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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday: The Stranger Inside by Jennifer Jaynes @jenniferjaynes7 @AmazonPub


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Here is this week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection:


TITLE: The Stranger Inside
AUTHOR: Jennifer Jaynes
PUBLISHER: Thomas & Mercer
EXPECTED PUBLICATION DATE: May 9, 2017
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH:284 pages
GENRE: Psychological Thriller
ISBN: 
9781477817919
In this tautly crafted tale of psychological suspense, a recently widowed mother resorts to the unthinkable to protect her shattered family. But does she go too far?

After mystery author Diane Christie loses her husband to suicide, she and her son move to the small coastal town of Fog Harbor, Massachusetts. Her daughter is attending college nearby, and Diane hopes that her family can now begin to heal. But rebuilding their lives after the tragedy isn't so simple.

Diane's depressed college-age daughter, Alexa, still avoids her, critical of everything Diane does, and even her generally amiable teenage son, Josh, has started acting out. Diane pushes forward, focusing on her writing and her volunteer work at a local crisis hotline. She knows that healing takes time.

But then a girl from Alexa's college is found strangled. Worse still, the murderer uses the crisis hotline to confess to Diane . . . and claims she is the only one who can stop the killing. And just when the glow of new love from an attractive admirer begins to chase away some of the darkness, more girls turn up dead, and Diane races to solve a mystery she fears will hit terrifyingly close to home.

This creepy cover caught my eye, and I love psychological thrillers! Sounds like a good read.


What are you waiting on? Please leave a comment in the section below. If you participate in this meme, please leave a link so I can visit your blog!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

#Audiobook #Review: 4 out of 5 stars for The Elementals by Michael McDowell @Valancourt_B

AUTHOR: Michael McDowell
NARRATOR: R.C. Bray
PUBLISHER: Valancourt Books
PUBLICATION DATE: January 24, 2016 (first published 1981)
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 8 hrs and 11 mins
GENRE: Horror
On a split of land cut off by the Gulf, three Victorian summer houses stand against the encroaching sand. Two of the houses at Beldame are still used. The third house, filling with sand, is empty...except for the vicious horror which is shaping nightmares from the nothingness that hangs in the dank, fetid air.

The McCrays and Savages, two fine Mobile families allied by marriage, have been coming to Beldame for years. This summer, with a terrible funeral behind them and a messy divorce coming up, even Luker McCray and little Indian down from New York are looking forward to being alone at Beldame.

But they won't be alone. For something there, something they don't like to think about, is thinking about them...and about all the ways to make them die.

MY REVIEW:

I love haunted house stories. This one wasn’t particularly scary, which is a shame, but I did really enjoy the family dynamics!

The funeral for the Savage family’s matriarch, Marian, takes place in the book’s prologue. She was predeceased by her husband and one of her sons. As her only daughter joined a convent, nearly all of Marian’s fortune was left to her surviving son, Dauphin, who was already one of the richest men in Mobile, Alabama at the age of 29. Only immediate family members are in attendance at the funeral, and it’s a good thing because no one would understand the bizarre family ritual of plunging a knife into the deceased’s heart at the funeral to ensure death!

Following the funeral, Dauphin wants to escape to the family’s coastal summer home known as Beldame. There are actually three homes, and the Great House is the primary residence that was occupied by his parents. Dauphin lives in the secondary house with his wife, Lee. The third house has not been used in a very long time, so it has remained vacant. The sand has started to encroach upon the house, making it unsafe.

Travelling to the Savage family property with Dauphin and Lee is the family’s maid, Odessa, and Lee’s family: Mother, Big Barbara; brother, Lukar McCray; and Lukar’s daughter, 13-year-old India. Big Barbara is an alcoholic, and the family is hoping that she will dry out on the vacation and they neglect to take any alcohol with them to the remote area. Luther is 33 years old and takes uppers and downers, and his relationship with his daughter is most troubling. He allows his daughter, India, to drink alcohol and coffee and he walks naked around her! She lays out his clothes for him, and she often is the one calling the shots! It’s a very weird father-daughter relationship, and India doesn’t even call him Dad but calls Lukar by his first name (just he calls his mother by her first name). The only “normal” ones in the family are Dauphin and Lee. Try as she might with her voodoo and black magic, Odessa cannot keep the evil spirits at bay.

I enjoyed learning about the Savage family’s history, which I thought was very interesting. The author did a really good job at fleshing out the characters and provided lots of background information on them. The characters in the story were strong, but I found the horror element of the tale to be weak. The atmosphere of Beldame was dark and should have been a perfect set-up for fright, with its seclusion and oppressive heat. I really enjoyed the story, but I did not find it scary at all which was a bit of a disappointment. This author is new to me, but I definitely want to try him again as I really enjoy his writing.

Narrator R.C. Bray is new-to-me, and I enjoyed him very much. He handled the female voices with ease, which not all male narrators can do, and I liked the different vocalizations that he gave each character. I thought he was a good fit.

MY RATING:
4 stars!! It was really good, even though it didn't give me chills. However, I did enjoy the writing.

This book qualifies as:

Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly NOT Want To Read A Book #TopTenTuesday


This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a new Top Ten list that one of their bloggers will answer. Everyone is welcome to join!

Today's list is:

Top Ten Eleven Things That Will Make Me Instantly NOT Want To Read A Book

This is an interesting topic because once-upon-a-time I'd have included biographies, history, and WWII/Holocaust. However, because I participate in MANY reading challenges that force me to branch-out and try new things, I've found that I actually love a few of the genres/subjects that I used to avoid. So, for that reason, I'm a very big fan of reading challenges.

  1. Legal thrillers! I work in a law firm. I get enough of that on a daily basis so, no thanks.
  2. Contemporary romances: I've never been a Harlequin girl, so I generally steer clear of romance books in general.
  3. Chick-lit: As with #2 above, something I generally stay away from.
  4. Outer space: It's really not my thing. I'm not even a fan of Star Trek or Star Wars. The only exception to this is the Across the Universe series by Beth Revis, which I loved. If I see a synopsis with space, I generally think "next!"
  5. Steampunk: Oh, I've tried to like this genre but my experiences have been more negative than positive. There are a few exceptions, and these I've enjoyed: Meljean Brooks' Iron Seas series, Kassy Tayler's Ashes Trilogy, and Lia Habel's Gone With the Respiration series.
  6. Crimes involving children: I love a good mystery or crime novel, but I usually can't stomach reading one that has violence towards children. As a mom, that would give me nightmares.
  7. Westerns: I'm not a cowboy fan!
  8. Young Adult novels with inappropriate content: This one's a real pet peeve of mine. I have a teenager, and I love the YA genre. I used to think that YA was just for kids until I tried one in a reading challenge. What really offends me is a book that's marketed as YA but really should be geared to adults. Just because the main character is a teenager doesn't mean that it's YA!!! 
  9. Politics: Just the word makes my eyes glaze over. I have zero interest in and don't even follow politics in the real world except for what I must know at a minimal level. I've had to learn more, out of necessity, but I hate it.
  10. Epic/High fantasy: I prefer Urban Fantasy.
  11. Long books: With working full-time and being a single mom, I have no leisure time. I struggle to find the time to read, which is why audiobooks appeal to me because then I can multi-task. When I see mammoth-size tomes (for me, that's anything over 450 pages), I cringe and they usually don't make my TBR pile simply because I don't have enough free time on my hands to invest in a long book. I do make exceptions of course, but if it was a toss-up between a 350 page book and one that's 500 pages, it's usually the shorter book that gets my attention.


So, what things will make you instantly NOT want to read a book? Please let me know in the comments, or leave me a link to your blog post if you are also participating in the meme!

Monday, April 24, 2017

#Audiobook #Review: 3 out of 5 stars for Fast into the Night by Debbie Moderow #DebbieClarkeModerow @TantorAudio @emilydvoice

NARRATOR: Emily Durante
PUBLISHER: Tantor Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: March 7, 2017 
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 7 hrs and 44 mins
GENRE: Autobiography/Memoir, Sports and Games/Sports
A captivating memoir of one woman's attempt to complete Alaska's legendary race, the Iditarod, led by her team of huskies with whom she forms a fascinating and inextricable bond and gains unique insights into canine behavior.

MY REVIEW:

I received a complimentary copy of this audiobook for voluntary review consideration.

Gutsy and determined, Debbie Moderow’s Iditarod tale will appeal to dog lovers and outdoor enthusiasts!

I’ve always been fascinated with the Iditarod, and I have a soft spot for huskies. My kids and I have even been lucky enough to experience being pulled by sled dogs, which was a lot faster than I expected! I enjoyed Debbie Moderow’s thirst for adventure. She first attempted the Iditarod in 2003 and, although she did not complete it, this rookie only fell 200 miles short of finishing the 1,000 mile race. I respect Debbie’s way of thinking and connecting with her dogs. She’s not heavy-handed and cares that her team finishes (or not) in good spirits. Her husband, Mark, finished the Iditarod the following year. Not to be outdone by her son (who completed the Junior Iditarod) and husband, Debbie was determined to try again in 2005. She faced numerous obstacles, from the stomach flu to her dogs rebelling and refusing to run, but that did not sway her perseverance.

I enjoyed the details of the prep work involved for preparing for such a grueling trek, and the connection that Debbie has with each of her dogs is so evident as she describes each one’s personality and strengths.

Narrator Emily Durante is new to me, and I think she aptly conveyed Debbie’s highs and lows. Her pacing was good, and her voice was fitting to Debbie’s character. Here's a sample of the narration:



MY RATING:
3 stars!! It was good, and I enjoyed it. Thanks again to Tantor Audio for the opportunity to review this audiobook!

This book qualifies as:

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


This weekly meme is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.

I'm reading: 

Something from my review pile, which is also a good fit for the Spring into Horror Read-a-Thon.

AUTHOR: Brian Moreland
PUBLISHER: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
PUBLICATION DATE: September 4, 2012 (first published 2006)
FORMAT: Kindle edition
LENGTH: 372 pages
GENRE: Horror
ASIN: B007W4908U
The truth will not stay buried.

During World War II, Germany’s Hürtgen Forest was a killing field. But there was something worse than the enemy in the mist. An ancient power was waiting to prey upon those who opposed the Third Reich.
Jack Chambers survived the war, but even after all these years, he still has nightmares about Hürtgen—and the unholy horrors he battled there. Now he is determined to reveal the truth behind his platoon’s massacre and entrusts the task to his grandson, Sean. But Sean’s quest sets him in a deadly race against those who wish to bury the truth forever—and those who plan to use it to unleash hell on Earth.



Something from the library. I'm a big Alice Cooper fan, though I'm not a fan of golf!

AUTHOR: Alice Cooper
PUBLISHER: Crown Publishing Group (NY)
PUBLICATION DATE: May 1, 2007
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 260 pages
GENRE: Autobiography/Memoir
ISBN: 9780307382658

The man who invented shock rock tells the amazing and, yeah, shocking story of how he slayed his thirsty demons--with a golf club. It started one day when Cooper was watching a Star Trek rerun between concerts, bored and drunk on a quart-of-whiskey-a-day habit; a friend dragged the rocker out of his room and suggested a round of golf. Cooper has been a self-confessed golf addict ever since. Today he and his band still tour the world, playing some one hundred gigs a year . . . and three hundred days out of that year, Cooper is on the course.

Alice Cooper, Golf Monster is Cooper's tell-all memoir; in it he talks candidly about his entire life and career, as well as his struggles with alcohol, how he fell in love with the game of golf, how he dried out at a sanitarium back in the late '70s, and how he put the last nails in his addiction's coffin by getting up daily at 7 a.m. to play 36 holes.

Alice has hilarious, touching, and sometimes surprising stories about so many of his friends: Led Zeppelin and the Doors, George Burns and Groucho Marx, golf legends like John Daly and Tiger Woods . . . everyone is here from Dali to Elvis to Arnold Palmer.

This is the story of Cooper's life, and also a story about golf. He rose from hacker to scratch golfer to serious Pro Am competitor and on to his status today as one of the best celebrity golfers around--all while rising through the rock 'n' roll ranks releasing platinum albums and selling out arenas with his legendary act.



Something from my bookshelf. This is my vintage 1970 edition, which I've kept from my childhood! I'm reading it aloud to my daughter, and our plan is to make our way through the whole series. This is a re-read for me, but I honestly don't remember a thing about it! It read it when I was young.

SERIES: Oz, Book #2
AUTHOR: L. Frank Baum 
PUBLISHER: Scholastic
PUBLICATION DATE: 1970 (first published 1904)
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 192 pages
GENRE: Children's Fiction, Classics, Fantasy
ISBN: 0590085654

"You'll never bother me again," says Mombi the witch, "once you drink this magic brew."

"What'll it do?" cries poor Tip.

"It will turn you into a marble statue!"

Tip's heart beats wildly.

Can a mere boy escape from a witch's evil power?

But this is Oz -- the marvelous, magical land where anything can happen!


I'm listening to:

Something from my TBR mountain, which I thought was also a good fit for Spring into Horror Read-a-Thon with its werewolves and vampires.

TITLE: Iron Kissed
SERIES: Mercy Thompson, Book #3
AUTHOR: Patricia Briggs
NARRATOR: Lorelei King
PUBLISHER: Penguin Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: November 1, 2009 (first published January 2, 2008)
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 9 hrs and 12 mins
GENRE: Urban Fantasy
When her former boss and mentor is arrested for murder and left to rot behind bars by his own kind, it's up to shapeshifting car mechanic Mercy Thompson to clear his name, whether he wants her to or not. And she'll have to choose between the two werewolves in her life-whether she wants to or not.


I just finished:

TITLE: Eve
SERIES: Eve, Book #1
AUTHOR: Anna Carey
PUBLISHER: HarperTeen
PUBLICATION DATE: October 4, 2011
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 318 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Science Fiction/Dystopia
ISBN: 9780062114181
The year is 2032, 16 years after a deadly virus wiped out most of the earth's population. The night before 18-year-old Eve's graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her.



PUBLISHER: Tantor Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: March 7, 2017 
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 7 hrs and 44 mins
GENRE: Autobiography/Memoir, Sports and Games/Sports
A captivating memoir of one woman's attempt to complete Alaska's legendary race, the Iditarod, led by her team of huskies with whom she forms a fascinating and inextricable bond and gains unique insights into canine behavior.


AUTHOR: Michael McDowell
NARRATOR: R.C. Bray
PUBLISHER: Valancourt Books
PUBLICATION DATE: January 24, 2016 (first published 1981)
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 8 hrs and 11 mins
GENRE: Horror
On a split of land cut off by the Gulf, three Victorian summer houses stand against the encroaching sand. Two of the houses at Beldame are still used. The third house, filling with sand, is empty...except for the vicious horror which is shaping nightmares from the nothingness that hangs in the dank, fetid air.

The McCrays and Savages, two fine Mobile families allied by marriage, have been coming to Beldame for years. This summer, with a terrible funeral behind them and a messy divorce coming up, even Luker McCray and little Indian down from New York are looking forward to being alone at Beldame.

But they won't be alone. For something there, something they don't like to think about, is thinking about them...and about all the ways to make them die.

What are you reading? Have you read any of these books and, if so, what did you think? Please let me know in the comments and, if you are also participating in this meme, leave me a link to your blog post so that I can stop by!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Stacking The Shelves and Sunday Post


This meme is hosted by Tynga over at Team Tynga's Reviews, which she describes as follows:

"Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process!"




Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme




Our warm weather has cooled off a bit. Yesterday, we actually had heavy snow flurries for about three hours! We broke a record with approximately 8 cm of snow (still waiting for the official word on the amount). I didn't take a picture of my place, but here's one that someone else took:


Thankfully, everything melted by afternoon...but still! Spring is always a bit unpredictable. We've even had blizzards in May!



If you missed it earlier, I have ARCs to swap. Check out MY POST to see if there's anything there that you'd like to read. If so, please let me know! I'd love to trade with someone. I will be adding to it once I have a chance to dig through boxes and bookshelves.


I received this audiobook for review:


Where Dead Men Meet
by Mark Mills


Thanks again to Blackstone Audio!


Recap: Last Week On The Blog

Sunday: Stacking the Shelves and Sunday Post





What books have you added to your shelves this week? If you are also participating in either of these memes, please leave me the link to your blog post in the comments so that I can come and drool over all your goodies!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

#Audiobook #Review: 5 out of 5 stars for Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost @Jeaniene_Frost @BlackstoneAudio

SERIES: Night Huntress, Book #1
AUTHOR: Jeaniene Frost
NARRATOR: Tavia Gilbert
PUBLISHER: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
PUBLICATION DATE: March 31, 2010
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 11 hrs and 17 mins
GENRE: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father—the one responsible for ruining her mother's life. Then she's captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unlikely partnership.

In exchange for help finding her father, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. She's amazed she doesn't end up as his dinner…are there actually good vampires? Pretty soon, Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead doesn't have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side...and Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with a heartbeat.

Jeaniene Frost lives with her husband and their very spoiled dog in Florida. Although not a vampire herself, she confesses to having pale skin, wearing a lot of black, and sleeping in late whenever possible. And while she can't see ghosts, she loves to walk through old cemeteries. Jeaniene also loves poetry and animals but fears children and hates to cook. She is currently at work on the next novel in her best-selling Night Huntress series.
MY REVIEW:

This series starter blew me away!

I recently listened to Reckoning, the prequel featuring Bones, and I really enjoyed it. This one was even better! I absolutely love Catherine “Cat” Crawfield, the half-breed offspring of a vampire father and human mother. Her mother was a victim of date rape, and Cat always knew she was different but didn’t know why. Her mother didn’t reveal the details until she was 16 years old. Cat takes it upon herself to rid the world of as many vamps as she can by trolling for them in bars and making it appear that she is easy prey. Her quick knife-work takes them by surprise. One night, Cat gets the brush-off from a vamp who is waiting to meet someone else. She does end up leaving the bar with him, but she can’t fool him with her act. Cat agrees to an alliance with this vamp, Bones, who tells her more about her father in one conversation than her mother has told her during her lifespan. He promises to help her find her father if she will work with him, and she will be permitted to continue to slay vamps but only the ones he authorizes. Bones trains Cat, and they end up developing feelings for each other.

Cat and Bones have an undeniable chemistry. It started off with snarky and sarcastic banter, but Bones made remarks here and there that revealed his feelings for Cat long before he spelled it out. I love seeing Cat embrace who and what she is, and she’s straddling a fine line between unleashing the evil inside of her (according to her mother) and living according to her nature. She also matures and understands that being a vampire doesn’t necessarily make you evil, no more than being a human makes you a good guy.

The ending is a bit of a cliff-hanger, and I totally get why Cat does what she does but I just want to shake her! I can’t wait to continue with the next book in the series, which is Happily Never After.

In the prequel, Reckoning, I thought that narrator Tavia Gilbert’s voice was a little too feminine for Bones. She does Bones just right in this one! She nails everything perfectly, and I will continue with the audiobooks for this series. I actually own this book in paperback format as well as a few more in the series, but I opted to listen as my library offers the series on Hoopla. Here is a sample of the narration:




MY RATING:
5 stars!! It was superb, and I will likely re-read it. You should definitely put it in your TBR if you enjoy urban fantasy or paranormal romances! It won the 2007 Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Urban Fantasy.

This book qualifies as:

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday: Skitter by Ezekiel Boone @ezekiel_boone @RandomHouseCA @AtriaBooks @EmilyBestler


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Here is this week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection:



TITLE: Skitter
SERIES: The Hatching, Book #2
AUTHOR: Ezekiel Boone
PUBLISHER: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
EXPECTED PUBLICATION DATE: May 2, 2017
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 352 pages
GENRE: Horror
ISBN: 
9781501125072
Tens of millions of people around the world are dead. Half of China is a nuclear wasteland. Mysterious flesh-eating spiders are marching through Los Angeles, Oslo, Delhi, Rio de Janeiro, and countless other cities. According to scientist Melanie Gruyer, however, the spider situation seems to be looking up. Yet in Japan, a giant, truck-sized, glowing egg sack gives a shocking preview of what is to come, even as survivors in Los Angeles panic and break the quarantine zone. Out in the desert, survivalists Gordo and Shotgun are trying to invent a spider super weapon, but it’s not clear if it’s too late, because President Stephanie Pilgrim has been forced to enact the plan of last resort: The Spanish Protocol. America, you are on your own.

I just finished reading the first book in this series, The Hatching, and I really enjoyed it! I can't wait to read this sequel!!


What are you waiting on? Please leave a comment in the section below. If you participate in this meme, please leave a link so I can visit your blog!
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