Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Can't Wait Wednesday (300)


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: USA Today bestselling author Samantha Downing is back with her latest sneaky thriller set at a prestigious private school—complete with interfering parents, overeager students, and one teacher who just wants to teach them all a lesson…

Teddy Crutcher has won Teacher of the Year at the esteemed Belmont Academy, home to the best and brightest.

He says his wife couldn't be more proud—though no one has seen her in a while.

Teddy really can’t be bothered with the death of a school parent that’s looking more and more like murder or the student digging a little too deep into Teddy’s personal life. His main focus is on pushing these kids to their full academic potential.

All he wants is for his colleagues—and the endlessly meddlesome parents—to stay out of his way.

It's really too bad that sometimes excellence can come at such a high cost.

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  I saw this for the first time last week - I think over at The BiblioSanctum .  I loved He Started It when I read it this year and it would have been a 5/5 read if it hadn't been for the last paragraph.  Even so, I know I will definitely check out anything else this author has to offer.  So excited for this one!


FROM GOODREADS: George is very angry. His wife has upped and died on him, and all he wants to do is sit in his underpants and shout at the cricket. The last thing he needs is his cake-baking neighbour Betty trying to rescue him. And then there's the dog, a dachshund puppy called Poppy. George doesn't want a dog - he wants a fight.

Dan is a counsellor with OCD who is great at helping other people - if only he were better at helping himself. His most meaningful relationship so far is with his labrador Fitz. But then comes a therapy session that will change his life.

Lizzie is living in a women's refuge with her son Lenny. Her body is covered in scars and she has shut herself off from everyone around her. But when she is forced to walk the refuge's fat terrier, Maud, a new life beckons - if she can keep her secret just a while longer...

Dog Days is a novel about those small but life-changing moments that only come when we pause to let the light in. It is about three people learning to make connections and find joy in living life off the leash.

WHY CASSIUS CAN'T WAIT:  This sounds like an interesting, but a tad bit depressing group of people.  I'm really curious how Poppy, Fritz and Maud brings them out of the shells.  I think Mom will love this one and since it arrives in March, it will be a great spring read.


Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - Books I MIGHT Reread One Day


The top 10 weekly meme used to be hosted by The Broke and the Bookish they  handed over the reins to That Artsy Reader Girl who can be found HERE.  Each week she will focus on lists which cover various topics related to books and reading.

This week's topic is Books I Want to Read Again One Day.  I don't typically reread books but occasionally it happens (see, I just reread and posted a review for The Invisible Library earlier this week).  But I figured I could at least come up with five.

This is my favorite King book and I've read it at least twice already so I'd say chances are good I'll probably read it again.  My twisted little mind considers this a great read/watch during Christmas so chances are good I'll at least REWATCH the movie this month.

I don't read classics much but this is one I love.  I'll more than likely read it again eventually and once again, another I consider a perfect holiday read (just not this year).

I read this first 5 books in this series eons ago and I recall loving them so much.  I really would like ot start over one day and continue.

Another urban fantasy I loved but stopped reading after book #4. There is now a companion series and even if just because of Sam and the weather ponies, I can see a reread eventually.  I may even try to convince Stormi to buddy read the series eventually.

I really didn't mean for this to be an urban fantasy post but I read this in 2008 and then stopped.  I loved it and love Briggs in general so I want to read the entire series one day.  There's only 6 right now (well, the 6th comes out in 2021) so at least there aren't too many yet.

So there you have it.  I surprised even myself.  Have you read and enjoyed any of these?

Random Things Tours - Bright Lies


TITLE:  Bright Lies
PUBLISHER: Perfect City Press
PUBLISHING DATE: November 2020


She’s learned too much, too young. Can she break free? 
Emily’s dreams come true when her mother marries wealthy painter, David. Thanks to him, Emily’s artistic talents shine. Then he starts teaching her things a 14-year-old shouldn’t know. While Emily breaks free, she’s forced to sleep in a rat-infested alley. 
Bad boy Jack has turned his life around. Working as a DJ with ambitions to open a club, he rescues Emily from the streets when he sees a woman in trouble. He doesn’t know she’s still only 15 - and trapped in a dark web of secrets and lies. 
David must find Emily and silence her. As he closes in, Jack faces the hardest choice of all. If he saves Emily, he’ll kiss goodbye to his future... 
What would you sacrifice for love?

Talk about a psychological thriller that packs a punch.  When Bright Lies opens, we see the MC Emily driving to visit someone in prison.  As the tale unfolds, the reader is then taken back to Emily's teen years.  Emily and her mother felt their life had taken a huge upswing when her mother married David, a wealthy artist.  However, over time, things take a sinister twist and slowly David begins to groom Emily for something more than being a step-daughter.  Emily runs away from home and is rescued by Jack. a DJ wanting to open his own club.  He doesn't realize Emily is only 15 and he takes it upon himself to help her.  Emily has a lot of secrets, some of which might just get her and those around her killed.

As I alluded, this book is pretty intense.  Told in alternating perspectives of Emily and David, we get to learn a lot about and become attached to two troubled characters.  At times Emily seemed a tad selfish but then I reminded myself she was only 15 and realized at that age, a lot of us were self-centered.  David is a reforming bad boy and I admit I liked him the best.  He often gave up what was best for himself in order to help others.  It was nice to see the bond between him and Emily deepen.

Some of the characters in this book are quite despicable.  Having worked with abuse and neglect victims, while hard seeing Emily's mother make the decisions she did, I fully understood the psychology behind a lot of them.  That doesn't mean I liked them or that it made it right.  Bright Lies is also full of triggers and while I really don't pay attention that that type of thing, other than animal abuse, it would be remiss to fail to mention that it deals with child abuse, domestic violence, drug culture and rape.  

I really enjoyed the time I spent reading this book.  Because of its short chapters, I found myself really flying though it and I'm really glad I signed up for the tour and can share it with my followers. This author is one I will keep my eyes on.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: British crime thriller writer A.A. Abbott (also known as Helen Blenkinsop) loves to escape with an exciting and emotional read, and that’s what she aims to write too. Based in Bristol, she’s also lived and worked in London and Birmingham. All three cities feature in her pacy suspense thrillers. Her latest psychological thriller, ‘Bright Lies’, begins in North Somerset with a posh art exhibition in Bath. Young Emily meets the man who will change her life and cause her to run away to a squat in Birmingham, work in a nightclub and get further entangled in a web of lies.

To write ‘Bright Lies’, Helen has had advice from thirty beta readers on subjects as varied as police procedure, drug abuse, grooming, art, music, DJing and clubbing. She’s grateful to them and to her editor, Katharine D’Souza, for making huge improvements to the story.

Helen’s earlier 5 book Trail series is a lighter read focused on a vodka business. Snow Mountain is a premium vodka made in the former Soviet Union, and its owners have blood on their hands. The saga follows the fortunes of two families running the business and what happens when they fall out with each other and with a London gangster. Glamorous heroine Kat is the girl readers love to hate at the beginning of the series, but by the last book, she has won them over. Book research for the series included prison life, hotel research and vodka. Helen especially enjoyed a tour and tasting with the helpful folk at the Chase Distillery in Herefordshire.

Like 10% of us, many of Helen’s family are dyslexic. While she is not, she wants her books to be enjoyed by readers with dyslexia and visual impairment too. She publishes her thrillers in a Large Print dyslexia-friendly edition as well as the standard paperback and Kindle versions. (You can also adjust the font on your Kindle to suit your needs.) Audiobooks are definitely on the cards too).

Helen likes speaking to book groups, business networks and social circles, and reading thrillers and short stories at live fiction events and on Zoom. If you're a book blogger, litfest organiser, reviewer or simply adore books, she’d love to hear from you.

Helen is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors, Bristol Fiction Writers' Group, and Birmingham's New Street Authors.

Find out more and get a free e-book of short stories at

Monday, November 30, 2020

2 Bloggers 1 Series - The Invisible Library


So after skipping a month, because apparently our TBRs were bigger than our ability to read said TBR, Stormi and I are back and starting a new series.  Both of us had read the first installment a few years back and always wanted to continue so we decided to take the plunge.  Read on for my thoughts and then hop over to  Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! and see Stormi's thoughts.

TITLE: The Invisible Library (Invisible Library #1)
AUTHOR: Genevieve Cogman
PUBLISHING DATE: January 15, 2015


 Irene must be at the top of her game or she'll be off the case - permanently...  
Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she's posted to an alternative London. Their mission - to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it's already been stolen. London's underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book. 
Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested - the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene's new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own. 
Soon, she's up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option - the nature of reality itself is at stake. 

I vaguely remembered this once I started it and it's really no shock that the main things that stuck in my mind were cyborg alligators and Irene's partner-in-training, Kai.  I didn't remember Kai's true nature early on but once I did, I loved him even more than the first time and I'm even more anxious to see where the series heads.  

This book is slow to start but eventually the action and intrigue picks up and I found it hard to put down.  Irene is a strong female character who isn't afraid to speak her mind and I consider the series great for people who love the Veronica Speedwell or Parasol Protectorate books. And the fact that the series revolves around books, libraries, supernatural beings and secret societies means it checks all the right boxes for me.

Instead of rehashing everything, I'm just going to add my original review below.  I will admit that I initially gave this book a 5/5 rating and this time around, I'm bumping it to 4/5.  I think that despite still loving it, I've just read so much more in the past 5 years that make me reconsider my first-time rating.  That being said, I'm really excited to move on the The Masked City.


REVIEW FROM JUNE 2016: I have seen a few mixed reviews about "The Invisible Library" and for a while, I was seriously questioning what I had signed up for when I requested it for review. However, all I can say is to each his own and I am so glad I gave this book a chance. I loved it! The people, the setting, the action, the mystery. I seriously found that it was one of those books where I knew 6 pages in that I was going to enjoy it tremendously.

Irene works for the mysterious "Invisible Library" and has committed her whole life to time jumping and traveling to various worlds to collect certain manuscripts, novels, etc. which can then be housed and kept safely in the main library. These books are important to literature, history and various other aspects, and should not fall into the wrong hands. Toward the beginning of the book, Irene is assigned a new mission and learns she now must train a new librarian, Kai. The mission they are sent off on is set in alternate London and they are basically looking for a book of Grimm fairy tales. Kai has been working inside the library for 5 years and is anxious to get out into the field. Also, not only is he described basically as very easy on the eyes, Kai has some secrets of his own. Needless to say, there are some others seeking this book as well which makes for a crazy, dangerous, action-packed excursion.

There are so many interesting aspects to this book that honestly, it could have been easily to have become overwhelmed. Except it was so interesting and engaging, that didn't happen. There are spies, detectives, and thieves as well as vampires, werewolves, fae, dragons, zeppelins, and even cyborg alligators....yes I said cyborg alligators. I really don't know how Cogman came up with it all. I was never once bored while reading "The Invisible Library" and now I can't wait until the next book in the series is released.

This book did remind me of some others I have read in the past year, but not in a redundant or bad way. I was sort of reminded of Rachel Caine's "Ink and Bone" and Brenda Drake's "Thief of Lies." Also, probably because of its historical setting, the book was also reminiscent of Deanna Raybourne's "A Curious Beginning" which I loved as well. If you enjoyed any of those books, "The Invisible Library" is a must-read for you.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

What's Happening (11-29-20)


So I'm doing things a tad bit differently this year and will be combining all of my regular weekend posts.  This will enable me to add more content on Fridays and it is just starting to make more sense.  I'll still be linking up with Stacking the Shelves at Tynga's Reviews and Sunday Post at Caffeinated Reviewer.  Both blogs are awesome so make sure you check them out.

It's been a few weeks and as much as I try to do this weekly, I'm failing at life.  Just kidding.  Things have just been really busy.  First and foremost, Cassius celebrated his 7th Birthday on November 22nd.  He had a blast and I can't believe my baby is 7!

Next up Mr. Barb and I celebrated our anniversary the very next day.  He got some some gorgeous roses and some jewelry as well as paid for my haircut (complete with safety mask and all ).  He also made a wonderful dinner and bought a new microwave for our kitchen.  Then of course we had Thanksgiving.  It was just us and the dogs as Stupid Uncle stepped up and did something with Gpa and Mom's boyfriend moved in with her a few months back so they had a low-key one at home because of COVID and all that jazz.  I think everyone had a great time no matter where they were and we hope you did too!

In COVID news, Mr. Barb's stupid employer made a bad decision and exposed his staff to some inmates with COVID.  Mr. Barb is always safe but he was tested and as a precaution, I was too.  Everything came back okay though thank Heavens.

The library is ALMOST done.  I will do pictures next week as long as my main focal picture arrives.  Any guesses?  I love it and it's such a nice place to kick back and relax now and the boys love it - they even have a new dog bed in there as well.

We've actually watched some decent things.  "Run" with Sarah Paulson on HULU was really good and she plays bad guys so well.  We also enjoyed "Let Him Go" with Kevin Costner and Diane Lane.  Costner plays cowboys really well.  And finally we watched "Don't Listen," a new foreign horror film on Netflix. I highly recommend it.

I've been blessed with some really interesting ARCs.  Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers!

Next week I'll share some library books with you.  Hope you all are staying safe and are having a joyous holiday season.

Friday, November 27, 2020

This May Be Why I Never Attended Camp


TITLE: Camp Murderface
AUTHOR: Josh Berk and Saundra Mitchell
PUBLISHER: HarperCollins


 Summer camp turns sinister in Camp Murderface, a spooky middle grade read perfect for fans of scare masters like R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike. 
The year: 1983. The place: Ohio. The camp: Scary as heck. 
Camp Sweetwater is finally reopening, three decades after it mysteriously shut down. Campers Corryn Quinn and Tez Jones have each had more than enough of their regular lives - they’re so ready to take their summer at Sweetwater by storm. 
But before they can so much as toast one marshmallow, strange happenings start... happening. Can they survive the summer? Or will Camp Sweetwater shut down for good this time - with them inside? . 

It's 1983 and Camp Sweetwater in Ohio is reopening after being shut down for over 20 years.  Both Corryn and Tez meet on the bus ride into camp and it's clear that they are going to become best of friends.  Both are escaping issues at home - Corryn is sure she is being sent to camp because her parents are getting a divorce and Tez suffers from Marfan Syndrome and just wants to be seen as an ordinary kid.  

Soon after their arrival, mysterious things start to happen.  Corryn and Tez start to investigate and learn that 20 years ago, three girls disappeared.  Are the activities occurring, including some life threatening one, connected to what happened so many years ago?  And can Corryn and Tez get to the bottom of it before anyone else gets hurt.

This book was just so much fun and if you have middle grade kids in your life, or just need a fun MG yourself, then you need to look for this book.  The mystery is fun and really reminded me of the Scooby Doo gang, minus a cute dog though.  And Corryn and Tez are a great juxtaposition of each other.  Both are smart kids but Tex is book smart where Corryn is more practical knowledge/common sense smart.  And Corryn has such a great wit and snarky attitude meaning I was meant to immediately love her.  This book is told in alternating chapters and it shows how a true friendship can develop during even the worst of circumstances.  I only went to band camp once and it was pure hell.  Looking back maybe I should just be glad nothing tried to kill me!

Also, it seems liked at the end a sequel could be in the works and I can't wait!


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Can't Wait Wednesday (299)


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: Merit Cravan refused to fulfill her obligation to marry a prince, leading to a fairy godling's curse. She will be forced to live as a beast forever, unless she agrees to marry a man of her mother's choosing before her eighteenth birthday.

Tevin Dumont has always been a pawn in his family's cons. The prettiest boy in a big family, his job is to tempt na├»ve rich girls to abandon their engagements, unless their parents agree to pay him off. But after his mother runs afoul of the beast, she decides to trade Tevin for her own freedom.

Now, Tevin and Merit have agreed that he can pay off his mother's debt by using his con-artist skills to help Merit find the best match . . . but what if the best match is Tevin himself? 

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  I'm a sucker for a Beauty and the Beast retelling so sign me up.  


FROM GOODREADS: The award-winning author of A Dog Like Daisy returns with a moving middle grade novel from the point of view of Luna, a Labrador therapy dog who accompanies her group therapy kids when they set off on an adventure across Austin, Texas.

Luna has always wanted to be a therapy dog at Therapy Dogs Worldwide. Now she’s a whisker away from reaching her fifty-visit pin that will make it official. But when her “clients”—the children who visit her—are put into a therapy group, Luna’s routine is upended.

Like the moon, Luna shows different faces at different times. And her clients each have different needs—Beatrice is tangled in knots of anger, Caleb rushes like a waterfall, Amelia carries fear heavy like a shadow, and Hector is quiet as a rock. To comfort the kids, Luna can be what they need her to be, but can she be everything to them all at once?

When Hector doesn’t show up to a session one day, the kids set off on an unexpected quest to find him. Luna joins to keep them safe, and they must work together to almost learn the truth.

WHY CASSIUS CAN'T WAIT:  First of all I think Luna is just so darn cute.  I can't wait to read about her adventures and think it will be a fun book to share with my oddball brother Cassius.  Maybe he can learn some things from her!