lexi and her fellow inmates, including the mysterious Brady. 

 As she faces her demons, Lexi realises love is the most powerful drug of all ...


I was lucky enough to receive a gorgeous ARC of this book, and have to admit that I went in slow. I wasn't sure if this story would be hard to get into, and even harder to read. 

Well, it's definitely not a happy tale, and doesn't shy away from the many disturbing faces of addiction. But once I started, it was definitely hard to put down. 

Lexi Volkov is the heiress of the V Hotel Group. She's rich, glamorous, beautiful, and definitely likes to party. Actually, she parties so much that before she knows it she's hanging around dealers, is convinced she's in love with one of them, and is addicted to drugs.

Fearing for her life, her older brother forcibly takes her to rehab. But Clarity Centre isn't your average facility. This place is on a remote island and is especially there for privileged kids whose parents can afford the luxury while their children get the help they need.

Here, Lexi meets a bunch of people with many problems, and is forced to face the past and future if she's going to have a present...

This is such an unbelievable book. Not just because the story hooked me instantly or because the writing is awesome, but because there were so many reasons why I shouldn't have liked Lexi. Too many reasons why I should've given up on her as easily as she gives up on herself.

She's selfish, spoilt, stubborn, a liar and has lost total control of herself in a way that frustrated me throughout. But you know what? All of those things also kept me glued to the page.

I also enjoyed meeting all of the other messed up residents in Clarity, and soon realised I was totally invested in their lives. I wanted all of them to get better. Wanted them to really live and love, and respect themselves. But addiction screws up priorities and fills each one with self-loathing that can only be silenced by more drugs, or alcohol, or food, or no food at all. It's a vicious cycle and this book showed the whole sad and heartbreaking spectrum brilliantly.

The snappy, short chapters were a great way of telling this story. They made the experience go fast, making an almost 400-page book dealing with some very serious and heavy issues, a breeze to read. Well, that and the awesome writing style and voice. 

Clean is such an addictive book! I had a lot of trouble putting it down. As soon as I started, I fell down the rabbit hole with Lexi and didn't want to stop until we reached the other end. 

This story makes the reader go through a bunch of emotions: anger, sadness, excitement, disillusionment, hope. And turns you into a cheerleader, because as awful as these kids could be, I really wanted every single one of them to recover.

I'm really glad I read this. It's an important story.

Clean, April 2018, ISBN 9781786540362, Quercus Children's Books


Witching Hour TheatreWitching Hour Theatre by Jonathan Janz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I finished this novella this morning and didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would.

Larry Wilson loves horror movies, and likes going to the Starlight Cinema all-night horror movie marathon even more. That there's a cute girl working there certainly makes the event even more appealing. But tonight, someone is lurking in the shadows...

Okay, let's start with the good things. I absolutely LOVE the cover. It's just so cool and certainly matches the story. I really enjoyed the first half of the story because it was interesting and was full of just the right creepy vibes. I also liked how the movie-watching experience was portrayed in a way that kept me reading and didn't bore me.

Unfortunately, after the audience thins out and Larry Wilson faces the threat, my attention started to drift. I don't know why, but somewhere along the way I started to lose interest during the section that usually keeps me glued to the story.

Maybe it's because I didn't really like Larry all that much and didn't care if he survived or not. Maybe it's because the tension collapsed for me. Could be that I didn't buy the romance. Or that the constant switching from Larry to Wilson lost me a couple of times.

I'm not sure what it was, but I really enjoyed the first half. And that spooky obscure movie they played really piqued my interest.

Sunday 1 July 2018

Restless Mind


The weeks are sure moving fast. But at the moment, I don't mind so much because after this week, hubby has a two-week break. Yay. 😊

This also means that my restless mind didn't want to get stuck into a new first draft, or revision. Not until AFTER the leave. 

It's why I can't even settle on what my next project should be. I keep wandering from one possibility to another. Eyeing possible anthologies to sub to, reading more than one book at a time, thinking about the many ideas hounding my brain... All while that pesky urban legend book I wrote last year keeps whispering inside my head because it's ready for the next draft stage.

So yeah. I'm at that point where I want to work on EVERYTHING AT THE SAME TIME. But end up working on nothing. 😰

But that's okay. This state of mind has given me the chance to get several non-writing projects out of the way. And getting a bunch of reading done is always good, too.

One of the things I FINALLY crossed off my to-do list (after being on there for most of the year) is a photo-sorting & update-USB project. Two connected very time consuming personal projects I decided to get stuck into. It took most of last week--just like I thought it would--but now it's done. 

Feels so good to have accomplished this after months of carrying it forward. 

Hey, did you guys watch the Westworld S2 finale? Wow. This show is just so amazing. I love shows (also movies & books) that  aren't linear and encourage the audience to solve mysteries and analyse information. Can't wait to see where the next season takes us.

Oh, and I'm super happy to report that since ending our yoga hiatus last month, we've been doing 2 workouts a week and it feels so good.

I seriously don't know why we paused in the first place. *scratches head*

Well, that's about it for now. Not much writing progress to report, no new words to report, no revision page counts to keep tabs of. Just me getting smaller things done before having a nice break with hubby and daughter.

See ya!
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