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Friday, 21 January 2022

COCKBLOCK by C.V. Hunt

 

CockblockCockblock by C.V. Hunt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay, I've been meaning to read this book for a while now and decided today was the day to get stuck into it.

Sonya and Callie want to enjoy a nice night out in an expensive Italian restaurant, but are attacked while walking there by a pack of disgusting men calling out filthy comments. But this is nothing compared to what happens next...

O.M.F.G. This novella is packed with a lot! And I mean a LOT. 😵

Sonya and Callie's story is fast-paced and barely slows down. It's a zombie apocalypse with a terrifying misogynistic twist, it's full of sexual violence, awful rape, and deals with many disturbing threats/truths about our patriarchal society. This story is packed with a bunch of messages we all, unfortunately, understand. Also, it doesn't hold back.

Did I mention it's also disturbing af? Well, it totally is. The imagery within these nightmarish pages will make even the strongest of stomachs squirm. It makes you feel dirty and gross. Sad and enraged. It will probably also make you laugh several times because, well, wait until you find out how these deranged horny fucks are killed.

In spite of all the terrible things featured in this novella, it was an entertaining and breezy read that's definitely worth checking out. Unless you're squeamish about your sexual content. 😳

Seriously, it's packed with sexual violence and imagery that even brain bleach will never clean. But it also includes a confrontation scene that will probably crack you up.

Yeah, this book is quite the experience.

Thursday, 20 January 2022

THE CUCKOO'S CRY by Caroline Overington

 

The Cuckoo's CryThe Cuckoo's Cry by Caroline Overington
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Late last year, hubby found a bunch of bargains on Amazon and we ended up picking up a nice selection of books. This was one of them.

Covid-19 has reached Sydney, and in Bondi, 69-year-old Don Barlow is getting on with the routine of his lonely life. But when a young woman comes to his door claiming to be his granddaughter, he opens his heart and home to a stranger. A stranger his daughter suspects isn't who she claims to be...

I REALLY enjoyed this psychological thriller with a difference. I was intrigued from the very beginning. I also felt that the atmosphere of danger was portrayed perfectly as soon as Don's story started.

The characters in this story were all interesting for different reasons. Don is a lovely, kind old man who has been living with guilt his whole life and is now very much alone. Danielle is a concerned daughter leading a busy life while raising a family too far from her father. Morgan is obviously keeping many secrets but remains a wildcard throughout. Pam, Don's dead wife, also fills the pages with her presence even though she passed away a while ago.

Another aspect that worked very well was how the pandemic hit our shores. I remember everything unfolding exactly how it's mentioned, but it remains very much in the background. The main story is about Don, Morgan, Danielle and her husband, Jackson. It's a bit thriller, definitely has a hidden mystery, and even reveals a few unexpected twists.

I enjoyed this a lot and pretty much read it in a few sittings. It's not long but covers a lot of story that kept me hooked until the very end!

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

PARTUM by E.V. Knight

 

PartumPartum by E.V. Knight
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This afternoon while putting together a TBR list on my Paperwhite, I stumbled on this novella. Intrigued by the concept, I decided to read a few chapters. And kept reading until I reached the end. 😬

Lena suffered post-partum depression after the birth of her baby, and sadly lost her to SIDS only four months later. But she's convinced that her daughter died because she was abducted, something her husband never believed. He thinks she's losing her grip because she's drowning in grief, so she goes to counselling. She also has a group of friends online who might actually share her alien claims...

O.M.F.G. This novella was an amazing surprise. I was hooked from the very beginning and read it in one sitting. Learning about Lena's heartbreak was interesting enough, before we learn her cop husband is dealing with random crazed attacks that seem to be spreading across the country, and she becomes convinced alien creatures are going to invade the world.

I LOVE stories that are so ambiguous you start to question everything as much as the main character. It was fascinating to watch her spin out of control, get back on track, but then stutter every step of the way because she can't stop questioning herself and everything/everyone else until she doesn't trust anyone. Not even herself.

This is a very well-written story that dug its claws into me and refused to let go until the very last word. And even then, I haven't stop thinking about it.

Excellent!

THE WOODS ARE ALWAYS WATCHING by Stephanie Perkins

 

The Woods Are Always WatchingThe Woods Are Always Watching by Stephanie Perkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read There's Someone Inside Your House several years ago and REALLY enjoyed it. So of course I was interested in checking out another spooky Stephanie Perkins book.

Neena and Josie are best friends who are about to be separated because one of them is going away to college. So, they decide to go hiking and camping in the Pisgah National Forest. The problem is, neither has ever done this sort of thing before, and anything that can go wrong does...

Yikes! What a story.

You know, as soon as I started reading this book I started shaking my head at these girls. I mean, what possessed them to go camping without any real experience? Why did they think this would be a fun idea? I suppose the isolation did ensure they spent some quality time together, but instead of bringing them closer it makes them argue and fight. All the time. This little getaway starts to put distance and resentment between them.

As annoying as their attitude gets, I still enjoyed following Neena and Josie deeper into the woods. The description of the trail is excellent. The atmosphere is vivid and real. And then, I reached the second part and everything took a serious Wrong Turn. 😳

The shit gets real fast. The violence is ramped up. Unexpected bad things happen to both of them. The danger explodes instantly and, from that point forward, I was on the edge of my seat. Couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next.

I was not disappointed. This seemingly innocent-looking thin book—that is actually packed-full of story—begins with a lot of teenage friendship drama, but soon became a survival story of the bloodiest kind. I had a blast reading this creepy tale and ended up really liking the two girls.

Friday, 14 January 2022

A Bit of Writing

Hey! How's it going?

Well, the new year isn't so new anymore, is it? Actually, as far as the world is concerned, it's still the same old pandemic crap. 😒

Things in NSW are pretty bad. The case numbers are out of control, getting a PCR test is virtually impossible, RATs are sold out everywhere, the hospitals are full, too many people are dying, and these crooks passing themselves off as our state/federal governments don't care. I hope the country now understands that all these shitty things are happening because rightwing governments just DGAF. Ugh.

On a better note, we got our booster shot two weeks ago. So at least we have a better level of protection now. 

Anyway, I spent this week writing and revising a new short story that pretty much came to me fully formed. The main character, his problem/s, and the dark road he's travelling were all pretty much there as soon as I got started. And I enjoyed every minute of it! 😇

I was originally planning to get started on my next revision this week, but I'm really glad I decided to push it back to concentrate on new and shorter writing. It feels good to start 2022 with new words. The world is a very unstable place right now, but concentrating on telling stories always helps me feel better.

Plus, working on shorter pieces also means I have some reading and Animal Crossing time. Yay. And this week I read a fantastic horror classic, plus a poetry collection classic. 😁

It turned out to be a very productive week, so I'm going to enjoy the weekend. Hope you do too!


MY LIFE HAD STOOD A LOADED GUN by Emily Dickinson

 

My Life Had Stood a Loaded GunMy Life Had Stood a Loaded Gun by Emily Dickinson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been curious about Emily Dickinson's poetry for a while, so when I saw this little book on Amazon, I grabbed a copy.

Every single poem featured in this great collection is interesting in its own way. For such a small book, it's packed with a lot. The pages are full of terrific imagery and very cool metaphors presented in very intriguing ways. These poems of varying sizes cover many different topics, ranging from death, religion, faith, emotion and so much more. I loved how she pieced all the words together.

Also, I really like the title!

This might be my first Dickinson, but it won't be my last.



View all my reviews

Thursday, 13 January 2022

WHEN DARKNESS LOVES US by Elizabeth Engstrom

 

When Darkness Loves UsWhen Darkness Loves Us by Elizabeth Engstrom
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After reading Paperbacks from Hell, I was very interested in checking out some of the many intriguing and bizarre books Grady Hendrix featured in that lovely book. And this is one of them.

This book consists of two novellas.

WHEN DARKNESS LOVES US is such a creepy and twisted tale about a young girl who gets trapped inside some underground tunnels. She lives a lonely and blind life while knowing every second of the day that her husband and family are getting on with their lives above. And none of them know she's there, right beneath their feet. Not that it changes anything once they do.

Yikes! 😳

Sally Ann Hixson starts out as a frail teenager pining after her husband and eventually becomes someone—something—very different. It was fascinating to watch what happens to her as the years move along. And totally terrifying when the story takes a turn for the very unexpected. It's actually quite sickening and gross, but considering everything that happened, that ugly ending made total sense.

BEAUTY IS... turned out to be such an amazing novella! AMAZING. It's sad and wonderful, creepy and inspiring. It's also dark and horrendous. Martha is such a great character. A grown woman with a learning disability and a facial deformity that keeps her at a distance from a town full of people willing to help her because of her mother's legacy. Well, most of them. And her mother Fern is a great and strong woman with an otherworldly ability she ultimately couldn't use on her own daughter. 😞

I absolutely LOVED the incredible pacing of this story. Everything unfolds in the alternating POVs of Martha and Fern, leading us down two different timelines that perfectly complement each other. All the pieces of the puzzle fit together so well and eventually reveal the most awful secret.

Like the first novella, this has a soul-crushing ending that made every moment spent with these struggling women so worth it.

The true monsters in both of these tales are the cruel humans who selfishly destroy everyone who gets in their way or doesn't fit into their idea of what is owed to them.

Elizabeth Engstrom has a beautiful and macabre way of telling stories that I found very appealing. I will definitely have to read more of her books. Definitely.

Oh, and one last thing. I love this cover because creepy dolls are my thing, but didn't realise exactly how perfect it is until I was reading Martha's lonely story.

Friday, 7 January 2022

CROSSROADS by Laurel Hightower

 

CrossroadsCrossroads by Laurel Hightower
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've had my eye on this novella for a while and mentioned it to hubby a few weeks ago. So, he ordered it for me and it arrived the other day... and I couldn't wait to read it.

No matter how much time passes, Chris can't get over the death of her son. She thinks about him all the time, talks to him, and visits the spot where he died every single day. What starts as an accidental drop of blood hitting the dirt soon becomes so much more...

Yikes. Wow. So awesome I finished it in two sittings because I was hooked.

This story is really something. It's dark and sad, addictive, full of disturbing incidents that really take the main character to some very dark places. And even features quite a few gruesome scenes.

Chris might start out as a grieving mother having a hard time letting go of her son, but she soon finds herself in a very (very) dark mindscape that goes beyond. A place where she convinces herself she can bring him back. An impossible task she often questions herself but ultimately chooses to follow at her own peril.

Reading this story was like being thrown into an obsessive, claustrophobic nightmare. I was witness to an unstoppable unravelling and wanted so desperately to talk some sense into Chris but, at the same time, could totally see why she was falling hard and fast down this terrible dark hole.

Sometimes, when we're suffering, we convince ourselves that there's sense where there isn't. That the possibility of seeing the person we love the most is worth any sacrifice... but as a horror fans, we know how that turns out. 😣

Which gave this story an even deeper sense of grief, because Chris knew better. She was a horror fan, so she should've known better. But her crushing grief was just too damn strong. A heavy blanket burying her deeper each day until she couldn't see past her bizarre plan.

This is a fantastic novella. Believe all the great things everyone is saying because Laurel's sad and horrific story is definitely worth your time.



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Thursday, 6 January 2022

GAME ON: TEMPTING TWENTY-EIGHT by Janet Evanovich

 

Game On: Tempting Twenty-EightGame On: Tempting Twenty-Eight by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's always great to catch up with Stephanie Plum, and this time I decided to start the year with the 28th book.

Stephanie's life is in constant havoc because of her dangerous job. This time she has to deal with a hacker who's got a target on his head, a duck-roasting homeless man, a professional mooner and another hacker who also happens to be a psychopath. And that's before considering Diesel's back in town...

These books continue to be SO MUCH FUN!

It didn't take long to get into the swing of things and get totally swept away by Steph's crazy cool life full of mishaps, surprises and danger. Oh, and hot guys. This installment was packed full of Morelli, Ranger and Diesel!

I also enjoy meeting the many zany people she picks up along the way. Love catching up with her family. Get a kick out of the snappy dialogue. Love Lula. And look forward to finding out how she'll destroy her current car. 😅

After so many books, I'm still enjoying the ride and look forward to reading more.

 
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