Friday, March 31, 2017

Stacking the Shelves (105)


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 really didn't buy any books this week except maybe a few odd Amazon deals I saw.  I pretty much have a budget in my head each month for Amazon books so when I see them really cheap-, I usually grab them rather than just waiting.  I also received a few ARCs for review.  Let's look at them first. 

"Lies She Told" sounds like a pretty good thriller which is due out in September.  I liked the sound of "The Somnambulist and Psychic Thief" which is the start of a new series.  It comes out in May and I'm on the search for a book which will fill the place of my Veronica Speedwell mysteries until the next one comes out next year.  Also, I read "Winter at the Dog & Duck" although it was called "Christmas at the Dog & Duck" in December last year and really liked it so I was thrilled to see "Summer at the Dog & Duck" appear for request.  I received a very speedy approval too,


I also grabbed  a few books from Amazon as I previously mentioned.  They were either free or really cheap (under $3.00) - I don't remember which.  "The Hollows" sounded interesting and I'm slowly collecting the Mexican Cafe Cozy Mystery books when I see them for free. " A Lying Witch"caught my attention because I'm a sucker for witches.



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

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Weekly Reads (03/31/17) - Where I Spent All Week on the Warpath!


First of all, I can't believe this is the last day of March.  Where did it go?  I swear the older you get the faster time flies.  I guess it's been a decent month here at The Farm.  Mr. Barb's job switch continues to go well and in in about 5 weeks he'll graduate college as well.  However, there has been a major blemish on March.  Remember a few weeks back when I mentioned the cousin drama at Grandpa's and how they better not mess with him?  Well, apparently THEY don't read my blog. There was another big fight last week (and usually it's between cousin and his wife) and Grandpa told them they needed to move out.  He even left his home - the home he built with his own hands - and stayed in a motel all weekend so he wouldn't have to deal with them (he'd have stayed with us but 95 years old and HUGE lovable pups don't mix - plus we have a 2-story home so it would be hard on him). He hung out with Mr. Barb and me a lot and we made sure he was well taken care of.  He returned home and now they refuse to take their kids and move out.  Never mind that they have stolen off of him, lied to him, borrowed more money than imaginable and never paid a bill in the past 6 months.  My Uncle is getting off the barge on Thursday night (yesterday as you are reading this) and coming home to snatch cousin and his wife up and make them leave.  They better do something before I go visit Grandpa tomorrow.

The pups are doing well and got to enjoy some sunshine, when it hasn't been raining.  I managed to get some reading done this past week but mainly because I made time for it.  All in all it's been a decent month which I'll talk more about in my wrap up.  Anyway, I hope to get some good reading done this weekend as well as some cleaning that was put off last weekend.  Here's what I'm reading now and what's up next:



So as you can see, I want to get a lot of reading done this weekend and next week.  I get grumpy when I don't get to read and I've said it once and I'll say it again, the cousins need to stop messing with my serenity!!!!  

What are you plans this week?  Reading anything good??

Booker T's First Guest Post


Hey guys, make sure you stop by Auntie Chuckles blog at Chuckles Book Cave today and see my very first guest post!  Thanks Auntie Chuckles!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Two Bloggers One Book - The Jekyll Revelation



This month Stormi and I decided to read an ARC that's been sitting on our shelves for a few months (or technically on our Kindle) - The Jekyll Revelation by Robert Masello.  Stormi and I have chatted back and forth about it the past week or so and I'm interested to see her final review because I do believe this is a book I might have enjoyed a tad bit more than her.  Once you read my review, make sure to hop over to Stormi's blog and see what she thought.  Anyway, without further adieu...
TITLE: The Jekyll Revelation
AUTHOR: Robert Masello
PUBLISHER: 47 North
PUBLISHING DATE: November 8, 2016

FROM GOODREADS: While on routine patrol in the tinder-dry Topanga Canyon, environmental scientist Rafael Salazar expects to find animal poachers, not a dilapidated antique steamer trunk. Inside the peculiar case, he discovers a journal, written by the renowned Robert Louis Stevenson, which divulges ominous particulars about his creation of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It also promises to reveal a terrible secret—the identity of Jack the Ripper.

Unfortunately, the journal—whose macabre tale unfolds in an alternating narrative with Rafe’s—isn’t the only relic in the trunk, and Rafe isn’t the only one to purloin a souvenir. A mysterious flask containing the last drops of the grisly potion that inspired Jekyll and Hyde and spawned London’s most infamous killer has gone missing. And it has definitely fallen into the wrong hands.


MY THOUGHTS:  I have looked forward to reading this book for ages but never made time for it. So when one of my best blogging buddies suggested we read it together to feature on our "Two Bloggers One Book" I was thrilled. However, while it saddens me to admit it, "The Jekyll Revelation" is not the book for everyone. It is very slow in places and I think my love for Jack the Ripper and anything Gothic and Victorian in nature is what helped me through. Also, I would love to give the book 3.5/5 but since Goodreads simply doesn't allow it (and why not BTW?) I guess I must conform and because of the elements listed above, go with 4/5.

"The Jekyll Revelation" is told entirely in two alternating timelines. First you have Rafe Salazar who is an environmental scientist studying coyotes in drought-stricken Topanga, California. Then you have Robert Louis Stevenson's diary which tells the second tale. And let me warn you, it takes a LONG time for these two plot lines to link together in any real fashion. While working in the mountains one day, Rafe stumbles across an old trunk floating in a pond. He finds nothing of interest in it except for some old Victorian clothes and a journal written by none other than Stevenson himself. Rafe's tale takes him on an adventure which has him battling clandestine meth labs and bikers and fighting the feelings for his landlady while struggling to take care of his disabled sister as well and protect the canyon coyotes.

Stevenson's tale is one of mystery and intrigue, with a lot of information dumping scattered throughout. Battling an illness, he and his family travel to a remote location where he can receive experimental treatment. The doctor manages to infuse Stevenson with a tonic containing wolf blood which has some lasting effects on all who take it. Stevenson, who is famous for "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" starting penning the famous novel and as time progresses, we learn of his true inspiration for his tale. Also, around the same time, Jack the Ripper begins stalking his prey but is there a connection to Stevenson and his groundbreaking horror tale?

Masello must have a heck of an imagination because there are so many different elements in this book and as if there werem't enough, he even throws a popular theater owner - Bram Stoker - into the mix. At times I found the book confusing and hard to follow and I honestly think Masello could have written two separate tales and the stories would have been just as good. The two really only overlap at the very end and while it was a nice connection, it could have went without happening. Also, maybe I missed something but I think there was an element that never did get wrapped up well. Rafe finds giant tracks in Topanga early in the novel which could not possible belong to the coyotes he's tracking and I'm not sure if the reader ever really learns where they came from. Miranda, the landlady, also encounters that giant wolf and unless I'm mistaken, it's presence is never explained well.

So in retrospect, which sometimes happens after putting my thoughts down on "paper," I'm going with 3/5. I liked the book but it didn't overwhelm me and since I've now taken a good look at my thoughts, I realize quite a few flaws have grabbed hold of my book-filled mind. Overall, if you like Gothic takes, are fascinated with Jack the Ripper (like I apparently am) and don't mind dueling timelines, you might enjoy "The Jekyll Revelation." Just don't prepare for a quick read and at best, just enjoy the slow ride through some often confusing and sometimes terrifying landscapes.


RATING: 3 PAWS
 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday (100) - Cassius Celebrates 100!


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.

Hey guys, it's me, Cassius (even though Mom refuses to change the C.W.W. photo).  I'm finally no longer grounded and get to play on the blog again.  I've been busy making amends to Booker T and he forgave me quite easily for my transgressions and I'm extremely grateful.  Oh, and Mom and Dad must love me A LOT because I still get to sleep in the bed at night.  So here's my pick for this week! 

 

FROM GOODREADS: Plenty of legends surround the infamous Boulder House in Whispering Bluffs, Wisconsin, but nobody takes them seriously. Certainly nobody believes that the original owner, Maxwell Cartwright Jr., cursed its construction—or that a murder of crows died upon its completion, their carcasses turning the land black. If anyone did believe it all, there’s no way River Red High would offer a field trip there for the senior class.

Five very different seniors on the trip—Violet, Paul, Ashley, Dylan, and Gretchen—have reasons beyond school spirit for not ditching the trip. When they’re separated from the group, they discover that what lies within Boulder House is far more horrifying than any local folklore. To survive, they’ll have to band together in ways they never could have imagined and ultimately confront the truths of their darkest selves.
 


WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  This is marked as a Young Adult horror so I think Mom will like it.  I know she likes horror and I can recall her saying something about me being lucky to survive young adulthood when I beat up Booker T - whatever that means. Either way, it has a creepy BIRD on the cover and you know how I feel about birds.


On another note:  In all seriousness guys, thanks for being so supportive to Mom when the incident happened with me and Booker T.  I really broke Mom's heart and I know she loves me and I'm doing so much better now and promise her, dad and everyone else that it will never happen again.  Thanks for welcoming me back to the blog.

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

Monday, March 27, 2017

TTT - Authors I'd Love to Meet


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 authors I'd love to meet.  Since I pretty much live in the middle of nowhere though, I don't see this happening.








Everyone knows Stephen King is "King" of horror. Well, at least that's my opinion and he's probably my all-time choice for author's I'd like to meet - but I'd probably fangirl too much!

Yes, I'd like to have a cup of coffee with Lauren Graham.  Technically I can include her on this list because I've read both her non-fiction and fiction works.  I imagine it would be such a fun conversation.  

I've communicated with Stuart through emails and he even did an interview here at The Farm.  So I feel like I've sort of met him.  He writes such interesting characters and I'd love to sit down and learn more about him.  Plus I want to ask him how his dog's recovery is going.

I've loved everything I've ever read by Lucy and she even sent me a tweet once after Booker T left a review about a dog in one of her books.  I think she is a really great lady!

Moore's books make me laugh, giggle and think.  I think that's a good combination so I'd love to chat with him.

There's a catch here - I'd like for Anne Rice to give me a tour of a graveyard in New Orleans.  I think she would weave a great tour and it would add to the spookiness I think of when I think of her - which is a good thing.

I've read so many of Harris' books and would love to see if she ever considers revisiting Bon Temps.  Plus, I NEED to know if there will be any more Midnight, Texas books.
Along with King, Koontz is a writer I loved to devour when I was a teen.  I think his older works are still some of his bests.  I've also always admired the bond between him and his dogs.

Simply would just want to thank her in person for "The Others" series and express my gratitude that there is going to be a spin-off series.  

Anyone who knows me knows I love the Sin du Jour series.  Wallace writes such awesome fantasy books that I'd simply want to know what he is thinking.  And I think there might be alcohol involved.

So there you have it.  I probably could have added a few more and I really wanted to put Poe on the list and then realized that sent the wrong message about my mortality so I didn't.  Maybe in the afterlife.  Who made your list this week?


Chew Vol. 2 - Man the Things This Guy Eats!

TITLE: Chew Vol. 2 International Flavor
AUTHOR: John Layman and Rob Guillory
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
PUBLISHING DATE: June 22, 2010

FROM GOODREADS:  Tony Chu, the cibopathic federal agent with the ability to get psychic impressions from the things he eats, is on a bizarre new case. A newly discovered fruit takes Agent Chu to a remote island full of secrets, Presenting the second storyline of IGN.com's pick for Best Indie Series of 2009 and MTV Splash Page.com's pick for Best New Series of 2009. Find out what the fuss is about in this latest a twisted and darkly funny comic about cops, crooks, cooks, cannibals and clairvoyants.strangeness-and a shadowy killer with a particularly sinister appetite.

MY THOUGHTS: 
So I knew I wanted to pick this one up sooner rather than later since I enjoyed the first one so much. This time Tony Chu ends up going across seas to a tropical island in search of a new plant which is causing a lot of trouble. It's a cross between a frog and something else (can't really recall) and it's been genetically engineered to taste exactly like chicken.

Tony's old partner from the first book turns up and is now working with the Special Crimes Unit of the FDA. There is a unique love/hate relationship between the two men which I find super amusing. Also, Tony's new boss is still out to get him and loves to point him in the direction of cases where he will have to taste the most disgusting things in order to solve them. We get to learn a tad more about Tony's brother whom I find really annoying and I will say in the end, I think he got exactly what he has had coming for quite some time.

This is a fun lighthearted read with some pretty dark plots and interesting tales. I'm really excited to continue on as there are some mysteries which remain unsolved. Again, the artwork is great and a lot of fun. Now I only hope I can convince my local library to order a few more volumes because I don't want to spend my book money on graphic novels - they are too pricey considering I finish them so quickly.


RATING: 4 PAWS
 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Stacking the Shelves (104)


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.

I kind of had binge at First to Read.  I don't always find many reads I REALLY want to read but this last selection was different and I had the points to use so I grabbed three of them.  I probably don't need to say anything about "About a Dog."  I've seen tons of hype for "Flame in the Mist" and although hype has burned me before, I am really interested.  And finally, I saw "You Were Here" on another blog, (I think Tammys Books Bones & Buffy) so #Tammymademedoit.


I also got the following two books via Netgalley and the publishers.  I featured "The Witchfinder's Sister" a few months back on W.O.W. (how awesome is the last name Underdown???) and couldn't resist "Dog Days of Voodoo."



Plus I grabbed these three titles for free from Amazon.  There was no way I was going to miss "Mastiffs, Mystery and Murder" (thanks Lauren for pointing it out).  "Dolly Biters" sounds odd which is always good in my book and "Here Comes the Night" is strictly a cover grab.


So overall I think I grabbed a lot of fun books this week and quite a variety.  What did you add to your collections this week???



Thursday, March 23, 2017

Weekly Reads (03/24/17)


So it's officially Spring and I'm wearing more clothing now than I did in January and February.  Not only do I think the weather is confused, but it's confusing me as well.  The Farm has been very calm and serene this week and I hope this is the beginning of a new trend.  We have been planning some backyard projects and looking at a few things we want to do around the house this Spring and Summer as long as the weather cooperates.  Booker T and Cassius are doing great except I wish someone would tell them they don't need to wake Mom up in the middle of the night to go outside and see if the raccoon that visited a few weeks ago has returned.

We watched a few movies this past week which I think were pretty good or at least entertaining,  First we streamed "Passengers."  I don't think it got very good reviews but I have to be honest, I really liked it.  Mr. Barb didn't and I can see his point.  It's advertised as a space thriller (I think) and it really was 75% romance/love story.  If you like action, it's probably not the movie for you.  I liked the characters and the story though.  Then we watched "Brimstone" which I believe is a straight to streaming movie.  It has some fairly big names (Kit Harrington, Dakota Fanning, Guy Pearce - and oh, did I mention Kit Harrington).  It's a suspenseful western with a really creepy Reverend (Pearce) and is told in 4 chapters.  Let me just tell you it confirms my belief that the scariest people in horror/thriller movies are people themselves and not monsters.

It's also looking to be a decent reading month.  I'm trying to catch up on my Goodreads challenge and at least making progress.  I've really enjoyed the last few books/graphic novels I've read so I hope the trend continues.  Here's what's up on this weeks stack and I think I may be able to get them done before March is finished.


I hope you all have lots of fun stuff planned this weekend/week ahead and thanks for stopping by.  I love hearing from my regular visits and enjoy new people stopping by and commenting as well.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Elvis Has Entered the Building

TITLE: Elvis and the Grateful Dead (A Southern Cousins Mystery #2)
AUTHOR: Peggy Webb
PUBLISHER: Kensington
PUBLISHING DATE: October 1, 2009

FROM GOODREADS: In the second work in Webb's rollicking mystery series filled with Southern-fried wit and lovably eccentric characters, Callie Valentine and her incomparable Basset hound, Elvis, must uncover a murderer who's leaving residents of the King's hometown all shook up.


MY THOUGHTS: This book was a complete blast to read and I honestly don't know why I read so long to read book two considering I really enjoyed book one as well. Callie and her cousin/best friend Lovie have a southern knack for finding themselves smack dab in the middle of murder mysteries and this time around, all the drama and fun takes place during an Elvis festival in their hometown. All of a sudden, an Elvis impersonator ends up dead and then two...and then three...you get the point. To make matters worse, Lovie, who catered most of the food for the event, is the prime suspect.

The characters in this book really are hilarious. Callie seems to be the most stable other than her Uncle Charlie and even saying that, she manages to find herself in loads of sticky situations. Lovie is hilarious and only has one thing on her mind and being a murder suspect isn't it. Finally, Callie's husband who deeply cares about her even though they are separated is still always showing up at the right time. I wish Callie would open her eyes regarding Jack, but with new town vet Champ now in the picture, I'm not sure it will even happen. The mystery wasn't too easy to figure out and at the end, the motive for the murders was so ludicrous yet so plausible.

Finally we come to Elvis, and yes, he deserves his own paragraph. Callie's basset Elvis is a main character in this series and he adds so much color commentary to the books that one can't help but adore him. At first I thought Elvis just felt he was the actual Elvis reincarnated, but after this book, I think he IS actually supposed to be reincarnated Elvis. Elvis is a joy and throughout the book there are chapters called "Elvis' Thoughts On....." where he discussed what is going on from a dog's point of view. They were clearly my favorite.

If you love cozy mysteries and if you enjoy books with southern wit and charm, you have to give this series a try. I'm just grateful one of my local libraries has the rest of the series (6 in all) because I don't plan on waiting another 2 years before picking the next one up. 


RATING: 4 PAWS



BOOKER T's THOUGHTS: It's been a while since I've shared my thoughts but I just had to add a few comments about Elvis.  Elvis is an awesome basset and I've always liked bassets since my brother Cooper (who is playing at Rainbow Bridge) fell in love with Suzie down the street.  Anyway, Callie clearly can't survive with Elvis and there were many times in the book where I felt like he was the only sane character.  He's very bright and loyal.  I'm kind of sad that his parents Callie and Jack are divorcing, but have all the faith in the world that Elvis will eventually bring them back together.  

Now, it might seem a little odd that Elvis used to be the real "King" but hey, stranger things have happened.  However, this has sparked a serious conversation with my brother Cassius.  He is now saying that he is Muhammid Ali (Cassius Clay) reincarnated and that is why he lost control and "beat" me up.  I told him I wasn't born yesterday and that he was born a few years before Ali passed and reincarnation doesn't work that way.  I sent him off to the drawing board to try to come up with a new excuse.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday (99)



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:  Lakin, West Virginia, 1930.  
Following the suicide attempt and consigned to a segregated insane asylum, attorney James P.D. Gardner finds himself under the care of Dr. James Boozer,  Fresh out of medical school, Dr. Boozer is eager to try the new talking cure for insanity, and encourages his elderly patient to reminisce about his experiences as the first black attorney to practice law in nineteenth-century West Virginia. Gardner's most memorable case was one in which he helped to defend a white man on trial for the murder of his young bride - a case that the prosecution based on the testimony of a ghost.

Greebrier, West Virgina, 1897.  Beautiful, willful Zone Heaster has always lived in the mountains of West Virginia,  Despite her mother's misgivings, Zona marries Erasmus Trout Shue, the handsome blacksmith who has recently come to Greenbrier County.  After weeks of silence from the newlyweds, riders come to the Heaster's place to tell them that Zona has died from a fall, attributed to a recent illness.  Mary Jane is determined to get justice for her daughter.  A month after the funeral, she informs the county prosecutor that Zona's ghost appeared to her, saying that she had been murdered.  An autopsy, ordered by the reluctant prosecutor, confirms her claim.

The Greenbrier Ghost is renowned in American folklore, but Sharyn McCrumb is the first author to look beneath the legend to unearth the facts.  Using a century of genealogical material and other historical documents, McCrumb reveals new information about the story and brings to life the personalities in the trial: the prosecutor, a former Confederate cavalryman; the defense attorney, a pro-Union bridgeburner, who nevertheless had owned slaves; and the mother of the murdered woman, who doggedly sticks to her ghost story - all seen through the eyes of a young black lawyer on the cusp of a new century, with his own tragedies yet to come.

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  I've been to both of these locations and growing up and living in West Virginia, I've heard a few takes of the Greenbrier Ghost.  I stumbled in this one a few months ago and I think it will be a really interesting read.

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


Monday, March 20, 2017

TTT - Books I Pretty Much Devoured in 2 Days or Less


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 I devoured (or basically read really quickly because I thought they were so good).









Don't think I need to say more.  This was the first book I read in 2017 and by far it's one of the best.

I don't read a lot of biographies but I have picked them up from time to time. I read this in 2012 because Ice T is my favorite character on Law & Order: SVU.  Such a engrossing read.

I love this entire series and have found all of them really fast reads.  I wish there were more books scheduled.

This book is so hilarious and fun I think I read it in one afternoon.

I think because this is told in emails, it made it fly by really quickly.  

I always fly through Lucy Dillon's books and this one was no exception.  Plus, I love any excuse to show this cover.

This book is awesome - pun intended!  Plus the author is also Hillary Monahan who writes other horror titles as well as this one.

Ok so technically this is a novella and it's easier to read it all in one sitting but I think I would have even if it had been longer - and oh I wish it had been longer.

One of my favorite books of last year.  It's so fast paced and I loved it so much that I couldn't put it down.

I loved this series and found all of the books really quick reads.  I kept waiting for the next installment to be released but it kept getting pushed back and I finally gave up.  Not sure what happened to the author or this series so if anyone knows, please clue me in.