_____________________________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Monday, 31 December 2018

Books Read in 2018


THE PRINCESS SAVES HERSELF IN THIS ONE:
Amanda Lovelace

LIBBY IN THE MIDDLE:
Gwyneth Rees

PSYCHO:
Robert Bloch

William Sutcliffe

DOWN AMONG THE STICKS AND BONES
(Wayward Children #2):
Seanan McGuire

THE GIVEN:
Fiona Dodwell

CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF DESTRUCTION
(Lois Lane):
Gwenda Bond

A REAL WORK OF ART
(Lois Lane):
Gwenda Bond

BONFIRE:
Krysten Ritter

THE COMPLETE SOOKIE STACKHOUSE STORIES:
Charlaine Harris

EVERLESS:
Sara Holland

Rupi Kaur

ENDLESSLY
(Paranormalcy #3):
Kiersten White

ARISTOTLE & DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE:
Benjamin Alire Sรกenz

RINGER
(Replica #2):
Lauren Oliver

(Delirium #3):
Lauren Oliver

(Delirium #1.1):
Lauren Oliver

THE BELLES(DNF)
Dhonielle Clayton

THE POOL HOUSE:
Tasmina Perry

THE DEATH HOUSE:
Sarah Pinborough

GUNSLINGER GIRL:
Lyndsay Ely

THE ABYSS SURROUNDS US:
Emily Skrutskie

SATELLITE(DNF)
Nick Lake

ODD THOMAS(DNF)
Dean Koontz

THE WONDER DOWN UNDER:
Nina Brochmann & Ellen Stรธkken Dahl

FORGOTTEN WOMEN
The Leaders:
Zing Tsjeng

FORGOTTEN WOMEN
The Scientists:
Zing Tsjeng

PRACTICAL MAGIC:
Alice Hoffman

SHE
A Celebration of Renegade Women:
Harriet Hall

AN UNREMARKABLE BODY:
Elisa Lodato

THE EXORCISM OF STEVIE KING:
Jim Mullaney

THE STORY OF TANTRUM O'FURRILY:
Cressida Cowell & Mark Nicholas

FULL DARK, NO STARS:
Stephen King

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF MARLON BUNDO:
Jill Twiss & EG Keller

BLOOD AND CHOCOLATE:
Annette Curtis Klause

HAMMERS ON BONE
(Persons Non Grata #1):
Cassandra Khaw

DETECTIVE PIKACHU: Eevee's Case:
The Pokรฉmon Company

THE NOWHERE GIRLS:
Amy Reed

BEFORE YOU SLEEP
Three Horrors:
Adam Nevill

IN THE HOUSE OF THE DEAD:
William Meikle

THE WREN HUNT:
Mary Watson

AMERICAN HOARDER:
Jason Arnopp

AUTO REWIND:
Jason Arnopp

BEFORE YOU WAKE
Three Horrors:
Adam Nevill

Y: THE LAST MAN, Vol. 1
Unmanned:
Brian K. Vaughan & Pia Guerra

GERALD'S GAME:
Stephen King

Holly Cave

THE PERFECT GIRLFRIEND:
Karen Hamilton

HORROR STORY:
Carmen Maria Machado

GREMLINS:
George Gipe

CG Drews

Devin Grayson, Marco Failla & Helen Chen

SLIGHTS(DNF)
Kaaron Warren

Raymond A Villareal

TIGHT LITTLE STITCHES IN A DEAD MAN'S BACK:
Joe R Lansdale

INCIDENT ON AND OFF A MOUNTAIN ROAD:
Joe R Lansdale

Jack Wang

Jack Wang


CICADA:
Shaun Tan

THE OUTSIDER:
Stephen King

EMBASSY OF THE DEAD:
Will Mabbitt

Kamilla Benko

FINAL GIRLS:
Riley Sager

WIDOW'S POINT:
Richard Chizmar & Billy Chizmar

Adam Nevill

UR:
Stephen King

LucasFilm

Shea Fontana

THE WORLD ACCORDING TO WONDER WOMAN:
Matthew K Manning

THE TALL MAN:
Phoebe Locke

ALONE:
Cyn Balog

THE ASTONISHING COLOUR OF AFTER:
Emily XR Pan

THE GRAVE TENDER:
Eliza Maxwell

LET ME LIE:
Claire Mackintosh

WITCHING HOUR THEATRE:
Jonathan Janz

CLEAN:
Juno Dawson

TOOK:
Mary Downing Hahn

THE PRETTY ONES:
Ania Ahlborn

BLOOD AND MAGICK
(Deacon Chalk, Occult Bounty Hunter #3):
James R Tuck

CAREER OF EVIL
(Cormoran Strike #3):
Robert Galbraith

THE BOTANIST'S DAUGHTER:
Kayte Nunn

WONDER WOMAN
Warrior for Justice:
Liz Marsham

THE BOTANIST'S DAUGHTER:
Kayte Nunn

THE SIREN AND THE SPECTRE:
Jonathan Janz

THE 13th WARNING:
RL Stine

TEN:
Gretchen McNeil

THE CRONING(DNF)
Laird Barron

CREATURE:
Hunter Shea

THE MOUTH OF THE DARK:
Tim Waggoner

THIRTEEN DAYS BY SUNSET BEACH:
Ramsey Campbell

FORGOTTEN WOMEN
The Writers:
Zing Tsjeng

FORGOTTEN WOMEN
The Artists:
Zing Tsjeng

THE BAD NEIGHBOUR:
David Tallerman

THE LIFE AND DEATH PARADE:
Eliza Wass

THE SKY WOMAN(DNF)
JD Moyer

Brian Trent

SHUTTER:
Courtney Alameda

Yukito Kishiro

THE TOY THIEF:
DW Gillespie

GRACE & FURY(DNF)
Tracy Banghart

IT ENDS WITH YOU:
SK Wright

THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY:
John Everson

William F Nolan

SKYLARKS(DNF)
Karen Gregory

THE WEIGHT OF A THOUSAND FEATHERS:
Brian Conaghan

THREE LITTLE LIES:
Laura Marshall

Courtney Alameda

THE SWITCH HOUSE:
Tim Meyer

LITTLE EVE(DNF)
Catriona Ward

YEAR ONE(DNF)
Nora Roberts

SUSPENDED IN DUSK II(DNF)
Simon Dewar

BROKEN THINGS:
Lauren Oliver

CLOCKWORK CITY
(Delphic Division #2):
Paul Crilley

RITUALS
(Cainsville #5):
Kelley Armstrong

SAGA, Volume 8:
Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples

SAGA, Volume 9:
Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples

PROVIDENCE:
Caroline Kepnes

THE GIRL FROM THE OTHER SIDE, Volume 1:
Nagabe

Junji Ito

Liz Sower

Calvin Demmer

BELIEVE ME:
JP Delaney

ANNIHILATION:
Jeff VanderMeer

ELEVATION:
Stephen King

Avery Monsen

CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA #1:
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Robert Hack

THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE:
Shirley Jackson

CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA #2:
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Robert Hack

THE SORROWS(DNF)
Jonathan Janz

Ramsey Campbell

CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA #3:
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Robert Hack

NIGHT SHIFT(DNF)
Robin Triggs

KOSMOS(DNF)
Adrian Laing

CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA #4:
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Robert Hack

LOOK ALIVE 25:
Janet Evanovich

THE SEA WAS A FAIR MASTER:
Calvin Demmer

CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA #5:
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Robert Hack

CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA #6:
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Robert Hack

CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA #7:
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Robert Hack

CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA #8:
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Robert Hack

FANTASTIC BEASTS
       The Crimes of Grindelwald(DNF)
JK Rowling

CARMILLA:
J Sheridan Le Fanu

THE VAMPYRE:
John William Polidori

THE GREAT GOD PAN:
Arthur Machen

THAT'S NOT WHAT HAPPENED:
Kody Keplinger

SONGS ABOUT A BOY:
Chris Russell

Jory John & Pete Oswald

THE BAD SEED:
Jory John & Pete Oswald

WILLIAM AND MARY:
Roald Dahl

WHERE ARE YOU GOING, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?
Joyce Carol Oates

UGLIES 
Shay's Story:
Scott Westerfeld, Devin Grayson & Steven Cummings

RISK:
Fleur Ferris

HOW TO BUILD A GIRL(DNF)
Caitlin Moran

THE TENT:
Margaret Atwood






Books Read in 2018: 153/100


( Number of DNF books: 23)

----------------------------------

Number of books read to catch up on series/duology/trilogy: 16

· WAYWARD CHILDREN #2 (ongoing)
· LOIS LANE Prequel #1 (ongoing)
· LOIS LANE Prequel #2 (ongoing)
· SOOKIE STACKHOUSE (all short stories) 
· PARANORMALCY #3 (last book in trilogy)
· RINGER #2 (last book in duology)
· DELIRIUM #3 (last book in trilogy)
· ALEX #1.1 (last short story in series)
· DEACON CHALK, OCCULT BOUNTER HUNTER #3 (last book in trilogy)
· CORMORAN STRIKE #3 (ongoing)
· DELPHIC DIVISON #2 (ongoing)
· CAINSVILLE #5 (last book in series)
· SAGA, Vol. 8 (ongoing)
· SAGA, Vol. 9 (ongoing)
· STEPHANIE PLUM #25 (onging)
· SONGS ABOUT A GIRL #3 (last book in trilogy)





Sunday, 30 December 2018

2018 Goals

So, the year is slowly winding down, and that makes it a good time to look back at the Goals List I posted at the beginning of the year.

There were a bunch of writing and reading goals on my list. As well as a few other things too.

Here's how everything turned out:
  • Continue this awesome habit of two daily walks (early morning & late afternoon) THIS AWESOME HABIT CARRIED FORWARD. (Monday to Friday, I go for an early morning walk first thing and then for another after dinner with hubby. On weekends we go for extra long walks.)
  • Read 100 books: READ 153 (but 23 were DNFs. ๐Ÿ˜ž) 
  • Get back into yoga (no pressure, just adding a workout whenever): WE DID THIS! YAY. (With no pressure attached to yoga workouts, we got back into the swing of two a week. Although, we kinda fell behind during December...
  • Write between 200-300k words: ENDED UP WRITING 217,590 words & EDITED 1,431 pages. (Very happy with those totals.)
  • Play more games on my 2DS: UNFORTUNATELY, I TOTALLY FAILED. I HARDLY EVEN PICKED UP MY 2DS. ๐Ÿ˜ฃ 
  • Finalise spooky YA horror & query: IT TOOK A WHILE BECAUSE I ENDED UP REWRITING PART OF THE BOOK & DID AN EXTRA DRAFT (OR TWO) BUT I DID FINISH THE BOOK. (Even started the query process, took part in multiple PitMad events on Twitter. Got several requests, but still in the process...) 
  • Revise 2017 novel first drafts (3): THIS DIDN'T HAPPEN. (The huge novel rewrite took so long to finalise that the thought of more revision was just too much. So I wrote more first drafts, instead. ๐Ÿ˜Š)
  • Write two new novels: TOTALLY DID THIS! I wrote a YA Horror with a mythological twist (77,820w) & a Psychological YA Horror (52,731w). (Both were ideas I'd had tumbling around inside my head for months. Very glad they're both outta my head now.) 
  • (Try) to write a novella: ONCE AGAIN, NOPE. THIS IS THE SECOND YEAR IN A ROW THAT THIS DIDN'T HAPPEN. (I usually end up writing short stories or novels. But plan to carry this goal forward to next year.)
  • Keep writing short stories & sub: I WROTE THREE SHORT STORIES & REVISED THEM + THE ONE I WROTE AT THE END OF 2017. (One of these was an idea I'd been carrying around for several years, so that was especially awesome! ๐Ÿ˜† I did sub some, but not enough.) 
  • Take part in NaNoWriMoOF COURSE I TOOK PART. THIS WAS MY 12th WIN! (The psychological horror I wrote was in a format I'd never tried before. It was challenging and fun.) 

Well, there you have it. The above is all the stuff I managed to do this year. I might have missed a few things on the list but intend to carry them forward. I'm just super excited about what I did achieve.

One thing I didn't mention above is that there were several months where I didn't actually write anything.

There were different reasons for this: hubby's annual leave, spring cleaning, etc. but a big thing that happened this year is that my head was so cluttered I couldn't decide what to work on next. EVERY STORY wanted to be told at once. But something good DID come out of these mind clutter incidents. I discovered a way to narrow down my ideas by using a notebook and spending a good chunk of time daydreaming and brainstorming.

This is a technique that totally worked for me and I've been using ever since.

2018 Summary:

Now it's time to come up with a 2019 Goal List...

Friday, 28 December 2018

THE TENT by Margaret Atwood

The Tent
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I found this adorable little gem during one of our thrift store adventures. I love The Handmaid's Tale, so I'm always on the lookout for more Atwood stories. And this short book was quite a treat!

It's hard to describe how cool all the fragments within the pages of this hardcover book are, because it's a collection that needs to be experienced. That's the only way to truly appreciate the weight of impact this collection actually packs.

Margaret Atwood has put together some really clever and intriguing small tales, poems and very random pieces of writing. They all sucked me in, kept me glued to the page, and had me nodding along because I found so much of what was written to resonate with me. I also thought the illustrations fit nicely.

There's so much social commentary here, and all of it is told through a wonderful literary voice.

The blurb describes these as fictional essays, but I've been finding myself thinking about this book as a stream of consciousness. It's filled with interesting fragments, random thoughts and lyrical tales that swept me away. Not only did I enjoy them, but I found the writing style to be calming. Sometimes bordering on dreamy narrative with a surreal edge.

I honestly think every author should write at least one book like The Tent. It seems like it would be a cathartic experience. A great way to let your mind run wild, to unexpected places where the norms of storytelling won't restrict the words spilling onto the page.

This really is a great little book!


Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Happy Holidays!


Here's my annual message:


MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I hope you all have an awesome, fun and safe festive season full of good food, great company and plenty of downtime.

Have a great one!

Monday, 24 December 2018

Getting Stuff Done

Usually, when December hits I'm mentally exhausted and all I want to do is read and watch and think. But this year has turned out to be a little different. After finishing my NaNoWriMo WIP, I somehow found the energy to throw myself into some pretty big spring cleaning projects. 

Every separate section--shelves, toys, stationery, collectibles--took quite a few days to get through. It was physically exhausting and mentally draining, but I pushed on and felt so much better when it was done. Yet, is sorting your stuff really ever done? As soon as I got the room stuff out of the way, I got stuck into my laptop files. This then led to the pesky project I mentioned last week. 

Going through my teen handwritten and typed papers was something I'd been meaning to do for over a decade. And now, I've finally finished. Everything worth keeping is a pdf and is sorted under appropriate folders. Crappy papers have been thrown away. The rest are all in new plastic sleeves, inside an airtight ziploc bag. Yep. The folder is about a quarter of the size it was before, which is actually awesome!

I'm SO happy it's DONE. I feel so much lighter. Almost as light as the Blue Folder:

 

๐Ÿ˜„

Getting things done always feels good, but all of this sorting and re-sorting is even better. Almost as if this folder (which I'm happy to say is now gone) was somehow mentally connected to me, and going through everything has set me free. In a way, it has. Backing up stories that would otherwise just be lying around forgotten is a weight lifted off my shoulders.

Does that make sense?

*sigh*

Anyway, as you know, I was hoping to get this done by the end of the year but I finished before X-Mas. This is a great thing because I was starting to have dreams about scanning documents. ๐Ÿ˜ณ

Now I can sit back and enjoy the next few days without this hanging over my head. I can now concentrate on other things. And if the internet connection behaves--it was out for FOUR days, but that's another, messier story--I can really relax.

Well, have a great & festive week!

Friday, 21 December 2018

My Latest Project

See this chunky blue folder? This is my latest project. 

It's full of my teenage writing. I've been carrying it around with me for years, and until a few weeks ago it sat in the laundry cupboard, forgotten. But when we went through the clutter, I decided to keep it out.

It's time to sort through the contents. It's also time to scan what's inside, so I can have a digital copy of everything. This folder contains depressing poems, tragic short stories, a cheesy horror script, horror shorts + novellas, writing plans, idea scraps & a LOT of unfinished stories. It also features a bunch of bad grammar and some pretty awful spelling. ๐Ÿ˜‚

These handwritten and typewritten pages are the foundation of my writing. Before computers, I either wrote everything on notebook paper, or used a typewriter. This is where I started turning the pesky tales weaving inside my young head into actual stories on paper. Without these corny, badly written and weird stories, I wouldn't be where I am today in my storytelling.

I find a lot of writing advice to be take it or leave it, but the one about the more you write the better you'll get, THAT one is true. Just like your body, you have to exercise your writing muscles and you have to start somewhere. 

And THIS is where I started.

Scanning all of these pieces of paper is going to be tedious and time-consuming. It's not going to be fun or exciting, but it is cool to see some of the stuff. Some I don't even remember writing, LOL. And other pieces make me cringe, or laugh. 

No matter what, I'm proud of every little piece I've written and want to document it. Not to mention that some of the paper looked just about ready to disintegrate.

Unfortunately, there's some paper that I had to scan and throw away. Others are still in good condition and as I scan, I'm going to put them in plastic sleeves, and then airtight bags. It's the only way to store and keep them from browning, etc. But like I said, some has to go, so having a scanned copy is the perfect way to preserve all those words. ๐Ÿ˜

I've managed to get quite a bit done already, but have HEAPS more to go. That's okay. However long it takes is fine with me. I'm hoping to be done by the end of the year, but that's a bit ambitious.

The time it takes isn't an issue. What's important is getting every bit of paper scanned and added to my Archived Writing Files. 

So, that's what's consuming my brain at the moment. Guess I still have the spring cleaning bug. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ


Wednesday, 19 December 2018

SONGS ABOUT A BOY by Chris Russell

Just as Charlie allows herself to succumb to Gabe's charms, the explosive revelation about her mother's death threatens to pull them apart. 

 Meanwhile, a media circus has exploded around the future of Fire&Lights - when they announce a US tour to show the world that they are stronger than ever, Charlie gets the opportunity to accompany them. New York City, here she comes! But it's not all fun and games. Charlie is still feeling all kinds of awkward around Gabe and knowing that her mother's last days were in America touring with her band, Charlie uses the opportunity to uncover some more truths about her mother's death. 

 As Fire&Lights try to win over the world again, and as Charlie and Gabriel uncover the true story that links their pasts, will Charlie finally be able to follow her heart?


Okay. I put it off for as long as I could... and NOW was the right time to read the final book in this super fun trilogy.

Charlie is facing the most important exams of her school life, but the many distractions weighing on her mind are making it hard to focus. The secrets of her mother's and Gabriel's father intertwined musical careers and tragedy have ripped Gabriel and her apart.

And now that one of the members of Fire&Lights has quit to start his own career, the other boys are going on a big US tour. And because so much of the answers Charlie and Gabriel seek are in America, she ends up going with them.

Well, she goes with her best friend's family. And what they find there will change everything, while possibly tearing everyone apart... 

I said this after the second book and I have to say it with this one: he did it again! Chris Russell REALLY delivered. Wow.

Charlie's voice has been one of my favourite things about this trilogy. I say one because there's so much to love about these books. And in this installment, she once again swept me away in her adventure. I was totally invested in her problems. In her heartbreak. In her grief. In her excitement. In how hard it was to discover the truth about her mother, only to have everything turned upside down.

Yep. There are several twists and turns,  unexpected revelations, and some very cool surprises.

I especially liked how her father finally got a chance to share the spotlight. Although I understood the necessity of her lies, I felt bad for him. Being left out of her adventure was really playing havoc on their relationship, which made me sad.

OMG, and we got plenty of Melissa. She's such a sweetheart and gets what she deserves and more in this book. Yay.

Now, the boys. Sigh. Yuki was his usual jokey self, even while going through some family drama. Aiden was his usual shy and adorable self, even while dealing with personal issues. Gabriel was still the complicated, troubled guy. Olly was still the nice guy we all know and love. And we meet another interesting musician, but I don't want to spoil anything so I won't say too much about him.

Yeah, I'm totally fangirling about this book. About these characters. About this trilogy. SO awesome!

Songs About a Boy is the perfect way of ending this amazing and emotional story. THIS is how you end a super fun, high-energy, awesome trilogy filled with drama and music! Not only did the storyline continue perfectly, but new obstacles and problems were introduced. All the answers I chased through the other books were revealed here. And most importantly, like the other two books: I was hooked.

This story is what teenage dreams are made of. The boys, music, vibes and excitement of actually meeting your favourite band... ALL of it is enough to take you back to being an obsessed teenager.

I LOVED this.



Songs About a Boy, September 2018, ISBN 9781444929201, Hodder Children's Books

Monday, 17 December 2018

THAT'S NOT WHAT HAPPENED by Kody Keplinger

It's been three years since the Virgil County High School Massacre. Three years since my best friend, Sarah, was killed in a bathroom stall during the mass shooting. Everyone knows Sarah's story - that she died proclaiming her faith. 

 But it's not true. 

 I know because I was with her when she died. I didn't say anything then, and people got hurt because of it. Now Sarah's parents are publishing a book about her, so this might be my last chance to set the record straight . . . but I'm not the only survivor with a story to tell about what did - and didn't - happen that day. 

 Except Sarah's martyrdom is important to a lot of people, people who don't take kindly to what I'm trying to do. And the more I learn, the less certain I am about what's right. I don't know what will be worse: the guilt of staying silent or the consequences of speaking up . . .



I've read several excellent books written by this author, so of course I was looking forward to reading this one.

Three years after a mass shooting took place in Virgil County High School, the survivors are still dealing with the horrific memories of that day.

Each kid has moved on with their lives. One is in college, another is married and the other three are in their last year of school. And then there's the estranged one.

No matter how hard each one tries to move on, what lies beneath the surface still haunts them. For Lee, she also feels the heavy weight of guilt. She knows the story being told about one of the victims--her best friend--isn't right, and her determination to finally tell this truth reveals other, deeper secrets... 

Wow. This is quite a book! A very important book.

I was hooked from the start, and found Lee's journey to be sad, hopeful, and even frustrating at times. The way these kids were treated/judged by others when they dare break the safe narrative their faith forces them to cling to, is awful.

The characters were awesome. Lee's narration takes us deep into how badly her life changed when her best friend was shot. Denny is a fascinating kid with an awesome guide dog and great ideas. Miles is quiet and continually fighting his own personal demons. Ashley has made the most of her life by starting a family, but refuses to face any other truths. Eden might have left town and is now in college, but she's self-medicating and barely keeping it together.

The way this story was written was very cool. Lee is writing a letter, sharing her experience and the truth she's kept to herself for three years. She takes us back to the awful events, and what happened shortly after, and what's going on now. Included are letters from the other survivors, which are really heartfelt. As well as separate sections remembering each of the nine victims seen through Lee's eyes, and others that knew them better.

Put all of this together, and it's an awesome story about surviving a tragedy, overcoming guilt, and learning to trust yourself again after being consumed by the threat of death at every corner.

That's Not What Happened is a very powerful story about a group of strong kids who survived something really horrible. It's a heartbreaking book, but not a downer. I found myself totally captivated by the different experiences each character goes through. It also echoes the many disturbing headlines we see way too often in American schools. It lifts the veil, takes the reader into the scarring aftermath and the awful fallout the rest of us never see.

Asides from the subject matter taking the reader to some very dark places, it's also very well written and kept me hooked from beginning to end.

Looking forward to reading more stories by Kody Keplinger.



That's Not What Happened, September 2018, ISBN 9781444933628, Hodder Children's Books

Friday, 14 December 2018

Spring Cleaning during Summer

So, how are you today? 

As I mentioned the last time I blogged, after my daughter started sorting out her room I was inspired to do the same. So I've had a very busy couple of weeks tackling my own Spring Cleaning Project. It turned out to be a pretty big project that wormed its way so deeply into my brain, I started having dreams about sorting stuff. ๐Ÿ˜ 

I started with the Big Stationery Trunk Reorganising, which turned into the Huge Bookshelves Reorganising Project and ended up becoming the Excess Toys/Collectibles Sorting. I even added a bit of Pen Shuffling.

Yep. There was a LOT of stuff to do, even more to go through, and I made a pretty big mess while trying to find proper homes for everything. Although there was a lot of physical work involved, at the end of each day I was mentally exhausted. There was just SO MUCH to go through. A lot of stuff to reorganise and then donate.

Seriously, during the last 3-4 weeks we've probably donated about 20 bags full of assorted stuff: stationery, toys, clothes, collectibles. A lot of the stuff we got rid of was practically new, some still in their original packaging. It's nice to recycle things for other people to enjoy, rather than throwing things out so they end up as landfill.

I even infected hubby with the spring cleaning bug. We went through the kitchen and laundry together, sorting through everything there. 

And now I feel lighter. Just have to get into the habit of finding proper places for things ASAP. Oh, and buy less, too. LOL. Not going to stop buying completely because we're such big collectors of many things, but the impulse buying needs to stop.

During the decluttering, I was so overwhelmed by the process that it consumed my mind entirely. I couldn't even concentrate long enough to read much. But now that most of it is done (because this will be an ongoing thing) I can get stuck into other stuff. And I did, I got back into reading. 

Speaking of other things, through all of the above, I managed to revise the short story I wrote last month. Yep. During the last few weeks, I squeezed in the second and third drafts. I even proofread the story on my Paperwhite, formatted the doc and subbed it to an anthology.

The final word count was: 4,178

I'm really happy that it's done, and that the story turned out pretty close to how I imagined it in my head. And since the anthology closing date is the end of the year, my goal was to have it finished and subbed before the X-Mas break. So I've crossed it off my to-do list WAY before. Yay.

At the moment I'm a little slow and plan to spend the rest of the week concentrating on reading and daydreaming. I always feel this way after finishing a project, but being December means I feel it even more. 

So there you go. I'm pretty much done with my 2018 goals. Anything I get done now is extra. LOL. I think I'll spend what's left of the year reading, planning, sorting (ideas & files) and trying to take a mental break.

Well, have a great day. And an even better weekend!

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

THE GREAT GOD PAN by Arthur Machen

The Great God Pan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the third classic I've read in a row, and I'm glad I did because I'm enjoying these old time horror stories. It's a novella I've had on my Paperwhite for months. Also, one that comes highly recommended by Stephen King himself. So of course I had to read it.

When a doctor decides to perform a bizarre experiment he claims will allow a young girl to see beyond the veil, something truly awful happens. Something so horrifying the effects ripple long after the poor girl is dead...

Okay, so that doesn't even begin to cover what happens in this novella. It's the tip of the iceberg. A tiny percentage of what really happens. Except, most of the awful and terrifying stuff happens off the page because the narration of this book jumps from one person to another. Tumbles from one person's retelling of an account they witnessed, or a strange tale someone else told them. Features memoir snippets and letters, a variety of ways to patch together a dark mystery.

This really is a story within a story, inside a bunch of other stories, tying back to the original one Mr. Clarke introduced about Dr. Raymond and Mary. It's nightmarish and takes root inside your brain. It's surreal and teases with enough imagery for the reader to imagine what isn't shown.

And that might be my only real problem with this story. I REALLY enjoyed it, was hooked instantly and the writing style put everything together well. But sometimes it also dragged a bit and I wanted more actual showing. I needed to know more--so much more--about Helen. Wanted to see things through her POV, because what she was/did turned out to be pretty effed up.

So yeah, this is a great horror novella that does a great job at keeping the dark mystery alive, and keeps the suspense the whole way through. I just felt it was missing something, which is why I didn't give it 5 stars.

I didn't find it scary, but it was definitely freaky, and worth checking out.


Monday, 10 December 2018

THE VAMPYRE by John William Polidori

The Vampyre; a Tale
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I watched the Mary Shelley movie earlier this year, and one of the things it featured (of course!) was the fateful getaway which produced one of the best and most influential stories of all-time, Frankenstein.

This story was another that the challenge produced. It was written by William Polidori, Lord Byron's physician. Though at first, the world was led to believe it was Byron's tale, and Polidori had a hard time convincing everyone that it was his story.

Although now that I've actually read it, I don't know why anyone would want to lay claim to such a boring tale.

This story dragged so much. The writing style was blocky and failed to keep my attention. So much I was nodding off a few times and had to force myself back into the narrative. It was a hard story to get through, and I only stuck with it because it was short. If this was a novel, I would've DNFd it for sure.

Ugh. Although I'm glad I read it... who would've thought one of the first vampire stories could be such a bore? The origin story was definitely better than the tale.


Friday, 7 December 2018

CARMILLA by J. Sheridan Le Fanu

CarmillaCarmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've had this book on my Paperwhite TBR shelf for AGES. And because I was in the mood to read a shorter book, but definitely one on the creepy side, I thought of Carmilla. The vampire tale that came before Dracula.

The story is told by Laura, a lonely young woman who lives with her father and a bunch of servants. When her friend can't come and stay with her, it just so happens that an accident introduces a mysterious and beautiful woman into their home.

Carmilla is left in their care, and as soon as she arrives people in town start falling ill. Laura starts having strange dreams that Carmilla claims to be experiencing too. But all is not as it seems, and it doesn't take long for the truth to reveal itself...

Well, that was an excellent read! I quite enjoyed this book and was hooked from the beginning. The narrator tells her story, but included within what she shares are tales and the experiences of others.

There were so many ways this could have failed, but it didn't. And as much as the writing and descriptions bordered on too much in some places, everything totally worked. I got so caught up in Laura's story that I didn't want to put it down.

Not to mention that I got carried away by the spooky air of mystery, as well as the vivid description of the gothic location. There's a LOT to like about this book, and the vampire lore is another thing I enjoyed. Carmilla is beautiful and cunning, looks so innocent but is clearly keeping secrets. And doesn't really hide the fact that she is.

Oh, and the attraction/passion between Laura and Carmilla was so obvious. There was no denying that these two wanted to be together, even if Laura was often confused by her need. I loved the natural way Carmilla's sexual preference was presented. No one freaked out. No one judged. They just accepted this was happening and ultimately, the only reason Carmilla is suspected of anything is because she might be a bloodsucker.

I don't know why it took me so long to read this very excellent book, but I'm glad I finally did.

LOVE vampires. Always will. And this satisfied my vampiric craving. For now.


Monday, 3 December 2018

We've hit the last month of the year...

How are you?

I can't believe it's the start of another month. Or that the new month happens to be DECEMBER. OMGosh. 

Anyway, since I finished my NaNoWriMo story a few weeks ago, I've been busy doing a bunch of other stuff so I didn't bother posting anything. I was taking a mental break.

Asides from suffering through the After First Draft Is Done Blues, I threw myself into reading. And unfortunately, found myself in DNF Hell. I DNFd FIVE books! I hate DNFing books, but if I can't get into a story, I refuse to force myself to keep reading. There are just TOO MANY BOOKS.

I also got stuck into my Revision List. So that's done. For now. And I did eventually find some cool reading material: Stephanie Plum #25. I also squeezed in a few more Sabrina comic book issues. 

But that was the week before. Last week was different. I had plenty of energy, so I got stuck into some serious spring cleaning. Actually, my daughter inspired me. After finishing her HSC, she spent several weeks getting rid of her school stuff. Then embarked on a total sweep through her entire room. 

I started with my stationery trunk. I got serious and cleared out a LOT of stuff. Even then, I still have heaps of notebooks & stuff, but got rid of so much. Then I moved onto my bookshelves, and have been clearing toys and reorganising my books. I even sorted through my winter clothes. There's SO much to go through. And although I've done quite a bit, I'm still not done. 

Being a collector of many things means that bookshelves & room space is forever a WIP. ๐Ÿ˜ณ But that's cool, I'll keep going until I'm done. 

One of the best things about all of this decluttering is how much we've donated to our local thrift store. In the last week we've walked there and dropped bags full of stuff five times! It's tiring, but I like the thought of someone else enjoying what we don't have space/use for anymore. Recycling is much better than throwing away. 

I also wrote the first draft of a short story I've had bouncing around inside my head for a few years. It was inspired by the empty playground nearby on a rainy day, and every time it rains, the idea resurfaces. And this time, I wrote it. On my phone. 

Total word count: 2,570

I'm very happy with how it turned out and look forward to revising it. I actually want to sub it to an anthology, too. So that's one of my projects for December. To have it finalised & subbed before X-Mas break. 

We also watched the entire season of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power on Netflix, and it was such a delight. I'm a big fan of the original She-Ra show and used to watch it when I was a kid, so I was curious about this one. I REALLY love what they did with it. They took the original idea and turned it into something fantastic. The story was amazing. The characters were interesting. And it looks beautiful. Yeah, loved everything about this show. ๐Ÿ˜ 

Well, that's about all. I've got a new to-do list ready to go, and hope to get stuck into that.

Hope you have a great week!

 
Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Grants for single moms