Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Can't Wait Wednesday (291)


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: Double double, twins spell trouble…

Hunter and Mercy Goode are twin witches, direct descendants of the founder of their town of Goodeville. As their ancestors have done before them, it is now time for the twins to learn what it means to be Gatekeepers–the protectors of the Gates to different underworlds, ancient portals between their world and realms where mythology rules and nightmares come to life.

When their mother becomes the first victim in a string of murders, the devastated sisters vow to avenge her death. But it will take more than magic to rein in the ancient mythological monsters who’ve infected their peaceful town.

Now Hunter and Mercy must come together and accept their destiny or risk being separated for good. 

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  While I wish this was an adult title, I am a sucker for witches and the mention of Salem.  I've read some things by this mother/daughter duo and had some good luck although it's been a while.  Hope this one is good.  I love the cover as well.


FROM GOODREADS: A depressed donkey arrives at Runaway Farm in time for Christmas … and a new murder.

Stray rescue animals are business as usual for hobby farmer and innkeeper, Ivy Galloway, and sheepdog, Keats. Misfits blend seamlessly into the menagerie and the more the merrier. At least, most of the time.

When a mouthy, grieving donkey demands room at the inn right before Christmas, however, Ivy bites off more than she can chew. Who knew a donkey with the blues could pose such a threat to guests seeking a festive escape in sweet Clover Grove?

Someone isn’t going to live to see Christmas, unfortunately, and Ivy will need to rely on Keats and the rest of the crime-solving crew to work quickly if there’s any hope of making her first country yuletide bright. Not to mention making it out alive. 

Can they show this sad donkey the true meaning of Christmas while taking down a killer?

WHY CASSIUS CAN'T WAIT:  Mom doesn't know it but I'm already planning her Christmas reading.  I think all this horror will have run its course with both me and Apollo by the time October is older. She will have to read the first 5 in this series but I'm okay with that.  I mean, look at that cover!


Monday, September 28, 2020

Orenda Book Tour - A Song of Isolation


TITLE: A Song of Isolation
AUTHOR: Michael J. Malone
PUBLISHER: Orenda Books
PUBLISHING DATE: September 17, 2020


Film star Amelie Hart is the darling of the silver screen, appearing on the front pages of every newspaper. But at the peak of her fame she throws it all away for a regular guy with an ordinary job. The gossip columns are aghast: what happened to the woman who turned heads wherever she went? 
Any hope the furore will die down are crushed when Amelie’s boyfriend Dave is arrested on charges of child sexual abuse. Dave strongly asserts his innocence, and when Amelie refuses to denounce him, the press furore quickly turns into physical violence, and she has to flee the country. 
While Dave is locked up with the most depraved men in the country and Amelie is hiding on the continent, Damaris, the victim at the centre of the story, is also isolated – a child trying to make sense of an adult world… 

A Song of Isolation is a hard hitting novel with child sexual assault at its center.  So if this is a trigger for you, you might want to pass, but honestly, Malone does a wonderful job at addressing such a heavy topic and despite the subject matter, I thoroughly enjoyed the book.  Malone divides the novel into three POVs - Amelie, a once famous who is supporting her boyfriend despite such horrific allegation, Dave, the accused, who is now locked up and Demaris, the child victim.  I always enjoy multiple POVs in a book so I was thrilled to see this technique used to show the reader what each major character was experiencing.  What's even better is that we get to see Demaris grow from a young girl to a teen and see how such trauma plays into the woman she is about to become.

A Song of Isolation kept me guessing because it isn't immediately clear if Dave is actually the monster people believe.  I also really liked Amelie and it was interesting to see how she stood by Dave despite the allegations.  Having worked with child abuse allegations in the past, and with my husband currently a counseling in a local prison, I was able to easily connect with subject matter and how each character was being impacted.  Malone also did an impeccable job delving into the relationship between Dave and his cellmate Angus. 

If you are looking for an intense mystery with well developed characters and a carefully thought out plot, then look no further.  I will definitely keep my eyes open for more Malone novels in the future!

RATING: 4 paws

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and the critically acclaimed House of Spines, After He Died and In the Absence of Miracles soon followed suit. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller. Michael lives in Ayr.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

What's Happening (09-26-20) - Whew, It's Been a Month!


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

Man, it's been a while since I've done an update and all I can say is that life's been throwing me for a curve.  I've missed doing these posts and hopefully I can get back on track.  Let's start with a few life updates:

  • Gpa is doing fine but getting him linked with some VA services has been a task.  He's had to see 5 different specialists and social workers in his home as since he doesn't always understand them the best, someone else, usually me, has to be present.  At least until things get going.  Thus my weekly trips to his house have turned into two and sometimes three a week.
  • I'm still only working part-time which is killing me.  I've worked full-time for the past 25 years and while I certainly understand the precautions and how serious COVID-19 is, I need to get back to work and on a regular schedule.
  • I had my truck battery and the dryer all die on the same day.  Both were quickly resolved but I didn't want to buy a new dryer so it took a week or so to find a good deal on a used one.
  • If you saw over on Twitter, Apollo continues to be out to get me.  First, he had a lump in his private area which we were worried about for several weeks.  However, our vet has assured us it's part of his development and we have nothing to worry about.  THEN, earlier this week, he walked in the house from a 5 minute yard break and plopped a hunk of rat poison out of his mouth.  We had to put some underneath our shed because the neighbors live like animals and all we can figure it something drug it out.  A half a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, a lot of puke, no signs of green poison, and a quick call to the vet later and it was determined he just carried it in.  It was enough to send me into an anxiety attack for the rest of the day.
Now on to what I've been watching.  Lack of movie releases in theaters has meant there's not much to stream.  We did watch and enjoy Antebellum but I figured out the "shocking ending" early on so I wasn't so shocked.  I binge watched 2 seasons of Scream (the series) on Netflix and was surprised at how entertaining the whole thing was.  We have also went back and watched some of our favorite older horror movies since it is the spooky season.

I've been reading a lot, when not running and having heart attacks, but this is my primary focus this weekend.  

I also received some awesome looking books for review!

So I hope you all are doing okay and staying safe and thanks for hanging in there with me!

Also, new blogger sucks!

Friday, September 25, 2020

I Think We're Having An Identity Crisis - When No One is Watching Review


TITLE: When No One is Watching
AUTHOR: Alyssa Cole
PUBLISHER: William Morrow Paperback
PUBLISHING DATE: September 1, 2020


Rear Window meets Get Out in this gripping thriller from a critically acclaimed and New York Times Notable author, in which the gentrification of a Brooklyn neighborhood takes on a sinister new meaning… 
Sydney Green is Brooklyn born and raised, but her beloved neighborhood seems to change every time she blinks. Condos are sprouting like weeds, FOR SALE signs are popping up overnight, and the neighbors she’s known all her life are disappearing. To hold onto her community’s past and present, Sydney channels her frustration into a walking tour and finds an unlikely and unwanted assistant in one of the new arrivals to the block—her neighbor Theo. 
But Sydney and Theo’s deep dive into history quickly becomes a dizzying descent into paranoia and fear. Their neighbors may not have moved to the suburbs after all, and the push to revitalize the community may be more deadly than advertised. 
When does coincidence become conspiracy? Where do people go when gentrification pushes them out? Can Sydney and Theo trust each other—or themselves—long enough to find out before they too disappear? 

So it's never a good sign when I don't know exactly how to start a review.  Thus is the case with When No One is Watching.  This new novel by Alyssa Cole, a famous romance author, is being marketed as a thriller.  In fact, it even says so on the cover right there in the door frame.  However, what I discovered was more like a book that doesn't really fit any genre really well and instead in a mashup of several.

Sydney Green is living in her childhood home after fleeing a bad marriage in Washington.  Her mother has been very ill and is being taken care of in a long term assisted living facility.  Sydney works in the office of a local school but it is summer which means she has a lot of time on her hands.  Her best friend, Drea, also lives upstairs in the family brownstone.  Sydney is quickly watching her neighborhood change around her.  A lot of her neighbors are mysteriously moving out in in their place are snooty Whites who are hoping to capitalize and "rebuild" the area since a new pharmaceutical company is planning on locating to the area.  

What the reader ends up seeing is white privilege rearing its ugly head and many of Sydney's friends are being taken advantage of in various ways.  As Sydney starts to really question what is going on, she becomes friends with one of the new neighbors, Theo. Theo and his girlfriend recently bought the house across the street and even though they are on the rocks, they still share their fixer upper.  Theo starts watching Sydney and is more than infatuated with and meets her one day when his bitch of a girlfriend cuts in front of her at the local bodega, and then acts as if Sydney has threatened her life when all she had done is committed the horrible "crime" of being Black.  

The rest of the novel unfolds as so much happens that it's hard to keep up.  It's clear that Cole has years of experience writing romance because the first half of the book seems like a contemporary romance tale, albeit a heavy-hitting one.  However, remember, this is a thriller.  So we are also introduced to horrible secrets of Sydney and Theo, bedbugs, dead bodies in the community garden, a pharmaceutical takeover and illegal experiments surrounding opiate addition.  And that's not all.  We have a riot, underground tunnels, murder, cover ups and crooked cops.  And LOTS of privileged white people.

I really wanted to enjoy this book more than I did.  And being honest, I feel Cole hit on a lot of topics which are very pertinent in today's climate.  I respect that she decided to tackle them and enjoyed learning about Brooklyn's slavery history.  I'm aware she did a lot of research for this novel and it shows in some areas.  I just kind of feel like in other areas, it tried to tackle too much and didn't really succeed.  

In all honestly, I could easily give this book 2/3 paws.  However, I can't overlook the entertainment value it had, if for no other reason than to see what was going to happen next.  I don't know that I can really recommend this book but if anything I've mentioned interests you or makes you curious, then hey, pick it up.


Thursday, September 24, 2020

2 Bloggers 1 Book - Night of the Mannequins


This month Stormi and I chose a horror novella to buddy read.  I was excited for it and she was hesitant.  Needless to say, I think we were both disappointed which is not a popular opinion where this book is concerned.  So read on for my thoughts and then head to  Stormi's at Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! to see her opinion! 

TITLE: Night of the Mannequins
AUTHOR: Stephen Graham Jones
PUBLISHING DATE: September 1, 2020


Stephen Graham Jones returns with Night of the Mannequins, a contemporary horror story where a teen prank goes very wrong and all hell breaks loose: is there a supernatural cause, a psychopath on the loose, or both?

A few years ago Sawyer and his friends found a discarded mannequin and spent the summer pulling pranks on the residents of their town.  Now they are all seniors and Sawyer had a grand idea to pull one final prank on a member of their crew who has to work the summer at a local movie theater due to another prank gone wrong at her home.  However, before the night is over, Sawyer sees the mannequin get up and walk out the theater on his own.  What follows is something Sawyer and his friends will never forget.

I had high hopes for this book, especially after loving The Only Good Indians earlier this summer. And maybe it would have worked for me if it had been longer and more fleshed out.  However, on the other hand, it might not have.  Early on I had a suspicion what was going on so the ending wasn't a big buildup for me.  In addition, I basic plot of the book, once I figured it out, wasn't what I wanted to read about when I was excited about this novella.  I'm trying not to give anything away but if you've read Night of the Mannequins, you will fully understand.   

I will continue to read future works by Stephen Graham Jones because basically I have one book by him I basically loved and one I felt differently about.  So on the whole, the verdict is still out.  I wish I had loved this one as well but it just wasn't meant to be.  If you are looking for a quick horror read, plenty of people have fallen in love with this one so don't my opinion stop you from picking it up.  I would love to know your thoughts as well.


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Can't Wait Wednesday (290)


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: Ava, 14 years old and totally on her own, has still not fully processed her mother’s death when she finds herself on a train heading to New Orleans, going to stay with Lane, her grandmother whom she’s never met.

Lane is a well-known artist in the New Orleans art scene. She spends most of her days in a pot-smoke haze, sipping iced coffee, and working on the mural that has been her singular focus for years. Her grip on reality is shaky at best, but her work provides a comfort.

Ava’s arrival unsettles Lane. The girl bears an uncanny resemblance to her daughter, whom she was estranged from before her death. Now her presence is dredging up painful and disturbing memories, which forces Lane to retreat even further into her own mind. Ava, meanwhile, is entranced and frightened by her grandmother. She wants to be included in her eccentric life, but can’t quite navigate Lane’s tempestuous moods.

Attempting to keep the peace is Oliver, Lane’s assistant and confidant. As this unlikely trio attempts to find their way and form a bond, the oppressive heat and history of New Orleans bears down on them, forcing them to a reckoning none of them is ready for. 

WHY I CAN'T WAIT: I've been reading some good thrillers this year and I love the New Orleans setting on this one.  Lane sounds like quite a character!


Bertie the pug had an unlucky start in life.

Diagnosed with hemivertebrae and unable to walk, his owner decided to open up a dog-friendly cafe where he could meet friends and have fun.

The Pug Cafe quickly became a very special place for all dog owners to meet and have a drink.

But when the cafe faced closure, it was brave Bertie the pug and his friends who came to the rescue.

Inspired by true events, Happy Days at the Pug Cafe tells the heartwarming story of one little pug and his beloved cafe.

Help yourself to a Puguccino, put up your paws and get your nose into the heartwarming tale of Bertie and friends.

WHY CASS CAN'T WAIT: I think Mom needs to read this one and that cover would make anyone smile!!!



Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - Books On My Fall TBR


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

I'm all the time doing TBR's although I will admit I haven't posted many this year.  So instead I'm sharing books which are on my TBR because of Mogsy from The BiblioSanctum.

So the only one I've read yet is White Elephant which I loved.  If you are following this awesome blog you need to that way your TBR can grow out of control as well.

Making this post I have decided to slot one of these books for November - any guesses?

2 Bloggers 1 Series - Timeless


Stormi and I did it.  We finished another series!   I'm just going to warn you that there will probably be some spoilers here.  There are just some things that I need to mention.  I will try to warn you though.  So read on for my thoughts and then make sure you visit Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

And stay tuned because in October we'll be starting another thrilling series we both have been wanting to knock of our lists!

TITLE: Timeless (Parasol Protectorate #5)
AUTHOR: Gail Carriger
PUBLISHING DATE: March 1, 2012


Alexia Tarabotti, Lady Maccon, has settled into domestic bliss. Of course, being Alexia, such bliss involves integrating werewolves into London High society, living in a vampire's second best closet, and coping with a precocious toddler who is prone to turning supernatural willy-nilly. Even Ivy Tunstell's acting troupe's latest play, disastrous to say the least, cannot put a dampener on Alexia's enjoyment of her new London lifestyle. 
Until, that is, she receives a summons from Alexandria that cannot be ignored. With husband, child and Tunstells in tow, Alexia boards a steamer to cross the Mediterranean. But Egypt may hold more mysteries than even the indomitable Lady Maccon can handle. What does the vampire Queen of the Alexandria Hive really want from her? Why is the God-Breaker Plague suddenly expanding? And how has Ivy Tunstell suddenly become the most popular actress in all the British Empire?

MY THOUGHTS: I read this early on in the month so I'm hoping I can put together an coherent review.  In our final book, Alexia and Lor Maccon are headed to Egypt.  They are trying to uncover the secret about the God-Breaker Plague and hopefully keep it from spreading more.  All of our favorite characters are present such as Ivy, Lord Akeldama, Professor Lyall, Biffy, Floote and Lefoux.  All of them play very importantly into either the main plot of the book or some side plots and it was nice to get once last visit with many of them.

Without giving much more away, I will just say that this book was full of the normal shenanigans and lots of chaos and action. Once again Alexia finds herself in quite a few predicaments which are usually good for a chuckle or two.  Overall I was pleased with how the series wrapped up and will admit I am quite interested in starting the companion series eventually.  I will say a few things happened at the end which had me shaking my head but as crazy as some parts of this series have been, I shouldn't have really been surprised.  While none of the books earned a 5/5 in my opinion, I think think the Parasol Protectorate series is a great one for all lovers of steampunk and urban fantasy.


Monday, September 21, 2020

The Seven Doors Blog Tour


TITLE: The Seven Doors
AUTHOR: Agnes Ravatn
PUBLISHER: Orenda Books
PUBLISHING DATE: September 17, 2020

SYNOPSIS: University professor Nina is at a turning point. Her work seems increasingly irrelevant, her doctor husband is never home, relations with her adult daughter Ingeborg are strained, and their beautiful house is scheduled for demolition. 

When Ingeborg decides to move into another house they own, things take a very dark turn. The young woman who rents it disappears, leaving behind her son, the day after Nina and Ingeborg pay her a visit. 

With few clues, the police enquiry soon grinds to a halt, but Nina has an inexplicable sense of guilt. Unable to rest, she begins her own investigation, but as she pulls on the threads of the case, it seems her discoveries may have very grave consequences for her and her family

MY THOUGHTS:  As the book begins, the reader is introduced to Nina and her husband Mads are having to move because their current home is set to be demolished due to a new rail being built.  They own another home which is being rented by another woman and her son and the day after visiting them to inquire about the residence, the resident, Mari, disappears, leaving her child behind.  What unravels is a tale which finds Nina concerned so she takes it upon herself to find out what happened to Mari.

This was a great read and it kept me captivated to the end.  While I felt Ingeborg a tad jolting, I really liked Nina and enjoyed seeing her navigate her way through figuring out Mari's disappearance.  Many of the characters in the novel are quite flawed which makes the story much more intense and believable and I will warn you, you will be introduced to some characters you may not like - I know I felt that way.  This also isn't a very action packed book but instead relies heavily on atmosphere and details so if that is something that interests you, then definitely check it out.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Agnes Ravatn (b. 1983) is a Norwegian author and columnist. She made her literary début with the novel Week 53 (Veke 53) in 2007. Since then she has written three critically acclaimed and award-winning essay collections: Standing still (Stillstand), 2011, Popular Reading (Folkelesnad), 2011, and Operation self-discipline (Operasjon sjøldisiplin), 2014. In these works, Ravatn revealed a unique, witty voice and sharp eye for human fallibility. Her second novel, The Bird Tribunal (Fugletribuanlet), was an international bestseller translated into fifteen languages, winning an English PEN Award, shortlisting for the Dublin Literary Award, a WHSmith Fresh Talent pick and a BBC Book at Bedtime. It was also made into a successful play, which premiered in Oslo in 2015. Agnes lives with her family in the Norwegian countryside.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Monsterathon Frankenbook Challenge



So Cait created a challenge where you can win free books and also earn extra terrorizing villagers points.  It sounded fun and I will link all the details HERE.  Basically you have someone pick numbers and then you create one book using 7.  I used my Goodreads "read" shelves for 2020, 2019 and 2018 and had Stormi pick numbers for me.  Let's see how this goes!

Here are the books:

HEAD - This is the MC of the book and it turns out to be Atomic Frenchie.

BODY - Basically the plot of the book.  Using When Summer Comes Around it's the 80's and Atomic Frenchie is a teen who falls in love with a girl knowing there's something odd about her - hint: she's a vampire.

ARMS - Take two books and these are Atomic Frenchie's side characters.  He is teaming up with MEG, the shark and AK4& from When We Were Vikings.

LEG - Motivation.  Based on Iron Magic, Atomic Frenchie is motivated to find a safe place for his "soldiers," the Iron Dogs.

LEG - The bad guy trying to stop Atomic Frenchie is Raymond from The Homecoming.

And finally CLOTHES or aka the cover of the book.  My book is called Gun Love.

Hope you enjoyed my very strange Frankenbook!

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Can't Wait Wednesday (289)


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:  Tess Matheson only wants three things: time to practice her cello, for her sister to be happy, and for everyone else to leave her alone.

Instead, Tess finds herself working all summer at her boarding school library, shelving books and dealing with the intolerable patrons. The worst of them is Eliot Birch: snide, privileged, and constantly requesting forbidden grimoires. After a bargain with Eliot leads to the discovery of an ancient book in the library's grimoire collection, the pair accidentally unleash a book-bound demon.

The demon will stop at nothing to stay free, manipulating ink to threaten those Tess loves and dismantling Eliot’s strange magic. Tess is plagued by terrible dreams of the devil and haunting memories of a boy who wears Eliot's face. All she knows is to stay free, the demon needs her... and he'll have her, dead or alive.

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  This one has boarding schools, ancient books and a book-bound demon.  There seems to be quite a bit of YA horror around lately so hey, I might as well give this one a chance!


There are some things in life that only a dog can teach you.

A poignant, heart-wrenching, but ultimately uplifting novel about the unbreakable bond between a boy and his dog. Perfect for fans of A Dog’s PurposeThe Art of Racing in the Rain and Marley and Me.

In the farming town of Riverside in Washington, Toby Fuller is feeling more alone than ever. Nothing Toby did was ever good enough for his father, but he never expected his father to leave, to abandon him and his mother forever. He loses hope, until a scruffy golden retriever called Buddy follows him home from school.

Though he’s struggling to walk, Buddy matches Toby step for step, never taking his eyes off him, as if Toby is all he needs in the world. And from that day on Buddy never leaves Toby’s side.

Buddy shows Toby a loyalty that he has never known. But then disaster strikes and Toby’s life is changed forever. Will Buddy be able to give Toby the strength he needs to carry on?

A tale of how unconditional love can bound into your life when you least expect it, giving you hope in the darkest of times.

WHY CASSIUS CAN'T WAIT:  I love Mom and Dad so much and I can't wait to see how much Buddy loves Toby.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - Man You're Beautiful But I Doubt I'll Ever Read You

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 a cover freebie and I'm sure we've all bought books (or added them to the TBR/wishlish) because of beautiful covers but deep down suspect we'll probably never read them.  Well, if you're like me, then this week is for you!


I'm not sure if I like reading about dragons, or like the IDEA of reading about dragons.  Either way, I do own this and yep, it was a cover grab.

So simple and yet so stunning.  

There's still hope I'll read this one because I d like the idea of a Spider King domain.

This is on my Overdrive wishlist but I couldn't even tell you what's it about if I'm being honest.

So pretty. 

I'm fairly sure this went on the wishlist because she reminded me of Stevie Nicks.

Nope, I'm never going to read it despite it being purple.

This entire series has awesome covers!  I'd love to own them all despite being hesitant to read them.

I'm pretty sure I have no interest in this book, but man, what a great cover!

Isn't this just gorgeous?

So there you have it.  You're job, if you choose to accept it, is to tell me which ones I actually need to read!