Monday, December 18, 2017

Let's Get Jolly - Christmas Song Book Tag!

So there's nothing like trying to force yourself into the Christmas spirit.  I wasn't tagged by anyone but I did see this tag on Booktube which was created by HailsHeartsNYCIf you decide to participate, please leave me a link so I can check it out!

1. "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" - Name a villainous character you couldn't help but love.
Captain Hook - although to be honest, he wasn't very villainous in this book.  He's still my fave though!

2.  "All I Want For Christmas Is You" - Which book do you most hope to see under the tree?
These illustrated copies are gorgeous and I need this one to add to my other two. 

3. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" - Name a character that overcomes major obstacles and learns to believe in themselves.
Brydie Benson.  I still can't stop thinking about this book.

4. "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" - Which characters are at the top of the naughty and nice lists?
Peter from "Lost Boy" is definitely at the top of the naughty list and Smooshie has to be at the top of the nice one!

5. "Frosty the Snowman" - Which book melts your heart?
I adore Martin - Damn ABC for cancelling one of my favorite shows.

6. "Feliz Navidad" - Choose a book that takes place in a country other than  your own
I love the Lady Sherlock series.

7.  "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" - What holiday book do you use to spread the Christmas joy?
This is definitely one of my new holiday favorites.

8.  "Sleigh Ride" - What fictional character would you chose to spend the holidays with?
The entire gang from "Twelve Slays of Christmas" in their hometown of Mistletoe.

9.  "Baby It's Cold Outside" - What book that you didn't like would you sacrifice to the fire to warm yourself up?
Was there any doubt?" And since it was the longest book I read this year, it would keep me warm the longest too!  

10.  "Do You Hear What I Hear?" -  What book do you think everyone should read"
I know at least 2 people on my Christmas list who are getting copies this year!

What's Christmas Without Snoopy?

TITLE: The Peanuts Guide to Christmas
AUTHOR: Charles M. Schultz
PUBLISHER: Running Press
PUBLISHING DATE: October 17, 2017

FROM GOODREADS: Featuring Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, and the whole PEANUTS gang, The Peanuts Guide to Christmas celebrates the holiday season the PEANUTS way! This lovable cast of characters is always up to something leading up to Christmas. And now, with this gifty collection of beloved illustrations from the classic comics, fans of all ages can get in the spirit by cherishing all of their favorite PEANUTS Christmas memories. 
This PEANUTS holiday keepsake is for the millions of faithful Charles Schulz fans and those who fondly remember our best-loved beagle and his friends. 

MY THOUGHTS:  This is a perfect book for any Peanuts lover and one I can see myself displaying on my mantel and reading each year.  This is a small book and is ideal for Peanuts collectors.  It has short comic strips featuring our gang celebrating the Christmas and New Year's season and as always, Snoopy and Woodstock are my favorites.  I chuckled to myself a few times while reading this book and in my opinion, there is just something magical about the Peanuts gang at Christmastime.  


Friday, December 15, 2017

Stacking the Shelves (140)/Sunday Post

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. And it now has a new co-host where individuals can link up as well - Marlene from Reading Reality.  Clicking on the book (or title) should take you to the Goodreads page.  I'm also now linking up with the Sunday Post which is hosted by Kimberly@Caffeinated Book Reviewer

I got two amazing books for review.  One came from Netgalley and one came from the author 
himself - thanks Hunter!  Look for a joint review of Fury of the Orcas with Stormi later this month, while Lake Silence is a continuation of The Others, one of my favorite series!

I also grabbed a few freebies for my Kindle from Amazon - what else is new!  I couldn't resist the cover of The Thin Wall and The Printer From Hell sounds like a few days I've had at the office this past year.  I had to add a dog to the mix and grabbed Christmas Party and how can I resist a horror book with a title like Nogglz?

So what did you add to your shelves this week????

Winter COYER Reading Challenge

I'll have to admit I kind of debated skipping the COYER Winter Challenge this time around but a good friend made me realize how much I would miss not participating.  Also, I've met so many great people through this challenge that I would miss the interaction with them as well.  So I've decided to go ahead and participate but I am not putting a lot of pressure on myself.  In fact, for a 3 month challenge, I am only wanting to hit 12 reads (I will be reading more of course but not all will work for the challenge).  Anyway, here are the rules:

The Basics

Let’s start with the basic rules and then we’ll get to the complicated.
  • The challenge begins December 16th at 12am EST and ends March 9th at 11:59pm EST.
  • You must create a sign-up post anytime between now and January 20th on blog, goodreads, fb, google+, etc. Be sure to indicate if you’re doing regular COYER or The Switch. Link your sign-up to the linky below.
  • You can choose to do regular COYER – which is the same as The Strict – or COYER Switch.
  • Link your reviews to the linky that will be provided on the Kick-off Post.
  • There will be three grand prize winners – $10 gift card – one for the linky review list, and two for Switch participants.
Of course that’s not it… way too simple for us! Now to show your three options #COYER Switch!

COYER Switch

COYER Switch has 3 components: The Strict, The List, and The One with the Twist. If you participate in COYER Switch, you’ll do each component at different times. There will be three phases:
  • December 16 – January 12
  • January 13 – February 9
  • February 10 – March 9
You can choose to do the three components in any order you’d like, but you’ll do each component once.

The Strict

This is good old strict COYER. The rules:
  1. Every book you read must be an eBook or audiobook.
  2. Every book must be either free or less than $5.
  3. No library books, borrowed books, or Kindle Unlimited.

The List

For The List, you guessed it… you’re making a list!
  1. Make a list of up to 30 books you want to read.
  2. Every book on the list must be in your possession BEFORE you put them on the list.
  3. You can add 5 new books for every 5 books you read.
  4. Books on the list can be any format, any price, obtained any LEGAL way… so that means library books, KU, borrowed, etc.

The One with the Twist

The One with the Twist is probably my favorite…
    1. You can read ANY book. ANY price. Obtained any LEGAL way.
    2. The Twist is, you have to stick with one format. If you choose audiobooks, then only the audiobooks you read during this phase will count. If you choose eBooks, then only eBooks you read during this phase will count. ETC…

So I will basically be doing "The List, The Strict and The One With the Twist."  My order is to do the list first. do the strict next and do the twist last (which will be physical books).

Here is the link to my list of books to choose from on Goodreads:

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Weekly Reads (12/15/17) - 10 Days Until Christmas!

You know, I can't figure out why no matter what I do, December is always hectic.  Everything seems to be rushed and instead of crossing things off a list it seems like I'm adding them.  At least I seem to be feeling better this week.  We also got our first snow accumulation but luckily it wasn't much.  It looks like it might be shaping up to be a white Christmas.

So we tried watching Season 2 of Frontier and it didn't really interest us as Season 1.  I think because I'm finding it to basically be the same show as "Taboo" with a different location.  In reality, they probably aren't that much alike but they are in my head so I doubt I'll continue.  Sorry Jason Momoa - I'll just have to catch you as Aquaman.  We also streamed "Detroit" the other night and I hated it.  I get that it's a story about history and civil rights and you can't change history but it was such a sad incident and nothing, I mean NOTHING, good really came out of it.  I understand the subject matter was heavy but come on, give me SOMETHING positive that resulted from the situation.  I went to bed thinking "Well, that sucked.  We could have just watched the news and saved $5.00).  Plus the really stupid idiot cop is Eustace from the Narnia series and I always liked Eustace.  

This weekend we will be putting up the tree and I hope to get some baking done.  I would say I'm a 5/10 on the scale of Christmas cheer but I did find a new Christmas song which is quickly becoming my favorite.  vvb32 reads  mentioned last week a new song by Sia and I'm IN LOVE!  I will warn you though, it's such an earworm song.  Once you listen, you WILL NOT be able to get it out of your head!!!

On the reading front, I'm hoping to get some serious reading done on "The Prey of Gods" because I love it and start a few more.  That's if time allows and that TO DO list doesn't get the best of me.

So is anyone else feeling the Christmas rush or are you planning on relaxing and reading some good books this week????

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Murder on the Lake of Fire Blog Tour

Murder on the Lake of Fire
Mikel J. Wilson
(Mourning Dove Mysteries, #1)
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: December 1st 2017
Genres: LGBTQ+, Mystery, Romance
At twenty-three and with a notorious case under his belt, Emory Rome has already garnered fame as a talented special agent for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. His career is leapfrogging over his colleagues, but the jumping stops when he’s assigned a case he fought to avoid – to investigate an eerie murder in the Smoky Mountain hometown he had abandoned. This mysterious case of a dead teen ice-skater once destined for the pros is just the beginning. In a small town bursting with envious friends and foes, Rome’s own secrets lie just below the surface. The rush to find the murderer before he strikes again pits Rome against artful private investigator, Jeff Woodard. The PI is handsome and smart, seducing Rome and forcing him to confront childhood demons, but Woodard has secrets of his own. He might just be the killer Rome is seeking.

MY THOUGHTS: One cold morning, while future Olympian figure skater Britt Algarotti is practicing on a nearby lake, a flame mysteriously bursts out on the lake, engulfing Britt and leaving her family reeling.  The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation sends Agent Emory Rome to investigate, unaware that by doing so, they are sending him back to a hometown he left several years ago.  However, the family has hired their own PI which further complicates the matter.

I think the overall mystery in this novel is a good one.  The murders are unique enough for the reader to question what is really going on and there are enough twists and turns that just when you think you know who did it, you might be proven wrong.  I didn't really care for the romance aspect of the book just because I don't think it was needed.  However, I didn't have a feeling for it either way.  I do have to mention that Wilson came up with one of the most unique pets I have run into in a long time. The PI owns a bobcat named Bobby.  He even feeds him fish by releasing them into a bathtub and letting him catch them.  Bobby is basically a minute part of the book but you can tell it's left a lasting impression.  

This book doesn't really end on a cliffhanger but there is something at the end that really kind of ropes the reader into reading the sequel, so I will keep my eye open for it.  If you like unique murders with a scientific edge, you might enjoy this one!


Author Bio:
Mystery and science fiction author Mikel J. Wilson received widespread critical praise for his debut novel, Sedona: The Lost Vortex, a science fiction book based on the Northern Arizona town’s legends of energy vortexes and dimensional travel. Wilson now draws on his Southern roots for the Mourning Dove Mysteries, a series of novels featuring bizarre murders in the Smoky Mountains region of Tennessee.
Murder on the Lake of Fire, the first novel in the Mourning Dove Mysteries series, will be available December 1, 2017.


Pupcakes - Not All Holiday Fluff

TITLE: Pupcakes
AUTHOR: Annie England Noblin
PUBLISHER: William Morrow Paperbacks
PUBLISHING DATE: October 10, 2017

FROM GOODREADS: All she wants is a settled-down life.

What she gets is a dog—and a whole new normal . . . 

There he stood in the doorway: overweight, depressed and nearly homeless—a pug named Teddy Roosevelt. Teddy was Brydie Benson’s latest problem, arriving on top of her messy divorce and sudden move. Brydie needed a place to start over, so this rent-free home seemed a great idea. She just never counted on Teddy, or his owner, the Germantown Retirement Village’s toughest customer, Pauline Neumann.

And because rent-free doesn’t mean bills-free, Brydie gets a night-shift job at a big-box grocery. Whoever guessed there were so many people who wanted baked goods after midnight?

Then, she gets an idea—why not combine her baking skills with her new-found dog knowledge? And so her store Pupcakes is born. Along with a new start comes a possible new love, in the form of Nathan Reid, a local doctor with a sassy Irish Wolfhound named Sasha. And as fall turns to winter, and then to Christmas, Brydie begins to realize that life is a little bit like learning a new recipe for puff pastry—it takes a few tries to get it just right!

MY THOUGHTS: First let me say it took me forever to read this book. However, it's not a reflection on the book because once I actually sat down to read it, I read the majority of it over a 24 hour period. While the cover is marketed as a holiday read, it actually takes place during the months of October, November and December so if you aren't a big Christmas-themed reader, don't let the cover throw you.

Byrdie Benson has moved to the Memphis area to be closer to her best friend following the collapse of her marriage and the bakery she owned with her husband. She is having difficulty starting over and since her bestie is pregnant with her second child, she is no longer able to crash in her home. She ends up staying in the home of an elderly woman, Pauline, who has recently entered a nursing home. While she can stay rent-free, there is one small catch which just happens to come in the form of Teddy Roosevelt, Pauline best friend pug. She also has to take Teddy to the nursing home once a week to visit. Eventually Byrdie manages to start her life anew, making new friends and meeting a new love interest, and she learns slowly learns how much a 4-legged friend can help a person.

I really loved this book which is probably evident by the 5/5 rating. Brydie was instantly likable yet flawed. While it was nice to see Byrdie move on and finally let go of any feelings for her cheating ex, the best relationship in the book ends up being between Bydie and Pauline. "Pupcakes" is full of great characters and Noblin has a way of placing you right inside her novels. I must also add that many of her characters are also defined by their dogs and it's of no surprise to find out Noblin is an animal lover herself. 

Finally I have to say this book is packaged quite well. It's divided into three sections - October, November and December. At the beginning of each section there is a title page feature Teddy dressed according to the season. Each chapter then again has a tiny picture of Teddy next to the number. 

This is a great book to read during the holiday season so there's still time to grab a copy. However, like I mentioned, I think "Pupcakes" is a great read year-round. Also, rarely am I a sentimental reader. In fact, I had a co-worker once who told me we both needed to take yearly sensitivity classes. Yet the end of the book ALMOST brought tears to my eyes. And no - the dog does not die.


Boy it's been a while since Mom asked my opinion.  And just when I was starting to feel neglected.  Let me just tell you that Teddy Roosevelt is my kind of dog.  He may be a bit on the small side, but I do love his puggy face (did you guys know that one of my nicknames is Puggy? And when I was small, Dad would have me dance the Dougie?  That's a tale for another day and one Mom can share with you because I think it's a tad embarrassing).  
Teddy like to eat and sleep in a human bed - a dog after my own heart.  But more importantly, he knows the value of cheering up the people in his life and he always has room in his heart for more love.  
So basically - READ THIS BOOK GUYS!  

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday (136)

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.

FROM GOODREADS: An entrancing new series starring a funny, impulsive, and sometimes self-congratulatory young woman who discovers she has psychic abilities—and then must decide whether she will use her skills for good or…not.

Teddy Cannon isn’t your typical twenty-something woman. She’s resourceful. She’s bright. She’s scrappy. She can also read people with uncanny precision. What she doesn’t realize: she’s actually psychic.

When a series of bad decisions leads Teddy to a run-in with the police, a mysterious stranger intervenes. He invites her to apply to the School for Psychics, a facility hidden off the coast of San Francisco where students are trained like Delta Force operatives: it’s competitive, cutthroat, and highly secretive. They’ll learn telepathy, telekinesis, investigative skills, and SWAT tactics. And if students survive their training, they go on to serve at the highest levels of government, using their skills to protect America, and the world.

In class, Teddy befriends Lucas, a rebel without a cause who can start and manipulate fire; Jillian, a hipster who can mediate communication between animals and humans; and Molly, a hacker who can apprehend the emotional state of another individual. But just as Teddy feels like she’s found where she might belong, strange things begin to happen: break-ins, missing students, and more. It leads Teddy to accept a dangerous mission that will ultimately cause her to question everything—her teachers, her friends, her family, and even herself.

Set in a world very much like our own, School for Psychics is the first book in a stay-up-all night series.

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  I love the sounds of the MC and she sounds like someone who will be really fun to know.  Plus it sounds like she is trying to figure out whether to use her powers for good or evil which sounds interesting. I'm not sure if I'm sold on the cover, but the synopsis sealed the deal.


Challenge Time - Blog All About It

So I saw this over at Herding Cats & Burning Soup and it sounds like a lot of fun.  Plus it doesn't necessarily have to be book related and is pretty flexible so I thought "What the heck?"  Below are the rules so if you're interested, pop on over and sign up.

It's basically a blogging prompt challenge.
Each month there's a different prompt that you can interpret as you'd like then create a blog post around it.


If the prompt is BLUE you could...
--make a blueberry cobbler
--review a book with a blue cover
--interview an author who's name has blue in it
--discuss how you break out of a 'blue' mood
--share blue photos you've taken

It's incredibly flexible but also a good way to spread your blogger wings.

I think it'll be fun to see how differently people decide to blog about the exact same prompt.

The Prompts

January-- Winter
February-- Red
March-- Favorite Scent
April-- Art
May-- Organize
June-- Growl
July-- Spirit
August-- Beginning
September-- Escape
October-- Trees
November-- Truth
December-- Shine/Sparkle

Monday, December 11, 2017

TTT - 10 Favorite Books of 2017!

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. 

So as the year comes to the close, everyone starts doing favorite videos or best of/worst of videos. This week's topic falls right in line with that and I am sharing my favorite books of 2017.  These are in no particular order because that would require too much thinking and be ore than likely impossible.  Anyway, on with the list!!!

"Certain Dark Things" was the first book I read in January 2017 and it remains one of my faves.  I just read "Rolling in the Deep" last month and don't even have my review up yet but I LOVED IT!

These are two of the best cozy mysteries I've read all year.  "Death in the Stacks" in book 8 in the series and it's still going strong while "Twelve Slays of Christmas" is by a debut author.

"Lost Boy" continued my love affair with Captain Hook and the Veronica Speedwell series never disappoints. 

One of my favorite authors - Jackie Bouchard, and one of my favorite artists - Prince (may he rest in purple).

I never dreamed I'd love "The Rules of Magic" so much but it really was a magical book.  And although I hate to see Kelley Armstrong's Cainsville series come to an end this year, I was very pleased with how "Rituals" wrapped things up.

BONUS- I read more Hunter Shea this year than any other author and I'm always thrilled when I have one of his on my TBR.  I also LOVED Stuart R. West's "Dread and Breakfast" and it's a great winter read for anyone looking for a horror/thriller.

So there you have it.  My best of 2017.  Have you read any of these and did they make you best list too???

Now This is My Kind of Mermaid!

TITLE: Rolling in the Deep (Rolling in the Deep #0.5)
AUTHOR: Mira Grant (aka Seanan McGuire)
PUBLISHER: Subterranean Press
PUBLISHING DATE: April 6, 2015

FROM GOODREADS: When the Imagine Network commissioned a documentary on mermaids, to be filmed from the cruise ship Atargatis, they expected what they had always received before: an assortment of eyewitness reports that proved nothing, some footage that proved even less, and the kind of ratings that only came from peddling imaginary creatures to the masses. 

They didn't expect actual mermaids.  They certainly didn't expect those mermaids to have teeth.

This is the story of the Atargatis, lost at sea with all hands.  Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a maritime tragedy.  Whatever the truth may be, it will only be found below the bathypelagic zone in the Mariana Trench…and the depths are very good at keeping secrets.

MY THOUGHTS: I couldn't have asked for a better read and it was just what I needed to wrap up my Thanksgiving vacation. So Imagine Network (who in my head I couldn't stop thinking of SyFy) is filming a "documentary" proving the existence of mermaids near the Mariana Trench. They commission a ship, the Atargatis, to make the trip and have even hired a troupe of mermaids to make sure they complete what they set out to do. The problem is, they never planned for what they actually find and while it will definitely make for some great footage, it may never actually get released.

I have pretty much loved everything I've ever read by Seanan McGuire and had high expectation for this one. I am thrilled to say I was not disappointed. Although this book is actually a novella, there is plenty of action and McGuire does a great job of developing characters in a short amount of time. I even became attached to a character or two - damn you McGuire.

I read this because I already have a copy of Into the Drowning Deep waiting for me on my Kindle and I wanted to make sure I knew all of the backstory before I started it. After reading "Rolling in the Deep" I'm that much more excited to start the next in the series and see what fun McGuire has in store for her readers. I've never been a huge fan of mermaids but EVIL mermaids are something I can definitely support!


Friday, December 8, 2017

Stacking the Shelves (139)/Sunday Post

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. And it now has a new co-host where individuals can link up as well - Marlene from Reading Reality.  Clicking on the book (or title) should take you to the Goodreads page.  I'm also now linking up with the Sunday Post which is hosted by Kimberly@Caffeinated Book Reviewer

I ended up grabbing some books from Amazon this week on sale.  I've heard some good things about "Jade City" so when I got an email Friday that it was on sale for $2.99 I went ahead and grabbed it.  "The Ripper's Shadow" is a book I've been meaning to read all year and even though my library has it, it was on sale for $0.99 so I figured  it was worth it.  Finally "Demon Dog" was a total impulse but for $0.99 as well.

I also received three books from Netgalley and the publishers.  I'm thrilled to have "Pick and Chews" especially since it's a series I'm current on and I featured it on a Can't Wait Wednesday post a few weeks ago.  "The Dogs of Camelot" looks right up my alley and pretty interesting to boot.  I used to love werewolf books but really haven't read any in ages so I'm hoping "Wolf Blood" rekindles my love of them.

What did you add to your shelves this week???

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Weekly Reads (12/08/17) I Smell Snow

That pretty much says it all.  Late Thursday morning I spotted the first flakes falling from the sky.  They didn't amount to much and while for a whole second they put me in the Christmas mood, sanity took over and I was forced to face the fact that Winter is in fact coming and there's little I can do about it.  

It's been a pretty uneventful week here at The Farm.  For anyone who has followed the Stupid Cousin (SC) saga over the past year or so, he had the audacity to call me Sunday morning (and wake me up) to ask to borrow money.  Apparently he was stuck in a dream where he thought I would say yes since it was so early.  Maybe my "NO!" woke him up.  

The pups are fine and hopefully I can get some newer Christmas pics of them soon.  They both got new toboggans and Cass makes the cutest reindeer (with his new antlers and all).  To be honest, I haven't read much this past week.  I've been a tad under the weather and it's kind of interfered with reading.  However, I am about 100 pages into "Pupcakes" and enjoying it.  Here's the next books up on the stack.

Saturday is Mr. Barb's birthday and although he has to work until 4pm, the pups and I are planning dinner and cupcakes for him when he gets home.  We haven't really watched any good movies lately but I found out "It" will be available digitally 12/21 so I know what will be the yearly Christmas Eve movie this year.  I did finish watching "Longmire" and overall it was good but I felt like some things were really pushed.  

Hope everyone has a wonderful week ahead and are you reading and watching anything good?