Thursday 19 January 2023



All the Living and the DeadAll the Living and the Dead by Hayley Campbell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I found this book listed on Kindle Daily Deals and was instantly intrigued. I mean, I write horror stories, watch true crime documentaries and read a lot of thrillers, so of course I'm curious about the business of death and the people who do these jobs.

Actually, I wrote a novel featuring a funeral home (that needs revising) last year, so... yeah. I had to read this.

Before I say anything else, let me just mention how heavy this book is. Not only because it's packed with useful facts and figures, but emotionally. It's so emotionally taxing, I took my time reading it. But it was well worth my time.

Hayley Campbell isn't shy about her interest in death. She's fascinated by it, mostly because she wants the answers no one can provide. No matter what religion tells you, we have no idea what comes after and this is a question that haunts humans most of their lives. But more than that, she's on a quest to find out about the people who perform all the essential background duties. All the very important medical, clinical, physical tasks most don't want to think about. Who are these people who deal with death on a daily basis? How do they deal with it? Why did they sign up for these jobs? Are they kind and caring? Morbid and creepy?

Well, this book certainly puts a spotlight on a lot of very interesting and intriguing people. Hayley conducts detailed interviews and all of the professionals she speaks to explain a lot about what they do and why they do it.

These are the people she interviews or the places she goes: a funeral director, the Mayo Clinic, an artist who makes death masks, international emergency services, crime scene cleaner, executioner, embalmers, anatomical pathology technologist (APT), bereavement midwife, grave diggers, crematorium, cryonics, and a police officer.

She even mentioned Rotten.com. OMG. My husband and I (before we were even married) saw quite a few distressing images on this site. 😳

I also liked the way she rounded everything out with the pandemic.

This is a great book, but isn't for everyone because there are plenty of in-depth descriptions, disturbing topics, and imagery that sticks.

Sunday 15 January 2023

BAD DOLLS by Rachel Harrison


Bad DollsBad Dolls by Rachel Harrison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was looking forward to checking out this short story collection and read it over the weekend.

So, here are my thoughts...


Jordan is friends with Maggie and she lives with Kenny. When a Magic 8 Ball enters her life, everything changes...

I found myself captivated by this tale about one woman's quest to have someone else—or in this case, something else—make the hard decisions for her. Deep down inside, she knows what she wants but has lived most of her life going with the flow. Until she met Maggie.

This was quirky and fun, a bit on the magical side.


When Natalie agrees to reluctantly attend her childhood friend's bachelorette party, she doesn't realise how much sacrifice the weekend event requires...

I really enjoyed this wicked little tale about a group of women who plan to spend a weekend together to celebrate their friend's upcoming wedding. Natalie's discomfort and paranoia really give this story a sense of impending doom that manifests as a weird ritual. Loved the ending, too.


Meg and Dani decide to download an app called Goblin so they can lose weight before a wedding they plan to attend...

Yikes! This was quite horrific and sad. Deals with some heavy and serious issues—eating disorders and body dysmorphia. But the personification of the app's ability to keep you on your weight-loss journey was really interesting. And that ending! 👀


When Mackenzie's younger sister dies, she moves back to the town she tried so hard to escape. And finds herself being haunted by a porcelain doll...

It's no secret that I love creepy doll stories, and this was eerie. It hit all the right notes. Mackenzie was paranoid enough and grieving enough to make the doll incident seem like something she was imagining due to the trauma and the alcohol. Or her disappointing life. Maybe even the collective darkness her family is suffering at their loss.

Either way, it was fantastic!

This is a very well-written collection, full of interesting and damaged characters suffering through their own separate issues as they struggle to deal with real life situations edging on the supernatural.

Friday 13 January 2023

THE COLOUR OF EVIL: Sarah Jane Huntington


The Colour of EvilThe Colour of Evil by Sarah Jane Huntington
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, this was yet another fantastic book by this very awesome author.

After living with an abusive parent for years, Isabelle suffered a brain injury that makes her forgetful and scatters her thoughts. She can also see auras. All she wants to do is read, spend time with her cat, and enjoy a nice cup of tea. But when several murders happen in the village, it doesn't take long for people to suspect her...

Wow! I enjoyed this story SO MUCH! It's well-written, wonderful, and sad.

Isabelle is a lovely, misunderstood character with good intentions and no way of expressing them. She can't talk, so people usually shun and dismiss her. Something happened in Isabelle's past that tainted her in the eyes of the community, and she can't trust her own memory because it fades in and out. She only wants to live a peaceful life, and wants to connect with others, even though all they throw her way is cruelty and accusations.

I hated the way people treated Isabelle because their actions and words were all too real. We really do live in a society that judges and mistreats anyone who doesn't fit the cookie-cutter illusion of normal. And that truly sucks.

People can be really horrible, and Sarah Jane Huntington has a knack for writing about people labelled as different in a way that breaks your heart. 😭

I also thought the murder-mystery was terrific, and wrapped up in a very satisfying way.

This is a really fantastic novella and I absolutely LOVED it!

Oh, and one last thing. Love how easily so many well-known fictional detectives were included in the narrative.

Wednesday 11 January 2023

THE TOLL HOUSE by Carly Reagon


A house with history. That's how the estate agent described the old toll house on the edge of the town. For Kelda it's the perfect rural home for her young son Dylan after a difficult few years.

But when Kelda finds a death mask concealed behind one of the walls, everything changes. Inexplicable things happen in the house, Kelda cannot shake the feeling of being watched and Dylan is plagued by nightmares, convinced he can see figures in his room. As Dylan's behaviour becomes increasingly challenging, Kelda seeks answers in the house's mysterious past. But she's running out of time. 

Because something has awoken.

And now it won't rest . . .

I love ghost stories and the synopsis for this one sounded very interesting.

Kelda and her son, Dylan, have moved into a new house. It's also a new town, a new job, and a new school. The pressure of all these changes makes things hard for both of them, but what's even worse is when strange things start to happen in the toll house...

Well, this turned out to be quite the haunting tale. In the real sense of the word because the dead definitely leave an impression, but also because of the complicated lives of the living.

Getting caught up in this tale was easy and happened quickly. I lost myself in Kelda's intense life instantly. She's a single working mother who bought an old house that needs a lot of repairs/updating. It also comes with a history she knows nothing about. Her boss is demanding. Her son befriends the local troublemaker. Her friend Nick comes with a few extra emotional attachments. The new guy she starts dating is a little awkward and is definitely hiding something. And that's before her estranged sister is introduced. 

Yikes! Kelda's life is messy and actually takes a few unexpected twists, turns and plenty of revelations.

Yeah, there's a lot of life stuff for her to work through and I gladly followed along as she struggled to balance everything out. But when the house starts acting strange and bizarre things start to happen, that's when the creeping dread crawled onto the page and kept me guessing.

The story is mainly in Kelda's POV, but there's also the POV of Joseph. He's the toll house keeper and lives there with his wife, in the 1860s. But his life is plagued with tragedy, and as the two timelines come together, the story falls into place when several shocking events from the past are unearthed.

The Toll House is as much a ghost story about the strength of the human spirit, as it is about the very real and familiar story of unconventional relationships. Kelda's perseverance in spite of her many struggles really grabbed me, and kept me glued to the story all the way to the very disturbing end.

Thank you Hachette Australia for sending me a copy of this awesome book.

The Toll House, February 2023, ISBN 9781408726440, Sphere

Saturday 7 January 2023

The First Week

I don't know if it's because I'm tapping into some sort of New Year Energy, but I wanted to post a little something to mark the end of the first week of 2023. 😊

(I'm really hoping this is the year when the world moves away from the ridiculous.🤞)

Anyway, Monday was a public holiday so we enjoyed the last day of hubby's break. On Tuesday, he went back to work and I got stuck into several small writing projects.

Firstly, I completed the third draft of a short story I wrote late last year but got pushed aside because of NaNoWriMo and revision. Then, I tweaked the beginning of one of the novellas (formerly a novel) I revised last year. And even re-read an old 5k short story I wanted to tighten.

I ended that day with a bunch of file/photo/pics updates, and setup a new tracking words/pages spreadsheet.

The next day, I completed the final read of my (pushed-aside) shortie and finalised it. Ended up being just below 4k words. Initially, I was going to file it away in my Completed Folder, but found a submission call that totally fits this weird, little tale. So, fingers crossed.

That day, I also finished reading a book.

On Thursday, I spent most of the morning updating my submission calls list. I subbed several stories and queries, and got a rejection for one only hours later. Rs always suck, but as I mentioned on Twitter... I'm trying not to self-reject.

It's hard when the market is swamped and every submission call gets hundreds of subs to fill a small amount of places, but I want to at least try. Last year I did a lot of: Yeah, I'm gonna sub to this, this, and this, only to let time slip away before I could send anything because a voice deep inside kept telling me not to bother. Well, that voice is wrong. I want to send my stories to places. It might be a longshot, but I want to try.

Besides, now that I've cleared my Revision Plan, I want to see if I can get some of those stories out there. See if anyone's interested.

Asides from all of this writing stuff, I also FINALLY sorted out my Moleskine Planner. It was something I'd been meaning to do for several weeks. 😬

It's funny how much I managed to achieve during a week when every single morning, as soon as I woke up, all I wanted to do was go back to sleep. Yeah, that's strange for me in the middle of summer, but I had a break hangover. Plus, this shitty rainy weather isn't helping. *yawn*

Well, I think that's enough from me.

Have a good one!

Friday 6 January 2023

My New Planner

If you've ever read my blog at the beginning of the year, then you know that a New Year also means a New Planner.

Last year I went with this Peanuts design:

 And this year I picked this one... 

The Frida Kahlo Moleskine planner selection is bright and beautiful.

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

Today, I spent most of the morning filling this lovely planner with important dates, my goals, stickers, washi tape, and updates. I also closed off the 2022 Peanuts planner and filed it away.

I'm usually more organised than this, but there aren't enough hours in the day! Anyway, it's done now and ready for use. 😁

Do you have a planner? 

Thursday 5 January 2023



Juice Like Wounds (Wayward Children, #4.5)Juice Like Wounds by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I finished reading In an Absent Dream last night, so of course I had to read this today.

Juice Like Wounds is such an awesome title, and tells the story of what happened when Moon, Lundy and Mockery go up against the wasp queen. Knowing the sad outcome didn't ruin this tale, and didn't lessen the blow. But it did deepen the friendship and consequences between Moon and Lundy. Highlighted why their strong friendship was doomed from the beginning.

I really enjoyed this!

If you're interested, you can read it HERE.

Wednesday 4 January 2023

IN AN ABSENT DREAM by Seanan McGuire


In an Absent Dream (Wayward Children, #4)In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wanted to start the year by returning to a series that I really enjoy but have fallen behind on. I've read and loved the first three Wayward Children installments, so I was looking forward to reading this one.

Katherine Lundy is a young girl who would rather spend time lost in the pages of her favourite books than being around people. She thinks adventures in stories are safe and exciting, but when she walks through a doorway located in a tree, she finds herself lost in the adventure of a lifetime...

You know, these books might introduce a new cast of characters each time, but they all have the same feeling of danger and excitement, tinged with a nice edge of darkness. Nothing is ever as it seems and in this particular book, the stakes are pretty high.

It's amazing how easily Lundy lost control of a situation she was so sure she understood. She played by the rules, but it wasn't enough to deal with the Goblin Market.

I really enjoyed this because it had a bit of everything. The writing is quirky, fantastical, peppered with themes of friendship and family. Not to mention that the ending is heartbreaking. 😥

Also, so much of this non-fairy tale seemed purposely disjointed because Lundy's story couldn't be told any other way.

Love this series!

View all my reviews

Tracking Words & Pages


Hey! How are you today? It's time to post another New Year tradition on my blog. I've been posting a screenshot of my previous year's Word Count Tracking Sheets for a while. So, why stop now? 😁

So, here are my 2022 stats:

Total words written: 160,534.
Total pages revised 3,843.

Although 2022 turned out to be an extension of the previous two years, as far as WTFuckery? was concerned, I managed to complete several writing goals. And the most exciting thing was finishing up my leftover Revision Projects. As well as completing another NaNoWriMo.

That explains almost 4k worth of revision pages and the bulk of the yearly word count! 😅

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

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

This post only covers my actual word and page count stats. If you're interested in a more detailed list, the other day I posted a breakdown of my 2022 Goals.

Yesterday, I setup my spreadsheet for 2023 and have already added new words and revision pages.

Anyway, here's to another productive year!

Tuesday 3 January 2023

Some Kind of Goals

Welcome to my 2023 Goals post. 😁

I'm not a big fan of resolutions because they don't usually stick, but goals are a different story. I love putting together a goals list at the beginning of the year, and post them here.

These are the things I'd like to achieve/continue to do this year:
  • Go for two daily walks
  • Get back into yoga and schedule more workouts 
  • Write between 100-200k words
  • Read 100 books
  • Revise/finalise my NaNoWriMo 2022 first draft
  • Write a novel or two
  • Write a novella or two
  • Keep writing short stories & subbing
  • Try not to self-reject & submit stories no matter how much of a longshot it is
  • Take part in NaNoWriMo
  • Continue playing Animal Crossing and get into some other cosy, cute puzzle games.

Well, there it is!

This is my list for 2023.

Are you making a list this year?

Monday 2 January 2023

Reading 2023



A new year means a new Goodreads Reading Challenge:

So, this is when I say: I want to read 100 books this year. 😁

I also usually give myself mini-challenges, but this year I'm not going to do that. 

During 2023 I want to read any novel, short story, novella or novelette that catches my attention. I want to read hardbacks, paperbacks, and eBooks. Listen to audio books and get back into comic books. Adding some biographies/memoirs sounds like a great idea as well. I don't care if they're review books or books that I've had on my bookshelf for years.

Whatever, whenever.

I just want to have fun reading. And if a book doesn't work for me, I'll put it aside because there aren't enough hours in the day. 

Well, that's it!

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

How many books do YOU plan to read this year? 

Here's to another year full of awesome reading!

Sunday 1 January 2023

Happy New Year!


I hope you all have a great and fun day. 😊🎉

It's a shame that 2022 turned out to be yet another pandemic year with no clear end in sight. Actually, it's kinda worse now because people DGAF about Covid anymore and the virus keeps spreading and mutating. It's a frustrating shame, and I really hope this attitude changes.

Anyway. Enough with the negative stuff.

I want to send out positive thoughts into the universe and welcome 2023 with happy/good vibes in mind.

Have an awesome, productive and healthy year!

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