Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Blog Tour - Deadly Sweet

Deadly Sweet
Lola Dodge
(Spellwork Syndicate #1)
Published by: Ink Monster LLC
Publication date: January 16th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult

For fans of Hex Hall, The Magicians, Practical Magic, and Food Wars!
Anise Wise loves three things: baking, potion making, and reading her spellbooks inblissful silence. She might not be the most powerful witch, but enchantment is a rare skill, and her ability to bake with magic is even rarer. Too bad one wants witchcraft on their campus. Anise’s dream of attending pastry school crumbles with rejection letter after rejection letter.
Desperate to escape her dead-end future, Anise contacts the long-lost relative she’snot supposed to know about. Great Aunt Agatha owns the only magic bakery in the US, and she suddenly needs a new apprentice. Anise is so excited she books it to New Mexico without thinking to ask what happened to the last girl.
The Spellwork Syndicate rules the local witches in Taos, but as “accidents” turn into full-out attacks on Anise’s life, their promises to keep her safe are less and less reassuring. Her cranky bodyguard is doing his best, but it’s hard to fight back when she has no idea who’s the enemy. Or why she became their target.
If Anise can’t find and stop whoever wants her dead, she’ll be more toasted than a crème brûlée.

Who knew baking cakes could be so life or death?

MY THOUGHTS:  This is a cover that grows on me each and every time I see it.  I may not have initially been a fan but once I took in all the details, especially the pentagram and skull details, I sort of fell in love. 

At first, the MC Anise, took some time to get used to.  She lacks confidence and is not very outgoing.  However, as her witchery skills develop, so does her character.    Dodge creates some interesting characters, especially in Wynn, whom I found to be adorable.  The mystery was kind of easy to figure out, but interesting enough to hold my attention.  While this book may not be for everyone, anyone interested in witchcraft or baking would be amiss not to pick it up.  I hope that the future installments focus more on the magical elements and if that is the case, the series will only get stronger as it progresses.

Also, be sure you have plenty of sugary snacks available while reading one because this book really set off the cravings.

I received this book from Xpresso Book Tours and the author in exchange for an honest review.

RATING: 4 Icing-covered Paws

Author Bio:
Lola Dodge is a compulsive traveler, baker, and procrastinator. She earned her BA in English from Stonehill College and MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University–and hasn’t stopped moving since. When she’s not on the road, Lola spends her time indoors where the sunlight can’t melt her, writing or bingeing on anime and cherry soda. She can be summoned in a ritual involving curry, Hello Kitty idols, and a solid chocolate pentagram.


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Can't Wait Wednesday (141)

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: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy meets Eurovision in an over-the-top science fiction spectacle from bestselling author Catherynne M. Valente, in which sentient species compete for glory in a galactic musical contest—where the stakes are as high as the fate of planet Earth.

A century ago, the Sentience Wars tore the galaxy apart and nearly ended the entire concept of intelligent space-faring life. In the aftermath, a curious tradition was invented—something to cheer up everyone who was left and bring the shattered worlds together in the spirit of peace, unity, and understanding.

Once every cycle, the civilizations gather for the Metagalactic Grand Prix—part gladiatorial contest, part beauty pageant, part concert extravaganza, and part continuation of the wars of the past. Instead of competing in orbital combat, the powerful species that survived face off in a competition of song, dance, or whatever can be physically performed in an intergalactic talent show. The stakes are high for this new game, and everyone is forced to compete.

This year, though, humankind has discovered the enormous universe. And while they expected to discover a grand drama of diplomacy, gunships, wormholes, and stoic councils of aliens, they have instead found glitter, lipstick, and electric guitars. Mankind will not get to fight for its destiny—they must sing.

A band of human musicians, dancers, and roadies have been chosen to represent Earth on the greatest stage in the galaxy. And the fate of their species lies in their ability to rock.

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  So I have success with one science fiction novel and I think I must read more?  Who am I kidding, I was initially drawn to the cover, I'm familiar with the author, and it sounds WEIRD and I like weird books.  Those are probably the real reasons.


Challenge Announcement! - They Call It Puppy Love

So, I wanted to give everyone a heads-up on a challenge I have created and am hosting for the month of February.  It's the "They Call It Puppy Love" challenge and the rules are as follows:

  • Make a sign up post and link it here to the blog.
  • Read at least one book which: has a dog (or cat) on the cover or features a dog (or cat) in it.
  • Do a wrap up post at the end of February with links to your review(s).
Seems easy enough huh?  At the end of the month, I will put all the participants in a bowl and Booker T will pick a lucky winner.  That person will receive a $10.00 gift certificate to Amazon or Book Depository.

Contest is open to everyone.

Monday, January 15, 2018

TTT - Bookish Resolutions

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

This week we are looking at bookish resolutions.  I'm not huge on resolutions so I can't guarantee 10 but here we go.....

 I've already started on this some.  You may have noticed a new monthly feature starring Booker T and Cassius which will allow us to look at some older books and not just new releases.  Also, Stormi and I have a neat project planned for February.  There is also the "They Call It Puppy Love" mini-reading challenge I'm hosting that month.  I just want to keep things fresh and not fall into a rut.

Again, kind of already accomplished.  I love my old challenges and will keep some of my faves (Cloak & Dagger, What an Animal and COYER) but I want to reach outside the box/comfort zone this year.


It's easy to get discouraged with reading progress, number of follows, different social media outlets and followers.  I just want to be providing content that people are enjoying and if I pick up some new followers along the way, great.  If not, I've made a great group of blogging friends and I love visiting with them so all is good.

No-brainer right?  

So there you have it.  It might not be 10 but it's a strong 5 and see #4 :)

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Let Them Eat Cake! - Beneath the Sugar Sky Review

TITLE: Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children #3)
AUTHOR: Seanan McGuire
PUBLISHING DATE: January 9, 2018

FROM GOODREADS: Beneath the Sugar Sky returns to Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children. At this magical boarding school, children who have experienced fantasy adventures are reintroduced to the "real" world. 

Sumi died years before her prophesied daughter Rini could be born. Rini was born anyway, and now she’s trying to bring her mother back from a world without magic.

MY THOUGHTS:  I love this series.  I have devoured each book and immediately wanted the next.  In fact, I preordered this and started it the same day it downloaded on my Kindle despite the fact that numerous books were ahead of it.  Each previous book has been a 5/5 read for me and this one was about my favorite character, Sumi, so it was inevitable that  I would love it.  Well...stranger things have happened.

As I mentioned, "Beneath the Sugar Sky" follows Rini, Sumi's daughter, and her quest to save her mother so she can eventually be born.  Sound confusing?  Well, this is the land of the illogical.  We also get some old familiar characters and some new ones as well.  I like Nadya and her turtle fascination and the introduction of Cora, the lost mermaid, was a great addition to the cast.  Even Rini wasn't too unbearable but the world of Confection?  I found like I was lost in a cross between Alice in Wonderland, I Hate Fairyland and Willie Wonka.  And I am one of the few individuals who doesn't like Alice in Wonderland.

I found the land of Confection odd and confusing and without spoiling anything, the way they attempt to save Sumi - huh?  Just huh.  

I will say that I quickly immersed myself in McGuire's writing which is both beautiful and magical.  She has a way of pulling me into her novels which I really can't explain.  And the cover of this book is truly amazing and perhaps my favorite of all three.  I will continue to devour McGuire's work - both new and old.  In addition, I hope this isn't the last we've seen of the Wayward Children though I've heard mention this is the last book in the series.  

My rating for this one pains me.  However, if you love the series, you just have to pick it up.


CHALLENGE:  This will count for #3 on the Swords and Stars Challenge - read a SFF novella.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Stacking the Shelves (143)/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 I was naughty and one physical book happened to jump in my cart at Walmart this week.  I swear I tried to talk it out of it but it was adamant that it was sick and tired of Walmart's decor.  And seeing as how this was the day of the biggest fight with Mr. Barb's insurance company (see yesterday's post if your want more details), I just didn't have the energy to tell it no.  Plus, not to imply anything but the girl on the cover looks pretty badass and guns....

I also grabbed Alex and the Other and Sneaking Out from Netgalley.  I really need to know why the cat has green eyes and Sneaking Out sounds really cool.

So what books did you add to your shelves this week???

Weekly Reads (01/12/18) - Angels, Demons and More Snow!

So, I headed back to work this week so it's been a week of basically trying to get back into routine.  I won't lie and will admit that I got used to sleeping in kind of late.  The week hasn't really been bad except with January 1st, Mr. Barb's insurance decided to cover different meds than what he takes so we had to go through the hassle of getting a different prescription from his doctor and that office isn't the most efficient so needless to say, I got a little hot under the collar.  All is well now but it's a racket I tell you!  And why should he have to change a med that has worked damn well for 2 years just because the insurance wants to help market some new one????

With football winding down, we did watch a few movies this week and honestly, they were all pretty decent.  First up was "Before I Wake" which Netflix added last Friday.  It was pretty good and the effects were gorgeous (as is this movie ad BTW).

Next up was "Marshall" which I also thought was well done and which also featured one of my favorite actors from "This is Us."  

And finally we watched "Devil's Gate."  Once again, it starred an actor I really adore (Milo Ventimiglia).  I liked it and it was a decent movie but somehow it transitioned from devils and fallen angels to aliens and I'm not quite sure how it happened.  I felt like I was watching the X-Files with Fox and Mulder.

So we are bracing for more winter weather tonight. They are calling for some freezing rain and then 3-5 inches snow.  I have a 3-day weekend so I'm planning on holing up and getting some reading in.  I have 4 books on the stack I'd like to get to this week but I'm kidding myself I know - what can I say, winter is making me delusional.

Hope everyone out there has a wonderful weekend and if you are in the path of any kind of crazy weather - stay safe!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Not Sure I Knew What This Was About...Blood Sisters Review

TITLE: Blood Sisters
AUTHOR: Jane Corry
PUBLISHER: Pamela Dorman Books
PUBLISHING DATE: January 30, 2018

Three little girls set off to school one sunny May morning. 
Within an hour, one of them is dead.
Fifteen years later, Alison and Kitty are living separate lives. Kitty lives in a care home. She can't speak, and she has no memory of the accident that put her here, or her life before it.
Art teacher Alison looks fine on the surface. But the surface is a lie. When a job in a prison comes up she decides to take it - this is her chance to finally make things right.
But someone is watching Kitty and Alison.
Someone who wants revenge for what happened that day.
And only another life will do...
MY THOUGHTS:  I really don't want to give too much away about "Blood Sisters" because I went in to it pretty blindly (and confused but that part is totally on me) and I still really enjoyed it so I think most readers can too.  For some reason, I thought Alison's sister was dead and it led to a shock to me in the beginning but that isn't a spoiler, it was just me not paying close attention to the synopsis.
So Alison and Kitty are half sisters.  They absolutely did not get along growing up and something happens which leads to Kitty suffering a traumatic brain injury which leads her to a permanent care home.  Alison, who always had things together in her life then spirals down a path she might not have chosen which leads to all kinds of problems and issues.  She becomes an artist, because that was one of Kitty's talents before the accident, and eventually lands a job working inside a prison which forces her to start facing her own demons.
This book is told in alternating perspectives between Alison and Kitty.  While I liked Alison better,  Kitty chapters are quite interesting because due to her brain injury, she is perfectly rational in her own mind, but can't express herself and is a prisoner in her own body.  This book also has so many twists and turns that at times, I seriously wondered if the author had anything else to throw at the reader - and guess what, she did.  
I've had pretty good luck with thrillers so far in 2018 which means it will probably run out soon but "Blood Sisters" is another one I would highly recommend and I will be looking for more from this author in the future.
***Trigger warnings - this book does contain rape and self-mutilation so if that is something you shy away from, don't pick it up.  
I received "Blood Sisters" from the Penguin First to Read program exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Can't Wait Wednesday (140) - A Rare Sci-fi Choice

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.

 Two brothers.
Seven vices.
One demonic possession.
Can this relationship survive?

Auben Mutze has more vices than he can deal with—six to be exact—each branded down his arm for all the world to see. They mark him as a lesser twin in society, as inferior, but there’s no way he’ll let that define him. Intelligent and outgoing, Auben’s spirited antics make him popular among the other students at his underprivileged high school. So what if he’s envious of his twin Kasim, whose single vice brand is a ticket to a better life, one that likely won’t involve Auben.

The twins’ strained relationship threatens to snap when Auben starts hearing voices that speak to his dangerous side—encouraging him to perform evil deeds that go beyond innocent mischief. Lechery, deceit, and vanity run rampant. And then there are the inexplicable blood cravings. . . .

On the southern tip of an African continent that could have been, demons get up to no good during the time of year when temperatures dip and temptations rise. Auben needs to rid himself of these maddening voices before they cause him to lose track of time. To lose his mind. And to lose his . . .


WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  I just finished The Prey of Gods and am convinced I now want more from Nicky Drayden.  Her writing seems to be a perfect fit for someone like me who doesn't read a lot of science fiction.  


Monday, January 8, 2018

TTT - 10 Books I Didn't Get to in 2017 (but I TOTALLY Plan to Read in 2018)

This top 10 weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and can be found HERE.  However, after this week, there will be a new host for the feature and it can be found over at The Artsy Reader Girl.  Each week they focus on lists which cover various topics related to books and reading. 

This week's topic looks at books we planned in reading in 2017 but didn't quite make it, so we've bumped them to 2018.  Gee, I only get 10????  This shouldn't be too hard.

I'm pretty sure The Prey of Gods will be the first one up, and then I'll move on to some January review books.  I have to track down a copy of Dogs of War before I read it and I'm not having an easy time of it unless I want to pay more than I usually pay and get it from Book Depository.  

Have you read any of these and which ones would you recommend I knock off first?

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Books to Bark (and crow) About - Episode 1

Hey guys!  Welcome to the inaugural episode of Books to Bark (and crow) about.  Booker T and Cassius here and are we ever excited about visiting with you guys once a month now.  In fact, Mom has said we can officially slate the 2nd Monday of each month as OUR SPECIAL TIME!!!!  We hope during this time we can turn you on to some new books coming out and share with you some older discoveries - we do like to browse for new things to share with Mom while she and Dad are at work.  

So today we are looking at a series we turned Mom onto right before Christmas.  In fact, Mom was so curious she managed to order the whole series (used of course as thrifty is always better).  I think she initially fell in love with the cute Bassets on the covers, but after we told her it was a mystery series, she was sold.  And come on, the MC (oops, better spell it our for Cass since he isn't the blogging pro - main character) has a mouthful of a name.  Let us present....

The Duffy Dombroski Mysteries

Now there seems to be some additional novellas that Mom is just going to have to research and grab for her Kindle because Cass and I couldn't locate physical copies for her.  However, you have to agree these seem right up her alley.  Here's the synopsis for the first one (as we don't want to give away any spoilers for #2 and #3)

FROM GOODREADS: Duffy Dombrowski is not your average social worker. When he's not counseling sex addicts and drug users in a town outside of New York City, you can find him crooning Elvis tunes, getting "Schlitzed" with his quirky friends, or fighting ex-Olympians in the boxing ring. Our less-than-perfect hero occasionally uses his mean left hook on pimps and other lowlifes, too. But at least he cares about his clients. 

When Walanda, a schizophrenic, crack-addicted prostitute, is murdered, Duffy pledges to take care of her basset hound "Allah King" and find her missing stepdaughter, Shony. He's horrified to discover the teenager is ensnared in a web porn ring-a vile enterprise that enslaves crack-addicted women and their children. 
On the verge of losing his job-and his life-Duffy also gets mixed up with a creepy doctor with ties to Pakistani extremists. Still, nothing will stop this conflicted Robin Hood from trying to save Shony and foil a terrorist plot. 

So, we figured these might be books of interest for some of you animal and/or mystery lovers.  

Thanks for joining us and since I promised I would help Cass look for some bird books to share, looks like we have a busy month ahead (how long do you think it will take to explain to him dragons fly to so we can look for some dragon books???)

Until Next Month!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

January 2018 Musts & Mights

So, new year, new graphic and lots of brand new (and old) books to read.  Here's what I'm looking at for the month of January!



Have you read any of these?  Any of the MIGHTS I should definitely make time for???

Friday, January 5, 2018

Stacking the Shelves (142)/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

This week I have quite a few things to share.  I'll start off with library books.  I needed to pick up Etched in Bone so I can read an ARC I have for the companion series.  I also couldn't resist grabbing American Drifter because I admit, I'm curious about Chad Michael Murray's writing (especially since he was once on my favorite Gilmore Girls.  

Then I was lucky enough to catch a few books which I had on my Amazon Wishlist for free this 

And finally I have a few review copies (of course) - The Skin Room (#StormiMadeMeDoIt), The Past is Never, Missing Molly, and Dead Links.

So what did you add to your shelves this first week of the new year???