Weekly Mash-Up #141

For those who will be celebrating this weekend, I want to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

Even though this year has been another one full of ups and downs, our little family will be giving thanks for the good things that have blessed our lives while enjoying a mini feast of turkey and all the trimmings.

I will also be participating in a four-day readathon, which will be perfect for the predicted cold, rainy weather coming our way.  Granted, I don’t know how much I will be able to read on Thursday and Friday, but I plan on curling up on the couch with some favorite teas and diving into my current reads on Saturday and Sunday!

The Week in Books

Without You, I Would Be Nothing by Brooke L. Davis — 4/4.5 out of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this very personal memoir…one hundred different memories and events, each told with one hundred words.  From the simplicity of planting flowers to dealing with a loved one’s decline, Brooke Davis shares her life in a very unique and touching way.  Highly recommend.

The Forest of Smoke and Fog by Alex McGlothlin — 2.5/3 out of 5 stars

Rounded up to 3 for NetGalley and Goodreads.  There was a lot of potential with this one:  John Kelton returns home after his father dies in a mysterious  hunting accident and finds himself battling for control of the family company while trying to find out the truth behind his father’s sudden death.  Overall not a bad story, but…I try not to lower my ratings on advance copies due to typos, grammar errors, etc. since many times the story has not gone through a final editing, but between the scattered narrative and other glaring errors, it became too annoying to overlook (example:  sequins are used in art projects, not sequences).   And as for the ending?  It felt like a last-minute “Hail Mary” that was thrown in and wound up falling flat.  If the final published copy addressed some of the bigger issues I found in this ARC then I will gladly revisit this book to reevaluate.

Stay safe and Happy Reading!


Weekly Mash-Up #140

Hard to believe, but this week marks the third year of All Dragons Read!!

I’ve been having a lot of fun sharing my bookish thoughts and hope you’ve been enjoying them as well!  Here’s to another year in the Book Dragon Lair!

The Week in Books

The Hidden by Melanie Golding — 4 out of 5 stars

A young girl is found wandering alone in a small seaside town.  A woman claims to be her mother and the pair disappears.  A man is found badly beaten and left for dead. Detective Joanna Harper is trying to figure out how her estranged daughter, Ruby, is involved.  Sound straight-forward?  Believe me, it’s not!  A tightly woven mystery/thriller with a hefty dose of magical realism mixed in, this page-turner kept me guessing until the very end.  A solid four-star book that I highly recommend.

Rust Belt Femme by Raechel Anne Jolie — 4 out of 5 stars

Be sure to check out  my full review here and at MrPinkInk the weekend of November 26-28!

In the Land of Dead Horses by Bruce McCandless III — 4 out of 5 stars

Set in Texas in 1908, this mix of western and supernatural horror tells the story of hard-drinking ranger Jewel Lightfoot who is hired to track down the killers of a local farming family.  What he and his companions, Ernesto and Antonio, don’t realize is that they are about to come face to face with evil itself.        This was one of those fast-paced, engaging reads that I found difficult to put down!  The characters are well developed, and I found myself saying “oh ****” more than once when a favorite character was heading towards a bad situation.  Horror westerns are here to stay, and I highly recommend adding this one to your reading list.

Novellas, Short Stories, and Anthologies

Mestiza Blood by V. Castro — 3.5/4 out of 5 stars

3.5 stars, rounding up for Goodreads and NetGalley.    V. Castro is quickly becoming a favorite author of mine, and this collection of short stories showcase the broad range of her writing talent.  Focusing on the Chicana experience, these stories are blends of fantasy, horror, sex, and urban legend/local folklore.  As with any collection, I thought some were more successful than others.  There is a common theme of the inner strength and powers of women, and all are truly unique.  If you haven’t had a chance to read any of Castro’s works, I recommend this as a great place to start.

Stay safe and Happy Reading!

November — Nonfiction Month

I actually had another theme in mind for this month, then I was reminded that November is National Nonfiction Month so I knew I just had  to get involved!

This month I will be focusing on these two books…

I started Five Days at Memorial in early September, then when my focus shifted to my Halloween titles this was set aside.  While I’m only 100 pages in, I am completely immersed in this account of the tragedy that took place at this Louisiana hospital in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and the doctors who were put on trial after having to make many difficult and painful decisions.

Raechel Anne Jolie tells her story of childhood trauma and alternative lifestyle in Rust Belt Femme.  I’m a big fan of memoirs where the average person overcomes trauma and life obstacles and learns to be true to themselves.  I will be featuring this one both here and at MrPinkInk at the end of the month (November 27-ish).

Goodreads Group Reads

A couple of books stood out for November’s group reads.  The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared is one that my friend’s local book club has chosen.  I’m going to try to fit it in since I’ve had this copy sitting on my shelf for a couple of years now…no more excuses!  And as for The Last House on Needless Street?  After just recently finishing it, I can’t recommend it enough to be added to your to-read list!

What are your reading goals for the month?  Drop me a line and let’s talk books!  Until next time, stay safe and Happy Reading!

Weekly Mash-Up #139 — The 31 Books of Halloween Grand Finale!

Happy Halloween!!

Haunted House Animation GIF by Satellite Center IM

I put off my weekly mash-up so I could include my final reads from my personal Halloween reading challenge.  With only a few hours to spare, I wrapped up my 31st book this morning!  So without further ado…

The Week in Books

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward — 5 out of 5 stars!

(H 22/31)  I am so glad I was able to avoid spoilers for this one!  What seems like a story about a man and his cat living in a creepy house turns out to be so much more.  I can’t say anything else without giving away major spoilers but I will say that the hype is real!!  Highly recommend!

A Taste For Poison by Neil Bradbury — 4 out of 5 stars

(H 23/31)  Be sure to check out my full review coming here and at MrPinkInk on October 31!

The Cassowary by James Sabata — 4 out of 5 stars

(H 24/31)  The world’s deadliest bird just got an upgrade…   The latest in the creature feature horror series that started with The Roo,  Sabata takes us to a wildlife park in Arizona, where a possessed cassowary escapes and wrecks havoc around town.  Good ol’ creature feature fun, with lots of bloodshed, standard horror characters, and tongue-in-cheek humor.

Riley’s Excellent and not-at-all Fake Exorcism Service by Sophie Queen — 3.5 out of 5 stars

(H 25/31)  Riley has a feeling that something has come over her in-laws…just wait until she finds out exactly what that is.  Overall a pretty funny story and quick read.  I did find myself wanting to know more about the supporting characters than I did about Riley.  If you’re looking for some lighter “horror” with minimum ick factor, this isn’t a bad choice.

Rings by Koji Suzuki — 3.5 out of 5 stars

(H 26/31)  This is one of those rare instances where I actually like the movie much better than the book (and I’m talking about the 2002 movie).  The general storyline is still present, with a mysterious videotape that makes anyone who views it die within a week.  I think my biggest issue was with the book’s characters, I just didn’t really care about any of them, even the girl in the well.  Maybe if I’d read the book first I would have a different opinion, but for now I’ll just stick to rewatching the movie.

Novellas, Short Stories, and Anthologies

The Midnight Meat Train by Clive Barker — 4 out of 5 stars

(H 27/31)  One of Barker’s classic short stories, this has us riding along with Leon Kaufman as he discovers what’s at the end of the line on this subway train.  It’s been several years since I’ve picked up a Barker novel or story, and this reminded me of how much I always enjoyed his writing and how atmospheric his stories are.  Great place to start if you’re new to his writing.

Trick or Treat by Jamie Stewart — 3.5/4 out of 5 stars

(H 28/31)  A mother seeks revenge against The Reaper Man, the mysterious entity believed to have abducted her child on Halloween night.  This was a great surprise find in the kindle freebies, one that held my attention and offered a good ending (something that some short stories often lack).  I agree with other reviewers that it sets the mood for a creepy Halloween.

Slush by Glenn Rolfe — 3 out of 5 stars

(H 29/31)  This was definitely the darkest writing I’ve read from Rolfe so far (one story I noted as simply “gross!”).  Stories range from cursed coins to zombies, revenge to a disturbing look at teen love.  I probably wouldn’t recommend to first-time readers of Rolfe, but do recommend for his fans who want something edgier.

Deadly Women:  A Horror Short Story Collection by Mav Skye — 3 out of 5 stars

(H 30/31)  There was a lot of potential in these twisted tales, but definitely something lacking since I promptly forgot what I had read within 24 hours.

Put on a Happy Face by Terry M. West — 3 out of 5 stars

(H 31/31)  A young girl lives with her twisted brother, a young man who wears different masks to hide his deformities.  What else could he be hiding?  Not a bad story, but one that really needed a touch more background to really  make it whole.

Stay safe and Happy Reading!