Friday 31 July 2020


The Space Between Worlds
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This sounded like such an intriguing book, so I was looking forward to checking it out.

Cara is a dimensional traveller, what is called a traverser. She also has a knack for dying in many of the worlds she exists in. But when a version of her is murdered, she finds herself caught up in a strange and dangerous situation...

Let me start with how much I loved the concept of this book because I'm a sucker for multi-dimensional stories. While the worldbuilding was pretty straightforward and I liked the slight and big differences in each world, there were some things that could've done with more and less explanation. I know that might sound weird, but if you've read this book you'll know what I mean.

As soon as I started reading there was something about Cara that struck me as odd. I mean, she revealed a lot about her world in the simplest of terms and with total ease. But, even then she struck me as unreliable. She'd reveal something only to slightly contradict it a few paragraphs down, or add a tidbit that threw out her previous statement.

It didn't take long to realise why, because the first twist hits pretty early on. And it was a hell of a twist, one that got me excited about the rest of the book. But after what happens during one of her assignments, things started to fall apart for me.

Everything started out strong and interesting, but the more I read the less I cared about Cara and her multi-world life and job. I had a hard time connecting with what was going on and a few plot points that seemed to contradict the previous rules. I can't say what it was because of spoilers, but it bugged me.

Anyway, while I really enjoyed the writing style and the character's voice, this turned out to be a bit of a disappointment for me.

Thank you Hachette Australia for sending me a copy.

Wednesday 29 July 2020

MEXICAN GOTHIC by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

When glamorous socialite Noemi Taboada receives a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging to be rescued from a mysterious doom, it's clear something is desperately amiss. Catalina has always had a flair for the dramatic, but her claims that her husband is poisoning her and her visions of restless ghosts seem remarkable, even for her. 

Noemi's chic gowns and perfect lipstick are more suited to cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing, but she immediately heads to High Place, a remote mansion in the Mexican countryside, determined to discover what is so affecting her cousin...

This is a book I've been looking forward to reading since I saw the pretty cover. So, I want to thank Hachette Australia for sending me a copy.

Noemí Taboada is a young socialite and student. She's what her father calls flighty, but stubborn. The day she finds out her recently-married cousin is having trouble in her new home, she agrees to go and check up on her.

However, as soon as Noemí gets to the Mexican countryside, she notices there's something strange about the worn house called High Place. And that Catalina's sickness might not be what it seems...

Oh, what an amazing book!

I liked Noemí as soon as I started reading. She's so cool, knows what she wants and how to get it. At the same time she's indecisive and has changed her university course several times. She's also got a very casual attitude towards guys, and is quite stylish. And she's so clever! All of these qualities are awesome, but challenging for a woman living in the 1950s.

Her strong personality makes the mystery she faces harder for her to deal with, and exciting for readers to experience.

Another thing that totally clicked with me was when Noemí arrives at the High Place. I knew then that this book and I were going to get along very well. I love stories set in big houses/estates that are in a somewhat state of disrepair and have an air of the eerie. Add a creepy family with freaky secrets slowly leaking out of the very walls, and I'm officially intrigued. And hooked.

There's an atmosphere of dread throughout the story that I found intoxicating, in the best way possible. The house felt like the strongest character in the Doyle family, hiding a menace I couldn't wait to discover.

Everything that goes on inside those walls--from Catalina's erratic behaviour, the claustrophobic corridors, and the awful family members--felt drenched in mold. As if it was slowly spreading and at the same time closing in until the true horror is revealed.

I loved so much about this story and as I was reading could visualise every scene inside my mind. I think this would make an awesome TV show. I mean, all the characters alone are deeply interesting and have such depth that I was captivated by their personal and collective stories.

My favourites were Noemí and Francis. Noemí because she's a fantastic leading lady with the perfect combination of intelligence, cunning and naivety. And Francis because he was like a friendly ghost existing inside a haunted house.

Mexican Gothic is an atmospheric and totally addictive horror tale that slowly releases its toxic core and before you realise it, has infected your mind. The vivid imagery within the boundaries of High Place gets under your skin, even when you can't help but be seduced by the very horrid nature of the place and the terrifying truths waiting around every corner.

I absolutely adored this book as much as I thought I would. It contained a lot of the ingredients that satisfied my horror-loving heart.

Can't wait to read more books by Silvia Moreno-Garcia because I love her storytelling style.

Mexican Gothic, July 2020, ISBN 9781529402674, Jo Fletcher Books

Sunday 26 July 2020

MALORIE by Josh Malerman

In the old world there were many rules. In the new world there is only one: don't open your eyes.

In the seventeen years since the 'creatures' appeared, many people have broken that rule. Many have looked. Many have lost their minds, their lives, their loved ones.

In that time, Malorie has raised her two children - Olympia and Tom - on the run or in hiding. Now nearly teenagers, survival is no longer enough. They want freedom. 

When a census-taker stops by their refuge, he is not welcome. But he leaves a list of names - of survivors building a future beyond the darkness - and on that list are two names Malorie knows.

Two names for whom she'll break every rule, and take her children across the wilderness, in the hope of becoming a family again...

I read Bird Box several years ago and absolutely LOVED it. I also enjoyed the Netflix movie. So when I found out there was going to be a sequel, I was really looking forward to checking it out.

That's why I want to thank Hachette Australia for sending me a copy!

After the world went mad, Malorie never felt totally safe, and even though she found a safe haven for herself and her children in a secluded school, she never let her guard down. The day everything goes to hell, she escapes with her son and daughter.

Ten years later, the trio has been living in an abandoned campsite but when a stranger turns up with a list of survivors, Malorie realises they're going to have to leave again...

Wow. This was SO intense!

The book starts with a nerve-wracking scene full of breathless violence and nervous anticipation. The tension is instant and once you fall into this state of mind, it's hard to shake. There's just something so claustrophobic about a world where you're forced to wear a blindfold. 😲 

The story is told in the POVs of Malorie, her son Tom, and her daughter Olympia. I liked how different they all were. Malorie is obsessed with safety, paranoid and obviously still suffering from severe PTSD. All she knows how to do is survive. Tom is smart and rebellious, wants to create and get a taste of freedom, maybe actually talk to strangers every now and then. Olympia is clever and reads a lot, so stories have shaped how she understands the way the world used to be. She's also the peace keeper and has a very rational way of looking at things.

But all of them have dark, complicated and secret thoughts they refuse to share with each other.

The dynamic makes for some very interesting and realistic parent-teenager situations and explosive emotions that are amplified by the existence of the creatures that destroyed the world with their ability to drive people mad. It's a recurring theme that grows exponentially as their adventure takes them somewhere unexpected.

Make no mistake, this story is a lot of things--dramatic, emotional, thrilling, terrifying, and most importantly, an adventure of blindfold proportions. Every time I sat down to read, my muscles were so tense.

Malorie is a gripping dystopian thriller with plenty of horror vibes, as well as twists and turns. Not to mention a creepy revelation I didn't expect. It's also a family drama taking place in a ravaged world where monsters are everywhere and nowhere. The threat is a living thing, a sensation that breathes on every page and fills the reader with dread.

It's an emotional roller-coaster ride, and I loved it so much. I already knew Malorie was an amazing character, but meeting Tom and Olympia was a treat.

This is one brilliant sequel that captures the spirit of the first book, plus opens up the world in a very intriguing way.

Malorie, July 2020, ISBN 9781409193135, Orion

Thursday 23 July 2020

THE END OF OZ by Danielle Paige

The End of Oz (Dorothy Must Die, #4)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, after taking such a fun, wild ride through Oz and Kansas, it's time to find out how everything ends.

Amy has been through a lot and has changed even more. She learned how to use magic in Oz to kill Dorothy, went back to Kansas to help save Oz from Dorothy, and now finds herself in another kingdom to fight a new foe. And of course, has to deal with the outstanding issue of Dorothy.

Now, with Nox and Madison beside her, while wearing a pair of magical silver combat boots, Amy needs to eliminate Dorothy and the Nome King before they end everything...

Wow. Okay. That was really cool.

After enjoying the hell out of the previous three books in this series, I was really looking forward to finding out how Amy's adventure in Oz turned out. And it was off to a great start as she finds herself in the middle of Return to Oz. You remember that movie, right? 😮 Remember how creepy and nightmarish it was? The dark and dreary Ev is exactly like that, and so much more. A creepy place with a lot of underground tunnels and weird locals.

Amy's just as awesome as always, her connection to Nox intensifies, she finds herself babysitting her former bully, and meets a queen with the pesky hobby of collecting heads. Yet, she does all this while trying to save what's left of Oz.

One thing I wasn't expecting was Dorothy's POV peppered throughout the book. She's a real piece of zany work that one. It's strange to be inside her head, to witness firsthand her self-obsession, as well as how oblivious she is to her own cruelty. This character has been warped and twisted into a tyrant, yet believes herself to be a loving, worthy queen. But she's just a sociopath--a maniac. I would find that really disturbing if so many leaders in our world weren't exactly like this. 😒

Although I was surprised to find the final installment wasn't as fast-paced as the previous three and the battle in Oz was mostly off-page, I did like how it slowed things down to concentrate on what makes Amy and Dorothy tick, and how easily one could be the other if their circumstances were reversed.

One other thing I need to mention is how much I've LOVED the amazing and very vivid imagery throughout the four books. Asides from the awesome array of characters, the dark aesthetics were some of my favourite things. I love how dark everything was under the bright and colourful skies of Oz.

I've had a great time with this series and I'm really happy with how everything turned out on both sides of the rainbow. 🌈

Tuesday 21 July 2020


Unnatural Deeds
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You know, I just wanted to get a taste of this book because it sounded so intriguing. Just wanted to see if it would interest me as much as I thought it would, and I couldn't put it down.

Victoria has several problems: a boyfriend who doesn't leave the house and is putting up with an abusive stepfather, she gets anxious a lot, and doesn't make friends easily. Plus her parents are overprotective to the point of smothering.

Yet, none of that compares to her problems after the mysterious and very alluring Z enters her life...

Wow. That was dark and totally messed up.

The writing style of this book grabs you instantly and doesn't let you go. Vic's voice is strong and strange as she confesses how her life changed after meeting the new kid in school to her boyfriend Andrew.

The confessional style of the narrative is SO addictive. Yet, I often got the sense that Vic was leaving out some very important details or straying off-course on purpose. It doesn't take long to realise that she's a very (very) unreliable narrator who makes you question every single thing she says and claims to have experienced. Yikes!

Z is such an intriguing character, but because we get to know him via Vic's totally obsessive eyes, there's only so much we can believe about him. Especially, when you consider the very cool interviews added at the beginning of each chapter, which often contradict Vic.

And the twist ending is definitely worth reading. It makes so much sense out of the way Vic's parents behave. And of course, throws everything you think you know about Vic's life into a tailspin.

I enjoyed the hell out of this super creepy and very twisty messed up story. It was fantastic!

Monday 20 July 2020

GRAVEYARD SMASH: Women of Horror Anthology Volume 2 is now available!

Back in January, I was lucky enough to be included in the first Women of Horror anthology released by Kandisha Press

Today, I'm very excited to announce that my short story, Love You to Death, appears in Volume 2...

Kandisha Press

Step through the prettiest cemetery gates you've ever seen and experience tombstone raves and widow's dances, Japanese snow-spirits, Aztec bruja and temple goddesses, vengeful ghosts, djinn and cannibals, vampire hunters, plague bearers, graverobbers, and terrors beyond reason.

Read through the night as the dead rise from boneyards all around the world! 

Featuring chilling tales from:

Christy Aldridge 
Carmen Baca 
Demi-Louise Blackburn 
R.A. Busby 
V. Castro 
Dawn DeBraal 
Ellie Douglas 
Tracy Fahey 
Dona Fox 
Cassidy Frost 
Michelle Renee Lane 
Beverley Lee 
J.A.W. McCarthy 
Catherine McCarthy 
Susan McCauley 
Ksenia Murray 
Ally Peirse 
Janine Pipe 
Lydia Prime 
Paula R.C. Readman 
Yolanda Sfetsos 
Sonora Taylor 

 Edited by Jill Girardi
With foreword by Doc Holocausto (Evilspeak Magazine, Harvest Ritual, Creepy Crawls)

With cover art by Jep Knulle and cover design by Ellie Douglas

 It's now available:
Kindle | Paperback | Kobo | NOOK | Apple

THE MERCILESS IV: Last Rites by Danielle Vega

The Merciless IV: Last Rites
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

By now, it's no secret that I absolutely LOVE the Merciless series and have enjoyed the hell out of each book. This one was no different.

After the suicide of one of her best friends, Berkley suffered a mental breakdown and spent time in an institution. But she's much better now, and months later decides to travel to Italy to spend a few weeks with her other friends.

Everything starts out okay, and she even meets a cute local guy, but it doesn't take long for strange things to start happening...

Wow. Just, wow.

This quartet turned out to be one hell of a dark ride. A destructive freight train that tore through the lives of so many young girls while on a hellish collision course to The End.

In spite of her sin, Berkley--just like Sofia and Brooklyn--was very likeable. And just like the two girls before her, she had such a strong voice that her struggle is hard to watch, but impossible to turn away from. I felt bad for her because she was so convinced that her life was back on track when in fact, it was only a matter of time before everything spiralled out of control. And there was nothing she could do about it.

The last forty pages were super intense and did a fantastic job at finalising Berkley's book, as well as the rest of the series. I thought this was an amazing way to end the series that begins with Sofia Flores and leads back to her.

Danielle Vega has a real knack for telling horrifying and brutal horror stories that brilliantly blend human nature at its most basic level, with the effects of pure evil. And peer pressure, because all of these characters suffered through this. She sure knows how to twist a bunch of seemingly average lives out of proportion and highlights how easily it is to lose grasp of reality.

Also, the way she paints such vivid imagery of truly creepy and gross situations in such an unflinching way is a true delight to read. She never held back from the brutal and disturbing. Never abandoned the thread of destruction even though the discomfort level was way off the charts.

THIS is how you tell horror stories that will stick with the reader for years to come. THIS series deserves a place on my Keeper Shelf. And THIS is how you highlight the many ways teenage girls are the perfect vessels for horror. Always have been, always will be.

I fucking loved these books and can't wait to read more from this fantastic author!

Saturday 18 July 2020

YELLOW BRICK WAR by Danielle Paige

Yellow Brick War (Dorothy Must Die, #3)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm enjoying the Dorothy Must Die series so much I couldn't wait to get stuck into the third one.

Amy Gumm has been through a lot during her time in the not-so Wonderful Land of Oz. She's made and lost friends, learned to use magic, befriended the witches and even met a cute boy. But the one thing she hasn't been able to do is beat Dorothy.

Now that she's in Kansas and has to find a way to get back to Oz, it also means reuniting with her mother and going back to school...

Man, this is one wickedly dark and super fun series! Just when you think it can't get any better, it does. Just when you think it can't get darker, it does. And just when you think you've got it all figured out, you totally don't.

I love how (so far) each book follows directly after the one before. It's great because the scene has already been set and as soon as you start reading, you're once again swept away by this wondrous story.

The change of scenery was a nice surprise. Even though Amy's back in Kansas, there's a surreal feel to what's going on because everyone she knows has changed in her absence. And as she tries to adapt to complete her mission, she's determined to keep her mother at a distance because she doesn't plan to stay.

Amy's character growth is a wonderful thing to watch. Even though she still has many of her original kind-hearted and well-meaning qualities, these no longer stop her from kicking butt and not putting up with crap. She's stronger and able to think a lot clearer than she did when she was just a mousey pushover with a deadbeat mother.

I really like her, because no matter how hard things get, how exhausted she feels, or how many secrets are kept from her, she keeps going. Always gets back up and deals with the hard stuff. And let me tell you, there's a LOT of things to deal with in Oz.

Also, did I mention that Amy and Nox are totally adorable together? 💕

Well, I really enjoyed this fast-paced adventure full of twists, turns, battles and awesome revelations. I love how everything is coming together yet falling apart at the same time.

Can't wait to find out what happens in the last book of this fantastic series!

Thursday 16 July 2020

(DON'T YOU) FORGET ABOUT ME by Kate Karyus Quinn

(Don't You) Forget About Me
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While sorting through my Kindle YA books last week, I stumbled on this one. And because the title is one of my fave 80s songs (by Simple Minds, from The Breakfast Club soundtrack), I decided to give it a go. 😊

Gardnerville is a town like no other. There's no aging or disease, it's a bit like paradise. Except, everything in life has a price and in this place it happens to be a totally screwed-up madness that grips teenagers and causes a lot of trouble...

Okay. Um. Yep.

This book is trippy as hell. It's like a nightmarish ride on a train that goes around and around the same station but you can't get off because it never stops and your head keeps questioning everything.

Yep, that's some crazy shit I just read.

The story is told through the eyes of Skylar Gardner who is a really hard narrator to follow, and even harder to like. She's unreliable, addicted to pills that make her forget, and is totally obsessed with her missing older sister. She's also frustrating as hell because she's all over the place and puts herself in shitty situations constantly, then forgets. Only to make the same mistakes all over again. 😕

And don't even get me started on this weird town. It's such a bizarre place, a destination that's supposed to be a sanctuary of sorts, but seems more like a hellish version of purgatory. Everyone who lives there is totally weird, and not in a good way.

The story unfolds very slowly--many times, a bit too slowly--and most of what's happening is a series of the muddled confusion inside Sky's head. It's through the flashback chapters (with titles from other 80s songs) that we start to get a feel for what's really going on and get a better understanding of why things are so strange.

Because I repeat: this story is very strange. And unfortunately, the longer it went, the more the intriguing nature slipped away. About halfway through, the book started dragging and I started losing interest. But I kept reading because I wanted to know all the secrets. And while the answers fit the trippy narrative, it just wasn't enough to wow me.

In the end, I enjoyed this but I didn't love it. I think it took too long to get to the core of the story.

Wednesday 15 July 2020

THE MERCILESS III: Origins of Evil by Danielle Vega

The Merciless III: Origins of Evil (The Merciless, #3)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed the first two Merciless books so much I was really looking forward to reading this one. Especially since it's a prequel. 😲

Brooklyn thought it would be a good idea to start a phone helpline for kids who need help or want to talk to someone. Except, the only call she gets sets her off on a dangerous path where she might end up being the one who needs help...

Holy shit! Just when you think you know where this story is going, it leads you down an even darker and more demented path than you expected.

I was looking forward to reading Brooklyn's tale because I found her interesting from the beginning and needed to know how she ended up becoming the terrifying girl Sofia encounters.

This book didn't disappoint because I absolutely loved it! OMFG. It was wicked af, violent and answered a lot of the pesky questions I had from the two previous installments.

I also really liked how Brooklyn was such a different person from the one Sofia meets. Not just how she behaves and talks, but even how she looks. She's a redhead with braids and a really nice girl who wants to help others so badly she gets herself into some major trouble. Her only sin is being too curious and too helpful. Oh, and falling for the creepy preacher's son, which gets her caught up in a freaky religious youth group with too many secrets.

Another thing I really love about this series is how, although there's a sense of darkness slowly rising to the surface from the start, everything seems pretty grounded. Until it isn't. The change is swift and sharp, like the snapping of fingers to signal that nothing's going to be the same ever again. That from then on, everything is going to spiral out of control and pretty much go to hell.

The last third of this book took me on a breathless ride that didn't let up until that very twisted ending. It was exciting, gross and downright terrifying. And knowing Brooklyn's fate beforehand didn't make it any easier when you feel her slipping away and evil taking over.

I felt so bad for Brooklyn because like Sofia, what happens to her is so heartbreaking. And totally out of her control.

This is an amazing book! And this is fast becoming one of my favourite horror series. 😈

Monday 13 July 2020

THE WICKED WILL RISE by Danielle Paige

The Wicked Will Rise (Dorothy Must Die, #2)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Last weekend I finished reading the first book in the Dorothy Must Die series and I loved it so much that I've decided I'm going to read the rest of the series in-between other books. 😊

Dorothy didn't die but the Emerald City did, and the only way Amy can complete her mission is to steal the three things keeping Dorothy's monsters strong: heart, courage and brain. Only then can she weaken the tyrant bitch enough to defeat her and bring balance to the magical land of Oz.

Doing this leads Amy on a violent and captivating adventure of self-discovery while meeting/making new allies. Along the way, she discovers some unexpected truths about Oz, Kansas and herself...

OMG, this was a lot of dark fun!

Like the first book, it's full of wondrous imagery that seamlessly blends what we already know about Oz with a bunch of new and colourful characters, situations and locations. One of my favourite places was the Queendom of the Wingless Ones because it was a cross between the Lance Link, Secret Chimp TV show and the Ewok Village in Return of the Jedi. I got such a chuckle out of this location and really liked the very sassy Queen Lulu.

Amy Gumm has come a long way from the Kansas girl everyone ignored and/or pushed around. But in order to defeat someone as evil and greedy as Dorothy, she finds herself dipping into the darkness of shadows too easily, which forces her to dig really deep. Until she discovers and accepts just how strong she really is, she won't get anywhere.

I loved the varying degrees of adventures Amy goes on and all the weird and magical places she explores. It's also cool when you find out just how awful Dorothy and Glinda really are. Oh! Not to mention that we get several interesting revelations about the Wizard and how/why Kansas and Oz are connected.

Amy is such an awesome character. Plus Amy and Nox are adorable. 😍

After enjoying the first book so much, I was a bit worried about the second installment, but it turned out to be just as good. If not better.

I'm seriously loving this wicked series and can't wait for the next one.

Friday 10 July 2020


Tabby lives a transient life with her mum Cate, never sticking in one place long enough to make friends. 

Until one day, an accident changes everything. Cate is arrested and Tabby realises her life has been a lie: Cate is not her mother.

As she adjusts to her new life, Tabby finds herself drawn to the ocean - the only place she feels happy - and enrolls at a swimming summer school to help her heal. 

But all is not as it seems. She and her new friends are cut off from the outside world and she's plagued by a repeating symbol of interlocking circles that follows her everywhere. 

As Tabby begins to learn the truth about what the circles mean, and uncovers the terrible lies she's been told about her past, a final twist awaits her - a secret hidden in her DNA...

I've read enough Teri Terry books to know that she can tell amazing stories. Stories that pull the reader into the character's world and keeps them there the whole way.

So I wasn't surprised when I lost myself in this book instantly.

Tabby lives a simple life with her mother. They're always moving around, she doesn't go to school and doesn't have any friends. But she's happy because Cate loves her and teaches her everything she needs to know about the world. As long as the sea is nearby, Tabby doesn't care about anything else.

Until the day she makes a friend and catches the attention of other less friendly kids, which puts her in the path of a car.

After the accident, her life changes forever, as she slowly realises everything she thought was real turns out to be a lie...

Wow. Just wow. What an unexpected, exciting and totally breathtaking adventure.

I grabbed this book to get a feel for the first chapter, but couldn't put it down. It's SO engrossing, and told in such an emotionally-lyrical style that it's hard to put down.

Tabby is a character that's so easy to like. Her story starts in such a nice and serene place that doesn't take long to fall apart. Seriously, after she gets hit by a car her life spirals out of control so quickly I couldn't help but feel her devastation and confusion.

And when she finally gets to a place where things settle down, it's all so sad that it becomes overwhelming. In the best way possible. Because when a story is capable of hitting you right in the heart, you know it's worth investing time on every single page.

That's what this author does. Pulls you under so deeply that you have no choice but to take a breath before plunging into the deep end to let the characters drag you low, with a few highs sprinkled along the way.

Although everything that happens is very character driven because Tabby's voice is addictive, there's a LOT to love about this book. There's the mystery driving the reasons behind one woman's decision to destroy a family. There's the climate change disorder stirring in the background. There's the freaky secret organisation with a hidden motivation.

And then, there's the secret buried within Tabby herself. All of these factors make an incredible story, and the beginning of something really special.

Not to mention that the descriptions are so vivid I felt like I was on the beach and could feel the wind on my face and taste the salt in the air.

Dark Blue Rising is an intriguing thriller with a wondrous mystery that keeps you guessing. It's full of emotional turmoil that felt like being on a rollercoaster of sadness, confusion and the need to find answers. And at the centre of all this is a fantastic character you can't help but cheer for because she's so brave, determined and also happens to be an enigma.

I freaking loved this book. So much. Can't wait for the next installment because I have to know where Tabby's going to end up.

A huge thank you to Hachette Australia for sending me a copy!

Dark Blue Rising, July 2020, ISBN 9781444957105, Orchard Books

Thursday 9 July 2020

THE SAFEST LIES by Megan Miranda

The Safest Lies
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was in a bit of a thriller mood, and this book certainly fit the bill. I read the first chapter to get a feel, but ended up reading the first eight chapters in one sitting. 😬

Kelsey's a good student. She also lives a very quiet and private life with her mother behind the tall gates, cameras and tight security in their home.

The night she has a serious car accident that almost kills her, the privacy her mother's concealed them behind is destroyed. Paving the way for a huge threat from her mother's past...

Ooooooooh. I loved this very intense book.

The concept of this story is so intriguing. A teenage girl is trying to live a normal life while her mother insists on top-notch security and minimal interaction with the outside world to keep then safe. But when she becomes the focus of the media because of an accident and the guy who helped save her, she finally understands her mother's desperate need to stay under the radar.

I really liked Kelsey, who happens to be very clever, loyal and brave. I also thought Ryan was a great character. These two were so cute together. Their awkward interactions were as fun to read as their easygoing conversations, as well as the dangerous situations they share.

The way this story unravels is perfect. The pace and tone, the mysterious outcomes--it all comes together seamlessly. And the twists and turns are awesome. But my favourite thing was how the paranoia of being watched leapt off the pages. I felt the shadows closing in as much as Kelsey.

I seriously couldn't put this down because I really wanted to find out what the mystery at the heart of the story was. And it didn't disappoint.

This is one twisty thriller with great characters, lots of danger lurking behind every shadow, and a house that's more like a cage. It's also a great allegory for what happens when someone fabricates a tapestry of lies to try to outrun their violent past. And how this always ends up hurting the one you're trying to protect the most.

Wednesday 8 July 2020

THE MERCILESS II by Danielle Vega

Merciless I & II, The
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After reading the first book a few weeks ago and loving it, hubby ordered this collection for me. And because I really wanted to find out what was going to happen next, I decided to get stuck into it sooner than planned.

After Sofia's traumatic and very violent experience, she's jumpy, scared and feels very much alone. She also sees Brooklyn everywhere and is imagining a bunch of other weird things too. But at least she's got her mother.

Until something awful happens and she ends up in a Catholic boarding school...

Wow! I fell back into Sofia's unstable and twisted world as soon as I started.

This story doesn't waste any time. Things get serious right away, and Sofia finds herself in a devastating situation that throws her life into a new sort of chaos. An unimaginable situation that made me sad for her.

Lost and alone, she ends up in the one place where she starts to think she might find some salvation: in a Catholic school. And even though she makes new friends right away, this school has its own secrets and her past is never far behind.

I felt so bad for Sofia because she tries really hard to be good. She wants to belong and be a normal girl and actually makes friends easily, but it doesn't take long for her own thoughts to betray her. And even less to find she's fallen headfirst into another nightmare. This poor girl just can't catch a break. 😣

This book is as addictive as the first. I couldn't put it down. The tension builds quickly and the torture scenes were totally brutal, but fresh. So unexpected. Not to mention that the new cast of characters added a whole new dimension to everything. Whether they were good, bad or something else altogether, everything about this story kept me hooked from start to finish.

Oh, and the surprises don't stop coming until the very end. Yikes! That ending was something else. Seriously. 😳

The sequel turned out to be as unpredictable, sick and depraved as the first one. I loved every creepy minute of it. I'm a sucker for possession stories and this one does NOT disappoint. It's familiar enough to hit all of my favourite tropes, yet has its own unique quality that satisfied me at every step.

Danielle Vega sure knows how to write a wicked awesome horror tale that keeps the reader guessing until the last second.

I'm loving this series SO MUCH that hubby already ordered the next two books for me. I can't wait to find out what happens next...

Sunday 5 July 2020

DOROTHY MUST DIE by Danielle Paige

Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die, #1)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've had this book for a long time and decided to get stuck into it this week. As soon as I started Amy's story, I liked her so much I couldn't wait to read all about her adventures in Oz.

Amy's considered trash at school and doesn't have any friends. The only girl who pays any attention to her is a bully. Amy's mother changed after the accident and when she's not catatonic on the couch, she's out and about at the bar.

The day a tornado comes, Amy gets blown into the sky and lands in Oz. Just like another girl from Kansas did long before. But Dorothy is no longer a hero, she's become the villain...

Wow. This book gets off to a great start instantly. I love The Wizard of Oz, so it was great to read a new take on the classic. A sort of continuation that puts Dorothy in the complete opposite role she played in the beloved original.

And if you think that's a stretch, think about it. Dorothy wasn't happy in Kansas, then when she gets to Oz all she wants to do is go back to Kansas... Yeah, she doesn't know what she wants. So it's not hard to believe that once she gets a taste for power and magic, she would turn into a tyrant.

She's certainly a bitch in this story. Seriously, I hated her every single time she was on the page. And don't get me started on her friends because this Tin Idiot, Gross Lion and Demented Scarecrow are the things of nightmares. Yikes!

I loved how the Wicked and Good concept gets flipped. But not totally, because as Amy finds out (the hard way) nothing is as it seems and no one can be fully trusted. Everyone has secrets. Everyone has an agenda. But at least they can all agree on one thing: Dorothy must die!

Another awesome thing about this is how much fun it is. How colourful the world is. How cool the characters are. And how terrifying Oz has become. 😳

My favourite character was definitely Amy. She's such a cool hero, the best kind of hero. She hasn't had the best life and no one's ever valued her like they do now, but she never lets this turn to arrogance. She keeps her wits about her, is willing to learn and has such a great heart. To be honest, she's the one who possesses the real heart, brains and courage.

Also, Star was an awesome addition to Oz. I really liked her and the connection she has with Amy.

Well, I loved the first installment in this adventure, but there's still a lot more to experience. I look forward to getting back on that Yellow Brick Road soon...

Saturday 4 July 2020


The Walls Around Us
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is another book I've had on my Paperwhite for quite a while and thought it was time to get stuck into it. The story is so strange and so interesting that before I realised it, I'd hit 20% and didn't want to stop.

Amber is in a correctional facility for girls under the age of eighteen. Violet is a gifted ballerina on her way to Juilliard. Ori is the one who connects these two via secrets, lies and violence...

Yikes! I didn't expect all of that! 😳

As soon as I started reading, I fell into the lyrical writing style because it's hypnotic and so beautiful it hooked me in to the point where I couldn't wait to find out more about these girls and their many (many) problems.

At the beginning, there's virtually no dialogue. Something that usually pushes me out of the story. But not here, because the thoughts and actions of these characters was so engaging.

It's also a very strange tale, because just when you get comfortable with each personal story all that familiarity gets pulled out from under you until you start asking yourself: what's really going on here? It's such a unique ghost story that slowly peels back the layers by thrusting a bunch of characters at you.

The more you read, the more the pieces fall into place and start revealing the very twisted puzzle beneath. These narrators aren't exactly reliable, which is why it takes a while for the reader to find their groove. And once you do, it's too late because you're already hooked.

I enjoyed the multiple POVs, but Violet is a special kind of menace. Talk about a sugary exterior concealing a rotten core. I can't say more about her because it would be too easy to slip into spoiler territory, but I can definitely say that I didn't like her. At all.

Asides from the lovely writing and the captivating way everything the unreliable narrators reveal unravels, I loved how the story turned out. I didn't expect that ending, but it made everything so worthwhile.

This is such an intriguing tale about friendship rotting through the years, obsessive ambition bordering on psychotic, innocence stolen away from girls via violence, and ultimate redemption.

I'm so glad I finally read this haunting book because I loved it.

Friday 3 July 2020

Time to revise this Thing

Hi, how are you this week?

I can't believe it's July and the world is still a mess. If anything, it seems to get worse every single day. Everything's so out of control that the best and only thing to do is to get on with your own thing and shut out all the other crap.

The Covid-19 pandemic isn't over and it still pisses me off (a lot) that so many idiots insist this isn't a problem. It never stopped being a problem. And here in Australia, there's been a huge outbreak in another state. Bad enough that there are a bunch of suburbs on lockdown. Bad enough that it goes up every single day. Bad enough that it looks like it might have spread to Sydney already.


If only this scary pandemic was the only shitty thing going on. Last week was a terrible time for the SF/F/H community because a bunch of creepy men were finally exposed as the vile creepers they are. It was all really gross and I hope that readers don't forget about their shocking behaviour.

I've deleted several books from my Paperwhite, am glad I haven't read any books by any of them, and don't even own any books by the SF/F ones. 

There are just too many books to read to waste time on trashy male authors. Actually, since last week I've found myself reading books exclusively written by women. It happened by accident, really.

Anyway, enough about the shitshow that is this fucked-up world.

This week, I gave myself a goal: to revise my current WIP by the end of the week.

Here's how I went:
  • Monday: 40/40pgs (14,640w)
  • Tuesday: day off
  • Wednesday: 41/41pgs (15,119w)
  • Thursday: day off
  • Friday: 42pgs (15,085w)

So, it looks like this little violent story about some seriously dark sibling rivalry turned out to be a novelette.

This is a story I've had in my head for several years now and wasn't even sure it would turn out okay. I was actually going to delete the idea file earlier this year because it was missing something. BUT, I'm so glad that I stuck with it because I love the direction it took and how it turned out.

Now I can take some time off, which is cool because my birthday's next week. 😁

Well, I guess that's it. Take it easy and have a nice weekend!

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