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Monday, 29 April 2019

MARY VENTURA AND THE NINTH KINGDOM by Sylvia Plath

Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my second Plath book--but first story--and I absolutely loved it.

This is definitely one of those stories that will stay with me for a long, long time. Not just because it's so well written, but because it's multi-layered, open to interpretation, contains peculiar characters (loved Mary's innocence and the knitting lady's knowledge), and really makes you think.

When Mary Ventura gets on the train, it seems like her parents are really eager for her to go on this trip. They're quite pushy about it, even cold about their determination to get their daughter to leave. It's not until the train starts moving and the imagery surfaces all around Mary that I realised just how morbid the beginning was.

I mean, once you realise what's going on, their behaviour is nothing but disturbing. Actually, the whole story is like a fever-dream that throws the reader into as much confusion as the poor main character.

On a subconscious level, I knew instantly what this train symbolised and what the trip would lead to, but the story is written in such a clever way that it's easy to ignore the obvious until it's glaring you in the face. And boy is it a heavy thing to deal with, especially if you know anything about Plath's tragic life.

I'm glad I read this in one sitting. (Even if it was peppered with breaks to discuss things with my daughter. After all, this is her recommendation and her book.)

I seriously LOVED this story and can't believe it was ever rejected, because it's a classic work of art. It truly is.


PALACE OF GHOSTS by Thomas S. Flowers

Four veterans of the Iraq War seeking a cure for Post-Traumatic-Stress Disorder arrive at a notoriously haunted house in the bogs of Galveston Island called Amon Palace. 

Samantha Green, a friendless former Army K-9 handler looking for a way to put her loss behind her. 

Brad Myers, a lighthearted former Military Police Officer severally wounded in war wanting nothing more than a good night’s sleep. 

Andy Lovejoy, an overweight light spoken drone operator who once watched the war from above now questions who he has become. 

Marcus Pangborn, a headstrong Marine who desperately wants a dead friend’s forgiveness.

The group joins Doctor Frederick Peters, an experimental psychologist looking to prove his exposure theory hypothesis, and his two assistants, Tiffany Burgess and Dexter Reid. 

At first, their stay seems to conjure nothing more than spooky encounters with inexplicable phenomena. But Amon Palace is gathering its powers—and soon it will reveal that these veterans are not who they seem.


I was lucky enough to receive an eBook copy of this book after having a Twitter conversation with Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi. Erin is an author, editor, and great at marketing. So, when she offered me a copy of this book by Thomas S. Flowers, of course I said yes. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Besides, have you seen that creepy, colourful cover?

Doctor Frederick Peters is an experimental psychologist who invites four veterans to Amon Palace because he thinks being inside a rumoured haunted house will help cure their PTSD. He wants each of them to confront their fears and memories in a strange environment he believes will help overcome their trauma.

Things start off well enough, with the four veterans attending group therapy together, and listening to the doctor's instructions. The only problem is that the house has other plans for the new occupants...

I really enjoyed this! The creepy vibes never stop coming, and I was happy to be there for every second.

As soon as I started, I was sucked into this haunted house adventure, and really liked all the characters. Not to mention that the book starts after something has obviously gone wrong, which serves as a total tease and certainly dragged me deeper.

Another thing I enjoyed was the horror element because it was so unexpected, and there's no holding back. Things are moving along at a good pace, the characters are introduced, their personal problems exposed, and then: BAM! Horror strikes.

The imagery is vivid and totally wicked.

The characterisation is also great. There are quite a few POVs included in this book, but each one is portrayed so well and moves the story along at such a great pace that the freaky tapestry of war veterans trying to overcome their PTSD starts to unravel. For different reasons, I felt so bad for Samantha, Brad, Andy and Marcus. 

And what the house does to them is even worse. Yikes!

I also have to mention the illustrations at the beginning of each chapter, because they change and grow with the story.

Palace of Ghosts turned out to be an atmospheric, freaky story featuring a bunch of sympathetic and likeable characters. I instantly connected with the veterans, and felt so sad for the mental scars they're left with after serving in war.

And that's another awesome thing about this book. Not only is it a horror tale that totally gripped me at every step, but it's also a very raw study of how the human psyche deals with trauma, and how it can be used against you. Even by someone who is honestly trying to help.




Words from Thomas – For those looking for something in the vein of Jacob’s Ladder meets The Haunting of Hill House (with touches of Lovecraft), I think Palace of Ghosts may be a story up your alley. Palace of Ghosts is a story that addresses my own ghosts. I wanted to explore the question of what would happen if traumatic memory could take physical form and terrorize and haunt the host.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Second Week Packed with More Stuff

Hey! How's your week going? We're having a great time. I'm enjoying hubby's annual leave break SO MUCH, I don't want it to end. Nope.

I'm glad we got all of the doctor-type stuff out of the way last week because this one contained two public holidays. So it was easy to slow things down a bit and enjoy a very relaxing Monday. 

On Tuesday, we went for another thrifting, walking adventure. Well, we actually had to pick up my new Kindle Paperwhite. This time it's the Generation 10. That's the one with a smooth screen. It's also water resistant, and looks lovely. Now that my (kitty) cover has arrived, I can't wait to use it. ๐Ÿ˜

That night we re-watched AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, to prepare for Wednesday. Which was THE day. You know what I'm talking about, right? We went to watch AVENGERS: ENDGAME nice and early. The cinema was packed and the audience was very reactive, which was great.

I'm not going to say anything specific about this most brilliant 3-hour adventure because I don't want to spoil it. But, I will say that this is much more than a movie, it's an experience. It's the brilliant conclusion of a roller-coaster ride that began 11 years ago and has led to this most bittersweet conclusion.

It's sad. It's funny. It's a totally immersive entertaining experience. It's also very overwhelming, and so damn emotional. My feelings were all over the place. The only thing I can guarantee is that you will be wrecked by this Endgame.

By Thursday--another public holiday--we were ready to slow things down. On Friday, we went for another long walk and picked up a few new tops.

When Saturday arrived, hubby & I woke up nice and early because we went back to the cinema to watch AVENGERS: ENDGAME. again. Yep.

My gosh! It was just as brilliant as the first time. Actually, it was even better because we picked up on things we didn't the first time. Not to mention that this time, my bladder didn't get in the way of me watching the most wonderful scene. ๐Ÿ˜

Man, I think the Avengers hangover will last for a long while.

Anyway, asides from THAT, I also got a bit of reading done this week. Plus added more words to the story I started last week, and thought about it a lot.

The ol' writer brain never stops thinking. ๐Ÿ’ญ

This two-week break with hubby has been SO amazing. We had such an awesome time together! The only bad thing is that the break has to eventually come to an end. ๐Ÿ˜ข

Have a great week!


Thursday, 25 April 2019

ARIEL by Sylvia Plath

Ariel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoy throwing a bit of poetry into my reading routine, and my daughter (who studied Plath during her HSC) recommended this one.

The thing about poetry is how well words are used to paint an honest picture able to capture the heart of the emotions the poet feels at the time. Or how different situations and experiences have affected them. It might start out fine and simple, before devolving into a rage-filled experience, one drenched with misery, or even steeped in love.

Whatever the emotion, a poet is able to use words and phrases in such a way that the inner meaning gets across.

Every poem in this collection does just that.

Although this is my first Sylvia Plath book (I have The Bell Jar on my Paperwhite), I know quite a bit about her. And it sounds like Plath had a lot of problems in her life. She seemed to be at odds with what was expected of women, and what she personally wanted to be. She also obviously struggled with her feelings towards the men in her life: her father and husband. She definitely harboured some animosity towards both, and didn't seem to be much of a fan of marriage either.

All the poems paint clear imagery, and most venture into their own dark places. My favouries were: Sheep in Fog, Lady Lazarus, Cut, Ariel, The Hanging Man, Contusion, and of course, Words--which is the perfect way to end the collection.

Also, her obsession with suicide definitely comes across, which makes every word so much sadder.

I found this to be a confronting and raw book, full of the problems and truths a very complicated woman suffered through during her life. Also, how hard she found it to deal with being a daughter, wife and mother.

Putting mental health aside for just a moment, it always makes me sad (and angry) when I think about how awful women have been treated throughout history. Always trying to push their worth aside, making them feel as if their hopes, dreams and aspirations didn't matter as much as serving the bullshit position the patriarchy created for them. For us.

Yep. Society has always made it very hard for the women who tried to fit into the confines forced on them and struggled because they wanted to be so much more. Then forced them to become victims of their own strength. Tragic.

I really enjoyed this poetry collection.


Tuesday, 23 April 2019

SCHOOLGIRL by Osamu Dazai

Schoolgirl
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my first Dazai story. My daughter has read a few of his books, and when she decided to thin out her bookshelves, I took this one.

I was curious, but wasn't sure if I would like it because the author's style and life sounded so bleak. That's why I was pleasantly surprised when I started reading and couldn't put it down.

The writing is so nice, and although this story was written and set during the first half of the 20th century, so much of what happens still resonates today. For that alone, I thought this was great.

This is a line that really stood out to me: "A mere smile can determine a woman's fate." because it captures so much of what it means to be a woman.

Essentially, this novella is the stream of consciousness of one schoolgirl's day. From the moment she wakes up, her mind is full of contradictory thoughts. As she gets on with her day, we become passengers and share every strange, weird, wonderful and hateful thought that enters her mind. We experience what she does, and read along as she examines everything that fills her mind, judges everyone she crosses paths with, and works through how she feels about life in general.

She's still suffering through the grief of losing her father, and mourns the woman her mother has become since he died. Not to mention how she struggles with growing up. She hates her body for betraying her, for changing without her being able to stop it. Her childhood is full of nice and comfortable memories, therefore she wishes she could remain a child forever, because getting older means she's losing control of her outer self. She even mentions how her body doesn't match her mind.

I have to admit that she can be a total bitch at times, exhibits some typical internalised-misogynistic qualities that got on my nerves, and I hated how she treated her dogs... but this is another reason why this novella is simply brilliant. The whole story is filled with the many random thoughts we all face and work through every single day. There are the ones we vocalise, the ones we keep to ourselves, and the wicked things we pretend never entered our minds.

On the surface, this novella might be about one girl's day--from beginning to end--but what really matters is the unfiltered thoughts and moods she goes through and how she deals with them. At the end of the day she wants everyone to think she's a good girl, but internally she's the complete opposite. She judges everyone she meets, is super critical and has a real problem with her self image.

This is such a clever story. Not just because of the way it was written. Not just because it was written by a man who is able to portray a girl so well. But because an endless flow of thoughts is something we can all understand and totally relate to. It's one of the things that makes us human.

And that leads me to this very cool quote:

"The present moment is interesting to me. Now, now, now--even while you try to pin down an instant, it flies off into the distance, and a new 'now' arrives."


Monday, 22 April 2019

THE CUNDY by R.H. Dixon

When 13-year-old Sullivan Carter and his younger brother, Colton, are forced to hide from school bullies in the cundy (a water conduit in Castle Eden Dene), they are attacked by a terrifying creature which goes on to haunt their dreams. 

Rumour has it that some older teens have been performing strange rituals at the cundy. As such, Sullivan is convinced that he and Colton are now being hunted by an ancient creature that’s been unleashed from its dark lair. A creature that’s been lurking since the time Scula the Danish Viking warlord ruled the area in the 900s. 

When Colton begins to hear voices which draw him back to the cundy, he tells Sullivan he believes one of them belongs to their dead mother. 

Sullivan must reach beyond his own profound grief in order to defend Colton and himself against the wily creature. 

Does he have what it takes to defeat it? Or will he need to sacrifice himself in order to save his little brother?
  

I received an eBook review copy of this book from the author. And I was happy to because after reading the blurb, I was intrigued.

Sullivan Carter is being hassled by bullies, and while trying to get away from them he's forced to hide in the cundy with his younger brother. That's when they're attacked by a scary creature who starts to haunt them. 

At the same time, things at home are complicated with their dad and Sullivan's starting a new friendship with a girl. But things get worse when the dreams come and the voices start whispering... 

Okay. I was really excited about this book. I love coming of age stories, especially featuring siblings. But I have to admit, I started reading this a few weeks ago but... couldn't get into it. 

There was something keeping me from connecting with the characters and the story. And I'm not sure why. I mean, both Sullivan and Colton were interesting in their own way, and I felt bad for Sullivan getting bullied by asshole kids. Plus the writing was good, it really was. 

But I just wasn't hooked. Still, I kept reading until the end.

One thing I did enjoy was the sense of atmosphere and location in this story. The dark and dreary days added to the damp and grey feel of the place, and the sadness of what was going on. It was bleak, but not as frightening as I was expecting. 

It's a shame that I wasn't captivated by this book, because that's what I was hoping would happen.

Sunday, 21 April 2019

A Break Packed with Stuff

So, is a break packed with stuff really a break? It is when you can sleep past 4am every morning and do the stuff you want.

The first week of hubby's two-week annual leave is almost over, and there's only one word I can use to describe it. That's right, it's awesome! ๐Ÿ˜

We did so much this week. All things we planned but slotted in better than we thought they would. For example, first thing Monday we walked to the doctor on empty stomachs to get our annual blood tests done. And by Thursday afternoon, we went back for the results. Everything is good, and most importantly, both hubby and I are immune to measles and chickenpox.

Yeah, who would've thought that adults in the 21st century would have to do this? But with these selfish idiots who refuse to vaccinate their kids growing in numbers, you just have to make sure. Ugh.

We also got the flu shot so we'll be covered for winter.

And we finished watching Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. I adore this show! It's quirky and cute, yet dark and wicked. It's not afraid to venture into the darkest witchy and demonic themes. Loved it.

On Tuesday, we went for a long walk to one of our local (bigger) thrift stores and I found a bunch of cool books. Then we stopped by Ikea to check out couches and ended up having lunch at Harry's Cafe de Wheels. When we got home, we took a nap. This resulted in the start of a new story. It came out of nowhere! That night I wrote the first 400 words and have since added another 1k+.

Wednesday was HELLBOY day. We took off early and went to several bookstores, where I picked up more bargains. Oh, and let me tell you, I absolutely LOVED the movie. I don't know why everyone hates it because we all thought it was a gory, action-packed UF gem with so many cool creatures. It was so much FUN!

On Thursday, we went on another adventure. We took a new bus route to an out-of-the-way shopping centre to pick up the Captain Marvel tees hubby ordered for me. Plus we found another one in the girl's department, so that makes three.

See, I didn't lie when I said we packed the week full of stuff! So by Friday it was time to settle back a bit and enjoy a nice walk, some Rock Band and finishing up the book I was reading.

Now we have a new week to look forward to!

Friday, 19 April 2019

THE DARK GAME by Jonathan Janz

Ten writers are selected for a summer-long writing retreat with the most celebrated and reclusive author in the world. Their host is the legendary Roderick Wells. Handsome, enigmatic, and fiendishly talented, Wells promises to teach his pupils about writing, about magic, about the untapped potential that each of them possesses. Most of all, he plans to teach them about the darkness in their hearts. 

The writers think they are signing up for a chance at riches and literary prestige. But they are really entering the twisted imagination of a deranged genius, a lethal contest pitting them against one another in a struggle for their sanity and their lives. They have entered into Roderick Wells’s most brilliant and horrible creation.


Not only is this a Flame Tree Press ARC I've been looking forward to reading, but it's also another Jonathan Janz book. 

I'm quickly becoming a fan of this author, so it was awesome to get stuck into his latest release.

Ten writers are invited to a summer writing retreat hosted by the reclusive, yet well-known author, Roderick Wells. Every writer is at a different stage in their careers, so this competition will give them the chance to fulfill their writing dreams.

As well as get expertise feedback from Wells about the horror story he challenges them to write. They'll also get the chance to mingle with fellow like-minded writers and compete against each other.

However, when people start leaving without saying goodbye, and they all start seeing things that stir different traumas from their pasts, the truth soon starts to dawn on the writers who got themselves caught up in a sick game capable of destroying their reputations. Or worse, ending their lives...

Yikes! This book hooked me in right away, but I took my time because there were so many characters and quite a few intertwined threads, so I wanted to capture the experience fully and not miss a thing.  

I'm glad I did, because this story is awesome. 

This year, I've had a few problems with books packing too many POVs into the narrative but this wasn't one of those. Just like I said after reading The Making of Gabriel Davenport by Beverley Lee, THIS is how you juggle a large cast and make every POV count.

Told in the POV of a bunch of characters, every time someone is on the page, we get to see how their personal story unfolds and their secrets are revealed, as the main story unravels. 

I kept up with all the characters and didn't feel lost at all. Of course I connected with some more than others--Lucy, Rick, Will, Sherilyn--so I kept hoping they would survive. While I hoped some wouldn't--Bryan and Anna annoyed the hell out of me.

This book is many things: well written, intense, creepy, interesting and isn't afraid to delve into the darkest corners of the human mind. While also stumbling into gross and unexpected horror paths.

Oh, and I absolutely LOVED how Jonathan Janz managed to squeeze in so many Easter eggs about his other books! I got such a kick out of that. Not to mention all the literary mentions peppered throughout the narrative.

The Dark Game is an intriguing horror story wrapped up in a mysterious thriller shell and an excellent premise. The mansion and surrounding areas establish the perfect gothic setting. The action starts instantly, and the characters are tested as soon as they arrive at the secret location. 

This book isn't afraid to push the limits of storytelling. And that's a great thing about this author. All his stories are different, but so distinctly his.

This is definitely the kind of book horror nerds will get a kick out off.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

First post this month

Hey! I just realised that aside from reviews, I haven't posted an update this month. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ 

So, how's April treating you? Mine has been pretty busy. There's a lot of real-life stuff going on this month, and no writing. But I did that on purpose. After unexpectedly writing a novel-sized first draft during March, I decided to give myself a few weeks off.

This was for a few reasons:
  • Firstly, it's always good to take some time  off between projects. Trust me, it's been really cool because the demonic tale I wrote keeps circling my brain. And by the looks of it, after all the things I want to add and enhance, I expect the word count to go up quite a bit during revision. 
  • Secondly, hubby is taking a two-week break. So it's always a good idea not to get stuck into any new writing projects before hubby's annual leave.

Instead, I spent the last few weeks sorting my bookshelves (yes, again, because this is a never-ending thing), my new stationery and reading. I spent quite a bit of time sampling books and DNFing a few, but mostly I've enjoyed a nice mix of short stories and novels.

(Check below if you'd like to read my recent reviews. ๐Ÿ˜)

We've also been going to the movies to watch these:
  • US was such a disappointment. It had so much potential, but there were too many plots holes. The more I think about this movie, the less I like it. 
  • PET SEMATARY turned out to be such a great movie! It might have taken the source material and twisted it in a different way, but the heart was there. And the creepy vibes too.
  • SHAZAM! was the biggest shock for me because I LOVED it. I know virtually nothing about this character, but this movie had so much heart, went to unexpected dark places, and turned out to be so much FUN!

We're also in the middle of watching the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which is deliciously wicked and dark. It's full of so many of the things I research for my own stories. I'm loving it and can't wait to see where it ends.

Well, there you have it. This is what I've been up to lately. 

I might be immersing myself in lots of reading and watching, but story ideas and thoughts are constantly circling my mind. And I'm excited about my upcoming projects.

But first, I'm looking forward to enjoying a nice break with hubby. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Have a nice week!

Friday, 12 April 2019

THE SECRETS OF WISHTIDE by Kate Saunders

The Secrets of Wishtide
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've had this book on my bookshelf for a few years. It's the kind of book I kept moving from one place to another, until it got lost in the back of a shelf. But this week I was in the mood for a mystery and this nice and bright cover caught my eye.

Mrs. Laetitia Rodd is fifty-two, a widow, and has an eye for solving mysteries. Even though her husband passed away a few years ago, she still misses him terribly. Solving mysteries and sharing a house with her landlady and companion, Mrs. Bentley, keeps her busy.

Her brother is a criminal barrister, so when he needs a bit of help solving a case, Fred calls on Letty. And the latest case involves her going to Wishtide, the home of the Calderstone family in Lincolnshire. She'll pass herself off as a governess to try and find out as much as she can about the son's love interest.

As Letty follows the clues and gets deeper into the lives of the Calderstones, she finds herself in the middle of a dangerous mess when the bodies start adding up...

OMGosh. This book is SO charming.

As soon as I started, I was captivated by Laetitia Rodd's voice. I was instantly drawn to her cozy life with Mrs. Bentley and liked how well they got along. Their companionship is so pure, and the way they bounce ideas and theories off each other was lovely.

There's a lot to like about this book and the mystery was another thing that totally intrigued me. I loved how Letty starts out investigating what seems to be a straightforward case of parents not being happy with their son's choice for a future wife, and quickly becomes a huge unexpected mess. It was so much fun to follow Letty and Fred as they put the case together.

Set during Victorian times, when women were expected to conduct themselves in the most moral and modest ways, I adored how every single character challenged those expectations. There are women living with men without being married, women with their own wealth and influence, women who are determined to pick their own partners, others happy to live their own lives. 

And then there's Laetitia, who is such an awesome character. She's a detective, is highly intelligent and isn't afraid to show it, makes her own living and has so much heart. Not to mention how refreshing it was to read a story about a woman in her fifties.

The secondary characters were also great. So full of life and with their own quirks, enough to make them spring off the page. I have to say that I loved how strong the sibling connection is, and how keen Fred is to involve Letty in cases without hesitation.

Another great thing about this story is how well the weather and locations are captured. Everything comes across so well, the details as vivid as if the reader is right there.

It's always great to read a book that blends danger, mystery and is also SO MUCH fun!

This book is such a delight. I loved every single moment I spent reading it.



OAK AVENUE by Brandi Reeds

Oak Avenue
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Okay, this is the seventh (and last) Dark Corners Collection short story I've read. And I'm very happy to say that I really enjoyed it. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Before this one, out of the seven stories, I'd only liked two: The Sleep Tight Motel and Hannah-Beast. The other four weren't that great, and certainly weren't the kind of dark I was expecting.

Anyway, let's talk about this one.

Ana Clementine, her husband (Edison) and daughter (Sabrina) have moved back to Edison's hometown. The couple purchased a Victorian house she hopes to renovate. But with her husband being away at work for most of the week, and her not knowing anyone, she's constantly alone.

Finding an ornate door buried in their backyard gives her hope that she'll one day be able to make this rundown house into their own. Yet, as soon as the door is inside the house a chill air starts coming from the attic, Ana starts to hear things, and when her husband is home he acts like a violent jerk...

This story was so creeeeeeepy.

I was initially hooked by the lovely writing, the mysterious setting and the main character's voice. The more I read, the creepier the tale became.

It's part ghost story, part creepy town full of people unwilling to help an 'outsider', and full of anguish as one woman tries to overcome the hurdles placed in front of her. The people in town are assholes, and totally sexist. Only wanting to speak to the man of the house, blah, blah, blah. So I liked how she pushed against that, and was willing to do whatever it took to keep her daughter safe.

There are some really freaky, atmospheric scenes in this book, and the ending was great! I really liked how it ended.

This was a great story to finish the collection with.

I MUST read more books by this author.



Tuesday, 9 April 2019

SAVAGE SPECIES by Jonathan Janz

Jesse thinks he’s caught a break when he, Emma (the girl of his dreams), and her friend are assigned by their newspaper to cover the opening weekend of a sprawling new state park. But the construction of the park has stirred an evil that has lain dormant for nearly a hundred years, and the three young people—as well as every man, woman, and child unlucky enough to be attending the Algonquin Falls grand opening—are about to encounter the most horrific creatures to ever walk the earth.


This book is a Flame Tree Press ARC I've been meaning to read for ages, but just didn't find the right time. Until now. 

Jesse, Emma and Colleen are heading into the new state park to cover the opening weekend for their newspaper. Jesse sees this as a great opportunity to get closer to his co-worker, Emma. But when the park is overrun by hideous creatures, the trio is going to be lucky to escape with their lives.

Charly is married to an arrogant man who's more concerned with bedding his assistants than taking care of his kids. When her baby is taken by a creature, Sam the builder is the only one she can depend on.

As the monsters spread their violence all over the state park and the survivors are forced into rocky caves, it gets harder to see the light at the end of the tunnel...

O.M.F.G. Seriously. Wow. Yikes!

After finishing this insane ride, I need a moment to take a few deep breaths and clear my head. ๐Ÿ˜ณ

This is a creature feature at its best. Not only are the Children and Night Flyers gross, terrifying and unstoppable, but the action is exactly the same: terrifying and unstoppable.

I started the book slowly, trying to take my time so I could enjoy the full experience one crazy scene at a time. But once I reached the halfway mark, I couldn't stop. I wanted to keep going, wanted to race to the end so I could find out how everything was going to turn out. 

And boy, am I glad I surrendered myself fully to it because I was not disappointed.

The story is told in multiple POVs that really give the reader the full scope of everyone and shows how everything unfolds. It really gets into the heart and mind of all the characters, their motivations, inner thoughts and deepest desires. It's also a great combination of relationship drama--a marriage falling apart and the resulting love triangle, an impossible co-worker crush that will surely go nowhere--and outrageous violence. The creatures are horrid and don't stop. Not to mention how awesome the portrayal of human endurance, strength and strangers coming together comes across.

Asides from the amazing horror, this story is so well written. It would've been so easy to just focus on the merciless killing and bloodshed, to shock the reader at every step. Wait a second... THAT'S exactly how it goes. LOL. BUT, in spite of that this book has so much heart. 

It's filled with characters that are fully fleshed out and have real lives with shitty everyday problems. They have their own personalities and quirks, but are also very likeable. So when the casualties start adding up, you really feel the losses.

Well, for most of them because there are a few gross guys in the bunch that deserved what they got. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Savage Species is an action-packed, violent, gruesome and absolutely awesome horror story. The monsters are relentless and grotesque. The characters are flawed and interesting. The story is intriguing and moves at the perfect pace. I was hooked from the beginning and couldn't put it down because the tension kept me on the edge of my seat all the way through. Oh, plus I was enjoying the hell out of it.

This book is balls to wall action, violence and excitement. I was ADDICTED! It's a total gorefest, packed with so much more. But, it's definitely NOT for the faint of heart.

Jonathan Janz has done it again. I loved this so much and thought this story was so excellent, I'm not sure this review will do this book justice.





Friday, 5 April 2019

ROUGH JUSTICE by Kelley Armstrong

Rough JusticeRough Justice by Kelley Armstrong
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Last year I read the last book in the Cainsville series and absolutely loved it. Not just the book, but also how everything was wrapped up.

Still, when I found out this novella was available (because I found it as a Kindle deal), I bought it and couldn't wait to see what else was going to happen to Olivia, Gabriel and Ricky. And I wasn't disappointed.

Six months after the events that finally brought Olivia and Gabriel together, they're still a couple. They're still working together. And keeping secrets from each other.

Olivia is also ready to take part in her first Wild Hunt, taking on the role of Mallt-y-Nos. But when she has doubts about the guilt of the Cลตn Annwn's human target, it leads her straight to a new mystery that she knows will consume her until she figures it out...

I LOVED this novella! It's such a cool addition to one of my favourite series. Not only does it continue the story, but this novella introduces an awesome stand-alone mystery that requires a lot of thought.

I personally love mysteries, so it was a lot of fun to follow Olivia and Gabriel as they piece together all the clues and uncover so many unexpected surprises.

Another thing this story does is continue the Cainsville legacy. The characters are still dealing with the return of Gabriel's mother. Ricky remains in the picture and still has a strong presence in their lives. And of course, Olivia and Gabriel are in a nice relationship, but both continue to tread on shaky ground because they still keep things from each other. Which is why the ending was SO cool. Perfect way to end it.

I love this world because dark myth and fae monsters are mixed together so well, fitting into the human world in such a way that it creates both harmony and discord.

Can't wait to read more.

Oh, and one more thing: I love that cover! ๐Ÿ˜Š


Wednesday, 3 April 2019

I AM BELLE by Andrea Posner-Sanchez & Alan Batson

I Am Belle (Disney Beauty and the Beast)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love Beauty and the Beast and have very fond memories of Little Golden Books, so when hubby found this adorable gem on a clearance table at Dymocks, of course I HAD to buy it.

This is the story of Belle. A young lady who lives in a small town with her father, a quirky inventor. Every day is pretty much the same, so going to the bookstore makes her happy because she loves to read.

When her father goes missing, she dares to go searching for him in the forest and finds a Beast who turns her life into an adventure...

I loved this! No matter how many times I read this story, I still love it. And I really enjoyed how this version was written in a very simplistic way for kids to totally understand and fall in love with Belle and the Beast.

The artwork is gorgeous-- colourful and so very pretty.

Also, because I'm a fellow bibliophile, I got a kick out of all the book and reading references. And just like Belle, I think the best room in any castle (or house) is the library. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I'm going to add this to my Beauty and the Beast collection.


Tuesday, 2 April 2019

ALTAR by Philip Fracassi

AltarAltar by Philip Fracassi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I started reading this story on my Paperwhite last night and was instantly drawn in.

Gary, his sister Abby, and their mother Martha, decide to spend a hot day at the local swimming pool. They might go there together, but each one has their own plans and thoughts. Gary decides to meet up with a school friend while lost in the nostalgia of the location. Abby gets herself involved in some trouble. While Martha is trying not to be bitter about her divorce, or think about how much alcohol would help take the edge off things.

But none of that compares to what happens when the clouds start rolling in...

Yikes. I found this story intriguing and very well written. It hooked me in with the individual character drama, and kept me there because the tension builds slowly and surely with each new word.

I especially like Gary's innocence and the unconditional love he shares with his sister. As well as how excited he is at the beginning of their day. The way his nostalgic happiness turns to dread is quite sad to watch. Especially what happens to Abby, which was fucking horrifying.

Martha's POV was also good because it contained a nightmarish--almost as if she was suffering heatstroke--effect on the events.

Actually, the whole story feels like that. It moves at a good pace, slowly unravelling the mundane, yet problematic lives, of people who soon finds themselves in the middle of a hellish situation. One that'll ensure you never look at swimming pools the same again! ๐Ÿ˜ณ

I like tales that start off perfectly normal with harmless and familiar situations, and then take a macabre, unexpected turn.

Personally, I don't think what happens is an accident. I think the kids and the problems and the underlying violence pretty much summons the trouble, if you know what I mean.

This is a great story. It's not long, but the length captures the story perfectly. And what isn't mentioned in the story, you can pretty much decipher with the creepy cover.


 
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