Friday, October 21, 2016

Stacking the Shelves (86)

Stacking the Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves or TBR piles, may it be physical or virtual.  This means you can include books you buy in a physical store, online, books you borrow from the library or friends, review books, gifts and of course, ebooks! The original meme was started over at Tynga's Reviews.  Clicking on the book (or title) should take you to the Goodreads page. 

So I do have a few books to feature this week but then again, what else is new.  I was approved for the following digital ARCs,

The Dead Seekers, Dead and Breakfast and The Alchemist's Loom are all the first novels in new series and thank heavens they all release in January of next year and no time sooner!

I also grabbed a few titles for my Kindle.....

I love this time of year because you always seem to be able to find some spooky reads either free on on sale.  I grabbed Unlucky Charm, The Nurse and The Watcher's Daughter for free and only paid $0.99 for Nine Candles of Deepest Black.

So have you read any of these titles and what have you added to your shelves this week?  

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Weekly Reads (10/21/16)

So, things have been pretty hectic but I wanted to do a quick update and share what's up next on the stack this weekend and following week.  We've had super warm temps here this week but it's been cooling down so it's not bad at all.  We have had to turn the AC back on though.  Also, the whole town seems to be going crazy!  We had a homicide/double suicide yesterday and then a drive-by shooting where no one was hurt last night.  We attended a neighborhood watch last night and I hope we are convincing the police that they need to hire more.  I know they have a dangerous job but it gets frustrating when you make call after call and they go ignored and then something like this happens.

We watched the new "Independence Day" movie Tuesday night.  It was pretty decent but just didn't have the awe that the first one did.  It was OK for a streaming/rental but I'm glad I didn't go see it at the theater (of course who am I kidding, we almost always wait for streaming releases now!)

I have been working on Christmas planning/shopping and Saturday night, I'm carving pumpkins with the husband and the pups.  We have 2 and then hubby will make pumpkin seeds to snack on.  And I can't forget, "The Walking Dead" finally starts 10/23!  I may be in mourning Monday morning because almost everyone in the world, whether they watch it or not, knows someone is going to die. If the spoilers are correct, then I should be fine, but if my favorite cross-bow carrying individual gets taken out, I may have to give up on the show altogether.

Anyway, here are the books I plan to get to this next few days.

All of these are for review/tours/features so it looks to be a spooky week of reading!  What's everyone else planning this week?  And again, many thanks to all that stop by The Farm on a regular basis!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Better Late Than Never (review)

TITLE: Better Late Than Never (Library Lover's Mystery #7)
AUTHOR: Jenn McKinlay
PUBLISHING DATE: November 1, 2017

FROM GOODREADS: When the Briar Creek Public Library holds its first overdue book amnesty day—no fines for late returns—the volume of incoming materials is more than Lindsey and her staff can handle. In a bind, Lindsey drafts the crafternoon ladies to help check in and sort the stacks of books.

But one tardy tome catches her attention—a copy of J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, twenty years past due. When Lindsey looks up the borrower, she’s shocked to discover it was a murdered school teacher named Candice Whitley, whose killer was never found.

Candice checked out the novel on the day she was murdered. Now Lindsey wonders if it could provide a clue to the decades-old cold case. No one noticed who brought the book back in, but could it be Candice’s killer? Lindsey is determined to catch the culprit one way or another, because justice for Candice Whitley is long overdue...

MY THOUGHTS:  This really wasn't the book I had planned to read next, but I needed a quick, fun read and something I could get through quickly, so I couldn't resist starting it. Needless to say I'm glad I did and in my opinion, McKinlay hits it out of the ballpark again with the newest installment to the Library Lover's Mystery series.

In this book, Lindsey had decided to have an amnesty/fine forgiveness day much to the chagrin of some of the staff at the library she manages. She has worked in some cute contests to encourage the staff to get on board and one is finding the book which has been checked out the longest. When one of her employees discovers a book that was checked out some 20 plus years ago, to an individual who was actually murdered shortly after obtaining the book, Lindsey can't help but get involved in another town mystery.

One of the things I like most about cozy mystery books is the small town setting (which is kind of ironic because I grew up in a small town and as a teen, HATED it!). All of my favorite characters are back for "Better Late Than Never" and a few new ones are introduced as well. While I had a few pieces of the mystery figured out early on, the book did manage to surprise me at the end and I felt McKinlay keeps the reader invested until the end. My only complaint about this book is that it reads like it could be the last one. The love triangle between Lindsey, Robbie and Sulley is finally concluded, and while I won't give anything away, I will say I am thrilled with the outcome. Also, Lindsey feels she has gotten into enough hot water being "nosy" and she has vowed not to get involved in any more town mysteries. Please Jenn, tell me this isn't the last book!

I don't want to give a lot away with this review and since it's the 7th book, it's kind of hard to accomplish. However, if you love cozy mysteries or books about books/libraries, you simply must start this series. The author does a wonderful job of mentioning books throughout her writing and often speaks about the town folk in relation to the books they like to read and their favorite authors, which is a cute and enjoyable touch. I will be keeping my fingers crossed that McKinlay has another book in the works!

I received this book from the Penguin First to Read program in exchange for an honest review.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (78)

"Waiting on" Wednesday" is weekly meme hosted over at Breaking the Spine which spotlights upcoming anticipated releases. 

April 4, 2017

FROM GOODREADS: A brilliantly rendered story about obsession and one man's attempt to unravel the mystery that destroyed his grandfather's life, set against a magical and intricately woven cityscape.

Steven Savile has been an international sensation, selling over half a million copies of his novels worldwide and writing for cult favorite television shows including Doctor Who, Torchwood, and Stargate. Now, he is finally making his US debut with Glass Town, a brilliantly composed novel revolving around the magic and mystery lurking in London.

In 1926, two brothers both loved Eleanor Raines, a promising young actress from the East End of London. But, along with Seth Lockwood, she disappeared, never to be seen again. Isaiah, Seth’s younger brother, refused to accept that she was just gone.

It has been seventy years since and the brothers are long dead. But now their dark, twisted secret, threatens to tear the city apart. Seth made a bargain with Damiola, an illusionist, to make a life size version of his most famous trick, and hide away part of London to act as a prison out of sync with our time, where one year passes as one hundred. That illusion is Glass Town. And now its walls are failing.

Reminiscent of Clive Barker’s Weaveworld and Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, Savile brings out the magic in the everyday. Glass Town is full of gritty urban landscapes, realistic characters, conflict, secrets, betrayals, magic, and mystery.

WHY I'M WAITING:  I think I am drawn to the cover as well as the urban landscape, magic and mystery mentioned in the description.  Plus I love books set in London.

What are you waiting for this week???

Monday, October 17, 2016

Tag Team Review - The Gathering (Shadow House #1)

I want to welcome everyone to my very first Tag Team Review.  When my friend Stormi realized we were both planning to read Hunter Shea's "The Jersey Devil" she suggested we create this new feature for our blogs.  Stormi got the idea from Laura from FUONLYKNEW and Sherry at Fundinmental who graciously allowed us to create out own tag as well.  Thanks guys! Stormi and I enjoyed doing this so much last month, it didn't take long for us to to do another Tag Team Readalong!  Be sure to check out Stormi's review at Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!  I can't wait to see what she thought about this one.

TITLE: The Gathering (Shadow House #1)
AUTHOR: Dan Poblocki
PUBLISHER: Scholastic Press
PUBLISHING DATE: August 30, 2016

FROM GOODREADS: Dash, Dylan, Poppy, Marcus, and Azumi don't know this at first. They each think they've been summoned to Shadow House for innocent reasons. But there's nothing innocent about Shadow House.

Something within its walls is wickedly wrong. Nothing -- and nobody -- can be trusted. Hallways move. Doors vanish. Ghosts appear. Children disappear. And the way out? That's disappeared, too...Enter Shadow House... if you dare.

MY THOUGHTS: For some reason, I had the hardest time getting through this book. Maybe I thought since it was horror and middle grade to boot, it would be an easy read, but that simply wasn't the case this time around. I need to start out by giving this book its props. The physical copy is exceptional. There is a super scary window feature on the cover, inside in some of the chapters are dark, creepy photos of Shadow House as well as its inhabitants, and the pages themselves are done in gray with a charred look around the edges. Also, there is no dust jacket which I ADORE. In addition, I'm so glad to be seeing middle grade and young adult horror. It just wasn't around much when I was that age and middle grade me probably would have loved this book back then.

Sadly to say though, for me the story fell somewhat flat. There are 5 main characters - Poppy, Marcus, Azumi and Dylan and Dash, a set of twins. Each receive a request to come to The Shadow House all on different pretenses. The chapters shifted around from the points of view of all of these individuals and I didn't think there was much happening in the book until about 2/3 of the way through. Also, I never felt a real connection to any of these characters (which partly could have been because I was not its intended audience) and found myself wishing someone would die - and personally I had no preference of which character bit the dust.

I will say the author did throw a pretty decent twist toward the end of the book which sort of caught me off guard and which sort of intrigued me, so that, coupled with the props listed above, greatly influenced my 3/5 rating. This book also really has no ending so it's a good thing the second one comes out in December (or at least I think it does - yep, it does, I just checked...December 27th). I might be curious to pick it up because the cover looks just as creepy and because I really do want to know how it ends, but this isn't really a book where I finished it and immediately thought "I need the next one now."

If you like horror and enjoy middle grade, AND if you appreciate beautiful physical copies, than this book might be one you want to consider. I also think it would be a great book to read with your middle-grader this Halloween season. It's not an expensive book and there is a cool interactive app which might also be enjoyable by a younger crowd.


TTT - 10 Characters I Would Name A Dog!

This top 10 weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and can be found HERE.  Each week they focus on lists which cover various topics related to books and reading.  This week's topic is a child/dog/cat/car/etc. so OF COURSE I had to chose dog!

I've always wanted a puppy named Barlow (after the vampire in this wonderful novel)

We've always had male dogs, but have decided if we ever have a female, we'd name her Khalessi.

I've always found Jake to be a good name for a dog and I love Jake the Basset in this series.

How about Whiskey anyone?

Not a HUGE fan of the book, but I love the name Lucien.

Super cool dog name - STOKER!

Booker T's "book girlfriend" is Maybe from this book - even the author knows how much he love her. So he insisted I add this name to the list!

Technically not a character, but I LOVE the name Bishop!  Bishop the Boxer, wouldn't that be adorable???

I don't know why I never thought of it before - GILMORE!

I love Heathcliff the pup from the Library Lover's series.

Can't wait to see the fun everyone else has with this week's topic!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Special Guest - Author Laura Daleo

Today I'd like to welcome a special guest to The Farm - Laura Daleo.  Laura is the author of several vampire books, including "Immortal Kiss" which I reviewed last year.  She has also been kind enough to send me finished copies of "The Vow," the book I'm currently reading and "Bound by Blood," the sequel to "Immortal Kiss."  What better time to celebrate vampires than during the month of October so please welcome Laura to my blog!

1.  I've already read "Immortal Kiss" and have started "The Vow."  You seem to have an affinity for  vampires.  Can you explain why you like writing about them so much?  Are there any other "monsters" or  supernatural  beings you hope to write about one day? 
Since Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, I have been fascinated by these creatures.  For my vampires, I love taking being that's wicked and feared and giving them a human quality to make them likable. I have a ghost story, The Soul Collector, in the queue and will probably do a werewolf at some point as well.    

2.  In "Immortal Kiss" you shared that centuries ago, 10 powerful vampires Gods ruled the world.  Will we see more about these Gods in future works?  It looks like this premise could really open up the world you've created for expansion. 
The 10 vampire Gods are also in Bound by Blood.  I have their story, The Ten, in the queue along with The Old Ones, their children. 

3. Who are some of your favorite authors and what books have you recently read? 
Anne Rice and Stephen King are my all time favorites.  Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice and The Stand by Stephen King are my top picks by these authors.  What I'm reading right now is The Passage by Justin Cronin.  Any auto-buy authors on your shelves? No, not really.  I have to like the cover, the back blurb, and the first page before I buy a book.

4. Tell us a little about your writing process and how you got your start. A creative writing class in junior high school got me started, but it was Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles that pushed me to write my own story which was Immortal Kiss.  I started in back in 1996 and then got interrupted by life so it sat on a shelf until 2010 when I found it packing to move.  It needed modernizing so I did a rewrite and in 2014 it was picked by World Castle Publishing.

5. Do you feel authors need to embrace social media and outlets such as Booktube/Twitter and blogs in order to be successful nowadays?  Have you had any positive or negative experiences with these outlets? 
I feel social media is very important to authors these days.  It's a great tool for exposure.  I'm not familiar with Booktube; however, I posted my book trailers on YouTube.  I use Twitter on a regular basis.  I also use a service that tweets about my books.  My experiences have all been positive.

6.  Halloween is quickly approaching which I feel is a great time to read scary and creepy books (who am I kidding, I like reading them all the time).  Do you have any Halloween traditions or do you prefer other holidays? 
Halloween is my favorite holiday!  It always has been ever since I was a kid.  I love decorating and dressing up in costume! 

7.  Finally, this question is from Booker T, my co-blogger.  "I know you are an advocate for animals and that you have quite a few of your own.  My Mom couldn't function without me and my brother, so will you share some information about your 4-legged friends? Also, my brother is still looking for a girlfriend so maybe you can send some pics if any are female?"
 I love all animals and always have.  They are a huge part of my life.  When I was a kid, I used to bring home every stray I found and beg my parents to let me keep them.  As an adult, it didn't stop and I began to take in the animals no one wanted, the ones with medical conditions.  Currently, I have 3 basset hounds, Stuart, Morgan, and Dexter each with their own set of health issues. They are my furbabies and I love them dearly.  Sorry, Booker T, no girls for your brother.  My furbabies are all boys. Here they are!

You can find my review for "Immortal Kiss" here and look for reviews of "The Vow" and "Bound by Blood" later this month.  I want to thank Laura so much for stopping by and encourage you all to check out here books!

ABOUT LAURA: I was born and raised in Sunny San Diego, California. A creative writing class in junior high sparked my desire to tell stores. I’ve been a hostess, bookkeeper, accountant, manager, and animal advocate, but writing anything paranormal has always been my passion. Throughout my professional career, I squeezed in writing whenever I could. I camped out late at night in front of my computer, with my basset hounds,  my toughest critics asleep at my feet. Now I’m living out my dream as an author.