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Thursday, March 22, 2018

#Book #Review: 3 out of 5 stars for Fear Nothing by Dean Koontz @deankoontz #BantamBooks @randomhouse

TITLE: Fear Nothing
SERIES: Moonlight Bay, Book #1
AUTHOR: Dean Koontz
PUBLISHER: Bantam Books
PUBLICATION DATE: December 1, 1998 
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 448 pages
GENRE: Horror
ISBN: 0553579754
Christopher Snow is different from all the other residents of Moonlight Bay, different from anyone you've ever met. For Christopher Snow has made his peace with a very rare genetic disorder shared by only one thousand other Americans, a disorder that leaves him dangerously vulnerable to light. His life is filled with the fascinating rituals of one who must embrace the dark. He knows the night as no one else ever will, ever can - the mystery, the beauty, the many terrors, and the eerie, silken rhythms of the night - for it is only at night that he is free. Until the night he witnesses a series of disturbing incidents that sweep him into a violent mystery only he can solve, a mystery that will force him to rise above all fears and confront the many-layered strangeness of Moonlight Bay and its residents.


As with most Koontz books, this features a unique premise that could actually happen in the real far fetched as it may be!

Christopher Snow is 28 years old, and he suffers from a rare genetic disorder called xeroderm pigmentosum. Essentially, he has to avoid the sun and even UV rays from lightbulbs because he lacks the enzyme necessary to repair the damage they cause.

At the outset of the book, Chris' father is dying in the hospital. His mother died two years earlier in an accident. After his father dies, his body is taken downstairs to the morgue. Chris remembered that his father wanted to be cremated with his wife's photo in his hands, so Chris goes to the morgue to find his father's body and that's when things get really weird. His dad's corpse is swapped with that of a homeless man, so Chris goes to the funeral home with an excuse that he wants to see his dad one last time before he is cremated. The man at the funeral home tells him that it is too late and that his dad is already cremated.

Things continue to get weirder and weirder. Genetic experimentation was done on animals (and possibly humans?) at a nearby government facility, and Chris is warned to stop digging. His mom had something to do with what is going on, and Chris wants answers. Monkeys attack one of Chris' friend, and a cat leads Chris to an old friend who is an animal communicator.

I would say that this book is the most character driven of Koontz's novels that I've read. He went to great lengths to describe the characters in detail. My favourite character is Chris' best friend, Bobby, who is a surfer dude. Koontz gives us a whole backstory on how Bobby inherited the beach home from a rich ex-businessman-turned-surfer who saw in Bobby what he wishes he would have learned at a younger age. I'm not sure what the relevance is of this whole foray into Bobby's life and what it has to do with what is going on with Chris, but I did find it interesting. 

Overall, I liked the book but it's not Koontz's best. It's definitely a strange one, and a lot of stuff is left unexplained so I will continue on with the next book in the series, Seize the Night, and hope that Koontz ties things together. However, according to Goodreads: "This trilogy has currently been on hiatus for over a decade and a half; however, the third and final installment is still officially in development according to Koontz." Here's hoping that at least some things will be fleshed out!


3 stars!! It was good, and I liked it.

This book qualifies as:
#10 for my Strictly Print Reading Challenge
#14 for my Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2018
#2 for my Read Your (Book) Shelf Challenge 2018
#20 for my Beat the Backlist 2018 Challenge
#17 for my The Backlist Reader Challenge 2018
#9 for my 2018 Try Something New Challenge
#17 for my 2018 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge
Task #47 for my 2018 Reading Challenge (Linz the Bookworm)
#3 for my 2018 Monthly Motif Reading Challenge
#1B for my Color Coded Reading Challenge
#4D for my 2018 Literary Escapes Challenge
#20A for my Good Rule Reading Challenge
#4 for my Charity Reading Challenge
#5 for my 2018 Platypire Diversity Challenge
#9 for my What An Animal Reading Challenge 2018
#8 for my Science Fiction vs Fantasy Bingo 2018
#1 for my Bookish Bingo Spring 2018
#1 for my Chapter Break March Bookish Bingo
#1 for my March 2018 Take Control of Your TBR Pile Challenge

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

#Audiobook #Review: 3 out of 5 stars for Dishing the Dirt by M.C. Beaton @mc_beaton ‏@BlackstoneAudio ‏

SERIES: Agatha Raisin, Book #26
AUTHOR: M.C. Beaton
NARRATOR: Alison Larkin
PUBLISHER: Blackstone Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: September 15, 2015
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 6 hrs and 58 mins
GENRE: Mystery/Cozy Mystery
New York Times best-selling author M. C. Beaton's beloved Agatha Raisin is back and finds that she must prove her own innocence when a local therapist turns up dead. When therapist Jill Davent moved to the village of Carsely, Agatha Raisin was not a fan. Not only was this therapist romancing Agatha's ex-husband, she dug up details of Agatha's not-too-glamorous origins. Jill also counsels a woman, Gwen Simple, that Agatha firmly believes assisted her son in some grisly murders, although there is no proof. Not one to keep her feelings to herself, Agatha tells anyone who will listen that Jill is a charlatan and better off dead. Agatha can only sigh with relief when the therapist takes an office in Mircester.

When Agatha learns that Jill had hired a private detective to investigate her background, she barges into Jill's office and gives her a piece of her mind, yelling, "I could kill you!" So when Jill is found strangled to death in her office two days later, Agatha becomes the prime suspect. But Agatha, along with her team of private detectives, is determined to prove her innocence and find the real culprit. This time Agatha must use her skills to save her own skin. With Dishing the Dirt, M. C. Beaton proves that "once you meet Agatha Raisin, you'll keep coming back" (New York Journal of Books).

The Agatha Raisin series is a bit formulaic, but I still enjoy it.

As usual, Agatha makes a threat against someone and then they wind up dead and she has to find the murderer to clear her name.

Agatha proves, as well, that she is kind-hearted despite her sometimes abrasive personality. First of all, when Agatha finds out that the vicar is not planning to do anything special for his wife's birthday, she prints flyers and goes door to door leaving them in people's mailboxes to remind them of Mrs. Bloxby's birthday. Then the vicar takes all the credit when all the flowers and gifts come pouring in! When her housekeeper is about to lose her house because the bank is threatening to foreclose, Agatha buys the home and tells Doris that she will have her will amended so that Doris can live out her days there without any worries. Agatha even smooths things over with Roy's boss for him, and he doesn't even thank her! I think Agatha gives more then she gets.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I miss Penelope Keith! When I think of Agatha Raisin, it is Keith who embodies her personality. I have not enjoyed the books in this series as much as I used to, since Larkin has taken over the narration. I'm not saying that Larkin is a bad narrator, because that's not it at all. She just isn't Penelope Keith! Agatha sounds more whiney with Larkin's narration, and she never sounded that way at all with Keith. Also, Larkin's inconsistent pronunciation of Carsley (half the time, she mispronounces it and says CARL-SEE) irritates me. Here is a sample of the narration:


3 stars!! It was good, and I enjoyed it.

This book qualifies as:

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay @paulGtremblay @WmMorrowBooks

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tessa @ Wishful Endings to spotlight and talk about the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released as well. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine. Find out more here.

Here is this week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection:

AUTHOR: Paul Tremblay
PUBLISHER: William Morrow
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 288 pages
GENRE: Horror
ISBN: 9780062679109
The Bram Stoker Award-winning author of A Head Full of Ghosts adds an inventive twist to the home invasion horror story in a heart-palpitating novel of psychological suspense that recalls Stephen King’s Misery, Ruth Ware’s In a Dark, Dark Wood, and Jack Ketchum’s cult hit The Girl Next Door.

Seven-year-old Wen and her parents, Eric and Andrew, are vacationing at a remote cabin on a quiet New Hampshire lake. Their closest neighbors are more than two miles in either direction along a rutted dirt road.

One afternoon, as Wen catches grasshoppers in the front yard, a stranger unexpectedly appears in the driveway. Leonard is the largest man Wen has ever seen but he is young, friendly, and he wins her over almost instantly. Leonard and Wen talk and play until Leonard abruptly apologizes and tells Wen, "None of what’s going to happen is your fault". Three more strangers then arrive at the cabin carrying unidentifiable, menacing objects. As Wen sprints inside to warn her parents, Leonard calls out: "Your dads won’t want to let us in, Wen. But they have to. We need your help to save the world."

Thus begins an unbearably tense, gripping tale of paranoia, sacrifice, apocalypse, and survival that escalates to a shattering conclusion, one in which the fate of a loving family and quite possibly all of humanity are entwined. The Cabin at the End of the World is a masterpiece of terror and suspense from the fantastically fertile imagination of Paul Tremblay.

This one sounds like it would freak me out! Pretty much anything having to do with a remote cabin away from civilization immediately piques my interest and gives me goosebumps. 

Even Stephen King thinks it is terrifying:

What are you waiting on? Please leave a comment in the section below. If you participate in this meme, please leave a link so I can visit your blog!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Books On My Spring TBR #TopTenTuesday

This is a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week, they post a new Top Ten list that one of their bloggers will answer. Everyone is welcome to join!

The topic for today's list is:

Books On My Spring TBR

I love topics like this, because it helps me get a bit organized and think about the books that I want to read in the coming months. Here are some that I'm hoping to tackle! Some are 2018 releases, and others are books that have been on my TBR for a while.

Before I Wake
by Robert J. Wiersema

The Lovely Bones
by Alice Sebold

Run from Fear
by Jami Alden
(Dead Wrong, Book #3)

Into the Light
by Aleatha Romig
(The Light, Book #1)

The Girl With All The Gifts
by M.R. Carey
(The Girl With All The Gifts, Book #1)

White Fang
by Jack London

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky

The Deep
by Nick Cutter

by Scott Westerfeld
(Peeps, Book #1)

Exhibit Alexandra
by Natasha Bell

The Flight Attendant
by Chris Bohjalian

by Brendan Reichs
(Project Nemesis, Book #2)

Let Me Lie
by Clare Mackintosh

The Last Girl on Earth
by Alexandra Blogier

The Chalk Man
by C.J. Tudor

Dearest Ivie
by J.R. Ward
(Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book #15.5)

So, what books are on your Spring TBR? Please let me know in the comments, or leave me a link to your blog post if you are also participating in the meme!

Monday, March 19, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This weekly meme is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.

I'm reading: 

Something from the library. I've been binging on mysteries for months now, and I really needed a change of pace. This is really not my genre, but I've heard it's good and I'm hoping it will fill that need to read something different. Plus, she's a Canadian author!

SERIES: The Artists Trilogy, Book #1
AUTHOR: Karina Halle
PUBLICATION DATE: August 26, 2014 (first published 2013)
FORMAT: Mass Market Paperback
LENGTH: 384 pages
GENRE: Romance/Contemporary
ISBN: 9781455552191
There's a Fine Line Between Sin and Salvation . . .

Ellie Watt is a woman on the run. Raised by a pair of thieves who taught her the art of the grift-and pursued by a mobster who fell for her con-she hopes to find refuge at her uncle's farm in quiet Palm Valley, California. Ellie swears she's through with her life of crime. But before she knows it, she's right back in the game when she meets an easy mark who's too good-and too hot-to be true. His name is Camden McQueen. A master tattoo artist and a total inked stud, Camden is nothing like the awkward kid who crushed on Ellie back in high school. Now, as owner of the wildly successful Sins & Needles, he's got tats to kill for, muscles to die for, and money to burn. Ellie can't believe the transformation-and can't resist pulling off one last con. But when Camden catches Ellie red-handed, the tables are turned. The mark becomes the master. And when the ultimate player gets played, you never know who's going to end up on top . . .

Not only am I a first generation Canadian, but immigration is my profession. 

PUBLISHER: Caitlin Press
PUBLICATION DATE: February 7, 2017
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 216 pages
GENRE: Nonfiction
ISBN: 9781987915341
Edited by Miriam Matejova, Wherever I Find Myself is a diverse collection of stories about the joys and struggles of immigrant women living in Canada. Often bringing with them the shadow of war and the guilt of leaving, the women in this new anthology expose their emotional pain but also their gratitude for being able to call Canada home. Their stories paint touching and charming portraits of cultural and linguistic misunderstandings, bureaucratic hurdles, attempts to navigate unfamiliar landscapes, and a desire to be accepted despite differences in accent, skin colour, or taste in food. Together they form a mosaic of emotions and world-views that underline the immigrant condition for women.

A yellow dress with ruffles, a kind Grade 1 teacher with a surname that’s difficult to spell, cockroaches in the bathroom, the contempt of strangers, and Whitney Houston on the radio–a Filipino woman recalls her experience as a six-year-old immigrant in a ghetto in Mississauga in the 80s. Browsing through a Polish fashion magazine at a European deli, a woman sees herself in an alternative universe of what her life might have been had she never immigrated to Canada. A same-sex couple moves from Minnesota to Ontario to find refuge for their love, but first they must drive a seventeen-foot truck through a blizzard and make it through the frustrating net of Canadian bureaucracy. In search of her origins, a Jewish woman travels to her birthplace in Passau, Germany. There, among rows of European picturesque houses and foreign tombstones of a Jewish cemetery, she finds no memories, only the shadow of Hitler and the ghosts of her parents.

Through these stories of courage, aloneness, and hope, new and established writers reach out to both immigrants and those whose families long ago ceased to identify with the immigrant label. Through their struggles and, at times, endearingly critical looks at Canada, they remind us that many of our perceived divisions are nothing but artificial creations of mind and that all of us are past, current, or potential immigrants.

I completed a nine-week course with a group of people, which featured DVD Study sessions and a Participant Guide with study questions (homework!) for discussion each week. The book is a lot to digest, and I'm still reading it in chunks.

TITLE: Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life
PUBLISHER: Zondervan
PUBLICATION DATE: November 2, 1992
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 314 pages
GENRE: Nonfiction, Psychology, Self-Help
ISBN: 9780310585909
Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not. Boundaries impact all areas of our lives: Physical boundaries help us determine who may touch us and under what circumstances -- Mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thoughts and opinions -- Emotional boundaries help us to deal with our own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others -- Spiritual boundaries help us to distinguish God's will from our own and give us renewed awe for our Creator -- Often, Christians focus so much on being loving and unselfish that they forget their own limits and limitations. When confronted with their lack of boundaries, they ask: - Can I set limits and still be a loving person? - What are legitimate boundaries? - What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries? - How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy, or money? - Aren't boundaries selfish? - Why do I feel guilty or afraid when I consider setting boundaries? Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend offer biblically-based answers to these and other tough questions, showing us how to set healthy boundaries with our parents, spouses, children, friends, co-workers, and even ourselves.

Something from the library. I really enjoy this author, and I find him to be very inspirational!

AUTHOR: Joel Osteen
PUBLICATION DATE: October 24, 2017
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 304 pages
GENRE: Nonfiction
ISBN: 9781455534326
The same God that leads you through green pastures guides you through the valleys. #1 New York Times bestselling author Joel Osteen shares how God uses the darkness in life for good.

All of us at some time encounter dark places that we don't understand: a loss, a sickness, a divorce, a child who breaks our heart. It's easy to get discouraged, give up on our dreams, and just settle there. We may not realize it, but when we feel buried in dark places, we are being blessed. God is using those experiences to help us grow, because we cannot reach our highest potential if we're standing in the light all the time. With Blessed in the Darkness, you will learn how to draw closer to God and trust Him when life doesn't make sense.

If we will go through the valley trusting, believing, and knowing that God is still in control, then we will come to the table that is already prepared for us, where our cup runs over.

Another one from my dusty bookshelf, which I am reading aloud to my younger daughter. We are loving this series!

TITLE: Rising Storm
SERIES: Warriors, Book #4
AUTHOR: Erin Hunter
PUBLICATION DATE: February 15, 2005
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 336 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy
ISBN: 0060525630
Fireheart's traitorous enemy Tigerclaw has been vanquished and exiled from Thunder Clan -- but Fireheart can't shake the feeling that he's lurking in the forest, waiting for his chance to strike.

That's not the only problem facing the young warrior in these blazing summer months, as he struggles to handle sinister omens, an apprentice with a shocking secret, and a devastated Clan leader who is a shell of her former self.

Meanwhile the forest gets hotter and hotter ... and everyone braces for the coming storm... Ages 10+.

I'm listening to:

Something from my review pile. I need a break from the usual mysteries, and it's been forever since I've read any dystopia. Plus, the movie is now on Netflix!

TITLE: The 5th Wave
AUTHOR: Rick Yancey
NARRATORS: Brandon Espinoza and Phoebe Strole
PUBLISHER: Listening Library
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 12 hrs and 45 mins
GENRE: Young Adult, Science Fiction/Dystopia
ISBN: 9781624068676
After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one. Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

I just finished:

PUBLISHER: Blackstone Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: February 27, 2018
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 10 hrs and 25 mins
GENRE: Mystery
ISBN: 9781504782487
Will Hurley was an attractive, charming, and impressive student at Dublin's elite St. John's College -- and Ireland's most prolific serial killer. Having stalked his five young victims, he drowned them in the muddy waters of the Grand Canal. Sentenced to life imprisonment when he was just nineteen, Will is locked away in the city's Central Psychiatric Hospital.

Freshman Alison Smith moved to the Big Smoke to enroll in St. John's and soon fell hard for Will Hurley. Her world bloomed...and then imploded when Liz, her best friend, became the latest victim of the Canal Killer -- and the Canal Killer turned out to be the boy who'd been sleeping in her bed. Alison fled to the Netherlands and, in ten years, has never once looked back.

When a young woman's body is found in the Grand Canal, Garda detectives visit Will to see if he can assist them in solving what looks like a copycat killing. Instead, Will tells them he has something new to confess -- but there's only one person he's prepared to confess it to.

The last thing Alison wants is to be pulled back into the past she's worked so hard to leave behind. Reluctantly, she returns to the city she hasn't set foot in for more than a decade to face the man who murdered the woman she was supposed to become.

Only to discover that, until now, Will has left out the worst part of all...

TITLE: Wonder
SERIES: Wonder, Book #1
AUTHOR: R.J. Palacio
PUBLISHER: Oxford Childrens
PUBLICATION DATE: April 1, 2013 (first published 2012)
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 400 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Contemporary
ISBN: 9780198391012
Educational edition of this warm and moving novel about an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face


An extremely moving and engaging novel that is sure to become a classroom favourite

Told from multiple perspectives, with opportunities to explore narrative, perspective, timeline and precepts

Themes of friendship, bullying, self-image and social responsibility

Supported by extensive teacher resources online and student-focused Reading Guides

Durable, soft cover your students will want to pick up

TITLE: The Bat
SERIES: Harry Hole, Book #1
AUTHOR: Jo Nesbo
PUBLISHER: Random House Canada
PUBLICATION DATE: October 9, 2012 (first published 1997)
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 369 pages
GENRE: Mystery
ISBN: 9780307361011
Inspector Harry Hole of the Oslo Crime Squad is dispatched to Sydney to observe a murder case. Harry is free to offer assistance, but he has firm instructions to stay out of trouble. The victim is a twenty-three year old Norwegian woman who is a minor celebrity back home. Never one to sit on the sidelines, Harry befriends one of the lead detectives, and one of the witnesses, as he is drawn deeper into the case. Together, they discover that this is only the latest in a string of unsolved murders, and the pattern points toward a psychopath working his way across the country. As they circle closer and closer to the killer, Harry begins to fear that no one is safe, least of all those investigating the case.

SERIES: Warriors, Book #3
AUTHOR: Erin Hunter
PUBLICATION DATE: October 5, 2004 (first published 2003)
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 312 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy
ISBN: 9780060525613
Allegiances are shifting among the Clans of warrior cats that roam the forest. With tensions so delicately balanced, former friends can become enemies overnight, and some cats are willing to kill to get what they want.

Fireheart is determined to find out the truth about the mysterious death of brave ThunderClan warrior Redtail. But as he searches for answers, he uncovers secrets that some believe would be better left hidden.

What are you reading? Have you read any of these books and, if so, what did you think? Please let me know in the comments and, if you are also participating in this meme, leave me a link to your blog post so that I can stop by!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Stacking The Shelves and Sunday Post

This meme is hosted by Tynga over at Team Tynga's Reviews, which she describes as follows:

"Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process!"

Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme

Blahhhhhhh, I hate Daylight Savings Time! I'm not a morning person, and I had been enjoying the lighter mornings until we switched over last week. Now it's dark when my alarm goes off, and I hate that!! It makes it so much harder for the kids to wake up in the morning as well. It's a battle to get them out of bed!

I bought this Daily Deal at Audible earlier this week:

Lies She Told
by Cate Holahan

I bought these Daily Steals at Downpour earlier this week:

Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire
by John August
(Arlo Finch, Book #1)

The Devil's Claw
by Lara Dearman
(Jennifer Dorey Mystery, Book #1)

I very rarely EVER read e-books, but I had to buy this one for my Kindle because it's only published as e-book:

Dearest Ivie
by J.R. Ward
(Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book #15.5)

I downloaded these audiobooks for FREE from Penguin Random House Audio's website. This one is under the Business Traveler tab:

Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness, and Sustaining Positive Change
by Shawn Achor

This one is under the Gardener & Cook tab:

The Inn at Rose Harbor
by Debbie Macomber
(Rose Harbor, Book #1)

Thanks to Penguin Random House Audio for the freebies!

Recap: Last Week On The Blog

Sunday: Stacking the Shelves and Sunday Post

Thursday Book Review: 4 out of 5 stars for Escape by Gordon Korman

Friday Audiobook Review: 4 out of 5 stars for Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop

What books have you added to your shelves this week? If you are also participating in either of these memes, please leave me the link to your blog post in the comments so that I can come and drool over all your goodies!
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