Thursday, May 13, 2021

2 Bloggers 1 Book - Bigfoot in the Bronx

 

Hunter Shea has always been a favorite author of Stormi and myself.  Last year and maybe the year before we did a "Shea in May" feature.  So when he released a new novel, we just knew we had to buddy read it.  So continue on to see what I thought about his latest endeavor and then hop over to Stormi's @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! and read her review.

TITLE: Bigfoot in the Bronx
AUTHOR: Hunter Shea
PUBLISHER: Severed Press
PUBLISHING DATE: March 29, 2021
PAGES: 176
SOURCE: Kindle Unlimited


FROM GOODREADS: 

The Hunt 
It’s hunting season for best friends Shay and Vito. This year, with a bad economy and Shay out of work, it’s more important than ever to bag a deer so they can feed their families. Tucking their truck in their secret spot outside a state park in the Catskills, they settle down, waiting for a deer to come to them. 
Discovery 
What they get is a giant creature that outruns a speeding deer and savages it with its bare hands and jagged teeth. Someone hidden in the woods shoots it with a tranquilizer dart. Shay knows what the beast at their feet is, and how its discovery can change their lives forever. They load it into their truck and head home for… 
The Bronx 
The drugged Bigfoot awakens in a cramped shed in Shay’s backyard. Confused, terrified, angry, it breaks loose in the middle of the night, seeking refuge in a nearby cemetery. When the bagpipes of a morning funeral drive it into a killing rage, the carnage has just begun. 
Rampage 
From playgrounds to golf courses, apartment buildings to subway cars, the bigfoot is on the move – and it’s not happy. Can Shay and Vito find and recapture the beast before it burns the Bronx to the ground?


MY THOUGHTS: First of all, look at that cover! Isn't Harry adorable?  Yes, I named him and yes, I sort of loved him and damn you Hunter!  So each year Shay and Vito go deer hunting.  Usually it's a good excuse to hang out in the woods and drink beer.  But this year is different.  Shay has been out of work for some time and he is really counting on stocking his freezer with some venison.  But soon Vito and Shay discover that there's more in the woods than deer.  When an old man living off the grid manages to show up and tranquilize bigfoot, Shay and Vito sweep in for all the glory.  Except they think bigfoot is dead and will be perfectly fine in Shay's shed all night.  Boy were they wrong.

This book is a typical Shea creature feature which I consider a good thing.  I'll admit it took a while for the carnage and mayhem to start but once it did, I was thoroughly captivated.  And in typical Shea fashion, he threw in some great characters to boot.  While I liked Shay and Vito and all of their misguided ignorance, I really fell in love with the teenage girl who befriended Harry and wanted only the best for him.  And no, Hunter did not name him Harry, although he did reference Harry and the Hendersons.

So if you love creature features and are like me and eagerly look forward to Shea's next release, then what are you waiting for?  Pick this book up, curl up with a nice cup of coffee, or bourbon if you prefer, and prepare yourself for a treat.

RATING: 4 PAWS



Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Random Things Tours - The Loch

 


TITLE: The Loch
AUTHOR: Dee Taylor
PUBLISHER: Conrad Press
PUBLISHING DATE: January 6, 2021
PAGES: 224
SOURCE: ARC

FROM GOODREADS: 

‘The Loch’ is set on the shores of Loch Ness. 
It’s a harrowing, unforgettable tale of courage and romance, unfolding between the backdrop of the Scottish Highlands and in the murky depths of the loch itself. With drama escalating in suspense, this entertaining and thrilling novel is the story of a former stripper from the Aberdeen clubs emotionally torn between two men: a deep sea diver from the oil rigs and a highlander with a violent and tragic past. 
There is greed and horror in a search for Bonnie Prince Charlie's Jacobite gold within the ever-present menace of the fabled creature of the Loch.

MY THOUGHTS: I've always been very interested in the Loch Ness Monster so when I saw this book involved old Nessie, I couldn't wait to give it a try.  Tina and her boyfriend Jack are camping one night when they believe they have spotted Nessie.  They soon become obsessed and set out to capture a picture and prove the Monster's existence.  However, in learning about the Loch Ness lore, they decide there may be more benefit in finding the Prince Charlie's Jacobite Gold.  

I loved learning about the area's lore and Taylor's book transported me to the Scottish Highlands, a place I've always wanted to visit.  And personally, I'd love to see Nessie.  The Loch is a quick read and while not exactly a thriller per se, the pacing was good and rather chilling at times.  I've not read any other books by this author but would definitely be interesting in checking more out in the future.  And if that cover doesn't draw you in, I don't know what will!

RATING: 3 PAWS



ABOUT THE AUTHORDee Taylor is now a professional artist, after spending most of his career in the advertising profession as art buyer at two of London's top ad agencies.

His many artistic achievements include designing a now famous flag for the Romney Marsh area of Kent in south-east England.

Dee’s other passions are angling and Loch Ness.



Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Random Things Tours - Hit and Run

 


TITLE: Hit and Run
AUTHOR: Maria Frankland
PUBLISHER: Autonomy Press
PUBLISHING DATE: May 5, 2021
SOURCE: ARC

FROM GOODREADS: When secrets and lies are the cogs that keep a family turning

Fiona Matherson is a recovering alcoholic. Fighting to keep her life on track, her world is blown apart by some dreadful news one sunny June afternoon.

Fiona’s insular life becomes lonelier as she gets to know her husband more after his death than when he was alive.

Who can she believe? And who will believe her?

A story that shows the darkness which exists within families, and the damage that people can do to each other.
 

MY THOUGHTS: This book grabbed me from the beginning and didn't let go.  As mentioned, Fiona is a recovering alcoholic whose life is turned upside down by her husband's unexpected death.  She is immediately one of the prime suspects and as she learns more and more about her husband, she starts to question their life together. 

There are some truly unlikable characters in this novel which instead of hating, made my reading experience that much more enjoyable.  Frankland really knows how to weave a tale and she had me guessing something different as the book progressed.  While quite a character-driven, the book has a steady pace.  I enjoyed learning everyone's backstory and loved that the author didn't hesitate to create some really flawed individuals. 

If you like domestic thrillers and dysfunctional family dynamics, look no further!  Hit and Run is the book for you!


RATING: 4 PAWS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Maria Frankland's life began at 40 when she escaped an unhappy marriage and began making a living from her own writing and becoming a teacher of creative writing.

The rich tapestry of life with all its turbulent times has enabled her to pour experience, angst and lessons learned into the writing of her novels and poetry.

She recognises that the darkest places can exist within family relationships and this is reflected in the domestic thrillers she writes.

She is a 'born 'n' bred' Yorkshirewoman, a mother of two and has recently found her own 'happy ever after' after marrying again.

Still in her forties, she is now going to dedicate the rest of her working life to writing books and inspiring other writers to also achieve their dreams too!




Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Random Things Tour - Don't Ask

 


TITLE: Don't Ask
AUTHOR: Paul Carroll
PUBLISHER: Matador
PUBLISHING DATE: April 28, 2021
PAGES: 336
SOURCE: ARC


FROM GOODREADS: 
A DNA ancestry test opens up a Pandora's Box of secrets. 
When Elsa Watson takes a DNA ancestry test out of idle curiosity she little imagines the devastating consequences she is about to unleash. Two families become reluctantly entwined as inconvenient truths and long suppressed memories resurface. 
A #whodunnit with a difference, Don’t Ask visits the glam rock Seventies, Britpop, Operation Yewtree and #metoo within its alternating past and present chapter structure.

MY THOUGHTS: I was initially drawn to this book because of the music aspect and I have to admit, it has me wondering how many children out their were fathered by musicians taking groupies backstage in their heyday.  Seriously, why aren't more crawling out of the woodwork.  That being said, Don't Ask not only looks at the not-so-glamorous look at fame but also focuses on the ugliness of some of those who have became famous.

As an afterthought, Elsa Watson takes a DNA test after receiving a free one at the photography business where she works.  She's not expecting much but soon she's opening a major case of worms.  Add in with two family's struggling with various issues and some very well-written mental health concerns and you have a book which was definitely not the contemporary/mystery read I was expecting.

There was a lot of things I liked about this book.  I really enjoyed getting to know most of the characters and as mentioned, I always enjoy a good music tale.  I really felt for both families caught up in this DNA disaster and as the story evolved, it took a downright depressing turn.  And let me tell you, Carroll knows how to end a book.  I'm still thinking about the ending.

My main complaint with Don't Ask is that for at least the first 100 pages, I was confused.  There are multiple players in the tale and multiple timelines as well and it often took me a page or two into each chapter to figure out who I was reading about now.  

Other than that, Don't Ask is a fairly hard-hitting book and if you enjoy British novels, glam rock and family drama, then this might just be the book for you.


RATING: 3 PAWS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul Carroll has been drawn to ink and the written word since launching a rock fanzine in his late teens.  

Born and bred in Leeds, Paul crossed the Pennines in the mid-70s to study English Language and English Literature at the University of Manchester.  

Chasing a job in journalism he stumbled into the world of PR and ten years after starting his career set up his own PR consultancy, Communique PR, in Manchester.

 There he worked on many well-known brands including Boddingtons, Heineken, Thorntons Chocolate, Chicago Town Pizza, Big D peanuts, Co-op Funerals and Manchester Airport. 

These days, Paul concentrates on his writing. 

Paul’s books are full of dark humour and satirical takes.  His writing has been compared to that of Ben Elton, Nick Hornby and Jonathan Coe in tackling serious contemporary issues in a highly engaging and entertaining way.

Don’t Ask (Matador 2021) is Paul Carroll’s fourth novel, following A Matter of Life and Death (Matador, 2012), Written Off (Matador, 2016), and Trouble Brewing (Matador, 2017). 




Thursday, April 29, 2021

Retro Horror Vol. 8 - The Buddy Read Version

 


This time around Stormi already had a book chosen for her pick and as I been meaning to do some King re-reads,  I jumped on it along with her.  However, somehow, I ended up with the extended version and I didn't even KNOW there was an extended version.  What is about King wanting to make long books even longer?  So the outcome of this story brought to light the fact that I am now questioning how much I love King.  I have always said I love older King better, but seriously, I'm rating newer King much higher.  Go figure. So read on for my thoughts on Needful Things and then hop over to Stormi's  at Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! and check out her thoughts!


TITLE: Needful Things
AUTHOR: Stephen King
PUBLISHER: Gallery Books
PUBLISHING DATE: March 20, 2018 (original book in October 1991)
PAGES: 816
SOURCE: Own library


FROM GOODREADS: 

Master storyteller Stephen King presents the classic #1 New York Times bestseller about a mysterious store than can sell you whatever you desire—but not without exacting a terrible price in return.
The town of Castle Rock, Maine has seen its fair share of oddities over the years, but nothing is as peculiar as the little curio shop that’s just opened for business here. Its mysterious proprietor, Leland Gaunt, seems to have something for everyone out on display at Needful Things…interesting items that run the gamut from worthless to priceless. Nothing has a price tag in this place, but everything is certainly for sale. The heart’s desire for any resident of Castle Rock can easily be found among the curiosities…in exchange for a little money and—at the specific request of Leland Gaunt—a whole lot of menace against their fellow neighbors. Everyone in town seems willing to make a deal at Needful Things, but the devil is in the details. And no one takes heed of the little sign hanging on the wall: Caveat emptor. In other words, let the buyer beware…

 MY THOUGHTS:  I'm just putting it out there up front.  This book is too long.  Now that I have that out of the way.  Leland Gaunt cruises into Castle Rock one day and starts work on opening up a mysterious store.  He sells a hodgepodge of things which individually caters to each person who enters the store.  His prices are always negotiable but he always ends up roping the seller into playing a trick for him.  But are they actually purchasing something or selling their soul?

This book has a HUGE cast of characters and for the most part, I was able to keep them all straight.  I loved some, I hated some and I felt badly for some.  The little kids Gaunt manipulated made my heart break at times and the people who were already "bad" at the core, sometimes I felt like they had what was coming to them.  There was also a dog and parakeet death which I could have lived without.  Kill all the people but leave the pets alone!!!!

While I basically crammed this book into an entire week, by the last 100 pages or so, I could have sworn Gaunt had used his magic and was making the book longer.  I really kept reading because I wanted to know what happened to Alan and Polly and because I refused to let this book beat me.  Twice is enough for me and although I'm sure when I read it in 1991, it became a quick fave, that is not the case today.  I enjoyed seeing some hints at other King plots mentioned but let's be honest, some of the people in Needful Things were just characters from his other books with different names.  Just try to convince me that Ash Merrill is not Trashcan Man from The Stand.  A great character study for any King fan but not one I'll pick up again.  

RATING: 3 PAWS





Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Can't Wait Wednesday (317)

 

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings to spotlight highly anticipated books.  It is based on the Waiting on Wednesday meme which used to be hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.





FROM GOODREADS: In this atmospheric, terrifying novel that draws strongly from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, the author of Alice and The Girl in Red works her trademark magic, spinning an engaging and frightening new story from a classic tale.

Everyone in Sleepy Hollow knows about the Horseman, but no one really believes in him. Not even Ben Van Brunt's grandfather, Brom Bones, who was there when it was said the Horseman chased the upstart Crane out of town. Brom says that's just legend, the village gossips talking.

Twenty years after those storied events, the village is a quiet place. Fourteen-year-old Ben loves to play Sleepy Hollow boys, reenacting the events Brom once lived through. But then Ben and a friend stumble across the headless body of a child in the woods near the village, and the sinister discovery makes Ben question everything the adults in Sleepy Hollow have ever said. Could the Horseman be real after all? Or does something even more sinister stalk the woods? 

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  I've always been a HUGE fan of Sleepy Hollow tales so I can't wait to see Henry's take on this spooky classic.  And how great is that cover???

CASSIUS'S PICK:



FROM GOODREADS: The Black Sheep Knitters are on the case when a club member's ex-boyfriend is accused of murder at the Plum Harbor Farmers and Crafts Market in the fourth installment of New York Times bestselling author Anne Canadeo's knitting-themed Black Sheep & Co. Mystery series.


Romantic entanglements and handcrafted murder tie the Black Sheep knitters in knots when the local farmers' market becomes a haven for a killer . . .

Phoebe Myers, Black Sheep Knitting Shop's assistant manager, finally comes out from behind the counter to sell her own creations--Socks by Phoebe--at the Plum Harbor Farmers' and Crafts Market, a lively, colorful venue that draws shoppers from miles around. But her excitement cools when she learns the previous tenant of her booth, farmer Jimmy Hooper, committed suicide. She's barely raised her Grand Opening banner when Hooper's death is upgraded to murder.

Phoebe worries that her stall is jinxed when things go from bad to worse. The last person she wants to see, her ex-boyfriend Harry "The Potter" McSweeney, appears in the stall across the aisle to sell his wares. The Black Sheep advise Phoebe to be strong and resist the handsome artist's spell. But romantic sparks and tempers explode in a very public scene--and a pile of broken pottery. Before Phoebe can get back to business, her stall is trashed, her Facebook page hacked, and another vendor is found dead.

The Black Sheep worry for Phoebe's safety, especially when Harry becomes the prime suspect in both crimes. Phoebe refuses to believe he's a killer and is determined to prove him innocent. Her friends are not convinced, but for Phoebe's sake--and her safety--the Black Sheep puts their wits together to catch the crafty marketplace killer who's hiding in plain sight . . .

WHY CASSIUS CAN'T WAIT:  I don't think Mom has read ANY of this series but I'm featuring this one today strictly because of the cover.  See that look on that brown pup's face?  I look at Apollo that way...DAILY!

WHAT BOOK CAN'T YOU WAIT FOR THIS WEEK???

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday - The Best Animal Characters!

 

The top 10 weekly meme used to be hosted by The Broke and the Bookish they  handed over the reins to That Artsy Reader Girl who can be found HERE.  Each week she will focus on lists which cover various topics related to books and reading.

This week I am sharing some of my favorite animal characters.  Look, a topic made just for me!!!!




This book actually has two of my favorite animal characters of all time - S.T. the crow, who is the best foul-mouthed narrator EVER, and Dennis the bloodhound, his best pal.  You can see how much I loved this book HERE!

Another book which has two of my faves - Jake, the blind rescue dog, and Ulysses, the moose.

I ADORED Guffer!

Jack is the PERFECT neighborhood dog.  He belongs to everyone and has a knack for bringing people together. 

Kirby and his attitude should be appreciated by everyone!

You wouldn't know from this cover but this book, and the series in general, has the cutest rescue Pitbull named Piggy.

I can't forget Smooshie!

So what way to end a list - with Pearl the killer pig.  Although I like to consider him merely misunderstood!

So there you have it. I can't wait to see everyone's lists this week!