Sunday 30 July 2023

Where did July go?


Hey! How are you today? Can you believe this month is almost over? Personally, I think July went a bit too fast. Not sure why, but that's just how it feels to me. 😬

Well, we're currently in the middle of winter, but you wouldn't know it because the weather has been quite warm. Sure, it's still cold in the morning and at night, but the days are quite warm. 

I usually take it easy in July. Mainly because it's my birthday month. I ended up doing a bit of reading, a bit of subbing, and a lot of thinking. Pretty much a bit of everything in equal small measure. 😅

We also went to the dentist and got some blood tests done. And my head has been full of stuff. Not just a bunch of different ideas forming at their own pace, but also lots of thoughts about my online presence.

If you've been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know how much I enjoy Twitter. But the new owner has decided to make it really hard to spend time over there. After fourteen years, I find myself slowly stepping away.

I even set up Instagram and Threads accounts.

So, if you're over there and I haven't found you yet, please feel free to find me. 😁

I also have a Substack newsletter. Actually, I posted a little more about my Twitter/Threads thoughts yesterday.

BTW, can you believe that my horror novella has been out in the wild for over a month and has over 80 ratings on Goodreads?! I can't believe it. It's so exciting to know that readers are actually checking out my story.

Whether you like it or not, THANK YOU for checking it out!!

Well, I guess that's about it for now. It hasn't been a very productive writing month but I did get an unexpected idea that I've kinda started writing. And a few almost-there rejections, which always get me like this: 😫... before I dust myself off and shrug away the sting.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday 20 July 2023

SILVER NITRATE by Silvia Moreno-Garcia


Montserrat has always been overlooked. She's a talented sound editor, but she's left out of the boys' club running the film industry in '90s Mexico City. And she's all but invisible to her best friend Tristán, a charming if faded soap opera star, even though she's been in love with him since childhood.

Then Tristán discovers his new neighbour is the cult horror director Abel Urueta, and the legendary auteur claims he has a way to change their lives - even if his tales of a Nazi occultist imbuing magic into highly volatile silver nitrate stock sounds like sheer fantasy. The magic film was never finished, which is why, Urueta swears, his career vanished overnight. He is cursed.

Now the director wants Montserrat and Tristán to help him shoot the missing scene and lift the curse... but Montserrat soon notices a dark presence following her.

As they work together to unravel the mystery of the film and the obscure occultist who once roamed their city, Montserrat and Tristan might just find out that sorcerers and magic are not only the stuff of movies...

I always look forward to reading a new Silvia Moreno-Garcia book, and this one was no exception. 

In 1993, Montserrat lives in Mexico City and constantly finds herself fighting to be taken seriously as a sound editor in the film industry. Tristán is her best friend and used to be a popular soap opera star until an accident destroyed his career and reputation. Together, they find themselves caught up in an old curse shortly after meeting an aging cult horror director...

Wow. That was a blast! Another hit from this very talented author. Bravo.

There's so much to love about this book. The fact that Mexico City comes alive within the pages of this story. The way curses, magic, betrayal, and the supernatural are woven perfectly within the complicated, yet strong friendship between the two narrators. How well some of the darkest moments of world history are blended with the allure of old cinema.

Like I said, there's a lot to love in this tale.

Montserrat and Tristán are fantastic characters. So different that they complement each other perfectly. So similar that, of course, they've been friends forever. The honesty and rawness of their individual lives kept me as riveted as the intriguing concept, and the many characters who help make this story shine.

I couldn't stop reading.

Silver Nitrate is an amazing book! First, the characters totally grabbed my attention, because they're all interesting and their voices compelling, but then kept me glued to the pages because the creepy situation that slowly unravels is so fascinating it wouldn't let me go.

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

Silver Nitrate, July 2023, ISBN 9781529418057, Jo Fletcher Books

Wednesday 12 July 2023

I AM AI by Ai Jiang


I Am AI: A NoveletteI Am AI: A Novelette by Ai Jiang
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A few weeks ago, I was very lucky and won a copy of this adorable novelette. I've been itching to read it since it arrived and tonight, I finally got the chance to sit down and enjoy it.

Okay, let me make something clear about my use of the word adorable. The subject matter isn't what's adorable, it's the actual book. Not only is the cover bright and gorgeous, but the actual paperback is small and very aesthetically pleasing. I also consider myself very lucky to have a signed copy.

Now, onto this wonderful story. 😁

Ai is a cyborg, but she's also a writer who has managed to keep enough of her humanity to stand out with her AI writing program. That still hasn't gotten her out of debt, and no amount of subscribers can help her keep up with personal maintenance. She's tired of the constant fight to stay charged and craves the silence an absence of emotion could provide...

I absolutely loved this tiny little tale that is full of heart, even though it's wrapped inside a very bleak package of the future. Ai's world is dystopian, and although everyone has access to augmentation, many still live under the shadow of the city's repressive lights.

This is such a terrific tale for many reasons. Found family is always something that gets me, and the support system around her is exactly that. Kind hearted people surviving within an oppressive city where everything has been stripped away but they still manage to actually care about each other is bound to get my attention. And all of the above definitely gels these characters together.

As well as the writing, of course. Ai's voice (both the character and the author) is very strong and kept me glued to the pages from start to finish. I couldn't put it down and loved every minute of it.

It's a heartfelt story about what it means to be human. Or what it means to resent our own humanity.

Anyway, I don't want to say anything else because that would mean getting into spoiler territory and I'm not going to go there. I think you should definitely check this out. You won't regret it.

View all my reviews

Sunday 9 July 2023

ALIVE UNDEAD by Brian Bowyer


Alive UndeadAlive Undead by Brian Bowyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love vampires in all of their undead glory, so when I found out that Brian Bowyer had a vamp story available, I couldn't wait to check it out.

Valkolar is a very old vampire. Delarosa is a faithless priest. Jamie and Kirsten are young lovers looking for music and adventure. Olivia and Sirius are gifted undead children living their lives recklessly. Naomi is an ambitious musician with an alcohol problem. Mohammed stalks the night. And Rosalie, she's a whole different kind of monster...

Well, this is one hell of a violent and bloody ride! And I enjoyed every gory minute of it.

The fast-paced pages of this book are fuelled by short and crisp chapters that grab you by the throat and refuse to let go. There are a lot of dark characters in this depraved tale, but every single one feels different and their alternating POVs move the overall story until you're thrust headfirst into the shocking conclusion.

I do have to mention that this isn't for the squeamish, or for anyone who can't bring themselves to read violence against children. But if you can stomach extreme horror of the true-crime kind, mixed with an interesting take on vampirism, then this book is definitely worth your time.

Personally, I was hooked from beginning to end, and couldn't wait to find out where everything was going to go. And where everyone was going to land.

I look forward to checking out more books written by Brian.

View all my reviews

Wednesday 5 July 2023

THE DISMEMBERED by Jonathan Janz


The DismemberedThe Dismembered by Jonathan Janz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm going to start this review by saying that I love the cover for this novella. It reminds me of those old gothic covers from yesteryear, but also totally captures the story vibes.

Arthur Pearce is an American writer who has escaped to England because his marriage fell apart. But his plans to write a new novel change during a chance meeting with Sarah Coyle. A stranger who asks for his help, and her strange situation captures his imagination so much, that Arthur finds himself at the stunning Altarbrook, in the middle of some unexpected trouble...

Well, this was a fantastic story! I was captivated from the very beginning and couldn't wait to see where Arthur was going to end up. And boy, it didn't disappoint.

Not only is this story gothic to the core in the way of characters, locations, plot, and lavish households, but it's also quite adventurous. It's unpredictable and violent. Plus so bloody, in the most menacing and crude way. I loved every moment of it.

Actually, I loved everything about this novella, but have to give a special mention to Lizzie. She's such a great character, and SO freaking cool.

Another brilliant thing about this gothic nightmare are all the female characters. None was a damsel, and each had their very own good and not-so good traits.

Oh, and Arthur was pretty cool, too.

I enjoyed this so much!

View all my reviews

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