May 082021
 
The Sweeney Sisters: A Novel

The Sweeney Sisters by Lian Dolan

Maggie, Eliza, and Tricia Sweeney grew up as a happy threesome in the idyllic seaside town of Southport, Connecticut. But their mother’s death from cancer 15 years ago tarnished their golden-hued memories, and the sisters drifted apart. Their one touchstone is their father, Bill Sweeney, an internationally famous literary lion and college professor universally adored by critics, publishers, and book lovers. When Bill dies unexpectedly one cool June night, his shell-shocked daughters return to their childhood home. They aren’t quite sure what the future holds without their larger-than-life father, but they do know how to throw an Irish wake to honor a man of his stature.

But as guests pay their respects and reminisce, one stranger, emboldened by whiskey, has crashed the party. It turns out that she, too, is a Sweeney sister. When Washington, DC-based journalist Serena Tucker had her DNA tested on a whim a few weeks earlier, she learned she had a 50 percent genetic match with a childhood neighbor – Maggie Sweeney of Southport, Connecticut. It seems Serena’s chilly WASP mother, Birdie, had a history with Bill Sweeney – one that has remained totally secret until now.

Once the shock wears off, questions abound. What does this mean for William’s literary legacy? Where is the unfinished memoir he’s stashed away, and what will it reveal? And how will a fourth Sweeney sister – a blonde among redheads – fit into their story?

By turns revealing, insightful, and uproarious, The Sweeney Sisters is equal parts cautionary tale and celebration – a festive and heartfelt look at what truly makes a family.

Thoughts
I really wanted to read (listen) to this book because I’ve seen so many reviews that were positive and also read that the book was hilarious. It wasn’t, at least to me.

The overall storyline was different and I like different, I just never felt connected to any of the sisters and I wasn’t listening as fast as I could which is something I usually do. Also, I sometimes found my mind wondering and then I had to backtrack. I did like the sections on their dad. Wow, he was completely different than my dad.

I thought the book was ok but it just didn’t grab me like I thought it would, especially since I love stories about sisters. The narrator did an amazing job of all the voices, all the sisters sounded very different from each other, so it was easy to keep track of who was saying what.

I may give this book a re-read sometime because this is the type of story I usually love. I think maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood and that I would like it more the next time. So, I may do that, not sure yet.

This was the first book I’ve read by this author and even though I’m only giving it 3.5*’s I would try another book by her.

 Posted by at 5:03 PM
May 022021
 

Outside… 
90° and 0% chance of rain, billowy clouds, only a slight breeze, and the birds are chirping like crazy

Reading…
The Little Book of Irishisms: Know the Irish through our Words by Aimee Alexander

Listening To…
The Sweeney Sisters by Lian Dolan

Books Reviewed Last Week…
Lost, Found, and Forever by Victoria Schade

On TV…
Today I’m going to watch Wonder Wheel

In The Kitchen…
Spinach & Provolone Cheese Stuffed Flank Steak Rolls & Brown Rice w/ Spinach, Quinoa, Red Peppers, Cranberries
Pineapple Chicken w/ Hawaiian Rice with Crushed Pineapple
Taco Salad
Jamaican Jerk Pork Chops w/Applesauce & Curried Sweet Potatoes
One-Pan Chicken Teriyaki Noodles

New To Me Stuff:
Nothing

Today’s To Do List…
Relaxing

Looking forward to…
Might be going bowling with my daughter and her family

A Favorite Bible Verse…
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength
1 Corinthians 1:25

From the camera…

 Posted by at 2:20 PM
Apr 282021
 
Lost, Found, and Forever

Lost, Found, and Forever by Victoria Schade

Justine Becker could not be more in love with her rescue dog, Spencer. He’s her best friend and “colleague” at her dog supply store, Tricks & Biscuits, in upstate New York. When she discovers a heartbreaking social media post trying to locate a dog that looks suspiciously like Spencer, Justine realizes that her beloved pup might actually belong to someone else.

Her worst fears are realized when she and Spencer meet up with Brooklyn-based Griffin McCabe, and he wants Spencer back. He claims he is the dog’s rightful owner, and has the paperwork to prove it. But Justine refuses to roll over and let him take Spencer without a fight.

It’s not easy juggling Spencer’s burgeoning new career as a dog actor, along with the demands of her life upstate, all while constantly trying to prove she’s a better pet parent than Griffin. Their not-so-friendly competition teeters on the edge of flat-out hate, so when romantic feelings for Griffin catch Justine off guard, she needs to determine if it’s all part of his plot to win the pup back, or if the guy who was good enough for Spencer might also be good enough for her.

Thoughts
Anyone who really knows me, knows that I LOVE animals, especially dogs, with cats following right behind. This book was such a fun read!

Justine rescues a dog and names him Spencer. After a year of her owning him, her friend shows her a social media post she found of a man who is searching for a dog that he lost, and the dog looks just like Spencer. She really just wants to ignore the whole thing but her conscience gets the best of her so she contacts Griffin, the man who lost the dog.

When they meet in the park, Spencer goes nuts trying to get to the man who is a little way away from them, so Justine knows that he is the dogs former owner. Circumstances arise that makes it convenient for them to keep seeing each other and in doing so, Griffith and Spencer, who is Leo to him, get to spend some time together. Along the way Justin & Griffin start to have feelings for each other but then life throws a wrench in that. There are things that happen in this book that I have never read before in a book about a dog, such as Spencer getting a job as an actor in a movie. This book was so exciting that I was listening as fast as I could. This book would make a great movie!

It will definitely be going on my Favorite Books of 2021

 Posted by at 2:47 PM
Apr 252021
 

Outside… 
86°, a little windy, only 12% chance of rain, and big beautiful fluffy clouds in a pretty blue sky

Reading…
The Little Book of Irishisms: Know The Irish Through Our Words by Aimee Alexander

Listening To…
The Sweeney Sisters by Lian Dolan

Books Reviewed Last Week…
The Diary by Eileen Goudge

DNF:
Take Me With You by Catherine Ryan Hyde. I’ve loved every book by this author that I’ve read. But for some reason, on the last few books I’ve listened to from Audible, the first part or whole first word of a sentence was cut off over and over and it was so aggravating. Have any of you had that problem with any audiobooks?

Books I Need To Review…
Voices: An Open Door Book of Stories by Patricia Scanlan
Lost Found, and Forever by Victoria Schade

On TV…
Today I’m going to watch Florence Foster Jenkins

In The Kitchen…
Salad w/corn, Cheddar Jack cheese, Spinach, Tomato, Chipotle Ranch, Tortillas Strips & Poblano
Hamburger Steaks with Brown Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Fried Green Beans
Roasted Red Pepper & Provolone Smothered Chicken w/ Broccoli & Corn
Taco Salad
Chicken & Vegetable Stir Fry

New To Me Stuff:
Wendy’s Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit, very good!

Today’s To Do List…
I worked this morning and did all the laundry yesterday so today I plan on reading, watching a movie or two, blog hopping, and maybe take a nap 🙂

Looking forward to…
Going to Solomon’s Castle soon

A Favorite Bible Verse…
For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness
Psalm 84:10

From the camera…

Some clouds are playing peek a boo

 Posted by at 12:22 PM
Apr 212021
 
The Diary

The Diary by Eileen Goudge

When the two grown daughters of Elizabeth Marshall discover an old diary of their mother’s in the attic, it comes as a shock to learn that the true love of Elizabeth’s life was not their father. But is all as it seems?
That’s the mystery the two daughters must unravel as they stay up late reading the words penned by Elizabeth so long ago. Their mother can’t provide the answers: After a massive stroke, she lies mute and near death in a nursing home. Only the pages of her diary can provide clues to what really happened.

Thoughts
When Sara and Emily’s mother has a massive stroke and is not expected to live, they go to their mothers house to sort through things and get it ready to sell.

As they are going through her stuff they are surprised to find a diary that their mom kept when she was in high school. As they start reading they are shocked to find out that their mom, who was dating their dad, was also seeing a boy named A.J. who they had never heard about.

Both Bob and A.J. wanted to marry Elizabeth. Bob was the star athlete and A.J. was the bad boy. Nobody in town knew she was seeing A.J. until a tragedy struck a nearby farm. Everyone in town was shocked to learn about Elizabeth and A.J., especially Bob. A.J. ends up leaving town for a while and Bob ends up going into the service. Everyone in town starts giving Elizabeth the cold shoulder and she feels alone, and she still has to decide who to marry.

She makes her decision and they have a great life with their daughters.

Then… Elizabeth dies and what happens at her funeral literally made my jaw drop. I couldn’t continue reading for quite a while. I just sat there thinking about what I had just read, in shock.

The ending of this book was the most shocking ending of any book I’ve ever read. It was an amazing end to a very good book! It will be at the top of my favorite books of 2021, and in my list of my all time favorite books.

If you like books that will give you bug eyes at the end, read this book.

 Posted by at 12:13 PM
Apr 182021
 

Outside… 
It’s 85° right now but with the humidity it feels like 90° with a little bit of a breeze and a cloudy sky

Reading…
The Winter Song by Saurav Dutt

Listening To…
Take Me With You by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Books Reviewed Last Week…
Love, Clancy: A Dog’s Letters Home by Richard Glover

Books I Need To Review…
The Diary by Eileen Goudge
Voices: An Open Door Book of Stories by Patricia Scanlan

Movies Reviewed Last Week…
Thunder Force

On TV…
Binge watching Friends

In The Kitchen…
Still trying out Home Chef and liking it. I’m on the Fast And Easy Plan and it takes so little time to put the meal together.

New To Me Stuff:
Nothing last week

Today’s To Do List…
Nothing planned

Looking Forward To…
Taking a few days off and going to somewhere new to me

A Favorite Bible Verse…
John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
Mark 1:4

From the camera…

 Posted by at 2:35 PM
Apr 172021
 

Thunder Force

Director: Ben Falcone
Writer: Ben Falcone

Stars:
Melissa McCarthy (Lydia Berman)
Octavia Spencer (Emily Stanton)
Jason Bateman (The Crab)

In a world where supervillains are commonplace, two estranged childhood best friends reunite after one devises a treatment that gives them powers to protect their city.

Thoughts
I’ve loved everything I’ve seen with Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer, & have been a fan of Jason Bateman since I first saw him in Valerie in the late ’80’s so as soon as I saw this movie advertised I knew I wanted to watch it.

I really love that the two main characters are women and that they are a force to be reckoned with. The movie was like a roller coaster. One minute I was laughing, the next I was watching an action scene that I couldn’t have taken my eyes off of if I’d wanted to. The action was amazing!

The movie was well written (by Melissa’s husband, who also has a small role in the movie) and the dialogue was as entertaining as the action was. It was good enough for a book that would have held my attention from start to finish.

This is one of those movies that I will want to see again and again. I’m putting it up at the top of the list with Twister, which I’ve seen over and over and…

Also want to share that Melissa & Ben’s daughter plays Melissa at the beginning of the movie when they are in school, and she did a great job!

Remember, this is supposed to be a less serious superhero/comedy movie, so keep that in mind.

If you like superhero movies that are also funny, check this movie out.

Just so you know, some people are saying they didn’t think this movie was funny. I guess that depends on which category of humor you like. I like the category that thinks this movie was funny.

 Posted by at 1:17 PM
Apr 132021
 

Hosted @ Socrates’ Book Reviews

 

Lost, Found, and Forever

Lost, Found, and Forever by Victoria Schade

Justine Becker held the base of  the food-long oblong pink dog toy in her fist, like she was swishing at her employee. Her dog, Spencer, dropped into a play bow at her feet with a tongue-lolling grin, ready to give the new product a test-drive.

Not sure I would have wanted to read this book just based on the first paragraph, but when I read the synopsis I definitely wanted a copy! I have just over an hour left and am pretty sure I know how it will end and am excited to see how if I’m right.

 Posted by at 11:50 AM
Apr 122021
 
Love, Clancy: A Dog's Letters Home

Love, Clancy: A Dog’s Letters Home by Richard Glover

The new audiobook from the best-selling author of Flesh Wounds, heartfelt and hilarious, Love, Clancy is an audiobook for anyone who has ever tried to imagine what their dog was thinking.

Human beings often write about their dogs, but the dogs don’t usually get a right of reply. In Love, Clancy, Richard Glover has collated the letters sent by Clancy to his parents in the bush. They are full of the young dog’s musings about the oddities of human behaviour, life in the big city and his own attempts to fit in.

You’ll meet Clancy as a puppy, making his first attempt to train his humans, then see him grow into a mature activist, demanding more attention be paid to a dog’s view of the world. Along the way, there are adventures aplenty, involving robotic vacuum cleaners, songs about cheese, trips to the country, stolen legs of ham – all told with a dog’s deep wisdom when it comes to what’s important in life.

Thoughts
This book was an adorable twist on most books about a dog, in that Clancy was writing letters to his mom and dad. Yes, you read that right. The dog was writing letters!

I lost track of the number of times I laughed out loud while listening to this. Clancy’s view on humans, the things they do, and the “things” in the world are hilarious. While I was listening to this book I often wondered what my dog was thinking about the things going on in our house, about her 2 cat sisters, about me, and all the noises from outside that make her tilt her head and/or run to me or under my desk. I know a lot of times she’s wondering what that noise was. She definitely doesn’t like loud noises and neither do my cats.

This book is fun from the beginning to the end. It’s a book I will listen to again, and maybe again. It was the “made you laugh” book I was wanting due to all the bad goings on for the last year.

Now I’m wondering how long it will take me to teach my dog to write.

The book is narrated by the author and he did a great job!

 Posted by at 2:10 PM
Apr 112021
 

Outside… 
Yesterday evening we had a lot of wind, rain, lightening etc. Our next door neighbor’s tree got hit by lightening and fell on the powerline, knocking out our electricity. They didn’t loose their electricity but my son who lives on the other side of us and 16 other houses down the road did. They finally got the electric back on about 1:20 this morning. High today is supposed to be 72° with a 68% of more rain etc.

Reading…
Emmanuel’s Dream by Laurie Ann Thompson
Humans by Brandon Stanton

Listening To…
Have just a little more left of Lost Found, and Forever by Victoria Schade
Then I’ll start Honeysuckle Season by Mary Ellen Taylor for Cook The Books

Books Reviewed Last Week…
Things My Son Needs to Know About the World by Fredrik Backman

Books I Need To Review…
Love, Clancy: A Dog’s Letters Home by Richard Glover
The Diary by Eileen Goudge
Voices: An Open Door Book of Stories by Patricia Scanlan

Movie I’m Watching Today…
The Bookshop

In The Kitchen… (trying out Home Chef)
Pork Pho Noodle Bowl w/Snow Peas & Carrots
Classic Brown Sugar Glazed Beef Meatloaf w/Cheddar Broccoli
French Onion Chicken w/Peppercorn Green Beans
Apple, Walnut, & Goat Cheese Salad w/Zinfandel Vinaigrette
Fried Chicken w/macaroni salad & potato salad
One night I just ate a banana and a Little Debbie Mini Cherry Pie

New To Me Stuff:
I ordered a 6 pack of extra large dryer balls made from 100% New Zealand Sheep Wool from Etsy. I used to use a different kind of dryer ball but didn’t like it so started using dryer sheets again. I finally found these dryer balls and I think I’ll like them. They had over 1,800 ratings and they were high. Have any of you used them?

Today’s To Do List…
Nothing planned

Looking forward to…
Having next weekend off

A Favorite Bible Verse…
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Ephesians 4:31-32

From the camera…

 Posted by at 3:16 AM