Friday, September 30, 2016

Weekly Reads (09/30/16) Fall Is Here!!!!!

Booker T and Cass insisted I include a pic of a dog playing in leaves and since they haven't had the chance to do so, this is the best I could come up with.  Hope everyone is enjoying the weather in their neck of the woods.  We actually got rain yesterday and today, and not heavy thunderstorms, just nice, soft drizzle which we so desperately need.  Makes me a happy camper.

I've not gotten much reading done this week do to some other obligations but I'm hoping to remedy that by Sunday (and Saturday evening too if I can get away with it).  I knew this week didn't hold a lot of reading time and needless to say, when I don't get to read much, I get cranky,

We haven't even really had time to start watching the new season of Longmire yet which is a bummer.  I have caught a few episodes of  Gilmore Girls for my re-watch plan since the new ones come out at the end of November.  I just started Season 7 which is my least favorite.  We also watched the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie this week.  It was cute and I've had a softness in my heart for the turtles since I was in high school.  I had a cling-on stuffed Michelangelo hanging on the inside window of my truck for ages. I thought the first movie was better, but this one was still entertaining.

Here are the books up next on my reading pile and I have already started both Otherworld Chills and The Graveyard Apartment and am enjoying both.

Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead of them!!!!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Beware Sharp Objects - Spindle Review

TITLE: Spindle
AUTHOR: Shonna Slayton
PUBLISHER: Entangled Teen
PUBLISHING DATE: October 4, 2016

Set during the Industrial Revolution, Sleeping Beauty's happily ever after isn't the end of the story...

In a world where fairies lurk and curses linger, love can bleed like the prick of a finger.

Briar Rose knows her life will never be a fairy tale. She’s raising her siblings on her own, her wages at the spinning mill have been cut, and the boy she thought she had a future with has eyes for someone else. Most days it feels like her best friend, Henry Prince, is the only one in her corner…though with his endless flirty jokes, how can she ever take him seriously?

When a mysterious peddler offers her a “magic” spindle that could make her more money, sneaking it into the mill seems worth the risk. But then one by one, her fellow spinner girls come down with the mysterious sleeping sickness—and Briar’s not immune.

If Briar wants to save the girls—and herself—she’ll have to start believing in fairy tales…and in the power of a prince’s kiss.
MY THOUGHTS:  I have to be honest and admit that for about the first 100 pages or so of this book, I really considered DNF'ing this. And I guess that it's a good thing I rarely DNF because after that point, the book really picked up for me and turned into a pretty decent read (Although it is probably closer to 3.5/5 than a 4/5 strictly because it didn't pull me in right away). "Spindle" in not really a retelling, but instead, it takes place about 100 years after "Sleeping Beauty." 16 year old Briarly Rose (aka Briar) lost her parents years ago and is left to take care of her much younger siblings, Pansy, Jack and Benny. During the week, the children are left in the care of Nan while Briar lives in a boardinghouse and works in the town mill spinning threads. Nan has told Briar that when she turns 17, she must either be able to care for the children on her own or else place them in alternative care, which undoubtedly means splitting them up. One weekend, upon her return home, Briar discovers Nan is gone and her friend Fanny is now caring for the children. Briar is also feeling tremendous pressure to produce more at the mill and agrees to use a beautiful wooden spindle given to her by a weary peddler. This leads to an illness at the mill and Briar being caught up in the middle of something she doesn't understand and which has been hidden from her for ages.

Now that I'm trying to sum this book up, it becomes glaringly obvious that there was a lot of information to grasp in this book. In the beginning, I was pretty much confused as to what was going on and how everything tied together. Although as I mentioned, it eventually becomes clear and the story concludes quite nicely. One of the things I loved the most about this book was the characters themselves. Fanny and Ms. Olive, who owns the boardinghouse, were delightful to read about and Briar was very lucky to have both of them in her life. Also, Briar's dear friend Henry is very pertinent to the story and while there really isn't much a of love triangle in the book, there are two men vying for Briar's attention so be warned. Several of the girls in the house have a wonderful friendship developing and beneath the surface of the plot are some important statements on women's rights, equality and the suffrage movement.

I really don't know how Slayton was able to incorporate so much in a relatively short novel. Once I reached the halfway mark, I pretty much devoured the remainder of the book in one sitting. I wish there was more Henry in the book, and as a side note, I think a companion book about Henry and his adventures would be a fun and interesting read. If you like fairy tales and their retellings, then Spindle will be right up your alley, just be advised it may take you a while to get into the story.

I received an ARC from Entangled Teen and the author in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (75)

"Waiting on" Wednesday" is weekly meme hosted over at Breaking the Spine which spotlights upcoming anticipated releases. 

April 4, 2017

FROM GOODREADS: A new dark historical fantasy from the supremely gifted Cherie Priest, author ofMapelcroft and Boneshaker.
In the trenches of Europe during the Great War, Tomas Cordero operated a weapon more devastating than any gun: a flame projector that doused the enemy in liquid fire. Having left the battlefield a shattered man, he comes home to find yet more tragedy for in his absence, his wife has died of the flu. Haunted by memories of the woman he loved and the atrocities he perpetrated, Tomas dreams of fire and finds himself setting match to flame when awake.... 

Alice Dartle is a talented clairvoyant living among others who share her gifts in the community of Cassadaga, Florida. She too dreams of fire, knowing her nightmares are connected to the shell-shocked war veteran and widower. And she believes she can bring peace to him and his wife s spirit.
But the inferno that threatens to consume Tomas and Alice was set ablaze centuries ago by someone whose hatred transcended death itself....

WHY I'M WAITING:  Basically because it's Cherie Priest...and I love her.  I haven't read enough of her books, but I've never been disappointed.  

What are you waiting for this week??? 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

TTT - 10 Books on my Halloween TBR

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 is all about the top 10 books on my Fall TBR, but since I do a TBR each month with more than 10 books each, I'm going to focus on 10 books I want to read for Halloween.

A Study in Scarlet Women - Sherry Thomas

Bound by Blood - Laura Daleo

The Vow - Laura Daleo

I'm doing an author interview/feature with Laura Daleo in October and she kindly sent me autographed copies of both books.  Also, Ring Rider is for a blog tour and I Shadow House is my next Tag Team read with Stormi.  I've left links to Goodreads in case you want to check any of these out.

What is on your fall TBR?

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Identity Crisis? - The Real Liddy James (review)

TITLE: The Real Liddy James
AUTHOR: Anne-Marie Casey
PUBLISHER: G.P. Putnam's Sons
PUBLISHING DATE: September 20, 2016

FROM GOODREADS: Forty-four, fit, and fabulous, Liddy James is one of New York’s top divorce attorneys, a bestselling author, and a mother of two. Armed with a ruthless reputation and a capsule wardrobe, she glides through the courtrooms and salons of the Manhattan elite with ease. What’s her secret? Liddy will tell you: “I don’t do guilt!”

This is the last thing literature professor Peter James wants to hear. Devastated by his divorce from Liddy six years earlier, the two have a tangled history his new partner, Rose, is only just sorting out. But Rose is a patient woman with faith in a well-timed miracle and she’s determined to be sympathetic to Peter’s plight. Together, Liddy, Peter, and Rose have formed a modern family to raise Liddy and Peter’s truculent teen and Liddy’s darling, if fatherless, six-year-old.

But when Rose announces she’s pregnant, Liddy’s nanny takes flight, the bill for a roof repair looms, and a high-profile divorce case becomes too personal, Liddy realizes her days as a guilt-free woman might be over. Following a catastrophic prime-time TV interview, she carts her sons back to Ireland to retrace their family’s history. But marooned in the Celtic countryside things are still far from simple, and Liddy will have to come to terms with much more than a stormy neighbor and an unorthodox wedding if she ever hopes to rediscover the real Liddy James.

Fun, fearless, and full of heart, The Real Liddy James takes a fresh look at the balancing act every family performs. With the deft characterization and sharp wit that made her first novel an international bestseller, Anne-Marie Casey invites us into the ambitions, passions, and misadventures of this extraordinary heroine.

"The Real Liddy James" is all about a woman who has it all (or at least seems to) and the toll it takes on her life. Liddy is a prominent divorce lawyer in a high profile Manhattan law firm. When she's not working, she's writing how-to books, doing publicity for the law firm, or basically promoting herself in one way or form. Liddy has two children. Matty, a teen, is being primarily raised by her ex-husband Peter and his girlfriend Rose, and Cal is primarily being raised by the nanny. While Liddy has tons of responsibility ranging from work, paying for Matty's expensive school, paying alimony/child support to Peter, and covering his girlfriend Rose's medical expenses, it all centers around her status and job and has little to do with Liddy - the person. The main problem is that Liddy doesn't know how to take care of herself, let alone her family, and it eventually takes its toll in a very public manner. This leads to Liddy taking a sabbatical and moving with the children to Ireland for the summer with no electronics and no real clue what she is doing.

I found "The Real Liddy James" to be en enjoyable read, but it didn't really stand out for me. Most of the book I didn't even like Liddy and it took something bad happening to her before I really felt much of an attachment to her character at all. I thought I liked Peter and Rose, which made the book somewhat more interesting, but looking back, I don't really think I liked them much either. All of the main characters in the book are either too needy, too self-centered, too whiny or too irritating for my liking. However, I did like Casey's writing style and once I got into the story, it turned out to be a quick read.

I do like the message "The Real Liddy James" sends. Working too hard to "have it all" often comes with a cost, even if it's just to those around us. Liddy, Peter and Rose came across as real life people with real life problems and I didn't find Casey really sugarcoating anything that happened to any of them. However, I found that in the end, I didn't really care what happened to Liddy. I guess I was expecting this book to be a sort of "Bridget Jones" read but it definitely lacked any humor or snark which tends to make contemporaries or chick-lit bearable for me. I'm sure a lot of people will enjoy this book and it wasn't a bad read, I guess I just wasn't in the mood for women's fiction when I read it.

I received this book from the Penguin First to Read program in exchange for an honest review.


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Stacking the Shelves (82)

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.  Clicking on the book (or title) should take you to the Goodreads page.

I received 2 books in the mail from Book Depository.  I am anxious to start both (story of my life)!

I have wanted both Sirius and Cassius for quite some time and of course adding Cassius to my collection was a no-brainer!

I grabbed some books when Kindle had them as Daily Deals or Freebies.  Seems like I must be in the mood for mysteries and Killing Trail, The Cold Dish and Dog Collar Crime are all the first books in a series. 

I received Better Late Than Never from the Penguin First to Read program which is thrilling because I just featured it on W.O.W. a week or so ago.  I love this series and if you like cozy mysteries or books about books/libraries you can't go wrong.

And finally Netgalley and the publishers provided The Roanoke Girls, The Motion of Puppets and White (yes, another horror set in winter!)

So what did you add to your shelves this week and have you read any of these?

Friday, September 23, 2016

Weekly Reads (09/23/16)

Man, September is slowly slipping away and I still have so many books to read!  Hope everyone out there had a great week and those who are lucky enough to have cooler temperatures are enjoying the arrival of Fall.  It's been a slow but steady week here at The Farm.  As I promised, I am including some pics of the pups.  Booker T's allergies sometime get the best of him and he has had his fair share of Benadryl the past few weeks.  He and Cassius both have a vet appointment in a few weeks - Cass needs yearly shots and T will get an allergy shot so I know that will help Booker out tremedously.  Anyway, prepare for some doggy cuteness.  Booker T and Cassius also send a huge shout out to Aunt Chuckles who lives overseas!  Booker is still willing to come and help out with your cat problem :) Also, I will say for the record the boys did not want to cooperate with these pics.

Premier week started on TV so that has cut into the reading some.  It's been nice to have some new episodes to watch and I only fear that between Longmire starting the new season on Netflix today, and football on and off all weekend, I won't get much reading done.  I mustn't let this happen.  On the movie front, all we watched was "The Free State of Jones" which was a decent historical film, but kind of disjointed in my opinion and even though it was almost 2 1/2 hours long, I still feel like I missed a part of it.  I hope to squeeze in the new Ninja Turtle movie soon.

So as I mentioned before I started rambling, I still have WAY too many books which I need to read so here's what's up next on the pile.

Only slightly overly-ambitious huh?  Oh well.  Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.  Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Who or What Is Buried in "The Family Plot?" (review)

TITLE: The Family Plot
AUTHOR: Cherie Priest
PUBLISHING DATE: September 20, 2016

FROM GOODREADS: Chuck Dutton built Music City Salvage with patience and expertise, stripping historic properties and reselling their bones. Inventory is running low, so he's thrilled when Augusta Withrow appears in his office offering salvage rights to her entire property. This could be a gold mine, so he assigns his daughter Dahlia to personally oversee the project.

The crew finds a handful of surprises right away. Firstly, the place is in unexpectedly good shape. And then there's the cemetery, about thirty fallen and overgrown graves dating to the early 1900s, Augusta insists that the cemetery is just a fake, a Halloween prank, so the city gives the go-ahead, the bulldozer revs up, and it turns up human remains. Augusta says she doesn't know whose body it is or how many others might be present and refuses to answer any more questions. Then she stops answering the phone.

But Dahlia's concerns about the corpse and Augusta's disappearance are overshadowed when she begins to realize that she and her crew are not alone, and they're not welcome at the Withrow estate. They have no idea how much danger they're in, but they're starting to get an idea. On the crew's third night in the house, a storm shuts down the only road to the property. The power goes out. Cell signals are iffy. There's nowhere to go and no one Dahlia can call for help, even if anyone would believe that she and her crew are being stalked by a murderous phantom. Something at the Withrow mansion is angry and lost, and this is its last chance to raise hell before the house is gone forever. And it seems to be seeking permanent company.

The Family Plot is a haunted house story for the ages-atmospheric, scary, and strange, with a modern gothic sensibility to keep it fresh and interesting-from Cherie Priest, a modern master of supernatural fiction.

I really wish I had a chance to read this book on a dark and stormy day, because basically, that was all I found missing. I have always enjoyed Priest's writing since I started her Eden Moore series years ago(which I still need to finish BTW) and when she released Maplecroft, my adoration soared. Therefore, I had extremely high expectations for "The Family Plot" and in my opinion the book really delivered and met them.

The book starts as Music City Salvage takes a job salvaging the historical Withrow Estate in Chattanooga, a job which will either make or break the company. Chuck Dutton sends his daughter Dahlia, and three other crew members to the home for a week to work and in order to save money, they camp out in the old mansion. Shortly after their arrival, strange things start to happen and it takes no time for all four members to realize they are not the only ones staying on the property - they are just the only ones who are still alive. Also, while working, they uncover an old family cemetery which they are told is just the remains of an old Halloween prank, but it it really? You'll just have to read to find out.

Priest creates some truly wonderful characters in the pages of this book. Dahlia has an honest respect for the homes she salvages, and if she had her way, she would chose to restore the Withrow Estate to its former glory, rather than deconstruct it piece by piece. She is recently divorced and very bitter about losing her cherished home, not to mention the years wasted with her husband. Bobby, Dahlia's cousin, and his son Gabe, are also working on the job and there is plenty of tension between the three. Bobby took Dahlia's husband's side during the divorce, and Gabe is a older teen basically having to raise his irresponsible father and maintain peace between Bobby and Dahlia. Rounding off the crew is Brad, the preppy graduate student who probably has no business doing salvage work. Although not quite a great comparison I am sure, I kept imagining him as the Shaggy of the Scooby Doo crew. I loved getting to know more about these individuals as the story progressed and a reader couldn't ask for a more take-charge, kick-ass female than Dahlia, the boss of the whole job.

To me, this book read like a modern day gothic ghost story. There were some terrifically horrifying scenes and Priest creates a dark moody atmosphere with her descriptions. I often felt like a fly on the wall of the Withrow estate myself...or perhaps a rat in the attic. If you love ghost stories and want a great read for the upcoming Fall/Halloween season, they you need to pick up a copy of "The Family Plot." When all is said and done, this will surely be one of my favorite reads of 2016.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (74)

"Waiting on" Wednesday" is weekly meme hosted over at Breaking the Spine which spotlights upcoming anticipated releases. 

February 14, 2017

FROM GOODREADS: An epic fantasy inspired by the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale, about a bastard princess who must take on an evil fae to save her brother’s soul, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Shadow Queen.

The world has turned upside down for Thad and Ari Glavan, the bastard twins of SĂșndraille’s king. Their mother was murdered. The royal family died mysteriously. And now Thad sits on the throne of a kingdom whose streets are suddenly overrun with violence that he can’t stop.

Growing up ignored by the nobility, Ari never wanted to be a proper princess. And when Thad suddenly starts training Ari to take his place, she realizes that her brother’s ascension to the throne wasn’t fate. It was the work of a Wish Granter named Alistair Teague, who tricked Thad into wishing away both the safety of his people and his soul in exchange for the crown.

So Ari recruits the help of Thad’s enigmatic new weapons master, Sebastian Vaughn, to teach her how to fight Teague. With secret ties to Teague’s criminal empire, Sebastian might just hold the key to discovering Alistair’s weaknesses, saving Ari’s brother—and herself.

But Teague is ruthless and more than ready to destroy anyone who dares stand in his way—and now he has his sights set on the princess. And if Ari can’t outwit him, she’ll lose Sebastian, her brother...and her soul.

WHY I'M WAITING:  I enjoyed Shadow Queen much more than I anticipated so when I saw the cover for this one last week, I knew that I immediately put it on my wishlist.  Also, I have always loved Rumpelstiltskin so reading this one is a must!

What are you waiting for this week????

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

TTT - Top 10 Favorite Albums

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 is an audio freebie and I'll be honest, I don't have a good track record with audiobooks (can't keep my attention, I fall asleep, etc) so I'm sharing with you 10 of my favorite albums.  ENJOY!

Prince - Purple Rain: One of his best albums ever (still not over his death - can't you tell!)

David Bowie - Changes: Another great one gone before his time.

Barenaked Ladies - Disc One:  I LOVE LOVE LOVE BNL! "The Old Apartment" is my fave!

Adele - 25: Enough said.

Modern English - After the Snow: I have listened to "Melt With You" for years.

Pink - Funhouse:  I love everything Pink does but this whole album rocks.

The Civil Wars - If you haven't heard "The One That Got Away" you need to listen to it NOW!

Stevie Nicks - Belladonna: She has one of the best voices ever.

Prince - Controvery: What?  You expected only one Prince album?

Meatloaf - Bat Out of Hell:  Drove my dad crazy with this one on a trip once.

So, do you enjoy any of these artists or have any others you think I should check out?