Friday 28 May 2021

CREEPSHOW: The Taker by Elley Cooper


Creepshow: The TakerCreepshow: The Taker by Elley Cooper
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I love Creepshow, so when I found out about this book, I HAD to buy a copy...

And I was SO VERY disappointed.

OMG, where do I begin with this? Do I start by mentioning that neither of these stories had any Creepshow vibes? Do I mention how they were obviously trying to be Goosebumps and failed miserably? Or maybe I should just say that neither of these stories was even remotely creepy, freaky or scary?! They were so dull. So... ugh.

The first story, The Taker was so predictable I knew how it would end after the first chapter. And getting there was a struggle of endless dancing chatter, silly mean girls and boring conversations.

Didn't like this much.

The second story, Pretty Polly was slightly better but once again, not creepy at all. I actually didn't buy anything that was going on. And worse still, I didn't care.

So, there you have it.

In my opinion, as a fan of this franchise since the 80s, these two stories are terrible. They lack the addictive quality of Creepshow tales, failed to hook me in or keep my attention, and they were NOT creepy or freaky or scary. Or even campy. 😐

Think I'll stick with the show.

Thursday 27 May 2021

May Yay!


How are you today? Hope your week is going well.

I'm feeling good at the moment because I tackled the final read-thru of Destiny and it went well.

Just to jog your memory, this is when I put the finished novel on my Paperwhite, sit down on the couch and read the story from start to finish. This is my last chance to find anything that sounds off, needs to be deleted, and also when any rep words stand out. It's not as much work as the previous drafts, but involves being very nitpicky and then manually making all the changes to the Word doc.

Anyway, here's how my week went:

Monday: 70/181 (70,735w)
Tuesday: 125/181 (70,654w)
Wednesday: 181/181 (70,688w)
Thursday: 181pgs / 70,704w 

As you can see, I actually reached The End yesterday. But today was all about tidying the last minute details and backing up all my drives with the updated versions.

Yay. I'm SO HAPPY. 😁🎉

Not only am I super excited about getting this novel done by my self-imposed goal date of 31st May, but this is a story that's been with me for a while. Since early 2018! Yep, that long. It all started when the image of a misplaced demonic girl popped into my head. By the time I sat down to write her tale, it ended up becoming so much more. And I love how it turned out.

This also happens to be a NaNoWriMo novel, which makes it even more exciting. 😊

The other awesome thing about completing this novel is that it means I'm still sticking to the Revision Plans I made in April. Completing as many (of the nine 😵) first drafts as I can this year is my main writing goal for 2021. 

And so far, I've completed these:
  1. Full edit of Wall of Dolls
  2. Full revision of Destiny
It doesn't sound like much, but just getting these two projects done involved critically reading each of these novels at least three times. From start to finish! It's time consuming and mentally exhausting, but I enjoy the process. 🙂

Anyway, I'll eventually have to figure out where to sub this story, but for now I'm going to take a bit of a mental break before getting stuck into the next revision project.

Have an awesome day!

Friday 21 May 2021

May's Revision Continues...

Hey! What's new? How's everything going?

Here in Sydney, winter's decided to start early and most days, I'm finding it hard to stay warm. I'm also not happy about the winter season being here already. This happens to be the only season I don't like or enjoy. So, yeah. I'm trying not to let it get to me. And that's kinda easy to do when you throw yourself into revision.

Yep. That's right! This week I got stuck into Destiny's third draft and finished it yesterday. Yay.

Here's how it went: 
  • Monday: 58/170pgs (68,721w) 
  • Tuesday: 116/172pgs (69,168w)
  • Wednesday: 159/175pgs (70,306w)
  • Thursday: 177w / 70,749w

As I mentioned last week, my goal for May is to revise and finalise my NaNoWriMo2020 novel and I'm sooooo close now. All I have left is to proofread the whole thing on my Paperwhite, which I want to tackle next week. 

I really enjoy this part of the revision because reading the novel on my Kindle makes any last-minute glaring problems/issues stand out. It also means that I can lose myself in the story and make sure everything makes sense. 😁

Also, how cool is it that the total word count has passed 70k? I'm very excited. Not so much because of the actual numbers, but because the additions I've made really strengthen the novel, as well as the characters. I just love it when everything comes together.

I also read two different books this week. One was a paperback, which I read during the day. The other was a Kindle, and I read this one at night. Both started out fantastic, but I ended up DNFing the one on my Paperwhite. 😵

If you're interested, these are the books:

So it ended up being a pretty busy week. We also squeezed in yoga workouts and a lot of walking. Like I said, busy-busy.

Anyway, that's it for now. I'm going to enjoy the weekend with hubby.

Have a great one!

MY COUSIN RACHEL by Daphne du Maurier


My Cousin RachelMy Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been meaning to get stuck into this book for a while, and when I mentioned it to hubby the other day, he recommended I make it my next read. So, I did!

Philip Ashley was raised by his much older cousin, Ambrose and looks up to him. Ambrose is a little spiky, sickly in the winter and doesn't seem to like women much. So when he tells Philip he's met someone abroad and marries her, Philip is concerned. But that's nothing compared to what happens after Ambrose dies. Yet, Cousin Rachel is unlike anyone he's ever met before, and Philip eventually finds himself caught up in her very alluring web...

OMG. This turned out to be quite a wicked and tangled story dripping with so much ambiguity, I'll be thinking about this for years to come.

Is Rachel guilty? Is she innocent? Funny enough, none of that matters once you get lost in this lush and bleak gothic story. There's just so much crammed into this, and all of it packs quite a punch.

I have to admit, I was pretty much hooked from the very beginning. There's something highly addictive about Daphne du Maurier's writing. She paints such an intricate picture of what should be mundane situations and locations, but darkens them with an air of malice that draws me in every time.

The same thing happened with Rebecca. I love getting swept away by lush prose and wicked stories, so this is my perfect reading ambience.

As much as I suspected Rachel early on, but kept changing my mind, I found it really hard to feel much sympathy for Ambrose or Philip. These privileged men are wealthy, have such high opinions of themselves and despise women so much for no other reason than choosing not to be exposed to them, that it was easy to dislike them. And to not trust much of what Phillip narrates.

I mean, I did feel some empathy for Philip because he's an orphaned boy who was raised so closed off from the rest of the world, that he didn't get a chance to experience much through his own eyes. His whole life, even after his cousin's death, is seen through Ambrose-coloured glasses.

There's a lot of commentary woven into this story about strong independent women who are comfortable in their sexuality. As well as the silliness of men who lose their shit over a woman, while still trying to convince everyone that women are weaker and too emotional. 😒

That's okay, we all saw the truth. And I love how it was expressed in this story via Philip's obsession and suspicion.

I really enjoyed this darkly gothic treat, and didn't expect that ending. Or maybe I did.

THE PASSAGE by Justin Cronin


The Passage (The Passage, #1)The Passage by Justin Cronin
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Okay, I'm calling it quits @ 35%.

Firstly, I want to say that the first 33% (288 pages) of this book deserves 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 because it was utterly brilliant. It hooked me in, kept me glued to the page, and I was excited about what looked to be an epic story.

After that, it lost me.

This is a book I've had on my Paperwhite for ages. So, the other night, I decided to check it out... and before I realised what was going on, I'd finished the first (super long) chapter.

That's when I decided it was definitely something I wanted to read. Actually, the more I read, the deeper I fell into this story and the many characters that form the core of what's slowly revealed.

To say I was fascinated is an understatement. To say I was intrigued is putting it way too mildly. I was fucking hooked and although I desperately wanted to know everything right away, I took my time. After all, this is an almost 900-page book! 👀

There are many stories interwoven into this book, about what's currently going on and how these characters got where they are now. One that I found particularly sad was Carter and Mrs. Woods. It starts out as such a sweet and kind meeting between two opposites that ends in total heartbreak. 😢

Anyway, I kept reading and followed Wolgast and Amy as they hid in the mountains as the world fell apart. I really enjoyed this bit too.

Then, I hit Part III and thought, okay, what's going on here? Even though my interest started fading, I kept reading. BUT getting to Part IV really threw me for a loop because all of a sudden, there's a huge time jump and a whole new cast of people are introduced. Except, they weren't interesting and my mind started to wander. When that happens, it's hard to get me back.

So that's it. I'm out @ 35% because I no longer care about the story, the people or even whatever the big secret is. I'm SO DISAPPOINTED! I was loving this book and then, pow! The story shifted so much I suddenly felt lost and disoriented.

Oh well. It's a shame, but I'm glad I found out early so I don't waste my time with the rest of this super long book, and the other two massive books that follow.

I'll always remember those 288 pages, though, because I absolutely loved them.

(Also, I don't usually rate books I DNF, but I read so much of this one and got so emotionally invested in it, that I had to.)

Friday 14 May 2021



Kitty Rocks the House (Kitty Norville, #11)Kitty Rocks the House by Carrie Vaughn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's been WAY too long since I read the 10th book in this very awesome series, so I've decided to finish it this year.

Kitty always manages to find trouble, and always has too much on her plate. But this time, she's about to reach breaking point...

I loved this! No matter how much time goes by between books, reading the next one always feels like catching up with old friends. And this installment was full of chaos, surprises, pack drama and action. Not to mention that something totally unexpected happened with Rick, the Master Vampire of Denver. Didn't expect that, but can't wait to see where it leads.

All I'm going to say is this: Catholic vamps. I mean, you wouldn't normally make that connection, but it totally works.

I always enjoy the pack dynamics, and the uneasy relationship Kitty has with Cormac. But her marriage with Ben and the way they run their territory is so cool. Proves violence and intimidation aren't always the best way to lead. Talking goes a long way.

Anyway, I enjoyed this a lot and can't wait to read the next one.

Thursday 13 May 2021

May's Revision Begins...

Hey! How are you today, and how's your week going? I spent mine doing a bit of revision.

Yep. It was definitely time to get stuck into my 2021 Revision Plans. Well, technically I started last month by completing the edit of Wall of Dolls, but this month I'm starting on the many first drafts I've been neglecting for several years. And I started with my 2020 NaNoWriMo novel.

The first draft word count for Destiny was 65,560. It was a story that started out with a small and simple idea about a creepy abandoned town in the middle of nowhere and became so much more. Several new pivotal characters popped up while writing the first draft, the antagonist became something else, and my main girl's voice was strong and a lot of fun.

Don't be fooled by my mention of fun, though. This is a horror story with urban fantasy elements. Or is it an urban fantasy with horror elements? Either way works for me because there's plenty of violent imagery and horrid situations. Plus, there are several relationships: familial, romantic and friendship.

Here's my progress: 

  • Monday: 51/164pgs (66,710w)
  • Tuesday: 112/166pgs (66,699w)
  • Wednesday: 160/165pgs (67,048w)
  • Thursday: 167pgs / 67,805w

I'm glad I decided to work on this WIP now because it was totally the right time. I know it might sound strange to say that, but sometimes you just know/feel when it's time to tackle a certain project. And this week was definitely Destiny's time.

Usually, during the second draft I develop a hate-love relationship with the story and question why I bothered to write it in the first place. Then I fall in love with it again during the third draft. But this time, I was feeling the story all the way through. Of course, I still made plenty of changes, additions, cleaned up the draft and deleted chunks. 

I'm really excited about this story and even though I just finished the second draft, I'm looking forward to tackling the next one. Not sure if I'll take the rest of the week and weekend off, or the whole week. I'll need to consult the calendar, but either way my goal is to have this novel finished by the end of May.🤞

Anyway, I'm going to take it easy for a bit.

Have a nice day!

Friday 7 May 2021

THE RETURN by Rachel Harrison


Her best friend disappeared. A stranger came back.

Julie is missing, and no one believes she will ever return-except Elise. Elise knows Julie better than anyone. She feels it in her bones that her best friend is out there and that one day Julie will come back.

She's right. Two years to the day that Julie went missing, she reappears with no memory of where she's been or what happened to her.

Along with Molly and Mae, their two close friends from college, the women decide to reunite at a remote inn. But the second Elise sees Julie, she knows something is wrong-she's emaciated, with sallow skin and odd appetites. And as the weekend unfurls, it becomes impossible to deny that the Julie who vanished two years ago is not the same Julie who came back. But then who-or what-is she? 

I've had my eye on this book for ages, so I want to thank Hachette Australia for sending me a copy.

When Julie disappears, her friends are devastated and suffer through their own versions of grief. But then she comes back two years later, and they're determined to get together. Except, strange things happen during their long weekend stay in the Red Honey Inn and Julie doesn't seem like the same person...

Wow. This is one freaky and awesome book! As soon as I started, I couldn't put it down.

The creepiness settles in early, and never stops. Actually, it intensifies because everything feels odd from the very beginning. And I loved every single disturbing minute.

Not only is the location this dysfunctional group of friends spend time in ooze the darkest of atmospheric dread, but their fragile connection is just as mysterious and dangerous. These women are keeping secrets from each other, themselves and everyone else, but also seem to know one another better than anyone else. I loved how these two polarising aspects were shown through their every action. One second they're totally lovingly friendly, the next they're bickering like crazy.

The story is told through the first-person POV of Elise. She's an interesting but problematic narrator, and often manipulates the direction of the story, but I loved this intimate writing style because it made everything even edgier. And the other characters helped round out what was going on in that sinister hotel.

The Return is a totally addictive, chilling story about the deepest of friendships, the toxicity that festers when the truth is avoided out of fear, and the twisted effect secrets have when allowed to grow so much they become their own entity.

I enjoyed this SO much! Loved everything about it.

The Return, March 2021, ISBN 9781529351965, Hodder & Stoughton

Thursday 6 May 2021


He jumped to his death in front of witnesses. Now his wife is charged with murder.

Five years ago, Erin Kennedy moved to New York following a family tragedy. She now lives happily with her detective husband in the scenic seaside town of Newport, Long Island. When Erin answers the door to Danny's police colleagues one morning, it's the start of an ordinary day. But behind her, Danny walks to the window of their fourth-floor apartment and jumps to his death.

Eighteen months later, Erin is in court, charged with her husband's murder. Over that year and a half, Erin has learned things about Danny she could never have imagined. She thought he was perfect. She thought their life was perfect. 

But it was all built on the perfect lie. 

This is a surprise book Hachette Australia sent me last week. I knew nothing about this story and have to thank Bella for sending me a copy because this turned out to be quite a twisty and totally engrossing tale.

When Erin's husband jumps off the balcony of their apartment, she's horrified. Distraught and heartbroken, she sets off to find out why her seemingly happy detective husband would suddenly kill himself in front of her. And what she discovers is a web of lies and secrets that chase her after his death... 

Wow. This was such a great book!

With a stunning first chapter that packs such a heavy emotional and shocking punch, I was totally hooked. And then the second chapter totally threw me out because how could this poor woman be charged with the murder of a man who killed himself? 😳

Well, nothing is as it seems in this book and I had a great time watching the lies and secrets unravel. The reader is taken on such a wild and unexpected ride that for a while, all the moving parts seem to be disconnected but eventually fit together to reveal a disturbing puzzle.

The story is mostly told in Erin's Now and Then POV, but we also catch a glimpse of someone else's perspective that really helps round out what's going on. 

Another thing that kept me glued to the pages was Erin. I felt so bad for her and couldn't wait to find out how her heartbreaking tale was going to end up. She's a great narrator who is forced to face a lot of terrible truths but had so much strength it was worth investing time in her. 

The Perfect Lie is an addictive thriller, a total page-turner because I couldn't wait to find out all the answers. It's also filled with real characters and the writing style is exceptional.

This was my first Jo Spain book but it most certainly won't be my last.

The Perfect Lie, May 2021, ISBN 9781529407235, Quercus

Tuesday 4 May 2021

POLTERHEIST by Laura Resnick


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

Well, it was about time I read the next book in the Esther Diamond series! 😊

It's the festive season and Esther has to pay the rent, so she gets a job as a jewish elf and Santa helper at Fenster & Co. But weird things are happening in this store, enough to freak out both customers and employees...

This was another super fun addition to this awesome & funny urban fantasy series.

The beginning of Esther's next adventure started out on a freaky and hilarious note. I actually laughed quite a few times, and then found myself wondering what was going on in this weird store. Setting it during the crazy Christmas season while trying to diversify the festivities certainly added to the entertainment factor. It was also a great platform for trouble.

I get such a kick out of meeting a new cast of goofy characters and catching up with some familiar ones. Satsy's in the house and so is Jeff, as well as Lucky. Of course Max and Nelli stop by because Esther needs their brand of expertise. Plus, Lopez just can't stay away. 😅

I actually really enjoyed the sizzling connection between them in this book. I really hope this is the start of something wonderful between them.

Yep. I enjoyed the hell out of Esther's latest tale.

Oh and BTW, I love the book titles and covers in this series.

View all my reviews

Saturday 1 May 2021

A Bit of Editing

Hello again!

Well, this week, it was back to editing for me. This time it was the final edit of my upcoming YA horror novel, Wall of Dolls.

Because I'm such a double checker (or is that glutton for punishment? 😂) of course I read the whole thing again. This time felt more like a proofread. I even managed to get lost in some of the creepier scenes. And that's a great thing because when I'm revising/editing, I'm super critical with my story.

This also made me realise that I'm pretty much done with this story.

Anyway, this is how it went:

  • Monday: 119/218pgs
  • Tuesday: 218pgs
  • Wednesday: Checked & emailed back

I'm SO excited!! Yay. 😄🎉

I worked really hard on this book. I wrote this about three/four years ago so my writing has changed/evolved quite a bit since then and I wanted to make the final result as good as I could. And with my editor's help, I was able to make a lot of improvements/changes to make the story better and even creepier. I'm serious, thanks to Liz, I ended up cutting three chapters, blended two into one, strengthened family bonds, softened some unnecessary sharp edges and even added new stuff.

Yep. I'm very happy with how it's turned out and can't wait to see the finished product!

After finishing the edit, I took a mental break. And this apparently means going through my books and DNFing the hell out of stuff that doesn't grab me. 😅 I actually DNFd 13 books on Thursday and 11 on Friday.

A lot of these books ended up being Richard Laymon books I found in a thrift store a few years ago. I was so disappointed because I was looking forward to checking out his books and they turned out to be such shitty sexist dribble. Ugh. 😑

Anyway, now it's time to enjoy the weekend. Have a good one!

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