Thursday, December 29, 2016

Weekly reads (12/30/16) - Last of the Year!

I hope everyone out there who celebrated had a wonderful Christmas holiday and are ready for a safe and happy New Year.  Christmas Day went off without a hitch at The Farm. Mr. Barb smoked the ham and Mom and Grandpa came for dinner.  Mom surprised me by giving me my late father's class ring for Christmas as well as a necklace that belonged to my great-grandmother.  It was a very touching and thoughtful gift and I'd be lying if I said it didn't catch me off guard.

I was spoiled by Mr. Barb and I did likewise. Also, you'll be glad to know the pups hit the jackpot. Both got lots of toys and snacks as well as new beds and blankets.  Cass received several toys of the bird-nature since he is obsessed with them in general and Booker T is more of a "give me a snack" kind of guy.  However, he did get a football which we have already tested out in a local field.

We're visiting some friends for a few hours this evening, but after that, I'm hoping for a quiet and relaxing three day weekend before heading back to work,  I finished one book this week and am almost finished with a second (and since I am typing this in advance, I may actually be done with it by the time you read this.  Anyway, here are the next three books up on the pile.

I am loving "Pit Perfect."  It's a very quick read and is pretty much a cozy paranormal read.  Can't wait to get my review posted.  Stormi and I are doing a Tag Team read of "Little Heaven" and although I own several books by this author, this will be the first one I have read.  Finally, I need to get "Certain Dark Things" back to the library within the next two weeks so I need to get busy on it as well.

Hope everyone enjoys the best 2017 has to offer!  The pups send well wishes from The Farm.

A Pub I'd Like to Visit (Christmas at the Dog & Duck Review)

TITLE: Christmas at the Dog & Duck (also found as Winter at the Dog & Duck on some sites)
AUTHOR: Jill Steeples
PUBLISHING DATE: September 22, 2016

FROM GOODREADS: Ellie Browne has left her high-flying job in London to return to the charming Buckinghamshire village of Little Leyton.  Working shifts at the The Dog and Duck and running her own doggy-daycare business, Ellie's looking for a much simpler way of life and a good old fashioned Christmas.

But Little Leyton's landscape is changing; Johnny Tay, Ellie's ex, wants to pick up where they left off; sultry property developer Max Golding, has moved into the village and is ruffling feathers; and rumor has it that the pub, which holds a special place in Ellie's heart, might be sold.  Suddenly, life's looking a whole lot more complicated...

Can Ellie juggle her emotions and commitments in time to celebrate Christmas?

MY THOUGHTS:  The first thing I feel the need to say is that while this really was the perfect time to read this novel, with it being winter in my neck of the woods and the Christmas season, a whole lot of this book DOES NOT revolve around Christmas.  So if you are like me, and only like to read Christmas tales around the holidays, you can pretty much still pick this book up and enjoy it.

Ellie has returned home from London after losing her job due to downsizing.  Her parents are currently working  in Dubai, so while housesitting, she has plenty of time to decide if she wants to return to London, or perhaps settle in her home town of Little Leyton.  Ellie is dating her ex, has met a new dashing man, and not only is she working at her favorite pub, The Dog and Duck, but she has also started her own dog walking business.  During the book, Ellie's life unfolds and by the end, she has made some pretty important decisions about her future.

The best parts about this book in my opinion are the characters and the setting.  It's a nice small town in Buckinghamshire and everyone basically knows everyone else.  The pub is the center of the town as well as the community and pretty much reminds me of Luke's Diner in Stars Hollow (yep, still stuck on Gilmore Girls references).  Another plus is Ellie has her own dog walking business so the reader gets to meet some of the town's more zanier characters through their beloved pets.

I really enjoyed this book and in refection, can't really pinpoint anything about it that really bothered me.  Ellie was independent yet quirky.  While there is some romance in the book, it doesn't overtake the plot and there is no insta-love so it gets bonus points.  Maybe some authors are finally figuring it out that it doesn't really happen that often in real life.  I fell in love with Lucy Dillon's books several years ago and Steeples novels provided the same feeling.  I'm interested in checking out more of her books and will definitely be picking up the next book in The Dog & Duck series when it's released.


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (88)

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

June 13, 2017

Kansas, 2065 Adri has been handpicked to live on Mars. But weeks before Launch, she discovers the journal of a girl who lived in her house over a hundred years ago, and is immediately drawn into the mystery surrounding her fate. While Adri knows she must focus on the mission ahead, she becomes captivated by a life that’s been lost in time…and how it might be inextricably tied to her own.

Oklahoma, 1934 Amidst the fear and uncertainty of the Dust Bowl, Catherine longs for the immortality promised by a professor at a traveling show called The Electric. But as her family’s situation becomes more dire -- and the suffocating dust threatens her sister’s life -- Catherine must find the courage to sacrifice everything she loves in order to save the one person she loves most.

England, 1919 In the recovery following World War One, Lenore tries to come to terms with her grief for her brother, a fallen British soldier, and plans to sail to America in pursuit of a childhood friend. But even if she makes it that far, will her friend be the person she remembers, and the one who can bring her back to herself?

While their stories spans thousands of miles and multiple generations, Lenore, Catherine, and Adri’s fates are entwined in ways both heartbreaking and hopeful.

WHY I'M WAITING:  This sounds like a mix of historical fiction with a tad of science fiction and maybe even time traveling thrown in.  In fact, I think the synopsis just left me out and out curious so that's the main reason I'm looking forward to this one.


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

TTT - Best Books I Read in 2016!

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.  Today I'm sharing my top 10 reads of 2016 (in no particular order because that would be like asking a parent to chose a favorite child).

You should definitely start this series before the next book is released.

I hate to think how many lists I've included this series on over the past few years.

My first Sniegoski book but definitely not my last.

Beautiful and haunting and horrific - so many adjectives apply!

My love for this series just grows and grows.

If you haven't read it what are you waiting for!!!!!!

Another new series I fell in love with in 2016.

I'll never look at a spider the same way again.

I definitely fell in love with Seanan McGuire's writing this year.

I have so much love for this book.

I probably could have added a few more but all of these were 5 paw reads for me this year.  What made your list?

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas is Done - Bring on the Horror! (Idle Ingredients Review)

TITLE: Idle Ingredients (Sin du Jour #4)
AUTHOR: Matt Wallace
PUBLISHING DATE: February 7, 2017

FROM GOODREADS: Catering for a charismatic motivational speaker, the staff of the Sin du Jour catering agency find themselves incapacitated by a force from within their ranks. A smile and a promise is all it took.

And for some reason, only the men are affected. It’s going to take cunning, guile and a significant amount of violence to resolve.

Another day of cupcakes and evil with your favorite demonic caterers.

It's really hard to put into words why I like this series so much. I was afraid that as the series progressed, I might lost interest, but that simply isn't the case and once again, Wallace had added to his already quirky and often dangerous Sin du Jour world.

In this installment, the team is back at Sin du Jour trying to recover from the escapades in the last book. All is going fairly well, or as well as it can go when your catering service's primary customers are demons, trolls, witches, banshees and all other sorts of supernatural creatures. In fact, I STILL haven't recovered from the attack of the Giant Easter Bunny and the Evil Santa Claus so I don't know how they could have. Anyway, there is an underworld election going on and the gang has been hired to do the catering. In addition, a new liaison has been hired and she is having quite the detrimental effect on the crew, especially the men. The women decide to band together to figure out what the hell is going on, and if and how Hell might actually be involved.

Once again, the characters in this installment are great. The regulars have grown and dare I say, some have even matured. A few aren't seen quite as much in this book, but I have a feeling Wallace is saving them for something big in the future. "Idle Ingredients" also does a great job of sharing some more information about Boosha, en elderly advisor (for lack of a better word) and I really started to like the old hag (my words not his).

Since there are 7 deadly sins, I believe we are due at least 3 more of these wonderful tales and I'm already starting to miss them. If you aren't reading this series, what are you waiting for? It's quickly become one of my favorites!

Thanks to who sent me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

RATING: 5 Paws

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Stacking the Shelves (94) - A Small Pre-Christmas Haul

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. 

First I picked up a reserve from the library and of course had to check out the new books.  And why am I checking out new books from the library?  Certainly I have enough to read already?  Good question, blame the Christmas insanity I mentioned on my Weekly Reads.  Here's the three that I grabbed.  I don't know that I will actually read The Guineveres (mixed reviews) but I saw Skippy Dies on Booktube and it sounds odd and I'm in the mood for odd.  Also, I've been interested in Dead Girls Society since I first heard about it.

Tor has been so great to me and sent me two new titles  Buffalo Soldier sounds unlike most of my reads and I'm really curious and I've always wanted to read a Paul Cornell novel so this may be a good place to start.

And finally, look at the wonderful ARCs I received from Netgalley!  The Lost Great Dane is a short novella, and Two Dogs at the One Dog Inn is a collection of odd and horrific tales.  And what's better than tentacles on the cover of a book - PURPLE TENTACLES! I am so excited to read Meddling Kids.

So I hope everyone has a safe and joyous holiday and I'll catch you on the flip side of tomorrow!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Weekly Reads (12/21/16) - The One Where I Lose My Mind!

Welcome everyone to the last Weekly Read post before Christmas.  I hope everyone is ready for this holiday because it's coming whether you are or not.  This month is turning out to be crazy,  The extended family drama continues but really doesn't effect me too much except that it indirectly effects my Grandfather so that has me worried for him.  I am one of those who IS NOT ready for the holiday and as you read this, I probably am trying to wrap last minute gifts and finish making cookies.  At least I have off from the 23rd - 3rd so that will be a great break and once Christmas is passed, I hope to relax, read, chill, spend time with the pups and watch Bowl Games.

We did stream "The Magnificent Seven" Tuesday night and I highly recommend it.  I'm not a HUGE fan of westerns but this cast is so great and they have such good chemistry together that it was a pleasure to watch,  I don't think I've ever seen the original though.  We also watched "Ben Hur" which Mr. Barb picked and I found it likable as well as it's also not my normal genre. We also watched "Hotel of the Damned" which I'm pretty sure must have been a Sy-Fy network movie - it had that feel. It wasn't horrible and it did leave to a big revelation on my part that there are two Mandylor brothers who act - Costas and Louis.  I guess I always thought they were the same person. Makes me wonder if they're twins...nope, just checked.

Finally, my reading continues to suffer.  And I had such GREAT plans.  In fact, I'm starting to get grouchy because I have no reading time (literally, not reading makes me moody).  I've looked at my TBR and narrowed it down and have come to the conclusion I STILL want to finish 5 books before the month is over. I'm gonna be off right?  Christmas is bound to slow down right?  I swear I can hear maniacal laughing in my head.  Anyway, here's the 5 I'm determined to read!  I warned you I am bordering on delusional.

Finally, several have mentioned they hope Booker T and Cassius are treated well by Santa Paws this year.  I can assure you, they are going to be spoiled rotten.  They also made a donation to a local animal shelter and bought their cousin Prince the Pitbull stuff as well.  Mommy and Daddy make them give as well as receive.  I will make sure to post plenty of pictures.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Blogger Shame Review Challenge Sign Up.

This is my second new challenge for this year.  I can't find anyone doing the Horror Challenge, so if it goes up, that will be the only other one I join other than my usual Goodreads one which isn't hard to track at all because they basically do all the work for you.  This challenge is hosted by Anne@Herding Cats and Burning Soup.  Here's the rules:

* Any review book 4+ months past due counts.
* There will be periodic review link-up posts.
* You don't have to set a goal but it has to be at least 1 book.

I plan on trying to do at least 12.  That's one per month and although I should do more, since this is a new challenge and I'm doing a few others, I don't want to stress myself out.

So if you're also interested, please check out Anne's blog and sign up!  The more the merrier.

New Release Challenge 2017 Sign Up!

This is a year-long challenge where everyone aims to read books published in 2017.  It's hosted by Lexxie@(un)Conventional Book Reviews and Stormi@Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! I participated last year and read 79 new releases so it's pretty much a given that I plan on participating again. Here are the rules from Lexxie's blog and I plan on striving to be a New Release Veteran this year!

  • Books have to be released and reviewed in 2017.
  • Other challenges can be used as well, if you are participating in the Netgalley / Edelweiss challenge or in the COYER challenge, books can count towards more than one challenge, as long as the ones you use for the 2017 New Release Reading Challenge qualify to the other rules.
  • The minimum length for a book to qualify is 100 pages, it can be in any format though, physical, e-book, ARC or audiobook.
  • The New Book Release Challenge is open from January 1st through December 31st 2017, and sign-ups are open until February 15th 2017.
  • You don’t have to be a blogger to participate, you can link to your review on Goodreads or Booklikes instead – so don’t be shy!

There are five levels  in the New Release Challenge:

  1. 1-30 books per year – New Release Newbie
  2. 31-60 books per year – New Release Pro
  3. 61-100 books per year – New Release Veteran
  4. 101-200 books per year – New Release Enthusiast
  5. 200+ books per year – New Release Obsessed

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (87) - A Pup Takeover!

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

Mom's busy wrapping Christmas presents and mumbling something about Santa wrapping his own darn gifts so when I told her Cass and I had W.O.W. covered this week, I swear I heard a sigh of relief..  So anyway, Cass and I have been saving a few books for our next chance to hijack the blog so here you go! 

 June 27, 2017
FROM GOODREADS: In this riveting new novel by the New York Times bestselling author of the Chet and Bernie mystery series, a deeply damaged female soldier home from the war in Afghanistan becomes obsessed with finding a missing girl, gains an unlikely ally in a stray dog, and encounters new perils beyond the combat zone.

LeAnne Hogan went to Afghanistan as a rising star in the military, and came back a much lesser person, mentally and physically. Now missing an eye and with half her face badly scarred, she can barely remember the disastrous desert operation that almost killed her. She is confused, angry, and suspects the fault is hers, even though nobody will come out and say it.

Shattered by one last blow—the sudden death of her hospital roommate, Marci—LeAnne finds herself on a fateful drive across the country, reflecting on her past and seeing no future. Her native land is now unfamiliar, recast in shadow by her one good eye, her damaged psyche, her weakened body. Arriving in the rain-soaked small town in Washington State that Marci had called home, she makes a troubling discovery: Marci’s eight-year-old daughter has vanished. When a stray dog—a powerful, dark, unreadable creature, no one’s idea of a pet—seems to adopt LeAnne, a surprising connection is formed and something shifts inside her. As she becomes obsessed with finding Marci’s daughter, LeAnne and her inscrutable canine companion are drawn into danger as dark and menacing as her last Afghan mission. This time she has a strange but loyal fellow traveler protecting her blind side.

Enthralling, suspenseful, and psychologically nuanced, The Right Side introduces one of the most unforgettable protagonists in modern fiction: isolated, broken, disillusioned—yet still seeking redemption and purpose—LeAnne takes hold of the reader and never lets go.

WHY BOOKER T IS WAITING:  Mom has several books by this author although I don't think she has read any yet (and she thinks I don't pay attention to her - only Dad).  I like how it sounds like a stray dog helps LeAnne as much as she helps him. 

 June 6, 2017
FROM GOODREADS: In the tradition of Mary Kay Andrews and Dorothea Benton Frank, a charming, heartfelt tale of love lost and regained in a gated community in Savannah, Georgia.

After almost forty years in New Jersey, Catherine, Ralph, and their beloved Boston Terrier Karma are hitting the road, relocating to a gorgeous, serene island off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, where Catherine can work on her backhand and Ralph can hit the links. But upon their arrival in the Seven Oaks gated community, it becomes apparent that Catherine and Ralph’s visions of retirement couldn’t be more different. While Catherine is intrigued by their quirky neighbors, Ralph’s golf-and-poker routine seems to be interrupted only by his flirtations with their zealous real estate agent.

As the pair drift further apart, Catherine cannot help but sense her marriage is at risk. Then, she meets recent widower Fred at the dog park. United by their dogs, they embark upon a friendship that could be something more—until she discovers that he’s not quite what he seems. As she sorts out fact from fiction and discovers what sorts of secrets might be hiding behind Seven Oaks’ pristine picket fences, she’ll have to make a decision affecting her future happiness and her chance at newfound love.

WHY CASSIUS IS WAITING:  Mom used to have a good friend who lived in Savannah when she was in high school and she would visit every summer.  I think she'll like reading a book about one of her favorite places. 

SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR THIS WEEK (Mom always asks that right?)
P.S. - Don't ask us why our font changed in the middle of our post - we're dogs for Heaven's sake!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

TTT - Books Santa Paws Better Leave Beneath My Tree!

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 focuses on book or bookish things we'd like for Christmas. Since Mr. Barb always asks for a list, this one should be pretty simple (I always give him plenty to chose from so it's still a surprise).

Lost Gods - Brom.  I'm really interested to see what this is all about and I think Brom's books are better enjoyed in physical form.

Illuminae - Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.  Another book I just knew I'd want to read in physical form so on the list it went.  

You can never go wrong with an Amazon gift card.

Heartless - Marissa Meyer.  Had to jump on the bandwagon and ask for this one too.

Gone and Done It (Dreamwalker #1) - Maggie Toussaint.  My COYER Secret Santa already took care of this one - THANKS AGAIN!

The Fireman - Joe Hill.  I'm sort of neurotic about collecting Stephen King and Joe Hill books in hardback.

Truly, Madly, Guilt - Liane Moriarty.  I'm really interested to check this one out for some reason. 

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Illustrated - I NEED this one to sit beside my first one.  

Breaking Creed (#1) - Alex Kava.  Someone recommended this series to me and when I saw it involved a
k-9 search and rescue and his dogs I have to give it a try.

Silent Creed (#2) - Alex Kava.  See above explanation and DOGS!

So that's a lot of the books on my list. Like I said, I like to give people plenty to chose from and will be happy with whatever Santa Paws decided to leave me under the tree,

So what do you hope to find under your tree???

Picture courtesy of Barkpost