Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Feed Your TBR - Made For You


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. 

JULY 2, 2024

FROM GOODREADS: Hi. My name is Julia. I’m a Synth. And I’m here to find love…

Synthetic woman Julia Walden was designed for one reason: to compete on The Proposal and claim the heart of bachelor Josh LaSala. Her casting is controversial, but Julia seems to get her fairy-tale ending when Josh gets down on one knee.

Fast forward fifteen months, and Julia and Josh are married and raising their baby in small-town Indiana. But with haters around every corner, Julia's life is a far cry from the domestic bliss she imagined. Then her splintering world shatters: Josh goes missing, and she becomes the prime suspect in his murder.

With no one left she can trust, Julia takes the investigation into her own hands. But the explosive truths she uncovers will drive her to her breaking point—and isn’t that where a person’s true nature is revealed? That is…if Julia truly is a person.

Told via dual timelines, Jenna Satterthwaite’s twist-filled debut deftly explores the exhilarating point where artificial intelligence, reality TV and bone-chilling murder mystery meet.

WHY I CAN'T WAIT: It seems discussions about AI are everywhere lately and I love the combo of this mixed with a mystery.  I stumbled across this book yesterday and immediately added it to the wish list.


Tuesday, December 5, 2023

So THAT'S Where the Other Four Dogs Went!


TITLE: The Twelve Dogs of Christmas
AUTHOR: Susan Wiggs
PUBLISHER: William Morrow
PUBLISHING DATE: October 17, 2023
PAGES: 256   

FROM GOODREADS: Brenda Malloy wants nothing to do with Christmas ever again. Last year, Brenda and her husband rushed their beloved dog Tim to the emergency vet on Christmas eve. The good Tim survived after the vet cleared the obstruction--a pair of women’s lace undies. The bad the undies were not Brenda’s. 
A year after the breakup, Brenda has put her life back together. She’s trained for a marathon, is writing a children’s novel, and she’s found purpose and healing as a volunteer with a dog rescue organization in Houston, Texas. The rescue partners with a program in Avalon, New York--a small, snowy town deep in the Catskills. Now Brenda is arranging the transport of rescued dogs from Houston to Avalon—just in time for a merry Christmas with their forever families. 
Brenda’s friends worry about her driving a van two thousand miles with twelve dogs in crates, but she shrugs off their concern. How hard can it be? She knows the way, and she’s just looking to escape the Christmas overload for a while. But a blinding snowstorm, an escaped mutt, and a life-saving encounter with Adam Bellamy—a single dad and paramedic—means Brenda has to stay in Avalon longer than she planned. As she drops off each precious pup at their new homes, some of the comfort and joy of the season begins to creep up on Brenda despite her determination to avoid the holidays. Perhaps you can bring Christmas into your heart after all...if you have the right furry friends to guide the way. 

MY THOUGHTS:  When I first hauled this ARC, some of you might remember me mentioning that it was very off-putting that there were only eight dogs on the front.  Well, I grabbed a copy of this from the library recently and discovered the remaining four dogs are featured on the back.  It's the little things that make me happy.  Needless to say, this is the perfect Christmas novel for any animal lover and I'm so glad I decided to read it over my Thanksgiving break.

On Christmas Eve, Brenda and her husband have to rush their rescue dog, Tim, to the ER vet.  Tim lives (I was worried for a moment which shows you I didn't pay a lot of attention to the synopsis) but the doctor is able to remove a thong from Tim's digestive tract. Problem is that the thong doesn't belong to Brenda.  The book then moves forward a year and Brenda is rebuilding her life with Tim by her side.  However, she no longer looks forward to the holiday season.  Because of a cancellation, Brenda ends up accompanying her friend and fellow rescue worker with 12 dogs to the Catskills and delivering the dogs to their new homes.  But accidents do happen, Brenda gets stuck in Avalon, and Adam Bellamy, the paramedic who is assisting her with the dogs, is trying to best to provide some holiday spirit.

So this book was such a great way to lose myself for an afternoon snuggled beneath some blankets with a pup on my lap and one at my feet.  It was a great to see a female in the Scrooge role and I enjoyed seeing Adam trying to convince Brenda to partake in some Christmas activities.  Of course, there are also the dogs who are all main characters as well as it's great to see how they bring all the players in the novel together.  

I've never read this author before but will keep an eye open for any related titles in the future.  There was an element at the ending which definitely lends itself to a companion novel and I would love to spend more time in Avalon, especially around the holidays.


Sunday, December 3, 2023

Farm News - December 3, 2023

  So, I didn't get an update last week, but I hope everyone who celebrated had a great Thanksgiving.  I was busy squeezing in one more book for the Ho! Ho! Ho! Readathon before my vacation ended.  I ended up reading five books which I was more than thrilled with and I even won one of the giveaways!  My prize should be here sometime this week so I will be sure to share it on next week's update. 

The pups are fine, and Zeke experienced his first Thanksgiving.  I do believe he is a fan.  He also had his third round of shots and came in weighing 22.5 pounds.  He is growing so fast and I'm sure he's even bigger now because it's been almost 2 weeks since then.

This week I'll be catching up on some reviews on the Christmas books I read.  I really enjoyed most of them and am even reading another one now.  I'm currently reading Wrapped with a Beau and Kingdom of Sweets and then hopefully will start Wreck the Halls shortly thereafter.

I can't believe it's December already and there's so much to do.  Thanks for taking time out of your busy day and visiting Booker T's Farm!

Thursday, November 30, 2023

2 Bloggers 1 Book - It by Stephen King


So, I take total responsibility for this one as it was my idea for Stormi and I to buddy read it.  I remember reading the book when I was a teen and loving it. I figured it was time for a reread so I could see if I still felt the same way - spoiler, I do not.  So read on for all my snarky thoughts and then hop over to Stormi's @ StormReads and see what she thought. 


AUTHOR: Stephen King
PUBLISHING DATE: September 15, 1986
PAGES: 1142 (too many)   

FROM GOODREADS: It began for the Losers on a day in June of 1958, the day school let out for the summer. That was the day Henry Bowers carved the first letter of his name on Ben Hanscom's belly and chased him into the Barrens, the day Henry and his Neanderthal friends beat up on Stuttering Bill Denbrough and Eddie Kaspbrak, the day Stuttering Bill had to save Eddie from his worst asthma attack ever by riding his bike to beat the devil. It ended in August, with seven desperate children in search of a creature of unspeakable evil in the drains beneath Derry. In search of It. And somehow it ended. 
Or so they thought. Then. 
On a spring night in 1985 Mike Hanlon, once one of those children, makes six calls. Stan Uris, accountant. Richie "Records" Tozier, L.A. disc jockey. Ben Hanscom, renowned architect. Beverly Rogan, dress designer. Eddie Kaspbrak, owner of a successful New York limousine company. And Bill Denbrough, bestselling writer of horror novels, Bill Denbrough who now only stutters in his dreams. 
These six men and one woman have forgotten their childhoods,have forgotten the time when they were Losers...but an unremembered promise draws them back, the present begins to rhyme dreadfully with the past, and when the Losers reunite, the wheels of fate lock together and roll them towards the ultimate terror. 

MY THOUGHTS: So let me provide you with a little backstory which will explain why I might have such fond memories of this book.  Because after reading it this time around, and suffering through it for three months, it is no longer a fave.

This book was published when I was a sophomore in high school.  I remember my Mom and Dad going out of town one weekend, and I desperately wanted to go.  However, it was a parent's trip and I later learned they were trying to save their marriage (which worked for a while I guess).  I was a "Daddy's Girl" so while he was out of town, he went and purchased a new book by my favorite author which had just been released - It.  I also wish I still had that copy because it was a first edition but unfortunately, boxer #3 ate it one day while I was at work.  Hope he liked it more than I did this time around.

So, I won't rehash the story of It.  I figure anyone who is interested has either read the tome or else have seen the old/new movies.  A group of kids battling the evil lurking in their hometown when they were kids, and again, 27 years later as adults.  I feel like I know more about these kids than I do some of my family members and about 600 pages in, Pennywise the Clown couldn't die soon enough.  I had a few favorite characters but by the end, I didn't care what happened to any of them.  And the ending, SPOILER ALERT: Aliens?  I know a lot of people criticize King for his endings but I'm starting to think whenever he had no idea how to wrap things up, he pulls an alien out of his hat.  

So needless to say, this book did not stand up for me.  My rating is heavily bolstered by my sentimental feelings and reminders of my father, who is the basis for my love of horror.  If you are interested in the book and haven't read it yet, go watch the movie.  The remake was done really well and even the original stands the test of time in my opinion.  Basically, I'm just relieved I finished this time around.


Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Feed Your TBR - We Ate the Dark


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. 

 MARCH 5, 2024

FROM GOODREADS: Five years after Sofia Lyon disappeared, her remains are found stuffed into the hollow of a tree bursting through the floorboards of an abandoned house in the woods. The women who loved her flock home to the North Carolina hills to face their grief.

Frankie, Sofia’s twin, is in furious mourning. Poppy is heartbroken. Cass has never felt more homesick. And Marya knows something the rest of them don’t. Determined to find Sofia’s murderer, they share more than a need to see justice done for their friend. Each woman is haunted, bound to the next by something both cruel and kind, and now stalked by a shadowy presence they’ve yet to understand. Only to question, and to fear.

As Sofia’s secrets unravel, so do those of the woods, and the women soon realize that Sofia might not be who they thought she was at all. And that whoever—or whatever—killed her is coming after them.

WHY I CAN'T WAIT: I stumbled across this when browsing a new release list last week and immediately added it to the wishlist.  I love the atmospheric cover and I want to learn more about why Sophia was found dead stuffed inside a tree.  What a way to dispose of a body!


Tuesday, November 28, 2023

2 Bloggers 1 Series - Ghostly Echoes (Jackaby #3)


Stormi and I were so eager to find out what happened to Jenny, we decided to jump right in and read book three in November.  Did our luck with this series continue, or were we disappointed?  Read on to find out and then hop over to Stormi's at Storm Reads to see hers! 
TITLE: Ghostly Echoes (Jackaby #3)
AUTHOR: William Ritter
PUBLISHER: Algonquin Young Readers
PUBLISHING DATE: August 23, 2016/span>
PAGES: 352   
SOURCE: Library

FROM GOODREADS: Jenny Cavanaugh, the ghostly lady of 926 Augur Lane, has enlisted the investigative services of her fellow residents to solve a decade-old murder—her own. Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, Detective R. F. Jackaby, dive into the cold case, starting with a search for Jenny’s fiancĂ©, who went missing the night she died. But when a new, gruesome murder closely mirrors the events of ten years prior, Abigail and Jackaby realize that Jenny’s case isn’t so cold after all, and her killer may be far more dangerous than they suspected. 
Fantasy and folklore mix with mad science as Abigail’s race to unravel the mystery leads her across the cold cobblestones of nineteenth-century New England, down to the mythical underworld, and deep into her colleagues’ grim histories to battle the most deadly foe she has ever faced.

MY THOUGHTS: I really loved the first two books in this series and after finishing book two and learning the next installment would finally delve into who killed Jenny, Jackaby's ghostly bestie and technical owner of his home, I couldn't wait.  However, I am sad to say that while I did like this book and still plan on finishing this series soon, this book turned out to be a disappointment.

Jackaby, Rook and the gang are quickly immersed into the mystery of Jenny's murder directly from the beginning of the book.  Jenny is becoming more unstable as the investigation progresses and she gets more and more frustrated, which leads to her and Rook trying some questionable practices to try to move things along.  Rook's heart is in the right place, but I knew right from the start what they were doing was going to backfire on them.

I found this book kind of confusing.  We learn of a secret society working to advance technology and what lines they are willing to cross to make it advancement happen.  We also learn about some more nefarious entities and just how far they will go to use the advancements for their own benefit.  We meet the Ferryman and travel to a different realm and unfortunately, even though Charlie, one of my favorite characters, did make an appearance, his role was minor and I missed him.

Overall, I am hoping this book provided a lot of set up for the next and final installment in this main series and that once I read that one, I will find this one more enjoyable.  However, on it's own merits, I can't rate this one as high as the earlier ones and it even lost a rating point due to some really creepy and really sad animal experiment.


Monday, November 27, 2023

Ho! Ho! Ho! Update #2 - A Quirky Little Tale


TITLE: The Christmas Guest
AUTHOR: Peter Swanson
PUBLISHER: William Morrow
PUBLISHING DATE: September 28, 2023
PAGES: 104   

FROM GOODREADS: Ashley Smith, an American art student in London for her junior year, was planning on spending Christmas alone, but a last-minute invitation from fellow student Emma Chapman brings her to Starvewood Hall, country residence of the Chapman family. The Cotswold manor house, festooned in pine boughs and crammed with guests for Christmas week, is a dream come true for Ashley. She is mesmerized by the cozy, firelit house, the large family, and the charming village of Clevemoor, but also by Adam Chapman, Emma's aloof and handsome brother. 
But Adam is being investigated by the local police over the recent brutal slaying of a girl from the village, and there is a mysterious stranger who haunts the woodland path between Starvewood Hall and the local pub. Ashley begins to wonder what kind of story she is actually inhabiting. Is she in a grand romance? A gothic tale? Or has she wandered into something far more sinister and terrifying than she'd ever imagined? 
Over thirty years later the events of that horrific week are revisited, along with a diary from that time. What began in a small English village in 1989 reaches its ghostly conclusion in modern-day New York, many Christmas seasons later.

MY THOUGHTS: I read this novella in one sitting and if at all possible, that's how I would recommend it be consumed.  While Swanson has been hit or miss for me in the past, The Christmas Guest really worked for me and was an enjoyable holiday read which wasn't romance or rom-com based.

As this is such a short read, I don't want to give much away, and I feel the synopsis provides the reader with all that is needed to decide whether or not to pick it up.  In fact, it may even give a bit too much away.  I will say this would be a perfect read for a snowy, dark evening when the wind is howling, and a fire is crackling.  And there are just enough twists and turns to keep the reader engaged while also allowing for the setting to give the story Gothic undertones.

If you like this author or are looking for a quick holiday themed "mystery/thriller," then consider picking this one up.