Wednesday 25 April 2018

Book Review: Girlhood by Cat Clarke

Bordering School in Scotland and a Dead twin, what does that remind me of?

I lost myself
               when my sister died,
  and these girls rebuilt me,
     piece by piece.
I thought that nothing could 
  ever come between US.
I thought I knew who I was...
                  the new girl 
                        showed up.

This book came out on my Birthday and I went out and brought it on my Birthday which was an 2 hour journey for me. So course I've only read it now, despite also receiving a NetGalley of it as well. I don't even read the NetGalleys of my favourite authors on time (though I only got access to it, a day before it came out).

I've read most of Cat Clarke books (except one only published in America and the one that's not out yet). This was the most disappointing. It was the only one that didn't make me cry. It's not bad. It's not okay. It's is good. However, it was not Clarke ripping my heart out like she has with every other book. Even my least favourite book of her books made me cry. Though, I like this one better than A Kiss in the Dark.

It's similar to Cat Clarke books in I sat and read it in one sitting. Because you have to read Clarke in one sitting or you will spend all your time thinking about it, even if you're a sleep.

Okay, so what didn't work for me. The big conflict is a lot smaller than other Clarke books, it relays on subtly and relationships. The relationships and friendships are done well, but the issue is obvious from outsider point of view (even without another character saying exactly what's happening). Yes, I am not 17 like Harper is, but I think

Harper's relationship with her sister is a bit shallow for me. The idea of someone losing their identical twin sounds horrific, especially when they in their teens. This happens before the book and is one of Harper's defining issues. My problem is it all feels like plot to me. We have Harper talking about parts of their childhood and her death, not really flashbacks, more Harper talking to the reader about her sister like we were her friend/therapist. Anorexia is usually a slow death, so the time line feels a little muddled. Harper's guilt plays a role, but maybe a more hit and run death would have worked better. Clarke has done grief for a sister before and it worked then, so why didn't work now for me.

This also some girl on girl sexual tension which I always appreciate. We have a canon lesbian, Bi and someone at least willing to go there. It has almost nothing to do with the plot which is fun. There's some romance stuff, but it also like nothing. It's definitely a friendship book. I really should have loved this book.

Clarke as always, likes to tackle a harder subjects. We have grief, body image issues, depression and other stuff that's too much a spoiler to talk about in a review.

I thought the plot was going one way, it didn't which is probably for the best. The plot works for the most part. 

Overall, I give this book 4/5 stars for Stone Bars. The real problem is Cat Clarke is amazing and this didn't stab me in the heart, so I'm disappointed. Maybe I'm just getting more heartless as I get older. My actual guess, is that Clarke was juggling a lot more important characters than she normally does and my expectation was too high. I'm still going to shove Cat Clarke books at people, even they talk about books.

I got this book for Review off NetGalley and Quercus Children's Books. But I always going to read this anyway. It was published on 4th May 2018.

Currently £4 on Amazon (Affiliate Link):

Saturday 21 April 2018

Gory Dreams

My dreams have took a turn for the gory. Dreaming about scaficing Beanie Babies to angry goddess before scipt the flesh from your face and mad scientists halfing people, making them to fight to the death after. Really bloody after the fight but somehow not before. Also tiny eyes.

My brain likes to give me these images once and a while, sometimes with elaborate stories and sometimes just people watching one half of themselves fight to the death.

I was working on writing something. A graveyard short cut but it not ready. It's not ready yet. Maybe next week if I remember to actually work on it.

Wednesday 18 April 2018

Book Review: Savage Island by Bryony Pearce

Yes, Children trust Mark Zuckerburg and his fictional counterpart.

When reclusive millionaire Marcus Gold announces that he’s going to be staging an “Iron Teen” competition on his private island in the Outer Hebrides, teenagers Ben, Lizzie, Will, Grady and Carmen sign up – the prize is one million pounds … each. But when the competition begins, the group begin to regret their decision. Other teams are hunting their competitors and attacking them for body parts. Can the friends stick together under such extreme pressure to survive? When lives are at stake, you find out who you can really trust…

One of the more boring Red Eyes, as it literally wandering an island for three days. Other stuff happens conspiracy and the risk of maiming. It takes from other Red Eye books (intentionally or not). It's similar to 'Flesh and Blood' and reminds me of Frozen Charlotte because it's on an Scottish Island (one of the Shetland islands, meant to be private island). So Rich, gore and isolation. A bit of 'Sleepless' as well.

I really lacked the motivation to finish this and it's not like it long. There were few hiccups. Ben doesn't have a great relationships with his brother, Will but it pressured into looking after him. Will is some sort of Genius and clearly disturbed. There was an awkward moment for me where I was like "is he meant Autistic?" No, he's a sociopath. I wouldn't say that a spoiler, it clearly what going on and I want talk about it. People often confuse Autism and Sociopathy, despite being different and think having that "oh no" feeling probably didn't help my enjoyment of the book. My own research (after reading this book) said that what Pearce wrote can be accurate, it just awkward for me.

We have the island stuff and tons of childhood flashbacks of Ben being sad. Lots of fun wildlife while you know horror. This format worked well for what Pearce was trying to do. The book stays in Ben's POV so we only know what he knows. It also get repetitive after awhile. A lot of going in circles. 

There's also a dumb romance because people can't just be friends (Okay, that's really just my pet Peeve). The characters are done well and Pearce does an good job of balancing everyone. I think the relationships are part that's done the best, which is good to see in horror when so much is just bodies to get rid of. Though, I did think Carmen being Spanish was pushed a lot at first.

This is sociopaths and conspiracy theorist stuff. If you find most of that stuff boring and overplayed, this probably not the book for you. Obviously, conspiracy theories are hot right now with the youths so makes sense and there's always an online quiz asking if you are Sociopath. Maybe I know too much about Sociopaths and the ones that become killers for this book. I guess most of the target market won't be like that. That being said I've read true crime novels since I could read, but still I probably would have enjoyed this more when I was younger.

I found the ending to be dumb. The END bit I mean. I get the ending for the story Pearce was trying to tell, I saw it coming so stop being invested. There's a twist, I guess it works and Pearce lays down the ground work for it. It's just didn't have much of impact. The Reveal just seemed like a bad business plan and like why?

Overall, I give this 3/5 stars for Geocache Boxes. This was an okay addition to Red Eye series. It makes sense to tackle conspiracies in this series (again), and I do think it might be part of personal taste in what you want your horror to be, if you're like this book. Not so much for me, it might work for you. Having read the all the Red Eye books, I do compare them to one another. This one is kinda in the middle for me. The cover is cooler than the actual book as well, because it's really cool. I just wish I had liked the book as much.

I got this book for review off NetGalley and Stripes Publishing, it was published on 5th April 2018.

Saturday 14 April 2018

Same. Same. bad.

In pain and still have a cold. The cough is still stuck in my throat. My PIP renewal letter form came early (it not due till next year), but it also spent ten days in the mail, giving me very little time to fill it out. Well, my mum to fill it out because due my dyslexia, I can't reliably fill out important forms or it will become a hot mess. You can go to citizen advise to get help filling out these times of forms but you can't just turn up. There's also doctor notes that you need to get.

I'm always so ill as well. Kinda get sick of going to the doctor and saying I'm always in pain, can you tell me why?

I'm not always in pain, usually a dull ache. It comes in waves. You have fair ups and then nothing, then bang you're always tired and can't get to sleep.I was keeping track of how I was going feeling every day for a while and everyday it was bad. Always bad. Never fine or happy.

I'm having issues that are worrysome and not sure if I should go back to the doctor about it again. I am probably going to have to. I'm going to have to sort this out somehow.

I still don't know what I'm doing.

Wednesday 11 April 2018

Book Review: Manfried the Man by Caitlin Major

Wait, till you see my comic of tiny to normal size woman doing dog like things. Wait...Nevermind.

Manfried is a stray taken in by Steve Catson, a slacker with a dead-end job and nonexistent love life. Soon Manfried becomes the Garfield to Steve’s Jon Arbuckle: lazy, selfish, and sometimes maddening in his weird human behavior. Yet the pair depends on each other to get through life’s troubles. When Manfried runs away, Steve musters his meager resources to find his best man-friend and bring him home safe. Ultimately, both Steve and Manfried realize they’re capable of so much more than they thought.

You've probably seen that comic with the mansize cat and the mansize cat sitting on the key board. This is a whole graphic novel with that concept. I was intigued to see what they would do with a full novel of this idea.

The concept is interesting, but not much after that. There's just a not a lot of comical room for cat like creature doing cat things. Attempt is made to do more than just goofy gags.

The plot is quite standard to most Webcomics. Lovable misfit that needs to figure out his life, while friends are more together and judge him, with a cookie twist to get your attention. For those sort of things, this does it well enough. Steve's affection towards Manfried does play a major plot points, mostly him scared he will be a crazy man person.

Some funny moments and gags, mixed in with relatable life stuff.

The art style is nice and the colouring is done well to match scenes. It is a bit disturbing at first to look at tiny penises all the time, and none of the cats wear clothes, their balls are ignore though.

This world has left me with questions. Like they are no tiny female humans so how do they reproduce. It doesn't really matter, but it just a thought in my head. Especially as there are packs of them. I have questions, but I don't think there actual answers to them. I want to see the dogs which exist in this universe but the men are hybrid of both cats and dogs with what they do and how they behaviour. They're lazy, fight like cats but you can train them to do tricks.

Overall, I give this book 3/5 stars for canned hamburgers. I like this well enough, but I don't think I'm invested enough to pick up the sequel. I think it more we're not the right matches for each other, as they nothing I can point to say what wrong with it. If you're interested by the idea, I would say pick up  and give it a chance you're self. Maybe not the sequel to this, but I would check out more works by Caitlin Major.
I got this book for Review off Netgalley and it is being published by Quirk Books

Saturday 7 April 2018


I haven’t finished a novel yet. I want to have that one draft done and dusted. My ability to finished stories has went away it seems. I thought, hoped that meant that they were novel ideas and couldn’t work as short stories. But nothing comes, no matter how much time I give it.

I still want to be a writer. I want to tell the stories stuck inside me. I have just got anxiety and that’s why they don’t come. The main novel thing I’m currently writing is a throw away. Dance Hall in it’s current state is not good enough to expect people to pay for it. I know that. The plot and the structure is all over the place. It’s urban fantasy with real weird world building, that I’ve been mostly thinking about for at least ten years and some I just made up on the fly.

Dance Hall is weird because it has like three version of it that lives in Limbo. I mean Dance Hall is such a random name for it. It only works because of what that short story was called and where that came from. Maybe because I’m writing in such isolation. All the advice is to join writing groups or foams and I haven’t got one.

I saw a trend coming, a trend that I had the loudest voice on it still. But I’ve did nothing about it. I’ve tried, very half heartily to write something. I’m trying to write something that captures that perfect isolation. I just can’t get it out of me anymore.

I can write so many weird stuff own voices. I have so much family drama. So much that creating family drama by fictionalising a family drama really wouldn’t add much to what already there and having to live through gives me the right to write about it. My family is so fucked up that one of us should write a memoir. Do you think Soaps are fake? Well, wait till I tell you my immediate family’s tale, full of irony and stupidity.

The not writing thing is kinda stupid. I used to write all the time and then I didn’t. That’s probably why it got harder. There were bouts of bad mental health (I have had so much stress). I’m always ill right now. I never seem not to be sick. I know I probably have a chronic illness, but why do I need to have a chronic illness on top of everything.

If I was a fictional character, the editor would stay dale it back. I wish I could be healthy. I wish I could get my shit together. I wish I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I wish I could live independently. 

Life isn't going well. Most of the time it isn't for me. I can't live in self-doubt. Random doubt basically. Going to keep writing and doing other stuff.

Wednesday 4 April 2018

Book Review: Unnatural Creatures, stories chosen by Neil Gaiman

Such cute monster on the this cover.

Welcome to a menagerie unlike any other, where stories let AMAZING, BEAUTIFUL and occasionally TERRIFYING creatures roam free in your mind.

This is Neil Gaiman's selection of his favourite stories featuring beasts from myth, fable and imagination. Creatures extraordinary, exotic, extinct, living, dead and undead prowl the pages of this book.


This is quite a long anthology, but it also contains a few re-publish stories but it writers that audiences are unlikely to be familiar with due to a lot of them being dead or just real old. The illustrations that each story has are pretty good and the formating works well.

Intro by Neil Gaiman, 5/5 stars for being a introduction.

by Gahan Wilson: This was a fun creepy idea, where a stain antagonizes rich people. There's more to the story but I'm not explaining it (well). The way its incorporated into the actual text is cool. 4/5 Stars for poor butlers.

2.The Cartographer Wasps and The Anarchist Bees by E. Lily Yu: This one was weird, but also great. It's like a politician fable with insects . 4/5 stars for short lives of Bees.

3.The Griffin and The Minor Canon by Frank R.Stockton: This is a story says to be a bad person. Unless people treat you terrible. This writer is dead and this story must have appeared somewhere.   4/5 stars for Tiny Griffins.

4.Ozioma The Wicked by Nnedi Okorafor: A young Nigerian girl can speak to snakes and her community hate her for it until she usefully. 4/5 stars for Brest like waves.

5. Sunbird by Neil Gaiman: This reminds me of that the ep of Angel with the werewolf. It doesn't have a werewolf in it. A society of trying rare foods go after the last thing they haven't tried. 4/5 stars for two feathers.

6. The Sage of Theare by Diana Wynne Jones: This is another story by a dead writer and has character that appears in other works. The creature is an water dragon or something. Is a god a creature? This is a saga of short story, it was good. 4/5 stars for steaming gods.

7. Gabriel - Ernest by Saki: I think this is a story I've read before, but I thought the ending was different. Maybe Mandela effect or I've combined in my head with something else. If anyone wants to tell me what "He had suffered bittern in his study" means, feel free. This is a werewolf story which would have been a spoiler is wasn't so obvious what it was to a modern reader. 4/5 stars for missing sheep.

8. The Cockatoucan by E. Nesbit:I own a collection of Nesbit's stories, mainly because I liked her name and it has a skull on the cover. This is basically Alice in Underland nonsense. Basically, random magic and skinny people are bitter. 4/5 stars for missed omnibuses.

9. Moveable Beast by Maria Dahvana Headley: I liked this story. Set in somewhere in America I guess, called Bastardville so fun. The "villain" is immediately unlikable. Because if someone asked for you to smile (and they're not taking a picture) they're a dick. Also Scottish connection which is fun and fitting. 4/5 stars for Ice Cream insults.

10.The Flight of The Horse by Larry Niven: This involves time travelling to find a horse with a twist so fun. Also another dead writer. 3/5 stars for made gems.

11.Prismatica by Samuel R. Delaney: This your usual quest story, with trickster and princesses. It was long enough to have chapters. There's also a unicorn and a thing in a box. 3/5 stars for my nearest and dearest friends.

12.The Manticore, The Mermaid, and Me by Megan Kurashige: This one is weird. We're back to stories that were written for this book, which two stories ago but feels long. This plays with known hoaxes or are they hoaxes. I would have liked better description of the creatures. The idea was cool. 4/5 stars for museum pass.

13.The Compleat Werewolf by Anthony Boucher: This is 80 pages long and some what mature. It was clearly written for an adult audience, not that really matters since this is YA aimed anthology. It just weird having a protagonist that is a hairy German Professor, obsessing over an ex-student. The earliest publication date I can find for this is1969, though I wonder if it was earlier than (that cause it was 1942). 4/5 stars for Communist Allegory.

14.The Smile on the Face by Nalo Hopkinson: This involves trees and negative body image. I wasn't aware of the myth this was based on, which is cool. 4/5 stars for cherry pits. (TW: Sexual Assault).

15.Or All the Seas with Oysters by Avram Davidson: Beware of bicycles. This was a cool idea from 1958. 4/5 stars for pins.

16.Come Lady Death by Peter S. Beagle: The Last Unicorn writer brings us a story about death, so fun. Also a party. I like the idea, but it's can 4/5 stars for bad wine.

Overall, I give this book 4/5 stars for monster encounters. I like the diversity with the writers and the creatures they bring with them. Out of the 16 story, only 2 were unique to this collection, but it does show a big variety for authors to discover that older and were my first time reading them most of them so I get the effect to show older work to a younger generation. It was a pretty cool collection, with solid stories. I would recommend if like monsters and short stories or if you want to discover some new, old writers to check out.