Thursday, August 31, 2017

Lots of Cute Puppies! (A New Leash on Love Review)

Before I start into my Halloween reading, I figured I needed to send The Dog Days of Summer out with a bang so today I'm reviewing a book I read over my 4th of July vacation.  It's a perfect choice for ending up the summer months!

TITLE: A New Leash on Love (Rescue Me #1)
AUTHOR: Debbie Burns
PUBLISHER: Sourcebooks, Casablanca

FROM GOODREADS: When Craig Williams draws the short straw and has to take his daughter’s adorable new puppy to a shelter after the holidays, it’s just another painful episode in the fall-out of a miserable divorce. He needs to pick up the pieces of his life, and, after a fiery confrontation with Megan Anderson, the young woman running the shelter, he wants to put the whole episode behind him. However, when he keeps finding new ways to reconnect with her, he realizes Megan’s compassionate and caring nature just might be the perfect salve for his broken heart.

It's been a while since I read "A New Leash on Love" but I'm finding that two months later, I still love it just as much. It's funny how each year I associate my July 4th vacation week with a book that stuck in my mind and this year, this book is the one. It was a perfect way to spend a rainy day curled up on the couch with two lovable pooches reading about other ones.

Craig Williams is going through a divorce and as the book opens, he is having to take a puppy that his children adore to the local pound because it is too much for his wife and children. When doing so, he meets Megan Anderson. Megan has worked years at the shelter rescuing pets and finding them forever homes and she immediately thinks Craig is a pompous ass - and I'll have to admit, I agreed with her for quite some time. However, over the course of the book, Megan and Craig learn more about each other and he even becomes quite helpful to her in securing new funding sources to help the shelter grow. Megan takes Craig's daughter under her wing and shows her how to care for the dogs at the shelter in the hopes that eventually she will be able to take on the responsibility of another dog of her own.

One of the best things about this book to me was all the animals. There are lots of rescues and fosters and the reader is given insight to many of them. Also, all of the staff at the shelter have their own little quirks and foibles and I really liked getting to know all about them. I probably could have given this book 5/5 but since I don't read a lot of romance, it was hard for me to make a decision. The dogs alone scored a few points but I appreciated that the book wasn't one large case of insta-love and that there were no love triangles presented (things that immediately turn me off in books).

If you love dogs and enjoy seeing character development, this is a good book to pick up. In addition, I'm also sure any regular reader of romance books with absolutely be thrilled with "A New Leash on Love." I'm definitely keeping my eyes open for the next book in this series.

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


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday - Dog Days of Summer Edition

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.

So guess who's back?  It's me, Booker T!  And my brother Cassius is also helping out today.  Who better to preview some new "Can't Wait" dog books than us, especially since it's the Dog Days of Summer?  We hope you like our picks!

When a woman unexpectedly loses her lifelong best friend and mentor, she finds herself burdened with the unwanted dog he has left behind. Her own battle against grief is intensified by the mute suffering of the dog, a huge Great Dane traumatized by the inexplicable disappearance of its master, and by the threat of eviction: dogs are prohibited in her apartment building.

While others worry that grief has made her a victim of magical thinking, the woman refuses to be separated from the dog except for brief periods of time. Isolated from the rest of the world, increasingly obsessed with the dog's care, determined to read its mind and fathom its heart, she comes dangerously close to unraveling. But while troubles abound, rich and surprising rewards lie in store for both of them.

Elegiac and searching, The Friend is both a meditation on loss and a celebration of human-canine devotion.

Every dog has its day…

And for Lineker, a happy go lucky mongrel from Peckham, the day the world ends is his: finally a chance to prove to his owner just how loyal he can be.

Reg, an agoraphobic writer with an obsession for nineties football, plans to wait out the impending doom in his second floor flat, hiding himself away from the riots outside.

But when an abandoned orphan shows up in the stairwell of their building, Reg and Lineker must brave the outside in order to save not only the child, but themselves…

WHY BOOKER T AND CASSIUS CAN'T WAIT:  Mom found "The Friend" the other day and we're no fools, we know she's always secretly wanted a Great Dane.  Thank heavens Dad has some sense and realizes we can't very well accommodate  one.  We also know she's been waiting FOREVER for "The Last Dog on Earth" and with a tagline of "The world is going to the dogs..." we know she'll never resist this one.  


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

TTT - 5 Hidden Gem Dog Books

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. Since I am wrapping up my Dog Days of Summer feature this week, thanks to Jo's Book Blog and La La in the Library, I thought I'd share with you my top 5 hidden gems of dog-related books.  Here we go!

I can't say enough about this book.  Not only does this book have a great dog character in Maybe, but the adult characters are well developed as well.  Jane has went through a lot of loss in her life and this book really shows how sometimes dogs can be the best medicine.  Also, Maybe has the honorary designation of being Booker T's forever book-girlfriend.  Grab a copy and see why.  You can also see my complete review HERE.

In "The Dogs of Babel" Paul's wife is found dead surrounded by suspicious circumstances.  The only witness is their dog Lorelei.  Paul ends up trying to teach Lorelei to communicate with him so he can discover what happened to the woman he loves. This is a beautiful book.

This is actually a duology but since I never got around to reading the second one, a serious reread of this one is in order.  Rocky's husband is found dead and she heads off to Maine, taking a new job as Animal Control Officer, to start over and grieve in peace.  She ends up meeting Lloyd, a very large Lab and a wonderful relationship ensues.  This book sticks in my mind because the MC has a lot of nightmares and once Lloyd enters her life and sleeps on her feet every night, they stop.  She then believes that their contact is actually easing her sleep disturbances.  Are you convinced you need to read this yet?

My grandmother shared her love of Vincent Price with me as a youth and to this day, I still enjoy his old horror movies.  And that voice, how can we forget Thriller?  But did you know he was an avid dog lover - almost to the point of obsessed.  This tale focuses on his dog Joe, and how fulfilled he felt for having Joe in his life.  My review is HERE.

If you've ever had a dog that tried your patience yet filled your heart with so much love, you should pick up Surviving Henry.  Young fills the pages with tales of Henry's shenanigans and she jokes that her boxer suffers from Supreme Dictator of the Universe Syndrome.  I think it's a common boxer ailment. HERE'S my review.

I know I tend to share a lot of dog books so I've searched deep in my arsenal in order to share some ones you may not know.  I hope you've enjoy this Top Five and look for a few more Dog Days of Summer posts before the month is out.

Monday, August 28, 2017

A New Graphic Novel Favorite!

TITLE: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Vol. 1: The Crucible
AUTHOR: Robert Aguirre-Sacasa, Robert Hack
PUBLISHER: Archie Comics
PUBLISHING DATE: August 16, 2016

FROM GOODREADS: On the eve of her sixteenth birthday, the young sorceress Sabrina Spellman finds herself at a crossroads, having to choose between an unearthly destiny and her mortal boyfriend, Harvey. But a foe from her family's past has arrived in Greendale, Madame Satan, and she has her own deadly agenda. Archie Comics' latest horror sensation starts here! For TEEN+ readers. Compiles the first six issues of the ongoing comic book series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. 

I almost feel like I can't gush about this book enough. In fact, I know I've already recommended it several times. This is definitely not the Sabrina the Teenage Witch I remember. This Sabrina is dark and twisted and bloody and gory and... you get the point right.

Sabrina's father was a strong and powerful warlock who defied the Witch Council and married a mortal. Together, they produced Sabrina. But when he wanted to hand his baby daughter over to the witches, his wife protested and thus she was rendered permanently insane. Something then happens to her father leaving Sabrina to be raised by her two aunts. In addition, her father's ex, now "The Mistress of Hell" returns and desires nothing more than to seek revenge on Sabrina and further ruin her life.

The story line is dark and intriguing, which really matches the artwork. This graphic novel is not for the faint of heart as there is blood and nudity throughout. One bright spot is Sabrina's familiar, Salem, who is the only voice of reason I found in the entire book. There is even a crossover story line with Betty and Veronica from Riverdale - of course they are witches though.

Anyone who loves horror simply must grab a copy of this novel any way they can. The next compilation isn't released until mid-December which is WAY too long to wait. Counting the days...


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Stacking the Shelves (125)

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 ReviewerI'm hoping to discover some new blogs to love.

Not a lot to report this week but that doesn't mean I'm not thrilled with my additions.  Since I featured it on my Can't Wait Wednesday feature this week, you can only imagine how thrilled I was on Thursday when I received approval for A Treacherous Curse.  I couldn't resist the allure of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Seek and you can see from A Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross that I'm already gearing up for the Halloween holiday. 

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

Friday, August 25, 2017

Weekly Reads (08/25/17)

Well, it's been a long, crazy week at The Farm.  Mr. Barb had three days training at the beginning of the week and then I had a late meeting yesterday which made for a 14 hour day because I couldn't cancel anything.  Man, I think we really earned this weekend.  However, since we both get some extra time off Friday afternoon, and since the weather has finally cooled down some, we're taking the boys on a car ride to see Grandpa.  They will love it and Grandpa loves the pups.

We actually watched some decent movies for a change.  We watched the new "Fast and Furious" lasyt weekend.  I really don't know why because we never watched any of the others.  It's wasn't great but it was at least entertaining.  Then I watched "Colossal."  I thought this was going to be a romantic comedy but no, it actually was a decent dramatic story and I really enjoyed it.  Yes, there's some humor, and the story line is impossible, but I do recommend it.  Finally we watched "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2"  I really liked it and it's worth it just to see dancing Groot in the first 10 minutes of the intro.   We are going to give Tom Cruise's "The Mummy" a try this weekend.

Finally, I managed to finish a book and a graphic novel.  I haven't been able to read much the past 3 days and it makes me quite cranky.  I did sign up for a new challenge (you know me and challenges) and will be talking more about it next week.  Also look for a review of "The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina."  It's definitely become my third fave graphic novel of all time (behind Saga and The Chew). Here's what I hope to make time for this coming week.

Hope everyone has a wonderful week!!!!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Two Bloggers One Book - Optical Delusion by Hunter Shea

This month Stormi and I are sharing our thoughts on yet another book by an author we are both starting to really enjoy, Hunter Shea.  In fact, next month's selection happens to be from him as well.  I think we are both in the mood for some good old-fashioned horror.  Anyway, make sure you stop by her blog at Books Movies Reviews, Oh My! to see her thoughts as well.

TITLE: Optical Delusion (Mail Order Massacres #2)
AUTHOR: Hunter Shea
PUBLISHER: Lyrical Underground
PUBLISHING DATE: August 1, 2017


Put on a pair of “X-Ray” glasses and things will never look the same! These almost magical specs will make you the hit of the party! Astonishing three-dimensional X-Ray visions of what your friends—and girls—look like under their clothes! And all for just $1.


Martin Blackstone punishes his son for wasting his allowance on a pair of flimsy cardboard sunglasses X-ray vision . . . yeah, right. Martin tries them on just for the hell of it—and all they do is give him a headache . . . 


Until he sees things he can’t possibly be seeing. Glimpses of things on the other side of a wall or beneath someone’s clothing. He wants to believe it’s just his overactive imagination but the “X-Ray” specs actually work. Then the fun novelty becomes a waking nightmare when the glasses burn into his face and he starts seeing horrifying apocalyptic visions no mortal man was ever meant to see. Images that alter his very personality—from a husband and father to a bloodthirsty homicidal maniac . . .

Because sometimes you can see too much.

MY THOUGHTS: "Optical Delusion" is the second installment in Shea's Mail Order Massacres novella trilogy and while "Just Add Water" remains my favorite so far, this one was still very enjoyable and a strong addition to the series. Martin Blackstone is a hardworking blue-collar worker who enjoys his time at home, especially if he has a good beer in his hand. His son is given a pair of cheap x-ray glasses by a friend and when he casually tosses them aside, Martin gives them a try just for fun. Before long, Martin is addicted to the glasses. He is initially shocked when he's able to use them as a voyeur on unsuspecting town women, but soon the x-ray abilities deepen and the glasses become harder and harder to remove.

This book is definitely full of blood, gore and is a lot of fun. The main problem I had is that I despised Martin. However, I'm sure Shea intended it to be that way because he is in no way some poor misunderstood character. Throughout the book, I often felt sorry for the people Martin encountered and although I think he had a decent enough relationship with both his wife and his son, I think they deserved better.

"Optical Delusion" is a book which is hard to review without giving too much away. It's a fast read and any horror lover would be missing out if they at least didn't give this series a try. There's one more novella coming up and I already have my copy and am just waiting for the perfect night to curl up and read it.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday (120)

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: London, 1888. As colorful and unfettered as the butterflies she collects, Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell can’t resist the allure of an exotic mystery—particularly one involving her enigmatic colleague, Stoker. His former expedition partner has vanished from an archaeological dig with a priceless diadem unearthed from the newly discovered tomb of an Egyptian princess. This disappearance is just the latest in a string of unfortunate events that have plagued the controversial expedition, and rumors abound that the curse of the vengeful princess has been unleashed as the shadowy figure of Anubis himself stalks the streets of London.
But the perils of an ancient curse are not the only challenges Veronica must face as sordid details and malevolent enemies emerge from Stoker’s past. Caught in a tangle of conspiracies and threats—and thrust into the public eye by an enterprising new foe—Veronica must separate facts from fantasy to unravel a web of duplicity that threatens to cost Stoker everything. . . .

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  I absolutely love this series and it actually started my love affair with historical mysteries.  The relationship with Veronica and Stoker is so much fun and they play off each other so well. Definitely no insta-love in this series.  I can't wait to see what trouble they manage to find next!


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

TTT - 10 Books For The Study of Weird Things

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. 

OK, class is in session.  This class is for everybody who likes to embrace their weirdness every once in a while.  Here are some books which are definitely WEIRD - some in good ways, some in bad ways and some in ways altogether unique.

Here's a small piece of my original review which sums up this book's weirdness...and also STILL leaves me confused - "This book is about Diane, Jackie, Diane's son and a shapeshifter named Josh, a waitress in the local diner who is actually a tree, a man named Evan who walks around town appearing and disappearing and handing people pieces of paper with KING CITY written on it, 30-40 men named Troy (or actually the same man, just multiples of him), a tarantula, secret agents and exploding flamingo lawn decorations. "  

Stuart R. West has become one of my favorite horror authors.  "West's description of Hell itself, and of the hellhounds with human heads which show up toward the end, were spot on with what I associate with old-fashioned horror. If you like scary books, aren't afraid of a little blood and gore, and don't mind some comedic spins thrown in here and there, this books might just be worth your time. "

Still unsure about this one.  "The mystery in this tale is pretty unsatisfying and I would be hesitant to classify it as such. To be honest, this book is pretty hard to classify in general. I'm not sure who to recommend it to but I'm sure fans of Lovecraft will be curious what it is all about and will find some worth in picking it up. I don't regret reading it because it's nice to read outside one's comfort zone, but I would never pick it up again. "

I made it through the first 9 books and initially loved Anita Blake's character but the books just kept getting weirder and weirder.  I always planned to pick the series back up but now there are so many, I doubt it will ever happen.

This recent horror release didn't get much hype but I really liked it.  "There is also a lot of foul language in the book but that doesn't really bother me much - especially in a horror tale. However, I was really engrossed in finding out Mormama's purpose, learning all about the Ellis family, and discovering how this book could ever present me with a satisfying ending."  Guess what?  It did!

Definitely a different kind of book.  "It's a mystery, but not really a mystery, it has a lot to say about stereotypes, but what does it really say, and on and on..."  It does have one of my favorite quotes ever though - "Kids are for people who can't have dogs!"

All my regular readers know how much I love this extremely weird and extremely unique novella series linked to the Seven Deadly Sins.  Book 2 was one of my faves. "This book is as twisted and demented as the first one, and that's a good thing."

"Insanity has escaped Jesus' hold on him and is causing havoc somewhere in 1978, all the while looking for the perfect sandwich makers. Several of God's servants/personalities, such as The Muse, Contradiction, Leviticus and Satan assist in locating him, and while doing so, unleash 3 of the 4 Horses of the Apocalypse."

This book has managed to stick with me for years.  "The Library at Mount Char shows the reader how scary the world can be, but made me grateful that things haven't gotten as bad as it could yet. "  Maybe 2015 me was able to see the future.

I don't think I've read a Christopher Moore book I didn't like.  This is one of my favorites which really showcases the way his mind works.


Monday, August 21, 2017

I Needed More Milton! (The Luster of Lost Things Review)

TITLE: The Luster of Lost Things
AUTHOR: Sophie Chen Keller
PUBLISHER: G.P. Putnam's Sons
PUBLISHING DATE: August 8, 2017

FROM GOODREADS: Walter Lavender Jr. is a master of finding. A wearer of high-tops. A maker of croissants. A son keeping vigil, twelve years counting.

But he wouldn’t be able to tell you. Silenced by his motor speech disorder, Walter’s life gets lonely. Fortunately, he has The Lavenders—his mother’s enchanted dessert shop, where marzipan dragons breathe actual fire. He also has a knack for tracking down any missing thing—except for his lost father.

So when the Book at the root of the bakery’s magic vanishes, Walter, accompanied by his overweight golden retriever, journeys through New York City to find it—along the way encountering an unforgettable cast of lost souls.

Steeped in nostalgic wonder, The Luster of Lost Things explores the depths of our capacity for kindness and our ability to heal. A lyrical meditation on why we become lost and how we are found, from the bright, broken heart of a boy who knows where to look for everyone but himself.

So I finally managed to finish "The Luster of Lost Things" yet I've put off this review because I think it's going to be a hard one to write. Prior to reading this book, I looked at a few other non-spoiler reviews and a lot of people mentioned liking the first part of the book, which has most of the magical realism elements in it, and feeling the second part, Walter's quest, dragged the book down. I feel pretty much exactly the opposite but what else is new?

Walter Lavender Jr. is a young boy who lives with his mother above their bakery in New York. Walter suffers from a motor speech disorder and pretty much his friends consist of his Lab Milton, his mother and the staff at the bakery. His father disappeared during a flight when Walter was a baby and he waits patiently each day for him to return home. Because of his disability, Walter's life is quite lonely but he does have a knack for finding lost things and hires himself out to people looking for beloved items, which is his main interaction with the world outside the bakery. The bakery itself is "guarded" by a magical book which was given to his mother following his father's disappearance and this book makes the bakery a magical place where the delicious creations often come alive - literally. One day, the book vanishes and knowing that the disappearance spells doom for the bakery and Walter's comforting life, he and Milton go on an excursion to find it. The book ends up getting torn up so he has to find all 7 pages and out it back together within 24 hours if he hopes to save he and his mother's future.

Walter's quest was the most interesting part of this book for me. He meets lots of interesting characters and along the way, finds his own "voice." In fact, it was quite endearing when at the end of the book, Walter is able to return home and verbally tell his mother than he missed her. Walter helps a lot of the people he encounters as much as they help him and he and Milton also make a new best friend in the process which I found beyond cute.

The main reason this book didn't rate higher for me is purely because of the magical realism. I struggle with the genre in general and it took me much longer to read this book than it should have. Also, I wanted more Milton. He and Walter have an awesome bond, and Milton occasionally speaks to Walter and I just would have enjoyed the book more with more Milton. Of course, to those who know me, that's no big surprise.

This book has been quite popular this month since it's release and I've seen many people enjoying it. I'm glad I picked it up and it really is an adorable tale, it just fell a tad short for me. Lovers of magical realism should consider giving this book a chance but may find Walter's journey somewhat mundane. 


BOOKER T'S THOUGHTS: First of all, Mom and I want to thank La La from over at La La in the Library for the use of her awesome graphic.  As for Milton.  First of all, Milton is a lab which means he is a large dog and I really do love large dog buddies. He is such a perfect friend for Walter, who is often picked on and rather lost because of  his speech disability.  Rude wonder Mom prefers dogs to most people.  Milton slips away to follow Walter on his quest even though Walter tries to leave him at home because he know Walter needs the support and the company - Good Boy Milton.  Plus, Milton clearly loves to eat as evidenced in the book - a dog after my own doggy heart.  Milton clearly gets 5 paws in my book!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Stacking the Shelves (124) / 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 ReviewerI'm hoping to discover some new blogs to love.

This week is a mix up of all kinds of books.  I have a couple of physical books which I ordered from Abe Books.  It was actually cheaper to get a used coy of "Oath of Dogs" which looks brand new than it was to either grab it for my Kindle or order it.  Even shipping was free. Then I found a video of dog related horror books while cruising BookTube one night and I've been on a quest to grab some. Many are older so I've had to do some scouring.  I found "Dog Kill" for cheap and in pretty good condition for a really old book as well.  (I'm working it out in my head to have something going next year where I read one of the dog horror books each month - we'll see).

The I grabbed the following books for free.  "Monster Hunters International" has been on my wishlist forever so when I saw it free, I jumped on it.  I also saw Jennifer @ The Book Den mention "Gravel Switch" on her August horror releases so when I saw it for free, I was thrilled.  Finally, need I do more than show you the cover or "Released: The Shapeshifter's Library #1" for you to understand why it's now sitting on my Kindle?

And I scored a few great books for review.  "Terminal Alliance" I had featured on a Can't Wait Wednesday post a few weeks ago and was very very happy to get an approval email. "Black Bird of the Gallows" was sent to me from the author and Entangled Teen.  Hope I love it since I've hyped it enough!  "Dial Meow for Murder" is the second book in a new cozy series Stormi and I started last year (or maybe earlier this year - it's all running together now) and Booker T and Cass featured it a while back.  I got the new Hunter Shea novella "Money Back Guarantee." (Look for reviews from Stormi and I for the second novella in this series Thursday) and Xpresso Book Tours sent me a copy of "Princesses of the Night."  Plus as I mentioned yesterday, Jackie Bouchard sent me an early copy of her newest book "Stray Magic" for review.

I did grab a few books from the library, but I'll wait and show them next week.  They are mainly graphic novels anyway.  So all in all, a great week!  What did you add to your stacks?