Book Haul – 1 to 8 October 2020

I started writing a short story this afternoon! I’ve only written about 1,000 words so far and I doubt this particular story will ever see the light of day, but it’s woken something up in me.

I haven’t really attempted any creative writing (although there are plenty of worlds that live in my imagination) for many years decades. It was a time of putting pen to paper and I felt like a real writer because I’d bought myself a typewriter.

It may not be much in the scheme of things but it feels like possibilities exist tonight that didn’t this morning. And in 2020, that’s exciting!

I don’t know if you ever fell in geeky love with Reid from Criminal Minds like I may have but even if you didn’t I want to tell you about a TV series I binged this week. It’s called Prodigal Son and Malcolm, the main character, is pretty much how I imagine Reid would have turned out if his father was a serial killer. Malcolm’s father is a serial killer, he’s a profiler and he’s haunted by the flashbacks he has of the girl in the box, the girl who everyone tells him never existed. This could be my favourite new series of the year!

Word of the Week: antimony (from dictionary.com)

  1. opposition between one law, principle, rule, etc., and another.
  2. Philosophy. a contradiction between two statements, both apparently obtained by correct reasoning.

Highlight of the Week: Okay, so I’m still getting my head around this but earlier this week my blog reached a milestone that I wasn’t expecting to happen so soon. Over 1,000 visitors have dropped by. Whether you’ve found yourself here by accident or you’ve visited more than once, please know that I appreciate you.

Recent Reads:


Book Mail

FIVE friends go to a cabin.

FOUR of them are hiding secrets.

THREE years of history bind them.

TWO are doomed from the start.

ONE person wants to end this.

NO ONE IS SAFE.

Are you ready to play?


Amber knew she’d been given an incredible power, but was it a freak accident, or was there something she was supposed to do with it?

Controlling her new ability might be the hardest thing Amber has ever done. Especially when she is running for her life.

Who is her mysterious enemy? What connection does he have to Amber’s past? And, most importantly, does Amber have what it takes to truly become … Skydragon?


Kindle Black Hole of Good Intentions

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes – not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now – “Scythe Lucifer” – a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realising she cannot do this alone – or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead – the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?


It’s been three years since Rowan and Citra disappeared; since Scythe Goddard came into power; since the Thunderhead closed itself off to everyone but Grayson Tolliver.

In this pulse-pounding finale to Neal Shusterman’s internationally bestselling trilogy, constitutions are tested and old friends are brought back from the dead.


A powerful source of healing for teen girls and young women who have experienced sexual abuse, Invisible Girls offers survivors agency and hope in an era when too many girls have suffered alone The statistics are staggering.

One in four girls will experience sexual abuse by the time she is sixteen, and 48 percent of all rapes involve a young woman under the age of eighteen. It’s not surprising then, that in a society where sexual abuse of young women is rampant, many women never share their stories. They remain hidden and invisible.

In her pioneering work with young survivors through the last thirty years, Dr. Patti Feuereisen has helped teen girls and young women to find their voices, begin healing, and become visible.

In this revised second edition, Dr. Patti’s gentle guidance and the girls’ powerful stories continue to create an encouraging message: Remarkable healing is possible if girls learn to share their stories in their teens and early twenties. With a new introduction, new chapters, and updated resources, this new edition of Invisible Girls has even more to offer girls, young women, and those who care about them.


According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (the world’s only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655, before she exploded), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner.

So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon – both of whom have lived amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and have grown rather fond of the lifestyle – are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture.

And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist …


If you trust her you’ll never make it home …

Avery is an exceptional child. Everything he does is precise, from the way he washes his face in the morning, to the way he completes his homework – without complaint, without fuss, without prompt.

Zib is also an exceptional child, because all children are, in their own way. But where everything Avery does and is can be measured, nothing Zib does can possibly be predicted, except for the fact that she can always be relied upon to be unpredictable.

They live on the same street.

They live in different worlds.

On an unplanned detour from home to school one morning, Avery and Zib find themselves climbing over a stone wall into the Up and Under – an impossible land filled with mystery, adventure and the strangest creatures.

And they must find themselves and each other if they are to also find their way out and back to their own lives.


A new anthology bringing together five great new and established writers to explore the world of Mary Shelley’s all-time classic, Frankenstein.

“My spirit will sleep in peace; or if it thinks, it will not surely think thus. Farewell.” 

Victor Frankenstein was the first to unlock the key to life, but he would not be the last. Through two centuries of scientific enquiry and relentless advancement, five more minds found the secret, and five more creatures were made. Five more stories ended in tragedy.

From the 1840’s to the modern day, from the race to publish the first anatomy to the desperate search for weapons to win the Second World War, telling the stories of the creatures that never were.


NetGalley

“When I was in school, everyone got to a certain age where they became interested in talking about only one thing: boys, girls and sex. Me though? I was only interested in comics.”

Growing up, Rebecca assumes sex is just a scary new thing they will ‘grow into’ as they gets older, but when they leaves school, starts working, and does grow up, they starts to wonder why they doesn’t want to have sex with other people.

In this brave, hilarious and empowering graphic memoir, we follow Rebecca as they navigate a culture obsessed with sex – from being bullied at school and trying to fit in with friends, to forcing themself into relationships and experiencing anxiety and OCD – before coming to understand and embrace their asexual identity.

Giving unparalleled insight into asexuality and asexual relationships, How To Be Ace shows the importance of learning to be happy and proud of who you are.


Book Haul – 18 to 30 September 2020

The weirdest thing happened last week. No new books found their way into my life. I can’t remember the last time that happened. Sure, I have more than enough books to last me for decades already but I always find excuses to adopt more. So there was no need for a book haul post last week. Happily I’ve made some new bookish friends this week.

Word of the Week: nascent, “(especially of a process or organization) just coming into existence and beginning to display signs of future potential.” (from lexico.com)

Bookish Highlight: Book mail! The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida arrived yesterday and I’m loving it! I found a Maya Angelou quote today that seems appropriate given what I have read so far.

Recent Reads:


Book Mail

Miwako Sumida is dead.

Now those closest to her try to piece together the fragments of her life. Ryusei, who has always loved her, follows Miwako’s trail to a remote Japanese village. Chie, Miwako’s best friend, was the only person to know her true identity – but is now the time to reveal it? Meanwhile, Fumi, Ryusei’s sister, is harbouring her own haunting secret.

Together, they realise that the young woman they thought they knew had more going on behind her seemingly perfect façade than they could ever have dreamed.


Kindle Black Hole of Good Intentions

Ren Ishida is nearly finished with graduate school when he receives news of his sister Keiko’s sudden death. She was viciously stabbed one rainy night on her way home, and there are no leads. Ren heads to Akakawa to conclude his sister’s affairs, still failing to understand why she chose to abandon the family and Tokyo for this desolate town years ago.

But Ren soon finds himself picking up where Keiko left off, accepting both her teaching position at a local cram school and the bizarre arrangement of free lodging at a wealthy politician’s mansion in exchange for reading to the man’s catatonic wife.

As he comes to know the figures in Akakawa, from the enigmatic politician to his fellow teachers and a rebellious, alluring student named Rio, Ren delves into his shared childhood with Keiko and what followed, trying to piece together what happened the night of her death. Haunted in his dreams by a young girl who is desperately trying to tell him something, Ren struggles to find solace in the void his sister has left behind. 


NetGalley

Illumen Hall is an elite boarding school. Tragedy strikes when the body of a student is discovered at their exclusive summer party – on her back is an elaborate tattoo of a magpie.

When new girl Audrey arrives the following term, running from her own secrets back home in America, she is thrown into solving the case. Despite her best efforts to avoid any drama, her new roommate Ivy was close to the murdered girl, and the two of them can’t help but get pulled in.

The two can’t stand each other, but as they are drawn deeper into the mystery of this strange and terrible murder, they will discover that something dangerous is at the heart of their superficially perfect school.

Welcome to The Magpie Society.


Like any student about to start university, Laurie Katz was excited to see what the year would bring. Little did she know that just three weeks into her first term, her life would come crashing down around her. What had started as a fun night out with friends ended with Laurie, alone with a terrible secret: she had been raped.

Traumatized and confused, she set out to get justice against her attacker. But when the authorities at her university dismissed her case, and warned her that she could be expelled, she was left unsure where to turn. It seemed as though things couldn’t get worse, then her attacker filed his own case.

Laurie’s story is a brave and honest reminder of the injustice still felt in society around sexual abuse. Laurie offers readers her advice, and provides them with the hope that they too can overcome a similar trauma.


Book Haul – 11 to 17 September 2020

Book mail!! A book I won in a giveaway arrived this week. I also had a book nerd dream come true this morning. I received a message from a publisher saying they wanted to send a book that’s on my TBR pile to me and asked if I wanted it. Um, is that a trick question? Of course I want more book mail! Woohoo!

The raven I met last week has gotten a lot braver and has brought a friend to meet me. The first two baby noisy miners of the season have also visited. I can’t believe how brave these birds are. Within 24 hours of them seeing me for the first time they were coming into the front yard with the adults. One of them has even come within six feet of me.

I’m not sure how much reading I’m going to get done in the next two weeks. I order heaps of stuff from my local library. The only problem is that the DVD’s always seem to arrive all at once. Tomorrow I need to collect 11 movies and 8 seasons of various TV series. DVD’s only get a two week loan at my library, which is not usually a problem. This time? It’s going to be a marathon!

Quote I’m loving at the moment: “She overcame everything that was meant to destroy her.”

Word of the Week: frisson, “a sudden feeling of excitement or fear, especially when you think that something is about to happen” (from Cambridge Dictionary)

Bookish Highlight of the Week: Just like last week, this week’s bookish highlight was Alix E. Harrow’s The Once and Future Witches. I finished reading it a couple of days ago and can now say with absolute certainty that it’s my favourite book of 2020. I may love other books before the end of the year (and hope I love them all) but I can’t imagine loving anything more than I love the three Eastwood sisters.

This week I read:


Book Mail

I wake up, and for a few precious seconds I don’t realise there’s anything wrong.

The rumble of tyres on bitumen, and the hiss of air conditioning. The murmur of voices. The smell of air freshener. The cool vibration of glass against my forehead.

A girl wakes up on a self-driving bus. She has no memory of how she got there or who she is. Her nametag reads CECILY. The six other people on the bus are just like her: no memories, only nametags. There’s a screen on each seatback that gives them instructions. A series of tests begin, with simulations projected onto the front window of the bus. The passengers must each choose an outcome; majority wins. But as the testing progresses, deadly secrets are revealed, and the stakes get higher and higher. Soon Cecily is no longer just fighting for her freedom – she’s fighting for her life.


Kindle Black Hole of Good Intentions

The secrets lurking in a rundown roadside motel ensnare a young woman, just as they did her aunt thirty-five years before, in this new atmospheric suspense novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.

Upstate NY, 1982. Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn’t right at the Sun Down, and before long she’s determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden


Randall Woodfield had it all. He was an award-winning student and star athlete. He was drafted for pro football by the Green Bay Packers, and chosen by Playgirl as a centerfold candidate. Working in the swinging West Coast bar scene, he had his pick of willing sexual prospects. 

But Randall Woodfield wanted more than just sex. An appetite for unspeakable violent acts led him to cruise the I-5 highway through California, Oregon, and Washington, leaving a trail of victims along the way. As the list of his victims grew to a total of at least 44, the police faced the awesome challenge of catching and convicting a suspect who seemed to handsome and appealing to have committed such ugly crimes – crimes that filled every woman within his striking range with feat and horror …


In the sequel to the New York Times best-selling novel Hope Never Dies, Obama and Biden reprise their roles as BFFs-turned-detectives as they chase Obama’s stolen cell phone through the streets of Chicago – and right into a vast conspiracy.

Following a long but successful book tour, Joe Biden has one more stop before he can return home: Chicago. His old pal Barack Obama has invited him to meet a wealthy benefactor whose endorsement could turn the tide for Joe if he decides to run for president.

The two friends barely have time to catch up before another mystery lands in their laps: Obama’s prized Blackberry is stolen. When their number-one suspect winds up full of lead on the South Side, the police are content to write it off as just another gangland shooting. But Joe and Obama smell a rat …

Set against the backdrop of a raucous city on St. Patrick’s Day, Joe and Obama race to find the shooter, only to uncover a vast conspiracy that goes deeper than the waters of Lake Michigan – which is exactly where they’ll spend the rest of their retirement if they’re not careful. 


Book Haul – 7 to 13 August 2020

I binged a little on books this week. There have been quite a few Kindle books I’ve been drooling over for months but had been waiting for them to go on sale. A bad day early in the week was all it took for me to give in to the urge to let books make it all better. Books make everything better! I did restrain myself a bit, only buying the three most urgent reads on my list. The others were on sale so don’t count. Don’t you just love my book logic?

I also got some book mail – a preorder and one that I won a few weeks ago.

I’ve been watching Looking for Alaska and have been surprised by my lack of connection to the characters. I wish this was Dr. Hyde’s story instead of Alaska’s. I’m one of those people who finds something to cry about in almost every movie or TV series I watch. This series though? Not a hint of a tear. Weird …

Word of the Week: inimitable. “So good or unusual as to be impossible to copy; unique.” (from lexico.com)

Bookish Highlight of the Week: The Midnight Library. It’s been on my radar since pre-COVID so, by my calculations, about 287 years. I’m about a quarter of the way through it and I’m having trouble deciding whether I want to forgo sleep to finish it in one sitting or slow down and savour it.

This week I reviewed:

Until next time, happy reading!


Book Mail

The fair is in town! Nelson and Kenny want to go on ALL the rides! But after testing Grandma’s new invention, they’re suddenly TOO SMALL to go anywhere!

Luckily, Nelson and Kenny have a plan to get TALLER again … way, WAAAAY TALLER!


A boy awakens in the Afterlife, with a pocketful of vague memories, a key, a raven, and a mysterious Atlas to guide him as he sets out to piece together the mystery of his final moments …

Back on Earth, Twiggy is a street kid with a missing dad. But when he meets Flea, a cheerful pickpocket, the pair become fast friends, better even than blood family itself. Together, Twig and Flea raise themselves on the crime-ridden streets, taking what they need and giving the rest to the even-poorer. Life is good, as long as they have each other. But the all-powerful Boss who rules the streets has other plans.

Loyalty will be tested, and a cruel twist of fate will lead to an act of ultimate betrayal that will tear the friends apart … forever?


Kindle Black Hole of Good Intentions

A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place – and realising that family is yours. 


A decadent rock star. A deeply religious radio host. A disgraced scientist. And a teenage girl who may be the world’s last hope.

Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. But Shana and her sister are not alone. Soon they are joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America, on the same mysterious journey. And like Shana, there are other “shepherds” who follow the flock to protect their friends and family on the long dark road ahead.

For on their journey, they will discover an America convulsed with terror and violence, where this apocalyptic epidemic proves less dangerous than the fear of it. As the rest of society collapses all around them – and an ultraviolent militia threatens to exterminate them – the fate of the sleepwalkers depends on unravelling the mystery behind the epidemic. The terrifying secret will either tear the nation apart – or bring the survivors together to remake a shattered world.


A powerful debut novel of a refuge in Brooklyn for women in trouble – and the one woman who will risk all to protect them.

In the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighbourhood of Brooklyn stands a century-old row house presided over by renegade, silver-haired Sister Evelyn. Gruff and indomitable on the surface, warm and wry underneath, Evelyn and her fellow sisters makes Mercy House a safe haven for the abused and abandoned. 

Women like Lucia, who arrives in the dead of night; Mei-Li, the Chinese and Russian house veteran; Desiree, a loud and proud prostitute; Esther, a Haitian immigrant and aspiring collegiate; and Katrina, knitter of lumpy scarves … all of them know what it’s like to be broken by men.

Little daunts Evelyn, until she receives word that Bishop Robert Hawkins is coming to investigate Mercy House and the nuns, whose secret efforts to help the women in ways forbidden by the Church may be uncovered. But Evelyn has secrets too, dark enough to threaten everything she has built.

Evelyn will do anything to protect Mercy House and the vibrant, diverse women it serves – confront gang members, challenge her beliefs, even face her past. As she fights to defend all that she loves, she discovers the extraordinary power of mercy and the grace it grants, not just to those who receive it, but to those strong enough to bestow it.


Kaylan’s life as she knew it is over. Again.

Hunted by the guards of Edriast and their ruthless captain, Kaylan is forced to flee into a world she’s never seen, armed with a power she never wanted. With her brother Elias by her side, she escapes to the distant city of Stynos, where rumour has it a possible ally is waiting … An ally who might help Kaylan control the violent magic that’s become her burden to bear.

But Kaylan can’t hide forever – not from the forces that surround her, or from the darkness inside herself. Rebel leader Bellamy seeks her help to destroy a regime; Captain Thorn pursues her with a vengeance; and as her power grows, her inner demons begin to seep through the cracks …

Kaylan may be strong, but is she strong enough to resist the Relic? 


In the first book in a brilliant new fantasy series, books that aren’t finished by their authors reside in the Library of the Unwritten in Hell, and it is up to the Librarian to track down any restless characters who emerge from those unfinished stories.

Many years ago, Claire was named Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing – a neutral space in Hell where all the stories unfinished by their authors reside. Her job consists mainly of repairing and organising books, but also of keeping an eye on restless stories that risk materialising as characters and escaping the library. When a Hero escapes from his book and goes in search of his author, Claire must track and capture him with the help of former muse and current assistant Brevity and nervous demon courier Leto.

But what should have been a simple retrieval goes horrifyingly wrong when the terrifyingly angelic Ramiel attacks them, convinced that they hold the Devil’s Bible. The text of the Devil’s Bible is a powerful weapon in the power struggle between Heaven and Hell, so it falls to the librarians to find a book with the power to reshape the boundaries between Heaven, Hell … and Earth.


‘Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices … Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?’ 

Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?

In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.


Book Haul – 31 July to 6 August 2020

Yesterday my Kindle cover decided it was time to make a break for it. I wasn’t aware that it had been silently judging me for using it so much, but it finally spat the dummy. The magnet in the half that holds the Kindle flew out at me when I opened the case. I guess even bookish things can think you read too much …

One of the wild birds I haven’t seen for almost a year showed up out of the blue two days ago. Two currawongs that had very recently both lost their right eyes arrived at almost the same time last year and after a few months one disappeared. I feared the worst but hoped they’d maybe just moved to a new area. One remained; they come in to say hi and have a feed a couple of times a week.

Now the one that’s been MIA is back and they have such a sweet nature. They even brought a new addition to the family to meet me. I probably say this all the time but it makes me feel so honoured whenever a wild bird trusts me. It makes me all gooey inside.

Word of the Week: aperçu. “A comment or brief reference that makes an illuminating or entertaining point.” (from lexico.com)

Bookish Highlight of the Week: I published my 700th blog post today! 😃

This week I reviewed:

Until next time, happy reading!


Book Mail

Best friends have become enemies. Lovers have become strangers. And deciding whose side you’re on could be the difference between life and death. For Eve and Lemon, discovering the truth about themselves – and each other – was too much for their friendship to take. But with the country on the brink of a new world war – this time between the BioMaas swarm at CityHive and Daedalus’s army at Megopolis, loyalties will be pushed to the brink, unlikely alliances will form and with them, betrayals.

But the threat doesn’t stop there, because the lifelikes are determined to access the program that will set every robot free, a task requiring both Eve and Ana, the girl she was created to replace. In the end, violent clashes and heartbreaking choices reveal the true heroes … and they may not be who you think they are.


Wolf Girl is back in the wild, but that doesn’t mean life is any easier for her and her loyal pack of dogs.

She has been searching for her family for a long time. Just when she feels she is close, the soldiers following her start to close in. Then Zip is injured and the pack has to slow down …

Who can Gwen trust? And how will she keep her pack safe while they are being hunted by dangerous enemies?

Does this spell disaster for the one and only Wolf Girl?


The minotaur will be recognised by his strength.

Kelly doesn’t believe in ancient prophecies. Then again, up until recently, she also didn’t believe a horn could grow out of her forehead.

Now the Collector is holding her mother hostage, and if Kelly wants to rescue her she needs to learn how to wield all the powers of the Unicorn. She also needs some help. 

She needs to find … the Minotaur.

Minh knows something epic is going on. For the last year, he has been getting stronger and stronger. He can pull a plough as well as any horse. He can lift cars.

But he has no idea that this is just the beginning …

Kelly and Minh will need to help each other if they are to have any hope of bringing down the Collector and rescuing the people they love.