Bark's Book Nonsense

I read the good, the awful & all of the "meh" in the middle. I'll read most any horror, romance & M/M novel that comes my way.  

The Fallen Boys by Aaron Dries

The Fallen Boys - Aaron Dries

This book lulls you in with a quiet, insidious sort of horror then takes a turn down torture lane and I was absolutely not at all prepared (despite being warned).


Honestly, as I was reading I was wondering why so many reviews were making such a big deal out of the gore level. It wasn’t any worse than most horror novels I’ve read and most of the terror came from real life fears. Sure, what happens was heartbreaking and tragic but what wimps these other people must be, thought I, all smug and desensitized. But then, just as I was feeling like nothing would ever bother me again (and wondering if the problem might be me), I was hit with some truly disturbing images and a despair that doesn’t ever let you go. Yep, it’s gross, it’s horribly disturbing and it’s all up in your face. Everything they said before me? It’s true.


I’m not going to ruin the plot mainly because I’m just too lazy. I’ll just say it’s about love, family, grief and all of the ugly emotions that’ll tear you apart. And then throw in a madman or two and some flesh eating piggies and a giant Mason jar that'll give you nightmares.


This was a rough read, I cannot lie, and it took me weeks to finish. Not because the writing was awful (it wasn’t) or because the character were jerks (the innocents were not) but because it was so incredibly bleak. I think I’m the one getting whimpy because I had to take breaks even before the atrocities and body horror smacked me in the face. There’s only so much despair one can take in a sitting . . .


This was the epitome of life: graceless torture.

Failure by John Everson (audiobook)

Failure - John Everson, Joe Hempel, Dark Arts Books

I received a copy of this audiobook from the publisher/author/narrator via Audio Book Blast in exchange for an honest review and that's what you're getting.

Failure follows three teens around as they momentously screw up their lives. It’s kind of fun to watch this disaster because, let’s be real, none of them are very nice people. The boys have no respect for girls and the girl has no respect for herself. But I’m not here to judge . . .

So, based on the promise of an epic high and some potentially epic sex, the three agree to meet and perform an occult sex ceremony for a kinky old guy who wants to watch (so he says). Even when he whips out the “pain chains” they don’t get suspicious. Nothing bad could possibly go wrong here, right?

The story is written in such a way that I thought it was a sequel. It’s told by various character points of view and it flips back between the days leading up to the ceremony to the present day situation and I was very confused in the beginning. Perhaps that’s due to my listening to the story on audio or perhaps it’s due to my limited brain power? I don’t really know, but it all began to make sense eventually. The narration is great. Joe Hempel sounds appropriately young for the characters, doesn’t give the females a creepy falsetto and he gives the old man the sinister vibe he deserved.

It was quick, brutal and gory but nothing new or groundbreaking. Just some ugly people doing ugly things and getting their comeuppance. It kind of felt like an 80’s throwback with sex crazed teens doing what they do and a plot that felt achingly familiar. Still, I kind of liked that about the book! 3 ½ stars

(show spoiler)

The Loved Dead by C.M. Eddy Jr & H.P.Lovecraft (audio production)

The Loved Dead - H. P. Lovecraft, C. M. Eddy Jr., K. Anderson Yancy,

TBR for Audio Book Blast.

This is a tale about a young boy who isn’t like the rest. He can’t seem to find joy, emotional connection, or excitement in any of the pursuits that occupy his peers. That all changes once he attends his first funeral and finds an insatiable lust for the dead.

This story isn’t called “The Loved Dead” for nothing!

I listened to this story as an audiobook production complete with spooky sound effects that added to the already creepy as hell atmosphere. The narrator spoke in a sinister tone but at times got a little whispery and was sometimes drowned out by the sound effects. He also stumbled a little here and there over the words. I caught it which is rare but good because it means the story hooked me. I’d advise listening to this version with headphones and not in your car.

I bet it’s terribly difficult suffering from necrophilia in the civilized world. You get a job in the morgue and there’s bliss, oh-sweet- bliss, but then you’re fired and must become a murderer to sate your needs. Can you imagine the bother, the additional stress, the covering up? Thus, I’ll have to give our protagonist a little pass for spewing out such overwrought lines such as “unbearable hunger of my starving soul” even though he reminded me a bit of that whiny fool from The Phantom of the Opera a time or two.

After some confusion about the co-authoring credits on the title, I did my usual 30 seconds of internet research and learned that this story was written by C.M. Eddy and revised by H.P. Lovecraft. It was written in 1919 and I imagine it was quite scandalous back then. But, now? Well I can only speak for myself, but I fear I am too jaded to get too bothered by the vaguely disturbing writings of a serial killing perv who enjoys purple prose. It had some creepy moments, to be sure, and I am certainly glad I am finished spending time in this guy’s head.

If you’re looking for something to get under your skin for 48 minutes this story might be meant for you.

*I received a free copy of this audio from the publisher/author/narrator in exchange for an honest review and that's what you're getting.

I'm stumped
I'm stumped

Does anyone know the ins and outs of Netgalley Approval Ratings? I seem to be stuck at this 57% no matter what I do. I posted two overdue reviews and it didn't budge. This leads me to believe that if the reviews are late (and the book archived) your review does not count.  I have 19 approvals and 17 reviews. The math just does not add up.


This is what Netgalley help says:

Found in your Profile, the Feedback to Approval Ratio calculates the percentage of feedback to approved titles (this includes Read Now titles, Invites, and Wishes Granted). Publishers and authors rely on your feedback, and are more likely to approve members who provide meaningful feedback and recommendations about their titles. 

Our suggestion is to keep your Feedback to Approval ratio close to 80%, meaning that for every 10 titles you are approved to read, you provide feedback for 8 titles. Feedback can be notes, a review, a link to a review online, or information about how you will promote the title.


A few seconds later: So after doing a little more difficult math and actually reading their help document (haha) I realized that your invites may be included in your approval rating. That's the only way the math works. WTH? So this means I have to read and review all invites or it's a negative against me?  This seems screwy if it's true. Am I supposed to go in and decline the invites which are no longer available to me? I'm so confused :(


PS You can see a bigger screen shot if you click on the picture.


Several hours later :  I ended up emailing Netgalley and they helped me sort it out. I had a bunch of archived titles that I couldn't find. Note to self: do not ever click on another of the READ NOW email links from Netgalley.  

Giveaway blues...

Reblogged from 99 problems, and a book ain't one:
Her Sweetest Downfall - Kellie Wallace


   So I am currently attempting to giveaway a (mobi) copy of Her Sweetest Downfall by Kellie Wallace over on my blog. I say attempting, because in the past 3 days since it started, I've had literally one person enter. All you have to do is leave a comment on the original blog post to be entered to win...

The author was generous enough to offer a copy for giveaway when she requested a review, and I really would love to have more than one person show interest. It is a historical romance, the synopsis, and my review are both included in the link to the giveaway above, so you can get all the info and see if it's something of interest to you. Please feel free to share this post, I'm really trying to do all I can to spread the word! Thanks, friends! 

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (audiobook)

Dark Places - Rebecca Lowman, Mark Deakins, Gillian Flynn, Cassandra Campbell

I am feeling so incredibly unmotivated and since there are already a zillion reviews of this book here, there and everywhere, I shall be brief. Is there really a need for a zillion plot synopsis-ez, anyway? My lazy side says no, no, there’s definitely no need today.

I didn’t like the characters but I still liked the book. I don’t know why. I just did. I didn't like it quite as much as Gone Girl but it still kept me hooked. Please don’t ask me to explain. As I mentioned, I’m too lazy for all that today.

Libby, Ben, Melissa, Deandra, Runner and whoever else I’ve already forgotten? Yeah, they’re all jerks in their own little ways and are mostly horribly unlikable people, with all sorts of human failings. Only mom was sympathetic. That poor woman had terrible taste in men and a bad luck cloud hanging over her head but she did as best as she could to provide for her kidlets.

Libby is the main character and she’s a depressed, selfish, miserable mess of a woman who can’t seem to function in society if society is not paying her way. Ugh, spare me your boo-hoo-ery and get thee a job. I have no sympathy for this type of person but you don’t care about that. Anyhow, this is the story of unlikable Libby. When Libby was seven, her mother and two sisters were murdered. And yes, that is horrible but she’s now 31 and still trying to live off sympathy. Because Libby has run out of cash, she decides to accept an offer from a group of creepers called “The Kill Club” who live and breathe for secretive true crime conventions. They pay her to start digging into the events that destroyed her childhood. This finally gives her some oomph and she uncovers all kinds of ugly tidbits and secrets. Oops, I guess I cannot get through a review without rehashing some of the plot.

It was this darkness simmering just under the surface that I loved so very much about the story. It kept me guessing and it kept me reading and I couldn’t get enough of the deep, dark, awful secrets. Perhaps I am just as bad as those “kill club” freaks.

The story jumps back and forth between the present day and the days leading up to the massacre and is written in such a way that it hooked me instead of frustrating me. I listened to this on audio which I highly recommend if audio is your thing. There were several narrators and they all did the writing justice, adding emotion and nuance to the written word.


Reblogged from E.:

No more teasers. No more waiting. No more "Coming Soon". It's live. Right now! $2.99 for a limited time!


Bad Apples 2: Six Slices of Halloween Horror




The minds behind the bestselling BAD APPLES: FIVE SLICES OF HALLOWEEN HORROR return this October with another batch of frightful fare. This time, they brought along a friend - Bram Stoker Award-winning author Kealan Patrick Burke!

Dive into the season with these six Halloween treats:

• Two boys enter a Halloween attraction that holds a devilish secret - but one of the boys has a surprise of his own in Edward Lorn's HALLOWEEKEND. 

• Halloween was his birthday, and all poor Bob Talley wanted was for his family to be together again. This year, his wish might come true amid whispers of CANDIE APPLE, from Evans Light.

• A deserter seeks to escape the horrors of war and pave a new existence in a foreign land in Jason Parent's DIA DE LOS MUERTOS. 

• Does something putrid truly reside in a small town’s pumpkin patch, or is it only a local legend? Find out in Adam Light's TOMMY ROTTEN. 

• An old man and his dog await Halloween visitors with candy and a shotgun in Kealan Patrick Burke's THE ONE NIGHT OF THE YEAR. 

• Jimmy Stones and his Uncle Shel uncover the dark secrets of Medium, Ohio's annual Halloween puppet show in Gregor Xane's DOCTOR PROCLIVITY & PROFESSOR PROPENSITY. 



It's HERE and still FREE!

FREE: Locke & Key - Tatiana Maslany, Audible Studios, Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodríguez, Kate Mulgrew, Haley Joel Osment, Full Cast

Get yours at

The Death of Me, by Trader Joe's
The Death of Me, by Trader Joe's

I really need to stay out of this store!  Hope you're all having a great weekend. It's cold and it's wet so mine will be spent reading and eating Bon-bons, lol. It's the first weekend in ages when I don't have to run somewhere or work!

About My Reviews

Testing post as I fix the mess that I have made out of my blog. Please ignore. 

 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. 

Occasionally this one steps up and writes a little something. If you feel compelled to send some shade his way don't expect an answer. He's kind of a dick, if truth be told. But a lovable dick, no?



Seriously though, I am just one lowly reader and all reviews are based purely on whim, fancy and my mood. They are 100% my honest and personal opinion. Hey, you get what pay for around here.

I get most of my books from my tbr pile, Netgalley and Horror After Dark. I comment on books for Horror After Dark , Goodreads, Amazon, Leafmarks and for fun here on Booklikes. I don't take my reviews too seriously and hope you don't either. Feel free to follow me if you enjoy talking books as much as I do. I am NOT taking book review submissions because my tbr pile is frightful. The only exception I will make are audiobooks. I can burn through audios very quickly so please feel free to PM about those but only if they're romance or horror related.

And if you've read all of that, I shall torture you now with a real picture of the actual person who writes these things. I have pets, kids and a job. I practice yoga and try to read as many books as I can, whenever I can sneak it in. My free time and my hard-earned money is precious so you will always hear the truth from me. Happy reading everyone!



A Healer's Bond by RaeLynn Blue (GR Cleanup)

A Healer's Bond - RaeLynn Blue

Gl Cleanup Originally Read in 2011


Adele is an ER nurse whose latest patient, dying from a stab wound, is so intoxicatingly beautiful, she can’t stop staring at his gorgeousness even as he’s bleeding out and his heart needs to be restarted. Despite her fleeting moment of frozen professionalism, she eventually snaps to attention and they are able to revive him. When his “leaf colored eyes” open, she attempts to explain his situation and he responds all growly-like with “stop babbling, woman” and does his best to stand and skedaddle out of there.

Prince Wyatt Wong, heir to an all-important throne in another realm, was stabbed by his uncle Horea who has grand plans to become the ruler in Wyatt’s place. Wyatt must leave the hospital asap or risk another attack but first he has to take a moment to ogle the bountiful breasts of his hovering nurse. A little later, as he’s stumbling about searching for his missing sword (oh noes!), he realizes he must find Adele, his healer, because he’s oozing burning goo from his wound. He manages to instinctively find her home and they have some hot, healing sex.

A Healer’s Bond was novella length but it was very difficult for me to finish. I started and stopped the story no less than five times because the writing just didn’t work for me. I found Adele abrasive and almost hatefully ugly when a skinny waitress comes on the scene (to take their order mind you, not to have sex with Wyatt) and I didn’t find Wyatt particularly attractive either. The opening scenes were off-putting and later, when they do have sex, everything was described in either too flowery language or in an unappealing way (pussy, phallus, etc.). Shafts and breasts were bouncing all over the place, her internal canal quaked and there was even a feminine garden wherein resided a stony button.

“Taking the southern route to her apex, he attacked her opening. His blunt weapon assaulted her until nothing else existed, just him and the tremendous pleasure unfurling.”

Ummm, ouch. I guess it's a good thing he was missing his sword for awhile there. I don’t know about you, but this does not make me want to anxiously turn the page to see what he does next. It all sounds rather painful to me but maybe I'm just a wimp.

I thought the fantasy storyline was a bit predictable but the book does work best when the action takes over at the midway point. I can’t rate this one higher than a two because I had too many problems with the borderline unlikable characters, the stilted dialogue (“I am burning for you, the magic. Please, delay no longer.”), the insta-lust and the unsexy (to me) sex.

Update: Woodland Knits by Stephanie Dosen

Woodland Knits: over 20 enchanting patterns - Stephanie Dosen

Note: I haven't actually knit anything up yet, I'm basing these comments purely on the pretty pictures.


There are some absolutely beautiful and charming projects in this book but there's some strange stuff too.  But that's always the case with books like these, isn't it? I can't wait to make the fringed duster, the legwarmers, the gypsy petticoat, seedpod purse and the wishing scarf but I might have to pass on the antler hat and the dragon watcher's hood (seriously it's just a hood, it's cute but where's the rest of it?!). Some of these projects would be gorgeous for photos and costume parties or jaunts through the woods if you're looking for fairies while picking berries but I can't see them being worn daily and I'm too lazy to put that much work into something that my kid will only wear once or twice. There are enough projects in this book that I'm dying to knit up to make the cost of the book a bargain but I'm a bit strange style wise so you need to keep that in mind. I like fringe and flowy, nature inspired styles and this book has plenty of that. Your best bet is going to (but you'll need to sign up - it's free - feel free to friend me!) and checking out all of the patterns before purchasing. You can also check out the designers website at Tiny Owl Knits.


I'll write more and post some pictures of the projects when I knit up a few and have access to a real computer. 


UPDATE Sept 2015:


I'm finally getting around to knitting something from this quirky little book. I started knitting up the "juniper wishing scarf" with some doubled up cotton yarn but have since switched to a chunky acrylic because the cotton/needle size was hurting my hands. This is how far I got before ripping it out. It's a super easy cable repeat so I can get it done while watching tv and not feel like I'm wasting so much time :)




This is what it may look like when I've finished. Would you wear it? 


That belongs to ME!


I hurt myself running yesterday and I feel like such an old lady today. The entire right side of my body from my lower back to my ankle throb. I don't know WTH I did but I can guarantee you I won't be doing it again any time soon ;)  In attempt to find my Zen today, I am resuming my yoga practice instead.


If you need to relax or would like to try out some yoga I highly recommend Fightmaster Yoga. She has such a calming voice & a TON of free videos. 


Ahh, I feel better already!


Lucifer's Daughter by Eve Langlais

Lucifer's Daughter (Princess of Hell, #1) - Eve Langlais

GR Cleanup Read in 2011

Muriel, virgin daughter of Satan, has been saving herself for love with the perfect man while making her dad the laughingstock of hell. His incessant nagging gets on her nerves but it’s not easy finding the right guy. He can’t be 100% mortal or she’d likely crush him in the heat of the heat of the moment, he has to be super-hot and honestly not any old guy will accept Satan as a future father-in-law. She resigns herself to a future of longing and nagging . . .

Muriel no longer lives in hell under Satan’s thumb but in a realm populated by humans and supernaturals that is very much like the mortal realm only with things like the “Damned” network and Survivor: Burn In Hell. Sounds like a fun place to me! She owns a bar that is popular with the supernatural beasties because she is a “null” which makes the 100’ surrounding her a magic-free zone. One night, soon after another nagging visit from Satan, a hunk named Auric and his two gorgeous pals show up. She assumes Satan is testing her. But instead of wooing her, Auric is almost gruff as he demands to meet the owner of the bar. She refuses to answer him honestly, hell she’s been dodging assassins most of her life, but something about him fuels her lust as no other man has done. He’s hiding things as well but their connection is something neither can resist for long and once he kisses her he may just lose her virginity after all.

Though this story doesn’t hold any major surprises, especially when Auric’s secret is revealed, it was cute and pure sexy fun and so very easy to read. Muriel is funny and sarcastic and even though a virgin by choice, is not a prude. She can take care of herself but Auric, big He-man protector hasn’t a clue and assumes she’s a helpless little female. When he attempts to “save” her from a hellhound, not knowing she’s a daughter of Satan this fun exchange happens:

My heart fluttered. He’d called me pretty. He’d wanted to protect me. How cute–but so unnecessary.

“I appreciate the thought behind it, but really, I can take care of myself.”

“Even against hellhounds?” he said skeptically.

“Piece of cake,” I boasted. That wasn’t, technically, giving anything away. Lots of special folk could take care of hellhounds.

“Just who and what are you?” asked Auric.

His questions were getting repetitive. I rolled my eyes. “I told you, my name is Muriel.”

Auric crossed his arms over his chest–did I mention he had a really broad chest?–and gave me a stern look. Oh, please, once Satan gave you ‘the look,’ all other looks paled in comparison. I just glared right back at him ‘til he sighed with exasperation–another sound I was familiar with.

This story wraps everything up in a satisfying way but it could have been another 300 pages and I bet I would’ve enjoyed reading more because I loved the writing style so much. There aren’t a lot of writers I’ve found who can balance such strong sexual tension with a fun paranormal plot without their characters coming across as obnoxious or silly. This author succeeds for me and if these snippets make you grin you may want to check it out too.

Satan is hilarious as a frustrated daddy.

"I don’t know why, but I’m attached to you, too,” Satan said grumpily, hugging me back. I cherished moments like that; they tended to be few and far between. “Try to be bad,” he said, before popping out of sight.”

And Muriel’s sense of humor just completely won me over

“Rolling my eyes, I again had to question why men had to be so stubborn. “Seriously, Auric, you do not want to mess with this thing.”

“I’ve dealt with demons before,” he said, pulling out a sword from behind his kitchen counter. I had to admit being impressed–his sword was long, shiny, and hard. Wait, that didn’t sound right. Needless to say, he had a big one; and judging by the way he moved it, he also knew how to use it. Damn, I was even hornier than before. But right after I finished admiring his sword, I clued in to what he’d said.

“What do you mean, you’ve dealt with demons before?”

Widdershins: Whyborne & Griffin (book1) by Jordan L. Hawk (audio version)

Widdershins: Whyborne & Griffin, Book 1 - Julian G. Simmons, Jordan L. Hawk

Percival Whyborne is a shy, socially awkward kind of guy, comfortable hiding away with moldy old tomes. The thought of taking a lunch outside his office and having to actually converse with someone is out of his comfort zone. He can speak 13 languages and can read even more but he doesn’t think that any big thing.

He’s sweet and modest and hiding himself from the world for more reasons than shyness.

When Griffin Flaherty, a handsome PI walks into his life and ask Whyborne to decipher a mysterious journal his world is about to get a whole heck of a lot more exciting. As you may have guessed, this is no ordinary old book.

Some very sinister things happen and Whyborne finds himself playing a huge role in all of it. He’s also forced to put some demons in his past to rest which resulted in some pretty great character building. Along the way, he and Griffin become friends and in between mystery solving and monster slaying there’s plenty of time for innocent kisses and a whole lot more.

Widdershins is a strange mix of monsters, mystery, and action along with a well-developed sweet and very sexy romance. I was worried it would fall down and fail me but somehow it all works. There is great care taken here to develop all aspects of the story. It has spooky atmosphere and lovable characters. There was only one point where I had my doubts, when Whyborne discovers something in Griffin’s room, but I got over it and cannot wait to read more.

I listened to this book as an unabridged audiobook provided to me in exchange for a review. I listen to a ton of audio and I am pretty picky about narration. This narrator did a decent job with Whyborne but unfortunately a not-so-great job with Griffin’s character. They have very different personalities but sound exactly alike which left me feeling a little confused here and there (though I admit that is not too difficult a feat). I would’ve liked more of a distinction between the two and would give the narration a 3 while the story gets a 4 1/2. Even with that said, I've just restarted the audio because I can't face deleting it without listening one more time.

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