Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Killer Libraries! (Death in the Stacks review)

TITLE: Death in the Stacks (Library Lover's Mystery #8)
AUTHOR: Jenn McKinlay
PUBLISHER: Berkley
PUBLISHING DATE: November 14, 2017

FROM GOODREADS: Lindsey Norris and her staff are gearing up for the Briar Creek Library's annual Dinner in the Stacks fund-raiser. The night of dinner and dancing is not only a booklover's dream--it's the library's biggest moneymaker of the year. But instead of raising funds, the new library board president is busy raising a stink and making the staff miserable. 

Although Olive Boyle acts like a storybook villain, Lindsey is determined to work with her and make the event a success. But when Olive publicly threatens the library's newest hire, Paula, Lindsey cracks like an old book spine and throws Olive out of the library.

The night of the fund-raiser, Lindsey dreads another altercation with Olive--but instead finds Paula crouched over Olive's dead body. Paula may have secrets, but Lindsey and the rest of the crafternooners know she's not the one who took Olive out of circulation. As the plot thickens, Lindsey must catch the real killer before the book closes on Paula's future . . .
 

MY THOUGHTS: Since this is the 8th book in the Library Lover's Mystery series, there are certain things I can't disclose because of spoilers. However, let me say I devoured this book and this series keeps going strong. In this installment, there is a new library Board member, Olive Boyle, and she's out to make Lindsey's life hell. One night, after a fundraiser, Olive is found dead in the stacks and one of Lindsey's favorite employees is the prime suspect. Even though Lindsey has sworn off investigating, she feels it's up to her to clear Paula's name and figure out who really killed Olive. 

McKinlay has once again set up a great cozy mystery and all the town favorites are back - Beth, Sully, his sister and brother-in-law, Robbie and even the Lemon - who I love more and more with each book (doesn't every library have an employee who can be referred to as "The Lemon"). Lindsey once again gets in some sticky situations, which are always fun and entertaining, and it was fun to catch up with everyone's lives.

The only problem I have with this series is that I look forward to the new books being released and then I devour them so quickly so I get discouraged that I have to wait so long for the next one. If you are a cozy mystery lover and adore the small town settings, please pick up the first book and give this series a try!
 

RATING: 5 PAWS

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday (132)

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 GOODREADSApril 1943: four boys playing in Hagley Woods, Essex make a gruesome discovery. Inside an enormous elm tree, there is the body of a woman, her mouth stuffed with a length of cloth. As the case goes cold, mysterious graffiti starts going up across the Midlands: 'Who put Bella in the Wych Elm?'

To Ross Spooner, a police officer working undercover for spiritualist magazine Two Worlds, the messages hold a sinister meaning. He's been on the track of a German spy ring who have left a trail of black magic and mayhem across England, and this latest murder bears all the hallmarks of an ancient ritual.

At the same time, Spooner is investigating the case of Helen Duncan, a medium whose messages from the spirit world contain highly classified information. As the establishment joins ranks against Duncan, Spooner must face demons from his own past, uncover the spies hiding beneath the fabric of wartime society - and confront those who suspect that he, too, may not be all he seems ...
 

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  I didn't intentionally plan on featuring witchy books 2 weeks in a row, but alas, I HAD to share this one.  First, look at the cover in all its purple gorgeousness.  And secondly, black magic and mystery?  Sign me up please!

WHAT BOOK CAN'T YOU WAIT FOR THIS WEEK????

A VERY late Must and Might


So this is extremely late and I pretty much have already started on November's TBR.  However, I skipped this post last month and kind of realized how lost I am without it as a reference.  You know from my weekly read posts that I'm participating in the #HoHoHoRAT this week, so I've been reading some Christmas cozies.  However, there are some other books I'd like to get read this month and since I have a vacation coming up, here's hoping I get to them.

MUSTS

MIGHTS

So 6 books in half a month?   Probably not going to happen but I would love it if it did!

Monday, November 13, 2017

TTT - Why I Would Want My Children to Read Horror

This top 10 weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and can be found HERE.  Each week they focus on lists which cover various topics related to books and reading. 

Today's topic is 10 books I want my future children (nieces, nephews, etc) to read.  Since my children are of the 4-legged variety, I thought I'd share why any kid of mine should read horror and then share what 5 horror books I'd want them to definitely read. (Are you clued in that I'm not really a kid person - kids reading horror is probably a dead giveaway.  I do  like kids and worked with them for years, but as an only child in a small family, my exposure has been limited).

WHY KIDS SHOULD READ HORROR:

  • Because it will prepare them for the real world - which is rather scary
  • It will teach them good problems solving skills - if you can defeat evil clowns, you got it made
  • It's an under-appreciated genre and needs more love
  • Scary tales tend to bring people together - there's safety in numbers
  • It can teach them to confront their fears

5 HORROR BOOKS EVERY KID SHOULD READ:

A modern classic I think EVERYONE should read

A dog named Merlin in the middle of a horror novel - awesome!

So I could tell them about their Grandfather and how he scared the crap out of Grandma and they would understand.

This would teach them that people are much more scarier than monsters.

So they would know what NOT to look for when purchasing their first home.

So there you have it and yes, my kids would probably be scarred for life!





Cute Heading? I Got Nothing - A Christmas Peril Review

TITLE: A Christmas Peril
AUTHOR: J.A. Hennrikus
PUBLISHER: Midnight Ink
PUBLISHING DATE: September 8, 2017

FROM GOODREADS: When Edwina “Sully” Sullivan’s life imploded, she left behind her job on the police force and her unfaithful husband to start a new life as the general manager of her hometown theater, the Cliffside Theater Company. For five years, she focused on budgets instead of crimes and kept the Cliffside running alongside its mercurial artistic director.

But when her best friend is arrested for killing his father, the rich and powerful Peter Whitehall, no one is looking for another suspect. So, in between keeping A Christmas Carol on budget and Scrooge sober, Sully dusts off her investigative skills to find a killer. Her two lives collide when her ex-husband gets on the suspect list and she’s forced to confront her past in order to save her present.

MY THOUGHTS:  I picked up "A Christmas Peril" as part of my #HoHoHo RAT and it did serve the trick of reading something with Christmas undertones which wasn't over-the-top.  However, while I think this is a solid first installment in a new cozy series, it didn't pull me in like I had hoped.

Edwina "Sully" Sullivan has moved back to her small hometown after quitting her job as a Detective and leaving her unfaithful husband.  She immediately takes a job working for the Cliffside Theater Company as the primary manager, and has settled in to the job quite nicely.  Just when the troop is getting read for their annual Christmas Carol run, a wealthy but not so liked individual in the community is murdered.  His son and Sully's best friend is accused of doing the deed so Sully and her ex husband, who is also a lawyer, work together to clear Eric's name and figure out who really killed Peter Whitehall.

First, I need to say I think this book was written well enough.  I really wasn't able to figure out the mystery until the very end and even then was only half right.  That's always fun when reading a cozy mystery.  I also liked a lot of the small town characters and especially enjoyed Sully's relationship with Regina, the detective assigned to the case.  However, I don't feel this book needed a love-triangle, especially in the first installment, and for some reason, I never really connected to Sully.  There is just something about her that makes her seem aloof.  I couldn't see myself being friends with her in real life, and sometimes,  it's that connection which makes me enjoy cozies.  

For anyone who loves theater this would be an ideal book to pick up.  There's just enough mention of the production and rehearsals to keep your interest and add to the overall depth of the book.  I will probably pick up the next book in the series and see what the author does with the characters, as well as see if I end up liking Sully more eventually.

RATING: 3 PAWS

Friday, November 10, 2017

Stacking the Shelves (136)/Sunday Post

Stacking the Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves or TBR piles, may it be physical or virtual.  This means you can include books you buy in a physical store, online, books you borrow from the library or friends, review books, gifts and of course, ebooks! The original meme was started over at Tynga's Reviews. And it now has a new co-host where individuals can link up as well - Marlene from Reading Reality.  Clicking on the book (or title) should take you to the Goodreads page.  I'm also now linking up with the Sunday Post which is hosted by Kimberly@Caffeinated Book Reviewer

So once a year, a local church in our town has a huge book sale.  They gather donations all summer long and then run it for a week in November.  They take the proceeds and split them with 4 other town charities so it's a win-win for everyone.  Pretty much prices go down as the week progresses and if you're a book lover, you need to go at least twice because they have tons of boxes in reserve and they fill in as time passes.  We're talking a huge basement with table after table of books.  And the best part about it (depending on how you look at it) is that it's 2 blocks from my office.  So today I just want to share with you the books I grabbed from the sale.  There's very little rhyme or reason to them but you will see a theme.  There wasn't much horror available but there were tons and tons of mysteries. 


The Loop - Nicolas Evans
The Complete Sherlock Holmes - Edited by Laurie R. King
A Very Merry Christmas - Lori Foster
Sole Survivor - Dean Koontz
The Truth of All Things - Kieran Shields
Unleashed (Melanie Travis #7) - Laurien Berenson
What a Ghoul Wants - Victoria Thompson
Putting on the Dog - Cynthia Baxter
Doggie Day Care Murder (Melanie Travis #15) - Laurien Berenson
Dog Eat Dog (Melanie Travis #3) - Laurien Berenson
Brownies and Broomsticks - Bailey Cates
Witchful Thinking - H.P. Mallory


Best in Show (Melanie Travis #10) - Laurien Berenson
Jingle Bell Bark (Melanie Travis #11)- Laurien Berenson
Hot Dog (Melanie Travis #9) - Laurien Berenson
Hush Puppy (Melanie Travis #6) - Laurien Berenson
Finding Mr. Right - Emily Carmichael
Dog Stories - James Herriots
Hounded to Death (Melanie Travis #14)- Laurien Berenson
A Pedigree to Die For (Melanie Travis #1)- Laurien Berenson

So pretty much I got 20 books for $25.00 and it all went to a good cause (at least that's what I keep telling myself - that and that it's a once a year sale).

So what did you add to your stacks this week????




Weekly Reads (11/10/17)


So thankfully it's kind of been an uneventful week at The Farm.  Definitely needed one of those.  However, looking back, the week does seem like it last forever so I'm not quite sure what's up.  Thursday Mr. Barb and I tried a new diner for takeout.  The food was massive!  We ordered fried veggies (love my fried pickles) and he ordered a "kitchen sink" burger.  Have you ever had a burger with fried mac and cheese on it?  It was huge!  He liked it but said it needed more condiments.

The pups are doing great.  They are gearing up for Thanksgiving and Cassius' birthday in a few weeks.  Mr. Barb works this weekend so besides visiting Grandpa, I hope to clean carpets and get some Christmas shopping done (I'm so behind on that).  Oh and remember my cousin the nuisance?  He landed in rehab.  Sad because I'm sure she needs it as much as he does.  Bet no one saw that coming - RIGHT!

There was a huge charity book sale in town this week and it just happened to be in a church basement 2 blocks from work.  But you'll hear all about that in tomorrow's post.  We really only watched one movie "War of Planet of the Apes."  I cheered for the apes, cursed the humans and cried!  It was good but I had trouble watching it - I'm such an ape fan.  And Bad Ape was so darn cute!

I'm participating in the #HoHoHoRAT this week so that's why you'll see Christmas books on this week's reading stack.  I'm about 75% done with A Christmas Peril and then I'll be moving on to "The 12 Slays of Christmas." 


So what has everyone else been up to and what do you plan on reading this week???

Thursday, November 9, 2017

HoHoHo RAT! Story Prompt


So as part of the HoHoHo RAT there are all kinds of challenges you can participate in and win prizes.  And even if you don't win, they are really fun and I'm meeting some great new bloggers.  Anyway, Lampshade Reader is hosting a Christmas Story Prompt Challenge and I couldn't resist putting some Booker T and Cassius flair on it!





It was the night before Christmas and the only creatures stirring were Booker T and Cassius.  They were sneaking around the house while their parents were asleep, sure they could catch Santa delivering their presents.  Secretly though, Booker T was hoping Cassius would get a glimpse of Krampus.  He hadn't completely forgiven him for causing him to get stitches last February and since he was so naughty, he figured he would at least get a few lumps of coal beneath the tree.

All of a sudden, they heard a noise.  They ran to the window but the only things in sight were icicles and freshly fallen snow - there wasn't a reindeer anywhere!  Cass looked at Booker and said "It was probably the neighbor's cat trying to climb up the chimney again.  We better hurry back to bed before Mom and Dad catch us!  You know they don't always keep normal hours while on vacation. "

"Okay," commented Booker T.  "But first, grab that gingerbread cookie, I'm hungry and could use a midnight snack."  Both boys quietly crept back to the bedroom, where their parents were still sleeping snug in their bed.

"Man, I wish I had some eggnog!"

"Shut up Cassius and go to sleep" mumbled T.  And the next morning, when they awoke, they were thrilled to run down the stairs and see all the dog toys and treats under the tree.  "You're getting coal next year Cassius, so you better enjoy the oversight,"  Booker T exclaimed.

"Stop being a Grinch Booker T!" Cassius yelled and off they ran to thank their parents for such an awesome morning...and to look for breakfast.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

This Book Put a Spell on Me

TITLE: The Rules of Magic (Practical Magic #0)
AUTHOR: Alice Hoffman
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster
PUBLISHING DATE: October 10, 2017

FROM GOODREADS: For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy.
 

MY THOUGHTS: I'm finding this review somewhat hard to write which is rare for a 5/5 book. Basically, from the first chapter, Hoffman worked some kind of magical spell within the pages and I found "The Rules of Magic" almost impossible to put down. In fact, although I enjoyed "Practical Magic," I had seen the movie first so I found the book a tad redundant. With this one, we get a fresh new tale about the Owens' family history and I was riveted to find out what happened long before we met Sally and Gillian.

"The Rules of Magic" follows three Owens' siblings - Franny (the stubborn one), Jet (the beautiful and whimsical one) and Vincent (the confused wanderer). From birth they are discouraged by their mother and father from learning about their heritage and are warned about all the things they should not do. However, one summer spent with their Aunt changes all of that. This book follows pretty much their entire lives and shows how they are cursed to always lose their true love.

This book was pure magic. I will caution that overall I wouldn't consider it an action-packed, exciting read. In fact, at times, it might seem quite slow. But for some reason, none of that bothered me. I even remember commenting while reading it that nothing was really happening in the book yet I couldn't stop reading to find out what comes next.

This was a perfect prequel to "Practical Magic" and at the end, the reader gets a glimpse of how Sally and Gilly came to live with Franny and Jet. While reading, I found myself growing so connected to the characters and I have to admit, Franny was my favorite. For anyone who loves Hoffman, or witches, or even just enjoyed the "Practical Magic" movie or book, you simply must grab a copy of this book. It lyrical and beautiful and a whole bunch of other adjectives I'm sure I don't need to detail. "The Rules of Magic" definitely ranks in one of my favorite top 5 reads of the year!

RATING: 5 PAWS

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday (131)

  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: 
Everyone knows what happens in the end.
A mermaid, a prince, a true love’s kiss.
But before that young siren’s tale, there were three friends.
One feared, one royal, and one already dead.

~~~~~~~~~~

Ever since her best friend, Anna, drowned, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. A freak. A curse. A witch. 

A girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears offshore and, though the girl denies it, Evie is convinced that her best friend actually survived. That her own magic wasn’t so powerless after all. And, as the two girls catch the eyes—and hearts—of two charming princes, Evie believes that she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after.

But her new friend has secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad, or on two legs, unless Evie finds a way to help her. Now Evie will do anything to save her friend’s humanity, along with her prince’s heart—harnessing the power of her magic, her ocean, and her love until she discovers, too late, the truth of her bargain. 

The rise of Hans Christian Andersen’s iconic villainess is a heart-wrenching story of friendship, betrayal, and a girl pushed beyond her limits—to become a monster.

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  Pretty much the word "witch" and tentacles (although the synopsis sounds good too!)


WHAT BOOK CAN'T YOU WAIT FOR THIS WEEK???

Monday, November 6, 2017

TTT - 5 Awesome Characters to Lead a Supernatural Army

This top 10 weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and can be found HERE.  Each week they focus on lists which cover various topics related to books and reading. 

This week's topic is leaders and then each poster can chose what's being led.  I wanted to stay away from political topics so I decided to focus on characters who would be awesome at leading supernatural armies for various reasons.  I had to put some thoughts into this one but I hope you enjoy what I out together.




Oberon from Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid Chronicles.  "But Barb, you haven't even started this series yet" you might be saying.  You are quite right but I do follow Oberon on Twitter and also read his newsletter and  I know he has lots of experience dealing with various creatures and individuals plus he would make sure they had plenty to eat.

Mercy Thompson (art by Dan Dos Santos).  Mercy is bad ass.  Being a shifter, she would be able to see both the human and animal side of things so I think she would gain a strong following from both sides.  Plus she's a mechanic, which I love!  Not only could she lead, but she could assist with any vehicular issues.

Jenks from Kim Harrison's Hollows series.  Jenks is a pixie but he's been around for years. He's very knowledgeable of things and he has tons of kids so he knows how to convince beings to do things.  Jenks is also very loyal which I think is necessary for a good leader.

Lying Cat from the Saga series.  What better than a leader who automatically know someone is lying.  Plus he's encountered all kinds of different beings in the Saga universe so I don't think anything would shock him.

Harley Quinn - now hear me out.  In the comic series, Harley has a strong love of animals which I think would come in handy when dealing with supernatural beings.  Plus, she has ran into some pretty tough and often misunderstood characters so I think she would be a good listener.  Yea, she's a tad crazy, but aren't most leaders?

So there you have my top 5.  I'm really excited to see everyone's lists this week.


October Wrap-Up


So I'm kind of sad to see October go.  I've really enjoyed reading tons of scary horror books but hey, I can do that all year round so I guess it's still good.  I will be switching gears and adding in some cozies as well as some Christmas reads (don't worry - there will be horror Christmas reads as well) in November and December but hey, as long as I'm enjoying what I'm reading, I'm not going to stress too much.  

I did manage to hit Bingo at least 2 different ways on my 2017 Halloween Bingo challenge.  I had tons of fun and am already looking forward to participating next year.  Here's what my card looked like at the end.

As for the rest of my challenges, all of them are going pretty good except for one.  And I'm okay with that.  So onto the actual books!

GOODREADS: 88/100 (still ahead so at least Goodreads hasn't been mocking me the past 2 months)
2017 CLOAK & DAGGER CHALLENGE: 36/26 (Princesses of the Night, Rituals)
2017 FLIGHTS OF FANTASY CHALLENGE: 39/18 (The October Faction Vol. 1, The October Faction Vol. 2, The Witches of Auburn: Gifts of Our Mother, Rituals)
2017 HORROR READING CHALLENGE: 33/15 (The Twilight Pariah, Dark Exodus, Alone, Princesses of the Night, Damned, The October Faction Vol. 1, The October Faction Vol. 2, Ultimate Sacrifice, The Witches of Auburn: Gifts of Our Mother, Rosemary's Baby)
2017 WHAT AN ANIMAL CHALLENGE: 23/20 (Rituals)
2017 NEW RELEASE CHALLENGE: 64/61(The Twilight Pariah, Dark Exodus, Alone, Princesses of the Night, Damned, Ultimate Sacrifice, The Witches of Auburn: Gifts of Our Mother, Rituals) DONE!!!!
BLOGGER SHAME: 2 (None)

Basically just my Goodreads challenge to complete.  The Blogger Shame was a set your own target so even though I didn't meet my personal goal, at least I did something. I had 2 5-paw reads, 6 4-paw reads, 2 3-paw read and 1 2-paw read for a total of 11 books in October.  Not too shabby!

How did you do in October?

Cake Flavored Book Tag


CAKE FLAVORED BOOK TAG

I was tagged by Bleu over at Booked & Busy, a fairly new blog discovery that has pretty much become a daily stop and come on, who doesn't love cake of some sort!  Also, Cass has a birthday coming up soon so I had to do this one in his honor!

CHOCOLATE CAKE: A DARK BOOK YOU ABSOLUTELY LOVE

The Demonists by Thomas E. Sniegoski pretty much started my love affair with all of his books.  This one, as well as its sequel, are both VERY dark.

VANILLA CAKE: A LIGHT READ

The Lumberjane books are great books to pick up when you want something good yet not too serious.  They are tons of fun and I've read the first 5 volumes so far.

RED VELVET: A BOOK THAT GAVE YOU MIXED EMOTIONS

The Most Beautiful by Mayte Garcia.  I was prepared to dislike this book because I thought Mayte was just trying to capitalize on Prince's death but I was so wrong.  I ended up deeply respecting her and realizing Prince wasn't as perfect as I had made him (but don't get me wrong - I still LOVE him and all his flaws).

CHEESECAKE: A BOOK YOU WOULD RECOMMEND TO ANYONE

Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.  I can't count the number of times I've recommended this book this year.

COFFEE CAKE:  A BOOK YOU STARTED BY NEVER FINISHED
 
Riverkeep by Martin Stewart.  I rarely DNF books but this one, which I tried to read last year, stands out in my mind.

CARROT CAKE: A BOOK WITH GREAT WRITING

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman.  I JUST finished this one and OMG it was so captivating.  I honestly think there is a spell put on this book.

TIRAMISU CAKE: A BOOK THAT LEFT YOU WANTING MORE

The entire Sin du Jour series by Matt Wallace.  Each book in this series makes me want the next one immediately after I finish the current one.  I'm so sad to read the last one soon!

CUPCAKE:  A SERIES WITH 3 OR MORE BOOKS

There are 5 books in Anne Bishop's "The Others" series and even though I still need to read book 5, I have loved them all!!!

FRUIT CAKE: A BOOK THAT WAN'T WHAT YOU ANTICIPATED

I was sure We Are Always Watching by Hunter Shea was about a haunted house.  It wasn't, but I still really liked it - A LOT!

LEMON CAKE: A BOOK THAT SURPRISED YOU

A book about dogs and fairies?  Wasn't sure how Jackie was going to pull this one off but Stray Magic got ALL THE PAWS!

LANE CAKE: A FAVORITE AMERICAN BOOK

Stephen King's American right?  

Thanks for Bleu for tagging me.  If you liked this tag, feel free to do it and add a link so I know where to check it out!