Sep 182021
 
That Night

That Night by Chevy Stevens

A stunning breakout novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Still Missing in which a woman is convicted of her sister’s murder.

Toni Murphy was eighteen when she and her boyfriend, Ryan, were wrongly convicted of the murder of her younger sister. Now she is thirty-four and back in her hometown, working every day to forge and adjust to a new life on the outside. She’s doing everything in her power to avoid violating her parole and going back to prison. But nothing is making that easy – not Ryan, who is convinced he can figure out the truth; not her mother, who clearly doubts Toni’s innocence; and certainly not the group of women who made Toni’s life miserable in high school and who may have darker secrets than anyone realizes. Before Toni can truly move on, she must risk everything to find out the truth and clear her name.

Thoughts
I’ve loved every book by Chevy Stevens that I’ve read so I decided it was time to catch up on the ones I haven’t read. This was the next book on the list.

There weren’t as many suspenseful parts as there were in the other books of hers I’ve read, but the ones it did have were very intense.

The beginning was good, the middle was better, and I loved the ending, other than one sad thing.

This is part love story, part family drama, part mean girls, part murder. It gave me all the feels!

The audiobook is narrated by Jorjeana Marie and I thought she did a great job!

I plan on reading the next book Chevy wrote soon.

 Posted by at 4:57 PM
Sep 142021
 
People We Meet on Vacation

People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry

Narrated by Julie Whelan

Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.

Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.

Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.

Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

Thoughts
I really wanted to love this book and I did. But it came slowly, toward the end of the book. Until then I was just 1/3rd of the way there.

I loved the idea of Poppy & Alex meeting on vacation. I love that they got together every year after that for their yearly vacation together. Until they messed that up. And then two years later they go again and things went the way I wanted until they didn’t. Again.

Even though the book was really good and kept me wanting to know what was next, I wanted to shake them. Neither one was 100% truthful with the other until towards the end of the book. And even then, after a few more chapters I was saying “oh good grief”.

But then the ending came and it was what I wanted all along. Now if only the author does a follow up. I really hope she does so I can have answers to all the questions wandering around in my head about what came after that.

The audiobook was narrated by Julia Whelan, and she did a great job!

 Posted by at 4:00 PM
Aug 252021
 
How Y'all Doing?: Misadventures and Mischief from a Life Well Lived (Audible Audio)

How Y’all Doing?: Misadventures and Mischief from a Life Well Lived by Leslie Jordan

When Leslie Jordan learned he had “gone viral,” he had no idea what that meant or how much his life was about to change. Entertaining millions with his uproarious Instagram videos, he has become beloved around the globe and in this lively and intimate essay collection, Leslie is doing what Leslie does best: telling stories the whole world wants to hear.

Whether he’s writing about his brush with a biker gang in a West Hollywood Starbucks, or an unexpected phone call from the late Debbie Reynolds, Leslie infuses each story with his trademark Southern wit and an emotional resonance sure to touch the heart of every reader.

Thoughts
I’ve been a fan of Leslie Jordan since I saw him on The Cool Kids. (I’m sad the show was cancelled, it was very funny and had a great cast). His book is full of great stories about him from his childhood up. He has had a very interesting life so far, full of good and not so good times. I enjoyed everything he shared from begginning to end.

Whether you’re a fan of Leslie or not, I think you would enjoy this book.

I put the hardcover on hold at my library and then decided to also get the audio. I decided to only listen to the book because hearing his words in his own voice added another dimension to the story.

I highly recommend you listen to this one.

 Posted by at 2:06 PM
Aug 112021
 
Falling: A Novel

Falling by T.J. Newman

You just boarded a flight to New York.

There are 143 other passengers onboard.

What you don’t know is that 30 minutes before the flight, your pilot’s family was kidnapped. For his family to live, everyone on your plane must die.

The only way the family will survive is if the pilot follows his orders and crashes the plane.

Enjoy the flight.

Thoughts
This book had me hooked from the very first sentence. I actually paused the audiobook and just sat there thinking about what I had just heard. WOW! Best first line of any book I’ve ever heard/read. Seriously! I kept listening as long and as often as I could, I did not want to turn it off and turned it back on as soon as I had time to listen to it.

This book is full of everything that scares you about flying, (I love flying btw). My emotions were on high alert from the first sentence to the last word.

To be honest, It’s taken me a while just to start my review. I didn’t want to give any spoilers but also wanted to let you know my feeling about the book. For me the book was one intense moment after another, with very little down time between.

I read that this book was turned down by 40+ publishers before it got published, but when I read the synopsis it grabbed my attention enough that I still got a copy, and after finishing it I don’t understand why so many passed on it. I thought it was a 5* book from the beginning. If you check the Amazon reviews, 6% of the reviewers (last I checked) didn’t like it. I don’t understand that either. My suggestion is to read it for yourself and decide.

The book was narrated by Steven Weber (Wings sitcom) and he did a great job!

I loved this book and it will definitely be on my “Favorites Of 2021! This is Newman’s first book and I hope she writes another. If you haven’t read it yet, GET A COPY NOW!

 Posted by at 9:10 PM
Jul 312021
 
Pure Joy: The Dogs We Love

Pure Joy: The Dogs We Love by Danielle Steel

In this funny, lovely, moving memoir, Danielle Steel tells the story of how she met a dog the size of a mouse with a personality that could light up an entire room. From Minnie’s arrival at home in San Francisco to clothes-shopping jaunts in Paris, her adventures provide the perfect backdrop for a heartfelt look at the magic that dogs bring to our lives and howthey become part of the family.

We meet Steel’s childhood pug, James; and Elmer, the bassethound who was steadfastly at her side in her struggling days as a young writer. We also meet Sweet Pea – unveiled in a Tiffany box for a dog-loving husband – andall those lucky dogs who shared a household of nine children, other canines,and one potbellied pig. As Steel reflects on the beloved pets who have brought joy – and sometimes chaos – to her home through the years, she also shares her thoughts on the trials and tribulations of bringing a new dog into a household,the challenges of housebreaking and compatibility, and the losses we feel forever.

Filled with colorful characters (human and otherwise), delightful photographs, practical wisdom drawn from long experience, and brimming with warmth and insight on every page, Pure Joy is a love letter to this special relationship – and one of the most charming books yet fromthe incomparable Danielle Steel.

Thoughts
I LOVE animals, especially dogs and cats, so I knew as soon as I saw this book that I’d be getting a copy.

This book is filled with the love that Danielle Steel (and her family) has for dogs. She has had a lot of dogs over the years, even a lot at one time. She and her husband had their own as did all of her children. She shares many stories from them and they are full of every emotion a person has when they love a dog. They bring us so much happiness, laughter, companionship, and comfort. And when we lose one it is a tremendous ache that, for me, never goes away. I still miss all the dogs I’ve lost over the years, especially my childhood dog (an American Eskimo) and Patches (my soulmate dog) who I lost in 2015.

I enjoyed reading (listening) to this book and learned some things that I didn’t know, like the do’s and don’ts when flying with a dog, which I will probably never do but I enjoyed learning about.

I’ve been a fan of Danielle Steel books since the early 70’s and I loved getting to know the dog lover behind the books. I’ve read some reviews that stated this book wasn’t what they expected compared to her other books, but you have to remember this isn’t fiction, it’s a memoir about her life with dogs. I think anyone who loves dogs or animals in general will enjoy it.

This book is funny, touching, and also sad at times. I loved it!

 Posted by at 10:16 AM
Jul 102021
 
The Invisible Husband of Frick Island Audiobook By Colleen Oakley cover art

The Invisible Husband of Frick Island by Colleen Oakley

Sometimes all you need is one person to really see you.

Piper Parrish’s life on Frick Island—a tiny, remote town smack in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay—is nearly perfect. Well, aside from one pesky detail: Her darling husband, Tom, is dead. When Tom’s crab boat capsized and his body wasn’t recovered, Piper, rocked to the core, did a most peculiar thing: carried on as if her husband was not only still alive, but right there beside her, cooking him breakfast, walking him to the docks each morning, meeting him for their standard Friday night dinner date at the One-Eyed Crab. And what were the townspeople to do but go along with their beloved widowed Piper?

Anders Caldwell’s career is not going well. A young ambitious journalist, he’d rather hoped he’d be a national award-winning podcaster by now, rather than writing fluff pieces for a small town newspaper. But when he gets an assignment to travel to the remote Frick Island and cover their boring annual Cake Walk fundraiser, he stumbles upon a much more fascinating tale: an entire town pretending to see and interact with a man who does not actually exist. Determined it’s the career-making story he’s been needing for his podcast, Anders returns to the island to begin covert research and spend more time with the enigmatic Piper—but he has no idea out of all the lives he’s about to upend, it’s his that will change the most.

Thoughts
When I first read the synopsis for this book I thought “Wow, that’s different, I want to read it!”, so I got a copy of the audio and patiently waited until it moved up my tbr list. It was SO worth the wait!

I loved everything about this book. The storyline was creative and very different from anything I’ve ever read. Each character was well written and played an important role in the book. There wasn’t one character that I didn’t like. Yes, I liked some more than others, but they were all very interesting.

The book led me to believe that the story was going in one direction, but nope, it went somewhere else. I loved that, it kept me engaged in the story, trying to figure it out.

The ending wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but it was very close. And after thinking about it, I decided it was an ending that could make it possible for a book #2. I would love that!

This was the perfect book to bring me out of my last reading slump. I’d recommend this to all my book loving friends!

 Posted by at 2:08 PM
Jun 052021
 
Reunion Beach: Stories Inspired by Dorothea Benton Frank

Reunion Beach: Stories Inspired by Dorothea Benton Frank by Various Authors

In this warm and moving anthology, a group of best-selling authors and writers pay tribute to legendary, larger-than-life New York Times best-selling author Dorothea Benton Frank and her literary legacy.

Inspired by the title Dorothea Benton Frank planned for her next book – Reunion Beach – these close friends and colleagues channeled their creativity, admiration, and grief into stories and poems that celebrate this remarkable woman and her abiding love for the Lowcountry of her native South Carolina – a land of beauty, history, charm, and Gullah magic she so brilliantly brought to life in her acclaimed novels.

From Elin Hilderbrand, number-one New York Times best-selling author, a sequel to Summer of ’69.

From Adriana Trigiani, New York Times best-selling author, comes a heartwarming, humorous interview from the hereafter with Pat Conroy and Dorothea Benton Frank, two beloved icons of Southern literature.

From Patti Callahan, best-selling author of Becoming Mrs. Lewis and Surviving Savannah, comes The Bridemaids, a story about a trip to the South Carolina beach.

From Mary Alice Monroe, New York Times best-selling author, Mother and Child Reunion, a heartwarming story set under the warm South Carolina sun.

Reunion Beach also features letters, short stories, poems, and essays from:

Mary Norris, New York Times best-selling author and staff writer for The New Yorker

Cassandra King Conroy, best-selling and award-winning author of Tell Me A Story

Nathalie Dupree, James Beard Award-winning cookbook author

Marjory Wentworth, former Poet Laureate of South Carolina

Gervais Hagerty, author of In Polite Company

Jacqueline Bouvier Lee, Peter Frank, Victoria Peluso, and William Frank

Infused with Dorothea Benton Frank’s remarkable spirit, Reunion Beach is a literary homage and beautiful audio keepsake that keeps this dearly missed writer’s flame burning bright.

Thoughts
These stories etc. are a celebration of the late author Dorothea Benton Frank. I felt all kinds of emotions while reading the book, not only because of the content, but also because it is a great tribute to a woman lost too soon from those who knew and loved her.

I enjoyed the book and very much and would 100% recommend it. I also enjoyed the narration.

The fact that all of these authors wanted to contribute to this book is a testament to what kind of woman Dorothea was. After reading this I am sad that I haven’t read a book by her, yet.

 Posted by at 3:30 PM
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
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 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