Wednesday, May 24, 2017

I Think My Detective Skills Are Improving - Bad to the Bone Review

TITLE: Bad to the Bone (Barkery and Biscuits Mystery #3)
AUTHOR: Linda O. Johnston
PUBLISHER: Midnight Ink

FROM GOODREADS:  Veterinary technician Carrie Kennersly, owner of the Barkery & Biscuits bakery for dogs, is reluctant to sell her recipes to pet food manufacturer VimPets. Jack Loroco, a VimPets representative, assures Carrie that it would be a great opportunity to grow her business. His promising new relationship with Carrie's friend, Billi Matlock, doesn't hurt his cause. But the budding romance takes a bad turn when Wanda Addler, another VimPets employee, sets her sights on Jack.

After threatening to ruin Jack's career if he doesn't give her what she wants, Wanda is found dead. Jack and Billi are put at the top of the suspect list, and Carrie is doggone determined to rescue them from a life behind bars.

After pondering this book for a few days, I've had to change my rating but don't worry, that doesn't mean that it's not an enjoyable read and it's still a cozy series I will continue to follow. In "Bad to the Bone," Carrie is still being courted by VimPet, an elite pet food manufacturer, to share some of her healthy recipes which will not only help her pay off her business loan sooner, but which will also provide added publicity for her newly opened "barkery." However, the deal is quickly put on hold because one of the execs, who happens to be a mean and manipulative woman no one really likes, turns up dead. Fortunately for Carrie, she isn't a prime suspect in this murder but two of her friends are so once again, she gets right in the middle of her third murder investigation.

I still enjoy the small town setting and many of the characters in this series. I can also say that Carrie no longer seems to be the "man magnet" I mentioned in my review of the first book and her love life has settled down some. That alone was cause for relief on my part because I hate love triangles (or maybe square was the more appropriate analogy). Carrie's dog Biscuit is still a prominent fixture in the book as is Hugo, her boyfriend's dog which is always a plus. However, I'm still having difficulty with the way this book is written. It's told from Carrie's first person perspective and perhaps because of that, I find some of Carrie's thoughts annoying. For example, she keeps wanting to give her employees a raise, which is totally commendable and understandable, but this thought keeps entering her mind and often at times when I feel she should be focusing on other things. It really is hard to explain but if you look at my reviews of the other two books, you might get a clearer idea of the writing style I find problematic. Also, I was able to deduce the identity of the killer early on in the book and while that normally doesn't bother me, I felt it was such a no-brainer that I just wanted everyone else to catch up so it could be over.

I'm sure I'll continue on with this series which I still consider a cute read. However, I didn't feel this installment was as strong as the other two which is why I bumped the rating down to 3/5.

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


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday (107) - The Definitely Odd Edition

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: Sixteen-year-old Walt thinks he’s left his problems behind him when he runs away from a broken home to live with his eccentric uncle. The simple, semi-rural, semi-anti-social lifestyle seems at first to be exactly what Walt wants, but he soon learns his new life isn’t just about ditching school and drinking beer with his friends.

Uncle Brucker is a Rat Killer; a tireless rat tracker, an expert in rat lore, a speaker of the rat language, and a decorated veteran of two bloody uprisings. His uncle begins to train Walt in the ways of rat killing, and explains to his nephew the ancient and bloody history of men and rats. Before the rise of men, he says, rats ruled the earth. They’ve been hiding in another dimension ever since they were kicked out by humanity, planning to retake the planet.

In the middle of Walt’s training, Uncle Brucker is called away by mysterious men from the government. When he fails to return from his mission, Walt discovers a portal to the rat dimension and realizes he must travel alone to Rat Land to save his uncle. Perhaps the most unusual dark fantasy debut of the year, Uncle Brucker the Rat Killer is a surreal exploration of honor, duty, and inter-dimensional genocide.

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  Every once in a while I stumble across a book that sounds so odd and so weird that I have to give it a try.  That's what happened with this one and now I'm counting the days.  

What book can't you wait for this week???

Monday, May 22, 2017

TTT - A Different Kind of Summer Read

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 is a Summer Reads free topic.  Now when I think of Memorial Day and Summer, I tend to think of long nights staying up late with some scary reads and Jaws marathons, which is probably my favorite beachy movie (don't judge 😏).  So I'm sharing with you 10 horror-related books I hope to read this summer.

Yep, I've seen the movie tons of times and it always reminds me of my Dad as it was one of his faves but I've never read it.  I hope to rectify that this summer.

I'd love to do a re-read of"IT" this summer.  It seems like a perfect time to do it with the new movie coming out but it's a mammoth!

I read "The Hatching" last summer over my July 4th Vacation so I want to continue that tradition and read "Skitter." I really want to know where the story is headed.

This sounds like a blast and I've already committed to reading it with Stormi in June.  It sounds like it will be a great summer monster read.

I really need to get my order in for this one.  I can't resist a new King release.

I adore the creepy cover on this one and it seems like a great summer horror addition.

I bought this one about a month ago and really want to dive into it!

I've really been wanting to give this author a try so if I don't read this one, I hope to definitely pick up another of his books - any suggestions???

I received this one for review and how can I resist a tagline of "The Greatest Monster is Man?"

What's balmy summer nights without a gritty vampire tale?  Hope this one fits the bill.

So, what "beachy" reads do you plan on reading this summer???  Hey, at least there's a beach in Jaws!!!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

No Pointed Hats Allowed - Wytches review

TITLE: Wytches
AUTHOR: Scott Snyder
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
PUBLISHING DATE: June 24, 2015

FROM GOODREADS: Everything you thought you knew about witches is wrong. They are much darker, and they are much more horrifying. Wytches takes the mythology of witches to a far creepier, bone-chilling place than readers have dared venture before. When the Rooks family moves to the remote town of Litchfield, NH to escape a haunting trauma, they're hopeful about starting over. But something evil is waiting for them in the woods just beyond town. Watching from the trees. Ancient...and hungry.

I've been wanting to read this for ages so I was thrilled when I finally found a copy at my local library. "Wytches" tells the story of Sailor and her family. There was some trauma in their previous town regarding Sailor and the disappearance of a classmate so the family moves to make a fresh start. Her father clearly has some issues of his own going on and her mother had a bad accident which left her wheelchair-bound. Strange things start happening and Sailor is kidnapped by evil "wytches" who live in the forest. Apparently people can "pledge" children to these entities in return for favors. Sailor's father sets out to save Sailor and uncovers a lot of secrets along the way.

I really liked the premise of this graphic novel. I think the idea would be great played out in a movie or more lengthy novel. It was definitely terrifying and scary in all the right places and the ending provided enough twists and turns to keep the reader on their toes. While the artwork was good, in places, it was also messy. Basically some of the pages were intentionally done in a haphazard fashion, I suppose to heighten the darkness of the plot. but I found those visually annoying. There was too much going on with those pages for my brain to sift through what it was supposed to be seeing (this might have been complicated by the fact that I read it while on cold medicine too - perhaps not the greatest choice).

There is some narrative at the end of the book which I enjoyed reading and which shows this project really was a labor of love for Snyder. I'm glad I was finally able to make time for "Wytches" and if you are a fan of horror tales and graphic novels, I would definitely recommend picking it up.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Stacking the Shelves (111) / Sunday Post

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'm also now linking up with the Sunday Post which is hosted byKimberly@Caffeinated Book Reviewer.  I'm hoping to discover some new blogs to love.

I did have to make a trip to the library this week after receiving notice that 2 of my requests were in. I swear I do not remember requesting these books or asking the library to order them but I'm happy to have them nonetheless.  Can't wait to see what trouble Tony Chu gets into next in Vol 3 and Vol 4.

I found some pretty decent books listed on Kindle for free so Paul Anka grabbed them up.  I'm always afraid I'll want it later and it won't be free anymore?  #Kindledilemma. "When Darkness Falls" is an occult-centered book, "The Parasite" is straight-out horror (and I've read other good things by the author) and "Undertaking Irene" is a mystery.  "Made a Killing" is the first in a series of Scottish crime books which I thought might be interesting.  They say "Email From a Vampire" is Sookie Stackhouse meets London and another Amy Cross book, "The Ash House" showed up.  All of these were free when I grabbed them but as usual, check before you click.

Finally I've scored some awesome review books!  "Murder on Black Swan Lane" is the start to a new series and "The Goblins of Bellwater" involves goblin curses and I'm fascinated by the idea of goblins.  I think I jumped up and down when I received approval for "Odd & True" and "The Party" might be a decent thriller (although I've not had great thriller luck lately but maybe "You Were Here" has changed that pattern).

So what books did you add to your stacks this week?  Hope everyone has a great weekend and is avoiding storms and bad weather if you live in the US.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Weekly Reads (05/19/17)

I've been feeling pretty much under the weather since Monday and even had to take a sick day.  I don't know if it's allergy related or a full-blown cold but I've been trying to rest and pump vitamin C. I'm really not surprised as busy as the last few weeks have been.

Booker T had a wonderful birthday and it was pretty much a whole weekend celebration.  Saturday he had to go to the vet and get shots (which he doesn't mind) and Cass went along.  We are trying to get Cass used to riding in Mr. Barb's Kia.  He usually just rides with me in my truck.  Then they went for walks that evening.  Sunday we took them both to the local pet store where Booker T got to pick out anything he wanted.  He found some snacks, he and Cass picked up adorable "tough toys" - a bull and a tiger, and then T fell in love with a stuffed star - go figure.  Guess he knows he's the star in the family.  Then Sunday evening we took him to the field in front of our local high school where he and Cass could run and roam.  It's his absolute favorite place.  Tuesday night, his actual birthday, he had pupcakes and ice cream and got some treats.  I have pics but due to feeling poorly all week, I'll have to post them next week.

We got a month free of Hulu (and unfortunately will probably subscribe due to the new Stephen King series "Castle Rock" which is starting up).  We watched all of "Freakish" which is entertaining because it's a bunch of dumb high schoolers trying to survive a zombie outbreak.  We also finished watching "Frontier" on Netflix which I am now a huge fan of and can't wait for season 2.  I also binge watched "Girlboss" while I was sick and found it freaking' hilarious.

This week I hope to sleep and read...and maybe sleep some more - haha!  Here's what's up on the stack.  Looks like I'm in the mood for cozy mysteries and horror.

Hope everyone has a safe and happy week!!!!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Time Weaver Tour

Time Weaver: Heart of Cogs
Jacinta Maree
(Time Collector #1)
Publication date: February 21st 2017
Genres: Steampunk, Supernatural, Young Adult
I have a clock for a heart…and the man who put it there tried to take it out.
Time Collectors are modern day genies capable of exchanging wishes for time. Elizabeth Wicker lives within a steampunk world riddled with the supernatural. Among the stories of witches, Bacts, and other monsters, Time Collectors remain as the greatest hushed secret among the noble families. They are temptation’s greatest tools. A contract with a Time Collector is a guaranteed death sentence, and for some the price isn’t worth the prize. But when Elizabeth is struck down by a fatal heart attack, she finds herself trapped beneath a Time Collector’s blade. With no time left to offer, she makes a desperate sacrifice for a second chance at life. If there’s only one truth, it is a Time Collector will always come back to collect.

MY THOUGHTS:  I fell in love with this cover and think it's quite reflective of the book.   I've been trying out some new genres and while I'm not sure steampunk is for me, I still found this to be an interesting concept and enjoyable read.  I liked the added element of supernatural beings and especially enjoyed the interaction between Klaus and Elizabeth.  I have to admit I don't know that I ever really connected to Elizabeth, and at times found her rather boring at times. However, the fast pacing and author's imagination managed to keep the book soaring along despite my concerns.

If you love fantasy, steampunk and supernatural elements, "Time Weaver" should definitely go on your radar.  I am curious enough that I will probably pick up the next one when it releases and haven'r given up on steampunk quite yet.
Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Author Bio:
Born in Melbourne Australia, Jacinta Maree considers herself a chocoholic with an obsession with dragons and Japan. Published in 2012 to USA publisher Staccato Publishing, Jacinta writes a variety of genres from YA paranormal, steampunk, horror and fantasy. Winner of 2014 Horror of the year and best selling author, Jacinta writes to answer all of her absurd questions and to explore themes and characters not often seen in main media.


Blue's Prophecy Blog Tour

TITLE: Blue's Prophecy (The Canis Chronicles #1)
AUTHOR: Emily Ross
PUBLISHER: Titletown Publishing, LLC

FROM GOODREADS: Two genetically altered dogs, two different fates. One is Robo, a beloved Great Dane, who is tricked out of the embrace of his human family and then is horribly altered by an evil scientist who rebuilds him with robotic parts, weaponizing the dog for money from the military. But that s not all the scientist does the experiments he conducts leave Robo a genius, almost immortal and with powers beyond explanation. But the horror Robo experiences at the scientist's hands changes him driving him insane with the sole mission to destroy all humans, especially those who have tortured and hurt dogs.

Meanwhile, a scrappy alley husky sits in a shelter, when she with her blue eyes and tough wolf-like features captures the attention of another group of scientists desperate to stop Robo from his path of destruction. This dog, called Blue, could be the chosen one to fight and defeat Robo. She is also genetically enhanced and left with glowing turquoise eyes before being released to face Robo s vicious dog army. Her mission: save human civilization and the packs of dogs she's grown to love.

MY THOUGHTS: I was quite happy to join the blog tour for Ross' first book, Blue's Prophecy because when I saw the cover, I'm pretty sure it was love at first sight. I'm also really impressed that the author is so young (13) and this is her first publication. While some areas of the book presented some problems for me, overall it was a quick, action-packed read and I can see quite a few middle-graders, young adults and even adults enjoying this one as well.

There are two main characters in the book, a Great Dane named Robo and a Husky mix named Blue. Robo used to have a loving family but because of a crazy scientific vet who wants to use dogs as military weapons, he is ripped away from his human family and made into some cyborg/dog hybrid. This triggers a lot of anger in Robo so he eventually escapes and become leader of movement made up of dogs who are out to end the human race. Robo is consumed by hate and considers no human worthy of being saved. Blue has been a stray all her life and has known very little love. However, she meets two young pups who she rescues from getting hit and slowly but surely, starts showing a softer side. In addition, Blue is also genetically enhanced but is just learning to use her powers. Blue becomes "The Chosen One" and starts a rebellion to stop Robo and his evil plan.

I really liked the underlying message of this book. Pretty much it shows the canine/human bond and what happens when "bad" dog owners intervene. There are lots of different breeds throughout the book and the book is never dull. The reason why I didn't rate is higher than 3/5 is basically due to personal preference. I have a really hard time reading books with dog violence and death, even when it's done by other dogs. The book was written well and none of what occurred was in bad taste. However, it's just hard for me to stomach. In addition, there is a cliffhanger at the end and I sort of wished it had just been a stand alone novel.

That being said, Ross should be proud of her accomplishment and I will definitely be keeping an eye open for any future works. I will also more than likely pick up any sequel because I have gotten attached to quite a few characters in the book and I really want to know what happens next.



Emily Ross, 13, is a fifth generation writer and an owner of three dogs, Balta, Buddy and Zoey. Her prose exceeds her years, with Emily starting work on Blue's Prophecy, a science fiction/fantasy book for pre-teens and teens, when she was 10. Living in Atlanta, Emily is also an animator and a skilled archer, and relaxes by playing the double bass in her middle school orchestra. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday (106)

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 GOOREADS: A collection of four chilling novels, ingeniously wrought gems of terror from the brilliantly imaginative, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Fireman, Joe Hill

“Snapshot” is the disturbing story of a Silicon Valley adolescent who finds himself threatened by “The Phoenician,” a tattooed thug who possesses a Polaroid Instant Camera that erases memories, snap by snap.

A young man takes to the skies to experience his first parachute jump. . . and winds up a castaway on an impossibly solid cloud, a Prospero’s island of roiling vapor that seems animated by a mind of its own in “Aloft.”

On a seemingly ordinary day in Boulder, Colorado, the clouds open up in a downpour of nails—splinters of bright crystal that shred the skin of anyone not safely under cover. “Rain” explores this escalating apocalyptic event, as the deluge of nails spreads out across the country and around the world.

In “Loaded,” a mall security guard in a coastal Florida town courageously stops a mass shooting and becomes a hero to the modern gun rights movement. But under the glare of the spotlights, his story begins to unravel, taking his sanity with it. When an out-of-control summer blaze approaches the town, he will reach for the gun again and embark on one last day of reckoning.

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  First of all, it's Joe Hill.  Secondly, look at that creepy yet gorgeous cover.  And lastly, it sounds terrific.   




Monday, May 15, 2017

TTT - Mother's Day Freebie

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. 

So today is a Mother's Day freebie.  Now I don't want to offend any mothers out there because yes, you do deserve to be celebrated.  But what about those who can't have kids?  Or the ones who chose not to have kids?  Where is their holiday?  Little biased aren't we?

So in light of my feelings, I am sharing with you the best Doggy Mom's I've ran across in books. ENJOY!!!

Alex Halstad from "House Trained."  Alex is motherless by choice and would rather parent her dog Marie instead. 

Jane Bailey lost both her husband and her dog within weeks of each other - and she actually thinks she mourning her dog more.  If you can't tell, Jackie Bouchard writes awesome Dog Moms and she herself is one as well (waving at Jackie and Rita).

Elvis' mom Callie Jones is a wonderful pet parent...even if Elvis has yet to forgive her for adopting other pets as well.  

Mac Harris not only rescues Tulip from an alley, she quickly decides to adopt her as well.  In return, Tulip reunites her with her former fling, Gavin, who just happens to be the town vet.

I can't forget Smooshie's mom, Lily.  She also adopts Smooshie and they quickly become the best of friends.  She allows Smooshie to kiss her in the face and always makes room for her in bed.

Erin Taylor Young has written two wonderful books about her dog Henry.  Erin dearly loved the Henry despite all his issues and her books are must-reads for any dog lover (especially boxer lovers).

Almost all of Dillon's books are full of great dog moms but this one featuring Gina Bellamy and her rescue greyhound Buzz is one of my favorites.

Sara Renault loves her dog Cody and is a good mom until  she fell in love with someone who didn't care for dogs in the beginning.  Let's just put her in the questionable dog mom category for now.

It's no surprise McKinlay is now writing contemporary books featuring dogs because Lindsey, the town librarian is a wonderful Dog Mom to her pup Heathcliff (and I love the name too!)

McCoy wrote one of the best cozy mysteries series featuring dogs that I have found.  It's sad that she passed away before finishing the last book. However, Ellie and her relationship with her dog Rudy is one of the best I've seen in the cozy category.

So hope all mothers, no matter 2 legged or 4 legged children, had a wonderful holiday!  And yes, I do get Mother's Day gifts from the pups so the holiday isn't completely lost on me,