Tuesday, October 31, 2017

TTT - 10 Books I Intended to Read Before Halloween

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. 

For a lover of horror, Halloween is almost as good as Christmas (and in some cases, better).  So I feel it's only natural that I planned on reading a lot more horror books than I actually did.  That's not to say I'm not happy with what I read, but don't we bookworms always need more time!

So here are some books I really intended to read this Halloween season, but which didn't quite make it.

Of course I still plan on pushing The Rules of Magic and Truants to November and I vow to get to Hollywood Homicide before 2017 is through (because yes, I'm as sick of seeing it here on the blog as you must be).

Monday, October 30, 2017

What Did I Just Read?

TITLE: Alone
AUTHOR: Cyn Balog

PUBLISHER: Sourcebooks Fire
PUBLISHING DATE: November 17, 2017

FROM GOODREADS: When her mom inherits an old, crumbling mansion, Seda’s almost excited to spend the summer there. The grounds are beautiful and it’s fun to explore the sprawling house with its creepy rooms and secret passages. Except now her mom wants to renovate, rather than sell the estate—which means they're not going back to the city…or Seda's friends and school. 

As the days grow shorter, Seda is filled with dread. They’re about to be cut off from the outside world, and she’s not sure she can handle the solitude or the darkness it brings out in her.

Then a group of teens get stranded near the mansion during a blizzard. Seda has no choice but to offer them shelter, even though she knows danger lurks in the dilapidated mansion—and in herself. And as the snow continues to fall, what Seda fears most is about to become her reality…

MY THOUGHTS: So this is going to be one of those reviews which is hard to write because almost anything I say could give the entire thing away. Seda and her family, which consists of her mother and two sets of twins, move to a remote run-down home in the mountains which was previously used as a murder mystery B&B. That is important because all the creepy plots only add to the atmosphere of the dilapidated residence. Seda's father had no desire to stay on and left the family to return to Boston. Seda is lonely and feels totally out of place. Seda is also haunted by her twin, which she reported absorbed in her mother's womb.

One night a car full of teens breaks down and Seda finds them holed up on the property. They are eventually invited in to stay by Seda's mother and since Seda's birthday is right around the corner, a murder mystery party ensues - but is everyone who dies acting? 

This was a quick read and I think it's really suited to a shorter novel. It was also a great read for the Halloween season. However, it is one of the books which the entire time you are reading it you have a constant "WTF?" look on your face. I even asked my husband at one point if I looked as confused as I felt. I never really felt a huge attachment to Seda but I did feel for her being stuck in the middle of nowhere with her mother and a bunch of young kids. 

To say there is a twist at the end is probably the understatement of the year. The problem I had is a good friend of mine had read the book right before me and while she was careful not to spoil anything, the ending I had dreamed up was much different than the one which actually occurred. That being said, this book ALMOST got 4/5 and probably would have if I had enjoyed the outcome a tad better. However, it was a solid enjoyable spooky read for the Halloween season.

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


Saturday, October 28, 2017

Stacking the Shelves (134)/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

So I was going to go to a book conference tomorrow where they were having a huge book sale and Joe Hill was going to be there.  I was looking forward to it but Mr. Barb, even though he agreed to go would have been miserable, and my mom would have like likely made me miserable.  Add it I'm not a fan of crowds and I feel badly because the boys have been cooped up all week because our city is burning and I decided not to spend 4 hours total on the road.  However, I did use not going as an excuse to visit the local book store and picked these up (my rationale?  the money I saved by not attending)  I saw Lore when picking up Strange Weather and had to grab it too (damn those Halloween displays).

Next up I caught City Dreaming and House of Bones on sale from Kindle so I grabbed them both and only spent $2.98.

Finally, of course Netgalley approved a few outstanding requests.  You guys know I love the Sin du Jour series so I'm thrilled to have Gluttony Bay.  Also, Haven is a sort of Beauty and the Beast fantasy thing, which is one of my favorite fairy tales, so I'm sure that's what caught my attention and spurred on the request.

So what books did you grab this week???

Friday, October 27, 2017

Weekly Reads (10/27/17) What a Week!

So the big news of the week is the fire in our town.  I don't know how people in California survived all the wildfires because I can tell ya, breathing has not been fun.  So pretty much, this happened in our town early last Saturday morning.  

There was an old plant located in the middle of our town.  It had not been fully operational for about 12 years.  However, the guy who owns it was apparently using it as storage for plastics, chemicals for other area plants and who knows what else because so far he is still "out of the country" even though he has been court ordered to provide a detailed list of what was in there and thus what we have been breathing.  It covers 6-8 city blocks and has been burning ever since that night.  It rained this week which kept the smoke closer to the ground for 2 days and depending on how the wind shifts, you may or may not be able to breathe.  Fish have been found dead in the local river and basically rumors and speculation are running rampant. Fun times for all! I feel sorry for all the animals who can't get away from this and the boys have been very limited on being outside and they just don't understand. #TandCassAren'tHappy

Anyway, on to other news.  We did manage to watch a great movie this week - Annabelle:Creation.  It was so much better than the first Annabelle movie.  I don't scare easily but Mr. Barb and I both jumped in a few places and the creep factor was SUPER high.  I definitely recommend it.  Planning on watching Stranger Things Season 2, the new Planet of the Apes movie and the new Jeepers Creeper movie this week - along with lots of football.  Plus we're carving pumpkins tonight.

I've been reading some but it's taking me forever to get through a small novella.  I started "Twilight Pariah" Monday evening but haven't read much and I thought I could get it finished last night but got the sniffles (see giant smoke cloud above) and ended up vegging and watching TV. Here is what's up next on the stack for the coming days ahead. 

So I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead and Booker T and Cass want to wish you a HAPPY HALLOWEEN (if you celebrate).

Romantic Vampires Drive Me Nuts!

TITLE: Princesses of the Night (Royal Blood)
AUTHORS: Teresa Fuentez & Tich Brewster
PUBLISHING DATE: September 22, 2017

FROM GOODREADS: Tanya is a hardworking college student but her whole world is turned upside down when she meets a mysterious man on Halloween. All that she thought was fiction is now her reality. A night life filled with fangs and blood—and an evil vampire that wants her dead.

She and her friends are the chosen ones, destined long ago, to save this world from destruction. That’s not easy when your enemy is your sire’s son.

MY THOUGHTS: I feel like I'm really in the minority here but overall, I didn't enjoy "Princesses of the Night." Tanya is a college student who lives with 3 other roommates and they all happen to be best friends. These four individuals own and operate a book store (I'd like to know how that came to be because yea, all college students can own their own business at such a young age). On the way back from a Halloween party, Tanya and her friends are walking home when they are beckoned into a dark alley but a mysterious stranger. For a brief second (and I mean brief), they think something is off but then they enter the alley and soon follow this stranger home. Once there, they are all bitten and turned into 4 vampires, who are destined to save the vampire world as we know it.

First of all I felt this book was super choppy. It was under 250 pages yet had something close to 50 chapters. The format just wasn't working for me. Secondly, the characters made stupid decision after stupid decision. But that's not to say there weren't a few things I enjoyed because I did. I liked how the author portrayed the whole "vampire family" thing. Tanya and her friends were able to meet up with another vampire couple sired by the same "father" and once they did, I enjoyed the book a tad bit more. Also, I liked the "bad" vampires who are trying to kill Tanya and her crew and truth be told, I'd have probably enjoyed a book from their point of view more.

Overall I'm kind of done with the romantic vampire thing which isn't really the author's fault. I like my vampires dark, gritty and vicious and not love struck and silly. I'm sure plenty of people will enjoy this book and if you love vampire romance, it might be a book for you. Me though, I won't be finishing with the series even though this one ended on a huge cliffhanger. In my head, they all die, end of series.

I received this book from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Two Bloggers One Book - Rosemary's Baby

I've really started looking forward to my and Stormi's buddy reads each month. I have so much fun chatting with her about our choices and we are so good at planning them that we already have books picked out for November, December and January.  We both knew we wanted to do something special for October and Halloween and since we both had recently grabbed "Rosemary's Baby" it was the obvious choice,  So once you read my thoughts, make sure you head over to Stormi's blog, Books Movies Reviews, Oh My! and see what she thought.  

BUT FIRST, a little Halloween back story:

"Rosemary's Baby" has always held a special place in my heart because of my Dad.  In fact, I love telling people that my love for all things horror started in the womb.  When my parents were pregnant, my Dad took my mom to the drive-in theater.  He told her they were going to see a new movie, "Rosemary's Baby."  Now my mom does not like horror movies, books or anything.  But she didn't ask and Dad didn't tell.  In fact, she was totally prepared to watch a drama about a woman and her lovely child.  Well, she was not happy about Dad's choice of movies.  And she was worried the rest of her pregnancy that I would be born the child of Satan.  Man, if I had been cognizant of the fact, I'm sure I would have convinced Dad to put little black mittens on my hands when I was born and when Mom first held me.  It would have been hilarious.  On to the book!

TITLE: Rosemary's Baby (50th Anniversary Edition)
AUTHOR: Ira Levin
PUBLISHER: W.W. Norton & Company 
PUBLISHING DATE: March 12, 1967 (March 3, 2017)

FROM GOODREADS: Rosemary Woodhouse and her struggling actor husband Guy move into the Bramford, an old New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and mostly elderly residents. Neighbors Roman and Minnie Castavet soon come nosing around to welcome the Woodhouses to the building, and despite Rosemary's reservations about their eccentricity and the weird noises that she keeps hearing, her husband takes a shine to them.

Shortly after Guy lands a plum Broadway role, Rosemary becomes pregnant—and the Castavets start taking a special interest in her welfare. As the sickened Rosemary becomes increasingly isolated, she begins to suspect that the Castavets' circle is not what it seems...

MY THOUGHTS: "Rosemary's Baby" in my opinion is all about the atmosphere.  The creepy New York hotel, the weird and quirky neighbors, and mysterious happenings.  Most people know the story but it was nice to finally break down and read this novel.  Nothing about it really surprised me because I've seen the movie several times, and basically, I can say the movie is one the best book to movie adaptations I ever seen.  

Rosemary and her struggling-actor husband are newly married and land the apartment of their dreams at the Bramford.  Once they move in they meet their quirky elderly neighbors, Roman and Minnie Castavet, who quickly worm their way into the Woodhouse's lives.  As Guy's career starts to take off, thanks to some bad luck falling upon his competition, Rosemary is thrilled to become pregnant.  And basically, it all goes down hill from there.

I really wanted to smack Rosemary numerous times during this book.  She seemed so smart in the beginning and yet managed to make stupid decision after stupid decision.  How she could continue to trust Guy and her neighbors is beyond me and all I can say is yes, love must be blind.  At least back in 1967.  Whether you love them or hate them, it is quite an interesting trip getting to know all the players in "Rosemary's Baby" and despite knowing the ending, I was never bored with the tale.

I should also say that the special edition I read had a pretty lengthy forward which discussed the book's history as well as its transition into a movie.  While I usually skip these things, I'm glad I didn't in this case and I would urge others to read it as well.  I'm so glad Stormi and I chose "Rosemary's Baby" and I consider it a horror classic.  If you haven't read it and love horror, please consider picking it up.

RATING: 4 Stars

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday (129) Booker T to the Rescue!

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.

Hello fellow bloggers - it's me Booker T!  I don't know about you but I needed a break from Mom's horror-fest and thought some of you might too.  So this week I'm bringing you a few new picks I've secretly added to Mom's TBR. 

Oh, and Cass can't come to the blog right now.  I've left him to guard that crazy wolf that took up residence on our wall.  I told him if he did a good job, I'd make sure he has a post of his own soon.  So on to my picks!

FROM GOODREADS: Tomorrow tells the story of a 217-year-old dog and his search for his lost master. His adventures take him through the London Frost Fair, the strange court of King Charles I, the wars of the Spanish succession, Versailles, the golden age of Amsterdam and to nineteenth-century Venice. As he journeys through Europe, he befriends both animals and humans, falls in love (only once), marvels at the human ability to make music, despairs at their capacity for war and gains insight into both the strength and frailties of the human spirit.

With the rich historical vision of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrelland the captivating canine perspective of A Dog’s Purpose, Tomorrow draws us into a unique century-spanning tale of the unbreakable connection between dog and human.

SYNOPSIS: As a techinician for a local vet and the owner of the Barkery & Biscuits dog baker, Carrie Kennersly is proud to give back to the community by helping out with a rescue animal adoption event.  She's also happy to be in a relationship with veterinarian Dr. Reed Storme, despite his repeated pleas for her to butt out of the murder cases she keeps finding herself involved with.  But when Reed is accused of killing nasty Dr. Raela Fellner, a former veterinary colleague who is now trying to compete with him, he seems a lot more amenable to having amateur detective Carrie butt in.  Can Carrie clear Reed - or does she care too much for a killer?

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  First of all, look at those covers.  I know Mom will fall for the eyes on that lab and isn't that bulldog on the second just the cutest thing ever?  Plus, I know Mom already likes the Johnston series and I can't imagine her not wanting to read the newest installment.  I've already told Mom she needs to buy a new bookshelf strictly for her dog book collection - and she better listen to me!  

So I want to know what books you can't wait for this week????

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

TTT - 10 Unique Book Titles

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's subject is unique book titles.  I think that's a pretty subjective list because what I find unique, you might find humdrum.  However, I'll give it my best shot!

I just loaned this one to Stormi and I don't know about you but "Colt Harper: Esteemed Vampire Cat" sounds pretty unique to me.

So, are we talking terminal as in electrical component or terminal as in death, if that's the case, an alliance of the dead is pretty unique if that's what Terminal Alliance really means.

I'd like to be a MAD Librarian!

Shit Luck - I still need to pick this one up but I saw it the other day and immediately added it to my wishlist.

No Saints in Kansas - wait, maybe this one isn't that unique - I'm pretty sure there are no saints anywhere else in the states either.

Tentacle & Wing.  Sounds like Cass (who loves birds and flying things) and me (who is obsessed with tentacles) wrote a book together.  I do want to read this one though.

I chuckle every time I see the title "White Trash Gothic."   Don't we all know some of these?

Things to Do When You're Goth in the Country - that's a mouthful.  I keep meaning to grab a copy of this seeing how I grew up in the country and although not goth, was definitely not "country" either.  

Love trolls?  Then find out why they gravitate toward The Hamptons in Trolls in the Hamptons.  This is a series and apparently there are also Night Mares, Fire Works, Life Guards and Sand Witches there too!

I loved Demon with a Comb-Over - I'd say the book is as unique as its title.

So there you have it.  I just can't wait to see what everyone else comes up with week!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Such a Satisfying Conclusion (Rituals Review)

TITLE: Rituals (Cainsville #5)
AUTHOR: Kelley Armstrong
PUBLISHER: Random House Canada
PUBLISHING DATE: August 15, 2017

FROM GOODREADS: Olivia Jones must make a choice. Caught between two rival supernatural forces, Liv was granted a brief period in which to make her decision. Now that time has run out. Whichever side she chooses, someone she loves will pay. Her lover, Ricky. Gabriel Walsh, the man she knows she cannot, must not love. Her parents, already trapped in prison.And now there is a new, terrifying power rising - one that doesn't distinguish between good and evil intentions. It feeds on chaos and destroys without mercy. Unless Liv acts fast, no one will survive. In this gripping thriller, international bestselling author Kelley Armstrong brings the Cainsville series to a powerful, richly rewarding climax. 

MY THOUGHTS: So first of all, it's hard to give this book the review it deserves since it's the fifth and final one in the series and doing so would give all kinds of spoiler away. That being said, I looked back at all my ratings and each book has garnered at least 4/5 stars with the last two capturing a complete 5/5 from me. I think that shows what a strong series this has been for me and how much I have loved it. And while I am sad to see it over, man, what a ride.

I'm not going to mention the plot, but will go as far as saying that this installment introduces us to some pretty awful characters (some we thought were dead) some terribly horrible supernatural creatures (the sluagh) and tow Dryads who add comic relief in a book where you wouldn't expect it. In fact, Helia and Alexios are such a great addition to this tale and I truly enjoyed every scene they were in. Finally, I have to address the love triangle. There is a strong one in this book but because it has been woven so delicately into the Fae folklore and prophecy, it was not annoying or overwhelming. In fact, it is very well developed and there is absolutely no insta-love. And I waited 5 long books to find out how this element played out and can I say I'm thrilled with the conclusion. In fact, I'm so happy with Liv's decision, I may have jumped up and down. Also, I love that fact that Armstrong doesn't wait until the very end to disclose this wrap-up and that once its is disclosed, it continues to be worked into the plot.

So if you can't tell, I would highly recommend the Cainsville series. I've read the entire Women of the Underworld series (minus a few short story/novella collections) and while I loved it as well, Cainsville clearly outdid it. Plus, there's an adorable Fae Hound in this book who I dearly love. 

RATING: 5 Paws

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Stacking the Shelves (133)/Sunday Post - The No Apologies No Excuses Edition

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

So the title of this post pretty much says it all so let's get into the books.  First up, I had a book on reserve at the library and of course picked up other things while I was there.  I was the first person to snag Rules of Magic (and by the way, isn't it weird that Goodreads has this listed as Practical Magic #0 - isn't zero nothing?  Moving on, I grabbed The Truants because it was on my to-buy list since Tammy @ BooksBones&Buffy raved about it and I can't believe my library actually had a copy.  Petty Magic was a complete impulse grab as was Hyde.  I just basically perused the stacks super quick looking for the horror genre stickers on the spine.  On a side note, does anyone else see Danny Devito as The Penguin when they look at the Hyde cover?

And then Netgalley happened.  So I'm blaming Stormi for my cozy mystery haul (even though I haven't told her yet).  She has been talking about cozies and organizing hers so I've been paying closer attention.  A Grave Issue seems to be the first in a new series as is The Plot is Murder.  I couldn't resist that cute dog on Ditched 4 Murder and hopefully this will motivate me to read the first one. Nope, there isn't a cute-dog-on-the-cover theme going on.

And then there are a few darker ones.  I was thrilled to get a copy of Into the Drowning Deep.  I love Mira Grant (aka Seanan McGuire).  Mister Tender's Girl sound like an interesting thriller and I saw a feature on The Chalk Man somewhere and had to go request it.  

All in all, a pretty awesome week.  What did you add to your shelves this week???
And seriously, how many books do you guys add when hopping around these memes on the weekend?  Inquiring minds want to know!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Weekly Reads (10/20/17)

HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYONE!!!!  So this week has actually been fairly tame especially when you look at the chaos of the last few.  I'm grateful for how lucky and fortunate I've been lately and despite any issues, I've had the wonderful support of family and friends.  It was stressful for me for having to rely on people for help getting around and borrowing vehicles before Bowser came to live with us.  For anyone who doesn't know, I hate depending on anyone for anything.  I can be pretty stubborn and headstrong that way.

We managed to watch a few movies over the past week.  First up was "Cold Moon" which was a movie based on "Cold Moon Over Babylon" which I featured a few weeks ago on one of my TTT lists.  It was pretty good but it's too bad they didn't have a bigger budget because it could have been awesome.  It was certainly a creepy Southern Gothic though.  We also watched "Spiderman Homecoming" and the new kid playing Spidey didn't bother me like I thought he might.  I finally watched "Gerald's Game" on Netflix and thought it was done really well.  "Fear the Walking Dead" wrapped up with a cliffhanger where everyone might be dead except the one character I despise the most!  Can't wait for "Walking Dead" to start Sunday.  I miss my Daryl plus I think from the previews Baby Judith has finally grown some - about time!

Mr. Barb works this weekend so I'll be continuing on with the painting.  Next up is the dining room and yes, Booker T once again picked the paint color.  I will be squeezing some reading in here and there and am almost through with Rituals.  Here is what I hope to get to this week.  

I will leave you with some pics of this year's Halloween decorations.  I still need to carve pumpkins though!

In the first picture, there's a photo of my grandfather taken in Berlin when he was in WWII.  It's one of my faves and because it's sepia toned, I just made it part of the Halloween display rather then remove it from the mantle.

Also, that wolf head.  I just hung it 2 weeks ago after finishing painting even though we've had it for years. Booker T HATES it.  Every once in a while he will look up and start growling.  I've even had to take it down and sit it on the floor so he could check it out. Crazy watch dog!