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Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Revision Time!

 

Hey. How's it going? How's September treating you? I can't believe it's almost over.

Today, I'm going to start my post with this: I fucking hate the new Blogger posting interface. It totally sucks! It's not user friendly, clunky af and so hard to deal with. I will never understand why companies insist on 'fixing' things that WERE FINE TO BEGIN WITH. Ugh. Makes me want to scream. πŸ˜‘

Anyway, it's spring here. And while that's awesome because I love spring and summer, I'm a bit worried about how people are going to act during these warmer seasons. I mean, our Covid-19 numbers are low again and that probably means people will get complacent... We'll see what happens. 

We're still staying the hell away from everyone. Regardless.

Let's talk about what I've been doing writing wise. This week I got stuck into the second draft of the horror novella I wrote earlier this month.

Here's how I did:
  • Monday: 22/103pgs (38,666w)
  • Tuesday: 64/105pgs (39,440w) 
  • Wednesday: 108pgs / 40,573w

Well, I'm really happy with this progress. As well as how the story is shaping up. I love this novella because it's so melancholy and dark. A lot of creepy stuff happens and the ending is so bittersweet. Makes me sad every time.

I'll be taking the rest of the week off and will hopefully get stuck into the third draft next week. And you know what? I'm really excited about it because I love spending time with these characters. Hubby reckons I'm mean to them, and he's not wrong. 😧

Asides from working on this I've been hanging around with hubby, going for our daily long walks, and enjoying delish meals. No reading or watching so far this week. But I have been thinking a LOT about several of my other story ideas.

I mean, NaNoWriMo is just around the corner, right?

That's it for now. Take it easy and have a great week!

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

THE MURDERS OF MOLLY SOUTHBOURNE by Tade Thompson

 

The Murders of Molly Southbourne (Molly Southbourne, #1)The Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was in the mood for a novella today and this was the perfect fit.

When Molly Southbourne bleeds, something really bad happens. Another molly is born, but this new version is violent and terrible, and has to be put down...

Yikes! This is one amazing and interesting concept. One that is handled so well, this novella is quite the gem.

Love how everything is revealed at just the right pace. Spending time with Molly and going through this ordeal with her was quite a gruesome ride. And I liked the relationship she had with her parents. There was just the right amount of respect, rebellion and understanding everything they did for her.

This story is very mysterious, in the best way possible.



View all my reviews

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

THE WITCHES by Roald Dahl

 

The WitchesThe Witches by Roald Dahl
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been meaning to read this book FOREVER. So, when I woke up this morning I decided today was a good day to get stuck into it.

When the Grand High Witch of all the World meets with the other witches of England at the Hotel Magnificent, she doesn't expect a clever boy to hear all about the main topic on their annual meeting's agenda...

What a wickedly fun little story this turned out to be! It was nothing like I expected.

I mean, I've read enough Dahl to know he doesn't shy away from the macabre, but this story was packed with delicious morsels of unexpected creepiness. And I'm not even talking about the witches. Sure, they were evil, vile creatures hellbent on destroying children with a horrifying plan, but there was so much more.

Both Grandmother and Grandson were excellent characters. Sympathetic, smart, doers, and their relationship was beautiful. Their connection was deep and unconditional and so pure, but also edges into freaky territory. And I loved every minute of it. I thought that the bittersweet ending was glorious.

Also, like always, Quentin Blake's illustrations enhanced every step of the story and provided quite a few laughs. The mice are my favourites!

This was another awesome classic written by an amazing author who wasn't afraid to let his stories dip into very dark waters. He dared to go there because he knew kids could handle it.

A most excellent addition to my collection!

View all my reviews

Monday, 21 September 2020

MY SISTER, THE SERIAL KILLER by Oyinkan Braithwaite

My Sister, the Serial KillerMy Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a book I've wanted to read for ages & decided to get stuck into today.

Korede's sister is everyone's favourite. She's beautiful, manipulative and a killer. Ayoola is also a sociopath and needs Korede to help clean up every bloody mess she keeps making.

And now, Ayoola's got her eye on the handsome doctor Korede is secretly in love with...

I really enjoyed this! I liked the writing style, Korede's voice and found the story very intriguing. It's also written in short, snappy chapters that not only show what's going on, but also what led to this point in their lives.

It's quite an interesting look into how far someone is willing to go for family. How much bullshit some people will put up with just because they feel they have to. And how toxic some families really are.

Korede was a great character and I often felt bad for her because everyone treated her like crap. No one respected her or listened to what she had to say, just because she wasn't as pretty as her stupid sister. That's why I was often frustrated when she covered up for someone who really didn't deserve her protection.

It's also why the ending, while it made total sense, frustrated me even more.

Still, this turned out to be a great book, and a different angle in the serial killer genre.



View all my reviews

Sunday, 20 September 2020

THE CASE OF THE MISSING MARQUESS by Nancy Springer

The Case of the Missing Marquess (Enola Holmes, #1)The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As soon as I found out about the Enola Holmes movie coming to Netflix, I was interested in checking it out. So, when I found out it's based on a book series I started looking into it.

Imagine my surprise when hubby showed me the cover of the first book and I realised I actually have a copy. I mean, how could I forget this lovely cover? And that it's one of the many books we found during our pre-pandemic thrifting adventures! πŸ‘€

I was so excited I read it right away.

Enola Holmes lives with her mother in Ferndell Hall and enjoys a relaxed life of learning, mischief and personal adventure. On her 14th birthday, her mother disappears and she becomes obsessed with finding her.

But when her much older brothers, Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes come to the estate to investigate, they're appalled by what they find and take over. Following their overreactions and threats, Enola heads out on a journey to London to search for her mother. Along the way she gets caught up in a kidnapping and so much more...

OMG. I loved this! It was SO much fun.

I love a good mystery set during any time period, but there's something that always grabs me about a good Victorian mystery. Maybe it's because girls and women weren't valued for their intelligence and these stories focus on that fact so well. 😊

Either way, this story is fast-paced, intriguing and packed full of interesting characters. Enola was such a great heroine! She didn't let her brothers stop her from following her instincts, and didn't care about their contempt for their mother. Actually, it pushes her to start her own investigation and along the way, finds her place in the world.

Enola is an awesome young lady. And no matter how silly or wild her brothers claim she is, it works to her advantage. Which is awesome because Mycroft and Sherlock are super annoying, so it's great to see her outsmart them.

The mystery of the missing Eudoria Holmes was enhanced by Enola's memories of everything her mother taught her. As well as the ciphers she taught her how to solve. I liked the ending because on the surface seems so simple, but made so much sense. And fit so well with the overall message in the narrative.

Now I can't wait to watch the movie and get my hands on the next book... 

Saturday, 19 September 2020

THE SOUTHERN BOOK CLUB'S GUIDE TO SLAYING VAMPIRES by Grady Hendrix

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying VampiresThe Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been looking forward to reading this book for AGES! I've enjoyed the hell out of every Grady Hendrix book I've read, so I was very excited about this one too.

Patricia is a busy housewife with kids who have no time for her and an arrogant husband who only cares about his job. They don't respect her or anything she does. At least she has her book club. Where she reads a bunch of interesting true-crime books and spends time with a group of fellow housewives.

When a new person moves into their quiet neighbourhood, she's determined to help him fit in. Yet, soon starts suspecting he's not what he seems...

WOW! I had such a blast with this book. It's amazing. LOVED IT!

As soon as I started reading, I was hooked. The deeper I got into the story, the more I struggled to put it down.

Patricia is a great character. She tries so hard to be a good person and helps whenever she can, but everyone treats her like she's a crazy moron. No one cares about what she's going through or how much crap is piled on her. They don't know how strong she is, or how brave. So, before she knows what's going on, she finds her life spiralling out of control. I felt so bad when everyone turns on her because she didn't deserve that kind of treatment.

Now, let's talk about the husbands. They were such weak, pathetic fools and pissed me off so much I wanted to slap some sense into them. I hated the flippant way they treated their wives. And how they refused to listen because they were so consumed by their toxic masculinity they were easily being manipulated and didn't even realise it. πŸ˜’

I've mentioned this before about this author and I have to say it again: he really gets the many struggles of girls and women. He writes these characters so well, and treats women like the real people they are, that their plights are often very familiar.

Like all his other books, the combination of humour, nostalgia, tension and gore is outstanding. Grady Hendrix sure knows how to set a creepy scene to tell an intriguing and interesting story. That's also unpredictable. I couldn't wait to find out what other dark surprises were waiting within these very pretty pages and didn't expect any of the twists and turns along the way.

I loved the mounting tension, every page was SO intense. And enjoyed how the story went to some pretty terrifying places and didn't shy away from the disturbing. I seriously couldn't read fast enough.

Also, not only was this a great book to read, the actual physical copy is lovely.

This turned out to be such an original vampire story. Can't wait to see what monster Hendrix tackles next. 

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Finishing Time!

Hey! It's me again. How are ya? What's new? How's this week going for ya?

You know, every single time I ask that during 2020, I can't help feeling weird. I mean, how great can things be during a global pandemic that won't let up and greedy/selfish people keep pretending it's over? Yeah. I know.

Still, there are things we can do to stay positive. And safe. Like, staying away from other people. LOL.

Personally, hubby and I have spent a lot of this year doing stuff we love to do, like spending time with each other. As well as catching up on shows and movies. I've also been writing a lot, reading even more. Hubby's finally getting the chance to play a bunch of the games he's been meaning to get to for years.

And that leads into this week's writing progress:
  • Monday: 35,184 (added 5060w)
  • Tuesday: 37,681 (added 2497w)

Yep. That's right. I finished the first draft of what turned out to be a novella. I'm very excited about reaching The End of this WIP, and even happier about how this story turned out.

This is actually a story that came to me a few months ago in a dream. I remember waking up with such vivid imagery about a disturbing scene featuring a very wicked house that I had to write everything down right away. The dream was so sharp that I can still see it in my head very clearly.

Funny thing is that this inspirational imagery was actually the ending of the story. This is the second time this year that the ending was the first thing to spark my imagination. 

It might sound strange, but hey, every idea/story is different.

Now that this is done, I'm taking the rest of the week off and probably next week as well. Both to get some distance from it, and because writing this novella was a nine-day writing frenzy. πŸ˜¬πŸ’»

I'm hoping to squeeze in a bit of reading, too. Only problem is figuring out which of the many books I can't wait to read should be next...

Anyway, hope you all have a lovely week.

See ya!


Sunday, 13 September 2020

Writing time!

How are you? Hope you're all well and still surviving this never-ending ordeal known as a global pandemic.

I realise that some people like to pretend it's over and are very vocal about it, but it's not. And those of us who care about others and ourselves, are actually doing our bit to stay safe.

Yeah, after all these months I still sound like a broken record. πŸ˜’

Well, I haven't popped in for a few weeks because I took a nice break with hubby. We watched a LOT of movies and I read several long books. It was so much fun!

But this week, it was time to get stuck into the story that's been hounding my brain for quite a while. I just couldn't ignore it any longer.

Here's how my word count went:
  • Monday: 4,732 
  • Tuesday: 10,152 (added 5420w)
  • Wednesday: 13,449 (added 3297w)
  • Thursday: 19,537 (added (6088w)
  • Friday: 23,614 (added 4077w)
  • Saturday: 27,041w (added 3427)w)
  • Sunday: 30,124w (added 3083w)

I'm very excited about making this much progress during the week I decided to really get stuck into it. I guess that's what happens when an idea is this ready to be told.

You know, when I first started writing this story, I thought it might turn out to be a 15k-word novelette. But it's obviously going to end up being longer than that.

We're in novella territory now. But I don't mind. I'll keep writing until I reach the end of this draft.

I'm having a lot of fun with this gothic horror story featuring monsters from mythology. It's dark and creepy, is set in a nightmarish house and has several heartbreaking scenes that are hard to write. And will only get harder because I know how this is going to end, and it's not heading to a happy place.

Unfortunately, the side effects of getting SO caught up in my own story means I didn't read anything new during the week. But that's okay. At the moment, it's all about this story.

Oh, and one last thing: THIS very awesome thing happened! I'm so excited about my shortie making the cut at Crystal Lake Publishing flash fiction challenge.

Well, that's it for this week's update. Just wanted to post a little update. 😊

Have a great day!


Thursday, 10 September 2020

My story has been posted!


My short story, Into the Fire, is a finalist in Crystal Lake Publishing's latest Flash Fiction Contest:


Here's the tagline:

When the world falls apart, everything breaks... especially your heart. πŸ’”πŸ˜·πŸ”₯

Voting will open soon at Crystal Lake Publishing for their patreons. 

You can read my story HERE.

It's very exciting! 😁

Sunday, 6 September 2020

WHY I QUIT ZOMBIE SCHOOL by RL Stine

Why I Quit Zombie School (Goosebumps: Hall of Horrors, #4)
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I decided to grab this book today. Mainly because the condition is so shitty and I want it out of the house. πŸ’©

Matt has just been enrolled in boarding school for the first time. But this isn't your average school, there are a lot of undead kids walking the halls...

Uh, for being a zombie book it wasn't remotely creepy. Sure, there were plenty of tropes and familiar undead stuff going on, but the story pacing was way tooooooo slow.

I don't know if it's because it's a Hall of Horrors or if it's just this book, but it wasn't as cool or as intriguing as the books in the original series. There seemed to be something missing. Something I can't put my finger on.

Anyway, at least the ending was funny.


Thursday, 3 September 2020

HALLOWEEN SEASON by Lucy A Snyder

Halloween is the most wonderful part of the year for many of us. For dedicated fans, the season begins when the leaves start turning autumn colors and doesn’t finish until Hallowtide ends in November. With it comes a whole lot of fun: scary movies and stories, haunted houses, seasonal sweets, spooky decorations, costume parties, and of course trick or treat. But Halloween is also a deeply spiritual time for some; it’s an opportunity to remember and honor loved ones who have passed on. 

Master storyteller Lucy A. Snyder has filled her cauldron with everything that Halloween means to her and distilled it into a spell-binding volume of stories. Within these pages you’ll find thrills and chills, hilarity and horrors, the sweet and the naughty.

One of the best things about Halloween is you don’t have to be yourself. So go ahead and try on a new mask or two … you may discover hidden talents as a witch, a pirate, a space voyager, a zombie fighter, or even an elf. This is the perfect collection to celebrate the season of the dead or to summon those heady autumn vibes whenever you like. You may even find a couple of tales that evoke a certain winter holiday that keeps trying to crowd in on the fun.

In the worlds within this book, every day is Halloween!


Thanks to Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi, I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this gorgeous book from Raw Dog Screaming Press.

I seriously LOVE this cover, btw!

Here's what I thought of each story...

BEGGARS' NIGHT: 

This poem was a great way to start this book full of wicked tricks and treats. The stage is set for trick-or-treating and monsters.

HAZELNUTS AND YUMMY MUMMIES:

I really enjoyed Vicky's Halloween version of a A Christmas Carol. It was surreal, creative and so very sad because sometimes misplaced guilt can destroy your life.

COSMIC COLA:

Oh, I loved Millie's tale! She's a girl who loves Halloween and is excited that the town she moves into seems to celebrate it as much as she does. BUT, all is not what it seems and she soon stumbles on a dark conspiracy. This story totally gave me a Goosebumps vibe.

VISIONS OF THE DREAM WITCH:

This was a fun and gritty urban fantasy story about two cousins from New Orleans who get themselves caught up in a dark otherworldly situation only a witch can help them with.

WHAT DWELLS WITHIN:

Loved this dark urban fantasy story featuring the intriguing and devil kick-ass, Jessie Shimmer. Plus her ferret familiar, Pal. Lots of cool stuff happens in this story: possession, necromancy, magic, portals, pocket dimensions and a shady organisation. Yeah, this was definitely my kind of story!

THE PORCUPINE BOY:

This turned out to be a fascinating story about a nurse called Eddie. A guy with a past riddled with addiction problems, but is now a decent man willing to do just about anything to help his ailing clients. While learning a few unimaginable things along the way. Cosmic horror at its best, for sure.

IN THE FAMILY:

O.M.F.G. This is one wicked little story about twins who don't exactly have the best relationship. It drew me in with the simplistic concept of sibling rivalry and slowly unravelled to become a whole different monster. Wow!

THE KIND DETECTIVE:

Holy shit! This was a cosmic nightmare of grotesque proportions. I enjoyed watching McGill's confusion turn to curiosity, before getting warped into something completely monstrous.

A PREFERENCE FOR SILENCE:

What a clever little story about the magnified annoyances. The sounds and quirks a person makes are so much louder in space inside the confines of a ship. And that ending was sheer perfection. This one made me laugh, actually.

WAKE UP NAKED MONKEY YOU'RE GOING TO DIE:

This is a short, gross and humorous tale about the God Slime Santa and the apocalypse. Good stuff! Lots of slimy imagery featuring Christmas icons.

THE GREAT VΓΌDΓΌ TEEN LINUX ZOMBIE MASSACREE: 

I got a kick out of this zombie tale because it really hit a lot of highs. Especially in the original department. There are enough zombies to build tension and creep the reader out, with an added unexpected weapon. It's quite imaginative in the use of a badger and technology.

THE HOUSE THAT COULDN'T CLEAN ITSELF:

Great story about dirty boys who refuse to clean up after themselves, think they're clever enough to fix the problem without any actual effort, only to destroy instead of help. So typically male. πŸ˜‚ Fun tale.

AFTER HOURS:

Very clever warning! 😁

THE TOYMAKER'S JOY:

Oh sweet Hildrina, this was a funny little romp featuring the elves in the North Pole making toys. I mean, they obviously make ALL the toys, right? For children and adults alike. πŸ˜‰ 

THE TINGLING MADNESS: 

Another fun and Lovecraftian story featuring an interesting character's downward spiral leading to salvation. Sort off. Enjoyed the erotica slant, too.


Halloween Season is such an amazing, fun and creepy short story collection guaranteed to satisfy everyone who loves the spirit of Halloween. Every single tale included within the pages of this very entertaining and well-written book is awesome.

Usually, short story collections and anthologies contain some hit and misses, so I include a list of my favourites. BUT, I can't do that with this one because every single addition to this book is a hit.

Every page of this collection is full of as many treats as tricks, and all satisfy readers who like a cool and spooky variety of characters, situations and genres.

Loved this book so much it's going straight to my Keeper Shelf.






Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Something really cool!


Check this out: 


That's right!

 My flash short story is a finalist in the latest Crystal Lake Publishing's Flash Fiction Contest.

My story is called Into the Fire and is a dark love story. Sort of. πŸ’” 

Voting will open soon at Crystal Lake Publishing for their patreons.

I'm SO excited! 😁

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

BETTY by Tiffany McDaniel

'A girl comes of age against the knife.' So begins the story of Betty Carpenter. 

Born in a bathtub in 1954 to a Cherokee father and white mother, Betty is the sixth of eight siblings. The world they inhabit is one of poverty and violence - both from outside the family and also, devastatingly, from within. When her family's darkest secrets are brought to light, Betty has no choice but to reckon with the brutal history hiding in the hills, as well as the heart-wrenching cruelties and incredible characters she encounters in her rural town of Breathed, Ohio.

Despite the hardship she faces, Betty is resilient. Her curiosity about the natural world, her fierce love for her sisters and her father's brilliant stories are kindling for the fire of her own imagination, and in the face of all she bears witness to, Betty discovers an escape: she begins to write. 


This is a book that caught my eye because so many people were talking about it on Twitter, and I was definitely interested in checking it out myself.

Betty was born in a bathtub in 1954 and is the sixth of eight children. Her father is Cherokee and her mother is white, but she looks just like her father. A fact everyone likes to point out, in the cruelest way possible.

After moving around the country for years, the Carpenters return to their hometown of Breathed, Ohio. To a house that may be cursed. Into a world where poverty and violence aren't enough to steal Betty's resilient and curious nature, or her love for hearing and telling stories...

Wow. This is such a heavy and sad story. It's also awesome. Every word weighs on your heart and soul, will totally tear you apart if you let it. And trust me, you most definitely will.  

The best way I can describe this book is like this: it reminds me of a rose. Roses are beautiful and entice you to get closer but when you do, sharp thorns are waiting to bite into your skin. It'll hurt and will probably make you bleed, but you won't be able to let go.

That's exactly what this book does.

It's engaging, the prose so lyrical that before I realised what was happening, I was hooked. I was totally invested in Betty and her family, so the more I felt for these characters, the harder it was when the awful stuff starts to happen. And there's a lot of awful stuff lurking in the pages of this fantastic book.

Things that made my blood boil because racism and the cruelty of injustice always gets under my skin and makes me so damn angry. Also, because assholes hurting kids is another thing I despise. And there's plenty of this in the narrative. But the abuse isn't always external, because there's plenty of shitty things happening within the home. 

The characters in this book are all intriguing and interesting in their own way. Betty is such an adorable girl with a stubborn streak. She looks at the world in such a unique way, and it's mainly because of her devoted father. Landon is such a great and kind man full of positive things to say about everything. The way he magically spins a yarn around all facets of the world and life help shape who Betty is and what she becomes. He's a kind spirit who loves Betty, while her mother is often the complete opposite.

I've always had a weakness for family sagas--you can probably blame Virginia Andrews for that--and this one definitely fit the bill.

Betty is an amazing story about an incredibly strong girl and her unconventional family. It's packed with myths and legends full of wonder. It's raw and rough. Whimsical and endearing. So much of what happens is devastating, but I couldn't put it down.

It's such an excellent book about the strength of girls and women, as well as the weaknesses forced on them by vile men. It was also inspired by the life of Tiffany McDaniel's mother, and so much of what happens is as ugly as it is beautiful.

I'm really glad I read this incredible story of resilience, strength and survival because I absolutely loved it.

Thank you Hachette Australia for sending me a copy!


Betty, August 2020, ISBN 9781474617536, W&N 

 
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