Thursday, August 31, 2023

My Final Dog Days of Summer Books!


TITLE: Hounds, Harvest and Homicide
AUTHOR: Carolyn Ridder Aspenson
PUBLISHER: Self-Published
PUBLISHING DATE: December 4, 2019
PAGES: 170   
SOURCE: Hoopla

FROM GOODREADS: It’s time for the city’s biggest event, the annual fundraising gala for the local women’s shelter. Half the town attends, including all city officials, and anyone who at least thinks they’re anyone always shows up.
Because of that, I’ve taken the bull by the horns—or should I say dog by the leash—and I’m using the grand event to show off the shelter dogs. Because every event is better with dogs, right? 
I’ve planned a fantastic pooch party down to every last detail, and I’ve chosen the best dogs at the shelter. Of course, all the dogs are the best, so it’s going to be a big pooch party! 
What I didn’t plan for was murder. And the murder of the most prominent financial contributor to the women’s shelter, at that. 
I’m happy to report that the dogs aren’t in any danger, but something equally tragic is happening. My close friend, my deceased husband’s best friend, and a dutiful city council member is the cop’s main suspect. Nope. I can’t let that happen, Max means too much. 
I’m determined to prove my friend’s innocence, no matter what happens, and that determination leads me down a path of power, politics, and money, and straight into the killer's line of sight.

MY THOUGHTS: Of all three books in this series, with this being number two, this was my least favorite.  That being said, it was still a strong addition and I enjoyed reading it and learning more about Missy's rescue and the crazy town in which she lives.  

This time Missy once again is wrapped up in a murder investigation.  She is in the middle of a pooch party with a bunch of puppies, when a prominent donor winds up dead.  Missy's close friend Max, who just happens to be developing strong feelings for Missy beyond friendship, is accused of the murder.  Missy is determined to prove his innocence.  

Once again the dogs play a big role. Missy is always talking about them or working at the shelter and there is even a dog present in the big climax of the murder resolution which Missy ends up saving.  Missy does tend to butt into the police investigation quite a bit and is convinced that she can do a better job than them which got a bit annoying after a awhile.  Also, Missy is still mourning her husband and is convinced he was her one and only love so she is adamant she will not get involved with Max even though she clearly is starting to have feelings for him.  

Overall, this was still a solid installment in the series and I'm so glad that the Dog Days of Summer Challenge prompted me to binge read them.


TITLE: Dogs, Dinner and Death
AUTHOR: Carolyn Ridder Aspenson
PUBLISHER: Magnum Grace Publishing
PUBLISHING DATE: January 11, 2022
PAGES: 133   
SOURCE: Hoopla

FROM GOODREADS: I’m not a dog whisperer, but I am a dog mom, and that’s a whole lot worse for the person responsible for kidnapping some of our adopted shelter dogs. TRUST ME: when I find out who it is, they’ll wish all I did was whisper. No one messes with my dogs. 
Atlanta, Georgia, had a dogfighting issue a few years back, and thankfully, most of those dogs found homes. Unfortunately, the problem’s returned, and the shelter I manage takes in the poor pups victimized by those who hurt them. I plan to train the pups on their socialization skills. 
Things take a turn for the worse when a loud-mouthed city politician pushes to ban pit bulls from town. But the politician is only one obstacle. Dogs go missing, and one of the owners is murdered. I realize this isn’t a case of dognapping gone awry. There’s something bigger going on, and I’m determined to figure out the who and why. I’ll get those dogs back, and stop the killer, even if I have to put myself in danger to do it.

MY THOUGHTS: Hands down this was my favorite installment of the series.  It focuses on the dangers of dogfighting and Missy is trying to figure out who is kidnapping local pits, dogs she has worked hard to find good homes for and who are treated like children.  Furthermore, there is a woman who wants to run for City Council and she is waging a campaign to ban pit bulls in the town and I feel so strongly about actions like that which I find ridiculous so it was nice to see it discussed in a book.

So as I mentioned, the focus of this one is Missy trying to figure out who is kidnapping local dogs and who murdered one of the owners.  Many of the characters are people the reader has seen in previous books, so it lends a bit of familiarity and I think that helped me feel more invested as well.  

I do believe this is the last book in the series and while I would definitely read more, I feel that some of the side stories were wrapped up nicely at the end and if there aren't more books, at least there are no loose ends hanging.  If you are looking for a quick dog-centric cozy series, this one just might be for you!


And in honor of Dog Days of Summer ending, here is a picture of my dear Cass and my wonderful Apollo from the end of the last year before we found out Cass was so sick. My babies!

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Feed Your TBR - Slice


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. 

September 8, 2023

FROM GOODREADS: It was supposed to be a vacation. 

Now, she'll be lucky to make it through the weekend. 

Bec is about to celebrate her birthday—the big ole' dirty thirty. And while she'd have been fine spending it with her best friend and a bottle of tequila, her boyfriend had other plans. 

Nicaragua. A private island. Six of their closest friends. 

What might have been the perfect way to ring in her 30th birthday quickly turns deadly as sins from the past linger in paradise. Everybody has secrets, but will Bec's get her killed? 

Follow along as the trip of a lifetime quickly turns into a fight for survival as the bodies begin to drop and Bec is forced to learn that you can run from your past—but you can’t always hide.

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  Let's be honest, it's the cover.  I was browsing upcoming book releases on Amazon last week and ran across this and it definitely grabbed my attention.  Then I read the synopsis, and it sounded good as well.


Tuesday, August 29, 2023

A Spur of the Moment Read


TITLE: Pooches, Pumpkins and Poison
AUTHOR: Carolyn Ridder Aspenson
PUBLISHER: Severn River Publishing
PUBLISHING DATE: January 15, 2020
PAGES: 150   
SOURCE: Hoopla

FROM GOODREADS: Widow Missy Kingston takes on the job of a lifetime—and it’s not the one at her town’s animal shelter. 
It’s Halloween season, and the local animal shelter’s pooch adoption manager, Missy Kingston, is excited to show off the available dogs at her town’s Halloween festival! But when she discovers the festival’s organizer dead in a pile of pumpkins, Missy’s convinced there’s more to the story than meets the eye. 
When Missy sets out to investigate the murder on her own, what she discovers could solve the case—but only if the killer doesn’t get to her first.

MY THOUGHTS: I picked this up on a whim one evening because I was between books and wanting to read more for the Dog Days of Summer Challenge.  I saw this on Hoopla and let's be honest, the cover caught my eye.  I'm so glad I picked it up.  In fact, I also read the second and third books in the series so look for a double review on Thursday.

Missy Kingston lost her husband to a sudden aneurism a few years back.  He planned enough to leave her financially stable and with her daughter now living out of the house, she has put her time and passion into rescuing dogs and working at the local non-profit rescue shelter.  She is planning for a Pooch Party Adoption Event at a local October festival when she stumbles on a dead body in a pumpkin patch.  Missy's curiosity gets the best of her and when she learns that in a roundabout way that her rescue may have a part in the mystery, she starts her own investigation.

I loved Missy as a character.  She definitely has a passion for dogs and in the beginning, talks about being a foster failure as she has just adopted another dog.  Missy wants to protect her friends and family and often reflects on how much her husband means to her and the ramifications of losing him too soon.  The dogs and the rescue staff are great side characters and even though the book is on the shorter side, it was long enough to cover everything, keep me interested in the mystery and apparently want to dive into the next one.


Monday, August 28, 2023

A Late Farm News - August 28, 2023


I took a small break from blogging over the weekend but still wanted to touch base so I'm doing a late Farm News.  Last week was kind of hectic at work and on Thursday night, I noticed a knot/welt on Apollo's forearm area.  It came on super quick and of course I panicked but I gave him Benadryl and iced it and it started to go down.  Just to be safe, his vet saw him Friday morning and he believes it was some kind of bite/sting, but I never saw him react like he got bitten so who knows.  He recommended a few more days of Benadryl and he seems to be good now.

I am trying to wrap up a few books before April is over.  I am not far into Looking Glass Sound and am about 25% into Murder on a School NightUnfamiliar is a cute little graphic novel I grabbed on Hoopla so I know it will be done in time.

I also had three hold come in from the library this week and I'm excited for all of them.  Chase Me is a reissue for book one in a series Tessa Bailey started in 2015.  I really like her books as they provide a nice, light break most of the time, so I grabbed it.  The Handyman Method is a book I featured on my Feed Your TBR feature a few weeks back.  Let's hope it falls more on the side of The Troop and less on the side of Little Heaven. And finally, I was curious about The St. Ambrose School for Girls so I snatched it up as well.  I haven't heard much about it though.

That's it for me this week.  Are you reading or watching anything good?

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Toxic Love and Then Some!


TTITLE: A Twisted Love Story
AUTHOR: Samantha Downing
PUBLISHING DATE: July 18, 2023
PAGES: 390   
SOURCE: Library

FROM GOODREADS: Wes and Ivy are madly in love. They've never felt anything like it. It's the kind of romance people write stories about. 
But what kind of story? 
Because when it's good, it's great. Flowers. Grand gestures. Deep meaningful conversations where the whole world disappears. 
When it's bad, it's really bad. Vengeful fights. Damaged property. Arrest warrants. 
But their vicious cycle of catastrophic breakups and head-over-heels reconnections needs to end fast. Because suddenly, Wes and Ivy have a common enemy--and she's a detective. 
There's something Wes and Ivy never talk about--in good times or bad. The night of their worst breakup, when one of them took things too far, and someone ended up dead. 
If they can stick together, they can survive anything--even the tightening net of a police investigation. 
Because one more breakup might just be their last…

MY THOUGHTS: This is my second book by this author and I'm hesitant to pick up a third.  I gave He Started It a 4 star and was hopeful this one would be just as good.  The premise immediately caught my eye, and I assumed it would be a fast read.  Well, I was right about a few things, but I really bombed on another.

Wes and Ivy have been together on and off (and on and off and on and off) for ten years.  When they are apart, they are miserable and scheming ways to get back together, and when they are together, they are counting the minutes, sometimes seconds, until it all blows up.  Early in the relationship, something really tragic happened and unfortunately it shaped the lives of people who didn't even know Wes and Ivy.  Now, people are starting to put the pieces together and will the secrets finally be the end of Wes and Ivy or will they finally be the end of each other.

I could not stand this book.  I almost DNF'ed twice and only the hope that there would be a twist at the end that would make it all worth it, kept me going.  But even the twist was weak and the ending! I can't even talk about how frustrating it is without spoiling something.

I am a firm believer that there's a book for everyone.  I've read many a book where someone gave it a bad rating/review.  I think sometimes a negative review makes me more curious about what I'll find on the pages. Hopefully that's the case here and if you were considering reading this book, then please do so.  But if you happen to dislike it as much as I do, then you know where to find me.


Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Feed Your TBR - The Pale House Devil


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 3, 2023

FROM GOODREADS: A gripping, snappy creature feature from the master of horror noir about two detectives—one dead, one living—hired by an embittered old landowner to banish a bloody cosmic monster from his ancestral home, perfect for fans of Cassandra Khaw, Charles Stross and Lucy A. Snyder.

Ford and Neuland are paranormal mercenaries—one living, one undead; one kills the undead, the other kills the living. Heading west to look for work and wait for the heat from their last job to cool down.

There Tilda, a young woman, hires them to track and kill a demon haunting a mansion in remote northern California for wealthy landowner, Shepherd Mansfield.

As Ford and Neuland investigate the creature they uncover a legacy of blood, sacrifice and slavery in the house. Forced to confront a powerful creature unlike anything they’ve faced before, they come to learn the biggest monster in this story might just be the person paying them.

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  I'm pretty sure I've read something by this author before but I can't recall what it was.  I love the idea of one dead and one living mercenary and with it being a novella, it should be perfect for Spooky Season!


Tuesday, August 22, 2023

2 Bloggers 1 Series - My Kind of Christmas

So Stormi and I are almost finished with the Virgin River series.  Next month wraps up the last one and reading it will be bittersweet.  However, I am pretty impressed that we've manage to read 18 of these so far and I'm pretty sure I've read a novella or short story thrown in somewhere as well.  So read on to hear my thoughts on My Kind of Christmas and then hop over to Stormi's to see what she thought as well.


TTITLE: My Kind of Christmas (Virgin River #18)
AUTHOR: Robyn Carr
PUBLISHING DATE: October 23, 2012
PAGES: 318   
SOURCE: Library

FROM GOODREADS: While the Riordan brothers have a reputation for being rough-and-tumble, Patrick has always been the gentle, sweet-natured one. But his easygoing manner is tested by his high-octane career as a navy pilot, and for the Riordan men, when the going gets toughthe tough find the love of a good woman. 
Angie LeCroix wants to spend Christmas in Virgin River relaxing, away from her well-intentioned but hovering mother. Yet instead of freedom, she gets her uncle, Jack Sheridan. If he had his way, she’d never go out at all. And certainly not with Patrick Riordan. But Angie has her own idea of the kind of Christmas she wants and the kind of man. 
Patrick and Angie thought they wanted to be left alone this Christmas until they met each other. Now they want to be left alone together. But the Sheridan and Riordan families have different plans for Patrick and Angie and for Christmas, Virgin River style!

MY THOUGHTS: It's about time we got a book focused on the last Riordan brother.  They have been such a forefront in this series that I would say even thought they aren't original to the Virgin River area, the family has pretty much all landed there and found love so it feels like they've been there from the beginning.

Patrick is on leave from the service after seeing his best friend get shot down while flying in enemy territory and feeling responsible. Jack's niece is visiting and recovering from a car crash which almost killed her and has her questioning her whole life direction.  Even though they've been warned to stay away from each other, when the two meet in Jack's bar, sparks fly.  It isn't long until they are in a no-committment fling with the understanding that it has to end before the Christmas holiday when Patrick leaves town.

After reading 17 other books, I immediately saw where this book was headed.  But with this series, getting there is most of the fun anyway.  Angie is headstrong and stubborn, just like her Uncle Jack.  She is tired of everyone telling her what to do, especially her overbearing mother.  I really liked Angie's spunk and gumption.  She takes on a special project while visiting invovling one of the young girls in town and it really shows how much heart and gumption Angie possesses.  Patrick initially comes off as kind of a jerk which is weird because being the baby of the Riordan family, he's always been the nice one.  However, he brings a lot of baggage to town and feels obligation to move on before the holidays and try to convince his best friend's widow that she should marry him and allow him to take care of her and his son.

This book is cute, sweet and fun - everything I've come to love about the series.  Next month, Stormi and I will be finishing this one up and it just happens to coincide with the season release of the TV show on Netflix.  Looks like September will be a fun month.


Sunday, August 20, 2023

Farm News - August 20, 2023


Thank heavens it has been a pretty uneventful week here at the farm.  My mom, who works in a nursing home, came down with Covid a few weeks ago and she is now fully recovered.  Mr. Barb's back seems to be holding out and he will wrap up physical therapy this week, and I've now hit 8 consistent months of working out at least 4-5 days a week.  Trying to stay healthy as one gets older is often a pain in the butt right?

I read three books for the Dog Days of Summer Challenge this past week so look for some more reviews coming up.  That was my goal, but I'd love to squeeze in one more because every book featuring dogs read and reviewed in August earns LaLa's animal shelter $5.00.  Here are the books I'm currently reading, or which might be coming up this week.

We haven't watched any noteworthy movies this week but are still watching Dark Winds which is really good this season.  I'm excited for American Horror Story in September even if I could do with Kim Kardashian being in it.  

I guess that's about it this week.  Gonna run and take Apollo for a walk while it's still cool.  Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Friday, August 18, 2023

Talk About a Roommate Nightmare!


TTITLE: My Roommate is a Vampire
AUTHOR: Jenna Levine
PUBLISHING DATE: August 29, 2023
PAGES: 336   

FROM GOODREADS: Cassie Greenberg loves being an artist, but it’s a tough way to make a living. On the brink of eviction, she’s desperate when she finds a too-good-to-be-true apartment in a beautiful Chicago neighborhood. Cassie knows there has to be a catch—only someone with a secret to hide would rent out a room for that price. 
Of course, her new roommate Frederick J. Fitzwilliam is far from normal. He sleeps all day, is out at night on business, and talks like he walked out of a regency romance novel. He also leaves Cassie heart-melting notes around the apartment, cares about her art, and asks about her day. And he doesn’t look half bad shirtless, on the rare occasions they’re both home and awake. But when Cassie finds bags of blood in the fridge that definitely weren’t there earlier, Frederick has to come clean... 
Cassie’s sexy new roommate is a vampire. And he has a proposition for her.

MY THOUGHTS: I was extremely excited to jump into this book when I first saw it because I loved me a good rom com with supernatural elements.  While I enjoyed My Roommate is a Vampire, it didn't exactly hit for me the way I had hoped.

Cassie is a down-on-her-luck art major working two jobs and still unable to make ends meet.  When the book opens, Cassis is being evicted and with encouragement from her friend, responds to an ad for a roommate is a ritzy apartment building for only $200.00 a month.  Cassie expects a serial killer and is surprised to find Frederick, a quirky, hot man in his mid-30's who looks like he walked out of a regency romance.  Unbeknownst to Cassie, Frederick is a 300-year-old vampire who slept the last 100 years away due to a cold prank from his best friend Reginald and he needs to find someone who can help him get up to speed with modern day society.

I liked Cassie and I liked Frederick, but I didn't really love either one of them.  There were times Cassie was annoying at best and there were other times I wanted to smack Frederick as well.  Once Cassie learns the truth, the book takes a turn, and something happens at the end which forces Cassie to accept her feelings for Frederick and she has to work to rescue him.  

The main drama at the end was tied so quickly and in such a feeble manner that I just couldn't buy it - which is saying a lot for a book with a supernatural character to begin with.  In addition, Cassie must have said "please" 15 times in one hot and spicy scene with Frederick and it was not endearing, cute or romantic.

The book wasn't bad overall, and I would recommend it to people who love romance with an unrealistic element.  I would definitely give this author another go and while I didn't fall in love with Cassie or Reginald, I did absolutely adore Frederick's best friend/nemesis Reginald.  The prologue at the end makes me hopeful that the author is planning a companion novel for Reginald, hopefully called "My Accountant is a Human."  


Thursday, August 17, 2023

Dogs, Dogs and More Dogs!


TITLE: The Dog Knight
AUTHOR: Jeremy Whitley, Bre Indigo (Illustrator), Melissa Capriglion (Color)
PUBLISHER: Feiwel & Friends
PAGES: 224   
SOURCE: Own library

FROM GOODREADS: Frankie knows who they are. They’re a drummer, they’re nonbinary, and they’re… the Dog Knight? 
One day Frankie is a relatively normal middle schooler, with relatively normal challenges, like finding the perfect outfit to wear during their drum solo during the upcoming band concert. The next, they save a friendly golden retriever from bullies and suddenly find themselves in a giant magical doghouse, with a funny looking helmet, talking to a group of dog superheroes called the Pawtheon about a job offer. 
If Frankie can prove that they possess the six dog virtues of loyalty, kindness, honesty, justice, stubbornness, and smell, they will be named the Dog Knight and be given the power to fight alongside the Pawtheon and save the world from the forces of chaos. 
Maybe there is more to Frankie than they thought? 

MY THOUGHTS: Frankie is trying hard to survive Middle School. They recently came out to their best friend as non-binary and were rejected, they aren't quite sure what to wear to the upcoming band concert where they play drums, and oh yea, they are being followed around by a mysterious white dog which their mom is allergic to.

One day the white dog, named Platinum, saves Frankie from a school bully and transport them to the Pawtheon. There Frankie is gifted with a helmet with dog ears and when they place it on their head, they can suddenly hear any dog talking.  Frankie learns that the world is under attack from gremlins and it might be up to them to save it.  However, first they must pass all the trials needed to become an official Dog Knight.

This book was such a joy to read.  The artwork is colorful and pulls the reader right into the story.  Each one of Frankie's trials is designed to encompass a trait every dog possesses - loyalty, kindness, honesty, justice, smell and stubbornness and each trial is conducted by a different royal dog. I loved meeting all the dogs and the author did a great job at choosing what breed of dog best suited each trait.  

I think kids of all ages as well as adults would enjoy this graphic novel and not only does it contain important messages, but it is also fun and entertaining as well.


Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Feed Your TBR - Fatal First Edition


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. 

February 13, 2024

FROM GOODREADS: People are dying to get their hands on a rare, valuable book in the newest Library Lover’s Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of The Plot and the Pendulum.

Briar Creek Library director Lindsey Norris and her husband, Sully, are at a popular library conference in Chicago to hear book restoration specialist Brooklyn Wainwright give a keynote address. After the lecture, Lindsey looks under her seat and finds a tote bag containing a first edition of Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train, inscribed to Alfred Hitchcock. Brooklyn determines the novel is one of a kind and quite valuable, so Lindsey and Sully return the book to the conference director, not wanting to stir up any trouble.

But just hours after the pair boards the train back to Connecticut, rumors that the Highsmith novel has gone missing buzz amongst the passengers, and they soon find the conference director murdered in his private compartment. And worse—the murderer planted the book in Lindsey and Sully’s room next door, making them prime suspects. Now, they must uncover the murderer and bring them to the end of their line, before they find themselves booked for a crime they didn’t commit.

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  I adore this series I might have squealed a bit when I saw the cover this week.  I think it's fun that this time around, both Lindsey and Sully are suspects and that they are actually traveling somewhere else than their normal smalltown.  

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

2 Bloggers 1 Series - Finders Keepers


I am pretty sure that Stormi is silently cursing me under her breath (except I'm pretty sure she doesn't swear) for roping her into reading this series.  I am almost 100% certain that I am enjoying it much more than she is and if it wasn't for the fact that we have already slated to read It during spooky season, I am not sure I could convince her to read another King book with me.  So read on to see my thoughts on the next Bill Hodges installment and then hop over to Stormi's to see what she thought as well.

TITLE: Finders Keepers (Bill Hodges Trilogy #2)
AUTHOR: Stephen King
PUBLISHING DATE: June 2, 2015;
SOURCE: Own Personal Library


Wake up, genius. 
The genius is John Rothstein, an iconic author who created a famous character, Jimmy Gold, but who hasn’t published a book for decades. Morris Bellamy is livid, not just because Rothstein has stopped providing books, but because the nonconformist Jimmy Gold has sold out for a career in advertising. Morris kills Rothstein and empties his safe of cash, yes, but the real treasure is a trove of notebooks containing at least one more Gold novel. 
Morris hides the money and the notebooks, and then he is locked away for another crime. Decades later, a boy named Pete Saubers finds the treasure, and now it is Pete and his family that Bill Hodges, Holly Gibney, and Jerome Robinson must rescue from the ever-more deranged and vengeful Morris when he’s released from prison after thirty-five years. 

MY THOUGHTS: So Finders Keepers is told in three parts and goes back in forth in time.  It tells the story of Morris Bellamy, who in the 1970's, breaks into the home of an exclusive author and not only steals his money, but also books and books of hand-written manuscripts of material never published.  Rothstein wrote Morris' favorite series up until he "ruined" the character in the third installment and ticked Morris off royally.  Morris is hoping somewhere there are some answers to why.  However, he ends up burying the goods and then goes and get arrested for a totally unrelated crime and spends years and years in prison. Fast forward several decades and a young boy, Pete Saubers, finds the hidden chest and in a very creative way, uses the money to save his family from financial ruin and also his mom and dad's marriage. 

At times I will admit this book is rather slow. Yet, I often love character driven books, so it worked for me.  I will admit that Finders Keepers gives off a strong Misery vibe in that you have an individual obsessed with an author which drives him to do horrible things.  It takes quite a while before Bill, Holly and Jerome make an appearance but early on we learn the connection between this tale and Mr. Mercedes.  I will add that I am also grateful there wasn't a lot of Brady in this book because he isn't my favorite King creation.

Holly once again steals the show in my opinion and basically Pete's tale is another coming-of-age story which I believe King does expertly.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and devoured it in under two days.  The ending really picked up pace and by the time I reached Part 3 of the novel, I steamrolled right through it.

As for my rating, I have gone back and forth and while I will admit this wasn't a perfect tale as a few parts really drug out, I will also admit it is one of my favorite King novels for some reason.  I keep thinking back on it and since it's been so long since I've looked at a King book so fondly, I have to give it a 5/5!  If you love King and haven't started this series - do it!


Sunday, August 13, 2023

Farm News - August 13, 2023


So, this week started off with a storm that made me no longer question whether or not Mother Nature is completely pissed off at mankind.  We had almost 4 inches of rain in an afternoon and two tornado watches that had my phone screaming at me to take cover and had me under the table with Apollo. Have I mentioned I have a HUGE fear of storms?  Yea, I'm pretty sure I had.  Anyway, our city has HORRIBLE drainage so whenever it rains just a normal amount, I know what parts of the city to avoid but it never lasts too long.  They refuse to do anything about it and then something like this happens which makes them scramble.  I doubt even Pennywise would take up residence in our drains and would take one tour of them and be like "Nope, not for me."  Anyway, here is a picture of our "main drag."  There are three lanes of road hiding there somewhere. For the record, that is a pic from the news, and I didn't dare venture out in that crap.

Besides that, the week went fine.  It did cool down some and there were days when Apollo even got three walks or playtime in the backyard.  Mr. Barb's back is on the mend, and he is down to PT one day a week.  Hope whatever has been done sticks this time.  We didn't really watch much this week that was all that notable.  I don't think we've recovered yet from our Insidious: Red Door experience.  Plus, it's also preseason football time so that means more TV for Mr. Barb and more watching/reading for me.

Speaking of reading, here are the books currently on the TBR stack this weekend.  I feel like August is already getting away from me!  I am reading The Dog Knight for the Dog Days of Summer Challenge.  It has such colorful artwork and lots of dogs.  I can't wait.  I have also started Looking Glass Sound.  I have read two books by this author.  The House at the End of Needless Street was a complete miss for me but I did enjoy Sundial. And I'm craving a vampire read so I may start Vampires of El Norte soon as well.  I never read The Hacienda but if I like this one, I'll definitely go back to it.

Finally, I want to thank the publishers and Netgalley for some ARCs I recently received.  Enchanted to Meet You by Meg Cabot sounds super cute and of course, that purple cover caught my eye.  Plus it's the start of a new witchy series.  I couldn't resist Slime Doesn't Pay as I'm also looking for an excuse to visit the Goosebumps world.  And finally, I was thrilled to get Out There Screaming which is an anthology edited by Jordan Peele.  I love his movies and can't wait to see what I think of this book. I'm even tempted to preorder the hardcover which releases October 3rd.

So how was your week?  Hope everyone is safe and I suppose a lot of people are gearing for back to school.  Have you watched any good movies or read any good books?

Thursday, August 10, 2023

A New Favorite Found Family!


TITLE: With Love, from Cold World
AUTHOR: Alicia Thompson
PUBLISHING DATE: August 1, 2023
PAGES: 400   


Lauren Fox is the bookkeeper for Cold World, a tourist destination that's always a winter wonderland despite being located in humid Orlando, Florida. Sure, it's ranked way below any of the trademarked amusement parks and maybe foot traffic could be better. But it's a fun place to work, even if "fun" isn't exactly Lauren's middle name. 
Her coworker Asa Williamson, on the other hand, is all about finding ways to enliven his days at Cold World--whether that means organizing the Secret Santa or teasing Lauren. When the owner asks Lauren and Asa to propose something (anything, really) to raise more revenue, their rivalry heats up as they compete to come up with the best idea. But the situation is more dire than they thought, and it might take these polar opposites working together to save the day. If Asa thought Lauren didn't know how to enjoy herself, he's surprised by how much he enjoys spending time together. And if Lauren thought Asa wasn't serious about anything, she's surprised by how seriously he seems to take her. 
As Lauren and Asa work to save their beloved wintery spot, they realize the real attraction might be the heat generating between them.

MY THOUGHTS: I read this author's first book, Love in the Time of Serial Killers, and thoroughly enjoyed it so I knew I had to give this one a go as well.  I am really glad I did and it was a fun way to spend some quiet time over the weekend.  And little did I know I would soon have a new found family to love.

Lauren and Asa both work at a winter attraction in the middle of hot, humid Florida.  Asa has been there ten years compared to Lauren's two but despite not knowing each other than long, they've been together long enough to know they don't really like each other.  Lauren grew up in the foster care system and Asa grew up in an unaccepting family environment and neither have really overcome their personal issues.  However, they are forced to work together to come up with some new ideas to make Cold World more profitable and more marketable and in the process, just might find out they don't hate each other after all.

I'm always on board for an enemies-to-lovers trope and this book has one out in full force. It also has a touch of close proximity thrown in for good measure as well.  From the start, the reader knows Asa and Lauren don't really hate each other, they just think they do.  And by working together, and some intervention from a great set of friends, not only do they grow as a couple, but they also grow as individuals. I will mention Asa has a great set of friends he resides with, thus the found family, and the author would love to see the author write a spin-off or two on some if these side characters.

I also learned something while reading this book.  Because Lauren wants to help children with similar backgrounds as her, she becomes a Guardian ad Litem.  In all the states I have worked with, to be a GAL you first had to be an attorney.  Since it bothered me so much I looked up Florida's regulations and found that is not the case there.  It made me feel much better.

So if you like enemies-to-lovers and found families, I would definitely recommend this book.  In addition, since I did like the author's first novel just a tad better, I would also recommend it too.