Thursday, June 30, 2016

June 2016 Wrap Up

I can't believe the year is half over!  June seemed like a slow reading month but I read some really good books.  Some were pretty long so maybe that is why it seems like reading went so slow. I managed to complete 8 overall so I guess that's not too shabby.  I am also pretty pleased with the progress of my challenges.  In addition, Summer COYER started this week and I'm thrilled to be interacting with this great bunch of people again.  On with the update!

GOODREADS: 59/100
WHAT AN ANIMAL IX: 13/12 (FINISHED!!!!!!)
CLOAK & DAGGER CHALLENGE: 14/20
HORROR READING CHALLENGE: 12/16
NEW RELEASE CHALLENGE: 39/30 (FINISHED!!!!!!)
SUMMER COYER CHALLENGE: 3

So as you can see, I have finished 2 challenges already but I plan to keep going because I really can't see a reason not to.  All the rest seem to be in good shape.  As far as quality of books this month, I read 1 2-paw read, 1 3-paw read, 2 4-paw reads and 4 5-paw reads. Not a bad month!

I wanted to take a quick glance at an additional statistic since we are at the half-year mark and see what categories/genres I have read.  I love being an eclectic reader and hope to continue down that path.

ADULT BOOKS: 32
YOUNG ADULT BOOKS: 12
MIDDLE GRADE BOOKS: 1
NON FICTION BOOKS: 2
GRAPHIC NOVELS: 12

So how has the first half of the year been for you guys?

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Suicide Motor Club - Tighten Your Seatbelt!

TITLE: The Suicide Motor Club
AUTHOR: Christopher Buelman
PUBLISHER: Berkley
PUBLISHING DATE: June 7, 2016

FROM GOODREADS: Bram Stoker, quoting the ballad “Lenore,” said, “The dead travel fast.”
 
Those words have never rung more true...

Remember that car that passed you near midnight on Route 66, doing 105 with its lights off? You wondered where it was going so quickly on that dark, dusty stretch of road, motor roaring, the driver glancing out the window as he blew by.

Did his greedy eyes shine silver like a coyote’s? Did he make you feel like prey?

You can’t remember now.

You just saw the founder of the Suicide Motor Club. Be grateful his brake lights never flashed. Be grateful his car was already full.

They roam America, littering the highways with smashed cars and bled-out bodies, a gruesome reflection of the unsettled sixties. But to anyone unlucky enough to meet them in the lonely hours of the night, they’re just a blurry memory.

That is—to all but one...

Two years ago, they left a witness in the mangled wreck of her family car, her husband dead, her son taken. She remembers their awful faces, despite their tricks and glamours. And she’s coming for them—her thirst for vengeance even more powerful than their hunger for blood.

On the deserted highways of America, the hunters are about to become the hunted...


MY THOUGHTS:  I can now honestly say I need to research Buehlman's others works and try to accumulate them as fast as I can. That's how much I loved "The Suicide Motor Club." This book was the exact book I needed at the exact time. A dirty, gritty, terrorizing horror story with vampires that are mean and aggressive and not the beautiful, romantic types that they are so often portrayed as in novels.

"The Suicide Motor Club" tells the story of Jude and her quest to kill the vampires who killed her son and husband one dark night and a desert highway (Cue Hotel California song in my head). Jude barely survives herself and after her recovery, is on her way to becoming a nun and answering a call from God, when she is propositioned by group called "The Bereaved" who are out to get a rid society of a certain group of vampires terrorizing the roads. Jude hesitantly joins the group and then the search is on.

I need to stress that Luther Nixon is one of the baddest villains I have encountered in some time. This man is mean and this book is not for the faint of heart or those easily turned off by violence and language. However, if you love horror, it is definitely worth the read. Jude is a wonderfully flawed MC who isn't afraid of much of anything and the strength she shows in her battles needs to be commended. There is a shiny spot in this gritty novel in the form of Jude's unlikely ally. Clayton is a wonderful addition to this book and provides glimmers of hope in a book filled with little of it.

Reading this book reminded me of my initial introduction to Stephen King. I'm not going to compare authors, because they really aren't the same, but the book gave me the same type of feelings when reading it and boy, have I missed those feelings. If you love horror, definitely add this to your TBR.

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


RATING: 5 PAWS

 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (62)


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







 
March 28, 2017
FROM GOODREADS: When their coup of Metzger's Menagerie is discovered, Delilah and her fellow cryptids find their newly won freedom brutally stripped away as they are sold into The Savage Spectacle, a private collection of "exotic wildlife." Specializing in ruthless cryptid cage matches, safari-style creature hunts and living party favors, the Spectacle's owner, Willem Vandekamp, caters to the forbidden fetishes of the wealthy and powerful. At the Spectacle, any wish can be granted—for the right price.

But Vandekamp's closely guarded client list isn't the only secret being kept at the Spectacle. Beneath the beauty and brutality of life in the collection lie much darker truths, and no one is more determined than Delilah to strip the masks from the human monsters and drag all dark things into the light.


WHY I'M WAITING:  Why oh why did this release get pushed back so far.  I cannot come up with enought brilliant adjectives to describe the first in the series, Menagerie.  I ADORED it.  Of course, there has now been a cover change and I honestly am glad I borrowed the first one from the library because I will now have an excuse to buy these now and not feel guilty.  



Have you started this series???? Why not????? And what are you waiting for this week???? 
 

Monday, June 27, 2016

TTT - Top 10 Books I Loved But Never Reviewed


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 is a FREEBIE topic so I am featuring 10 books I loved which I read before I really started reviewing and blogging.  I figured this would be a great way to focus on some books many of you haven't seen here before.  As usual, there are in no specific order.  I am providing the Goodreads links in case you want to find out more about any of them.



Wither - J. G. Passarella.  This is a great, creepy book about witches!


Salem's Lot - Stephen King.  One of my favorite King works.


You Slay Me (Aisling Grey #1) - Katie MacAlister.  This started my PNR fascination.


Gil' All Fright Diner - A. Lee Martinez.  What a wonderfully quirky book!


Heart-Shaped Box - Joe Hill.  I'm planning a reread of this one soon.


Dreaming in Libro - Louise Bernikow.  See, I even loved dog books back in 2007!


Witchling/Sisters of the Moon #1 - Yasmine Galenorn.  I adore this series but am seriously behind.


The Devil's Footprints - Amanda Stevens.  A great little horror book.


The Art of Racing in the Rain - Garth Stein.  No words for how much I love this.


Death's Daughter (Calliope Reaper-Jones #1) - Amber Benson.  I need to start this series over.  May need to grab the first few for my Kindle because I don't think I own them anymore.

So, have you read any of these?  It's fun to look back and see 

how your tastes have changed and developed.


Jonathan Unleashed

TITLE: Jonathan Unleashed
AUTHOR: Meg Rosoff
PUBLISHER: Viking
PUBLISHING DATE: July 5, 2016

FROM GOODREADS: 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.


MY THOUGHTS: 
So I'll be the first to admit that perhaps I am being a tad generous with my rating on this one, but personally I loved it and for now, that's good enough for me. I honestly think that if you are a "dog person" you will see this book on a totally different level from other readers and that fact alone has probably contributed for a 5/5 for me when it may have been more like a 3-4/5 for most others.

Jonathan has graduated college and is living in Manhattan, working at a low-level ad agency. His brother has moved to Dubai for 6 months for a contract job and left Jonathan to care for his beloved pets, Dante the Border Collie and Sissy the Spaniel. Jonathan's college girlfriend of 4 years, Julie, has just moved to New York and her and Jonathan's relationship is on the fast-track to marriage. The issue is that neither seem to thrilled with this idea and they are clearly not suited for one another.

Jonathan is a pretty funny, yet not entirely likable characters. However, he does have some very redeeming qualities. Jonathan really wants to spend his life drawing comics, and while working at a job he desperately hates, he starts drawing a Dante's Inferno-like comic which features his dog guarding the different gates of Hell. Also, after Jonathan and Julie decide to get married because her wedding magazine wants to throw a promotional streamed ceremony, Jonathan basically has a nervous breakdown and starts speaking nonsense for several weeks which turns out pretty hilarious at times. I've seen people mention that they believe Jonathan is a woman-hater or womanizer and I didn't see him as that. I just saw him as an irritating 20-something who doesn't have his crap together yet and really, there's nothing wrong with that.

Needless to say, Dante and Sissy are the real shining stars in this novel. Despite all of Jonathan's hangups and flaws, he forms a strong attachment to his brother's dogs and they end up being smarter than him in many ways. This is where the dog-lover part comes in...I can handle Jonathan
short-comings because he is so loving and adoring toward Dante and Sissy. Also, I must make mention of Greeley, the 3-month intern at the ad agency. Greeley becomes Jonathan's spiritual guide of sorts in trying to figure out what he wants out of life and despite the fact that Greeley is very androgynous and no one really clarifies anything until near the end of the book, no one simply cares and Jonathan and Greeley develop a great friendship.

Needless to say, if you are a dog-lover, go grab this book immediately. And if you aren't, there are still plenty of things about it you might enjoy. Dante and Sissy really aren't the MC's in the story, but they are very strong components to the plot. I'm really glad I picked up this book and hope others enjoy it as much as I did.

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


RATING: 5 PAWS
 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Stacking the Shelves (70)


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 picked up 2 books from the library this week.  Good thing that unless they are placed on hold by another patron, I can keep most library books 9 weeks.  



I saw The Magician's Lie on another blog and when I found out my library had it in, I reserved it.  The same thing goes for Pax.

And I received the following 3 books for review from Netgalley and the publishers:


The Bourbon Thief A Ghost Called Dog A Perilous Undertaking

While I am more than thrilled to have an eARC of "A Perilous Undertaking" because I loved the first one and can't wait to see what happens next, I am glad I am reading them on my Kindle or the cover change would drive me nuts!

So what did you add to your shelves this week???


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Weekly Reads (06/24/16)


Ok.  I have 2 rants this week I will quickly get out of the way.  First of all, the weather Gods need to settle down.  I had 2 hours sleep Wednesday night because poor T was upset because of the storms all night.  Now I am thankful we were lucky, but I still HATE STORMS.  I would take a snowstorm over a thunderstorm any day - and I don't like the cold that much so that's saying a lot.  Secondly, can we not just leave wild animals alone.  I am sure zoos serve a purpose and I know that there are good professionals out there trying to help endangered species survive and study how to help animals, but the shooting of the jaguar in Rio this week was the final straw for me and I think all wild animals should live in their own habitats now.  OK, rant over.

We watched 2 indie films this week - Blackway and Regression.  Blackway was really good and starred Anthony Hopkins and Julia Styles (one of my favorite actresses) but I could have skipped Regression.  Don't know what we will watch this weekend as there aren't that many new releases. I also finished 2 books and started a third.  Since I got hung up on one which almost caused a slump, several books this week are repeats of last week.  Here's what I hope to get to this weekend and following week:


The Suicide Motor Club Dog Gone The Madness of Mercury

I have already started "The Suicide Motor Club" and am finding it just the kind of book I need to read right now. These vampires are scary, creepy and best of all, they don't sparkle! I also may throw in a graphic novel or two. Also, this was the first week of Summer COYER and it's great to be able to chat with all the old participants and meet some new!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!  Well wishes from the Farm!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Save Me, Kurt Cobain - Seriously, Someone Save Me!

TITLE: Save Me, Kurt Cobain
AUTHOR: Jenny Manzer
PUBLISHER: Delacorte Press
PUBLISHING DATE: March 8, 2016

FROM GOODREADS: What if you discovered that Kurt Cobain is not only alive, but might be your real father?

Nico Cavan has been adrift since her mother vanished when she was four—maternal abandonment isn't exactly something you can just get over. Staying invisible at school is how she copes—that and listening to alt music and summoning spirits on the Ouija board with her best friend and co-conspirator in sarcasm, Obe. But when a chance discovery opens a window onto her mom's wild past, it sparks an idea in her brain that takes hold and won't let go.

On a ferry departing Seattle, Nico encounters a slight blond guy with piercing blue eyes wearing a hooded jacket. Something in her heart tells her that this feeling she has might actually be the truth, so she follows him to a remote cabin in the Pacific Northwest. When she is stranded there by a winter storm, fear and darkness collide, and the only one who can save Nico might just be herself.


MY THOUGHTS:  While I hate rating this book so low, because it actually is a pretty well written book and I wouldn't hesitate to read something else by the author, Save Me Kurt Cobain just wasn't a book for me. As an adult, I have read some wonderful YA books and had no trouble feeling connected to the characters, and since this one had 90's music thrown in I had to pick it up, but it missed the mark by a long shot for me.

Nico is a 16 year old living in Victoria, Canada with her father, Verne. When she was 4, Nico's mother Annalee went out, leaving Nico alone, and promised she would be back. However, she never returned. Nico spends her days wondering what happened to her mother. She doesn't really fit in at school and has one true friend, Obe. She loves grunge rock even though it's 2007 and dresses and lives the part. Nico visits her Aunt in Seattle before Christmas and during that time, meets a man she believe to actually be Kurt Cobain...who she also believes is her real father.

I enjoyed the musical references in this book and Manzer titles each chapter with a Nirvana song. Now I was never a big fan of the band, but I know enough about them to recognize quite a few of the titles. I also loved Obe, Nico's best friend. In fact, I wish he appeared more in the book. My main problem while reading this novel was Nico herself. I know she is a troubled teen and I can't imagine not knowing if your Mom really left you, or is something happened to her which prevented her return. In addition, it did appear as if many people were holding secrets about Annalee which they probably should have shared with Nico up front. I even think it's cool she tried to learn more about her mother through the music her mother enjoyed. However, Nico came off as "bratty" to me. She didn't appreciate Verne, her actual father, and pulled some really stupid stunts in the hunt for her mother and the deceased Kurt Cobain. And while on that subject, it's great to be a fan and I've ran into some great ones in the reading and blogging community, but really...Kurt Cobain is your father? Nico's obsession with the man is a tad too over-the-edge for me. I have met some bratty teenagers in my life and I expect some teenage angst from most of them. However, I wanted to reach right in the pages and smack Nico on more than one occasion. In her search for answers about her mother, she was downright cruel and disrespectful to the people who cared about her.

As I mentioned, I do believe this is a well-written book. I think a lot of teens might like it but I'm afraid many would be confused as to all the Nirvana/90's band mentions. I will not hesitate to read another Manzer book in the future, but really wished I hadn't picked this one up when I did. 


RATING: 2 PAWS

 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (61)


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







 
October 18, 2016
FROM GOODREADS: With her inquisitive mind, Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable with the demureness expected of the fairer sex in upper class society.  But even she never thought that she would become a social pariah, an outcast fending for herself on the mean streets of London.

When the city is struck by a trio of unexpected deaths and suspicion falls on her sister and her father, Charlotte is desperate to find the true culprits and clear the family name. She’ll have help from friends new and old—a kind-hearted widow, a police inspector, and a man who has long loved her. But in the end, it will be up to Charlotte, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, to challenge society’s expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind.


WHY I'M WAITING: Before last year, I never really thought I enjoyed historical fiction that much.  However, I have discovered when teamed with mystery and thriller aspects, I enjoy it quite a lot.  Plus, I loved Deanna Raybourn's "A Curious Beginning"  and since the book 2 doesn't come out until forever, I am looking for something to fill the void.

What are you waiting for this week???? 
 

Monday, June 20, 2016

TTT - Top 10 Favorite 2016 Releases So Far!


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 I am looking at my top 10 favorite releases so far for 2016.  I will try to link my reviews when applicable and these are in no particular order.












Still Surviving Henry









So what books made your list so far?  I'm really glad I had lots of 2016 release reads to chose from!