Tuesday 26 November 2019


The Brilliant Dr. Wogan (Choose Your Own Adventure, #72)The Brilliant Dr. Wogan by R.A. Montgomery
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I used to love reading Choose Your Own Adventure books when I was a kid. I borrowed them from the school library and from the public library. I couldn't get enough!

So it was awesome to find a few during our thrift store adventures. This is one of them and I had a blast reading it.

Dr. Wogan has designed a machine able to neutralise radiation. That means that everyone could survive a nuclear war. But in the wrong hands, it would mean the world could be held ransom.

As her young assistant it's YOUR job to find her, and make sure the plans are safe...

This was a lot of fun! The beauty of these books is that you can choose one path to The End, and then go back and take another one.

I enjoyed the book so much, I followed three different paths:

1). I took a few wrong turns and didn't find Dr. Wogan. Instead, I found myself in the middle of a time-travelling possibility. 😲

2). I took worse turns here, and ended up getting captured and forced into a shitty situation. 😒

3). I finally found my way to Dr. Wogan! Yay. And although things didn't turn out great, it was a bittersweet ending. Both good and bad, but at least it was with my boss. 😁

Yeah, this was really cool. I'm definitely looking forward to reading the other ones I have.


Welcome To Camp Slither (Goosebumps HorrorLand, #9)Welcome To Camp Slither by R.L. Stine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

During our thrift store adventures, we've been lucky enough to find a bunch of Goosebumps books, and this one is part of the Horrorland collection.

I used to read Goosebumps to my daughter when she was in primary school. And years before that, I used them to tutor English to kids.

So, of course I'm interested in checking out all the ones I haven't read.


Boone Dixon and his younger sister are excited about going off to Camp Hither. But as soon as he makes a friend, Roddy starts telling him about the scary snakes that are supposed to live in the lake and are keen to eat the campers...

This story was SO much fun!

I also love the writing style because it sets the scene perfectly with just enough information. As soon as I started reading, I felt like I was swept away to a creepy camp in the middle of nowhere.

Boone was a cool narrator. A kid who wants to enjoy himself and doesn't want to believe silly stories until he's facing it. And he doesn't like mysteries. Heather was a funky and brave girl who played by her own rules. And I liked their sibling relationship.

Although there are several ew! scenes featuring snakes, mice and a lab, this turned out to be a lot of freaky ssslithering FUN!


This is actually a really nice feature. A week after the incident at Camp Hither, Boone gets an invitation to HorrorLand and he's glad to go because he's bored.

But as soon as he gets there, trouble finds him. At least he can use his newfound fear of snakes to some sort of advantage. LOL.

I enjoyed this because the creep factor makes an appearance early on, but it's also a small part in a story that had already started several books back so I didn't recognise some of the characters and villains.

Still, it was freaky cool.

Also, the Fear File #9 stuff was a great addition.

I really enjoyed this. Only problem is that I now want to read more! 😈

Monday 25 November 2019

TWISTED 26 by Janet Evanovich

Grandma Mazur is a widow . . . again. This time her marriage lasted a whole 45 minutes. The unlucky groom was one Jimmy Rosolli, local gangster, lothario (senior division) and heart attack waiting to happen . . . well, the waiting's over. 

It's a sad day, but if she can't have Jimmy at least Grandma can have all the attention she wants as the dutiful widow. But some kinds of attention are not welcome, particularly when Jimmy's former 'business partners' are convinced that his widow is keeping the keys to their financial success for herself.

As someone who has spent an entire career finding bad guys, a set of missing keys should be no challenge for Stephanie Plum. Problem is, the facts are as twisted as a pretzel with mustard.

This is one of my favourite series. I look forward to reading the latest Stephanie Plum book because it always feels like catching up with old friends. 

When Grandma Mazur gets married to Jimmy Rosolli and he dies after forty-five minutes, she becomes an instant widow. 

That means she'll get the chance to be the centre of attention for a while. But, not all attention is good because Jimmy's mob buddies are convinced she's got some very special keys, his sisters have a vendetta against her, and at least one ex-wife wants a piece of Jimmy's money.

Now it's up to Stephanie to keep her grandmother safe. If only Stephanie wasn't having a personal crisis...

This was another awesome and fun book!

I love Grandma Mazur. She's hilarious, adventurous and totally gets Stephanie. She might be an elderly lady but really knows how to enjoy life, and a bit of danger isn't going to change that.

This book was nerve-wracking because Grandma's fearless nature works against her. I was as worried as Stephanie and kept waiting for something awful to happen.

The mayhem never stops. And although Steph is doubting herself and feels like she has no direction, it was so cool to see how efficient she really is. Not to mention how entertaining it is when she works with Lula. 😂

Or how she deals--or doesn't deal--with Morelli and Ranger.

Twisted 26 is another fun addition to this awesome series. Just when I think Stephanie's life can't get more complicated, I read the next installment and the stakes get higher. I love how a story dealing with so many heavy situations, and a bunch of dangerous people, can also be SO funny.

Love these characters.

I can't wait to see what happens next. This might not have been a cliffhanger ending, but it definitely left me wondering about what's next for Steph.

Twisted 26, November 2019, ISBN 9781472246141, Headline Review

Saturday 23 November 2019


Everyone but Sophia and Cyrus were going to die. They were all goners well before they knew it. And they certainly thought whatever was happening, they were helping others and saving the world doing it.

Samantha was only fourteen and looking for what every fourteen-year-old looks for - freedom. She wanted to be as far away from her substance-riddled mother and abusive home as possible, but she never asked for anything like this. It always starts with just one person and one fucked up idea. This is the story about Samantha and the cult called Freedom House.

A psychological horror thriller, this book will frustrate you, scare you, disturb you, and at times, it will make you want to be ill. Are you ready to learn what's going on behind the doors of Freedom House?

I was really excited when Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi sent me a review copy of this book. It's one I've heard great things about on Twitter, and was totally intrigued by. And I love that creepy cover.

Samantha is fourteen, lives with her deadbeat mother, and dreams of running away. Sophia is a tough cop living with a haunting memory from her childhood. Detective Salvino doesn't want a repeat of what happened six years ago when he dealt with a cult.

Now, young kids are disappearing and everything leads to the doorstep of the Cult Called Freedom House...

O.M.F.G. 😳

This book is about a cult, so of course I went in expecting some pretty terrible things. I mean, what else is a cult but a place where downtrodden people are brainwashed and abused? While accepting this abuse because they're convinced they deserve it.

Yeah, I knew what I was getting into.

Even then, I was equally disgusted, disturbed, intrigued and captivated by everything that was going on. As soon as I started, I couldn't put my Paperwhite down. I needed to find out what was going to happen next.

There are a lot of things to like about this book, but the characters were the lifeline. They're interesting and real. Whether I despised or sympathised with them, I was totally invested in every single one of their screwed-up lives.

This story isn't pretty. A lot of what happens is dirty and unnerving. 

Samantha is a great character. A young girl, lost and in desperate need of attention. She craves a real home and even when things don't seem as perfect as she first thought in Freedom House, she pushes on. And is strong as hell.

Sophia is another intriguing character. She's a cop and wants to save people because her own guilt has become a never-ending haunting she can't escape. Dealing with Freedom House teaches her there are deeper levels of being broken than she already is, while also pushing her.

Detective Salvino is a caring man lost in a world where some of the most horrible things he sees are perpetrated by his gender. He wants to save the young and naive, even after a huge failure to do so.

The sense of location was described really well. Santa Cruz might look like a cosy coastal town, but it ain't Santa Carla. The predators here aren't vampires. They're drugs, dealers and desperation. The lost boys and girls of Santa Cruz are lured by a different kind of immortality.

The Cult of Freedom House is a gritty and sometimes really uncomfortable book. It actually deals with two of my least favourite horror tropes--can't say which because of spoilers. The kind of stuff I usually stay away from. But the way this is written, the creepy vibes and the heart at the core of everything, kept me hooked to the page.

Yeah, I really enjoyed this book and the descent to the end had me on the edge of my seat because the suspense was killer.

The only other thing I want to say is that if you're squeamish about the grosser parts of human predators, prepare yourself. This story goes to some very dark and depraved places.

Friday 22 November 2019

NaNoWriMo is officially over!

That's right.

Today, I validated NEON

Well, this year was a little different. 

There was no actual validation necessary. The website was updated so I collected my WINNER badges and downloaded my certificate. Yay. 😁

Here's what my progress looked like:

Quite a steady rise to the finish line. 😀👍

Well, that's it for another year. Hope you all had as much fun as I did! I absolutely LOVED writing this story because I didn't have a market in mind, or cared about the fact it might never fit in anywhere. 

I wrote this for me, because I wanted to read it. And because sometimes, you just have to remember why you enjoy writing in the first place.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday 19 November 2019

NaNoWriMo: Week Three

Hey! How's everyone?

Well, the third week of NaNoWriMo has only just begun but since I finished my WIP today, I thought I'd blog about it.

That's right! The first draft of NEON is finished, and I'm SO excited. 😁🎉

This is the 13th time I've won NaNoWriMo! Yay.

So, here's this week's word count:
  • Saturday: 58,113 (added 3012w)
  • Sunday: 61,167 (added 3054w)
  • Monday: 63,532 (added 2365w)
  • Tuesday: 66,181 (added 2649w)

As you can see, compared to last week, the daily word count totals went down a bit. That always happens when I reach the backend of a story and everything becomes a total frenzy of words and thoughts colliding with each other.

This means that a lot of what I wrote ended up being bare bones. But that's okay, because first and foremost, it's all about getting the words out of my head. I can fix everything later.

So, today I went back and re-read the last three chapters and added the stuff I left out, and/or thought about aftwerwards.

It happens every time.

Writing this story turned out to be an awesome and really fun experience. It started out as an unconventional horror with some SF elements and a love story at its core. But ended up a lot deeper, more twisty and full of 80s goodness.

I always envisioned this story to be just like those 80s straight-to-VHS horror/action movies I loved watching as a kid. And I'm super excited because it translated pretty well. It's also full of some unexpected surprises, which is always a great thing.

It's funny that a tale I thought might be a novella turned out to be the longest first draft I've written this year.

Well, there you have it. NaNoWriMo is done. I wrote one more novel before the end of the year. And my brain no longer has to hold onto everything about this particular idea.

Not until revision time. LOL.

Anyway, I'm very happy right now. And I need a mental break. Plus some reading time. Definitely need some of that.

Have an awesome week!

Friday 15 November 2019

NaNoWriMo: Week Two

Well, the second week of NaNoWriMo is done, and I'm happy to report that I added plenty of words.

What about you? How's your word count going?

I actually had a great week. Got a lot done and also slowed down the pace a bit. The only thing that's been missing from my schedule lately is reading.

My head is so full of my WIP that in the last two weeks I've only managed to read three short stories. But that's okay. I'll just have to reward myself with plenty of reading when I'm done.

Anyway, here's this week's word count: 
  • Monday: 35,128 (added 4761w)
  • Tuesday: 40,180 (added 5052w) 
  • Wednesday: 45,274 (added 5094w)
  • Thursday: 50,474 (added 5200w) 
  • Friday: 55,101 (added 4627w)

As you can see, I reached the NaNoWriMo 50k goal on Thursday. Yay. 😄

Still, I continued adding words on Friday because the story isn't finished yet. I'm not sure where the word count will end up, but I'm going to find out. 

According to my notes, there are three chapters left to write. But, halfway through the week, after adding a chapter that came out of nowhere, I scrapped all the novel's second half notes. Ended up reworking them to take a different direction that'll ultimately get the main character to the same spot through a different route.

Sometimes this happens. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I have to admit, I'm surprised this story isn't done yet. When I initially started thinking about and taking notes for this idea, it was supposed to be a short story. Even then, I quickly realised there was too much story for that. Then I was sure it would end up becoming a novella. 

Yet, here we are. In novel territory. 😁

During the week, I also wrote a 621-word shortie that I'm looking forward to revising.

Well, that's it for this week's writing update.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday 13 November 2019


Dying for an Invitation
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked up a free copy of this novelette for my Paperwhite earlier this year. And since my brain is getting totally consumed by NaNoWriMo at the moment, I've hardly had any reading time.

So, I decided to read this today. Mainly because it was short. Plus I think the cover's lovely and creepy.

After things don't work out with her boyfriend, Dacie returns to her childhood home in Romania. This is where she left her invisible childhood friend. Although it's been years, she secretly hopes he's still there.

As soon as she arrives, her mother starts up with the cautionary tales about unmarried women, the history of the village, and the disappearance of her grandmother. All superstitions and secrets that lead back to her...

My favourite thing about this story is the way it's written. I really enjoyed the character's voice, the author's writing style, and the setting descriptions. All of these drew me into the story.

While I liked all of the above, as well as Dacie's voice and was intrigued by her imaginary friend, I was disappointed when the answer was revealed. It just didn't work for me, and the whole Vlad Tepes thing made me lose interest. And I love vampires!

As for the ending, I'm still in two minds about it. At first, I didn't like it because it just didn't make sense to me. Then afterwards, I did like it. But... I still don't know. :/

Anyway, it was an interesting read.

Friday 8 November 2019

NaNoWriMo: Week One

Well, the first week of NaNoWriMo is over and I'm really happy with my progress.

After taking the weekend off, I spent this week adding words to my WIP. And I have to admit that I'm having an awesome time writing this story because it's coming together pretty well. Not only are my chapter notes fuelling each day, but so is the new stuff that keeps popping up.

This kind of thing always happens. The bare bones are there on paper for me to follow but once I sit at my desk, that's when the real magic happens. 😃

So, here's this week's word count:
  • Monday: 11,151 (added 5125w)
  • Tuesday: 15,375 (added 4224w)
  • Wednesday: 20,440 (added 5065w)
  • Thursday: 26,189 (added 5749w)
  • Friday: 30,367 (added 4178w)

This idea is so ready to be told that everything is tumbling out pretty quickly, which is awesome.

The cool thing about this story is that I was pretty sure I knew the path I was going to take but the more I write, the more I realise there's an even better way to tell this tale.

Another thing that surprised me is the addition of several unexpected characters. They popped in while writing and have turned out to be quite important to the overall story. Not to mention how strong the sisterhood between these characters is turning out.

I'm having a great time writing this, which might be a bit strange since my main character's going through some serious heartbreak, paranoia and the confusion is really screwing up her sense of reality. But at the same time, it's all so unusual and surprisingly wonderful.

It's also full of 80s tropes. But I'm not forcing them in, they're coming quite naturally. 

Well, at the moment I still LOVE everything about this story, and I hope that continues until I reach the end.

The only problem is that because I'm SO caught up in my own story, my reading has taken a bit of a backseat.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday 6 November 2019


The Unbeliever & The Intruder (Short Sharp Shocks! Book 39)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

By now, I know that getting stuck into a Short Sharp Shocks! book means I'm going to lose myself in a single sitting of awesome, dark storytelling. Add the fact that this author knows how to write gore and torture with an edge of the familiar so well, and I was instantly hooked.

The Unbeliever introduces us to Mike. An average guy who finds himself on a family holiday to the happiest place in the world. Yet, he's not feeling it. He's hot, cranky, would rather be by the pool, and can't help but voice his frustration, which leads to some horrifying results...

This story introduced an average guy into a very familiar place, then totally twisted all the normal and got dark very quickly. Wow. I didn't expect things to go there, but I'm so glad they did because it added the perfect gory imagery to some of the most well-known and beloved characters.

Trust me, you'll never look at a certain theme park the same (ever) again. LMAO. But seriously, I had SO much fun reading it because as violent as it is, I also found it amusing.

The Intruder features Toby, the sleep-deprived father of a newborn. On the night he offers to stay up with the baby so his wife can get some sleep and he can catch up on some work, someone decides to break into the house...

OMFG. This story is insane and I loved it!

Toby starts out acting and sounding like anyone who finds an asshole invading their territory, and slowly tumbles down a very dark path. A horrific path that had me squirming. Not just because of how he decides to deal with the would-be burglar, but because when the truth starts dawning on you... Yikes! Did I say it will make you squirm? 👀

Both of these are seriously awesome, wicked and well-written stories. They're like surreal nightmares that confuse the reader as much as the characters. They're brutal little treats guaranteed to disturb anyone brave enough to reach the end. And they'll stay with you long after you've finished reading.

I have to be honest, neither of these is for the faint of heart, but they're certainly worth it. Morgan has a great writing style and his stories really get into your system.

This SSS! is definitely another fantastic addition to this horror series.

Friday 1 November 2019

NaNoWriMo is here!

That's right.

Today is the first day of NaNoWriMo and I got stuck into it first thing this morning. 😃

My plan for today was to write the first chapter. I was aiming for 3k, but any word count was going to make me happy because all I wanted to do was get the story started.

And this is what happened:

I was not expecting or planning to write this many words but as soon as I sat down at my desk, the character started speaking. And wouldn't stop. 

That's what happens when you carry a story around inside your head for over a year, I suppose. 😬

I'm really glad that I decided not to give up on this idea. Several months ago, after my pitch was knocked back, I considered shelving it completely. I mean, it was so out there already, and if it didn't sound marketable, what was the point? But during one of our walks, I told hubby all about it and he said it sounded interesting to him. He called it fun and suggested I write it anyway.

After our conversation, the word fun kept echoing inside my mind and I decided he was right. THAT was the reason I developed the idea in the first place. 

So, when NaNoWriMo came around, I decided this was the right time. I was really in the mood for writing something that appealed to me. And judging by my first writing session, I think I'm going to have a lot of fun with this.

One thing I wasn't expecting was the amount of emotion in the story. Or how important friendships would be for the main character. Although, considering the devastation she faces in the first chapter, I probably should've expected it.

Like I said last week, I'm writing Neon for me. It's going to be an action-packed, zany story with heart and will feature a bunch of my favourite 80s tropes and things. Not to mention the Playlist I put together.

BTW, if you want to be NaNo buddies, this is me.

So, there you have it. Today, I started a new WIP and will now take the weekend off.

Have a good one!

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