Bark's Book Nonsense

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.

FREEBE ALERT: The Green Tea Heist by Donald Armfield

From the man who brought us Hung Hounds comes a short story that promises to be twisted, gross and violent. How can you resist? This one's free for the Kindle Amazon US.

 

The Green Tea Heist by Donald Armfield
Exreme Horror  44 Pages
Amazon ♦ Goodreads
Tommy Two can pull off any type of heist. From bank robberies, to hijacking vehicles, but his forte is jewelry heists. Working for the Cortez Family, Tommy brings a certain exuberance to the table, dropping the mic with just his self as the stand alone heist man. A group of scientists step in with a new unexplained substance said to reanimate the dead to add to Tommy Two's latest jewel heist, that will line his pockets with large amounts of cash.All hell breaks loose when the cocktail hour is served. A body horror, zombie, erotica that will give a whole new meaning to HIT THE DECK!

You're welcome!

Peace at last!

8 Books To Read When Life Is Too Good

If you're too happy with your life here are a few suggestions that'll change your attitude. Please be aware that nearly all of these books contain some sort of trigger which may or may not be revealed in my review depending upon how lazy I was at the time. Clicking on the book covers will bring you to my review at my blogger blog (sorry still too lazy to reformat) or at GR.

The Girl Next Door by Jack KetchumChase in Shadow by Amy LaneGeek Love



A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara:  You can blame this book for the existence of this list. This one will most definitely adjust your happy-go-lucky attitude and throw you straight into a pit of despair. It's over 700 pages too so there's lots of time to straighten you right out!

The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum: This is a "Girl" book that is very unlike all of the others that have arrived in recent years. The worst of humanity is on display here and there are things here that can never be unread. Even worse than the long drawn out torture in the final act, is the fact that the story is based on real events.

Chase In Shadow by Amy Lane:  This story is filled with despair, angst, pent up emotion and when you're done you'll likely be an emotional wreck. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn:  I love this book so very much but I can't lie, it is a rough read. Two selfish parents do all sorts of terrible things to create their own little freakshow. As the children grow, terrible things happen to them and they do terrible things to others. If your childhood was a nightmare, this book may feel like home.

 
Halfway HumanA Parcel of PatternsYear of WondersOut
 

Halfway Human by Carolyn Ives Gilman:  A scifi tale where there are three types of beings; males, females and the blands who serve them.  Trust me you do not want to be a bland. Especially an attractive one. . .

A Parcel of Patterns by Jill Paton Walsh:  Think your younger years were rough? Try growing up during the Bubonic Plague!

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks:  This is another plague book that'll make you thankful a plague hasn't struck us.  Yet . . .

Out by Natsuo Kirino:  This is a fantastic tale of desperation about a group of late shift female co-workers at a boxed lunch factory and the lengths they go to in order to make some extra cash. Whenever I get down on my job, I remember these ladies!

I'm drawn to these types of books, for some bizarre reason, so a Part 2 will be coming soon. If you've read any books that made you lose the will to live please share the love!

Price Drop Alert $2.00

The Bird Eater - Ania Ahlborn

Missed this one, as I did? Here's your chance! It's $2.00 for the Kindle Amazon US  and for an additional $1.99 you can add narration! I recent finished up The Devil Crept In by this author (review coming . . . someday) and it was a creepy slow-burn, just the way I love them.

 

The Bird Eater by Ania Ahlborn
Horror Fiction  290 Pages
Amazon ♦ Goodreads
Twenty years ago, the mysterious death of his aunt left Aaron Holbrook orphaned and alone. He abandoned his rural Arkansas hometown vowing never to return, until his seven-year-old son died in an accident, plunging Aaron into a nightmare of addiction and grief. Desperate to reclaim a piece of himself, he returns to the hills of his childhood, to Holbrook House, where he hopes to find peace among the memories of his youth. But solace doesn’t come easy. Someone—or something—has other plans. Like Aaron, Holbrook House is but a shell of what it once was, a target for vandals and ghost hunters who have nicknamed it “the devil’s den.” Aaron doesn’t believe in the paranormal—at least, not until a strange boy begins following him wherever he goes. Plagued by violent dreams and disturbing visions, Aaron begins to wonder if he’s losing his mind. But a festering darkness lurks at the heart of Holbrook House… a darkness that grins from within the shadows, delighting in Aaron’s sorrow, biding its time.
 

 

My Tardy March Wrap-Up

 

 
March 2017 (better late than never, I guess)
 
New Reviews Posted
(clicking on cover will bring you to my review @ Blogger, sorry I'm too lazy to format this twice!)
 
 
March in Review:
 
♦ March was a pretty lame month of reading and I have no excuse. Yikes, I really jumped on the slacking wagon and stayed there most of the month. I read and reviewed 4 books, 2 of them audios.  
 
♦ I'm still on track for my Goodreads Challenge so things could be worse!
 
♦ I did DNF one of these books so I guess I'm getting better at quitting when I should?
 
Reviews Coming Soon/Posted in April:
 
33369768301644283336995934374242
34518797
 
Potential Books TBR in April
 
The Woodsman Audiobook335261733438785934724233
 

 

This month I'm hoping to pull something surprising from the TBR pile and catch up on my audiobooks before requesting more of them! How's your month looking?

Let Us Prey by Jamie Lee Scott (audio)

Let Us Prey: Gotcha Detective Agency Series, Book 1 - Jamie Lee Scott, Gabra Zackman, Tantor Audio

Mimi owns a private investigation/personal security firm and is asked to provide security for her favorite author. This is where her troubles begin. A murder happens and Mimi’s former lover turns out to be the officer leading in charge of the case. They bump heads because he’s as surly as he is gorgeous and Mimi’s all in a tangled mess of feelings.

Let Us Prey has an interesting little murder mystery going on here that involves vampiric role playing and plenty of quirky secondary characters. My #1 suspect turned out to be the murderer so I have to give the book some points for making me feel smart today!



Usually my most obvious picks don’t pan out.



I am a character driven reader. Most of the time. But this time I didn’t really care about the characters. It was the whodunit that kept me going. If I’m being honest, both of the main characters bugged me. Nick is a grouch. He may be pretty but his rudeness was off-putting. And Mimi? Well, Mimi judged every woman she met by their looks and her thoughts were usually unkind. This could be my missing sense of humor kicking in here but I didn’t find this amusing. She also did the same with men but lucky for Mimi most of the men in her circle were super-hot and she wanted to rub her boobs on them. She even did it a time or two, once at a crime scene. If you find that funny, maybe it’s just me who is wired wrong.

Narration Notes:

The version I read was narrated by Gabra Zackman. The male voices almost all sound the same and unfortunately they’re not at all easy on the ears. They sound stiff, unnatural and a little constipated and I admit to getting a little confused at times because of the similarities. Ah well. The ladies do have unique voices. Mimi’s is smooth and confident and suits her character except when she’s thinking about men and lamenting over the fact that they’re not returning her lusty looks. Then the cool, professional voice doesn’t really mesh because I picture a Stephanie Plum type lusting over Ranger and Joe.

I received a copy of this audiobook from Tantor Media. I hope they don’t regret it!

  • My dog Bailey wants me to tape up this months BarkBox and return to sender!

Little Dead Red by Mercedes Yardley (audio)

Little Dead Red - Mercedes M. Yardley
This is a not happy tale. Terrible things happen to innocent people.

Little Red Dead is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood which was never a sweet tale anyway, but author Mercedes Yardley takes the bones of that fable and gives it a very gritty, very modern treatment and turns it into a horrifying read.

Some women have all the luck. Marie is not one of them. I don’t want to spoil too much of the story and am honestly unsure how to even tackle this review. I’ll just say that Marie suffers from two huge losses that leave her devastated, emotionally drained and at her wits end. After a kind man and his wife intervene, instead of succumbing to depression she decides to plot revenge.

This is a well plotted, well executed, bleak and painfully emotional short story – all the things I look for in a story such as this but it is not an feel good read. You have been warned.

Narration Notes: As this story is told from Marie’s POV, I’m not going to lie, I do wish it had been narrated by a woman but that’s my own personal preference. That said, narrator Joe Hempel does a fine job with the darkness of the story and doesn’t ruin the female voices with painful falsetto. I cannot tell you how many times a guy has ruined a female character for me with a cringy performance and vice-versa. I found it hard to tear myself away from the audio and do things like go to work and listen to people who needed to ask me oh so important questions that could not wait (yeah, that’s sarcasm you hear there) because the storytelling was so involving.

I received a copy of this audiobook courtesy of Audiobook Boom.
 
 

 

As Luck Would Have It by Alissa Johnson

As Luck Would Have It - Alissa Johnson

Sophie has spent the last 12 years travelling abroad and has returned to learn that her family’s fortune and their beloved estate are now in jeopardy. For some reason that doesn’t require thinking too hard about, it was left in the hands of an unscrupulous cousin. Sophie is approached by a weird little man who updates her on the situation and asks her to spy on her shady cousin and his associates in exchange for the money she now so desperately needs.

 

Why not, she thinks. She’s adventurous and nearly destitute and agrees even though she has absolutely no experience in spying. Now don’t worry if you’re not a fan of spy books because I’m not either. The spying bit isn’t a big thing. Actually, don’t think about the spying and the setup and most of the plot points or your head may explode. Read this one for the refreshing connection between the characters.

 

Soon after becoming a newly hatched spy, Sophie meets Alex. Alex is a Duke and a sexy, sexy rake and he has plenty of secrets of his own. There is an instant and strong connection the moment they meet. No, it’s not that insta-love crapola I’m so sick of reading, this connection is the real thing. You feel it in every bit of witty dialogue they share. This is how connections should be written. Their romance development is fun, sexy and smart. They’re well matched but, alas, this is a historical romance and there must be obstacles.

 

The obstacles come in the way of treachery, secrets, some silliness and Sophie’s worries brought on by a tragic event in her past. She has a hang-up about luck and balancing it out. I get it. My life is very much the same way. Whenever I go to bed thinking life is pretty alright, I wake up to a puddle of pee or something even more disgusting like a beheaded mouse. This is life, is it not? Sophie takes this balancing out of the luck business so far that it quickly begins to feel contrived and truthfully it began to drive me nuts in the last act.

 

So what we have here is a mostly light-hearted romance with amusing characters that’s only marred by several less than mind-blowing reveals at the end. 

 

Narration Notes: Narrator Carmen Rose does an excellent job with this audio version by Tantor. She has a lovely accent which turns slightly snooty whenever necessary and completely fits the tone of the book and each character she portrays. There weren’t any missteps that threw me out of the story and I can easily recommend searching out her performance if you’re an audiobook fan.

 

FTC Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this audiobook in exchange for a review from Tantor Media. I hope they don’t regret it!

Death Before Decaf by Caroline Fardig

Death Before Decaf: A Java Jive Mystery - Caroline Fardig

This was a cute listen on audio and kept me distracted during my mind-numbing drive to and from work. It reminded me a wee bit of the earlier Stephanie Plum novels but without the complete OTT zaniness.

 

Juliette recently had to push the reset button on her life after her ex broke her heart and devastated her financially, forcing her to close her café. She’s accepted a management position at the café where she worked during her college years. It’s owned by her old friend and long-time crush, Pete, who recently inherited the business and isn’t interested in keeping his wayward employees in line.

 

Juliette comes in and immediately lets her “Red-Headed She Devil” persona take over. Her new employees are not impressed, nor very threatened by her screaming and carrying on over their slackerly ways and keep doing whatever they please. She yells at one guy twice (and he totally deserves it), in front of tons of witnesses, and when she later finds him dead in a dumpster she is horrified to learn that she is a person of interest in the investigation. Sheesh, I am soooo glad I am not a manager of insolent café employees!

 

 

Anyway, the ineptitude of the local investigation team urges Juliette to do some sleuthing. This leads her into all sorts of trouble. She’s the type to jump first and never really think about it later. She’s feisty, hot-tempered and impulsive. That last quality gets her into many dangerous situations. Lucky for her, she has two sexy men who come to her rescue when things get out of control. Yep, it’s the dreaded love triangle which is better than the dreaded love-eye , I guess, but we won’t talk about that . . . This bugged me but not enough to ruin the book.

 

It’s an entertaining little mystery, nothing too taxing on the brain and has a nice dash of sarcasm and sexy.

 

Narration Notes: The version I read was narrated by Callie Beaulieu. She does a good job with the characters and you always know who is speaking but she does a dreadful Italian accent. The kind of Italian accent you might hear in a Super Mario game. I don’t know if this was on-purpose to get some laughs or if it was simply dreadful. Either way, I laughed. Fortunately, the Italian student is only a minor walk-on character.

 

*I was sent a copy of this book from Tantor Media. Thanks Tantor, hope you don’t regret it!

Your Soul Was Made for Mine by C.L. Hunter

Your Soul Was Made for Mine - C.L. Hunter

“Looking for another shade of grey?” asks the blurb but I’m not sure why. I always assumed that there hinted at “grey” book was wall-to-wall sex but maybe I’m wrong seeing as I’ve never read it and I was nearly halfway through this one before the sexy times began.

 

Your Soul Was Made for Mine is a bit more than a sex-fest. If you’re looking for some Alexa Riley type action straight-away, you will need some patience. This is a story about over-coming grief, building a friendship through pages and pages of handwritten letters and, yeah, it’s also about a super-rich handsome man who knows what he wants when he sees it and sets out to make it his.

 

After a deathbed encounter, Nolan believes in fate, angels and souls that were meant to be together for eternity. He also thinks nothing of spending $40,000 on a bottle of bubbly in order to woo his soul mate Emmalyn who cannot resist his lusty ways once they meet in the flesh (and, really, why would you want to?).

 

This was an interesting blend of fantasy and romance and wasn’t at all what I was expecting after reading a snippet of the blurb. It’s more of an old-fashioned love story, the kind that takes its time getting to know the characters and building their relationship as well as creating the world in which they live. When the two come together it’s explicit but there’s more here than the sexy times and that’s not a complaint. The couple travel (he is a bazillionare from Ireland, after all) and the customs and landscapes are beautifully weaved into their love story.

 

I found the story a wee bit hard to get into, truth be told and no, it’s not because the sexy times were delayed, I like sexless books too! It's because the dialogue felt a little formal and unnatural and continually threw me out of things. I thought it was an aspect of the letter writing telling the tale for the first half but it pretty much continued as the story went along. I did get used to it but it took me awhile. I did enjoy the characters and thought they came across as real people meant for each other.

 

I’d recommend this to someone looking for a meaty, slower burn of a romance with a lovely side of erotic sex.

 

*The FTC makes me declare that I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest thoughts. 

Can't Touch This by Tess Hunter (audio)

Can't Touch This - Tess Hunter, Pepper Winters

I cannot lie even when I receive free things. This book and I did not start off well (but it did get better!).

Vesper is a young, beautiful woman dedicated to her veterinarian practice. She doesn’t want a man messing up her life. Ryder is a dedicated dog rescuer living off of an inheritance. He drops in whenever he needs assistance because he’s cocky, has a crush on Vesper and her website does say drop-ins are welcome, after all. Vesper is instantly annoyed every time he appears without an appointment and demands all of her attention. He once told her, “If you save my wiener, I’ll bring you 20 more” and he wasn’t kidding. But she’s sick of him dropping in whenever he pleases. They bicker, they make totally unprofessional sexual comments and I was quickly getting sick of both of them. Of course, I’ve also been told that I have no sense of humor. So there is that.

Once he brings in said wiener dog, the wiener jokes start. Now, humor is a very funny thing. What some might find LMFAO hilarious can make someone else go all cringy.

I’ll let the doggies express my feelings.

After I read the first wiener joke I was all.



When it was quickly followed up with another.



And just when I began to think that I was finally safe from the wiener and the salami and all of the hotdogs, a ridiculous thing happens with the wiener and the heroine’s face.



Ok, I absolutely had to get that out of the way. The first few chapters are awesome if you love wiener jokes. I’ve discovered that I do not. I only plowed on because the hero rescues dogs and because I’m so good natured, ha. And do you know what? It got better. It really did get better.

The unrealistic banter calms down, the forced funny scenarios smooth out and what follows is a lusty, sweet confection that I’m glad I continued to read. It even managed to make me LOL at one point. I never LOL in real life. There isn’t a heck of a lot of conflict keeping the two apart and I enjoyed that. There is a lot of coitus interruptus and delayed sexual gratification but that only served to add to the sexual tension and didn’t bug me. Ryder is actually a decent guy who is devoted to his calling of doing good for the animals who need him and it added a level of emotion to the story that worked for me. After the rocky beginning was but a memory, I pretty much fell in love with the rest of the book. I say “pretty much” because there was one irritating bump in the road which I will not spoil. All ends HEA and I’m glad I didn’t DNF after the fifth wiener joke.

Narration Notes: The story is told from both the heroine and hero’s POV and is narrated by two voice actors, CJ Bloom and Eric Michael Summerer, who both do a decent job but because the story is told in the first person it was sometimes a little difficult for me to discern if the person was speaking out loud or thinking to themselves.

 

So, how'd I feel about it all in the end?  Just like this . . . 

 



Thank you Tantor Media for sharing this audio with me. I hope you don't regret it!

Freebie Alert!

FREEBIE ALERT!


I saw these over on my Amazon wishlist this morning.  Oh how I love that price drop feature! Click on the cover to get 'em while they're hot and still free!

Captive: Beautiful Monsters Vol. 1 by [Lane, Jex]Captive: Beautiful Monsters by Jex Lane

Matthew Callahan has spent seven years struggling against the insatiable hunger for blood consuming him. Unable to stop the vampire inside from preying on humans, he keeps himself confined to a lonely existence.

Everything changes the night he is lured into a trap and taken prisoner by High Lord General Tarrick—a seductive incubus who feeds off sexual energy. Forced into the middle of a war between vampires and incubi, Matthew is used as a weapon against his own kind. Although he's desperate for freedom, he is unable to deny the burning desire drawing him to the incubus general he now calls Master.

This book is intended for mature audiences.



Jack of Thorns (Inheritance Book 1) by [Faulkner, Amelia]Jake of Thorns by Amelia Faulkner

Florist. Psychic. Addict.
Laurence Riley coasts by on good looks and natural charm, but underneath lies a dark chasm that neither heroin nor lovers can fill. Sobriety is a pipe dream which his stalker ex-boyfriend is pushing him away from. Luckily, Laurence has powers most can only dream of. If only he could control them.

Aristocrat. Psychic. Survivor.
Quentin d'Arcy is the product of centuries of wealth, privilege, and breeding, and is on the run from all three. A chance encounter with an arresting young florist with a winning smile could make him stop. Laurence is kind, warm, and oddly intriguing but Quentin's wild telekinesis and his fear of sex make dating a dangerous game.

When opposites attract, they collide.
Desperate to fix his rotting life, Laurence prays for aid and accidentally summons a fertility god who prefers to be called Jack. Jack is willing to help out for a price, and it's one Laurence just can't pay: he must keep Jack fed with regular offerings of sex, and the florist has fallen for the one man in San Diego who doesn't want any.

If they're to survive Jack's wrath, Laurence and Quentin must master their blossoming feelings and gifts, but even then the cost of Laurence's mistake could well overwhelm them both. How exactly are mere mortals supposed to defeat a god?

Jack of Thorns is the first book in the Inheritance series and contains mature themes and events which may be distressing to some readers. It has a low heat rating and an HFN ending.

We just finished binge watching this on Netflix and it was great. Super gross but great. Don't attempt eating anything during episode one. I am not being dramatic. Drew Barrymore and the guy who plays her husband are adorable together. It's a must-watch if you like your comedy dark and a little gory.

DNF Review: Snow by Ronald Malfi

Snow - Ronald Malfi

Snow is about a guy and a gal who first meet at an airport. They end up stranded when their flights are cancelled due to a snowstorm. They, very unwisely if you ask me, decide to rent a car and drive to their destinations instead. During a blizzard.

 

 

Bad and bloody things happen because more than snow has come rolling in with the blizzard. It has a lot of gore, action and even a religious wingnut BUT . . .

 

I am sad to say that this one was a DNF. The writing was good, there was attention to atmosphere and to character but I just didn’t love it and found myself daydreaming. The characters and their plight did not move me. After the fifth attempt at getting it done, I put it aside for the final time at the 50% mark.

 

It could be my mood (probably), or the fact that I sort of recently read a similar book and didn’t love that one either (Chills by Mary SanGiovanni) but whatever the reason I tired of the struggle and pulled the plug. It has lots of fantastic reviews by many of my trusted friends but alas it wasn’t meant for me.

Reading progress update: I've read 10%.

Can't Touch This - Tess Hunter, Pepper Winters

Do you want to touch my wiener?

 

 

 

I can't with the wiener jokes this morning.

Currently reading

A Bed of Spices by Barbara Samuel