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Wednesday, 31 May 2023

May Update!


Hey! How are you today? How did the month of May treat you? Can you believe it's almost over? Yikes!

The weather is changing here in Sydney, and the days are getting shorter. We've almost hit winter, which you might know is my least favourite season. I don't like cold weather, prefer the longer days of summer. 😩

Well, what did I get up to this month? After the multiple edits I did in April, this month I decided to slow things down a bit. I spent some of my time updating files, catching up on things I'd neglected, and managed to get some reading done. 

I also got a new story idea that I've started writing. It's one that came to me on a day when I was really sad about Loki. It's been three months since we lost him and that day I woke up from a horrible dream where we lost him all over again. I couldn't shake the sadness all day and I was really upset. Cried for a bit, until this idea hit me.

It's a strange and sad one, but it's helping me deal with the loss.

Actually, it's going very well and is expanding into unexpected territory. I crossed the 17k mark today, and I'm feeling good about it. Initially I thought it might be a novelette, but it's more likely going to be a novella. Not sure yet, but it doesn't matter because I'll keep writing until it's done.

BTW, did you see this? ⬇️

That's right! My horrormance slasher novel has found a home with Aesthetic Press, and will be released next year. Yay!! ☺️🎉

The plot goes a little like this: A group of high school friends meet up ten years later for a reunion dinner and are targeted by a mysterious maniac. 🔪

This story is my love letter to slashers, with a good dose of friendship and romantic entanglements.

As you can probably tell, I'm very excited!! Yay.

The other fantastic piece of news I have to share is that my small-time horror novella will be released by DarkLit Press in under a month.



Last week I read a copy of the paperback proof and it's lovely. Andrew puts together some absolutely stunning books and I can't wait to share this story with the world.

I hope you'll give Kae and Roy's story a go. Find out how Molly's reappearance messes with the town of Thicket.

Oh, and if you're interested in finding out a bit more about Molly, you can read the prequel short story to find out:

What happened to Molly?

When an injured teenager is spat out by the woods, she doesn't know who she is or where she's going. Until a Good Samaritan stops to help... and unleashes a darkness ready to consume anyone who gets in the way.

You can grab it HERE.

All of these exciting things make me very happy. ☺️

Did you all watch the Yellowjackets finale? What did you think? I loved it! The little twist was unexpected, but the ending was sad. Can't wait to watch the next season. Though we don't know when that'll be because of the writers strike.

Well, that's about it for now. I just wanted to post an update about what I've been doing, what's coming up, and what I'm working on at the moment.

Have an awesome day!!


Wednesday, 24 May 2023

WUTHERING HEIGHTS by Emily Brontë

 

Wuthering HeightsWuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a classic that I've been meaning to read for years, and early this week I decided to pull out the audio version, which I have on disk. Well, three disks.

Anyway, I don't think I need to go into too many details about this story because everyone knows the tale of Heathcliff, Catherine and Wuthering Heights. This is a couple who love each other but can't be together. A man who wants nothing but revenge. Children who are used as pawns in a fight that started before they were born. And the tragic circumstances that befell two families forever intertwined.

There was a lot about this story that I didn't know going in. Mainly about Cathy, Linton and Thrushcross Grange, but also just what an asshole Heathcliff really is. He's no romantic hero. He's violent, manipulative, and just awful. Not that Catherine was any better, to be honest. I also didn't know that his own selfish desires drive him mad. Oh, and I didn't expect the ghost story side of things. I found this fascinating.

Actually, I found the whole book absolutely fascinating.

Not just because of the Earnshaw and Linton families involved in this twisted saga and their many shared tragedies, but I also enjoyed the interesting way the story is revealed. Instead of having the actual people involved in all of these misfortunes tell their side, we have the housekeeper, Nelly Dean, telling the tale to a man called Lockwood. And I think this style really worked.

I'm glad I finally read this. It was quite an experience.

And on a final note, I think the narration by these two voice actors was great.

Tuesday, 23 May 2023

THIS ONE'S GONNA HURT by Cody J. Thompson

 

This One's Gonna HurtThis One's Gonna Hurt by Cody J. Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, that was quite the blood-soaked ride! Also, if you're squeamish, you definitely need to know that this book needs all the trigger warnings.

Halloran Summit Road is a desolate area located at the end of a random off-ramp along the freeway in the California desert. A place to rest while you charge your electric car. Somewhere for five friends to take a detour while on their way to a music festival in Las Vegas...

You know, I just realised I made that sound like a nice place to visit, a pleasant tourist spot to take your family. But it totally isn't. This location might appear vacant, but houses an evil maniac who preys on anyone who makes the mistake of stopping there.

After all, he needs to meet his supply and demand quota. 😳

From the very beginning, this story is violent and packs quite the gruesome punch. Introduces unsuspecting characters you get to like before they face down the danger lurking behind the trailers.

It's quite shocking, fast-paced, and when the secret is revealed, sure to make you extra queasy. And that's before I mention the gory descriptions, the vivid sense of location, and that messed-up ending.

I mean, yikes!!

I really enjoyed this. There's definitely some The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, with a mix of Wrong Turn, and plenty of carnage to keep any slasher fan hooked.

But please, whatever you do, stay away from the Herkey Jerky. 😬

Thursday, 18 May 2023

SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH: Something Wicked (Sabrina, Volume 2) by Kelly Thompson, Veronica Fish, Andy Fish & Jack Morelli

 

Sabrina: Something Wicked (Sabrina, #2)Sabrina: Something Wicked by Kelly Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Glad I got stuck into this one right away because it continues from the first volume and throws Sabrina into a bunch of problems.

She's interested in two guys but can't seem to make either one of them happy. She's trying to help Radka and Ren but it leads her to someone she didn't expect. She's trying to stay away from her aunt's while befriending another witch. She's tired all the time so her grades are slipping and she keeps forgetting about her friend Jessa.

And this is all while trying to get comfortable with her magical powers and their long-term cost.

I love how this installment was all about trying to find the right balance. Something that is sometimes really hard to find, especially when you add magic and trying to hide her witchy side.

The artwork is once again beautiful.

Wonder if more issues are coming because I'd love to read them.


View all my reviews

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

SABRINA THE TEENAGE WITCH (Sabrina, Volume 1) by Kelly Thompson, Veronica Fish, Andy Fish & Jack Morelli

 

Sabrina the Teenage Witch (Sabrina, #1)Sabrina the Teenage Witch by Kelly Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love all things Sabrina, so when I found out about this comic book series I was eager to check it out.

Sabrina Spellman is a teenage witch trying to balance her mortal side and witchy powers. Which is harder since she moved to Greendale with her aunts and has to adapt to a new high school. Unfortunately, strange things always find her...

OMG. The artwork in this book is AMAZING. Very pretty and colourful. It's also adorable and cute, plus SO MUCH FUN! I really like the vibes here. Not only is it cute, but there's still an edge of darkness at every turn.

This version of Salem is snarky. I love him! Hilda and Zelda are as mysterious as ever. There's also Harvey, but he has a rival in Ren. I like how Sabrina likes two boys and wants to get to know them on her own terms. Jessa's a nice addition, too.

I'm REALLY enjoying this story and can't wait to read more.


View all my reviews

Tuesday, 16 May 2023

IMMORTALITY: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz

 

Hazel Sinnett is alone and half-convinced the events of the year before - the immortality, Beecham's vial - were a figment of her imagination. She doesn't even know if Jack is alive or dead. All she can really do now is treat patients and maintain Hawthornden Castle as it starts to decay around her.

When saving a life leads to her arrest, Hazel seems doomed to rot in prison until a message intervenes: Hazel has been specifically requested to be the personal physician of Princess Charlotte, the sickly granddaughter of King George III. Soon Hazel is dragged into the glamour and romance of a court where everyone has something to hide, especially the enigmatic, brilliant members of a social club known as the Companions to the Death.

As Hazel's work entangles her more and more with the British court, she realizes that her own future as a surgeon isn't the only thing at stake for her. Malicious forces are at work in the monarchy, and Hazel may be the only one capable of setting things right. 


I loved the first book in this duology, and was looking forward to finding out how everything was going to end.

After Hazel lost Jack, she retreated to her family's Hawthornden Castle and has been helping people with medical emergencies. But when she's arrested for murder and thrown in jail, Hazel is convinced her life is over. Until she's shipped off to London to become the sickly Princess Charlotte's personal physician, and stumbles on a whole lot more...

Well, as expected, I started reading this book and couldn't put it down. Actually, I got halfway in a few sittings because I was hooked!

Hazel's story continues a year after what happened with Dr. Beecham and Jack. She can't get over the boy she fell in love with and the note he sent her, but he hasn't reached out again and she gets lost in what drives her passion—her work.

I loved the ups and downs, how secrets unfold and a whole new world opens up in a different location. The mysteries that lie beneath London are intriguing and miraculous. As well as what's going on in the castle, which reveals a sweet tale that I hadn't expected but especially enjoyed.

The new cast of characters added in this installment enrich the atmosphere and create new wonders and problems for Hazel. Both personal and professional obstacles she has to overcome with the knowledge she's picked up along the way. 

Immortality: A Love Story is a thrilling conclusion to this fantastic story, and I enjoyed every minute I spent in this alternate version of history. There are surprises, shocks, as well as twists and turns, but mainly this truly is a love story at its core.

A dark love story that has the power to overcome... immortality.

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


Immortality: A Love Story, February 2023, ISBN 9780349433400, Piatkus

Sunday, 14 May 2023

SPELL ON WHEELS by Kate Leth, Megan Levens & Marissa Louise

 

Spell on Wheels, Vol. 2: Just to Get to YouSpell on Wheels, Vol. 2: Just to Get to You by Kate Leth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read the first volume the other night and enjoyed it so much I picked this one up too.

Claire, Jolene and Andy are still out and about on their road trip. This time they're looking for a witch who's made a connection with Claire's compass. But things don't go as expected...

This is another fast-paced and fun volume that expands on their friendship. We also catch a glimpse of Jolene's past, Andy's family connection, and the vulnerability of Claire's power. Annabelle was also interesting because it showed how shitty men can twist a woman's need to regain her place in the world without all the patriarchy crap. And when the magical power of persuasion is added to the mix... Yeah.

I also like how even the girls manage to blur the line between good and evil for reasons they easily justify. Jolene is the best example of this.

I'm really enjoying this and wonder what comes next. Or, if there even is a next. I hope so.

Great witchy goodness. ✨

Saturday, 13 May 2023

WYTCHES by Scott Snyder & Jock

 

Wytches: Volume 1 (Wytches, #1)Wytches: Volume 1 by Scott Snyder
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was looking forward to reading this one because so many people seemed to like it, but I ended up being a bit disappointed.

After something awful happens to their daughter, the Rooks family moves to a creepy town in hopes of starting fresh. But there's something evil in the woods and it's watching...

Okay, so the story's messed up and dark, shows the past dysfunction and tragedy that this small family went through, while introducing the wicked ways of this town. Yet, I found myself disconnected from the story and the characters, didn't feel like we got to delve deep enough so that when the reveal happens, it left me feeling hollow. And I didn't care, really.

I did like certain parts of this. I feel that there were a lot of cool separate concepts that never meshed together as well as they should've.

Not excellent or great, just good.


View all my reviews

Friday, 12 May 2023

THE GHOST IN YOU by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips

 

The Ghost in You (Reckless, #4)The Ghost in You by Ed Brubaker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have to admit that I haven't read the previous books in this series, and don't even know who Ethan Reckless is, but I liked the cover. So, I decided to read it anyway. 🙂

It's 1989 and while Ethan is out of town, Anna decides to take on a job by herself. Especially since an old movie scream queen she used to love asks her to investigate if the murder-house mansion she's renovating is haunted...

Well, that was unexpectedly awesome!

I always enjoy a good crime noir mystery, and this one was done very well. It's also set in the late 80s, and deals with several problems that started in the past and settled into that turbulent decade. An urban legend about hidden treasure, how strict religious ways destroyed relationships, a pointless war that made villains out of the soldiers forced to fight, and the result of dysfunctional families.

Anna's a great character. Very interesting and determined to solve the mystery, even when her estranged mother gets in the way.

Yep, this was great and I loved the artwork.

SPELL ON WHEELS by Kate Leth, Megan Levens & Marissa Louise

 

Spell on WheelsSpell on Wheels by Kate Leth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love this cover and have been meaning to read this for ages!

Claire, Jolene and Andy are witches in their 20s who share a house. When someone breaks into their house and steals a bunch of their stuff, they head out on a road trip to get their belongings back...

This turned out to be such a fun book! The story is so cool. Not only do I love witches, but road trip stories that introduce the reader to other interesting characters is a sure way of hooking me in. And here we deal with power-hungry assholes, an angry ghost, and even a very cute beast.

It kinda reminded me of Charmed and Supernatural, with its own unique flavour. Very cool.

Also, the diversity in this story is so well done. It's just there, in the best way possible. There's an attitude that was full of feminist appeal, and characters you want to spend time with.

The illustrations are beautiful, too.

I love a good witchy tale! ✨

Thursday, 11 May 2023

MOTHERTHING by Ainslie Hogarth

 

MotherthingMotherthing by Ainslie Hogarth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The cover for this book grabbed my attention a while ago, and then I was intrigued by the synopsis. Yesterday, I decided it was time to read it.

In spite of living with a callous mother-in-law, Abby and her husband Ralph have a happy marriage. Until the MIL dies and haunts both of them in psychological ways that manage to disrupt their lives. Unless Abby can do something about what's going on, she might lose everything that makes her who she is...

This is one strange and interesting story, bordering on the bizarre. The kind of book that kept me glued from start to finish because I needed to find out where this was going to end.

I loved the writing style because it presented everything in such an interesting style. Quirky, in a way that revealed just how unhinged and toxic these characters really are. Unique, because the vivid descriptions dripped off every page and gave everything a surreal slant that blurs the line between what's real and what isn't.

At its core, this story is definitely a domestic psychological horror with a weird haunting trying to seep in through the broken edges. It's also the very sad story of two people who find each other and almost lose each other because they were both cursed with shitty mothers. Mothers who manipulated and neglected, controlled and harmed their children to the point of affecting their behaviours as adults.

Of course, we can't ignore the fact that Abby's intrusive and outrageous thoughts lead her to commit the unthinkable. But you know what? The way the author wrote these characters, I was just happy to follow them along until Abby's dark plan is revealed and delivered. Love an unpredictable narrator.

There's nothing I like more in fiction than complicated women, so I enjoyed the hell out of this twisted tale!

Tuesday, 9 May 2023

OUR OWN UNIQUE AFFLICTION by Scott J. Moses

 

Our Own Unique AfflictionOur Own Unique Affliction by Scott J. Moses
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love reading, watching and writing about vampires. I'm also one of those people who will never get sick of vampire stories. In my opinion, you can never have too many. So, of course I was interested in checking this out.

Alice Ann and Hannah Grace aren't your average sisters because they're not exactly human. While Alice Ann prowls the night looking for victims, her older sister prefers to stay behind because she hasn't been feeling well lately. At least, that's what she thinks is going on...

Every page of this novella is full of wondrous, eerie and surreal darkness that slips from reality, to dream and past memories as quickly as Alice Ann's descent into her own mind. A place where so much is hidden, confused by time, and mostly uncomfortable to face without the painful truth.

And I enjoyed every single minute of it.

I really liked how well the action of her vampiric existence in present day, and all the things we can expect from a creature of the night, are balanced out with a unique take on the genre. The worldbuilding is just enough to craft an understanding of how things work for these sisters. It also introduces an interesting weakness.

Sometimes, we don't know what we have until it's gone and we're left to face an ugly reality full of guilt, sadness and grief. Vampires aren't any different. Actually, they exist for much longer, so wouldn't every experience be that much worse? Hit that much deeper?

Also, the author's storytelling style and voice kept me glued to this book as much as Alice Ann's experience.


View all my reviews

Thursday, 4 May 2023

THE LONGEST THIRST by Roxie Voorhees

 

The Quick and the Dead meets Carmilla.

When Lillian killed her father, getting the blood out of her dress was the least of her worries. The Native woman on her left will soon prove to be a blessing, or a curse. Just as hope all but evaporates on the cracked earth of the Mojave, a beacon of light shines in the center of a silver mining town, Calico. 

Born into the rigidity of classism, Lillian struggles with the welcoming hospitality of the town and its inhabitants. Convinced this respite is brief, she prepares to return the woman to her people, and flee her crime. Even so, Calico softens her heart and Lillian soon feels she belongs.

But a stranger gallops into Calico. His presence commands obedience, and soon he finds what he is looking for—Lillian.

And they have unfinished business.


I would like to thank the author for sending me an ARC of this splatterwestern novella.

When Lillian kills her father, she wants to get as far away from him and his men as she can. But with an injured Native woman by her side, surviving the Mojave desert might prove difficult. Until they arrive in the town of Calico, a place where they can both be safe. Unless the past catches up with her... 

The Longest Thirst is like a fever dream under the blistering hot sun, after not having a single sip of water while shambling aimlessly over the sand hoping to find a place that will heal your bleeding heart.

Everything that happens in this story is violent and cuts deep. The circumstances are as cruel as the desolate landscape, and the men are even worse. After all, nature is harsh because that's how the cycle of life turns. But the motivations of men are mostly greed and control, a way to exert pain to keep women in line.

This, unfortunately, is Lillian's life and no matter how far she runs, or how fast she tries to escape, the past always has a way of finding you. And in her case, offering kindness and understanding to someone very different to herself, might not be enough.

Asides from Lillian's peach-coloured dress, there's nothing pretty in this story. The situation is grim and the reality raw enough to make you squirm. Yet, it's hard to turn away from what's going on because I wanted to know where Lillian's story was going to take her.

The memories of her mother are a lovely addition. I loved Obsidian and Rembrandt. And the people who live in The Painted Cat are a refreshing bunch to spend time with.

If you're squeamish, this might be a hard read. There are a lot of triggers in this tale of survival, and the narrative never shies away from the true horror. No matter how crude or bloody. And that final scene was great, it really got me. Yikes!

I really enjoyed this brutal story, and the way it was written really drew me in.




Wednesday, 3 May 2023

UNTAMED SHORE by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Baja California, 1979: Viridiana spends her days under the harsh sun, watching the fishermen pulling in their nets and the dead sharks piled beside the seashore. Her head is filled with dreams of romance, travel and of a future beyond this drab town where her only option is to marry and have children.

When a wealthy American writer arrives with his wife and brother-in-law, Viridiana jumps at the offer of a job as his assistant, and she's soon entangled in the glamorous foreigners' lives. They offer excitement, and perhaps an escape from her humdrum life. When one of them dies, eager to protect her new friends, Viridiana lies - but soon enough, someone's asking questions. It's not long before Viridiana has some of her own questions about the identities of her new acquaintances.


I always look forward to reading Silvia Moreno-Garcia's latest release. No matter what genre she tackles, or which time in Mexico's history she chooses, her writing style never fails to hook me in.

It's 1979 and Viridiana lives in the small town of Desengaño with her mother, stepfather and a bunch of half-siblings. She knows how to speak, write and read several languages, loves to read, and often watches the dead sharks on the beach after the fishermen pull their nets. The day three rich Americans rent a holiday house, one of them hires her, and her life is never the same again...

I really enjoyed this! It's another intriguing, original story with a real sense of location, starring a very likeable, headstrong young heroine.

Viridiana is on the cusp of womanhood and is trying to find her own path. One that is different to her mother's. She doesn't want to tie herself down in a boring marriage or start having a bunch of kids so young. Her head is full of ambition and romantic notions that rival her favourite movies and books. She dreams of escaping to the city and living an exciting life. When she meets three wealthy Americans living a carefree life, this only deepens her desire to go places. With some unexpected consequences.

A lot of interesting things happen in Viridiana's life during this hot summer, but I especially liked her ability to adapt and learn. Sure, some of the tips she picks up are questionable, and she's willing to overlook several situations even though she knows better. But in the end, I thought her character arc was very interesting.

Untamed Shore is a coming of age story with a good dose of crime thrown in. It's unpredictable and I couldn't stop reading because Viridiana's voice is so compelling.

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


Untamed Shore, February 2023, ISBN 9781529426311, Jo Fletcher Books

Monday, 1 May 2023

SQUAD by Maggie Tokuda-Hall & Lisa Sterle

 

SquadSquad by Maggie Tokuda-Hall
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I've had my eye on this colourful graphic novel for a while, and decided to read it tonight.

When Becca starts attending a posh high school, she's positive she won't make any friends. But then she helps a popular girl and gets invited into their group. Except, these aren't regular girls, and Becca makes a decision that changes everything...

You know, there are some really cool things about this story. I love the bright and pretty art. The feminist angle mixed in with werewolf lore is very interesting. There's a sweet sapphic connection. Teenage girls pushing back against the patriarchy is always great. But all of these excellent factors are undermined by a bunch of pesky passive aggressive, vaguely racist, and questionable issues.

This is really unfortunate, because I really wanted to love this.

Also, I know these are supposed to be mean girls, but this group was SO hard to like. Asides from Becca and Marley, the other characters are not pleasant. All the boys sucked. Not a single one of these characters were worth liking. I especially didn't like Arianna. Or, Becca's mother who got on my nerves. Most of her dialogue is awful and even unrealistic.

Yeah, there are some good things about this, but the pesky annoyances and everyday cliches definitely got in the way. 🫤

 
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