Saturday, March 28, 2020

What's Happening (03-28-20)...

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. 


So I hope everyone is out there staying safe.  It sure is a crazy world right now.  Things here in WV are maintaining.  We've got a stay-in-place order which was activated Wednesday although I think some people are still ignoring it.  I got laid-off on Thursday but it could be worse, my boss went ahead and paid us through Friday, and we'll be able to sign up for unemployment next week.  And since I work for a not-for-profit agency, I know as soon as the stay-in-place is lifted, we'll be back to work.

So am I the only one who is freaking out every time I sneeze, cough or have a muscle ache?  I swear if I could worry myself into having COVID-19, I'd have it by now I'm sure.  I've always been a worrywart and this is proving that!

So on to more fun topics.  I've been making an effort to do some tasks each day to keep on a routine and plus take advantage of my extra time.  I have been listening to some new music and am really enjoying the new albums by The Weeknd, Mandy Moore and Adam Lambert.  All three have been on heavy rotation.  We are still watching Shameless and also watched "The Invisible Man."  My recommendation for that one is don't bother.  It was fairly bad although Elizabeth Moss did a wonderful job playing an abused and terrified wife.  And there was a cute Doberman - who lived.  We also watched "The Grudge" - the new one. Again, I was not impressed.

As usual, I plan on doing some reading this weekend.  Here's what's up on the pile:



It's been a good week for collecting books.  Netgalley has been killing it on approvals and of course, there have been some great sales going on.  I have three pre-orders I'd like to highlight because I think they're awesome (also, these are on Kindle, as I rarely pre-order full price books). Playing Possum was $3.99 but the rest were under $1.99.  They all release in the next 2 weeks too. 


And finally, I'll share some review books.  


Stay safe my friends!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Flame Tree Press Blog Tour - The Forever House


It's no secret Flame Tree Press is one of my favorite publishers of horror novels.  Looks like they've got another winner on their hands!  Thanks to the author, published and Anne Cater for the invitation to this blog tour.

TITLE: The Forever House
AUTHOR: Tim Waggoner
PUBLISHER: Flame Tree Press
PUBLISHING DATE: March 26, 2020


FROM GOODREADS: 

"Bram Stoker Award-winner Tim Waggoner consistently delivers the goods when it comes to hard-hitting horror fiction, with compelling characters and dangerous horrors at every turn." - This is Horror In Rockridge, Ohio, a sinister family moves into a sleepy cul de sac. 

The Eldreds feed on the negative emotions of humans, creating nightmarish realms within their house to entrap their prey. Neighbors are lured into the Eldreds' home and faced with challenges designed to heighten their darkest emotions so their inhuman captors can feed and feed well. If the humans are to have any hope of survival, they'll have to learn to overcome their prejudices and resentments toward one another and work together. 

But which will prove more deadly in the end, the Eldred . . . or each other? 

MY THOUGHTS:
So honestly, I think I picked the perfect time to pick up The Forever House. Given the current affairs of today, it was a great way to get away from reality and immerse myself in a wonderfully horrific and gruesome tale. 

The Eldreds are moving in to a new home.  And not just any home, but one which was the scene of a terrible family slaughter a few years prior to their arrival.  And that's exactly why they've targeted it. The Eldreds are interesting beings who feed on emotions and make games out of entrapping their targets.  It's really no comparison but they kind of struck me as a twisted Addams Family.  You have  Father Hunger, the Werewife, two children, a "grandother," some metal head I'm not sure I fully ever understood, which was a good thing, and a creepy car. 

And as if that isn't enough, you also have the clueless families who are the Eldred's new neighbors in the cul-de-sac. I think Waggoner creates some of the most unlikable characters I've ever encountered.  Characters who you know exist out there in the real world, characters you really feel for, and characters you truly despise. 

This book is not for the faint of heart and Waggoner definitely has his own brand of horror.  In fact, I still don't know if I've gotten over "the pink devil" from the last book I read by him and now "metal head" will be right there keeping it company.  I also think he does a great job of portraying to the reader that it isn't always monsters you need to fear.

Needless to say, I loved every minute of this book.  Maybe that's a testament to how twisted my mind really is or perhaps it's a testament of how scary the real world is so I need to bury myself in books which are scarier.  Either way, I highly recommend this book to any fans of the horror genre. 

Thank you Mr. Waggoner for giving me some "peace" in this horrific world!

RATING: 5 Paws




ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tim Waggoner’s first novel came out in 2001, and since then he’s published over forty novels and five collections of short stories. He writes original dark fantasy and horror, as well as media tie-ins. His novels include Like Death,
considered a modern classic in the genre, and the popular
Nekropolis series of urban fantasy novels. He’s written tie-in fiction for Supernatural, Grimm, the X-Files, Doctor Who, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Alien, and Transformers, among others, and he’s written novelizations for films such as Kingsman: the Golden Circle and Resident Evil: the Final Chapter. His articles on writing have appeared in Writer’s Digest, Writer’s Journal, Writer’s Workshop of Horror, and Where Nightmares Come From.

n 2017 he received the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Long Fiction, and he’s been a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Award and the Scribe Award. His fiction has received numerous Honorable Mentions in volumes of Best Horror of the Year, and in 2016, the Horror Writers
Association honored him with the Mentor of the Year Award. In addition to writing, he’s also a full-time tenured professor who teaches creative writing and composition at Sinclair College.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Can't Wait Wednesday (254) - The Horror Edition (even though the world is scary enough)


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 GOODREADSSpine-tingling stories that can be enjoyed all year round—this deliciously creepy and gorgeously wrought graphic anthology introduces a new generation to four literary giants—Ray Bradbury, Shirley Jackson, Stephen King, and Robert McCammon.

In the spring, a young girl hears a woman crying for help from beneath the dirt in her backyard, but no one seems to believe her…During summertime, a college student inexplicably walks deeper and deeper into the thick forest, until he happens upon a stone cottage whose inhabitants lead a very particular way of life…Before the fall chill arrives, a group of friends embark on an adventurous weekend to a remote lake where a sinister force awaits…In the dark depths of winter, behind frigid enemy lines, Great Britain’s most potent weapon against Nazi Germany lives between worlds: good and evil, and man and wolf….

With evocative prose and vivid illustrations, these unforgettable stories—“The Screaming Woman” by Ray Bradbury; “The Man in the Woods” by Shirley Jackson; “The Raft” by Stephen King; and “The Man from London” by Robert McCammon—embody the seasons in which they are set, bringing you to the very edge of reality, mixing the best elements of the mythology of our youth with the perilous horrors of adulthood.

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  I got an email about this collection earlier this week and just felt like sharing it.  I don't know if any of the tales are really new but they are new-to-me and with King's name attached, I know I'll be buying a copy. 

CASSIUS'S PICK:


FROM GOODREADS: 
Who is the Riverdale Ripper? And why is Jughead waking up covered in blood?

Based on the original Archie Comics characters!

Everyone knows the characters from Riverdale: popular Archie Andrews, girl-next-door Betty Cooper, angsty Jughead Jones, and the sophisticated Veronica Lodge. But this is not the Riverdale you know and love. Something twisted has awoken in the town with pep. Inspired by the iconic Archie Horror comics, this reimagined universe takes the grittiness of the TV show and adds a paranormal twist.

Someone is killing the citizens of Riverdale. And after a bloody full moon, Jughead realizes he is the killer! Jughead is a werewolf. Can he keep this secret from his friends -- including werewolf-hunting Betty Cooper? Jughead has to get his dark side under control -- before it is controlling him.

The Archie Horror series contains all-new, original stories that fans of horror AND fans of Riverdale will eat up! 

WHY CASS CAN'T WAIT:  You know by now Mom loves all this Riverdale stuff so when I ran across a new one which features werewolves, I knew it would be perfect for her.  Plus it sounds like fun and can't we all use some fun right now?

And hey, do you think Apollo could be a werewolf?  I'm still not sure I trust him. I always thought he might be a vampire but I could have been wrong.  He does have fur!

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

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Random Things Blog Tour - Blackwood


Join me today for a look at Blackwood, a mystery horror novel from Michael Farris Smith.  Many thanks to the author and Anne Cater for coordinating the tour!

TITLE: Blackwood
AUTHOR: Michael Farris Smith
PUBLISHER: No Exit Press
PUBLISHING DATE: March 19, 2020


FROM GOODREADS: 

The small town of Red Bluff, Mississippi, has seen better days, but now seems stuck in a black-and-white photograph from days gone by. Unknowing, the town and its people are about to come alive again, awakening to nightmares, as ghostly whispers have begun to fill the night from the kudzu-covered valley that sits on the edge of town.

When a vagabond family appears on the outskirts, when twin boys and a woman go missing, disappearing beneath the vines, a man with his own twisted past struggles to untangle the secrets in the midst of the town trauma. 

This is a landscape of fear and ghosts, of regret and violence. It is a landscape transformed by the kudzu vines that have enveloped the hills around it, swallowing homes, cars, rivers, and hiding terrible secrets deeper still. Blackwood is the evil in the woods, the wickedness that lurks in all of us. 

MY THOUGHTS: 
Blackwood is probably one of the most interesting Southern Gothic books I've read. In fact, that description is exactly why I picked the book up in the first place.

Red Bluff, Mississippi is a small dying town that holds some secrets.  It starts out with a young boy witnessing his father hanging himself in a garage and if that isn't a way to immediately hook a reader I don't know what is.  Colbert, the young boy, later returns to the town in hopes of rebuilding his life. There is also the remnants of a vagabond family that once came to town with secrets of their own. 

I found this to be one of those books where you kind of want to go into blindly - at least it worked for me.  The town of Red Bluff itself, along with its secrets and evilness, is in fact a character of its own in Blackwood.  In addition, even though there were some pretty dramatic scenes in this book, I also must add that I found it to be a slow, atmospheric read.  I really enjoyed seeing all the twists and turns which took place in this novel and then seeing how they all fit in together. 

If you love Gothic reads, then this is the book for you.  This is definitely an author I will be watching in the future!


RATING: 4 PAWS




ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michael Farris Smith is the author of The Fighter, Desperation Road, Rivers, and The Hands of Strangers. He has been awarded the Mississippi Author Award for Fiction, Transatlantic Review Award, and Brick Streets Press Story Award. His novels have
appeared on Best of the Year lists with Esquire, Southern Living, Book Riot, and numerous
others, and have been named Indie Next List, Barnes & Noble Discover, and Amazon Best
of the Month selections. He has been a finalist for the Southern Book Prize, the Gold
Dagger Award in the UK, and the Grand Prix des Lectrices in France, and his essays have
appeared with The New York Times, Bitter Southerner, Garden & Gun, and more. He lives
with his wife and daughters in Oxford, Mississippi.

TTT - Books to Get Lost In

The top 10 weekly meme used to be hosted by The Broke and the Bookish they  handed 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 is a genre freebie so I thought I'd actually share with you some of my top recommendations for books to get lost in.  I am trying to do a balancing act of watching enough news to be informed but not falling into the hysteria and panic all this social media can lead to doing the time of this horrible pandemic.  Losing yourself in a good read is as good a way as any to do this I think (even though I admit that at times, I'm STILL having trouble concentrating).  On with the books!


ATOMIC FRENCHIE- A perfect mix of narrative and comics and who doesn't want to read about a French Bulldog and his sidekick turtle trying to take over the world!

THE FOREVER HOUSE - I'm reading this one now for a tour spot on Thursday and it's the PERFECT time to read it.  Waggoner's mind is a fun place to visit and while some things in this book are really out there, I'm loving every minute of it so far!

THE FABLEHAVEN SERIES - I read this 5 book series years ago and it still holds a fond place in my heart.  I think MG fantasy is an awesome choice when your trying to lose yourself because it doesn't always require intense concentration and features such fantastical worlds!

THE LIBRARY LOVERS SERIES - Such wonderful characters in a quaint seaside town.  Plus it features a library and all its staff.  This cozy is a wonderful way to take you mind off of things - at least for a little while.

THE SECRET OF HAPPY EVER AFTER - I love Lucy Dillon and the books in this series are more set in a quaint little town where dogs are valued as much as humans and are an integral part of someone's life.

WRITTEN IN RED - Another great urban fantasy tale which is both lengthy and fascinating.  It's one I'm even considering rereading one day and you guys know how I feel about rereading. 

THE SHINING - Why not spend your time in isolation reading about a family spending their time in isolation?  Sounds twisted I know but I personally find horror books a great way to forget about current events for a while.

THE SUICIDE MOTOR CLUB - Oh how I love this book.  Another horror book where you can lose yourself in a dark gritty world of nasty vampires and revenge!

HOLLOW KINGDOM - What's a list at The Farm without this book?  Read it and then go outside and get some fresh air and see if you can find some crows to save the day.

THE LAST WOMAN IN THE FOREST - Here's a recommendation for all you mystery/thriller lovers.  Plus it has a snowy setting and a great dog.  

Seriously, I hope everyone is staying safe. Our blogging community is so important right now to stay connected and we've all made some wonderful friends on-line.  Prayers and safety to all of you and your family right now!  

Much Love - Booker T's Farm (Barb, Mr. Barb, Cassius and Apollo)

Saturday, March 21, 2020

What's Happening (03-21-20)...

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. 


So what's happening?  The world is falling apart apparently.  And more than that, I guess some people haven't received the memo yet.  However, this is my happy place so let's not dwell on things.  We can only control our part right?

 I had training for two days at the beginning of the week.  Personally I think it should have been canceled but it wasn't so with driving and everything I had two 10 1/2 hour days.  The only plus is that I left at noon on Friday.  It wore me out though.



Apollo had his next set of shots and finally got to see our regular vet, who is working from a wheelchair right now.  Mr. Barb took him as I was in training and all went well.  He weighs 41 pounds.  Cassius is still doing great as well but I know that pup is wearing him out sometimes.


I did read some but not as much as I wanted.  However, I posted three reviews this week which I'm happy about.  I have to go check on Grandpa this weekend but besides that I want to watch TV and read.  I think the second half of "The Walking Dead" this season has drastically improved and while I stand by my opinion that I think it has gone on long enough, I am enjoying it more.  We didn't really watch many movies - that will happen this weekend.  I did start watching "Shameless" from the beginning as all seasons are on Netflix and I didn't start watching it until around season 5 on Showtime.  I love watching all that family dysfunction.  Here's the books I'll be picking up this weekend.  


I actually picked up some holds from one of my libraries.  They are providing curbside service Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10-5 so I ran out on lunch.  I even managed to do an Instagram shot!





I also received a few digital arcs. I'm thrilled to get my hands on Misfits, the next Hunter Shea novel from Flame Tree Press.  Mistress of Illusions is a series I've wanted to start and since I'm only a book behind, now is a good time to do it.   I've been seeing The Goddess Twins around on Booktube so I am excited to give it a try and Gone With the Whisker looked too fun to pass it up.  



So how was your week?  Did you read or watch anything I should check out?  Also, I hope you're all staying safe!

PS - Cassius is considering quarantine.  He said to tell you guys he needs a break from the pup!

Friday, March 20, 2020

Traumatized By a Middle Grade Read!

TITLE: A Home for Goddesses and Dogs
AUTHOR: Leslie Connor
PUBLISHER: Katherine Tegen Books
PUBLISHING DATE: February 25, 2020


FROM GOODREADS: 

Lydia knows more about death than most thirteen-year-olds. Her mother was already sick when her father left them six years ago. When her mother dies, it is Lydia who sits by her side. 

Fully orphaned now, Lydia follows the plan her mother made with her. She uproots to rural Connecticut to live with her “last of kin.” Aunt Brat, her jovial wife Eileen, and their ancient live-in landlord Elloroy welcome Lydia. Only days after her arrival the women adopt a big yellow dog. 

Lydia is not a dog person—and this one is trouble! He pees in the house, escapes into the woods, and barks at things unseen. His new owners begin to guess about his unknown past. 

Lydia doesn’t want to cause trouble for her new family—and she does not mean to keep secrets—but there are things she’s not telling . . . 

….like why the box of “paper stuff” she keeps under her bed is so important…

….and why that hole in the wall behind a poster in her room is getting bigger…

…..and why something she took from the big yellow dog just might be the key to unraveling his mysterious past—but at what cost? 

MY THOUGHTS: So let me start by saying I've really wavered on this rating.  In the end, I went with the higher option.  Let me explain.  I fully realize that I'm not the intended audience for this novel.  However, I am glad that us bloggers fully understand we can read what we want without being judged.  And with everything going on in the world, I wanted a nice fluffy MG book.  Well, wrong choice.  Once again, I probably didn't pay close attention to the synopsis and why would I?  Look at that cover!

So when this book starts out, Lydia, the 12-year-old MC's mother has died.  She is being picked up by her Aunt Brat, and going to live with her in a small Connecticut town.  Lydia's father walked out on her when she was seven, and her mother lived with a chronic heart condition.  Lydia's life has not been great.  Yet she and her mother made the best of it and spent lots of time together on art.  They made a collection of goddesses to celebrate the good and bad in their lives and these goddesses are moving to the country farm with Lydia.  Once there, her Aunt and her wife decide to adopt a new dog and he also comes with some baggage.  Lydia has to make new friends, mourn her mother and try not to be a burden to her new family while at the same time learning to be a dog person. 

So as you can tell, Lydia has been through a lot.  I understand why this book would be great for kids.  It delves a lot into relationships and loss.  Lydia's Aunt Brat and her wife also live with a crotchety old man, Elloroy, who is obsessed with his own death.  But man, Elloroy was one of my faves.  Several times a day he would lament the fact that he wasn't dead yet to the point it starts to become a household joke.  I also fell in love with Guffer, the beautiful dog on the cover.

So you may be asking what was the problem.  Well let me tell you.  First, there was baby pygmy goat abuse.  Serious abuse as in they are found with two back hooves and their ears cut off!  The MG me wouldn't want to read about that.  And then, SPOILER ALERT!!!!! Guffer wakes up one morning and can't walk.  His back end is practically paralyzed.  They have to take him outside with the help of a towel because he's a large dog.  And he needs emergency surgery to live.  Well, he does live, but my precious Booker T didn't so I didn't need to relive that either.

All in all though none of my issues were the author's fault. Well maybe the goats but SPOILER ALERT!!!!! they live too. There is lots to love about this book and it teaches a lot of great lessons.  Lydia is a wonderful kid and she deserves some wonderful things to happen for her.  If I haven't sent you screaming for the hills yet and you enjoy MG, then pick this up.  It deserves some attention.

RATING: 4 PAWS