Bark's Book Nonsense

I read the good, the awful & all of the "meh" in the middle. Mostly horror & romance of all kinds.

Burn Down the Night by Molly O'Keefe

Burn Down the Night - M. Timothy O'Keefe

*I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a review. Here it is!


Joan has hatched an incredibly dangerous scheme in order to rescue her sister from a dangerous, drug cooking, sister-wife cult leader who has ties with a motorcycle club (a mouthful, I know, sorry). She’s spent the last six months prepping for this moment but things go slightly awry, as things do. She ends up without her sister and kidnapping the injured leader of the motorcycle club.


In his gory face his lips twisted and it was almost breathlessly eerie. A terrible reminder that he might be laid low for the time being but he was still the devil.


Uh oh. But that’s not all . . .


He would tear me apart. The tremor I felt in my stomach was part fear and part desire. Which was exactly the mix I liked with men. It was why I had only slept with women lately. Because my compass, when it came to men, led me into dangerous places. With women—I was the dangerous place. The risk.


These two are now lying low, having made some very dangerous enemies, and are sequestered away in a small condo while Max heals from his injuries. There is tension, sexual and otherwise, as they’re stuck together trying to figure out their next move. They are truly two of a kind and both are pretty much a hot mess and, because of it, this book is stuffed to bursting with angst. If you like angst, boy do I have a book for you.


I like angst so this book was for me but I’m not going to lie, there was a point when even I became tired of listening to them agonize all over themselves but that’s when something beautiful happens and, nope, I am not going to give anything else away even though I really want to.


This is a sexy and lovely romance with beautiful characterization and some rough edges and it’s definitely worth a read if this sounds like your thing.

Mechanic by Alexa Riley

Mechanic - Perfect Pear Creative, Aquila Editing, Alexa Riley

So, a beauty walks into an auto repair shop, has work done, conveniently forgets her cash. The sexy, bearded mechanic is all “Well, well, then! Show me your kitty-cat and we’ll call it even”. I suppose most normal people might be a little skeeved out by this.



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But this little sheltered chickadee? Well, she’s all turned on by this bad boy and kind of flattered too.




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So she shows him her goodies because this is an Alexa Riley story, after all, and then stuff happens and happens again and again.


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If you were wondering, and I’m sure you were, yes, the heroine is a virgin and, yes, the hero is an over-protective alpha on steroids who falls into that sweet, sweet kind of insta-lust that he calls love. Alexa Riley never disappoints. But wait! There’s more to this story. The heroine is a poor little rich girl who is being forced to marry a slimeball because her daddy says so. Daddy also threatens that she’ll never, ever be able to see her sick granny again if she refuses. Instead of telling granny the truth, you know, like a normal person would, she says, “ok, daddy” but is so turned on by the mechanic that she’s got herself into quite a predicament now. But how on earth can she be expected to resist such sweet words of love such as these?


"I plan on c*mming inside you until you're bred." and "Tell me you want it deep inside you, coating your unprotected womb.”


I admit that these books are not the best written literary treasures out there in Kindle-land. This one has some grammatical errors that even I noticed which means they must be super obvious and the characters are all similar shades of each other but they’re infectious in their over-the-top way and hard to put down. When you pick up one of these you know what you’re getting. This one even includes a little bonus story that I think I liked more than the main story.


I won’t give it all away because you’re either dying to read this by now or you just won’t admit it yet!

Has anyone seen my willpower?!

I just visited Netgalley on my break to update something, real quick-like. After browsing just one of my favorite genres, I come to the realization that I've "accidentally on purpose" requested six more books.


See you tomorrow . . .


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DNF: Sweet Little Liar by Patty Devlin

Lovely Little Liar - Patty Devlin, Marcie Clyde

"This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBoom dot com."


I'm sure they're regretting it now.


I had to DNF this little audio two hours in because my poor, abused and confused ears could not take another second of this narrator’s voice. This has to be, hands down, one of the most painful narrations I have ever had the displeasure of listening to. All of the characters, even the menfolk, sound like perky twelve year old girls. The narrator doesn’t make even the slightest attempt at altering the voices so the reader knows who is speaking. The cadence is also all wrong. She puts emphasis on the wrong words and stops and starts in the strangest of places. But that's not all. I might’ve been able to continue if the story weren’t all . . .


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Maybe it’s just me. Feel free to judge for yourownself. Here's the plot so far as I know it. The heroine is Charlie and she is 26 years old. She has her own home, has overcome a battle with anorexia and now has a very dependable job as an urgent care nurse and fill-in ER nurse. I mean, you need to have your wits about you to keep that kind of job, right? I know for certain I couldn’t do it. Anyway, she has an older brother, by 10 years or so, who oversees every aspect of her life. This includes disciplining her for any perceived misbehavior. With his hand. On her bum. This is not incestuous or for titillation on his end but purely disciplinary (honestly I’m not 100% certain about that because it's just plain weird to me) and though she fears it, she allows it. Did you miss the bit where I mentioned she is 26, has a job and her own home, fears the spanking and yet she allows it?! What the hey?


So, now she’s met a police officer who she has the hots for and he’s a not-in-a-sexual-way bum smacker too. Now what are the odds of having that kind of luck, eh? If I were her, I’d be playing the lottery. She’s also a “lovely” little liar and she isn’t very good at it, thus resulting in the constant need for spankings on her “swells”. She’s also the type of gal who “wants a prince to take care of her”. Ugh, I tried people but I just can't with this one. 

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Me and my swells are so done.

Lovely Little Liar - Patty Devlin, Marcie Clyde

She is spanked for lying.


By her brother.


She is 26 years old.


What planet have I landed on?

Blood Secrets by Craig Jones (audio)

Blood Secrets: Valancourt 20th Century Classics - Blue Heron Audio, Caitlin Davies, Craig  Jones


I was gifted a copy of the unabridged audiobook version of Blood Secrets from Valancourt with no expectation of a review. I’m doing one anyway because that’s what I do. Thanks Valancourt!

When things begin, Irene is currently on trial for murder. The story immediately shifts back to a time when Irene was a college student without a worry in the world. She was beautiful, thrived on attention and had her pick of sporty guys. When a new guy arrives on the scene, one decidedly not her type (he has skinny legs and dresses funny), who treats her with indifference, she decides she must learn more about him and insinuates her way into his life.

The rest of the story is a big delicious simmering stew of super nasty little secrets and I loved it because, well, I might be a little nosy. 



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Blood Secrets is more of a dark family saga than a straight up horror novel but there is evil here, for certain, and I felt pretty damned uneasy through all of it. It twisted and turned me all around and I could not stop listening. I love nothing more than a book that surprises me, has great characterization and dishes out its secrets in small steady doses. This one does all of that.


My only caveat has to do with the narration. The narrator was a bit stilted and way too sing-songy in her delivery. I kept hoping she’d ease into the reading and work out the kinks but it didn’t really happen. Her reading style also felt very old-fashioned to me. I don’t know if this was done deliberately because the book was originally written sometime in the ‘70’s but it didn’t really work for me. Still, the strength of the book kept me and held me until the very end and I can easily recommend it.


If this is you your cat:


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then is this ever the book for you!

Night Film by Marisha Pessl

Night Film - Jake Weber, Marisha Pessl

Some books grab me. Some books don’t. This one didn’t. I realized this after I had to rewind five+ HOURS of audio because I was completely lost after sleep-listening my way through all of the incredibly boring descriptive details and goings-on and tidbits and interviews of whatnot and whoever.


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This book made me promises. “Night Film tells the haunting story of a journalist who becomes obsessed with the mysterious death of a troubled prodigy—the daughter of an iconic, reclusive filmmaker.” A film maker known for making edgy, underground, horror films and the deep dive into his secretive life. Hello, how could this go so wrong? Well, for starters, I would not describe anything in this book as haunting. Haunting is something that hounds me after I walk away from a book. There isn’t a thing here that disturbed me on any level. Instead, it was filled to the brim with tedious details and boring characters and pages that have no end (I swear it’s true)! It tries extremely hard to be all dark and edgy but it just didn’t work for me and fizzled out early on.



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But I kept going, thinking it was me and not the book. I rewound so many times I do believe I turned this 20+ hour audiobook into a 40+ hour audiobook. Someone created the DNF for a reason. Next time I’ll listen to my instincts which were screaming at me to delete the thing and start something, godpleaseanything, else. Perhaps if I had read this as a paperback with all of the added pictures to distract me from the never-ending, lifeless reading of the text, I may have had an easier time with it but probably not because I did not find the characters engaging or even vaguely interesting and that’s a big thing for me. I never understood why, exactly, the main character paired up with a wannabe actress and a small time druggie but at this point I’m too exhausted by this book to ponder that weirdness and I don’t really care.


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This one wasn’t meant for me. The mystery wasn’t enough to hold me enraptured and I need to feel something for the characters, even if it’s anger, and this one didn’t make me feel anything but a little sleepy. And about those reveals that come at the end? Don’t ask me for details because I cannot lie, I was too tuned out to absorb them. Many of my friends five starred this book, and I trust them, so I guess this confirms what I’ve been told time and again, my taste is atrocious!

Reblogged from Not Quite Home:
Heck yeah!
Heck yeah!
Story of my life!
Story of my life!
I'm not antisocial. I love lots of the people I meet in books!
I'm not antisocial. I love lots of the people I meet in books!
That about sums it up.
That about sums it up.
And yes, the book was much better.
And yes, the book was much better.

Just a few bookish memes to describe my weekends :)

Me x1,000,0000

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All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things: A Novel - Bryn Greenwood

I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for a review. If it sucked I'd tell you because I'm a jerk like that, fortunately this one didn't!


I am always complaining that I feel nothing about oh-so-many books. The characters are blah, the story just doesn’t grab me, I am dead inside, blah, blah, blah. I know I sound like a broken record most of the time but this book here? This book here is a genuine 5 star read. I know. I can hardly believe it myself.


I didn’t want to write this review because, as many before me have already said, this book is not for everyone. People are going to go nuts about the controversial story line and probably unfriend me and yell all over me but it made me feel all kinds of emotions and I could not put it down and, for me, that’s what makes a five star read. So I’m writing this review and I’m sticking with my five star rating.


If you don’t already know, this book spans many years and is about a friendship between a fragile little eight year old girl named Wavy and a 20 something man called Kellen. Wavy is so emotionally screwed up from her messed up parents that she doesn’t talk or eat in front of people. She’s faced neglect, seen too much of the ugly side of life and has been forced to grow up way too fast. Dad runs a meth lab, screws a string of floozies and mom is a drug-addled, germ phobic mess. Wavy is the only one capable of caring for her baby brother. You don’t have to imagine the horrors Wavy has seen because the author clearly paints them all for you. One day Wavy meets Kellen, a big, tattooed bear of a man who showers her with attention, friendship and is the first person to actually care for her well-being and that of her brother. He brings her food and shoes and delivers her safely to and from school every day for years. They become the best of friends and as the years pass their friendship grows into a bond that many will find disturbing. I’m going to leave it at that. You will either hate the book on principle or you won’t. Just don’t blame me if you read it and feel like this throughout most of it.


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I found it to be raw, unflinching, sweet, painful, heartbreaking, cringe-worthy, uncomfortable and completely unforgettable. Yep, this one deserves all the adjectives. It’s the kind of book that isn’t afraid to delve into the deepest, darkest corners of a little girl’s hellish world and put it all out there. The ugly and the wonderful, as the title says. It’ll grab you emotionally, twist your insides all the hell up and might never let go. I’ll know never forget it and that's saying something because I can't remember a damned thing.


"That was what I wanted for as long as she was looking at me, but when she looked past me, what I wanted more than anything was for her to look at me again. Most people look at you like nothing, but the way she looked at me … it was like we were in the meadow again. Like I was important. People don’t usually look at me like that."

80% done

Night Film - Jake Weber, Marisha Pessl

and I truly believe that it will never end. I've sleep-listened my way to this point, rewinding so many times that I've lost count, and I am at the super big reveal and yet . . .


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Blood Secrets - Audiobook

Reblogged from Valancourt Books:

New Release


Our first audiobook, Robert Marasco's BURNT OFFERINGS, has been such a huge success that we're excited to unveil our second: Craig Jones's masterful modern Gothic chiller BLOOD SECRETS, narrated by Caitlin Davies. Once again we have 10 *FREE* downloads to give away (US only, sorry)! The first 10 people to comment below will receive a copy. Thanks!






Free Audio

Boy Meets Boy - David Levithan, Nicholas Robideau, The Full Cast Family

This audiobook is free @ SYNC for the next week. I've heard good things about it.

Sorry I've gone silent but

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I put my back out again and moving even a wee little bit set off back spasms so I've mostly been curled in a ball of misery wishing for death. I broke down and saw a MD this time and was given some muscle relaxers. Those things? They don't work. They only make me sleepy and useless.  Ah well.  Now I'm broke and still in pain but I'm all caught up on my sleep.  Lesson learned. 

Easy. Whole. Vegan. Cookbook Review

Easy. Whole. Vegan.: 100 Flavor-Packed, No-Stress Recipes for Busy Families - Melissa King

I am not vegan but I usually cook a few vegan meals every week because I love the beasties and I like to pretend I’m healthy. I’m always looking for new, tasty and easy recipes because, honestly, standing on my feet in the kitchen for endless hours after working all day is not my idea of a good time. I’d much rather be sitting on my butt reading a book. But I don’t want us eating crap either so the simple title of this book caught my eye.


It starts out with an intro about the authors’ sick babies which was a little too TMI for my liking. I kept seeing the word feeding tubes and vomit on the page and had to start skimming – sorry, I’m heartless, I know this, but I wake up to enough grossness every day in my own house and just don’t want to read about these kind of nitty gritty details in a cookbook.


There’s a list of kitchen equipment and pantry items you’ll want to have stocked, if you don’t have them already. Some of the kitchen equipment will require a little investment (dehydrator, slow cooker, ice cream maker, spiralizer) but they’re worth buying if you do a lot of home cooking. The pantry stuff is pretty much all the basics; applesauce, baking soda, flour, hemp & flax seeds, nutritional yeast, beans, stuff like that. There’s nothing too weird or hard to find here, especially if you’ve ever cooked vegan or vegetarian. I’m thankful that the author has mentioned how to easily make some of the harder to find items like chickpea flour or oat flour or the pricier items like jarred roasted peppers and tomatoes. I always thought I had to buy them but if you have a high speed blender and an oven you can do it for yourself on the cheap. She also gives some handy tips for saving cash in other areas and ideas to save time. You probably already knew that you can extend the life of your cut herbs by placing them in water but I had no idea! I usually let them rot in a dark corner of the fridge.



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UPDATE: I’ve successfully managed to kill those pretty herbs in three days time. Perhaps this tip is only for those without a black thumb.


Now, if you’re anything like me, before you spend some hard earned cash on a cookbook you probably want to know that the recipes have actually been tested by real people. It’s easy to look at the pretty pictures and ooh and aww over them and write a half-assed review. I can’t do that. I want to know these recipes aren’t going to make me call the call the pizza guy in a panic because I just made shit stew. There is nothing worse than spending money on a cookbook and ingredients only to have the majority of recipes end in disaster due to errata in the book. So, being the kind soul that I am, I am bravely putting a few to the test for you and will update this review as I work my way through the book (skipping the things that sound gross to me).


Here’s what’s happened so far.


Apple Cinnamon Quinoa This is made in the crockpot and smells amazing when it’s cooking. My daughter said the house smelled like Fall. I set my cooker to high while plopped myself on the couch to catch up on Preacher for an hour or three. Apparently, my small crockpot was made in Hell and is not to be trusted because after 3 hours all of the liquid was long gone and everything was burnt on the bottom. I’d recommend keeping an eye on this unless you don’t mind eating bitter burnt bits.



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Here it is after I picked out most of the burned bits.



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I have not cut sugar out of my diet so, to me, this tasted a wee bit bland. If I ever were to make it again (and honestly, I probably won’t), I’d add in some maple syrup and more liquid and lower the temp. I tried it cold this morning with a little agave syrup and it wasn’t too bad but it wasn’t too great either. This was kind of a dud for me, truth be told, and most of it is still sitting in a container in the fridge days later.


Cilantro Lime Cauliflower “Rice” This was so good I almost ate the entire thing myself. It also fooled both my kids and my husband into thinking they were eating some fancy rice from Chipotle. But this is much healthier. It didn’t last the night and it made a whole bunch. If you’re thinking this sounds rather disgusting (ewww, cauliflower!) try it anyway. I think you’ll be very surprised. This is no faux mashed potato cauliflower dish, trust me on this. 


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Crockpot Corn Chowder This time I used my trusty, ancient, not made in Hell slow-cooker and had great results. The only mods I made were putting it on LOW for 10 hours instead of HIGH, adding an additional cup of veggie broth (I feared the burn again) and using a full can of coconut cream instead of a can of whole fat coconut milk. It’s all I had and I was too lazy to run to the store. This was fantastic, slightly sweet and very hearty. I’d make this again and again and would always use the full fat coconut cream from Trader Joe’s. That stuff is heavenly (and good for making ice cream too).



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I will update this review as I cook more of the recipes but so far, so good. The recipes are also very easy to make, as promised, and I feel safe in recommending it.

Yep, I think I'm good for a while now. Maybe forever.

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