Friday, February 26, 2021

I Loved This Book!!! - Joint Custody Review

TITLE: Joint Custody
AUTHOR: Lauren Baratz-Logsted and Jackie Logsted
PUBLISHING DATE: January 5, 2021
PAGES: 256


The Man has custody Monday through Friday, The Woman has custody on the weekends. But that's not enough for Gatz, who will do anything to bring them back together--even if it kills him. And it almost did. Of course he knows chocolate is bad for him, especially two whole pounds of it, but it's the risk he's willing to take to get them back together. 
Gatz knows that The Man and The Woman are perfect for each other--how can they not see it too? She is an editor and he's a writer. She's a social butterfly and he's as introverted as a guy can get. After the misguided death-by-chocolate attempt, Gatz thinks he still has time. But when New Man--so handsome, so nice, so perfect--enters The Woman's life, he realizes he'll need to step up his game. And you know what they say: drastic times call for drastic doggy measures. 
A laugh-out-loud romance that will touch your heart and make you want a furry friend of your own.

MY THOUGHTS: This book was perfect!  Well, maybe it was just the perfect book for me but I think lots of other people will love it too.  First things first - this entire book is told from the dog's POV.  And man, Gatz is quite a dog.  From the first chapter when he overdoses on Valentine's Day candy so his parents will both be together at the vet office, to all the other antics he does throughout the book, Gatz managed to dig his way further and further into my heart as the plot progressed.  He is a energetic, intelligent and well spoken canine and not since Enzo in The Art of Racing in the Rain have I met a dog so enjoyable to read about.

So The Man and The Woman met the day Gatz is rescued and the relationship between all three ensue.  And when The Man and The Woman split up, it's up to Gatz to get them back together and makes them see the errors of their ways.  I enjoyed both characters, and I need to add we never do know their actual names, but the star of this show is Gatz.  Here are just a few parts of the book so you can get a true feeling for Gatz.

  • It all started with the chocolates.  Ah, who am I kidding?  It all nearly ended with the chocolates too.
  • It wasn't always easy, the waiting.  In fact, it was exactly as hard as Tom Petty said it was.
  • Wait.  Did he just whatever her?  Oh this was bad, very bad.
  • A man and a dog walk into a bar...It's good to have a place where everyone knows your name.  I know this for a fact, because I saw it on the TV.  
But there are some serious aspects to the book as well.  We get a good look at depression and loss.  The Man enters a deep depression when The Woman leaves him and Gatz watches him both spiral and also pull himself back up again.  

So basically, read this book.  I'm so thrilled a sequel is on the way because I need more Gatz in my life!


Thursday, February 25, 2021

Retro Horror Vol. 7 - Dog Kill


It's time again for Retro Horror!  Stormi and I plan on doing these every two months so you can expect the next one in April.  This month my pick also doubled as one off my "Read My Own Shelves" project.  Two birds with one book - gotta love that (actually no birds were harmed in the making of this post).  I had very mixed feelings about this month's book so read on and see what they are.  Then hop over to Stormi's at Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! and see what she read.

TITLE: Dog Kill
AUTHOR: Al Dempsey
PUBLISHER: Prentice-Hall
PAGES: 203
SOURCE: Personal Library


Jake was no man's best friend...A trained guard dog schooled in viciousness, the Doberman was 95 pounds of murderous muscle and fang. He'd left a trail of bloodied foes during months of aimless wandering. 
And then he'd met The Pack. He'd become their leader. They were a motley assortment--a lost Labrador, a strayed pointer, a harrier "liberated" from a laboratory, even an abandoned beagle. And one was a part-time member, a sleek boxer whose owner felt he should "sow his wild oats." He was the deadliest of them all. 
Some still lived off the leavings of man, but others had gone feral, had tasted blood and felt the frenzy of the kill. Soon they would all turn feral, and they would range for miles in the farmland and suburbs around their hidden lair. 
They would learn to kill, beginning with rabbits and then moving to ever larger game. They were a hunting pack, perhaps the most terrifying predators known to civilization.

MY THOUGHTS: So I won't lie.  With a title like Dog Kill, I knew some dogs were going to die.  I was mentally prepared for that.  What I wasn't prepared for was the amount of stupidity exhibited from the humans in the book.  

So basically the books alternates between the characters' part of the story and then the various dogs' part of the story.  We get to see how each dog came to be "wild" and living on their own.  What followed was tales of abuse, abandonment, irresponsibility, incompetence, arrogance and stupidity - do you see a theme?  The dogs start doing what feral dogs will do and killing animals and seriously, I couldn't wait to see them kill some of the stupid people.  Hmmm, there's that word again.  In the end, while I didn't hate the tale, I wasn't thoroughly impressed either and I ended up being glad it was a pretty short book.

And just to show you that I don't always pay attention to the synopsis of the books I read, there was a regal Boxer in the story named Duke.  Now Duke was a good boy, like all of other dogs in the book had they been treated right.  But he had a dumb owner who thought Duke deserved to be let out to roam sometimes and sow his oats and he believed people would be lucky to have puppies sired by his pedigreed dog.  I think he was the WORST.  No, I take that back,  He wasn't. And spoiler alert, he didn't die and I wished he had.

I will say that the author did a lot of research for the book and it showed.  He interspersed in the book a lot of commentary about the nature of canines and how humans domesticated them and how they were once wild beings.  He also spoke a lot about how many dogs are born unwanted and from carelessness and how stupid people can be.  I clearly believe he knew how stupid he made his characters and did so to prove a point so that made the book more bearable.  

So overall, if you like horror, it wasn't really scary.  And if you love dogs, it's a little heartbreaking.  But I don't regret the time spent reading it and hey, that's more than I can say about my last retro read.  But I do think it should have been titled Stupid People.


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Can't Wait Wednesday (311)


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.

October 12, 2021

FROM GOODREADS: A lush gothic fantasy about monsters and magic, set on the banks of a cursed lake. Perfect for fans of Naomi Novik and Brigid Kemmerer.

There are monsters in the world.

When Violeta Graceling arrives at haunted Lakesedge estate, she expects to find a monster. She knows the terrifying rumors about Rowan Sylvanan, who drowned his entire family when he was a boy. But neither the estate nor the monster are what they seem.

There are monsters in the woods.

As Leta falls for Rowan, she discovers he is bound to the Lord Under, the sinister death god lurking in the black waters of the lake. A creature to whom Leta is inexplicably drawn…

There’s a monster in the shadows, and now it knows my name.

Now, to save Rowan—and herself—Leta must confront the darkness in her past, including unraveling the mystery of her connection to the Lord Under.

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  This one had me at the word "Gothic."  I really need to know more about the monster which captures the MC's attention.  Plus I find the cover very atmospheric and haunting.


MAY 4, 2021

FROM GOODREASDS: Bella was once a lost dog, but now she lives happily with her people, Lucas and Olivia, only occasionally recalling the hardships in her past. Then a weekend camping trip turns into a harrowing struggle for survival when the Rocky Mountains are engulfed by the biggest wildfire in American history. The raging inferno separates Bella from her people and she is lost once more.

Alone in the wilderness, Bella unexpectedly finds herself responsible for the safety of two defenseless mountain lion cubs. Now she’s torn between two equally urgent goals. More than anything, she wants to find her way home to Lucas and Olivia, but not if it means abandoning her new family to danger. And danger abounds, from predators hunting them to the flames threatening at every turn.

Can Bella ever get back to where she truly belongs?

A Dog's Courage is a moving tale of loyalty and the constant heart of one devoted dog – brought vividly to life with a keen understanding of what makes all dogs so spe

WHY CASSIUS CAN'T WAIT:  Mom says she can't read this books because she knows she'll cry but since she just read one that made her cry, I'm not buying that excuse anymore and I'm placing this on her TBR whether she likes it or not.  Isn't Bella so cute?


Random Things Tours - When Harry Met Minnie


TITLE: When Harry Met Minnie
AUTHOR: Martha Teichner
PUBLISHER: Octopus Books
PUBLISHING DATE: February 4, 2021
PAGES: 256


There are true fairy tales. Stories that exist because impossible-to-explain coincidences change everything. Except in real life, not all of them have conventional, happily-ever-after endings. When Harry Met Minnie is that kind of fairy tale, with the vibrant, romantic New York City backdrop of its namesake, the movie When Harry Met Sally, and the bittersweet wisdom of Tuesdays with Morrie. 
There's a special camaraderie among early-morning dog walkers. Gathering at dog runs in the park, or strolling through the farmer's market at Union Square before the bustling crowd appears, fellow pet owners become familiar-as do the personalities of their beloved animals. In this special space and time, a chance encounter with an old acquaintance changed Martha Teichner's world. As fate would have it, her friend knew someone who was dying of cancer, from exposure to toxins after 9/11, and desperate to find a home for her dog, Harry. He was a Bull Terrier--the same breed as Martha's dear Minnie. Would Martha consider giving Harry a safe, loving new home? 
In short order, boy dog meets girl dog, the fairy tale part of this story. But there is so much more to this book. After Martha agrees to meet Harry and his owner Carol, what begins as a transaction involving a dog becomes a deep and meaningful friendship between two women with complicated lives and a love of Bull Terriers in common. Through the heartbreak and grief of Carol's illness, the bond that develops changed Martha's life, Carol's life, Minnie's life, Harry's life. As it changed Carol's death as well. 
In this rich and touching narrative, Martha considers the ways our stories are shaped by the people we meet, and the profound love we can find by opening our hearts to unexpected.

MY THOUGHTS: I just knew this book would make me cry and I was right.  Yet from the moment I learned of its release, I knew I had to read it despite knowing that.  And I'm so glad I did and even happier to be a part of the blog tour for its release.

Martha had always loved Bull Terriers and had owned a few, even one with the adorable name Piggy.  Shen her beloved Goose dies, she knows how lonely her remaining dog Minnie has become.  She is just at the point where she is thinking of adding a new pet to her home when by chance, or perhaps fate, she runs into an old friend.  This friend just happens to have a very good friend who is dying from cancer and she is trying to find a home for her very complicated Bull Terrier, Harry.  What begins next is a courtship between Harry and Minnie, and a friendship between Martha and Carol, Harry's owner, that only spanned a short period of time but was so large it should have lasted for decades.

I loved everything about this book.  Martha's description of her dogs, of Carol's life and apartment, and of her home, New York City, are both touching and beautiful.  Even having an idea of a lot of the ending, I still couldn't turn the pages quick enough.  Even though Harry came with quite a bit of baggage and some tremendous medical issues, I think Martha knew from the beginning she would welcome him into her family even though it took her much longer to admit it to others and even herself.

And Harry and Minnie. I couldn't read enough about them and the emails they exchanged when they were dating were something I could see myself doing for one of my beloved pets.  I mean after all, my beloved Cassius has an human girlfriend and they exchange gifts and cards quite frequently and we even call her family his in-laws.  

If you love dogs, then you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of this book. I will definitely be looking to add a physical copy to my favorite dog book shelf because I loved it that much.  Many thanks to Martha for sharing such a lovely story.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Martha Teichner has been a correspondent for “CBS Sunday Morning” since December 1993. Since joining CBS News in 1977, Teichner has earned multiple national awards for her original reporting, including 11 Emmy Awards, an Alfred I. duPont Award and five James Beard Foundation Awards. 

Martha has reported on some of the largest national and international stories of this era, including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the run-up to the war in Iraq, the death of Princess Diana and the life and death of Nelson Mandela. She’s interviewed world leaders and other newsmakers, including then-first lady Hillary Clinton. 

Now based in New York, Teichner spent more than a dozen years as a foreign correspondent covering major international news. Teichner was twice assigned to the CBS News London bureau (1980-1984, 1989-1994), covering the Northern Ireland hunger strikes, the Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, and was one of only a handful of female war correspondents. 

Teichner covered the Lebanon War, the 1st Intifada in 1988 in Israel and the West Bank, embedded with the US First Armored Division in the Persian Gulf War, covered the conflicts associated with the collapse of Yugoslavia (Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia) and spent three years in South Africa during the last years of apartheid. She reported on the fall of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe and the Romanian revolution. Teichner also spent several weeks in the Bolivian jungle covering undercover operations with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Now THOSE are Big Dogs!


TITLE: Mega-Dogs of New Kansas
AUTHOR: Dan Jolley and Jacques Khouri
PUBLISHER: Graphic Universe
PUBLISHING DATE: October 6, 2020
PAGES: 144
SOURCE: Library


The story of a girl and her dog--in space. 
Sienna Barlow loves nothing more than riding around New Kansas on top of her mega-dog, Gus. He's one of the massive pooches protecting the human settlers of a strange planet. In fact, Sienna connects better with Gus than with other kids. So when a visiting official threatens to shut down the mega-dog program, Sienna sneaks off with her best friend. After she, Gus, and a stowaway crash their escape ship, they discover a danger to every human in their community--and launch a wild plan to save New Kansas.

MY THOUGHTS: Sienna lives with her mother is space in an area known as New Kansas.  Her mother is a scientist and has created a new program to help everyone - the Mega Dogs.  Sienna loves helping with the pups and even has her own Mega-Dog, Gus.  However, when her actions are misunderstood by a new kid, the whole program and even Gus's life, is threatened by visiting officials because they are deemed dangerous.

This was a great graphic novel and I thoroughly adored it.  The artwork is a tad primitive but in my opinion, that works great for the story it tells.  It's told in primary earth tones which sets the mood for the new settlement. I also really liked Sienna.  She suffers from anxiety and has a hard time making friends which is just one of the reasons Gus is so important to her.  The overall plot teaches a few lessons along the way and I think it would be a great book for parents to read with their kids to open up various discussions.  

Overall, a fun read which would be perfect for the younger generation or anyone who just loves a tale featuring adorable and cute dogs.  


Saturday, February 20, 2021

What's Happening (02-20-21) - A Long Time Coming


So once again I'm going to try to make this a regular feature.  I got really bad about updating at the end of 2020.  Hopefully I'll get better at checking in regularly.  As always, I'm linking up with Stacking the Shelves at  Tynga's Reviews and The Sunday Post at The Caffeinated Reviewer.

So it's been about a month since I've done a life update and what can I say except life has been trying.  I can't really complain because we are all safe and healthy and even though we've had a few weeks of rough weather, it's not even close to what others have been going though.  My thoughts and prayers go out to so many people who have experience horrible things in the past month.

Also, Gpa's dementia has been getting worse and I've trying to get Stupid Uncle to step up and do something because I've been at my wit's end a few times.  I love my Gpa dearly but he's stated taking off at night and I worry about his safety.  Luckily the past few weeks have mellowed a tad.

So on to the positives!  Cass and Apollo are doing great.  Cass has been having some sensitive stomach issues but overall he's good.  He also got to see his girlfriend Emma when we walked today so that made his week. Also, the job I mentioned in my last update... I got it!  My first day is March 1st so I've been wrapping things up at my old job and will be enjoying a week's vacation this coming week before starting my next chapter.  Also, Mr. Barb got a promotion at work and is now running his own substance abuse treatment unit within the work release.  I'm so proud of him

On to reading and watching.  Movies have been scarce but we did watch Pretty Little Things with Denzel Washington.  It was decent but slower than I anticipated.  We watched the entire new The Stand limited series and I loved it!  Of course, I REALLY disliked that book and the series cut so much out of it that I am sure that's why it was such a hit for us.  However, the last episode came out of nowhere and I'm not really sure why they went in that direction unless that wanted to try to set things up for a season 2.  We also watched the new Wrong Turn which was nothing like the original and actually had a more Viking feel to it which was VERY odd.

I've been reading quite a bit and am behind on reviews.  Hope to get three dog related titles up next week to end up They Call It Puppy Love month on a high note.  Here's what I'm currently reading.  

And here are some awesome ARCS that have been sent my way.

So I hope you all are fine and I will be visiting you all lots next week.  Stay warm and safe!

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Flame Tree Press Blog Tour - The Searching Dead


TITLE: The Searching Dead
AUTHOR: Ramsey Campbell
PUBLISHER: Flame Tree Press
PUBLISHING DATE: February 16, 2021
PAGES: 256

FROM GOODREADS: 1952. On a school trip to France teenager Dominic Sheldrake begins to suspect his teacher Christian Noble has reasons to be there as secret as they're strange. Meanwhile a widowed neighbour joins a church that puts you in touch with your dead relatives, who prove much harder to get rid of. As Dominic and his friends Roberta and Jim investigate, they can’t suspect how much larger and more terrible the link between these mysteries will become. A monstrous discovery beneath a church only hints at terrors that are poised to engulf the world as the trilogy brings us to the present day…

MY THOUGHTS: Everyone who visits here regularly knows how much I love Flame Tree Press publications and honestly, I think this is just another of their releases everyone needs to add to their TBR.  Just know going into this book that it's the first one in a trilogy and I can't wait for the rest of the series to come my way.

The tale is set in Post WWII Liverpool.  The main character Dominic, is on a school trip and starts to suspect that his history teacher, Mr. Noble, has ulterior motives for being there.  Also, his neighbor is convinced that her dead husband has returned.  Dominic and his friends begin to try to piece together what is going on and figure out how it all might connect to Mr. Noble and something mysterious beneath a church.  

I'll admit that I'm having a tad time explaining this plot because I'm afraid of giving too much away. Plus, I went into this book pretty blind and based primarily on the author and having liked some of his past works.  Truthfully, I think it might work best that way.  Dominic is the star in a coming-of-age horror story and I loved traveling with him on his unknown journey.  I also loved Dominic relationship with his friends Roberta and Jim.  

If you love horror and haven't read Campbell yet, I have to ask why?  Although this one is somewhat of a slow burn, it's one I enjoyed each step of the way!  Bring on the next book!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  The Oxford Companion to English Literature describes Ramsey Campbell as “Britain’s most respected living horror writer”. He has been given more awards than any other writer in the field, including the Grand Master Award of the World Horror Convention, the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Horror Writers Association, the Living Legend Award of the International Horror Guild and the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award.