Sunday, May 31, 2020

Sister Dear Blog Tour

TITLE: Sister Dear
AUTHOR: Hanna Mary McKinnon


Beauty. Wealth. Success. 

She’s got it all. 

And it all should’ve been mine. 

When Eleanor Hardwicke’s beloved father dies, her world is further shattered by a gut-wrenching secret: the man she’s grieving isn’t really her dad. Eleanor was the product of an affair and her biological father is still out there, living blissfully with the family he chose. With her personal life spiraling, a desperate Eleanor seeks him out, leading her to uncover another branch on her family tree—an infuriatingly enviable half sister. 

Perfectly perfect Victoria has everything Eleanor could ever dream of. Loving childhood, luxury home, devoted husband. All of it stolen from Eleanor, who plans to take it back. After all, good sisters are supposed to share. And quiet little Eleanor has been waiting far too long for her turn to play. 

I'll be honest, for a while in the beginning, I was questioning how Dear Sister was classified as a thriller.  I found it a solid story but a tad slow-paced.  However, the ending!  I've read a lot of thrillers this year and love to theorize about what is going on and this is one ending I never saw coming at all. 

The book is told from Eleanor Hardwicke's perspective.  Early on we see her father, whom she dearly loves, pass away.  Because of the circumstances around the death, Eleanor is particularly hard on herself.  In addition, while on his deathbed, Eleanor overhears a horrible secret between her father and mother - she is the product of an affair and the man she loves more than the world itself isn't her biological father.  After this occurs, we then begin to learn a lot about Eleanor including that she has never been accepted,and one might say even liked, by her mother and sister and that she has extremely low self esteem.  We also see Eleanor start to grapple about what to do with her new knowledge, contact her father or leave him alone.  However, her desire for a family wins.

I have to say that I went through ups and downs with the majority of the characters. At times I found Elearnor endearing and I was really cheering her on, and during other times I thought she was acting psychologically unhinged.  One this is for sure, Eleanor's mother and biological father are both despicable people and I can totally see why they hooked up.  They had to see themselves in each other.

I have to admit that I actually liked Victoria a tad bit more.  She didn't initially come across as the spoiled brat that she should have been given her upbringing and I desperately hoped for a happy ending for her and her half sister.

But as I eluded, this is a thriller so you'll just have to pick it up to see if I my wish came true.

Many thanks to the author and publisher for my review copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hannah Mary McKinnon was born in the UK, grew up in Switzerland and moved to Canada in 2010. After a successful career in recruitment, she quit the corporate world in favor of writing, and is now the author of The Neighbors and Her Secret Son. She lives in Oakville, Ontario, with her husband and three sons, and is delighted by her twenty-second commute.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Flame Tree Press Blog Tour - Until Summer Comes Around

When Anne Cater from Random Things Tours reached out to me about this book, I thought it sounded like a perfect read to get ready for summer.  Man, I had no idea how perfect it was!

TITLE: Until Summer Comes Around
AUTHOR: Glenn Rolfe
PUBLISHER: Flame Tree Press


When fifteen year old Rocky Zukas meets a mysterious dark-haired girl named November, his world is forever changed. The young couple falls under the spell of summer love, but not everyone approves. November's brother, Gabriel, is the keeper of the family's secret, and big brother is always watching, growing more sinister as his bloodlust gets the best of him. Directing his attention to Rocky's family, Gabriel aims to make sure little sister knows who is in charge. 

Even when I rate a book 5/5, very rarely do I feel it was a perfect book.  And perhaps I just picked this one up at the right time, or perhaps some elements spoke to me more than they would others, but honestly, I feel Until Summer Comes Around is as close to perfect as it gets.

The story takes place in a coastal tourist town, complete with a boardwalk, arcade and carnival rides.  Each summer the town in inundated with visitors and this year, which just happens to be in the early 80's, is no different.  Rocky wants nothing more than to spend the summer getting his driver's permit and hanging out when friends and family.  But then Rocky meets November and his world stops.  Rocky is clearly headed for his first love but will this love end is tragedy?  November is vacationing with her mother and brother, Gabriel and November holds a secret of her own, one that may tear the whole town apart.

As I mentioned, this book takes place in the 80's which just happens to be near and dear to my heart.  It is complete with pop culture references such as Van Hagar (those of you that were there will understand the name) and Europe.  I also happened to love so many of the characters.  Rocky is bordering on becoming an adult but is still in the awkward teen phase.  I loved the family dynamic in the book.  Rocky's mom and dad were protective, but not smothering.  His older sister was sometimes annoying, but also was one of Rocky's closest pals.  Then you had November who wants nothing more than to have a normal summer without Gabriel ruining it for her.  Which brings me to Gabriel.  Gabriel is everything I want a monster to be.  Ugly and ruthless and not afraid to get his hands, or in this case his teeth, dirty.  There's no glamorous side to Gabriel and I'm grateful for that.

So while I kind of want to shy away from the comparison, I am going to go there.  Until Summer Comes Around has a STRONG Lost Boys vibe.  Which in the end, was fine with me.  No the story is not the same, but a lot of similar elements are there.  And for a child of the 80's who absolutely loved The Lost Boys (and yes, Keifer in all his badness was my favorite character), it's easy to see what this novel spoke to me so much.  If you are looking for a great summer horror read, look no further.  And while there is a romantic element between Rocky and November, don't let that scare you away.  It's the sweet first-love, coming-of-age kind of romance and not the insta-love, all in you face type of romance.  I will definitely be reading more from this author in the future.

Also, I have to say that even though it was already a 5/5 read for me, the author gets extra points for having Rocky listen to the Purple Rain soundtrack when his heart was breaking.  Go Prince!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Glenn Rolfe is an author/singer/songwriter from the haunted woods of New England. He has studied Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University,and continues his education in the world of horror by devouring the novels of Stephen King, Ronald Malfi, Jack Ketchum,and many others. He and his wife, Meghan, have three children, Ruby, Ramona, and Axl. He is grateful to be loved despite his weirdness. He is a Splatterpunk Award nominee and the author of The Window, Becoming, Blood and Rain, The Haunted Halls, Chasing Ghosts, Abram's Bridge, Things We Fear, Boom Town,and the collections, Slush and Land of Bones. He is hard at work on many more. Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 28, 2020

2 Bloggers 1 Book - And Then There Were None

So this month Stormi and I decided to tackle a classic. I've always wanted to read an Agatha Christie novel and I do believe the one Stormi picked is one of this author's best. So read on for my thoughts and then go check out Stormi's at Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

TITLE: And Then There Were None
AUTHOR: Agatha Christie
PUBLISHING DATE: November 6, 1939


First, there were ten—a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a little private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they're unwilling to reveal—and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. A famous nursery rhyme is framed and hung in every room of the mansion.

When they realize that murders are occurring as described in the rhyme, terror mounts. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. Who has choreographed this dastardly scheme? And who will be left to tell the tale? Only the dead are above suspicion.  

MY THOUGHTS: This mystery was just so much fun to read and I can see why so many people love it.  I thought being an older work I might find it difficult to get in to, but that wasn't the case.
As mentioned, ten individuals meet up as they have all been invited to vacation on a private island.  They have all been brought together under different pretenses but they soon discover there may be an underlying reason they were all brought together.

First of all, I do believe this is one of the first "closed-circle mysteries" and I can fully understand why it's such a classic.  One by one each person falls prey to some kind of demise, leaving the remaining individuals to try to figure out what is going on before another one bites the dust.  A storm is brewing and there is no way off the island.  As the book unfolds, the tension grows and toward the end, I couldn't wait to see how everything played out. I can't say I was ever really attached to any of the characters but it didn't matter.  They all played a part and they all served a purpose.  And at the end of the book, I couldn't have been more pleased, and I admit, somewhat shocked, at the resolution.

I can now see what people mean when other books are now compared to this classic.  And it's nice to now have my own frame of reference.  If, like me, you're one of the last people to pick this book up, then I suggest you do.  I doubt you'll be disappointed, especially if you are a mystery lover.

I also have to add a side note.  I had this book borrowed off of Hoopla but something happened and it disappeared off their site.  So that left me scrambling since none were available on Overdrive. I ended up grabbing a discounted version off of Amazon (not the one pictured above) and man, the formatting was horrible.  I don't know what was going on but it really did damper my enjoyment of the book and I found myself putting it down out of frustration and not because I didn't like the book.  My rating does not reflect this frustration because it wasn't the book's fault, but I did want to mention it because I wish I had caved and bought another edition.


Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Can't Wait Wednesday (273)

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings to spotlight highly anticipated books.  It is based on the Waiting on Wednesday meme which used to be hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

FROM GOODREADS: A young girl discovers a portal to a land filled with centaurs and unicorns in Seanan McGuire's Across the Green Grass Fields, a standalone tale in the Hugo and Nebula Award-wining Wayward Children series.

“Welcome to the Hooflands. We’re happy to have you, even if you being here means something’s coming.”

Regan loves, and is loved, though her school-friend situation has become complicated, of late.

When she suddenly finds herself thrust through a doorway that asks her to "Be Sure" before swallowing her whole, Regan must learn to live in a world filled with centaurs, kelpies, and other magical equines―a world that expects its human visitors to step up and be heroes.

But after embracing her time with the herd, Regan discovers that not all forms of heroism are equal, and not all quests are as they seem… 

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  Every year I feel like in January, Tor gives us a belated Christmas gift in the form of the next Wayward Children book.  Looks like next January will be no exception.  Although I do also think a year is just too long to wait between installments.  I love this series so much (all except for book #3 which lacked for me) and even though I'm one book behind, I'm sure I'll be caught up by January.


FROM GOODREADS: Sometimes the dogs we rescue… also rescue us.

A heart-wrenching and beautiful story perfect for dog lovers everywhere. Fans of A Dog’s Purpose, The Art of Racing in the Rain and Marley and Me will be utterly entranced by this gorgeous page-turner.

Madison knows her fourteen-year-old daughter Abbie is struggling. She wishes she could give Abbie stability, the promise of a forever home in Millbury, but she is scared to stay in one town for too long, and every day Abbie seems more anxious. Until a chance encounter with a beautiful, boisterous golden retriever puppy called Duke changes everything…

Duke bounces into the community center where Madison is working and when Abbie meets him she stops pacing the room. Duke is tugging his owner, seventy-five-year-old Arthur, along for the ride, and instantly Madison sees a way she and Arthur can help each other. She offers to train Duke so that Abbie gets to see him, and from that moment the four of them become a family.

Madison finally feels like she has a second chance at life and a reason to stay in town, but when her past catches up with her they are all at risk. Duke may have united this family, but will he be able to keep them together?

A reminder of the unbelievable bonds we form with the dogs in our lives. No matter how broken you are, the unconditional love of a dog can piece you back together. 

WHY CASSIUS CAN'T WAIT:  I love my Gpa so much (actually he's my great-Gpa but don't tell him) and I think it's cool that Madison and Abbie sort of create a new family wit Arthur and Duke.  And yes, I do agree dogs and humans often rescue each other. 


Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - Books Apparently a Pandemic Couldn't Convince Me to Read

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 best/favorite opening lines and honestly, I don't really track that kind of thing very well.  So I'm giving you a different list.  When everything started to shut down, I had a ton of library books out.  My libraries have waived overdue fees and are yet to reopen.  I thought I'd manage to get so many of them read before I had to return them, but alas, apparently even a pandemic couldn't convince me to pick them up this time around. 






So are they any here you recommend I try to squeeze in before I return them.  At this point I'm seriously considering a clean library slate when they reopen.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

What's Happening (05-24-20)...

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. 

I hate to say this but I feel like all the weeks are running together.  I'm still working part-time and all is fine but I'll admit I'm ready to dive back in. Also, even though we've always pretty much been homebodies, it's sad to see event after event canceled daily.  That doesn't mean I think it's a bad idea, I don't. It's just sad.  I've also had an allergy attack and have an itchy, scratchy throat and runny eyes.  Gee, you'd think with all this isolation that should have skipped me this year.

A lot of time must have been spent in front of Netflix this week when I think back to what I watched.  I finished up Dead to Me and thank heavens it ended strongly.  On another note though, they better freakin' renew it.  I also watched all 10 episodes of a new show called Sweet Magnolias.  It's a tad cheesy and plays like something that should be on Lifetime or Hallmark but on the whole it was entertaining and I enjoyed it.  It's based on a book series by Sherryl Woods if anyone reads them (not something I'd usually pick up though).  However, it actually had THREE cliffhangers when it ended which should be illegal.  If they don't renew it, I might riot just because I need to know.  

I got to participate in a few blog tours this week and now I really want to finish three books before the month is out.  I must stay focused!  I'm about 50% done with The Secret of Bones and would have had it finished if I didn't need to put it down to read other things.  I've barely started Sister Dear or Until Summer Comes Around but I think they will both be strong hits.

I also snagged a few review books which I'm thrilled to read.  Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers!

So I hope you all are doing fine.  Are you watching or reading anything good.  

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Random Things Tours - (S)witchboard

TITLE: (S)witchboard
AUTHOR: Andrew Post
PUBLISHER: JournalStone
PUBLISHING DATE: February 28, 2020


After two raids turn up zero evidence, narcotics detective Dwayne Spare infiltrates a crumbling apartment building where the suspected manufacturer of krokodil is hiding -- and finds something much worse. The chemist Gerald Metzger isn't after money, he's lulling his most 'dedicated' customers into catatonia to make contact with an eldritch being.

When Dwayne's cover is blown, he becomes Metzger's new test subject, an involuntary pilgrim into a world where "it's all just in your head" is far from a reassuring statement.  

MY THOUGHTS: I almost don't know where to start with this review and I'll be honest, I'm going to keep my summary pretty vague because I'm afraid I'll end up rambling and give too much away.  Suffice to say, Andrew Post can certainly write some pretty messed up plots and I love them! 

Dwayne Spare is a cop who has spent quite a bit of time chasing Gerald Metzger, a krokodil dealer.  He ends up going undercover as one final hail mary to apprehend Metzger and gets more than he bargained for.  Dwayne is in for the "trip" of his life.  Dwayne's stay in the rundown apartment complex is best compared to some sort of limbo and honestly, I'm not sure how Post came up with everything.

So I jumped at the chance to be on this tour because the Post's Chop Shop was one of my favorite reads of last year.  Needless to say, the author writes dark, gritty characters and horrible desolate scenarios and I have a feeling people will either love or hate his tales.  Post does not really offer any morally grey characters in (S)witchboard as the people here are pretty much bad and worse.  However, I did find myself cheering on Dwayne and also felt a connection to another one of Metzger's employees, Connie. 

So from now Andrew Post is an auto-read for me.  I can't wait to see what twisted tale he shares with his readers next.  If this sounds like something you'd like, then I'd say take a chance.  You might be pleasantly surprised.

And by the way, if you haven't heard of krokodil, look it up.  It's a truly terrifying drug.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Andrew Post was born in Erie, Pennsylvania (imagine Eraserhead but in color). While he was honing his craft as a writer (those early stories were awful) he worked in a gift shop in one of the scuzziest hotels in the Midwest, he cleaned rental cars (also gross), he was a butcher (despite being a vegetarian), and in 2013 his first novel, the cyberpunk thriller, Knuckleduster, was published. No one really seemed to care much but he kept at it and has since published a handful of other works to varying degrees of resulting public interest with a few seeing translations and one almost became a movie (that lit agent has since been fired).

Andrew lives in a sleepy river town in Minnesota where he may or may not be planning aquatic "accidents" to befall the many other authors who live in the area and he has been mistaken for Rob Zombie on no less than ten separate occasions.
Twitter @MegaDeluxo

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Can't Wait Wednesday (272)

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: Michelle and Cliff Stage bought their isolated vacation cabin in the mountains of North Carolina with hopes of repairing their eighteen-year marriage. But when Cliff disappears one night searching for the source of a mysterious light in the woods, Michelle's life will change in unimaginable ways. After the sheriff's department fails to find him, Michelle scrambles down the same dark mountainside alone, the strange, beckoning light her only guide.

What she discovers is a cabin, identical to theirs, housing a life she barely recognizes--and a husband she hardly knows. Cliff is a changed man. Now caring and considerate, no longer a manipulative womanizer, he is also missing a finger. He claims that Cassie, their teenage daughter, is dead, killed in a car accident over a year ago. Michelle knows that's not possible--Cassie had phoned her from Atlanta only hours before. Even when shown Cassie's grave, Michelle refuses to accept she's gone.

Michelle wants her daughter and her life back, and the only clue to what has happened is a man named Pink. A real estate agent and the man who years earlier built Michelle and Cliff's cabin, Pink was rumored to have killed his wife and buried her on the property then vanished never to be seen again. But in Michelle's new reality, Pink and his wife still reside in town and Pink's smile-splashed billboards are everywhere. To get back to the world where her daughter exists, Michelle must unravel the mystery of Pink while questioning her very reality--and her sanity. Haunting, atmospheric, and deeply thought-provoking, The Cabin on Souder Hill questions the very nature of our existence and the choices we make to form it. 

WHY I CAN'T WAIT: This sounds just like the odd little read I always love to get my hands on.  I want to know about  this identical cabin and the man named Pink.  


FROM GOODREADS: The holidays are swiftly approaching when the Goss family suddenly faces a life-or-death crisis. Setting their differences aside to come together to weather the storm is easier said than done, and the last thing the family needs right now is to add a little lost puppy into mix.

Sometimes, though, the most priceless holiday gifts are the unexpected. And the key to setting things right might just come in the smallest, scrappiest of packages.

A Dog’s Perfect Christmas is a poignant, uplifting Yuletide tale of family members, both two-legged and four-legged, and the ties that bind even when modern life seems determined to pull them apart. This charming tale will make you cry, make you laugh, and open your heart to the true meaning of the holiday season.

WHY CASSIUS CAN'T WAIT:  Last year I got the gift that keeps on giving.  I want to see what happens to the Goss family when the same thing happens to them.  Also, I usually don't wish time away but I'm all for speeding Christmas up if it means the world can get some sort of normalcy back (Look Apollo, I used a new word!)


This Is How I Lied Blog Tour

TITLE: This Is How I Lied
AUTHOR: Heather Gudenkauf


Twenty-five years ago, the body of sixteen-year-old Eve Knox was found in the caves near her home in small-town Grotto, Iowa—discovered by her best friend, Maggie, and her sister, Nola. There were a handful of suspects, including her boyfriend, Nick, but without sufficient evidence the case ultimately went cold. 

 For decades Maggie was haunted by Eve’s death and that horrible night. Now a detective in Grotto, and seven months pregnant, she is thrust back into the past when a new piece of evidence surfaces and the case is reopened. As Maggie investigates and reexamines the clues, secrets about what really happened begin to emerge. But someone in town knows more than they’re letting on, and they’ll stop at nothing to keep the truth buried deep.

Wow!  I almost don't know how I can even do this book justice. That's just how much I loved it.  All I can say is that I can easily see it making my favorite books of the year list in December. 

As the synopsis says, twenty-five years ago Maggie Kennedy-O'Keefe's best friend Eve Know was found dead in a cave near her home.  No one, including Maggie's father who was the police chief at the time, was able to determine who had murdered Eve.  Enter present day where Maggie is now a detective for the same force her father once worked.  She is happily married and about to give birth to a much tried for daughter when new evidence about Eve's death surfaces.  Maggie is assigned to the case and is determined to once and for all put to rest her friend.  However, is she prepared for what she will discover?

The story is told in alternating timelines and from the perspective of Maggie as well as Eve's sister, Nola and even Eve herself.  Through their narratives, the reader sees what happened leading up to Eve's death and learns that there were quite a few suspects who may have gotten away with murder.  I personally love dual timelines so immediately Gudenkauf drew me in.  Slowly the reader is introduced to more Grotto residents.  We meet Maggie's father who is suffering from dementia as well as her artistic brother who has moved back home to care for him.  Nick is Eve's high school boyfriend and is truly unlikable from the beginning.  Maggie's husband Shaun is trying to be supportive of his wife, but doesn't understand why she wants to take on such a high pressure case eight months into her pregnancy.  And finally there is Eve's sister Nola.  Nola is one strange individual.  From the beginning we learn that she had a troubled childhood and has a concerning fascination with body parts, both animal and human, and how they work.  Nola is now an adult veterinarian and one has to wonder if she entered the profession because she wanted to help animals, or cut them up.

Needless to say, there's so much to love about This Is How I Lied.  Just when I thought I knew where the plot was headed, the author would methodically throw in another twist or turn.  I really grew to care about Maggie and her family and also really wanted justice for Eve.  I found myself growing increasing worried about Nola and her possible role in her sister's murder, and while I wouldn't necessarily call her a morally grey character, even though I didn't like her, I didn't fully dislike her as well. 

If you are looking for a great thriller to escape in then I highly recommend This Is How I Lied.  I will definitely be seeking out more works by this author and am pleased to find a new favorite thriller I can recommend to everyone.

I received a copy of this book from Harlequin Trade Publishing in exchange for an honest review. 


ANIMAL TRIGGER WARNING:  I won't go as far as saying there is animal abuse in this novel but there were some animal-related scenes which made me very uncomfortable. Just be forewarned and you should be okay. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Heather Gudenkauf is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of many books, including The Weight of Silence and These Things Hidden. Heather graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in elementary education, has spent her career working with students of all ages. She lives in Iowa with her husband, three children, and a very spoiled German Shorthaired Pointer named Lolo. In her free time, Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, hiking, and running. 

Monday, May 18, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - Reasons Why I Love Reading

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 is kind of a "This Is Why I Love Freebie."  I tossed about a few ideas but finally decided to just share with you reasons I love reading. I mean, besides the pups, that's why we're here right?

1.  I grew up an only child living in the country.  I was also your typical latch-key kid.  Reading was a great way to pass the time.  Might I also add that we didn't even have cable until I was a mid-teen.

2.  I love losing myself in fantastical worlds which only exist in the minds of authors and readers.

3.  I absolutely love the feeling of a book in my hand (you totally get this right)?

4.  I still feel that books are fairly inexpensive on the whole.  Especially when you can factor in sales, used books, and kindle freebies.  A good video game is almost $75.00 now.  Do you know how many books I can buy with $75.00?

5.  I love that I've made some wonderful friends though reading.  I could name a whole bunch of you and you are all so great.  I even recently had a blogger all the way across the globe reach out to me to see if I was handling the pandemic okay and offering to listen if needed.  (Thank you Verushka).  Book people are great right?

6. I love getting lost in libraries.

7.  I love the euphoria of visiting a bookstore (oh how I want to visit a bookstore soon).

8.  I love that through reading I have been able to interact with some authors, have some of them visit my blog, and have even had some of them send me their books for review.  Who would have ever thought huh?

So there you have it.  I want to issue a heartfelt thanks to all the blogging and booktube community.  We are going through something a lot of never thought we'd see in our lifetime and I think the escape, friendship and support we continually provide each other is a tremendous blessing.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

What's Happening (05-17-20)...

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 this post is going up later than usual but I refuse to skip another week so I'm throwing something together.  It's been a pretty uneventful week at The Farm, which is good because it beats the alternative.  Saturday was Booker T's birthday and I think we were all feeling it though.  Apollo and Cass are doing fine and Apollo is going through a tall-growth spurt.  I know, pictures right?

We watched some more Shameless and are up to Season 7.  I also started watching Season 2 of Dead to Me which I am enjoying.  I do have to admit I liked the first one better though. We watched a horror movie called Dreamkatcher which was actually good so I would recommend it if you get a chance (it's not the Stephen King one).  I also am completely caught up on Riverdale.  It was an interesting year with that one but I have to admit, I hate that we had to miss the last three episodes.

I've been working part-time still which is good.  I have also been reading some and here are the two books I'm focusing in right now. (S)Witchboard on the surface doesn't seem like something I picked up but the author's Chop Shop was one of my favorite reads last year so I couldn't resist this one.  And as to be expected, I'm loving The Secret of Bones.  Of course Cass knows the REAL secret of bones - they are better off in his tummy (Milkbones of course!) 

So Amazon had a huge choice of freebies of Scooby Doo comics this weekend and I think I grabbed WAY to many.  If you love comics and Scooby, then I suggest you see if they're still free.

And finally some more review books. Seems like Netgalley has been having so many more books posted since COVID-19.  Or is it just me?  You can click on the link and it should direct you to Goodreads.  

So there you have it.  Hope you all are doing great!

Thursday, May 14, 2020

2 Bloggers 1 Series - Soulless

So I'm thrilled to say that Stormi and I finally broke down and decided on a new series to buddy read.  Longmire just wasn't cutting it so when Stormi recommended this new one, I jumped on it as it's been one I've wanted to read for a long time.  And it's a testament to a good decision because normally it was taking us all month to get through the Longmire books because we didn't really want to read them.  Both of us managed to read this first book in the first week - and I'm pretty sure we both enjoyed it.  So read on for my thoughts and then make sure you visit Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

TITLE: Soulless (Parasol Protectorate #1)
AUTHOR: Gail Carriger
PUBLISHING DATE: October 1, 2009


Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations.

First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette. 

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire--and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate. With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? 

Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

Wow did I really enjoy this book.  In fact, so much appealed to me that I really don't know where to start. 

First of all we have the setting.  I love the London backdrop and the slight changes which Carriger has made to history and society - mainly in the form of supernatural beings which I consider a win-win all around.  Next we have the characters, which I'll get further into later.  And lastly, we have a pretty decent mystery.

The book starts off with a bang with Alexia Tarabotti, one of our MCs, is at a luncheon and is forced to kill a rove vampire who is trying to make her brunch. Soon afterwards, it  is discovered that the lone wolves and vampires are suddenly going missing and Lord Maccon, who runs the BUR (the Bureau of Unnatural Registry) is trying to find out what is happening.  Alexia loves to butt in where she isn't really involved so she also takes it upon herself to try and figure out what is going on. 

I have to admit that the characters are what sealed my love for this book.  In her mid-twenties, Alexia is already considered a spinster.  And the fact isn't helped much by the way her mother and step-father treat her.  Everyone has all but given up on her.  However, Alexia's problems run deeper than that.  She is has no soul which means her physical contact with any supernatural being renders their abilities moot.  For example, a vampire loses his fangs and a werewolf is transformed back into their human form.  All for as long as Alexia is touching them.  Then you have Lord Maccon.  He and Alexia have crossed paths many times and while on the surface it seems they can't stand each other, the reader is soon clued in differently.  There's also a cast of side characters who are almost as interesting.  One of my favorites is Lord Akeldema, a flamboyant vamp who is one of Alexia's closest friends.  There is also Ivy Hisselpenny who is almost always described by the ugly bonnet on her head.

Needless to say this book has action, mystery and sexual tension galore.  There were times I wanted to smack Alexia, but was then touched by how vulnerable she could be when it comes to matters of the heart.  It also has it's fair share of supernatural creatures, both new and old.  I was struck by the similarities between this and the Veronica Speedwell series.  There were some of the same elements but with a different cast of characters.  Well, that and all of Veronica's villains have at least been human.  If you love urban fantasy, supernatural creatures, wonderful banter and a solid cast, then don't wait any longer to pick this book up!