Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Can't Wait Wednesday (279)


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: Stay up all night with this modern day Rebecca! Perfect for fans of Truly Devious—a haunting story about a new girl in an old town filled with dark secrets . . . that might just kill her.

People say the house is cursed.
It preys on the weakest, and young women are its favorite victims.
In Louth, they're called the Dead Girls.

All Bram wanted was to disappear—from her old life, her family's past, and from the scandal that continues to haunt her. The only place left to go is Louth, the tiny town on the Hudson River where her uncle, James, has been renovating an old mansion.

But James is haunted by his own ghosts. Months earlier, his beloved wife died in a fire that people say was set by her daughter. The tragedy left James a shell of the man Bram knew—and destroyed half the house he'd so lovingly restored.

The manor is creepy, and so are the locals. The people of Louth don't want outsiders like Bram in their town, and with each passing day she's discovering that the rumors they spread are just as disturbing as the secrets they hide. Most frightening of all are the legends they tell about the Dead Girls. Girls whose lives were cut short in the very house Bram now calls home.

The terrifying reality is that the Dead Girls may have never left the manor. And if Bram looks too hard into the town's haunted past, she might not either.

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:
  I can't wait to find out more about this creepy manor and everything about this one sounds intriguing!

CASSIUS'S PICK:

A heart-warming animal tale of bravery and friendship between a lost boy, a daring girl and the dog next door - from an author celebrated for her honest, heartfelt and inclusive stories.

Marcus and Delilah couldn't be more different.

He is as big as she is tiny. As angry and lost as she is tremendous and brave.

But they share a dream: to own a dog of their own.

So when a mystery pup turns up in the empty house next door, Marcus can't believe his luck. He visits him every night and names him Moon Dog.

But it's soon clear that Moon Dog is in danger, and when Marcus and Delilah discover a dark secret it will test their bravery and their friendship.

Can they work together to save their dream dog?

WHY CASSIUS CAN'T WAIT:  I want to learn all about this mystery pup and I think it's glad Marcus and Delilah finally get a dog.  Mom says she may have to order this for me from Book Depository as it doesn't look to be a US release yet.  To which I replied..."SO????"

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

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - Authors I've Read the Most Books By

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 we're looking at authors I've read the most books by.  I don't know how exact this will be but I do know off the top of my head some of my most popular ones.  So here we go!



Stephen King
I know that at last count, I've read somewhere around 55 books by King, and have even read several twice.  In fact, I'm reading one right now!

Charlaine Harris 
If I counted correctly, I've read at least 22 books by her as well as several collections which features stories by her.  I really wish that the Midnight, Texas series had more than three books though!

Kelley Armstrong
Kelley is definitely one of my favorite authors and I have so many books by her yet to read.  At last count I've read at least 24 by her and I loved all of them!

Hunter Shea
Anyone who visits the Farm regularly knows how much I love Shea.  I've read 13 books by him and have an arc of his newest not-so-patiently awaiting me!

Jenn McKinlay
Jenn writes on of my favorite cozy mystery series and there have been a few other books by here I've read here and there as well.  I think my last count was 13.

Dean Koontz
I used to read tons of Koontz before I started blogging or tracking my books on Goodreads.  Therefore I don't have an exact total but Goodreads is showing at least 14.

Laurell K. Hamilton
Man, I never realized how far I got with this series before I gave up because Anita Blake became too much for me.  I guess I read the first 12 books.  Go me!

Yasmine Galenorn
I love her urban fantasy and really want to read some more.  I've read at last 10 books by her and if you haven't checked her out, then you should.

Ilona Andrews
Thanks to Stormi and I reading the entire Kate Daniels series last year, plus a few more I've read here and there, I've read 16 books by this great duo!

Patricia Briggs
Nothing like a top ten list to remind you how far behind you are but I used to stay current on the Mercy Thompson books.  I've currently read 10 books by Briggs.



Gee, I did make it to 10!  Can't wait to see who made everyone's lists this month!



Sunday, July 5, 2020

A Very Late What's Happening (07-05-20)...

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'm running a tad behind which seems to be the story of my life this summer.  But don't worry, I plan to catch up on blog visits and replying to comments all next week so get ready to get bombarded. 

Mr. Barb started vacation on Wednesday and then we had a very safe, very outside, very intimate cookout on July 4th so we spent a few days working outside.  Like most July 4ths though, we are in the middle of a horrible heatwave so I guess I am glad to say most of the outside work is now done.  It was a nice day and although there were just 5 of us present plus the dogs, it was fine with me.  Then of course all last night from 9pm-1am was the neighborhood firework show.  I guess since so many festivities were canceled people made their own fun but it was annoying and I just wanted them to stop.  The pup could care less about then and Cassius isn't really afraid, but you can tell they annoy him and he refuses to go outside to the bathroom as long as they are going off.

I have been reading a lot and have already read 4 books and am half finished with a 5th since the month has started.  Guess the heat is good for something.  I need to catch up on some reviews and then update Goodreads but so far I know I'm ahead of my goals for the first half of the year.  Here's what I plan on reading this week.


We finished up watching Curon on Netflix and overall I really enjoyed it. It was a tad slow in the beginning but it pulled out and saved itself.  We also watched Force of Nature, a new Mel Gibson movie.  Is it me or is he playing a drunk old man too well lately?

So I'm going to save review books for next week but I thought I'd share with you some books I picked up for my Kindle recently.  I may have been a tad overzealous but they had some good sales and heck, let's just call it as it is, I was weak.





So I hope you all had a wonderful week and look for visits from me soon!

Also, I'm seriously thinking about writing a book and have started the outline process.  The working title is MY FIRST YEAR WITH SATAN.  What do you think???

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Blood Red City Blog Tour


TITLE:  Blood Red City
AUTHOR: Rod Reynolds
PUBLISHER: Orenda Books
PUBLISHING DATE: June 11, 2020


FROM GOODREADS: A witness with no victim. A crime with no crime scene… 

When crusading journalist Lydia Wright is sent a video of an apparent murder on a London train, she thinks she's found the story to revive her career. But she can't find a victim, much less the killers, and the only witness has disappeared. Wary she's fallen for fake news, she begins to doubt her instincts – until a sinister call suggests that she's not the only one interested in the crime. 

Michael Stringer deals in information – and doesn't care which side of the law he finds himself on. But the murder on the train has left him exposed, and now he'll stop at nothing to discover what Lydia knows. 

When their paths collide, Lydia finds the story leads through a nightmare world, where money, power and politics intersect … and information is the only thing more dangerous than a bullet. 

A nerve-shattering and brutally realistic thriller, Blood Red City bursts with energy and grit from the opening page, twisting and feinting to a superb, unexpected ending that will leave you breathless. 

MY THOUGHTS:
I've said several times that Orenda Books is one of my favorite thriller publishers and once again, they have failed to disappoint with Blood Red City.  The story takes place in the midst of a summer heatwave making it a near-perfect summer read.

Blood Red City featured Lydia, a crusading journalist always searching for the truth and Stringer, a "fixer" of all things dark and seedy.  Lydia is sent a video of a murder but she is unable to find evidence the crime occurred at all.  She's on a mission to determine if it was "fake news."  On the other hand, Stringer is looking at the situation from the opposite side of the law and he is having difficulty doing his job as well. The two team up to figure out what is going on - well, as good as two people from different sides of the law can.

I really enjoyed Lydia and quite liked the dynamic between her and Stringer.  I do tend to love a seedier noir tale from time to time and this book fit the bill.  It's quite evident that the author is writing about a town he knows and loves and London does tens to strike me as a character of its own.

If you liked action-packed books that keep you on the edge of your seat, then check this one out.  I will definitely be reading more from Reynolds in the future.

RATING: 4 PAWS




ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rod Reynolds is the author of four novels, including the Charlie Yates series.  A lifelong Londoner, in 2020 Orenda Books will publish the first book set in his hometown, Blood Red City.  Rod previously worked in advertising as a media buyer and holds a MA in novel writing.  Rod lives with his wife and family and spends most of his time trying to keep up with his two daughters.

Friday, July 3, 2020

A Horror Review and Author Guest Post

Earlier this month I reached out to a new author, Eric LaRocca, who was looking for people to possibly read and review his new novella release.  Well, he quickly responded back and has even submitted a guest post.  So welcome Eric to Booker T's Farm by reading my review and then seeing what Eric has to say.

TITLE: Starving Ghosts in Every Thread
AUTHOR: Eric LaRocca
PUBLISHING DATE: April 27, 2020


FROM GOODREADS: Teddy has a secret. 

She's so consumed with guilt that it compels her body to literally unravel unless she feeds off the emotions of others. Teddy’s parasitic condition is usually tempered easily and is invisible to most, unless she feeds from them. However, her insatiable hunger has already begun to threaten her safety. Trapped in her tiny Connecticut hometown thanks to a careless mistake which cost her a prestigious scholarship, Teddy grieves her father’s death and cares for her neurotic mother, Mercy, who is convinced scorpion venom is the only remedy for her own peculiar skin ailment linked to her daughter’s sadness. 

Once an aspiring songwriter, Teddy now merely alternates between shifts at the local market and visits to the house of her eccentric neighbor, Mr. Ridley, for fresh scorpions to bring to her mother. It’s during one of her routine visits to Mr. Ridley’s subterranean grotto of exotic animals that Teddy meets an unusual young girl named Kiiara. Immediately enamored with one another, Teddy soon discovers that Kiiara is hiding a gruesome secret, too – a secret that will threaten to undo everything Teddy has ever known and loved, and violently touch all those who cross their path with disaster.  

MY THOUGHTS:
Coming in at only 92 pages, this tale is perfect to read it one setting.  And while it may be on the short side, don't worry because it sure packs a punch.

Teddy is our MC and she suffers from a condition where she must feed on emotions or risk of her skin unraveling from her body leaving her extremely vulnerable.  She lives with her mother is an odd individual herself who is in constant need of scorpion venom to wash a place on her arm.  Is it wrong that I felt badly for the little scorpions?  Anyway, one day Teddy meets Kiiara dn while she things she may have found a true soulmate, she soon discovers some individuals harbor secrets much worse than her's. 

I immediately liked Teddy.  I could feel her daily struggle to do what she knows is wrong, but what she has to do in order to survive.  Teddy truly has a haunted soul.  She misses her father, who died several years back, and misses the opportunities which she once had but which due to her condition and some other extenuating circumstances, also faded away. Despite Teddy's condition, in my opinion, Teddy has heart.  She feels a connection to Mr. Ridley's exotic pets and worries about their treatment.

I don't want to give too much away but I if you are a fan of body horror, then look no further.  I really enjoyed Starving Ghosts in Every Thread and I will be keeping an eye on this author in the future.

I received a copy of this novella in exchange for an honest review.  My thoughts were no influenced by that whatsoever.

RATING: 4 PAWS




THE SORROW OF HORROR - Eric LaRocca

Much of palpable horror is often rooted in the torment of human sorrow. Of course, that’s not a gratuitous generalization to say that all horror is founded in sadness or misery; however, it’s an assessment of the many films and works of literature I’ve gravitated to during my formative years as a writer. I recognize that most of the artistic works I’ve come to appreciate as pillars of exemplary storytelling share a foundation in the agony of trauma – the all-consuming and deeply humanizing vacuum of despair. If you’re familiar with iconic films such as Ari Aster’s Hereditary, Nicholas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now, or Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist, you’ll come to recognize that grief is a fundamental component fueling the misfortunes the characters endure throughout each narrative. Lately, as I’ve been promoting my new release of Starving Ghosts in Every Thread, I’ve come to reflect on why trauma and grief figure so greatly in the works I consume as well as the projects I write. I’m immediately reminded of a moment from my childhood when I first sensed an intense feeling of sorrow – a feeling I’ve yet to be able to shake.
To say that the town in which I grew up was rural would be a gross understatement. It was the kind of small, peaceful hamlet Norman Rockwell painstakingly etched into the zeitgeist of what now is considered “quintessential New England.” It was the kind of place where you were more likely to follow a tractor on the main drag of town than an actual car. It was the kind of place where nothing bad ever happened – neighbors looked out for one another; doors were customarily left unlocked after dark. My parents and I lived on top of one of the many mountains surrounding the quiet town – it was the place where I would first discover my love of reading and eventually my love of writing. We’d awake most mornings in the summertime and be greeted by a chestnut-colored doe with her newly born fawn huddled beneath our apple tree in the backyard. Though we had several woodland creatures that visited us over the many years we lived there, we were especially fond of the mother deer and her baby as they foraged for food in our backyard. However, like all precious things in life, this was to change.
One summer day, while my godmother was visiting, we returned home after a trip to our local swimming pond. While I heaved beach chairs and towels from the trunk of the car, my mother and godmother went ahead into the garage to go inside the house. We typically would leave the garage doors open while we were away merely out of habit. As I dragged the chairs into the nearby shed, I heard an ear-splitting howl – the sound of my godmother sobbing punctuated by confused, panicked shrieks. I darted into the garage and it was there I saw what she had seen – the newborn fawn lying on the small garage porch, its stomach slashed open and organs spilling out like the contents of a drawstring purse. The baby deer lay there in a puddle of its own blood, its palsied limbs twitching as if still frantically trying to run. My mother immediately steered me out of the garage and into the house. It wasn’t long until my father returned home, and he reasoned another animal – most likely a dog or a coyote – had attacked the little fawn and, in its frightened bewilderment, it returned to the place where its mother usually was – our home.

It wasn’t until I was much older that I learned my father and one of our neighbors took the half-dead fawn into the woods and shot it in the head to put it out of its misery. Regardless, I can recall so distinctly the blanket-like warmth of despair swaddling me whenever I thought of the baby deer. It was the first moment in my life when I felt unsafe – when I recognized horrible things can happen to you no matter how sheltered or insulated you are. I realized I was not only feeling sorrow for the poor, half-dying creature I had seen slumped on the garage porch, but I was grieving for the loss of my childhood as well – the moment when I realized nobody, not even me at the age of 9, was immune to misfortune. I’ve carried that trauma with me for much of my adult life – the thoughts of the wounded baby fawn, its entrails dragging on the ground as it tirelessly searches for its mother, as it tirelessly searches for a semblance of safety. I realize I’m searching for that very same sense of protection. After all, the world is a deeply frightening place. I find myself yearning for something I cannot have – sorrow for the fact I cannot have it. I truly believe that’s where true horror exists – in the exquisite agony of sadness.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Retro Horror Vol. 3 - The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

Welcome back to round three of Retro Horror.  Both Stormi and I have picked separate books again this time around so you get double the horror fun.  So read on to see what I thought of my pick this month, and then go see how Stormi's pick worked out for her at Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

TITLE: The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon
AUTHOR: Stephen King
PUBLISHER: Pocket Books
PUBLISHING DATE: April 6, 1999 (original date)


FROM GOODREADS: During a six-mile hike on the Maine-New Hampshire branch of the Appalachian Trail, nine-year-old Trisha McFarland quickly tires of the constant bickering between her older brother and her recently divorced mother. But when she wanders off by herself, she becomes lost in a wilderness maze full of peril and terror. As night falls, Trisha has only her ingenuity as a defense against the elements, and only her courage and faith to withstand her mounting fears. For solace she tunes her headphones to broadcasts of Boston Red Sox baseball games and follows the gritty performances of her hero, relief pitcher Tom Gordon. And when the reception begins to fade, Trisha imagines that Tom Gordon is with her—the protector from an enemy who may or may not be imagined…one who is watching her, waiting for her in the dense, dark woods…  

MY THOUGHTS:
This is one Stephen King book that I never even actually bought when it came out.  I think back then I saw "baseball" and not being a huge fan of the sport, just skipped it.  However, I recently picked up this edition from Wal-Mart one day and I realized it would be a perfect read for the Retro Horror project.

So one day Trisha, her mother and her brother travel from home to go on a six-mile hike on the Appalachian Trail.  Trisha's parents have recently divorced and her brother hates every idea their mother comes up with to do for weekend activities.  Trisha is tired of all the fighting and bickering.  While hiking, Trisha steps off the trail to go to the bathroom.  Because her brother and mother are in the middle of another epic battle, she doesn't say anything thinking she can quickly catch up. However, she gets turned around and what follows is several days lost in the woods with only a small backpack of supplies and her beloved Tom Gordon signed baseball cap.

I have to make note of the formatting of this novel.  King titled the chapters like baseball innings which was a really nice touch.  I really enjoyed reading things such as "Bottom of the Seventh" because as the "game" progressed, Trisha's situation grew more dire.  I also really liked Trisha but I have to be honest and admit that this is not one of my favorite King books.  I kind of got tired of the whole lost-in-the-woods tale and really just wanted Trisha to be found.

I also found there to be some holes in the story.  For example, someone calls in a tip to the local police that Trisha was abducted by a local pedophile. Other than serving as a mechanism to drag the story out longer because the police changed the focus of their search, it didn't seem to fit.  This also may seem strange considering this is actually one of King's shorter books  but I found myself wanting more.  I wanted to see more reaction from the parents who were clearly on the way to making their children's lives more difficult.  The brother did feel some remorse but basically he was just a little shit.  He was older than Trisha but you never would have guessed it from the way he acted.

So overall I am glad I finally picked this book up.  It's another King I can mark off my list.  I know people dearly love this tale and if you like survival stories, it's definitely one you should consider picking up.

RATING: 3 PAWS




If you happened to miss my past reviews, you can check them out here:

Vol 1 - Wither
Vol 2 - The Amityville Horror

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Can't Wait Wednesday (278)


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: Every fifty years, a cult claims twelve men to murder in a small Texas town. Can one girl end the cycle of violence - and save the boy who broke her heart?

San Solano, Texas is a quaint town known for its charm, hospitality, and history of murder. Twice now, twelve men have been brutally killed, and no one knows who did it. A shadowy witch? A copy-cat killer? Or a man-hating murderess? Eighteen-year-old Natalie Colter is sure that the rumors about her great-great-grandmother's cult of wronged women are just gossip, but that doesn't stop the true crime writers and dark tourism bloggers from capitalizing on the town's reputation. It's an urban legend that's hard to ignore, and it gets harder when Nat learns that the sisterhood is real, and magical. And they want her to join.

The more Nat learns of the Wardens' supernatural history, the more she wonders about the real culprits behind the town's ritualistic murders. Are the Wardens protecting San Solano from even darker forces? As the anniversary of the murders draws near, the town grows restless. Residents start getting "claimed" as this year's planned victims, including Levi Langford, the boy whose kiss haunted Nat for a year.

Nat knows that no one is safe. Can she and the sisterhood stop the true evil from claiming their town?

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  I'm a little scared by the whole "boy who broke her heart thing" but I think the mention of a shadowy witch and a cult takes precedence so I want to give this one a chance.

CASSIUS'S PICK


FROM GOODREADS: From The Cut's funniest writer, a hilarious journey through the odd corners of obsessive dog ownership and the author's own infatuation with her perfect dog Peter.


The author met Peter in the spring of 2017. He--calm, puppy-eyed, with the heart of a poet and the soul of, also, a poet--came to her first as a foster. He was unable to stay with his previously assigned foster for reasons that are none of your business, but which we will tell you were related to frequent urination. The rescue needed someone free of the sort of responsibilities that would force her to regularly leave the house for either work or socializing, and a writer was the natural choice. Thus began a love story for the ages.

THE PARTICULARS OF PETER is a funny exploration of the joy found in loving a dog so much it makes you feel like you're going to combust, and the author's potentially codependent relationship with her own sweet dog, Peter. Readers will follow Peter and his owner to Woofstock, "the largest outdoor festival for dogs in North America," and accompany them to lessons in Canine Freestyle, a sport where dogs perform a routine set to music, creating the illusion that they're dancing with their owners. From learning about Peter's DNA, to seeing if dogs can sense the presence of ghosts, THE PARTICULARS OF PETER will give readers a smart, entertaining respite from the harsh world of humans into the funny little world of dogs.

Readers will accompany this lovable duo through exciting trips, lessons, quiet moments of connection, and probably a failure or two. By fusing memoir and infotainment, THE PARTICULARS OF PETER promises to refresh the perennially popular dog lit category in a scrumptiously bighearted barnstormer of a book.

WHY CASSIUS CAN'T WAIT:  Seriously guys?  Didn't you just read the synopsis?  The book sounds perfect and coming from a dog whose Mom might just be a bit codependent on me, I know she definitely needs to read this one.  Plus it sounds like it might have some humor to it which always adds enjoyment to a current read. 

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