Monday, November 30, 2015

Book Review/Give-Away:" Plan Bea" by Hilary Grossman

Back in October we celebrated the release of the latest book by author Hilary Grossman:

At that time I hadn't read Plan Bea but after having read and reviewed Hilary's first book, (Dangled Carat), I was full of anticipation about Plan Bea. Let's suffice it to say that at that time I had NO IDEA just how crazy I would be about this book! 

I contacted Hilary on Facebook when I just had a few pages left to read, because I could hardly contain my excitement/delight with this book, here is my EXACT message:

OMG I am almost done...just a few more pages...I know the two concepts are totally different (the first book and the second), I loved them both, BUT...I am INSANELY in love with this one! OMG!!! I could NOT put it down!!!!! I read it the past two nights and just have a few more pages to go. I LOVE IT!! You are soooooooo talented! heart emoticon heart emoticon heart emoticon

It is rare for me to write to an author when I have finished a book to tell them how much I loved it, but with Plan Bea, I felt a huge compulsion to do so!


Could falling in love allow a cold, stubborn, and selfish woman to open her heart back up to her family? 

Beatrice Buchanan has spent more years than she can remember distancing herself from everyone close to her. She has no relationship with her grandchildren and the only time she speaks to her daughter is during her weekly fifteen-minute commute to the nail salon. When Bea meets Walter on a cruise she realizes there may be more to life than designer clothes and impressing the ladies at her country club. 

We live our entire lives thinking we know those closest to us. But do we ever really? 

On the outside, Annabel O'Conner has it all - the perfect husband, two adorable children, and an amazing job. The only thing missing is her mother's love. When Bea begs her daughter to help plan her wedding, Annabel reluctantly agrees. Little does she know the impact of her decision or the surprise that is in store for her! 

This emotional and honest women's contemporary fiction novel will tug at your heartstrings and the twist ending will shock you. 

When I first agreed to review Plan Bea, I must confess my first thought was "oh great. I have virtually no relationship with my mother and I have to review a book about mother/daughter relationships. How will I ever pull this one off?"

You know the saying "art imitates life?" well, in reference to Plan Bea (except for the fact that my mother never frequented country clubs), it couldn't be more true. I spent my entire life from childhood until a few weeks ago, feeling as if I was not ever loved by my mother.

Let's just suffice it to say that my relationship with my mother, (for me AND my siblings), has been "challenging" to put it mildly. There have been multiple estrangements. Just before I was scheduled to read and review Plan Bea my mother reached out to me, (something she has NEVER, EVER done), and we have since been working on our relationship and things are going quite well.

When I sat down to begin reading Plan Bea I found myself saying "Oh My God" multiple times throughout this book, because there are  so many things about Beatrice Buchanan, that are like my mother.

The feelings that Annabel has about her mother that Hilary conveyed brilliantly, rang true with me, and will resonate with many who have a  mother/daughter relationship that is less than stellar.

Hilary Grossman has a keen understanding of people and what makes them tick. She has a particularly good take on women. Her attention to detail in both the conversations that the characters have, and their nuances is superb. Even simple descriptions like someone twirling their hair around their finger while they are thinking, or clutching a pillow and blankets to their chest, or the annoyance that Annabel feels when she speaks to her mother,  are described in such a way that makes her characters leap from the pages, full of life. The characters that Hilary has so skillfully crafted are believable. They seem so real, so honest, so approachable. They are all characters that we can relate to. It doesn't surprise me, because  Hilary is as honest, real and approachable as the characters she has painstakingly created. Hilary is one of maybe a handful of authors that I actually know, but had never had the honor of meeting in person, until I met her a few weeks ago. She is even more delightful in person than I imagined her as being.

The "Twist":
Let me tell you, I NEVER saw it coming!! I pride myself on being one of those annoying readers who THINKS they can predict an ending to a book (and is often correct). In reference to Plan Bea? I had NO CLUE. Let's just say that the title Plan B is a BRILLIANTLY CLEVER play on words!

There Are Lessons To Be Learned:
When you read Plan Bea.
I learned about myself AND my mother. Sometimes we are so wrapped-up and immersed in our OWN "reality", that we have no idea as to what is truly REAL.  How those we may find it difficult to love often need the most love, how people have reasons for things that they have done. How our parents are flawed, as we are.

When I read Plan Bea I laughed, I cried, I was angry, I looked closer into myself and my relationship with my own mother, I ran the gamut of emotions. I did NOT want to put this book down, and I have a feeling that even if your own relationship with your mother is "perfect" (Newsflash, NO mother/daughter relationship is!!), you will be as immersed and in love with Plan Bea as I was.


Barnes & Noble 

Hilary Grossman loves to find humor in everyday life. She has an unhealthy addiction to denim and high heel shoes. She likens life to a game of dodge ball - she tries to keep as many balls in the air before they smack her in the face. When she isn't writing, blogging, or shoe shopping she is the CFO of a beverage alcohol importer. She lives on the beach in Long Island. 



ENTER TO WIN!!! Hilary has generously offered ONE OF OUR READERS WHO IS 18 AND OVER AND WHO RESIDES ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD the chance to win Plan Bea in ebook format. Entering is easy, simply enter on the rafflecopter below. Good luck!!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

In full disclosure:I was not compensated for sharing this info. I received a copy of the manuscript for Plan Bea in exchange for my always honest review. I normally ONLY review books on this blog that feature cats and that still holds true. Hilary Grossman is also a blogger who has a CAT. The fact that I am blessed to know Hilary had no influence on my opinion of Plan Bea whatsoever. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

A Most Special "Thank You" that Touched my Heart on Thanksgiving

As many of you who read our blogs know, Cody, Dakota  and I make it a point to try and help our local rescues  as much as we possibly can.

While we can't always give our time "in-person" , whenever possible we try to share their important adoption events, etc. on our blogs and our social media.

Another way we choose to help is for the past (at least 3)  holiday seasons we purchased our holiday cards from The Michigan Humane Society . We can't always donate as much monetarily as we would like to, so ordering our holiday cards from Michigan Humane makes us feel that at least we have done SOMETHING. Here is the card we ordered this year (which a number of you will be receiving).

 If you would like to purchase this card as well, and help the animals of Michigan Humane, (click here).

While we also feature the smaller rescues, we devote the majority of our space to Michigan Humane, mostly, because they, and many of the large Humane Societies in other states, often get an unfair rap. Contrary to what many of the smaller rescues would like to believe, the large Humane Societies, do, in fact, want to save the lives of dogs and cats just as the smaller rescues do.  Believe it.  

On Thanksgiving, those who have helped Michigan Humane in one form or another during the past year, received this in their inbox:


On behalf of the animals in our care, I want to show you how truly grateful we are for everything you've helped accomplish over the past year.
Thousands of dogs, cats, and other animals will be warm, full, and safe tonight with families who love them – thanks to you!

I hope you’ll take a moment to watch this video showing our thanks for the lifesaving work you make possible every day.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Debby MacDonald
Debby MacDonald
Chief Cruelty Investigator
Michigan Humane Society

It made me smile and brought tears to my eyes.
It is probably the best gift I will receive 
this holiday season.

You are MOST welcome Michigan Humane!!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Gratitude and Turkey Talk:Thanksgiving

Today, and every day,
we are thankful for our blessings,
Today, and every day,
we are thankful for YOU!
From our house to yours,
Happy Thanksgiving!!
With Love!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


FROM CAT CHAT WITH CAREN AND CODY:in the spirit of Thanksgiving, this makes us smile!!! THANK YOU Michigan Humane!!

MHS is caring for the injured kitten and
 expects him to make a full recovery following surgery

The Michigan Humane Society (MHS) is caring for a kitten that was rescued from a freeway in Detroit. On Thursday, November 19, the MHS Rescue Department received a call from a concerned citizen who saw the tiny kitten hobbling near the median on Eastbound I-94 near Van Dyke.

“I was just driving and out of the corner of my eye, I saw him limping and thought, ‘that’s not a just a piece of paper,” said Raquel Garcia Andersen, the citizen who called the Michigan Humane Society. “I knew that if I didn’t do something to help, I’d be thinking about it for weeks, so I called MHS.”

Two MHS rescue drivers quickly arrived on the scene and, with the help of the caller, were able to locate the frightened kitten.

“He was curled up in a ball in the median and so I grabbed my cat grabber to safely secure him,” said Amanda Boots, MHS rescue driver. “He ended up going underneath the car behind me, but I was able to secure him and get him safely in the rescue van.”

Photo Credit: Raquel Garcia Andersen

“The rescue team was so fast and efficient,” said Garcia Andersen. “It was like a SWAT team. I’m just really relieved that the kitten was rescued and is safe.”

At the shelter, the kitten was seen by an MHS veterinarian, and it was determined that he had a severely fractured front leg. The kitten will need to have the leg amputated, but is expected to make a full recovery and live a long and happy life.

The Michigan Humane Society is the largest and oldest animal welfare organization in the state. MHS works to end companion animal homelessness, provide the highest quality service and compassion to the animals entrusted to our care, and to be a leader in promoting humane values. To learn more, visit Michigan Humane's website

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