Sunday 31 January 2021

A Month of Reading


How are you today? Can you believe the first month of 2021 is almost over? Yikes. 😳

So, what have you been up to? 

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I started the year with edits and interviews. Then, without consciously planning to, I ended up taking a bit of a break during the rest of January. 

I hung out with hubby, we went for a lot of walks (started going for two daily walks every second day), did plenty of yoga (a workout every second day), sorted my bookshelves/piles, donated heaps of these books, and read quite a few awesome books.

Yep. Our days were full of time together, delish meals, naps, hubby playing Hades/Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and me reading up a storm. 😁

These are the books I read:
  1. Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis
  2. Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall
  3. Meridian by Amber Kizer
  4. Dead Silence by Kimberly Derting
  5. You Must Not Miss by Katrina Leno
  6. Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M McManus
  7. Ironside by Holly Black
  8. None Shall Sleep by Ellie Marney
  9. Cruel Summer by Juno Dawson
  10. Beautiful Decay by Sylvia Lewis
  11. The Sad Ghost Club by Lize Meddings
  12. A Dowry of Blood by ST Gibbons
  13. Lore by Alexandra Bracken
  14. Outlawed by Anna North
Did you notice something about the 14 books I read this month? That's right, every single one of them is written by women. And most of them are YA, which is actually a mini challenge I set for myself. 

I'm really glad this is how we spent the beginning of the year because it's summer, and after the heavy revision I tackled during December (don't usually work that hard on completing writing projects in December) and the edits, my brain needed a break.

Besides, we're still in the middle of a pandemic. Sure, compared to the rest of the world Australia is doing really well and we're starting to see some normalcy in our everyday lives, but we still have to be very cautious. And trust me, we're still keeping our distance, wear masks to the shops and clean our hands constantly.

We refuse to get complacent. 😷

Now that the month is almost over, the writing bug has been nagging at me. This week, I've been taking notes for my novelette idea, collecting more research, and have finally found the right direction for this story. Which is really cool.

Oh, and I popped into Paula RC Readman's Clubhouse for a chat.

Well, that's it for now. This month was lovely. I enjoyed the long days with hubby, and am now ready to face the challenges of the upcoming month.

Stay safe!

Saturday 30 January 2021

THE WIRED CITY is now available!


My Weird. Wonderful. Other Worlds. novella is now available from Demain Publishing.

Tolliver is caught in a cycle of boredom she desperately wants to escape. She hates her job writing silly slogans, doesn’t have any friends, and lives in a crowded city full of mindless androids.

When she stumbles on a mysterious classifieds message specifically targeted at her, Tolliver decides to leave her claustrophobic unit and finds herself in an unexpected adventure. A seemingly simple task leads her to a conspiracy theory that will put her life in danger, introduce her to a lot of potential friends, and some hard truths that circle back to her.

You can grab a copy from: 

 You can also: 

I've said this twice before and I'll say it again: I REALLY love the cover Adrian Baldwin made for Tolli's novella. This time, he actually created a poster mentioned in the story! It's so amazing to see such perfect attention to detail.   

THE WIRED CITY is a bit SF, a bit cyberpunk, has a bunch of robots and is definitely dark. 🤖 

Tolliver starts out disillusioned and bored, wishing for adventure. And when she finds it, she never expected to find herself caught in the middle of a dangerous situation. 

I'm so excited about sharing this story, and very happy to have another book released by Demain Publishing. 


Tuesday 26 January 2021

OUTLAWED by Anna North

In the year of our Lord 1894, I became an outlaw.

On the day of her wedding-dance, Ada feels lucky. She loves her broad-shouldered, bashful husband and her job as an apprentice midwife.

But her luck will not last. It is every woman's duty to have a child, to replace those that were lost in the Great Flu. And after a year of marriage and no pregnancy, in a town where barren women are hanged as witches, Ada's survival depends on leaving behind everything she knows.

She joins up with the notorious Hole in the Wall Gang. Its leader, a charismatic preacher-turned-robber, known to all as The Kid, wants to create a safe haven for women outcast from society. But to make this dream a reality, the Gang hatches a treacherous plan. And Ada must decide whether she's willing to risk her life for the possibility of a new kind of future for them all.

When I received an email about this book, I was instantly interested in checking it out. How could I not be interested in a feminist western version of The Handmaid's Tale meets the Salem witch trials?

In an alternate version of 1894, after the Great Flu, it's a woman's duty to have children. If she doesn't deliver, her life isn't worth much, she gets kicked out of the house, and most are eventually labelled witches. 

Ada's happy to get married while being an apprentice midwife with her mother, but when she can't get pregnant she escapes the town. This leads to the notorious Hole in the Wall Gang led by the enigmatic The Kid, and a very dangerous life...

I really enjoyed this story!

There's a lot to like about this book, and I especially loved the writing style. Ada's voice is simple, interesting and totally engrossing. Her narrative also manages to sneak in a lot of worldbuilding in such a natural and gripping way, that it adds to the experience. 

Ada is such a great character because she's smart, kind and respectful but most people don't see that. All they care about is her lack of getting pregnant and that she asks too many questions. She's inquisitive and wants to help others, plus she's damned good at medicine. 

There are so many brilliant women and none of them are taken seriously because of the religious brainwashing storming through their collective towns. Outdated and silly superstitions strong enough to devalue these women enough all they want to do is escape the confines of this small thinking and start their own safehaven.

I also thought it was really cool how so many familiar problems we still face in society nowadays were woven into this story in a great way. And that the narrative doesn't shy away from different types of mental illness and sexual orientation.

Outlawed is an intriguing and fantastic book that swept me away to a harsh and unfair alternate history that mirrors some of the worst things about our world. Stories like these always interest me because I love to see women fighting the system for themselves and each other. It's messy, unstable and the relationships can get rough sometimes, but I love where they take me. 

Thank you Hachette Australia for sending me a copy!

Outlawed, January 2021, ISBN 9781474615358, W&N

Sunday 24 January 2021

LORE by Alexandra Bracken


LoreLore by Alexandra Bracken
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is a book I've wanted to read since I saw that awesome cover. I mean, Medusa is one of my faves in Greek mythology, so of course!

But I'm sad to say it didn't work for me.

I have to admit that I had a problem with this whole Agon thing from the beginning. Even though, on the surface, everything about the worldbuilding seemed to add up and make sense if you have pre-knowledge of Greek Mythology... the more the story moved along, the more inconsistencies started popping up. I had too many questions about this whole god hunt/kill thing and the Houses. The story started to drag (a lot) and I wasn't invested in any of the characters.

The beginning grabbed me because I liked Lore's tough attitude, but I quickly lost interest. Still, I pushed on. Reached the halfway point before I realised I didn't want to invest too much more time on this book. So, I skimmed the rest. Skipped chunks of pages without losing the thread or missing much. I found out all the secrets and twists and was very disappointed with all of them.

I really feel like this book should've been a lot shorter. And it would've flowed way better without the endless infodumps thrown all over the place.

Also, the main reason why I was so interested in this story--Medusa--wasn't worth the time I wasted anticipating how she fit in.

This makes me sad because I really wanted to love this book, and just couldn't. 😢

Friday 22 January 2021


Saved from the brink of death by a mysterious stranger, Constanta is transformed from a medieval peasant into a bride fit for an undying king. But when Dracula draws a cunning aristocrat and a starving artist into his web of passion and deceit, Constanta realizes that her beloved is capable of terrible things. Finding comfort in the arms of her rival consorts, she begins to unravel their husband’s dark secrets. 

 With the lives of everyone she loves on the line, Constanta will have to choose between her own freedom and her love for her husband. But bonds forged by blood can only be broken by death.

I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this book from the publisher this week, and couldn't wait to get started.

While left for dead on the battlefield, Constanta captures the attention of a mysterious man who saves her by turning her into something else. And so begins her life as one of the brides of the cunning Dracula. A vampire tyrant who hides cruelty behind love and strips freedom away from everyone who crosses his path...

Wow. This is such a lyrical and beautiful story. An addictive tale I couldn't put down.

Told from the POV of Constanta, as she confesses via a series of long and intimate letters to the vampire who gave her a second chance and shaped her world, I was captivated by the vivid imagery and strong emotional impact.

The words captured my imagination and swept me off my feet instantly. The tale that unravels within the pages of this wonderful book is seductive, dark, full of lavish excess, and features many historical settings. It features unquenchable lust and a shared love capable of hurting as much as it pleasures.

All the characters involved in this family are fascinating in their own way. Magdalena is sweet and vibrant, an independent woman whose fire slowly dims. Alexi is a shining beautiful young man with so much energy and enthusiasm who finds himself stifled. And Constanta is a gentle soul full of love and belief, even after her transformation. I was drawn to these amazing characters and drowned in sympathy because of what they go through.

This story is full of the manipulations of a wretched creature able to destroy anyone he comes in contact with. The narrative doesn't shy away from bloody violence, abuse, and dares to tread into some very dark places. It's also sexy, passionate, romantic and so lovely.

It's everything a vampire story should be and more. So much more.

I really enjoyed this book, and the cover is creepy and perfect. Totally suits the melancholy impression Constanta left with me long after reading her last word. 

Thursday 21 January 2021

My First Mini Reading Challenge

Hey! How are you?

Today, I wanted to stop by to chat about my reading so far this year. I might have posted my personal Reading Goals for 2021 at the beginning of this month and even posted it on Goodreads, but I also like giving myself spontaneous Mini Challenges.

The first one I gave myself was to read 10 highly-anticipated (by me) YA (paperback) books written by women. 

Here's how I did:

As you can see, I actually ended up reading 11. There's a great mix of books in this bunch featuring different genres, authors and styles. And 10 out of those 11 were 5-star ratings! Yay.

I even managed to read the last book in a thriller quartet and the last in an urban fantasy series. Books I'd been meaning to read for years

I'm SO excited about completing these two books. 😃

Well, that's about it. I'm just very excited about getting such a great start to my reading this year. I hope it continues!

THE SAD GHOST CLUB by Lize Meddings


Ever felt anxious or alone? Like you don't belong anywhere? Like you're almost... invisible? Find your kindred spirits at The Sad Ghost Club. (You are not alone. Shhh. Pass it on.) 

This is the story of one of those days - a day so bad you can barely get out of bed, when it's a struggle to leave the house, and when you do, you wish you hadn't. But even the worst of days can surprise you. When one sad ghost, alone at a crowded party, spies another sad ghost across the room, they decide to leave together. What happens next changes everything. 

 Because that night they start the The Sad Ghost Club - a secret society for the anxious and alone, a club for people who think they don't belong. 

As soon as I spotted this book in the Hachette catalogue, I knew I had to read it. Not just because the cover is adorable, but also because I found the concept intriguing. And somewhat familiar.

Sam desperately wants to finish his essay, but he stayed up too late and the cat won't leave him alone. Before he realises what he's doing, he's accepted a party invitation and that sets off a new bunch of racing thoughts. If only he'd just concentrated on his essay...

OMG. This is such a lovely graphic novel! Not only is the book beautiful and the illustrations lovely, but the story within these pages is very relatable. How many times have simple thoughts caused a landslide of anxiety within your mind? Until you feel like you're tumbling down a dark hole full of worries that never stop?

Let me take a breath because I know exactly what that feels like. Magnifying the smallest of concerns to the point of exhaustion is how Sam deals with his day. Until he finds he's not alone. And that there are others with even darker and more helpless problems.

That's when he decides it's time to reach out.

The Sad Ghost Club is a moving story anyone who's ever felt invisible will not only relate to, but really enjoy. I Iiked how unpredictable everything was, loved where it ended and thought using ghosts to represent this state of mind was perfect. The message was sweet too. We're never really alone, and there's always someone who'll see you no matter how little you think you matter.

Thank you Hachette Australia for sending me a copy! 

The Sad Ghost Club, January 2021, ISBN 9781444957358, Hodder Children's Books



Beautiful DecayBeautiful Decay by Sylvia Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a book I found last year while checking out Amazon paperback deals. It was cheap, sounded very interesting, and I love the title!

Ellie lives an isolated, lonely life and everyone at school calls her a freak. Even her parents are uncomfortable around her because her touch rots anything she touches.

She wears gloves all the time, her only friend is online, and although Ellie's smart she isn't looking forward to much of a future. Until she meets the new kid in school. Nate has his own condition and as their friendship intensifies, Ellie realises she's not the only freaky person in town...

Wow. I didn't expect to enjoy such an unknown book SO much. It was awesome! I shouldn't be surprised because a lot of great titles slip under the radar, so I'm really glad I found this one.

I was very curious about this book since it arrived and moving it up to the top of my TBR pile was a great idea. The supernatural angle was dark and so fascinating. It was delivered in a very organic way and also took a very unexpected turn I didn't expect.

What starts out as a story about a shunned girl with a rotten curse everyone avoids, soon becomes the tale of two online friends, before shifting to her finding her first true friend in the boy in school. BUT, before you get comfortable with all of that, the supernatural twist hits and you realise the boy has even more secrets than the girl. And that while Nate's condition makes him a little temperamental, there's a real emotional connection between these two. And this is before you find out the secret he's keeping at home! 👀

Yep. This story is packed full of so much awesome stuff, and Ellie's such a wholesome narrator--though she has so many reasons to not be--that I couldn't help falling deeply into her antiseptic, loveless life as she discovers the true sense of mutual caring. As she slowly learns she does in fact deserve love and respect.

I also really liked Mackenzie because she was cool, understanding and fun. Not to mention has her own very interesting story.

The worst characters in this book were the parents. They were awful and kept the secrets they had no right to keep quiet. But it was refreshing to see adults behaving like the assholes some can be to their own children.

This is a great YA supernatural story with some great ideas and some fantastic imagery. Loved it! 🌱

Tuesday 19 January 2021

CRUEL SUMMER by Juno Dawson


Cruel SummerCruel Summer by Juno Dawson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Here's another book I've had my eye on for years and finally purchased a copy.

Ryan hasn't seen his school friends in a year. Not since their friend committed suicide after their prom. Now, they're all getting together for a few weeks in a beautiful Spanish villa.

Time might have gone by and put a bit of distance between them, but soon confusing thoughts start to resurface as quickly as memories and the group dynamic. And Ryan's still convinced Janey didn't kill herself... 

OMG! Yikes. Juno Dawson never disappoints. No matter what subgenre she tackles, she sure delivers an engrossing and entertaining story. I was instantly hooked and couldn't wait to find out how this was going to end. 👀

Ryan's voice is addictive, interesting and even funny. He's super snarky too. I love how his side of the story is narrated in a very TV-show style, because it presents all the facts in such a cool way. It makes following this group of friends an intoxicating experience that I found hard to pull away from.

Alisha's POV also provided great insight and filled in the blanks between Ryan's POV. Oh, and the surprise ones were very informative too.

Essentially, this is a murder mystery featuring beautiful self-absorbed young characters who are so obviously keeping secrets from each other, find cheeky ways of concealing the truth by presenting pretty lies, and share a toxic friendship that ties them together. This group has so much room for destruction, it's no wonder they barely talked to each other since finishing school. There's also a lot of stylish drama and biting dialogue. Yes, the snark is strong in these characters. And I loved every minute of it. 😁

Another thing I enjoyed about this book is how well the location and season is portrayed. The description of the villa and beach is perfect to set the summery scene, making the heat drip off every page. Not to mention that as gorgeous as the view is, there's also a strong sense of unease beneath the surface the whole time. And when things start to unravel, it all comes undone very quickly. And violently.

This story might appear lovely on the surface, but there's a very ugly core at the heart of everything. The secrets these friends are keeping provide a twisty and awesome tale of deceit it's very easy to lose yourself in. None of these characters are innocent and it's easy to judge them, but I was still sad at the end. 😢

Man, I LOVED this excellent dark and twisted thriller that keeps you guessing until the end. 

Sunday 17 January 2021

NONE SHALL SLEEP by Ellie Marney


None Shall SleepNone Shall Sleep by Ellie Marney
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a book that I've had my eye on for a while because the concept sounded intriguing and I've heard great things about it. So I was super excited when we found a copy in one of our local Street Libraries. 😊

Emma Lewis and Travis Bell are teenagers who have suffered through separate personal trauma and survived. This is why the FBI approaches and recruits them to interview convicted juvenile killers.

They're supposed to concentrate on cold cases and provide insight adult agents can't. But when they're drawn into an active case involving a deranged psychopath, everything changes...

Wow. This book is an amazing and addictive read. I was instantly drawn into this story. As soon as it started, I was intrigued by the characters and everything moves at such a great pace that I couldn't help but get swept up in the investigation.

Emma is such a great character. She's smart and determined, she's also strong and a survivor who made it out of a nightmare kudnapping that still haunts her. Travis is a great partner to Emma. He's clever and ambitious, and wants to follow in his father's footsteps after losing him on the job. Together, they make a great team that really bring the story together.

Their immediate friendship is strong and real. I really enjoyed their connection and how well they work together.

Also, I found the focus placed on young killers fascinating. And really liked how the FBI was interested in finding out what makes a killer, what makes them tick, and what the difference is between them and their older counterparts. But all of this pales in comparison when the seriousness of an active serial killer really kicks in and everything they think they know gets turned upside down.

The cunning and creepy serial killer Simon Gutmunsson is also a great addition to this story. He's so Hannibal Lecter.

This is a fantastic book, I enjoyed the hell out of it, and the last one hundred pages were so tense and nerve-wracking. Plus I loved the ending!

View all my reviews

Friday 15 January 2021

IRONSIDE by Holly Black


Ironside: A Modern Faerie TaleIronside: A Modern Faerie Tale by Holly Black
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is another book I've had on my bookshelf for way too long. It's also the last book in a trilogy and it's about time I read it.

Kaye is a pixie. She's also a changeling and is in love with Roiben, who will soon become king in the Unseelie Court. Lost and miserable, she's convinced she doesn't fit in either world, even though she's part of both...

I'm so glad that I finally read this because it's a direct sequel to the first book, Tithe, and I loved that book. It's also a fast and entertaining story that doesn't shy away from the wickedness of the Fae, the cruel games they play, and the violence they're responsible for (and enjoy so much).

I love the way Holly Black superimposes the faerie realm alongside the human world. It's the best kind of disorientation, because one minute you understand exactly where the characters are and what they're doing. Then, when everything slips into the very unfamiliar, shadowy realm of the fae folk, anything goes.

I really like Kaye because she tries so hard to be helpful, though she doesn't need to. Even after finding out what she really is and falling for one of them, she still feels like having a foot in each world means she gets left behind in both. At least she has her best friend, Corny.

Well, Corny has his own trauma and secrets, and is willing to do just about anything to get revenge. While also hoping/pursuing his ambition on being different, which has some very unexpected results. 👀

I had such a great time following Kaye to the end of her adventure because it was great and so very satisfying.

So glad I read this awesome story because it was well overdue. And it's a great finale!

View all my reviews

Tuesday 12 January 2021



Two Can Keep a SecretTwo Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm storming through a bunch of my YA horror/strange/thrillers written by women because they rarely disappoint. And this is the next one on my list. 😊

While their mother is in rehab, Ellery and Ezra are shipped off to Echo Ridge to stay with their grandmother. This is the small town where their mother escaped, where their aunt disappeared, and where being a homecoming queen means really bad things...

Wow. This book gets off to a great and mysterious start! What first appears as the mundane misfortune of lost luggage soon turns into meeting an estranged grandmother, a neighbour who lost their daughter, and a dead body on the road. 👀

Yep. No wonder I was instantly hooked and couldn't wait to find out how this mystery was going to turn out. Just when you think more complications can't be added into this twisty mix, something else is added to throw everything out. There are so many secrets and mysteries--both past and present--to sort through.

And all of them, including the revelation, are totally messed up. Seriously.

The story unfolds through the very interesting POVs of Ellery and Malcolm. One is an outsider with a family history that ties her to Echo Ridge. The other is a resident whose family has been tainted by a past crime still haunting Echo Ridge. But their alternating experiences provide a great pace for the mystery to unfold. The story might be narrated by two teenagers, but the issues are all very adult. Yikes.

And OMG, that last line was a total shock. Like I said above, so messed up. This is such a great book!

I'm really enjoying this author's brand of thrillers and look forward to checking out the other two I have on my TBR pile. 

Sunday 10 January 2021

YOU MUST NOT MISS by Katrina Leno


You Must Not MissYou Must Not Miss by Katrina Leno
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So far this year I've read books I've had my eye on for a while, and this is another one. I actually bought this one a few months ago but have been looking forward to checking it out for a lot longer than that.

Also, will you look at that beautiful cover! It's colourful and full of rage and features pretty birds. Yeah, it really caught my eye.

Magpie's life fell apart six months ago. Her father hurt her mother. Her mother started drinking herself to oblivion. Her older sister left. And her best friend stopped talking to her after a big party. Now, she's finally starting to open up to her new group of friends, but she's also discovered Near. A place she wrote about in her yellow notebook...

Oooooh. This is one amazing book that's hard to put into one single genre because it fits into so many. It's a serious commentary on rape culture. It's a complicated look at friendship and family. It's a thorough study about the effects trauma has on someone. And it's a dark fantasy story with a wicked horror lining.

Also, there are so many trigger warnings that can be applied to this story, it's easier to say all of them. I'm not kidding or trying to make light of it. I mean it.

The writing style is so nice, I found myself falling headfirst into the narrative. Magpie's story is full of mystery from the very first sentence and the more I read, the more intoxicating her words become because we get hints about the series of events that destroyed her family and friendship, but it's obvious there's so much more under the surface.

Another thing that I absolutely loved about this book was the weirdness. And I'm not even talking about the surreal appearance of the land of Near. It's everything. In Magpie's school days, her home life and everything in between. I often found myself wondering what was real and what was imagined, but all of it is tinged with darkness.

All the characters in this book are interesting in their own way. Some because they are so kind and nice (Ben, Clare, Brianna, Luke, Jeremy), others because they are awful (Allison, Brandon, Dad), and the rest because they are absent or just don't bother noticing what's really going on (Mom, teachers).

This story is quite confronting and disturbing in so many ways. It also highlights how a nice, average person who's constantly shoved aside can slowly morph into an angry monster determined to enact revenge.

It's sad, relatable and such a fantastic book. I really (really) enjoyed this. I loved the cover before, but after reading it's also a perfect representation of Magpie's experience.

View all my reviews

Friday 8 January 2021

DEAD SILENCE by Kimberly Derting


Dead Silence (The Body Finder, #4)Dead Silence by Kimberly Derting
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the last book in a YA thriller series that somehow got lost in my bookshelf, but should've been read ages ago. Especially since I enjoyed the first three books so much!

Violet has been through a lot. She can hear the echoes of the dead and imprints from their killers. But after surviving a kidnapping herself, she now carries her own imprint and it's making life almost impossible. But everything is about to get so much worse...

Wow. What a great ending to a wonderful and very suspenseful series, with an intriguing concept that never stopped being interesting.

Even though it's been years since I read the third book in this quartet, I slipped back into Violet's world as soon as I started reading. All of the important details about the previous books seemed to mysteriously come back to me. Of course, the awesome narrative helped to jog my memory enough that I fell into the swing of things instantly.

I've liked Violet from the beginning because she was brave and determined to help whenever/however she could. Often, putting herself in danger to do so. Her stubborness was a trait that should've been frustrating, but wasn't. I also loved Violet and Jay as a couple. They were adorable together and faced several dilemmas, but their connection and friendship always shone through. And his constant support of her gift was so cool.

The mystery that Violet needs to solve/chase in this one is simple enough, but SO messed up. And ties in with her work with the team at the Centre, as well as some very cool revelations about her grandmother and the gift they shared.

I'm so glad I finally read the conclusion to this very awesome series because I couldn't put it down.

Love when a series has a fantastic conclusion. 😊 

Thursday 7 January 2021

A Productive Start to the New Year...

I hope you all enjoyed a nice and relaxing Happy New Year! 🎉

So, 2021 is finally here and so far, it looks exactly the same as 2020. Most mornings it's hard to remember what day it is, Covid-19 is still infecting the world, right-wing governments DGAF, and people are still acting like violent assholes. 😑

I knew there wouldn't be a magical switch at midnight, but I was hoping people would at least start behaving better. And of course, I was wrong.


I was expecting to start this week with not much more than sporadic reading, some show watching and story idea dreaming. Instead, I spent the second day of the year working on edits for an upcoming novella. The next day, I answered interview questions, and the day after that I kinda overcame my aversion to hearing my voice by recording a short story excerpt. 😮

Yeah. There was quite a bit to get through but it felt SO GOOD to actually get all of this done. I seriously didn't expect to be this productive. LOL.

I also wrote and posted my annual New Year blog posts:

I love starting the year with these. It just feels right. A way of saying goodbye to 2020 and moving into 2021. 😍

Asides from all of the above, I also got stuck into several very awesome books. And remembered there's a very good reason why I love reading YA horror written by women. So far, HARROW LAKE and THE RULES FOR VANISHING did a great job reminding me.

We also watched the final season of Chilling Tales of Sabrina. I LOVE this show because it doesn't shy away from the dark and gory. It's also so much fun and such a great feminist show full of witchy goodness. Plus, the aesthetics happens to be Every Day is Halloween and I'm totally there for that look. Every single day. 🎃

It's sad to see it go and The End turned out to be pretty tragic, but I'm happy with how Sabrina's story was told during these four seasons. 😢

Well, that's it for now.

Try to have a nice week!

MERIDIAN by Amber Kizer


Meridian (Fenestra, #1)Meridian by Amber Kizer
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I've had this book on my shelf for years, but for one reason or another, it kept getting lost in the piles. So, I pulled it out this year and decided I was FINALLY going to read it.

On her sixteenth birthday, Meridian's life inexplicably changes even more than it had before. Her parents send her away to live with an aunt she's never met, to a town she's never visited...

I loved the Prologue and got caught up in Meridian's strange life and the quest she finds herself on. But as the story moved along, I noticed my attitude changing. Any connection I had with Meridian faded fast. I couldn't connect with the stuff bubbling up in Revelation, and didn't care for any of the other characters.

Not to mention that there was something preachy about the whole worldbuilding. Judgy, even. And it grated on my nerves. A lot.

Anyway, I was already past the halfway point when I gritted my teeth and skim/read to the end. And things didn't get any better.

View all my reviews

Wednesday 6 January 2021

RULES FOR VANISHING by Kate Alice Marshall


Rules For VanishingRules For Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Here's another book, with an awesome creepy cover, that I've had on my TBR pile for a while.

Sara’s sister disappeared a year ago and she thinks she knows where to find her. Sara's convinced her sister, Becca, went looking for the local legend about Lucy Gallows and got lost. Searching for Becca means finding Lucy’s road and sticking to a bunch of strange rules. But what this group of friends finds is darker than any of them could've expected...

Wow. Talk about totally hooked. Yep. That was me as soon as I started reading this book. Seriously. The ominous dread creeps into this story from the beginning, and never stops.

I LOVE how this complicated and dark story is told. There are interviews, video footage, texts, and Sarah's account of what happened. The pacing is perfect because one piece follows the next in such a precise way that the overall picture slowly starts to come together in a muddled and freaky kind of way.

Also, I really enjoyed reading Sara's POV because sometimes she sounded so sincere, and other times it was quite obvious that she was either intentionally leaving out details or was so traumatised by the loss of her sister that she honestly forgot stuff. Is she an unreliable narrator, or a girl doing the best she can? It's up to the reader to decide.

Well, until everything becomes obvious and clicks into place. 😳

Another very cool thing about this story is the exploration of friendship between a diverse group of teenagers. The problems and space between them varies, but all of it is intriguing and so interesting I found it hard to tear myself away from this book.

There's so much going on here. A girl looking for her sister, friends reconnecting, a very dangerous local legend, a surreal adventure, and the results of an in-depth paranormal investigation. And I enjoyed the hell out of every piece of this dark puzzle.

Fascinating. Creepy. Amazing.

View all my reviews

CAMPFIRE MACABRE is now available!

I'm super excited to announce that my story, House of Summons, has been published in this awesome anthology packed full of horror flash fiction.


50+ original flash horror tales organized by five themes: Spook Houses, Supernatural Slashers, Witchcraft, Within the Woods, and Cemetery Chillers. A book perfect for time spent around the campfire or on a long car trip! Brand new pieces from award-winning storytellers and established authors.

Cover design by Luke Spooner.

My story is part of the Supernatural Slashers section.

I still can't believe I'm sharing a TOC with so many awesome authors! ☺

  It's now available from Amazon:


Tuesday 5 January 2021

My New Planner

If you've read my blog during the last few years, then you know that for me a New Year also means a New Planner

Last year I went with the Star Wars Millennium Falcon design:

And this year I picked this one...

I ❤ this one because it's so appropriate at the moment. 😁

This particular Moleskine is my favourite format. It has One Page for a week with Opposite Blank Page on the other side. I love being able to keep a record of everything I do daily on the left (calendar side), and then add more detailed notes on the right (lined page). 

Now I'm ready to fill my planner with important dates, stickers, washi tape and most importantly: the progress of my goals. 

What about you? 

Do you use a planner? 

If you do...

Happy planning!


Monday 4 January 2021

HARROW LAKE by Kat Ellis


Harrow LakeHarrow Lake by Kat Ellis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've wanted to read this book for a while now, so I'm really glad that I made it my first book for 2021. Also, I love this cover. It's bright and simple, yet still manages to look super creepy.

To say that Lola's parents are problematic is an understatement. Her father is a famous horror filmmaker and her mother was an actor who walked out on them when she was little.

When her father is attacked in their apartment and ends up in hospital, Lola's sent off to live with the grandmother she's never met. In the creepy town called Harrow Lake, where her parents met and made his most iconic horror movie. A place lost in the past and surrounded by myths and stories. That might be true...

Wow. I absolutely LOVED this book. What an awesome and freaky story! It was the perfect book to start the year with because I enjoyed the hell out of it.

I was hooked from the beginning because it started with an intriguing and very revealing interview and as soon as I met Lola, my interest was solidified. Her voice was strong, stubborn and so very snarky. She has quite the attitude and keeps plenty of secrets. I loved that she was such a big horror fan and moving to a creepy town affects her in very unexpected ways. Ways that end up terrifying and confusing her every step of the way.

There are SO many things I loved about this book, and one of them was the amazing writing style. The story unfolds so naturally within the narrative and dialogue, as well as through the characters. Speaking of which, every character in this story is fascinating. Some for worst reasons than others, but they all tied in so well.

And OMG, those last three chapters were AMAZING! 😳

This book was definitely my kind of horror story. Creepy. Engrossing. Twisted. Full of dread, misdirection and disorientation. Awesome.

Fantastic story with plenty of twists, turns and a shocking conclusion.

View all my reviews

Tracking Words & Pages

Hey! How are you today? It's time to post another New Year tradition on my blog.

I've posted a screenshot of my previous year's Word Count Tracking Sheets for a while now. So, here are my 2020 stats:

Total words written: 304,686. 
Total pages revised 2,078.

Although 2020 turned out to be pretty hellish year in so many ways because of Covid-19, and sometimes things got so scary and bleak that trying to focus was hard, I was determined to tackle several of the WIPs on my to-write list. I wanted to retain some normalcy, and because writing is something I really enjoy, this helped me cope.

BTW, if you're wondering where I got this very handy spreadsheet, it's something Sidney Bristol used to annually share on her blog. Although this side of her blog hasn't been updated for a long while, you can still get your hands on the basic spreadsheet HERE. All you have to do is update the year yourself. 

Either way, I wanted to give her the credit she deserves because I LOVE using this spreadsheet. It's so helpful and helps me keep track of my daily, monthly and yearly productivity. ☺ 

This post is purely about word and page count stats. If you're interested in a more detailed list, the other day I posted a breakdown of my 2020 Goals

I've already set up my spreadsheet for 2021 and look forward to adding all my progress.  

Here's to another productive year!

Sunday 3 January 2021

Some Kind of Goals

Welcome to my 2021 Goals post. 😊 

As you might know, I don't make any New Year's resolutions because they don't work. Resolutions are a thing we mention a few times at the beginning of the year and shortly forget about. They don't stick.

Instead, I put together a list of goals. 

I like to post my yearly goals list here, but also make smaller lists daily, weekly, monthly... Whatever works at the time. I love doing this because it helps to streamline my projects.

These are the things I'd like to achieve this year: 
  • Continue our daily walks and eventually (depending on pandemic status) introduce a second walk again
  • Keep doing yoga workouts and mix them up with the morning walking schedule
  • Write between 100-200k words 
  • Read 50 books 
  • Finalise some (of the many) horror novel first drafts sitting on my hard drive
  • Write two new novels 
  • Write a novella or two
  • Keep writing short stories & subbing
  • Take part in NaNoWriMo 
  • Keep up with the clutter/book/stationery sorting 
  • Actually play a game or two on my 2DS & Switch Lite (especially interested in Mr. DRILLER & Goetia)

Well, there it is! 

This is my list for 2021.

After the way 2020 turned out, are you making any goals this year?

Saturday 2 January 2021

Reading 2021


The start of a new year means a new Goodreads Reading Challenge...

I usually set my annual goal as 100 books, but this year, I've decided to make my 2021 Reading Challenge 50 books.

The main reason is because I have several longer books I'd like to tackle this year. Chunky tomes that are over 700 pages. So, I think lowering the total of my GR Challenge will take some pressure off.

These are some of the other mini-challenges I'd like to complete:
  • Keep a good balance between reading books for review, books from my personal bookshelves, thrift store books, Kindle, Kobo and tablet. (While I kinda managed to do this last year, I want to enhance this.) 
  • Stop putting off highly-anticipated books and read them whenever the mood strikes. (I'm still hopeless at doing this and need to improve.)
  • Continue to catch up on series and trilogy books to get some of these finished. (Once again, I really need to do better with this.)
  • Read more short story collections and anthologies. (I keep failing at this and really need to get better.)
  • I hate DNFing books--and feel bad doing it every time--but it's getting easier. With the amount of books I have, if a book doesn't grab me, I HAVE to put it aside.

As you can tell, my main Reading Goal for this year is to read whatever book I feel like reading whenever I feel like reading it. I'm done with putting pressure on myself.

You can keep up with my progress on My Reading Page or at Goodreads

So, how many books do YOU plan to read this year? 

Here's to another year full of awesome reading!

Friday 1 January 2021

Happy New Year!

Hope you're all having a great day. 😊

I can't believe we finally managed to leave behind the nightmare that was 2020, to welcome 2021. 

Personally, I don't think the first half of this year is going to look too different because all the stuff that made 2020 suck is still (very much) here. But I really (really) hope that things start getting better for our sad and sick world.

For starters, the US will get an actual President this month. That's a void that's been missing for four very long years. And there are several vaccine programs, which I hope will help control the Covid-19 spread. 

A new year means it's time to get stuck into a new set of goals and plans. Or to enhance on the ones that already worked.

Let's hope THIS is the year the world gets back on track. That during 2021, people start using their brains and empathy, instead of this awful antique way of looking at life through political views. The cruelty has to stop and people need to start respecting others and minding their own business. If someone's life choices make them happy and aren't hurting anyone, try something different: let them be.

And social distance. This is something that seriously needs to continue past the pandemic.

Anyway, that's enough preaching from me. Have an awesome, productive, healthy and exciting 2021!

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