Dog Crazy by Meg Donohue (Audiobook)

March 19th, 2015

Dog-CrazyFirst of all how can anyone who loves dogs resist this cover?  Dog Lover is Meg Donohue’s newest novel and what an emotionally powerful story it is.  Every so often I feel the need to gush over a book and this will be one of them.   I connected so deeply to this story and it’s characters – dogs included of course!  This novel is for anyone who loves or has loved dogs.  It will make you laugh and it will make you cry.  It will also stay with you long after you turn the final page… one of my favorite books of the year.

Maggie Brennan is a pet bereavement counselor, who after moving to San Francisco to open her own business suddenly loses her own beloved dog Toby.  This huge loss throws her life into a tailspin and she finds herself so anxious and overcome with panic attacks that she can’t even leave her apartment.   This overwhelming panic is starting to have an effect on her business and the work she does for a dog rescue organization.  Then one day a young woman named Anya walks into her office but she doesn’t need counseling because she claims that her dog has been stolen and is still alive.  Maggie can’t help this girl as the only thing that will help is finding Anya’s dog.  Yet Maggie soon finds herself taking small steps and actually leaving her apartment all with the help of her best friend’s dog.  As she walks the streets of San Francisco with Anya searching for her dog  Maggie finds herself opening up to life and love again.

I don’t want to say too much about the plot of the book as I’d rather talk about my connection to this book and how it made me feel.  That is after all what makes you love or hate a book.  I felt like the author wrote this book about me; like she was talking directly to me.  I wish I had this book to listen to when I lost my precious soul mate Buddy.  And while one might think it would have made me sad it really didn’t.  Yes I had a good cry over losing Buddy when Maggie was talking of her own loss but moreover I found myself remembering all the times that little guy made me smile or laugh.  I remembered all the things that made Buddy the great dog that he was.  Like Maggie, my dog Buddy touched my soul and while I desperately love my Sammy (who helped my heart heal from its loss), Buddy will always hold a piece of my heart in his little paw.  This book makes you appreciate the unconditional love you receive from your pets and it sure makes you want to give them a big huge hug and tell them how much you love them.  Sammy got many hugs and kisses throughout this book for the beautiful dog he is, for how much he loves me, and for all he’s done for my emotional well being.  I am full of emotion for this book and I don’t think I could put it all on the page if I tried.  What I do know is that this book touched me deeply – in a good way.

I listened to the audiobook of Dog Crazy which is narrated by Donna Postel and she does a fabulous job.  I would have loved this book in any form but the audio really highlighted the emotional side of this story for me. Highly recommended for dog lovers!  I think you need to be a dog lover or pet lover to truly appreciate the beauty of this book.  It shows the power of our furbabies to not only love us but heal us in body and soul as well.  Absolutely loved it!

 

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Source: Digital review copy provided by the publisher for an honest review.  Audiobook my personal copy.  No compensation was received.

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Not Without My Father by Andra Watkins – Book Spotlight

March 18th, 2015

Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace by Andra Watkins is today’s feature here on Peeking Between the Pages.  I wish there had been time for me to review this memoir as it sounds really good but since I couldn’t fit it in I’m spotlighting it instead.  I hope you enjoy learning a bit about Andra’s journey.

 

Not Without My Father: One Woman's 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez
 

Title: Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444 Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace
Author: Andra Watkins
Publisher: Word Hermit Press
Pages: 240
Genre: Memoir
Format: Paperback/Kindle

 

About the Book

Can an epic adventure succeed without a hero?

Andra Watkins needed a wingman to help her become the first living person to walk the historic 444-mile Natchez Trace as the pioneers did. She planned to walk fifteen miles a day. For thirty-four days.

After striking out with everyone in her life, she was left with her disinterested eighty-year-old father. And his gas. The sleep apnea machine and self-scratching. Sharing a bathroom with a man whose gut obliterated his aim.

As Watkins trudged America’s forgotten highway, she lost herself in despair and pain. Nothing happened according to plan, and her tenuous connection to her father started to unravel. Through arguments and laughter, tears and fried chicken, they fought to rebuild their relationship before it was too late. In Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace, Watkins invites readers to join her dysfunctional family adventure in a humorous and heartbreaking memoir that asks if one can really turn I wish I had into I’m glad I did.

 

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About the Author

Andra-WatkinsAndra Watkins lives in Charleston, South Carolina. A non-practicing CPA, she has a degree in accounting from Francis Marion University. She’s still mad at her mother for refusing to let her major in musical theater, because her mom was convinced she’d end up starring in porn films. In addition to her writing talent, Andra is an accomplished public speaker. Her acclaimed debut novel To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis was published by Word Hermit Press in 2014.

Her latest book is the memoir, Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444 Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace.

 

Visit Andra Watkins’ website
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More books by Andra Watkins
Contact Andra

 

 

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Source: All material provided by Pump Up Your Book!  No compensation was received.

The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister (Audiobook)

March 17th, 2015

Magicians-LieThe Magician’s Lie is Greer Macallister’s debut novel and was chosen as a  She Reads Books of Winter selection and it is yet another fabulous book club choice.  The Magician’s Lie will take you on an adventure that captures your interest from the first page to the last.  I listened to the audiobook version which is narrated by Julia Whelan (who I adore) and Nick Podehl (who I haven’ t listened to before but would again).  It’s no secret that I love audiobooks that feature multiple narrators and this one is no exception.  Julia Whelan is a fabulous narrator she and Nick Podehl complement each other perfectly in telling this story.

The Amazing Arden is one of the first female magicians in 1905.  Of course this was a time when a female as a magician was unheard of but whether out of curiosity or the fact that her magic show was good people came to see her perform.  And perform she did.  Arden has loved to perform since her earliest memory.  As a young girl it was ballet but an injury put an end to that career.  When performing magic tricks or illusions as she liked to refer to them became an option Arden found she had a true talent for it and soon enough she became famous for her shows.

Arden is most known for her illusion of sawing a man in half on stage. This is the illusion she is performing the night that policeman Virgil Holt is attending the show.  When she uses an axe instead of a saw Virgil is curious but doesn’t worry too much about it thinking maybe it’s a new trick … until he hears that her husband has been found dead below the stage and even more alarming is that Arden is no where to be found.  She seems to have run off.  The question is why?  Is she guilty of murder?  Virgil is sure his luck is changing when he happens upon Arden running away.  This could make his career if he could bring in The Amazing Arden.  Of course he assumes she’s guilty.  Why else would she be running?

Arden begs Virgil to let her go and to further her cause she shares her story with him.  She tells him of her turbulent childhood and her struggles to get where she is in her career.  She tries hard to play on his sympathies and for his part Virgil is torn.  Does he believe her?  Or, being the illusionist that she is, is she just lying to him and he can’t tell the difference? And for us, the reader, that is the question as well – is she telling the truth or spinning a tale?  Read it and find out…

Highly recommended for historical fiction fans or for those who enjoy a good story.  I really enjoyed it and the audio production is great!

 

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Source: Digital review copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review. Audiobook from personal library. No compensation was received.

The Tapestry by Nancy Bilyeau – Giveaway Added (North America, UK)

March 16th, 2015

The-Tapestry1I’m pleased to be kicking of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours tour of The Tapestry by Nancy Bilyeau today!  From the very moment I started reading The Crown years ago, the first book in this series, I was hooked.  Next The Chalice came along and it only furthered the intrigue of the series which has now culminated in The Tapestry releasing on March 24.  Nancy Bilyeau is truly an artist with words and she weaves fact and fiction seamlessly together in The Tapestry to offer us a glimpse into the Tudor Court with all its court intrigue, politics, and murder plots.  The Tapestry brings us the Tudor Court in all of its glory along with a fine mystery and a heroine, Joanna Stafford, who the reader will find themselves rooting for at every turn.

What sets this novel, in fact this series apart, is the character of Joanna Stafford.  The first time we meet Joanna in The Crown she is a nun in a Dominican priory in Dartford but it is also a time of great religious turmoil thanks to Henry VIII who was on a quest to destroy anything to do with the Catholic church and he succeeds in closing down Joanna’s priory.  In The Chalice Joanna finds herself drawn into a conspiracy against King Henry VIII.  When we meet with her again in The Tapestry we find a Joanna who has promised herself a much calmer life going forward.  All she really wants from her life now is to weave her beautiful tapestries.  It is not to be though.  Joanna is summoned to Whitehall Palace because the very person she loathes – King Henry VIII – has taken an interest in her tapestries.

The court is not a place for Joanna who isn’t experienced in court politics and only yearns for the more virtuous side of life.  She is happy to find her friend Catherine Howard at the court although that pleasure soon turns to dread for her dear friend’s life.  Catherine has caught the eye of none other than King Henry and even worse Joanna fears that Catherine has already been compromised by the King.  Joanna makes it her mission to protect the young Catherine Howard from the King and a life that she feels sure will not end in a good way for Catherine.  However it soon becomes apparent that Joanna needs to be watching out for herself as well as it seems that someone is following her and quite possibly means her harm.  Who though?  It seems impossible to tell in a court rife with back stabbers but Joanna must or she may not survive…

With The Tapestry Joanna comes full circle in her life.  She must decide what her very future holds.  Does she want the excitement and danger of the court or the peace and contentment of a life filled with marriage, children, and tapestries?  I urge you to begin with the first novel in this series The Crown and continue with The Chalice and now The Tapestry and  immerse yourself not only in Joanna’s life but the excitement of  The Tudors.  It is one you will find yourself drawn into completely and when all is said and done you will miss it and her immensely.  I know I already do.

I highly recommend this whole series!  These novels are  among the best that historical fiction has to offer!

 

Other stops with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
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Author Links: Website, Twitter
Buy: Amazon, Amazon Canada, B&N, IndieBound

 

GIVEAWAY DETAILS – OPEN TO NORTH AMERICA AND THE UK

WIN ONE OF THREE SIGNED HARDCOVER COPIES OF THE TAPESTRY

 

This is a tour wide giveaway and here are the rules:

Giveaway starts on March 16th at 12:01am EST and ends at 11:59pm EST on April 3rd.
Giveaway is open to residents in North American and the UK.
You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winners will be chosen via GLEAM on April 4th and notified via email.
Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
Please email Amy @ hfvirtualbooktours@gmail.com with any questions.

 

*CLICK HERE* and fill out the form to enter. Draw Date April 4/15!

 

 

 

 

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Source: Digital review copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review.  No compensation was received.
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