I had two conversations this week that really effected me, and I wanted to note them down. Neither topic is new for me, neither conversation lit a lightbulb but both made a big impact on this-week-Neen.
The first conversation gave me warm fuzzy feelings. It was online, with a fellow author. I won’t go verbatim but in the end I felt so seen and acknowledged. I write sapphic fiction, but not sapphic romance. One day I might but this presumption that sapphic (or lesbian) fiction is assumed to be romance is so prevalent and can be really frustrating and disheartening. Especially for an author starting out. Having a fellow author agree that it shouldn’t automatically be assumed as romance made me so happy. Perhaps with more voices I won’t always have to feel insignificant and irrelevant and often unable to promote my writing.
The second conversation happened this morning. My health has been semi-craptacular of late so off I went to get several vials of blood taken. The pathologist was so lovely and managed to get my introverted self happily talking. She asked what I do, as verbatim as I can remember: *clears throat* Me: I’m a writer, that’s what I go gooey about Pathologist: oh what do you write? M: horror and dark fantasy *insert wide eyes and slightly opened mouth* P: you don’t look like you write dark things, you’re so happy. M: and that’s how I stay happy, putting all the darkness into the words. P: That makes sense. I love that. Stay lovely and happy.
Since then I’ve wondered, what does a horror writer look like? What does any writer look like? Was she shocked I was a writer or the genre which I write? What does each specific genre author look like? I don’t have the answers, but I feel like a meme might be in my future.
November is a crazy month. NaNoWriMo takes up so much of my time. But with that being said, I love that reading is still a priority. In fact, I think I would be nervous to call myself a writer if I gave no time to reading. To me, they have and always will go hand in hand. So six books in November isn’t terrible, but I think it is my least amount of books all year.
Fetish by Tara Moss – This was a re-read and this time I listened to it. It’s a really awesome book. I actually enjoyed it more this time than I can remember enjoying it years ago when it was first published. There is some awesome tension and mystery going with Mak, and I still LOVE this character so much. I think it’s held up pretty well, as long as you remember it’s set before EVERYONE had mobile phones. Great read, looking forward to listening to the rest of the series. I’ve not read all of the books so that’s exciting to look forward to.
Compass Rose by Anna Burke – There are so many things I adored about this book. The dystopian world and all it’s dynamics, the star trek gone wrong underwater sort of vibes and the characters, of the characters. Yes, of course I related to Rose, I damn near swooned over Miranda, but heck the other characters were what made it such a fun and interesting journey. I adored the pirates and the powerful balance of action, responsibility, lust, longing, and humour. I can’t wait to read the sequel. I squealed a little when I found out there was a sequel.
A Place to Call Home by Jae – So in the past I have said that I prefer Jae’s longer fiction … bite my tongue. This was the most delightful and delicious short story. It is a beautiful insight and wonderfully realistic portrayal into the dynamics of Luke and Nora as they start their new lives. They struggle against the social norms and finding a place to call home in each other. One of my favourite short reads of the year. If you are after a historical short feel-good read that has beautiful representation of characters fighting against the roles society this is definitely the read for you.
Brimstone Bound (Firebrand #1) by Helen Harper – If you’re looking for a British take and twist of true blood, without the overly sexual focus and more on the crime and mystery. This is the book for you. I had so much fun reading this book. The crime and mystery were fantastic. The characters were great. It had a grittier, more realistic sort of feel to it and ooh the breadcrumbs and red herrings throughout the whole thing had me loving every reveal and twist. Now if only we could get some sapphic in the mix this would be an ultimate book for me 😜
Sliced Ice by Lee Winter – Everything I wanted and more. 10 incredible short stories, each with their own one two punch. Here’s my break down (I also did a reading Vlog of it, there is blushing and fangirling here: Five Times Felicity Met Elena – Oh Elena Bartell, my all time favourite of Lee Winter’s Ice Queens. I mean, what a perfect way to start this collection. And from Felicity’s point of you, I always found her snarkiness rather interesting, but now I’m even more excited about The Awkward Truth. It’s on my list I promise! Aliens in New York – OMG I didn’t know we would be getting more than one story about the wonderful Elena. I mean, it’s awesome to see what happens to Madeliene with her writing after The Brutal Truth. *phew, got away with that one*. A magnificent snap shot into Lee Winter’s ability to craft beauty and emotion. The Brutal Lie – ELENA! Cold shower required, and a truly interesting look into the ideas of outing others and the growing acceptance of people, irrelevant of sexuality. Skye Storm’s Invite Absolutely Everyone Ultimate Pool Party – I adore Skye and her eccentric and wonderful take on life. An LA hippy. I also laughed out loud (in the middle of the shops) at her openness with her children, and ability to make them groan. She’s wonderful. Oh, I had also forgotten just how much I love Bess, so charmingly british and wonderful. The Friend – This was a surprising addition but I think it might possibly be my favourite. Christmas in Australia, family drama, an Ice Queen in the most unexpected of places (or at least that’s how I interpret it) Number Five – BLUSH! Holy Hannah. This is what happens when I refuse to know what’s coming up … BOOM! Hot as hell erotica story from the Madame herself of Duxton Hotel. Flash Bang – Indeed. A nice hot scene with amusing insights into the crazy world of fashion. When DC met Iowa – I LOVED this story so much. I am adoring Lee’s insights into side characters. This starts hilariously with a wake up in an unknown room and unknown woman in bed. Turns, with snarky humour, into something quite sweet. First-Class Villians – All for a special bottle of Champaign, three of Lee Winter’s most delicious villians and one insidious bitch tell their stories for the prize. Yeah, there’s no secret that I hate Grace, but seeing others not put up with her shit was brilliant. Love Is Not Nothing – My very first Lee Winter writing and it was the story I fell in love with her characters and her writing. A melted ice Queen, but only for her faux mouse. Sexy delicious writing with assassination and protectiveness thrown in.
Worthy of Love by Quinn Ivins – There is something truly beautiful about the way Quinn Ivins writes a balance of the beauty of humans and the worst part of humans. Characters you wanna cuddle and others you want to throttle. The characters in Worthy of Love are so real I feel like I’ve known many of them (not always happily) my entire life. I adore the sex scenes in this book. Not only are they hot as hell without being an instruction manual but the realism even down to consent and internal monologues are balanced and smooth. Quinn Ivins also manages yet again to make me care about things I’ve never really known much about before in my life. Another great tick in the box is the way the characters talk to each other instead of having long drawn out angst because they simply won’t have a conversation. Definitely recommend this book if you love real dynamic and diverse characters, hot sex scenes with realistic consent, an interesting story, and brilliant writing. Worthy of Love ticks all the righ
Paper Love by Jae – The beauty of this books makes me wish I could fly overseas right now and explore the beauty of Freiburg that Jae describes within the pages and step over (or into) a Bachle, grab a coffee and go sniff some stationary. Susanne and Anja are pitted against each other in the beginning. A softish Ice Queen and a stationary junkie. And it’s delicious on so many levels. In true, wonderful Jae style, the angst is low and conversations that need to happen actually do happen, and before 75% of the book. In fact, most issues of communication get resolved pretty quickly and I’ve never been so happy. The development of the relationships between the characters, all the characters not just Susanne and Anja, are realistic and human. I also have a bit of a soft spot for Anja’s best friend, Miri. I feel akin to her, and her huge family and the effect of being the only childless sibling (at least until I was in my mid thirties). Of course, Miri is the funnier, cuter, and braver version of my life but I really adore this side character. So if you love low angst, slow burns, steamy sex scenes that are 100% worth the wait and characters you hope to meet when visiting the sunniest city in Germany, Paper Love might be just what you are looking for.
Hope you enjoy my reviews of these books. I’d love to know if any interest you enough to try them out.
I love books. I read pretty intensely and I LOVE to review and talk about them. I know, it’s shocking news and I probably should have lead with a warning or something.
But my love of stories and words plays a huge part of why I started writing.
Yep, I’m a writer and I’ve been writing since I can remember. Since before my formal school days I can remember walking around with a little notebook and pencil everywhere I went. I would write out every line of dialogue from my favourite movies. Watching and rewatching them. I would look forward to Wednesday afternoons every single week, when all six of us would bundle up in the car and be taken to the library for several hours before we headed back home.
All these years later, all these years writing in the dark silent solitude and never once being able to call myself a writer. When I published my very first piece of work, I called myself a writer … with a bit BUT on the end. There was always some kind of justification . Until this year.
I published my first Novella. It has my name, and only my name on the front cover. I was finally a writer. See, full stop. Huge progress.
This has not meant that I’ve been any good at promoting/pimping my own writing status or book. This has not meant for a moment that the impostor syndrome has shut the hell up. This has not meant that I have stopped writing, or learning, or growing.
But something very cool happened this week.
I made the list.
Jae is a phenomenal author, marketing, human being, and supporter of others both in and out of our rainbow family. For her reading challenge this year one of the categories is a new to you author. She has made a list of new and up coming authors to look out for. AND. I. AM. ON. THIS. LIST.
It’s certainly put a huge smile on my face and made me even more determined to keep writing, to keep telling the stories I wish had been around when I truly needed them.
So, I am a writer, I made Jae’s up and coming list, and if you want to read my debut novella, you can do that right here… it’s even on KU at the moment.
Seeing as I usually read a good amount of spooky books all year round I didn’t focus on reading just spooky for October. Turns out I should have. I read a pathetic amount of scary books, less than every other month. I make my own rules, usually through lack of planning and being too busy to realise what is going on in the world outside my lunchbox. In my defense, I did read 10 books and ended the month on an awesome spooky high.
Top Reads of the Month:
Quantum Rule: Terror Underground by Jay Sandlin – 4.5 stars – Best start I’ve read in a novella in a while. I was hooked from the get go. There were breadcrumbs that made you suspect what comes next but never enough for you to be sure. A few HA’s out loud as I got completely surprised a few times. This was an epic addition to the AFTER series. Great fight scenes and an intriguing world dynamics.
Born with Teeth by Kate Mulgrew – 4.5 stars – Oh my. Ten plus hours of listening to Captain Kathryn Janeway to fall in love with Kate Mulgrew. She narrates as the true actor she i s and oh how it’s a beautiful memoir of her life. Her memories, her perspectives of her life. The rawness she goes into. It’s riveting and heartbreaking. If you listen to the audio, the interview at the end is well worth it, and possibly bumped up my experience with the book at least half a star.
The Best New True Crime Stories: Serial Killers by Mitzi Szereto – 4 stars – Some lesser known serial killers and what we know of them and their crimes. A lot of speculation as many of the crime facts have been lost to the past, but they do a good job of piecing what they do have together and coming to very plausible outcomes.
Carry On by Holley Cornetto – 4 Stars – Delicious and dusty. I loved the characters and the realistic portrayal into human nature, and what we might be willing to do to survive. Absolutely loved and adored the main character, and the books look into the importance or lack there of to names.
A Quiet Death (The Dark Peaks #3) by Cari Hunter – 5 stars – WOW! What an ending to an amazing trilogy. I both love and hate that that’s the end. I want more of Meg and Sanne. One of my favourite things about this instalment to the dark peak series is seeing inside a third persons POV. Gotta love a woman in charge. The writing and story was brilliant, and Cari Hunter is definitely one of my top new found authors. If you like brilliantly written mystery with characters so real you discuss them as you would a mate up the street, check out this series. Incredible.
Freedom to Love by Ronica Black – 3.5 star. There was lots to love about this book. I loved the immediate plunge into the action of the story, it sucked me right in. I also loved that there were no chapters that dragged with the characters umming and ahhing about wanting to be together. They were adults thrown into situations and instead of lying or hedging, they pretty much said what they thought, mostly. I wasn’t a fan of the sex scenes, though I’m sure they are other peoples cup of tea.
Easy Nevada and the Pyramid’s Curse by Georgette Kaplan – 4 Stars – I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book. Navada is quirky with history and layers, and even with the self-referential mentions of being like Jane Jones or Lara Croft, it was that sort of fun adrenaline spiked adventure. Mix in some The Mummy feels, with Brendan Fraser being a hot chick and you’ve pretty much nailed how this read felt. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the ending but I’m still really looking forward to the next book in the series.
Unbreakable by Cari Hunter – 5 stars – OMG, the rollercoaster and speed of this book is epic and fantastic … the writing is natural and hooks you in the entire time. Characters are wonderful and real and flawed and hilarious. I love reading crime, I always have but there is something so much cooler about reading a genre you love that has representation you can relate to
Coming Home by KJ – 5 stars – Ok, so I may have read these books backwards but damn, I regret nothing. This book is so delicious and sweet and funny and Aussie. It’s literally everything I love about KJ’s writing. There are lines I wish I had written and lines that made me spit coffee with laughter … and yep, it’s true, there’s even a line that made this cold hearted bitch burst into tears. 4th book of the year, bugger I’m going to start getting a reputation of having a heart. It’s a truly delicious celebrity romance book with amazing characters and real people.
The Pseudopod thatRocks the Cradle by Time Mendees – 4 Stars – Perfect way to end the spooky month. This short story collection from Tim Mendees is twisted and titillating, terrifying and tentacle filled, so naturally I loved it, and highly recommend it. There was something disturbing to take away from each story but my stand out favourites were definitely: * Afterimage – feel the burn – such an intense story and idea. Blinked many times after finishing it. * Mr mannequin – anyone for a tattoo – the creepy crime that made me shiver. * The Face in the Fabric – looking at clothes never seemed so terrifying. So if you like twisted gritty stories about disturbed minds (or insanely normal minds twisted to insanity) and worshippers of the old gods this is the collection for you.
This month I completed ALL of my reading challenges for the month. Which is awesome. I made some sapphic reading challenge videos over on the Hyperactive Bookworm channel. Drop by and take a look, leave a comment, or if you like what you hear/see you can always subscribe.
When our son was younger I struggled with everyday things let alone the daunting idea of decorating and cooking all just for one night.
So it’s been years since I’ve fully embraced the Halloween energy. Before I had my son it was a full party; themed and decorated and special food galore. In the beginning it was all hard made decorations and improvisations, because Australia has only recently begun embracing the commercialisation of this holiday.
But I’ve never stopped loving the spooky. And our son, at age 4, has already inherited this love. I mean, the kid’s favourite sea creature is Cthulhu, and he’s already OBSESSED with Xenomorphs and knows the full lifecycle of them *sniffs* so proud.
I’m endeavouring to embark on some Halloween goodness. Even found an old box of decorations (though most of my handmade beauties have vanished over time and breakups). So hopefully at the end of the month I can do an updated post with some pretty pics. Or I’ll ignore this accountability with a shrug and … ooh look shiny other things :-p
Lots of books this month. TWELVE!!!! I got to try some new authors and I’m always down for that. I love exploring how other authors play and manipulate words. I also finished two of my three book challenges – I have hit the Unicorn Badge AND the Dragon Badge for Jae’s Sapphic Reading Challenge. Will get to those videos over on the Hyperactive Bookworm shortly 😀
Malice (Malice Duology #1) by Heather Walter – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – OMGoddess. This book is EVERYTHING. I was downright shaking and speechless when I finished this book. Heather Walter has turned a fairytale I was completely ambivalent to into my favourite fractured fairy tale I’ve read so far. The writing is absolutely beautiful, the characters are dynamic and interesting, and the world building is *chefs kiss* Alice is so relatable, and I love her. And the themes of this book are so intense and explored so well. This idea of you reap what you sow came across so strongly to me, as well as investigating the power of intent versus results.
No Good Reason (The Dark Peak #1) by Cari Hunter – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – I really enjoyed this book. A crime novel with a detective and a doctor who are BFF’s with benefits. I fell in love with Meg, the doctor Sanne can’t take out in public. I love the hints and insights into these characters, the similarities that make them connect and the differences that make them crave each other. One of the things I really enjoyed about this story, was that Sanne, the detective, isn’t old and wizened. She is new, relatively untried, and is finding her strength and power to listen to her own gut feelings. The crime/storyline itself was riveting and heart pounding at all the right times. Horrible and ruthless and brutal. Can’t wait to read the rest of this series.
A Little Bit of Spice by Georgia Beers – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – I finally got around to reading a Georgia Beers story. And I get it. Her writing is easy and fun to read. A lesbian fiction romance with the enemies to lovers trope and intensely hot sex scenes. The complications of the story are fun and entertaining, so it was an enjoyable read. But let’s me honest, when the first line is “Are you fucking kidding me?” I’m pretty sure I’m going to enjoy something about it. I also had lots of fun getting quite the beer education.
Heart of Thorns: Terror inthe Sky by Chris Hewitt – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Another great installment in the dystopian AFTER series by Eerie River Publishing. Mystery and family drama mixed with the horror of
Sin Chaser: Terror from the Heavens by S. O. Green – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – What an amazing take on the seven deadly sins, faith, and a post apocalyptic world. As a naturalist I often find stories about ‘religion’ hard to take (despite writing them as well lol) but I could not get enough of this story. It was beautifully written with Green’s turn of phrase being spot on brilliance. They ramp up the tension perfectly and damn what an ending. I can’t wait to read more of their work.
Five Moons Rising by Lise MacTague – ⭐️⭐️⭐️ – It was a good read though I did find myself getting a little bored in a few places. I enjoyed the writing but got frustrated by the voices of the three main characters not entirely being distinguishable a few times. I was also confused by a few of the story points, as to why they characters did certain things. Overall a good read and some interesting ideas for the world building.
Art of Magic by KJ – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Holy hell. I have too many words to say about Art of Magic and all of them are fighting for attention. I have annotated the crap out of this book, I have scrawled in the margins, spat coffee over pages as I couldn’t hold back the giggles and know 100% Cath is my spirit animal … ok maybe not 100% … but 98 … 95%? Look, all I’m saying is I feel incredibly seen and maybe a little stalked (but not really). This book is amazing, the writing, the humour, the characters, the world is all beautiful … and then boom … throw in magic realism and I’m all aquiver. I loved this book and it will become tattered beyond its now desecrated state from rereading.
Darkness Falls by KC Luck – ⭐️⭐️⭐️ – I’m torn about this book. It made me feel a little contradictory. The writing is good, the story has its compelling moments but the end of the world I thought I was reading about was less the focus then the romance. Which others might like more than I did. I also feel like a few scenes pushed the consent barrier and made me squirm a little, and it seemed a bit uncharacteristic for the protagonist. But again others might not see a problem with it. I did enjoy the ensemble cast, though I get the sisters relationship didn’t ring altogether true for me. I feel like they would have been more concerned about each other. But I did adore the friendship that developed between Lexi and Taylor
Derelict by T. M. Brown – ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 – It took me a little to get into this world but still a good read and investigation into a world where the oceans receded and humans have had to find a way to survive with limited resources and a desperation to live. Some really nice turns of phrase.
Rescued Heart by Georgia Beers – ⭐️⭐️⭐️ – I liked the start ok … got really frustrated in the middle … quite enjoyed the end. A good romance story. Got very pissed off at the flippancy of the sexual harassment. Good writing.
Cold to the Touch by Cari Hunter – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Holy Hannah. I thought the first one was good. This is such an incredible sequel. I love getting to know more about Sanne and Meg, their past, and their complications. I adore both characters so much but feel akin to Meg. She’s just fabulous. Cari Hunter has an incredible way of pulling you through the story, the red herrings and the breadcrumbs so perfectly placed. Can’t wait to read the last book of the series, and then the rest of Cari Hunter’s books.
Fading Echoes by Joel R Hunt – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 – A brilliant read. It was intense but mostly easy to follow throughout the entire journey. A small confusion at one point that got cleared up, and another confusion that remained but not vital. Definitely curious about what happens next in this post apocalyptic world.
For the last few weeks (months if I’m going to being entirely honest) I have been struggling. I have started posts and then trashed them. I’m making this one stick.
This week I was forced to face some hard truths.
1 – I am still in mourning from the passing of my dear friend and Mentor, Aarjaun. Since she passed away at the end of January I threw myself into everything, so long as I didn’t have to feel my own emotions, and so long as I didn’t have to stop and think too much. Anything can be justified if given half a chance. 2 – I’m allowed to mourn and still enjoy the wonderful things in my life. I can appreciate all the good things, all the amazing people I have in my life, both old and new. I can also allow myself to be sad, to miss my friend, and to be overwhelmed by the good as much as overwhelmed when things are bad. 3 – I am not the robot I have tried to be. The wall I’ve put up around my feelings now has fissures and it’s time to let it crumble. 4 – I have worth, whether I am writing and contributing or not. I am enough as me, and I am allowed to say no … to myself as well as to others.
These truths were brutal and hard to face, and while I’ve half faced them for a few weeks, it was with the hopes they would run and hide once again. But coping mechanisms only work in the short term it seems. I have always been an advocate for prioritising mental health, but I have not always been so good at following my own advice. Sound familiar? I want to be a better role model of this for my son. Not because I think I’m supposed to, but because I want him not to have to fight the stigma in our home. I want to be transparent because I believe transparency about mental health is one of the key ingredients of destigmatizing it.
Now, I’m working on ways to ensure that I’m actively trying to help myself with these things.
1 – Allow myself to feel the absence of Aarjaun. I miss baths, which I have been avoiding because of that very thing. I think I might go have a bath tonight. 2 – Let those wonderful people in my life know that the good things don’t take away the pain, nor does the pain minimise the good things … did you read that? Look at me telling the wonderful people already 🙂 3 – Instead of taking that deep breath and burying the feelings, adding another brick on the wall, I’m going to (try to) say the words, I am hurting. 4 – I recently made a writing schedule. It was forcing me to be too busy. So no, I will not be following that schedule, I will be amending it to allow for more quiet time, more me time.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading. If it helps you in anyway, I’m even more excited.
I am so freaking excited about being able to talk about and promote these incredible projects I’ve been working on. Two amazing groups of authors all working together to create these brilliant anthologies.
British moors, winter 1955 Hamer House Hospital is dedicated to the care of their patients. But, another story is unfolding in basement Ward D. Locked behind the doors are the twisted minds and souls society wish to forget. The depraved and the perverse.
August was my birthday month and I may have gone a little crazy with book gifts for myself *not even sorry*, and the reading wasn’t too shabby though it started with the worst book I have ever rated. And yet another month had passed when I did not bury my head in the plethora of paperbacks I still have on my TBR. Eek … always hoping for next month.
The Southern Book Club’s Guide To Slaying Vampire’s by Grady Hendrix – ⭐️⭐️ – I wanted to like this book. I wanted to damn well love this book. I didn’t. In fact there were times I almost DNF’d this book. It takes a LOT for me to even consider DNF’ing a book. But, I stuck it out (100% because the narrator was awesome) and it’s not like the book was horrible, just so so frustrating. There is a huge chunk in the middle of the book that I felt was entirely unnecessary and this was the part where I nearly DNF’d. It was also filled with gaslighting the main character by EVERY SINGLE other character. It was then her backing down even though she knew they were doing this. It was the most frustrating thing I’ve read in such a long time and it wasn’t broken up with anything else and it dragged out. Despite this. There were some good things about the book, the writing was ok and the story wasn’t entirely terrible, just so many unnecessary parts for me, and no character was likeable. I do however get pissed off reading things about this book being a fantastic humour horror. There is no humour. If an author tries to highlight the depravity of society they need to make that clear, with exaggerations, with word choices. The author did NONE of this. It wasn’t funny, it wasn’t satirical. It was racist, sexist, elitist SHIT. If it weren’t for the narrator I would have DNF’d AND given a single star review.
Ignis by KJ – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – There is so much to love about this book. From the start we are thrown into two worlds, two times. The back and forth is fabulous. When you are in each part you are completely enveloped, almost forgetting about the other time, the other story. The mysteries are compelling and the writing is delicious. I adore the main characters and the beautiful balance of dark mystery and these moments that made me smile and sometimes even giggle. A brilliant read. Highly recommend if you like dark mysteries.
Queerly Beloved: A Love Story Across Genders by Diane and Jacob Anderson-Minshall – I can’t star this book, I don’t know how to. I have rarely read memoirs, and never one that has hit so close to home. Did I enjoy the reading? Yes and no. Some of it was a little repetitive. Did I find it helpful? Yes and no. I felt seen but also had to remind myself of how different me and my OH are to the authors. Do I recommend this book? Yes and no. I think it’s a great educational read, as long as people realise this is two peoples personal experiences in the transgender world. I definitely saw similar situations and fears, thoughts, and doubts. But also some things that I was shocked, because we have not had the same experience. Were there some chapters I could have lived without reading, some experiences they went through that I could have not known so much about? Sure. But I feel like that’s sort of a memoir staple. Overall, I’m glad I read this book. And I would love to read about more personal accounts of diversity in our beautiful and colourful rainbow community. I did a video review, going in to a little more detail. You can view it here.
Dead Lez Walking by G. Benson – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Omg. I have no idea how G. Benson does it but damn this book gave me all the feels … the mix of dark humour, true fear, devastating sadness, some pretty gruesome scenes, and actual wtf moments. Brilliant book that I chewed through (yep pun totally intended) ridiculously quickly. I adore the authors inclusivity in her books, gender, race, nationality, sexuality. She embraces the true diversity of humans in her stories. And I loved the ensemble cast. Taren freakin cracked me up (her chapter sub headings were freakin snort laughing worthy), and Xin was adorable – even if I may or may not have called the author a monster at one (several) points lol
Under Your Skin by Lee Winter – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – This book was delicious. A sequel to the incredible Red Files. If you like seeing an ice queen melt without changing who they are, this is THE ultimate book. I have such a love for small town settings and this book has it in spades, and the humour … laugh out loud coffee spitting moments, with Lauren’s charming upfront nature and Catherine’s acerbic thoughts and tongue: * It’s only Chaos if you stop and look at it, the rest of the time it’s just fun. * About the speed of an asthmatic turtle Also, hotness rating … cold showers required! 😉
Faith and Fire (Sisters of Battle #1) by James Swallow – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Was surprised how much I enjoyed this. The audio was recommended to me. The narrator was amazing. The writing was surprisingly beautiful, and the story was quite fun and brutal. I thought I would get lost not having played World of Warcraft, but I understood the world enough to keep up with what was happening, and it was quite exciting.
The Roommate Arrangement by Jae – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Third book of the year to make me cry! I was so frustrated with one of the characters at the start, Jae perfectly captured the frustrations of Ray having to deal with her new roommate. But just as she grew on Ray, Stephanie grew on me as well. A hilarious female the odd-couple book, with ALL the feels. Brilliant writing, fantastic dynamic characters, and a story that flows (and kept this reader up until 1am).
Full English by Rachel Spangler – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Another small town sapphic read .. need I say more? Well, actually yes. I LOVED the dynamics of the characters in this book. Spangler turns the traditional characterisations on their heads and I am all for it! Brilliant themes of breaking the binary and contradictory assumptions of society. I love that the village girl isn’t sweet and virginal and the famous millionaire isn’t suave and sophisticated. The descriptions of the beautiful scenery of the town and the sea were so engulfing, it was a holiday during a time when holidays seem like a distant memory and a not promised future.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson – ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 – A perfect classic gothic horror of the time. But, reading it from a modern day perspective, I struggled to love it, though I did like it and enjoy it. I listened to it on audio and the narration lacked several times as the voices for the two female protagonists had the same tones and quirks and it was difficult to follow along as times. I did enjoy the writing, it was often beautiful but the story had me confused at times.
Hush Little Baby by RH Herron – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – *Trigger Warnings for infertility and child abduction. * Literally could not stop listening to this book. My first book by this author and now I have to read more. The writing is absolutely beautiful, from descriptions of humanity to the earth, to the complicated duality of human nature, to the way the author reaches in and stabs sharpened nails into your heart before ripping it out of your chest. Not a book I could have read during my long fertility journey, or pregnancy, or even when my child was in their first year of life. But such an incredible story.
So ten books for August is a pretty good effort. 😀
For the first year ever I thought I’d embark on the insanity of doing not just November’s NaNoWriMo but also Camp NaNo … with that being said, I was very surprised to get as many books read as I did … I also managed to do a few Beta Reads. And no, in case you are wondering … I have not slept this month ;-p
Take note of just how many sequels I read this month … who knew I was such a series addict. Also seriously ridiculous how amazingly brilliant the books for this month were. No bad ones to be seen, not even any luke warm humming or harring ones. So total win month here.
Six Days to Hell by E.L Giles – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Oomph with a one two punch. A virus has caused a world pandemic (feels a little close to home doesn’t it). An anxiety ridden quick read. Follow Garcia on his post apocalyptic countdown with an ache for redemption and a question to the power of the past. A few times the lulls had me drifting a little but they didn’t last long until we head on the run again. I had to know how it ended, as I continued the countdown despite that spider tingle of anxiety. The beautiful language is stark against the horror of a world laid bare. A great dark read.
Dead Man Walking (Nick Holleran #1) by David Green – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 Stars – For a second, Hell holds its breath. Dead Man Walking: A Nick Holleran book is a wicked little love child between Sin City and Constantine. The atmosphere reminiscent of the 1950’s PI’s of the past hits from the very start. The world building and side characters that David Green has created makes me already cross my fingers, hoping there is more of the same to come. Humour is mixed with horror and it is tantalisingly weaved throughout the story. When I finished Dead man Walking I felt as though I had been given a small window, or perhaps a fireplace view, of a moment in this world, a moment in Holleran’s life. And oh boy, what a moment it is.
Harrow the Ninth (The Locked Tomb, #2) by Tamsyn Muir – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – What. The. Actual. F$&@. I loved this book. That much I know. I need recovery time to write up this review, and perhaps another read through. Most important to note … ‘it’s complicated, is all I’m saying.’ Just a few points: I never knew I could love 2nd person, but oh my how I love this and the 2nd person narrator. I love the snarky dialogue, internal and external. And my mind has completely blown, to the point of now rereading Gideon from an entirely new perspective. SO MUCH AWESOMENESS. I took some time and ended up doing an entire reading Vlog of this book … you can find the vid here.
Without a Front: The Producer’s Challenge (Chronicles of Alsea #2) by Fletcher DeLancey – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – I started this book with excitement and heartbreak. I was grieving and couldn’t understand that while I loved the writing and even the story why I was not getting as pulled in … and then it all came together. I was feeling too much exactly how the main character Aldira Tal was feeling. It was writing with such realism in grief and mourning that it was breaking my heart to feel her going through it, and I have never loved Fletcher DeLancey’s writing more. This book took me everywhere, the full spectrum where I felt heavy limbed and lost to laughing out loud, to a damn near a panic attack. The writing is beautiful and the story is so perfectly paced and balanced. What I am so wonderfully surprised and amazed at is how much I want to know more about all of the characters. I love the dynamic and deliciously complicated main characters. But so are the minor ones. I want to know more about all of them, even the ones I would cheer Micah on f he were to go a round or two with them to teach a lesson. What a fantastic second addiction to the Chronicles of Alsea series. I’m so glad I have more to read.
The Devil Walks in Blood (Nick Holleran #2) by DavidGreen – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 Stars – Nick Holleran is a smart arsed shmuck and I can’t wait to read more of his adventures.This second instalment has us go deeper into Nick’s life, his acceptance or lack thereof about hell and the realisation he’s still a shmuck who hasn’t quite got it all worked out like he thought. A darker and gritty adventure, with Nick thrown into a shit storm after shit storm. I loved that minor characters from the first book came back to play as well as some intriguing new additions. The overarching story Nick is travelling has my hairs standing to attention and my curiosity well and truly peaked. A great series. I can’t wait for the next instalment
True Nature (Shape-Shifter, #2) by Jae – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – I have never been a huge shifter fan. The idea of finding an animal attractive rankles. I read the first of this series last year and was stunned by how much I enjoyed it. The attraction between the shifter and the human never crossed that line of the animal form itself being part of the attraction. Jae is a mistress of the slow burn and this also makes a difference. So I finally got around to reading True Nature and I love it. Again there was no disturbing animal attraction, the slow burn and human emotions were powerful and real. And the story was brilliant. As frustrating as some of her characters are, I loved it because they were frustrating. They were real and dynamic, prejudiced and stubborn, flawed and trying. This is another great example of a powerful read and magnifying glass in to human relationship, and familial dynamics. The writing is easy and beautiful and I spent two night staying up well past sanity to get this read in two days because I kept wanting to know what happens and couldn’t stop thinking about the characters. What better endorsement can I give really?
Changing the Script by Lee Winter – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – Another brilliant piece of art from Lee Winter. The balance of tension and amusement throughout Changing Script is as masterfully crafted as a katana. An American film director trying to save the worst movie in the world goes up against a Patriotic New Zealand local who she nearly kills on meeting. I mean what could possibly go wrong. Highlights: – New Zealand realism in the use of words, familial relationships, culture, and humour – The sexiest and most realistic flirting scene I have read in a long time – Characters who are layered without having to have their personality traits jammed over and over at the reader – Appearances of characters from Breaking Character – Laugh out loud moments that made me the entertainment of fellow commuters. This book is so great. I did suss out the mystery about half way through but because the writing and the way things developed in the story, I still wasn’t 100% convinced I was right until I read the end, and it was well worth the read.
Metaphoria by K.B Elijah – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ When a book starts with “Should I begin with the tale of the cannibalistic peacocks, perhaps?” You know you are in for a ride … but oh man this was a whirly derby ride of hilarity and snarky dialogue and I loved every second of it. The two main characters are fun and unique, easily recognisable from their dialogue, and *french kiss* the chemistry was enjoyable and wonderfully built. Twice I was reminded that this story was mostly dialogue, but I didn’t have time to linger long as I was pulled back into the story. The theme of who is hero and who is villain is delightful, but my oh my did the fourth wall get bashed in with a wrecking ball. It was damn near Brechtian – delicious. My recommendation is to grab a drink and set aside an hour or two because this delicious pocket size read is a one sitting perfect example of escapism and enjoyment.
What a brilliant month of reads. I’m really partial not only to the sequels but to the shorter readers it seems 🙂