Review: What the Dog Ate by Jackie Bouchard

What the Dog Ate by Jackie BouchardWhat the Dog Ate by Jackie Bouchard

Series: None

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Setting: San Diego, California

Source: Ebook, purchased

Publishing Date: 2012

285 pages

Synopsis: When Maggie Baxter, a practical, rule-following accountant, finds out what her chocolate Lab ate, her world turns upside down. Maggie thought she had the rest of her life meticulously planned out, but now she needs to figure out Plan B. With her dog, Kona, as her guru, Maggie embarks on a funny, heartwarming quest in search of tail-wagging joy.

My thoughts

This book has a great first sentence! That hooked me right away as did the title and cover. In fact, I fell for this book as soon as I saw it. I read about the author on Barb’s blog–Booker T’s Farm ( I’ve read lots of books with dogs in them this year and I know she likes to read about dogs as well so when Jackie Bouchard was mentioned I had to give her a try. I’m so glad I did. This was a good read for me.

Maggie Baxter is a workaholic accountant at the beginning of the book. I’m not going to say too much more about the book except one of the important things she discovers is that she’s not really happy working long hours or working as an accountant.

It’s been a while since I’ve read any women’s fiction, but I liked this book a lot. Maggie changes and grows during the course of the book. She discovers a lot of things about herself. I like that the book is about a little older woman (she’s 41) than the women in a lot of books–especially books in the women’s fiction or romance genre.

There are lots of characters that are fun to read about in this book. I especially enjoy Kona who is written about very realistically. He’s definitely a Lab–very friendly and motivated by food and walks and other dogs! The book is sad at times, but also very funny. It’s also definitely a feel-good book that put me in a great mood by the time I finished it. I recommend it for anyone who likes dogs, women’s fiction and/or books about life-changing circumstances.

My Rating: B+

Have you read any books by this author?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Our Thanksgiving gathering from several years ago

I’m at Thanksgiving with my husband’s family. The large extended family has gotten together for over 50 years. This is the last year we will get together at the above house. My father-in-law died in the spring and the house is for sale. We’re doing one last Thanksgiving here. After this year one of my nieces plans to host the Thanksgiving gathering. It will be held in Indianapolis instead of Iowa which may mean a smaller gathering in the future. All things have to change at some point.

I’m grateful for . . .

  • Our large extended family that has made Thanksgiving such a wonderful tradition.
  • My husband and children. That we all love each other and can have fun together.
  • My health. After my surgery earlier in the month I realize once again what a wonderful thing it is to feel healthy.
  • My friends with whom I share stories and laughter.
  • Authors writing books. I love to read and am so grateful that so many authors are writing books I love to read.
  • My ebook reader that allows me to read at night, to set it on my lap when my hands hurt, to change the size of the font when my eyes need a bigger font, to carry hundreds of books in my purse.
  • My cats who give me so much pleasure every day.
  • My children’s dogs and cats I get to enjoy when I visit or they visit.
  • My house and yard. That we have a house and yard. And I love the serenity of my house and yard.

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate Thanksgiving in November. And to everyone else I hope you’re having a wonderful day!

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings. This is a weekly meme to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. The books I choose aren’t released yet and usually won’t be published for at least two or three months. So I have a while to wait!

I love finding out about books which will publish in future months and I like to share my excitement about the books. I also like to find out about new books on other people’s blogs and hope they’ll sometimes find something to look forward to on my blog.

I’m excited to read . . .

The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas

Series: Unknown

Published by  Crooked Lane Books

Publishing date: February 12, 2019

Genre: Science Fiction, Time Travel

Synopsis: In 1967, four female scientists worked together to build the world’s first time machine. But just as they are about to debut their creation, one of them suffers a breakdown, putting the whole project—and future of time travel—in jeopardy. To protect their invention, one member is exiled from the team—erasing her contributions from history.

Fifty years later, time travel is a big business. Twenty-something Ruby Rebello knows her beloved grandmother, Granny Bee, was one of the pioneers, though no one will tell her more. But when Bee receives a mysterious newspaper clipping from the future reporting the murder of an unidentified woman, Ruby becomes obsessed: could it be Bee? Who would want her dead? And most importantly of all: can her murder be stopped?


I like time travel and science fiction books and this sounds great–almost a murder mystery! Plus I love the cover.

Review: Bitter Rain by Shannon Baker

Bitter Rain by Shannon BakerBitter Rain by Shannon Baker

Series: Kate Fox #3

Genre: Mystery, police procedural

Setting: Nebraska Sandhills

Source: Ebook, purchased

Publishing Date: 2018

313 pages

Synopsis: Old loyalties and lies collide with new secrets. Secrets someone is willing to kill to keep hidden.  

Despite Kate’s meddling family’s efforts to pair her off, she’s settling into single life as Grand County Sheriff. That is, until Deputy Kyle Red Owl’s sister disappears. Shocked by the harsh realities of rez life, and coming smack up against a Lakota-hating sheriff, end-of-world preppers, and a greedy liquor store owner, Kate fears the worst for the missing girl. 

Knowing she’ll always be an outsider when it comes to her good ‘ol boys world, Kate is more determined than ever to find the girl society has abandoned, but can she do it in time to save the girl’s life? 

My thoughts

I’ve read the books in the series and enjoyed them all. I love reading about the Nebraska Sandhills where cattle outnumber people…lol. Shannon Baker does a great job bringing that part of the country to life.

Lots has happened in this series

Lots has happened since the first book. Kate Fox is now divorced and has become sheriff. She’s slowly settling into that role though the three male sheriffs from the other counties in the Sandhills still don’t really accept her or want to recognize her as sheriff. They would rather that Ted the ex-sheriff and Kate’s ex-husband was still sheriff. One sheriff in particular seems to dislike her and tries to undermine her authority when possible.

An overturned car and a suspicious sheriff

At the beginning of this book Kate receives a late night phone call from a young woman who doesn’t identify herself. The woman indicates she needs help and is driving from the Indian reservation. Kate heads toward the reservation and just before she would leave her county she sees a stopped vehicle and a car rolled over off the road. The stopped vehicle is owned by the sheriff from the neighboring county. He’s the sheriff who seems to dislike Kate. He says he’s just gotten to the wreck and that the vehicle is abandoned. Kate thinks he’s acting suspiciously and doesn’t understand why he’s at the scene since this is in her county and nothing was dispatched about a wreck.

Each county in the Sandhills only has a sheriff and they share a part-time deputy who works on weekends. The deputy–Kyle Red Owl–is a military veteran with police experience, but he grew up on the local Lakota Indian Reservation and isn’t liked, trusted or respected by the male sheriffs. Kate hired him based on his experience and she feels he does a great job.

The reservation

The overturned car is Kyle’s sister’s car and she has disappeared. She just graduated from high school and has a college scholarship, but Kyle discovers that the last couple of months her grades were slipping and she was missing classes. Kyle and Kate investigate her disappearance and Kate learns a lot about life on the reservation she hasn’t known. Alcoholism and unemployment on the reservation; a town filled with liquor stores just two miles from the reservation; and hopeless and hostile Native Americans are just a few of Kate’s discoveries. There’s also a ranch that had been abandoned for several years, but now has a hostile and well-armed couple living on it. No one seems to know who they are, but they are close to where the overturned car was and that’s how Kate discovers them. She wonders if they’re involved in this mystery.

Kate’s family

The mystery was good in this book and didn’t turn out quite the way I expected. However, I didn’t like the distraction and irritation from Kate’s large family in this book. I felt they didn’t respect her as much as they should have. And though some of this is supposed to be funny I was more irritated than amused. I hope in the next book that they realize that Kate is a grown woman who is doing a hard job in a man’s world and that they give her more respect.


I still recommend this book though you should read the earlier books first. I plan to read the next book and am looking forward to it.

My Rating: B-

Have you read any books by this author?

Reading Challenges

Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!


Close Enough by Shannon Baker

Kate Fox #1.5

69 pages

This is a short story and it is short! It gives some background between book 1 and book 2. The first part is mostly background so we understand Kate’s feelings. The second half deals with the disappearance of a 10-year-old boy. It’s winter and snow is coming so searchers quickly assemble to try to find him. The wrinkle in the story is that Kate is running for sheriff against the current sheriff who is also her ex-husband. Election Day is close and the sheriff is getting points for quickly gathering the search party.

I like Kate and this series. The third book in the series was published recently and I found this short story when I searched for the new book which I bought at the same time as this short story. It’s not necessary to read the short story to understand the series, but it’s always fun to revisit this series.

Sunday Post: Feeling great!


Kimberly hosts the Sunday Post each week. I like to take part because it gives me an opportunity to look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also love to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading.


We’ve had a few snow flurries so far this season, but no snow. However, we’ve had a lot of cold weather so it feels like winter! We’ve had cloudy days, but also a few bright blue sky sunny days, too. I love those. We have a big window in one of our rooms which faces the south and for four months or so during the winter we get the sun coming in. I love to sit in there and read.

Donnie and Elf sitting on my lap as I type my Sunday Post!

Our son came home this week from a road trip to the west coast. We’re enjoying having him and his dog here for a few days.

We’re all going to our family Thanksgiving this next week, but he’s taking his own car and picking up one of his cousins on the way. After Thanksgiving he’s planning another trip. These trips he’s taking are to help him decide where he wants to live when he starts his new job in January.

Feeling back to normal!

This week I finally started feeling great again after my appendix surgery. It took longer than I thought it should especially since my son had appendicitis when he was 19. They operated in the wee hours of the morning and the next day he left for a spring break vacation! I guess as I get older it takes a little longer to heal…lol!

Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge

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My husband and I took a ride one afternoon this week to the Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge which is about a half hour east of Des Moines. This refuge has been around for almost thirty years.

The mission . . . is to actively protect, restore, reconstruct and manage the diverse native ecosystems of tallgrass prairie, oak savanna, and sedge meadow.

I’ve wanted to visit this wildlife refuge since we moved to Des Moines a couple of years ago and we finally got there on a beautiful sunny, cold day. There were very few visitors which was kind of nice. We enjoyed the exhibits at the visitors’ center. I learned a lot more about prairies! I love the design of the center. It’s low to the ground so it blends in with its environment.

The refuge has herds of buffalo and elk as well as other wildlife and prairie. We weren’t able to get too close to the herd of buffalo and didn’t even see the elk! Hopefully, we’ll see more animals on another visit. I can tell we’re going to need to visit this refuge every season to see how it changes!


I didn’t get much done on my blog last week. We were busy getting ready for Thanksgiving and visiting wildlife refuges! And I won’t get a lot done this next week either since we’re traveling for Thanksgiving.

Last week
Next week
  • Review
  • Can’t-Wait Wednesday
  • Sunday Post

My books

What I’m reading
  • Terra Incognita by Connie Willis
  • Between Shifts by W.R. Gingell
What I read the last week
  • Dangling By a Thread by Lea Wait
  • Last Dragon Standing by Rachel Aaron
Books I got last week

Minimum Wage Magic by Rachel Aaron

Gods of Gold by Chris Nickson

A Murder for the Books by Victoria Gilbert

Christmas on the Island by Jenny Colgan (library ebook)

The Clincher by Lisa Preston (library hardcover)

What have you been doing? What are your plans for next week?

Review: Stray Magic by Kelly Meding

Stray Magic by Kelly MedingStray Magic by Kelly Meding

Series: Strays #1

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Setting: Maryland & Middle Atlantic

Source: Ebook, purchased

Publishing Date: 2018

416 pages

Synopsis: Shiloh Harrison was hoping for a few days off to recover from a particularly nasty assignment, preferably with the help of the talented hands (and, well, the rest of his body too) of her sexy boyfriend, Vincent. But when a group of vampires takes an entire trailer park hostage, there’s nothing to do but make her apologies and get to the scene.

Such is the life of a Federal Marshal in the Paranormal Investigators Unit.

Yet this isn’t like her typical track-and-nab case: something is going on that has vampires scared, and it takes all her strength not to imagine what could frighten such powerful creatures. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have that option. Her boss is MIA, someone is snatching vampires, and there’s a ticking clock that can only end one way: a bloodbath.

Unless she can stop it.

My thoughts

I enjoyed this new urban fantasy a lot more than I expected. I don’t read as much urban fantasy as I did a few years ago. It’s hard to find original characters and plots. This book has some familiar paranormal characters and some familiar plot points, but has enough freshness for me to really enjoy it.

Shiloh Harrison–half-djinn

I also like many of the characters. I felt I got to know enough about them to understand them at least a little bit. I especially like the main character–Shiloh Harrison. She’s courageous, a little insecure and a bit impetuous, but she tries her best to do what she thinks is right. She’s half-djinn and half human and she has problems because of her mixed heritage. I don’t think I’ve read any urban fantasy with djinn characters so that was nice. The other characters were also ones I enjoyed reading about. I’m looking forward to reading more about many of them. One thing I didn’t like at all (and I think most people will agree with me)–I didn’t like the spiders in the story at all!

The story kept me guessing about what exactly was happening and how it all fit together. I had guessed a few things, but not all of it. I also like that the story wasn’t predictable and that some things happened I didn’t want to happen. Not everyone is safe and it doesn’t all end happily for everyone.

Dark urban fantasy?

For me this is bordering on dark urban fantasy. I don’t like books that are too dark and I don’t like horror. There were a few elements which crossed into horror for me–but I’m easily scared! I don’t think a lot of people would feel that way…lol. And I kept reading every moment I could!

Next book comes in 2019

There are plenty of loose ends for the next book which is already scheduled for 2019. I really want to find out what happens next! And now I think I need to search out some of Kelly Meding’s backlist!

My Rating: B

Have you read any books by this author?

Sunday Post: Ruptured appendix


Kimberly hosts the Sunday Post each week. I like to take part because it gives me an opportunity to look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also love to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading.


I’ve been missing from my blog the last couple of weeks. It seems longer than that. I wasn’t feeling well 10 days or so ago. I finally decided I had to go to urgent care and after several hours and a number of tests including a CT scan they figured out I had appendicitis. I had considered that, but thought since my pain started on the left side of my intestines it couldn’t be appendicitis. Apparently it could be!

Anyway, we headed off to the hospital and several hours later I had an emergency appendectomy. It turns out my appendix had ruptured, but luckily the infection was held in a very small part of my intestine. Still I was in the hospital for several days and I feel like it has taken forever to feel like new. I am feeling better, but I’m still having trouble sleeping and the incision is still sore. It was laparoscopic surgery so only three small incisions. I don’t want to imagine what it would have felt like if I’d been cut open like they used to before laparoscopic surgery.

I’m on the mend, but just haven’t felt at all like blogging or even using my computer. I’m hoping I’m back in the game. The funny thing was that my husband had carpal tunnel surgery on the same day I had my appendix out. Luckily, our son was visiting so he took my husband to his surgery in the morning and me to urgent care and the hospital in the afternoon. So glad he could help us out. And both my husband and I are doing well!


As I explained above, no blog visiting or posting was done since my last Sunday Post. I hope to do more this next week.

I’m very happy to report I have met my 2018 Goodreads goal. That’s a good feeling!

Last two weeks
Next week
  • Review
  • Can’t-Wait Wednesday
  • November books on my list
  • Sunday Post

My books

What I’m reading
  • Terra Incognita by Connie Willis
  • Down the Broken Road by J.R. Backlund
What I read the last two weeks
  • The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
  • The Dark Side of the Road by Simon R. Green
  • An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris
Books I got the last two weeks

The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths

Mud, Muck and Dead Things by Ann Granger

An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris (library ebook)

What have you been doing? What are your plans for next week?