Friday, January 31, 2020

Apollo's First Review!

Hello!  They say my name is Apollo but honestly I think it's Don't Eat Dirt."  Either way, my brother Cass told me Mom has this thing called a "log" which isn't that something you chew on?  I may be only 12 weeks old but I have discovered Mom likes to read a lot and Cass told me if I was good, I could appear on the "log" once in a while.  He picked out my first review book which once you will see, IS NOT FUNNY!

TITLE: Bad Dog
AUTHOR: Mike Boldt
PUBLISHER: Doubleday Books
PUBLISHING DATE:  October 1, 2019


The differences between cats and dogs have never been funnier! In this hilarious new story from the illustrator of I Don't Want to Be a Frog, a little girl really, really wants a dog... but gets a cat instead! 

"Look what I got for my birthday! A pet dog!" says a little girl holding a... cat? Rocky doesn't listen or obey like all the other dogs. (Because Rocky is a cat.) And Rocky hates her leash and doesn't seem to like other dogs. (Probably because Rocky is a cat.) And rather than play fetch, Rocky prefers to... lick between her toes? Ew. Rocky is a bad "dog"! BUT Rocky doesn't bark, and is so cute when she sleeps in sunny spots. Maybe Rocky IS a good dog? (Or, you know, maybe Rocky is a cat.) 

Cat lovers and dog lovers alike will howl with laughter at this little girl's willful insistence that her cat is a dog. The hilarious ways in which cats and dogs are different are brilliantly illuminated with each turn of the page and will leave young readers and their grown-ups giggling. 

MY THOUGHTS: So the little girl in the book wants a dog.  And she gets one. But it doesn't do the things that dogs should do (like eat dirt).  However, it does like to play with shoelaces and with the fishbowl. 

I thought the book was cute but my brother Cass has been educating me and I knew right away Rocky wasn't a dog!  The artwork was really cool though and Cass told me to show you an example.  I think little kids would love it.


Thursday, January 30, 2020

New Blogging Feature - Retro Horror Reads!

So toward the end of last year, Stormi from Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! and I started toying with a new idea we had.  We both are trying to read some older books on our shelves and wishlists so we put our heads together and came up with a new blog feature - Retro Horror Reads.  

Our goal is to read an older horror title at least every two months and even though we'll be reading different titles, we'll be reviewing them on the same day and linking to each other's post.  So basically our followers will get two different reviews at once.  This way we can each focus on different books.  We also decided that we would read books which were published prior to 2000, so the books you see will be at least 20 years old.

I pulled some older titles off my shelves and found some which are available at my local libraries.  I also scoured Grady Hendrix's Paperbacks From Hell to see what I could locate.  For the month of February, I chose Wither by J.G. Passarella.  I read this YEARS ago and loved it and since I have such a fondness for it, I want to see if it stands up all these years later.

Windale is a proud old American town that embraces its colonial heritage, including the legend of a witches' coven dating back 300 years. No one in Windale actually believes in witches, but three people are experiencing vivid nightmares; and an evil presence is working its way into their lives.

Hope you enjoy this new endeavor!  

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Can't Wait Wednesday (246)

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:  New York City, 1899. Tillie Pembroke’s sister lies dead, her body drained of blood and with two puncture wounds on her neck. Bram Stoker’s new novel, Dracula, has just been published, and Tillie’s imagination leaps to the impossible: the murderer is a vampire. But it can’t be—can it?

A ravenous reader and researcher, Tillie has something of an addiction to truth, and she won’t rest until she unravels the mystery of her sister’s death. Unfortunately, Tillie’s addicted to more than just truth; to ease the pain from a recent injury, she’s taking more and more laudanum…and some in her immediate circle are happy to keep her well supplied.

Tillie can’t bring herself to believe vampires exist. But with the hysteria surrounding her sister’s death, the continued vampiric slayings, and the opium swirling through her body, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for a girl who relies on facts and figures to know what’s real—or whether she can trust those closest to her. 

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  I love a historical fiction from time to time and I'm curious to see if Tillie's sister was actually killed by a vampire.  This sounds really cool and I may plan it as one of my vacation reads during the July 4th holiday.


FROM GOODREADS:  The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina meets The Craft when modern witches must save teens stolen by an ancient demon in this YA fantasy-thriller debut.

Dan and Liss are witches. The Black Book granted them that power. Harnessing that power feels good, especially when everything in their lives makes them feel powerless.

During a spell gone wrong, Liss's boyfriend is snatched away by an evil entity and presumed dead. Dan and Liss's friendship dies that night, too. How can they practice magic after the darkness that they conjured?

Months later, Liss discovers that her boyfriend is alive, trapped underground in the grips of an ancient force. She must save him, and she needs Dan and the power of The Black Book to do so. Dan is quickly sucked back into Liss's orbit and pushes away her best friend, Alexa. But Alexa has some big secrets she's hiding and her own unique magical disaster to deal with.

When another teenager disappears, the girls know it's no coincidence. What greedy magic have they awakened? And what does it want with these teens it has stolen?

Set in the atmospheric wilds of California's northern coast, Sasha Laurens's thrilling debut novel is about the complications of friendship, how to take back power, and how to embrace the darkness that lives within us all.

WHY CASSIUS CAN'T WAIT:  No dogs this week but I am sharing with you a cat.  I need to start teaching baby bro all about cats and chasing them so I figured this was a good time to start.  I do know Mom loves The Chilling Adventure of Sabrina so I'm sure this will catch her eye.


Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Challenge Announcement - They Call It Puppy Love 2020

So it's almost February and you know what that means?  It's almost time for my yearly "They Call It Puppy Love" challenge.  This is the third year for the challenge and while I've still kept the rules fairly simple, I have added a few new things to spice things up.  And you can earn a few extra entries for doing a few additional things, but nothing is mandatory.  

So here are the rules:

  • Make a sign up post and link it below and in the Rafflecopter.
  • Read at least one book with a dog (or a cat - even though Cass tried to nix this one).  You can also read many more and as always I encourage you to do so. 
  • Do a wrap-up post with a link.


  • Share the giveaway on Twitter
  • Participate in the new Fictional Dog tag I'll be creating and link your post
See, it's still pretty easy.  At the end of the challenge, I'll be giving away a $10.00 Amazon GC of a book up to $10.00 in value from Book Depository (that way I can open the challenge up to individuals outside of the US as well).  So join in and let's have some fun!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TTT - Covers That Show Booksnake Is Alive and Well

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 a cover freebie.  You all know by now how I feel about Booksnake.  I am terrified of snakes so I keep hoping this trend will fade but alas, he seems to be alive and kicking...or slithering.  YUK!  In fact, I did a whole rant discussion post in the past.  You can find it HERE.

This one even mentions him in the title!

You have to look a little harder but there he is in the cover.  I will admit I can handle the cartoon-looking ones better than the more realistic ones.

Now they're teaming up!

This little creepy cover is hiding pretty well but once I saw him, now he's all I see!

Because one apparently isn't enough anymore - double the snake, double the terror!

I have a couple in this series and these ones are somewhat tolerable because they look less real to me.

I guess with the title of this one, there had to be Booksnake.

An adult title I'm STILL debating on reading but I can't get past the attic of snakes mentioned in the synopsis.

Okay, so I'm not going to repeat myself and show the covers I shared in my rant.  I'm just saying that I am really over this trend!  Give me more puppies...or octopi.  I do like some good tentacles!

Monday, January 27, 2020

Flame Tree Press Blog Tour - We Are Monsters

Join me today as I take a look at Brian Kirk's We Are Monsters.  Make sure to check out everyone's else's posts as well.  Many thanks to Flame Tree Press, the author and Anne Cater for organizing this!

TITLE: We Are Monsters
AUTHOR: Brian Kirk
PUBLISHER: Flame Tree Press
PUBLISHING DATE: January 16, 2020

FROM GOODREADS: Nominated for a Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. Some doctors are sicker than their patients. When a troubled psychiatrist loses funding to perform clinical trials on an experimental cure for schizophrenia, he begins testing it on his asylum's criminally insane, triggering a series of side effects that opens the mind of his hospital's most dangerous patient, setting his inner demons free. 

MY THOUGHTS: This book was originally written in 2015 and it was a very ambitious undertaking for a first novel.  I think Kirk did a good job weaving a complex tale of medical treatment, mental illness and sanity which for me worked at times and during other times, confused me.

The novel is divided into three different sections.  The first two focuses on character development and a look into the medical workings of an asylum and into the complex and controversial world of mental health treatment.  Dr. Adam Drexler has been working for years to develop a cure for schizophrenia.  His funding and experimental sources have run dry, so he takes a chance and experiments on his own brother.  Dr. Eli Alpert runs the Sugar Hill Asylum and believes that treatment should focus more on the strengths of the people suffering from the disorders he treats rather than numb them and their actions through medication.  As expected,  the two eventually clash.  Dr. Drexler dethrones Dr. Alpert but will his experiment on the infamous Apocalypse Killer bring him success or be his downfall.

I actually found this book fairly enjoyable.  I never really liked the characters, but even that worked for me where it usually doesn't. I don't know that Kirk was really trying to make any of the characters endearing.  Instead, he paints a vivid portrait of sanity vs. insanity.  The novel was progressing rather nicely until I reached the third part.  That's when all hell broke loose and I started to question what exactly I was reading.  During this part I found myself somewhat confused.

I also have to mention that there is a rather sudden animal death in the early stages of the book.  Dr. Drexler runs over his wife's precious dog Popeye coming home for work one night.  While I felt he was a tad inconsiderate and heartless during the situation, my opinion of him was solidified when he then brought his wife and brother Popeye's takeout a few days later.  Just saying...

Plenty of people like books featuring asylums and tackling mental health issues so I can see a lot of people who love horror giving this book a whirl.  Kirk's take on the setting and issues definitely showed the scary side of treatment and did manage to humanize people other's often consider "monsters" and actually showed that there are "monsters" on both sides of the treatment.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brian Kirk is a Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of dark thrillers and psychological suspense. His debut novel, WE ARE MONSTERS, was released in July 2015. In addition to being nominated for a Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel, WE ARE MONSTERS was optioned for film development by Executive Producer, Jason Shuman.

His short fiction has been published in many notable magazines and anthologies, most recently Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories alongside multiple New York Times bestselling authors.

Visit his website for more information, or just to chat. Don't worry, he only kills his characters.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Random Things Tours - The Ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue

Today I'm taking part in the blog tour for Samatha Henthorn's The Ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue.

TITLE: The Ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue 
AUTHOR: Samatha Henthorn
PUBLISHER: Independently Published
PUBLISHED DATE: October 2, 2019


The house on Curmudgeon Avenue should be happy now, the nincompoop residents have all met their sorry ends. 

But they haven't quite left... 

Now that a new family move in, can the house find peace? 

Or are the ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue going to interfere with the goings-on, romance and dramas that new residents bring? 

So this book is actually the 4th in the series and having not read the first three, it was mentioned that it could be read as a standalone novel.  However, I think because this was my first introduction to the characters, I was a tad confused at times and it might have enjoyed the overall reading process a little bit more if I was more familiar.

When the book opens, the reader is introduced to Edith, Edna and Harold, who all all dead.  In fact, they all died at the same residence, of accidental different causes, on the same day.  On top of that, Edith doesn't even know she's dead and she's becoming quite perturbed that no one at the funeral, her funeral in fact, will acknowledge her.

The Ghosts of Curmudgeon Avenue goes on to pull the reader into a quirky and zany tales of the previous and new inhabitants of the residence complete with gossip, paranormal activities and aging musicians.  Oh, and did I mention the narrator of the story is the house?  This aspect definitely makes the book unique.

So overall I liked the quirky and zany characters even if I did have some issues with the names which I am sure is just a personal things - Toonan, Harry the Bastard, Zandra, Patchouli, Wantha and Baby Emma-Fidelity to name a few.  The book kept my attention and was zany and quirky enough to work. 

I received the book as part of the blog tour and in exchange for an honest review.


FROM THE AUTHOR: "I live happily in Bury near Manchester UK with my fabulous husband and wonderfully gorgeous grownup daughter, two cats and one dog. I have been writing full time since 2014, I write every day, I read every day, so we more than likely have loads in common.

I currently have seven books available on Amazon. My genres are comedy-drama and historical fiction. I enjoyed writing them, you will enjoy reading them, promise!

My credentials are, I used to be a registered nurse, but had to accept early retirement due to my health. I participated in a two year creative writing course at a local library. I am partway through a Creative Writing and English Literature degree."

Friday, January 24, 2020

At Least the Cover is Adorable

TITLE: Cold Nose Warm Heart (Fur Haven Dog Park #1)
AUTHOR: Mara Wells
PUBLISHER: Sourcebooks Casablanca
PUBLISHING DATE: January 28, 2020


A poodle, a black lab and a Chihuahua walk into a dog park... 

All Caleb Donovan has to do to redeem his family name is take a rundown Miami Beach apartment building and turn it into luxury condos. Easy, right? 

Unfortunately, that would also turn the local dog park into a parking lot and the neighbors aren't having it. Caleb is faced with outright revolt, led by smart, beautiful building manager Riley Carson and her poodle, LouLou.

For Caleb, this project should have been a slam dunk. But even more challenging than the neighborhood resistance is the mutual attraction between him and Riley. It would be so much easier just to stay enemies. 

Can Riley and her canine sidekick convince Caleb that what's best for business isn't always best for the heart? 

MY THOUGHTS: One look at this cover and clearly anyone who visits my blog regularly knows I was at least going to give it a chance.  And I did.  And while I wanted to love this book, it fell a little short for me.  However, I still love the cover.

Cold Nose, Warm Heart tells the tale of Riley and Caleb.  Riley used to work for Caleb's rich family is resort management until their illegal activities cost her a job and Caleb's family most of their assets.  Riley ends up being property manager for her Grams' place, The Dorothy, and honestly, she isn't doing the best job.  She seems to be able to put band aids on a lot of the repairs popping up but that's about all.  Enter Caleb.  He has been tasked by his grandfather to restore The Dorothy to greatness, and encouraging his brothers to assist.  However, Caleb is headed straight to a fight because the elderly residents of The Dorothy, as well as Riley, don't plan on letting the property go so easily.

So if I'm going to read a book with romance, usually a hate-to-love trope is one I enjoy.  But I found Cold Nose, Warm Heart to be fairly problematic.  First of all, the connection between Riley and Caleb seems forced.  I didn't really care for either of them and I felt like Riley came across as someone in or recently out of college and Caleb as egotistical and self-absorbed.  Also, the book heavily focuses on the creation of a dog park near the property which Caleb quickly uses as way to manipulate the neighborhood into agreeing with his renovation plans.  Now I LOVE dogs which is evident, but it seems like there should have been more focus on the run-down complex, the past financial mismanagement and how to make sure people, as well as their pets, didn't lose their home. 

But let's not be all negative, because there were parts I really enjoyed.  The cast of side characters is great.  Grams is a hoot an so is Eliza, a retired attorney who lives down the street with her dog Lady (who is on the cover).  I liked a lot of The Dorothy's elderly residents and Riley's poodle LouLou is pretty cute too.  I also must admit that Riley did show some growth during the book, I just felt she should have more capabilities in the beginning.  The development of her friendship with Sydney and her dog Chewy was definitely a plus.

So overall, this was a middle of the line read for me.  The book does introduce Caleb's brother Lance who in his brief appearances already grew on me more than Caleb did the entire book. The next in the series focuses on him so I will be picking it up and giving the author and the series a second chance. 

One last pet peeve and I'm sure this seems trivial to some but will shock few who visit regularly.  The dog on the cover is Lucy. Lucy is pretty and Lucy is in the book.  But Riley, the star of the show, has a poodle named LouLou.  Could they not find a cute poodle to feature or at least add to Lucy?

Also, I buddy read this with Anne over at Books of My Heart as part of Winter COYER so make sure to go check out her thoughts. 

RATING: 3 PAWS (and it was a stretch)

Thursday, January 23, 2020

2 Bloggers 1 Series - A New Adventure Begins!

So welcome to 2020 and yep, Stormi and I are at it again.  We've know for some time what series we planned on tackling next and guys, it's a long one - 15 books and a bunch of novellas and short stories thrown in.  In addition, I don't think either of us were extremely thrilled with the first one so we're hoping we will either catch on to the author's writing style or the books with pick up.  

Are you still curious?  This year we are reading the Walt Longmire series by Craig Johnson.  So continue on for my thoughts on the first book and then check out Stormi's review over at Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!  I have to admit that I love the fact that this author is from my state and graduated from my alma mater, Marshall University.  

TITLE: The Cold Dish (Longmire #1)
AUTHOR: Craig Johnson
PUBLISHER: Penguin Books
PUBLISHING DATE: December 29, 2004

FROM GOODREADS: Walt Longmire, sheriff of Wyoming's Absaroka County, knows he's got trouble when Cody Pritchard is found dead. Two years earlier, Cody and three accomplices had been given suspended sentences for raping a Northern Cheyenne girl. Is someone seeking vengeance? Longmire faces one of the more volatile and challenging cases in his twenty-four years as sheriff and means to see that revenge, a dish that is best served cold, is never served at all. 

MY THOUGHTS: So I need to get this out of the way first.  I am a huge fan of the television/Netflix series and have watched all of the existing series.  While not a HUGE fan of westerns, I found that it straddled the line between "western" and police procedural quite well.  I quickly grew to love some characters and hate others (appropriately so).  And because of all of this, I think I had a hard time transitioning to the book, but more on that later.

The Cold Dish fulfills the job of introducing us to a cast of characters and giving us a mystery to boot.  Years ago a disabled young Cheyenne girl was raped by a group of guys.  Two years later, the main perpetrator is found dead and soon, other's follow.   Walt was never comfortable with how the trial played out and the list of suspects is a mile long.  He struggles to find the culprit and navigate the strenuous relationship between Absoroka County and the Native American reservation without starting any additional issues.

I really enjoyed the mystery aspect of The Cold Dish.  It sent me back to the episode where it was addressed on the series, yet included some fresh new suspects and information.  I am actually glad that the book didn't follow the series (or vice versa) in a strict manner because it shook things up for me.  I was a tad shocked by the resolution but in the end it all made sense and I was happy with the direction it took. 

I also really loved some of the characters.  Vic, the main deputy, is a joy.  Yes she is foul-mouthed, cynical and brash, but that's what I love about her.  She shoots straight from the hip and I love her for it.  I also loved Henry Standing Bear, Walt's best friend and bar owner.  In the series Henry was played by Lou Diamond Phillips and was also a favorite.  Then there was Walt.  I adored Robert Taylor cast as Walt.  However Book Walt is not the same as Series Walt.  And my head has a hard time wrapping around that one.

Also, I need to mention the author can be long winded and at times I found his transitioning to be confusing. I grew more comfortable with his style as the story progressed and I hope that continues.  I also hope I don't have to read paragraph after paragraph of firearm descriptions like I did here.  I expect some but at one point it was kind of overkill.  I can tell this series was probably more geared to engage male readers rather than female ones.

So suffice to say, this book was okay and I'm optimistic things will improve.  I think the characters alone are pulling me into the next one (I'm looking at you Vic and Henry) and hopefully things pick up.


Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Can't Wait Wednesday (245)

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: Winter was the only season every Lake-Lander feared...

In a post-apocalyptic America, a community survives in a national park, surrounded by water that keeps the Dead at bay. But when winter comes, there's nothing to stop them from crossing the ice.

Then homebody Peter puts the camp in danger by naively allowing a stranger to come ashore and he's forced to leave the community of Wranglestone. Now he must help rancher Cooper, the boy he's always watched from afar, herd the Dead from their shores before the lake freezes over.

But as love blossoms, a dark discovery reveals the sanctuary's secret past. One that forces the pair to question everything they've ever known.

An action-packed and thought-provoking debut, for fans of Patrick Ness, Marcus Sedgwick, DREAD NATION and The Walking Dead. 

WHY I CAN'T WAIT: I love tales in wintry settings and this one sounds good.  I also love the cover and can't help but think that might not be a bad place to live.  Plus with The Walking Dead reference, I have to give this one a try!


FROM GOODREADS: Lily lives with her girl, Maggie Rose. Once a stray, Lily was rescued by the kind people at the animal shelter run by Maggie Rose’s mom. Now she has a very important purpose: to rescue other animals in trouble.
In Lily to the Rescue, Lily meets a crow with a broken wing, so she and Maggie Rose take the crow home to Mom. But when the crow starts to become too tame, some unexpected problems arise. It’s Lily to the rescue!
WHY CASSIUS CAN'T WAIT:  I love that Lily is a rescue and I think it's cool that her girl runs an animal shelter.  And since I ADORE birds, I can't resist seeing how they help this crow!

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

TTT - Ten Last Additions to My Amazon Wishlist

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 the most recent additions to my bookshelf. Since I usually update this on my weekend post, I'm going to share the last 10 books I added to my Amazon wishlist. I tend to add lesser known books here when I'm browsing so I thought it would mix things up!  (Clicking on the picture should take you to the Goodreads page).

THE ROO - Alan Baxter


INK IN THE BLOOD - Kim Smejkal


DEMONS ARE RUDE - Gary Williams and Vicky Knerly

LET'S GO PLAY AT THE ADAMS' (Paperbacks from Hell) - Mendal W. Johnson


NOTORIOUS - Gordon Korman

LOST BUT FOUND - Peter Sharp

THE CYCLE - John Wayne Comunale

GYPSY KING - Devney Perry

So I accidentally gave you an extra one. Oh well, one can never have too many books on the wishlist!