Monday, August 21, 2017

TTT - 10 Books For The Study of Weird Things

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. 

OK, class is in session.  This class is for everybody who likes to embrace their weirdness every once in a while.  Here are some books which are definitely WEIRD - some in good ways, some in bad ways and some in ways altogether unique.

Here's a small piece of my original review which sums up this book's weirdness...and also STILL leaves me confused - "This book is about Diane, Jackie, Diane's son and a shapeshifter named Josh, a waitress in the local diner who is actually a tree, a man named Evan who walks around town appearing and disappearing and handing people pieces of paper with KING CITY written on it, 30-40 men named Troy (or actually the same man, just multiples of him), a tarantula, secret agents and exploding flamingo lawn decorations. "  

Stuart R. West has become one of my favorite horror authors.  "West's description of Hell itself, and of the hellhounds with human heads which show up toward the end, were spot on with what I associate with old-fashioned horror. If you like scary books, aren't afraid of a little blood and gore, and don't mind some comedic spins thrown in here and there, this books might just be worth your time. "

Still unsure about this one.  "The mystery in this tale is pretty unsatisfying and I would be hesitant to classify it as such. To be honest, this book is pretty hard to classify in general. I'm not sure who to recommend it to but I'm sure fans of Lovecraft will be curious what it is all about and will find some worth in picking it up. I don't regret reading it because it's nice to read outside one's comfort zone, but I would never pick it up again. "

I made it through the first 9 books and initially loved Anita Blake's character but the books just kept getting weirder and weirder.  I always planned to pick the series back up but now there are so many, I doubt it will ever happen.

This recent horror release didn't get much hype but I really liked it.  "There is also a lot of foul language in the book but that doesn't really bother me much - especially in a horror tale. However, I was really engrossed in finding out Mormama's purpose, learning all about the Ellis family, and discovering how this book could ever present me with a satisfying ending."  Guess what?  It did!

Definitely a different kind of book.  "It's a mystery, but not really a mystery, it has a lot to say about stereotypes, but what does it really say, and on and on..."  It does have one of my favorite quotes ever though - "Kids are for people who can't have dogs!"

All my regular readers know how much I love this extremely weird and extremely unique novella series linked to the Seven Deadly Sins.  Book 2 was one of my faves. "This book is as twisted and demented as the first one, and that's a good thing."

"Insanity has escaped Jesus' hold on him and is causing havoc somewhere in 1978, all the while looking for the perfect sandwich makers. Several of God's servants/personalities, such as The Muse, Contradiction, Leviticus and Satan assist in locating him, and while doing so, unleash 3 of the 4 Horses of the Apocalypse."

This book has managed to stick with me for years.  "The Library at Mount Char shows the reader how scary the world can be, but made me grateful that things haven't gotten as bad as it could yet. "  Maybe 2015 me was able to see the future.

I don't think I've read a Christopher Moore book I didn't like.  This is one of my favorites which really showcases the way his mind works.


I Needed More Milton! (The Luster of Lost Things Review)

TITLE: The Luster of Lost Things
AUTHOR: Sophie Chen Keller
PUBLISHER: G.P. Putnam's Sons
PUBLISHING DATE: August 8, 2017

FROM GOODREADS: Walter Lavender Jr. is a master of finding. A wearer of high-tops. A maker of croissants. A son keeping vigil, twelve years counting.

But he wouldn’t be able to tell you. Silenced by his motor speech disorder, Walter’s life gets lonely. Fortunately, he has The Lavenders—his mother’s enchanted dessert shop, where marzipan dragons breathe actual fire. He also has a knack for tracking down any missing thing—except for his lost father.

So when the Book at the root of the bakery’s magic vanishes, Walter, accompanied by his overweight golden retriever, journeys through New York City to find it—along the way encountering an unforgettable cast of lost souls.

Steeped in nostalgic wonder, The Luster of Lost Things explores the depths of our capacity for kindness and our ability to heal. A lyrical meditation on why we become lost and how we are found, from the bright, broken heart of a boy who knows where to look for everyone but himself.

So I finally managed to finish "The Luster of Lost Things" yet I've put off this review because I think it's going to be a hard one to write. Prior to reading this book, I looked at a few other non-spoiler reviews and a lot of people mentioned liking the first part of the book, which has most of the magical realism elements in it, and feeling the second part, Walter's quest, dragged the book down. I feel pretty much exactly the opposite but what else is new?

Walter Lavender Jr. is a young boy who lives with his mother above their bakery in New York. Walter suffers from a motor speech disorder and pretty much his friends consist of his Lab Milton, his mother and the staff at the bakery. His father disappeared during a flight when Walter was a baby and he waits patiently each day for him to return home. Because of his disability, Walter's life is quite lonely but he does have a knack for finding lost things and hires himself out to people looking for beloved items, which is his main interaction with the world outside the bakery. The bakery itself is "guarded" by a magical book which was given to his mother following his father's disappearance and this book makes the bakery a magical place where the delicious creations often come alive - literally. One day, the book vanishes and knowing that the disappearance spells doom for the bakery and Walter's comforting life, he and Milton go on an excursion to find it. The book ends up getting torn up so he has to find all 7 pages and out it back together within 24 hours if he hopes to save he and his mother's future.

Walter's quest was the most interesting part of this book for me. He meets lots of interesting characters and along the way, finds his own "voice." In fact, it was quite endearing when at the end of the book, Walter is able to return home and verbally tell his mother than he missed her. Walter helps a lot of the people he encounters as much as they help him and he and Milton also make a new best friend in the process which I found beyond cute.

The main reason this book didn't rate higher for me is purely because of the magical realism. I struggle with the genre in general and it took me much longer to read this book than it should have. Also, I wanted more Milton. He and Walter have an awesome bond, and Milton occasionally speaks to Walter and I just would have enjoyed the book more with more Milton. Of course, to those who know me, that's no big surprise.

This book has been quite popular this month since it's release and I've seen many people enjoying it. I'm glad I picked it up and it really is an adorable tale, it just fell a tad short for me. Lovers of magical realism should consider giving this book a chance but may find Walter's journey somewhat mundane. 


BOOKER T'S THOUGHTS: First of all, Mom and I want to thank La La from over at La La in the Library for the use of her awesome graphic.  As for Milton.  First of all, Milton is a lab which means he is a large dog and I really do love large dog buddies. He is such a perfect friend for Walter, who is often picked on and rather lost because of  his speech disability.  Rude wonder Mom prefers dogs to most people.  Milton slips away to follow Walter on his quest even though Walter tries to leave him at home because he know Walter needs the support and the company - Good Boy Milton.  Plus, Milton clearly loves to eat as evidenced in the book - a dog after my own doggy heart.  Milton clearly gets 5 paws in my book!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Stacking the Shelves (124) / 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 ReviewerI'm hoping to discover some new blogs to love.

This week is a mix up of all kinds of books.  I have a couple of physical books which I ordered from Abe Books.  It was actually cheaper to get a used coy of "Oath of Dogs" which looks brand new than it was to either grab it for my Kindle or order it.  Even shipping was free. Then I found a video of dog related horror books while cruising BookTube one night and I've been on a quest to grab some. Many are older so I've had to do some scouring.  I found "Dog Kill" for cheap and in pretty good condition for a really old book as well.  (I'm working it out in my head to have something going next year where I read one of the dog horror books each month - we'll see).

The I grabbed the following books for free.  "Monster Hunters International" has been on my wishlist forever so when I saw it free, I jumped on it.  I also saw Jennifer @ The Book Den mention "Gravel Switch" on her August horror releases so when I saw it for free, I was thrilled.  Finally, need I do more than show you the cover or "Released: The Shapeshifter's Library #1" for you to understand why it's now sitting on my Kindle?

And I scored a few great books for review.  "Terminal Alliance" I had featured on a Can't Wait Wednesday post a few weeks ago and was very very happy to get an approval email. "Black Bird of the Gallows" was sent to me from the author and Entangled Teen.  Hope I love it since I've hyped it enough!  "Dial Meow for Murder" is the second book in a new cozy series Stormi and I started last year (or maybe earlier this year - it's all running together now) and Booker T and Cass featured it a while back.  I got the new Hunter Shea novella "Money Back Guarantee." (Look for reviews from Stormi and I for the second novella in this series Thursday) and Xpresso Book Tours sent me a copy of "Princesses of the Night."  Plus as I mentioned yesterday, Jackie Bouchard sent me an early copy of her newest book "Stray Magic" for review.

I did grab a few books from the library, but I'll wait and show them next week.  They are mainly graphic novels anyway.  So all in all, a great week!  What did you add to your stacks?

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Weekly Reads (08/18/17)

So another week has passed and all I will say on the matter is I'm tired of the news and the hate and the violence.  There, I said it.  Moving on.  It's been a hot week here at The Farm.  Every day they mention rain and yet I've still not seen any.  The pups are doing fine but Booker T hates it when it is this hot and I can't blame him.

On the movie front - we watched a movie called "Bedeviled" the other night about this social media app that preys on one's fears.  It wasn't bad but it wasn't good.  I guess the best description is that is was decent filler because nothing else was striking my fancy.  The "baddie" sort of reminded me of a Freddy Kruger rip-off but I guess sometimes you'll have that.  I continue watching some of my favorite series even though many of them seem to be winding down - Game of Thrones, The Strain, Younger, Mr. Mercedes, The Mist and Midnight, Texas.  I thought the first episode of Mr. Mercedes was awesome and the second fell a tad flat for me but we are still in the "build up" stage I'm sure.

I managed to finish a book and a graphic novel last week and am almost done with "The Luster of Lost Things."  Seems I never get through magical realism books quickly at all.  Here's what's up currently and next on the stack.  It's not actually a mystery cover but a blogging pal/author, Jackie Bouchard, sent me an ARC of her newest release which is slated to release around October. Currently the cover is still in the works (I even voted on my faves) and should be revealed soon.  Look for a feature on this as soon as I get permission.  It's called "Stray Magic" though and sounds very promising!

So it looks like a very "magical" week ahead in books. I have a late meeting next Thursday so I won't get much done that day but it will make for a short workday Friday and that's always good.  What do you guys have planned for this coming week???

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Northwoods Magic Review

TITLE: Northwoods Magi
AUTHOR: Desiree LaFawn
PUBLISHING DATE: July 24, 2017

FROM GOODREADS: Quinn Reynolds is desperate for answers. After a near fatal accident, Quinn’s life changes and she is suddenly plagued by dreams of ravens, magic, and a boy with copper-ringed eyes. Told by her doctors that she is delusional, Quinn travels to the Northwoods of Minnesota to find out the truth. But Quinn has another problem that she hasn’t shared. Not only does she dream of magic, she also possesses her own power as well.

Corbin Olsen has been battling his own demons for the last ten years. After sacrificing everything to save Quinn’s life, she forgot about him completely. He’s thought of her constantly in the years she’s been gone, but nothing prepared him for the woman she has become. Although angry at her for leaving him, Corbin isn’t able to dismiss his need for her.

But Corbin and Quinn are running out of time for a meaningful reunion, the real evil is back and hunting the prey that escaped it all those years ago. 


So overall "Northwoods Magic" was a decent read and somewhat enjoyable, but nothing really stuck out to me as fabulous. When she was a teen, foster child Quinn was vacationing with her soon-to-be parents in the northwoods of Minnesota when an accident occurred and she nearly died. Unbeknownst to Quinn, she was saved by the woods' Green Man and raven-turned-human, Corbin. Quinn was taken to the hospital and her family eventually dissolved. She spent the next ten years not understanding why plants and greenery are some somehow drawn to her and how her emotions affect the plant life around her. Quinn, a poetic recluse, decides to return the the northwoods inn and see if she can find out why she has had such an odd life. However, she doesn't know that the dark power, which was responsible for her initial accident in the first place, is waiting there for her, along with Corbin who has basically pined away for her for the past ten years. This magical tale is likable enough, but I really had some problems with some of the elements. I understand Quinn is damaged and basically was made to think she was mentally unstable for ten years, but she was very weak and had no self confidence and at times I wanted to shake her and tell her to snap out it. Corbin is also mildly obsessed with Quinn and since he spent at least half of his life as a raven, lacks some serious social skills. I do have to admit I liked the side characters quite a bit, especially Corbin's "sister." I would definitely liked to have seen more from her in the book. So you can imagine there are some pretty strong insta-love elements and even though there are some very good explanations for the attraction, I still found it annoying. Not to mention that once Quinn and Corbin do finally hook up, they end up messing around like rabbits.

"Northwoods Magic" is a short read and resolves itself fairly well. There is the inevitable lead-in to a sequel, and at this point, I can't say that it's on my radar. If you like fairy tales, there is a certain magical quality to this book and you may enjoy it. However, if you dislike weak characters, this may not be the read for you.

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


Black Bird of the Gallows Excerpt Reveal

Today I am pleased to present to you an little teaser  from a book set to release soon.  Meg Kassel has kindly released a except from her upcoming book "Black Bird of the Gallows."  I've highly anticipated this book for months ever since I participated in the cover reveal and I want to thank Meg for kindly sharing this post with Booker T's Farm!

I’m seriously questioning the wisdom of coming here. Who is this boy? Who are these people? I may not want these answers. Whatever illusion I had been weaving about this being a normal family can’t be true. This is a family, yes, but one putting on an elaborate show to appear to be something they are not. “Everyday life can’t be so bad,” I say lightly, eager to change the subject before I start luring myself down a hole. “You have a beautiful home, a nice family. You’re popular at school. Kiera Shaw certainly likes you.”

He turns his gaze to me, slowly. “Kiera Shaw? You think I like her?” “I don’t know what you like.”

I don’t blink. I don’t look away. “I know only what I’ve seen.”

Reece leans close, gently entering my personal space. Close enough to put me on edge, but not close enough to intimidate. His voice is silk on gravel. His narrowed eyes glitter down at me. “And what, exactly, have you seen, Angie?”

Shivers race up my skin. I want to defuse this so badly, but I feel like this is a challenge I can’t lose. “I’ve seen and heard things that don’t make sense. Things I can’t understand.” I shift my gaze to my crow sitting on a branch above my head. It watches me with an intensity that would scare me if I wasn’t accustomed to it. “Tell me about the crows.”

He shakes his head. “Sorry. Either you know about them, or you don’t.”

My jaw tightens, even as I step toward him. I can feel his body heat. His clean, guy scent fills my senses with a unique magnetism that draws me close. Closer still. “I will find out.”

His gaze sweeps my face, lingering on my lips. “I hope not.” His breath warms my temple, sending a shiver under my skin. “There are worse things out there than a few watchful birds.”

“Like what?” I’m breathless, damn him. My words are barely audible.

His lashes fan low over his eyes. The narrow space between us crackles with tension. “Oh Angie, you don’t want to know.”

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday (119)

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 GOOREADS: A story of the undead like you’ve never read before, Justina Ireland’s Dread Nation is a fresh, stunning, and powerful meditation on race in America wrapped in an alternate-history adventure where Confederate and Union soldiers rise from the dead at the end of the Civil War.

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.

At once provocative, terrifying, and darkly subversive, Dread Nation is Justina Ireland’s stunning vision of an America both foreign and familiar—a country on the brink, at the explosive crossroads where race, humanity, and survival meet.

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  This just sounds like an interesting read.  The historical aspect as well as the rising dead is a combination I am definitely down for and in the mood for right now.