Monday 28 February 2022



Kiki's Delivery ServiceKiki's Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hayao Miyazaki's Kiki's Delivery Service is one of my comfort movies. A movie I've watched countless of times and always look forward to watching again because I love it so much. And to be honest, I didn't know it was a book first... but when I found out, I couldn't wait to check it out.

Kiki is a witch with a black cat called Jiji. She lives in a small town, but when she comes of age, she has to fly out into the world to find her own place. She's determined to go somewhere near the sea, which makes Koriko the perfect place to settle...

Oh, this is such a wonderful story. As beautiful as the movie, yet very different. A lot of Kiki and Jiji's adventures are completely different, but still serve the same purpose. One thing they both share is Kiki's innocence, kindness and goodness. How she looks at the world with such enthusiasm and willingness to help those who need her. This version of Kiki is also a little more playful.

Just like the movie, Jiji is really cheeky. I love this kitty's attitude, and how he adapts so easily to every new human they meet. Together, they make an awesome team.

I absolutely LOVED this witchy tale, and the physical book is beautiful. The cover is adorable and vibrant. The black and white illustrations throughout really complement the lovely words.

There's SO much beauty in this book. 🖤

View all my reviews

Sunday 27 February 2022



In the dusty agave fields of the Guadalajara countryside, a peasant girl cuts a deal with the insidious thing living beneath her father’s house. An industrial accident aboard a space station in humanity’s distant future forces an unappreciated laborer to survive an unpredictable alien menace. A young man recounts his last days as the caretaker of a reclusive elderly woman in her remote - and possibly haunted - mansion. Welcome to the Westside Fairytales, where nothing is as it seems and everything is connected. A universe of possibility, horror, and madness spanning humanity’s past, present, and future. If you think you’re brave enough, and clever enough, then we entreat you to discover the mysteries of The Eyes Beneath My Father’s House.

The author of this collection reached out to me, and I decided to check out what this book had to offer.

THE UMBRELLA MAN: Well, this was quite a creepy coming of age story about four friends who discover something very dangerous while checking out an abandoned house. Very creepy indeed. And so interesting I couldn't stop reading. Really enjoyed this one!

BEST ROSES, MANASSAS, WEST VIRGINIA: I couldn't get into this story, and wound up giving up because I wasn't feeling any of the characters or what was going on.

MUD OF THE HEART: This is a confessional tale told by a man who takes care of a peculiar, ill woman. While I liked the atmospheric feel of the location and the creepy nature of the manor, in the end I found it underwhelming. 

OH, HEAVEN: DNFd this one. 🫤

OJOS OSCUROS: I was enjoying this one until all that awkward sexual abuse stuff started and then I lost interest...

WITHIN AS WITHOUT : Another story that I found hard to focus on because it was a bit dull.


DOG STAR: I enjoyed this creepy psychological SF mind trip in space. It was interesting, tense and Mikosh goes through a lot. And I mean a LOT.

THE THREE FLIGHTS OF MATEO JEFFERSON: Another story I found hard to connect with.

CARRIER: Wow. What a messed-up tale this one was. It's as gross as it is wrong, and so intriguing I couldn't stop reading about Ollie's horrid ordeal. 😟

Well, this collection turned out to be a mixed bag. Although I couldn't get into quite a few of these stories, the ones I did enjoy were excellent. And the illustrations are super cool, too.

I appreciate the chance to read this. Thank you, Tyler.

Saturday 26 February 2022


Camille and Brad are sock-puppets that live in a dusty old attic. They fill their days by exploring the storage boxes in their small world. One day they find yarn and needles and they create something that causes a nightmarish series of events to unfold... and Brad has been hiding something from Camille... a terrible secret that might destroy them!

Okay, I have to admit that when I saw the review request email this morning, I thought this was a joke. I mean, the words sock puppets and erotic are rarely mentioned in the same sentence. 😅

After looking it up on GR and showing my husband, he said I should definitely get a copy. And he was right, of course, because I was intrigued. 

Camille is a beautiful sock and she's in love with the equally beautiful sock, Brad. They live an adventurous life together inside a dusty attic, but the day Brad finds a pair of knitting needles, Camille is introduced to an unexpected world of bliss, betrayal and responsibility...

Yikes. What can I say about this story? It's short and I read it in one sitting, which was a good thing because once I started I couldn't stop.

I was so pleasantly surprised by this haunting horror tale of undying, obsessive love, and how it warps Camille's mind until she hatches one dark plan after another to get her lover back. She's tenacious and resourceful, imaginative and actually ends up showing quite a bit of kindness towards the monsters.

Don't get me wrong, this story is TOTALLY messed up. But it's also clever, funny and full of sewing/knitting/fabric puns that cracked me up.

I'll never think about knitting sessions the same way again. I really enjoyed this very strange and dark little tale. 🧦🪡

I have to thank the author for sending me a copy.

Thursday 24 February 2022

A FAR WILDER MAGIC by Allison Saft

In the dark, gothic town of Wickdon, Maggie Welty lives in an old creaking manor. Maggie's mother is an alchemist who has recently left town, leaving Maggie with just her bloodhound for company. But when Maggie spots a legendary ancient fox-creature on her porch, her fate is changed forever. Whoever tracks down and kills the hala in the Halfmoon Hunt will earn fame and riches - and if Maggie wins the hunt, she knows her mother will want to celebrate her. This is her chance to bring her home.

But the rules state that only teams of two can join the hunt, and while Maggie is known as the best sharpshooter in town, she needs an alchemist.

Enter Wes Winters. He isn't an alchemist ... yet. Fired from every apprenticeship he's landed, this is his last chance.

Maggie and Wes make an unlikely team - a charismatic but troubled boy, and a girl who has endured life on the outskirts of a town that never welcomed her. But as the hunt takes over, the pair are drawn together as they uncover a darker magic that may put everything they hold dear in peril...

This book caught my eye when I was looking through the Hachette catalogue a few months ago. I thought the cover was lovely and when I read the description, I was definitely interested.

Maggie Welty lives in an old manor in the town of Wickdon. Her mother is an alchemist who often leaves her alone in a place where she's only liked by a handful of people. Weston Winters lives in the city with his mother and sisters. He desperately wants to become an alchemist. That's how he ends up on Maggie's doorstep, and begins a magical adventure with this strange girl...

Wow. What an amazing and super addictive tale. I couldn't stop reading because I wanted to know how this was going to turn out. And it didn't disappoint.

When I started reading this book I just wanted a sample, a small taste of what lay hidden between the pages of this pretty book. But before I realised what was happening, I was halfway through and didn't want to stop because I was instantly captivated by the interesting characters, the fascinating alchemical world, and the mysterious white fox. I also wanted to know where Maggie's mother was, and why she would be so careless about her responsibilities to a daughter who wants and deserves her attention.

I loved how the vivid descriptions of the town of Wickdon spring off the page as easily as the colourful characters we meet. And that brings me to Maggie and Wes. 

The story is told in the alternating POV of Maggie and Wes. I was instantly drawn to both of these characters for very different reasons. Maggie is a lonely, self-sufficient girl who is also stubborn, determined, and comfortable in her isolated existence. Wes is an outwardly cocky, somewhat arrogant guy who seems to get what he wants all the time. Yet, his charm only gets him so far, and he hides who he really is behind this well-constructed mask. Together, they're two opposites who will obviously attract, no matter how hard they try to fight it. 

Another thing that I thought was very well written and flawlessly woven into the narrative was the different religions, how they work and don't work together. It wasn't hard to figure out how each was influenced by the real world, but they're re-created in a different light and mixed with alchemy to feature some very interesting worldbuilding. Yet, are still troublesome and encounter the same prejudice.

A Far Wilder Magic is an exciting fantasy tale with a slow burn passionate love story at its wonderful core. It also deals with plenty of dark issues such as bigotry, parental neglect, malicious bullying, manipulation, and the mental scars grief leaves behind. And when everything is mixed together, it makes an unforgettable story that I absolutely fell in love with.

Thank you Hachette Australia for sending me a copy.

A Far Wilder Magic, March 2022, ISBN 9781510110755, Orion Children's Books

Tuesday 22 February 2022

THE UNSUITABLE by Molly Pohlig


The UnsuitableThe Unsuitable by Molly Pohlig
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've had my eye on this lovely book for a while, and I decided it was time to check it out.

Iseult Wince is a woman like no other. She loves to go for long walks, is used to being ignored by her father, and talks to her dead mother all the time. Her father told her that she's responsible for her mother's death because she died during childbirth, so she lives with this guilt every day and her mother's whispering voice doesn't help. Then she meets Jacob...

This is one odd and twisted little Victorian gothic tale. Iseult looks like she'll become a spinster at twenty-eight but is so preoccupied with the voice inside her head and the pleasure she finds in self-inflicted pain, that she barely notices. Her life is a lonely one lived mostly in her head and in her room.

But when her horrid excuse for a parent (hated her father) is fed up with trying to marry off the weird daughter he clearly doesn't care about, respect, or even tolerates, everything changes. It was so sad, to watch this poor woman go through life like a pincushion who gets verbally abused constantly, from outside and inside her head.

It's heartbreaking to see the constant barrage of disgust flung her way, because she's a bit different and is obviously suffering from mental illness, because of the callous treatment she experiences from everyone. 😥

No one understands her or seem to care, which is why I liked Jacob. The silver man actually seemed like a nice person and listened to everything she said.

The writing style was really cool. In between the third-person narrative in Iseult's POV, there's also the confused and aggressive thought exchange between mother and daughter. It's disorienting and so well done.

I REALLY enjoyed this melancholy tale and the secret, mixed with that ending, totally worked for me because it's messed up. And also very sad.

Thursday 17 February 2022

February's Revision Update!


Hey! How are you today?

Well, it's Thursday and today it was time to take care of a few last-minute revision tweaks. Yeah, I always end up with a list of rep words and details to double check before calling the project done.

Anyway, here are the stats: 
  • Monday: 38/79 pgs (28,956w)
  • Tuesday: 79/79pgs  (28,746w)
  • Wednesday: break day!
  • Thursday: 80pgs / 28,420w

So, Cosmic is now DONE! Yay. 😃🎉

I'm really excited about finishing this story because I wrote the first draft during NaNoWriMo 2017. 😳 And after getting stuck into this revision, I started wondering if it was even worth finishing because something was bugging me about the narrative... It wasn't until the third draft that I realised there were a few subplots that could be eliminated. After cutting three chapters, everything started coming together.

The first draft was 53,623 words. That means I cut 25,203 words! I did mention last week that this was going from novel to novella real fast. And I was right. But I don't mind because the story is SO much better now, stronger.

I'm happy I stuck with it because the two girls in this otherworldly tale deserved to have their story told. 😍

So, finishing this project also means I can update my Revision List again:

  • April 2021: Full edit of Wall of Dolls 
  • May 2021: Full revision of Destiny 
  • June 2021: Full revision of Victoria 
  • August 2021: Full revision of Possess 
  • September 2021: Full revision of Monsters
  • February 2022: Full revision of Cosmic

Asides from working on this story, we finally watched the rest of EVIL S2 and it didn't disappoint. I love this dark, twisted and wicked TV show. They're not afraid to push the boundaries, and I enjoy the demonic angle.

Well, that's it for me today. I'm looking forward to taking a bit of a mental break. Also, it's time to figure out which Revision Project will be next. As well as... am I going to write short stories for the interesting anthology calls I keep seeing on Twitter?! 👀

Have a great day.

Friday 11 February 2022

THE MAKER'S BOX by David Barclay


Emily has been obsessed with the occult since her mother died, collecting every pagan curio and oddity she can find. Then on the night of her sixteenth birthday, her father gives her a piece of real magic: a beating human heart inside a wooden box. If the gift weren't strange enough, his instructions are even stranger: “You'll need to feed it to keep it alive.”

The box needs her blood, and in exchange, shows her rousing and wondrous things. Desires she never knew existed. But as Emily’s father lapses into addiction, as she grows weak with blood loss, she realizes all too late the box has desires of its own. 

The Maker’s Box is a contemporary dark fairy tale of magic, obsession, and madness.

The author of this novella contacted me a few weeks ago, and because the premise sounded interesting, I asked him to send me an ARC. 

When Emily's father gives her a beating heart inside a box for her sixteenth birthday, she doesn't think it's that odd because he's not exactly a conventional parent. But the heart needs to be fed and it doesn't take long before she tries to figure out the mystery...

Well, this turned out to be quite a strange and dark tale. I mean that in the best way possible because I really enjoyed it.

I like stories set in our world that also throw caution to the wind and introduce the unbelievable in a whimsical, intriguing way that sweeps me away for a fun ride. Emily's story takes some weird and wondrous turns, is full of blood and obsession. Deals with addiction in several different ways, while also delving into troubled family ties, deadly secrets, and complicated friendships.

Emily is such a terrific narrator, a joy to spend time with. She's nice, loyal, determined to keep the peace at home, and totally consumed with her pet heart. Firstly, she desperately wants to make sure to feed it, and later, wants to figure out who it belongs to, what it wants, and how to stop losing herself before it's too late. 

We also catch a glimpse of her friend, Noah's POV. I liked her grandmother, but despised her father. I won't get into what a mess that guy turned out to be. I would've liked to see more interactions with Stacey, because her connection to Emily was interesting.

The Maker's Box is a story that ventures into some very grim situations, definitely doesn't shy away from the bizarre, and often tumbles into disturbing. All while still managing to be freaky fun!

Thanks for sending me a copy, David.



The Trivia NightThe Trivia Night by Ali Lowe
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was interested in this book because I'm a sucker for domestic thrillers. Plus it's been compared to Big Little Lies, which I really enjoyed. I also like reading books written by Aussies, of course.

Unfortunately, the only comparison I agree with as far as BLL goes is that it's set in a rich coastal suburb, the kids are in primary, and there's a trivia night. The characters here are quite bland, sometimes even interchangeable. Their problems didn't affect me, so I didn't care one way or another. The twists (there are a few) weren't all that shocking or interesting.

It's a shame because it started off well. I was just expecting a thriller-ish tale with complications and intrigue, and instead got a drama full of mothers and fathers acting like fools. I know (from experience) that this mother-clique thing is very real when your kids start primary school, but this story took the concept to a whole new level of ridiculous.

I really wanted to like this book, but I couldn't connect with the characters or the story. It's a shame because the writing style was actually pretty good.

Wednesday 9 February 2022

The Revision Continues...


Hey! How are you today? I hope you're all having a great day! 

Well, this week I got stuck into the third draft of my tentatively titled, Cosmic, novel. Except, during the third draft I started cutting words and more words, until this became a YA thriller novella. 😬

Here's why:
  • Monday: 41/118pgs (44,675w)
  • Tuesday: 60/89pgs (33,177w)
  • Wednesday: 82pgs / 29,364w

As you can see, the word count kept going down because I ended up cutting three chapters that I felt were more filler than anything else. I'm not afraid to delete chunks if they're not needed. Besides, I did keep the important bits and added them to other (more fitting) places.

The first draft of this story was 53k, so yeah. I've cut quite a bit! But the important thing is: the third draft is done. Yay! 

I've already added the doc to my Paperwhite, so I can read it one last time and make sure everything flows better. But I won't be doing that until next week because it's best to get a bit of distance between each draft. So, at least I'll get a few days off. Yay.

What else is new? Um... we finally opened our matching Pixel 6 phones over the weekend. We're slowly getting to know them, but they're lovely. And the camera is awesome.

Asides from that, I wrote a shortie that came in at 900w, written in second-person POV. This was a personal challenge I set for myself because I usually stick to first and third person. I actually read the first draft to my husband and he was a bit freaked out. So, that's a great thing! I also started writing another short story (on my Pixel) from an idea that came out of nowhere. We'll see how it goes...

That's about it for now.

Have a good one!

Friday 4 February 2022



And Her Smile Will Untether the UniverseAnd Her Smile Will Untether the Universe by Gwendolyn Kiste
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've got several Gwendolyn Kiste books waiting in my TBR pile, so I decided to start with this lovely collection.

Here's what I thought of each story...

SOMETHING BORROWED, SOMETHING BLUE: Wow. This certainly took me to places I never imagined. Combine the whimsical nature of what keeps happening to this poor woman, the horrid sense of desperation and sadness she feels, with my personal love for birds... Of course I was going to enjoy this.

TEN THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE TEN QUESTIONS: A quirky and creepy tale about friendship during a time when more and more people vanish from existence without any real explanation.

THE CLAWFOOT REQUIEM: Yikes. That was definitely something very dark and quite sad. A woman can't let go of her sister after she kills herself and tumbles down a very murky path. 😳

ALL THE RED APPLES HAVE WITHERED TO GRAY: What a fantastic dark as hell fairy tale this little gem turned out to be. It was like reading a feminist Grimm story, and I enjoyed every single minute of it.

THE MAN IN THE AMBRY: Intense. Creepy. An entire horror story told through the one-sided letters of Molly Jane as she writes to someone no one else believes exist. Loved this! And that ending. 😳

FIND ME, MOMMY: OMGosh. So freaking creeeeeepy. Emma Jo's shadowy fate is damn spooky.

AUDREY AT NIGHT: The story of a guilty woman being haunted isn't what it seems, and as the events unravel leading to the shocking conclusion... everything starts to make sense. Fantastic!

THE FIVE-DAY SUMMER CAMP: This is quite a chilling dystopian horror story about two sisters determined to stay together in a world that wants to control their every thought and action. Outstanding.

SKIN LIKE HONEY AND LACE: I love skeletons and have written several stories about them myself, so I found this tale  REALLY appealing. Loved how at its very core it's a morbid love story about shedding false skin to expose who you really are.

BY NOW, I'LL PROBABLY BE GONE: I think this one's a lot of fun! Short but gets to the razor-sharp point right away.

THROUGH EARTH AND SKY: Lovely and sad, a story that's over too soon but covers so much.

THE TOWER PRINCESSES: OMG, this is such a strange and wondrous tale about the crap teenage girls have to put up with. It's presented in such a unique way, but doesn't shy away from the raw and ugly truth of what society keeps piling on. And unfortunately, also highlights how easy it is to lose who you love if you allow the negatives to fill you with anger and blind you from the most wonderful thing.

AND HER SMILE WILL UNTETHER THE UNIVERSE: A fascinating take on urban legends and forgotten actors.

THE LAZARUS BRIDE: Loved this bleak fairy tale that questions if love can truly overcome everything.

Well, this turned out to be such a moving and beautiful collection of twisted stories. I adored each and every one for different reasons, and love Gwedolyn's writing style because it sucks you in and doesn't let go. Every character, situation and world within these pages is vivid and everlasting.

Wednesday 2 February 2022

My First Revision Project of the Year...

Hey! How are you? Long time no blog. Well, it hasn't been that long since I keep posting book reviews, but you know what I mean. 

So, now that January is over and my brain finally feels like it's ready to concentrate again, it's time to get stuck into a new Revision Project. Last year I posted about the Revision Plans I had to finalise a bunch of novel first drafts that have been sitting (forgotten) on my hard drive far too long.

I had big plans to get six out of the nine drafts revised. That was very ambitious because life got in the way several times and we're living through a never-ending pandemic. Also, these projects involved a LOT of work and I needed breaks in between.

Anyway, this is what I achieved in 2021:
  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
  5. September: Full revision of Monsters

Not what I originally planned, but still a very good start to this very ambitious plan. I mean, each revision involves two drafts and a final read-thru. Phew!

As of now, I have five outstanding projects left from the original backlog and a new one because I wrote a new draft during NaNoWriMo. 😊

So, this week I got stuck into what I'm tentatively calling Cosmic. It's a YA thriller that I've dubbed Roswell meets The X-Files, and takes place during an Aussie summer that changes the main character's life forever. It's whimsical and full of SFish stuff plus features a complicated but sweet love story between two girls.

This is how my progress turned out:
  • Monday: 56/134pgs (52,897w)
  • Tuesday: 105/130pgs (50,958w)
  • Wednesday: 126pgs / 48,910w
As you can see, the second draft is now done! I ended up cutting 4,713 words and deleted a chapter that didn't need to be there. I did keep several paragraphs and moved them somewhere else. Plus, I've decided to change the date it's set. 😬

The reason I chose this story first is because it's the project I was hoping to complete back in December. It's also one of the shorter ones, which is great for getting back into the swing of things. Actually, after finishing this draft, I realised this might become a novella instead of a novel.

This draft always turns out to be my getting to know this story and characters all over again, so I deleted quite a bit. I made plenty of changes/additions and have a Third Draft List started already.

It feels good to get back into the swing of things. I'll put this aside until Monday and take a few days off to keep adding to the List. Oh, and I'd like to get some reading done too.

Have a great day!

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