Thursday, April 30, 2020

I Always Knew Neighbors Could Be Dangerous!

TITLE: The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires
AUTHOR: Grady Hendrix
PUBLISHER: Quirk Books
PUBLISHING DATE: April 7, 2020


FROM GOODREADS: 

Fried Green Tomatoes and Steel Magnolias meet Dracula in this Southern-flavored supernatural thriller set in the '90s about a women's book club that must protect its suburban community from a mysterious and handsome stranger who turns out to be a blood-sucking fiend. 

Patricia Campbell had always planned for a big life, but after giving up her career as a nurse to marry an ambitious doctor and become a mother, Patricia's life has never felt smaller. The days are long, her kids are ungrateful, her husband is distant, and her to-do list is never really done. The one thing she has to look forward to is her book club, a group of Charleston mothers united only by their love for true-crime and suspenseful fiction. In these meetings, they're more likely to discuss the FBI's recent siege of Waco as much as the ups and downs of marriage and motherhood. 

But when an artistic and sensitive stranger moves into the neighborhood, the book club's meetings turn into speculation about the newcomer. Patricia is initially attracted to him, but when some local children go missing, she starts to suspect the newcomer is involved. She begins her own investigation, assuming that he's a Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy. What she uncovers is far more terrifying, and soon she--and her book club--are the only people standing between the monster they've invited into their homes and their unsuspecting community.

MY THOUGHTS:
Wow, I almost don't know where to start with this one.  I can open by saying two things though.  Grady Hendrix knows how to pack a punch but what does he have against dogs?

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires takes place in the 90's in a suburban neighborhood of Charleston.  While it is in no way a sequel or even a companion piece to My Best Friend's Exorcism, it does take place in the same neighborhood. Having read both, it makes me glad I never lived there because I bet there is a hidden burial ground beneath all those homes.  Patricia Campbell is our MC and she and her friends have a monthly book club.  However, instead of reading the modern classics like some other book clubs, they prefer crime novel and non-fiction about serial killers. 

The book club is about the only excitement these women get. The rest of their lives are spent taking care of their houses, their husbands and their children.  They don't have a career unless you count being a housewife a full-time job.  Which I do but their husbands clearly do not.  One day a mysterious man moves into the neighborhood.  Soon afterward Patricia is attacked while taking out the garbage and this man's relative ends up biting off a piece of Patricia's ear and then dying.  Slowly but surely Patricia begins to suspect that James Harris is more than meets the eye.  And she has to rely on her friends and her family to save the neighborhood, as well as a bordering neighborhood, from losing everything.

While this book is clearly a horror novel, Hendrix also infuses some social commentary. Below the horror in this book is a tale about race, feminism and stereotypes.  I loved all of the women in this book.  Patricia slowly comes into her own as the book progresses.  Her friends, while they have their issues, also show character development and by the end of the book, I grew quite attached to them as well.  Now the men, I disliked all of them.  They took their wives for granted and basically felt their places wer in the home and in the kitchen.  And while we pretty much know that James Harris is a horrible monster, I almost felt that Patricia's husband Carter, was almost as bad.  At one point in the book, Patricia has been deathly ill after something takes place in the book.  Upon her awakening, her husband exclaims in one breath that he was worried and was getting ready to take her to the hospital and in the other was distraught because James Harris was missing and she needed to help him find the man.  I also have to mention Patricia's kids. They are both annoying teenagers, as most are, but they are made worse by the fact that they are under vampiric influences.

So needless to say, yes I loved this book.  I devoured it and even though there is a scene in which the family dog, Ragtag, almost meets his demise, it was done while protecting his family and his family stepped up and took care of him once the incident was over.  So all is forgiven Mr. Hendrix.  Except for Max, and well, that's another story completely.

If you are looking for a horror book that can be described as charming as well as gory, then look no further and go read this book now.  There's so much more I could say but I'll let you discover the joys of this book for yourself.

RATING: 5 PAWS



Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Can't Wait Wednesday (269)


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: In 1893, there's no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.

But when the Eastwood sisters--James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna--join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women's movement into the witch's movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.

There's no such thing as witches. But there will be. 

WHY I CAN'T WAIT: I don't preorder a lot of books but this is a heavy contender.  Add witches in with an October release and I'm sold.  Even if Booksnake does make an appearance.  And this time he's red.  Will this trend ever end???

CASSIUS'S PICK:


FROM GOODREADS:  
A memoir of love and loss, of being in the right place at the right time, and of the mysterious ways a beloved pet can bring people together, from CBS Sunday Morning News correspondent and multi-Emmy-Award-winning Martha Teichner.

There are true fairy tales. Stories that exist because impossible-to-explain coincidences change everything. Except in real life, not all of them have conventional, happily-ever-after endings. When Harry Met Minnie is that kind of fairy tale, with the vibrant, romantic New York City backdrop of its namesake, the movie When Harry Met Sally, and the bittersweet wisdom of Tuesdays with Morrie.

There’s a special camaraderie among early-morning dog walkers. Gathering at dog runs in the park, or strolling through the farmer's market at Union Square before the bustling crowd appears, fellow pet owners become familiar–as do the personalities of their beloved animals. In this special space and time, a chance encounter with an old acquaintance changed Martha Teichner’s world. As fate would have it, her friend knew someone who was dying of cancer, from exposure to toxins after 9/11, and desperate to find a home for her dog, Harry. He was a Bull Terrier—the same breed as Martha’s dear Minnie. Would Martha consider giving Harry a safe, loving new home?

In short order, boy dog meets girl dog, the fairy tale part of this story. But there is so much more to this book. After Martha agrees to meet Harry and his owner Carol, what begins as a transaction involving a dog becomes a deep and meaningful friendship between two women with complicated lives and a love of Bull Terriers in common. Through the heartbreak and grief of Carol’s illness, the bond that develops changed Martha’s life, Carol’s life, Minnie’s life, Harry’s life. As it changed Carol’s death as well.

In this rich and touching narrative, Martha considers the ways our stories are shaped by the people we meet, and the profound love we can find by opening our hearts to unexpected encounters.

WHY CASSIUS CAN'T WAIT:  Mom doesn't know it yet but she's preordering this one too.  Doesn't it sound great.  I know it sounds sad but real life is sad.  I love how it shows how people bond through dogs.  I knew that all along.  I mean, lots of people in our neighborhood don't know Mom and Dad's names but they know mine!  (And Apollo's too but don't tell him).  And we know their pets too and during the summer, walks are wonderful because we see everyone out and chat.  I hope we can do that again this year - even if it is 6 feet apart!

WHAT BOOK CAN'T YOU WAIT FOR THIS WEEK???

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Random Things Tours - The Girl and the Stars


I have been wanting to try Mark Lawrence ever since I've seen people rave about the Book of the Ancestor series.  So when I was invited to take part in the blog tour for his companion spin-off, I jumped at the chance.  Thanks to the author, Harper Voyager UK and Anne Cater for providing this opportunity.

TITLE: The Girl and the Stars (Book of the Ice #1)
AUTHOR: Mark Lawrence
PUBLISHER: Harper Voyager UK
PUBLISHING DATE: April 21, 2020


FROM GOODREADS: 

In the ice, east of the Black Rock, there is a hole into which broken children are thrown. 

On Abeth the vastness of the ice holds no room for individuals. Survival together is barely possible. No one survives alone. 

To resist the cold, to endure the months of night when even the air itself begins to freeze, requires a special breed. Variation is dangerous, difference is fatal. And Yaz is not the same. 

Yaz is torn from the only life she’s ever known, away from her family, from the boy she thought she would spend her days with, and has to carve out a new path for herself in a world whose existence she never suspected. A world full of difference and mystery and danger. 

Yaz learns that Abeth is older and stranger than she had ever imagined. She learns that her weaknesses are another kind of strength. And she learns to challenge the cruel arithmetic of survival that has always governed her people. 

Only when it’s darkest you can see the stars.

MY THOUGHTS: 
I don't read a lot of adult fantasy but it is a genre I want to dive into more.  That's why I was thrilled to get a chance to be part of the blog tour for Mark Lawrence's newest book, The Girl and the Stars.

Yaz is a member of the Ictha tribe living on Abeth, a frozen ice planet.  Every four years, all of the tribes gather at a dark hole in the ice where the Regulator evaluates the children of each tribe to determine if they have what it takes to live the rugged life on the ice.  Those who don't meet the standards are pushed into the hole and never seen again.  Yaz previously passed her first test at the hole, but secretly she knows there is something wrong with her and she is confident this visit to the hole will be her last.  Much to her surprise though, she is saved just in time to watch her brother Zeen be pushed into the unknown.  Yaz immediately jumps in after him but instead of an immediate death, she actually gets a second chance at living.

She is welcome into the Broken, a group of people who have been deemed unworthy. However, Zeen has been captured by The Tainted, an evil tribe bent on destruction of the Broken.  Not only does Yaz have to learn how to navigate a new world, she must also learn how to save her brother.

This book is extremely complex and a lot of time is set on world building.  The cold ice-covered world is basically one of the villains itself and I thoroughly enjoyed learning about all of its complexities.  So much of this unknown land is new to Yaz and while there, she is learning that she has special abilities which makes many want to control her.  Yaz is able to harness and control the stars, a valuable commodity which is used as power.  She encounters a unique band of broken and forms new friendships and alliances. 

Lawrence definitely has a way with prose.  I loved his description of all the various scenes and settings but what I loved the most was the character of Yaz.  Yaz has always considered herself broken but during the course of the novel, the reader can see Yaz's confidence growing and is able to witness firsthand her learning how "unbroken" she is.  Yaz has the ability to forge a new path in this hidden world and I'm so excited to see where the series leads.

So basically, if you have EVER considered trying this author, do so.  I will admit that it took me a tad longer to read this book than I expected but that it because Lawrence paints such a complex fantasy world.   I also wanted to make sure I had a good grasp on the plot and characters as I definitely plan on picking up subsequent books in this series.  I feel that I must also add that there is one character who emotionally destroyed me when a certain plot element was revealed.  At that point I was actually swearing at the book. 

Now I need to go back and read the original series because reading The Girl and the Stars was a complete joy!

RATING: 4 PAWS



ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mark Lawrence was born in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, but moved to the UK at the age of one. He went back to the US after taking a PhD in mathematics at Imperial College to work on a variety of research projects including the ‘Star Wars’ missile defence programme. Returning to the UK, he has worked mainly on image processing and decision/reasoning theory. His first trilogy, The Broken Empire, has been universally acclaimed as a ground-breaking work of fantasy, and both The Liar’s Key and The Wheel of Osheim have won the Gemmell Legend award for best fantasy novel. Mark is married, with four children, and lives in Bristol.

#Blog Tour - I Am Dust


TITLE: I Am Dust
AUTHOR: Louise Beech
PUBLISHER: Orenda Books
PUBLISHING DATE: April 16, 2020


FROM GOODREADS: 

The Dean Wilson Theatre is believed to be haunted by a long-dead actress, singing her last song, waiting for her final cue, looking for her killer… 

Now Dust, the iconic musical, is returning after twenty years. But who will be brave enough to take on the role of ghostly goddess Esme Black, last played by Morgan Miller, who was murdered in her dressing room? 

Theatre usher Chloe Dee is caught up in the spectacle. As the new actors arrive, including an unexpected face from her past, everything changes. Are the eerie sounds and sightings backstage real or just her imagination? Is someone playing games? 

Is the role of Esme Black cursed? Could witchcraft be at the heart of the tragedy? And are dark deeds from Chloe’s past about to catch up with her? 

Not all the drama takes place onstage. Sometimes murder, magic, obsession and the biggest of betrayals are real life. When you’re in the theatre shadows, you see everything. And 

Chloe has been watching…

MY THOUGHTS: So pretty much all I have to do is see "thriller from Orenda Books" on an email and I'm sunk.  I've had such great luck with the books I've read for their blog tours and I am thrilled to say I Am Dust is no exception.

Dust was the first show for the Dean Wilson Theatre.  And it definitely put the theatre on the map because the lead actress, Morgan Miller, was murdered during its run.  Miller's murder was never solved and such a tragedy left a haunted imprint on the venue.  Now, twenty years since the original run, Dust is being revived. Many believe this is a bad decision as they think the musical is cursed.  Add is a ghost, some ominous sounds and a eerie backdrop and this book has all the makings of a good thriller. 

The tale is told in dual timelines which is a writing technique I almost always enjoy.  The reader gets a glimpse of what happened in the past and how those incidents are shaping present day activities.  I also found it to be a highly atmospheric read.  I really felt a connection to Chloe, the MC, and truly felt her sadness.  And it's an automatic given that a night filled with best friends and a Ouija board are bound to come back to haunt Chloe years later.

I was on the edge of my seat throughout the whole novel.  Because of the spooky atmosphere, reading it was a great way to spend a rainy afternoon. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, especially if they have an extra interest in musicals and theatres since I found all the glamour surrounding the production very interesting.

Orenda Books, you've done it again!

RATING: 5 PAWS



ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. Her second book, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were widely reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on Kindle. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award in 2019. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. Louise lives with her husband on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

What's Happening (04-25-20)...

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 I hope everyone is still staying safe.  We are doing well here at Booker T's Farm.  Grandpa is still isolating and my Stupid Uncle is actually taking him to his cabin in the country next week for a few days because he seriously needs a change of pace.

It's been another week of reading and watching when I can focus.  I watched the entire first season of The Stranger and while it was okay, I was losing interest by the end.  We're up to the middle of Shameless Season 4.  We also managed to sit down and watch the new Fantasy Island movie.  It wasn't too bad and I for the most part I enjoyed it.

I need to get some books finished by the end of the month so here's what's up on the stack for the remainder of the month.  I'm about 30% into The Girl and the Stars and really enjoying it.  It's actually my first Lawrence book.  I'm also about 50% into Daughter of Chaos and like all the Sabrina/Riverdale stuff, it's at least entertaining.  Finally, I am almost finished with I Am Dust.


This week's haul is a collection of horror and cozies.  Now that's a combination huh?  Look at the cute Halloween pug on The Body from the Past.  I was thrilled to get an arc of Paw and Order because I absolutely loved the first three in the series.  And again, what a cute doggo on Night Shift, the second in the Helping Hands series.



And for the horror of it all!  I think I squealed a bit when I got approved for Mexican Gothic.  And I can't wait to dive into Night Train and The Home.
  

So there you have it.  Let me know what you guys are reading and watching and everyone take care!

2 Bloggers 1 Series - Another Man's Moccasins


So Stormi and I are continuing our series read of the Longmire this month with the fourth installment. I'm sad to say that this series isn't doing it for us and we've decided to move on.  Now I do think each of us plan to read more Longmire books in the future but the pressure of reading one each month is wearing on us.  Don't fret though because we have a new series next month so stay tuned!  So read on to see what I thought of Another Man's Moccasins and then make sure you visit Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

TITLE: Another Man's Moccasins (Longmire #4)
AUTHOR: Craig Johnson
PUBLISHER: Penguin Books
PUBLISHING DATE: May 29, 2008


FROM GOODREADS: 

A murder victim might connect to Walt’s past in the fourth novel from the New York Times bestselling author of the Longmire series, the basis for LONGMIRE, now on Netflix.

When the body of a young Vietnamese woman is discovered alongside the interstate in Wyoming's Absaroka County, Sheriff Walt Longmire finds only one suspect, Virgil White Buffalo, a Crow with a troubling past. In what begins as an open-and-shut case, Longmire gets a lot more than he bargained for when a photograph in the young woman's purse connects her to an investigation that Longmire tackled forty years ago as a young Marine investigator in Vietnam. 

In the fourth book in Craig Johnson's award-winning Walt Longmire series, the though yet tender sheriff is up to his star in a pair of murders connected by blood, yet separated by forty haunted years.

MY THOUGHTS:
A young Vietnamese woman is found brutally murdered in a country ditch.  Nearby, a Native American, Virgil White Buffalo, is found living in a tunnel.  A man of little words who is quite intimidating by his size along, Virgil offers little information on what has happened.  However, in his possession is the woman's purse, which actually contains a picture of a woman Walt knew while fighting in Vietnam.  And in the background of the pictures sits a young Walt Longmire. 

While the reader is learning all about the present day murder, Johnson offers extensive flashbacks which tells of a murder Walt investigated while station in Vietnam.  The stories go back and forth and in the end, intersect in dramatic fashion. 

I have to admit that I wasn't wholly invested in the mystery in this installment.  I think the flashback sections became too much for me as I've never been a big fan of war movies or books.  What I did like about the book was all our familiar characters are back in full force.  Vic is present once again and she and Walt are trying to figure out where to go after the events in the last book.  Henry once again is helping Walt with both investigations, and Ruby is still holding down the fort manning the sheriff's office.  I do enjoy the banter between Walt and Ruby.  For example, when he calls her on the radio, he starts singing songs with "ruby" in them to much of her disdain.  And once again, Dog makes a brief appearance and Walt finally admits that he's never going to name him anything else. 

I enjoyed the ending but had figured out a piece of the mystery before it happened.  However, Johnson did manage to throw a few curve balls.  As I mentioned, reading one of these books each month is seeming too much like a chore so I'll be moving on to another series next month for the project between myself and Stormi.  However, I still think from time to time I'll pick up a Longmire book knowing there's no real pressure to finish it on a deadline.  I also still think part of the problem is that I enjoyed the TV series much more than the books and it is kind of interfering with my reading progression.

RATING: 3 PAWS

Friday, April 24, 2020

Well Now That Was a Lot of Fun! - The Stranger

TITLE: The Stranger
AUTHOR: Harlan Coben
PUBLISHER: Dutton
PUBLISHING DATE: March 24. 2015


FROM GOODREADS: 

A secret destroys a man’s perfect life and sends him on a collision course with a deadly conspiracy in this shocking thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Harlan Coben. 

The Stranger appears out of nowhere, perhaps in a bar, or a parking lot, or at the grocery store. His identity is unknown. His motives are unclear. His information is undeniable. Then he whispers a few words in your ear and disappears, leaving you picking up the pieces of your shattered world... 

Adam Price has a lot to lose: a comfortable marriage to a beautiful woman, two wonderful sons, and all the trappings of the American Dream: a big house, a good job, a seemingly perfect life. 

Then he runs into the Stranger. When he learns a devastating secret about his wife, Corinne, he confronts her, and the mirage of perfection disappears as if it never existed at all. Soon Adam finds himself tangled in something far darker than even Corinne's deception, and realizes that if he doesn't make exactly the right moves, the conspiracy he’s stumbled into will not only ruin lives—it will end them.  

MY THOUGHTS:
So I was prompted to read this book due to a buddy read with Anne @ Books Of My Heart .  I am so glad I decided to pick this one up.  It was a fast-paced thriller that kept me turning the pages quickly in anticipation of finding out what was really happening.

One night at a parent meeting for the school's rugby team, Adam Price is confronted by a stranger.  He tells Adam about a secret his wife Corinne is hiding.  The secret festers in Adam for a few days and when he finally confronts her, she disappears, leaving him to care for and field all questions from their two sons.  As Adam begins to look for clues about Corinne's disappearance, he learns the stranger has delivered messages to other individuals.  Adam is clearly over his head in this investigation but with some help from a police officer from a neighboring town, Adam may just learn what the stranger is up to and hopefully find his wife.

This book was one turn after another.  In the beginning, there are several story lines going and I knew while reading it that in a matter of time, it would all come together and make sense.  And I was right!  Coben managed to weave several tales together and create a fantastic ending.  I really felt for Adam as he tried to learn what really happened to drive his wife away, and enjoyed meeting the other people in his life.  I will add that this book did confirm a recent feeling I experienced while reading another book.  School parents can be a horrible little clique at times.

So overall, if you're looking for a great thriller, look no further.  This is the first time I've read a book by Coben but I will definitely be looking into more reads from him in the future.

RATING: 5 PAWS



EXTRA THOUGHTS: I loved this book so much that the day after finishing it I immediately started watching the Netflix adaptation.  Now let me clarify.  I don't think it is a horrible series, but seriously, the things it has in common with the novel are minimal.  Without giving too much away, I'll give two examples.  The book takes place in the US but the show is set in the UK.  Also, the stranger is a male in the book but a female in the show.  I don't see why such simple things had to be changed.  There is also a group of kids acting out and cutting off llama heads in the show which thankfully did not happen in the book.  So my take, read the book and watch the show, just don't expect them to be the same.


Thursday, April 23, 2020

Retro Horror Vol 2 - The Amityville Horror

Welcome back to round two of Retro Horror.  Both Stormi and I have picked separate books again this time around so you get double the horror fun.  So read on to see what I thought of my pick this month, and then go see how Stormi's pick worked out for her at Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

TITLE: The Amityville Horror
AUTHOR: Jay Anson
PUBLISHER: Bantum Books
PUBLISHING DATE: September 13, 1977


FROM GOODREADS: 28 Days of Terror in a House Possessed by Evil Spirits .

In December 1975, the Lutz family moved into their dream home, the same home where Ronald DeFeo had murdered his parents, brothers and sisters just one year earlier. 

The psychic phenomena that followed created the most terrifying experience the Lutz family had ever encountered, forcing them to flee the house in 28 days, convinced that it was possessed by evil spirits. 

Their fantastic story, never before disclosed in full detail, makes for an unforgettable book with all the shocks and gripping suspense of The Exorcist, The Omen or Rosemary's Baby, but with one vital difference...the story is true. 

MY THOUGHTS: So I remembers seeing this movie when I was very young, probably preteens.  I also remember the remake that was done several years back.  And both times, the movie REALLY creeped me out.  To be honest, the genre of horror that has always scared me the most is stories about demonic possession, and in this case, it seemed to be the house that was possessed.  So when my library got a copy of this in (long before we all went on lockdown), I grabbed it, thinking it would be perfect for a retro review.

So most of us know the story.  The Lutz family moved up in the world when they obtained the precious Amityville house for a steal after Ronald DeFeo murdered his entire family in it.  They knew the main details, and didn't really care.  Slowly but surely the house began to show its true colors, which in my opinion, were probably red and black.  Weird things began to happen such as cold spots in the home, Kathy Lutz feeling a presence around her in the kitchen and smelling perfume, money going missing, doors getting torn off the home and boathouse, and Missy's "imaginary friend," a pig named Jodie.  There's also a mysterious hidden room in the basement painted completely in red and the fact that George wakes up every night at 3:15 am. 

The book also tells the tale of Father Mancuso, the priest the family called to bless their new home.  While the Lutz's are experiencing issues, Father Mancuso is experiencing his own set of horrors.  So much so that he vows not to return to the home even when the Lutz's request his home. You can only imagine this brings up a whole set of ethical struggles for the Father.

Even though this book is non-fiction, I found it an extremely easy read.  Although sometimes I still found what I was reading rather spooky and disturbing.  I don't feel that the actual account is as horrible as the movie version, although take my word, it's all terrifying.  For example, it doesn't seem like George actually became homicidal and wanted to murder his whole family, even though he did experience personality changes.

So overall, I found this an interesting read.  At just over 200 pages, it was long enough to keep my interest and since I haven't seen the movies in years, it added some new information to what I originally recalled. 

I am also VERY curious.  Those of you who know about this incident, do you believe it really happened?  I know there's a lot of controversy about whether it was a huge publicity stunt.  The books puts a big emphasis on what happened with Father Mancuso because apparently at the time, that information was not shared with the Lutz's.  The author uses this fact to strongly substantiate that the tale is true.  Please let me know what you think!

RATING: 4 PAWS

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Can't Wait Wednesday (268)


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: Thorne Manor has always been haunted...and it has always haunted Bronwyn Dale. As a young girl, Bronwyn could pass through a time slip in her great-aunt’s house, where she visited William Thorne, a boy her own age, born two centuries earlier. After a family tragedy, the house was shuttered and Bronwyn was convinced that William existed only in her imagination.

Now, twenty years later Bronwyn inherits Thorne Manor. And when she returns, William is waiting.

William Thorne is no longer the boy she remembers. He’s a difficult and tempestuous man, his own life marred by tragedy and a scandal that had him retreating to self-imposed exile in his beloved moors. He’s also none too pleased with Bronwyn for abandoning him all those years ago.

As their friendship rekindles and sparks into something more, Bronwyn must also deal with ghosts in the present version of the house. Soon she realizes they are linked to William and the secret scandal that drove him back to Thorne Manor. To build a future, Bronwyn must confront the past. 

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  Really I needed nothing more than to see it was by Kelley Armstrong.  Then to see it involves ghosts and a Gothic manor and I'm all in.  Bring on Halloween and the release!

CASSIUS'S PICK:

FROM GOODREADS:  A delightful holiday romance about a small-town single dad and an animal rescue owner as they try to find forever homes for a dozen lovable pups before Christmas.

Pine Hollow has everything Ally Gilmore could wish for in a holiday break: gently falling snow in a charming small town and time with her family. Then she learns some Grinch has pulled the funding for her family's rescue shelter, and now she has only four weeks to find new homes for a dozen dogs! But when she confronts her Scroogey councilman nemesis, Ally finds he's far more reasonable-and handsome-than she ever expected.

As the guardian of his dog-obsessed ten-year-old niece, Ben West doesn't have time to build a cuddly reputation. But he does feel guilty about the shelter closing. So he proposes a truce with Ally, agreeing to help her adopt out the pups. As the two spend more time together, the town's gossip is spreading faster than Santa's sleigh on Christmas Eve. And soon Ben is hoping he can convince Ally that Pine Hollow is her home for the holidays...and the whole year through.

WHY CASS CAN'T WAIT:  Mom may be pushing Halloween but I think the world is scary enough.  Let's just say she better not leave the news on for us when she runs out ever again.  So I'm moving on to Christmas. Look at this cover and it sounds like such a sweet holiday read.  Don't we need more sweet now?

WHAT BOOK CAN'T YOU WAIT FOR THIS WEEK???

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

TTT - Books That Would Make Good Band Titles

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 we are looking at books that would make good band titles.  I think this should be pretty easy, which means it will probably take me FOREVER! I'm dividing it into two categories.


BOOKS I WANT TO READ:

FOX CROSSING

HELL'S KITTIES

DRACULA'S CHILD

BURNING ROSES

SOLSTICE

BOOKS I'VE READ:

TITANSHADE

MY SISTER ROSA

HOLLOW KINGDOM

PROVIDENCE

CERTAIN DARK THINGS

So I'm aware quite a few of these sound like metal bands.  I don't listen to a lot of metal but I do have a soft spot for 80's glam rock.  I really enjoy a lot of different musical genres - just like books I suppose.  What is your favorite?  I have to admit I'm loving HELL'S KITTIES!


Monday, April 20, 2020

So April Will Never Be My Favorite Month of the Year



So tomorrow marks the year anniversary of losing Booker T.  In ways it seems much longer and in ways it seems like yesterday.  It was such a sudden, devastating loss and I'm being honest when I say that we are still not over it.  Yes, we've had the blessings known as Cassius and Apollo to help ease the pain and they have definitely helped.  But I'm sad because Cass had to lose two brothers during his lifetime and I'm sad that Apollo will never get to know him.

This year has been compounded by the fact that on Sunday, Cass hurt his leg.  He and Apollo were playing out back and first and foremost, Cass is doing fine and is on anti-inflammatory pills.  His limp is better today and he no longer holds his paw up.  However, the irony was that on Sunday I was sitting outside the same ER Vet that I had Booker T to exactly a year previously, two days before he passed.  Life can be cruel huh?

Also, as many of you know, I'm a MASSIVE Prince fan.  And tomorrow marks the 4th year anniversary of his passing.  For any other fans, there is a 2 hour special tomorrow on TV which was recorded around the time of the Grammy's.  So to commemorate both losses, I'm sharing one of my favorite Prince songs.  It will forever remind me of him as well as more importantly, my darling Booker T.  



Stay safe everyone and I hope you are all doing well.

With Love - Barb, Mr. Barb , Cassius and Apollo

WE MISS YOU BOOKER T!

Sunday, April 19, 2020

COYER Quarantine Edition



HERE'S THE COMPLETE EXPLANATION - Courtesy of Because Reading.


COYER ALL YEAR

So the first part of this is that COYER will now be all year. That’s right! For all-year COYER, we will have traditional rules:
  • Read Your E-Reads! Every book you read MUST be in an electronic format – meaning E-Book or Audiobook. It’s okay to start a book before March 23rd, but you must be less than half way for it to count then review it during COYER.
  • The books must be FREE or NEARLY FREE! This includes review books, tour books, NetGalley, Edelweiss, etc. What’s nearly free? No more than $2 for eBooks and no more than $5 for Audiobooks (or the equivalent in your currency). This does NOT include library books, borrowed books, or Kindle Unlimited books.
  • Review & Link Reviews! Your review may be on your blog, Goodreads, Shelfari, Booklikes, etc. Link the review to the Review Linky (which we will have as an announcement at the top of the blog).
At the end of the year we will give away (2) $10 Gift Cards from this year long review linky. While there will be all kinds of special events during the year long COYER (like COYER: Quarantine Edition), only books that meet the above rules should go on this linky. We will have separate prizes for the other books you read, don’t worry!

Quarantine Edition

Throughout the year, we will have different events that run as part of the COYER all year event. The first one is COYER: Quarantine edition. The theme is: feeling good! Through our community and the books we read, we’re going to help each other feel good. Since we are quite literally throwing this together in an afternoon, it’s not fully planned and will grow and change as the year progresses.
How long will it last? Well, we don’t know how long we’ll be in quarantine, so who really knows. We’re going to make this first segment of COYER go through August 31, though we REALLY HOPE we’ll be out of quarantine long before that.
What are the rules?
  • Announce your participation! This can be a blog post (or if you don’t have a blog – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Booklikes, Goodreads, Shelfari, etc.) If you want to list books you would like to read, that’s great, but not necessary. The point is to let everyone know you’re committed to COYER, maybe share some goals, and help spread the word.
  • Link up! Link that post (not just your blog homepage) to the linky below.
  • You can read any book, any format, if it meets the following criteria:
    1. Is part of a readathon we’re doing. We aren’t planning them in advance this time. Follow us in our facebook group for details as we start new ones.
    2. Is a buddy read. That’s right, buddy reading is back. Read a book with a COYER participant and chat with them about it. Unlimited number of reads with a buddy (no restriction this time), as long as you tell us their rating in your review.
    3. Is a COYER book club read. In our FB live today we decided to do a monthly book club. So join us in the group for details. Whatever book we read for book club will count.
  • Visit Each Other, Chat, Support Each Other & Have Fun!
Books you read as part of COYER: Quarantine Edition will go into a rafflecopter, which will be on the same page as the review linky. We will have (1) $5 Amazon gift card as the prize at the end of August.
A post will be made in the Facebook Group after this post is live for any and all questions you might have.

Social Media

The Facebook Group is really going to be home to this challenge now, so make sure you’ve joined us. We will randomly post in the group with games, book recommendations, etc.
After today’s Facebook Live, we decided that this was a lot of fun and a great way to chat. So moving forward we’ll do Facebook Lives instead of Twitter Parties. Look for announcements of when in the Facebook group.
And finally, we will do an Instagram challenge for the month of April. Look for that to come in the Facebook group.
So basically…. check the Facebook group 🙂

Saturday, April 18, 2020

What's Happening (04-18-20)...

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 I kind of feel like I'm failing at life right now.  I'm still behind visiting blogs and replying to comments.  All I can say is I will get there and I want to thank everyone for sticking with me.  

I also need to say that I wonder if COVID-19 is triggering some agoraphobia around the world?  I mean I've always been fine working but then REALLY enjoy my home time.  Seems like now the longer I self isolate the more I don't want to go out at all.  I'm sure others are feeling that way and I know once I get back to work it will pass, but for now, I'm embracing my home time.  I do go visit Gpa twice a week and groceries once a week so don't worry that I'm hiding out.  Just being safe about it.

It was definitely a good TV week.  We watched a movie called Infection which was too close to home but entertaining.  It was in subtitled but I sometimes think foreign zombie films are the best.  I am also one episode to being caught up on Season 4 of Riverdale.  I feel down that crazy rabbit hole this week and watched about 10 episodes.  It's as crazy as ever.  Other than that nothing is really standing out.  Mr. Barb is still playing Assassin's Creed Odyssey so that gives me more reading time.  

The pups are doing fine and I really need to get some new pictures for you guys this coming week.  Can you believe Apollo is almost 6 months old?  Time flies...except when you're on lockdown huh?  Besides visiting Gpa on Saturday, no real plans except reading, blogging and walking the dogs.  Here's what's up on the stack.  I'm almost halfway done with The Amityville Horror and have started The Stranger as well.  I need to get some motivation on the Longmire book though.  


I also received a few books for review and as usual, I think they all sound pretty good.  I love the sounds of Sanctuary and the book is compared to Big Little Lies meets Practical Magic.  The Rise of Zombert seems like an adorable MG that is too fun to pass up.  And finally, I'm going to be honest.  I couldn't resist the snowy cover of Before the Ruins


So I hope everyone is staying safe and have a great weekend and week ahead!


Thursday, April 16, 2020

2 Bloggers 1 Book - Titanshade

I've been wanting to read this book forever but you know how things go.  You have plans, you get more books, plans get pushed aside even though you have the best of intentions.  So I'm really glad that Stormi and I made plans early in the year to read this one come April.  And hey, guess what?  We did!  So read on for my thought  and then hop over to Stormi's  @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

TITLE: Titanshade
AUTHOR: Dan Stout
PUBLISHER: Daw Books
PUBLISHING DATE: March 12, 2019


FROM GOODREADS: 

This noir fantasy thriller from a debut author introduces the gritty town of Titanshade, where danger lurks around every corner. 

"Take a little Mickey Spillane, some Dashiell Hammet, a bit of Raymond Chandler, and mix it with Phillip K. Dick's Blade Runner; add a taste of CJ Box, and Craig Johnson, and you've got a masterpiece of a first novel." --W. Michael Gear, New York Times bestselling author. 

Carter's a homicide cop in Titanshade, an oil boomtown where 8-tracks are state of the art, disco rules the radio, and all the best sorcerers wear designer labels. It's also a metropolis teetering on the edge of disaster. As its oil reserves run dry, the city's future hangs on a possible investment from the reclusive amphibians known as Squibs. 

But now negotiations have been derailed by the horrific murder of a Squib diplomat. The pressure's never been higher to make a quick arrest, even as Carter's investigation leads him into conflict with the city's elite. Undermined by corrupt coworkers and falsified evidence, and with a suspect list that includes power-hungry politicians, oil magnates, and mad scientists, Carter must find the killer before the investigation turns into a witch-hunt and those closest to him pay the ultimate price on the filthy streets of Titanshade. 

MY THOUGHTS:
I actually did a double take to see what genres Goodreads had listed for this one. Going into it I expected a lot of sci-fi and mystery, and while I got that while reading it, I also saw tropes and elements consistent with fantasy and urban fantasy.  Basically, I think Titanshade encompasses all of these genres and if you like mysteries and are looking at venturing into more sci-fi, like me, then definitely look no further.

Carter is a homicide cop in Titanshade, a strange town surviving on the oil industry.  Once night Carter receives information that a Squib diplomat has been killed and there are some possible compromising circumstances making the murder that much more messier.  Seems the squibs were looking at a new way to stoke Titanshade's existence with a new fuel source.  Carter has some dark secret in his past which seriously damaged his credibility as a cop.  Because he is not supposed to be dealing with the media or politics, he is assigned a new young partner - a mollonkampi named Ajax.

Titanshade is a basically a noir tale wrapped up in political intrigue, law enforcement procedures and strange alien creatures.  However, at the heart, I found it to be a tale of redemption and trust.  Due to the incidents in Carter's past, he doesn't really trust anyone.  He initially is leery of working with Ajax, but during the course of the book, grows to realize how important a trusting partner can be.  Even though they continually ribbed each other through the book, their relationship changed and I since I know there is a second book in this series, I'm thrilled to see where it heads.  It may sound cheesy but I kind of envisioned Law & Order:SUV's Stabler and Benson.  Except one is an alien being.  Carter also has a connection to an "candy" activist (aka prostitution) and he will do everything with his power to make sure she isn't framed for a crime she didn't commit.

I also found the mystery well developed.  As it unraveled, I had some inklings what was going on but was surprised about quite a few elements at its conclusion.  And did I mention how action-packed the ending is?  It's perfect for people who want to excitement and high energy in their books.  My only complaint is that I felt there could have been a little more detail on what happened after the mystery was solved.  However, maybe that's coming in book two.

So overall I really enjoyed Titanshade.  Not only was it a great read for a sci-fi newbie like me, I also found the book to have a lot of heart.  If you've considered giving this one a go in the past, then I'd say go for it!

RATING: 4 PAWS