Aug 122022
 

The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka

The swimmers are unknown to one another except through their private routines (slow lane, medium lane, fast lane) and the solace each takes in their morning or afternoon laps. But when a crack appears at the bottom of the pool, they are cast out into an unforgiving world without comfort or relief.

One of these swimmers is Alice, who is slowly losing her memory. For Alice, the pool was a final stand against the darkness of her encroaching dementia. Without the fellowship of other swimmers and the routine of her daily laps she is plunged into dislocation and chaos, swept into memories of her childhood and the Japanese American incarceration camp in which she spent the war. Alice’s estranged daughter, reentering her mother’s life too late, witnesses her stark and devastating decline.

Thoughts
Growing up, one of my favorite things to do was to spend summer days at the pool with my friends. I continued swimming as an adult but haven’t for many years and I miss it. When I saw this book I knew I wanted to read it.

The book starts off with us learning about the pool and the people who swim there, most of them on a daily basis. We learn their specific routines, how they are alike and different, what motivates them to swim, and about the pool itself. I really enjoyed getting to know the swimmers.

One day someone notices a tiny crack in the bottom of the pool, then more swimmers start to notice it and soon they are all keeping an eye on it to see if it looks like it might cause problems. There were some interesting thoughts about what caused the crack, what it means, and what would happen if it started getting bigger. Then they start worrying for their safety if it keep growing, and if they would have to close the pool so it could be fixed. It was even seen as bad luck. When the crack does start growing, the management informs the swimmers that the pool will be closing for good. Not just long enough to be repaired, but for good! The swimmers are not happy at all.

Then the book turns solemn as it’s focus turns to Alice (who had dementia) and her daughter. Everything about Alice’s story was interesting and I enjoyed it, but would have liked knowing what happened to the other swimmers also.

This is a short book but it didn’t really feel short to me because the story was so interesting. It kept me wanting to know what was going to happen next.

I really enjoyed this so I checked out the authors other books and may add When The Emperor Was Divine, which also looks interesting.

 Posted by at 11:43 AM
Jun 172022
 

The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett

The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett by Annie Lyons

Eudora Honeysett is done with this noisy, moronic world—all of it. She has witnessed the indignities and suffering of old age and has lived a full life. At eighty-five, she isn’t going to leave things to chance. Her end will be on her terms. With one call to a clinic in Switzerland, a plan is set in motion.

Then she meets ten-year-old Rose Trewidney, a whirling, pint-sized rainbow of color and sparkling cheer. All Eudora wants is to be left alone to set her affairs in order. Instead, she finds herself embarking on a series of adventures with the irrepressible Rose and their affable neighbor, the recently widowed Stanley—afternoon tea, shopping sprees, trips to the beach, birthday celebrations, pizza parties.

While the trio of unlikely BFFs grow closer and anxiously await the arrival of Rose’s new baby sister, Eudora is reminded of her own childhood—of losing her father during World War II and the devastating impact it had on her entire family. In reflecting on her past, Eudora realizes she must come to terms with what lies ahead.

But now that her joy for life has been rekindled, how can she possibly say goodbye?

Thoughts
Three unlikely friends who make each other’s lives better. What’s not to love?

And I absolutely did LOVE everything about this book! Eudora, Rose and Stanley are great characters and kept the story interesting and entertaining. Eudora is prim and proper, Stanley is dignified but a bit carefree, and Rose is a free spirit even at her young age. Put them together and you’ve got 3 people who are completely different but together they make the best of friends.

I loved reading about how their friendship started, all they did together, and how they changed each other’s lives. I felt all the emotions while reading this book and now I want to read more books by this author.

I hope that Annie Lyons see’s what a great character she created in Rose and writes a book based on her life. I would grab a copy as soon as it was published and I know others would too!

Will be going on my Favorite Books Of 2022!

 

 

 Posted by at 10:08 AM
May 042022
 

Funny Farm: My Unexpected Life with 600 Rescue Animals by Laurie Zaleski

Laurie Zaleski never aspired to run an animal rescue; that was her mother Annie’s dream. But from girlhood, Laurie was determined to make the dream come true. Thirty years later as a successful businesswoman, she did it, buying a 15-acre farm deep in the Pinelands of South Jersey. She was planning to relocate Annie and her caravan of ragtag rescues – horses and goats, dogs and cats, chickens and pigs – when Annie died, just two weeks before moving day. In her heartbreak, Laurie resolved to make her mother’s dream her own. In 2001, she established the Funny Farm Animal Rescue outside Mays Landing, New Jersey. Today, she carries on Annie’s mission to save abused and neglected animals.

Funny Farm is Laurie’s story: of promises kept, dreams fulfilled, and animals lost and found. It’s the story of Annie McNulty, who fled a nightmarish marriage with few skills, no money and no resources, dragging three kids behind her, and accumulating hundreds of cast-off animals on the way. And lastly, it’s the story of the brave, incredible, and adorable animals that were rescued.

Thoughts
I first saw this book when Diane posted about it. Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE animals, so it was an automatic “get this book”!

It starts with Laura’s childhood and you get to know the good, the bad, and the ugly of her family. I was glad the author added all that information, it added a lot to the story and let us get to know them up close and personal.

The story has a lot of information about the animals and the farms. Some hilarious, some sad, some info I didn’t know. I loved this book. It had all of my favorite things. Animals, family, humor, overcoming life’s hardships etc. It gave me all the feels.

I highly recommend it!

Funny Farm Rescue & Sanctuary is located in Mays Landing, NJ

It is free to the public

It’s run with the help of volunteers and donations

 Posted by at 2:08 PM
Mar 122022
 

The Speckled Beauty: A Dog and His People

The Speckled Beauty: A Dog and His People by Rick Bragg

Speck is not a good boy. He is a terrible boy, a defiant, self-destructive, often malodorous boy, a grave robber and screen door moocher who spends his days playing chicken with the Fed Ex man, picking fights with thousand-pound livestock, and rolling in donkey manure, and his nights howling at the moon. He has been that way since the moment he appeared on the ridgeline behind Rick Bragg’s house, a starved and half-dead creature, 76 pounds of wet hair and poor decisions.

Speck arrived in Rick’s life at a moment of looming uncertainty. A cancer diagnosis, chemo, kidney failure, and recurring pneumonia had left Rick lethargic and melancholy. Speck helped, and he is helping, still, when he is not peeing on the rose of Sharon.

Thoughts
First of all, I am a lifetime animal lover, especially dogs. Second of all, just look at how beautiful Speck is!

I’ve never read a book by this author before but when I saw the cover I fell in love with Speck and knew I would get a copy, which I did immediately.

This book was a 5* right from the beginning. I don’t think I could handle a dog like Speck, but I sure love him. It’s like he’s part dog, part rowdy boy. He sure keeps Bragg (and everyone else)  on his toes!

I don’t want to give away any of the story, but Speck gets into things. Lots of things. He has a mind of his own and does whatever pops into his head. And all he wants from Bragg or any of his other people is rubs, scratches, and food. All the foods!

This book is not only a great story about Speck that will give you all the feels, it’s about his people too.

Not only is Bragg the author, he also narrates it. I love his sense of humor, he is very funny! Now I want to read all his books, funny or not, I love the way he tells a story.

I laughed out loud many many times while listening to this book, and it was very much need!

 Posted by at 3:54 PM
Jan 202022
 

Grandma Gatewood's Walk

Grandma Gatewood’s Walk by Ben Montgomery
Narrator: Patrick Lawlor
The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail

Emma Gatewood told her family she was going on a walk and left her small Ohio hometown with a change of clothes and less than two hundred dollars. The next anybody heard from her, this genteel, farm-reared, sixty-seven-year-old great-grandmother had walked 800 miles along the 2,050-mile Appalachian Trail. And in September 1955, atop Maine’s Mount Katahdin, she sang the first verse of “America, the Beautiful” and proclaimed, “I said I’ll do it, and I’ve done it. “Grandma Gatewood”, as the reporters called her, became the first woman to hike the entire Appalachian Trail alone, as well as the first person-man or woman-to walk it twice and three times. The public attention she brought to the little-known footpath was unprecedented. Her vocal criticism of the lousy, difficult stretches led to bolstered maintenance and very likely saved the trail from extinction.

Thoughts
I don’t remember where I first saw this book, but as soon as I did I knew I was going to find a copy because I LOVE books like this, and it was doubly interesting because Grandma Gatewood was going to walk the length of the Appalachian Trail! At the age of 67! I was in awe of Emma! She wanted to walk the trail “on a lark”. She was a mother of 11, a grandmother of 23, and a survivor of more than 30 years of violent domestic abuse.

One of my favorite Emma quotes is “if those men can do it, I can do it.” And she did, 3 times!

What I didn’t know until I started listening to the book was that she was from a place I am very familiar with. I grew up in Columbus, Ohio and my family had a cabin on Lake Jackson in Oak Hill, Ohio. In the summer between Jr. High and High School, my parents decided to hire someone to build a house on the land  so we could live at the lake full time.

Oak Hill was so small it was (still is) a Village, the nearest hospital to have a baby was in Gallipolis, where Emma Gatewood lived. All three of my kids were born in Gallipolis, and many places mentioned in the book are places I’m very familiar with, like Sardis, Ohio where my family lived when I was baby and visited friends there when I was growing up,  Old Man’s Cave where I went many times with my family and the Girl Scouts, Columbus, and many other towns/places in the area.

The author, Ben Montgomery, is the nephew of Emma Gatewood. He spent most of his 20 year newspaper career as an enterprise reporter for the Tampa Bay Times. He currently lives in Tampa, which is also interesting because I live  40 min. from Tampa.

I loved this book, but it is extra special to me because I was familiar with so many places in the book and familiar with where the author lives.

I think anyone interested in hiking, strong women, or books about woman in general will love this book!

In the book the narrator pronounces Gallipolis as “Gal O Police”, as do other people not from the area. Everyone who lives in the area or is familiar with Gallipolis pronounces it “Gal A Polis”.

My rating: 5*

 Posted by at 4:21 PM
Dec 082021
 
The Husband's Secret

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

Narrated by Caroline Lee

At the heart of The Husband’s Secret is a letter that’s not meant to be read

My darling Cecilia, if you’re reading this, then I’ve died…

Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. . . .

Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.

Thoughts
This was a good book and at times an emotional read. It is at times a very sad story and while I did enjoy it, I felt that there were too many characters. Also, for me there was too much going on at once and I had a little bit of trouble keeping everyone straight in my mind (which could have been me more than the book).

But when we learned the husband’s secret I was flabbergasted! Would have never suspected that was what his secret was, and then the book took a “wow” turn, getting more real and there were a few more smaller things that happened that surprised me.

Overall I enjoyed this book and would read more from this author. The narrator did a great job.

 Posted by at 2:27 PM
Oct 072021
 

Join us for this tour from Sep 20 to Oct 8, 2021

Book Details:

Book Title:  No Names to Be Given
Category: Adult Fiction (18 +)  
Genre: Vintage Women’s Fiction
Publisher:  Admission Press Inc
Release date:   08/2021
Format available for review:  audiobook ( MP3 audio )
Tour Dates: Sep 20 to Oct 8
Content Rating:  PG + M. No bad language, but mature subjects like suicide and a rape scene. These are both mild and not explicit. Fade to black kind of scenes. 


“A gorgeous, thrilling, and important novel! These strong women will capture your heart.” Stacey Swann, author of Olympus, Texas.

“An insightful and sympathetic view offered into the lives of those who were adopted and those who adopted them.” Pam Johnson, author of Justice for Ella.

“A novel worthy of a Lifetime movie adaptation.” Jess Hagemann, author of Headcheese.
“Readers can expect deep knowledge of the world the characters inhabit.” Sara Kocek, author of Promise Me Something.

“I found myself thinking about Becca, Sandy, and Faith frequently as I went about my day—I was always excited to sit down and find out what happened next.” Sarah Welch, author of Austin Brown Dogs: The Shelter Dogs Who Rescue Us. 

CLICK HERE TO VIEW BOOK TRAILER!


Book Description:
Today’s young women will not understand how our families made us feel shame so intensely; we surrendered our first-born children to strangers. Faith Reynolds, No Names to Be Given. 


The widely anticipated debut novel by Julia Brewer Daily is a glimpse into the lives of women forced by society to gift their newborns to strangers. Although this novel is a fictional account, it mirrors many of the adoption stories of its era. 


 When three young unwed women meet at a maternity home hospital in New Orleans in 1965, they are expected to relinquish their babies and return home as if nothing transpired. Twenty-five years later, they are brought back together by blackmail and their secrets threatened with exposure—all the way to the White House.
 Told from the three women’s perspectives in alternating chapters, we are mesmerized by the societal pressures on women in the 1960s who found themselves pregnant without marriage.
 How that inconceivable act changed them forever is the story of No Names To Be Given, a novel with southern voices, love exploited, heartbreak and blackmail.   

Thoughts
This book is about 3 young girls in the ’60’s who were from very different backgrounds, and who ended up meeting when they were sent to a home for unwed mothers. Their parents couldn’t accept their pregnancy and wanted it to be keep a secret. For one of the girls, if her pregnancy was found out, it would have ruined her families reputation, especially her father’s.

The author did a great job of writing about a very hard and personal thing for anyone to go through, especially a young girl. I liked learning how the girls ended up in the situation they were in. Each one made me feel different emotions and I was eager to find out how each one played out.

The story continued after they had their babies and I enjoyed finding out what happened after that. I would give this book a 5*.

This was narrated by Reagan Boggs and she did a fantastic job! I would definitely read another book by this author and listen to another audiobook by Reagan Boggs.

BUY THE BOOK:
Amazon.com ~ Amazon UK ~B&NIndiebound ~ Waterstones ~ Indigo ~ The Book Depository

Add to Goodreads

Meet the Author:
 Julia Brewer Daily is a Texan with a southern accent. She holds a B.S. in English and a M.S. degree in Education from the University of Southern Mississippi. 

She has been a Communications Adjunct Professor at Belhaven University, Jackson, Mississippi, and Public Relations Director of the Mississippi Department of Education and Millsaps College, a liberal arts college in Jackson, MS.  

She was the founding director of the Greater Belhaven Market, a producers’ only market in a historic neighborhood in Jackson, and even shadowed Martha Stewart. 

As the Executive Director of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi (300 artisans from 19 states) which operates the Mississippi Craft Center, she wrote their stories to introduce them to the public.

Daily is an adopted child from a maternity home hospital in New Orleans. She searched and found her birth mother and through a DNA test, her birth father’s family, as well.  A lifelong southerner, she now resides on a ranch in Fredericksburg, Texas, with her husband Emmerson and Labrador Retrievers, Memphis Belle and Texas Star.​
​​
connect with the author: website ~ facebook  goodreads

​​Enter The Giveaway HERE


Tour Schedule:

Sep 20 – Cover Lover Book Review – audiobook review / author interview / giveaway 
​Sep 21 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – audiobook review / guest post / giveaway 
Sep 21 –Gina Rae Mitchell – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Sep 22– Bound 4 Escape – audiobook review / giveaway ​
Sep 23 – Book Corner New and Reviews – audiobook review / giveaway 
Sep 24– I’m Into Books – book spotlight / giveaway
Sep 27 – @booking.with.janelle – audiobook review / author interview 
Sep 28 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway 
Sep 29 –@fantasybookcraz_mum – audiobook review
Sep 30 – Pick a Good Book – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
​Oct 4 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway 
Oct 5 – Sadie’s Spotlight – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Oct 6 – Literary Flits – book spotlight / giveaway 
Oct 7 – I’d Rather Be At The Beach – audiobook review / giveaway
Oct 8 – Laura’s Interest – audiobook review / giveaway 

 Posted by at 12:28 PM
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