Feb 232021

Hosted @ Socrates’ Book Reviews

Love, Clancy: A Dog's Letters Home

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

Age: Three Months
c/-The New Kennel
Chateau Chaos
28 November

Dear Mum and Dad,
It’s Clancy here, your puppy, writing from my new home in the city. The people I’ve moved in with seem friendly but a little strange. They’re particularly weird whenever I urinate. Either they run around grabbing rolls of paper towel, in a scene of some hysteria, saying, ‘Oh no! Oh no!’ or the stand smiling and saying, ‘Good dog, good dog.’

The first version happens inside, after I’ve urinated on the kitchen floor; the other outside, after I’ve urinated on the grass. I’m not sure what they are trying to convey. The only certain thing is that the “Oh no! Oh no!’ version is much more fun for me to watch, so it’s the reaction I go out of my way to generate.

Jan 262021

The Five Wishes of Mr. Murray McBride by Joe Siple

Book 1 of 2: Murray McBride

Chapter One

Murray McBride
Lemon Grove, Illinois
Twenty Years Earlier

Bran Flakes. Every morning for longer than this old brain can remember. Since Jenny died, anyhow. Chalky and bland and disgusting. But I’m not one of those picky folk who need the most expensive caviar for every meal. Never have been.

I stare at the Bran Flakes like they’re a worthy opponent. I’ll attempt to chew and swallow and they’ll try to kill me with a lack of flavor. May the best man win.

It’s my birthday – the Big Ten-Oh- which does nothing but remind me I have no one left. No family, except a greedy grandson who rarely visits. No friends, except the grocery check-out clerk with the pierced nostril – a sparkly hoop I can’t help but stare at. I’m not proud of it, but I want to include my Internist, Doc Keaton, on that list of friends. Why else would he insist on a birthday physical? A glance at the clock tells me I’ll be late for the appointment, but what do I care? Get to be my age, and people don’t expect much of you.

Jan 192021

The Best Life Stories: 150 Real-life Tales of Resilience, Joy, and Hope-

all 150 Words or Less!

Let Him Go, Olivia

Alejandro Arbide, San Antonio, Texas

There I was. Upside down inside the swimming pool. Drowned. My parents were screaming. It must have been the summer of  ’63. It was a gloomy day. Every Sunday we went to my grandparents’ house. My cousins and I were playing alongside the pool. I must have slipped. At three years old, I did not know how to swim. My mother was giving me CPR. More than twenty or twenty-five minutes had gone by. The ambulance had arrived. Everybody was staring at my mother. “Let him go, Olivia. It’s over.” Even my father had some feelings of resignation. Yet, she never gave up.

I write this story as a tribute to my mother, who, only four years later, passed away. And also in recognition of the editors who made it possible for my mother to have read in Reader’s Digest the miracle made by another woman utilizing then recently discovered CPR.

Jan 122021

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe: A Novel

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg

June 12, 1929

Cafe Opens

The Whistle Stop Cafe opened up last week, right next door to me at the post office, and owners Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamison said business has been good ever since. Idgie says that for people who know her not to worry about getting poisoned, she is not cooking. All the cooking is being done by two colored women, Sipsy and Onzell, and the barbecue is being cooked by Big George, who is Onzell’s husband.



Jan 052021


Neighbors by Danielle Steel

Chapter 1
The massive stone mansion was hot even in the basement as Debbie Speck bustled around the large efficient kitchen putting away the groceries that her husband Jack had just brought in. He was perspiring profusely. He was forty-four years old, somewhat overweight with balding dark hair and always reeked of aftershave that covered the faintly boozy smell of the cheap scotch he kept in his room and drank at night. It came through his pores the next day, when he exerted himself. Debbie usually joined him with a drink or two at night. She preferred gin and tonic or vodka she kept in the freezer in the basement apartment where their employer, Meredith White, never ventured. She respected their privacy which was ideal for them. Debbie was also heavy and dyed her hair blond herself.


Dec 152020

Teaser Tuesday Time


A Lake House Holiday: A Small-Town Christmas Romance Novel by [Megan Squires]

A Lake House Holiday: A Small-Town Christmas Romance
by Megan Squires

Ace barked three times every morning, right at the stroke of seven. He was the best alarm clock Jolene Carter ever had, but he didn’t appreciate it when she’d bop him squarely on his head in an attempt to hit the snooze, like she did that morning. He let his distaste be known with a low rumble in his throat. It would’ve intimidated a stranger, but little about the one hundred pound ball of fluff could rattle Jolene.

The dog had wandered his way out of the dense Merrylark forest line and onto Jolene’s property years ago, and after posting on local websites and venturing a trip down the hill to the humane society, she concluded that the mutt had been abandoned on purpose. That revelation broke Jolene’s heart, yet at the same time healed it. Ace could become rightfully hers.

“Wow,” Jolene muttered before she could stop herself. And then she did the one thing she knew to do in a situation like this. “Luke, would you like to come in for a cup of coffee? I was just about to put a pot on.”

Dec 012020

Teaser Tuesday Time

Dirt: Growing Strong Roots in What Makes the Broken Beautiful

Dirt: Growing Strong Roots in What Makes the Broken Beautiful
by Mary Marantz

Chapter 1
From the edge of a dirt path off of Airport Road, where the road forks and snakes just a little taller to form the highest point on Fenwick Mountain, you can stand and watch a storm roll in from any and all directions.

We would do that often when I was little. We’d stand out under the wooden overhang of a hand-built lean-to turned front porch-where the boards were all mismatched scraps of whatever you could find and the nails, half-hammered and crooked, sat rusted from the punishment of a blistering summer sun-and watch as streaks of lightening lit up the heat of a July night sky. While thunder rumbled hard and shook the mountains.

Year round, I dumped scraps of brown beans and cornbread for the latest stray that had wandered into the yard. They were all kept in line by one feral gray tabby cat, who adopted me as it’s own when I was just four years old and found it abandoned at the elementary schoolyard in New Hope. It came up to me purring, with it’s green eyes and the distinctive shape of an M in the fur on it’s forehead , which I took as a sigh that we belonged together.

Nov 032020

Teaser Tuesday Time


Channel Kindness: Stories of Kindness and Community by [Born This Way Foundation Reporters, Lady Gaga]

Channel Kindness: Stories of Kindness and Community by Lady Gaga

Trust Kindness
Charleen Colón

On a gloomy afternoon in December 2013, two days before Christmas, my family’s doorbell rang. Not much in the mood for an unannounced visit from a friend-much less a stranger – I felt little enthusiasm as I went to see who it was.

It’s important to pause and think about what you’re doing, just in case you might hurt someone. And by someone, that includes yourself.

Oct 202020

Teaser Tuesday Time


Listen to the Marriage: A Novel

Listen to the Marriage by John Jay Osborn

JoAnn reviewed this book and it sounds really good

“Is there anything practical that needs to be addressed right now?” Sandy asked.
Like a student, Gretchen raised her hand.
It had been a long time since one of the couples who came to Sandy had raised her hand before speaking.

“That was a pretty lame conversation,” Sandy said.
There was more about Bonny, both of them knew it, both of them didn’t want to talk about it. Sandy decided to deal with it.

Sep 152020

Teaser Tuesday Time

Anxious People Audiobook By Fredrik Backman cover art

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

A bank robbery. A hostage drama. A stairwell full of police officers on their way to storm an apartment. It was easy to get to this point, much easier than you might think. All it took was one single really bad idea.

“Dad? The phone that we sent in for the perpetrator, where did we find it when we came in?” Jack suddenly asks.
“It was there on that little table,” Jim says.
“That explains it,” Jack sighs.
“Explains what?”
“We’ve been thinking about this wrong all along.”

Sep 072020

Teaser Tuesday Time

Beaches, Bungalows, & Burglaries: A Camper and Criminals Cozy Mystery Series Book 1 by [Tonya Kappes]

Beaches, Bungalows, & Burglaries:
A Camper and Criminals Cozy Mystery Series Book 1
by Tonya Kappe

Chapter 1

“A campground?” I gulped back a good hissy fit because one could never underestimate the power of a good hissy fit, something I’ve tried really hard not to do in years. “As in, tiny little metal houses and porta potties?”

“Well, I think they have a toilet in them,” said Stanley Shelton, my lawyer.

Another woman stood up from a leather chair, which I found sort of odd in a laundromat. She held a book in her hand. She appeared to be in her late twenties, if I had to guess. She had her brown hair pulled up into a ponytail. “I’m Abby Fawn, Normal County Public Library librarian and part-time Tupperware sales associate.”

Aug 252020

Teaser Tuesday Time

Laugh Out Loud: 40 Women Humorists Celebrate Then and Now...Before We Forget by [Allia Zobel Nolan]

Laugh Out Loud:

40 Women Humorists Celebrate Then and Now…Before We Forget

by Allia Zobel Nolan

You know how people say they wish they had been born in a different era? Like they wish they had been a flapper, or grew up in the age of The Big Bopper and sock hops?

Not me.

I was born in early 1963 at precisely the right time. I was just the perfect age to experience the 80’s dance clubs. And, boy, did I love dance clubs. That’s where big-haired women and sockless men gathered. That crowd fit me like a glove.

The waistband on these always seemed to cling precariously to my ample hips, while the crotch hovered somewhere just north of my knees like a mama kangaroo’s pouch. Other girls had problems, too. Occasionally, as one of them was walking down the hall, this waistband would suddenly roll down, picking up momentum until it reached her ankles where it would roll down, picking up momentum until it reached her ankles where it trapped and tripped her. Once in a while she’d be joined on the floor by one of her peers who had plummeted off her platform shoes.

Aug 172020

Teaser Tuesday Time

Floating Twigs

Floating Twigs by Charles Tabb

I had known the day would come when circumstances forced my return to Denton, Florida, where I grew up. My parents had died before I finished high school, but another funeral brought me here now.

The Denton of my childhood reminded me of an old man, settled and unchanging. However, on that sunny day back in 1990 as I drove across the bridge that spanned the inlet between Denton Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, I looked over the expance of emerald-green water to the harbor that lay protected by Sugar Isle, a long barrier island of sugar-white sand. Instead of a harbor filled with fishing boats lazily dotting the landscape, a waterfront teeming with jet-skis and noise greeted me. New boat dogs grew and twisted out of the adjoining land like cancerous groths. Beside the more expensive boats that had invaded the harbor, the older fishing oalts looked like improverished cousins. Seventeen years had scarred the town.

The next day I spent time with Bones, sneaking leftovers out to him from the kitchen and letting him get to know me. I ended up giving him bread and some gravy that had been in the refrigerator for a few days, along with some baloney and stale rice. It wasn’t much of a meal, but he ate it the way he had everything else – in huge gulps.

Aug 042020

Teaser Tuesday Time


Finding Home by Corinne Joy Brown

FIRST CHAPTER: Dawn broke over the flatlands of Rock Springs, Wyoming, clear and cool, faint wisps of early morning clouds dissolving into the sun. My flaxen-maned mother, knowing she was approaching her time, left the herd by herself and lay down in a  sandy, sheltered draw. It didn’t take very long before I came along.

TEASER: “Then what happened?” asked Chaco, his eyes wide, his long ears erect to catch every single word and swiveling in anticipation. “This is the best story I’ve ever heard! Please tell me more!”

Jul 282020


Teaser Tuesday Time

Miss Cecily's Recipes for Exceptional Ladies: A Novel

Miss Cecily’s Recipes for Exceptional Ladies by Vicky Zimmerman

FIRST CHAPTER: Prologue Cecily Finn is ninety-seven-and -a half years old. Her hair is as stiff and bright as a firmly beaten egg white, and her dark eyes hold the look of a permanently unimpressed owl. She claims that all she wants is death-because boredom and institutional fish pie are worse than dying-but Cecily has endured far greater horrors than overcooked haddock.

TEASER: Five months earlier…
Kate Parker is ravenous. She sits on a deck chair in Nick Sullivan’s tiny patch of North London garden, gazing contentedly at his back as he stands by the barbecue. The smell of grilled meat is making her stomach audibly rumble, but there’s no point hurrying him. This man does things in his own sweet time.

Jul 212020


Teaser Tuesday Time


The Old Girls' Network: A funny, feel-good read for summer 2020 by [Judy Leigh]

The Old Girls’ Network: A funny, feel-good read by Judy Leigh

FIRST CHAPTER: Barbara thought she must be dead. She could remember exactly what had happened, right up to the last second. She was rushing up the path to the little terraced house, fixing her sights on the familiar green door, number eighty-six. Then she recalled feeling strange, a little bit as if she had floated above her own head for a moment, or was hovering outside her body. She wobbled, the dizziness a thick haze behind her eyes as she stared at the smooth paint of the front door, leaning forward to steady herself. Then she slipped. The earth fell away, the sky turned upside down, and the seemed to whirl from within her, emptying her lungs.

TEASER: During the early hours the temperature plummeted, and it snowed heavily. When Pauline work at eight, someone was banging on the front door.

Jul 142020

Hosted by Yvonne 
It’s Tuesday! It’s time to share your excerpts and teasers from books we are currently reading, have read or are planning to read. So, feel free to join us by sharing the first paragraph or (a few) of a book you are reading or thinking about reading soon. This meme is guaranteed to increase your TBR

How the Penguins Saved Veronica

How the Penguins Saved Veronica by Hazel Prior


The Ballahays
Ayrshire, Scotland
May 2012

I have told Eileen to get rid of all the mirrors. I used to like them, but I certainly don’t now. Mirrors are too honest. There is only so much truth a woman can take.

Jun 152020

Brave Girl, Quiet Girl audiobook cover art

Brave Girl, Quiet Girl by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Chapter One
Brooke: Shattered
It started that day with just the normal levels of my mother driving me crazy. Which, don’t get me wrong, is plenty bad enough. And some leftover feelings from the odd conversation I’d had with the young woman at my daughter’s new day care might have factored in.

I felt my foot come off the accelerator.
I felt myself out in the air of the night.
I landed on my hip on the tarmac.
I looked up.

Jun 092020


Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives by Thomas French

The New World

Eleven elephants. One plane. Hurtling together across the sky.

The scene sounds like a dream conjured by Dali. And yet there it was, playing out high above the Atlantic. Inside the belly of a Boeing 747, eleven young elephants were several hours into a marathon flight from South Africa to the United States. Nothing could have prepared them for what they were experiencing. These were not circus animals, accustomed to captivity. All of these elephants were wild, extracted at great expense and through staggering logistics from their herds inside game reserves in Swaziland. All were headed for zoos in San Diego and Tampa.

Ellie was guiding Matjeka and the others through the basics of zoo life, showing them how to stay calm when the humans touched their trunks or exfoliated the skin with brushes. For captive elephants to remain healthy, skin care was almost as important as their foot care.

Apr 212020

Hosted @ Socrates’ Book Reviews


The Lonely Heart of Maybelle Lane audiobook cover art

The Lonely Heart of Maybelle Lane by Kate O’Shaughnessy

Chapter One

Most people don’t think fate has a sound. But it does. Everything has a sound if you listen carefully enough. For example: Loneliness sounds like the drip-drop of a leaky faucet, or the clomp of footsteps in an empty parking lot. Dread is the vrr-vrr-vrr- of a car engine that won’t start. Love is the sound of Momma strumming her guitar and singing softly beneath her breath. And happiness? At the time, I didn’t know what the sound of happiness was. I hadn’t found it yet.