Friday, August 28, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (30)

Stacking the Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves or TBR piles, may it be physical or virtual.  This means you can include books you buy in a physical store, online, books you borrow from the library or friends, review books, gifts and of course, ebooks! The original meme was started over at Tynga's Reviews.  This week is another small mixture of odds and ends from here and there.  I like having a wide variety to choose from.

From Edelweiss and Netgalley:

The Spider Evening The Dead House The Awakening

The Evening Spider: Emily Arsenault.  This doesn't come out until January 2016 but it sounds like a great thriller.
The Dead House: Dawn Kurtagich.  This one is released September 15, 2015 from Little Brown Books and it has been popping up everywhere.
Awakening (The Dark Rituals #1): Catrina Burgess.  Full Fathom Five is releasing this one October 7, 2015.

I grabbed a few from Kindle because they were all discounted this past week and because 1-click is dangerous:

Three Dog Life The Dolls Dismantled

A Three Dog Life: Abigail Thomas
The Dolls (The Dolls #1): Kiki Sullivan
Dismantled: Jennifer McMahon.  After reading The Night Sister earlier this month and loving it, I had to grab this one when I saw it for under $5.00.

 And these came home with me after a quick trip to the library:

Blackbird Unwept

Blackbird: Tom Wright.
Unwept (The Nightbirds #1): Tracy Hickman & Laura Hickman.

In some other news, Cassius LOVES birds and we have promised him all summer to hang a new bird feeder so it finally went up.  He is starting to gather a regular following and I can't wait until winter when more come around.  He will be thrilled!

What did you pick up this week?  Leave a comment so I can be sure to check out your stacks!

Dog Days of Summer Read-a-thon!

I will be participating in the read-a-thon starting tomorrow which is being hosted as part of the COYER summer reading challenge.  The challenge is winding down, with next week being the last week, but I can say it was a fun way to spend time this summer.  This read-a-thon has to meet all COYER requirements (be a legally acquired book - no library books) and have an animal on the cover.  Any follower of my blog knows that isn't a hard so here's what I hope to read next week - and yes, I know I am being ambitious.

It's a great time to knock this graphic novel out of the way! 
Need to get this one read anyway.  
It's hard to tell but there is a dog on that cover - he is in all the books!  

Wish me luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (21)

"Waiting on" Wednesday is weekly meme hosted over at Breaking the Spine which spotlights upcoming anticipated releases.  Here is what I am most waiting for this week:


The Dark Days Club - Alison Goodman
London, April 1812. On the eve of eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall’s presentation to the queen, one of her family’s housemaids disappears-and Helen is drawn into the shadows of Regency London. There, she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons infiltrating every level of society. Dare she ask for his help, when his reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes? And will her intelligence and headstrong curiosity wind up leading them into a death trap?

However, you may have seen THIS cover:

I love pink but this may be too much of a good thing.  Anyways, I think the synopsis sounds good and I know people loved Eon and Eona so I can't wait to give this one a try.  It releases January 26, 2016.  

What are you waiting for this week?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Rescue Me, Maybe

TITLE: Rescue Me, Maybe
AUTHOR: Jackie Bouchard
PUBLISHER: Lake Union Publishing

FROM GOODREADS: If you lost both your spouse and your dog to cancer within weeks of each other, but you were sadder about the dog, would you tell anyone? Maybe your closest friends. Unfortunately, Jane Bailey's closest friends are on the other side of the country. That's where Jane plans to go now that she's free to leave Philadelphia, the too cold, beachless, street taco-deficient city her husband dragged her to six years ago. But with no job prospects in her hometown of San Diego, Jane is roped into helping out temporarily at her uncle's southwestern small-town B&B. En route to her new role as innkeeper and breakfast chef, she finds a stray at a rest stop. With her heart in pieces from the loss of her dog, she's determined not to let this mutt worm its way into her affections. She's also determined to have next-to-no interaction with the B&B's irritating guests, and the even more annoying handyman who lives next door. Can Jane keep her sanity—and her secret that she's not really a grieving widow—while trying to achieve her dream of getting back to the place she thinks is home? Fans of Lolly Winston's Good Grief will enjoy Rescue Me, Maybe.

MY THOUGHTS: I have struggled for several days with putting into words how much I loved and enjoyed this book. While I love most things horror and paranormal related, my main love in my life is my family (especially my 4-legged ones) and therefore, when I see a book featuring a dog, or with a cute dog on the cover, I am almost immediately sucked in. I had hoped Rescue Me, Maybe would be a GOOD "dog" book as I was looking for something to fill the space left by Lucy Dillon's books (until she releases a new canine featured one) but little did I know I was finding a GREAT "dog" book.

When the book opens, Jane Bailey has lost both her husband and her dog to cancer within a few weeks. While she hates that her husband died, that relationship boat had started to sail, so who Jane really misses is her dog Barnum. While that sounds cold-hearted, it makes for a wonderful tale. Jane goes through the grief of losing two major individuals in her life, and the guilt of not being in love with her husband when he passes. Jane decides to quit her job and move back to California but ends up covering at her aunt and uncle's B&B on the way.
She also meets up with a new dog, Maybe, and goes through the process of allowing a new dog to enter her life.

While the dogs are great characters in this book, so are the people. I adored Jane. She is very guarded and only allows a few people into her life, but I immediately felt this was someone with whom I could be friends. I also adored all the people in Arizona. While there is somewhat of a love interest, there is definitely no "insta-love" which wins extra points as far as I am concerned. Also, while this book may come across as depressing at times, it really isn't. It's a book about love, loss, new chances and moving on. There is humor spread throughout the book, such as Jane trying to steal back her dead husbands ashes from his in-laws, and the lists Jane makes in her head while trying to go to sleep at night which are a nice humorous addition.

I can't recommend this book enough. It is going on my list of top 5 books read in 2015 and I can't wait to read more of Bouchard's works. If you love dogs, good women's fiction, or contemporaries give this book a chance. I don't think you will be sorry.

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


COYER SCAVENGER HUNT #53 - Read a book with just half a face on the cover.

BOOKER T's THOUGHTS:  First let me say that Barnum Bailey the beagle is one of the best dog names ever - well, next to Booker T Boxer.  And while it was sad that Jane lost him, at least she got to meet Maybe.  I think Maybe is a wonderful dog and while she herself faced some obstacles, I found her to be one brave dog (Mom says I can't say to much because it would be a "spoiler."  I don't see or smell anything spoiled!).  Maybe would be a nice girlfriend - too bad she doesn't live near me.  Maybe has some great humans and dogs in her life and you will just have to read the book to find out more about her - including how she got her name, Maybe.  I give Barnum, Maybe and all her friends 5 paws!

A Tail of Hope's Faith - Review

TITLE: A Tail of Hope's Faith
AUTHOR: Diane Weinmann
PUBLISHER: Balboa Press
PUBLISHING DATE: December 18, 2014

Once love blooms it never dies.

When traditional veterinary medicine did not offer any help, one family learns the true meaning of dedication, love, and a promise kept by talking with their pet, using the phenomenon of telepathic animal communication.

Learn how talking and applying holistic healing will help your pet when that heart-wrenching time arrives. Read this story and you will find answers to provide the best care for your furry family member.

“A Tail of Hope’s Faith” proves beyond doubt that death is not an end. We already know that your animal family member will always live on in your heart, mind, and life. Be assured you will always be together as a love so strong will endure forever.

“A Tail of Hope’s Faith” is a love story between a dog and her family as they experience physical and emotional healing beyond their wildest imagination, which brings them full circle with life itself.

What would you do and how far would you go for your furry family member? What could you learn if you would just listen?

MY THOUGHTSFirst thing I need to say is if you are going to read this book, go into it with an open mind. Weinmann is skilled in the art of pet communication and practices holistic healing. That is not to say she frowns upon veterinary practices, but she believes additional things can be done to help the animals in people's lives. The book goes in depth about healing with colors (color harmonics), Reiki healing and HTA (healing touch for animals).

This book is a true story about a dog named Hope and what lengths her family will go to in order to make her life more comfortable when she is diagnosed with a terminal illness. It is clear from early on in the book that Hope is well-loved and cherished. I found it wonderful how much the people in her life loved her and how Wienmann went above and beyond to help Hope with her illness. In addition, the book is a nice mixture of heart-felt story and explanation of Weinmann's healing techniques.

Having lost 2 of my boxers to cancer, at times this book was particularly hard to read. I understand some of what Hope's family was going through and know the importance of trying to get you beloved family member through another cherished family holiday (for us, we wanted Cooper to have a birthday party to end all parties!). I also respect that when the time came, Hope's mother Roseanne made the decision all pet lovers hate to make. On a side note thought, the vet that wouldn't allow Roseanne to hold Hope as she was passing is dirt in my book. I have never heard of such a thing or else I just live a sheltered life and really have a wonderful vet. Enough of a rant.

As I said, don't read this book if you are not an animal lover and wouldn't walk through fire for your pets. You simply won't enjoy it. I think it's ok to read if you are skeptical about holistic practices. I was and while I don't know if I would I would try everything listed in the book, there are some I wouldn't hesitate to give a go. And whether you agree or not, I like to believe some people are gifted enough to communicate with animals. I am so attached to mine that I believe we understand each other so really this extra step isn't that hard to buy into. I know I would love to have Wienmann ask some questions of my 2 pups, although I might be afraid of what they say.


COYER SCAVENGER HUNT #27 - Read a nonfiction book that is not an autobiography.

BOOKER T's THOUGHTS:  I really enjoyed hearing about Hope.  I lost one of my closest "brothers" to cancer and I know some of what she went through.  Hope was pretty (Mom showed me the pictures), brave and inspiring.  She fought hard to be with her family.  Hope gets 20 paws from me (that's 4 from me and 4 from each of my other 4 "brothers" - even though I never met one of them.  Mom always says I have some of all her and Dad's dogs in them and I would like to think that is possible. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Top 10 Tuesday - Judging a Book by Its Cover 101

This top 10 weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and can be found HERE.  Each week they focus on lists which cover various topics related to books and reading. This week we are looking at what 10 books we would put on a syllabus if we were teaching a class.  I decided I would teach "How to Judge a Book by Its Cover 101" and here are some books I would focus on:

1.  The Shining: Stephen King - There have been many covers to this book, which is one of my favorite King novels, but this one perfectly sets the backdrop of this eerie novel and I love how it captures the eeriness of The Overlook hotel.

2.  Lawyer for the Dog: Lee Robinson - Adorable dog, which perfectly fits the dog in the book (a personal pet peeve of mine).  If you are a dog lover, this book is designed to catch your attention.

3.  The Replacement: Brenna Yovanoff - I will admit I haven't read it yet, but I think this is a perfect way to sell an absolutely creepy book.  Look at the knife and scissors and I think creepy kids are the scariest!

4.  Dark Heart Rising: Lee Monroe - Another series I haven't read but I have always loved the covers.  I think this is a wonderful way to sell a gothic romance with a hint of paranormal.  The wolf in the background is a bonus selling point.

5. Sit! Stay! Speak!: Annie England Noblin - A cute dog, a catchy title which ties right in with the dog world...and did I mention a cute dog. Great way to sell a book.

6.  The Shadow Queen: C.J. Redwine - You can tell immediately that this book is jumping on the fairytale retelling bandwagon.  The cover is beautiful, yet simple and is definitely something I would grab off the shelf!

7.  Reign of Shadows: Sophie Jordan - This book is popping up all over the place on Waiting on Wednesdays and every week, numerous people comment on how pretty it is.  Needless to say, a lot of people are judging this book by its cover and it isn't even out yet!

8.  Demon Road: Derek Landy - Not exactly sure what this cover is selling, but I am buying.  Creepy and mysterious, yet it looks like a book that doesn't take itself too seriously.  Come to think of it, why haven't I bought it yet?  Oh wait, it doesn't come out until August 28th!

9.  Wicked Luck: Shannon L. Maynard - I want the artwork from this book hanging on my walls somewhere.  My family may not agree, but....  Another one I picked up for the cover so apparently this marketing tactic works.

10.  Furiously Happy: Jenny Lawson.  What a great way to market a book which claims to be a funny book about horrible things.  Anyone who reads The Bloggess knows this is Rory the Raccoon, which is a great selling point.

So what class are you teaching this Tuesday?  Leave a comment so I can check out your syllabus!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (29)

Stacking the Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves or TBR piles, may it be physical or virtual.  This means you can include books you buy in a physical store, online, books you borrow from the library or friends, review books, gifts and of course, ebooks! The original meme was started over at Tynga's Reviews. This week was quite a mixture!

From Penguin First to Read and Edelweiss:

Nightfall A Likely Story Dogs of Littlefield

Nightfall: Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski - This comes out sometime in October and sounds like a great thriller/horror.  Thanks Penguin First to Read!
A Likely Story (Library Lover's Mystery #6): Jenn McKinlay - This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series so I am thrilled to get an ARC from Edelweiss and Berkley.  It releases November 3, 2015.
The Dogs of Littlefield: Suzane Berne - Releases January 12, 2016 from Simon & Shuster.

 I picked these up for my Kindle:

Tor Maddox Karma's A Bitch Sideswiped

Tor Maddox- Unleashed: Liz Coley - Grabbed it for free (look at the dog!)
Karma's A Bitch (A Pet Psychic Mystery #1): Shannon Esposito.  I have had my eye on this series for a while and it was free, so I snagged it.
Sideswiped (The Peri Reed Chronicles #0.5): Kim Harrison - Thought this would be a great way to get ready for her new series.  It's only $0.99 on Amazon right now,

A Talent for Trickery Wonderland Tell the Story

A Talent for Trickery (The Thief-Takers #1): Alissa Johnson -  It comes out November 3, 2015 from Sourcebooks Casablanca.
Wonderland: Jennifer Hillier - What a totally creepy cover.  This releases October 5, 2015 from Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books.
Tell the Story to Its End: Simon P. Clark - Looks like another creepy tale. Releases October 20, 2015 from St. Martin's Press.

Many thanks to Edelweiss, Penguin, Netgalley and all the publishers for the ARC's.  I can't wait to get to them all!  What did you guys get this week?  Leave a comment so I can make sure to check out your haul!  Until next time.

Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes

TITLE: Ally Hughes Has Sex Sometimes
AUTHOR: Jules Moulin
PUBLISHING DATE: August 25, 2015

FROM GOODREADS: Life isn’t easy for single mother Ally Hughes. Teaching at Brown, her class load is huge and her boss is a menace. At home, she contends with a critical mother, a falling-down house, and a daughter who never misses a beat. Between taking care of the people she loves, teaching full time, and making ends meet, Ally doesn't have time for a man. She doesn’t date. She’s not into flings. But then she meets Jake, an eager student, young in years but old in soul, who challenges his favorite professor to open up her life, and her heart, to love. It doesn't work. In fact, his urging backfires.

Ten years later, Ally's still single. Jake reappears and surprises her in a brand-new role: He's dating Ally's now-grown daughter. In this hilarious, heartrending tale, Ally is finally forced to concede (not only to herself) that an independent, "liberated" woman can still make room in her life for love.

MY THOUGHTS:  I wasn't exactly sure what to expect when I requested this book from the Penguin First to Read program. However, I read so much horror and paranormal, that I sometimes need a contemporary or a cozy mystery to cleanse my palette. That is exactly what this book managed to do.

Ally is a single mother, college professor and writer for women's magazines. She has spent her entire life focused on raising her daughter Lizzie, and has often out her needs on the backburner. During one "mad" weekend, she meets Jake, a current/former student and has the ride of her life. She then returns to her regular routine of caring for her daughter and ignoring her own wants and needs. 10 years later, Jake reappears, and so do all the feelings they had for each other, and Ally's world comes tumbling down.

I really like this novel, but a few things did bother me. The whole books rotates between current times, and what happened 10 years ago. This was not well done in the beginning and I found it quite confusing at first. However, this gets much better after the first 50 or so pages. Second, there is some insta-love in the book, but as the novel progresses, the reader finds it not as instant as it appears so I found it tolerable.

Overall, Moulin creates a face-paced read. Her characters are likable, and while the story is at times unbelievable, it sure is a lot of fun. I enjoyed learning more about Lizzie, her obsession with getting a nose job, and her best friend Weather. Moulin also did a great job portraying various family dynamics such as Ally's relationship with her own mother, her relationship with Lizzie, and Lizzie's involvement in Ally's dating life. If you like romances, especially those with some steaminess, combined with a decent plot, give this book a chance!


COYER SCAVENGER HUNT CHALLENGE #12: Read any type of romance novel

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Catching Up on Reviews - The Veil

TITLE: The Veil (Devil's Isle #1)
AUTHOR: Chloe Neill
PUBLISHING DATE: August 4, 2015

FROM GOODREADS: Seven years ago, the Veil that separates humanity from what lies beyond was torn apart, and New Orleans was engulfed in a supernatural war. Now, those with paranormal powers have been confined in a walled community that humans call the District. Those who live there call it Devil's Isle.

Claire Connolly is a good girl with a dangerous secret: she’s a Sensitive, a human endowed with magic that seeped through the Veil. Claire knows that revealing her skills would mean being confined to Devil’s Isle. Unfortunately, hiding her power has left her untrained and unfocused.

Liam Quinn knows from experience that magic makes monsters of the weak, and he has no time for a Sensitive with no control of her own strength. But when he sees Claire using her powers to save a human under attack—in full view of the French Quarter—Liam decides to bring her to Devil’s Isle and the teacher she needs, even though getting her out of his way isn’t the same as keeping her out of his head.

But when the Veil threatens to shatter completely, Claire and Liam must work together to stop it, or else New Orleans will burn…

I started Chloe Neill's Chicagoland Vampire Series years ago and really enjoyed them a lot. However, like a lot of series, after it reached 5-6 books, I feel behind and now need to get caught up. So I was really excited to see she was releasing a new series so I would have the chance to once again stay on top of it if I liked it well enough - which I did.

Now I have to admit I loved Merit in the Chicagoland series. She was fiesty, snarky and many other things I love about a kick-butt heroine. Claire Connolly is no Merit, but that's ok, she doesn't have to be. Claire is a strong character in her own way. She is struggling to survive in a devastated New Orleans after the Veil split several years ago and divided the area between those with magic and those without.

I think one of the best things about this book is all of the side characters. I like Liam, but really want to learn more about his brother. I also thought a lot of great characters were introduced who reside in Devil's Isle. There was a lot of world building throughout the book, which is to be expected with an opening novel in a series, but there was plenty of action too. Overall, I can't wait to see where this world takes us.

On a personal note, another book featuring fairies which I didn't totally hate! Seems I am progressing.


COYER SCAVENGER HUNT #1: Read a book that is first in its series as indicated on Goodreads.