Dec 122019

An unforgettable novel about the power of friendship and kindness by the New York Times bestselling author of Pay It Forward.

In the summer of 1969, fourteen-year-old Lucas Painter carries a huge weight on his shoulders. His brother is fighting in Vietnam. His embattled parents are locked in a never-ending war. And his best friend, Connor, is struggling with his own family issues. To find relief from the chaos, Lucas takes long, meandering walks, and one day he veers into the woods.

There he discovers an isolated cabin and two huge dogs. Frightened, he runs. And the dogs run with him. Lucas finds unusual peace in running with the dogs, and eventually he meets their owner, Zoe Dinsmore. Closed off and haunted by a tragic past, Zoe has given up. She doesn’t want to be saved. She wants out. But Lucas doesn’t want her to go, and he sees an opportunity to bring more than one friend back into the light. It’s either the best or worst idea he’s ever had, but Lucas isn’t giving up on Zoe or Connor.

Their unexpected connection might be the saving grace that Zoe thought she’d lost, that Connor needs, and that Lucas has been running toward.

This is the sixth book written by this author that I’ve read, and like all the others, I loved it.

This book starts with Lucas who is now in his 60’s, remembering his life as a child. He remembers it wasn’t as good as he’d have liked it to be. His brother is fighting in Vietnam and his parents fight all the time. His friend Conner’s parents don’t talk to each other and he is pretty much isolating himself.

One day as Lucas is walking in the woods he sees a cabin and the two big dogs that live there. He’s afraid they might attack him so he starts running and the dogs run after him. Soon he realizes the dogs aren’t going to hurt him, they just want to run with him. So he goes back every day and the three of them run which helps him get rid of a lot of the stress he’s carrying.

Along the way he meets the characters in this story, and they were all interesting. Through them Lucas learns that what you see isn’t always what you get with people, and everyone has something to offer whether it’s friendship, a lesson, or something else.

Another winner from this author.

Giveaway: Sorry, US only
If you’d like a chance to win this book, leave a comment letting me know
Giveaway ends 12-19


Author Bio
Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of more than thirty published and forthcoming books. An avid hiker, traveler, equestrian, and amateur photographer, she has released her first book of photos, 365 Days of Gratitude: Photos from a Beautiful World.

Her novel Pay It Forward was adapted into a major motion picture, chosen by the American Library Association (ALA) for its Best Book for Young Adults list, and translated into more than twenty-three languages for distribution in over thirty countries. Both Becoming Chloe and Jumpstart the World were included on the ALA’s Rainbow List, and Jumpstart the World was a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards. Where We Belong won two Rainbow Awards in 2013, and The Language of Hoofbeats won a Rainbow Award in 2015.

More than fifty of her short stories have been published in the Antioch ReviewMichigan Quarterly ReviewVirginia Quarterly ReviewPloughsharesGlimmer Train, and many other journals, and in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts and the bestselling anthology Dog Is My Co-Pilot. Her stories have been honored in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest and the Tobias Wolff Award and nominated for the O. Henry Award and the Pushcart Prize. Three have been cited in The Best American Short Stories.

She is founder and former president (2000–2009) of the Pay It Forward Foundation and still serves on its board of directors. As a professional public speaker, she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with AmeriCorps members at the White House, and shared a dais with Bill Clinton.

Connect with Catherine

Website | Facebook | Twitter


Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Connect with Catherine

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Nov 112019

About It Would Be Night in Caracas

• Hardcover: 240 pages
• Publisher: HarperVia (October 15, 2019)

Told with gripping intensity, It Would be Night in Caracas chronicles one woman’s desperate battle to survive amid the dangerous, sometimes deadly, turbulence of modern Venezuela and the lengths she must go to secure her future.

In Caracas, Venezuela, Adelaida Falcón stands over an open grave. Alone, she buries her mother—the only family she has ever known—and worries that when night falls thieves will rob the grave. Even the dead cannot find peace here.

Adelaida had a stable childhood in a prosperous Venezuela that accepted immigrants in search of a better life, where she lived with her single-mother in a humble apartment. But now? Every day she lines up for bread that will inevitably be sold out by the time she reaches the registers. Every night she tapes her windows to shut out the tear gas raining down on protesters. When looters masquerading as revolutionaries take over her apartment, Adelaida must make a series of gruesome choices in order to survive in a country disintegrating into anarchy, where citizens are increasingly pitted against each other. But just how far is she willing to go?

A bold new voice from Latin America, Karina Sainz Borgo’s touching, thrilling debut is an ode to the Venezuelan people and a chilling reminder of how quickly the world we know can crumble.

I can’t imagine living through what Adelaida lived through. Not only was she dealing with the death of her mother but she was also dealing with the chaos in her world.

The book is full of information about the events in Caracas but since it’s a work of fiction and I don’t know much about what has happened in the past and what is still going on in Venezuela,  I don’t know how accurate it is. This is a story about living in a country where your only thought 24/7 is how you are going to survive.

The book is short at only 240 pages, but in those pages you get a lot and are very thankful that you have not had to live through anything like this.

Great writing, great characters, great mix of emotions.
I would definitely read another book by this author.

Social Media
#itwouldbenightincaracas @tlcbooktours @harperviabooks

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Photo by Lisbeth Salas

About Karina Sainz Borgo

Karina Sainz Borgo was born and raised in Caracas. She began her career in Venezuela as a journalist for El Nacional. Since immigrating to Spain ten years ago, she has written for Vozpópuli and collaborates with the literary magazine Zenda. She is the author of two nonfiction books, Tráfico y Guaire (2008) and Caracas Hip-Hop (2008). It Would Be Night in Caracas is her first work of fiction.

Follow her on Twitter


Nov 022019

I CAN AND I WILL: A Simple and Powerful story that helps to understand the importance of believing in yourself and figure out how to handle negative emotions (cheerful mantra song included) by [Spring, Olivia]

I Can And I Will by Olivia Spring
Illustrated by Micaela Stefano

File Size: 9437 KB
Print Length: 26 pages
Publication Date: May 27, 2019
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English

Oliver becomes frustrated and upset when he can’t tie his shoes. He doesn’t know how to handle his emotions. His attention shifts when he is distracted by a little squirrel on a tree outside. The squirrel is also struggling with a task, but instead of becoming angry or upset, it starts to sings a little motivational song to inspire itself to keep trying. Oliver, now repeating the words of the squirrel’s song, composes himself and tries again to tie his shoes.
This time he succeeds, proving to himself and his parents that he can do anything if he just stays calm and gives it another try.

As young readers follow Oliver in his attempts to tie his shoes, they will learn the valuable life lesson, that if at first you don’t succeed, just remain calm and try again.

The simple & catchy motivational song that your child will learn along with Oliver will help them face any difficulties they may encounter, and to realize that all they have to do to succeed is to try again.

Oliver tried to tie his shoes himself but they wouldn’t stay tied, so he threw his shoes across the room in a fit. Then he saw a squirrel outside who couldn’t break open a walnut, but the squirrel didn’t get mad, he just kept trying over and over, and singing “I can and I will. I am and I’ll be. Nothings too hard when I believe in me.” and finally the walnut cracked open. So Oliver tried to tie his shoes again while singing the “I can and I will” song, and was able to tie his shoe laces!

Oliver’s mom and dad were so proud of him and Oliver was so proud of himself.

I love that this book teaches kids that getting mad/throwing a fit isn’t going to solve anything. By staying calm and trying, you will finally do what you thought you would not be able to do.

The illustrations were bold and and colorful.

Great book for all kids, especially those who tend to get aggravated  when they can’t do things they are trying to do.

Oct 252019

About Marilla of Green Gables

• Paperback: 320 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (October 8, 2019)

A bold, heartfelt tale of life at Green Gables . . . before Anne: A marvelously entertaining and moving historical novel, set in rural Prince Edward Island in the nineteenth century, that imagines the young life of spinster Marilla Cuthbert, and the choices that will open her life to the possibility of heartbreak—and unimaginable greatness.

Plucky and ambitious, Marilla Cuthbert is thirteen years old when her world is turned upside down. Her beloved mother dies in childbirth, and Marilla suddenly must bear the responsibilities of a farm wife: cooking, sewing, keeping house, and overseeing the day-to-day life of Green Gables with her brother, Matthew and father, Hugh.

In Avonlea—a small, tight-knit farming town on a remote island—life holds few options for farm girls. Her one connection to the wider world is Aunt Elizabeth “Izzy” Johnson, her mother’s sister, who managed to escape from Avonlea to the bustling city of St. Catharines. An opinionated spinster, Aunt Izzy’s talent as a seamstress has allowed her to build a thriving business and make her own way in the world.

Emboldened by her aunt, Marilla dares to venture beyond the safety of Green Gables and discovers new friends and new opportunities. Joining the Ladies Aid Society, she raises funds for an orphanage run by the Sisters of Charity in nearby Nova Scotia that secretly serves as a way station for runaway slaves from America. Her budding romance with John Blythe, the charming son of a neighbor, offers her a possibility of future happiness—Marilla is in no rush to trade one farm life for another. She soon finds herself caught up in the dangerous work of politics, and abolition—jeopardizing all she cherishes, including her bond with her dearest John Blythe. Now Marilla must face a reckoning between her dreams of making a difference in the wider world and the small-town reality of life at Green Gables.

I’ve always wondered what Marilla and Matthew’s lives were like before Anne. This book does a great job of letting us know. The book starts out with Marilla and Matthew as children, living with Clara, their mom, and Hugh, their dad.  I enjoyed getting to know them and the other characters introduced in this book.

The book is full of both happy and sad times, and is the perfect lead up to Anne. It answers a lot of question many fans of this series have.

The author did a great job of writing in a similar style of LM Montgomery. So much so that you may forget that she isn’t the original author.

Anyone who loves the book or tv series Anne Of Green Gables would probably love this book.

Social Media
Please use the hashtag #marillaofgreengables and tag @williammorrowbooks, @sarahmmccoy, and @tlcbooktours.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Photo by Emily Martin

About Sarah McCoy

Sarah McCoy is the New York TimesUSA Today, and internationally bestselling author of the novels The Mapmaker’s Children; The Baker’s Daughter, a 2012 Goodreads Choice Award nominee; and The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico. She has taught English and writing at Old Dominion University and at the University of Texas at El Paso. She lives with her husband, an orthopedic sports surgeon, and their dog, Gilbert, in North Carolina.

Sarah enjoys connecting with her readers on Twitter at @SarahMMcCoy, on her Facebook Fan Page, on Instagram at @sarahmmccoy, or via her website,

Oct 182019

• Hardcover: 288 pages
• Publisher: HarperOne (October 15, 2019)

For the first time, a Neuroscientist and Senior Lecturer at MIT reveals the surprising science that supports The Law of Attraction as an effective tool for self-discovery and offers a guide to discovering your authentic self to access your best life now.

Self-help books like The Secret show us that if we can tap into “The Law of Attraction,” we have the power to change our destiny simply by reshaping our mind. Millions of people have used the ancient systems of manifestation and visualization to find health, success, love, friendship, wealth, and more. But does the “Law of Attraction” actually work? And more important, is this kind of life-changing philosophy within reach for everyone, even the most skeptical among us?

As Dr. Tara Swart, psychiatrist, neuroscientist, and Senior Lecturer at MIT shows us in The Source, if we can strip away our skepticism, these ancient tools of manifestation and visualization are fundamentally powerful and incredibly effective at freeing us of self-limiting behaviors and propelling us toward our truest, most authentic selves. Swart reveals how and why these systems actually work by offering the latest breakthroughs in neuroscience and behavioral psychology, including lessons in neuroplasticity, magneticism, emotional and logical thinking, and even hydration, self-care, and relaxation. Next, she describes her own journey from skeptic to believer, and guides readers through the scientific breakthroughs and personal revelations that changed her from an unhappy, close-minded, and disconnected woman wanting more from life, to a successful entrepreneur living with confidence, purpose, and joy.

The truth is, most of the things we want—health, happiness, wealth, love—are governed by our ability to think, feel, and act—in other words, by our brain. Dr. Swart combines the insights and inspiration of The Secret with the practical lessons of The Master Key System to help a new generation fulfill their dreams. The Source is a rigorous, proven toolkit for unlocking our minds—and reaching our fullest potential.

This book will show you steps that you can use that will help you learn how you can succeed in your life goals and live a happier, healthier, more content life, Physically, Mentally, Emotionally, and Spiritually.

I thought it might be a hard read based on the subject but the author makes it easy to understand and the steps are easy to do.

I especially liked reading about how to spot false logic, improve creativity, making good decisions, and Interoception signals.

This is an interesting book and I think everyone could benefit from reading it.

 Social Media

 #thesource, and tag @tlcbooktours, @harperonebooks, and @drtaraswart.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Tara Swart

DR. TARA SWART is a neuroscientist and former psychiatric doctor. She is a senior lecturer at MIT Sloan and visiting senior lecturer at Kings College, London, and an executive advisor to some of the world’s most respected leaders in media and business. She is lead author of the award-winning Neuroscience for Leadership and in 2016 she was named the world’s first Neuroscientist in Residence at Corinthia Hotel, London. She is passionate about teaching others how to apply lessons from cognitive science to enhance everyday lives.

Find out more about Tara at her website, and follower her on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

Oct 142019

When the Clock Strikes on Halloween by [Ferland, Lisa]

When the Clock Strikes On Halloween by Lisa Ferland
llustrated by Pei Jen

It’s Halloween night which means trick-or-treating in spooktacular costumes.

This is the perfect Halloween book to get kids interested in learning about time as they count every hour of Halloween night.

Simple rhyming sentences are fun and reinforce learning time. Little clues on every page will hold your child’s attention and have them going back through the book over and over again.

Perfect for kids aged 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. Playful illustrations and fun rhymes help every kid learn about time.

This is a really cute rhyming book that shows an analogue clock for the  hours of Halloween from 1 – 12. Since the story is about Halloween, there are ghosts, witches, wolves etc., but it isn’t overly spooky and I don’t think it will scare small children. The rhymes are very cute/funny and the illustrations are bold and colorful.

This is a great book for little ones and even not so little ones. I enjoyed it very much.

I love that the clock is an analogue since schools teach kids how to tell time on on a digital clock nowadays, at least at the schools I’m familiar with.

Oct 102019

Growing Up in Disneyland

Growing Up in Disneyland by Ron DeFore

This is not a book all about Disneyland and Hollywood. Although Disneyland was my “backyard” for five years of my childhood, “Growing up in Disneyland”— with all its different “lands”—is more of a metaphor for my entire life beginning with growing up in a “Hollywood” celebrity family and into adult life filled with countless jaw-dropping experiences and career changes. Yes, there’s been many Hollywood-type books written, so for years I thought writing such a book would be redundant or just overlooked. I mean, who cares? Who would be interested?

My father, Don DeFore, was a well-known celebrity in the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s, a beloved actor of his time, and one of America’s first TV characters. Even later in life when his movies and TV shows were in re-runs, he still attracted many well-wishers at restaurants and other public places. Why? Not just because of his celebrity but because fans sensed that Don DeFore was never just acting, but projecting his genuine, “regular guy” personality that made him both endearing and enduring and loved by millions of fans.

As for interest in my life, other celebrity sons and daughters surely had exciting experiences. But did they have equally incredible brushes with history and amazing encounters similar to that of Forrest Gump? I’ll let you be the judge! After years of telling my life’s many stories in conversations and public presentations, the number of people telling me to write a book reached critical mass. I’ve now come to believe at least some people are interested. At minimum, this book will chronicle the achievements of one of America’s favorite character actors. But I must emphasize this is not meant to be a comprehensive biography of my Dad.

There are historians that know far more about every character he played and interesting details about each production. Many of his accomplishments happened before I was born. It is this period—his early live theater, film, and TV career where I use my Dad’s own words. For the first time, portions of his unpublished autobiographical memoirs, Hollywood—De- Fore ‘n’ After, are published here. Only minor editing was applied for clarity. His writings are in italics.

Although the first part of my book covers most of my Dad’s career highlights, this is mainly my story of growing up in a celebrity family, and many of the amazing experiences afforded me because of it and my upbringing. Being in the public relations business the later part of my life, I’ve learned to “give the headlines first” so here are just a few of them I will expound upon:

¶My Dad, Don DeFore, has a star on Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame.
¶ In the 1950s he was “Mr. Thornberry,” or “Thorny,” the next-door-neighbor character, in the tremendously popular weekly TV series “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.”
¶Dad was president of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for two consecutive terms. In his first in 1954, he sold the first nationally televised broadcast of the Emmy Awards to NBC.
¶ In the early 1960s he co-starred in his own hit TV series, “Hazel,” playing the head of the household, Mr. Baxter, or “Mr. B.”
¶Dad was in more than thirty feature films, co-starring in about a dozen with Ronald Reagan, John Wayne, Rock Hudson, Spencer Tracy, Betty Hutton, Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, and Groucho Marx (a full list is on my website dedicated to his works:
¶He co-starred in Charlton Heston’s first feature film, “Dark City.”
¶ In “My Friend Irma” Dad got co-star billing above “introducing Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.” Similarly, with Doris Day’s first feature film, “Romance on the High Seas,” as well Lizabeth Scott’s first film, “You Came Along.”
¶Dad was the only person to own his own concession in Disneyland that displayed one’s name: Don DeFore’s Silver Banjo Barbecue restaurant in Frontierland.
¶Our family got to meet the Beatles during their 1964 U.S. tour. My sister, Dawn, kissed them all. My new 8mm captured the only known film of that private party in Brentwood.
¶As a real estate agent in Encino California, I showed a house to Michael Jackson.
¶ I got to meet Led Zeppelin and was the only onstage photographer (other than their own) at their September 4, 1970 Los Angeles Forum concert. ¶Mike Love, lead singer of the Beach Boys, asked me to be his PR guy for the 1986 “Live Aid Concert” in Philadelphia.
¶ I did a show with Robin Williams at which he and I arrived before anyone else and spent at least 30 minutes talking. But I don’t recall saying a word!
¶ The Robin Williams experience was during my mid-life crisis (at age 26) when I was a Disco DJ – “The Flying DJ” of L.A.’s famous Dillion’s Discotheque. I actually flew above the crowd in a space suit. I’ve got video to prove it, however, I never listed that exact job description as I later became…
¶A political appointee in President Ronald Reagan’s Administration—holding three positions (wow, good thing they didn’t see the video!).
¶Dad produced one of Ronald Reagan’s early political events in 1961 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.
¶As a featured singer with orchestras in the1930s and early ’40s my Mom, Marion Holmes, made “I’m a Little Teapot” famous. She also had a pretty well-known matron of honor at her wedding: Judy Garland (for younger readers, “Dorothy” in the “Wizard of Oz”).

Wow, this book is GOOD! I’m so glad a joined this tour!!!

I’m a big fan of Disney, biographies, and autobiographies, so I knew right away I wanted to read this book. At first I didn’t remember who Don DeFore was, but after reading who he played on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet & Hazel, I did remember him, just not his name.

The book is full of information about the lives of Don and his son Ron, but also their careers and people they met along the way. There is a bit of politics, UFO’s/aliens, celebrities, and a lot more.

There is a “Photo Chapter” full of photos with their explanation, which I really loved.

This is a book that you don’t want to put down even though you know there are things you need to be doing. It will stay on my shelf that is reserved for books that made a big impact on me and that I plan to re-read.

Whether or not you’re a fan of Don Defore, you will enjoy this book.
I highly recommend this book to everyone!

This giveaway is for 3 winners choice of one print or ebook copy of the book. Print is open to the U.S. only and ebook is available worldwide. This giveaway ends November 29, 2019, midnight pacific time. Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Premier Virtual Author Book Tours

Oct 052019

The Lido by Libby Page

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 9 hours and 18 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Release Date: July 10, 2018

A tender, joyous debut novel about a cub reporter and her 86-year-old subject – and the unlikely and life-changing friendship that develops between them.

Kate is a 26-year-old riddled with anxiety and panic attacks who works for a local paper in Brixton, London, covering forgettably small stories. When she’s assigned to write about the closing of the local lido (an outdoor pool and recreation center), she meets Rosemary, an 86-year-old widow who has swum at the lido daily since it opened its doors when she was a child. It was here Rosemary fell in love with her husband, George; here that she’s found communion during her marriage and since George’s death. The lido has been a cornerstone in nearly every part of Rosemary’s life.

But when a local developer attempts to buy the lido for a posh new apartment complex, Rosemary’s fond memories and sense of community are under threat.

As Kate dives deeper into the lido’s history – with the help of a charming photographer – she pieces together a portrait of the pool and a portrait of a singular woman, Rosemary. What begins as a simple local interest story for Kate soon blossoms into a beautiful friendship that provides sustenance to both women as they galvanize the community to fight the lido’s closure. Meanwhile, Rosemary slowly, finally, begins to open up to Kate, transforming them both in ways they never knew possible.

In the tradition of Fredrik Backman, The Lido is a charming, feel-good novel that captures the heart and spirit of a community across generations – an irresistible tale of love, loss, aging, and friendship.

I’ve had this book on my list for a while. I don’t know why it took me so long to get to it but I’m so glad I decided to move it to the top of my list.

I loved Rosemary! She is 86 and a widow who swims at the Lido every day and has been going there since it opened when she was a child. I loved learning about her life and her love for her husband George and their life together, and her love for the Lido.

Kate was a great character also. She is 26-year-old, works for a newspaper and suffers from anxiety, but with the help of Rosemary, the Lido,  and a man she starts having a relationship with (can’t remember his name), she finally starts living a “normal” life.

Together these two women, with the help of the community, set out to stop the Lido from being demolished and turned into an apartment complex.

This is a fantastic book that will be going on my “favorite” list for this year. The characters were full of love for their community, each other, and doing whatever it took to save the Lido. It was an awesome story that will stay with me for a very long time and I have a feeling I’ll be listening, or reading, it again.

This is the first book by Libby Page . I will be keeping an eye out for her next book, The 24-Hour Café which is scheduled to be released January 23rd in the UK, and hopefully soon after in the U.S.

Sep 272019


Guardians of Being by Eckhart Tolle
Illustrator: Patrick McDonnell

Hardcover: 128 pages
Publisher: New World Library; Illustrated edition (October 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1577316711
ISBN-13: 978-1577316718

This wonderfully unique collaboration brings together two masters of their fields, joining original words by spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle with delightful illustrations by Patrick McDonnell, the creator of the acclaimed comic strip MUTTS. Every heartwarming page provokes thought, insight, and smiling reverence for all beings and each moment.

More than a collection of witty and charming drawings, the marriage of Patrick McDonnell’s art and Eckhart Tolle’s words conveys a profound love of nature, of animals, of humans, of all life-forms. Guardians of Being celebrates and reminds us of not only the oneness of all life but also the wonder and joy to be found in the present moment, amid the beauty we sometimes forget to notice all around us.

This is a very calming book. It is full of messages of how everyday interactions with our pets can be the best part of our day.

It teaches us to live in the present like our pets do. They don’t dwell on the past, they live in the moment. We can make a habit of enjoying our pets, nature, and the people in our lives and to push the negative thoughts from our minds.

I loved the illustrations by Patrick McDonnell!

I’m a dog lover and I very much try to live my life calmly, and I enjoyed this book very much.

Sep 252019


The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Narrated by Christopher Welch

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 6 hours and 56 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: HarperAudio Release Date: May 13, 2008

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.
Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition. He sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life’s ordeals.

On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through: the sacrifices Denny has made to succeed professionally; the unexpected loss of Eve, Denny’s wife; the three-year battle over their daughter, Zoe, whose maternal grandparents pulled every string to gain custody. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoe at his side.

Having learned what it takes to be a compassionate and successful person, the wise canine can barely wait until his next lifetime, when he is sure he will return as a man.

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life…as only a dog could tell it.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love dogs. I really can’t believe I missed this book when it was released, or since.

I absolutely loved Enzo and Denny! I loved that Enzo could understand what humans were saying and that although he could talk in his head, he couldn’t make the words come out of his mouth.

The story starts when Enzo is just a puppy and follows him throughout his life. The bond between him and Denny was so touching, and later when Eve and Zoe came along the relationships with them were too.

Enzo only wants the best for his people and does everything he can to help them. His favorite thing other than eating of course is speeding along the track with Denny.

I don’t want to give much away, but Enzo knows things that he wishes he could tell them, and he does what he can to protect them when they need it.

There was one part of the book when things looked very sad/bad for Denny, but with the light bulb moment of  someone also trying to help Denny, Enzo saves the day. That part was amazing, and I wish it was an actual thing.

This book sent me on a roller coaster ride of emotions, I had all the feels listening to this.

I didn’t see the movie when it came out because I wanted to read the book first, but now I need to find a copy!

If you haven’t read this yet, just do it! I’m sorry I waited so long.

Aug 242019

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro

Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Knopf; 1st Edition edition (January 15, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1524732710
ISBN-13: 978-1524732714

What makes us who we are? What combination of memory, history, biology, experience, and that ineffable thing called the soul defines us?

In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had whimsically submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father. She woke up one morning and her entire history–the life she had lived–crumbled beneath her.

Inheritance is a book about secrets–secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness; secrets we keep from one another in the name of love. It is the story of a woman’s urgent quest to unlock the story of her own identity, a story that has been scrupulously hidden from her for more than fifty years, years she had spent writing brilliantly, and compulsively, on themes of identity and family history. It is a book about the extraordinary moment we live in–a moment in which science and technology have outpaced not only medical ethics but also the capacities of the human heart to contend with the consequences of what we discover.

This book was very interesting and I didn’t want to stop reading. Everytime I learned the outcome of one thing, I wanted to keep reading so I could find out what happened next. It was a long painful journey for Dani and at times she thought she’d never find the information she so desperately wanted, but in the end things turned out in a way that she was satisfied with.

I don’t know what I would do in this situation, but I applaud Dani for doing whatever it took to get the answers she needed.

This was the first book I’ve read by this author and now I want to read more by her.

Aug 072019

Summer of '69

Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand
Narrated by Erin Bennett

Audio CD
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company; Unabridged edition (June 18, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1549119370
ISBN-13: 978-1549119378

Welcome to the most tumultuous summer of the twentieth century. It’s 1969, and for the Levin family, the times they are a-changing. Every year the children have looked forward to spending the summer at their grandmother’s historic home in downtown Nantucket. But like so much else in America, nothing is the same: Blair, the oldest sister, is marooned in Boston, pregnant with twins and unable to travel. Middle sister Kirby, caught up in the thrilling vortex of civil rights protests and determined to be independent, takes a summer job on Martha’s Vineyard. Only-son Tiger is an infantry soldier, recently deployed to Vietnam. Thirteen-year-old Jessie suddenly feels like an only child, marooned in the house with her out-of-touch grandmother and her worried mother, each of them hiding a troubling secret. As the summer heats up, Ted Kennedy sinks a car in Chappaquiddick, man flies to the moon, and Jessie and her family experience their own dramatic upheavals along with the rest of the country.

In her first historical novel, rich with the details of an era that shaped both a nation and an island thirty miles out to sea, Elin Hilderbrand once again earns her title as queen of the summer novel.

I loved everything about this book. It takes place in Nantucket and a lot of it is centered at the beach. I loved most of the characters but there were two that I wanted to shake from time to time.

The book is about a family who gets along really well. Even though they all love Grandmother Exalta, she is known for putting a damper on things.

I loved how they genuinely cared for each other and the book brought back a lot of emotions from my own childhood.  Jessie and Tiger reminded me of me and my twin brother. We were 11 yrs. old in ’69 and we got along really good from the time we were infants. Another thing that was similar was that Rick went into the Marines not long after high school. We had 3 older sisters and this book took me back in time to many good memories of growing up with my sisters and brother.

The book has a lot of references to 1969 like Woodstock, the moon landing, the Vietnam war, and the incident at Chappaquiddick in which Ted Kennedy’s car went over the the side of the  bridge  and 28 yr. old Mary Jo Kopechne died. I remember all of those things.

This book made me feel all kinds of emotions. I was engrossed in it from the beginning to the end and was sorry when it was over. I wanted more.

Hilerbrand did a great job with this book, especially since it was her first historical fiction. I listened to the audio cd version of the book and really enjoyed the narration.  Erin Bennett has a voice that is very easy to listen to.

I highly recommed this book!

Jul 252019

Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man and Life's Greatest Lesson

Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Doubleday; 1st edition (August 18, 1997)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385484518
ISBN-13: 978-0385484510

Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher, or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, helped you see the world as a more profound place, gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it.

For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago.

Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded, and the world seemed colder. Wouldn’t you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you, receive wisdom for your busy life today the way you once did when you were younger?

Mitch Albom had that second chance. He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man’s life. Knowing he was dying, Morrie visited with Mitch in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final “class”: lessons in how to live.

Tuesdays with Morrie is a magical chronicle of their time together, through which Mitch shares Morrie’s lasting gift with the world.

I debated whether to read this book or not because I knew it would be very sad, but I finally decided I would go ahead and try it. The book is a very emotional read, but I loved everything about it. The relationship between Mitch and Morrie was very special, and the fact that they went a period of time without any communication didn’t change that. Morrie was a great mentor, and Mitch was a great student, they made a great pair.

I think Morrie was way more open about his situation as his health deteriorated than I would be. But I think it helped Mitch deal with Morrie’s impending death knowing how bad it actually was and that Morrie was dealing with things as good as he was.

Morrie had a great sense of humor, was very knowledgeable about many subjects, and was an inspiration to his student, friends, and family.

I enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it!

Jul 182019

Weird But True! USA

Weird But True USA by NatGeo Kids

Age Range: 9 – 12 years
Grade Level: 4 – 7
Series: Weird but True
Library Binding: 208 pages
Publisher: National Geographic Children’s Books (March 19, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1426333722
ISBN-13: 978-1426333729

It’s weird. It’s true. And now, it’s red, white, and blue! Explore the wonderfully wacky side of the United States of America Weird But True! style.

Calling all patriots! Get ready to explore wacky wonders, facts, stats, tidbits, and trivia about America’s 50 states and territories! Did you know that there is a floating post office in Michigan? Or that a library book checked out by George Washington was returned to a New York City library 221 years late? Maybe you’d be amazed to discover that the ink used to print U.S. paper money is magnetic? In this latest and greatest edition of Weird But True!, you’ll encounter all kinds of bizarre people, places, events, and things that make our country great.

This book is another example of adults being able to enjoy books geared toward children. I love NatGeo Kids books!

I really enjoyed reading this book and I learned quite a bit. Here are a few things I learned:

1. An NFL game lasts longer than 3 hrs. but the ball is only in play for an average of 11 minutes.

2. In 1965 the Ohio General Assembly made tomato juice Ohio’s official beverage. Adoption of an official beverage coincided with the Tomato Festival held in Reynoldsburg, Ohio. (I never knew this even though I grew up in Columbus and went to Jr. High in Reynoldsburg. )

3. California sea otters have pouches under their arms for storing rocks which they use for opening clams.

4. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was originally named From Kansas To Fairyland

5. There’s enough water in Lake Superior to flood all of North and South America in one foot of water.

6. The spelling of the word Pennsylvania on the Liberty Bell is mispelled Pensylvania.

It’s a short book at just over 200 pages, but it’s page after page of interesting facts that few people are aware of.

I think people of all ages would enjoy it and learn a lot from it.

I recommend this book to anyone of any age and will be reading more from NatGeo Kids.

Jul 122019

Listening to My Feelings: Children's books, ages 3 5, kids, boys by [Gordon, Michael]

Listening to My Feelings by Michael Gordon

Illustrated by Max Larin

File Size: 9185 KB
Print Length: 21 pages
Publication Date: July 9, 2019
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English

Don’t let angry balloon pop! Here’s a great story for helping kids manage their feelings.

* Learn how to cope with feelings in a more natural way.
* Make it clear that hitting, kicking, biting are not allowed
* Behaving badly doesn’t make you bad
* Show your kids how to deal with disappointment
* Teach your children anger management skills
* Teaching kids about empathy, kindness, and compassion

This is a great book that will let children know that everyone gets mad, but that you need to control your anger and not lash out. It has a few different ways that will help them learn how to react in a calm way.

The illustrations are really cute and it’s short so it will hold the childs attention until the book is finished.

Jul 112019

Have You Seen Luis Velez?

Have You Seen Luis Valez? by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Narrated by Michael Crouch

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 11 hours and 30 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Brilliance Audio Release Date: May 21, 2019

Raymond Jaffe feels like he doesn’t belong. Not with his mother’s new family. Not as a weekend guest with his father and his father’s wife. Not at school, where he’s an outcast. After his best friend moves away, Raymond has only two real connections: to the feral cat he’s tamed and to a blind ninety-two-year-old woman in his building who’s introduced herself with a curious question: Have you seen Luis Velez?

Mildred Gutermann, a German Jew who narrowly escaped the Holocaust, has been alone since her caretaker disappeared. She turns to Raymond for help, and as he tries to track Luis down, a deep and unexpected friendship blossoms between the two.

Despondent at the loss of Luis, Mildred isolates herself further from a neighborhood devolving into bigotry and fear. Determined not to let her give up, Raymond helps her see that for every terrible act the world delivers, there is a mirror image of deep kindness, and Mildred helps Raymond see that there’s hope if you have someone to hold on to.

I know I say “I loved this book” a lot. I really do love books so it’s unusual for me to find a book that I don’t love. So for this book, I’ll say I triple loved it! It is a great story of a teenager with a heart of gold. He is everything a mother wishes for her child to be. He is like my children. They also are very caring people.

I loved listening to how the friendship between Raymond and Mildred came about and how it grew with time. They both added so much to each other’s lives and made them so much better! From the beginning I was hoping they would become close friends and “save” each other.

So much happened in this book and I couldn’t wait to get back to listening so I could find out what was going to happen next. I felt like I knew these people and was sad when the book ended. It touched me deeply and I know I’ll listen to it again. I’m hoping there is a “book 2” so I can find out what happened to everyone after the book ended.

I’ve loved every book by Catherine Ryan Hyde that I’ve read, but this one is on the top of my favorites. The narrator did a great job too!

This audiobook is free with Kindle Unlimited so why not give it a try? If you do, I hope you love it as much as I did.

I’d rate this a 10★ and it will definitely be on my most favorite books ever & my favorites list for 2019.


Jul 102019

Turtle In Paradise by Jennifer Holmes

Narrated by Becca Battoe

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 3 hours and 47 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Listening Library Release Date: May 11, 2010

Life isn’t like the movies. But then again, 11-year-old Turtle is no Shirley Temple.

She’s smart and tough and has seen enough of the world not to expect a Hollywood ending. After all, it’s 1935 and jobs and money and sometimes even dreams are scarce. So when Turtle’s mama gets a job housekeeping for a lady who doesn’t like kids, Turtle says goodbye without a tear and heads off to Key West, Florida, to live with relatives she’s never met. Florida’s like nothing Turtle’s ever seen before though. It’s hot and strange, full of ragtag boy cousins, family secrets, scams, and even buried pirate treasure! Before she knows what’s happened, Turtle finds herself coming out of the shell she’s spent her life building, and as she does, her world opens up in the most unexpected ways. Filled with adventure, humor and heart, Turtle in Paradise is an instant classic both boys and girls will love.

The age range for this book is 8-12, but I think that’s off. I’m way older (way way way older) than 12 and I LOVED this book, as I think most people above 8 would.

It’s a cute book about a girl named Turtle who is sent to stay with an aunt and cousins whom she doesn’t really know, and how the summer unfolds. At first Turtle isn’t welcomed by her cousins, but they slowly accept her and they all become best friends.

It’s a really cute story and I enjoyed every minute of it. There are some very funny parts, but also some that are scary and/or sad. It’s only about 4 hours long so it’s a good choice for when you have a few free hours. I listened to it on my way to and from work.

The book is narrated by Becca Battoe who did an awesome job!

And yes, I would recommend it!

Jul 012019

And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer And Longer
by Fredrick Backman

Hardcover: 96 pages
Publisher: Atria Books; Translation edition (November 1, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1501160486
ISBN-13: 978-1501160486

From the New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here comes an exquisitely moving portrait of an elderly man’s struggle to hold on to his most precious memories, and his family’s efforts to care for him even as they must find a way to let go.

With all the same charm of his bestselling full-length novels, here Fredrik Backman once again reveals his unrivaled understanding of human nature and deep compassion for people in difficult circumstances. This is a tiny gem with a message you’ll treasure for a lifetime.

I love Backman’s books and this was no exception. It’s a very short book but the message is huge!

Noah, who he calls NoahNoah, is a bright light in his Grandpa’s life. They spend time together as often as they can and have a few routines that keep them on track, since Grandpa has dementia.

The book has a feeling of being make believe or a dream. Grandpa talks to NoahNoah, his son Noah, and to his wife who passed away years ago. It is sad and touching and makes you think about what the future has in store for you.

This book is very different from his other books. It is very much worth the time and money to read it. I enjoyed it very much.

Jun 282019

Postcards From A Stranger by Imogen Clark

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 10 hours and 11 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Brilliance Audio Release Date: August 7, 2018
Whispersync for Voice: Ready
Language: English, English

A secret lies buried at the heart of her family—but it can’t stay hidden forever.

When Cara stumbles across a stash of old postcards in the attic, their contents make her question everything she thought she knew.

The story she pieces together is confusing and unsettling, and appears to have been patched over with lies. But who can tell her the truth? With her father sinking into Alzheimer’s and her brother reluctant to help, it seems Cara will never find the answers to her questions. One thing is clear, though: someone knows more than they’re letting on.

Torn between loyalty to her family and dread of what she might find, Cara digs into the early years of her parents’ troubled marriage, hunting down long-lost relatives who might help unravel the mystery. But the picture that begins to emerge is not at all the one she’d expected—because as she soon discovers, lies have a habit of multiplying . . .

Cara is still living in her childhood home, taking care of her father who has Alzheimer’s. One day she goes into the attic, a room her father forbid her and her brother to ever go into. In a box she finds some postcards which shocks her to her core and she realizes that everything she thought she knew about her parents is a lie.

Later, she finds out that what she thought the postcards meant was not the truth at all and she is completely shocked all over again.

She goes on a mission (alone because her brother doesn’t want to help her) to find out the details of what happened and  is shocked a few more times.

I loved that the author added so many surprises! The book first made me feel so sorry for Cara, and then I felt very happy for her at the end.

Thie twists and turns in this book kept me listening as often as I could!

Jun 262019

I'm Fine and Neither Are You

I’m Fine And Neither Are You by Camille Pagan

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 8 hours and 2 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Brilliance Audio Release Date: April 1, 2019

Wife. Mother. Breadwinner. Penelope Ruiz-Kar is doing it all—and barely keeping it together. Meanwhile, her best friend, Jenny Sweet, appears to be sailing through life. As close as the two women are, Jenny’s passionate marriage, pristine house, and ultra-polite child stand in stark contrast to Penelope’s underemployed husband, Sanjay, their unruly brood, and the daily grind she calls a career.

Then a shocking tragedy reveals that Jenny’s life is far from perfect. Reeling, Penelope vows to stop keeping the peace and finally deal with the issues in her relationship. So she comes up with a radical proposal for Sanjay: both will write a list of changes they want each other to make—then commit to complete and total honesty.

What seems like a smart idea quickly spirals out of control, revealing new rifts and even deeper secrets. As Penelope stares down the possible implosion of her marriage, she must ask herself: When it comes to love, is honesty really the best policy?

Even though the synopsis is a bit misleading, I liked this book from start to finish.

The relationships between the two woman and their husband shows that when it comes to your friends, what you see with your eyes and hear with your ears can be misleading.

The two couples have real problems and struggles and it surprised me when I found out what was going on with Jenny. I liked that Penelope decided to make changes to hopefully improve her marriage, and I thought the author did a great job with the whole story. I enjoyed this book and I really liked the ending. And the title? I LOVE it!

The book is narrated by Amy McFadden who did a great job.