When Katy’s mother dies, she is left reeling. Carol wasn’t just Katy’s mom, but her best friend and first phone call. She had all the answers and now, when Katy needs her the most, she is gone. To make matters worse, their planned mother-daughter trip of a lifetime looms: two weeks in Positano, the magical town Carol spent the summer right before she met Katy’s father. Katy has been waiting years for Carol to take her, and now she is faced with embarking on the adventure alone.
But as soon as she steps foot on the Amalfi Coast, Katy begins to feel her mother’s spirit. Buoyed by the stunning waters, beautiful cliffsides, delightful residents, and, of course, delectable food, Katy feels herself coming back to life.
And then Carol appears—in the flesh, healthy, sun-tanned, and thirty years old. Katy doesn’t understand what is happening, or how—all she can focus on is that she has somehow, impossibly, gotten her mother back. Over the course of one Italian summer, Katy gets to know Carol, not as her mother, but as the young woman before her. She is not exactly who Katy imagined she might be, however, and soon Katy must reconcile the mother who knew everything with the young woman who does not yet have a clue.
I was recommended this novel by my Nana and friend T.
First of all, I loved the imagery, and the way the chapters flowed together. This is definitely a book you can get lost in. I think this is also what kept my interest throughout the book, outside of the fact that Katy was seeing a young version of her mother all the way in Italy after her mother’s death.
Katy was a complex character with a strong voice. I liked that she wasn’t perfect. It seems I’m drawn to reading flawed characters lately? But that aside, you can really get a sense of her heartbreak. I have mixed feelings about her as a character, and I believe many readers do. As I mentioned, she’s flawed. Her attachment and reliance on her mother, Carol is a lot. She’s selfish, but I think throughout the novel, after she meets this younger Carol, she starts to grow.
One thing I will add, is that I feel horrible for poor Eric. I really do, and the twists in this novel…like damn, I wasn’t prepared.
Overall, I had a lot of fun reading and I look forward to seeing what Rebecca Serle puts out next! Thank you for this story.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
If it weren’t for that last chunk there at the end I probably would’ve leaned toward 4 stars. I almost thought about giving it a 3.5 when Katy referred to Adam as an “alpha” because I physically cringed. However, it was the transportation, the fact that despite how Katy can be unlikeable at times…or make questionable decisions, I don’t hate her as a character. She feels human. For all that is flawed with Katy, is what helps contribute to the events that lead us to the conclusion of the story…and that to me is why I gave it a solid 5 star review.
But for Eric, I would give 4.5…because that poor little fella…
A world at war. A beautiful young star. A mission no one expected.
Celebrated singer Genevieve Dumont is both a star and a smokescreen. An unwilling darling of the Nazis, the chanteuse’s position of privilege allows her to go undetected as an ally to the resistance.
When her estranged mother, Lillian de Rocheford, is captured by Nazis, Genevieve knows it won’t be long before the Gestapo succeeds in torturing information out of Lillian that will derail the upcoming allied invasion. The resistance movement is tasked with silencing her by any means necessary—including assassination. But Genevieve refuses to let her mother become yet one more victim of the war. Reuniting with her long-lost sister, she must find a way to navigate the perilous cross-currents of Occupied France undetected—and in time to save Lillian’s life.
My Nana recommended and lent me a copy of this novel. I love a good historical fiction that really draws the reader in, and wow, did this novel ever! I loved the development of the characters and the relationships throughout. There were many scenes where I was pulled in so much by Karen Robards’ writing that my jaw dropped. I’m doing my best not to give any spoilers in my review, but if you’re a historical fiction fan who also likes books centered around family and enjoys romance, please check out this novel.
It was my first time reading this author, and I’m thrilled to say it was an exceptional read. I look forward to their other work.
For those participating, how is NaNoWriMo going so far? We’re now 17 days in, and I’m fairly satisfied with my progress so far. I like what I’ve put down, and am emotionally attached to my characters, so I’m excited to finish and get to editing.
I’ve been feeling under the weather these last couple of days, so I haven’t gotten as much work done as I would’ve liked, but I’m sure I’ll make up for that lost time eventually. I love creating mood boards, playlists and doing sketches of my characters while I’m writing. I find it helps me capture the characters personality, and see them as more fleshed out. I could honestly spend hours just creating characters, I think that’s why I spend so much time in Create-A-Sim when I’m playing Sims4. I like to imagine the story of their life, what sort of careers they might have, who they’ll love…if they’ll love at all? I love to think about the types of clothes they wear, what they eat, what they listen to, what their favourite genres are. That’s why I had so much fun doing OCtober last year. I wish I did it again this year, but I didn’t have time unfortunately.
For the novel I’m working on right now, I’ve got a playlist going with an array of songs that I find really fit the theme and characters…or just the overall vibe. Heaven, California is one of the songs that just fits the vibe.
Sometimes I just have this playing faintly in the background while writing. I also listen to a bunch of other songs like Greenroom, My Girlfriend is a Witch and Girl With One Eye.
The images above are all outfit inspiration that I draw from for some of the character’s in the novel. Some character’s, at least in my mind, have a signature colour scheme. Occasionally I’ll sketch a series of outfits that I want to describe for key scenes in my novels. This can be helpful when I go back and edit, in case I want to add some more visuals. Sometimes I do this just for fun. With Vermin, I have a lot of outfit sketches and things, especially for Rose. She has a few signature looks that she wears throughout the series.
I’m very excited about this new novel, and of course I will keep you all posted on the next two books in The Vermin Series, and when those will be released once I have more information on that.
A lavish historical drama reimagining of The Island of Doctor Moreau set against the backdrop of nineteenth-century Mexico.
Carlota Moreau: a young woman, growing up in a distant and luxuriant estate, safe from the conflict and strife of the Yucatán peninsula. The only daughter of either a genius, or a madman.
Montgomery Laughton: a melancholic overseer with a tragic past and a propensity for alcohol. An outcast who assists Dr. Moreau with his scientific experiments, which are financed by the Lizaldes, owners of magnificent haciendas and plentiful coffers.
The hybrids: the fruits of the Doctor’s labor, destined to blindly obey their creator and remain in the shadows. A motley group of part human, part animal monstrosities.
All of them living in a perfectly balanced and static world, which is jolted by the abrupt arrival of Eduardo Lizalde, the charming and careless son of Doctor Moreau’s patron, who will unwittingly begin a dangerous chain reaction.
For Moreau keeps secrets, Carlota has questions, and in the sweltering heat of the jungle, passions may ignite.
This was a fun read, and honestly I have yet to read anything I didn’t like by this author. She’s an amazing story-teller! I loved the way things developed throughout, and the descriptions of the hybrids.
At times I found Carlota a little irritating, but it was often during Montgomery’s chapters. She was a neat character, and given her age I can see why she would come across as childish in the chapters from Montgomery’s perspective. From her chapters though, you get a more complex character who is both trying to come into her own as an adult, but who desperately wants to live up to her fathers expectations. Carlota is not perfect, and she grapples throughout the novel with her feelings for Eduardo, her love for her father, and her friendships with Lupe and Cachito that as they’ve grown are now becoming more and more fragile. I love that she isn’t perfect, because it reflects on her anxieties of being the doctors perfect daughter, and it makes the events in the story that much more powerful.
Montgomery was one of my favourite characters because through his eyes you really take notice of the oddities of the doctors experiments. Montgomery is an outsider, being hired to come work there, so through his perspective the others that dwell at the peninsula are revealed. Some feared at first, but as time goes by a bond is formed between them. There were times when I didn’t quite know how I felt about this character, but he grows on you. He too is flawed in many ways, but no one in this story is perfect, and they all struggle with their own battles. Montgomery buries so much inside himself, and often comes across as a bit gruff, but it is clear when you read his chapters that this gruffness is merely a front to protect himself, just as the alcohol is his escape.
My other favourite character is Cachito. Absolutely the best. I adored this character from their initial introduction. His friendship with Montgomery is so sweet, and the loyalty he has to his fellow hybrids is heartwarming. That’s all I’ll say about him because I don’t want to spoil too much.
Silvia Moreno-Garcia does an excellent job of bringing the reader into this world, building a setting at Yucatán that is so clear and vivid, you almost feel as though you’re there in certain passages.
I think I would recommend this novel to those who enjoyed reading books like House of the Scorpion or The Daughter of Black Lake. Especially those who like historical fiction, with a fantastical twist. It isn’t a horror novel, although it is listed as one on Goodreads. The author has stated as such several times since the novels release, so I thought I would add that in my review. This is a historical fiction/fantasy novel.
This one isn’t going to be very long, but I thought it would be a good time to update you all on books two and three of The Vermin Series.
A lot of you have been asking about the release date for book two, and at this time I still don’t know. I can say that I’m thrilled so many of you are eager to read it–I personally can’t wait to have my copy added to my shelf–but unfortunately there’s a publishing backlog, so once I get the okay from my publisher, I’ll let you know the timeline and when the ARCs will be available. What I can tell you, is that I will be hosting two different giveaways at the time of it’s release, so please keep an eye out for that. Announcements will be made here on the blog, TikTok, Twitter and on Instagram.
As for book three it is going wonderfully! Hopefully the timeline between these books being printed will not be so long, but the pandemic has really thrown a lot of things off, and folks are still adjusting to the high demand for books. I know how hard these editors work, and my goodness…they are fantastic! I am so grateful.
Vermin’s gotten more reviews on Goodreads, Amazon and Indigo.ca. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read it, and for all of those who added it to your TBR.
Vermin also turned 1 years old this month! Can you believe it? In honour of that, I ate a celebratory crepe. A fun little TikTok was also posted:
To see more videos like this be sure to follow @theverminseries on TikTok.
I finally did my first book signing this past weekend, and it was so much fun. Releasing a novel during the pandemic was weird. I’m glad that bookstores are starting to do author events again and I was absolutely thrilled to do mine with author Lindsey-Anne Pontes (and in my favourite store!).
I find I’m still a bit rusty when it comes to talking about my own work, but I’m so grateful to everyone who came out to say hello, and show support. It meant to much to me.
I also want to give a special shout out to everyone who snagged Vermin themed postcards, stickers or bookmarks at the event. If you entered the Goodread’s giveaway you’ll know that those were created by @nuggiedraws. I recommend checking out their TikTok and Instagram! A lot of people at the signing really enjoyed the postcards and stickers, so I’ll definitely bring those to future signings. I also let the artist know how much you enjoyed their work!
My brain is still in this space of, whoa did that really happen? Did I really get to talk to people IN PERSON about my book? I haven’t had an opportunity to do that in so long. The release happened during the pandemic between lockdowns so it’s been pretty weird.
For those asking, I do have a mini update on books 2 and 3 that I can share. I think I’ll post that in a separate blog post, just so that I don’t drag things on too long…but thank you, thank you, thank you so much!
And thank you to Lindsey-Anne for inviting me to do a signing with her. I had so much fun gushing over manga in person with her, and she signed a copy of her book for me (the one I reviewed a couple months back)!
I’ve been writing the third book in the Vermin series by hand, which has honestly been cathartic. I don’t know why I stopped drafting novels this way? I think it had to do with tracking my word count for NaNoWriMo honestly…
Back when I was working on the draft for the first book in the series, I had written everything by hand in a binder. After completing it, and transferring the draft onto my computer for editing, and the querying, I wrote the majority of book two’s draft on my computer, only writing the odd scene by hand here and there. The other writing projects I was working on around the time that I was editing book two were also written on my computer versus in a binder or notebook like I’d done previously. I’ve found that writing on my computer for my first drafts restricting. I constantly go back and edit scenes over and over, while I’m drafting when I should be writing, and allowing the story to unfold naturally. Writing the initial draft by hand allows for more freedom. If I make a mistake, I move on, especially since for the first time I’m drafting in pen.
I normally use pencil, but I have so many nice pens, and love the feel of pen on paper, so I went for it.
The other reason I decided to draft book three by hand is because for years I kept telling myself I needed a break from screens, and the pandemic didn’t really help the situation. I check my phone so often throughout the day that I just started leaving it in my room, and trying to only check it a couple times a day for emails from work. I found that outside of reading, I was spending way too much time on my phone just scrolling, and wasting time. Even with my computer, I’d get distracted while working on a scene and go off on a random Google search that would consume so much of my time. If you find yourself getting distracted by such things, I recommend going into your phone settings and using the wellness features that allow you to turn off any distracting apps for a period of time. You can set this as a daily thing, or simply choose one day a week. I have mine set do occur once a week, and I use that time to read and write. It was especially helpful while editing book two because it took away the temptation to play on my phone and watch tiktoks for three hours. Instead I was using those three hours to do the things I actually wanted to do.
I know most newer phones have this feature (my old one didn’t) and I’m honestly thankful for it. I’ve been making an effort to spend less and less time scrolling aimlessly. I recommend not checking your phone first thing in the morning either. If you’re like me and use it as an alarm clock (my alarm clock broke in university), then this can be difficult. What I do is, I simply turn off my alarm and walk away. I focus on getting ready or go eat my breakfast and then, I’ll come back and actually unlock my phone. Being bombarded with all kinds of notifications right when you wake up, can be super distracting. I know that in the past I’ve opened my phone to check an email from my agent, and then ended up going through all my socials, and an hour would pass. An hour that I could’ve spent getting ready for the day. After a while this can get a bit overwhelming, so instead I don’t bother checking my phone until an hour after I’ve woken up. I don’t know why, but I guess it just sets the tone for the rest of the day.
Since making this change I’ve found that book three is coming along nicely. The entire process has been lovely. I’m fully focused, and don’t need to constantly reread sentences because I was distracted by YouTube or a sale somewhere or what’s trending on Twitter. I’ve just been writing, and having fun. My mind isn’t wandering. I’m super excited about book three, but that is all I’m going to say as I don’t want to accidentally spoil the events of book two before anyone can get their hands on it. I still don’t know they release date for the second book in the series, but I will let you know as soon as I get word on that. I had a lot of fun writing it, but I just really needed a break from constantly being on the computer, after three years of it. I have nothing against technology or anything, but damn…social media is so distracting. It’s sad how many hours are wasted just scrolling and scrolling and scrolling. I’d rather read or draw or go lay in my hammock and stare at clouds for an hour.
Now outside of book three news, if you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed that I’m doing an in-person book signing! I’m absolutely thrilled about this. I was a little nervous to do one alone since I didn’t get an opportunity to do one when my book initially released because of the pandemic, but thankfully the fantastic author Lindsey-Anne Pontes, whose book I reviewed a while back here on the blog, asked if I’d join her for a signing. She’s done plenty, so I’m glad to have her there with me. Initially I was very nervous but as the date approaches, I’m feeling less nervous and more excited.
As a little kid I always imagined doing a book signing. I wanted to have my books all laid out nicely in a cute display on the table, and write nice messages to readers, and talk with them about my work. I’ve been to a handful of signings in my life, and the authors were always so great. I’m hoping I give off that same vibe to people who come and say hi. I’d love to recreate that feeling for someone else. Meeting and talking to someone about their book is so much fun!
I actually have a list of authors that I would love to meet someday, and now that signings are finally happening again I’ve got my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to.
I am planning on doing another signing when book two releases, and am looking forward to sharing my other writing project with everyone soon. I’m also just very excited to talk about my novel in person.
If you’d like to purchase a copy of Vermin, you can get it from Amazon or Indigo.
If you’ve already read the first book, don’t forget to leave a review and stay tuned for book two announcements!
Alice is twenty-four and falling apart. She’s lost her job, her appetite, her ability to sleep. And now she’s worried she’s going to lose Mia, her closest friend, who’s being treated for a serious illness. On the days Alice can get herself out of bed, she visits Mia at the hospital. While they sink into familiar patterns–Alice makes Mia laugh, Mia tells Alice she needs to get laid–they know their friendship is changing, and they can’t control what will happen in the days ahead.
Still focused on Mia, while trying to convince others she’s a stable, happy person, Alice meets her neighbour James–someone she used to try to avoid. They’re interested in each other, but Alice, who is a lethal combination of judgmental and insecure, is hesitant; she has never had luck with dating, and she thinks now is a weird time since Mia needs her. And Alice figures he probably sucks anyway. Mia encourages Alice to be social, while attempting to hide her own loneliness and fear as her body breaks down. But as Alice tries to push herself to do more, including allowing herself to get close to James, she struggles to move forward knowing Mia can’t.
A Bit Much takes an intimate look at female friendships, new relationships, and the disorienting times in which we live. Brilliantly caustic and strangely funny, it introduces Sarah Jackson as a captivating new voice in Canadian literature.
If you took a gander at my very length instagram caption, you may have noticed that I’ve fallen completely in love with this novel. The way Sarah Jackson writes Alice’s voice is so clear, that there isn’t for one second the reader is pulled from the text. It’s like reading a stream of conscience, or a series of diary entries. Alice is raw, and flawed and conflicted, and although she knows she should, is unable to reach out.
It’s been a while since I’ve rooted so hard for a character in a first person POV novel, but there’s just something about Alice that I really like. I guess it’s because she’s aware of how she judges others, and how she catches herself on these things. She’s not afraid to acknowledge the fact that she’s flawed, and on top of that there is so much going on.
She’s relatable, and reading this novel really opened my mind to a lot of things. Like how often do we measure other peoples problems as a way of allowing us to avoid difficult situations, or justify our behaviour and decisions? How often to we judge others before we get to know them? What habits or fears do we pick up when we let our minds run, and how many of us are hanging on a thread while trying to present ourselves as stable for our friends, family and colleagues?
This novel made me laugh, and cry, and want to curl up in a ball and hug my stuffed animals…but it also allowed me to reflect on moments in my own life. If you loved Holden in Catcher in the Rye, you’ll adore this novel.