Book Review: The Adventures of Taxi Dog by Debra and Sal Barracca

Maxi, a homeless mutt in New York City, has always fended for himself. Then one day a kind taxi driver named Jim offers him friendship, a home, and a place in the front seat! From that moment on, Maxi and Jim revel in the sights and sounds of the city, and share all sorts of wild adventures-from rushing two clowns and a chimp to the circus, to singing duets with an opera diva! These and other adventures are brilliantly depicted in Mark Buehner’s witty, detail-packed oil paintings.


My Review

I bought this book with a bunch of other books at an auction, and I’m so glad I did! I read it to my grandson the other day and we found the dog(s) in each picture.

The story about Maxi is sweet and told in rhymes, and the pictures by Mark Buehner are amazing. They’re detailed and full of vibrant colors and kept my 2-year-old grandson’s attention which is a major accomplishment. I predict that we’ll be reading it every weekend for a long time to come.

Book Review & Giveaway: Nurse Mommy by Kristyn Boland

Book Title:  Nurse Mommy by Kristyn Boland
Category:  Children’s Fiction (Ages 2-10),  38 pages
Genre:  Children’s Picture Book
Publisher:  Mascot Books
Release date:   June, 2021
Content Rating:  G for everyone.

Book Description:

What does Mommy do when she leaves for work? From giving medicine to using her stethoscope, Nurse Mommy’s job is important because she helps patients get better. But what about her family back home—does Nurse Mommy really have to go to work? Nurse Mommy helps kids understand what the nurse they love is doing when they go to work at night.

Order the Book:
Amazon ~ B&N ~ Mascot Books

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

The author of Nurse Mommy is a nurse, and after she had a child, she couldn’t find any children’s books that explained why she wasn’t home at night. So she wrote one herself! I don’t know how she did it. I was a nurse who worked nights when my son was little, and I wouldn’t have had time to write a book. What an amazing mom!

Nurse Mommy not only explains what a nurse does in simple terms, but it rhymes. The illustrations are bright and colorful and will definitely keep the attention of young children. This is a great book for all children, not just children of nurses.

About the Author

Kristyn Boland lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband, Tim, her son, Owen, and their dog, Bo. She graduated from East Carolina University College of Nursing in 2014. Kristyn started her career working in Pediatric Intensive Care and later moved to Postpartum Care, where she takes care of moms and their new babies in the hospital. When she returned to work after having her son, she wanted to find a book for her husband to read to her son at bedtime explaining where she was and why she went to work at night. When she couldn’t find one, she decided to write it herself!

connect with the author: website instagram


Enter to win a signed copy of Kristyn Boland’s NURSE MOMMY! (one winner/USA only)


Follow the Tour

June 14 – Cover Lover Book Review – book review / giveaway
June 14 – Gina Rae Mitchell – book review / author interview / giveaway
June 14 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review / guest post / giveaway
June 15 – I Read Kid’s Books – book review / guest post / giveaway
June 15 – A Mama’s Corner of the World – book review / giveaway
June 16 – Bound 4 Escape – book review / giveaway
June 17 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book review / giveaway
June 17 – Writer with Wanderlust – book review / guest post / giveaway
June 21 – Lisa’s Reading – book spotlight / giveaway
June 22 – @booking.with.janelle – book review
June 23 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review / giveaway
June 24 – Cheryl’s Book Nook – book review / giveaway
June 24 – The Adventures of a Travelers Wife – book review / author interview / giveaway
June 25 – Westveil Publishing – book review / guest post / giveaway
June 28 – Reading is My Passion – book review
June 29 – Pick a Good Book – book review / author interview / giveaway
June 29 – @twilight_reader – book review
June 30 – Kam’s Place – book review
June 30 – Laura’s Interests – book review / guest post / giveaway
July 1 – Splashes of Joy – book review / author interview / giveaway
July 1 – The Phantom Paragrapher – book review
July 2 – Literary Flits – book spotlight / giveaway

Book Review & Giveaway: The Missing Egg (Bobos Babes Adventures) by Karen Bobos

Category:  Children’s Fiction (Ages 3-7),  28 pages
Genre:  Children’s Picture Book
Publisher:  Playpen Publishing
Release date:   March, 2021
Content Rating:  G for everyone.

Book Description:

In the magical land of Harmony, the Bobos Babes love adventure and helping friends in need. When they find out that the swan family has lost a soon-to-hatch swan egg, they are quick to help … before it’s too late! Young readers and their families will enjoy the return of the Bobos Babes and their animal friends in this second title in the fanciful read-aloud picture book series. The Bobos Babes Adventures collection brings families stories of exciting exploits, magical missions, and caring friendships, showcasing that kindness, generosity, and thoughtfulness always win.

Buy the Book

Bobos Babes

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Bobos Babes are a princess, an angel, and a fairy who use their magical powers to help those in need. When they came across Russell the Swan, they knew that there was something troubling him. He lost one of the eggs he was supposed to be sitting on! I got tickled, and I know kids will too, when Russell kept going on about the lost egg and he didn’t realize that his baby was right there.

The Missing Egg isn’t only funny but it teaches that a baby swan is called a cygnet. It’s told in rhyme and it has adorable illustrations with vibrant colors. This is definitely a good book to read to the children in your life over and over.


About the Author

Bobos began writing poetry and stories at the early age of ten. She is a life-long Chicagoan who now raises her family in the downtown area. During the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic, Chicago also became a city of unrest. Trying to keep her three young daughters in a world of magic during such scary times, the Bobos Babes Adventures were born. Her goal was to create a world of Harmony for her family and hopefully for others to escape, even if only for a moment. The first book of the series, The Case of the Giggles, was published in December 2020. The Missing Egg launched in March 2021. Thus far, she has written ten Bobos Babes Adventures and two chapter books. Two additional books, The Lion’s Secret and The Bobcat Birthday Party, are coming in 2021.

connect with the author: website ~ facebook ~ instagram


Enter to win a signed copy of Karen Bobos’ BOBOS BABES ADVENTURES: THE MISSING EGG! (one winner/USA only)

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June 1– Cover Lover Book Review – book review / giveaway
June 2 –Reading is My Passion – book review
June 2 –Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review / guest post / giveaway
June 3 – Laura’s Interests – book review / guest post / giveaway
June 4 – Literary Flits – book spotlight / giveaway
June 7 – Books Lattes & Tiaras – book spotlight
June 8 – Cheryl’s Book Nook – book review / giveaway
June 9 – Icefairy’s Treasure Chest – book review / giveaway
June 9 – Pick a Good Book – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
June 10 – The Momma Spot – book review / giveaway
June 11 – Lisa’s Reading – book review / giveaway
June 14 – Gina Rae Mitchell – book review / author interview / giveaway
June 15 – Bound 4 Escape – book review / giveaway
June 16 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book review / guest post / giveaway
June 17 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review / giveaway
June 18 – Splashes of Joy – book review / author interview / giveaway
June 21 – Stephanie Jane – book spotlight / giveaway
June 22 – Kam’s Place – book review

Book Review & Giveaway: Mockingbird in Mark Twain’s Hat by Kaia Alexander

Mockingbird in Mark Twain’s Hat by Kaia Alexander

Publisher: Waterside Press, Oct, 2020
Category: Children’s illustrated chapter book
ISBN: 978-1949001914
Available in Print and ebook, 138 pages

Mockingbird in Mark Twain’s Hat, is an adventure story full of animals that talk. Wynne is a precocious mockingbird born in the rural south in the late 1800s. His whole family are singers, but at four days old, he wants to be a novelist just like his hero, Mark Twain.

When crows attack his nest, he’s swept away on an epic adventure along the Mississippi River. Wynne learns to read and write, makes new friends in surprising places, and is mentored by Mark Twain himself. Full of delightful quotes from Mark Twain, this novel for children ages 8-12 shines with important lessons of character, perseverance, love, and the importance of friendship.


Guest Review by Sal

‘Mockingbird in Mark Twain’s Hat’ by Kaia Alexander is an unexpected delight and an enjoyable read for all ages.

Beginning in the quiet, peaceful nest of a family of mockingbirds, the story centers around a little bird named Wynne. Wynne knows that he is supposed to want to grow up to do regular mockingbird things like soaring over the fields and singing songs, but what he actually wants is to become a writer.

Wynne’s hero is the famous southern writer Mark Twain, who is still alive in the novel, as it is set in 1898. As Wynne and his siblings slowly learn to fly, danger soon comes to the nest in the form of a gray cat who nearly kills Wynne. Thankfully, he is saved by a little girl, but the girl brings Wynne back to her home, far away from his family.

Trying to stay brave, Wynne imagines the wonderful story that he will write from his adventures, but he doesn’t realize just how extensive his adventure is going to be. The story takes Wynne along the Mississippi river, where he eventually gets to meet Mark Twain himself.

Told from the perspective of Wynne, this story is a beautifully told middle grade novel that will capture children’s imaginations and teach them a lot of interesting information along the way. There were things this book taught me about mockingbirds and Mark Twain that even I didn’t know, and it has such fun prose and quick chapters that it doesn’t feel dragged down by information.

I recommend this highly to anyone who has a young reader in their house, or any adults who enjoy a fun book. Alexander’s take on talking and thinking animals is cute and light-hearted, but reveals a stronger message as the novel goes on. Don’t let this one fly away!


This giveaway is for 1 print copy to 3 winners. It is open to Canada and the U.S. only and ends on July 1, 2021,midnight pacific time.

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Follow the Tour

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus May 27 Kickoff & Guest Post

Lu Ann Rockin’ Book Reviews June 1 Guest Post

Shiloh Amazon June 2 Review

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus June 3 Review

Michelle Reading Authors Network June 4 Review

Alicis  Amazon June 4 Review

Lu Ann Rockin’ Book Reviews June 7 Review

Cheryl’s Book Nook June 10 Review & Excerpt

Shanna Amazon June 11 Review

Sal Bound 4 Escape  June 14 Guest Review

Amanda My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews June 15 Review & Interview

Anastasia Living in a Bookworld June 16 Guest Review & Excerpt

Chrissy Reads a LOT June 18 Review & Excerpt

Betsy H. Goodreads June 23 Review

All Things Jill-Elizabeth June 25 Review & Excerpt

Katy Celtic Lady’s Reviews June 28 Guest Review

DTChantel Amazon June 29 Review

Michelle I Read Kid’s Books June 30 Review

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Book Review & Giveaway: City of Deadly Dreams by Elyse Douglas

City of Deadly Dreams: Mystery by Elyse Douglas

Publisher:  Broadback (May 1, 2021)
Category: Hard-Boiled Mystery, Private Investigator Mystery
ISBN: B08Y86X4B3
250 pages

Dane Cooper, an NYC Hell’s Kitchen private detective, is hired by a Tennessee man to find his handsome, 20-year-old son named Elvis, who has been missing for several months. Though hesitant at first, Dane takes the case because he needs the money.  Dane soon learns that the case centers around a beautiful, mysterious blonde, named Darcy. Against his better judgment, he falls for her, believing she might lead him to Elvis.  Her dangerous secrets trouble him, and he realizes he can’t trust her.

Dane’s investigation turns deadly when he learns that Elvis has left a trail of pregnant young girls, unhappy husbands, and vengeful women.  Dane becomes a target as he struggles to find Elvis and save him from the killers who are closing in. Can Dane save Elvis and himself, or will Darcy’s secrets get them all killed?


Guest Review by Katy

A unique mystery with a noir style! ‘City of Deadly Dreams: A Mystery,’ by the husband and wife writing team of Elyse Douglas is unlike any mystery I have ever read.

A seamless blend of noir and 21st century crime solving that kept me guessing the whole way through, this novel gave me a new standard for storytelling.

The mystery centers around a young man named, of all things, Elvis. Elvis Lipps is a 20 year-old man who was seemingly on his way to rock and roll stardom when he disappeared suddenly.

Enter private detective Dane Cooper, a former policeman with a penchant for witty repartee and a dark past. Elvis’ father, Abner seeks out Cooper’s help in finding his lost son. Abner believes that Elvis is the reincarnation of the King himself, Elvis Presley, and he has been trying to get the young man into the music industry for his entire life.

Although Cooper doesn’t believe the reincarnation story, he agrees to look for Elvis in the unkind streets of New York City. But there is another aspect of Elvis’ story that Cooper must investigate, the teacher that he reportedly had an affair with while he was still in high school. In meeting the teacher, a beautiful young woman named Darcy, Cooper ends up getting caught up in more of a tangled web than he asked for, and he begins to fall for the woman himself.

The writing in this was superb as well as the sense of place and atmosphere. I loved the noir-like style that reminded me of some of the classic detective movies from the 20th century. Dane Cooper is a great POV character and I would love to read more books with his character. I hope that they decide to turn this into a series!

About the Author

Elyse Douglas is the pen name for the married writing team Elyse Parmentier and Douglas Pennington. Elyse grew up near the sea, roaming the beaches, reading and writing stories and poetry, receiving a master’s degree in English Literature.  She has enjoyed careers as an English teacher, an actress and a speech-language pathologist.

Douglas has worked as a graphic designer, a corporate manager and an equities trader.  He attended the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and played the piano professionally for many years.



This giveaway is for 1 ebook copy to 2 winners. It is open to the U.S. only and ends on July 1, 2021,midnight pacific time. Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Follow the Tour

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus May 31 Kickoff & Interview

Carole C. Amazon June 1 Review

Lu Ann Rockin’ Book Reviews June 3 Guest Post

Dee Donadees Corner June 3 Review

DT Chantel Amazon June 7 Review

Avonna Loves Genres June 9 Review & Excerpt

Katy Bound 4 Escape June 10 Guest Review

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus June 11 Review

Laura Lee Celticlady’s Reviews June 14 Guest Review & Guest Post

Becky Life as Rog June 15 Review

Amanda My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews June 17 Guest Review & Excerpt

Denise D. Amazon June 21 Review

Wendy Wall-to-wall books June 22 Review

Nadene Totally Addicted to Reading June 23 Review & Excerpt

Betty Toots Book Reviews June 24 Review & Guest Post

GudReader Goodreads June 25 Review

Bee Book Pleasures June 28 Review & Interview

Amy Locks, Hooks and Books June 30 Review

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Book Review & Giveaway: Rambee Boo’s Lake Vacation! by Reena Korde Pagnoni

Book Title:  Rambee Boo’s Lake Vacation by Reena Korde Pagnoni
Category:  Children’s Fiction (Ages 3-7),  24 pages
Genre:  Children’s Picture Book
Publisher:  Waman Books
Release date:   April, 2021
Content Rating:  G for everyone.

Book Description:

The Rambee Boo Crew take a summer vacation to the Lake. Rock and Rambee are having so much fun that they don’t realize that Rambee Boo keeps dropping his Sock. Will Sock make it home with the duo at the end of the trip?

Buy the Book
Amazon ~ Waman Books

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Rambee Boo’s Lake Vacation is a cute story about Rambee Boo’s family taking him to the lake when they go on vacation. He has only one job (besides having fun): to keep track of his sock. Luckily, Mom keeps track of it or it would be long gone!

I like how each day they do something fun and Rambee Boo has so much fun that he forgets Sock. Then each morning:

“Rambee wakes and is glad to see,
Mom found Sock and he’s back safely.
Rock cries, ‘C’mon, Rambee, let’s go play,
And please try not to lose Sock today.'”

With the rhymes, the rhythm, and the colorful illustrations, this is a book that children may want you to read over and over…It’s also fun to look for Sock everywhere they go!

About the Author

I began writing THE RAMBEE BOO SERIES after we added a fur baby to our family, during the Covid-19 pandemic quarantine. The characters in the series are based off my youngest son Rocky (aka Rock), and our rambunctious puppy Rambo (aka Rambee Boo). Whenever there’s trouble, these two are usually at the center of it! I graduated from West Windsor-Plainsboro High school in 2000 and went on to get my B.A. from Rutgers University, New Brunswick. I currently live in New Jersey with my husband, my three children and of course…my Rambee Boo! I’ve always had a great love for children’s books and started collecting them in college. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to write my own series to add to our collection. I hope these books will continue to grow and foster children’s love for reading. I can only hope that my readers enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoy writing them!

connect with the author: website ~ facebook ~ instagram ~ goodreads


Enter to win a signed copy of RAMBEE BOO’S LAKE VACATION! (one winner/USA only)

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May 24 –My Journey Back the Journey Back – book review / giveaway
May 24 –Cover Lover Book Review – book review / giveaway
May 25 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review / guest post / giveaway
May 25 – She Just Loves Books – book review / giveaway
May 26 – Pick a Good Book – book review / author interview / giveaway
May 27 – Icefairy’s Treasure Chest – book review / giveaway
May 28 – Writer with Wanderlust – book review / guest post / giveaway
May 31 –Nighttime Reading Center – book review / giveaway
May 31 –Kam’s Place – book review
June 1 –Reading is My Passion – book review
June 2 – The Adventures of a Travelers Wife – book review / guest post / giveaway
June 3 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book review / author interview / giveaway
June 4 – Cheryl’s Book Nook – book review / giveaway
June 7 – Splashes of Joy – book review / author interview / giveaway
June 8 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review / giveaway
June 8 – I Read Kid’s Books – book review / guest post / giveaway
June 9 – Bound 4 Escape – book review / giveaway
June 9 – Laura’s Interests – book review / guest post / giveaway
June 10 – Gina Rae Mitchell – book review / author interview / giveaway
June 11 – Lisa’s Reading – book review / giveaway
TBD – I’m Into Books – book review / giveaway

Book Review: Castaways & Longer Days by Trixie Silvertale

Mitzy Moon longs to embrace the warmth of summer at a community-wide celebration. Enjoying a midsummer sailboat regatta, strawberry cake, and bonfires on the beach sounds divine. But when dark skies unleash a superstorm, the festivities turn deadly…

While everyone pitches in to rescue stranded friends and neighbors from the wreckage, Mitzy senses evil in the debris. Her entitled feline is missing and the handsome sheriff is in no mood for her hunches. But she refuses to buy into his black cloud of skepticism, because she’s sure one of the bodies didn’t die of natural causes.

Can Mitzy catch a killer before the clues are washed away?

Castaways and Longer Days is the fourteenth book in the hilarious paranormal cozy mystery series, Mitzy Moon Mysteries. If you like snarky heroines, supernatural misfits, and a splash of romance, then you’ll love Trixie Silvertale’s twisty whodunit.


My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free ARC from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

A tornado hit Pin Cherry Harbor! As the cleanup and rescue began, one of the bodies found was not because of the tornado because she had a knife in her back. Of course, Mitzy was determined to help find out who murdered the victim even though she was definitely not a friend.

Interestingly, the library being hit in the tornado really hit home with me. I lost a bookstore in a tornado 10 years ago, so it was easy for me to picture the rubble of the library.

The characters in the Mitzy Moon Mysteries are great. Mitzy is smart, hilarious, and determined. Erick is the perfect boyfriend and is almost too good to be true. No matter what mischief Mitzy gets into, he takes it in stride. I missed her stepbrother in this book and was happy to see her father a little bit.

Castaways and Longer Days is another fun paranormal mystery with suspense and sweet romance. This is my favorite in the series so far. Even though a lot of it is fun and funny, it had me weeping at the end this time. Although this book stands on its own, I recommend reading all of the books in order to get the most out of the series.

About the Author

Trixie Silvertale grew up reading an endless supply of Lillian Jackson Braun, Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew novels. She loves the amateur sleuths in cozy mysteries and is obsessed with all things paranormal. Those two passions unite in her Mitzy Moon Mysteries, and she’s thrilled to write them and share them with you.

When she’s not consumed by writing, she bakes to fuel her creative engine and tends to her herb garden.


Book Review: Hard Copy by Richard Ayres

Helen is religious and believes she committed a mortal sin when she became pregnant by Jeremy. Determined that their daughter Jane would never fall from grace, she vigorously disciplined her. Jane fled from home aged 18, and has since had no contact with her parents. Jeremy, a man at odds with the modern world, has failed to get any of his novels published. Still, he sets up a business advising aspiring novelists. When Helen is charged with assault, and one of Jeremy’s clients knows more about him than he is aware, life changes irrevocably for them both. But is it for the better?


Amazon UK – hard copy

Amazon UK – ebook

My Review

Hard Copy is a good story that kept my interest throughout. One of the reasons my interest was kept is because of the author’s writing style. It’s easy to follow, and he’s not over-descriptive. The use of dialogue to reveal backstories was done well, and I found it more interesting than just reading it in the narrative.

Jeremy Johnson was a self-absorbed, unkind, uncaring man. At first, I hated his wife, Helen Johnson, and all she stood for. Once I learned more about her, however, I realized that her strict religious upbringing and the fact that she had sinned drove her over the edge.

After many years in a loveless marriage, Helen and Jeremy finally grew emotionally and even further apart. Helen was forced to look at her life after losing her job and having nothing left to live for. After losing his job, Jeremy started editing books and finally was doing something he enjoyed. Will they be able to find each other after all these years or is it a lost cause?

The ending was good but it didn’t surprise me.

About the Author

Richard Ayres lives in Staffordshire.  He worked in Further Education for thirty years before he took early retirement and began writing.

His first novel, ‘A Pennine Incident’ is a tense portrayal of a mystery in Martin’s past and its effect on his life and relationships.  The main themes explored in the novel are the impact of a single traumatic event on the life of an individual, the fragility of friendship, the effects of ageing and changes in personality on relationships, and the impact of class origin and upbringing on later life, all played out in the seeming tranquillity of the Yorkshire Dales.

His second novel, ‘The Further Education of Mike Carter’ is a satire on life in a mythical Further Education College in the English midlands. The politics of the workplace are muddied by events in the personal lives of protagonists, and when sexual tension is added to the mix, the outcome is unpredictable.

His next novel, ‘Letters and Secrets’ involves three couples living in different parts of the country awaiting forthcoming celebrations with varying degrees of enthusiasm, hostility or indifference.

‘Tired of London’ was published in May 2016.  This is a story of six former friends, reunited after 40 years, who embark on an extended pub-crawl through central London. Their reunion is brought to an abrupt end by a series of incidents which threaten the hopes they had of reconnecting with the past and each other.

Richard then wrote ‘Friends Disunited’ which is a psychological thriller as a former friend turns puppet-master.

‘Unto the Third and Fourth Generation’ involves a man in the early stages of dementia who has a dreadful secret dating back to his youth of which his daughter Rebecca is ashamed and which she dreads her children will discover. Have the sins of the parents been passed down to the third and fourth generation?

‘An Odious Little Man’ is about a man who, lonely and frightened as his health worsens, confides in his cleaner and his nurse, revealing events in his youth in the 1950s and 60s when he couldn’t relate to the culture of the times and was frightened of girls.  It is only after his death that the nature of the problem that affected him through is life is revealed and which probably accounted for him becoming an odious little man. But it seems that not everyone thought of him that way.

Press/Media Contact Details:

Contact: Darin Jewell (Richard Ayres’ literary agent)
Managing Director
The Inspira Group Literary Agency
London, UK
tel. UK +208 292 5163

Audiobook Review: The Fall of Mrs. Parsons by Phil Geoffrey Bond

Author: Phil Geoffrey Bond
Narrator: Jenn Lee
Length: 50 minutes
Publisher: Chess Books/Above Deck Entertainment
Producer: Audiobook Empire
Released: April 15, 2021
Genre: Fiction

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Mrs. Parsons lives a quiet life in a small cottage in the woods on the outskirts of town, having woken next to her husband Lloyd, and has gone about with her normal routine every day for the past 50+ years. But on this most extraordinary day, she will venture out into the world, reclaiming her place in it and, in so doing so, rediscover herself.

In this lush, romantic short tale from Phil Geoffrey Bond, the simple life is revealed as not so simple at all.

Buy Links
Buy on Audible

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Audiobook Empire. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Mrs. Parsons and her husband have lived in a small cabin for 50 years, and their lives are routine and simple. One day, though, she decides that she wants to “find herself.” She leaves their home and buys a ticket for somewhere far away. But she realizes that she truly loves her husband and that he loves her.

This is a short story but it delves into something that we all go through at least once in our lives. The question of whether our lives could be more, that we could do more with our lives is a common one. I think that some people take a lot longer than Mrs. Parsons to figure things out.

The narrator did a good job with pace and timing and her voice is pleasant to listen to.

If you like to listen to short stories, this is a good, sweet, romantic story that may have you looking at your own life.

PHIL GEOFFREY BOND is an award-winning author, best known for his collection of short pieces, All the Sad Young Men, and the celebrated picture book, My Friend, the Cat, based on the popular stage show. Often mixing dramatic prose with live theatre, his original pieces My Queer Youth, The Disney Diaries, My Friend, the Cat, My Roaring Twenties and Small Town Confessions have been embraced by a wide range of off-Broadway audiences. As a playwright, Phil has developed work at The Sundance Theatre Lab (The Citadel), and many regional theatres throughout the states. A fixture on the NYC nightlife scene, he is a seven-time MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets), two-time Bistro and one-time Nightlife Award-winner. Currently, he is the writer/producer/host of Sondheim Unplugged, now enjoying it’s 6th year at Manhattan nightspot Feinstein’s/54 Below. 2016 will see the release of his debut novel, The Last Year at Low Tide (Chess Books). In 1993, he was awarded the Presidential Medallion from President Clinton on behalf of his work as a young playwright.


Narrator Bio

After 20+ years as professional NYC actor, I stumbled into some documentary voiceover work. From that moment on, I knew the trajectory of my career had been changed forever. I adore narrating and doing VO, and every job feels like a gift.


Q&A with Author Phil Geoffrey Bond

  1. Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
    1. Not at all. I wrote this when I was in my early twenties, before such things existed.
  2. How did you select your narrator?
    1. My dear friend Jenn Lee Andrews began narrating books — she’s a wonderful actress with whom I’ve worked before many times. It was just a natural fit. She’s sublime.
  3. How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
    1. No – she invented it all herself, marvelously.
  4. Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
    1. I grew up in a small town in Indiana with rural towns, rivers, creeks, etc., named after Native American tribes. That’s really the background for the sense of place in the story. The characters are just my own imagination, although I think we’ve all known people like Maybelle, at least.
  5. Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    1. I’m a novice and have no experience here. However, I remember “Books on Tape.” I eagerly devoured, after I’d read it, Katherine Hepburn’s book, “Me,” which she read herself.
  6. If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
    1. I would have liked to have seen Judy Garland at Carnegie Hall on April 23, 1961.
  7. If this title were being made into a TV series or movie, who would you cast to play the primary roles?
    1. Meryl Streep as Maybelle. David Stratharian as Lloyd. Glenn Close as Emma, the friend from the dance — former Miss Fire Engine. The young couple in the restaurant could be cameos by Lily James and some dashing young gentleman.
  8. What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
    1. I’m new to it, as well. But I do appreciate hearing a human voice embody my words and, if it gets people paying attention to the written word, I’m all for it.
  9. How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
    1. I throw a plate and a glass into the lit fireplace aka Kathleeen Turner in Romancing the Stone. Then I pet my cat, Romeo.
  10. What gets you out of a writing slump? What about a reading slump?
    1. Scotch.
  11. Have any of your characters ever appeared in your dreams?
    1. They mostly come from my dreams, originally.
  12. What’s your favorite:
    1. Food – Chinese — really fried, bad for you chicken – like sesame or General Tso’s.
    2. Song – anything sung by Streisand. Also, Etta James, Dinah Washington, Lady Day, Carole King, Maureen McGovern, Sally Mayes, Ann Hampton Callaway, Liz Callaway… the story goes on…
    3. Book – trick question.
    4. Television show – The Golden Girls/anything Star Trek.
    5. Movie – Funny Girl.
    6. Band – rubber.
    7. Sports team – what’s that?
    8. City – London.
  13. What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
    1. Don’t ever listen to me.
  14. Do you have any tips for authors going through the process of turning their books into audiobooks?
    1. Be absolutely fond of your narrator. I am.
  15. What’s next for you?
    1. My partner’s 40th birthday was this week and there remains leftover cake in the fridge… probably that.

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Book Review: Avery’s Gift by Jonathan Hoefer

Avery wakes up in the middle of the night to find herself in unfamiliar surroundings and has somehow lost her colors! The crickets call to her, and flowers from the wall guide her out of bed and into the moonlit garden. With the help of a fox, an owl, and a boy named Dalton, Avery goes on a quest to find her colors… and finds many other meaningful things along the way. Avery’s Gift is reminiscent of fables told long ago, yet is based on a modern, true story of two, young children, Avery and Dalton. It highlights how their lives were connected one summer night and the gifts they gave each other.

Avery’s Gift is a timeless story of love, loss, friendship, and finding true colors.


My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy from Smith Publicity. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Avery’s Gift is a cheerful story with text that rhymes. The colors of the illustrations on every page are bright and colorful. All except Avery, that is. When she wakes up, she has no color. She goes looking for her color and when she meets Dalton, they become quick close friends. When he has to leave and gives her a gift, her color comes back!

This story was made even more special when I learned how it came about. Avery was sick and needed a new heart. When Dalton died in a tragic accident, she received his heart and she is now a vibrant young woman because he gave her her color back.

Avery’s Gift is a book that will be cherished by children and adults alike. I can’t wait to share it with my grandkids.

About the Author

JON HOEFER is an author, illustrator and art director and has been involved with the printing and publishing industry for over 30 years. He is a graduate of Syracuse University’s Visual and Performing Arts program, majoring in illustration. His illustrative work has been published in national newspapers and magazines. He has been an illustrator and art director of four books including “Eddie Shapes Up” by former NYC mayor Ed Koch and Pat Thaler Koch, “Lilly Lou Makes a New Friend” and “Lilly Lou Goes to Washington, D.C.” a series by Mike Murphy. In addition, Hoefer wrote and illustrated “Pun Intended: Welcome to the Punny Farm,” which are visual puns, once made famous when he acted as Art Director of the Daily Orange Newspaper at Syracuse University. He currently lives with his family in St. Petersburg, FL.