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Friday, 16 April 2021

THE COCKROACH KING by Andrew Cull

 

The Cockroach KingThe Cockroach King by Andrew Cull
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been busy working on edits all week so I didn't get a chance to read anything. But today, while sorting the books on my Paperwhite, this caught my eye and I decided to read it.

Cassie is very excited about buying a house she hopes will be a fresh start. A place where her miracle baby Sam can grow up in. And she owes it all to the mother she misses like crazy after cancer took her. Everything about the house seems great. Until her friend unearths bones in the backyard and cockroaches start to appear everywhere...

Holy shit! This novella packs quite a squirmy punch, that's for sure. I was hooked from the beginning and loved how thick the malice of impending dread was instantly introduced.

I knew Cassie's story was going to be a creepy one, but I didn't expect to become so emotionally invested. All she wanted was to lead an average life and offer her son a wonderful home. Yet, that horrible house had other ideas. Oh, and I loved the ending.

Also, imagine making cockroaches even worse by giving them a supernatural angle. 😡

Out of all the bugs in the world, cockroaches are the ones I can't stand because they're useless. They have no purpose other than to be disgusting pests. And because of this, I found this story even more horrific. I was definitely freaked out and kept getting that phantom itch one gets whenever they imagine a bug nearby. Gross!

I really enjoyed this excellent novella.


View all my reviews

Thursday, 15 April 2021

A Week of Editing!


Yep. This week I only had one goal: to get the second Wall of Dolls edit done. And I'm super excited to report that I did it! Yay.

Today, I finished up the last section, went through all the notes I'd written for myself, and checked all my changes. Then, I emailed it to my editor. 

I'm really excited about how this story is shaping up. I've had a soft spot for these girls since the moment I brought them to life, but working with a great editor has really helped sharpen the narrative and trim some of the excess. I love the editing process because I don't shy away from cutting and making changes. My editing process is definitely hack & slash. Although, I also do plenty of adding when needed. 🀣

Anyway, this is how the edit went:
  • Monday: 62/224pgs
  • Tuesday: 133/222pgs
  • Wednesday: 203/218pgs
  • Thursday: 219pgs

As you can see, I wasn't kidding about the hacking and slashing because the page/word count pretty much dropped after every session. LOL. But it's a good thing!

I'm very excited about Quin's story and can't wait to see what it looks like as a finished book. Not to mention the cover—can't wait to see how that turns out.

Well, now it's time to take a bit of a breather. And then enjoy the weekend with hubby.

Asides from all this editing—because it's pretty much all I did during the day while hubby was at work—we've been keeping up with the washing, walking, yoga and jogging. It's mostly been a cycle of editing and working out all week. No wonder I'm exhausted as soon as my head hits the pillow. 😴

I also didn't read anything. That's right, there was no reading this week. Well, technically I read my own story, but that doesn't count. LMFAO. But I did watch the most beautiful and perfect series finale for Wynonna Earp. It was AMAZING but also heartbreaking. πŸ˜­πŸ’” I'm going to miss this show SO much.

Okay, that's about it for this week's update post. I hope you're all having a great week.

Speak to you later!



Friday, 9 April 2021

Revision Plans


Hey! How are you?

This pic captures a lot of what I've been doing lately. There's always a lot to think about, but when you're a writer, sometimes it gets a bit crowded in there.

We've been busy getting on with everyday stuff while never forgetting the pandemic isn't over yet. Our useless government has screwed up the vaccine rollout. πŸ˜’ Australia is doing really well at keeping the community transmissions to zero as much as possible, so giving everyone the vaccine would be great. Except, like I said, they're useless and invested in the clot vaccine no one wants to take. Ugh.

At least hubby and I got our flu shots this week. That's one less thing to worry about.

Anyway, asides from reading up a storm, walking heaps, keeping up with yoga workouts and daydreaming about new ideas, I finally managed to put together a Revision Plan that I'm keen to tackle this year. It took a while because I've got quite a few finished first drafts, and thinking about all that revision/editing can get a bit overwhelming.

I have a combination of YA and adult stories to revise, ranging from 50k to 78k.

As long as I stick to this plan—which is to revise one of these drafts a month—but stop if it gets too much and make sure I sprinkle all this revision with new writing, I think I might be able to finalise six out of the nine drafts sitting on my hard drive collecting dust. It's a shame that they're just sitting there because a bunch of these are definitely submission worthy. I didn't say all of them because three of these drafts were stories I specifically wrote for my very own entertainment and I'm not even sure if they're marketable.

But that's something to think about later on. I'm just glad that I have a plan now. 😊

First on my list is tackling the second edit of my YA horror book, Wall of Dolls. This little story of mine about a peculiar small town, a family legacy and friendship will be released later this year.

If I manage to get more of my unrevised WIPs done, I hope to be able to say this more often.

Have a nice weekend!



MIDNIGHT RIOT by Ben Aaronovitch

 

Midnight Riot (Peter Grant, #1)Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

After DNFing two books yesterday, I decided to pick this up and it captured my attention. So I kept reading.

Peter Grant is a Probationary Constable who wants to be a detective, but is about to be assigned to the boring Case Progression Unit. After crossing paths with a witness who happens to be a ghost, he finds himself working with Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale. Together, they investigate this murder and Peter finds out there's a lot more to London than he thought...

Okay. This book started out really well. But by the time I reached the second half, I was done with it. The mystery, the revelations, the way the female characters were dealt with, and more importantly: the over-explanation about every single corner of London.

I mean, I love an atmospheric sense of location but this got SO annoying. Actually, it interfered with the action and certainly turned me off the story in general.

It's such a shame because I liked Peter at the beginning. He seemed to be a no-nonsense kinda guy who has ambitions that are somewhat sidetracked by his unexpected ability, and this actually brings him closer to what he wanted in the first place. But by the end, I found him so irritating.

And to be honest, after all the senseless droning, I was very disappointed with the mystery. Not even the fantastical, magical world was enough to drag me back in. Also, I didn't like the way Leslie and Beverley were treated. They started out as important characters only to become consequences that made Peter shine while they suffered. πŸ˜’

Yeah, this wasn't the urban fantasy I thought it would be, so I'm out. I won't continue reading this series.


View all my reviews

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

VAMPARAZZI by Laura Resnick

 

Vamparazzi (Esther Diamond, #4)Vamparazzi by Laura Resnick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Okay, reading the next book in the Esther Diamond series is becoming one of my favourite things to do this year. I always look forward to catching up with her hilarious friends and dark world.

Esther is busy performing in a very popular off-Broadway show called The Vampyre, when her life is hit with a new dose of danger. Not only does she have to deal with the wannabe vampire leading man, but also with his violent crazed fans, and there might actually be a real vamp killing people too. If only she didn't have to add her ex-almost-boyfriend to this confusing mix...

What a bloody good time this installment turned out to be! πŸ˜‚

It was only a matter of time before Esther found herself in the middle of some vampiric action, and her encounter with these bloodsucking fiends certainly didn't disappoint. Like the previous books in this series, a very familiar creature and all its tropes becomes something completely different. I love the worldbuilding in this series so much!

It was so cool how Esther was working on a play adapted from a lesser known classic tale. I've actually read The Vampyre and found it quite disappointing and dull, but they did a much better job adapting it to the stage in this book. 😁

Esther is just one of those characters who wants to get on with her life but can't seem to stop attracting strange situations. And dangerous people. As well as the guy she so obviously craves but for noble reasons is trying to keep away from her. The way all of these zany things are dealt with always turn out to be so entertaining, hilarious, yet gruesome as well. The villains in this series are clever enough to stay in the shadows until they can no longer hide, and never disappoint. And the revelations in this book were unexpected but great.

It was also really cool to find out what Max's issue with Lithuanians is. Very cool.

This is such a fun series and I can't wait to read more!

Monday, 5 April 2021

IF YOU DARE by AR Torre

 

If You Dare (Deanna Madden, #3)If You Dare by A.R. Torre
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was very excited about reading the (for now) final book in this exciting series.

Deanna's life has never been easy. After all, it's hard to keep her murderous impulses under control. So she's gone back to staying inside her apartment and keeping her distance from the world while working hard. Well, she does keep one thing: her boyfriend, Jeremy. But the day the police stops by unannounced, everything changes and if she doesn't remember what happened, she'll probably end up getting locked up...

Well, I didn't expect all of that! πŸ‘€ But I did know this book would turn out to be as addictive and dark as the previous two.

This installment starts out full of confusion and questions. Of course, it's intentional because Deanna's story eventually comes out as the mystery unravels, but getting all the answers took a while and turned out to be quite the tense experience. And one particular bit that happened to one of the characters was quite upsetting.

Told mostly in Deanna's typical snappy and straightforward style, she doesn't hold back from her feelings, expectations and actions. But this time, she's plagued with some self-doubt because a chunk of her memory is missing. As usual, there are also several other POVs added to the mix so we get to see the whole story through different angles, and each helped move everything along, as well as kept the fast pace going.

The last few chapters were gripping and I couldn't read them fast enough. Yikes.

It's sad to say goodbye to such a great character—one I didn't expect to like so much—but I was satisfied with the conclusion because honestly, there was no other way things could've ended.

Saturday, 3 April 2021

FLY ON THE WALL by E. Lockhart

 

Fly on The WallFly on The Wall by E. Lockhart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I didn't plan to read anything new today. I just wanted to go through my thrift-store finds and see what books worked and didn't work for me. But, after picking this one up, I couldn't put it down.

Gretched Yee attends the Manhattan School of Art and Music. A school where everyone seems so unique but she feels so ordinary and alone. Mostly, she spends her time drawing, reading comic books and watching people without really seeing them. The day she wishes she was a fly on the wall, her life takes a very unexpected turn...

OMG. I loved this very unique and quirky book. Not only was it interesting because Gretchen's voice and the writing style were so addictive, but the turn of events were really unusual. In the best way possible.

Gretchen's a teenager who feels invisible and ignored and when her parents announce they're getting a divorce, it affects her deeply because she has a hard time letting go of things. Add the fact her best friend keeps avoiding her, that she can't be honest about the boy she has a crush on and wishes she understood boys even just a little bit.

It's not until her very own Metamorphosis, comic book transformation episode strikes that she's able to see what's really going on around her. This is when she realises she's not the only uncertain person with issues, and that boys are just like girls but different. And I loved this very quirky approach.

This book turned out to be a lot of things: interesting, unusual, intriguing, sad, happy, peculiar, even romantic, and all about how important it is to be yourself and follow your heart's desire.

Oh, and it was a lot of fun too!

Friday, 2 April 2021

THE HUNTED by Gabriel Bergmoser

 

The HuntedThe Hunted by Gabriel Bergmoser
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This happens to be an ARC that I found in one of the many local Street Libraries in our community. It sounded so interesting, I had to grab it.

Frank lives in the middle of nowhere Australia and has a roadhouse that hardly gets any visitors. He's also got his granddaughter with him for a few weeks and a few stragglers heading elsewhere. So when a bleeding girl arrives and passes out, he finds himself in the middle of a really bad situation...

Wow. I LOVED this book! I couldn't put it down. This is definitely a suspenseful page-turner.

I was intrigued from beginning to end because the characters and the urgent writing style really dragged me into the action-packed events. There's something very Aussie about this story and I was instantly into that as well.

Every character in this book has a secret that slowly unravels and when their lives intersect, all hell breaks loose.

Told in the POV of several characters and covering the Now and Then perspectives, it really rounded out how what happened in the past featuring Simon and Maggie, leads to the violent and volatile events Frank, Allie, Charlie, Delilah and Greg are forced into in the present. And everything is so thick with tension that I found it very hard to put this book down for too long.

Yep. I finished it in three sittings because I HAD to find out what was going to happen. And I wasn't disappointed because the brutal violence and action keeps going to the very last page.

I really liked Frank and Allie, but Maggie steals the show. Maggie is such an interesting character with a tragic past and the survival instincts of a skilled killer/assassin/agent all rolled into one. She's crafty, raw, strong and very real. Not to mention flawed. And I loved everything that made her tick. Plus, those asshole hicks deserved everything she threw their way.

While this book is being marketed as a thriller and it certainly has the addictive quality and secrets of this genre, it's also dark and bloody enough to be survival horror. Either way, this book is outstanding and I fucking LOVED it!

Can't wait to read the next Maggie adventure.

Thursday, 1 April 2021

TENDER IS THE FLESH by Agustina Bazterrica

 

Tender is the FleshTender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I found this at the thrift store last year and almost forgot I had it. I've heard some gross things about this one and they were all true. 😲

Marcos lives in a world without animals. After they all caught a virus that spread and disqualified their meat from being used as our food supply or even as pets, they were all exterminated. So, the meat hunger and protein intake had to be replaced. That's when humans became cattle, and when cannibalism became legal...

Yikes. Gross. Gag. 🀒

This book doesn't waste any time getting into the gory details of what Marcos does for a living. He's also quick to tell us every damn step involved in farming human beings in great detail. And certainly doesn't leave out any of the many disgusting nitty-gritty things about the horrid world he lives in.

And this is one bleak and brutal place. 😫

Seriously, I felt low-key queasy all the way through this book and couldn't wait to get to the end. Not only because this guy was so casual about the whole thing, while at the same trying very hard to convince the reader he was deeply affected by all the awful reality everywhere he turns. But you know what? The more I read, the more I realised that just wasn't the case. Otherwise he wouldn't have done some of the awful shit he does, or say a lot of the crap he says. πŸ˜‘

Marcos is not a nice guy. He's not a sympathetic character. He's just a man who suffered a great loss and is in the process of losing someone else. And THIS is what turns him into a judgy bitch offering his opinion on everything even though he's a big part of the problem.

I found this whole story disturbing af. I was uncomfortable from start to finish and couldn't decide if I kept reading because I was enjoying it, or because I was hate-reading it.

The truth is that I liked the writing style and the boldness of the main character--until I figured him out. I even initially liked how honest and awful he was and how he wasn't remotely ashamed or affected in any way at all. So, in spite of my queasiness, I couldn't stop reading this fucked up book.

And once I got to The End, I realised what I suspected all along. Proving that I was right about Marcos and all of the other demented characters in this messed-up story of conspiracy, greed and downright savagery.

I've got one word for this book: repulsed. That's how I felt reading this. It's the stain it's left me with. And relates back to the obvious commentary the author was making about the despicable mass production farming in our own world.

Ugh. I feel so dirty and sick. I never want to feel like that again while reading a book. There's nothing strong enough to clear away this disgusting brutality from my brain. 😣

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

LAST TIME I LIED by Riley Sager

 

Last Time I LiedLast Time I Lied by Riley Sager
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed Final Girls so I've been looking forward to reading Riley Sager's second thriller for a long while.

When Emma was thirteen she was supposed to spend six weeks in the very selective Camp Nightingale. Instead, something awful happened to her cabinmates and she ended up spending only a few weeks there. Now, fifteen years later, she's back as an art instructor and looking for answers about what really happened to the three girls...

Wow! This is quite the twisty psychological thriller with an intriguing mystery and plenty of friendship/family drama.

I was sucked into this story straight away. As soon as I met Emma, I was interested in finding out more about her and also suspected she wasn't being honest about everything. I mean, I didn't imagine it, she kept dropping well-placed hints that sent my mind spiralling for answers.

Told in Emma's POV, her narrative takes place in the present but she often wanders off into the past. Actually, some of her tale switches to the events that happened fifteen years ago so we get the chance to meet the three girls that haunt her thoughts: Vivian, Natalie and Allison.

The pace is perfect. The tension keeps mounting. The characters are all mysterious in their own way. The mystery twists and turns every time you think you're close to working everything out. And when the answers start coming, they don't stop until the very last word.

Oh, and the sense of location is amazing. Everything about this story is eerie and atmospheric, even the scenes depicting Emma's art style and technique.

I enjoyed this book SO much and found it really hard to put down. And btw, it's true, there are echoes of Picnic at Hanging Rock all over this story.

Sunday, 28 March 2021

ARIADNE by Jennifer Saint

 

A mesmerising retelling of the ancient Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. 

As Princesses of Crete and daughters of the fearsome King Minos, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. The Minotaur - Minos's greatest shame and Ariadne's brother - demands blood every year.

When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods - drawing their attention can cost you everything.

In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne's decision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover's ambition? 



I love Greek mythology, so whenever I find out a book is either influenced by the many intriguing players or is an actual retelling, I have to check it out.

Ariadne is one of the daughters of the awful King Minos and spends her early life hearing the echoes of her brother, the Minotaur, from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. He's the king's biggest shame, a result of his wife's beastly union, and so Minos uses this to his advantage and feeds him blood yearly in the worst way possible.

When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete to serve as part of the Minotaur's sacrifice, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus means leaving her home forever and living with the weight of the attention of the gods...

Wow. This book is lush and Ariadne's voice so compelling, I instantly fell into the beautiful narrative and this princess's story about family drama, devastation and the many betrayals women face in a man's world also ruled by vindictive gods.

The sense of location was very well established from the beginning and I felt like I was transported to a lovely but dangerous past. To a time of excess and domination, where meddling by the gods led to terrible situations capable of ruining women because they were used as pawns in the pathetic fight between man and god.

I loved how the focus of this story was on the women. How they deal with the fallout, how they use their personal strength, and how they never give up even when things get so dire they wouldn't be criticised for doing so. 

The story is mostly told in Ariadne's POV, but also includes her sister's tale. Phaedra might be young but she's strong, smart, loyal and cunning in her own way. Both women tell their very different inspiring, heartbreaking and engrossing timeless tales that kept me intrigued all the way through. Even if you're familiar with the myths, the intimate and lyrical personification given to these amazing characters will make everything feel fresh.

Ariadne is a thrilling retelling of one of the many Greek myths involving women being used and manipulated to satisfy and amuse both men and gods. It's also a feminist story about the inner and outer strength of women, as well as how disappointment, devastation and heartbreak often leads to a strong rage able to ultimately fuel determination and ambition. Sometimes, even revenge. And even through all of this, they never forget love and will try to make things right to the bittersweet end.

I really enjoyed this and look forward to reading more of these kinds of books.

Thank you Hachette Australia for sending me a copy.


Ariadne, March 2021, ISBN 9781444960112, Wildfire

Thursday, 25 March 2021

UNSYMPATHETIC MAGIC by Laura Resnick

 

Unsympathetic Magic (Esther Diamond, #3)Unsympathetic Magic by Laura Resnick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, it's time to get stuck into the third book in the super fun Esther Diamond urban fantasy series featuring my favourite struggling actress, the ex who's a cop, and her good friend the 350-year-old mage.

Esther's finally got herself an acting gig on a TV show that has a cult following. Sure, she's playing a homeless bisexual junkie prostitute and her co-star ends up having a medical emergency, but it's an acting job. Too bad she stumbles on some gargoyles attacking a guy in an alley, because she ends up right in the middle of some Vodou trouble in Harlem...

OMG. The first two chapters were hilarious and so uncomfortable. Hilarious because Esther kept falling headfirst into unnatural trouble when all she wanted was a meal. Uncomfortable because I could feel her discomfort wearing that damn costume for so long. 😳

I also liked the new cast of characters that were introduced in this installment, and how it expanded on the magical side of New York. I get a real sense of location, no matter what part of the city Esther wanders into and love that about this series.

Oh, and we're dealing with voodoo... I mean, Vodou. So of course I was interested! And enjoyed this version of a familiar topic and trope. Love how this world contains so many tropes and creatures, but with a slightly different spin. It gives the story and events a nice and unique edge.

I enjoyed the hell out of the whole thing but especially found the last two chapters SO cool. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time!

And like the previous two books, this one also featured a nasty villain. So I'm looking forward to finding out what/who Esther and Max have to go against next...

Monday, 22 March 2021

JAR OF HEARTS by Jennifer Hillier

 

Jar of HeartsJar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've had this book on my TBR pile for over a year now. It's one I picked up, with many others, during one of our last pre-pandemic city book store adventures. And this past weekend was the time to get stuck into it.

Geo did something really bad when she was sixteen and after finally establishing herself in the world, she gets arrested. Now she's lost her fiancΓ©, her executive job and her freedom. But she's about to lose so much more...

Wow. This book was a suspenseful thrill ride I couldn't get off. As soon as I started, I was hooked on this fantastic but totally messed up story.

Seriously, I started this book yesterday afternoon with the intention of getting a taste of the first chapter, but didn't stop until I reached Chapter Five. I got caught up in everything very quickly. I was also horrified by some of the stuff that happened, and this feeling stayed with me all the way through. 😳

The story is well written and separated into five different parts, each named after the stages in the grieving process. Most of it is told in the POV of Geo in the present, though we slowly see the past unravel before our eyes. There's also the POV of Kaiser, a cop and old friend of Geo. And to be honest, as shocking as the events turn out to be as we traverse the many twists and turns of this psychological thriller, mostly I found my overall mood was sadness.

I was sad about what happened to Angela. I was sad about what Geo went through because she made one bad choice after another. And I was very sad about the circumstances these characters are forced to face because of stupid mistakes they made when they were teenagers. There really are some mistakes that you can never undo. Because don't get me wrong, none of the mistakes that are made come from innocence, some are quite chilling.

Anyway, I loved this story. It's brilliant and fucking twisted. Just how I like my thrillers.

Friday, 19 March 2021

SLENDER MAN by Anonymous

 

Slender ManSlender Man by Anonymous
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm probably one of the very small group of people who actually enjoyed the Slender Man movie, so of course I had to grab a copy of this book.

Matt is a student in a private school. His parents expect him to become a lawyer but he has other plans. But right now, they send him to get therapy because he's having some pretty weird dreams. When his friend Lauren goes missing, he's determined to find out what happened to her and delves down a dark path...

I love the way this story is told. Included within this lovely hardback tome are journal entries, audio transcripts, police interviews, story snippets, letters, instant messages, and other interesting pieces. And every new piece slowly stitches a very dark story together.

One of the things I enjoyed the most is how the creepy Slender Man stuff started to appear when I least expected it. I find the Slender Man meme and internet urban legend intriguing. Not so much the real-life stuff that included little assholes using this as an excuse to stab someone. People always have to ruin everything, don't they? πŸ˜‘

Anyway, back to the book because I enjoyed the hell out of it. This is creepy, interesting and so very much addictive. In case I didn't mention this, I'm a huge urban legends fan, so this was right up my alley.

I couldn't put this book down. Seriously, I started reading in the afternoon, went about my real-life business, picked it up again at night and stayed up until I finished. I SO wanted to get to the end and was NOT disappointed. The scenes where Matt experiences all the super spooky stuff were very engrossing. I couldn't look away and found them deliciously twisted.

This is such a fun & chilling book! 😈

LATER by Stephen King

 

LaterLater by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After reading thirty books all written by women, I thought it was time to introduce a man into the mix. And who better than the King himself, right? I mean, as soon as this book arrived, I couldn't wait to get stuck into it.

Jamie Conklin isn't an ordinary kid. It's not because he lives with a single mother who's a literary agent and is always reading new manuscripts while trying to keep the business going. It's not even because he's smart, even though he is. No, Jamie has the ability to see what others can't. Although his mother wants him to keep it a secret, the first time she encourages him to use his gift for personal gain, it changes everything...

Wow. This book is amazing.

Of course, I'm not surprised because Stephen King rarely lets me down. I just love his writing style, and the way he tackled Jamie's voice and story was so perfect. Not to mention how lovely this mother and son relationship turns out to be.

As soon as I started reading, I was totally hooked and couldn't put it down because I was SO invested in Jamie's story. Oh, and I got such a kick out of all the unexpected references to some of his other books. I was pleasantly surprised at the depth these references added to the whole experience. I mean, the story's fantastic on its own because what happens to Jamie is so mysterious and intriguing, but the personal touches of familiarity added a certain level of horrifying comfort. LOL.

Also, how cool is it that his Hard Case Crime is actually a horror story? Trust me, this is definitely horror. There might be a mystery to solve and plenty of crime, but at its core this is the story of how one boy's unnatural ability takes him into some pretty terrifying and creepy places. And I loved every minute of it.

I wasn't expecting that unusual twist at the end, but it certainly made a lot of sense out of so much I hadn't even thought about earlier in the book. 😳

Anyway, I'm so glad I read this because it's just another fantastic book to add to my Stephen King Keeper Shelf. Loved it!

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

WHEN IT HAPPENS TO YOU by Molly Ringwald

 

When It Happens to You: A Novel in StoriesWhen It Happens to You: A Novel in Stories by Molly Ringwald
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I found this book during one of our many pre-pandemic thrift store adventures, and I had to pick it up because I loved Molly Ringwald movies in the 80s. Plus, I didn't know she'd written fiction books.

So, this is a collection of connected tales that fit together to tell one story...

In THE HARVEST MOON, Greta and Phillip are trying to have another baby. Or at least, Greta is because she's the one doing all the hard work while he's obviously looking elsewhere. And why does she even want another kid when the one she has is such a cruel little brat?

Very well written. The story seems so simple but with all the right clues thrown in and no one actually stating the obvious, we know exactly what's happening to their marriage. And it's bloody awful.

In REDBUD, Greta takes her mother to a gardening place and instead of finding a tree, she realises that her mother's desperate need to save a grandchild stems from her perceived failure to save her own child. So why should she interfere?

Another well written story that once again dances around the heart of the problem while making it very obvious that this mother and daughter have some very deep issues. Also, everything we suspected in the first story is confirmed here.

In MY OLIVIA, we meet Marina. A woman who never planned on having children and ends up being the mother of a very special child. But how can she keep her child safe from such a cruel world?

This was a heartbreaking story because Marina finds herself allowing her child to be who they feel they truly are, but finds out the hard way how the world doesn't care about finding our personal happiness. Loved this one, and the connection was nice, too.

In URSA MINOR, Pete is an actor who decides to visit his sister after finding himself in some compromising situations. Did he expect his life to be impacted so much?

I enjoyed this story because it featured a character that should've been easy to dislike and instead I found myself feeling sympathy for him. And the overall connection was unexpected but nice.

WHEN IT HAPPENS TO YOU is a sad and melancholy interlude. Raw in its depiction and honest in its admission. Great piece!

In THE LITTLE ONE we meet Betty. A widow who lost the love of her life seven years ago but can't let go. Is her newfound friendship with the peculiar little girl next door enough to keep her company?

Wow. This is such a beautiful story. I loved spending time with Betty and taking a sad trip down memory lane as she remembers Harry, the love of her life. I also liked how it connects to the original characters and introduces several new ones.

MEA CULPA is Phillip's story. A retelling of his love for Greta, his failings as a husband, and recalling the many mistakes he made along the way. But is this enough to save his marriage?

Although I don't have an ounce of sympathy for this man or his very selfish actions and thoughts, I still enjoyed his story a lot.

THE PLACES YOU DON'T WALK AWAY FROM is the story that brings it all together. And I loved how everything turns out. Sure, Greta and Phillip's tale is bittersweet, but it was so honest and true.

Well, this turned out to be such a great book! Seriously, all I wanted to do was get a taste of the writing style, but couldn't put it down.

I was really impressed with Ringwald's ability to weave some very interesting and complex stories about the failures, triumphs and pitfalls of familial and romantic relationships. About how a marriage can fall off the rails, how parental affection isn't an equation, how friendship can be found in the most unexpected places, and how the unpredictability and fragility of life strikes when you least expect it.

I also liked the format because, although each story is self-contained and each of the characters have their own heartfelt tale to tell, it's also part of a much bigger picture.

This is a fantastic and well-written book about the weakness and the strength of the human spirit.

Tuesday, 16 March 2021

THE LEGACY OF MERLIN by Eloise Flood

 

The Legacy of Merlin (Charmed, #8)The Legacy of Merlin by Eloise Flood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After reading The Power of Three last month and enjoying it so much, I couldn't wait to check this one out. Unlike the first book, this isn't an episode of the show. It's actually a story that takes place between episodes in season two.

The Halliwell sisters are in King Arthur country looking for different things. Prue is hoping to find some antique book deals for a client. Piper is trying to come to terms with Leo's job and his absence. Phoebe's excited because she loves Merlin. But what all of them find is an unexpected danger that might just steal one of their hearts...

Yep, this was another awesome Charmed book! It's fun, fast-paced and mysterious. I was totally invested and hooked from the very beginning. It's a quick and comforting read I would've finished in one sitting if I hadn't run out of time yesterday.

I'm a fan of Charmed, so these books are a perfect way to catch up with the Charmed Ones and read some of their adventures out of the series. Although, this would've been a great episode because it captured the essence of the show very well.

Prue takes her sisters with her overseas, but she's on a mission to secure antiques. Piper might be sad about what's going on with Leo, but she finds herself in a botched love spell. Phoebe might be interested in the legend of Merlin but never expected to fall for someone connected to him. And no matter where they go, these sisters always find themselves in the middle of a magical mess.

I also liked the easygoing writing style of this author and how we get to see the POV of each sister.

Definitely interested in reading more!

Friday, 12 March 2021

Revision Time!


Hi, how's it going? Is everyone having a good month so far? Can you believe we're almost halfway through March? Yikes. The year sure is moving along pretty quickly. Wish this stupid pandemic would go away just as fast. Hasn't it done enough damage already? πŸ˜’

Anyway, as you might have read last week, I managed to finish my first first draft of the year. Yay. And this week, I set myself the goal of revising/completing the novella by Friday.

Well, today is Friday and here's how it went:
  • Monday: Second draft done @ 18,739 / 45pgs
  • Tuesday: Took break to read
  • Wednesday: Third draft done @ 19,189 / 48pgs
  • Thursday: Took break to read
  • Friday: Read-thru done @ 19,173w / 48pgs

I'm really excited about getting this project done. Not just because it means that I met my personal goal, but also because this story is one I've had in my head for several months and I had to get it outta there. Also, it turned out so much darker and better than I expected. 

This weird little tale is quite the feminist psychological horror and I loved writing/revising it. I'm not sure if there's a market for this story because it's under 20k, but right now that's not important because I finished it! And that's all that matters. πŸ˜„

Asides from all this revising, I also read two excellent books:

They were very different books, but I LOVED both of them because they were SO awesome.

With the reading and the writing, plus the everyday stuff, there's not much room for anything else, but we're still going for two walks a day (sometimes three) and squeezing in yoga workouts whenever we can.

Oh, and we're still watching and absolutely loving The Office. We just finished S7 and will be hitting S8 soon. I'm still very much into this show because I adore these characters. And I can't believe I actually miss that douche Michael Scott. LOL. Can't wait to see what happens next...

Now, I'm going to take a nice weekend break with hubby. As for next week, I think it's time to grab my notebook so I can make a Writing Projects Plan. 

Have an awesome weekend!


Thursday, 11 March 2021

THE GRACE YEAR by Kim Liggett

 

The Grace YearThe Grace Year by Kim Liggett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've had my eye on this book for a while, so I was really looking forward to getting stuck into it.

Tierney lives in a village where girls are sent away to the wilderness at age sixteen. They're gone for a year and are supposed to rid themselves of their magic before coming back to marry the men who chose them.

No one is allowed to talk about the grace year, but everyone knows some of the girls won't survive. Tierney knew harsh conditions were ahead, but she never expected what she finds...

Wow. This book is amazing!

I had a feeling I would enjoy it, but didn't expect to be so swept up by Tierney's tale of self-discovery. Seriously, what this girl goes through because the men in her village have decided they're in charge of the women's lives and blame/punish them for everything, is truly terrifying.

The thing about stories like these is that while they make me so angry my blood boils, I also end up loving them. Reading a story about female oppression written by a woman (sorry, has to be a woman) where the character rises and inspires others to challenge and fight against the disgusting domination of the patriarchy, is a very powerful thing. And when it also captivates the reader enough to cheer the characters on while feeling their pain and triumphs, it's also an awesome experience.

I have to mention that the simplicity of the world building makes it easy to slip right into this world, and made me feel like I was living every nightmarish moment. Tierney's tale is beautifully written and her voice is so captivating, I had a hard time putting the book down. I just HAD to find out what was going to happen next. And that's another thing that's riveting, the mysterious events going on around the girls really make for a thrilling read.

This book kept me on the edge of my seat all the way through, and led to a very satisfying conclusion. Loved this!



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Monday, 8 March 2021

DOPPELGANGSTER by Laura Resnick

 

Doppelgangster (Esther Diamond, #2)Doppelgangster by Laura Resnick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A few weeks ago I read Disappearing Nightly and enjoyed Esther Diamond's first book so much I had to read the next one, pronto!

When Esther finds herself out of work because the play she was in is cancelled, she returns to her old job as a singing waitress in Little Italy. The tips are good, the work is honest and it's a way to pay the rent. But when she witnesses a mob hit, she finds herself in the middle of another weird murder investigation, and her cop boyfriend has been assigned to investigate what might just turn out to be another mystical situation...

Wow. I really enjoyed this! Like the first book, I was into this as soon as I started reading. It was SO much fun and it didn't take long for me to get lost in Esther's crazy world.

I'm not a huge gangster fan, but enjoyed how this angle was tackled in this story because her interactions with these mob guys at Bella Stella cracked me up. These aging mobsters might be dangerous and have huge body counts attached to their names, but their banter is hilarious and they're more bumbling fools with big appetites and even bigger egos, than smart killers.

Except for Lucky. I liked him.

Plus, the mystery is fascinating. The doppelgΓ€nger concept has always interested me, and the unique way it was treated here turned out to be very cool. It was a LOT of fun to follow the clues and crimes in search of the answer.

Also, I love Esther. She's such a great character and seems to be a total trouble magnet. And so funny. Plus she's already showing growth and this is only the second book. The only problem is that, although she's making new friends and contacts along the way, it's not great on her love life. 😣

But the title, Doppelgangster, is so cool.

I'm loving this series. It's so awesome that I can't wait to read the rest.



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Friday, 5 March 2021

New Story Time!

Hey, how are you today? It's been a while since I posted an update, so here I am. πŸ˜„

This year is going really fast, isn't it? I mean, we're already in the third month. Yikes! And asides from the Wall of Dolls edit I worked on a few weeks ago, I haven't gotten stuck into any new writing projects all year. No first drafts. No revision. Just a LOT of reading and hanging out with hubby, which actually turned out to be a great (unintentional) decision since he's gone back to work.

Yep. Australia is getting back to normal and--as scary as it is--it's time to step back into the new normal. To try and get on with everyday life. To be as 'normal' as possible while still keeping social distance, wearing masks to the shops, and washing hands as much as possible. We're even getting our flu shots next month and made dentist appointments.

So, I decided that the best way to get back into the groove of things is to get stuck into a shorter WIP. And I had the perfect one too, because this little psychological tale of nightmares was totally ready to be told. I kid you not.

Look at how it went:
  • Monday: 5,746 
  • Tuesday: 11,309 (added 5563w)
  • Wednesday: 17,124 (added 5815w)
Yep. It took me three days to write the first draft. I'm not surprised because this little story of darkness and confusion has been trapped inside my head since December. But I am surprised that it ended up being 17k, because I was expecting 15k. 

Getting it done so quickly means I got the chance to squeeze in a bit of reading, as well as plan out the revision time frame. Think I'll be getting stuck into the second draft on Monday. Because it's a shorter story, I'll like to keep the habit I adopted last year: complete the story from start to finish, instead of putting it aside for months! 

And I have so many more writing projects planned...

You know, asides from the reading and writing, we're also doing a lot more walking. I'm back to two daily weekday walks, except for the days I do three. And we're keeping up with the yoga, too.

Oh, and we started watching The Office. This is a show we've never watched before, but it didn't take long to get hooked. OMG. Love this show and love these characters. We're already on season five! 😳

Well, that's it for now.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, 4 March 2021

THE GIRLS I'VE BEEN by Tessa Sharpe

 

Meet Nora. Also known as Rebecca, Samantha, Haley, Katie and Ashley - the girls she's been.


Nora didn't choose a life of deception - she was born into it. As the daughter of a con artist who targeted criminal men, Nora always had to play a part. But when her mother fell for one of the men instead of conning him, Nora pulled the ultimate con herself: escape.

For five years Nora's been playing at normal - but things are far from it when she finds herself held at gunpoint in the middle of a bank heist, along with Wes (her ex-boyfriend) and Iris (her secret new girlfriend and mutual friend of Wes ... awkward). Now it will take all of Nora's con artistry skills to get them out alive.

Because the gunmen have no idea who she really is - that girl has been in hiding for far too long...


This is a book I first noticed because of the striking cover. After reading the blurb, I knew I definitely wanted to read it.

Nora O'Malley is a girl with a lot of secrets. She's the daughter of a con-artist who targeted criminal men during Nora's childhood. But she's not that girl anymore, she escaped that life.

The morning she gets caught up in the middle of a bank robbery, she's forced to forget 'normal', so she can tap into the girls she used to be. And these men don't know who they're dealing with...

Wow. This book is absolutely FANTASTIC! 

As soon as I started reading, I was hooked. The writing is engaging and so beautiful. I couldn't tear myself away from Nora's story. Speaking of Nora, her voice is strong and raw, so honest my heart broke a little more with every revelation. What this girl is forced to endure because of her own mother's doing is seriously terrible.

This book is a lot of things.

Starts out introducing a unique trio of friends with several levels of romantic complications, and soon becomes a dangerous bank heist. Before spinning everything around and turning into a fast-paced thriller with tension so thick the only way to go is forward. That's until you fully understand it's about the struggles of a young girl fighting the memory of what her con-artist mother groomed her to be and how easily she exposed her to the worst kind of danger.

BUT, it's also about the strongest of bonds: your own found family. Not bound by blood, but by something so much deeper. And at the centre, is a wonderful love story.

I don't want to say more about this book because it's an amazing and moving story that needs to be fully experienced on a very personal level. It delves into the power of teenage girls and how strong they are, even though they're so easily disregarded and seen only as pretty tokens.

The Girls I've Been is an explosive YA thriller that gets under your skin. It's packed full of tension, danger and some shocking situations. It might even tear your heart out along the way, but it's an honest tale about survival. About what trauma turns you into. It's also captivating.

Loved this!

Thank you Hachette Australia for sending me a copy.


The Girls I've Been, February 2021, ISBN 9781444960112, Hodder Children's Books

Sunday, 28 February 2021

DO NOT DISTURB by AR Torre

 

Do Not DisturbDo Not Disturb by A.R. Torre
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Here's another book I picked from my bookshelf that I should've read ages ago because I enjoyed the first book so much.

Deanna's life has changed since she wandered out of the apartment she'd locked herself in for three years. Now she's excited about going on dates with her boyfriend, and even dares to go across the road for snacks. But her deadly urges are still there, and might have to rise to the surface when a new online threat appears...

Wow. What an amazing and exhausting story! I was totally invested and couldn't stop reading.

This book turned out to be as addictive as it was dark. As intriguing as it was shocking, and so unpredictable. I was definitely hooked from the very beginning. A.R. Torre's writing style is captivating, which makes Deanna's voice very easy to get lost in.

Once I started, it didn't take long for me to lose myself in the narrative and head down a pretty screwed up and dark path. Mostly told in the POV of Deanna and a new disgusting character, as well as snippets from some of the other secondary characters, this approach provided multiple angles. Led the story into some pretty tense and atmospheric situations.

I love how Deanna's tale is romantic, seductive and sexy. Manages to take us into the very intimate and often harsh world of being a camgirl. Some of the people who engage the services of these girls aren't exactly shiny beacons of society. It's raunchy one second, creepy the next, and so very disturbing most of the time.

I mean, we are dealing with a woman trying to control her killer tendencies. A very real struggle that never ends. And is made both easier and harder as she finds herself falling in love.

This turned out to be a very suspenseful ride that first seduced me into following Deanna's plight, and then kept me on the edge of my seat once things got very real during the second half. Which is made so much better by the snappy, action-packed chapters

Love it when a sequel is as good as the first book, yet manages to feel original. Not only does this add to Deanna's series, but takes us deeper and into an unexpected direction.

Can't wait to read the next one.

Great News!


Hey! How are you?

If you follow me on Twitter, then you've already seen my book announcement. But I'm super excited, so I wanted to post a little something over here too. 

I signed a contract with Otranto House! That's right. They're going to publish my supernatural YA horror book, Wall of Dolls


Yay. I'm SO excited! πŸ˜πŸŽ‰

I actually worked on the first edit last week and it was very cool to spend time with these characters again. I really love these girls, the strange town they live in, the secrets, and the creepy dolls. I'm really looking forward to sharing their story with everyone and can't wait to hear what readers think.

Also looking forward to seeing the cover and will announce the release date as soon as I know.

For now, I've actually got a short story in Otranto House's first anthology. It's called The Girls Who Walked into the Woods and it's available now:



Have a great day!

Thursday, 25 February 2021

DISAPPEARING NIGHTLY by Laura Resnick

 

Disappearing Nightly (Esther Diamond, #1)Disappearing Nightly by Laura Resnick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After completing a very detailed first edit, and not reading anything else for a week, I wanted to read something completely different to my own story. And this book definitely did the trick.

It's actually another book I've had on my bookshelf for years. Do you remember the paranormal romance/urban fantasy/fantasy imprint called LUNA? Well, this is one of them.

Esther Diamond is an actress in New York. She's the understudy for a play, and when the lead disappears, she gets her big shot. If only she could be excited about it, instead of thinking about the danger this brings.

So, she tries to avoid the part, dodge a cop investigating the disappearance, while discovering there's so much more in the world...

This was so much fun! Seriously, I had such a great time reading this funny UF story. I laughed so many times, but it's not all fun and games. There's plenty of darkness lurking beneath the surface, and an unexpected supernatural malice. But mostly, I enjoyed meeting the cast of colourful and interesting characters.

I really liked Esther. She was hilarious, witty and reacted well when forced into some pretty shitty situations. I really enjoyed getting caught up in her voice.

There's a bit of everything thrown into this book and it all appealed to me. Even the hint of romance was great. And the whole magicians thing was very cool. Yeah, I had an awesome time with this!

Also, any book that mentions how great it would be for that disgusting Trump to disappear, is a good one.

Sunday, 14 February 2021

THE FURIES by Katie Lowe

 

The FuriesThe Furies by Katie Lowe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've had this book on my TBR pile since I bought it over a year ago, so it was definitely time to check it out.

When Violet was a teenager, she attended Elm Hollow Academy, where a sixteen-year-old girl was posed on a swing and found dead on the school grounds. Years later, Violet recalls what happened when she joined an advanced study group and befriended the other girls...

Yikes. This is quite a book and it sure packs a punch. As soon as Violet's story begins, tragedy strikes. Yet, this girl continues on with her life. Actually excels in her self-taught schoolwork even though her mother has resigned from life and doesn't offer much support. Violet does so well she ends up in a girls academy. Where she finds herself to be an outsider but also an insider with a particularly 'weird' group of girls most stay away from.

Her alienation and desperate need to belong catches the attention of Robin. A self-confident troublemaker who ends up influencing Violet into some very dark territory. By slipping into a passive state, Violet becomes a passenger in her own life and watches all the bad things that happen to her and around her without taking charge. It's quite disturbing to watch, but not surprising.

I actually found it quite sad. Violet is so easily pressured into going along, without much of a push, because she's in a bad place. She's obviously got a lot of grief she hasn't dealt with properly, and this affects her on a deeper level than she herself realises. It becomes very frustrating at times, but totally fits the scene.

And this is all before we consider the toxic and harmful friendship she's so devoted to. This story definitely deals with a lot of disturbing facets of teenage girls. This is as bad as it gets, goes beyond peer pressure and cuts straight to downright cruel and criminal behaviour that can fester when girls are so often hurt and manipulated by guys/men.

Some of the content in this book is truly shocking. There are no heroes within these pages, but it sure is an engrossing read. That's for sure. I enjoyed the use of the female rage and injustice via various artworks, Greek mythology and Shakespeare, to name a few. It totally worked to deepen the severity of what happens and adds a surreal quality to the storytelling that makes so much of it feel so ambiguous.

Also, the writing style is thick with description that might have felt like a slog in any other book, but provided the perfect narrative in this one. And that ending! Didn't quite expect that. πŸ‘€

I really enjoyed this. It's a very powerful book, and it's not pretty. Everything about this story is raw, ugly and seen through the gritty lens of anger.

Thursday, 11 February 2021

SLEEP LIKE A BABY by Charlaine Harris

 

Sleep Like a Baby (Aurora Teagarden, #10)Sleep Like a Baby by Charlaine Harris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love the Aurora Teagarden mystery series, so it's always great to read the next book.

Aurora and Robin might have embarked on the new adventure of parenting, but that doesn't mean trouble won't find them.

While Robin goes to a conference, Roe gets sick and needs the help of a nurse to look after their baby. But it doesn't take long for the nurse to disappear and a corpse to appear in their backyard...

As soon as I started, it was easy to slip back into Roe's life. Charlaine Harris sure knows how to write an interesting mystery, and characters that keep you coming back.

The mystery in this one was hard to figure out because there was a lot going on, plenty of red herrings and a bit of misdirection. I like it when it's hard to solve because the story kept me guessing most of the way through.

One of my favourite things about this series--and something Charlaine Harris does very well with all her stories--is how well she weaves everyday stuff into intriguing and dangerous situations. And she did that perfectly here. This time featuring Roe as a new mother, while dealing with sickness, family problems and murder.

Another great addition to this series!

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

TALES OF THE SUPERNATURAL is now available!

 

Today, I'm very excited to announce that my short story, The Girls Who Walked into the Woods, is included in this YA horror anthology!


TALES OF THE SUPERNATURAL
Otranto House


Demonic forces lurk in the woods. 

The death of a teen leads to an eerie police interview.

A vengeful spirit of an executed prisoner.

Fear and superstition leave young women vulnerable in a provincial village.

Voices from a well that whisper dark secrets. 

A small English town with sinister traditions. 
 

Tales of the Supernatural is a collection of six chilling tales that will haunt every reader and delight fans of horror. 


Featuring chilling tales from:

Yolanda Sfetsos
Sam Pope
Neve York
Martha Watson
Karen Featherstone
Jessica Allen



 Edited by Elizabeth Kennedy



 It's now available:
Otranto House | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Amazon Australia | Amazon Canada




THE POWER OF THREE by Eliza Willard

 

The Power of Three (Charmed, #1)The Power of Three by Eliza Willard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved watching the show Charmed. So when I found this book in a local Street Library, I had to grab it.

The Halliwell sisters aren't exactly close. After their grandmother died, Prue and Piper moved back into their childhood home. They get along well enough and lead their own lives. But when Phoebe returns and reads a magical incantation from a book she finds in the attic, everything changes.

Now, the three sisters must face their dangerous destiny as the Charmed Ones...

Wow. I enjoyed the hell out of this little book. What a fun and quick read!

This is the novelisation of the very first episode of the show, but because the narrative features the alternating POVs of the three sisters, there's extra insight into each of their personal experiences, thoughts and emotions. This added depth to what I already knew about the sisters and made the book even more interesting.

There's something about this story that felt like slipping into a very familiar and comfortable place. Like catching up with old friends. It made my reading experience so much better.

As far as the story goes, there weren't many surprises for me because I've watched this episode multiple times, but it was still exciting. And I really liked the author's writing style. It was straightforward, mysterious and delved deep into each POV.

Always enjoyed how the Halliwell sisters get back together and become the Charmed Ones.

I loved this story so much I'm going to have to read more books in this series. 😈


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Tuesday, 9 February 2021

A LINE IN THE DARK by Malinda Lo

 

A Line in the DarkA Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love the cover of this book and was intrigued from the first time I saw it. So when I found the hardback on special at Amazon, I grabbed a copy.

Jess Wong cares a lot about her best friend Angie Redmond. More than Angie knows. She doesn't mind hanging out on the sidelines and keeping her true feelings hidden. But when Angie starts seeing a girl called Margot from a nearby boarding school, everything changes. It puts an uncomfortable distance between them, and invites a certain darkness into their seemingly average lives...

I was instantly hooked into Jess's sad and lonely world. A sad world where she's secretly in love with her best friend. And the lonely world it becomes when Angie starts seeing someone. When this happens, Jess changes. It was so unexpected, how easily the story turned from two happy friends who spend heaps of time together, to Jess losing herself in anger and jealousy. To the point of becoming a withering shadow who only finds solace in the comic book she's creating.

The first part in this book is written in the first-person POV of Jess. We get to see the events unfold through her eyes, experience her personal thoughts, and start to understand her uneasy family dynamics. But when I reached the second part, the POV shifted to Jess's third-person POV and a variety of transcripts. A move I wasn't expecting, but certainly turned the story's direction sideways and deepened my interest even further.

I thought this writing style worked so well for this story.

On the surface, Jess seems like a quiet, mousey character who is easy to take advantage of. But she's so much more. Actually, I loved that all the characters were complex and nothing is quite as it first appears.

I really enjoyed this twisty tale of how complicated and toxic teenage friendship between girls can become. How easy it is for secrets and feelings to fester when they keep the truth hidden, and how quickly everything can get totally out of control.

This is such a great book!



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