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Friday, 16 April 2021

THE COCKROACH KING by Andrew Cull

 

The Cockroach KingThe Cockroach King by Andrew Cull
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been busy working on edits all week so I didn't get a chance to read anything. But today, while sorting the books on my Paperwhite, this caught my eye and I decided to read it.

Cassie is very excited about buying a house she hopes will be a fresh start. A place where her miracle baby Sam can grow up in. And she owes it all to the mother she misses like crazy after cancer took her. Everything about the house seems great. Until her friend unearths bones in the backyard and cockroaches start to appear everywhere...

Holy shit! This novella packs quite a squirmy punch, that's for sure. I was hooked from the beginning and loved how thick the malice of impending dread was instantly introduced.

I knew Cassie's story was going to be a creepy one, but I didn't expect to become so emotionally invested. All she wanted was to lead an average life and offer her son a wonderful home. Yet, that horrible house had other ideas. Oh, and I loved the ending.

Also, imagine making cockroaches even worse by giving them a supernatural angle. 😵

Out of all the bugs in the world, cockroaches are the ones I can't stand because they're useless. They have no purpose other than to be disgusting pests. And because of this, I found this story even more horrific. I was definitely freaked out and kept getting that phantom itch one gets whenever they imagine a bug nearby. Gross!

I really enjoyed this excellent novella.


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Thursday, 15 April 2021

A Week of Editing!


Yep. This week I only had one goal: to get the second Wall of Dolls edit done. And I'm super excited to report that I did it! Yay.

Today, I finished up the last section, went through all the notes I'd written for myself, and checked all my changes. Then, I emailed it to my editor. 

I'm really excited about how this story is shaping up. I've had a soft spot for these girls since the moment I brought them to life, but working with a great editor has really helped sharpen the narrative and trim some of the excess. I love the editing process because I don't shy away from cutting and making changes. My editing process is definitely hack & slash. Although, I also do plenty of adding when needed. 🤣

Anyway, this is how the edit went:
  • Monday: 62/224pgs
  • Tuesday: 133/222pgs
  • Wednesday: 203/218pgs
  • Thursday: 219pgs

As you can see, I wasn't kidding about the hacking and slashing because the page/word count pretty much dropped after every session. LOL. But it's a good thing!

I'm very excited about Quin's story and can't wait to see what it looks like as a finished book. Not to mention the cover—can't wait to see how that turns out.

Well, now it's time to take a bit of a breather. And then enjoy the weekend with hubby.

Asides from all this editing—because it's pretty much all I did during the day while hubby was at work—we've been keeping up with the washing, walking, yoga and jogging. It's mostly been a cycle of editing and working out all week. No wonder I'm exhausted as soon as my head hits the pillow. 😴

I also didn't read anything. That's right, there was no reading this week. Well, technically I read my own story, but that doesn't count. LMFAO. But I did watch the most beautiful and perfect series finale for Wynonna Earp. It was AMAZING but also heartbreaking. 😭💔 I'm going to miss this show SO much.

Okay, that's about it for this week's update post. I hope you're all having a great week.

Speak to you later!



Friday, 9 April 2021

Revision Plans


Hey! How are you?

This pic captures a lot of what I've been doing lately. There's always a lot to think about, but when you're a writer, sometimes it gets a bit crowded in there.

We've been busy getting on with everyday stuff while never forgetting the pandemic isn't over yet. Our useless government has screwed up the vaccine rollout. 😒 Australia is doing really well at keeping the community transmissions to zero as much as possible, so giving everyone the vaccine would be great. Except, like I said, they're useless and invested in the clot vaccine no one wants to take. Ugh.

At least hubby and I got our flu shots this week. That's one less thing to worry about.

Anyway, asides from reading up a storm, walking heaps, keeping up with yoga workouts and daydreaming about new ideas, I finally managed to put together a Revision Plan that I'm keen to tackle this year. It took a while because I've got quite a few finished first drafts, and thinking about all that revision/editing can get a bit overwhelming.

I have a combination of YA and adult stories to revise, ranging from 50k to 78k.

As long as I stick to this plan—which is to revise one of these drafts a month—but stop if it gets too much and make sure I sprinkle all this revision with new writing, I think I might be able to finalise six out of the nine drafts sitting on my hard drive collecting dust. It's a shame that they're just sitting there because a bunch of these are definitely submission worthy. I didn't say all of them because three of these drafts were stories I specifically wrote for my very own entertainment and I'm not even sure if they're marketable.

But that's something to think about later on. I'm just glad that I have a plan now. 😊

First on my list is tackling the second edit of my YA horror book, Wall of Dolls. This little story of mine about a peculiar small town, a family legacy and friendship will be released later this year.

If I manage to get more of my unrevised WIPs done, I hope to be able to say this more often.

Have a nice weekend!



MIDNIGHT RIOT by Ben Aaronovitch

 

Midnight Riot (Peter Grant, #1)Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

After DNFing two books yesterday, I decided to pick this up and it captured my attention. So I kept reading.

Peter Grant is a Probationary Constable who wants to be a detective, but is about to be assigned to the boring Case Progression Unit. After crossing paths with a witness who happens to be a ghost, he finds himself working with Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale. Together, they investigate this murder and Peter finds out there's a lot more to London than he thought...

Okay. This book started out really well. But by the time I reached the second half, I was done with it. The mystery, the revelations, the way the female characters were dealt with, and more importantly: the over-explanation about every single corner of London.

I mean, I love an atmospheric sense of location but this got SO annoying. Actually, it interfered with the action and certainly turned me off the story in general.

It's such a shame because I liked Peter at the beginning. He seemed to be a no-nonsense kinda guy who has ambitions that are somewhat sidetracked by his unexpected ability, and this actually brings him closer to what he wanted in the first place. But by the end, I found him so irritating.

And to be honest, after all the senseless droning, I was very disappointed with the mystery. Not even the fantastical, magical world was enough to drag me back in. Also, I didn't like the way Leslie and Beverley were treated. They started out as important characters only to become consequences that made Peter shine while they suffered. 😒

Yeah, this wasn't the urban fantasy I thought it would be, so I'm out. I won't continue reading this series.


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Wednesday, 7 April 2021

VAMPARAZZI by Laura Resnick

 

Vamparazzi (Esther Diamond, #4)Vamparazzi by Laura Resnick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Okay, reading the next book in the Esther Diamond series is becoming one of my favourite things to do this year. I always look forward to catching up with her hilarious friends and dark world.

Esther is busy performing in a very popular off-Broadway show called The Vampyre, when her life is hit with a new dose of danger. Not only does she have to deal with the wannabe vampire leading man, but also with his violent crazed fans, and there might actually be a real vamp killing people too. If only she didn't have to add her ex-almost-boyfriend to this confusing mix...

What a bloody good time this installment turned out to be! 😂

It was only a matter of time before Esther found herself in the middle of some vampiric action, and her encounter with these bloodsucking fiends certainly didn't disappoint. Like the previous books in this series, a very familiar creature and all its tropes becomes something completely different. I love the worldbuilding in this series so much!

It was so cool how Esther was working on a play adapted from a lesser known classic tale. I've actually read The Vampyre and found it quite disappointing and dull, but they did a much better job adapting it to the stage in this book. 😁

Esther is just one of those characters who wants to get on with her life but can't seem to stop attracting strange situations. And dangerous people. As well as the guy she so obviously craves but for noble reasons is trying to keep away from her. The way all of these zany things are dealt with always turn out to be so entertaining, hilarious, yet gruesome as well. The villains in this series are clever enough to stay in the shadows until they can no longer hide, and never disappoint. And the revelations in this book were unexpected but great.

It was also really cool to find out what Max's issue with Lithuanians is. Very cool.

This is such a fun series and I can't wait to read more!

Monday, 5 April 2021

IF YOU DARE by AR Torre

 

If You Dare (Deanna Madden, #3)If You Dare by A.R. Torre
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was very excited about reading the (for now) final book in this exciting series.

Deanna's life has never been easy. After all, it's hard to keep her murderous impulses under control. So she's gone back to staying inside her apartment and keeping her distance from the world while working hard. Well, she does keep one thing: her boyfriend, Jeremy. But the day the police stops by unannounced, everything changes and if she doesn't remember what happened, she'll probably end up getting locked up...

Well, I didn't expect all of that! 👀 But I did know this book would turn out to be as addictive and dark as the previous two.

This installment starts out full of confusion and questions. Of course, it's intentional because Deanna's story eventually comes out as the mystery unravels, but getting all the answers took a while and turned out to be quite the tense experience. And one particular bit that happened to one of the characters was quite upsetting.

Told mostly in Deanna's typical snappy and straightforward style, she doesn't hold back from her feelings, expectations and actions. But this time, she's plagued with some self-doubt because a chunk of her memory is missing. As usual, there are also several other POVs added to the mix so we get to see the whole story through different angles, and each helped move everything along, as well as kept the fast pace going.

The last few chapters were gripping and I couldn't read them fast enough. Yikes.

It's sad to say goodbye to such a great character—one I didn't expect to like so much—but I was satisfied with the conclusion because honestly, there was no other way things could've ended.

Saturday, 3 April 2021

FLY ON THE WALL by E. Lockhart

 

Fly on The WallFly on The Wall by E. Lockhart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I didn't plan to read anything new today. I just wanted to go through my thrift-store finds and see what books worked and didn't work for me. But, after picking this one up, I couldn't put it down.

Gretched Yee attends the Manhattan School of Art and Music. A school where everyone seems so unique but she feels so ordinary and alone. Mostly, she spends her time drawing, reading comic books and watching people without really seeing them. The day she wishes she was a fly on the wall, her life takes a very unexpected turn...

OMG. I loved this very unique and quirky book. Not only was it interesting because Gretchen's voice and the writing style were so addictive, but the turn of events were really unusual. In the best way possible.

Gretchen's a teenager who feels invisible and ignored and when her parents announce they're getting a divorce, it affects her deeply because she has a hard time letting go of things. Add the fact her best friend keeps avoiding her, that she can't be honest about the boy she has a crush on and wishes she understood boys even just a little bit.

It's not until her very own Metamorphosis, comic book transformation episode strikes that she's able to see what's really going on around her. This is when she realises she's not the only uncertain person with issues, and that boys are just like girls but different. And I loved this very quirky approach.

This book turned out to be a lot of things: interesting, unusual, intriguing, sad, happy, peculiar, even romantic, and all about how important it is to be yourself and follow your heart's desire.

Oh, and it was a lot of fun too!

Friday, 2 April 2021

THE HUNTED by Gabriel Bergmoser

 

The HuntedThe Hunted by Gabriel Bergmoser
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This happens to be an ARC that I found in one of the many local Street Libraries in our community. It sounded so interesting, I had to grab it.

Frank lives in the middle of nowhere Australia and has a roadhouse that hardly gets any visitors. He's also got his granddaughter with him for a few weeks and a few stragglers heading elsewhere. So when a bleeding girl arrives and passes out, he finds himself in the middle of a really bad situation...

Wow. I LOVED this book! I couldn't put it down. This is definitely a suspenseful page-turner.

I was intrigued from beginning to end because the characters and the urgent writing style really dragged me into the action-packed events. There's something very Aussie about this story and I was instantly into that as well.

Every character in this book has a secret that slowly unravels and when their lives intersect, all hell breaks loose.

Told in the POV of several characters and covering the Now and Then perspectives, it really rounded out how what happened in the past featuring Simon and Maggie, leads to the violent and volatile events Frank, Allie, Charlie, Delilah and Greg are forced into in the present. And everything is so thick with tension that I found it very hard to put this book down for too long.

Yep. I finished it in three sittings because I HAD to find out what was going to happen. And I wasn't disappointed because the brutal violence and action keeps going to the very last page.

I really liked Frank and Allie, but Maggie steals the show. Maggie is such an interesting character with a tragic past and the survival instincts of a skilled killer/assassin/agent all rolled into one. She's crafty, raw, strong and very real. Not to mention flawed. And I loved everything that made her tick. Plus, those asshole hicks deserved everything she threw their way.

While this book is being marketed as a thriller and it certainly has the addictive quality and secrets of this genre, it's also dark and bloody enough to be survival horror. Either way, this book is outstanding and I fucking LOVED it!

Can't wait to read the next Maggie adventure.

Thursday, 1 April 2021

TENDER IS THE FLESH by Agustina Bazterrica

 

Tender is the FleshTender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I found this at the thrift store last year and almost forgot I had it. I've heard some gross things about this one and they were all true. 😲

Marcos lives in a world without animals. After they all caught a virus that spread and disqualified their meat from being used as our food supply or even as pets, they were all exterminated. So, the meat hunger and protein intake had to be replaced. That's when humans became cattle, and when cannibalism became legal...

Yikes. Gross. Gag. 🤢

This book doesn't waste any time getting into the gory details of what Marcos does for a living. He's also quick to tell us every damn step involved in farming human beings in great detail. And certainly doesn't leave out any of the many disgusting nitty-gritty things about the horrid world he lives in.

And this is one bleak and brutal place. 😫

Seriously, I felt low-key queasy all the way through this book and couldn't wait to get to the end. Not only because this guy was so casual about the whole thing, while at the same trying very hard to convince the reader he was deeply affected by all the awful reality everywhere he turns. But you know what? The more I read, the more I realised that just wasn't the case. Otherwise he wouldn't have done some of the awful shit he does, or say a lot of the crap he says. 😑

Marcos is not a nice guy. He's not a sympathetic character. He's just a man who suffered a great loss and is in the process of losing someone else. And THIS is what turns him into a judgy bitch offering his opinion on everything even though he's a big part of the problem.

I found this whole story disturbing af. I was uncomfortable from start to finish and couldn't decide if I kept reading because I was enjoying it, or because I was hate-reading it.

The truth is that I liked the writing style and the boldness of the main character--until I figured him out. I even initially liked how honest and awful he was and how he wasn't remotely ashamed or affected in any way at all. So, in spite of my queasiness, I couldn't stop reading this fucked up book.

And once I got to The End, I realised what I suspected all along. Proving that I was right about Marcos and all of the other demented characters in this messed-up story of conspiracy, greed and downright savagery.

I've got one word for this book: repulsed. That's how I felt reading this. It's the stain it's left me with. And relates back to the obvious commentary the author was making about the despicable mass production farming in our own world.

Ugh. I feel so dirty and sick. I never want to feel like that again while reading a book. There's nothing strong enough to clear away this disgusting brutality from my brain. 😣

 
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