Thursday, September 21, 2017

Two Bloggers One Book - We Are Always Watching

Once again, Stormi and I chose another Hunter Shea book for our feature this month - "We Are Always Watching."  I had so much fun reading this one and Stormi and I chatted up a bunch about so many aspects of this book.  I've grown to really look forward to our monthly buddy reads and I know I'm always in for a good time, whether we love or dislike the book.  I think this month we were both very pleased with our choice. Make sure you stop by her blog at Books Movies Reviews, Oh My! to see her thoughts as well.

TITLE: We Are Always Watching
AUTHOR: Hunter Shea
PUBLISHER: Sinister Grin Press
PUBLISHING DATE: March 1, 2017


They’ve watched over the house for generations…

The move from New York to the decrepit Pennsylvania farmhouse is as bad as West Ridley thought it would be. His father’s crippling vertigo only seems to get worse, and even with his mother working herself to the bone, they’re out of money and options.

Grandpa Abraham is a drunk bastard and the living embodiment of the long neglected farmhouse. He claims the place is haunted. Ghosts roam the hall at night and their muffled cries fill the silence of warm, summer nights.

On the ceiling above West’s bed are the words WE SEE YOU. In a house plagued by death and mysterious visitations, West realizes something beyond the fiction of his favorite horror books has to be faced.

Dark secrets are buried deep, and there are Guardians who want to keep it that way. No matter where they go or what they do, West and his family know one thing… they are always watching.

MY THOUGHTS: Over the past year or so I've become a huge fan of Hunter Shea so when my friend and I were looking for a buddy read, this became the obvious choice. "We Are Always Watching" grabbed me right from the start and didn't let go until the end - and that ending! 14-year-old West and his parents have had to move to Pennsylvania to live with his Grandpa Abraham on a rundown, decrepit farm. West's father suffers from severe vertigo which makes him quite handicapped following a car accident and the family has fallen on hard times. West's father hates returning to his childhood home and his mother is busy working so the family can eventually move out.

Immediately from the start, West senses something is wrong. His Grandfather has hinted that the house is haunted and West and the family starts finding messages left on the inside and the outside of the home. Grandpa finally discloses that the house is being watched by The Guardians, who do not like change and disruption. Things start happening around the home such as messages left on mirrors and finding Grandpa passed out and bound outside, but the more people whom the family tells what is happening, the more that happens.

I loved this entire book! Grandpa is an old crotchety drunk and not an very likable character, but ultimately he is trying to keep his family safe, although he is also hiding a lot of secrets. West's parents are just struggling to get by and not lose hold of their family in the process. However, West if by far the best character. First of all, he loves everything horror, in fact, he is initially intrigued that the house might be haunted. West always has his nose stuck in a horror book and he has posters from famous movies plastered all over his bedroom walls. "We Are Always Watching" took a real turn about halfway through the novel and I have to admit, it wasn't what I expected. Without giving too much away, it's best to go into this book with limited knowledge so the reader feels the shock and terror right along with the family.

This was a fun book to buddy read and I feel like I read enough of Shea's work. He's definitely an auto-buy author for me and I can't wait to see what he comes up with next!


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday (124)

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: If you were told the date of your death, how would it shape your present?

It's 1969 in New York City's Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes.

Their prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in '80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11, hoping to control fate; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.

A sweeping novel of remarkable ambition and depth, The Immortalists probes the line between destiny and choice, reality and illusion, this world and the next. It is a deeply moving testament to the power of story, the nature of belief, and the unrelenting pull of familial bonds.

WHY I CAN'T WAIT:  I think initially the traveling psychic aspect of this book that got my attention  - right after that cover of course.  Plus, I'm curious how knowing the date of your death plays out.  I personally think that would be a horrible thing to know, but there are some good aspects to knowing it as well.  Either way, I'm interested in this one.


Monday, September 18, 2017

TTT - Ten Books On My Fall TBR

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. 

I'm participating in a Halloween Bingo Challenge, as well as a few others so I'm sure I've shared some of these already.  However, I will share with you some that I am most excited about!

So you actually got 3 bonus picks because I'm OCD and had to have three rows of four books.  However, there are tons I'm sure I forgot.  In addition, topics like today's totally scares me because it has the potential to greatly add to my wishlist. 

Are any of these on your Fall TBR???

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Another Cozy Town I'd Like to Visit (Dial Meow for Murder Review)

TITLE: Dial Meow for Murder (Lucky Paws Petsitting Mystery #2)
AUTHOR: Bethany Blake
PUBLISHER: Kensington
PUBLISHING DATE: September 26, 2017

FROM GOODREADS: Even an experienced pet sitter like Daphne Templeton can be fooled by animal behavior: how can an adorably tiny fuzz ball named Tinkleston be capable of sudden flying leaps with cat claws bared? But human behavior remains even more mysterious, especially when Tinkleston's owner is murdered on the night of a gala fundraiser for Fur-ever Friends Pet Rescue.

Accompanied by her unflappable basset hound, Socrates, Daphne plans to take charge of Tinks the Terror and leave the crime-solving to handsome detective Jonathan Black. But while luring the prickly Persian out of hiding, she uncovers clues that might take suspicion off her own mother. Maeve Templeton already has a reputation as a killer--in real estate. How far would she go to bag Sylvan Creek's most coveted property, the Flynt Mansion?

To expose the truth, Daphne finds herself donning a deranged clown costume on an autumnal adventure that might just be crazy enough to work--if it doesn't get her killed.

MY THOUGHTS: After enjoying "Death by Chocolate Lab" so much I knew I had to request this installment the minute I saw it offered on Netgalley. In "Dial Meow for Murder," the main character, Daphne, once again finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time when she finds the body of a wealthy philanthropist during a Halloween gala at the woman's home. Despite the objections from Jonathan Black, the local detective, Daphne continues to look into the murder and gets into all kinds of predicaments along the way.

I felt this second installment was just as strong as the initial one. I enjoy the interaction between Daphne and her family, as well as her best friend. There is still some sexual tension going on between Daphne and Jonathan, but if the author is planning on hooking them up eventually, she is taking her time which makes me very happy as I am not a fan of insta-love. In addition, Jonathan's ex has shown up in town and it's unclear if there is a reconciliation in the future between the two. 

What I like best about this series is the connection with the pets. The entire town seems quite pet-centric and since it takes place in October, there are lots of pet-centered activities throughout. In addition, we get to see more of Daphne's dog Socrates than in the first book. This book does introduce some new cat characters, as probably deduced from the title, named Tinkleston and Himmelfarb. I mainly mention them because I would love to ask Blake how she came up with these names! 

"Dial Meow for Murder" is a wonderful cozy mystery and is a must read for anyone who enjoys the genre and likes animals to boot. The mystery takes a few twists and turns along the way and because Daphne is a far-from-perfect character, her day to day actions are a lot of fun to read about. This installment has left me anxiously awaiting book #3. 

I received this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Friday, September 15, 2017

Stacking the Shelves (128) / Sunday Post - Hint: You Might See Some Dogs (who am I kidding???)

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.

I've been in a kind of funk lately (for no real reason except my Mother is driving me nuts) and as always, I 1-clicked a tad.  I also had some review requests come in and then requested two additional books from First to Read.  As you get to the bottom of this post, you'll probably notice a theme.

Here's what I got for Paul Anka, my much loved Kindle.  I saw someone mention Letters to the Damned was on sale for $.99 so I grabbed it (I'm telling you - this Halloween Bingo over at Booklikes is introducing me to so many new horror reads).  Chuckles shared Fight Like a Man on her Can't Wait Wednesday feature and I decided I wanted to give it a go and then I'm on a real Hunter Shea kick so when Megalodon in Paradise was a countdown deal on Kindle last weekend, I HAD to grab it!

My physical copy of Last Dog on Earth finally arrived.  I had to get it from overseas.

And finally I have a few review copies.  I got approved for Barking Up the Wrong Tree and Every Dog Has His Day on the same day even though I know I requested them a month apart.  And that dog on the cover of Every Dog STILL looks like a goat to me (because it has something in its mouth).  Then I got Death in the Stacks which is #8 in the Library Lovers series from the same author, from Penguin First to Read.

And on a side note, look at this awesome purse/tote Mr. Barb got me!  I love it and it's real leather - now I'm afraid to use it - haha!

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

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Weekly Reads (09/15/17) Mid Month Already?

Happy Friday!  Hope everyone out there remains safe and is surviving all the recovery efforts in Florida and Texas.  I am hoping the weather in the US quiets down some because there is so much those areas need.  Last week was pretty good at The Farm.  I visited Grandpa Saturday, which was the first visit since the cousin and his wife returned, and I didn't see them at all.  They hid in the field.  Actually I guess they took their son to play in the field behind Grandpa's house.  Wonder what they will do to avoid me when the weather gets cold???  The pups are fine and are enjoying the cooler weather, as am I.  I also got quite a few books read last week.

American Horror has returned to TV and it's as weird as ever.  I find that it takes me about 4-5 episodes each season to determine if I'm going to like it and by then, even if I don't, it's easier to finish the season out than always wonder.  Fear the Walking Dead also started back up but in my opinion, it's pretty much filler until The Walking Dead starts in October and I don't like any of the characters so I hope they all get eaten by zombies.  

We also watched "It Comes at Night."  I was not impressed for several reasons.  First, watching this movie was like starting a new book but opening up to page 100 and starting from there.  No real explanation of what happened, how it got that way or anything.  Secondly, you never learn what "it" is.  I mean, for all I know, "it" means Pennywise the clown in a cross-over.  And also, IT doesn't just come at night - I cry false advertising.  Finally, STANLEY.... adorable pooch STANLEY.  You can fill in your own blanks.  I would not recommend this movie to anyone, although it seems to have some fairly decent ratings and reviews.

So I'm hoping my reading trend continues.  There's lots of football to watch this weekend (hopefully most of our favorite teams won't lose like last week) which means I can multitask.  I honestly don't know what's up next but here is one I'm in the middle of and one I seriously eyeing.

So I hope you all have some wonderful plans for this upcoming week.  Thanks for stopping by The Farm!!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Giving an Author a Second Chance (When I Am Through With You Review)

TITLE: When I Am Through With You
AUTHOR: Stephanie Kuehn
PUBLISHING DATE: August 1, 2017

FROM GOODREADS: “This isn’t meant to be a confession. Not in any spiritual sense of the word. Yes, I’m in jail at the moment. I imagine I’ll be here for a long time, considering. But I’m not writing this down for absolution and I’m not seeking forgiveness, not even from myself. Because I’m not sorry for what I did to Rose. I’m just not. Not for any of it.”

Ben Gibson is many things, but he’s not sorry and he’s not a liar. He will tell you exactly about what happened on what started as a simple school camping trip in the mountains. About who lived and who died. About who killed and who had the best of intentions. But he’s going to tell you in his own time. Because after what happened on that mountain, time is the one thing he has plenty of.

When I Am Through With You is a gripping story of survival and the razor’s-edge difference between perfect cruelty and perfect love.

MY THOUGHTS:  This is the second Kuehn book I've read. When I first became interested in it, I didn't realize it was the same author who did "A Smaller Evil" and I really wasn't a fan of that book when I read it last year. In fact, if I had made the connection, I might have not picked up "When I Am Through With You." However, while I am starting to believe she has a "definite type" when it comes to plots and their characters, I did like this book considerably more.

The story is told from the MC Ben's POV and pretty early on the reader discovers Ben in sitting in jail and that some people have ended up dead. The tale then backtracks and we find out what exactly happened to Ben. Ben has not had the easiest childhood. His mother will not win any parent of the year awards and his father is absent. Ben ends up dating Rose, a fellow high school student and right away, it seems Rose is in charge of the relationship. In fact, they end up dating because Rose tells him he's going to be her boyfriend. Ben ends up joining a hiking club at school, despite the fact that he has numerous health problems, and one weekend, his teacher and a ragtag group of students leave their home county to hike up some California mountain. Trouble ensues and death soon follows.

I actually thought I would hate Ben throughout the entire book but actually ended up disliking Rose and her twin brother much more. There were times I really felt for Ben and wished like hell that he would stop putting himself in horrible situations. Even when Ben tries to take charge, he pretty much fails. This book was somewhat thrilling in that there are several twists and turns along the way and as a reader, I was constantly guessing about what was happening and I'm sure I had a "WTF" look on my face during the last 100 pages or so. I had the look a lot longer when reading "A Smaller Evil."

I am glad I read this book and my opinion on Kuehn has changed somewhat. I know a lot of bloggers who love her work so I'm glad I'm no longer basing my not-so-glowing previous opinion on just one book. If you like YA, thrillers and unreliable characters, you will find it all in "When I Am Through With You."

I received this book from the Penguin First to Read program in exchange for an honest review.