Monday, February 20, 2017

TTT - Books I've Loved Less/More Than I Thought I Would

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. Today I'm sharing with you books that I loved less/more than I thought I would.


This making the list is really a no-brainer!

This wasn't a bad read but I had heard so many things about Danielle Vega that I expected more.

So many people seemed to love this graphic novel - not me.

So I basically can't stand Alice....

I should have DNF'd this one.  I really remember nothing about it now so why did I bother?


When I picked this up, I hadn't read a lot of historical fiction so I was surprised how much I loved it - especially when it had supernatural elements.

Ok, so I knew chances were good I would love this book, but I had no idea how much.  I also really need to get this edition of this book.

I had no freakin' clue how awesome this book would be!

Simply no words.

I need another book like this in my life.

So, I can't wait to see what made everyone's lists this week.  Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Stuart R. West Visits Booker T's Farm!

The past few weeks I have been communicating via email with author Stuart R. West regarding his newest release "Dread and Breakfast."  I have come to appreciate Stuart's sense of humor and when I asked if he would like to participate in an interview here at The Farm, he did not hesitate.  So let's roll out the "Wipe Your Paws" mat and make Stuart feel welcome!

THE FARM: Your newest book is "Dread and Breakfast," which I must admit has a really awesome cover.  What prompted you to write it and what is something interesting about it?

STUART:  I'm not sure that any one thing prompted the creation, Barb, but my wife and I did spend the night in a bed and breakfast not too long ago.  While she found it romantic, I thought it rather creepy.  In fact, the entire idea behind B&B's strike me as spooky. I indoctrinated the host into the book ("Christian") and some of my rather out there, paranoid, creepy thoughts.  C'mon!  Who really knows what goes on behind bed and breakfast doors? Brrr.  I'll stick to my house.

THE FARM: A lot of your books are in the horror genre so I'm curious.  What sparked you love of horror and all things scary?

STUART: I suppose it's sort of a roller coaster ride for me. What gets me going? What gives me that hair-raising (alas, I have no hair any longer) thrill not experienced since childhood?  All things spooky.  Not gory, mind you.  Just down-right skin-tingling.  I hope to bring some of that to my books.

THE FARM:  What book are you currently reading?  Who are some of your favorite authors and why?

STUART: This is a tough one.  'Cause I generally like whatever I'm reading.  But currently, I'm really enjoying delving into Elmore Leonard's vast library of thrillers.  The guy wrote crackling dialogue, funny characters, intriguing plots, and made it all seem so simple.

THE FARM: Share with my readers a little bit about your writing process.

STUART: I sit on the love-seat and knock words out on the word processor.  I mean, really? Writing about writing's boring Barb. You ain't going to get an pretentiousness from me.  (Although I will say I freak out on old-school writers who went out cold-calling, interviewing people for research.  For a hermit like myself, it's  a terrifying prospect.  Thank Gawd for my research assistance, Ms. Google. Um, I fired Mr. Bing a couple months back :)

THE FARM: If you weren't an author, what else would you be doing?

STUART: Probably drinking.  A lot.  On a beach.  I've dabbled in music, performance art, and spent a ton of years in graphic arts. Only drinking (lots) sounds like it can compete.

THE FARM:  Of all the characters you've created, who is your all-time fave and why?

STUART:  No faves here, Barb, they're all my babies.  And all part of me.  Charlie, from "Demon With a Comb-Over", shares my strange divorce and failed stand-up comedy routines,  Like Rebecca from "Dread and Breakfast," I was a single parent bringing up a young daughter and would do anything to protect her,  Tex McKenna, my teen protagonist from the Tex, the Witch Boy series, shares my awkwardness in the romance department and past high school bullying.  "Neighborhood Watch" is practically autobiographical.  "My Zombie Rapture" hero shares many traits with me from my youth. You might be glad to know that I don't share much in common with my kind serial killer protagonist from the Killer Incorporated Trilogy.  But I love 'em all. And it's really hard to kill them when the time comes (Hello, Cody, I'm looking at you).

THE FARM: Are you currently working on anything new?

STUART: Yep.  A straight-up suspense thriller called "Chili Run."  Based on a dream.  But for once, I think this dream works!  Up next will be the third book in my sorta, kinda, cozy mystery comedy series  (Zach and Zora Comical Mysteries), "A Nightmare of Nannies."

THE FARM:  Booker T, my co-blogger, has a few questions as well.

BOOKER T: Have you ever been attacked by a sibling?  Cass recently attacked me.  (Mom is trying to cope with her PTSD through humor - don't know if it's working for her). I had to cope through mine with surgery - his and mine.

STUART: Of course Booker! My brothers and I have thrown down many times while growing up. There was the infamous incident on an ice-covered driveway that still has neighbors talking. Sigh...siblings.

BOOKER T: Do you have any 4-legged children who assist or hinder your writing process?

STUART:  Oh hail yes! Right now I feel like I'm under house arrest.  Our six million dog, Zak, recently blew out his knee completely.  So we opted for an extremely expensive operation to repair it (basically the surgeon chopped apart his knee joint and reconnected it in a different way.  Ouch!) What I didn't know was I have to nurse the guy for six months.  SIX MONTHS!  Gah!  When I try to write, he whines, expects to play and romp.  He can't.  Not a whole 'lotta writing going on these days.

BOOKER T:   Next president - cat or dog? (Mom avoids political talk but since I keep hearing her and Dad making POTUS references, I'd thought I'd try to make her laugh with her recent stress and all).  I think it's a valid question though.

STUART: Man.  Yeah.  I'm trying to avoid political talk with my Mom these days, too.  Especially since she went to the crazy side. or cat president?  I'm torn.  Dogs have the in-your-face, aggressive, yet loyal qualities needed in a leader.  Yet cats have that sneaky, sly, secret side that makes them formidable. (Either way, I'm sure they'd make a better leader than our current situation).

Thanks Stuart for stopping by and look for a review of "Dread and Breakfast" coming soon!!!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Stacking the Shelves (99)

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.

Once again, I couldn't help but 1-click on Amazon.  I bought two of these books for $.99 each and then grabbed two for free.  Chuckles shared that "Goofy Newfies" was on sale yesterday and who could resist those pups.  "To Hell in a Hand Basket" is a horror book that simply sounded to good to pass up.  "The Sense of Death" and "Witch" were both free.

I grabbed two books from the Penguin First to Read program.  I find these books are usually hit or miss but I hope these ones work out well.  "The Night the Lights Went Out" and "Gone Without a Trace" both sound like solid thrillers (and this week now I'm singing "That's the night that the lights went out in Georgia.....versus last week's Cher song).

Finally I received a few ARC's for review.  "Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore" has been getting some buzz while I'm hoping "The Silent Corner" by Dean Koontz is better than his last few - it's the start of a new series.  "Duels and Deception" sounds cute and fun and those who know me know that while I can't stand Peter Pan, I have a fondness for Captain Hook so I can't wait to see what "Hook's Tale" brings.

So clearly I have a problem.  What did you add to your shelves this week???

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Weekly Reads (02/17/17)

We now return back to our regularly scheduled blogging!

So thank the heavens above that this week went much smoother than the one.  Thank you all for such kind thoughts and well wishes for my family and the puppies.  Booker T got his stitches removed Wednesday and now basically there is just the bite beneath his front arm which needs to heal and the vet said it will take time.  It's almost done seeping which is good because it keeps infection from setting in and bad because we are living with sheets spread all over the floors.  Cassius was neutered Monday and is recovering nicely.  He was a pretty drowsy puppy for a day or so as the vet said he didn't really respond greatly to the anesthetic.  He is slowly getting back to normal.

We did watch quite a few movies which has been good in keeping things quiet and peaceful.  I finally watched "Loving" and it was a very well-done thought-provoking movie.  Next up was "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back" which was just as entertaining as the first.  I'm not a fan of Tom Cruise at all but I do enjoy him in these films.  On the horror front, we watched "Eloise" and "Havenhurst." I think they were both independent films and I really enjoyed them both.  Of course, the bottle of wine I was drinking during "Havenhurst" may have somewhat clouded my opinion.

I finished up a book that was on my "Must" list and then totally grabbed a random read.  Now I'm back on course and here's what I hope to read over the weekend and upcoming week - or at least a few of them.

So I hope everyone had a great Valentine's Day (if you celebrated) and again, thanks for all the kind thoughts!  Keep an eye open for a future Booker T and Cass post (complete with pictures).

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Six Scary Stories - A Collection That Sort Of Worked For Me

TITLE: Six Scary Stories
AUTHOR: Stephen King (Editor)
PUBLISHER: Cemetery Dance Publishing
PUBLISHING DATE: August 25, 2016

FROM GOODREADS: #1 bestselling horror author Stephen King introduces and present six gripping and chilling stories in this captivating anthology.

King discovered these stories when he judged a competition run by Hodder & Stoughton and The Guardian to celebrate publication of his own collection The Bazaar of Bad Dreams.  He was so impressed with the entries that he recommended they be published together in one book, which has finally become a reality.

Reader beware: the stories will make you think twice before cuddling up to your old soft toys, dipping your toes into the water, or county spots on a leopard.

MY THOUGHTS:  This book contains six pretty short stories.  Some I loved and some were just "meh."  They're so short they are actually rather hard to review so here's a breakdown of my thoughts and ratings on each.

WILD SWIMMING: (3/5)This one is represented by the cover art and sort of gave me a "creature from the black lagoon" vibe.
EAU-DE-ERIC: (4/5)A maniacal dead husband returns in the form of a stuffed teddy bear - or does he?
THE SPOTS: (2/5) Counting spots on a leopard - my least favorite.
THE UNPICKING: (4/5) So this is what my dogs stuffed toys do while we're sleeping each night?
LA MORT DE L'AMANT: (3/5) Stupid cop!
BEAR TRAP: (3/5) This book is obsessed with stuffed animals!  Wait until you meet Diablo!

So overall it was a pretty decent collection.  I didn't think I'd make it through THE SPOTS but I did. It was really the only one I didn't find entertaining.  I figured since Stephen King recommended these, there would be some decent finds within the pages and I wasn't entirely wrong.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Guardian of Secrets - Where More Library Jumping Abounds!

TITLE: Guardian of Secrets (Library Jumpers #2)
AUTHOR: Brenda Drake
PUBLISHER: Entangled Teen
PUBLISHING DATE: February 7, 2017

FROM GOODREADS: Being a Sentinel isn’t all fairytales and secret gardens.

Sure, jumping through books into the world’s most beautiful libraries to protect humans from mystical creatures is awesome. No one knows that better than Gia Kearns, but she could do without the part where people are always trying to kill her. Oh, and the fact that Pop and her had to move away from her friends and life as she knew it.

And if that isn’t enough, her boyfriend, Arik, is acting strangely. Like, maybe she should be calling him “ex,” since he’s so into another girl. But she doesn’t have time to be mad or even jealous, because someone has to save the world from the upcoming apocalypse, and it looks like that’s going to be Gia.

Maybe. If she survives.

MY THOUGHTS: I read the first book in the Library Jumpers series last year and really enjoyed it. I mean face it, most bookworms love books featuring libraries and books. And the concept where one can jump into different worlds and dimensions through books shelved in mysterious libraries is pretty darn interesting. Therefore, I was thrilled when Entangled Teen provided me with an ARC of "Guardian of Secrets."

Gia and many other Sentinels have moved to Branford so they can hide out from the individuals who are chasing them. There, they try to go on with life as normal while continuing to train and look for the hidden Chiaves - relics that when pieced together will allow the enemy to unleash the ultimate terror on the world. Gia continues to try to fit in now that she has learned she is a Sentinel and as the book progresses, uncovers some family history which is vital to the way things will play out in the future.

There is a lot going on in the book and I'll admit, there are times I felt rather lost. However, I honestly don't believe the fault falls on Drake, but rather that I was extremely preoccupied with other things while reading "Guardian of Secrets" and this book deserves and requires the reader's full attention. Like many YA novels, there is a love triangle and Gia is struggling with her feelings for her boyfriend, Arik and Bastien, a nobleman and wizard who she has previously been destined to marry. Although not a favorite trope of mine, the way Drake wove it into the tale and managed to keep from making Gia an indecisive annoying teen allowed me to enjoy the interaction between Arik, Gia and Bastien. Also, Drake brought some more witch elements into the tale which really piqued my interest.

"Guardian of Secrets" is a strong second installment in this series. The ending paved the way for a possible ultimate showdown in Book 3 and I will anxiously be awaiting it's release. If you enjoyed the first book, you must read this one as well as it does a great job of delving deeper into the Sentinel world and introduces some truly unique new characters.

I received an ARC from Entangled Teen and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


Monday, February 13, 2017

TTT - Puppy Covers You've Got To Love

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 was supposed to be about romance types/tropes and while I'm sure I could have came up with some, it would have probably turned into an insta-love bashing session so instead I'm focusing on Valentine's Day Puppy Love and showing you books with cute dogs on the covers!

I ADORE Lucy Dillon's books and the dogs inside them are just as cute as the ones on the cover.  "A Hundred Pieces of Me" is probably my favorite of the 4 and I definitely recommend it.

I love Jackie's books and Maybe stole Booker T's heard and is still his #1 book girlfriend.

I still need to read many of Cameron's books but I am current on his Repo Man series which features a lazy yet adorable basset named Jake.  I seriously want this German Shepard puppy!!!

I still need to read both of these but I'll admit, I bought Sit! Stay! Speak! solely on the cover alone!

So I highly recommend the two books from the Nick Trout series - they're awesome.  I still need to read Earnest and Boomer's Bucket List.  Also, as a bonus, I love Jenn McKinlay's cozy mystery series and she has a new book series starting this year and About A Dog is the new one.  It's hard to tell but that's a boxer pup on the cover - got to have it!

So there you have it, lots of puppy love and kisses which I suppose is technically one of my favorite romantic tropes.