Friday, January 20, 2017

Got My Eye On (8)

I saw a post over at Mailbox Monday that was encouraging readers to share their best finds of the week via their Books That Caught Our Eye posts. I love, love, love that idea so this is my warped version of it.

Here are the books I've added to my wishlist over the last week or two with credit to my enablers :)

Bookfanatic @ Booklikes 

Buy / GR
What Remains by Garrett Leigh (m/m romance)

Web designer Jodi Peters is a solitary creature. Lunch twice a week with his ex-girlfriend-turned-BFF and the occasional messy venture to a dodgy gay bar is all the company he needs, right?

Then one night he stumbles across newly divorced firefighter Rupert O’Neil. Rupert is lost and lonely, but just about the sweetest bloke Jodi has ever known. Add in the heady current between them, and Jodi can’t help falling hard in love. He offers Rupert a home within the walls of his cosy Tottenham flat—a sanctuary to nurture their own brand of family—and for four blissful years, life is never sweeter.

Until a cruel twist of fate snatches it all away. A moment of distraction leaves Jodi fighting for a life he can’t remember and shatters Rupert’s heart. Jodi doesn’t know him—or want to. With little left of the man he adores, Rupert must cling to what remains of his shaky faith and pray that Jodi can learn to love him again.

I need some sexy angst in my reading life!

Chuckles @ Chuckle's Book Cave

Hounded by Kevin Hearne, Urban Fantasy

The first novel in the Iron Druid Chronicles—introducing a cool, new, funny urban fantasy hero

Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old—when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power—plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish—to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.

Yes, another series! Thank you Chuckles :)

Seven Years by Dannika Dark (Book #1 in series), PNR

Seven years ago, my world ended. 
Seven years later, my new life began.

It's been seven years since Lexi Knight lost her brother in a tragic accident. On the anniversary of his death, her brother's best friend shows up unexpectedly - a man she hasn't seen since the funeral. He is no longer the boy Lexi once knew, but a dangerous-looking man with tattoos and dark secrets. He broke her trust and abandoned her family, yet what he reveals makes it impossible to stay angry. Lexi has been secretly infatuated with Austin since childhood, so finding out he's a Shifter just makes him sexier. Dammit.

Austin Cole has returned to the city where he grew up, and just in time. He's lived a hard life these past seven years, and the shadows of his past are threatening to destroy Lexi's family. It's time that she learned the truth about her brother, but there is a shocking twist that Austin never saw coming. Now he must protect her family when her mother and sister wind up in mortal danger. Will Lexi learn to accept the truth about who he is, and can Austin salvage a relationship from the ruins of their past?

My local Overdrive has the entire series on audio! That never happens :)

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch, Young Adult


“I made the wrong choice.”

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.

Does this not sound adorable?

Barb @ Booker T's Farm 

Dog Gone by Diane Moat (dogs)

Have you ever seen a report of a terrible animal abuse case and thought, “Someone should stop that person from ever being able to harm another animal.”? Then this novel is for you.

Sam Holden is a young woman who comes across a dog after he has been tortured to death. This starts her down a path of learning about animal rescue. Along this path there are times where she must color outside the lines in order to stop an abuser from harming animals. In order to do this, she must enlist the help of some unexpected characters. This includes a mob family retiree, a housebound social media whiz, and a gorgeous “fence” for stolen goods. She needs the fence since she funds her illegal projects by thievery. Sam’s on again, off again boyfriend doesn’t know about her recreational projects. We join Sam as she balances her personal life, thievery and escalating quests to help animals in need. Throughout all of her competing jobs, she never loses sight of her search for the man who started it all by killing the dog she found by the side of the road. Our story culminates when Sam finds the man, with all points of her life intersecting in an amazing finish.

It's about dogs, that's all it takes.

Thanks everyone! I am so excited to see what this week will bring.

Did you find anything irresistible during your blog perusals this week?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Botanicaust by Tam Linsey

Retro Review

Botanicaust by Tam Linsey
Post-Apocalyse, 348 Pages
The only crop left ... is human.

After genetically altered weeds devastate Earth's croplands, Dr. Tula Macoby believes photosynthetic skin can save the human race. Her people single-mindedly embark on a mission to convert the cannibals roaming what's left of Earth. But when Levi, a peaceful stranger, refuses alteration, Tula doesn't think the only options should be conversion or death.

Levi Kraybill, a devout member of the Old Order, left his Holdout farmland to seek a cure for his terminally ill son. Genetic manipulation is a sin, but Levi will do almost anything for the life of his child. When he's captured, he's sure he's damned, and his only escape will be death.

Tula's superiors schedule Levi's euthanization, and she risks everything to set the innocent man free. Now she and Levi are outlaws with her people, and she's an abomination with his. Can they find sanctuary in a cannibal wasteland?

I read Botanicaust in its audiobook version and, to be honest, it took all of my concentration to get into it in the very beginning because the concepts described in this new world were so overwhelmingly foreign for me. I’m used to the more horrific side of the apocalypse but this one is pretty firmly steeped in the realm of science fiction.

An event coined the “Botanicaust” happened which basically wiped out all edible crops. Yeah. That’s no good. The survivors have morphed into a few different groups of people, all with some major flaws, who must take drastic measures in order to survive. I'm only going to concern myself with two of them. I'll leave the rest as a surprise for you, if you choose to read this series. There are cannibals who hunt and eat people and another group of green plant-like people who use science to “convert” the, eh, shall we say sort of agreeable cannibals into more green people (green people no longer need to eat flesh to survive).

Tula is one of the greenies and her job as a psychologist is to convince the non-green people to stop eating people “Training the carnivore out of the cannibal was not easy!” and sign the conversion release form in a very short window of time. Without it, they face euthanasia. So pretty much, you agree to go through this incredibly painful transformation or you die. Sucks for you! Tula is compassionate and her job is difficult seeing as there is also a language barrier between herself and her patients and she has a superior who is hell-bent on making her life miserable. Tula’s most recent patient is Levi. Levi is not a cannibal but a man who traveled outside the boundaries of his safe haven to save the life of his dying child. When Levi refuses to sign the release, Tula takes drastic measures, puts her own life in danger and uncovers some disturbingly devious secrets.

I’m not going give away any more of the plot, there’s a lot of it, I'm lazy and you should discover it for yourself. It gets twisty and turny, there is betrayal, a little sex, characters you grow to care about and lots of action. Once I found my footing, I enjoyed the uniqueness of the world and was anxious to see how it would all come to a close considering it’s part one of a series. Fortunately for me, it managed to leave room open for sequels but didn’t end on a huge, annoying cliff-hanger that left my head exploding in frustration.

If you like audiobooks, this one has a quiet, pleasant voiced narrator who doesn’t over-act or simply “read” the text and she does a great job with all of the varied characters.

*I received a copy of this audiobook from the author. Hope she doesn't regret it!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

Retro Review

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
Self-Help on Audio, 18+ Hours
The Secret’s 10th Anniversary Edition includes a new foreword by Rhonda Byrne, and 10 of the most life-changing insights she’s had over the last 10 years of practicing and living The Secret every day. The 10 insights alone will accelerate your understanding and mastery of the law of attraction.

I listened to this on audio because my daughter insisted I needed it in my life. I love her so I subjected myself to this for the third or fourth time. It has some good advice but is basically one note and focuses way too much on materialism for my liking.

Be gracious, be thankful for what you have, think good thoughts and change your state of mind when you find yourself dwelling on negative things. That's what I'm taking away from it at any rate. I don't buy into everything it's selling, especially the points that say negative attracts negative and you basically dump life's shit on yourself by thinking bad thoughts. Uh, no. I did not bring my horrid childhood upon myself by thinking negatively. Nope, I was lucky enough to be born into that. No thinking necessary.

Seriously though, this book can't hurt if you take away the good and take action to change things and don't focus or take too seriously the ridiculously bad advice including "don't look at fat people" and other crap that it spews. It never hurts to focus on a better life for yourself and improving your health and surroundings but it does hurt to allow yourself to wallow in a pit of self-pity and negativity. Focusing on getting more "things" isn't my thing (unless the "things" are books!) and isn't all there is to life and this book preaches too much on that. I'd rather visualize good experiences I'd like to have instead and when life leaves a big ol' pile of dung in my path, I won't allow it to drag me down for too long because crap is going to happen.

Also, in order to change your life YOU need to take ACTION (this can't be stressed enough). Thinking all the happy thoughts in the world won't get you out of a craptastic job or relationship and make your debt go away. There's your secret and I gave it to you for free. You are so welcome.

Also, that parking lot magical visualization thing? It works. Every time. But I'm still waiting for some sucker to buy me a free Starbucks overpriced frappe when I summon it ;) Hasn't happened yet.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Ten Underrated/Hidden Gems I've Read Recently

I always enjoy reading these lists on other blogs and figured I'd give it a go. Me, being me, likely won't be participating every week but more likely whenever the topic catches my eye. If you haven't seen the feature before now it is hosted/created by The Broke and the Bookish. See upcoming topics and learn more HERE.

Ten Underrated/Hidden Gems I've Read Recently

I heard a little buzz about a few of those but not nearly enough. Therefore, I shall showcase them.

Click on covers to be whisked away to my review :)

The Secret Life of Souls by Jack KetchumAll in Fear by Steve BermanThe Summer that Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel

1.  The Secret Life of Souls:  If you love dogs you need to read this. 
2.  All In Fear: A chilling collection of weird little horror stories. More of you need to read it!
3.  The Summer That Melted Everything: This book is an experience in heartbreak and a must read from a debut author. 

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn GreenwoodEsther the Wonder Pig by Steve JenkinsThe Sadist's Bible by Nicole Cushing

4.  All the Ugly & Wonderful Things: Controversial and unbelievably good.
5.  Esther the Wonder Pig: A little pig saved from slaughter who became internet famous!
6.  The Sadist's Bible: A visceral and unforgettable horror tale.

Lessons from Tara by David RosenfeltWoodland Knits by Stephanie Dosen

7.  Lessons from Tara: Again, if you love dogs, read this. You'll fall in love with Tara.
8.  Woodland Knits: A quirkly little book of knits to knit.

Dog Crazy by Meg DonohueBlood Secrets by Craig  Jones

9.    Dog Crazy: Again DOGS!  But also about grief & recovery. It even made me cry.
10.  Blood Secrets: An oldie but a creepy goodie.

Have you guys read any of these?

Monday, January 16, 2017

That Which Should Not Be by Brett J. Talley

Retro Review

That Which Should Not Be by Brett J. Talley
Horror Short Story Collection, 260 Pages
Miskatonic University has a long-whispered reputation of being strongly connected to all things occult and supernatural. From the faculty to the students, the fascination with other-worldly legends and objects runs rampant. So, when Carter Weston's professor Dr. Thayerson asks him to search a nearby village for a book that is believed to control the inhuman forces that rule the Earth, Incendium Maleficarum, The Inferno of the Witch, the student doesn't hesitate to begin the quest. 

Weston's journey takes an unexpected turn, however, when he ventures into a tavern in the small town of Anchorhead. Rather than passing the evening as a solitary patron, Weston joins four men who regale him with stories of their personal experiences with forces both preternatural and damned. Two stories hit close to home as they tie the tellers directly to Weston's current mission. 

His unanticipated role as passive listener proves fortuitous, and Weston fulfills his goal. Bringing the book back to Miskatonic, though, proves to be a grave mistake. Quickly, Weston realizes he has played a role in potentially opening the gate between the netherworld and the world of Man. Reversing the course of events means forgetting all he thought he knew about Miskatonic and his professor and embracing an unknown beyond his wildest imagination.

Disclaimer: This is a Lovecraftian influenced novel and I have never read H.P. Lovecraft. I have only seen some of the film adaptations made in the 80’s because my boyfriend was silly enough to let me choose the movies we rented back then. Yes, back then when one had to travel to an actual video store to rent a movie. From Beyond, Re-Animator, The Unnamable? How I loved them so but I’m guessing these flicks probably took some liberties with Lovecraft’s work.

This book may take liberties with Lovecraft’s intentions too or it may not. Diehards will know the truth, but me? Hell if I know. What I do know is that, like many a themed short story collection, this one has a few that I enjoyed a little more than the others but there weren’t any duds and the style remains consistent throughout.

It’s written in what I’m assuming is Lovecraftian style (as if I would know). It’s heavy on the descriptive and atmospheric prose, the characters are typically intelligent fellows or hard-laboring types and the cast is almost entirely made up of these men with an occasional woman (usually with bad intentions) making an appearance. It’s all about the men encountering strange, unearthly madness inducing monsters. All of the stories are tied together by a legendary evil and a book that can bring forth the end of times for humankind. Creepy stuff, oh yes, you will find it here.

The basic story wrap-around story that binds them all together, is one of a young, eager scholar who sets out to retrieve a legendary book after he’s asked to do so by a professor he admires. A storm arrives and he’s stranded in a pub with a bunch of men who all have tall tales to tell. Strangely convenient coincidence or Cthulu’s influence? Again, hell if I know.

The men share their tales which are basically retellings of some of these classic horror gems.

*Insane Asylum
*Creepy Convent
*Ghost Ship

They’re all quietly creeptastic and it’s easy to see where a few of them are going if you read too much horror as a kid. I’d have to say the Wendigo might be my favorite but I also loved the slow build of the asylum tale where the inmates far outnumber the staff and a young newbie is told, most ominously, "They are in charge. We just do what we can." Yikes, you just know some bad shit is going to go down but it doesn’t happen in a predictable way.

All of the stories are enjoyable if you’re in the mood for atmosphere and a slower pace and the wrap around story ties it all together so it never feels like a bunch of shorter stories tossed in for whatever reason. They all interlock together nice and neatly and are genuinely unnerving.
FTC Disclaimer

Bark's Book Nonsense usually buys the books reviewed on the blog but occasionally receives ARC's in for review. Reviews are written out of the goodness of our dried up little hearts. We do not accept any other money, gifts or favors in exchange for our sweet, sweet words.