Friday, February 26, 2021

I Loved This Book!!! - Joint Custody Review

TITLE: Joint Custody
AUTHOR: Lauren Baratz-Logsted and Jackie Logsted
PUBLISHING DATE: January 5, 2021
PAGES: 256


The Man has custody Monday through Friday, The Woman has custody on the weekends. But that's not enough for Gatz, who will do anything to bring them back together--even if it kills him. And it almost did. Of course he knows chocolate is bad for him, especially two whole pounds of it, but it's the risk he's willing to take to get them back together. 
Gatz knows that The Man and The Woman are perfect for each other--how can they not see it too? She is an editor and he's a writer. She's a social butterfly and he's as introverted as a guy can get. After the misguided death-by-chocolate attempt, Gatz thinks he still has time. But when New Man--so handsome, so nice, so perfect--enters The Woman's life, he realizes he'll need to step up his game. And you know what they say: drastic times call for drastic doggy measures. 
A laugh-out-loud romance that will touch your heart and make you want a furry friend of your own.

MY THOUGHTS: This book was perfect!  Well, maybe it was just the perfect book for me but I think lots of other people will love it too.  First things first - this entire book is told from the dog's POV.  And man, Gatz is quite a dog.  From the first chapter when he overdoses on Valentine's Day candy so his parents will both be together at the vet office, to all the other antics he does throughout the book, Gatz managed to dig his way further and further into my heart as the plot progressed.  He is a energetic, intelligent and well spoken canine and not since Enzo in The Art of Racing in the Rain have I met a dog so enjoyable to read about.

So The Man and The Woman met the day Gatz is rescued and the relationship between all three ensue.  And when The Man and The Woman split up, it's up to Gatz to get them back together and makes them see the errors of their ways.  I enjoyed both characters, and I need to add we never do know their actual names, but the star of this show is Gatz.  Here are just a few parts of the book so you can get a true feeling for Gatz.

  • It all started with the chocolates.  Ah, who am I kidding?  It all nearly ended with the chocolates too.
  • It wasn't always easy, the waiting.  In fact, it was exactly as hard as Tom Petty said it was.
  • Wait.  Did he just whatever her?  Oh this was bad, very bad.
  • A man and a dog walk into a bar...It's good to have a place where everyone knows your name.  I know this for a fact, because I saw it on the TV.  
But there are some serious aspects to the book as well.  We get a good look at depression and loss.  The Man enters a deep depression when The Woman leaves him and Gatz watches him both spiral and also pull himself back up again.  

So basically, read this book.  I'm so thrilled a sequel is on the way because I need more Gatz in my life!


Thursday, February 25, 2021

Retro Horror Vol. 7 - Dog Kill


It's time again for Retro Horror!  Stormi and I plan on doing these every two months so you can expect the next one in April.  This month my pick also doubled as one off my "Read My Own Shelves" project.  Two birds with one book - gotta love that (actually no birds were harmed in the making of this post).  I had very mixed feelings about this month's book so read on and see what they are.  Then hop over to Stormi's at Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! and see what she read.

TITLE: Dog Kill
AUTHOR: Al Dempsey
PUBLISHER: Prentice-Hall
PAGES: 203
SOURCE: Personal Library


Jake was no man's best friend...A trained guard dog schooled in viciousness, the Doberman was 95 pounds of murderous muscle and fang. He'd left a trail of bloodied foes during months of aimless wandering. 
And then he'd met The Pack. He'd become their leader. They were a motley assortment--a lost Labrador, a strayed pointer, a harrier "liberated" from a laboratory, even an abandoned beagle. And one was a part-time member, a sleek boxer whose owner felt he should "sow his wild oats." He was the deadliest of them all. 
Some still lived off the leavings of man, but others had gone feral, had tasted blood and felt the frenzy of the kill. Soon they would all turn feral, and they would range for miles in the farmland and suburbs around their hidden lair. 
They would learn to kill, beginning with rabbits and then moving to ever larger game. They were a hunting pack, perhaps the most terrifying predators known to civilization.

MY THOUGHTS: So I won't lie.  With a title like Dog Kill, I knew some dogs were going to die.  I was mentally prepared for that.  What I wasn't prepared for was the amount of stupidity exhibited from the humans in the book.  

So basically the books alternates between the characters' part of the story and then the various dogs' part of the story.  We get to see how each dog came to be "wild" and living on their own.  What followed was tales of abuse, abandonment, irresponsibility, incompetence, arrogance and stupidity - do you see a theme?  The dogs start doing what feral dogs will do and killing animals and seriously, I couldn't wait to see them kill some of the stupid people.  Hmmm, there's that word again.  In the end, while I didn't hate the tale, I wasn't thoroughly impressed either and I ended up being glad it was a pretty short book.

And just to show you that I don't always pay attention to the synopsis of the books I read, there was a regal Boxer in the story named Duke.  Now Duke was a good boy, like all of other dogs in the book had they been treated right.  But he had a dumb owner who thought Duke deserved to be let out to roam sometimes and sow his oats and he believed people would be lucky to have puppies sired by his pedigreed dog.  I think he was the WORST.  No, I take that back,  He wasn't. And spoiler alert, he didn't die and I wished he had.

I will say that the author did a lot of research for the book and it showed.  He interspersed in the book a lot of commentary about the nature of canines and how humans domesticated them and how they were once wild beings.  He also spoke a lot about how many dogs are born unwanted and from carelessness and how stupid people can be.  I clearly believe he knew how stupid he made his characters and did so to prove a point so that made the book more bearable.  

So overall, if you like horror, it wasn't really scary.  And if you love dogs, it's a little heartbreaking.  But I don't regret the time spent reading it and hey, that's more than I can say about my last retro read.  But I do think it should have been titled Stupid People.


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Can't Wait Wednesday (311)


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.

October 12, 2021

FROM GOODREADS: A lush gothic fantasy about monsters and magic, set on the banks of a cursed lake. Perfect for fans of Naomi Novik and Brigid Kemmerer.

There are monsters in the world.

When Violeta Graceling arrives at haunted Lakesedge estate, she expects to find a monster. She knows the terrifying rumors about Rowan Sylvanan, who drowned his entire family when he was a boy. But neither the estate nor the monster are what they seem.

There are monsters in the woods.

As Leta falls for Rowan, she discovers he is bound to the Lord Under, the sinister death god lurking in the black waters of the lake. A creature to whom Leta is inexplicably drawn…

There’s a monster in the shadows, and now it knows my name.

Now, to save Rowan—and herself—Leta must confront the darkness in her past, including unraveling the mystery of her connection to the Lord Under.

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  This one had me at the word "Gothic."  I really need to know more about the monster which captures the MC's attention.  Plus I find the cover very atmospheric and haunting.


MAY 4, 2021

FROM GOODREASDS: Bella was once a lost dog, but now she lives happily with her people, Lucas and Olivia, only occasionally recalling the hardships in her past. Then a weekend camping trip turns into a harrowing struggle for survival when the Rocky Mountains are engulfed by the biggest wildfire in American history. The raging inferno separates Bella from her people and she is lost once more.

Alone in the wilderness, Bella unexpectedly finds herself responsible for the safety of two defenseless mountain lion cubs. Now she’s torn between two equally urgent goals. More than anything, she wants to find her way home to Lucas and Olivia, but not if it means abandoning her new family to danger. And danger abounds, from predators hunting them to the flames threatening at every turn.

Can Bella ever get back to where she truly belongs?

A Dog's Courage is a moving tale of loyalty and the constant heart of one devoted dog – brought vividly to life with a keen understanding of what makes all dogs so spe

WHY CASSIUS CAN'T WAIT:  Mom says she can't read this books because she knows she'll cry but since she just read one that made her cry, I'm not buying that excuse anymore and I'm placing this on her TBR whether she likes it or not.  Isn't Bella so cute?


Random Things Tours - When Harry Met Minnie


TITLE: When Harry Met Minnie
AUTHOR: Martha Teichner
PUBLISHER: Octopus Books
PUBLISHING DATE: February 4, 2021
PAGES: 256


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.

MY THOUGHTS: I just knew this book would make me cry and I was right.  Yet from the moment I learned of its release, I knew I had to read it despite knowing that.  And I'm so glad I did and even happier to be a part of the blog tour for its release.

Martha had always loved Bull Terriers and had owned a few, even one with the adorable name Piggy.  Shen her beloved Goose dies, she knows how lonely her remaining dog Minnie has become.  She is just at the point where she is thinking of adding a new pet to her home when by chance, or perhaps fate, she runs into an old friend.  This friend just happens to have a very good friend who is dying from cancer and she is trying to find a home for her very complicated Bull Terrier, Harry.  What begins next is a courtship between Harry and Minnie, and a friendship between Martha and Carol, Harry's owner, that only spanned a short period of time but was so large it should have lasted for decades.

I loved everything about this book.  Martha's description of her dogs, of Carol's life and apartment, and of her home, New York City, are both touching and beautiful.  Even having an idea of a lot of the ending, I still couldn't turn the pages quick enough.  Even though Harry came with quite a bit of baggage and some tremendous medical issues, I think Martha knew from the beginning she would welcome him into her family even though it took her much longer to admit it to others and even herself.

And Harry and Minnie. I couldn't read enough about them and the emails they exchanged when they were dating were something I could see myself doing for one of my beloved pets.  I mean after all, my beloved Cassius has an human girlfriend and they exchange gifts and cards quite frequently and we even call her family his in-laws.  

If you love dogs, then you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of this book. I will definitely be looking to add a physical copy to my favorite dog book shelf because I loved it that much.  Many thanks to Martha for sharing such a lovely story.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Martha Teichner has been a correspondent for “CBS Sunday Morning” since December 1993. Since joining CBS News in 1977, Teichner has earned multiple national awards for her original reporting, including 11 Emmy Awards, an Alfred I. duPont Award and five James Beard Foundation Awards. 

Martha has reported on some of the largest national and international stories of this era, including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the run-up to the war in Iraq, the death of Princess Diana and the life and death of Nelson Mandela. She’s interviewed world leaders and other newsmakers, including then-first lady Hillary Clinton. 

Now based in New York, Teichner spent more than a dozen years as a foreign correspondent covering major international news. Teichner was twice assigned to the CBS News London bureau (1980-1984, 1989-1994), covering the Northern Ireland hunger strikes, the Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, and was one of only a handful of female war correspondents. 

Teichner covered the Lebanon War, the 1st Intifada in 1988 in Israel and the West Bank, embedded with the US First Armored Division in the Persian Gulf War, covered the conflicts associated with the collapse of Yugoslavia (Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia) and spent three years in South Africa during the last years of apartheid. She reported on the fall of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe and the Romanian revolution. Teichner also spent several weeks in the Bolivian jungle covering undercover operations with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Now THOSE are Big Dogs!


TITLE: Mega-Dogs of New Kansas
AUTHOR: Dan Jolley and Jacques Khouri
PUBLISHER: Graphic Universe
PUBLISHING DATE: October 6, 2020
PAGES: 144
SOURCE: Library


The story of a girl and her dog--in space. 
Sienna Barlow loves nothing more than riding around New Kansas on top of her mega-dog, Gus. He's one of the massive pooches protecting the human settlers of a strange planet. In fact, Sienna connects better with Gus than with other kids. So when a visiting official threatens to shut down the mega-dog program, Sienna sneaks off with her best friend. After she, Gus, and a stowaway crash their escape ship, they discover a danger to every human in their community--and launch a wild plan to save New Kansas.

MY THOUGHTS: Sienna lives with her mother is space in an area known as New Kansas.  Her mother is a scientist and has created a new program to help everyone - the Mega Dogs.  Sienna loves helping with the pups and even has her own Mega-Dog, Gus.  However, when her actions are misunderstood by a new kid, the whole program and even Gus's life, is threatened by visiting officials because they are deemed dangerous.

This was a great graphic novel and I thoroughly adored it.  The artwork is a tad primitive but in my opinion, that works great for the story it tells.  It's told in primary earth tones which sets the mood for the new settlement. I also really liked Sienna.  She suffers from anxiety and has a hard time making friends which is just one of the reasons Gus is so important to her.  The overall plot teaches a few lessons along the way and I think it would be a great book for parents to read with their kids to open up various discussions.  

Overall, a fun read which would be perfect for the younger generation or anyone who just loves a tale featuring adorable and cute dogs.  


Saturday, February 20, 2021

What's Happening (02-20-21) - A Long Time Coming


So once again I'm going to try to make this a regular feature.  I got really bad about updating at the end of 2020.  Hopefully I'll get better at checking in regularly.  As always, I'm linking up with Stacking the Shelves at  Tynga's Reviews and The Sunday Post at The Caffeinated Reviewer.

So it's been about a month since I've done a life update and what can I say except life has been trying.  I can't really complain because we are all safe and healthy and even though we've had a few weeks of rough weather, it's not even close to what others have been going though.  My thoughts and prayers go out to so many people who have experience horrible things in the past month.

Also, Gpa's dementia has been getting worse and I've trying to get Stupid Uncle to step up and do something because I've been at my wit's end a few times.  I love my Gpa dearly but he's stated taking off at night and I worry about his safety.  Luckily the past few weeks have mellowed a tad.

So on to the positives!  Cass and Apollo are doing great.  Cass has been having some sensitive stomach issues but overall he's good.  He also got to see his girlfriend Emma when we walked today so that made his week. Also, the job I mentioned in my last update... I got it!  My first day is March 1st so I've been wrapping things up at my old job and will be enjoying a week's vacation this coming week before starting my next chapter.  Also, Mr. Barb got a promotion at work and is now running his own substance abuse treatment unit within the work release.  I'm so proud of him

On to reading and watching.  Movies have been scarce but we did watch Pretty Little Things with Denzel Washington.  It was decent but slower than I anticipated.  We watched the entire new The Stand limited series and I loved it!  Of course, I REALLY disliked that book and the series cut so much out of it that I am sure that's why it was such a hit for us.  However, the last episode came out of nowhere and I'm not really sure why they went in that direction unless that wanted to try to set things up for a season 2.  We also watched the new Wrong Turn which was nothing like the original and actually had a more Viking feel to it which was VERY odd.

I've been reading quite a bit and am behind on reviews.  Hope to get three dog related titles up next week to end up They Call It Puppy Love month on a high note.  Here's what I'm currently reading.  

And here are some awesome ARCS that have been sent my way.

So I hope you all are fine and I will be visiting you all lots next week.  Stay warm and safe!

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Flame Tree Press Blog Tour - The Searching Dead


TITLE: The Searching Dead
AUTHOR: Ramsey Campbell
PUBLISHER: Flame Tree Press
PUBLISHING DATE: February 16, 2021
PAGES: 256

FROM GOODREADS: 1952. On a school trip to France teenager Dominic Sheldrake begins to suspect his teacher Christian Noble has reasons to be there as secret as they're strange. Meanwhile a widowed neighbour joins a church that puts you in touch with your dead relatives, who prove much harder to get rid of. As Dominic and his friends Roberta and Jim investigate, they can’t suspect how much larger and more terrible the link between these mysteries will become. A monstrous discovery beneath a church only hints at terrors that are poised to engulf the world as the trilogy brings us to the present day…

MY THOUGHTS: Everyone who visits here regularly knows how much I love Flame Tree Press publications and honestly, I think this is just another of their releases everyone needs to add to their TBR.  Just know going into this book that it's the first one in a trilogy and I can't wait for the rest of the series to come my way.

The tale is set in Post WWII Liverpool.  The main character Dominic, is on a school trip and starts to suspect that his history teacher, Mr. Noble, has ulterior motives for being there.  Also, his neighbor is convinced that her dead husband has returned.  Dominic and his friends begin to try to piece together what is going on and figure out how it all might connect to Mr. Noble and something mysterious beneath a church.  

I'll admit that I'm having a tad time explaining this plot because I'm afraid of giving too much away. Plus, I went into this book pretty blind and based primarily on the author and having liked some of his past works.  Truthfully, I think it might work best that way.  Dominic is the star in a coming-of-age horror story and I loved traveling with him on his unknown journey.  I also loved Dominic relationship with his friends Roberta and Jim.  

If you love horror and haven't read Campbell yet, I have to ask why?  Although this one is somewhat of a slow burn, it's one I enjoyed each step of the way!  Bring on the next book!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  The Oxford Companion to English Literature describes Ramsey Campbell as “Britain’s most respected living horror writer”. He has been given more awards than any other writer in the field, including the Grand Master Award of the World Horror Convention, the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Horror Writers Association, the Living Legend Award of the International Horror Guild and the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award. 

2 Bloggers 1 Book - Don't Move


Stormi and I had several books we wanted to read together this month which is why you are seeing double this feature.  We both had this book on our TBRs for a while and decided it was finally time to crack down and read it.  So read on to see my thoughts and then make sure to hop over to Stormi's at  Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! to see her opinion! 

TITLE: Don't Move
AUTHORS: James S. Murray and Darren Wearmouth
PUBLISHER: Blackstone Publishing
PUBLISHING DATE: October 20, 2020
PAGES: 250
SOURCE: Kindle Library


Megan Forrester has barely survived the unthinkable. Six months ago, she witnessed a horrific accident that killed her husband and son, and lives with the guilt of knowing she could have done more to save them. Now, Megan hopes to mend the pieces of her broken spirit by attending a local church group's annual camping trip. But the church group members-riddled with dark secrets of their own-make a catastrophic navigational mistake, leaving them stranded in an untouched canyon in the West Virginian national forest. 
Isolated from any chance of help or rescue, Megan and the others quickly realize why this side of the canyon has never been surveyed by mankind: it's home to a terrifying prehistoric arachnid that patiently stalks its prey through even the slightest movement or vibration in the forest. And it's desperate for a meal. 
Grief-stricken and haunted by her tragic loss, Megan now faces her ultimate test of endurance. Can she outwit a bloodthirsty creature hellbent on ensuring that no one gets out of alive? When a single wrong turn can mean death, she only has one option: DON'T MOVE.

MY THOUGHTS:  I wanted to really love this book.  I was so excited to finally read it and while I did enjoy it, it didn't quite live up to my expectations.

The book starts off with a bang when Megan's husband and son are killed in a tragic accident.  And let me tell you, the authors left nothing to the imagination on that one.  Six months later she is joining church group on a trip from New York to a national forest in West Virginia.  Megan is trying her best to function again after her life was destroyed and she is using the trip to heal.  However, not only does she not have an idea what is waiting for her, she also didn't count on a ragtag group of characters which made up one strange church group in my honest opinion.

Let's just say that West Virginia might have some caves with some big bad-ass spiders living in them.  Being a West Virginian myself, I want to know EXACTLY where they are so I can either avoid them, or lead clueless victims toward them 😜  I really liked Megan and she was a very strong and independent characters.  Everyone on the trip needed to thank their lucky stars that she was with them.  The rest of the crew I could do without.  There was an elderly couple who had their grandson in tow and he was so annoying that sadly I was not-so-secretly wishing for his demise.  Emma, the Pastor's daughter, might have  been okay if it weren't for both her ex-boyfriend and current boyfriend both being on the same trip.  And the lead tour guide, I never did trust him and everyone believed that because he worked in the Lowe's garden department he was capable of leading them into the hills of West Virginia.

The book had lots of action and if  you like creature horror, it's a decent enough read.  However, the ending fell flat for me and I think had it been done differently, I might have enjoyed it more. Overall it was a decent read and it really wasn't a long one so if you want a quick read it might be one to grab.  


Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Can't Wait Wednesday (310) - Romance is in the Air!



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: Danica Waterhouse is a fully modern witch—daughter, granddaughter, cousin, and co-owner of the Fix-It Witches, a magical tech repair shop. After a messy breakup that included way too much family “feedback,” Danica made a pact with her cousin: they’ll keep their hearts protected and have fun, without involving any of the overly opinionated Waterhouse matriarchs. Danica is more than a little exhausted navigating a long-standing family feud where Gram thinks the only good mundane is a dead one and Danica’s mother weaves floral crowns for anyone who crosses her path.

Three blocks down from the Fix-It Witches, Titus Winnaker, owner of Sugar Daddy’s bakery, has family trouble of his own. After a tragic loss, all he’s got left is his sister, the bakery, and a lifetime of terrible luck in love. Sure, business is sweet, but he can’t seem to shake the romantic curse that’s left him past thirty and still a virgin. He’s decided he’s doomed to be forever alone.

Until he meets Danica Waterhouse. The sparks are instant, their attraction irresistible. For him, she’s the one. To her, he’s a firebomb thrown in the middle of a family war. Can a modern witch find love with an old-fashioned mundane who refuses to settle for anything less than forever?

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  I guess February has me craving something light for a while and this one has one of my buzzwords in the title so I couldn't resist sharing it.  It sounds like it will  be a cute read and I do tend to use romance for a palette cleanser between lots of my darker reads. Plus I've read some of this author's urban fantasy books and enjoyed them.


FROM GOODREADS: First in a sparkling new romcom series about two Dalmatian owners who constantly butt heads, but soon realize that sometimes love isn’t black and white

The arrival of a new fire marshal in the small seaside town of Turtle Beach, North Carolina, turns the community upside down when his partner, a rescue Dalmatian trained as a fire safety demonstration dog, accidentally gets switched with a naughty look-a-like Dalmatian belonging to the free-spirited daughter of the local police chief. The two Dalmatian owners constantly butt heads, but by the time the 4th of July Fireman's Ball rolls around, they begin to realize that sometimes love is more than black and white.

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  Mom asked me to find her a romance book featuring dogs and I think I delivered a good one if I do say so myself.  I can't wait to see how two crazy dogs (I've always heard that about dalmatians) brings two adults together.  

HEY MOM! Are you sure Apollo isn't a dalmatian??? 


Sunday, February 14, 2021

Black Widows Blog Tour


TITLE: Black Widows
AUTHOR: Cate Quinn
PUBLISHING DATE: February 4, 2021
PAGES: 419


The only thing the three women had in common was their husband. And, as of this morning, that they're each accused of his murder. 
Blake Nelson moved into a hidden stretch of land - a raw paradise in the wilds of Utah - where he lived with his three wives: 
Rachel, the chief wife, obedient and doting to a fault. Tina, the other wife, who is everything Rachel isn't. And Emily, the youngest wife, who knows little else. 
When their husband is found dead under the desert sun, the questions pile up. But none of the widows know who would want to kill a good man like Blake. Or, at least, that's what they'll tell the police...

MY THOUGHTS:  I can honestly say I don't think I've read a thriller before where the victim was married to three different women and they all lived together happily... or did they?  Blake, Rachel, Tina and Emily live on a piece of land in Utah.  One day, Blake is found dead and all three wives are suspects.  What unravels is a story that kept me reading late into the night and provided enough twists and turns that I couldn't figure out what was going on.

Black Widows is an exciting domestic thriller which focuses on cults, polygamy, and abuse.  And while it would be easily to think that the Tina, Rachel and Emily didn't like each other at all, Quinn did a wonderful job of showing how much they actually cared for each other.  Told in the POVs of all three women, the book is very character driven which is something I like in a novel.  I will say that the whole unreliable narrator aspect which usually drives me crazy and turns me away from books, really worked in Black Widows and I really glad I picked the book up.  

If you like domestic thrillers, this is one that shouldn't be missed.  While I never really felt any sympathy for Blake's death, I sure had a lot of fun learning about each of his wives might have wanted him dead.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Cate Quinn is a travel and lifestyle journalist for The Times, the Guardian and the Mirror, alongside many magazines. Prior to this, Quinn's background in historic research won prestigious postgraduate funding from the British Art Council. Quinn pooled these resources, combining historical research with first-hand experiences in far-flung places to create critically acclaimed and bestselling historical fiction.


Thursday, February 11, 2021

Orenda Blog Tour - Deity

TITLE: Deity (Six Stories #5)
AUTHOR: Matt Wesolowski   
PUBLISHER: Orenda Books
PUBLISHING DATE: February 18, 2021


Online investigative journalist Scott King investigates the death of a pop megastar, the subject of multiple accusations of sexual abuse and murder before his untimely demise in a fire … another episode of the startlingly original, award-winning Six Stories series.  
When pop megastar Zach Crystal dies in a fire at his remote mansion, his mysterious demise rips open the bitter divide between those who adored his music and his endless charity work, and those who viewed him as a despicable predator, who manipulated and abused young and vulnerable girls. 
Online journalist Scott King, whose ‘Six Stories’ podcasts have become an internet sensation, investigates the accusations of sexual abuse and murder that were levelled at Crystal before he died. But as Scott begins to ask questions and rakes over old graves, some startling inconsistencies emerge: Was the fire at Crystal’s remote home really an accident? Whose remains – still unidentified – were found in the ashes? Why was he never officially charged? 
Dark, chillingly topical and deeply thought-provoking, Deity is both an explosive thriller and a startling look at how heroes can fall from grace and why we turn a blind eye to even the most heinous of crimes…

MY THOUGHTS: First of all, I think this cover is stunning, and if it doesn't scream "horror" than the author's promotional pick does!  And you know how much I love horror.  I was a tad hesitant going into this one because it is part of a sequel but seriously, that didn't create any reading problems for me. Well, maybe that isn't true because now I need to go to back and read his previous works.  

I adored the concept of this novel. It focuses on a podcast investigator which is an element I love to see in books.  It also has the celebrity connection I also enjoy.  Zach Crystal, a huge popstar, dies when his mansion burns.  This is all fresh upon allegations of abuse of young girls.  Scott King, opens an investigation on his podcast in which he interviews six people, and then leaves the listerer/reader to determine what they thing really happened.  

This book really showed the dark side of fame and how people can sometimes be the biggest monsters of all.  In addition, it takes a real hard look at how people in the public eye can often get away with things because of who they are and their standing in society.  I can't stress enough how much you should pick up this book.  I will definitely be going back and starting at the beginning of this series and Wesolowski is definitely an author to watch.  I see great things in his future and I'm so glad I was able to participate in the blog tour for this one!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Matt Wesolowski is an author from Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the UK. He is an English tutor for young people in care. Matt started his writing career in horror, and his short horror fiction has been published in numerous UK- and US-based anthologies, such as Midnight Movie Creature, Selfies from the End of the World, Cold Iron and many more. His novella, The Black Land, a horror set on the Northumberland coast, was published in 2013. Matt was a winner of the Pitch Perfect competition at the Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival in 2015. His debut thriller, Six Stories, was an Amazon bestseller in the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia, and a WHSmith Fresh Talent pick, and film rights were sold to a major Hollywood studio. A prequel, Hydra, was published in 2018 and became an international bestseller. Changeling, the third book in the series, was published in 2019 and was longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. His fourth book, Beast, won the Amazon Publishing Readers’ Independent Voice Book of the Year award in 2020.

2 Bloggers 1 Series - Virgin River


So no, Stormi and I haven't totally given up on The Invisible Library series.  We just both kind of stalled out on book #3 and realized we make our own rules so nothing says we can't have more than one series on the go.  Also, both of us got sucked into the Virgin River series on Netflix (well, I was sucked in and I kind of pushed Stormi in).  We wanted to give the books a try and I'm happy to report I think it was a positive endeavor.  So read on for my thoughts and then hop over for Stormi's thoughts at Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! 

TITLE: Virgin River (Virgin River #1)
AUTHOR: Robyn Carr
PUBLISHING DATE: March 27, 2007
PAGES: 430
SOURCE: Library/Hoopla


Welcome back to Virgin River with the book that started it all… 
Wanted: Midwife/nurse practitioner in Virgin River, population six hundred. Make a difference against a backdrop of towering California redwoods and crystal clear rivers. Rent-free cabin included. 
When the recently widowed Melinda Monroe sees this ad, she quickly decides that the remote mountain town of Virgin River might be the perfect place to escape her heartache, and to reenergize the nursing career she loves. But her high hopes are dashed within an hour of arriving—the cabin is a dump, the roads are treacherous and the local doctor wants nothing to do with her. Realizing she’s made a huge mistake, Mel decides to leave town the following morning. 
But a tiny baby abandoned on a front porch changes her plans…and former marine Jack Sheridan cements them into place.

MY THOUGHTS: So I knew going into this that the book would definitely be different than the series.  I mean, aren't they always?  But the main premise is still the same.  Mel was a RN in California when her husband and doctor, Mark, was killed at a local convenience store coming home one night.  She wants to escape everyone knowing what happened and get a fresh start so she answers an add to be a nurse practitioner/midwife in Virgin River.  She knows it will be slower paced but it isn't until she arrives that she realizes how "country" her new life will be.  She is hesitant to stay, especially when she finds she has been lured there over false pretenses, but slowly things happen which might make her change her mind.

So I have to admit that the relationship development between Mel and Jack, the local bar owner, happens much faster in the book and with some angst, but not nearly as much as with the show.  And a lot of the same characters show up but they sometimes have different story lines, or someone else's story line, than in Carr's novel.  That being said, I love both pretty much equally but have just come to accept them as different entities.  

The discord between Mel and Doc is still present and I really enjoyed their banter.  And of course, Jack is a flawed yet wonderful counterpart for Mel's initial stuffiness.  And overall, the slow-paced Virgin River has all the small town charm I've come to love in books.  And given that February is the month for romance, it was the perfect time to give it a go.  My only complaint is that we didn't get much of Preacher's character in the book but I do believe book #2 is highly dedicated to him. So bring it on!


Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Can't Wait Wednesday (309)


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 GOODREADSIn 1911 New York City, seventeen-year-old Frances Hallowell spends her days as a seamstress, mourning the mysterious death of her brother months prior. Everything changes when she’s attacked and a man ends up dead at her feet—her scissors in his neck, and she can’t explain how they got there.

Before she can be condemned as a murderess, two cape-wearing nurses arrive to inform her she is deathly ill and ordered to report to Haxahaven Sanitarium. But Frances finds Haxahaven isn’t a sanitarium at all: it’s a school for witches. Within Haxahaven’s glittering walls, Frances finds the sisterhood she craves, but the headmistress warns Frances that magic is dangerous. Frances has no interest in the small, safe magic of her school, and is instead enchanted by Finn, a boy with magic himself who appears in her dreams and tells her he can teach her all she’s been craving to learn, lessons that may bring her closer to discovering what truly happened to her brother.

Frances’s newfound power attracts the attention of the leader of an ancient order who yearns for magical control of Manhattan. And who will stop at nothing to have Frances by his side. Frances must ultimately choose what matters more, justice for her murdered brother and her growing feelings for Finn, or the safety of her city and fellow witches. What price would she pay for power, and what if the truth is more terrible than she ever imagined?

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  I love the historical elements of this one and I want to know how the scissors got into the brother's neck.  I also love the cover and hope it doesn't change.


FROM GOODREADS: Opposites attract when a straitlaced lawyer and whimsical party planner must fake-date as co-parents of a rambunctious Irish wolfhound in the second book of this im-paw-ssibly charming small-town romance series.

Connor Wyeth has a plan for everything. But when he adopts Maximus, an unruly Irish wolfhound mix, he gets more than he bargained for. If he doesn't act fast, the big dopey mutt is going to destroy his house. The only person Max ever listens to is the volunteer who used to walk him at the shelter—a perennially upbeat woman whose day job is planning princess parties for little kids. Connor couldn't ever imagine that she'd be able to tame such a beast as Max, but he's desperate enough to try anything.

Deenie Mitchell isn't looking forward to spending more time with uptight, rules-oriented Connor—no matter how attractive he is. But when her sister announces her engagement, Deenie realizes he's the perfect person to impress her type-A family. When she learns he needs a plus-one for his law firm's work events, an unlikely alliance is formed. But as they play the perfect couple, the friendship—and the feelings—that are forming start to feel all too real. Opposites may attract, but can the man with a plan for everything and the misfit who makes her own rules ever find common ground?

WHY CASSIUS CAN'T WAIT:  First of all, how great is the name Maximus?  I love it and I think he and I would definitely be friends.  This book sounds like it will have all the small town charm Mom likes.  However, she didn't get the first one, The Twelve Dogs of Christmas, during the holidays which means she going to have to read a Christmas book in the Spring - tee hee!

Random Things Tours - The Crow Folk


TITLE: The Crow Folk (The Witches of Woodville 1)
AUTHOR: Mark Stay
PUBLISHER: Simon and Schuster UK
PUBLISHING DATE: February 4, 2021
PAGES: 400


As Spitfires roar overhead and a dark figure stalks the village of Woodville, a young woman will discover her destiny… 
Faye Bright always felt a little bit different. And today she’s found out why. She’s just stumbled across her late mother’s diary which includes not only a spiffing recipe for jam roly-poly, but spells, incantations, runes and recitations… a witch's notebook. 
And Faye has inherited her mother’s abilities. 
Just in time, too. The Crow Folk are coming. Led by the charismatic Pumpkinhead, their strange magic threatens Faye and the villagers. Armed with little more than her mum's words, her trusty bicycle, the grudging help of two bickering old ladies, and some aggressive church bellringing, Faye will find herself on the front lines of a war nobody expected.

NY THOUGHTS: This young adult fantasy had me with witches and Pumkinhead. Do I need to say more.  Set in a small area of Kent during the war.  Faye is a teenager whose mother has passed.  While looking though some of her mother's stuff, she finds a mysterious book and discovers she is actually a witch.  She tries to learn how to use her mother's abilities against a backdrop of strange magic threatening Faye and the villagers.

I really liked the historical fiction aspects of this book and felt it provided an interesting juxtaposition with the whimsical and magical elements.  Faye was a great character and I immediately felt a connection with her.  I also cannot say enough about the relationship between her and her father.  It was during their scenes that Stay was able to weave in some humor and lighter moments.  I also really liked the two elderly women who work with Faye because I feel that any YA book can benefit from some elderly wisdom.

This book pretty much has something for everyone and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys magic, whimsy, historical fiction and demons.  I can't wait for the sequel!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mark Stay co-wrote the screenplay for Robot Overlords which became a movie with Sir Ben Kingsley and Gillian Anderson, and premiered at the 58th London Film Festival. He is co-presenter of the Bestseller Experiment podcast and has worked in bookselling and publishing for over twenty-five years. He lives in Kent, England, with his family and a trio of retired chickens. He blogs and humblebrags over at