Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Feed Your TBR - Cold Snap


Can't Wait Wednesday, which I have adapted to better suit my blog as "Feed Your TBR" 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 15, 2024

SYNOPSIS: A grieving mother and son hope to survive Christmas in a remote mountain cabin, in this chilling novella of dread, isolation and sinister spirits lurking in the frozen woods. Perfect for fans of The Only Good Indians, The Shining and The Babadook.

Two weeks ago, Christine Sinclaire’shusband slipped off the roof while hanging Christmas lights and fell to his death on the front lawn. Desperate to escape her guilt and her grief, Christine packs up her fifteen-year-old son and the family cat and flees to the cabin they’d reserved deep in the remote Pennsylvania Wilds to wait out the holidays.

It isn’t long before Christine begins to hear strange noises coming from the forest. When she spots a horned figure watching from between frozen branches, Christine assumes it’s just a forest animal—a moose, maybe, since the property manager warned her about them, said they’d stomp a body so deep into the snow nobody’d find it ’til spring. But moose don’t walk upright like the shadowy figure does. They don’t call Christine’s name with her dead husband’s voice.

A haunting examination of the horrors of grief and the hunger of guilt, perfect for readers of Stephen King, Christina Henry, and Chuck Wendig.

WHY I CAN'T WAIT: Let's be honest, as if the comparison to The Shining and The Babadook wasn't enough, the cover sealed the deal!


Tuesday, January 30, 2024

2 Bloggers 1 Series - Harrison Investigations #1


So, I honestly believe that Stormi has pulled me into a Heather Graham rabbit hole!  We started reading the Krewe of Hunters series last year and she asked if I would be interested in going back and reading the Harrison Investigation series since it is where Krewe first originated and who am I to say no?  For the most part I have enjoyed the Graham novels I've read with her and I'm always up for some more backlist titles.  And spoiler alert - she even pulled me in to starting a Graham vampire series in February - look at us go!  So read on for my thoughts on the first in this new series and then hop over to Stormi's at Storm Reads for hers.


TITLE: Haunted (Harrison Investigations #1)
AUTHOR: Heather Graham
PUBLISHING DATE: August 25, 2003
PAGES: 425   
SOURCE: Library

FROM GOODREADS: Sheriff Matt Stone doesn’t believe in ghosts. But there are those who are convinced his home, a historic Virginia estate that dates back to the Revolutionary War, is haunted. Pressured to get at the truth about some strange happenings at Melody House, he agrees to let Harrison Investigations explore the house. But he isn’t ready for beautiful, intriguing Darcy Tremayne. 
As a paranormal investigator, Darcy has learned to believe in the unbelievable. And she’s given Matt fair Sometimes people don’t like the skeletons she finds. She never dreamed that warning would apply to herself. For she’s about to discover that Melody House holds much more than a simple mystery from the distant past. What it holds is a very real and lethal danger, one that will cast her into a struggle against the worlds of both the living and the dead.

MY THOUGHTS: When I think that this book is over 21 years old, I'm kind of amazed.  It also makes me feel old, but we won't go there.  Nothing in it really comes across as dated though and although this isn't my favorite Graham novel by far, it is a strong start to what I know is a very length series.

When the book opens, we see Darcy as a high schooler and learn a bit of backstory on how she becomes involved with Adam Harrison, including becoming part of one of the first paranormal investigative teams.  Darcy is then sent to Melody House upon Adam's request to investigate an alleged haunting.  Adam was friends with the new owner, Matt Stone's, grandfather when he owns the home. With Darcy's help and the assistance from a cast of characters living on the Melody House property and running the historic establishment, Adam is set to learn if the location is really haunted or if there is even something more sinister going on.

One thing that's I consistently find interesting about Graham's novels is the blend of paranormal activity and human nefariousness.  Graham always provides a great mixture and since I love all thing spooky, even mildly such as with these novels, reading this series required very little thought as I was sure I would enjoy it.  However, I have to admit that so far, this is probably my least favorite Graham book and it all boils down to Matt Stone being a jerk.  Not only is he skeptical of Darcy and her abilities, but he is also pretty much downright mean and disrespectful to her.  And while you might expect some character growth along the way, Matt remained pretty stunted.  So, when the ending rolls around, and certain conclusions occur, I was scratching my head questioning a lot of people's choices and decisions.  

I will add that I enjoyed the mystery elements of the book and am pleased that we started from the beginning.  I hope we eventually learn more about Adam himself as I suspect he is a pretty interesting man with an intriguing backstory of his own.  If you enjoy paranormal tales which also focus quite heavily on romance, then this series might be something you enjoy.


Monday, January 29, 2024

Claustrophobia Anyone?


TITLE: The Devil Came Down the Mountain
AUTHOR: Christopher Bond
PUBLISHER: Horrorsmith Publishing
PUBLISHING DATE: January 30, 2024
PAGES: 195   

FROM GOODREADS: For almost a hundred years, locals have proclaimed a portion of the Uinta Mountains in Utah to be cursed. They call the area the Murmuring Caves, the site of the historic Yangguang Massacre, where distortions and reverberations beneath the earth's surface create something very akin to human voices. 
And if you listen long might just hear the dead... 
Josh Bridges, an experienced dark tourist, has finally convinced his three best friends to accompany him in search of the Murmuring Caves. But they only agreed because of the tragedy Josh just lived through, which seems to have broken him. They'd do anything for their friend...even descend into darkness. 
But when they call out for help, what answers them might not be safe. It might not even be alive.

MY THOUGHTS: Let me start by saying if you are claustrophobic in any significant way, this book will definitely have you feeling closed in and trapped.  But if you love horror and atmospheric reads, that's a good thing, right?

A personal tragedy prompts Josh to returned to his hometown ten years after graduating high school.  He is reunited with his three best friends and convinces them to join him on a trip to Utah to visit the Murmuring Caves, the site of the infamous Yangguang Massacre.  John loves to participate in "dark tourism," visiting locations where mass deaths and other tragedies have occurred.  His friends are hesitant, each for their own reasons, but they want to be supportive, so they agree to go.  What starts out as a cautious but fun trip turns into a fight for survival and leaves them questioning their own sanity.

This novel was so much fun and I'm glad I picked it up. Bond does a wonderful job at creating a foreboding atmosphere and weaves in an historical/urban legend aspect that totally captivates the reader. I also really enjoyed the friendship bond and find myself automatically drawn to the book featuring reuniting friendship groups.  This book had several twists and turns and at least one of the reveals completely blindsided me.  In addition, the ending is one that simply must be experienced for someone to fully feel the impact of what the author has created.  

I think this book benefited from being on the shorter side because it manages to keep the reader's interest without becoming repetitive or slow.  I will definitely be on the lookout for more from this author and I highly recommend The Devil Came Down the Mountain to any horror lover.


Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Feed Your TBR - Red in Tooth and Claw


Can't Wait Wednesday, which I have adapted to better suit my blog as "Feed Your TBR" 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 8, 2024

FROM GOODREADS: Faolan Kelly’s grandfather is dead. She’s alone in the world and suddenly homeless, all because the local powers that be don’t think a young man of sixteen is mature enough to take over his grandfather’s homestead…and that’s with them thinking Faolan is a young man. If she revealed that her grandfather had been disguising her for years, they would marry her off at the first opportunity.

The mayor finds a solution that serves everyone, but He hires a gunslinger to ship her off to the Settlement, a remote fort where social outcasts live under the leadership of His Benevolence Gideon Dillard. It's a place rife with mystery, kept afloat by suspicious wealth. Dillard's absolute command over his staff just doesn't seem right. And neither do the strange noises that keep Faolan up at night.

When Faolan finds the body of a Settlement boarder, mangled by something that can’t possibly be human, it’s clear something vicious is stalking the palisades. And as Settlement boarders continue to drop like flies, Faolan knows she must escape to evade the creature’s wrath.

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  I'm not sure I'm 100% sure about this one but it is one I will probably grab from the library when it releases.  I am curious about what is mangling the settlers and that cover really seals the deal.  


Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Another Reason I Don't Snowboard


TITLE: The Shuddering
AUTHOR: Ania Ahlborn
PUBLISHING DATE: June 18, 2013/span>
PAGES: 283   
SOURCE: Own/Purchased

FROM GOODREADS: They only come when it snows, and nobody ever gets away. 
A group of close friends gathers at a secluded cabin in the wintry mountains of Colorado for a final holiday hurrah. Instead, it may be their last stand. First a massive blizzard leaves them marooned. Then the more chilling realization: something is lurking in the woods, watching them, waiting... 
Now a weekend of family, friends, and fun has turned into a test of love and loyalty in the face of inhuman horrors. The only hope for those huddled inside is to fight—tooth and nail, bullet and blade—for their lives. Otherwise, they'll end up like the monsters' other victims: bright pools of blood on glittering snow, screams lost in the vast mountains.

MY THOUGHTS: I read this for a Facebook Horror book club I participate in each month, and I love it when books they chose are ones I've been meaning to get to for a while.  In this case, I had even already bought a copy, so it was the perfect excuse to pick it up.

Ryan and Jane are headed to the mountains to spend one last weekend in the family cabin (more like a mansion in the woods) before it is sold.  Jane brings her best friend and Ryan has invited his childhood pal who is bring along his newest girlfriend.  Of course, Jane and this friend have unsettled history which adds to the relationship drama and tension in the cabin in dramatic fashion. What was to be a time to reminisce and get in some good snowboarding turns into a fight for survival when the group starts being stalked by something in the woods.  What they initially peg as wolves or elk turn out to be much scarier as well as something not of this earth.

For the most part I really enjoyed this book.  Because of the winter, snowstorm-trapped setting, it was the perfect January read.  I enjoyed learning more of the characters backstory and loved the bond between Jane and her twin Ryan.  There were some stereotypical stupid moves such as trying to drive out an unclear road in a huge snowstorm and taking off in the woods alone but nothing I couldn't look past. There was also some sarcasm and humor.  The monsters were scary, and the pacing was good.  I am glad the book was on the shorter side because it allowed for things to be wrapped up when a longer book might have seemed to drag.  

My rating reflects my one big dislike of the book.  MINOR SPOLIER ALERT - the dog dies.  However, the death is off the page and not described in any gory detail and Oona goes out being the very best dog ever!  I did become very attached to her though and had to find a spoiler when I first encountered her because come on, dogs and horror do not mix well!

All of that being said, I'm glad I finally marked this off the TBR pile.  It's the second book I've read by the author and definitely want to check out more.  If you are looking for a winter survival tale, look no further.


Sunday, January 21, 2024

Farm News - January 21, 2024


Major update - it's cold!  No surprise there huh?  I know people have it a lot worse than I do here, and I am in West Virginia, so I do expect winter but still.  I keep reminding myself that last year around the holidays we were in the -20 wind chill temps, and I survived.  But last year I was a year younger, and I also didn't have a puppy that needs to go out every 2 hours and who refuses to come back in when he should.  

I also celebrated my birthday this past week and took Friday off from work so I could have a celebratory three-day weekend.  Mr. Mike got me a giant birthday cookie, a boxer travel mug and some Dr. Pepper Strawberry Cream soda which is my favorite and becoming harder and harder to find.  He knows the way to my heart.  The pups love the snow though and when it wasn't too dangerous for them, we did allow them outside to play some.

I currently have three books I need to get finished by the end of January.  End of Watch is a buddy read with Stormi, I'm still reading Hunt on Dark Waters, which is good, but I just sat it down for other things, and The Devil Came Down the Mountain releases on the 30th.  I am on the Horrorsmith Publishing arc team and really want to get an honest review up for this one. I am also reading The Death of Prince Rogers Nelson: An Investigation but it's a non-fiction account of the 18-month police investigation into his death so I'm only reading it in spurts.  

I also was approved for arcs from some HIGHLY anticipated releases so it was good 2 weeks from Netgalley.  Thanks to them and all the publishers.  I will link the titles to Goodreads so you can check them out if you wish.

Legacy of Temptation: Larissa Ione
Made for You: Jenna Satterthwaite
The Gathering: C.J. Tudor
The Drowning House: Cherie Priest

And finally, I feel down the Apple TV rabbit hole with their 3-month free trial and am watching Servant.  Even Mr. Mike likes it.  We are currently on Episode 6 of Season 2.  The good thing is all four seasons have dropped and the series has ended so we can binge until our heart's content.

Hope everyone is staying warm and safe.  Have a great week!

Thursday, January 18, 2024

A Book of Poetry? Who Am I?


TITLE: Pretty Boys are Poisonous: Poems
AUTHOR: Megan Fox
PUBLISHER: Gallery Books
PUBLISHING DATE: November 7, 2023/span>
PAGES: 176   
SOURCE: Library

FROM GOODREADS: Megan Fox showcases her wicked humor throughout a heartbreaking and dark collection of poetry. Over the course of more than seventy poems Fox chronicles all the ways in which we fit ourselves into the shape of the ones we love, even if it means losing ourselves in the process. 
“These poems were written in an attempt to excise the illness that had taken root in me because of my silence. I’ve spent my entire life keeping the secrets of men, my body aches from carrying the weight of their sins. My freedom lives in these pages, and I hope that my words can inspire others to take back their happiness and their identity by using their voice to illuminate what’s been buried, but not forgotten, in the darkness,” says Fox. 
Pretty Boys Are Poisonous marks the powerful debut from one of the most well-known women of our time. Turn the page, bite the apple, and sink your teeth into the most deliciously compelling and addictive books you’ll read all year.

MY THOUGHTS: So, I'm about as big of fan of poetry as I am of Megan Fox.  That's not to say I actively dislike either one, I just do not go out of my way to seek either one out either.  However, one of my challenges features a prompt for poetry and I saw this at my library and figured why not.  And boy am I glad I grabbed it.

This book is a collection of poetry by Fox which covers topics of relationships, physical and emotional abuse, feminism and miscarriage to name a few.  There are 77 poems and while a few of them didn't exactly hit the mark with me, so many of them did.  Some of my faves include the indoctrination of a hopeless romantic, in which Fox says "I used to think love was a poem/now I know love is a killing spree" and fatality which compares a relationship to a game of Mortal Combat and includes a line I'll never forget - "I start daydreaming of the look on your face when I tell you his d--k was so much bigger than yours."

So honestly, this book won't be for everyone.  There's profanity and snarkiness galore.  But there is also some rather beautiful black and white artwork by Audrey Kawasaki, a Japanese American artist from LA.  Overall, I would recommend if you have even the slightest suspicion that you might like this, then I say pick it up.  Maybe you'll stumble on a few lines that will stick with you as well.


Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Feed Your TBR - Incarnate


Can't Wait Wednesday, which I have adapted to better suit my blog as "Feed Your TBR" 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 10, 2024

FROM GOODREADS: In a frozen tundra, a sin-eater fights for redemption and absolution as monstrous creatures ravage a community already struggling to survive.

Sebastian Pana is a sin-eater, a shaman-like figure who can absolve the dead of their transgressions before they move on to the afterlife. But when a tear in the fabric of reality allows hideous beasts to invade the small arctic town he calls home, Sebastian must wage battle with them the only way he knows by unleashing the power of sin itself.

Thus, the stage is set for an epic confrontation between the forces of good and evil, in which a mother monster strives to save the dying land around her—and a young Inuit boy, haunted by Sebastian’s fate, risks everything to forge a new way forward for the desperate vestiges of humanity.

As an obliterating darkness descends from the frozen mountains, this profoundly redemptive tale will build toward a climactic showdown in which nature and the supernatural collide with the eternal quest for healing and forgiveness.

From an author who has been compared to Lovecraft, Bradbury, and Gaiman, Incarnate is a masterpiece of contemporary arctic horror—a dark, unsettling story told in a maximalist voice inflected with powerful notes of hope and grace.

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  Although I'm seriously questioning why given that I'm sitting here typing this and FREEZING, I love cold weather/artic horror.  This one sounds good and that cover is chilling (pun intended).


Tuesday, January 16, 2024

More Money More Problems


TITLE: The Heiress
AUTHOR: Rachel Hawkins
PUBLISHER: St. Martin's Press
PUBLISHING DATE: January 9, 2024/span>
PAGES: 304   

FROM GOODREADS: When Ruby McTavish Callahan Woodward Miller Kenmore dies, she’s not only North Carolina’s richest woman, she’s also its most notorious. The victim of a famous kidnapping as a child and a widow four times over, Ruby ruled the tiny town of Tavistock from Ashby House, her family’s estate high in the Blue Ridge mountains. In the aftermath of her death, that estate—along with a nine-figure fortune and the complicated legacy of being a McTavish—pass to her adopted son, Camden. 
But to everyone’s surprise, Cam wants little to do with the house or the money—and even less to do with the surviving McTavishes. Instead, he rejects his inheritance, settling into a normal life as an English teacher in Colorado and marrying Jules, a woman just as eager to escape her own messy past. 
Ten years later, Camden is a McTavish in name only, but a summons in the wake of his uncle’s death brings him and Jules back into the family fold at Ashby House. Its views are just as stunning as ever, its rooms just as elegant, but coming home reminds Cam why he was so quick to leave in the first place. 
Jules, however, has other ideas, and the more she learns about Cam’s estranged family—and the twisted secrets they keep—the more determined she is for her husband to claim everything Ruby once intended for him to have. 
But Ruby’s plans were always more complicated than they appeared. As Ashby House tightens its grip on Jules and Camden, questions about the infamous heiress come to light. Was there any truth to the persistent rumors following her disappearance as a girl? What really happened to those four husbands, who all died under mysterious circumstances? And why did she adopt Cam in the first place? Soon, Jules and Cam realize that an inheritance can entail far more than what’s written in a will—and that the bonds of family stretch far beyond the grave.

MY THOUGHTS: I have read all of Rachel Hawkins' recent adult releases and find that they can be hit or miss for me (however, when she writes as Erin Sterling, I find I almost ALWAYS love everything she does).  I really liked The Villa and Reckless Girls, but The Wife Upstairs was a miss for me.  One thing remains constant, I find her books to be very quick reads and even when they don't knock it out of the park for me, I still enjoy something about them.  Sadly though, The Heiress falls into The Wife Upstairs category. 

Ashby House has always been inhabited by the McTavish family. Cam and his wife of ten years, Jules, lives a quiet life in Colorado.  Very few people know that when Cam's adopted mother Ruby passed away, she left the entire McTavish fortune to her so.  However, Cam wanted nothing to do with his past and only when he receives a plea from his cousin to come help make (and fund) some needed repairs to Ashby House, does Cam decide it's time to deal with the demons in the Ashby House closet.  Along with Jules, who has some ulterior motives of her own for wanting to visit Ashby House, the two embark on a trip that is sure to change their lives forever.

I really liked Cam and felt that for such a crappy and high-profile life, he turned out pretty good.  Jules remained questionable in my head and although it took me a while, I eventually discovered why.  Yet the real villains of the tale are the McTavish's, especially Ruby, Cam's mother.  Through alternating POVs and letters written to a mysterious someone by Ruby herself, the reader learns just how twisted money has made the McTavish clan.  Or better yet, where they twisted all along despite their lineage.

My main complaint with the book is that I found it extremely predictable. I guess each twist and turn before they were revealed and nothing about the ending really caught me off guard.  I think this is a book people are either going to love of find mediocre.  There is nothing really to dislike and it was an easy read and a good way to pass a few hours on a cold, blustery and sometimes snowy day.   


Friday, January 12, 2024

Dinner Anyone?


TITLE: My Life as a White Trash Zombie
AUTHOR: Diana Rowland
PUBLISHING DATE: January 1, 2011
PAGES: 320   
SOURCE: Library

FROM GOODREADS: Angel Crawford is a loser. 
Living with her alcoholic deadbeat dad in the swamps of southern Louisiana, she's a high school dropout with a pill habit and a criminal record who's been fired from more crap jobs than she can count. Now on probation for a felony, it seems that Angel will never pull herself out of the downward spiral her life has taken. 
That is, until the day she wakes up in the ER after overdosing on painkillers. Angel remembers being in a horrible car crash, but she doesn't have a mark on her. To add to the weirdness, she receives an anonymous letter telling her there's a job waiting for her at the parish morgue—and that it's an offer she doesn't dare refuse. 
Before she knows it, she's dealing with a huge crush on a certain hunky deputy and a brand-new addiction: an overpowering craving for brains. Plus, her morgue is filling up with the victims of a serial killer who decapitates his prey—just when she's hungriest! 
Angel's going to have to grow up fast if she wants to keep this job and stay in one piece. Because if she doesn't, she's dead meat. 

MY THOUGHTS: I picked up this book because I decided to take part in a 6 month read along of the series.  I think I own books 2 and 3 (just need to find them) so they've always been on my radar.  I'm so glad I decided to because I loved this book and can't wait for more in the series.  And it may be early but I'm anticipating 2024 might just be my urban fantasy era.

Angel Crawford wakes up in the hospital and learns she was found on a country road naked passed out from an overdose. She has no recollection of what happened but when she is discharged, she finds a anonymous note stating she has a job interview at the local morgue and as long as she works there for a month, her current probation officer will not be notified.  Oh, and there is a strange mixture she is told to drink every few days.

Over the next month Angel starts to straighten out her life, learns more about working at the local morgue, makes some new friends and oh yea, learns she is a zombie. Angel tries to navigate her complicated life while learning who made her a zombie and what she needs to do to survive.  She is also suddenly working hand in hand with law enforcement after spending so much time trying to avoid them which is new to her as well.

I loved Angel.  She is HIGHLY flawed, and the author did a good job of explaining why Angel has the problems and at the same time showing that Angel is accountable for a lot of her own issues.  There is a mystery element involved in several aspects and the conclusion was very high-paced and completely caught me off guard.  I did suspect about mid-book who made Angel a zombie, but it was fun seeing if I was right and then learning why.

I know some people don't enjoy zombie books but since this is technically urban fantasy and not horror, Rowland's zombies have a very humane side.  They can still think and go about their average day but suffer serious consequences if they don't eat a brain or two from time to time.  I would highly recommend this to anyone wanting to venture into the urban fantasy genre or revisiting an old fave such as me.  


Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Feed Your TBR - The Swarm


Can't Wait Wednesday, which I have adapted to better suit my blog as "Feed Your TBR" 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.


SYNOPSIS: From the bizarre and audacious imagination of horror author Andy Marino comes a harrowing tale of the insect that will herald the apocalypse…

It begins with cicadas. It will end with The Swarm.

When millions of insects appear unexpectedly, off the rhythm of their 17-year cycle, Detective Vicky Paterson is investigating a bizarre killing in her sleepy hometown. At the same time, a pair of hired guns work to free their client’s daughter from a shadowy cult.

As these events intertwine, things begin to spiral out of control. When Vicky’s young daughter, Sadie, is attacked by the insects, it’s clear that the once-harmless creatures have invaded with a malevolent purpose.

But this is only the first wave. Soon, the infestation is impossible to contain.

As the world desperately works to unravel the mysteries of the swarm, and humanity rests on the knife’s edge of extinction, Vicky and a group of strangers will fight to uncover the shocking origins of the attack—and the terrible purpose behind it.

From a remote Pacific atoll to a devastated Manhattan, this panoramic novel of insect apocalypse reaches back into the darkest recesses of the twentieth century and unleashes its horrors on our modern, interconnected world.

WHY I CAN'T WAIT: Insect apocalypse?  Yes please.  And that cover!  Basically that's all I need.


Monday, January 8, 2024

Farm News - January 8, 2024


It has been forever since I did an update, and I didn't get one done over the weekend, so I figured I'd go ahead and drop one today.  I haven't had a chance to do an update since Christmas or New Year's and want to make sure all my friends out there in blogging/booktube/instagram land know how much I appreciate their support and how much I look forward to continued interaction in 2024!

We had a wonderful, low-key holiday here at the farm.  Zeke enjoyed his first Christmas and Apollo enjoyed sharing the festivities with his new brother.  Both Mr. Barb and I were off for 11 days, so we shared lots of good food, video game playing, reading and watching movies/tv including our favorite Twilight Zone marathon on SyFy.  I did get some books as well as a gift card to Amazon from Mr. Barb and I look forward to reading them all.

I managed to do a lot of reading over the break and switched to holiday horror around mid-December as I really needed a break from rom-com/romance.  Now it's 2024 and I have so many books I want to get to and I want to read them all now!  Here is a look at either what I'm currently reading or what might be up next.  My Life as a White Trash Zombie is for a read along and I'm really enjoying it so far. I've missed urban fantasy so much.  The Shuddering is this month's pick for a horror book club over on Facebook and Hunt on Dark Waters is one I grabbed from the library and for some reason, it's really calling to me.

And finally, because we all need some cuteness in our lives, here is recent pic of the boys.  You can see how big Zeke is getting and I swear, he and Apollo look more and more alike each day!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful week and look for a new post Wednesday!

Friday, January 5, 2024

But I DO Have Kids!


TITLE: Birdie & Harlow: Life, Loss and Loving My Dog So Much I Didn't Want Kids
AUTHOR: Taylor Wolfe
PUBLISHING DATE: September 19, 2023
PAGES: 272   
SOURCE: Library

FROM GOODREADS: The funny and poignant story of one woman’s wonderfully codependent relationship with her dog – and what he taught her about chosen family and the reward of motherhood. 
Birdie & Harlow is the story of a baby and a dog. But motherhood is never quite that simple. In Taylor Wolfe’s case, it’s a long, zigzagging and winding road. Meant to be a last-minute anniversary gift for her then boyfriend (and now husband), the highly-energetic and loud-mouthed Vizla puppy named Harlow turns out to be the best snap decision twenty-year-old Taylor ever makes—and the beginning of the most epic friendship she ever has. 
As Wolfe’s resistance to 9-5’s and traditional adulthood grows, Harlow becomes the perfect companion for her eccentricities in a world that thrives on conformity. Wolfe’s twenties—full of pitfalls and surprises, sad days and silver linings—led her to the realization that life is too short to spend your days in a crate (or a cubicle), that parks are meant to be enjoyed, and most importantly, she wants to be a mom. But really, isn't she one already? 
A charming and touching memoir, Birdie & Harlow is a tribute to the many expressions of modern motherhood, to both human and fur babies alike. Taylor’s story reminds all of us that life will surprise you and that families should come in every shape and size.

MY THOUGHTS: It's really a good thing I didn't look too closely at the cover (or I'd have seen the "until I did" in parenthesis after the title) or read the synopsis too well or the chances are good I'd have missed out on this book which brought me so much joy and so many tears.  I never had the desire to have a kid, and many people believe that to feel that way is abnormal.   Luckily, because of some other issues which are highly personal and that I won't go into, I also felt no pressure from my family to procreate (the issues not so great but the subsequent outcome definitely helpful).  I hate the pressure women feel that to be "normal" they need to have children.  I don't hate children, in fact, I've spent the last 30 years working with and advocating for them.  But my children are my dogs and that is completely by choice and luckily, I met someone who feels the same way.

Given all of that though, I settled down to read a book I thought was about a wonderful relationship with a family pet and for the most part, I still got that, with just a side of baby thrown in.  In this memoir, Wolfe journals her 10 years with her child and best friend, Harlow the Vizla.  She purchased Harlow on a whim never knowing her life would never be the same.  For 10 years, she and her boyfriend, and now husband, navigated life, including job changes, several moves, covid, and eventually a baby with Harlow by their sides.  Wolfe includes conversations with Harlow as she knows in her heart Harlow speaks to her and only she can hear and understand him.  These were some of my favorite parts.

Like all great dog stories, I knew this one had an ending in sight.  And let me tell you I sobbed. I was sitting on the couch hoping my husband didn't see the tears streaming down my face because I knew it would cause me to further break down.  Never had I had someone put into words so exactly my relationship with my darling Cassius.  And while this book hit too close to home at times, I don't regret reading it and overall, reading it was a beautiful experience.  I hope Cassius has run into Harlow since he has passed because I'm sure they would have lots in common and could spend days telling each other about their crazy human soulmates.  If you love dogs (and don't mind kids) read this book!


Thursday, January 4, 2024

2024 Reading Plans/Challenges



So, I have spent some time thinking about my reading plans/goals for 2024 and although they are ALWAYS subject to change, and in fact, probably will, for now, I think I have a decent grasp of what is going on.

First of all, I will be continuing my buddy reads with Stormi.  I really enjoy our laid-back approach to them, and they are quite the motivator to get books read.  We are either in the middle of or starting some great series so look for some reviews of the Bill Hodges/Holly series by Stephen King, the Jackaby/Rook series by William Ritter, the Harrison Investigations series by Heather Graham (and its numerous spin-offs) and Hope's Crossing/Haven Point series from RaeAnne Thayne to name a few.

Next, I am participating in a 6-month series read of the White Trash Zombie books by Diana Rowland.  I definitely want to get into more urban fantasy this year hosted by Anne @ Books of My Heart and COYER.  You can find the details HERE.  I also participate in a monthly horror book club on the TBR and Beyond Facebook page which is hosted by Mel.  Every month there is a new title and then the discussion is the last Sunday of each month.  In January we are reading The Shuddering by Ania Ahlborn.

And finally, my year-long challenges.  I am participating in Library Love, which again is hosted by Anne @ Books of my Heart. You can learn all about it and the awesome prize which is being offered HERE.  I am also doing the What an Animal Challenge after skipping it for the past two years.  It is hosted by Socrates' Book Reviews.  There is a 24 book Horror Challenge being held on one of my Facebook groups which looks fun and pretty informal.  I'll include the prompts below.  And finally, I located a Bands and Book Challenge.  This one contains 140 prompts which are connected to popular bands.  Now I in no way think I will complete this one, but I want to see how I do and since I love music as well, I couldn't resist.  Click on the challenge title for all the details if you are interested because I am not listing 140 prompts! 

So, if you made it this far, those are the plans.  I will DEFINITELY be doubling up on prompts and things and this is all in fun and just to see what I can achieve.  Oh yea, my Goodreads goal is 100 books and I want to do better at tracking on there again, so I guess I am back to being mocked by my good old friend Goodreads once again.  Are you doing anything fun this year with your reading?  I hope to do quarterly updates so keep your eyes open.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Feed Your TBR - Immortal Dark


Can't Wait Wednesday, which I have adapted to better suit my blog as "Feed Your TBR" 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 3, 2024

SYNOPSIS: A dark fantasy romance where one girl must join a secret society of vampires in order to find her missing sister.

Hidden in our world, a society of vampires originating in Africa, are bound to twelve human Houses. Each House represents a bloodline more cutthroat than the next. To ensure peace and inherit their House legacy, human children of these elite families must study at an elite secret university.

Lost Heiress, Kidan Adane grew up far from Uxlay University. She is obsessively protective, mildly nihilistic, and willing to do anything to save her loved ones. When her sister, June, disappears, Kidan is convinced a vampire stole her—her own House vampire to be exact, the alluring yet dangerous Susenyos Sagad.

To find June, Kidan must study at Uxlay and live with Susenyos. It doesn’t matter that Susenyos’ violence speaks to her own and tempts Kidan to surrender to a life of darkness. She will find her sister and kill him at all costs.

WHY I CAN'T WAIT: I am finding myself more and more drawn to vampire books again and I am very intrigued by the concept of the vampire originating in Africa.  Plus, that cover!