Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Challenge Announcement! - They Call It Puppy Love



So, I wanted to give everyone a heads-up on a challenge I have created and am hosting for the month of February.  It's the "They Call It Puppy Love" challenge and the rules are as follows:


  • Make a sign up post and link it here to the blog.
  • Read at least one book which: has a dog (or cat) on the cover or features a dog (or cat) in it.
  • Do a wrap up post at the end of February with links to your review(s).
Seems easy enough huh?  At the end of the month, I will put all the participants in a bowl and Booker T will pick a lucky winner.  That person will receive a $10.00 gift certificate to Amazon or Book Depository.

Contest is open to everyone.


Monday, January 15, 2018

TTT - Bookish Resolutions

The top 10 weekly meme used to be hosted by The Broke and the Bookish but starting this week, they are handing over the reins to ThatArtsyReaderGirl who can be found HERE.  Each week she will focus on lists which cover various topics related to books and reading. 

This week we are looking at bookish resolutions.  I'm not huge on resolutions so I can't guarantee 10 but here we go.....







1. CREATE SOME NEW CONTENT   
 I've already started on this some.  You may have noticed a new monthly feature starring Booker T and Cassius which will allow us to look at some older books and not just new releases.  Also, Stormi and I have a neat project planned for February.  There is also the "They Call It Puppy Love" mini-reading challenge I'm hosting that month.  I just want to keep things fresh and not fall into a rut.

2.  PARTICIPATE IN SOME DIFFERENT READING CHALLENGES:  
Again, kind of already accomplished.  I love my old challenges and will keep some of my faves (Cloak & Dagger, What an Animal and COYER) but I want to reach outside the box/comfort zone this year.

3.  FIND SOME NEW BLOGS TO LOVE

4.  TRY NOT TO WORRY ABOUT NUMBERS SO MUCH
It's easy to get discouraged with reading progress, number of follows, different social media outlets and followers.  I just want to be providing content that people are enjoying and if I pick up some new followers along the way, great.  If not, I've made a great group of blogging friends and I love visiting with them so all is good.

5.  READ MORE
No-brainer right?  

So there you have it.  It might not be 10 but it's a strong 5 and see #4 :)


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Let Them Eat Cake! - Beneath the Sugar Sky Review

TITLE: Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children #3)
AUTHOR: Seanan McGuire
PUBLISHER: Tor.com
PUBLISHING DATE: January 9, 2018

FROM GOODREADS: Beneath the Sugar Sky returns to Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children. At this magical boarding school, children who have experienced fantasy adventures are reintroduced to the "real" world. 

Sumi died years before her prophesied daughter Rini could be born. Rini was born anyway, and now she’s trying to bring her mother back from a world without magic.

MY THOUGHTS:  I love this series.  I have devoured each book and immediately wanted the next.  In fact, I preordered this and started it the same day it downloaded on my Kindle despite the fact that numerous books were ahead of it.  Each previous book has been a 5/5 read for me and this one was about my favorite character, Sumi, so it was inevitable that  I would love it.  Well...stranger things have happened.

As I mentioned, "Beneath the Sugar Sky" follows Rini, Sumi's daughter, and her quest to save her mother so she can eventually be born.  Sound confusing?  Well, this is the land of the illogical.  We also get some old familiar characters and some new ones as well.  I like Nadya and her turtle fascination and the introduction of Cora, the lost mermaid, was a great addition to the cast.  Even Rini wasn't too unbearable but the world of Confection?  I found like I was lost in a cross between Alice in Wonderland, I Hate Fairyland and Willie Wonka.  And I am one of the few individuals who doesn't like Alice in Wonderland.

I found the land of Confection odd and confusing and without spoiling anything, the way they attempt to save Sumi - huh?  Just huh.  

I will say that I quickly immersed myself in McGuire's writing which is both beautiful and magical.  She has a way of pulling me into her novels which I really can't explain.  And the cover of this book is truly amazing and perhaps my favorite of all three.  I will continue to devour McGuire's work - both new and old.  In addition, I hope this isn't the last we've seen of the Wayward Children though I've heard mention this is the last book in the series.  

My rating for this one pains me.  However, if you love the series, you just have to pick it up.

RATING: 3 PAWS

Friday, January 12, 2018

Stacking the Shelves (143)/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. And it now has a new co-host where individuals can link up as well - Marlene from Reading Reality.  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 by Kimberly@Caffeinated Book Reviewer

So I was naughty and one physical book happened to jump in my cart at Walmart this week.  I swear I tried to talk it out of it but it was adamant that it was sick and tired of Walmart's decor.  And seeing as how this was the day of the biggest fight with Mr. Barb's insurance company (see yesterday's post if your want more details), I just didn't have the energy to tell it no.  Plus, not to imply anything but the girl on the cover looks pretty badass and guns....





I also grabbed Alex and the Other and Sneaking Out from Netgalley.  I really need to know why the cat has green eyes and Sneaking Out sounds really cool.

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


Weekly Reads (01/12/18) - Angels, Demons and More Snow!


So, I headed back to work this week so it's been a week of basically trying to get back into routine.  I won't lie and will admit that I got used to sleeping in kind of late.  The week hasn't really been bad except with January 1st, Mr. Barb's insurance decided to cover different meds than what he takes so we had to go through the hassle of getting a different prescription from his doctor and that office isn't the most efficient so needless to say, I got a little hot under the collar.  All is well now but it's a racket I tell you!  And why should he have to change a med that has worked damn well for 2 years just because the insurance wants to help market some new one????

With football winding down, we did watch a few movies this week and honestly, they were all pretty decent.  First up was "Before I Wake" which Netflix added last Friday.  It was pretty good and the effects were gorgeous (as is this movie ad BTW).

Next up was "Marshall" which I also thought was well done and which also featured one of my favorite actors from "This is Us."  

And finally we watched "Devil's Gate."  Once again, it starred an actor I really adore (Milo Ventimiglia).  I liked it and it was a decent movie but somehow it transitioned from devils and fallen angels to aliens and I'm not quite sure how it happened.  I felt like I was watching the X-Files with Fox and Mulder.

So we are bracing for more winter weather tonight. They are calling for some freezing rain and then 3-5 inches snow.  I have a 3-day weekend so I'm planning on holing up and getting some reading in.  I have 4 books on the stack I'd like to get to this week but I'm kidding myself I know - what can I say, winter is making me delusional.



Hope everyone out there has a wonderful weekend and if you are in the path of any kind of crazy weather - stay safe!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Not Sure I Knew What This Was About...Blood Sisters Review

TITLE: Blood Sisters
AUTHOR: Jane Corry
PUBLISHER: Pamela Dorman Books
PUBLISHING DATE: January 30, 2018

FROM GOODREADS: 
Three little girls set off to school one sunny May morning. 
Within an hour, one of them is dead.
Fifteen years later, Alison and Kitty are living separate lives. Kitty lives in a care home. She can't speak, and she has no memory of the accident that put her here, or her life before it.
Art teacher Alison looks fine on the surface. But the surface is a lie. When a job in a prison comes up she decides to take it - this is her chance to finally make things right.
But someone is watching Kitty and Alison.
Someone who wants revenge for what happened that day.
And only another life will do...
MY THOUGHTS:  I really don't want to give too much away about "Blood Sisters" because I went in to it pretty blindly (and confused but that part is totally on me) and I still really enjoyed it so I think most readers can too.  For some reason, I thought Alison's sister was dead and it led to a shock to me in the beginning but that isn't a spoiler, it was just me not paying close attention to the synopsis.
So Alison and Kitty are half sisters.  They absolutely did not get along growing up and something happens which leads to Kitty suffering a traumatic brain injury which leads her to a permanent care home.  Alison, who always had things together in her life then spirals down a path she might not have chosen which leads to all kinds of problems and issues.  She becomes an artist, because that was one of Kitty's talents before the accident, and eventually lands a job working inside a prison which forces her to start facing her own demons.
This book is told in alternating perspectives between Alison and Kitty.  While I liked Alison better,  Kitty chapters are quite interesting because due to her brain injury, she is perfectly rational in her own mind, but can't express herself and is a prisoner in her own body.  This book also has so many twists and turns that at times, I seriously wondered if the author had anything else to throw at the reader - and guess what, she did.  
I've had pretty good luck with thrillers so far in 2018 which means it will probably run out soon but "Blood Sisters" is another one I would highly recommend and I will be looking for more from this author in the future.
***Trigger warnings - this book does contain rape and self-mutilation so if that is something you shy away from, don't pick it up.  
I received "Blood Sisters" from the Penguin First to Read program exchange for an honest review.
RATING: 4 PAWS

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Can't Wait Wednesday (140) - A Rare Sci-fi Choice


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:
 Two brothers.
Seven vices.
One demonic possession.
Can this relationship survive?

Auben Mutze has more vices than he can deal with—six to be exact—each branded down his arm for all the world to see. They mark him as a lesser twin in society, as inferior, but there’s no way he’ll let that define him. Intelligent and outgoing, Auben’s spirited antics make him popular among the other students at his underprivileged high school. So what if he’s envious of his twin Kasim, whose single vice brand is a ticket to a better life, one that likely won’t involve Auben.

The twins’ strained relationship threatens to snap when Auben starts hearing voices that speak to his dangerous side—encouraging him to perform evil deeds that go beyond innocent mischief. Lechery, deceit, and vanity run rampant. And then there are the inexplicable blood cravings. . . .

On the southern tip of an African continent that could have been, demons get up to no good during the time of year when temperatures dip and temptations rise. Auben needs to rid himself of these maddening voices before they cause him to lose track of time. To lose his mind. And to lose his . . .

TEMPER 

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  I just finished The Prey of Gods and am convinced I now want more from Nicky Drayden.  Her writing seems to be a perfect fit for someone like me who doesn't read a lot of science fiction.  

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

Monday, January 8, 2018

TTT - 10 Books I Didn't Get to in 2017 (but I TOTALLY Plan to Read in 2018)

This top 10 weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and can be found HERE.  However, after this week, there will be a new host for the feature and it can be found over at The Artsy Reader Girl.  Each week they focus on lists which cover various topics related to books and reading. 

This week's topic looks at books we planned in reading in 2017 but didn't quite make it, so we've bumped them to 2018.  Gee, I only get 10????  This shouldn't be too hard.




























I'm pretty sure The Prey of Gods will be the first one up, and then I'll move on to some January review books.  I have to track down a copy of Dogs of War before I read it and I'm not having an easy time of it unless I want to pay more than I usually pay and get it from Book Depository.  

Have you read any of these and which ones would you recommend I knock off first?

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Books to Bark (and crow) About - Episode 1


Hey guys!  Welcome to the inaugural episode of Books to Bark (and crow) about.  Booker T and Cassius here and are we ever excited about visiting with you guys once a month now.  In fact, Mom has said we can officially slate the 2nd Monday of each month as OUR SPECIAL TIME!!!!  We hope during this time we can turn you on to some new books coming out and share with you some older discoveries - we do like to browse for new things to share with Mom while she and Dad are at work.  

So today we are looking at a series we turned Mom onto right before Christmas.  In fact, Mom was so curious she managed to order the whole series (used of course as thrifty is always better).  I think she initially fell in love with the cute Bassets on the covers, but after we told her it was a mystery series, she was sold.  And come on, the MC (oops, better spell it our for Cass since he isn't the blogging pro - main character) has a mouthful of a name.  Let us present....

The Duffy Dombroski Mysteries



Now there seems to be some additional novellas that Mom is just going to have to research and grab for her Kindle because Cass and I couldn't locate physical copies for her.  However, you have to agree these seem right up her alley.  Here's the synopsis for the first one (as we don't want to give away any spoilers for #2 and #3)

FROM GOODREADS: Duffy Dombrowski is not your average social worker. When he's not counseling sex addicts and drug users in a town outside of New York City, you can find him crooning Elvis tunes, getting "Schlitzed" with his quirky friends, or fighting ex-Olympians in the boxing ring. Our less-than-perfect hero occasionally uses his mean left hook on pimps and other lowlifes, too. But at least he cares about his clients. 

When Walanda, a schizophrenic, crack-addicted prostitute, is murdered, Duffy pledges to take care of her basset hound "Allah King" and find her missing stepdaughter, Shony. He's horrified to discover the teenager is ensnared in a web porn ring-a vile enterprise that enslaves crack-addicted women and their children. 
On the verge of losing his job-and his life-Duffy also gets mixed up with a creepy doctor with ties to Pakistani extremists. Still, nothing will stop this conflicted Robin Hood from trying to save Shony and foil a terrorist plot. 

So, we figured these might be books of interest for some of you animal and/or mystery lovers.  

Thanks for joining us and since I promised I would help Cass look for some bird books to share, looks like we have a busy month ahead (how long do you think it will take to explain to him dragons fly to so we can look for some dragon books???)

Until Next Month!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

January 2018 Musts & Mights


So, new year, new graphic and lots of brand new (and old) books to read.  Here's what I'm looking at for the month of January!

MUSTS

MIGHTS


Have you read any of these?  Any of the MIGHTS I should definitely make time for???


Friday, January 5, 2018

Stacking the Shelves (142)/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. And it now has a new co-host where individuals can link up as well - Marlene from Reading Reality.  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 by Kimberly@Caffeinated Book Reviewer


This week I have quite a few things to share.  I'll start off with library books.  I needed to pick up Etched in Bone so I can read an ARC I have for the companion series.  I also couldn't resist grabbing American Drifter because I admit, I'm curious about Chad Michael Murray's writing (especially since he was once on my favorite Gilmore Girls.  


Then I was lucky enough to catch a few books which I had on my Amazon Wishlist for free this 

And finally I have a few review copies (of course) - The Skin Room (#StormiMadeMeDoIt), The Past is Never, Missing Molly, and Dead Links.

So what did you add to your shelves this first week of the new year???


Weekly Reads (01/05/18) - A New Year Begins

So I've decided to do different paws for each month.  I've had enough snow so you're stuck with clouds this months.  So I hope all of you are having a great New Year!  Things at The Farm have been pretty good, except COLD!  However, I guess our state is faring better than some so I'm trying to be a "glass half full" gal.  I really wish winter was over already.

So my vacation officially ends Monday and I really enjoyed having 2 weeks off.  I wanted to get a little more accomplished but see above.  I've spent a lot of times under the blanket doing some reading and doing even more TV watching.  The boys are even going stir crazy because we are apparently good parents and don't want them to freeze their paws off.  At least some of my favorite shows are popping back up.  I also watched a really good series on Shudder called "Black Lake" and hope to share more about it in a 2018 Binge Watchers post later this month.  Also, when in doubt, I can always watch Gilmore Girls again.  It's my go-to show.

Here are the books that are up next on the stack.  

Stay warm and safe everyone!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

A New Favorite Thriller - Two Girls Down Review

TITLE: Two Girls Down
AUTHOR: Louisa Luna
PUBLISHER: Doubleday
PUBLISHING DATE: January 9, 2018

FROM GOODREADS: When two young sisters disappear from a strip mall parking lot in a small Pennsylvania town, their devastated mother hires an enigmatic bounty hunter, Alice Vega, to help find the girls. Immediately shut out by a local police department already stretched thin by budget cuts and the growing OxyContin and meth epidemic, Vega enlists the help of a disgraced former cop, Max Caplan. Cap is a man trying to put the scandal of his past behind him and move on, but Vega needs his help to find the girls, and she will not be denied. 

With little to go on, Vega and Cap will go to extraordinary lengths to untangle a dangerous web of lies, false leads, and complex relationships to find the girls before time runs out, and they are gone forever.
 

MY THOUGHTS:  I always find it a tad bit tricky to review thrillers because often, it's best to go into them knowing very little.  I seriously think that's the case with "Two Girls Down."  When two young girls go missing, the extended family hire Alice Vega, bounty hunter and private detective, to search for them because they have little faith in the town police department.  Vega enlists the help of Max Capling, a local private eye, who once worked for the police himself.  Together, they navigate the twists and turns of the case, hoping that in the end, the two girls will return safely home.

First I must say the mystery element of this novel had me guessing throughout the entire book. Even when it ended, I honestly expected another twist to take place.  Also, while looking for the children, Cap and Vega meet some pretty interesting, and need I say disturbed, individuals.  But my favorite part of "Two Girls Down" were Vega and Cap themselves.  Both are such headstrong and intelligent people who rarely take crap from anyone.  While there really isn't a romantic element between them, as a reader, I almost hoped for one.  Cap's daughter is also a joy and throughout the book, it's evident that she has a future ahead of her in the criminal justice system should she choose.  

If you love thrillers, then I strongly recommend picking this one up. I've been burned by some in the past and whenever I start one, I'm always a tad hesitant. However, "Two Girls Down" did not disappoint me in the slightest.

RATING: 5 PAWS




CHALLENGE FULFILLED: Cloak & Dagger 2018

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Can't Wait Wednesday (139) and a Special Announcement!


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.


SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!  You know how sometimes Cass and I would sneak on the computer when Mom wasn't looking and feature books about/with dogs?  (and birds adds Cass).  Well in 2018 we're getting our own feature!  It won't take the place of any Can't Wait Wednesday memes but once a month, we'll be doing "Books to Bark (and crow) About!"

We won't just be sharing books that are yet to be released, but sharing other books we've discovered and which Mom might be interested in.  We're trying to convince Mom to run it the third Monday of each month but as soon as sometimes is finalized, we'll  let you know.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program....


FROM GOODREADS: Sep, Arkle, Mack, Lamb and Hadley: five friends thrown together one hot, sultry summer. When they discover an ancient stone box hidden in the forest, they decide to each make a sacrifice: something special to them, committed to the box for ever. And they make a pact: they will never return to the box at night; they'll never visit it alone; and they'll never take back their offerings.

Four years later, the gang have drifted apart. Then a series of strange and terrifying events take place, and Sep and his friends understand that one of them has broken the pact.

As their sacrifices haunt them with increased violence and hunger, they realise that they are not the first children to have found the box in their town's history. And ultimately, the box may want the greatest sacrifice of all: one of them. 

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  I'm always on the lookout for any horror, and this YA horror sounds like it will be pretty good.  Plus I want to see what each one offered and how it comes back to haunt them.

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