Friday 28 September 2018


The Switch House
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a book that kept popping up on my Twitter and Goodreads timelines. So, when it was reduced, I bought a copy for my Paperwhite.

Last night I picked it up and read it in one sitting.

When Angela and Terry return home after taking part in a reality TV show about switching houses with a stranger, everything about their home and marriage--even their everyday life--feels wrong. Then the nightmares get super weird, and Angela starts questioning her sanity, so she starts going to therapy. In secret.

The relationship between Angela and Terry hasn't been the same since tragedy touched their lives. And just when things seem to be getting back on track, her nightmares become hallucinations... Or are they reality?


This is quite a story.

It's a surreal journey into a nightmarish dreamscape dripping with so much darkness, it didn't take long for me to get as lost and confused as Angela.

My favourite thing about this book is how twisted and non-linear it is. What starts out as some pretty weird shit, soon becomes real-world reality grounded in therapy, before once again dumping us into the creepy, disturbing stuff that makes us lose touch of what's real and what's not.

Not to mention the twisty path. Yeah, did I mention that the twists don't stop coming? That just when you think you know exactly what's going on, it turns out you have no idea. And when the secrets start unravelling, I couldn't believe the depraved direction the book took.

Jesus. This is so screwed up. Messed up.

I have to be honest, when I finished reading this last night I was going to give it a 4-star rating. BUT then today, I couldn't stop thinking about this story. About how it twisted and turned so much that in the end, this book is too good not to get the 5 stars. 😊

I wasn't a fan of the three short stories, but they have no bearing on my rating or opinions because the novel was what I wanted to read.

Yeah. I really enjoyed the darkness and horror of this story. I love reading strange books that feel like living nightmares, and this definitely fit the bill.

Current WIP: Week Four

Welcome to my fourth current WIP update!

This week was a strange and busy one. For starters, this was my daughter's last week of school. Ever. On Thursday, we went to her high school graduation assembly.

Asides from her HSC exams next month, she's pretty much done with school. I'm still wrapping my head around the fact that I have a daughter who will turn 18 in October. 😁


This was also the last week of September. And that was my deadline for getting my WIP completed.

Here's how my w/c turned out:

Monday:  65,739 (added 4210w)
Tuesday:  71,343 (added 5604w) 
Wednesday:  76,327 (added 4984w)
Thursday:  (Daughter graduated HS)
Friday:  77,820w (added 1493w)

There it is! The first draft is now DONE. Yay.

I actually reached The End on Wednesday afternoon. But, because this week's writing sessions were crazed word frenzies, I wanted to go back a bit and add more meat to the bones.

I'm really happy with how this story turned out.

As I've mentioned before, this is an idea that's been swirling around inside my head for months. It deals with one of my favourite Greek mythological monsters, but it takes place today.

Another thing I had fun with was writing this novel in mutiple third-person POV. It had been a while since I'd done that, since my other horror novels were written in first person.

Now I have to sort through my notes and put everything away. Until revision time, of course.

So, what's next? Well, I'd like to rest, read and maybe write a short story. Maybe. Oh, and it's time to start thinking about NaNoWriMo...💭 But there'll be more thinking than anything else, because hubby's having two weeks off very soon and there'll be no writing then. 😊

Anyway, that's it for now. 

Have a great weekend! Ours is a long one because Monday is a public holiday.

See ya!

Tuesday 25 September 2018

THREE LITTLE LIES by Laura Marshall

There's no such thing as a little lie . . . 

 When Sasha North comes into Ellen's life, Ellen falls under her spell. As Ellen is welcomed into Sasha's family, she doesn't see the darkness that lies beneath their bohemian lifestyle. Not until a brutal attack changes all their lives forever. 

Ten years later, Ellen and Sasha share a flat in London, still bound together by that night. When Sasha disappears, Ellen fears the worst. The police won't take her seriously, but the events of the past give Ellen good reason to be frightened. 

What really happened that night? Who is telling the whole truth? These are the questions Ellen must confront when searching for her friend. But someone knows Ellen is looking. And they don't want the answers coming out... 

I really enjoyed Friend Request, so I was excited about reading the latest thriller by this author.

Ellen and Sasha met when they were teenagers, and ten years later they're still friends and living together. 

When Sasha goes missing, Ellen calls the police but because of Sasha's habit of running out when things don't go her way, the authorities aren't in a hurry to investigate.

Determined to find her friend, Ellen decides to take things into her own hands and starts to investigate herself. She reaches out and finds herself falling into the dark memories that started with becoming obsessed with the Monkton family and ended in an awful tragic event that destroyed all of their lives...

Okay. Yikes. This is such a tangled mess of what lies can do when they get out of control.

There was a lot of messed up stuff going on in this story. And it totally hooked me in, kept me reading and dragged me down with the main character. Ellen goes through a lot, but in hindsight, not as much as the real victim of the story.

This is a well-written book and it's certainly compelling. It also deals with some pretty serious issues: teenage drinking, obsession, relationship violence, irresponsible adults, harmful lies, abuse, jealousy and betrayal. The way everything unfolds, revealing how these things affected everyone, is disturbing.

I was totally feeling everything that was going on and enjoyed the pace. Until the revelations started coming. That's when my attitude changed. Not just because the truth infuriated me, but because I just didn't like the end. And the selfish, greedy, manipulative characters are to blame. They were terrible, so frustrating. The whole lot of them!

Oh, and I seriously despised Sasha. She was the worst. So much of the story revolved around her: where she was, what happened to her, was she in danger? I hated her conclusion. I know it was meant to show just what kind of person we were dealing with, but it was the weakest link in the story. And changed my overall opinion of the whole book.

One of my favourite things was the time jumps. Most of the events take place during 2017, but also go back to 2005, 2006 and 2007. By slowly revealing the past through the eyes of several characters, all the events are tied together in a messed up but tidy fashion.

Three Little Lies is an interesting and very suspenseful book. It's interesting, a disturbing slow burner that sucked me in and kept me glued to the page. I couldn't wait to see how the events of the past and present turned out after colliding.

I just wish I'd loved it all the way to the end, but that's mostly because of my own personal disappointment. Still, it takes some seriously cool writing skills to weave such a twisty tale.

Three Little Lies, July 2018, ISBN 9780751568363, Sphere

Friday 21 September 2018

Current WIP: Week Three

Hello, and welcome to my third current WIP update!

So, how was your week? Did you get much done? Did you meet your goals? Did you have a to-do list full of stuff like I did? I put together a to-do list every Sunday, and cross things off as I go.

It's a great way to keep track of everything. A way to keep a handy record with dates. 

Here's my w/c for this week:
  • Monday: 46,293 (added 3043w) 
  • Tuesday: 50,301 (added 4008w) 
  • Wednesday: 54,473 (added 4172w)
  • Thursday: 58,206 (added 3733)  
  • Friday: 61,529 (added 3323w)

I'm really happy with the progress. Monsters is turning out to be quite the ride. It's dark, emotional, twisted, and infused with mythology.

This is a story that's been swirling inside my head for months. It came to me after seeing a really cool artwork someone shared on Twitter. One picture, one question, and my muse was buzzing. I remember taking a bunch of notes so I wouldn't forget, because I was planning/working on a pretty intensive revision for a different project.

So as soon as I decided this was going to be my next project, and started writing, I got swept up in my original idea. But now, the story's original vision has twisted into so much more.

I'm loving every moment of this first draft, and can't wait to see where it all ends.

Actually, speaking of The End, I have two possible endings in mind. The problem is that I like both. So I wrote them down, and I'll let the story decide which one suits it best.

There's been quite a bit of that in this story.

At the beginning of the week I took notes all the way to the end. But then, when I actually sat down the sequence changed. Some of my notes were irrelevant. I plucked things from here and put them there, and vice versa.

THIS is why I'm not a plotter. It's why I take a bunch of notes, spend hours thinking about the story, and just go with the flow.

I'm not sure how many more words it's going to take to get this done, but I'm excited about the snippets playing inside my head like a movie. 😊

Asides from writing, I read another excellent book this week. We've been walking a lot. Caught up on some washing. And enjoying the fact winter is finally over.

Oh, have you seen the CAPTAIN MARVEL trailer yet? I'm SO ready.

Anyway, that's it for this week.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday 19 September 2018


'Child experts will tell you that I'm way too young to carry such a burden of responsibility on my tender shoulders. But really, what do they know?' 

Who is Bobby Seed? 

 He's just your average sixteen-year-old – same wants, same fears, same hang-ups. Dull, dull, dull. 

 But then there's the Bobby Seed who's a world away from average. The Bobby Seed who has to wipe his mum's backside, sponge her clean three times a week, try to soothe her pain. The Bobby Seed whose job it is to provide for his younger brother, Danny, to rub his back when he's stressed and can only groan and rock instead of speak. 

 That's Bobby Seed. Same, same, same, yet different, different, different...

This is a surprise YA book I received from Bloomsbury Australia and didn't know anything about. But as soon as I picked it up, I got swept up in all of the emotion.

Bobby Seed is an average teenager going through the same stuff as other guys. Except, he's not so average. He might be young, but he's not carefree. His mum is sick, so he's a carer. And then, there's his younger brother. And cleaning, washing, dusting. Not to mention homework and tests.

At least he's got a trusty best friend in Bel. She's always there to help. Although, things aren't straightforward with her either, because she might want to be more than friends.

When Bobby starts going to a young carer's peer-group meeting and is introduced to a bunch of kids in similar situations, he realises he's not alone. He gets some well-deserved time away, even if he can't help but feel guilty and misses his mother. 

And then there's Lou. The guy with a vintage Vespa, the guy who stirs some pretty intense reactions in Bobby. Suddenly, everything gets more complicated, but nothing's as bad as his mother's unexpected request...


This book was an addiction I picked up earlier this week and couldn't put down. I intended to read the first chapter to get a taste and ended up reading over 50 pages!

Bobby's narrative hooked me into the story right away. His complicated life kept me turning the page. The banter between the characters--especially between Bobby and his mother--was SO good I couldn't help but cackle. 

What I found so amazing about this story is how the writing style dragged me through all the heartbreak, all the hardships until I felt like I was on a roller-coaster ride of emotions. Yet, before I could get too upset, the humour picked me up and made everything so much lighter.

The characters were another thing that I loved. Bobby is such a nice guy, but has his own faults. Bel is a great friend, even if she has her own agenda. Danny is such a sweetheart, and so much smarter than everyone thinks. Lou, well, he was a good dose of good guy, bad guy, and totally messed up guy. A good example of how such a serious experience alters a young life, changes a person forever.

I thought the poems were a nice addition, too.

The Weight of a Thousand Feathers is such a fantastic story about one teenager's journey through the super tough life of a carer. His devotion and determination, and just how he deals with the harsh reality he's been dealt is admirable. What Bobby and his brother face would destroy a weaker person, and that ending is both heartbreaking and hopeful.

I absolutely adored everything about this book. The characters got under my skin, the story led me down a dark path, the very sad consequences affected me deeply, and it made me laugh out loud so many times.

Plus, after finishing the book, I realised just how awesome the title is!

The Weight of a Thousand Feathers, July 2018, ISBN 9781408889121, Bloomsbury YA

Friday 14 September 2018

Current WIP: Week Two

Welcome to my second WIP update! 

So, how are you today? How's the week treating you? Here in Oz, it's finally starting to feel like spring. There was quite a bit of rain last week and we even had a freak hailstorm on Friday night, but this week has been mostly blue skies and lovely temperatures.

I say mostly because it was overcast this morning. But it didn't take long for the sun to make an appearance.

Anyway. Asides from catching up on the washing and updating my files + photos, I've been working on my WIP. I'm at the stage where I'm totally caught in the frenzy of getting the story outta my head. When all of the pieces are slowly slotting into place and I'm getting good word counts done. 

Even when I didn't really feel like writing because this week was draining my energy, I still hit my daily word count goal. I'm just too into the story to put it aside.

Besides, that's what the weekend is for. 😜

Anyway, here's my actual w/c progress:
  • Monday: 26,242 (added 4091w)
  • Tuesday: 30,437 (added 4195w) 
  • Wednesday: 34,513 (added 4076w) 
  • Thursday: 39,471 (added 4958w) 
  • Friday:  43,250 (added 3779w)

There you have it. Monsters is going very well. Very well, indeed. I'm really happy with how the story is unfolding. The creepy factor keeps intensifying. The complications are reaching twisted proportions. The family drama is totally disturbing.

I passed 100 pages. Crossed 40k words. And I'm pretty sure the halfway point has come and gone.

But I've now reached that point where I need to grab pen & notebook, sit down and start taking notes. It's time to brainstorm my way to The End. Everything is going down, the characters are heading into dangerous territory, and the downward spiral has already begun.

There's still quite a bit of story to tell, but I need to write everything down so I don't forget anything.

Asides from the novel I'm writing, the other day while I was walking, the beginning of a story idea I've had sitting in my Idea Files hit me. Love it when that happens!

Well, that's it for this week.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday 12 September 2018


Rumor has it that the house by the cemetery is haunted by the ghost of a witch. But rumors won't stop Mike Kostner from rehabbing the place as a haunted house attraction. And behind the rumors is a real ghost who will do whatever it takes to ensure the house reopens. Because while the witch may have been dead... she doesn't intend to stay that way.

Well, it's time to review my last Flame Tree Press ARC. This is one of the horror titles I was looking forward to reading because I love the cover, and I'm a sucker for a haunted house story. 😁

When Mike's friend asks him to help make the abandoned house by the cemetery safe enough to have crowds of people go through it's doors and many levels on Halloween, he's not sold on the idea.

Turning a place that is rumoured to be haunted by a witch into a haunted house attraction during October doesn't appeal to him, but it appeals to the group of people who are going to decorate and run the place.

But then Mike meets the attractive Katie. She's eager to help and keeps him company while he works. So he's determined to keep coming back to finish the job. No matter what...

So. Okay. 

Like I said before, I was excited about this book. It started out well, I was totally into it and really enjoyed the first two parts. I especially loved the way Part One ended because it was so cool. It confirmed something I'd suspected, and to have it revealed in such a shocking way was great.

My main problem with this story turned out to be Mike. While I liked him quite a bit while he was working on the house, I had a lot of trouble with how he deals with a certain revelation. It just didn't seem right. Didn't fit the way his character was unfolding. Makes him seem like a bit of a moron who finds out something absolutely ghastly, but doesn't care. As long as the sex is good, he goes along with anything and everything.

Yeah, that really bugged me. Although I got the feeling he was lonely and heartbroken, I never got the impression that he was stupid. He was level-headed, so I had a hard time accepting his whatever attitude about all the gross stuff he sees and does just because he wanted to be with Katie.

I mean, I know love/lust can make people blind but this was a bit much.

The story is told in multiple POVs, which was a great way of giving the book a fun angle. I got a real kick out of all the horror movie references, and how creative the crew was in setting up the different scenes inside the house. 

BUT, there were too many POVs thrown into the last part. Some turned out to be too random, while others just weren't deep enough. The balance in the first two parts was thrown off during the last act. And that's when the story lost me.

Also, there was another pesky thing that bugged me. A character mentions "an Australian movie about killer sheep". The movie Lon is talking about is called Black Sheep, and is actually a movie made in New Zealand, not Australia. I know it's a tiny thing--more of a pet peeve--but I'm a stickler for horror movie references.

The House by the Cemetery is an entertaining and different take on the haunted house trope. It's got quite a few disturbing revelations, a nice setup, some crafty horror references, and leads the reader into quite the gorefest. But for me, the last act lets it down.

I love a good splatterfest as much as the next horror freak, but this one was too flimsy. In the end, I didn't feel bad for the victims, didn't care who lived or died, and eventually lost interest in the villain's quest. Plus the ending was pretty meh, IMO. 

It's a shame because I was sure I would love this.

Saturday 8 September 2018


Everyone loves Eva. Beautiful, bright, fun, generous - she's perfect. 

So when her body is found in a ditch in the local woods the only thing anyone wants to know is: Who could have done this?

It has to be Luke, her boyfriend. He has the motive, the means, the opportunity and he's no stranger to the police. 

Even though the picture is incomplete, the pieces fit. But as time passes, stories change.  

Who could have done this? You decide.

I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this book from Hachette Australia (thank you, thank you) and didn't know what to expect. But I found the blurb interesting, and as soon as I started I was hooked.

Eva is pretty, smart, rich and popular. So when she goes missing and then found dead in a ditch, everyone is shocked. Not to mention that it doesn't take long for people to start pointing a finger at her boyfriend, Luke.

It turns out that the night she was killed, she was at a party and had an argument with Luke. He was also the last person to see her alive.

As the investigation deepens, it soon becomes obvious that Eva wasn't who everyone thought she was. And as the secrets are slowly uncovered, the story of Eva's life isn't as happy as onlookers thought...

Wow. This book was SO good.

The mystery of what really happened to Eva was so intriguing. I couldn't stop turning the pages. Hardly noticed the hours slipping away as I tried to unravel a web that seemed to tighten instead of loosen.


I loved the way the story was told by featuring a bunch of POVs, and how all of them added a little more to complicate things. Luke, the poor boyfriend, who loved her so much but had so many personal issues. Carolina, the secret friend, and daughter of the lead detective, who has her own agenda. Siobhan, the actual best friend, who is easily manipulated and clueless. Rob, Luke's friend, who is divided between his loyalty and future career prospects. Mr Abdul, the kind teacher who knew how to say all the right words of encouragement.

And every single one hides the potential secrets capable of destroying themselves, and so much more.

Eva's diary also revealed the juicy details of a teenage girl in search of passion and danger. The blog entries added fuel to the fire.

I thought the intricate balance between the characters and the events--both past and present--added together, increased the tension and suspicion of just about all the players.

Another very cool thing about this sad story was how all the characters suffer through their share of moral dilemmas. All these people do good and bad things, make good and bad decisions, and are never quite sure if they can trust anyone--even themselves.

It Ends With You is an intense and wicked YA murder mystery that hooked me instantly. It's a real page-turner. I couldn't put it down! The level of paranoia increases almost as fast as the suspicion.

It's a book that isn't afraid to delve into some very uncomfortable situations about the divide between teenagers and adults. And THAT ending was so unexpected, so unique. So clever.

I seriously couldn't put this down!

It Ends With You, September 2018, ISBN 9780349003177, Atom

Friday 7 September 2018

Current WIP: Week One

Hi! How are you? Are you having a nice week? I started a new WIP, and I couldn't be happier.

If you've been reading my posts this year then you know that between short story writing, real life stuff, completing several detailed drafts of a novel and (totally) cluttered brain, I haven't had the chance to lose myself in a new world. And I've missed that!

I haven't started anything new for MONTHS and I was itching to get started. I'm not kidding. The way the story poured out through my fingertips only confirms how excited I was to start this. 

Here's my first w/c progress:
  • Monday: 4,647w 
  • Tuesday: 9,105 (added 4458w) 
  • Wednesday: 14,253 (added 5148w) 
  • Thursday: 18,801 (added 4548w) 
  • Friday: 22,151 (added 3350w)

I can't believe that this time last week all I had were a bunch of notes and scattered ideas. Now I have 59 pages of a new book written. And a bunch of scattered ideas. That hasn't changed.

So, what's this story about? Well, Monsters (let's dub it that) is a YA horror with a slant towards monster mythology (obviously). It's a story about a family suffering through a really bad time. It's a bit of a tragedy. It's horrific. It's surreal.

It's so much fun!

I'm aiming for 50-70k. Not sure where the first draft will end up, but I'll just keep writing until it's done. So far the story is moving along well. 😃👍

Now it's time to take the weekend off. I'm hoping to relax with hubby, squeeze in a bit of reading, and hopefully take a few notes while the story is simmering in the back of my head.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday 5 September 2018

THE TOY THIEF by D.W. Gillespie

Jack didn’t know what to call the nameless, skeletal creature that slunk into her house in the dead of night, stealing the very things she loved the most. So she named him The Toy Thief… 

There’s something in Jack’s past that she doesn’t want to face, an evil presence that forever changed the trajectory of her family. It all began when The Toy Thief appeared, a being drawn by goodness and innocence, eager to feed on everything Jack holds dear. 

Well, it's time to review another Flame Tree Press ARC. When I saw the creepy doll on the cover, I knew I wanted to read this book. Yeah, I have a weakness for creepy dolls.

Jack doesn't have the best life. How can she when her mother died giving birth to her? But she's got an easy-going father, whose parenting style means they pretty much do what they want. And she has an older brother called Andy, who gets angry easily and may/may not hate her. 

The night she discovers a hideous monster sneaking into their house to steal toys, the morbid discovery sends both her and Andy's life into a downward spiral that echoes for decades to come... 

This book is SO good! 

As soon as I got started, I knew I was going to like it. Jack's voice is strong, commands the reader's attention and draws them into a freaky childhood story guaranteed to please horror enthusiasts. 

Told by Jack, but shifting from her being an adult to the events of the childhood summer that destroyed any semblance of normality in her life, the story continually circles back and forth connecting everything. 

The writing style intrigued me so much and the breadcrumbs--or jelly beans--kept me turning the page. I wanted to know what was going to happen next, needed to get to the wicked and weird heart of everything. 

Even though Jack, Andy and their father appear to be quite dysfunctional, the strong sense of family was one of my favourite things about this story.

The Toy Thief is a nostalgic dark tale about a family struggling to keep it together against all odds, and the unexpected tragic events that ripple into their futures. It's also full of horrifying imagery, and is downright creepy. Not to mention that I got a huge kick out of the toy angle.

This publisher is blowing me away with their horror titles. 

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