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Barks & Bites

Reading the good, the awful & all of the "meh" in the middle. I'll read most any horror, romance, erotica & M/M novel that comes my way but that doesn't mean I'll like it!

Currently reading

Doctor Sleep
Stephen King
Rise of the Thing Down Below
Daniel W. Kelly
We Are All Completely Fine
Daryl Gregory
Facial
Jeff Strand
The Dark Servant
Matt Manochio
Circus of the Damned
Cornelia Grey
Fashionably Dead
Robyn Peterman
Happy Herbivore Light & Lean: Over 150 Low-Calorie Recipes with Workout Plans for Looking and Feeling Great
Lindsay S. Nixon
The Joy of Vegan Baking: The Compassionate Cooks' Traditional Treats and Sinful Sweets
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
Progress: 5 %
The Silver Chain
Primula Bond

Pat Pat the Evil Cat
Pat Pat the Evil Cat

Look what Target sent me. I wonder if they'll take it back because it's evil!

 

 

Krampus!

The Dark Servant - Matt Manochio

 

 This picture (the chain, the tongue - good god, the tongue!) combined with the images in this book? Kind of terrifying, if I'm being completely honest. 

 

 

That is all. For now.

 

Never Again: Sweet Tea & Jesus Shoes by Deborah Smith

Sweet Tea and Jesus Shoes - Deborah Smith, Virginia Ellis, Sandra Chastain, Various

I read and reviewed this author many years ago but never again and this is why.

 

I now have a Never Again shelf here, there and everywhere. I've held off doing this but I've just had enough. This is lousy mostly because she was/is a pretty damn good writer. Ah well, there are plenty more out there to spend my money on.

 

*Here's my original review so those who will cannot accuse me of being a drive-by troll who comments but doesn't read the book. If anything I was a silly fangirl. I wrote this way back when. Ahhh, innocence was bliss.

 

Sweet Tea and Jesus Shoes is a charming collection of stories that range from sweetly sentimental tearjerkers to laugh out loud funny slice-of-life tales. And, best of all, there isn't a dud in the entire bunch. All of the stories were obviously written with love and each is an author's memory of living in the South. The book is broken up into three sections titled: Precious Memories, Family Portraits (wow, do these ladies have some nutty relatives and neighbors!) and Beloved Critters. Being an animal lover the "Beloved Critters" section contained some of my favorite stories in the collection. The hands down winner for me was Donna Ball's UP JUMPS THE DEVIL. It's about a big, slobbering, affectionate dog that sends an entire town into an uproar and gives one grasping old bitty her comeuppance. This story had me in stitches and will be reread whenever I'm in dire need of a good laugh. The book is a little pricey, at $14.95 for only 171 pages of storytelling, but I feel its stories are worth splurging on (or saving for).

.99 Sale! That Which Should Not Be by Brett J. Talley

That Which Should Not Be - Brett J. Talley

On Sale for .99 Cents until November 4, 2014!

 

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.

 

*Wendigo

*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 predicable 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. 

Bitten - Kelley Armstrong

Bitten!  Have you seen it?  I accidentally stumbled across the series while watching Face Off on the Syfy network and decided to DVR the whole thing to watch while folding laundry.

 

Seeing as I read the book well over a decade ago and didn't remember a damn thing I knew it wouldn't annoy me if they changed things (and they always change things, don't they?). Considering the network, this was a pretty decent show. The cast is gorgeous and perhaps that is blinding me to some of its faults but after a few episodes, I was pretty well hooked. The actors who play Clay & Elena have incredible chemistry but, as is with the book, I found myself annoyed with Elena's flip-flopping which is finally explained near the end of the season. The middle of the season episodes were full of fun kung-fu fighting scenes and the gore/romance are evenly balanced. Check it out if you've got some laundry to fold!

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

Bitten - Kelley Armstrong

I read this in 2003. and just recently caught up the tv series Bitten on the Syfy network and from the little I remember of the book it seems they've done a pretty good job!  Have you seen it?

 

Hmmm, I had an odd experience with this book. I didn't particularly like either main character. Elena, the only female werewolf in existence, as we're told time and again, or Clay, the super alpha wolf with the Chippendales looks. They just weren't that likable. But I still manged to find the story compelling despite them. 

Elena despises Clay (but loves him too) and only wants to live a normal "human" existence. Clay, born and raised a werewolf, can't figure her out. He wants her, she wants him, so what's the problem? Well, for starters, Elena lives with another man whom she claims to love yet diddles around with Clay when she's in his turf. Elena is so wishy-washy about this and it continually annoyed me.

Character flaws aside, I did enjoy the book. As it moved along, I understood Elena's quandary a bit better (though she still annoyed the hell out of me at times) and Clay's ruthlessness and possessiveness was nicely balanced by the whole "mating forever" thingy that happens between wolves. I still felt bad for the poor human sap Elena was stringing along but whatever . . .

Boo!

 

May your Halloween week be filled with unexpected surprises.

Reblogged from Derrolyn Anderson

Never Again: On Bear Mountain by Deborah Smith

On Bear Mountain - Deborah Smith

I read and reviewed this author many years ago but never again and this is why.

 

I now have a Never Again shelf here, there and everywhere. I've held off doing this but I've just had enough. This is lousy mostly because she was/is a pretty damn good writer. Ah well, there are plenty more out there to spend my money on.

 

*Here's my original review so those who will cannot accuse me of being a drive-by troll. If anything I was a silly fangirl. I wrote this way back when. Ahhh, innocence was bliss.

 

This is a beautifully crafted book filled with characters who leap off the pages and into your heart. These aren't perfect people, they've made mistakes and make a few during the course of the book which is probably why I enjoyed it so much. I have a short attention span and most books simply bore me or just plain annoy me. Despite a few obvious tear-jerking plot contrivances this is one that will stick with me for a bit and one of the better books I've read this year.

Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn

I spent most of a beautiful fall afternoon sitting in a movie theater watching two narcissists hurt each other. And I don't feel guilty about it at all.

 

I read Gone Girl well over a year ago and many of the details have already escaped my brain but, from the bit I remember, the film seemed to stick pretty close to novel and didn't shy away from some of the more horrifying scenes which made me very happy. I remember thinking, as I was reading, that this would make a great movie and it did. The actors were cast well (though Affleck came off a little "nicer" and more "every man" and less "smarmy" than I thought he did in the book). The best part for me was the fact that my theater was filled with groups of older woman (late 60's, 70's) who oooed and awwed and gasped in shock at the sexy, violent bits. I don't know if they read the book but they seemed genuinely taken aback by some of the things shown on screen. I'm not used to seeing a film on the big screen but the audience reaction added another level of amusing enjoyment for me.

 

If you enjoyed the book, or just enjoy watching people harm each other,  I'd say it's worth a view.

 

And my husband's only comment? "I'm so glad you're not a psychopath." Hahaha  So of course I said, "I'm so glad you're not an asshole."  Perfect date movie ;)

Reblogged from SnoopyDoo's Book Reviews

It's Nearly the Weekend! What are you up to?

I plan on seeing Gone Girl even though I know it will piss me off (read the book, hated the characters) and I hope to get a good chunk of the Krampus book finished to get me in the holiday preseason shopping spirit.

 

Have a fabulous weekend all. This week has been filled with suckage of the sort I hope we never have to encounter again. Go forth and read something fun. Or scary. Or literary. Or romantic. Just read. Blog about it. Or not. Do what makes you happy. 

 

 

The Woman Next Door by Barbara Delinsky

The Woman Next Door - Barbara Delinsky

I plucked this audio out of the bag I keep in my car. It’s been in there a while but I figured now was as good a time as any to finally give it a listen. I’ve been on a horror binge lately and needed a bit of a breather from all of the bloodshed.

 

At the midway point, I have to admit, I was hoping for some bloodshed that would put an end to one, two or perhaps all, of these insufferably miserable people. It didn’t happen but I hung in there and things did improve a little. Not a lot but enough to keep me from DNFing the thing.

 

This is the story of what happens when three well-to-do married couples spend too much time navel gazing and poking into each other’s business but mostly it’s about what happens to a marriage when three unhappy wives fear their spouse has impregnated the pretty widow across the way. They’ve shunned the woman (even before the pregnancy) and she won’t reveal who the daddy is when they finally spare her a few moments of conversation only so they can get all nosey. Hahaha, serves you right you cliquey witches!

 

I have to admit that some dark part of me thoroughly enjoyed watching these women work themselves up into a jealous tizzy when Gretchen evades their questions. And it says much about this book that the most sympathetic character, for the majority of the story, turns out to be the young, widowed trophy wife. I felt terribly sorry for her and her loneliness and grief and feelings of exclusion were written very well. About a third of the way in, one of the wives, who is having a helluva time conceiving (and we get a first row seat to every tedious detail and moment of angst), turns a corner and I ended up enjoying her story but she took a little too long to get there.


The audio was capably read by Laura Hicks. She does a good job with the narrative and the voices (even the males) with the noted exception of one of the wives named Karen. She made her sound like a nasty, bitter hag but perhaps that was intentional?

 

If you like reading about marital woes and real life troubles, you may adore this book. I think I need to go back to fantasyland because this was too “real” for my liking.

 

Important Disclaimer:

 

I figured it was time to come clean. This is the guy who ghost writes my reviews. Don't let his goofy looks deceive you, he is slightly smarter than he appears but his taste in books is questionable and he DNF's all the time because he thinks he has better things to do than read lousy books. If you don't like something he writes, I don't recommend sneaking up on him unawares to give him a talking-to because he may eat your face off. He's a little nutzo. You can, however, try bribing him with treats to put him in a better mood. It's likely he'll only eat the treats and leave you with a slobbery hand. In that case, be thankful you still have the hand and slowly back away.

 

Coming Clean

Important Disclaimer:

 

I figured it was time to come clean. This is the guy who ghost writes my reviews. Don't let his goofy looks deceive you, he is slightly smarter than he appears but his taste in books is questionable and he DNF's all the time because he's kind of full of himself and thinks he has better things to do than read lousy books. If you don't like something he writes, I don't recommend sneaking up on him unawares to give him a talking-to because he may eat your face off. He's a little nutzo. You can, however, try bribing him with treats to put him in a better mood. It's likely he'll only eat the treats and leave you with a slobbery hand. In that case, be thankful you still have the hand and slowly back away.

 

Five Book Review Rules Which Will Make Authors Want to Stalk You Less

In light of recent disturbing (#NoHale) events and yet another author blog on "Suggested Etiquette for Fair Book Reviews" (click at your own peril) I feel a reblog of the rules is in order because apparently we are all obviously still doing things very wrong! Pay attention this time dearies.

 

In all seriousness this business is making me sick to my stomach. This is suppose to be a fun hobby but most days it's not much fun at all. I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I'm kind of feeling like "why bother?" Perhaps I'll just adopt two more very big dogs.

 

1.  Buy all the books.

 

Yes ALL of them. Spend a good part of each and every day buying all the books. You don't need to worry yourself about reading them.  As long as you keep buying You Are Doing Your Part. Don't work for The Man (that was so 90's), work for The Author. Buy a few extra copies to toss around town, just for fun. You don't need to eat or clothe your kids. Am I right?  

 

2.  If the book sucks write a review but lie your freaking ass off.

 

Remember exclamation marks are your best friend!! Use them and abuse them. Be sure to wax poetic about how the prose inspired you to be a better person or some other lame BS. The casual reader won't notice your fibs, they'll be too busy hitting that "buy it now" button. Now you do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around because selling books for authors, yeah, that's what it's all about!

 

3.  Remember kiddies always, and I do mean always, keep the author in mind when composing your review.

 

I find it helpful to print out an 8x10 poster of their glamour shot to remind myself of who exactly I'm writing the review for.  I tend to be the forgetful sort and sometimes write them with my friends in mind and then I have a moment of clarity and have to write the whole thing all over again. Don't be like me, it's a pain in the bum to do all that work twice.

 

4.  Post your review right away.

 

Don't stop to smell the roses, notice the grammatical errors or godferbid waste time pondering the plot holes. Post that sucker ASAP before you have time to think about any of it. The sooner that five star review is out there, the better the odds are that the author will survive in this cruel, cruel new world. And if that's not incentive enough just remember to do it for the children. Their children. Yours are more than likely desiccated from neglect and starvation since you're so busy doing such important work for the betterment of the planet.

 

5. Use Your Real Name. Pen Names Are For Fools Who Don't Deserve Author Love (and who are too obsessed with their own personal safety)

 

I saved the most important rule for last. Feel free to ignore the rest (at your own peril, of course) but trust me, you really don't want to be a silly gangsta and should heed this one if you expect any author to trust you with their book babies. Always sign the review with your real name, home address and your social security number. This way authors can send you lovely presents and even stop by your place for some tea and crumpets! Wouldn't that be grand? Isn't that why we all do this? Never mind the children, be selfish and do it for the crumpets!

 

And PS for all of those without any sense of humor and who are here on booklikes only lurking for blog fodder THIS IS A JOKE.  This is supposed to be fun people. Stop with all the silly rules already!

Reblogged from Barks & Bites

Blue Moon by Alyson Noel

Blue Moon - Alyson Noël

Still cleaning up my database one old review at a time.

 

This is the sequel to Evermore which I loved so much I gave it one star. This sequel picks up where the last left off and tells the continuing saga of the newly immortal Ever and her immortal soul mate Damen as they struggle with teenage inanities and an evil nemesis.

I listened to this on audio and over two hours go by without anything of interest happening. There is plenty of bitchery and immaturity to go around, however, as we listen in on Ever and her small circle of self-involved friends as they natter on (and on) about inconsequential things. Eventually the book picks up when we, the reader, are invited on a shopping spree to Victoria’s Secret with Ever to watch her pick out the perfect pair of matching underthings that she’s going to wear as Damen finally deflowers her (oh but will he?!). I’m just kidding about the book picking up here but not about the VS trip unfortunately.

Most of the book is a snore fest but I had nothing better to do as I folded laundry, made dinner and then cleaned the kitty boxes. The narrator does a fine job of bringing these characters to life and I could clearly discern one from another. The problem lies in the fact that I didn’t like any of the characters and that Ever grates on my last nerve. She is shallow, insecure, annoying, unkind in her thoughts toward others (Ava especially), a wee bit pathetic and very ugly on the inside. It’s only towards the end of the story that I actually started to warm up to her and then she goes and does something so idiotic I’m back at square one again. Sigh. But it allows the big question of “Will they ever really do it?” to be strung out for several more books. If my teen daughter smuggles this series into the house to read I am going to lecture her on never, ever acting like an Ever.

 

Very Important Disclaimer:  I figured it was time to come clean. This is the guy who ghost writes my reviews. Don't let his goofy looks deceive you, he is slightly smarter than he appears but his taste in books is questionable. If you don't like something he writes, I don't recommend sneaking up on him unawares to give him a talking-to because he may eat your face off. He's a little nutzo. You can, however, try bribing him with treats to put him in a better mood. It's likely he'll only eat the treats and leave you with a slobbery hand. In that case, be thankful you still have the hand and slowly back away.

 

 

Bad Apples: Five Slices of Halloween Horror

Bad Apples: Five Slices of Halloween Horror - Edward Lorn

Looking for something to read on Halloween night? I don't think you can go wrong with this one.

 

The Riggle Twins by Gregor Xane

 

I had so many questions when I stepped into this story because the characters and the setting were so unusual. What are they? Where did they come from? What is going on?! Soon enough I just went with it and followed the odd Riggle twins as they headed out for their Halloween adventure to find two tributes before midnight. And it’s imperative they do so because “they don't want to die again . . . The first time was bad enough.”

This was a bizarre, horrifying and completely unpredictable little tale. As much as I love having my questions answered, in this case, I enjoyed the fact that we weren’t spoon fed all of the answers. It made things much more ominous and mysterious.

 

Pumpkin Head Ted by Evans Light

 

Poor Ted lives a miserable existence. He is neglected and abused at home and ruthlessly tormented by his peers. Halloween is the one night Ted can blend in and almost feel like he belongs. He dons a mask and people don’t notice his deformities and treat him like any other kid. Feeling brave, he visits the home of his biggest tormentor and starts a terrible chain of events that children will be whispering about for decades to come.

 

This is a story filled with rage, hate, pain and revenge and it was a gut-wrenching read. Don’t let hate infect your soul kiddos, that’s all I have to say.

 

Ghost Light Road by Adam Light

 

Billy was planning on spending Halloween avoiding trick or treaters, watching horror movies and drinking beer but his little sis calls and screws with his plans. Now he and her two friends are off to Ghost Light Road so they can spy a ghost, despite the rumors that people often do not return from their little visit.

 

These four dummies decide to drink some concoction of booze which may or may not be laced with some magickal mushrooms and, as young drunkards will do, proceed to make some truly dumb ass moves that have them discovering the reason why some folks never return from their trip to Ghost Light Road.

 

The twist was surprising. The story takes a bunch of horror clichés and mashes them together into something new. It was fun and a little gory and left me pretty happy with the outcome.

 

Easy Pickings by Jason Parent

 

Trevor is a big bully and Halloween us his favorite time of year, a time when he can terrorize his younger, weaker neighbors and steal their candy while cowardly hiding behind a mask. When he and his side-kick happen upon a young boy, without a parent in sight, the two make their move assuming he’ll be easy pickings. They were oh so wrong.

 

The true monster in this story gets what he deserves and I loved the gruesomeness of it.

 

The Scare Rows by Edward Lorn

 

A seasonal attraction called "The Scare Rows" has popped up in a small town, seemingly overnight, and all of the townsfolk are abuzz with excitement for the big show.

 

The big show isn’t anything at all what they could’ve concocted in even the darkest, dirtiest of minds. This one is down and dirty and darkly humorous so of course I loved it. Most of the characters are revolting which makes the outcome that much sweeter.

 

“Her lips and tongue seemed intent on polishing every individual kernel of starchy goodness.”

 

Pass me some of that popcorn!