Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Feed Your TBR - Flirting With Disaster


Can't Wait Wednesday, which I have adapted to better suit my blog as "Feed Your TBR" 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.

January 14, 2025

FROM GOODREADS: It's been years since Meena has seen her husband, Nikhil . . . years since they first laid eyes on each other back home in Texas, years since they eloped in Las Vegas and she felt true happiness. A high-powered lawyer on Capitol Hill, ready to move on (or at least, she thinks so) with another successful lawyer, Shake, Meena has returned home. This time, finally, to obtain a divorce.

But there's one thing Meena couldn't have accounted for: a hurricane forming in the Gulf, veering right toward them, giving them no choice but to hunker down in the home they had built together. Suddenly, she finds herself trapped amid gale-force winds and pelting rain with the man she once loved.

As they spend more time together, Meena begins to remember everything that drew her to Nikhil: His small-town charm, his thoughtful nature. . . his absurdly good looks. But things make sense with Shake. He’s steady and ambitious and wants exactly what she wants. She’ll stick to her plan, come hell or high water. But will her windswept heart make the right choice, when the storm settles and the eye passes over?

With sharp observations about second chances at love, ambition and Indian American identity, and with characters who share an undeniable chemistry, Flirting with Disaster is a modern romance with the sensibility of a classic.

WHY I CAN'T WAIT: I don't know exactly why I'm drawn to this book and I added it to my wish list on impulse.  I really am intrigued by a forced proximity during a storm and a possible rekindling of a marriage gone bad.  Maybe it's the hopeless romantic in me that usually hides behind monsters and serial killers 🤣🤣🤣


Tuesday, May 21, 2024

A New Favorite Character Has Been Solidifed!


TITLE: White Trash Zombie Gone Wild
AUTHOR: Diana Rowland
PUBLISHING DATE: October 6, 2015
PAGES: 336   

FROM GOODREADS: Angel Crawford has buried her loser past and is cruising along in undead high gear--that is, until a murder-by-decapitation sends her on a hazardous detour. As Angel hunts for the killer, she uncovers a scheme that would expose zombies to the public and destroy the life she's built, and she's determined not to rest until she finds out who's behind it. 
Soon she's neck-deep in lies, redneck intrigue, zombie hunters, and rot-sniffing cadaver dogs. It's up to her to unravel the truth and snuff out the conspiracy before the existence of zombies makes headline news and she's outed as a monster. 
But Angel hasn't quite escaped the pill-popping ghosts of her past--not with an illicit zombie pharmaceutical at her fingertips. Good thing she's absolutely sure she can handle the drug's unpredictable side effects and still take down the bad guys...or maybe she's only one bad choice away from being dead meat--for real this time. 
Angel knows a thing or two about kicking ass, but now the ass she needs to kick might be her own.

MY THOUGHTS: This is the fifth book out of six in this series so I will try to keep my thoughts as spoiler-free as possible.  Angel and the crew have returned home from the big showdown in the last book which definitely created a massive shift in this zombie-verse.  Angel had to rely on a new pumped-up medication to enhance her zombie abilities in order to escape alive and save her team.  In this book we see how the use of that medication has once again fueled Angel's past substance abuse issues, and it's an extra boost that one of the side effects is that it helps with her dyslexia, which has become a big barrier now that she has started college classes.

The town is celebrating the release of the new zombie movie which was filmed in the last book with a week of festival activities, and there is also a concern that the FBI has been sniffing around the morgues and funeral homes investigating issues with disappearing organs - mainly brains.  It is feared that the zombie population may have to go into hiding which means Angel will be leaving her father and some new friends behind.  Who knows what will happen (so read the book and find out) but with Angel involved, it's bound to be a hell of a ride.

This series just keeps getting better and better.  This book introduces some new characters, such a Bear the Survivalist and we learn that more people actually know what Angel is hiding than she initially thought.  I will also say this book is VERY Angel-centric and it worked so well.  Because most of the team is off dealing with the FBI stuff, it is mainly up to Angel to figure out the newest chaotic catastrophe and fix it before it blows.  Angel's ex-boyfriend Marcus if away on business and I enjoyed him not being a constant presence.  This allowed the author to showcase Angel's coworker Nick more and I loved seeing his character development and seeing what he could add to this universe.

This series has yet to disappoint and reading book six next month will be bitter sweet.  Angel is a highly flawed, highly likable character and my only regret it that I didn't "meet" her sooner.  She will forever be an all-time fave!


Monday, May 20, 2024

Everyone Loves an Underdog Right?


TITLE: Becky Lynch: The Man - Not Your Average Average Girl
AUTHOR: Rebecca Quin
PUBLISHER: Gallery Books
PUBLISHING DATE: March 26, 2024
PAGES: 384   
SOURCE: Library

FROM GOODREADS: By age seven, Rebecca Quin, now known in the ring as Becky Lynch, was already defying what the world expected of her. Raised in Dublin, Ireland in a devoutly Catholic family, Rebecca constantly invented new ways to make her mother worry—roughhousing with the neighborhood kids, hosting secret parties while her parents were away, enrolling in a warehouse wrestling school, nearly breaking her neck and almost kneecapping a WWE star before her own wrestling career even began—and she was always in search of a thrilling escape from the ordinary. 
Rebecca’s deep love of wrestling as a child set her on an unlikely path. With few female wrestlers to look to for guidance, Rebecca pursued a wrestling career hoping to change the culture and move away from the antiquated disrespect so often directed at the elite female athletes that grace the ring. Even as a teenager, she knew that she would stop at nothing to earn a space among the greatest wrestlers of our time, and to pave a new path for female fighters. 
Culled from decades of journal entries, Rebecca’s memoir offers a raw, personal, and honest depiction of the complex woman behind the character Rebecca Quin plays on TV.

MY THOUGHTS: I remember being a young kid and going to visit my grandmother during the summer.  She used to be obsessed with wrestling, though I don't know why because I was 8 or so and didn't think to ask.  We would gather on the couch on Saturday evening with plenty of snacks and drinks and watch wrestling.  Back then I wasn't aware of the fake/real debates on much of anything else except what lived in my grandma's attic and did there really need to be blood red carpet in the upstairs hallway.  

I know recognize wrestling for what it is - scripted sports entertainment.  However, the individuals who do it still have to be superb athletes as well as actors.  I only watch it from time to time now, but I always gets excited when the women step into the ring, and of course, one of my faves has to be the wrestler who goes against the norm.  This book tells all about the rise of Becky Lynch, including how a non-athletic kid turned into an athletic superstar.  It details family drama, her confusion on her place in life, her struggles with an eating disorder and finally finding true love and marrying her best friend.  

I loved every minute of reading this book.  I am really drawn to memoirs, and this is one I'm so glad I picked up.  If you liked tales of the underdog and how they come out on top, then consider it a go.  I will say there is a lot of information about years and years of the wrestling scene so if you aren't familiar with it, you might not get as much out of reading it.


Thursday, May 16, 2024

2 Bloggers 1 Series - Hope's Crossing

 Stormi and I are on a never-ending quest to find a series to replace our Virgin River readalongs.  We've come close and actually read a Haven Point book at the end of last year.  Realizing then that we probably needed to read the original series first, we committed to giving Hope's Crossing a go.  I'm glad we did.  Read on for my thoughts in the first installment and then hop over to Stormi's for hers.


TITLE: Blackberry Summer (Hope's Crossing #1)
AUTHOR: RaeAnne Thayne
PAGES: 377   
SOURCE: Library

FROM GOODREADS: Claire Bradford needed a wake-up call. What she didn’t need was a tragic car accident. As a single mom and the owner of a successful bead shop, Claire leads a predictable life in Hope’s Crossing, Colorado. So what if she has no time for romance? At least, that’s what she tells herself, especially when her best friend’s sexy younger brother comes back to town as the new chief of police. 
But when the accident forces Claire to slow down and lean on others—especially Riley McKnight—she realizes, for the first time, that things need to change. And not just in her own life. The accident—and the string of robberies committed by teenagers that led up to it—is a message to the people of Hope’s Crossing. The sense of community and togetherness had been lost during those tough years. But with a mysterious “Angel of Hope” working to inspire the town, Riley and Claire will find themselves opening up to love and other possibilities by the end of an extraordinary summer…

MY THOUGHTS: Claire Bradford lives in Hope's Cross with her ex-husband and his new, younger wife, running her bead shop and trying to coexist for the sake of her two children.  She has a strong group of friends and support which add some great side stories and I'm sure who will appear in books to come.  Riley McKnight has moved back to town after working as a detective undercover for several years.  He happens to be the younger brother of one of Hope's best friends and the two basically grew up tormenting each other.  When Hope's shop is burgled and Riley has to start figure out who is breaking into several local shops, their paths cross and sparks fly.  And it doesn't hurt that Claire is injured during a incident where Riley is chasing a suspect, meaning she has to depend on him and others in her life more than usual.

I really liked all of the characters in this book.  It really does have that small-town, close-knit community vibe I loved so much with the Virgin River books.  Claire is extremely likable, and Riley is a pretty much a playboy.  I enjoyed the slow burn of the two which was juxtaposed into a book that also focuses on day-to-day happening and tragedies in the Colorado town of Hope's Crossing.  In addition, Claire also has the cutest dog which you know in my book, never hurts.  My only complaint is that because of Riley's baggage, he does and says some things while fighting his attraction to Clair that seemed like too much.  I mean, I could understand it, but it happened more than once, and I don't know how Claire could overlook some of it.

If you like small town romances which also have a strong plot featuring other stories beside it, then I would suggest you check out this book.  Thayne's writing was extremely well-done and I flew through this novel.  Bring on the second one!


Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Feed Your TBR - Bat Eater and Other Names for Cora Zeng


Can't Wait Wednesday, which I have adapted to better suit my blog as "Feed Your TBR" 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.

January 28, 2025

FROM GOODREADS: In this explosive horror novel, a woman is haunted by inner trauma, hungry ghosts, and a serial killer as she confronts the brutal violence experienced by East Asians during the pandemic.

Cora Zeng is a crime scene cleaner, washing away the remains of brutal murders and suicides in Chinatown. But none of that seems so terrible when she’s already witnessed the most horrific thing possible: her sister, Delilah, being pushed in front of a train.

Before fleeing the scene, the murderer shouted two words: bat eater.

So, the bloody messes don’t really bother Cora—she’s more bothered by the germs on the subway railing, the bare hands of a stranger, the hidden viruses in every corner, and the bites marks on her coffee table. Of course, ever since Delilah was killed in front of her, Cora can’t be sure what's real and what’s in her head.

She pushes away all feelings and ignores the advice of her aunt to prepare for the Hungry Ghost Festival, when the gates of hell open. But she can't ignore the dread in her stomach as she keeps finding bat carcasses at crime scenes, or the scary fact that all her recent cleanups have been the bodies of East Asian women.

As Cora will soon learn, you can’t just ignore hungry ghosts.

WHY I CAN'T WAIT: I will admit I am a bit tired of pandemic tales, but for some reason, this one still speaks to me.  I love the cover and I love the East Asian aspect.  


Tuesday, May 14, 2024

2 Bloggers 1 Book - Nightwing


Last month Stormi was participating in an Old School April Readathon on Booktube.  She asked if I would be interested in reading an older horror classic with her.  I agreed right away and thought it was a creature feature.  It wasn't quite what I expected though.  So read on for my thoughts and then hop over to Stormi's StormReads and see what she thought. 

TITLE: Nightwing
AUTHOR: Martin Cruz Smith
PUBLISHER: Simon and Schuster
PUBLISHING DATE: January 1, 1977
PAGES: 257   

FROM GOODREADS: As darkness gathers, the sky is filled with frantic motion and maddening murmurs. In an effort to end the world, an unhappy, aging Native American shaman invokes the Hopi god of death. Those around him remain skeptical, dismissing him as crazy old man. Then they discover his mutilated, bloody body and soon other similarly disfigured bodies begin to appear. Horses, sheep, cattle—no living thing is safe. But what is causing the horrible deaths? Deputy Sheriff Duran is called back to the reservation to investigate. Immediately, Duran recognizes the significance of the shaman’s spell and, with the help of two scientists, he works to combat the supernatural scourge—before there’s nothing left to save.

MY THOUGHTS: I went into this book thinking horror and I am sure that kind of set my expectations up to high.  Sure, there are some gruesome scenes but there is just as much, if not more, reservation politics between the Hopi and the Navajo with a side of revenge thrown in.

Youngman Duran is the MC of the book. He was in the service for a while and then returned to the reservation.  He now works in law enforcement and is not sure exactly where he fits in.  He is semi-dating a humanitarian nurse who has been there for two years to help improve the medical services the natives are able to access.  One day Duran's good friend, 90 some year-old Abner, creates a mysterious ritual and is found dead the next day, appearing to be savaged by some animal.  You also have Chee, who wants the Hopi land to make it "whiter" and mine the minerals located beneath the land. And finally, you have Paine, a scientist.  His father was killed in a cave while trying to exterminate some bats and since he has become a loner obsessed with eradicating them.  And then finally, last (and actually least) you have the bats themselves.

This book didn't actually create a reading slump, but it did contribute to me starting four other books.  I think I was doing what I could to avoid finishing it. The few scenes which featured the bats were very gruesome, but there weren't enough of them for my tastes.  I did enjoy reading a lot about the indigenous customs and history, but the writing style was very heavy-handed, if that makes sense.

I finally forced myself to finish this book on Saturday and was I ever glad to be done.  It wasn't a total bust, but if you ever decide to pick it up for whatever reason, just know it's more of a suspense thriller than an actual horror or creature feature.


Sunday, May 12, 2024

Farm News - May 12, 2024


Well, I survived my training, but it took me almost all of last week to feel normal again.  And now I have to wait three weeks to see if I pass. If so, then I can move onto the next part of it which is all online - thank Heavens!  

The boys enjoyed spending the week with Daddy all day, but it really threw off their schedules.  I think Apollo missed Mommy more that Zeke did.  Daddy is a little laxer with them than Mommy so needless to say, some evenings when I got home things were super chaotic.  

I managed to catch up some on blog posts last week but still have two buddy reads with Stormi to review this week.  One took me FOREVER to read and it the reason I have three other books on the go right now.  I was looking for any excuse not to finish it but did buckle down yesterday and knocked out the last 120 pages or so.  I ended up grabbing some Kindle books from Amazon this past week.  They were either books that were on sale which I had borrowed from the library several times without getting to them, so I decided to just go ahead and grab them, or books I had my eyes on for quite some time.  

Faebound: Saraa El-Arifi
The Manor House: Gilly Macmillan
Undead Folk: Katherine Silva
Buster: A Dog: George Pelecanos

We've also streamed some really good movies lately.  First up was Dogman.  It was so sad, and I can assure you no dogs died but I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to explore the bond between an abused young man and his connection with his canine family.  Next was the new Ghostbusters Frozen Empire.  It was great but I feel like I did enjoy the previous one a tad more.  And finally, last night we watched Abigail, the new vampire movie.  Definitely a hit and one I would recommend to horror and vampire lovers everywhere.  I also started watching Under the Bridge on Hulu but am not that far in yet. So far, so good.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Mother's Day, especially those celebrating with their fur-children.  It's kind of a low-key one here since Mr. Barb recently lost his mother, and that loss is still fresh, but I will be grabbing extra doggy cuddles for sure.