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Thursday, 16 September 2021

September's Revision Begins...

Hey! How are you today? Can you believe we're halfway into this month already? Yikes. Time sure moves fast. 😕

Today, I'm not going to dwell on the Covid situation for long because we all know that between how infectious this Delta strain is, the useless government's lack of leadership, anti-vaxxers and selfish assholes, things aren't getting any better. Our numbers are constantly over 1k daily and this ridiculous never-ending mockdown just isn't working. Ugh.

Anyway, I took a three-week break after my latest revision WIP. So, it was finally time to get stuck into the next project on my 2021 Revision List. 📝

This time I'm tackling a YA horror novel I wrote back in September 2018 and is tentatively titled, Monsters. This is a story about a family going through a really bad time. It deals with dark family secrets, Greek mythology and monsters. It's a bit of a tragedy full of complicated relationships.

Here's how I went:

  • Friday: 21/215pgs (77,834w)
  • Monday: 65/215pgs (77,621w)
  • Tuesday: 117/211pgs (76,544w)
  • Wednesday: 173/206pgs (74,797w)
  • Thursday: 202pgs / 73,600w
As you can see, I ended up cutting quite a bit. Phew. I'm not afraid to chop away chunks of words if it makes the story better and/or stronger.

Just like Possess, going back to this novel was a little strange because I didn't remember so much of what actually happens. Seriously, a few of the mystery threads had me stumped until everything was revealed. I like to have some distance after a first draft, but I reckon that a three-year break might be a bit too long. 😅

I mentioned this last time, and have to touch on it again because I think this will keep happening with my older WIPs. The second draft ends up being more of a reunion, a chance for me to catch up. LMAO. This is when I find myself fixing a lot of the odd sentences/phrasing and cutting anything that sounds wrong. I deleted over 4k words during this draft, including the Epilogue I don't think it needs. 

I'll probably end up adding words during the third draft because there are a several scenes and situations that definitely need a bit of tweaking. And of course, I've already started a Revision List.

These older stories are turning out to be hard work, but totally worth it. 😅

Well, it looks like I'll be taking a three-day break before tackling the third draft on Monday. I'm actually looking forward to getting stuck into this new version, and really want to sharpen/tighten everything even more.

Have a great day!

Thursday, 9 September 2021

EXPOSED NERVES by Lucy A. Snyder


Exposed Nerves continues the explorations into dark poetry by Stoker Award winner and Shirley Jackson Award nominee Lucy A. Snyder, pairing the author’s sly wordplay and imagery with grim introspection. By turns challenging, wryly amusing and gut-wrenching, Snyder’s work plumbs bittersweet catharsis and maps a survivor’s path through dangerous worlds, both the real and the horrifically imagined.



Around this time last year, I read a short story collection by Lucy A. Snyder that I enjoyed immensely, so of course I was interested in checking out her poetry collection. I mean, look at that haunting and very visceral cover!

This dark book is broken up into four parts, and each section contains a variety of biting and important poems. Every single one of these burrowed deep into my mind until every word became so much more than a lovely connection of words, and the undercurrent of meaning exploded right after reading.

There's a lot of social commentary within the pages of this inspiring book. Some of these observations are subtle and concealed in clever ways displaying dual meanings. But others get straight to the point and are rather confronting in their convictions of truth, and had me nodding because many of these situations were so familiar.

Not just because she does such a great job at highlighting the many different degrees of horror girls and women go through every single day of their lives, but also because of the racism and inequality in our society. And the disbelief or disregard given to some because of the colour of their skin, sexual orientation, gender, or just for daring to be different and speak out about it.

I also found that the title, Exposed Nerves, is the perfect representation for this book because of how well Lucy A. Snyder captured the rawness of every situation. But don't fret, there are also some cunning, playful and lighter poems that will make you smile.

Well, this turned out to be quite a memorable collection.

I have to thank you Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi and Raw Dog Screaming Press for sending me a copy!





Wednesday, 8 September 2021

WHEN THE CICADAS STOP SINGING by Zachary Ashford

 

When the poison gas first leaked out of the ground, they thought the horror would be over in no time.

But they kept dying.

When the lizard-men followed, swarming the land and picking off the survivors, those who remained were scattered to the hills and the forests.

Most did not last long.

But Cora, who found refuge and made a home in the mountains, where she lives with the memory of her dead son, still fights.

Tenacious, she lives wild and protects that home from the lizards who seek to kill her. Until now. Man has also arrived and he’s not friendly.

 

The author of this novella sent me an ARC, so I was lucky enough to read this thrilling story before it's release. Thank you, Zachary! 🙂

The world is a ruined and desolate place after poisonous gas leaked out into the cities and destroyed everything. Then the lizard-men came and started killing the survivors. Cora left with her son to live in the wild mountains and forest, in hopes of finding a somewhat comfortable life. But things didn't turn out that way and when a mysterious couple invades her territory, she'll do whatever she can to protect her land...

Wow. This was one fantastic and brutal story. I read it in one sitting because I couldn't put it down.

From the very beginning, we're introduced to a very likeable and crafty woman who is weighed down by grief, but still has the strength to get on with her life. Well, it's a lonely existence, really. And she's fine with that because people are a problem she wants to keep her distance from.

Not only that, but she still has to deal with the lizard-men. Vile creatures that appeared after the world was ruined and hunt/kill humans. They're awful, but she has the skills to deal with them. What Cora isn't prepared for is the beefy man and skinny woman who are obviously keeping dark secrets. And the guy, Darren, is a real piece of work.

And by that, I mean he's a real piece of shit. I despised this arrogant asshole from the moment he appeared and he's one despicable, totally gross brute that puts Cora through hell. Sarah was interesting too, because she had her own way of dealing with the shitty world she lives in. 

When the Cicadas Stop Singing turned out to be a fast-paced blend of gritty post-apocalyptic madness, and has the intensity of a terrifying creature feature that doesn't stop until the very end. The heroine is tough, engaging and has a heartbreaking past. The villain is a totally disgusting, despicable brute who underestimates Cora and overestimates himself. This makes a combustible combination.

I enjoyed the hell out of this gripping, violent ride.


Tuesday, 7 September 2021

MONSTRUM POETICA by Jezzy Wolfe

 

When was the last time you walked through the woods? Checked under your bed? Walked down into your basement alone? Monstrum Poetica by Jezzy Wolfe is an invocation of boogeymen, a graveyard seance, a summons to horrors both large and small. This is a collection of poems that bite, scratch, snarl, and bleed. Filled with magnificent beasts and the sounds of cracked bones and broken teeth, Wolfe takes her readers through the folklore and mythology behind some of the world’s most terrifying creatures.

Here you’ll meet jinn, vampires, werewolves, and wendigos, tangle with mermaids, wraiths, aswang and hellhounds. It’s a dance of specters and spiders, a logbook of limbs and lost persons. If you’re lucky, you’ll learn what to do when the lights flicker, when the lightbulb goes out, when darkness becomes your only friend, and the next time you hear a whisper, or feel the hot breath of fear on your neck, you’ll remember what do, where to go…

Because this is a book that teaches you how to hunt monsters, how to track fiends, how to bathe in the blood and digestive juices all of things that go bump in the night. Carry this manual with you. Hold it close, memorize its contents for these poems are warnings, a resounding alarm.

I suggest you head them.

They might just save your life. 



Firstly, I want to thank Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi and Raw Dog Screaming Press for sending me a copy of this fascinating book. And secondly, I love the cover.

I always get excited when I receive a book of poetry from RDSP because they publish some gems. This time I got two!

So I decided to start with this one. 

I'm a huge fan of supernatural creatures and urban myths, so I was looking forward to getting lost in the forest of words in front of me. This book didn't disappoint because it's full of deep and disturbing tales of mythology, folklore, urban legends, and even pop culture. And each of these tales is presented in poems that either fill you with wonder, make your skin crawl, or bring out a smile because the sheer darkness captured within this collection of artful words works so well.

Something else I really enjoyed was the way each section is introduced with a bit of handy information about the many creatures—some more obscure than others—before each poem delves into their gloomy underbelly with nightmarish and vivid precision.

It's almost a manual for the furry, fanged, decayed, dead, undead and so many more monsters one might encounter in the darkest of places, on the spookiest night under a watchful moon.

I think this one's a keeper because I really enjoyed the ride through the landscape of Monstrum Poetica.

This is a fantastic collection. If you're into poetry intricately woven with the arcane, then you should definitely check it out. 




Monday, 6 September 2021

WALL OF DOLLS has a cover!

 

Well, a new week is here and I hope you're all having a good one. 😊


Over the weekend, the awesome Sci-Fi & Scary blog featured the Cover and Synopsis Reveal for my upcoming YA horror novel, WALL OF DOLLS.


In case you missed it, I'm posting it here as well:


For generations, the women of the Lucas family have lived in the small town of Whenall, Massachusetts, at Raven House. They make dolls that they call wardens to protect the townsfolk, a long tradition that some might believe holds no power, but a tradition that Whenall enjoys all the same. 

Quin is proud of her heritage, her cousin Beth, however, isn’t interested in her position as the future family matriarch. The girls spend their time with their two closest friends, Henri and Al, with Beth always taking the lead, flirting with the boys and leading them into mischief.

One Halloween night, Al finds a Ouija board in the attic of Raven House, and Beth eagerly encourages them all to play with it, but Quin knows that these boards are not a game. Something was unleashed that Halloween night, and a year later, the girls will face the consequences. Can Quin stop them from being devoured by the evil force that spoke to them that night? The force that haunts the woods surrounding Whenall? With Henri by her side, she is sure as hell going to try…


Well, what do you think? I love this cover because it's awesome and creepy and cute. Plus, it totally captures the essence of the story because these dollswardensare very important in the town of Whenall.




I'll post all other buy links as well as the official release date really soon. It'll be available just in time for Halloween, which is perfect because Quin's story happens around the spookiest and most fun time of the year. 

🎃


Saturday, 4 September 2021

New Demain Paperbacks!


That's right! 

My other two Demain Publishing novellas are now available in paperback and I'm super excited. 😃


Max Patella just wants to do her job...


Murder! Mystery! Mayhem #5:



☠️🏭💀🕵️‍♀️☠️


In a city full of mindless robots, Tolliver longs for adventure...

Weird. Wonderful. Other Worlds. #2:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon Australia | Amazon Canada 


🤖🌟🌌🌟🤖


That means all three are now available in print and eBook.



So exciting!!

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

VELVET WAS THE NIGHT by Silvia-Moreno Garcia

 

1970s Mexico City: while student protests and political unrest consume the city, Maite seeks escape from her humdrum life in the stories of passion and danger filling the latest issue of Secret Romance.

She is deeply envious of her neighbour, a beautiful art student apparently living the life of excitement and intrigue Maite craves - so when Leonora disappears under suspicious circumstances, Maite finds herself searching for the missing woman, journeying deep into Leonora's secret life of student radicals and dissidents. 

But someone else is also looking for Leonora, at the behest of his boss, a shadowy figure who commands goon squads dedicated to squashing political activists. Elvis is an eccentric criminal who longs to escape his own life: he loathes violence and loves old movies and rock 'n' roll. Watching Maite from a distance, he comes to see her as a kindred spirit who shares his love of music and the unspoken loneliness of his heart.

As Maite and Elvis come closer to discovering the truth behind Leonora's disappearance, they can no longer escape the dangers threatening to consume their lives, with hitmen, government agents and Russian spies all aiming to find or protect Leonora's secrets - at gunpoint.


I've already read three awesome books written by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and loved every single one, so I was excited about this one.

It's 1971, Mexico City. Maite is a single secretary living a dull life full of routine, daydreaming and white lies. At least she's got her romance comic books and music to keep her company. Elvis is a thug and is part of a group that does whatever their boss tells them to. He doesn't do much else. Well, except for listening to his favourite music. The day Maite's neighbour, Lenore, disappears, her life is personally affected and leads her on a collision course with Elvis...

What an addictive story this turned out to be.

Yeah, I was pretty much hooked after the frenetic first chapter introducing us to Elvis and his criminal life. Then, after meeting the disillusioned and desperate for romantic adventure Maite, I knew I needed to follow these two on their separate paths and couldn't wait until they intersected.

The story is told in the alternating POVs of Maite and Elvis. Their existence parallels each other via association as they follow their own clues to find a missing girl for very different reasons. But both find themselves caught up in the brutal political intrigue that is shaking Mexico to the very core.

I actually liked both of these characters and enjoyed following their plight until the very end. These two find themselves in a lot of interesting situations, encounter some very problematic people, and never lose their individual drive. Or their flawed qualities, which made me like them more.

My favourite thing about this author is how well she captures every historical period she sets her stories in, as well as the location and whatever was happening at that particular time. I also love how versatile she is when it comes to genre. Every book she writes is in a different genre, and they're all full of interesting characters that keep me glued to the page.

Fantastic is the word that comes to mind.

Velvet Was the Night is an intriguing and violent noir mystery with a vivid sense of location, set during a turbulent political time in 1970s Mexico. There are a lot of criminal factions, dirty agents from all sides and students determined to start a revolution. Caught up in all of this commie paranoia are two individual daydreamers sleepwalking their lives away until a missing stranger changes them forever.

I can't wait to read more of this author's work because she's an awesome writer.

Thank you so much, Hachette Australia for sending me a copy.



Velvet was the Night, August 2020, ISBN 9781529417951, Jo Fletcher Books

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

File Changes

Hello. How are you today? 

I'm actually taking a mental break at the moment because my last project muddled my brain quite a bit. 😵

It was TOTALLY worth it because I'm really happy/proud about how it turned out. But a break is definitely what I need right now.

This is actually my second week and I thought I'd post a little something because since finishing my latest Revision WIP, I've been making a LOT of Story File changes on my phone. And that always leads to a bunch of file updates on my laptop and external drives.

So, how/why did this come about? Although I'm still on schedule to complete at least two more revision projects by the end of the year, I'll be putting revision aside in November to take part in NaNoWriMo. That means I've been going through my Idea Folders to narrow down the possibilities... and that's when I realised that several ideas just didn't interest me anymore. Or there wasn't enough to justify an actual story.

I ended up deleting about five different ideas and merged two others. I'm so much happier now because all the story files are neat and tidy, plus getting rid of mind clutter feels as good as getting rid of actual clutter.

Yep. I'm totally in a spring cleaning kinda mood, because I also DNFd and donated 36 books! 😬 

It's definitely that time of the year.

Now that I've cleaned up all these files, I might be able to get stuck into some actual reading... LOL.

Anyway, have a great day!




PS. Can you believe it's the last day of August? 😳


Friday, 27 August 2021

KITTY'S GREATEST HITS by Carrie Vaughn

 

Kitty's Greatest Hits (Kitty Norville #0.1, 0.5-0.8, 1.5, 2.5, and more)Kitty's Greatest Hits by Carrie Vaughn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Now that I've finished the awesome Kitty Norville series, it's time to read the two short story collections that are set in her exciting supernatural world.

This is the first one.

IL EST NÉ: David's wolf has taken control of his life, but one fateful Christmas he finds himself in a Waffle House with a werewolf named Kitty. Together, they embark on a bloody adventure...

A gory, sad and heartwarming story about two lonely wolves, and gaining control when the beast side is stronger than the human half. It was nice to see Kitty find someone during the holiday season while being far from her family.

A PRINCESS OF SPAIN: I really enjoyed this historical take on Catherine of Aragon and what happens when she's married off to the future King of England and finds herself alone in a strange, dark land...

Great way to cast the creatures of the night into the past, and the kind of role they could have played. 😁

CONQUISTADOR DE LA NOCHE: This is a fantastic novella! It's the origin story of Rick, the Master of Denver—aka Ricardo de Avila—and it's a bloody, violent and totally thrilling story. Loved this as much as I love Rick.

THE BOOK OF DANIEL: I didn't think I would enjoy the story of Daniel set in Babylon and featuring so much faith and political mayhem. But I did because this little shifter twist was awesome!

THE TEMPTATION OF ROBIN GREEN: Robin Green is a soldier working the night shift in a lab studying supernatural creatures. She never breaks the rules, until she crosses paths with a seal...

I love selkie myths and this tale was an original take, while also sticking to the familiar. Oh, and Rick makes an appearance! That was a lovely surprise.

LOOKING AFTER FAMILY: This is Cormac and Ben's origin story. They're both teenagers and Cormac has just moved in with Ben's family at their farm after tragedy struck, but they're not instant friends. THIS, is when THAT happens. Fantastic tale!

GOD'S CREATURES: Another Cormac story! And of course it was awesome. You know, for someone who hates the monsters, he sure as hell is as methodical and reckless as they are. Guess that's why he's THAT good.

I enjoyed the Catholic Church connection because it adds a lot to the way Kitty's world works.

WILD RIDE: I really enjoyed TJ's origin story because it's sad but hopeful, and revealed some pretty tough inner strength he didn't believe he had. Another fantastic and emotional story.

WINNOWING THE HERD: This was a fun little glimpse into how boring Kitty's life was before she was outed as a werewolf. I enjoyed her internal thoughts and how she separated herself from the humans during a staff meeting. Who can blame her? These forced social gatherings are shitty. 😅

KITTY AND THE MOSH PIT OF THE DAMNED: An awesome action-packed story about Kitty going to a concert in hopes of getting the popular band on their show. Devil's Kitchen are hiding a secret as big as the very mysterious bartender, Jax. Jax turned out to be such an intriguing character, wish he'd made it to the series.

KITTY'S ZOMBIE NEW YEAR: I didn't expect this story to be so sad on several levels. Firstly, because Kitty goes to a NYE party at Matt's house but feels so lonely. And secondly, because of how the zombie situation turns out. Terrific story, though.

LIFE IS THE TEACHER: This is such a great story about Emma becoming a vampire and dealing with having to let go of her past, accept that taking blood is now part of her life, all while engaging in a nice seductive game. Clever tale.

YOU'RE ON THE AIR: I always loved when Kitty got calls from the supernatural community, and this little tale is about one of those. Jake is a vampire but he works the graveyard shift at Speedy Mart and doesn't have much else going on. But after calling Kitty's radio show, his boring life takes an unexpected turn. One that reminds him what he is and what he can do. Such a fun story.

LONG TIME WAITING: Cormac's jail novella is fantastic! I've wanted to read this for ages and now that I have, I'm happy to report it was awesome as I hoped it would be. Sprinkle Cormac's bad luck with the very interesting Amelia, and this turned out to be a recipe for destruction. And an unexpected partnership that happens to be perfect.


Well, I took my time reading this collection of amazing short stories and I'm glad I did. I LOVED EVERY SINGLE STORY! They're all seriously awesome and Carrie Vaughn is a terrific writer. Love her style.


PS. Also enjoyed the story notes at the end of the book.

Friday, 20 August 2021

August's Revision Update!


Well, it's Friday and I thought I'd pop in to post an update.

Things in NSW are going from bad to worse. We've been suffering through this half-arsed mockdown for 8 WEEKS now and instead of getting better, the case number are getting out of control. We've had 600+ cases for three days in a row. Hotspots are no longer reported and the contact tracing is not of the gold standard calibre they always bragged about. 😫

This is alarming, scary stuff made worse by the fact our state government is delusional. They fucked up from the beginning and refuse to accept responsibility or tighten the meaning of essential worker. And now, people are dying and our hospitals are under pressure.

It's awful and so frustrating because we can't do anything about it. But that's what happens when people keep voting for right-wing governments that DGAF about them. 😑

Ugh.

It's best to concentrate on the good parts: hanging out with hubby, going for walks, enjoying nice meals and getting back into yoga.

Oh, and this happened:
  • Monday: 40/202 (76,764w)
  • Tuesday: 69/202 (76,536w)
  • Wednesday: 144/201 (76,355w)
  • Thursday: 205pgs / 76,077w

I actually reached The End yesterday, but it always takes me an extra day to tidy up any last-minute changes and checks. Plus I have to rename the files, format to double space and update all my external drives. And clear away the many post-it notes + random pieces of paper I've accumulated. LOL.

I'm super excited about finishing another WIP. Yay. 😁🎉  Especially this one because this is a novel I wrote back in 2017 and I worked really hard to make this story stronger. I fixed all the inconsistencies, cleaned up the writing, trimmed the fat, changed the direction of several subplots, altered the timeline and even wrote a new ending. Yeah, this isn't a linear book. 😁

Really happy and proud with the outcome. I put my poor main character through a LOT, but I love where her dark journey leads. 😁

So, finishing this project also means I can update my 2021 Revision List again:
  1. April: Full edit of Wall of Dolls
  2. May: Full revision of Destiny
  3. June: Full revision of Victoria
  4. August: Full revision of Possess

Looking good! I still have a bunch of WIPs to get to, but this is great progress. I set myself a serious goal this year, and so far I'm sticking to my plan. Even with the sad state of the world.

I almost forgot to mention that this week I also proofread The Wired City and The Bone Factory for the upcoming paperback release. So, yeah, it's been a super busy week!

Anyway, I think that's enough chatter for now. I need to take a breath, because I feel like I've been holding it in all week, and give my brain a break.

Have a fantastic weekend!


Friday, 13 August 2021

The Revision Continues...

Hi! How are you? Can you believe we're almost halfway through August?

And it's Friday the 13th today! So make sure you don't catch Jason's attention. 😬🔪

Well, NSW has been on mockdown for seven weeks now and the numbers are still too fucking high. Actually, the cases are higher every single day. In order for a lockdown to actually work, everyone in the state needs to be under the same restrictions and any business that isn't absolutely essential needs to be closed. These are things this useless government doesn't seem to know. Stupid assholes only care about their greedy interests.

It's SO frustrating because people are dying and way too many are ending up in the ICU. It's sad and awful, but when your own government doesn't care it makes everything worse.

Anyway, I better not get caught up in this endless cycle of anger... 😠

Let's focus on something good. I spent this week working on the third draft of my YA demonic possession WIP, and am very happy with the progress.

Here's it went: 
  • Monday: 27/199pgs (75,959w) 
  • Tuesday: 63/201pgs (76,820w)
  • Wednesday: 108/200pgs (76,226w)
  • Thursday: 159/200pgs (76,207w)
  • Friday: 202pgs / 76,901w

That's right. THE THIRD DRAFT IS DONE! Yay. 😃🎉

I worked really hard on this particular draft because I want to make this story shine. I ended up adding 2,929 new words, but also cut a LOT of excess. The word and page count kept going up and down all week because of all the re-writing.

The heart/core of the story is pretty much the same as it was during the first draft, but I cleaned/tightened everything up to make better sense of my heroine's dark journey. I even changed the direction of several plotlines an strengthened the mother-daughter relationship. 

While this is challenging, I'm really enjoying the process. 

Now I'm going to take the weekend off and will start the read-thru on Monday. I've already added the doc to my Paperwhite, so it's ready to go. ☺

Have a good one!


Saturday, 7 August 2021

THE SMALLEST OF BONES by Holly Lyn Walrath

 

A haunting ossuary of tiny poems covering a wide range of topics such as love, romance, relationships, queer sexuality, religion, death, demons, ghosts, bones, gender, and darkness. The Smallest of Bones guides those on an intimate journey of body acceptance, with sparse words dedicated to peeling back skin and diving bone-deep into the self. Raw, honest, and powerful, this collection is an offering to those struggling to find power in the darkness.



The other day, the author of this lovely little book reached out and asked if I'd be interested in checking it out. I was really excited because I loved the pretty cover as soon as I saw it. Not to mention that I have a strange fascination with skulls, skeletons and bones, so reading a poetry collection featuring different bones sounded very appealing.

This lovely and soul-stirring collection of tiny poems is broken up into clever sections featuring a new different and very important bone in each one. It's also framed by some very interesting mythical, factual and spiritual information about the CRANIUM (great way to start), MANDIBLE (powerful), STERNUM (fragile), SACRUM (haunting), SPINE (sad), CALCANEUS (chilling) and TEMPORAL (a fitting end).

I really enjoyed this book! It's deep and dark and even quite sad. It's amazing how well such a brief selection of words convey such powerful emotion and imagery when perfectly crafted into small and very imaginative poems.

My favourite thing about this book is how deeply I felt every raw and honest word, it felt more like a visceral experience that managed to surpass the simple act of reading and haunted me until the very end. 

This is a beautiful collection of minimalist poetry and packs quite a sentimental punch.




Thursday, 5 August 2021

August's Revision Begins...


Hey! How are you today? How is this week treating you?

So, our state (NSW) is still on mockdown and will stay this way until the end of this month. For us, that means staying the hell away from everyone, wearing masks as soon as we step out of the apartment, buying groceries once a week and going for daily walks when hubby starts work and when he finishes. That's it.

I can't believe we're worse off now than we were at the beginning of this shitty pandemic. 😒

Anyway, enough about the sad state of this selfish world. 

A new month is here and after taking the whole of July off, it was time to get back to my 2021 Revision Plan. 📝

This time, I got stuck into my tentatively titled novel, Possess, which is a YA horror story I wrote back in September 2017. The first draft word count was 76,971 and it deals with one of my most fave tropes: demonic possession. But it's ultimately about family, friendship, inner strength and identity.

Here's my progress:
  • Friday: 24/201pgs (77,492w)
  • Monday: 83/202pgs (77,438w) 
  • Tuesday: 145/201pgs (76,969w)
  • Wednesday: 190/201pgs (76,627w) 
  • Thursday: 195pgs / 74,481w

Oh boy, going back to this draft was like reconnecting with a strange WIP I hadn't seen in AGES! We had to get to know each other all over again. Most of the events were familiar—I mean, I did write them—but some of the stuff was a total surprise. That's the bad and good thing about putting a story aside for too long. LOL.

I'm finding that novels I wrote two+ years ago require a fast and sharp get-down-to-business second draft. This covers the basics, as well as getting to know my story and characters all over again. When I do this, my brain starts working overtime and the story starts to fill my (almost) every waking moment.

That's when the fun starts, and when things click into place. Only then can I make better sense of the character's motivations, the antagonist/s, etc. It might sound like a strange process, but I enjoy the challenge. Especially if I believe in the story, and I definitely believe in this one. 😊

Another thing I did during this draft is change the ending, which involved changing a certain relationship dynamic throughout. I think it works much better this way, but also meant I had to delete a chapter, scrapped the original Epilogue and wrote a new one. You know what? I'm really happy with how it all turned out.

Of course, I've already started a Third Draft Revision List because there's plenty left to smooth out, but I'm a lot happier with this story now.

The revision process is a LOT of hard work, but man, it's always so worth it.

Well, I guess that means I get a three-day break from this novel. Yay. I'm going to enjoy that time, while looking forward to the next stage next week...

Have a great day!!



Tuesday, 3 August 2021

BILLY SUMMERS by Stephen King

 

Billy Summers is a man in a room with a gun. He's a killer for hire and the best in the business. But he'll do the job only if the target is a truly bad guy. And now Billy wants out. But first there is one last hit. Billy is among the best snipers in the world, a decorated Iraq war vet, a Houdini when it comes to vanishing after the job is done. So what could possibly go wrong?

How about everything.

This spectacular can't-put-it-down novel is part war story, part love letter to small town America and the people who live there, and it features one of the most compelling and surprising duos in King fiction, who set out to avenge the crimes of an extraordinarily evil man. It's about love, luck, fate, and a complex hero with one last shot at redemption.

You won't put this story down, and you won't forget Billy. 



I always look forward to reading the latest Stephen King, so I'd like to thank Hachette Australia for sending me a copy of this one.

Billy Summers is a killer for hire, but he only kills bad guys. Now, he's ready to tackle one last hit, but this particular job isn't what he expected. And you know what happens when a man is determined to go at it one last time...

Yikes. What a book! 😳

Well, what can I say about the latest King that I haven't said before? I was hooked from the beginning. I wanted to know more as soon as I started. The more I read, the deeper I fell into the events. The characters leap off the page and I couldn't help but get attached.

These are things I constantly find myself saying because Stephen King is that special kind of writer. The one guaranteed to grab my attention and keep me glued to whatever's going on because the story is gripping, and so very addictive.

Billy's story was no exception. He's not exactly a good guy, and he certainly knows a lot of bad people, but they pay well and he's good at his job. Even if his job involves killing. 

The tension in this story builds slowly, but the relationships he forges happen fast. It's all enough to keep the reader interested from start to finish. For me, the only time I lost interest was when Billy was writing about his shitty time in Iraq. I don't particularly like war stories so these bits were hard to concentrate on, but in typical King fashion, a new obstacle is soon introduced that fired up my interest.

And that was Alice. Poor Alice and the horrifying ordeal she goes through injects a new surge of urgency and emotion into the narrative. After that, I couldn't put the book down because the connection between Billy and Alice is pure and strong and totally heartbreaking. I couldn't read fast enough and wanted to find out how Billy's last job was going to turn out. 

Billy Summers is an intriguing thriller featuring a very interesting and complicated narrator. The way he pours his sad and tragic life onto the page provides a gripping account that's hard to turn away from. I really enjoyed sharing his dark and dangerous journey and followed it all the way to the clever but bittersweet end.

Although this story focuses on real life horrors done by monstrous people, there is a certain kind of magic too. As well as an interesting mention of one of King's best-known classics.

I also need to add one last thing. This book definitely needs trigger warnings about child abuse, rape and war because it deals with the violence and trauma involved in all of these. While the details aren't graphic in nature, these uncomfortable topics are peppered throughout. 


   

Billy Summers, August 2021, ISBN 9781529365719, Hodder & Stoughton

Friday, 30 July 2021

Real Life Got in the Way...

of my Mental Break.

That's right! 😞

After finishing each revision project, I like to take a 2-week break to rest my brain. A chance to relax. I also use this time to catch up on a bit of reading. That way, when I tackle the next story, I don't burn myself out.

But real life decided to be a total bitch this month. A huge Delta variant outbreak hit NSW and even after WEEKS of the loosest 'lockdown' in the history of lockdowns, the numbers are still high. Add getting our second Pfizer dose with side effects that lasted almost a week—that's how long it took to get my energy levels back—and hubby being considered an essential worker, plus Loki developing an eye infection when we're trying to stay away from people but ended up at the vet...

Yeah. None of this helped me relax. At all. 😫 

So I ended up taking the whole month off. July's just been too rough to throw myself into serious revision.

Although Loki's infection hasn't completely cleared yet and the case numbers are still pretty fucking high, with hubby's help I've managed to lower my stress levels a bit. Plus, we're finally fully vaxxed!! Yay. 

PHEW! 

*sigh* 

Feel very lucky to be fully vaccinated during such unstable times. We're also wearing masks every time we step outside and really keeing our distance when we're out walking. Being vaxxed doesn't mean you shouldn't take precautions. The world's not out of this pandemic yet. Far from it.

Reading Stephen King's latest book and Grady Hendrix's newest helped too. Not to mention finishing the very awesome Kitty Norville series, as well as this great spin-off and finishing this excellent futuristic YA trilogy. Oh, and did I mention this creepy gem of a novella? 😈

Books always make everything better. Plus Fear Street. We watched the trilogy and it was SO MUCH fun.

Now, I finally feel like I'm ready to get stuck into the next project on my Revision List. This time I'm going to tackle my YA horror possession novel. It's been a long while since I wrote this first draft, so I can't wait to find out how much work it needs. 😬 

Well, that's it for today. I just wanted to post an update.

Have an awesome weekend!

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

GIRLS WITH REBEL SOULS by Suzanne Young

 

Girls with Rebel SoulsGirls with Rebel Souls by Suzanne Young
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the last book in this very awesome trilogy and I've been looking forward to finding out where Mena's story takes her and her friends.

After what happened at Innovation Academy and Ridgeview Prep, Mena and the other girls—Sydney, Marcella, Brynn and Annalise—want to destroy the investors and finally get their freedom. But they can't trust anyone because everyone seems to have their own agenda, and someone is always one step ahead of them...

THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD! Like the other two, this one is another powerful addition to a totally awesome feminist SF story. A cautionary tale about what can happen if women's right are slowly stripped away.

Once again, the story starts where the second one ended and Mena finds herself in a very violent situation. And because of this she suffers both physical and mental pain that drives her to complete their impossible and complicated mission. But of course, things are never easy and not only do they have to split up, but face betrayal, lies and utter confusion.

Still, this is the final book so we do get explanations, revelations and closure. Plus the ultimate sacrifice. Oh, and an Epilogue that I wasn't expecting but really enjoyed. 😳

I think this trilogy did an awesome job at capturing just how toxic and dangerous the patriarchy can become if it's not reeled in. How easily girls and women become throwaway items, to the point where violence and murder against them is accepted by both genders. Because the patriarchy poisons a lot of women as well, and they can be so much worse than the men oppressing them.

Another thing I loved about this book is the strong and powerful sense of sisterhood between the main group of girls. And how they don't lump all boys and men into the same category. It's very cool because they're all so clever and crafty.

I had a great time reading these books because they were fun, deep, infuriating, awesome and these characters were definitely worth cheering for. Suzanne Young also did a formidable job at mirroring the awful things women have to put up with in our own world and provided a dark and entertaining tale.

Terrific trilogy!

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

THE IMMORTAL CONQUISTADOR by Carrie Vaughn

 

The Immortal Conquistador (Kitty Norville #15)The Immortal Conquistador by Carrie Vaughn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I recently finished reading the Kitty Norville UF series, so I was very excited about reading this book.

Ricardo de Avila, also known as Rick the former Master of Denver and new member of the Order of Saint Lazarus of the Shadows, is one of those interesting characters that always stands out. He's different and a trusty ally, plus one of Kitty's good friends. Reading about his early life, how he became a vampire and the hardships he was forced to endure just to be left alone because he wanted to live his own vampiric life, was a truly awesome experience.

The book is broken up into four parts and each follows Ricardo through the centuries. Every single one is as good as the one before and helped me to get to know Rick in such intimate detail, that it confirmed he really is nothing like other vampires.

While he might be considered cursed and thought of as a monster, he kept his wits and is a kind-hearted being who never forgot his faith and saw humans as friends rather than slaves. He also stumbled into some pretty fantastic situations and never once realised how strong and powerful he really is. He's totally kick-ass, too.

He's a vampire who doesn't like other vamps and refuses to put up with their BS.

Yeah, I love Rick. He's such a lovely character.

Oh, and I a got a real kick out of the Doc Holliday tale. It was SO much cowboy fun! 🤠

I enjoyed this book A LOT. It's one of the best origin stories I've read. A lot of times I feel origin stories ruin secondary characters, but this one deepened and strengthened one of my favourite vampires.

One last thing, asides from how wonderful this book really is, I also thought the writing was fantastic!

Monday, 26 July 2021

THE FINAL GIRL SUPPORT GROUP by Grady Hendrix

 

The Final Girl Support GroupThe Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been looking forward to getting my hands on this book since it was first announced. The fact Amazon Australia decided to take forever to send it out was super annoying, but as soon as it arrived I was itching to start.

The premise of this book is awesome. What happens to final girls when they grow up? Are they able to move on and wear the scars of their near-death experience in a way that allows them to get on with their lives? Do they become rich celebrities with book and movie deals while doing the talk show circuit? Can they trust anyone and forge meaningful relationships? Or does the violent experience become an open wound that never heals?

Well, in the case of the women in this book, how about all of the above? I loved how different each of these survivors turns out, but how their nightmarish teenage experience keeps them connected. Sure, the support group helps too but these women are much more than that.

This book is so fast-paced that I raced through the thrilling and terrifying pages. Lynnette is a great narrator because she's turned out to be super paranoid and isn't surprised when the final girls become targets once again. She's convinced herself she's weak and useless, something others also manage to make her feel. But she's been through a lot and although she still remains vulnerable, she's also strong as hell.

I loved how each final girl's story was revealed, and how they were so familiar to slasher fans. Yet, they each had a slight twist of their own to separate them from the movies.

Another fantastic thing about this book is how unpredictable it was. I didn't know what was coming next, suspected just about everyone, and thought that final scene in Camp Red Lake read like a movie.

I LOVED THIS BOOK! It was fun and sad and SO very tragic. It was a fantastic tribute to the final girls we all know and love, while also introducing us to more.

Never forget Adrienne, Dani, Julia, Marilyn, Heather and Lynnette. Or Fine.

Thursday, 22 July 2021

MR CABLES by Ronald Malfi

 

Mr CablesMr Cables by Ronald Malfi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After finishing Stephen King's latest chunky book, hubby suggested I read something shorter. He actually suggested this book, which he surprised me with on the weekend!

Wilson Paventeau is a best-selling horror novelist. The day he crosses paths with a book featuring his name on the cover, one he didn't write, he's consumed with the mystery and is determined to figure out what's going on. No matter where it leads him...

Wow. This turned out to be quite a fast and spooky read. The kind of book that grabs you from the first sentence and consumes you until you reach The End because it's so intriguing.

Much like what happens in the novella. 😳

I enjoy stories that focus on the creative process and give it a creepy spin. Because writing really is one of those mysterious experiences that carries you away and... Anyway. Back to this gem with the perfect cover.

Loved it!

It's got the right amount of dread staining every page. The mystery kept me glued until everything was revealed. The revelation is shocking because it's callous and really awful. Plus, the creativity behind this idea is absolutely genius. Fantastic!

I'm looking forward to reading more Malfi, that's for sure.

Friday, 16 July 2021

KITTY SAVES THE WORLD by Carrie Vaughn

 

Kitty Saves the World (Kitty Norville, #14)Kitty Saves the World by Carrie Vaughn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, there was no more putting it off. I've reached the fourteenth book in the very awesome Kitty Norville series, which also happens to be the FINAL BOOK! 😳

Kitty's feeling on edge and can't shake the darkness she feels closing in. But it looks like Cormac and Amelia have figured out a way to trap Roman before he gets started. Yet, it can't be this easy to defeat an ancient vampire determined to destroy the world...

Wow. Yep.

This is how you end a beloved series.

Starting the last book in one of my favourite series is always both exciting and sad. Exciting because I can't wait to see how everything turns out, but sad because I'll miss these characters and their world once it's over.

At least I still have two short story collections and a novella, set in Kitty's world, left to read.

The melancholy mood of this book is there from the get-go. As soon as Kitty's story starts, there's a blanket of darkness hanging over everything, threatening to overwhelm her. And this really sets the scene, makes sure the reader's instantly on edge. I kept waiting for Roman and/or his followers to storm in at any moment. Couldn't turn the page fast enough to find out what was going to happen next.

It was awesome to catch up with so many characters that were introduced in previous books and now turned up for the final battle! I also didn't realise how much I missed Rick until we caught up with him again.

This is the perfect ending to an outstanding series featuring an amazing cast of characters, and a fantastic heroine. I love Kitty. She's always been smart, brave, tough, kind and proved that some battles are won with brains rather than brawn. She's always let her heart lead the way and it was such a wonderful quality. Sure, sometimes it got her in trouble, but it was always worth it.

I couldn't wipe the smile off my face during the last few chapters because they were SO GREAT.

I seriously LOVED THIS BOOK.

Having said that, it's still bittersweet because now it's over. 😃+😫

Thursday, 15 July 2021

THE MISFORTUNE COOKIE by Laura Resnick

 

The Misfortune Cookie (Esther Diamond, #6)The Misfortune Cookie by Laura Resnick
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It's been a while, so it was definitely time to catch up with the Esther Diamond series.

Esther's finally got her job back at Bella Stella and is enjoying a shift during New Year's Eve, when the OCCB—led by the guy who failed to call her after an intimate Christmas Eve together—busts a bunch of mob guys and even arrest her. After that, she has no job, her money is disappearing, the weather is miserable and she can't stop thinking about Lopez. Lucky for her, she's about to fall into some trouble in Chinatown...

This started out like every other one in this series: a hilarious and mystical ride. But somewhere along the line, something happened. The usual fun factor started to fade a little because the magical mystery wasn't as exciting as it usually is. Actually, it really wasn't much of a mystery, tbh.

I don't know why, but all the characters seemed a little off in this book. Like they were mere shadows of themselves and didn't shine with their usual zany charm.

I'm all for relationship drama in all genres because it adds an extra level of complication to a story, but even I have to admit that what goes on in this installment is off the charts. I know Esther's an actress, but gosh, this was too much. I really wish these two would make up their minds already and stick to on or off. I mean, are they a thing or not? Will they or won't they? Maybe one day they'll choose one path. Hopefully.

Otherwise, what's going to happen is that everything that made their romantic mishaps funny and cute, will get old and boring. Because I was in fact, mostly bored by their ongoing problems and they started to feel silly to me.

Anyway, I liked the location of Chinatown and how Esther always manages to find herself in the middle of new problems and takes Max and Nelli along for the ride. She even lands another dead-end acting gig and meets new people via the mobster-in-hiding, Lucky.

Not too much excitement in this one. It lacked the usual suspenseful thrills. There was definitely too much padding and excess stuff that made this book drag in sections. And I'm starting to think that this Esther and Lopez thing has to end or it's going to doom a great series.

Hope the next book is back to speed!

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

THE HOME by Mats Strandberg

 

Once inseparable, Joel and Nina haven't spoken in twenty years.

When Joel's mother Monika develops dementia, he has no choice but to return to his home town. Monika needs specialist care, and that means Pineshade - which also means Joel is going to have to deal with his one-time best friend, for Nina works there.

It's not long before Monika's health deteriorates - she starts having violent, terrifying outbursts, and worse, she appears to know things she couldn't possibly know. It's almost as if she isn't herself any more . . . but of course, that's true of most of the residents at Pineshade. 

Only Nina and Joel know Monika well enough to see the signs; only by working together can they try to find answers to the inexplicable . . .



This book sounded intriguing and the cover is super creepy too, so I was very keen to check it out.

Joel has returned home to help settle his mother's affairs. Unfortunately, that includes putting her into a nursing home called Pineshade. Nina works at Pineshade and hasn't got the best of marriages. When her childhood best friend's mother comes to Pineshade, she starts remembering a lot from their teenage past. At the same time, strange things start to happen at work...

Oooooooh. This is such a menacing and dark horror tale. I really enjoyed this. A lot! 

Asides from the darkness slowly creeping up in the background in the most unexpected way possible, this is about severed family ties, destroyed friendships, and the burdens people carry with them. It's also a grim look at the sheer cruelty of the aging process, especially the way that dementia dehumanises a person. To the point of not being able to recognise if there's a dark entity attacking them, or if it's just this horrifying disease.

It's so sad. And this book manages to weave the uncomfortable reality of dementia with a wicked thread of horror fiction.

I liked how the horror is presented in a very human way. Not just in the rawness of how awful the existence of the residents is, no matter how nice or thorough the caregivers attempt to be, but also in the hard lives of the main characters. 

Joel is a very hard guy to like. He's an addict, continually lies to everyone—including himself—has many secrets, and is desperate to get through the terrible experience of dealing with his mother. But as the story moves along, it becomes quite obvious that there's so much more to him and I actually enjoyed watching him grow.

Nina is a very sympathetic woman and I liked her instantly. She truly cares about her job and the old people in her care. The problem is that she's let her past dictate what/who she is and she's given up on personal comfort/happiness. Has settled and accepts the bare minimum affection when she deserves more. Her journey was very interesting.

There are a lot of different elements that bring this book together, and help deepen this very disturbing and suspenseful story.

The Home turned out to be a wicked surprise, in the darkest and most atmospheric way possible. It's eerie and packed with a bunch of interesting but broken people I couldn't help but like. The malicious angle is a slow burn on the shadowy edges of the narrative that builds until the pressure is too much and totally explodes into a shocking conclusion. 😲 

Loved this twist on one of my favourite tropes! 

Thank you so much, Hachette Australia for sending me a copy.



The Home, August 2020, ISBN 9781529402162, Jo Fletcher Books

Thursday, 8 July 2021

LOW MIDNIGHT by Carrie Vaughn

 

Low Midnight (Kitty Norville, #13)Low Midnight by Carrie Vaughn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've had my eye on the next Kitty Norville book for several weeks. Not just because it's the 13th installment in the series, but also because it's about the very mysterious Cormac Bennett.

Cormac's finally a free man. He has his papers and he's ready to get on with his life. Well, a shared life with the spirit of Amelia. And together they're going to help Kitty decode a text that will hopefully provide the answers they need to save the world from Roman. Unless his old life catches up with him first...

Loved this. I knew this book would be awesome! 😃

Like everyone else who enjoys this series, I've always wondered about the elusive Cormac. He doesn't say much and catching a glimpse of his thoughts sounded like fun. And it totally was!

Another very cool thing about his story is that we get to hear from Amelia. Not just whatever thoughts she sends his way, but also about her own life and death. Putting these two strong characters in one body sure turned out to be entertaining.

Although they share a body, this was essentially two stories about two very different people who find themselves interlocked in a very magical way. A way that not only proves beneficial for them, but also to help Kitty's plight.

I got a real kick out of seeing Kitty through someone else's eyes. Especially Cormac's, because I always felt there was so much he keeps inside about her. The way he thinks so highly and how affectionate he is towards Ben is lovely. Love that they're cousins but seem more like brothers.

The new mystery and angles presented in this book were also very interesting. Intriguing in the way they tie back to the original story, but also how it provided an intimate insight into Cormac's past and the many ways he's changed.

I loved this and can't wait to see what happens next...

THE MENOPAUSE MANIFESTO by Dr Jen Gunter

 

The only thing predictable about menopause is its unpredictability. Factor in widespread misinformation, a lack of research, and the culture of shame around women's bodies, and it's no wonder women are unsure what to expect during the menopause transition and beyond.

Menopause is not a disease - it's a planned change, like puberty. And just like puberty, we should be educated on what's to come years in advance, rather than the current practice of leaving people on their own with bothersome symptoms and too much conflicting information. Knowing what is happening, why and what to do about it is both empowering and reassuring.

Frank and funny, Dr Jen debunks misogynistic attitudes and challenges the over-mystification of menopause to reveal everything you really need to know about: 

* Perimenopause
* Hot flashes
* Sleep disruption
* Sex and libido
* Depression and mood changes
* Skin and hair issues
* Outdated therapies
* Breast health
* Weight and muscle mass
* Health maintenance screening
* And much more 

Filled with practical, reassuring information, this essential guide will revolutionise how women experience menopause - including how their lives can be even better for it!


This is a book about a subject that is so often ignored and shamed, that as a woman, I couldn't pass up the chance to read something that helps shed some light on a very normal and natural transition.

No matter what the patriarchy tries to sell about this mysterious topic, menopause is just another fact of life.

So, the more we know, the better. 

“Menopause is puberty in reverse” is the best way to describe this next stage in a woman's life. And honestly, looking at it this way helps reshape how we feel about it and will hopefully eliminate some of the negativity.

Dr Jen Gunter sure has a way with words. Not only does she list all the scientific and medical terms associated with this transition, but she also informs us about the history. Of the condition, the actual word, and the sheer inconsiderate way men have mislabelled, dealt with, or stigmatised a part of life we should be talking about as easily as periods, pregnancy and sex.

But we know how this goes. We know how the patriarchal world tries to control the narrative to scare or excuse, not bothering to spend the time and money needed to research this thoroughly. To give women's health the attention it deserves.

That's why I wanted to read this book, to find out the truth and separate the myths from the facts. To understand what's going to happen. And most importantly, to be prepared rather than scared.

So much (of the little) I knew about this subject was tied to fear, and I wanted to change that. Sure, some of the symptoms sound awful and the possible complications even worse, but being properly informed will help change the way I look at what's to come. Instead of being terrified, I can now tackle whatever pops up in the future with knowledge. Both to know when it's an expected symptom, and when to consult a doctor because it could be more.

Having this reference book handy will definitely help.

The Menopause Manifesto: Own Your Health with Facts and Feminism is a book full of very detailed and relevant information, because there's a lot to learn and consider. It helped me understand why menopause happens, how it happens and what to expect. 

This is a reference book ALL women should read. I know I'll be referring back to it when needed.

Thank you so much, Hachette Australia for sending me a copy.



The Menopause Manifesto: Own Your Health with Facts and Feminism, May 2021, ISBN 9780349427607, Piatkus

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

HEXED: Don't Get Mad, Get Powers by Julia Tuffs

 

Jessie Jones has just discovered she's a witch. Too bad there isn't a hex to make slimy Callum Henderson and his friends disappear ... yet. 

New girl, new school, new life on stupid island - thanks Mum. All Jessie Jones wants is to keep her head down, avoid school douchebag Callum Henderson, and coast - middle-of-the-road-like. But when strange powers start to manifest during crippling period pains, flying under the radar seems highly unlikely.

Can Jessie embrace her new-found witchiness, control her erratic powers and work out a way to bring down Callum and his cult of toxic masculinity?


After reading the blurb, I knew I had to read this! So I was very excited when I received a copy. Thank you Hachette Australia!😁

After her mother decides to move them to the Isle of Wight, Jessie becomes the new girl in school. She also hates everything about the old crumbling hotel she's forced to call home, wants to blend in without getting attention, but suddenly finds herself caught in the dangerous web of the school social elite. If only her witchy powers hadn't decided to manifest at the same time...

OMG. I loved this!

I was sucked into Jessie's story as soon as I started reading because her voice was so witty and funny, and the witchy side hits pretty quickly. So I was equal parts interested and intrigued.

This book is full of great characters and terrible characters, and their arcs are very cool. I absolutely loved how they all fit into Jessie's life and how they affected the overall conflict and resolution. 

Jessie goes through a really hard time when she's targeted by a terrible sexist bully and things get pretty dark. And sometimes she even makes some frustrating mistakes, but the charming quality of the narrative is never lost. She goes through a lot of ups and downs, causing several angry situations, which are dealt with in a very teenage way. 

How well the good, bad and in between is balanced while never dragging down the good vibes, is a testament to the awesome writing style.

Also, I absolutely LOVED Jessie's family. Her grandmother, mother and sister are a great group of women. And Nonna was the best! She's hilarious and super intuitive. Yeah, I have a weakness for awesome and cool grandmothers. 👵

Asides from the fun factor, this book deals with some very serious issues that affect girls and women every single day at work and school. The way everything was dealt with was creative and empowering.

HEXED: Don't Get Mad, Get Powers is a totally cute and super fun tale told by a witty and awesome narrator. It deals with some pretty serious issues: bullying, lies, consent and sexism, to name a few. And all of the awful consequences that follow these toxic situations. Along with these very real issues, the witchy angle works well too.

This is a fantastic feminist YA.



Hexed: Don't Get Mad, Get Powers, July 2021, ISBN 9781510109322, Orion Children's Books

 
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