Thursday, March 31, 2016

March 2016 Wrap Up - Will I Ever Be Happy?


So I just reviewed all of my March statistics.  Overall I read 11 books which on the whole is great. However, since I always want to read more, and since my TBR last month had 16 books (I knew I'd never read them all) I could be happier.  Guess it's no surprise I'm a glass half empty kind of gal.  I have still managed to keep reviews up to date and they are linked to their respective challenges so that is always a main accomplishment (although there is one not going on the blog until April because of a blog tour).  Booker T also weighed in on a title and received the kindest email back from the author so all in all, good month.  Here's an update on all my challenges:

GOODREADS: 33/100
WHAT AN ANIMAL IX: 5/12
CLOAK & DAGGER CHALLENGE: 8/20
HORROR READING CHALLENGE: 7/16
NEW RELEASE CHALLENGE: 18/30
2016 WINTER COYER: Sadly this challenge is over, but hey, a new one starts in June!

I only had 2 5-paw reads this month and quite a few 3-paw ones so I am hoping to experience some better reads in April.  I am over halfway on my New Release Challenge and I really made some headway on the Cloak & Dagger Challenge so both of those goals are in good shape.

How was your March reading????


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Sour Candy - Beware Screaming Kids in Stores

TITLE: Sour Candy
AUTHOR: Kealan Patrick Burke
PUBLISHER: Elderlemon
PUBLISHING DATE: November 13, 2015

FROM GOODREADS:  At first glance, Phil Pendelton and his son Adam are just an ordinary father and son, no different from any other. They take walks in the park together, visit county fairs, museums, and zoos, and eat together overlooking the lake. Some might say the father is a little too accommodating given the lack of discipline when the child loses his temper in public. Some might say he spoils his son by allowing him to eat candy whenever he wants and set his own bedtimes. Some might say that such leniency is starting to take its toll on the father, given how his health has declined.


What no one knows is that Phil is a prisoner, and that up until a few weeks ago and a chance encounter at a grocery store, he had never seen the child before in his life.


A new novella from the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of THE TURTLE BOY and KIN.
 

MY THOUGHTS:
I saw this book on someone's blog a few weeks ago and for some reason I was drawn into it. In addition, one look at the cover alone was probably enough to finish the job and make me hit the infamous 1-click purchase button. It's a fairly short story, but I found it really engrossing and if I hadn't just grabbed it before bed and actually had to sleep due to work the next day, I would have easily devoured it in one sitting. However, grabbing it before bed may not have been a good idea and if you scare easily, I'll tell you know, don't do it!

I mentioned to a Goodreads friend that while I am in no way comparing this story to something written by Stephen King, it did give me the same kind of feelings. I became a part of the world very quickly and when finished, it did leave me with a few goosebumps. Some of the scariest stories in my opinion don't contain actual monsters, but contain humans who are monsters and this book brings some of that to life. And come on, honestly I find kids downright scary and Sour Candy contains one named Adam that I most definitely do not want to run across.

If you are in the mood for a quick horror read, which just might stay with you long after you close the pages, pick up Sour Candy. Also, if you are curious why the next time I see a kid screaming their head off in Walmart of the local grocery store I am running as fast as I can in the opposite direction, read this book to find out why. I know Burke has more books out there so now I am off to see which ones I can find because Sour Candy has definitely made me a fan.
 

RATING: 5 PAWS


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (49) - On Which Booker T Also Has An Opinion



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







April 26. 2016

FROM GOODREADS: Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay 'til death. Whoever settles, never leaves.

Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a 17th century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Muzzled, she walks the streets and enters your homes at will. She stands next to your bed for nights on end. Everybody knows that her eyes may never be opened.

The elders of Black Spring have virtually quarantined the town by using high-tech surveillance to prevent their curse from spreading. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town's teenagers decide to break their strict regulations and go viral with the haunting, but in so doing send the town spiraling into the dark, medieval practices of the past.

WHY I'M WAITING: I have wanted this book ever since I first saw it.  It had me at a small town haunted by the Black Rock Witch.  It sounds so eerie I must have it in my life!  At least I don't have to wait much longer.

 
July 15, 2016
FROM GOODREADS:

National Book Award finalist and bestselling author Meg Rosoff's charming, hilarious new novel about a young New Yorker’s search for happiness and the two dogs who help him find it—the perfect summer read 

Jonathan Trefoil’s boss is unhinged, his relationship baffling, and his apartment just the wrong side of legal. His girlfriend wants to marry someone just like him—only richer and with a different sense of humor. He doesn’t remember life being this confusing, back before everyone expected him to act like a grown-up.

When his brother asks him to look after his dogs, Jonathan's world view begins to shift. Could a border collie and a cocker spaniel hold the key to life, the universe, and everything? Their sly maneuvering on daily walks and visits to the alluring vet suggest that human emotional intelligence may not be top dog after all.

A funny, wise romantic comedy set in Manhattan, Jonathan Unleashed is a story of tangled relationships, friendships, and dogs. Rosoff’s novel is for anyone wondering what to be when they grow up, and how on earth to get there.

WHY BOOKER T IS WAITING:  Mom has been trying like mad to get her hands on an advanced copy of this book.  I think she wants to find out how a collie and a cocker spaniel can hold the key to life and the universe.  I am sure interested (even though I think if any dog holds the universal key - whatever that is - it would be a boxer!).  Maybe she will luck out and nab a copy.  If not, guess we will have to wait until July.


What are you waiting for this week?

Monday, March 28, 2016

TTT - Best and Worst Reads


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 we are focusing on some combination of 5-star (or in my case paw) reads or 1/2 star (paw) reads.  I decided to share 5 of each.

LAST 5 (5 Paw) Reads:


Marked in Flesh (Others #4)

Saga (Actually Issues 1-5 - not just this one)

The Changing Season

A Criminal Magic

Menagerie (I need the next one NOW!)


Last 5 (1 or 2 Paw) Reads:

Orphan Black

Welcome to Night Vale (oh the flashbacks this is giving me!)

Spider Gwen

The End of the World's Rye

Love in Lower-Case (I remember liking the cat)


So what made your lists?  Do you agree with any of mine?



April Showers Blog Tour!


Join me for BookSparks #itsrainingbooks Blog Tour during the month of May.  These 5 books are being promoted and are sure to help you whittle away those rainy spring days.  

Start with the Backbeat: Garine B. Isassi - It is the spring of 1989 in New York City when Jill Dodge, a post-punk rocker from Texas, finally gets her big promotion at Mega Big Records. She is thrust into a race to find a gritty, urban rapper before the Gangsta trend passes their label by. As Jill and her mostly middle-class coworkers search for the next big rap star, they fluctuate between alliances and rivalries, tripping over the stereotypes of race, class, and musical genre. They work to promote their current roster of acts as well as the new rap artist they sign to a contract. It turns out, he may not be what they expected. Full of original lyrics and wit, "Start With the Backbeat" is a compelling examination of the nuances of class, race, and culture in America which are sometimes ridiculously serious."

A Girl Like You: Michelle Cox -
Henrietta Von Harmon works as a 26 girl at a corner bar on Chicago s northwest side. It s 1935, but things still aren t looking up since the big crash and her father s subsequent suicide, leaving Henrietta to care for her antagonistic mother and younger siblings. Henrietta is eventually persuaded to take a job as a taxi dancer at a local dance hall and just when she s beginning to enjoy herself, the floor matron turns up dead. When aloof Inspector Clive Howard appears on the scene, Henrietta agrees to go undercover for him and is plunged into Chicago s grittier underworld. Meanwhile, she s still busy playing mother hen to her younger siblings, as well as to pesky neighborhood boy Stanley, who believes himself in love with her and keeps popping up in the most unlikely places, determined to keep Henrietta safe even from the Inspector, if need be. Despite his efforts, however, and his penchant for messing up the Inspector s investigation, the lovely Henrietta and the impenetrable Inspector find themselves drawn to each other in most unsuitable ways."


Parting Gifts: Katrina Anne Willis - Broken by their unorthodox Midwestern childhood, sisters Catherine, Anne, and Jessica Mathers search for love, acceptance, and worth often in the most unlikely places. Catherine, the oldest of the Mathers sisters, is an English professor battling breast cancer with Cytoxan, red wine, and profanity. Anne is a wife and stay-at-home mother of two struggling to make ends meet in a suburban existence that both suffocates and confounds her. Jessica, the youngest by ten years and estranged by choice from her family, is an exotic dancer who feels safer on stage than in a relationship. But when the sisters are faced with an incomprehensible loss, they are forced to reevaluate themselves, their damaged bonds, and their fragile future. Parting Gifts illuminates one highly dysfunctional family s tentative, desperate crawl toward a life of meaning and worth."

Meternity: Meghann Foye -
Not quite knocked up… 

Like everyone in New York media, editor Liz Buckley runs on cupcakes, caffeine and cocktails. But at thirty-one, she's plateaued at Paddy Cakes, a glossy baby magazine that flogs thousand-dollar strollers to entitled, hypercompetitive spawn-havers.

Liz has spent years working a gazillion hours a week picking up the slack for coworkers with kids, and she's tired of it. So one day when her stress-related nausea is mistaken for morning sickness by her bosses—boom! Liz is promoted to the mommy track. She decides to run with it and plans to use her paid time off to figure out her life: work, love and otherwise. It'll be her "meternity" leave.

By day, Liz rocks a foam-rubber belly under fab maternity outfits. By night, she dumps the bump for karaoke nights and boozy dinners out. But how long can she keep up her charade…and hide it from the guy who might just be The One?

As her "due date" approaches, Liz is exhausted—and exhilarated—by the ruse, the guilt and the feelings brought on by a totally fictional belly-tenant…about happiness, success, family and the nature of love.


The Goodbye Year: Kaira Rouda -
Melanie, a perfectionist mom who views the approaching end of parenting as a type of death, can t believe she has only one more year to live vicariously through her slacker senior son, Dane. Gorgeous mom Sarah has just begun to realize that her only daughter, Ashley, has been serving as a stand-in for her traveling husband, and the thought of her daughter leaving for college is cracking the carefully cultivated facade of her life. Will and his wife are fine as long as he follows the instructions on the family calendar and is sure to keep secret his whole other life with Lauren, the woman he turns to for fun (and who also happens to have a daughter in the senior class).
Told from the points of view of both the parents and the kids, The Goodbye Year explores high school peer pressure, what it s like for young people to face the unknown of life after high school, and how a transition that should be the beginning of a couple s second act together empty nesting is often actually the end."



 

The Thing Is - Why Everyone Needs a Little Prozac in Their Lives

TITLE: The Thing Is
AUTHOR: Kathleen Gerard
PUBLISHER: Red Adept Publishing, LLC
PUBLISHING DATE: February 9, 2016

FROM GOODREADS: Meredith Mancuso is depressed. Ever since the death of her fiancĂ©, she has shrunk from the world. Even with her successful writing career, she's not motivated to work. When her sister, Monica, begs for a favor, Meredith wants nothing more than to say no. But she’s ultimately roped into pet-sitting an orphaned Yorkshire terrier named Prozac. 

Blessed with spiritual wisdom and a high IQ, Prozac is an active pet therapy dog. To heal broken-hearted Meredith, he rallies his fan club at Evergreen Gardens, an independent living facility, where he visits each week. 

Prozac and the community of resilient older folks challenged by losses of their own propel Meredith, often against her will, back into the land of the living. Meredith learns that most people carry some sort of burden, but it's still possible to find meaning, purpose, and joy—and sometimes, even love—along the way.


MY THOUGHTS:  
When I initially picked this book up, I figured it would at least be a cute read and I really do have a hard time passing up books with adorable dogs on the cover. However, I am surprised that while it is really cute in some places, there is actually a lot of depth to the story which follows the cute cover. Meredith lost her fiance two years ago in a senseless criminal act and has basically shut herself off from the outside world. Although a writer, she hasn't been able to complete the next book in her ongoing series and she has no real friends other than the mailman and her sister Monica, who is an overly-obsessed financial advisor/accountant. When Monica's elderly client ends up in rehab after taking a bad fall, Meredith gets stuck caring for the woman's dog, Prozac - even though she has never been a pet person in her entire life.

Prozac is a completely other story. He has been reincarnated throughout thousands of years, taking numerous canine forms, and always comes back to the world with a specific task to accomplish. Although he accepted his current "assignment," all he really wants to do is be Sandy in the Annie broadway musical. Prozac is an extremely intelligent dog and is certainly a match for Meredith. He is perfect at stubbornness and manipulation and it is really an amazing feat that he survived his first week living with Meredith.

I loved the story Gerard weaves throughout the pages. The book is about so much more than just Prozac and a woman who probably should never have to care for a pet. This book is about loss, new friendships, and what people of all ages have to offer each other. The story is told from Meredith's point of view, but there are chapters throughout which are told by Prozac, where the reader gets to see that he is a very dedicated little terrier with a specific purpose in life. I never once found this book predictable and Gerard throws the readers a few curves during her tale.

This book make me chuckle at times and want to cry at others. Prozac came from a liter where the pups, raised by pharmacists, were named Prozac, Cymbalta, Cialis and Lipitor. This alone shows the author definitely has a sense of humor. Also, there is a scene where Meredith is running through a parking lot looking for the elusive pup screaming "Prozac.....here Prozac!" I can only imagine the looks she received. However, Gerard can just as easily touch on sentimental, heart-tugging feelings and I especially enjoyed her quote "So don't ever underestimate the power of the Almighty or the four-legged messengers he sends into our mundane little lives."

If you love books that have a strong story with a tad of humor thrown in, then you need to pick this little gem up. Also, if you are drawn in by books with cute pets on the cover as easily as I am, this one will not disappoint you. I am so glad I stumbled upon this book and enjoy every minute of it.

I received this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

RATING: 5 paws 



*****(EDITED on 3/29 to reflect 5 paw rating after giving it some thought and comparing it to other monthly reads.)

BOOKER T's THOUGHTS:  Mom really enjoyed this book.  I could tell because every once in a while, i would hear her chuckling to herself.  However, I think parts of it may have made her sad and I don't know what that was all about - but don't worry, a kiss from me snapped her right out of that funk.  I loved, loved, loved Prozac.  Now on the whole, I am not a small dog kind of pup.  But even though Prozac was tiny, he was also mighty.  He is such an intelligent pup which I don't see a whole lot (sorry Cassius! - Just kidding).  Prozac may be a handful at times, but he always has his mission in sight and never loses focus.  I give Prozac 5 Puppy Paws! 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Stacking the Shelves (58)


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 should take you to the Goodreads page.

I had a few more books in my recent Book Outlet haul that I didn't show last week and since it was slower this week, I will add them here:



World War Moo Penny Dreadful Mime Order

Does anyone else find it extremely odd that the Penny Dreadful book has 666 pages...just saying?


I purchased 3 books from Amazon for my Kindle:

Divah Sour Candy Pretty Little Dead Girls

And I got the following 2 books for review:

Hell's Teeth Doomsday


So what did you add this week? Have you read any of these?


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Weekend Reads (03/25/16)


It's been a rather slow reading week here at the farm.  I am really enjoying the book I am reading, so it's not that, and hope to finish it Friday night so I can start some new things.  It has just been "down" week at home and I have crashed in front of the TV too much and when it was pretty, took the dogs on a couple of excursions.

I totally didn't get to one book which was on last week's plans, so you will be seeing We3 again, but there are two more I hope to get started (and hopefully finish at least one).  I have a three day weekend, but also plans to get my hair highlighted Friday and a trip to Grandpa's Saturday morning so who knows!  Anyway, on to the books.....


We3 Arena Sunshine Girl


I also hope to relax and watch a couple of movies with DH (darling husband). I know for sure we will watch Mockingjay Part 2, and I'm hoping I can convince him to watch the new Frankenstein with Daniel Ratcliff.

Finally, I am trying to track down a graphic novel series I stumbled on yesterday.  My library doesn't have them so I may have to buy them.  I usually don't buy graphic novels but may have to for this one...BATTLEPUG!


I think there are 5 books, with the 5th coming out this fall and the series will be complete.  Anyone who knows me knows I will probably be unable to resist the adventures of a giant pug!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and if you celebrate Easter, a happy holiday!