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.

Home Tears by Tijan (Audiobook)

Home Tears - Tijan

This book was a messy stew of family secrets, sibling in-fighting, jilted lovers, epic storms and terrible tragedies and was filled to the very brim with flawed characters. I’m afraid there was just too much going on for my pea brain to handle because this book tired me out and not in that cathartic “cry your heart out” kind of way. Were it not an excellently narrated audio, I likely wouldn’t have finished it.

Dani left her hometown and all of its bad memories a decade ago, after her best friend and the love of her life decided to fall in love with her younger sister. Yeah, you read that right. She didn’t look back, even when she learned that the man-stealing sister had died, and I really didn’t blame her. Seriously, there are some things you just don’t do and stealing your sister’s man is one of them. Now, after a traumatizing event, she’s run away from a perfectly nice man and has decided to return to her hometown, for some bizarre reason that is never sufficiently explained, and is forced to face the people she ran away from and, while she’s at it, she also decides to ferret out all of the family secrets and find herself a new man. See what I mean about a lot of stuff being jammed in here?

This story just wasn’t meant for me. I was attracted to the blurb because it promised secrets. I’m nosy and I love secrets. But these secrets just weren’t juicy in their execution. There was such a waste of juicy potential and angst and I LOVE angst almost as much as I love secrets but these reveals left me feeling nothing. No shock, no thrill, just “meh, that’s it?” The main problem I had with this book, besides the unending subplots, was the fact that characters didn’t engage me emotionally. I never felt any anguish because they didn’t seem to.

Honestly, I think Dani would’ve been better off if she’d never returned to this town infested with liars and cheaters and secret keepers.

Narration Notes: Narrator Sarah Mollo-Christensen does a great job with all of the characters and there are a lot of them. She gives them each distinctive voices suited to their character traits. Even the guys sound real and I don’t think that’s an easy task for any woman to pull off (and vice versa). If you love the way this author writes (and many do) and aren’t as crabby as me, I’d highly recommend listening to this audio version.

I received a copy of this audiobook from Tantor Media.

The Woodsman by Belle Scarlett

The Woodsman - Belle Scarlett

This audio is like mixing up a big box of Kraft’s “cheesiest” macaroni when you are starving and too lazy to cook a real meal. You know it’s not good for you but it’s just so cheesy you can’t stop! Before you know it, you’ve downed the entire thing. Same goes for this audio.

 

Lily is on her way to meet her future husband who is some old coot with a lot of money who will keep her well. Never mind him though because she is way-laid (yep, I see what I did there) before that nightmare can happen. Her carriage has troubles and she meets a very large wolf/man who leads her back to a cottage where some sexy stuff happens but the lovefest is cut short due to a curse, or something, something that has to do with virginity. Lily was having fun and gets all sassy, even stomping her foot but Marrick (the wolf-man) stays strong. For a short while anyway and then things happen.

 

 

There is nothing unique about this story, it’s overly wordy and pretty corny. It’s not even super, sexy, hot. More like lukewarm and vanilla. Still, I found myself enjoying the audio production. It even has sound effects for ambiance! Usually these things bother me but it works well here because the levels are right. The crickets chirping in the background were especially soothing. There are two narrators and Honey Scarlett does such a fun job with Lily’s character that I couldn’t stop listening. Her accent was hilarious and spot on and I just loved listening to her. Leeroy Will’s delivery of Marrick suffers in comparison. His delivery wasn’t as good, the cadence was slightly off and at times his accent sounded a little like Shrek. Sorry, that’s my take.

 

Anyway, if you’re looking for an amusing, non-brain taxing way to spend two hours and 39 minutes you could do much worse than this!

 

I received a copy of this audiobook courtesy of the publisher and Audiobookboom. I hope they don't regret it!

Garden of Fiends Anthology

Garden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction Horror - Bentley Little;P. Gardner Goldsmith;Lorne Dixon;Michael A. Arnzen;Pat MacEwen;Ray Garton;Ian Withrow;John F.D. Taff;Jeff Strand;Kevin Lucia;Benjamin Kane Ethridge;Shane McKenzie;Steve Vernon;Charles Colyott;Taylor Grant;Dev Jarrett;Eric J. Guignard;J. S.

This is a truly excellent collection of short stories all about the struggle of addiction. All have a horror twist and there isn’t a dud in the bunch. If I didn’t have to work, feed and clean up after people all the live-long day, I would’ve finished it in one sitting because it’s that good. I’m not going to rate them. Just know that they’re all around the 4 1/2 – 5 star range which totally averages out to a 5, right?

 

A Wicked Thirst by Kealan Patrick Burke

 

Things get off to a dark start (and stay there, really) with this story about a man caught in the throes of alcohol addiction. His life is a wreck, he is haunted by his mistakes, by his never-ending thirst and perhaps by something supernatural. It’s unflinching and you really do feel for this mess of a man as he is helpless to stop the all-consuming thirst . . .

 

The One in the Middle by Jessica McHugh

 

In a not too distant future, a man has lost the love of his life due to his addiction. This only feeds the vicious cycle as he longs for drugs to take away his emotional pain. He lives in a desperate world where the wealthy pay big bucks for something only the drug addicted can offer them. But he’s not desperate enough to sink to that, or is he? This is apparently an excerpt from a longer work called Green Kangaroos, which I now need because I am the nosey sort, but the story feels complete enough here. This one is dirty and brutal and harrowing.

 

Garden of Fiends by Mark Mathews

 

Oh how I loved this one. It’s haunting and terrifying and all around awesome. Tara is a recovering addict and every day is a struggle to remain sober. She has a family who loves her and will do anything to keep her alive and I do mean anything. This is a story about an addict, a garden that grows terrible fruit and the damage it all does to one once close-knit, loving family. It’s sad and horrible and beautifully written.

 

First, Bit Just a Finger by Johann Thorsson

 

This is a little snippet of a story that started with a party trick that turns one woman on to a new obsession that’ll put some images in your head you may not easily forget. Eww this was disturbing! So fantastically disturbing and I wanted more!

 

Last Call by John FD. Taff

 

Ted is a slave to his addiction. When he shows up loaded at his latest AA meeting his sponsor is forced to take drastic measures and hands him a business card, telling him to go to the address on the card and ask for “the last bottle he’ll ever need”. He gets it and gets his life together but the past will come back to haunt in a most terribly heartbreaking way.

 

Torment of the Fallen by Glen Krisch

 

Maggie is 15, a runaway, sees demons and sets out on a course of disaster to locate her father. This was like watching an extremely dark episode of Supernatural with a surprise ending and I adored it.

 

Everywhere You’ve Bled and Everywhere You Will Be by Max Booth III 

 

This one starts out in a most startling manner. Jeremy arises after a saucy night to discover that blood is oozing out of a place it shouldn't be oozing out of. He tries to shrug it off as a result of overuse but it’s difficult to shrug off something like that, especially when it doesn’t stop oozing! Uh oh. This story is darkly comical and is laced with my favorite kind of twisted humor. It’s probably my favorite because of that. Sex, drugs, cravings, spiders and madness fueled by drugs and nightmare images? What’s not to like? It’s also gory and bloody and so very messy. I loved it all.

 

Returns by Jack Ketchum 

 

Awww, this was a short and beautifully told ghost story about a depressed alcoholic, a man and a cat ending with a Ketchum edge. It’s a little scary to me that I just so happened to take this particular progress photo when sitting down to read this collection!

 

 

This book was a very cohesive collection and I am so glad I changed my stance on short story collections (due to burn out) and gave this one a try! I received an ARC from the publisher.

DNF: The Unhandsome Prince by John Moore

The Unhandsome Prince - John  Moore

 

 

DNF'd at page 50 because life is too short. This book starts out cute enough. A young girl of the lower class works tirelessly for days kissing frogs, picking leeches from her legs and getting mud drenched in the hopes of breaking a curse and earning herself the handsome prince. Well, she finally kisses the right frog but when he transforms he's not the handsome prince she was promised and she is pissed off. Her hopes forever dashed, she decides she doesn't want to marry him. He's not too find of the idea either considering how rude she's being about his looks.

 

The beginning was cute, witty and sarcastic but then it meandered down a different path and I lost interest. They hook up with a sorcerer's daughter and go on a road trip and I just wasn't feeling it.

 

Booklikes-opoly Roll #2:

TOKEN (Daring the Kane Brothers) (Volume 1) - Kelly Gendron The Unhandsome Prince - John  Moore

Book #1, The Unhandsome Prince, was a DNF :(  It wasn't horrid but it was another of those of books that started off good but then wandered off down a path that wasn't interesting to me.

 

Previous Bank  $20.00

DNF @ 50 pgs $  1.00

New Bank        $21.00

 

Today's Roll:

 

 

Which lands me here:

Read a book where someone gets married, with jewelry on the cover, or where any character is a millionaire/billionaire!

 

I'm choosing Token because, in all honesty, this is more what I feel like reading right now and he's wearing a ring.

.Token (Daring the Kane Brothers, #1)

 

Can wounded hearts heal? Can they survive the past? Or will secrets end it all before love has a chance to last

I DARE YOU TO SAVE ME...

Retired boxer, TOKEN KANE is comfortable on a motorcycle but little does this Irish rogue know the next Harley he picks up will give him the ride of his life. When Token is sent to retrieve Harley Redbourne for his boss, he doesn't know why. He only knows that the woman drinks too much, she's conniving, strong-willed, crazy, beautiful, and she gets his heart pumping, but she's also something else. She's in pain. Can Token keep a broken Harley at a distance or is this one ride he can't resist?

One week out of the year, on the anniversary of the death of her family, HARLEY REDBOURNE puts away her good-girl and completely let's go. Trapped in a life without love, and finally hitting rock bottom, Harley's surprised by the connection she feels to Token. Even after he kidnaps her, drags her back to California, and reveals his damaged past, she can't shake the gorgeous beast.
Can Harley continue to hide her wounded heart or has Token seen it right from the start?

USA TODAY Bestselling Author of Breaking the Declan Brothers Series, now brings you Daring the Kane Brothers! TOKEN is book #1 of five new shameless, sexy, and daring brothers who will get you blushing all over!

Warning ~ This book contains explicit sex scenes, graphic language, and is intended for mature audiences.

My First Roll for Booklikes-OPOLY

Borrowing heavily from Blue's post because I'm lazy :)

 

I'm rolling my dice today but won't have time to get started until tomorrow.

 

My bank so far has $20.00.

 

 

 

 I rolled a 9 which means that I landed on space 9:

 

 

I'm going to read:

 

 

 

From the back cover:

And they lived happily never after...

Caroline's plan to live happily ever after has hit a snag. She's spent months mapping the swamp, building tadpole nets, and kissing every wriggling frog she could get her hands on, and one has finally turned into a prince. Unfortunately, Prince Hal is not, as promised in the fairy tales, particularly handsome. In fact, he's kind of dorky-looking.

Hal himself isn't very eager to marry a girl so obsessed with appearances, but he finds that a lot of people have a stake in his impending nuptials -- including a sorceress in training, an irritating dwarf, and Hal's own royal family, who seem to have misplaced large portions of the treasury. But the biggest reason for him to marry Caroline, true love be darned, is that if he doesn't, it's back to the lily pads for him -- permanently...

 

If I don't end up DNFing, the pages completed will be 276 which will put an additional $3.00 in my bank.

 

 

 

The Wrong Girl by C.J. Archer

The Wrong Girl - C.J. Archer

The cover of this one got me. Just look at it and see if you aren’t lured in too. A creepy Victorian, a pale Gothic beauty and an alluring title that promises this is “book 1 of the 1st Freak House series”, how could I possibly resist? I was expecting great things along the lines of “We Have Always Lived In the Castle” or perhaps a “Flowers in the Attic” vibe mashed up with a little “Geek Love” but that’s not at all what I got. If you don’t expect those things, you might be okay.

Things start out promising, if you ignore the fact that heroine has orange hair and is not at all the temptress who appears on the cover. Two young ladies (18ish or so) have been locked away in an attic for most of their lives and are only let out for supervised walks. Hannah, an orphan, was taken in by an earl and grew up as a companion to his daughter Violet who suffers from an affliction that causes fires. Hannah suffers from narcolepsy so the two are kept squirreled away from society. They grow close and are the best of friends.

I can’t express to you how much I loved this setup. So intimate, so character based, so lovely. But then things had to go and change, as things do.

You may enjoy the changes, many appear to do so if the reviews are any indication, but I wasn’t thrilled with the direction the plot ran off in and I never recovered. Hannah is kidnapped and is apparently mistaken for Violet (who also has red, not raven hair – so the chick on the cover wasn’t her either). She is swept away to another creepy mansion where she is told she will be trained to control her powers of fire. She’s also told that she’s not really a prisoner but that she cannot leave. Hmmm, I’d be mighty suspicious were I Hannah . . . Hannah doesn’t reveal that she is not Violet because she supposedly loves Violet and wants to keep her safe. She starts to “train” with Jack, a handsome lad who is able to summon fire at will. She starts to crush on Jack and me, oh my, what’s he going do when he realizes she doesn’t have the power of flame in her fingertips? And worse yet, what’s the keeper of the castle going to do to her when he finds out they nabbed the wrong girl?

What follows is a lot of intrigue and espionage and secret meetings and vaguely nefarious characters and such. All of it terribly boring, if you’re asking me. The early character development is dropped like a hot potato and Violet is tossed to the wind never to be heard from again (at least in this installment of the series). None of it excited me, I’m sad to say. I guess I was expecting something more freakish to be going on in a house dubbed “Freak House”. For a short book this one seemed to drag on forever and I will not be seeking out the sequels which may or may not answer the many questions that I still have after finishing this installment.

Narration Notes Lucy Rayner does a fine job with Hannah’s POV, Sylvia’s is a bit too high-pitched for me but, oh my ears, does she ever butcher all of the manly voices. Jack is supposed to be a 20-something love interest but he and all the men sounded like ancient creepers/gruff old geezers and this is all I could picture whenever Jack or any of the men spoke.



It was disconcerting and that’s all I have to say.

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

FREEBIE ALERT: Spell Cat by Tara Lain

I loved Hearts and Flour by this author. It was super sweet and sexy and a great book to use as a palate cleanser in between all of the darker things I usually read. This one went on my wishlist awhile back and now it's free and would you look at that cover?! Get your copy for the Kindle @ Amazon US.

 

Spell Cat by Tara Lain

MM Paranormal Romance 206 Pages

Amazon ♦ Goodreads

When Killian Barth, history professor, meets Blaine Genneau, quantum physicist, they ignite their own big bang. But sadly, Killian walks away. He doesn't do physics professors. In fact, he doesn't do humans, because Killian is the most powerful male witch in 10 generations and, though gay, he's expected to save his declining race by reproducing.


He can't even have sex with Blaine, because he's been taught that sex with humans depletes his power. But if that's true, why can young human, Jimmy Janx, dissolve spoons with a thought? Somebody's a lying witch.


With his powerful cat familiar, Aloysius, on his shoulder, Killian brings the lightning against deceit and greed to save Blaine from danger and prove love is the greatest power of them all. 

 

You're welcome!

The Devil Crept In by Ania Ahlborn

The Devil Crept In - Ania Ahlborn

This story starts out a little slow but it’s of the slow burn variety that builds into something terrible and terrifying so I didn’t mind too much.

 

Stevie's best and only friend, Jude, wandered out into the woods near their home one day and never came home. No one besides Jude's mother and Stevie seem terribly upset about it. Jude was an unlikable sort, sure, but the lack of interest in finding him is a little bothersome so Stevie decides to investigate on his own. He and Jude had spent endless hours in the forest doing what boys do in the woods and came upon a creepy old house. Stevie is certain that house has something to do with Jude’s disappearance.

 

This story is a mishmash of many horror-ish things. It’s a coming of age tale mixed up with remnants of King’s Pet Sematary and a splattering of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre but it’s totally its own story. What is eventually revealed is horrifying, disturbing and very gruesome and could give you nightmares if you think about the images too much.

 

I enjoyed the slow unraveling of this story and watching how the origin of a nightmare begins. Stevie was an interesting kid, struggling with a disorder that makes him a target and growing up with an assholish step-dad. He’s determined to find his friend and later he’s unafraid to stir up a little trouble to get at the truth. There’s a side story that I won’t reveal that absolutely captured me where one very unlucky woman is faced with a moral dilemma like none other I’ve ever read and I felt for her. She only wanted love but she got something else entirely!

 

A word of warning, if you need one, there are deaths in here and many of them happen to innocent little beasts but it’s all part of this story and felt like an awful, natural progression of one of the characters.

 

If you like your horror gory and creepy then this one’s for you.

 

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley. Thanks, Netgalley!

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!

Currently reading

Threshold by Jordan L. Hawk
A Bed of Spices by Barbara Samuel