Saturday, December 29, 2018

Stacking the Shelves/Sunday Post (12-29-18) - The Christmas Haul

So I'm a little late getting this up but I feel like I'm still stuck on Christmas holiday time.  "Santa" was very good to our family this Christmas and thanks to him, as well as some packages from my furkids, I have some new books to share with you this week.  Here's what I found under the tree.

I'm in love with the concept behind "Grim Lovelies" and hope I fall into the love-it-camp but I've seen mixed reviews so only time will tell.  I own the first "Lore" book and these two are perfect additions to it.

It's always nice to find some Prince beneath the tree and I really need to get busy on "The Passage" if I hope to get it read before the series starts.

I can't wait to read the Menagerie series.  I read the first one years ago and need to reread it but I loved it and have heard only great things about the other two.

My COYER Secret Santa sent me another ebook right before Christmas.  How cute is this one?

And finally I got one review book.  I've read two books by Nick Trout several years back and if you love dogs, I strongly recommend picking up "The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs" and "Dog Gone, Back Soon."  I am thrilled to have a copy of "The Wonder of Lost Causes" for review.

So I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season and hope everyone who celebrates has a safe and Happy New Year.

Friday, December 28, 2018

2019 Challenges! Let the Fun Begin!

So I have to be honest and admit that my challenges kind of fell by the wayside in 2018.  I did much better of tracking them in 2017 so I'm hoping in the upcoming year, I'll get back on track.  I didn't anticipate participating in so many but Tammy shared a comprehensive list on Twitter last week and I was sunk.  So I'm going to mention all the year-long ones in this post with links to the original blog post.  Who knows, maybe you'll be convinced to join in too.


So this year I'm just going to strive for 110 again.  I feel a tad bit short last year but I also didn't track it was well as I should have.


So Stormi and I co-host this one and I know I met last year's goal.  You can check out the post HERE.  I'm setting my goal as INSPECTOR this year.  


This is hosted by Socrates Book Reviews and I've participated the past three years.  I always find this one pretty easy.  You can find all the details HERE.  I'm going for LEVEL 4 (21 or more books).


This challenge is hosted by Angel's Guilty Pleasures.  I love using my local libraries so why join in on this one.  The details are HERE.  I am aiming to reach THRIFTY READER and read at least 24 library books.  


This is a new one for me and I can totally blame LaLa.  It's hosted by Annemieke and she put so much work into it.  HERE are the details and you can do all three sections, just one or just two.  I am going with the FANTASY section.  I can see this one giving me trouble so wish me luck!  Here is the BINGO card because it's easier to see what the challenges are.

So there you have it.  Yes, I'm apparently a glutton for punishment. I'm also hosting the 2nd Annual They Call It Puppy Love Challenge in February and participating in COYER as always.  Oh and I can't forget Dog Days of Summer and the Summer Comment Challenge.  

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Two Bloggers One Book - The Devil's Fingers

This month Stormi and I figured we better have a shorter book to buddy read since December seems to be really busy. Plus, we both needed to read the 3rd installment of Hunter Shea's One Size Eats All novella series.  Seemed like a perfect fit.  Besides, who doesn't like a little horror for Christmas?  So check out my thoughts and when you're done, hop over to Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! and see what Stormi thought.  

Also, look for the buddy reads to continue in 2019 and we also have a "Two Bloggers One Series" year-long feature planned as well.

TITLE: The Devil's Fingers (One Size Eats All #3)
AUTHOR: Hunter Shea
PUBLISHER: Lyrical Underground
PUBLISHING DATE: October 23, 2018

It is a slime-covered fungus known for its pinkish red tentacles and pungent odor. It is indigenous to Australia but has spread to North America. Its Latin name is Clathrus Archeri, also known as Octopus Stinkhorn. Most people call it The Devil’s Fingers . . .
Deep in the woods of Washington, botanist Autumn Winters stumbles onto a field of the luridly colored fungi. Two of her fellow campers make the mistake of touching it. Now it’s growing on them. Fleshy gelatinous pods. Sprouting from their skin. Feeding on their blood . . .
Autumn watches in horror as her friends are transformed into monstrosities—grotesque, human-fungal hybrids as contagious and deadly as any virus. Autumn knows she must destroy these mutations before they return to civilization. But if there’s one thing that spreads faster than fear, 
it’s The Devil’s Fingers . . .

MY THOUGHTS: So "The Devil's Fingers" start out with a group of hormone filled college graduates camping so that Seth can say goodbye to his father and spread his ashes in his favorite fishing lake.  While on the journey, they stumble across a rare fungus and luckily, their friend Autumn, just happens to be a botanist.  After a night of drinking, one of the lovely couples treks off into the dark to find some privacy.  Unfortunately, the stumble into a whole field of Devil's Fingers. The next morning, nothing will ever be the same.

Of all three books in this novella series, I liked "The Devil's Fingers" the least.  I had very little tolerance for the gang and found myself cheering on their deaths.  And this is a Shea book so you know there will be deaths.  I will admit though that the book is high on what I like to call "the ewww factor" which you could probably guess from the cover.  I also think this installment was a tad slow to start but once the action picked up, it was a pretty quick read.  

There's not much else to add since it is a shorter read.  If you like Shea's novels, then you kind of know what to expect and this one won't necessarily disappoint.  I think it will be hit or miss for some fans but I still love Shea's works and am eagerly anticipating what he has planned for 2019!


Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Can't Wait Wednesday (190)

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: It's not safe for anyone alone in the woods. There are predators that come out at night: critters and coyotes, snakes and wolves. But the woman in the red jacket has no choice. Not since the Crisis came, decimated the population, and sent those who survived fleeing into quarantine camps that serve as breeding grounds for death, destruction, and disease. She is just a woman trying not to get killed in a world that doesn't look anything like the one she grew up in, the one that was perfectly sane and normal and boring until three months ago.

There are worse threats in the woods than the things that stalk their prey at night. Sometimes, there are men. Men with dark desires, weak wills, and evil intents. Men in uniform with classified information, deadly secrets, and unforgiving orders. And sometimes, just sometimes, there's something worse than all of the horrible people and vicious beasts combined. 

Red doesn't like to think of herself as a killer, but she isn't about to let herself get eaten up just because she is a woman alone in the woods....

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  Besides Beauty and the Beast, Red Riding Hood is my favorite fairy tale.  I
sure it's no surprise I love wolves.  I also loved Christina Henry and can't wait to see her twist on this one.  I knew when I saw this on Tammy's blog last week, I'd be featuring it soon.


Tuesday, December 25, 2018

TTT - Books I Hope Santa Delivers

The top 10 weekly meme used to be hosted by The Broke and the Bookish they  handed over the reins to ThatArtsyReaderGirl who can be found HERE.  Each week she will focus on lists which cover various topics related to books and reading. 

This week I am sharing with you books which I hope are under the Christmas tree this year.

I kinda sorta already bought these with Christmas money so I know they will be under the tree.

I really hope "Santa" took the hint on these ones.

I wouldn't mind finding this one under the tree.

I've seen mixed reviews but I'm dying to try this one for myself.

So what are you hoping Santa brings you this year????

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Stacking the Shelves/Sunday Post (12-22-18)

So with Christmas upon it, this will probably be a small haul. But then again, is there really such a thing?  First I want to share the two gifts I received in the COYER Secret Santa exchange.  I still don't know who had my name but I want to thank them again.  I saw "Chaos Cocktail" which is an anthology I first saw over at Kristen's blog Metaphors and Moonlight. I also received "Witch Born."  I'm anxious to start them both.

And then my Book BFF got me two books for Christmas.  "Booked 4 Murder" is the first in one of her favorite cozy series and "Darkly the Thunder" sounds like an awesome horror read.  Thanks Stormi!

So what did you get this week?

Friday, December 21, 2018

Weekly Reads (12-21-18)

So Christmas is rapidly arriving and it seems to be coming whether I'm ready or not.  I still need to do some baking, visit Gpa Saturday, wrap presents and READ!  I'm not getting in my usual amounts and it makes me CRANKY.  And this is not the season to be cranky.

So we really only watched one movie this week but it was awesome - Venom.  I wasn't sure I would like it but Tom Hardy was near perfect in it and I've come to realize I'll pretty much watch anything with him in it right now.  Plus, he does star in one of my all-time faves - The Drop.  If you haven't seen it, you must watch it and if you have, then you'll understand the next line..."It's a boxer."

I'm sure we'll be watching Bird Box on Netflix tonight.  

So here are the four books I need to finish before I can even consider reading anything else.  I'm about 100 pages into both "Seven Days of Us" and "In Dog We Trust."  I haven't even started "The Last Woman in the Forest" yet and I still have to read my buddy read with Stormi for this month. I feel like this picture is like that game "Which one doesn't belong?"

And finally, MARSHALL WON!  It was a great game and not really a blow-out even though Marshall never trailed the entire game.  No one was hurt and Marshall has won their last 6 bowl games.  GO HERD!

Oh and a funny story.  When I went to college, Dad and I were walking through the buiding above.  It's called Old Main and it's where all the business offices are -we were paying tuition.  Well, the floors were old and creaky and Dad commented that he hoped they used some of the money to fix the place up.  That was Dad for ya!

So what plans do you have leading up to Christmas???

Thursday, December 20, 2018

We Interrupt This Program for a Football Update!

Tonight my beloved college Alma Mater will be playing in the Gasparilla Bowl against South Florida.  I hope all players have a safe game but I won't lie, I hope my Herd kicks butt!  

So at 8:00pm tonight, you know I'll be glued in front of the television and reading will be taking a backseat.

I don't know if any of you saw the "We Are Marshall" movie but that's my school.  They lost their entire football team in a plane accident November 14, 1970.  The whole community and state rallied to help the program recover and I think that just shows what a great school I graduated from.  Here is the memorial on campus.  Each pinnacle on top represents a life that was lost in the crash.

So there you go, a mini WV history lesson. 


Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Christmas By the Sea - I Could Get on Board With That

TITLE: Christmas Secrets by the Sea (Seasons by the Sea #1)
AUTHOR: Jane Lovering
PUBLISHING DATE: December 13, 2018

FROM GOODREADS: Sometimes you don’t get the Christmas presents you imagined…

Tansy Merriweather is down on her luck. She’s lost her business and her relationship, and instead of a glamorous London apartment, her home is now a campervan on a Dorset beach. And as if things couldn’t get any worse, a scruffy dog called Brian with a taste for sardines has adopted her as his owner.

When Tansy’s new-found friends at the cafe in the bay help her find a job as a location scout for a new TV show, things start looking up. However, she soon discovers that the show’s glamorous star, Davin O’Riordan, is as grouchy as he is handsome – and just as Brian starts forging a touching romance with Davin’s elegant whippet Seelie, Tansy begins to wonder exactly what Davin’s fans see in him.

As Christmas approaches, Tansy and Davin discover each other’s secrets, and a new bond begins to grow between them. But how will they cope with the storms headed their way – and can they save the cafe from closing?

MY THOUGHTS:  "Christmas Secrets by the Sea" is just the kind of book I like to read during the holiday season.  Christmas is present but it isn't  thrown in your face and there is a lot going on besides just cute romance.  In the beginning of the book, the reader is introduced to Tansy and a scraggly stray she eventually names Brian.  We know that Tansy is down on her luck, just recently losing her business, her home and her boyfriend.  She has chosen to park her caravan on Dorset Beach and wait out the holidays.  What she doesn't plan on is meeting new people and learning that sometimes you really can chose your own family.

There's lots to love about this book.  There is a wonderful small town feel and as Tansy discovers a new job scouting filming locations for a local production company, she meets many new, wonderful and nerve-racking individuals.  There is also a great puppy love story between Brian and a whippet named Seelie - talk about odd couples.  There is some romance thrown into this book so if that turns you off, then you won't want to give it a go.  But it's not over-the-top and it's actually a love-to-hate trope which I am finding I enjoy quite a bit.  And there are some pretty dark secrets which are exposed by the end and it only made me love Tansy and Davin even more.

I probably wouldn't pick a book like this up to read most of the year but it was a perfect fit for the holiday season.  And come on, with Brian and Seelie, you pretty much know it's going to be something I enjoy.  I'm curious about the rest of the series when it releases because if it focuses on some of the characters we've already met, I'm anxious to see where it's headed.


Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Can't Wait Wednesday (189)

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:  A dark, romantic YA suspense novel with an SF edge and plenty of drama, layering the secrets we keep and how appearances can deceive, from the New York Times bestselling author.

In this tiny, terrifying town, the lost are never found. When Araceli Flores Harper is sent to live with her great-aunt Ottilie in her ramshackle Victorian home, the plan is simple. She'll buckle down and get ready for college. Life won't be exciting, but she'll cope, right?  Wrong. From the start, things are very, very wrong. Her great-aunt still leaves food for the husband who went missing twenty years ago, and local businesses are plastered with MISSING posters. There are unexplained lights in the woods and a mysterious lab just beyond the city limits that the locals don't talk about. Ever. When she starts receiving mysterious letters that seem to be coming from the past, she suspects someone of pranking her or trying to drive her out of her mind. To solve these riddles and bring the lost home again, Araceli must delve into a truly diabolical conspiracy, but some secrets fight to stay buried...

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  I'm going to be honest and admit I almost skipped this one because of "...romantic YA..." but the rest of the synopsis was just too good to pass up and it doesn't scream of too much romance. Plus I've had great luck with this author.


TTT - My Winter TBR

The top 10 weekly meme used to be hosted by The Broke and the Bookish they  handed over the reins to ThatArtsyReaderGirl who can be found HERE.  Each week she will focus on lists which cover various topics related to books and reading. 

This week's topic is our Winter TBR.  I do TBRs each month so I'm sharing with you some books I hope to get to in January and February but as always, they are subject to change.

So even though I haven't announced it yet, Stormi and I are doing a year-long buddy read of the Kate Daniels series (there you go - announcement), so we plan on kicking it off in January.  Also, "And the Ocean Was Our Sky" is a library book due back sometime in January so I must get to it.

So this may seem more like a "What are Stormi and I buddy reading?" but what can I say, we are planning ahead.  These will definitely be getting read in February.

I promise, "If We Were Villains" is the last of the Barb and Stormi show - at least until we figure out what we want to read for March.  "Black Wings" is an upcoming title for Flame Tree Press and I can't wait to dive into it.

"The Familiars" and "Miraculum" should both fit any fantasy mood I might be in this winter.

So I've asked for "The Passage" for Christmas so if it's under the tree, I want to start it in early January before the TV series starts.  "Kill the Farm Boy" is a recent library grab so I better make time for it too.

So what is on your Winter TBR?  Bet my wishlist grows with this post!

Monday, December 17, 2018

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - For Murder!

TITLE: Fatal Festival Days (A Dog Days Mystery #3)
AUTHOR: Jamie M. Blair
PUBLISHER: Midnight Ink
PUBLISHING DATE: November 8, 2018 

FROM GOODREADS: Planning activities for the Winter Festival in Metamora, Indiana, is hard work for Cameron Cripps-Hayman. Not only is she organizing dog sledding, ice sculpting, and downhill skiing events, but she's also dealing with angry protesters and a missing mascot. The last thing she needs is another mystery to solve. And yet, that's what she gets.

After a greedy landowner is found dead on top of a ski hill, Cameron scrambles to keep the reindeer games running. Then the festival's former-Olympian host is also found dead. Cameron gets the Metamora Action Agency together to investigate, but proving the victims were both murdered--and catching the killer--will take a miracle on ice.

MY THOUGHTS:  December was the perfect time to pick up the latest installment of the Dog Days Mysteries because this time, the murders take place during the Winter Festival.  That's right, murders is plural because this time not just one, but two people wind up dead and unfortunately, Cam takes it upon herself to figure out what is going on.  And on top of that, the town mascot, Metamora Mike (a duck) is missing.  Is he the latest victim?

I had so much fun visiting Metamora and all of the familiar characters as well.  Anyone who likes zany individuals would surely appreciate some of the attitudes of Cam's Action Agency which range from geeky teenagers to an elderly crumudgeon to a knitter with a tendency to steal yarn.  In addition to that, Cam's house is still full of dogs and she is STILL trying to find the perfect names for the two dog brothers she adopted in the last book.  

Finally the mystery was fun and kept me guessing up until the end.  It was fun to see the town pull together to save their Festival Days and it once again made me crave some small town life.


Saturday, December 15, 2018

Stacking the Shelves/Sunday Post 12-15-18

So I have a slightly bigger haul this week but still not too bad. I did get a few physical arcs but I'll hold off until next week (primarily because I don't have pics yet and I'm feeling lazy).  I did have to run to the library and I kid you not, the minute I returned I got an email notification that the other book I had reserved was in!  Oh well, I have 7 days to pick it up.

So I picked up "Seven Days of Us."  I've been seeing it around this holiday season and from what I understand it centers around family dysfunction and the holidays.  One of my favorite movies of all time is "The Family Stone" which sort of has that vibe going on so I was anxious to give it a try.  Plus, for some reason I enjoy reading about families that are more dysfunctional than mine.

And from Netgalley I received a few books for review.  I've had good luck with Jennifer McMahon books and "The Invited" a ghost story so I think it will be good. "For a Good Paws" is the 5th in a cozy series I really like from Midnight Ink so requesting it was a no-brainer.  And finally how cute does "A Dog Called Jack" look?  

So there you have it - ghosts, crazy relatives and cute dogs.  What did you add to your shelves this week???

Friday, December 14, 2018

Weekly Reads (12/14/18)

So the boozy cupcakes were a success.  I didn't take a picture because by the time I made them, and then made homemade icing, which I've never done before, I was done.  Then Mr. Barb liked them so much he wanted another batch to take to work the following day.  Oh well, at least they were good huh?  If anyone wants the recipe, look up Betty Crocker boozy cupcakes or HERE.  

I ended up having to go to a training for work this week as well which meant 1 hour 45 minutes driving each way and a 4 1/2 hour meeting.  It's just been one of those weeks.  And to top it off Saturday, for my Gpa's Christmas gift, I'm taking him 2 hours away to see his sister.  AND I think it's supposed to rain all day.  The things we do for those we love huh?

So I totally forgot to mention some movies we've watched lately.  We've watched "The Equalizer 2" which I liked a lot.  I do think the first one was better but this was a strong sequel.  We also watched "The Nun" and let me just say, it was kind of terrifying in places.  Now I will also admit I think the Nun actually reminds me of Marilyn Manson.  Look at the visual (plus I never imagined I'd ever have a reason to put Marilyn Manson on my blog!)  Also, I don't know what would be scarier, having the Nun chase you or having Marilyn Manson chase you.  What do you think?  Finally we watched "The Predator"" and I enjoyed it so much more than I thought I would.  I'd recommend all three of these is you like action and horror.

I have almost finished another Christmas book and since this IS a book blog, I better show you what I want to read this coming week.

So how was your week?  Are you ready for the holidays and what good books are you planning on reading?