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Thursday, 9 April 2020

LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE by Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is another Book I've Wanted to Read for Ages and finally decided to crack open this week.

Shaker Heights is a tidy and orderly suburb in Cleveland. Everything and everyone has a place. Including most members of the Richardson family.

When Mia Warren and her daughter Pearl rent a house from the Richardsons, all that changes. Mia is an artist, Pearl becomes friends with the Richardson kids, and their presence threatens to turn all of their organisation upside down...

I got caught up in the lives of these characters as soon as I started reading. Everything about this book is so addictive!

The first chapter is snappy and throws the reader into the middle of a fiery incident that happens after. After what? Well, after what happens prior to the house fire. The story takes us back, so we can understand how/why everything turned out this way. And I found this style of storytelling to be very effective.

I really enjoyed this author's writing style. It's very lyrical and follows a bunch of characters, telling their separate stories in a way that flows very well. Slipping from what's happening right now, into the past, and back again with perfect ease. While cleverly revealing enough details to keep the interest high, and also keeping plenty of secrets lurking beneath the surface.

The more I read, the more I wanted to keep going because I just HAD to know how everything went so wrong, and why.

The story starts out simple enough--a single mother and her teenage daughter rent a house from a family and their lives begin to mix together. But before I realised it, it took off in so many directions. There's a lot going on, including a variety of very serious social issues. But I never lost the thread of any subplot, or the main one, because this story makes such an impact. Packs quite a punch.

Oh, and I especially liked that it was set in the late 90s. The familiar historical events were expertly woven into the narrative and didn't distract from the main story. Even when there's so much to process, so many problems, surprises and unexpected revelations.

Another thing I found peculiar was how, even though I enjoyed the hell out of following these complicated characters, somewhere along the way I realised how awful most of them were. They all had secrets, lied continually, manipulated each other, and in some cases were just awful.

Elena Richardson, I'm talking about you. ๐Ÿ˜ณ

Anyway, this was an AWESOME book and I loved the hell out of every moment!

Now, I'm looking forward to checking out the TV show...


Saturday, 4 April 2020

GODS OF JADE AND SHADOW by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The Jazz Age is in full swing, but it's passing Casiopea Tun by. She's too busy scrubbing floors in her wealthy grandfather's house to do anything more than dream of a life far from her dusty, small town in southern Mexico. A life she could call her own. 

This dream is impossible, distant as the stars - until the day Casiopea opens a curious chest in her grandfather's room and accidentally frees an ancient Mayan god of death. He offers her a deal: if Casiopea helps him recover his throne from his treacherous brother, he will grant her whatever she desires. Success will make her every dream come true, but failure will see her lost, for ever.

In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed only with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey, from the jungles of Yucatan to the bright lights of Mexico City and deep into the darkness of Xibalba, the Mayan underworld.


I'm a sucker for stories set during the 1920s, so of course I was interested in this one. Add that it's set in Mexico, pepper in a variety of intriguing gods, an awesome main character, and I'm definitely in.

Casiopea Tun lives with her mother in her wealthy grandfather's house. Through no fault of her own, the rest of the family looks down on her and she spends her days cleaning, running errands, and dreaming about freedom.

All of that changes when she frees the entity trapped inside an ornate box in her grandfather's room. Now, Casiopea finds herself on the adventure of a lifetime. One that will take her all over Mexico and beyond...

Wow. This was quite an entertaining and dark journey. I was instantly hooked and couldn't put it down.

Casiopea is such an amazing character. I liked her from the moment she was introduced. She's clever, brave, kind and so noble. Her family doesn't take her seriously, but she's better than every single one of them. I enjoyed following her on the very interesting adventure she embarks on with a fallen god from Xibalba. The time she spends with him brings out the best in her. It was also nice to watch as she takes charge of her own life. Until she realises she's worthy of respect and freedom.

The awesome character growth also extends to Hun-Kamรฉ. Sure, a lot of his physical and emotional changes are because of the symbiotic connection he has with Casiopea, but it goes even deeper than that. And even Martรญn, her annoying and mean cousin, has an arc that I enjoyed.

There's a LOT to love about this book. I loved the Mexican location because it was refreshing and gorgeous, all the details so vivid. The worldbuilding is perfectly established and described in a way that sounds familiar, yet new. And the pacing worked so well at keeping the tension and magic moving.

Gods of Jade and Shadow is the amazing story of a brave young woman who longs for adventure and excitement, then finds herself caught in the middle of an ancient struggle between two gods fighting to rule the Mayan Underworld. The journey she embarks on is full of danger, strange beings, colourful places, and so much wonder.

This is such a gorgeous book with so much heart. I loved every second I spent with these characters. And the cover is stunning!


Gods of Jade and Shadow, February 2020, ISBN 9781529402643, Jo Fletcher Books

Friday, 3 April 2020

What I'm Working On

Hey! How's everyone doing this week? 

I know that's a hard question to answer when the world is suffering through this horrid pandemic and we're all on some sort of lockdown... but, I hope you're all staying safe and doing wonderful things at home.

In NSW, all non-essential businesses are closed and we're only allowed to leave the house for four reasons in groups of two people who live together: medical care, exercise, grocery and work. Anything else will get you a hefty fine.

It's scary and awful, but I wish people would just listen and stop going to beaches, hanging out in parks, and acting like total assholes.

Personally, we only leave the apartment for our daily walks and grocery shopping. That's more than enough times to cross paths with people I want nowhere near me. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

Anyway, enough about all this depressing shit. 

This week I decided to tackle the two ongoing projects hounding my brain:
  • Creepy monster short story (finished first draft over the weekend)
  • Horror mystery novella (finished first draft earlier this month)
I even gave myself a deadline to have these finished by: April 10th.

So, this is how the week turned out:
  • Monday: Transferred short story from phone to laptop & completed second draft @ 4,786w. 
  • Tuesday: Started novella second draft & revised 18/48pgs + added 710w. 
  • Wednesday: Continued revising novella second draft 38/48pgs + added 144w.
  • Thursday: Completed second draft of novella @ 17,705 (50pgs).
  • Friday: Completed third draft of short story @ 4,640w.
Considering the crazy state of the world at the moment, I'm actually really happy about this week's progress. And hope I can keep this momentum going into next week and meet the goal/deadline I mentioned above.

Asides from writing, I've continued to read a selection of books I've wanted to get stuck into for ages. March turned out to be an AWESOME month for reading. Unfortunately, on the first day of April I DNFd three books. ๐Ÿ˜’

Still, that bad start didn't last for long because I soon found myself totally hooked on a book called GODS OF JADE AND SHADOW by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.

We've also gotten back into yoga and keep going for walks as much as we can. The walking's become a bit of a problem because too many people have decided to clog the river path. I don't have any problem with sharing the path with others, but these casual people don't seem to have any common courtesy.

Even during a fucking pandemic, people still have to act like assholes.

Anyway, I hope you're all staying safe.

Have a good weekend! Although, with the days all blending together, the weekends don't mean much anymore.


Tuesday, 31 March 2020

FAIREST: Levana's Story by Marissa Meyer

Fairest: Levana's Story (The Lunar Chronicles, #3.5)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Next up on my Reading Books I've Wanted to Read for Ages binge is this wicked tale. A story that fits between the third and fourth Lunar Chronicles books, and features the villain in this series.

Levana is Lunar royalty and her sister has just ascended to the throne. She's the scarred, abused ugly duckling no one sees or hears. All she cares about is the one man she can't have. The one man she will do anything to possess...

This is such an awesome book!

Although it's labelled as Book 3.5 in the series, it takes place before the series begins. Yet, it does a great job showing us who Levana really is before she became the cold and evil mastermind who destroys so many lives.

And wow, she's quite a lot. ๐Ÿ˜ณ

Where do I start? Well, I felt sorry for Levana for about five seconds. It becomes very clear early on why she's so weird and emotionless. Even though the neglect by her parents and abuse by her sister rouses a degree of pity, spending time inside her head quickly reveals just how screwed up she really is. She's twisted. Demented. Obsessed. Self-destructive. A total bitch.

OMFG, the way her obsession for the Guard she's fixated on since she was a kid is truly awful to watch. Disturbing in its cruelty.

It starts as a harmless crush, but soon morphs into something dark and dangerous. It was so terrible to watch what she does to this poor man. And because I already know where this was going... it's also devastating. Nothing she does is for anyone but herself. Even when it outwardly seems like she's about to perform a selfless deed, inwardly we see that everything she does is for herself and no one else.

The deterioration of this character is both slow and fast. It hits simultaneously. As much as I disliked (hated) her so very much, I couldn't stop reading because it's such an interesting story. The writing style hooked me in, the familiarity of the world kept me there, and the trainwreck about to happen ensures I raced through the last half.

I also despised her older sister Channary. She was cruel and gross, and very much responsible for helping make Levana into the delusional monster she becomes. I liked how this glimpse into the cold, scheming heart of the Lunar royals helped us understand so much about what happened in the three previous books.

The mention of so many familiar characters is also very cool. This is definitely a brilliant prequel that works perfectly with all the others installments.

As far as genre goes, I really liked that while this is definitely a SciFi series, this one has a fantasy vibe as well. That the story takes place entirely on Luna is also great, and kept things fresh.

I seriously loved this. And now I'm ready to read the final book! ๐Ÿ˜


Sunday, 29 March 2020

GHOSTER by Jason Arnopp

Ghoster
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is another book I've had my eye on for a while and decided to finally get stuck into. After all, I enjoyed the hell out of The Last Days of Jack Sparks. ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

Kate Collins is a paramedic with a social media problem. Her addiction to her phone screwed her up in many different ways. So she doesn't engage anymore and only uses a very basic phone.

That all changes on the day she's supposed to be moving in with her boyfriend in Brighton. Scott isn't in his flat and all of his stuff is gone. The only thing left behind is his phone...

Wow. This book is fantastic! It's packed with SO much, and everything fits SO well together that I couldn't put it down. Still, I forced myself to take my time. To make sure I didn't miss any of the essential details.

I was instantly hooked into Kate's hectic way of telling the story. Right from the beginning, she offers details in such sporadic bursts, that I knew she was intentionally leaving out plenty of stuff. And because I love reading unreliable narrators, I couldn't wait to find out where the mystery of her missing boyfriend was going to take me.

The story is told in Kate's POV, her timeline alternates between the moment she first spots Scott and what happens when she moves in with him. Or rather, into his apartment.

Although she peppers the narrative with clues and enough pieces from the past to get an idea about what's going on, she holds back enough to keep the core mystery buzzing and the tension building. And along the way, she faces some seriously weird shit. A lot of fascinating stuff.

This book was as addictive as Kate's desperate need to sift through Scott's rabbit hole of a phone. ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

I really liked how well the obsession our modern world has with social media is portrayed. And not just that, but also the way it showcases how dependent we've become on our phones. In theory, it's easy to state that they're a computer and communications device in the palm of our hands. BUT the reality is that our phones have become an extension of us, almost like another limb we need instant access to.

It's quite the observation and having this clever commentary depicted via a very creepy and sinister story provides such a disturbing experience.

I had an awesome time with this supernatural thrill ride and LOVED the ending. Everything becomes so very clear all at once.

Oh, and I thought Izzy was a great character. She's interesting and strong, honest and loyal. If it wasn't for her, Kate would've fallen apart a lot sooner.

Can't wait to see what Jason Arnopp comes up with next...


Tuesday, 24 March 2020

THE FLOWER GIRLS by Alice Clark-Platts

The Flower Girls
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a book I've had my eye on for ages but because--for some strange reason--I always put off reading my most-anticipated reads, it's taken me a while to get to it.

Laurel and Primrose were sisters. Little girls who liked to play games together. One of them was convicted of murder and the other was given a new secret life.

Now, years later, the one who had the chance to live gets caught up in the mystery of a missing girl in the hotel she's staying in...

Wow. This book is amazing.

I was hooked as soon as I started. I couldn't put it down. Didn't want to, but took my time because I wanted all the details to stick. I enjoyed collecting all the messed up pieces while the puzzle was slowly put together through the narrative.

Looking at the paperback doesn't give you the scope of just how huge this book really is. Within the pages of this brilliant psychological thriller, there are many moving parts and plenty of players to keep you guessing.

This elaborate story is told in several POVs. All of them slowly add a new layer to the main thread, while also revealing what lies beneath at a great pace. These characters ramp up the tension and spread out in unexpected directions, leading the reader down an unpredictable path filled with intrigue and a very dark core.

Every new chapter I read threw me deeper into the mystery and muddled the waters a little more. Even so, I started forming a picture of what I suspected was going on. And although I did get some aspects right, there were others that I did NOT see coming. Like the secret wickedness hidden in the past, or where some of the characters end up.

Not to mention that ending! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

I do love reading thrillers and mysteries that keep twisting until the very last chapter, and this one is DEFINITELY one of those. It was so tricky! And yes, I'm not mentioning any of the nitty-gritty details because I don't want to spoil anything.

There's nothing better than reading a highly-anticipated book and it turns out to be everything you hoped it would be, and so much more.

Just one more thing, I think the simplicity of this cover is perfect.๐ŸŒผ


Sunday, 22 March 2020

This Week's Reading

Hey! How are you today? Hope you're having a nice weekend.

Just thought I'd pop in and post about something I mentioned on Twitter last night. I even posted links to my reviews over there, but I thought it might be cool to write a blog post about it too. ๐Ÿ˜Š

I know a lot of people don't like Twitter because crappy stuff goes on sometimes, but that's not Twitter's fault. That's just people. And people always disappoint.

Anyway, personally, I really like it over there. I've been tweeting for years and asides from this blog and Goodreads, it's the only social media I bother with.

Through the years I've met, and continue to meet, some really cool people. A bunch of them happen to be authors. Writers just like me, who are pubbed by smaller publishers, are self-pubbed, or a bit of both. I also happen to have quite a few of their books on my Paperwhite, so I decided to spend this past week reading books written by some of these cool people. 

Here's what I ended up reading: 


That's two short story collections, two novellas and one novelette. I loved all of them for different reasons, but mainly because they were all awesome in their own dark and twisted way.

I really enjoyed doing this and had such a great time, that I'll definitely do this again soon.

Can't wait to pick another five titles... ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ“š


Saturday, 21 March 2020

WARDING by Kev Harrison

Warding
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As soon as I read the blurb for this story, I knew it was something I wanted to read. I was not wrong because I enjoyed the hell out of it.

When Kate moves into her new house with her dog, Tigger, she's eager to turn it into a comfortable home. But after Tigger starts digging at a wall in the cellar and finds a horrible surprise, her life is turned upside down...

Wow. What an awesome novelette!

As soon as I started reading, I was hooked and couldn't stop. The writing is smooth and sets the mood as perfectly as the mounting tension. Kate is an awesome character who might be terrified by what she finds, but responds in a logical way. The two supporting characters were great. And Tigger is such a cutie.

Oh, and what lurks in the cellar is both terrifying and cool. Terrifying because I felt so bad for Kate and what she was going through. Cool because I love creepy house stories, witchcraft history and demonology. There were two very familiar demonic names mentioned that I've researched and used myself in my own stories, so I always get a kick out of that.

Loved it.


Friday, 20 March 2020

WE ARE ALL MONSTERS by Cassie Carnage

We Are All Monsters
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've had this book on my Paperwhite for a while with the intention of reading it, and today I decided it was time...

HER ROTTEN EMBRACE is a beautiful, lyrical tale about revenge and healing after the ultimate rage has settled over a murder victim. I loved how the swamp and nature imagery simultaneously invoked so much emotion.

CANCER'S REQUIEM is a heartbreaking story. I loved the flawless personification of such a cruel disease as a terrifying monster hellbent on ultimate destruction. Another lovely, but dark tale.

THE RING is a somewhat twisted and humorous story with heart. Seeing dead people really messes with Nick's life but sometimes, it can also lead to some surprising situations.

DROSOPHILA felt like being stuck inside an incoherent waking nightmare that buzzes away inside your brain like little fruit flies containing small fragments of the story. And when you reach The End, they all come together.

THE DYING LIGHT is a longer and very wicked story with an awful twist ending. OMFG. Brad and Frank really should've paid more attention to the stories told about the abandoned mines and the ancient spirit haunting them.

THE CORNUCOPIA was a demented little tale about Greed, Famine, God and the burned preacher who gets caught between them. It's also a hopeless story about the Forgotten people in society and the silent struggles they go through. Oh, and it has a really gross ending.

HOT WATER is a cautionary tale about what can happen when someone starts looking into something as simple as a faulty hot water system, and ends up dealing with vile magic. Which is exactly what happens to Addie and Hugh. Wow. Loved how this tale ended up doing the switcheroo on me.

BLACK HEARTS AND BLOODIED LIPS turned out to be an interesting urban fantasy vampire story with a bloody good twist and great world building. Annie and Sam make a great team, but I wonder what will happen to them after that intriguing ending...

WALPURGISNACHT reminded me that there's nothing like an evil witch story to grab my interest, and this was an excellent one. Maybe they should've listened to Mrs. Calvera.

OF 'SQUATCH AND MAN is the story of three friends--James, Ryan, Eric--who go on a camping trip. Where they discover a beastly secret one of them is keeping, in the most brutal way. Oh, and it was a hell of a lot of fun!

THREE THIEVES OF NIGHT PRELUDE is actually a preview of one of Cassie's novels. I liked it!

All of these stories caused me to feel different emotions, ranging from feelings of sympathy and empathy, to amusement, horror and intrigue.

I was deeply drawn into every character and what was happening to them in such an involved way that some of these tales left mental scars. And that is an awesome thing, because it means that with words and great descriptions, Cassie Carnage painted vivid images in my mind.

This is definitely a fantastic horror collection with a great mix of dark tales. There's something for everyone, and I'm happy to say that I enjoyed all of them. A LOT.

Loved this book!


Thursday, 19 March 2020

NAILS by Fiona Dodwell

Nails
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is another novella I've had on my Paperback for a while and decided to read today.

Carla is really excited about moving away from home for the first time. She's renting a place that's closer to her job and her boyfriend, but on the first night, she starts hearing strange tapping noises. There's also a strange feeling and it only gets worse...

This is such a creepy little tale!

Everything starts out normal enough. Carla is excited to rent a place on her own, is dealing with the reality of a shaky job, and a boyfriend who doesn't want to commit. Not to mention a mother who wants her to move back home. But none of this compares to the disturbing things that happen every night.

I loved the way the tension builds and how Carla deals with it. She's honest about her fear but is determined to stay in her rented home. Instead, she takes matters into her own hands with some really surprising results. And OMG, that ending was freaking awesome.

Yeah, this novella is a great supernatural thriller with enough horror elements to give a lover of creepy stories plenty of excited chills.

Not to mention that it's very well written, and I really enjoy Fiona's writing style.


THE NECROMANCER'S APPRENTICE by Naomi Clark

The Necromancer's Apprentice
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've had this beauty on my Kindle for way too long, so last night I decided it was time to get stuck into it. And I was instantly hooked.

Evanthe is an apprentice necromancer. She's an eager student, lives with her mentor (Morrow) in a renovated church, and has some pretty strong feelings for him. But all of that has to be put on hold when they're forced to deal with an unexpected attack...

Well, that was an awesome reading experience full of urban fantasy goodness.

This novella is packed with just about everything that guarantees I'm going to LOVE the story. It's action-packed and very well written. Also includes a zombie, grave robbing, necromancy, demonology, and awesome characters.

Speaking of characters, Evanthe is SO great! She might be young and considered inexperienced, but she's got plenty of passion and determination. She's also loyal, and very clever. Morrow is intriguing, alluring and so broody, who could blame her for falling for him? And together, they're an amazing duo. Not to mention that the chemistry between them is off the charts.

I seriously adored this story and really (really) hope there will one day be more Evanthe and Morrow tales.

Oh, and if you want to read it--which I totally think you should--grab it for free HERE.


Wednesday, 18 March 2020

DARK CELEBRATIONS by Calvin Demmer

Dark Celebrations
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was lucky to get an ebook review copy of this collection from the author. Thanks Calvin! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Here are my thoughts about each story...

HUNGRY GHOSTS: Lara and Ray go on a trip to China during the Hungry Ghost Festival and things don't go well...

While I loved the Ten Tips for Surviving the Hungry Ghost Festival, the story didn't captivate me as much. There was just something about Lara's story that failed to hook me in.

LABOR DAY HUNT: Jared's inherited business isn't doing well. And after his uncle passed away, all he wants is for his aunt to be taken care of. That's how he ends up in an abandoned warehouse...

This story was fast paced and totally brutal. It goes from quiet confusion to bloody violent insanity so fast I might've gotten whiplash. This is an awesome story that definitely delivers. Loved it.

TRICK OR DEATH: Barry has a plan for this Halloween. He's going to scare some of his neigbours with his cool Reaper costume so he can post their reactions on YouTube. But his friend Rose has other ideas...

I really enjoyed this story! It was well written, had great characters, was spooky, plus takes the reader down a deliciously dark and fun path.

THANKS SINNING: When DeShawn meets the alluring Lucy, he decides to throw caution to the wind and doesn't care if he's late for Thanksgiving. But Lucy isn't like other girls, and he's about to find out why...

Really enjoyed this one because although DeShawn disappoints by giving into his most basic of instincts, he's still a good guy. Also loved how this story roused the old cartoon images of devils in my mind. And that creepy ending was so cool.

THREE DEAD MEN: When Maiko goes to pick up her uncle for Christmas Eve dinner, she didn't expect to find herself in the fight of her life...

I liked the combination of Japanese and Egyptian mythology, but I couldn't connect with the main character.

HAPPY DARK YEAR: All Cody wants is to have some fun at a New Year's Eve party after spending months in college. But his girlfriend wants to go swimming and he doesn't, so he chooses to ignore her...

This was a creepy little tale about an annoying guy who thinks he can treat his 'clingy' girlfriend like crap without repercussions. Yeah, well, he was wrong and I was happy with how it all ends for him. ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

DYING VALENTINE: Daniel can't wait to spend Valentine's Day with his girlfriend. But on his way to meet her parents, he realises he's forgotten his wallet and when he goes back, isn't watching the road...

Yikes! If you're looking for a romantic story, this isn't it. Or maybe it is, because Daniel is a real sweet guy who loves his girl and wants to do the right thing even after making a huge mistake. Wow. Great twist in this one, too.

SPRING OUTBREAK: After a breakup, Gwen goes to Mexico for spring break but things don't go well...

Unfortunately, this story didn't work for me. I didn't warm to Gwen or what happens to her. The endless thoughts about her brother and her ex just got tiring.

SHE WILL RISE: Selma goes home for Easter because her mother is ill, but she hates her mother's boyfriend and discovers an awful thing...

This was okay. Liked how everything turned out in the end, but getting there was an uncomfortable ride.

PROM SCREAMS: William is willing to pay for a prom date, but the price for his deception turns out higher than he expected...

I liked the locations and imagery in this one, as well as the intrigue. But I didn't care for any of the characters.

UNIDENTIFIED FATHERLY OBJECT: Fred can't let go and wants to find out what really happened to his father. Yet, following the clues might not lead him to the truth he seeks...

This turned out to be a curious story with alien conspiracy vibes and creepy beings with no clear agenda. I also liked how it tied into the previous stories.

INDEPENDENCE DENIED: Brad's not having a great day, and when he stumbles on an incredible image in the ocean, the whole world falls apart...

While I didn't find this story that great because Brad is an annoying idiot, it did tie everything that happened in the previous tales together and revealed a strange and unexpected conclusion.


I enjoyed reading this collection of dark and freaky short stories dealing with a bunch of holidays, diverse characters, varying customs, and unfortunate situations.

While each story is different, there was a clear connection.

These stories featured several characters that I adored and really cared about. And some I didn't care as much about. My reactions were varied, but one common thread throughout the whole thing was how well they were all written.

This is a great short story collection with an awesome cover.



Monday, 16 March 2020

Goosebumps Reading Challenge


A few weeks ago, I gave myself a Mini Reading Challenge that involved reading TEN Goosebumps books.

Why? Well, these paperbacks were books we found in thrift stores, and they're a bit on the scabbier side. You know, ripped, stained and just not keepers. But that's only on the surface because they're all awesome stories.

These are the books I read:


And here are their freaky covers:


You can read my reviews here:


(Or read them below on this blog.)

I had such a great time reading one book a day for ten days. Each book was great in its own way because they're all creepy, scary and so much fun!

RL Stine sure knows how to write interesting likeable characters, who find themselves in mysterious and dangerous situations.

Although this binge is over, I've still got a bunch of other Goosebumps I can't wait to read.

๐Ÿ˜ˆ


Sunday, 15 March 2020

THE HAUNTED MASK II by RL Stine

The Haunted Mask II (Goosebumps, #36)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A few weeks ago, I set myself the goal of reading ten of the scabbier Goosebumps paperbacks we found during our thrift store adventures.

Today, I completed that goal. Yay.

Steve's serving out the punishment of having to coach a bunch of first-grade terrors. With Halloween around the corner, he decides he's going to get revenge on these kids by giving them the biggest scare of their lives.

He knows just how to do it too, by finding out where Carly Beth got her wicked Halloween mask last year. But these masks are evil, and Steve's about to find out why...

I have to mention that, although I have a copy of The Haunted Mask, I haven't read it yet. Still, it didn't stop me from reading this one, or enjoying the hell out of it. ๐Ÿ‘น

This is one messed up story. In the best way possible. I mean, as soon as we're introduced to Steve, we also meet the awful little cretins he has to coach. My gosh, they were awful! I know he did a bad thing, but I felt so bad for him.

No wonder he wants to get revenge on these brats. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

I liked Steve and his friend, Chuck. They're just two regular guys who like to play jokes on others and think they're the cleverest boys around. Too bad the girls clearly outdo them, LOL. I thought Carly Beth and Sabrina were so interesting.

Looking forward to reading her story.

Anyway, back to Steve. I enjoyed his super freaky adventure with the mask because it made for some very creepy reading. Not to mention that it was entertaining to see what happens when we don't listen to warnings, and instead tumble into a dark hole of despair.

This particular twist ending made me laugh. They usually shock and surprise me, but this one had me chuckling because, of course, it was going to end this way. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Stine really is a terrific author who writes such true and honest kids that really resonate with me because I was this kind of kid. Curious, adventurous, and always interested in the darker side of things. Also, there's a certain air of familiarity for me, of the kinds of kids we were in the 80s and 90s.

Can't wait to read more!


Saturday, 14 March 2020

THE HEADLESS GHOST by RL Stine

The Headless Ghost (Goosebumps, #37)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Goosebumps I read today was another paperback in pretty scabby condition, but it was definitely very entertaining.

Duane and Stephanie love to haunt the streets of Wheeler Falls at night and scare the kids while they sleep. But more than that, they love going to the abandoned Hill House for the ghost tours.

All of that changes when they meet a mysterious boy called Seth...

Oooooooooh. This is a creepy haunted house story featuring two kids who love to scare each other as much as scaring others.

I really liked the Hill House ghost tours because this angle introduced a very cool story-with-a-story vibe that only added to the overall spooky feel of the book. The house itself is also very interesting because the rooms and hallways have tales of their own to tell.

Although Duane and Stephanie annoyed me at the beginning of the story with their immature behaviour while trying to out-fright each other, I loved how everything sort of shifts along the way enough for them to grow on me.

Oh, and the twist ending was very cool. Of course!

I'm a sucker for haunted house stories so I got a real kick out of this one. ๐Ÿ‘ป


Friday, 13 March 2020

Long time no blog...

Hey! Happy Friday the 13th! ๐Ÿ’€

How's everyone doing this week? The world's in a shitty place at the moment, so it's important to make sure we don't get bogged down by all the negativity.

That's why we've been spending time at home reading, writing, watching and playing games. Going out has mostly consisted of our daily walks and grocery store stops. Not much else.

Although I've been posting book reviews as normal, I haven't posted an actual blog post update for a while. And since I went back to my current WIP this week (had already written 5k), I thought it might be cool to add one now.

Here's how my word count went this week:
  • Monday: 7,411 (added 2029w) 
  • Tuesday: 10,055 (added 2644w) 
  • Wednesday: 12,215 (added 2160w) 
  • Thursday: 15,805 (added 3590w)
  • Friday: 16,536 (added 731w)

I'm very excited about finally getting stuck into this story because I haven't been able to stop thinking about it for weeks! Also, I technically started writing it last month and have been adding bits and pieces on my phone, but this week I actually sat down behind my laptop every day until I reached the end of the first draft.

Another reason why I'm happy to have finished this--asides from getting another story idea out of my head--is because I've had Write a Novella on my yearly goals for several years. And kept failing.

This year, I can finally add writing a novella to my goals met. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

The first draft ended up at 16k, which is great because it gives me plenty of wiggle room during the revision process. Actually, I've already started a Revision List and after discussing the story with hubby during our afternoon walk, he helped me figure out an angle I hadn't even thought about. Very cool.

Remember the UNDER HER BLACK WINGS anthology I have a short story in? Well, it's currently available for free at the Kindle store. If you don't have a copy yet, this is a great time to grab it HERE.

We've also been watching Miyazaki movies on Netflix to wind down at night, been going for lots of walks, and I've been reading a bunch of fun Goosebumps books.

That's about it. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Well, take care and have a great weekend!

IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SINK! by RL Stine

It Came from Beneath the Sink! (Goosebumps, #30)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, here's another Goosebumps book to add to my current reading binge. ๐Ÿ˜

Kat and Daniel are excited to be moving into their new house. Actually, they consider themselves to be quite lucky. Until they find a gross sponge under the kitchen sink. And this thing might be alive, and curses them with bad luck...

This story was so darn creepy! That sponge thing was so putrid and gross. I hated how it completely took over Kat's and Daniel's life. And how awful was it that the adults couldn't see the truth about this creature?

I felt so bad for Kat because no matter what she did or tried, this thing continued to thrive. And the way I imagined this sponge really grossed me out. Actually, there are quite a few disgusting scenes in this book. And of course, the ending was another shocking moment!

Another thing I really enjoyed about this was the sibling relationship. Although there was the expected bickering and competition, overall these two were really close and truly cared about each other. I thought it was so sweet how Daniel goes out of his way to research their problem and is so worried about his sister. Very refreshing.

This series is just so cool.


Thursday, 12 March 2020

ATTACK OF THE MUTANT by RL Stine

Attack of the Mutant (Goosebumps, #25)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So, just when I thought I was done with all the scabby copies of my Goosebumps thrift-store haul, I found a few more. ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

Skipper loves collecting comic books and keeps them in mint condition because he doesn't read them. Well, except for his favourite series featuring the supervillain, The Masked Mutant.

The day he gets lost in a strange part of town and meets a strange girl called Libby, Skipper also stumbles on a building that looks exactly like The Mutant's secret headquarters...

What an interesting twist on the superhero genre. I enjoyed the freaky feel all the way through this story, and how Skipper's simple life eventually slips into an unbelievable and very confusing nightmare. An obsessive mystery he must solve!

Stine's writing style is great for grounding you into familiar everyday territory, and when you least expect it, he pushes you over the edge and into a very surreal rabbit hole. The way he manages disorientation is SO clever.

These characters were really cool too. Skipper's an average kid who'd rather read comic books than do schoolwork. Wilson is a different kind of dork who made me laugh. Libby is an interesting girl, and I wasn't expecting her twist. Oh, and Mitzi cracked me up too! And don't even get me started on The Masked Mutant and The Galloping Gazelle because OMG, they were frustrating as hell. ๐Ÿ˜„

Yeah, this was another one I enjoyed immensely.


Wednesday, 11 March 2020

A SHOCKER ON SHOCK STREET by RL Stine

A Shocker on Shock Street (Goosebumps, #35)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my sixth Goosebumps this week. It also happens to be the last scabby copy on my TBR pile. And boy, was it a good one!

Erin and Marty are best friends and they love watching horror. The Shocker on Shock Street movies are their favourites.

When Erin's father surprises them with the chance to be the first guests to visit the new Shocker Studio Theme Park, they can't wait. But these kids get much more than they bargained for...

O.M.G. This book turned out to be such a nightmarish trip!

Everything starts out normal enough. Two kids who love scary movies (totally get it) have a fave series they adore (yep) and when they get the chance to go to a theme park based on these movies, they're super excited. Normal enough, right? Except, once they actually get there, Erin's father starts acting strange and their tour slowly turns into a dangerous adventure.

The way this story is written really hooked me in. I felt as disoriented as the kids. I lost sight of what was real, and needed answers as badly as they did. And when I reached that ending, this was me: ๐Ÿ˜ฒ.

I swear, I didn't expect that amazing twist, but it was so cool. As soon as I read the last chapter, everything else that happened before suddenly clicked into place.

As far as the kids go, Erin was a great character. I enjoyed going on this ride with her and felt so bad because of everything she went through. Marty, however, was really annoying. He got on my nerves, which was probably always the intention. But I did like their friendship.

There's no doubt that Stine knows how to write awesome creepy tales full of freaky monsters that get under your skin, but he also writes real and honest friendships. He totally gets all the good stuff about being friends, as well as the stuff that isn't so great.

Anyway, loved this book as much as the others.


Tuesday, 10 March 2020

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR... by RL Stine

Be Careful What You Wish For... (Goosebumps, #12)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Here's my fifth Goosebumps book in a row! I'm really enjoying binge reading these. Their physical condition might be questionable, but the words inside are entertaining the hell out of me.

Samantha (Sam) Byrd hates Judith Bellwood because her classmate is a terrible bully who takes advantage of her being a bit of a klutz. Playing on the girls basketball team doesn't help because she's not very good.

But one stormy afternoon, after she helps a strange old lady, Sam gets the chance to make three wishes and everything changes...

OMGosh. I've got one word for this book: awesome! 

I LOVED this story because it was full of so many ups and downs. Some of the stuff that happened to Sam was quite terrifying. I mean, that ending was shocking. Absolutely shocking because I didn't expect it. ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

I liked Sam. She was a great character. A girl who's taller than everyone else and so aware of the fact that she's super clumsy. Always trips over her feet and the bullies are there to make her feel worse. And because of that, I totally understood her anger and even the irresponsible wishes she makes.

Stine writes such great kids.

This book is pretty freaky, but there's also plenty of fun. I kept cackling after Sam makes her third wish because how that turned out was hilarious! ๐Ÿ˜‚

Man, every time I read one of these books they become my favourite because they're all fantastic. ❤


Monday, 9 March 2020

THE SCARECROW WALKS AT MIDNIGHT by RL Stine

The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight (Goosebumps, #20)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, this is my fourth Goosebumps in a row, and it's especially scabby. This one has a stain that may or may not have been left behind by a scarecrow. ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

Every year, Jodie and her brother spend a month of their summer holiday at her grandparents' farm and love going. But as soon as they get there, they notice that something strange is going on.

Their grandparents are acting weirder than the guy who helps them on the farm. And if that's not weird enough, there are a bunch of scary scarecrows in the cornfields...

Ooooooooh. This book was super creeeeeepy.

The eerie location and the freaky way the story unfolds was so cool. The tension builds slowly, sending Jodie into a tailspin as she tries to deny what's really going on.

Stine has done it again. He introduced me to an interesting character, her family and a very intriguing situation. Jodie's a great character and I really enjoyed her voice. Besides, I'm always down for a spooky scarecrow story and this one is deliciously wicked.

And seriously, that Stanley guy and his son were way more terrifying than any scarecrows. ๐Ÿ˜ต

I'm absolutely LOVING these!


Sunday, 8 March 2020

SAY CHEESE AND DIE! by RL Stine

Say Cheese and Die! (Goosebumps, #4)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Here's the third Goosebumps from my scabby pile. LOL.

I love this cover. Well, I love all the covers, tbh.

When Greg, Shari, Bird and Michael get bored one afternoon, they decide to investigate an abandoned house and end up in the basement.

Greg finds a strange camera and decides to take it. And what follows is one bad thing after another, because this camera doesn't take normal photos...

This was SO much creepy fun! There's a shadow of danger hanging over every single moment. A lot of the stuff I kept waiting for actually happened, and turned out to be much darker than I expected.

Such wickedness satisfied my evil reader heart. ๐Ÿ˜„

Once again, these kids were great characters to follow. I liked their friendship connection, and how the level of their courage was varied. Greg and Shari were my favourites. They were very interesting and brave. Poor Greg especially goes through a seriously hard time and finds himself in the middle of everything.

Spidey was a very cool addition to the story. Man, he was freaky af. Plus, the ending made me laugh because, of course, I was expecting a twist.

I'm enjoying these a lot.


Saturday, 7 March 2020

A New Interview!


Today, I stopped by The Haunted Cinema for an awesome interview.

I had a great time answering all of the very cool questions. Seriously, this was a great interview full of great questions. It had been ages since anyone asked me about Sierra Fox.

You can read the interview HERE.

Thanks for checking it out! ๐Ÿ˜Š

RETURN OF THE MUMMY by RL Stine

Return of the Mummy (Goosebumps, #23)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Here's another of the scabbier (condition) Goosebumps we found during our thrifting outings. ๐Ÿ˜

Gabe is excited to be going to Egypt for the summer, where he'll spend time with his Uncle Ben and cousin Sari.

Well, he's excited about his uncle's latest discovery, but not so much his competitive cousin. But none of that will matter after they find themselves in some serious trouble...

OMG. I LOVED this!

This book was SO much fun, and SO atmospheric. Reading this book was like going to Egypt and exploring the creepy tombs deep inside the pyramid along with the characters. Every description was vivid. I felt like I was right there in the desert.

Gabe was such a cool character, and I liked Uncle Ben. Also, as prickly as Sari was, I liked her too. RL Stine has a knack for writing great kids and adults. Not to mention that he has a cinematic way of writing stories, always hits you with several cool twists and doesn't stop shocking until the very last word.

Oh, and after I finished reading this book I found out it's actually a sequel! So I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the first one.


Friday, 6 March 2020

VAMPIRE BREATH by RL Stine

Vampire Breath (Goosebumps, #49) My rating: 5 of 5 stars

During our thifting adventures, we've found a bunch of Goosebumps books in varying degrees of decay. So, I put aside the scabbier copies I plan to read and pass on.

This is one of them.

Freddy and his friend Cara are tough. They're not scared of anything, and usually do the scaring. They also like to fight each other, and that's how they end up finding a hidden door in Freddy's basement...

Well, I'm a sucker for vampires (pardon the pun) so of course I was excited about reading this one. And it didn't disappoint. There's an old creepy vampire guy, secret tunnels, time travel, a castle, a creepy vamp girl and so many coffins! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Seriously, this was a lot of fun. It also threw the two kids who aren't scared of anything--until of course they are--into peril. There were times where I wondered how the hell they were going to get out of trouble, but Stine doesn't disappoint.

He knows how to keep it freaky, and just when you think you've got everything figured out... throws in a very cool twist. And an even twistier ending.

I really enjoyed this!


Thursday, 5 March 2020

SAWKILL GIRLS by Claire Legrand

Sawkill Girls
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've had this lovely book on my Paperwhite for a while and have been itching to read it for ages. I just have this annoying habit of putting off getting stuck into my most-anticipated reads.

After a family tragedy, Marion moves to Sawkill with her mother and sister. Zoey's father is a cop but that doesn't mean the case of the missing Sawkill girls is any closer to being solved. Val's family has lived in Sawkill for a long time, and hides a deadly secret...

Everything about this book is creepy and weird. Actually, the further I got into the book, the stranger things got. The deeper I fell into the mystery of the freaky island housing a resident monster, the harder it was to put down.

I loved how the story is told in the POV of three very different characters. All three are personally affected by the missing girls. One lost a friend, another a sister and the third, herself. The way their separate lives fit together as the situation gets worse is enthralling and perfectly paced. Addictive, even.

Another thing I loved about this book is the beautiful and horrifying imagery of the island and its many secrets. Wherever the characters are, the vivid descriptions make the surroundings come alive. Not to mention the mystery at the heart of everything. I was hooked from the beginning because although we get enough clues and reveals early on, there's still so much to discover along the way.

It was so cool how things progressed from creepy to freaky to terrifying, and didn't shy away from the bloody and vile. The stakes were high every step of the way and there were some very cool twists and turns I wasn't expecting, plenty of violent scenes, great character growth, and a demented monster.

This is another awesome and gritty YA horror book that doesn't shy away from some real issues, dealt with diversity in a great way, and features some of my fave tropes.

Not to mention that I wasn't expecting the story to tip into the cosmic horror realm! Very cool. ๐Ÿ˜ˆ


Sunday, 1 March 2020

THE FOURTH WHORE by EV Knight

Kenzi Brooks watched The Scribble Man collect her brother’s soul after a hit and run when she was seven. He gave her a present that day—a lucky rabbit’s foot. Sixteen years later, she no longer believes in The Scribble Man, she believes in survival and does what she has to in the slums of Detroit. When thugs kill her mother and beat Kenzi to near death, she accidentally releases Lilith from her prison within the time-worn keychain.

And Hell hath no fury… 

Lilith is out for revenge. Revenge against God, Sariel (Angel of Death and Kenzi’s Scribble Man), and all of mankind for relegating her to nothing more than a demoness for refusing to submit to her husband. She’s put together an apocalyptic plan to destroy everyone who has forsaken her. Forget the Four Horsemen, Lilith is assembling the Four Whores.

Will Kenzi rise against her to save the world and The Scribble Man or will she become The Fourth Whore?


This is another book I was lucky to receive before the release date thanks to Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi and Raw Dog Screaming Press.

Kenzi Brooks lives a hard life in Detroit. She lost her brother when she was a little girl, her father left shortly after, and her mother's an addict. Life is tough and she's barely surviving, but getting caught in the middle of an ancient fight between Death, God and Lilith will definitely make everything worse. 

Lilith won't submit to anyone and she's got revenge on her mind...

This book gets off to a brutal and very bloody start that sets the unrelenting events in motion. The lives and motivations of each character become clear pretty early on, but how they get there is both fascinating and disturbing. 

It's not for the faint-hearted or anyone who shies away from confronting situations, hardcore sexual expression, or extreme violence. This is the kind of story that successfully blends true-life horror with the supernatural in a very unnerving way. 

The story is shared by several characters, so we get a bunch of different POVs. Most of these POVs are essential for the many layers to unravel in this unpredictable ride, but there were others that would have been better omitted. 

I did like how all the characters were riddled with flaws. Even the ancient non-human ones are nowhere near perfect and totally unscrupulous. My favourite was Kenzi because even though everything about her life is pretty awful and she's surrounded by so much filth, she's still a kind soul determined to do the right thing. 

Lilith's backstory was interesting and explained her motivations in the modern world. More importantly, Lilith's had enough and doesn't fuck around, but she's not the only one. Women everywhere are done with smiling and being nice to people who want to oppress them so her crusade is made a bit easier. 

The Fourth Whore is a powerful and well-written story about women who have been labelled and shamed for living their lives in the same way many men do. Or are being judged because they have no other choice. It holds a damning mirror in front of a patriarchal society so keen to take advantage of women. It reveals the hypocrisy and inequality women face every day. And what happens when a group led by the first 'whore' dares to fight back in the most shocking way possible. 

Although I enjoyed this book overall, I have to admit that for me, the narrative dragged a bit in too many spots. Also, I found the chapters dealing with the demons 'helping' Lilith tedious.

There are definitely a lot of things to like about this book, but by the time I reached the last fifty pages, my interest started to fade. There were just too many issues bugging me, so when I eventually reached the end, I was too disconnected to care as much as I did at the beginning.



 
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