Saturday, November 30, 2019

What's Happening (11-30-19)...

So I'm doing things a tad bit differently this year and will be combining all of my regular weekend posts.  This will enable me to add more content on Fridays and it is just starting to make more sense.  I'll still be linking up with Stacking the Shelves at Tynga's Reviews and Sunday Post at Caffeinated Reviewer.  Both blogs are awesome so make sure you check them out. 

First of all, I hope you all had a wonderful holiday (if you celebrated) and spent lots of time with family and friends.  I will admit I've been kind of scarce this week but am trying to catch up on visits and comments so don't worry - they're coming!  

Cass had a wonderful birthday, which reminds me I need to get his pictures posted.  Look for them next week.  Our anniversary was super nice and I got some lovely roses, among other things.  The picture of Booker T for Mr. Barb was an absolute hit as well.  Of course we never doubted that did we?

Gpa came up and ate Thanksgiving Dinner with us and then he came down with a cold the following day so I ran and got him some much needed meds.  Stupid Uncle is in off the barge but to be honest, he's about as useful here and he is when he's gone.  Mr. Barb and I have enjoyed our time off and Cass definitely enjoyed having people around all day.  I did some reading but also managed to watch a lot of shows.  We are now current on Castle Rock (the verdict is still out on this one).  We also watched Sweetheart which is a horror movie about a woman who washes up on a deserted island and ends up battling a monster which reminds me of an upgraded Creature from the Black Lagoon.  We watched IT Part 2 which I know has mixed reviews but which I found terrifying.  We watched a few other things as well.  Yep, we played couch potatoes pretty well.

I hope to get some books finished before the vacation is officially over.  Here's what I'd love to wrap up this weekend.

I hauled a few books but to be honest, just want to wrap this up so I can get it posted.  Look for some exciting books next week!

Friday, November 29, 2019

Random Things Tours - Sorcery Reborn

Today I'm excited to bring to you are review for a new urban fantasy series I recently discovered.  Please join me for my blog tour spot for Steve McHugh's Sorcery Reborn.

TITLE: Sorcery Reborn (The Rebellion Chronicles #1)
AUTHOR: Steve McHugh
PUBLISHING DATE: November 21, 2019

FROM GOODREADS: He doesn’t need a weapon. He is the weapon.

After losing his powers in an epic battle between good and evil, former sorcerer Nate Garrett finds himself living as a humble human in Clockwork, Oregon. While the world thinks Nate is dead, his friends continue to fight against Avalon and the evil it’s intent on spreading.

Avalon’s forces turn up in Clockwork, and Nate’s frustration grows with every passing day his magic doesn’t return. He finds himself trying to stop Avalon’s plans while hiding from enemies who would destroy everything in their path to see him dead. 

Avalon’s darkness begins to threaten the people Nate cares about, and an old nemesis returns; magic or no magic, he has no choice but to fight. But will Nate see his magical powers reborn before the entire town—and everyone he loves—is destroyed? 

MY THOUGHTS: So shortly after I started reading Sorcery Reborn, I realized that it had to be a spin-off/companion series for some of McHugh's previous works.  And after some checking, yep, I was right.  And while it did lend to some confusion at times, I'm also thrilled to say it has opened up a whole new bunch of books to me that I now planning on going back and reading.  Also, the author does a great job of introducing all the players, past and present, in the beginning of the book.

Nate Garrett has been living the past two years in Clockwork, Oregon waiting for his magical powers to return after losing them temporarily in an epic battle.  Nate is growing rather impatient, but during his time in Clockwork, he has made some new friends.  That's why he gets so upset and risks blowing his cover when Avalon, a group out to cause friction between humans and Others, and a group of Nazi's come to town and threaten the people Nate cares about.

To say I had a lot of fun reading this book is an understatement.  It really embodies everything I love about urban fantasy - interesting characters (human and non-human), action and an element of mystery.  McHugh's writing quickly made me form an attachment to many of the characters and immersed me in an immortal world of Norse Gods to boot. 

I don't want to give much away about the book but if you're interested, there are two other series which lead up to the events in Sorcery Reborn.  I'll definitely be checking them out and I recommend you do as well.


Steve's been writing from an early age, his first completed story was done in an English lesson. Unfortunately, after the teacher read it, he had to have a chat with the head of the year about the violent content and bad language. The follow up 'One boy and his frog' was less concerning to his teachers and got him an A.

It wasn't for another decade that he would start work on a full length novel, the result of which is Crimes Against Magic.

He was born in a small village called Mexborough, South Yorkshire, but now lives with his wife and three young daughters in Southampton.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

2 Bloggers 1 Book - The Stand (Part 1)

Well, Stormi and I are at it again and this time, she managed to convince me to read another giant book! Seems like it's been the year of the big book so why stop now.  For the months of November, December and January, we are tackling the unedited version of Stephen King's The Stand.  While I don't feel right rating each section, I do want to give you something a little extra and I would say you're in for a bit of a treat.  And make sure to go check out Stormi's thoughts @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

TITLE: The Stand
AUTHOR: Stephen King

FROM GOODREADS: This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death.

And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides or are chosen. A world in which good rides on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abigail and the worst nightmares of evil are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the Dark Man.  

MY THOUGHTS: There's something familiar about reading a King book.  I started this one when my Thanksgiving vacation started and I was quickly reminded of other times I've read King while on vacation.  That being said, this is a mammoth of a book with the unedited version having over 1300 pages so it's a good thing I have another vacation coming up before our next section is due.

The first section of this novel does a good job at introducing the reader to all the characters who play a part in this epic saga.  Some, like Frannie, Stu and Nick I quickly fell in love with.  And others, like Larry, Lloyd and Flagg, irritated me tremendously.  Which is saying a lot because there really isn't much of Flagg in the first 400 pages.  We spend a lot of time seeing how the contagion spreads and how the world quickly comes to a halt.  I also think it's important to mention how often I sneezed while reading The Stand.  Psychosomatic much? 

Once again, I found that King's novel is a slow burn - at least the beginning.  I am sure the action will pick up now that the intro is basically complete.  I can't wait to see where the tale leads me.

Oh, and there's a dog named Kojak - leave it to me to find a lovable dog even in this epic dystopian horror.

NOW FOR SOME FUN: Since I can't really do a complete review since we're reading this in sections, I thought I'd share some of the more hilarious comments I shared with Stormi during our buddy read.

B: Larry just became a bigger jerk. His mom is dying and he's upset she ruined his good news.
S: Yea he is horrible.  He is one I wish got sick instead of immune.

B: Page 120...I read and I read and I think the pages are breeding!

S: So much info in TS I don't need to know!  Seriously King, you ramble too much!

B: As if there aren't enough people already, now there's Trashcan Man...and he's boring me.

And for the record, we talked some about the new casting for the remake.  Marilyn Manson is listed but not as any particular character yet.  I'm betting he's Trashcan Man.

So make sure you stop by next month to see how we're faring! 

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Can't Wait Wednesday (238)

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 the public has spoken - Cass is now a full-time contributor to Can't Wait Wednesday.  That means each week you'll see two books here. Of course Cass is already lobbying for an increase in salary (at least he works for treats - and bandanas).

FROM GOODREADS:  From the author of Gods of Jade and Shadow comes a reimagining of the classic gothic suspense novel, a story about an isolated mansion in 1950s Mexico -- and the brave socialite drawn to its treacherous secrets.

He is trying to poison me. You must come for me, Noemí. You have to save me.

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find -- her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region.

Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough, smart, and has an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.

Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.

And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  Anyone who knows me knows I loved Certain Dark Things.  While I still need to read another book by her, this one sounds so wonderfully dark and lovely I know I won't be able to resist it.  


SYNOPSIS: Emma Iverson is just settling into her new life at Little Tombstone, a rundown roadside tourist attraction she inherited from her aunt when Earp, the ancient and irritable pug who came with the place, drags in a single bloody work glove belonging to a local ranch hand who has gone missing.

It's up to Emma to find the missing man before her friend and handyman about the place is charged with murder. Her investigations are complicated by a spate of mail thefts, attempts to turn Earp into a social media sensation, and a local eccentric's insistence that some supernatural force is attempting to communicate with him by leaving cryptic messages in the crossword puzzles printed in the local paper.

WHY CASSIUS CAN'T WAIT: I know Mom has the first in this series and why she hasn't read it yet I don't know.  But when I saw this one, I added it to her wishlist so I'm sure she'll grab it soon.  I think the title is some play in a movie Mom watched once and I saw on TV.  But I'm pretty sure there weren't any pugs in the one I saw. 


Tuesday, November 26, 2019

TTT - Thankful Freebie

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, with many people celebrating Thanksgiving, we have an appropriately themed freebie. So I want to share some things I'm thankful for and some things that bloggers who I can count on to always add to my reading enjoyment.

I'm thankful that I've had the best pups in the world.  I'm so glad Cass has kept us going this year after the loss of Booker T.  He truly is an emotional support pup!

I'm thankful for my wonderful husband.  And to think my family said it'd never last.  We're still going strong 28 years later.

I'm thankful that my Grandfather is still around and able to enjoy life most of the time at the young age of 98.

I'm thankful that my town has some wonderful libraries who won't hesitate to order in a book for me if they don't already have it.

Speaking of, I'm thankful for books and reading.  It's a wonderful hobby which allows me to leave behind my regular life for awhile and visit places I could only dream of.

I'm thankful for a job where I can help people and which also allows me the ability to check on Cass each day at lunch.

I'm thankful for the best buddy reader in the whole world - Stormi.  This year she's encouraged me to pick up books I've always meant to get to but never have.

And I'm thankful to all the wonderful bloggers I've met who take the time to visit Booker T's Farm and often comment on the posts I create.

And while on the subject of bloggers, here's some links to past lists I've done featuring some of my faves who I dearly appreciate - check them out!

  • 2016 Bookish blogs/Booktubers - HERE
  • 2016 Bloggers I Am Thankful For - HERE
  • 2017 New Bloggers I Am Thankful For - HERE
  • 2017 Favorite Bloggers (Part 2) - HERE
  • 2018 New-to-me Bloggers I Love Visiting - HERE
  • 2019 All About Being Thanksful - HERE

Monday, November 25, 2019

Book Discussion - Booksnake I Hate You!

Well once again it's time for another book discussion here at Booker T's Farm.  And this time the topic is something that has been on my mind for a while.  I don't know what else to say except


It seems like for the past few years ago, there has been a growing trend in book covers, especially YA.  And I affectionately, or as you may soon learn, not so affectionately, call Booksnake.  Personally, I'm terrified of snakes.  When I was young, maybe 4 or 5, I stepped on one.  I didn't kill him and he didn't kill me so we called it even (of course it was green snake so technically it couldn't have killed me but a heart attack is a heart attack.  And then a few years back, one holiday season, we had some neighbors who were struggling.  We decided to surprise them with some food and things and when I took it over, the woman opened the door with a ball python wrapped around her shoulders.  I screamed, dropped the food and ran.  Boy was I glad when they moved. And now, my favorite hobby is being infested.

First they started out small.  I believe there are tiny snakes on the cover of each book in this series.  I have never read them but really do want to someday because I've heard how dark it it.

Then Booksnake started to grow.  You can see him getting bigger here.  I actually read this book and this chick on the cover had snakes growing out of her hair.  I managed to read it and actually enjoyed it (Medusa retelling - yea, she's not my favorite person either, imagine that).

Then apparently Booksnake grew even bigger.  And apparently he has siblings because they all started looking the same!  I actually bought Ninth House and yep, it's still in the box, and I'd like to read the other two as well.

And finally, I think the new trend is Albino Booksnake. 

Seriously, all kidding aside.  I'm not trying to offend anyone who like snakes.  I know some people dearly love them.  Honestly, I actually wish I wasn't so terrified.  I've done somewhat better with it as I've gotten older but not much.  So for now, I'll not-so-patiently wait for the trend to die.  And in the meantime, I'll keep looking for cute furry animals on book covers which will always make me happy.

Is there anything on book covers you despise? 

Saturday, November 23, 2019

What's Happening (11-23-19)...

So I'm doing things a tad bit differently this year and will be combining all of my regular weekend posts.  This will enable me to add more content on Fridays and it is just starting to make more sense.  I'll still be linking up with Stacking the Shelves at Tynga's Reviews and Sunday Post at Caffeinated Reviewer.  Both blogs are awesome so make sure you check them out.  

So at least this week the phone worked - haha.  Actually it's been a pretty good weekend but I've been busy.  As you know, Cassius had a birthday on the 22nd and as you are reading this, Mr. Barb and I are celebrating our anniversary.  My stay-cation has started and I'm hoping to watch lots of TV, eat turkey and read.  

Viewing wise we basically caught up on Castle Rock this week and also watched Hobbs & Shaw.  I'm not a Fast & Furious fan and The Rock kind of irritates me but it was entertaining so at least there's that.  

So here's what's up on the reading schedule.  I have to get a good portion of The Stand read before Thursday.  I've feeling confident because Stephen and I have a good track record when it comes to vacations (don't you love how we're on a first name basis?).  I also need to read Sorcery Reborn for a blog tour coming up and I have to finish my last challenge cozy.  It's doable but I may need some luck as well.

I also snagged a few books for reviews.  First up, I'm thrilled to have a copy of the next Veronica Speedwell mystery, A Murderous Relation.  It's my favorite cover yet in the series.  I've been seeing The Unwilling around and it definitely caught my attention.  And finally, I saw If You Tame Me on someone's blog and knew I wanted to read it.

And finally, I have a few other pictures to share.  The first is a piece of art I had made for Mr. Barb for our anniversary. It was by a digital artist in California and then I did the framing myself (I used to cross stitch so I have lots of framing supplies and got to be decent at it).  By the time you read this, he may have opened the gift.  I can't wait for him to see it.  Booker T was so young in it.

And here are two of Cassius modeling his instagram bandana of the week.  I love him in bright colors.

So I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend.  Did you get any good books or watch anything I need to watch?  And if you are celebrating, I hope you and your family have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 22, 2019

Happy Birthday Cassius!

Today my sweet son turns 6!  It's his first birthday alone without his brother so I knew you guys would be more than glad to help him celebrate.  So in honor of Cass, he wants to share 6 facts about himself!

So people might think I don't like cats.  It's not that I don't like them, I've just never been around them.  And then there's the fact that they run wild all over my neighborhood and Mom's always telling me "Cass, be careful, they'll rip your eye out."  I think she's watched The Christmas Story too many times.  Mom, that's a toy rifle.

I'm a picky eater and like to hide my treats.  I basically go through food phases.  I'll eat something for a week and then move on to something else.  Drives Mom mad I tell ya.  I also like to hide my treats.  There's been many a nights Dad has come to bed and found bones hidden beneath his blanket or pillow.  What can I say, I like to share.  I'm just not food motivated.  I like attention better.

My liter consisted of 2]two boys (one being me) and two girls.  A year after I was adopted by Mom and Dad, my foster owners saw me playing in the park and came and said hi.  It was nice to see them and they knew I had the best home ever!

I have one completed black and one black and white striped nail on each paw.  

I am obsessed with squirrels and birds.  I have my own bird feeder in the backyard and Dad keeps me supplied with seed in the winter so I can bird watch.  Grandma sent me a bag of walnuts from a tree in her yard so we can throw them out when it snows so the squirrels have something to eat.

The best toys in the world are squeaky tennis balls.  I love getting them and sometimes I even let the squeakers live for awhile.   

So thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

2 Bloggers 1 Series - Magic Binds

Man, I can't believe Stormi and I are almost finished with our year-long read of the Kate Daniels series.  We've both enjoyed it so much.  But don't fret, we already have next year's planned 😊
So read on to see how I felt about Magic Binds and then go visit Stormi   Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

TITLE: Magic Binds (Kate Daniels #9)
AUTHOR: Ilona Andrews
PUBLISHING DATE: September 20, 2016

FROM GOODREADS: Mercenary Kate Daniels knows all too well that magic in post-Shift Atlanta is a dangerous business. But nothing she’s faced could have prepared her for this… 

Kate and the former Beast Lord Curran Lennart are finally making their relationship official. But there are some steep obstacles standing in the way of their walk to the altar… 

Kate’s father, Roland, has kidnapped the demigod Saiman and is slowly bleeding him dry in his never-ending bid for power. A Witch Oracle has predicted that if Kate marries the man she loves, Atlanta will burn and she will lose him forever. And the only person Kate can ask for help is long dead. 

The odds are impossible. The future is grim. But Kate Daniels has never been one to play by the rules… 

MY THOUGHTS: I really don't want to spoil anything but these reviews are getting harder and harder to write.  I'm assuming if you are reading this you've read the series, or else hope I won't spoil it too much.  So basically Kate is once again battling her father, Roland (you can get that in the synopsis).  Roland is one of the most despicable characters I've read about in a LONG time and as Stormi and I messaged back and forth on this one, I know the words "die" and "kill" came up often.  And all of our regular characters are back and in full swing.  I grow more attached to Julie, Kate's adopted daughter, everyday.  And even if Grendel wasn't present, he was at least mentioned so I consider that a win.

There is plenty of action in this one - maybe not more than the others but at least as much.  And I'm amazed that I'm still excited to pick up book after book and that I fly through them after reading the first 8.  But guys, the series really is THAT good.  And while it's a completely shallow comment, I also think this is my favorite cover yet.  It has to be the coloring and I believe that Kate looks somewhat Native American here which is not what they were going for I'm sure.  But I like it.

So pretty much I can't say much more. The ending packs a punch and I'm thrilled to find out how the series ends.  However, I'm also trying to brace myself for some deaths because I'm sure they will be a death toll.


PS - Grendel better make it out alive!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Can't Wait Wednesday (237)

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 the public has spoken - Cass is now a full-time contributor to Can't Wait Wednesday.  That means each week you'll see two books here. Of course Cass is already lobbying for an increase in salary (at least he works for treats - and bandanas).

FROM GOODREADS: The Gemini Thief could be anyone. Your father, your mother, your best friend’s crazy uncle. Some country music star’s deranged sister. Anyone.

The Gemini Thief is a serial kidnapper, who takes three boys and holds them captive from June 1st to June 30th of the following year. The June Boys endure thirteen months of being stolen, hidden, observed, and fed before they are released, unharmed, by their masked captor. The Thief is a pro, having eluded authorities for nearly a decade and taken at least twelve boys.

Now Thea Delacroix has reason to believe the Gemini Thief took a thirteenth victim: her cousin, Aulus McClaghen.

But the game changes when one of the kidnapped boys turns up dead. Together with her boyfriend Nick and her best friends, Thea is determined to find the Gemini Thief and the remaining boys before it’s too late. Only she’s beginning to wonder something sinister, something repulsive, something unbelievable, and yet, not impossible:

What if her father is the Gemini Thief?

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  I love the fact that the thief has went so long without being caught and I need to know if the Gemini Thief is in fact Thea's father.  How creepy!4


FROM GOODREADS: The beginning of a fast-paced new series featuring a heroic golden retriever cadaver dog named Vira and her handler, Mason Reid.

Mason "Mace" Reid lives on the outskirts of Chicago and specializes in human remains detection. He trains dogs to hunt for the dead. Reid’s coming off a taxing year—mourning the death of a beloved springer spaniel as well as the dissolution of his marriage. He adopts a rescue dog with a mysterious past—a golden retriever named Vira. And when Reid begins training Vira as a cadaver dog, he comes to realize just how special the newest addition to his family truly is…

Suddenly, Reid and his prize pupil find themselves hurled into a taxing murder case, which will push them to their very limits. Paired with determined Chicago Police Officer Kippy Gimm, Mace must put all his trust in Vira's abilities to thwart a serial killer who has now set his sights on Mace himself.

WHY CASSIUS CAN'T WAIT: First of all, rescue dogs - how cool.  I love how Reid welcomes a new dog into his home despite having his heart broken by the death of his Springer Spaniel.  Also, this sound like a great detective/murder case and I love a good mystery.  I think Mom will too.  The cover gets extra points as well because she looks like the dog should!


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

TTT - Changes in My Reading Life

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.

Honestly I'm not sure how to make this a top ten list so basically I'm just gonna share some thoughts.

Up until last year, I really didn't let myself DNF books but I've since decided life is too short so now I'm more apt to do so if I'm not interested in what I'm reading.

About 2 years ago I decided to give science-fiction a chance as it was one of the few genres I never read much of.  Now, I enjoy dabbling in it from time to time.

I totally blame Stormi's influence because now I'm also a multiple book reader at one time.  Until about a year ago I was pretty much a one-at-a-time reader.

I've always read a variety of genres but do tend to go through phases.

Until about 4 years ago, I never dreamed of participating in reading challenges but now I love them and can't wait to see what I decide to do in 2020!

I am also now active on Twitter and Instagram - will wonders never cease???

So there you have it.  That's about all I have.  Can't wait to see what everyone else does this week!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Cuteness Overload!

TITLE: In the Dog House (Dog Club Mystery #1)
AUTHOR: V.M. Burns
PUBLISHER:  Lyrical Underground
PUBLISHING DATE: August 21, 2018


Lilly may be losing a husband but she's gaining a toy poodle. That could be seen as a win-win, since her new adopted pooch Aggie (named after Agatha Christie) is cute and adorable, and Lilly's dirty dog of a spouse is cheating on her with a blond bimbo—except for one problem: Albert Echosby’s just been murdered, and Lilly is the number-one suspect. 

With the cops barking up the wrong tree, it's a good thing her best friend Scarlett "Dixie" Jefferson from Chattanooga, Tennessee, decided to take a break from the dog club circuit to pay a visit, along with her own prize pair of poodles. With help from Dixie, her defense attorney daughter, and a blue-eyed man in blue with a K-9 partner, Lilly is determined to collar the real killer. But when a second murder occurs, it's clear they're dealing with one sick puppy . . .

MY THOUGHTS: So I had all three books in this series and I always wanted to make time for them, so it was a perfect time to do so with the "Read a Series in a Month Challenge."  In this first installment, we are getting to know all the players.  Lilly is newly separated and in the process of getting a divorce when we first meet her.  She has spent her entire adult life taking care of her husband and raising her children and feels she is being traded in for a younger, newer model.  However, before the ink gets a chance to dry, Lilly's soon-to-be-ex ends up dead and Lilly is the prime suspect.  Her college best friend shows up in town to help Lilly and she just happens to be a dog trainer and this is where the dogs enter. She gives Lilly a poodle who soon becomes her new sidekick and all of them together, with Lilly's attorney daughter thrown in, set out to prove Lilly's innocence.

I could tell right off I was really going to enjoy the characters in this series.  Lilly is an older adult starting her life over and I found myself feeling very sympathetic toward her.  Also, never having a puppy before, it was fun to see Lilly increase her knowledge of dogs and also grow to realize how much this little pup can help her as she starts a new chapter of her life.  Dixie, Lilly's friend, is a very colorful character and was even compared to a larger-than-life Dolly Parton as one point.  The mystery was extremely interesting and not too easy to solve.  I had my suspicions but the book also kept me on my toes.

Having read several of the author's Mystery Bookshop books and not being solely convinced that I enjoyed them as much as I wanted, I know why I was hesitant to start this series.  That being said, I LOVE this series and can't wait to read the rest of them.  If you like cozies and pets, then get to reading!


Sunday, November 17, 2019

Random Things Tour - Hearthstone Cottage

I want to send my thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours, Flame Tree Press and Frazer Lee for a chance to read Lee's newest release, Hearthstone Cottage.  Make sure you check out everyone's reviews.

TITLE: Hearthstone Cottage
AUTHOR: Frazer Lee
PUBLISHER: Flame Tree Press
PUBLISHING DATE: October 24, 2019

FROM GOODREADS:  Mike Carter and his girlfriend Helen, along with their friends Alex and Kay, travel to a remote loch side cottage for a post-graduation holiday. But their celebrations are short-lived when they hit and kill a stag on the road. Alex s sister Meggie awaits them in the cottage, adding to the tension when her dog, Oscar, goes missing. Mike becomes haunted by a disturbing presence in the cottage, and is hunted by threatening figures in the highland fog. Reeling from a shock revelation, Mike begins to lose his grip on his sanity. As the dark secrets of the past conspire to destroy the bonds of friendship, Mike must uncover the terrifying truth dwelling within the walls of Hearthstone Cottage.

MY THOUGHTS: So Mike, Helen, Kay and Alex are celebrating their recent university graduation but spending a few weeks at Hearthstone Cottage, a remote residence owned by Alex's family.  When they arrive, they find Alex's sister Meggie already there and since she has no real intention of leaving, she joins in with the group but the strain she adds to the group is evident from the start.  Meggie's dog soon goes missing, Mike learns so new from his girlfriend that sends his life into a spin, and this is just the tip of the iceberg in Lee's newest novel.

Let me start my letting you know what I liked about the novel.  I really enjoyed the location and how eerie the cottage, as well as the nearby town, is right from the start.  I also like the idea of some best friends having a last hurrah before they start adulting. Mike was not really a likable character and I felt he needed to grow up the most of all the main players, but it didn't effect the book because it was enjoyable watching him spiral out of control.  Lee's writing was also very atmospheric.  The countryside is desolate and moody and was an ideal backdrop for his tale.  However be wary for  Hearthstone Cottage is a bit of a slow burn which might turn some people off, but not me.

I enjoyed the plot for the most part until I didn't.  However, I don't really want to dwell on those aspects.  Let's just say something happened.  Yes, Oscar the dog goes missing, and I was prepared for that.  But then something else happened which honestly effected me so strongly that I couldn't continue.  Yet, I really wanted to.  I'm still kind of curious about how the book ends.  And maybe someday I'll continue on.  I don't want my lack of finishing to reflect negatively on Hearthstone Cottage.  I will definitely be picking up Lee's work again.  I think he is a great addition to the horror genre.  Because of these issues, I'm not giving the book a rating.  I think plenty of people will really enjoy this horror novel and hope that despite my rambling, my visitors will be able to tell that on the whole, I had very few problems with the book.  The only thing is the one I did was major.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

ANIMAL CRUELTY TRIGGER:  Multiple dog deaths.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Frazer Lee is a novelist, screenwriter and filmmaker. His screenplay credits include the acclaimed horror/thriller feature Panic Button,and multi-award winning short films On Edge, Red Lines, Simone and The Stay. Frazer’s screenwriting and story consultant engagements have included commissions for Movie Mogul, The Asylum, Mediente, eMotion,and Vanquish Alliance Entertainment. 

His film and television directing credits include the multi award-winning shorts On Edge and Red Lines,and the promo campaign for the Discovery Channel series True Horror With Anthony Head. His new short film The Stay had its World Premiere at World Horror Con Atlanta USA 2015. Frazer was named one of the Top 12 UK directors in’s Movie Mash-up contest by a panel including representatives from 20th Century Fox, Vertigo Films and Film Four. 

Frazer’s novel The Lamplighters was a Bram Stoker Award® Finalist for ‘Superior Achievement in a First Novel’. 

Frazer is Head of Creative Writing at Brunel University London and is an active member of the Horror Writers Association and International Thriller Writers. His guest speaking engagements have included The London Screenwriters Festival and The Guerilla Filmmakers Masterclass. Frazer Lee lives with his family in Buckinghamshire, England just across the cemetery from the actual Hammer House of Horror.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

What's Happening (11-16-19)...

So I'm doing things a tad bit differently this year and will be combining all of my regular weekend posts.  This will enable me to add more content on Fridays and it is just starting to make more sense.  I'll still be linking up with Stacking the Shelves at Tynga's Reviews and Sunday Post at Caffeinated Reviewer.  Both blogs are awesome so make sure you check them out.  

MAN, WHAT A WEEK!  And it pretty much boils down to phone issues.  We keep a landline for two reasons...we've had the same number for over 25 years and everyone we want to know it knows it and secondly, my Gpa can hear better when I use a landline vs. a cell phone.  It was out on the 7th for some reason.  Submitted a ticket. They were coming Tuesday and we to call me when they were en route (they gave me an 8 hour window) so I could meet them there.  I'm not wasting my vacation to sit around and wait for them!  So Tuesday I get home to a note saying, it was fixed.  Nope, it wasn't.  So I called again.  Nope, they didn't follow directions but I had to wait 2 more days for another appointment - and another 8 hour window.  The icing on the cake was when I was filing a complaint and a woman told me they didn't make it out Tuesday because there were busy.  Ummmm, that was a lie.  That ticked me off.  And every time I was on hold for a supervisor, I got "accidentally" disconnected.  It's finally fixed but I'm surprised my head didn't pop off I was so angry.

Everything else is fine but PUPPY ALERT.  I think Mr. Barb has finally decided he's ready to add to the family.  I've left it up to him since T's death was so hard on both of us, but EXTREMELY hard on him.  So we've been looking.  It will happen in time but don't be surprised if you see a new addition to Booker T's Farm in the next few months.

We watched "47 Feet Down Uncaged" this week and it wasn't bad.  I like shark movies and this one had blind cave sharks and dumb teenagers.  It was entertaining at least. I also have  A LOT of reading to get done before the month is out.  At least next week starts my vacation!

I added a few books this week too.  I love Silvia Moreno-Garcia and I hope I feel the same way after reading Untamed Shores.  Bottle Toss sounds like a cool YA horror and I couldn't resist The Last Human.

So how was your week?  Anything new and exciting? 

ADDITION:  I almost forgot.  Cass almost caught a cat. The neighbor have a cat named Noel they let run around outside.  They say she won't stay inside but it's debatable if they are just irresponsible.  Their Jack Russell has escaped into our backyard twice in the past week and then can't find his way out.  Anyway, I let Cass out and Noel was hiding under the picnic table.  Cass saw her and she took off. I was yelling for him to stop but they made two laps around the yard and Noel faceplanted into the side of a back building trying to jump on the roof.  I didn't want her to get hurt (and she was ok) but she also still has her claws and I don't want Cass to lose an eye!  The neighbor says "Don't worry - she's not afraid of dogs."  Doesn't mean Cass is used to cats!  Neighbors!!!!

Friday, November 15, 2019

What an Odd but Unique Read - The Remaking Review

TITLE: The Remaking
AUTHOR: Clay McLeod Chapman
PUBLISHER: Quirk Books
PUBLISHING DATE: October 8, 2019

FROM GOODREADS:  Inspired by a true story, this supernatural thriller for fans of horror and true crime follows a tale as it evolves every twenty years—with terrifying results. 

Ella Louise has lived in the woods surrounding Pilot’s Creek, Virginia, for nearly a decade. Publicly, she and her daughter Jessica are shunned by their upper-crust family and the Pilot’s Creek residents. Privately, desperate townspeople visit her apothecary for a cure to what ails them—until Ella Louise is blamed for the death of a prominent customer. Accused of witchcraft, both mother and daughter are burned at the stake in the middle of the night. Ella Louise’s burial site is never found, but the little girl has the most famous grave in the South: a steel-reinforced coffin surrounded by a fence of interconnected white crosses. 

Their story will take the shape of an urban legend as it’s told around a campfire by a man forever marked by his boyhood encounters with Jessica. Decades later, a boy at that campfire will cast Amber Pendleton as Jessica in a ’70s horror movie inspired by the Witch Girl of Pilot’s Creek. Amber’s experiences on that set and its meta-remake in the ’90s will ripple through pop culture, ruining her life and career after she becomes the target of a witch hunt. Amber’s best chance to break the cycle of horror comes when a true-crime investigator tracks her down to interview her for his popular podcast. But will this final act of storytelling redeem her—or will it bring the story full circle, ready to be told once again? And again. And again…

MY THOUGHTS: So first things first, can someone clear up my confusion...was this really inspired by a true story and if so, please clue me in?  Or is that just adding to the mystique of the book?  Okay, moving on.  But I really hope someone has an answer.

I kind of went into The Remaking blindly and it actually worked better for me.  I knew people had been raving about it and it's horror, so of course I wanted to read it.  And boy am I glad that I did.  One of the best things about this novel is the formatting.  In fact, I could say that is what initially pulled me in.  The book is told in four parts.  The first is the old urban legend tale.  The second is a 70's movie adaptation of the urban legend.  The third is a 90's remake and then the last is a true crime podcast.  I found it all very unique and Chapman did a wonderful job of tying them all together. 

Years ago an odd little girl and her even odder mother (aka witch) were burned by a lynch mob in a small Southern town.  Thus the curse begins and horrible things befall the culprits and the town itself.  Fast forward to the 70's and an up-and-coming director wants to make a movie about the witch girl and casts Amber Pendleton to play young Jessica.  I won't tell you how that all plays out - read the book.  Years later Amber is cast once again in the remake and things only get better...and by better, I mean worse.

I feel like I'm rambling but I'm trying really hard not to spoil anything.  I will just say The Remaking is one of those books you just need to pick up.  If it interests you in even the slightest amount, then do it!  It captures some of the well-known horror tropes and pulls the reader into a world of urban legends, pop culture and fandoms.  I loved everything about this book and I hope you do too!