Bark's Book Reviews

Stay chill, it's only a silly book review.

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

There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

There's Someone Inside Your House - Stephanie Perkins, Bahni Turpin

This was a fun read until the killer was revealed with four hours left to go on the audio. This is way too early! Way, way too early. I was left highly disappointed with the dud of a reveal and disinterested in all the romance and minor bloodshed that followed because of it. But I’m kind of a jerk when it comes to these things and you may love it.


Someone is killing the talented high school kids in terribly gruesome ways but, no worries, most of the gore is left to the imagination. This is basically a 90’s teen slasher movie come to book life minus the scares and most of the grue. Who will be next? Why are they doing this? And, oh hell, who cares?! When will he give me a big sloppy kiss and bite his lip ring again?!


This is a romance set in a world where a serial killer just so happens to be murdering random people that have no impact on our main characters and zero emotional impact on the reader. The romance was well done and I liked the two teens together, they were interesting, imperfect kids, but I feel like too much went so very wrong with the “murdering” bits of the story. Also, many gut-wrenching opportunities were missed by keeping our main lovers too safe and that made reading it to the end a chore. I suppose I’m used to meaner stories that kick you in the gut. This one? I guess I’d recommend it as a good stepping stone for those who may want to meander over into the horror genre with their pinky toe and not get too scared or emotionally wrecked. I enjoy the wreckage and carnage and scares that a good horror story can deliver but none of those things were successful here. I’m bumping it up from a 2 ½ to a three only because there was one scene with a naked character that is still making me laugh when I think about it.

Bad Reputation by Nicole Edwards

Bad Reputation: A Bad Boys of Sports Novel - Nicole Edwards

I requested this book from Netgalley but I have no idea why. I am not interested in sports. I’m guessing it was the cover.

I managed to get through this one despite myself. It was touch and go there for a bit, I’m not even going to attempt to pretend otherwise. Only my laziness to figure out what I wanted to read next kept me going. One of these days I will learn how to DNF correctly.

Chase is a rich and famous hockey star and has a reputation as being “the bad boy of hockey” because he’s a trouble maker on the ice and he likes to sleep with women. Ummm, ok. He’s young, he’s loaded and he’s beautiful. I’d say that’s pretty normal not “bad” but what do I know? He is secretly in love with his best friend Cassie but he knows he can never share his feelings because it will destroy their close friendship. Thus, all the sleeping around with the hockey “bunnies”. 

After Chase scares off Cassie’s latest date (in a real jerky alpha move) she laughs it off and calls him an asshole but she is relieved. She is focused on her career and moving on up and isn’t seriously pursuing a relationship. She’d much rather hang out with Chase and his friends than some random boring guy anyway. And when your best friend is a hockey god normal guys don’t stand a chance.

My description is making this sound dreadful, I know that and it’s not. At least not yet!

Cassie is chosen to make a key note speech and present a huge rollout for her company. This is a BIG deal for Cassie. It takes weeks of preparation and will help her reach her goals. The trip is in Vegas. She decides to take Chase with her and it’s here that the story goes all to hell for me. I won’t spoil it for everyone dying to read it but I will say that some colossally idiotic behavior goes down and Cassie ends up looking like a complete idiot when it was all said and done.

You might be able to get past that and forget about it. Not I. She is only 28 at the time, you might say, but at 28 I already had two kids, a mortgage, and a full time job and was well on the way to becoming the grumpy reader I am today. 28 is old enough to know better than to act like a coed on spring break. Cassie, up until Vegas, was painted as a responsible, intelligent woman so none of this made sense. This Vegas nonsense tainted the rest of the story for me because after Vegas happened I didn’t give any craps about her and her relationship with Chase.

That’s better. So, as I mentioned, I did carry on after taking a little break and a few deep cleansing breaths. What followed wasn’t really worth the effort. Their sexy times were hot, I’ll give them that, but that’s not enough to carry me through a book like this when their thoughts and self-talk are repetitive and tedious. Chase describes Cassie as “hilarious” but I never saw it which is a crying shame. Telling me someone is hilarious does me no good at all when they come across as average to boring on the page. They say love is blind though and I do believe it is true. Ah well, perhaps I’m just too grouchy for this kind of book. 

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

The Rules of Magic - Alice Hoffman, Marin Ireland

I read Practical Magic a million years ago (1996 maybe) and remember almost nothing about it besides the fact that I pretty much loved and adored everything about it. I didn’t obsessively write reviews for everything I read back then so I may need to reread it someday to see if this still holds true. This is the prequel. You do not have to have read Practical Magic in order to love and adore The Rules of Magic. I listened on audio and did not take notes and simply enjoyed every word. 

Susanna moved out of Massachusetts as soon as she was able. She landed in NY and was diligent about making sure her kids had a normal life and stayed away from certain things like Oujia boards, cats, moonlit nights, red shoes and true love. Especially true love. Finding or seeking love would doom them, she promised. Of course the kids do the exact opposite. When Susanna’s oldest daughter receives a formal invitation to spend the summer at her childhood home with her two younger siblings she tells them they can go but strongly advises against it. She claims, very ominously, that they will never be the same if they leave and visit their aunt and learn all the family secrets she’s been keeping from them! 

Susanna handled this all wrong, if you ask me. Were I her, I would’ve told the kids that auntie was a mean old hag who would lock them in the basement for the summer and feed them rats. Of course they go. I mean, wouldn’t you? Franny, Jet and Vincent spend the summer released from all of the rules and restrictions their parents usually inflict upon them. They can eat whatever they want, go to bed whenever they want and as long as “they do no harm” they are free to be themselves. They revel in it and start snooping into their heritage and learning all about their inherited magical abilities. And, just as their Mamma forecasted, none of them will ever be the same.

See, they’ve inherited more than magic. A terrible curse will plague them throughout their lives. The curse of true love. Mamma wasn't lying.

This is such a beautiful and heartbreaking book about the three siblings as they grow from teens to adults and do their best to avoid love and the grief that accompanies love. In the process, they fill their lives with sorrow.

“I’m fated to lose everyone I ever love”

“Of course you are. That’s what it means to be alive.”

Reading this is like free falling into another world. It’s a truly magical experience and I highly recommend it. I hated leaving the characters when it was all over and that so rarely happens that I’m giving it all the stars. 

The audio narrated by Marin Ireland is the way to go if you enjoy audio. She’s excellent and a pleasure to listen to.


Reading progress update: I've read 50% ish

Bad Reputation: A Bad Boys of Sports Novel - Nicole Edwards

This heroine just did something so incredibly stupid and out of character that I don't give a damn what happens to her and her lover boy now. Such a dum-dum I cannot stand it.

The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham

The Secrets She Keeps - Michael Robotham
I thought this book was going to be another five star read but alas it failed me near the end but I can’t tell you why because that would spoil everything and I’m not that much of a jerk. I’ll only say that I was wishing for a meaner end to it all and I’ll leave it at that. Maybe I’m just in a bad mood because I listened to this through a haze of back pain and a bout of the plague. Or maybe it’s because I read it directly after the fabulously evil “Behind Her Eyes” by Sarah Pinborough. Either way it’s getting four stars from me because of the end and how bloodless it felt to me.

Agatha is pregnant. Her baby’s daddy is “over-seas” and is not returning her calls but she doesn’t let that worry her. “He was like an everlasting packet of chocolate biscuits” and she knew he’d be back so she could have another taste. She works at a supermarket and spends all of her free time spying on another pregnant woman named Meg. Agatha believes Meg has the perfect life and she tries to emulate her by getting the same haircut while daydreaming about them being besties. And then one day it happens! Meg’s life isn’t quite so perfect and she’s made some mistakes but the biggest one is letting Agatha into her life. . .

This is a book about secrets just as the title promises. Even though I’ve seen it compared to those “twisty” books, there is really no big surprising twist in this one. There isn’t even a little twist, just a much anticipated reveal and that’s fine by me. You know what’s going on as you are right there in the characters heads the entire time and it’s pretty easy to see what the “reveal” is because although these people lie to everyone else they don’t lie to themselves, at least not for very long. Some of them do horrifying and shocking things but the author managed to make me feel sympathetic towards them despite everything. That rarely happens. These people felt real. Messed up and desperate? Sure but always real. Their secrets were all eventually laid bare to the reader as the story comes to its tense and action packed conclusion. I think most people will probably enjoy the end so don’t pay any attention to me. Also, if you have a little voice in your head that you call ‘creature’ you probably shouldn’t listen to it.

The narrator is pretty awesome with the dual narration so go with audio if you like them. 


Friday is FINALLY here!


It's been awhile since I've posted a Patrick pic so here you are :) He is as weird and naughty as ever. Have a great weekend everyone. I plan to take it easy and maybe read a book or two. The past two weeks have a been a little rough and I need to give my body a break. 


The Nightmare Room by Chris Sorensen

The Nightmare Room - Chris Sorensen
The Nightmare Room lives up to its title. It is a slowly building creepfest fueled by nightmares for the first half then picks up speed in its later half.

Peter and Hannah need a new start after a devastating loss and move back to Peter’s hometown to help with his ailing parents and to heal themselves. They move into a property that Peter’s dad purchased that is huge, old and in disrepair. Hannah loves the idea of the old home but Peter’s not so sure. 

"Hannah had gotten it wrong. This was not the sort of house featured on her home improvement show; this was every house in every horror movie he’d ever seen."

Despite his misgivings, Peter, who is an audiobook narrator, sets up his studio in the dark, dank basement and soon realizes that he may not be alone down there! Is it real or is he starting to lose his marbles?

I just loved some of the descriptions of the house. It makes me long for an old haunted house of my own.

". . . he was facing a narrow, grey door. A basement door. His vision had steadied and the room no longer moved about him. But the door… It’s breathing."

This is a decent little horror tale that has a lot of layers that reach far beyond the haunted house trappings. It deals with aging, grief and past regrets that come back to haunt. The main characters come across as real and imperfect and as a reader who needs decent characterization I really appreciated this. I did want to learn more about Peter’s birth mother because I’m nosy and have so many questions but perhaps that will happen in a prequel or sequel? I can only hope.


Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Behind Her Eyes - Sarah Pinborough, Bea Holland, Josie Dunn, Huw Parmenter, Anna Bentinck
If you want to read Behind Her Eyes I recommend you avoid reading the reviews. This is one of those books that can be easily ruined for you if someone gives too much away and several reviewers have already done so. I had one of the reveals ruined for me this way and I’m still pissed at myself for being nosy and checking out that review. I don’t know why people feel the need to do that without marking things as a spoiler because it’s not that hard! 

There will be no spoilers here and I will be annoyingly vague as hell. 

Trust me, it’s for your own good. 

This story revolves around three people. Louise is a single mom struggling with insecurities since her ex announced he’s having a baby with his newest lover. She works as a secretary at a doctor’s office. One night she meets a charming man named David at a bar. They share a drunken kiss but Louise is scared off when she realizes he’s married. Who needs that mess, right? Well, what seems like the very next day, she arrives at work to discover David is the newest doctor in the practice and she is now his secretary. She is embarrassed and a little tingly. He is so very handsome, after all. Surely he wouldn’t want her anyway, she thinks, after seeing his perfect wife. Speaking of his wife, her name is Adele and one morning Louise accidentally bumps into her so hard, the fragile beauty falls to the ground. Adele is kind and friendly and in desperate need of a friend and Louise is drawn to her and enjoys her company. But Adele’s friendship comes with a condition. Louise must never tell David about their friendship. 

Why you ask? Well I am not going to tell you. This is only the very beginning of one of the most messed up love triangles I’ve ever encountered. It is glorious and it must not be spoiled.

I’m going to warn you that these people are not very likable. They’re pretty horrible actually and I loved every minute of their two-timing, backstabbing, secretive, lying, selfish selves. They are all up to no good, almost all the time and it never got tiresome. I was riveted, fascinated and whatever other adjective you can think of that means this book was one I did not want to ever stop reading. That rarely happens and when it does I’m giving that book five stars.

This is not your typical “girl on all the books” thriller and for that I am very thankful. I like some of those books but the world has its fill of them right now. This one is different. You’ll either love it for that reason or despise it. I believe Pinborough was a horror writer for the majority of her writing career (yep, confirmed it as I have several Leisure titles in my tbr bins) and it works to her advantage in this book. She knows how to craft a creepy story that is deliciously evil and unflinchingly dark through and through. If you enjoy reading about devious, screwed up people I think you will enjoy this. Many hate it for its ending but for me that ending tied it all in perfectly. 



The Dispatcher by John Scalzi

The Dispatcher - John Scalzi, Zachary Quinto

This story takes place in a world where insurance companies employ dispatchers to help prevent the costly premature death that failed surgery often presents. They’re present during surgery and if the patient is on the edge of death they are there to zap them with a lethal dosage of premature death. They the person usually awakens naked and good as new in their home rather than dead and buried and saddling their families with grief and lots of expenses.

See in this world if you die naturally you’re gone for good but if it’s accidental or due to murder you typically come back. Why? Who knows. No one knows! You just have to go with it. You’ll drive yourself crazy waiting for answers if you’re a questioning type like me.

Of course with this type of scenario certain reckless morons do stupid reckless things like cutting off each other’s arms for fun or joining a fight to the almost death club. Thus the shadier dispatchers step up to earn a little side cash to fix the mess and keep it quiet. Who can blame a guy for wanting to make a few extra bucks? But this type of work comes back to haunt our main character when a former colleague goes missing.

A mystery ensues and this is where my tired brain started to shut off and daydream about chocolate cupcakes and my next book. Needless to say, it wasn’t able to fully engage me after the enthralling beginning but that may be my fault. I went into this one blind and vaguely remembering that I read somewhere online that Scalzi was a funny writer. Or maybe I've mixed him up with someone else? I didn’t find this one funny but it may be an anomaly or I may have no sense of humor. Either way, it just okay in the end. 

If you have the chance and inclination, check out the audio version narrated by Zachary Quinto. He does a fine, fine job with the material.

Lost & Found by Jacqueline Sheehan

Lost & Found - Jacqueline Sheehan

This book was dripping in sadness and grief. It didn’t make me weepy or a sobbing mess but I did read it with a constant pain in my chest almost the entire time. First it was for Rocky and then it was for Lloyd and later it was for the both of them! I wasn’t quite expecting to have this reaction but dog books can do that to me.

Things start out on a sad note when the author throws you headfirst into the life and grief of Rocky who has recently lost her husband to a heart attack far too early. It’s sad and her recollections of her beloved Bob are often quite funny which makes the grief hit you all that much harder. Unable to stick around in the house where she and Bob shared a life, she decides to leave her career and her life completely behind and hops a ferry in Portland, Maine and heads to Peaks Island to mourn. She reinvents herself on the island and impulsively becomes the new Animal Control Warden. 

I’ve been to Peaks and it is a little slice of yesterday and I enjoyed reading about life on the island and the descriptions almost make you feel like you are there. The rest of the book follows Rocky through her grieving process as she meets new people and becomes invested in the life of an injured stray dog with sad eyes she names Lloyd. You can guess what happens between Rocky and Lloyd, right? But all doesn’t go smoothly nor does it go sweetly. Lloyd has a history that Rocky is soon sorry she’s delved into. There’s a little mystery and a lot of quirky character building. It’s a little slow here and there and took me longer to finish than it should have but I’m not sorry I read it. If you’re a dog lover you might want to put this on your list.

“He is dog. His life is ocean, stick, ball, sand, grass, ride in the truck, sleep by the bed, look deep into the eyes of humans, lure them outdoors, greet them with a burst of joy when they come home, love them. Fill this brief life with more. “

Unsub by Meg Gardiner

UNSUB: A Novel - Meg Gardiner, Hillary Huber

This is one of those books with a trillion reviews so I am going to use this to my advantage and let my laziness take over and be super brief.


Unsub was pretty good but I didn’t fall in love with it like many a reader before me has. To get truly wowed over I suggest you read The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker after this one (not before, definitely not before). The Fourth Monkey features the POV of the serial killer and it is truly chilling. It’s also very dark and demented.  I loved that book but this “review” is about Unsub so enough about that.


I liked Unsub well enough, thus the 3 ½ stars but, I don’t know, it seemed a little too clean for my taste. Almost like one of those semi-gritty serial killer shows on network tv. Maybe I read too much horror and perhaps that’s the reason but the kills didn’t hit hard enough and so much of it felt a little too familiar to me. I wanted something from the killer’s perspective but I never got it.


I wasn’t particularly emotionally invested in the characters either which is a bit of a shame. I liked them well enough but something was missing to make me FEEL and I just can’t explain it. I liked Caitlin, her boyfriend and her broken father but I didn’t feel any emotional pull towards them. With that said, there were several imaginative and creepy scenes that were set by the killer (bee! crows!) but it wasn’t enough for me. I wanted more of that.  It also ends with a cliffhanger that wasn’t very shocking to me but it didn’t piss me off so there is that because I typically despise cliffhangers. If you enjoy audio I would most definitely go with that option because the audio narrated by Hillary Huber works well with the action packed plot. Had I read this in paper I might’ve put it down and left it there for several months.

Class Mom by Laurie Gelman

Class Mom: A Novel - Laurie Gelman

“Just because they think you’re crazy it doesn’t mean you’re nuts. Put that on my gravestone.”


Lots of books claim to be funny and they are not. This book is funny. It is so funny. I was never bored and only vaguely annoyed at a few things but it mostly made me happy to be listening to it. This won’t be much of a review because I just enjoyed it. I didn’t take any notes and there isn’t much here to dissect.


In all honesty, this book could’ve gone either way for me. What most people find “hilarious” or “rip-roaring” (what’s that mean, anyway?), I find annoying or boring. My humor, I guess, runs more to the snarky and the sarcastic but it has to be done just right. There really isn’t any pleasing me which is why I usually read horror. It rarely tries to make me laugh (with the exception of Jeff Strand who is full of excellent snark).  This book is also loaded with excellent snark. You might hate it. Don’t blame me. My tastes are weird. I’ll own that.


My kids are no longer in grade school but when they were the whole PTA/class mom thing was something I avoided at all costs. Nothing against those who volunteer their time but it wasn’t for me.  I wasn’t up for volunteering unless I was forced to and I also wasn’t up to dealing with the cliques and back-biting that comes with that sort of thing. Don’t even ask me about being a dance mom . . .  Ugh, so glad those days are behind me. Anyway, so why did I pick up a book called “Class Mom” which is so obviously about all of those things?


I haven’t a clue but I’m glad I did.


Jen is an ex-groupie who gave birth to two daughters who are now in college. She’s unsure who their dad(s) are but she doesn’t really care. Might be that lead singer from INXS. Might not be. It matters not now that she’s settled down and married to a lovely man who loves her snark and all. They had a boy named Max and he’s now in kindergarten and even though she’s the “most marinated” of the group of young parents, she volunteers to do the whole class mom routine all over again. She starts off the year by sending off a hilariously snarky and inappropriate email to the parents telling them what she expects of them throughout the year. She pisses off several of them but who cares? She’s been through this before and she doesn’t seem to care too much about making friends with all of them.


I love her attitude even if she sometimes goes too far for a laugh. The book continues in this vein, insulting the parents and learning their weaknesses and it was amusing. I’ll admit that this humor isn’t for everyone. You kind of have to take a Joe Lansdale approach to the humor and know that everyone and everything is a target and there are moments that aren’t at all politically correct.  She is offensive and clueless about it and she does put off people because of it. Be warned.


The one thing that I did not enjoy was a plot bit that goes on for eons where she starts texting one of the dads who is also an old high school crush she dubs “Such A Fox”. She was a foolish woman, no doubt,  but this made her come across as pretty dumb, if you ask me.


There isn’t really a plot here. She makes friends, she makes enemies, she pisses many people off, has that stupid flirt-mance and tries to figure out why Max’s sexy young teacher keeps disappearing. It’s light and fluffy and worth a listen if you can shrug off the insulting humor moments.


I listened to audio which was narrated by the author who stumbles a bit here and there but mostly does a fantastic job.

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

The Miniaturist - Jessie Burton, Davina Porter

Historical fiction isn’t my typical genre but we chose this one for our local book group because it sounded mysterious. And boy was it ever mysterious! It wasn’t perfect but it was full of darkness and secrets that come back to haunt and those are always my favorite things to read.

Set in Amsterdam way back in 1686, 18 year old Nella arrives at her brand new husband’s estate and receives a cold welcome from his sister Marin and their maid Cornelia. Otto, the manservant, is the only one who doesn’t seem pissed off that she’s moving in. She is set up in a lavish room and left to wait for Johannes, the husband she knows not at all. When he arrives he doesn’t give her the time of day either. What is up?

“Her husband who speaks in all tongues save that of love.”

When I first began this book the setup felt a little Rebecca-ish with the gorgeous mansion, broody husband and creepy staff but as things went along it wasn’t a Rebecca clone at all but something else entirely. Nella soon realizes that she isn’t going to have the typical marriage she’d been dreaming of. She keeps waiting for Johannes to show up with his “rising rod of pain” as her mother enticingly described it, haha, and ask her to perform her wifely duties but it doesn’t happen. She’s both relieved and disappointed. Instead she settles for his companionship when she can get it and busies herself with settling into her new life. To keep his wife occupied, Johannes gifts Nella with a cabinet filled with a miniature version of their home and goes about his merry way, doing whatever it is he does. She orders some pieces for the tiny home from the local “miniaturist” and when they’re delivered the package contains extra pieces that alarm Nella. They are pieces that only someone intimately familiar with the home would be able to create. Nella writes a scathing letter of complaint to the miniaturist and more pieces show up. Who is this person and why are they doing this?

This plot bit was the least satisfying part of the book for me. Nella sets out to investigate and surprisingly this question is never fully answered to my nosy satisfaction which was weird seeing as it was the name of the book. It kind of fizzled and died a slow death but I guess it made for a beautiful cover? Fortunately the story had enough intrigue and other goings-on that it really wasn’t a big deal to me in the end. 

These people have many secrets and they all come back to haunt Nella’s new family. She must find strength against the most unexpected twists of fate and the utter disappointment of her new life. I’m being purposely vague because I know people hate the spoilers. I hate the spoilers. I’ll just say that Nella has to grow up quick and deal with some serious shit. She does so with grace and some humorous thoughts. At least I found many of them humorous. On prickly Marin and her lack of a husband she thinks, “Perhaps there was no man stout enough to take the vicious battering.” That just made me laugh because it was so accurate in the moment. But don’t let this fool you into thinking this is a light and airy book. It is dark, it is pretty bleak and there are several scenes that may haunt me for months.

“We can do nothing we women. All we can do if we’re lucky is stitch up the mistakes other people make.”

The characters are richly detailed and nuanced. Even the people that I disliked early on became fleshed out and believably flawed characters. They make plenty of mistakes and pay dearly for them. So although this is not my usual genre of choice, it turned out to be an engrossing and richly detailed story of secrets and little mysteries that took many unexpected turns I didn’t anticipate. The women also totally steal the show and I recommend it if you like secrets and drama and can stomach some brief moments of terrible violence. 

Virtually Perfect by Paige Roberts

Virtually Perfect - Paige Roberts, Marguerite Gavin

I add the randomist of books to my Overdrive queue. This is another that I added for whatever reason and by the time it came around to me I had no idea why I requested it. Sometimes it works out, other times notsomuch. This was one of the notsomuch times.


Lizzie was once a Food Network star but was fired for some reason I don’t think they ever revealed. I think I would've caught that because I was hoping it was embarrassing but I could’ve missed it because I might’ve dozed off a time or two. She’s since been making a living taking whatever job comes her way, mostly cooking for rich people. When she’s offered a full time gig cooking for a wealthy family at their luxurious summer home at the beach she takes it.


What follows is a modern day chick lit story of a woman who puts up with all sorts of crap to keep her job which is something most of us can probably relate to. We do need to eat and sometimes it pays to keep your big mouth shut. But this changes a little later in the story when she begins to make a few unprofessional moves and remarks that weren’t at all thought through. I mean I get it, a girl can only take so much, but it’s never a good idea to talk crap about the family who pays you to another family member that you barely know just because you think he’s the black sheep of the family. Even I know that! During the daily dramas that enfold she’s also attempting to patch things up with a friend she left behind for fame (snooze) and learns her mother has been hiding a big secret which she might’ve discovered sooner if she’d tried harder to get in touch with her mom.


This book gets mostly good reviews so perhaps it just wasn’t a story meant for me. I thought it might be light and entertaining and though it is very descriptive with the food and I enjoyed that bit, it started to aggravate me midway and never recovered. The plot was nothing special, nothing new, nothing that wasn’t predictable and basically bored me. None of the characters were all that likable, even Lizzy. The wealthy socialite who NEVER shuts up and all but one of her family members and friends were horrible people who the reader gets to spend way too much with. Imagine being stuck in a room with no hope of escape with loud, drunk, shallow, wealthy people who think of no one but themselves and their pleasure. I’d rather have toothpicks jammed under my nails than suffer through that. And their presence makes up much of this story. That’s not my idea of a good time but who knows maybe it’s yours?


On the positive side, the narrator has one of those musical and lively voices that’ll keep you going even when you know you should probably quit. Yep, it’s her fault not mine that I did not DNF.


This one gets a two because if I’m being honest I just did not like it very much.

Splatterpunk Fighting Back Anthology

Splatterpunk Fighting Back - Jack Bantry, Tim Curran, Glenn Rolfe, Bracken MacLeod, Kristopher Rufty, Adam Millard, John Boden, Matt Shaw, W.D. Gagliani, Elizabeth Power
Splatterpunk Fighting Back is a charity anthology with proceeds going towards cancer. I have a love/hate relationship with anthologies/collections/whatever you want to call them. I love reading them because even if a story isn’t working for me it’s usually over quickly but I dread reviewing them. They are so much work but here goes. I’m not going to rate them because that’s kind of pointless.

I’m going to attempt to write a mini review of each story but if I start to fatigue near the end or miss one it’s nothing personal against any particular story. 

They Swim by Night by Adam Millard

A man thinks he's getting lucky when an ethereally beautiful singer makes the moves on him. But he is terribly mistaken. This was a perfectly gory start to the collection. Why lead a reader in gently when you can grab them by the hair and drag them in kicking and screaming?

Melvin by Matt Shaw

Claudia insults Melvin at a dive bar. Big mistake. Melvin is a sick bastard and seeks revenge with a detachable dick. This story was gleefully nasty and I love, love, loved it.

Side note after the first two stories: 

There is so much sex related horror in here so far. It almost feels like as if I were reading a new installment of the Hot Blood series and that’s a very good thing. I loved those books so hard back in the olden days when we didn’t have digital books and could frighten people away with a creepy cover! Just be warned if this isn't your thing.

Extinction Therapy by Bracken MacLeod

A rich man visits some expensive woo woo doctor to reach his full potential. His lust for bloodshed is awakened and he glories in it. This story is primal, brutal and ugly. There's no sex in this one which surprised me in a good way. The story did make me very sad for the state of man and that’s all I’m saying.

The Passion of the Robertsons by Duncan Ralston

Whatever you do, don't go and get yourself on the bible thumping Robertson’s naughty list. Unfortunately for the town drunk, he manages to do just that. Now that he’s on their radar, they intend to force him to accept God’s word and their methods are not gentle. I liked this one, especially the ending.

Hellscape by Rich Hawkins

The world is now a hellish landscape and a woman goes on a desperate searching to find her son, slaying monsters along the way. I can’t find my notes on this one so it was either a forgettable tale or I was too tired when I read it. I DO remember thinking it felt like an introduction to a bigger story.

Molly by Glenn Rolfe

Caleb is a front desk clerk at a hotel and has to deal with all kinds of crap. One night he spies a strange silhouette in the window that shouldn’t be there when leaving work. Turns out one of the hotel’s bitchiest guests has a traveling buddy staying with her that she keeps hidden. Bloodshed ensues. Molly was a bloody creepfest that was a lot of fun to read.

Only Angels Know by George Daniel Lee

An artist puts out a call for subjects willing to give themselves to art. All of themselves. This is a story of extreme body modification but somehow the difficult to decipher writing, never outright graphic, wasn’t able to draw me in. I much prefer Kathe Koja’s novel “Skin” which tackles this same subject matter in a devastatingly gorgeous and unforgettable way. This was my least liked story in the collection.

Limb Memory by Tim Curran

After losing his left arm in an accident, a man whines and complains about his new lot in life. Poor me, boo-hoo-hoo. But just when I was getting annoyed with the man-whining, the phantom arm comes back to life to haunt him. This was gross and fun and enjoyable even with such a whiny ass main character. It brought back images from my scarred childhood of Michael Caine and “The Hand”. I’m still afraid to stick my arms out of a moving car’s open window after that one . . .

Feast of Consequences by WD Gagliani & Dave Benton

This was a fun throwback to cannibalistic slashers and half naked heroines as a young woman attempts to outwit a bunch of hungry, human monsters. I adored the modern day twist and the ending.
The Going Rate –John Boden

The tax man is coming and he's hungry. This was sinister and dark and creepy as hell. I loved it

Darla’s Problem –Kristopher Rufty

A young girl asks a policeman for assistance. He has no idea what terror awaits. This was another super creepy tale. Gory and not at all sweet. Great stuff!

Okay that’s all of them, I hope! If any of these stories sound remotely interesting to you then go buy yourself a copy!


Orzo Feta Shrimp

The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook: 500 Vibrant, Kitchen-Tested Recipes for Living and Eating Well Every Day - The Editors at America's Test Kitchen, The Editors at America's Test Kitchen

I bought this book to get healthy. My cookbook collection consists of doggie treats and vegan cupcakes. I've tried "healthy" recipes on the Beachbody website and they have all been tasteless failures. I wonder if the people who give those five star reviews are the ones who wrote the recipe or someone with no taste buds. . . Anyway, I am so done with Beachbody "recipes". The only one I can recommend is the buffalo cauliflower bites because I drown them in hot sauce and yogurt/blue cheese. 

My doctor recommended this one to us because I am genetically blessed with high cholesterol and no matter how hard I exercise and how much oatmeal I eat, my numbers no longer want to budge. I'm going to give it a go even though I'm a little scared. The reviews say the recipes take forever and I'm lazy. I'll be updating this post as I cook things. My apologies if you see this more than once.

January 30, 2018

Orzo Feta Shrimp: It only took me about 40 minutes or so to get it all together and it was delicious. I did prep the fresh veg and the olives on Sunday to make things go faster on a work night. I'd recommend doing that always. I also found frozen shrimp at Trader Joe's that was already shelled with tails removed. I HATE doing that. It says 4 servings and that the "Mediterranean" plate is much smaller but it made at least 6 servings and I was feeding two grown men who were hungry. Served this with some oven roasted broccoli and peppers. They ate it up with no bitching so 5 Stars.


PS This lifestyle let's you have red wine and dark chocolate. Honestly, that's the only reason I'm trying it!

Currently reading

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt, Jennifer Woodward, Erin Hunter, Garrick Hagon
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook: 500 Vibrant, Kitchen-Tested Recipes for Living and Eating Well Every Day by The Editors at America's Test Kitchen, The Editors at America's Test Kitchen
Progress: 20/440pages
Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of '70s and '80s Horror Fiction by Grady Hendrix