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Monday, 22 July 2019

CIRCE by Madeline Miller

Circe My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just finished reading this stunning book and absolutely loved it. It took me a few weeks to read because we've been really busy doing real-life stuff, and that means that I went days without picking it up. 😞

But, none of that matters because taking my time with this mythological blend of dark fantasy, adventure and horrific monsters was great.

I love Greek mythology, and have always been fascinated by Circe, so of course I enjoyed the hell out of this book.

Helios might be the sun god and a Titan, but he's also a mean bastard who doesn't care about his daughter. Circe's not pretty enough and her voice grates on his nerves, so he rejects her. But he's not the only one, even her mother and siblings ridicule and ignore her.

Circe leads an isolated, unloved existence, so she turns her attention to witchcraft and her fascination with mortals. When one of her spells angers Zeus, she's exiled to the island of Aiaia.

Her exile serves as a personal adventure that helps her power grow, leads to exciting discoveries, heartbreak and some horrific situations...

Wow. This book is full of so many familiar players in Greek mythology. All seen from the POV of Circe. It was so cool to see Hermes pass himself off as a friend while seducing and spreading gossip. Daedalus was such an interesting and great man. Odysseus was an interesting, yet vain man. Athena was as wrathful as expected.

There were a lot of very cool characters and monsters, but the ones that surprised me the most were Penelope and Telemachus. I didn't expect Odysseus' family to serve such a vital part in Circe's story.

Yeah, let's talk about how awesome the characterisation of Circe is. I mean, she might be a goddess and a powerful witch, but she's also a woman easily lost in her loneliness. She never fit in with her family, everyone who ventured into her life ended up taking advantage of her (or left her) and no matter how hard she tried to make people happy, it always backfired.

Even when she offers hospitality to the needy, they manage to betray her in the worst possible way. It was truly sad, but great to see how she uses experience to hone her skills. No matter what happens, Circe still managed to open her heart and home because it was in her nature.

I love stories about girls/women who have often been described as evil or cunning, but are really kind and powerful, posing such a threat that they're turned into false villains. And Circe seems to be one of many in Greek mythology.

The shitty behaviour of the Gods and Titans was something else I enjoyed. Not to mention how cool it was how other nations and gods are mentioned and co-exist alongside the Greeks. Very clever.

I'm so glad I finally read this because it was just as wonderful and dark as I hoped it would be. The writing is beautiful, the story fantastic, the cover gorgeous the main character is amazing, and THAT ending... Loved this!



Monday, 15 July 2019

I have some news!

Hey!

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably saw my Saturday tweet featuring a very cool announcement and a new cover.

That's right, I've signed a contract with Demain Publishing for my novelette, BREAKING THE HABIT. I'm SO excited about this upcoming release for several reasons.

This is my first new release in quite a while. Several years, actually. So it's awesome to get the opportunity to have a new story out in the wild for a new audience. So I want to thank Dean M. Drinkel for giving me the chance to share my horror story with the world.

What makes this even more exciting is that this story is going to be a part of the very cool series of stories called Short Sharp Shocks! A series that includes stories written by Barbie Wilde and Calvin Demmer, to name a few.

My story is #27. And it's SO EXCITING!

These are the books that are already available:




The other day, I received the awesome cover, made by Adrian Baldwin. Not only does it match the others in the series, but it also features something that is central to the story.

Here it is:


Isn't this creepy and cool? I love it!

As soon as I have more information--blurb, pre-order link, etc--I'll be sure to post about it here. But for now, I'm super excited and had to write a little something to share this awesome news.

Thanks for checking in.

Have a great week! 🌞

Friday, 5 July 2019

ESIO TROT by Roald Dahl

Esio Trot
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Last week, hubby surprised me with a Roald Dahl box set and this was one of the books included. The cover's cute, the blurb intrigued me and it's quite short, so I picked it up today and read it in one sitting.

Mr Hoppy is a lonely man who lives in a concrete building above the widow Mrs Silver. He's secretly in love with her but she's only got eyes for her pet tortoise, Alfie.

The day Mrs Silver mentions to him that she wishes Alfie would grow bigger, a nefarious plan takes shape in Mr Hoppy's mind...

OMG. This book is pretty much an allegory for loneliness, and what an obsessed man is willing to do to get what he wants. It's not a nice thing and it's a shame he didn't get busted, but sometimes good people do shitty things. Sometimes, even the simplest of manipulations are harmful. And this guy, he wanted a particular someone so badly he was prepared to be terrible.

Mr Hoppy's plan to make Mrs Silver recite a magic spell of sorts so he can replace Alfie with one of the many tortoises he purchases is truly awful. It's conniving and mean.

Not to mention how shitty it is that Mrs Silver doesn't even notice poor Alfie's gone. BTW, I loved Alfie. He was adorable! During the whole time, I couldn't wait to find out what happened to him, and I was glad to see he had his own ending.

I also think it's important to read the Author's Note at the very beginning because after finishing the story, it puts everything into perspective.

This book might not be full of loveable characters, but I still enjoyed it. It's clever, in a very twisted way. Seriously, it's quite messed up when you think about it...



Thursday, 4 July 2019

GLOW #1 by Tini Howard & Hannah Templer

GLOW #1GLOW #1 by Tini Howard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love the Netflix show GLOW, so when I found out there was a comic book series, I had to check out the first issue.

The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling think they've got a weekend off, but Sam ruins their plans by announcing he's signed them up for the Reseda Wrestlefest. And now, they all have to come up with creative ways to fund the trip...

Like the show, this was a lot of fun. Actually, it pretty much focuses on the lighter and fun aspects, instead of the deeper underlining serious and dramatic stories the show does so well. And hey, I'm totally okay with that.

The main story focuses on getting the girls to the actual event, while Carmen freaks out at the thought of not being taken seriously by other wrestlers. But once they get there, the ladies find out they've got something else to worry about--unexpected competition.

I also thought the artwork perfectly captured the characters, their personalities and the colours are all 80s, baby. It's all so pretty and bright.

This is really cool, and I definitely want to read more. Also, I can't wait for the third season!


Wednesday, 3 July 2019

THE MIND'S PLAGUE & OTHER BITES OF BRUTALITY by Morgan K Tanner

Three friends search for an infamous internet video of an urban legend with devastating consequences; a passionate drummer joins the band of his dreams, or perhaps his nightmares; a man tries to find fame in a world where the mundane call the shots; and a grieving father loses his grip on reality. 

 These ten stories delve into a world of darkness and suffering, where the terrors are more vivid than they may appear. Blood is spilt, minds are destroyed, as madness ultimately reigns victorious


Earlier this year I received a copy of An Army of Skin from this great author, and I loved it. So when he sent me an eARC of his short story collection, I couldn't wait to get stuck into it. 

I mean, as soon as I saw the old-school horror cover and read the title, I knew whatever awaited me within these pages would not be for the weak of stomach or heart. 

And I was totally ready!


THE MIND'S PLAGUE:

Three friends get together during a rare day off from school hoping to have a bit of fun. Instead, they find a boring DVD stash and start drinking beer. When one of them suggests they try to find a creepy video online, another starts feeling weird... 

I really enjoyed this messed up little tale. I'm a sucker for urban legends, so one that deals with something this creepy was right up my alley. 


AN ADHORRENT ART:

A weird man walks along the streets of the town he claims to have created using human bodies... 

Yikes. This was quite macabre and certainly not for anyone with a weak stomach. The descriptions of the corruptive bodily creations are so vivid the scenes featuring streets and buildings played inside my head like a horrendous movie. 


FOR DAVID:

A celebrity stalker shadows every move of the actor David Brannigan, but can't seem to catch him anywhere... 

OMFG. 

This story takes the stalker trope to a whole new level of fucked up. And by that I mean that it seems like a straightforward, maybe even familiar, situation about an obsessed fan. Until it isn't. Until the trippy narrative washes over you and makes you very aware of what's really going on. 

And then, everything you just read clicks into horrid place. 

It's SO very twisted and the writing in this is outstanding.


CONFLAGRATION DESECRATION:

Steve is a drummer looking for a band to join. He can't believe his luck when he gets an instant audition... 

That's all I'm going to say about this story because I don't want to spoil anything. Seriously, the less you know the more you'll enjoy it. 

Because seriously, this story blew me away. Not just because I liked the main character. Not just because the plot is so disturbing it's brilliant, but because the writing was outstanding. So crisp in the description, that the words made music play in my ears. 

I seriously LOVED this one! 


THE PRICE OF FAME:

All he wants is to have his own corner of fame in this very crowded online market. But he doesn't want it handed to him. He's going to earn it, with the flesh of the fake celebrity...

This was a clever story about the easy come, easy go nature of fame in the 21st century. Portrayed in the most brutal way possible, it examines how shallow and flimsy our celebrity society has become. 

Although this is definitely not for the squeamish, I enjoyed the very dark humorous undertones about the whole thing. It almost serves as a gory tale with a moral at the end, a PSA announcement for the sheep mentality we see WAY too often nowadays. The way people are 'devoted' to these online personalities not because they like or respect them, but in hopes of being noticed themselves. 

It's a silly endless cycle perfectly captured in this cunning allegory. 

Man, that narrator was really something! His reaction to the way his every grotesque action got the exact opposite response he wanted, totally cracked me up. I'm still chuckling. 


RELUCTANT BLOODLUST:

Ugh isn't having a good day. After all, he's now a zombie, can't remember his former life and hates the leader of his group... 

What a cool and interesting zombie tale with a gruesome and melancholy twist ending. This story was short and sweet, as well as gross and fun. Hit all the right zombie notes. 

I like me a nice slice of zombie pie every now and then.


THIEVES:

Two guys hoping for an easy score inside the home of a disabled man get much more than they bargained for... 

Ha! This one was definitely a case of you get what you deserve if you break into someone's house hoping to take advantage of them. Of course, these situations aren't usually met with this kind of horror, but it was well worth reading! 


GRIEVING:

A grieving father's guilt after losing his daughter drives him to do the unthinkable. Except, what Gary actually ends up doing is worse than what he leads you to believe... 

Yikes. What starts out as a tormented father who simply can't let go of his daughter after she dies, slowly becomes so much worse. 

This guy's such an unreliable narrator, but mostly because of his delusions. And the twist doesn't come until The End. 

Well played.


AS GOOD AS DEAD:

When Peter wakes up next to his wife, he's got a headache and doesn't remember a damn thing about the night before. So he gets on with his day, and when he realises what really happened, he'll wish he was still asleep... 

Short and gross is probably the best way to describe this one. It's like a really bad headache personified and a man's worst nightmare all rolled into one uncomfortable situation. 😳


ROOM 405:

Philip's nightmare is full of demons chasing him, and he soon finds out that chanting isn't the only thing that follows him out once he wakes up... 

Oh, I really liked this one! After all, it features one of my fave ghost story tropes. The confusion and tension carries forth from beginning to end, adding some next-level creepiness to the experience. 

This one's a super spooky story.


Well, what can I say about these ten fantastic stories? I can tell you that although I had different levels of appreciation for each one, I enjoyed the hell out of ALL of them.

If you enjoy horror dripping with dark humour, characters with some pretty heavy baggage, real-life situations twisted into the grotesque until they barely resemble anything coherent and are as gross as they are brilliant, then you'll love these.

I sure did. I was totally in the mood for this book of weird and wondrous brutalities.

Asides from the actual characters and the variety of plots and twisty tropes, the writing is SO good. Strong and bloody imagery like the ones contained within these pages just wouldn't work if the words piecing all the fragments together wasn't vivid and awesome.

I've got nothing but good things to say about the horrors threatening to bleed out of this book. Can't wait to see what the author comes up with next.

This wicked short story collection will be available in August, and I reckon you should definitely check it out!


 
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