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Friday, June 30, 2017

BLOG TOUR: Practicing Normal by Cara Sue Achterberg - REVIEW + GIVEAWAY!

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.

Today, we're joining Providence Book Tours as we celebrate the release of a new Fiction title via The Story Plant.  It's the third release from this particular author in the given genre, and though I've not read the others, I must say that the author wove quite a story indeed.  Ready to make its acquaintance as we close out another month?  Great!  Here we go.  Today's book of choice is...

Carol Sue Achterberg

About the book....
The houses in Pine Estates are beautiful McMansions filled with high-achieving parents, children on the fast track to top colleges, all of the comforts of modern living, and the best security systems money can buy. Welcome to normal upper-middle-class suburbia.

The Turners know in their hearts that they’re anything but normal. Jenna is a high-schooler dressed in black who is fascinated with breaking into her neighbors’ homes, security systems be damned. Everett genuinely believes he loves his wife . . . he just loves having a continuing stream of mistresses more. JT is a genius kid with Asperger’s who moves from one obsession to the next. And Kate tries to manage her family, manage her mother (who lives down the street), and avoid wondering why her life is passing her by.

And now everything is changing for them. Jenna suddenly finds herself in a boy-next-door romance she never could have predicted. Everett’s secrets are beginning to unravel on him. JT is getting his first taste of success at navigating the world. And Kate is facing truths about her husband, her mother, and her father that she might have preferred not to face.

Life on Pine Road has never been more challenging for the Turners. That’s what happens when you’re practicing normal.


This is a story best tackled through its characters because that's where all the drama, all the challenges, all the secrets, cover ups, and unknowns stem from...and there are OH SO MANY more than you might realize.

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Kate...the mother, wife, and caretaker, trying to hold it all together.  It's a crazy hard task when you consider what all everyone is getting up to, and that's not even taking into account what she's dealing with personally.  I can't say I agree with her pre-story decision in keeping Everett about, but they do say love is blind...then again, that one should be blind-ED!  Still, she finds her backbone when the trials build beyond even her realm of manageable and a happier ending is found even if it doesn't fit with the Pine Estates formula.

Jenna...daughter, girlfriend, and neighborhood break-in specialist.  Seriously, this girl has talent, but it's one of those that if not used wisely could lead her down a very dark road.  I liked her spark, her spunk, the way she cared for her brother, and her adopted motto (Don't break more than more law/rule at a time.).  She's got troubles, but they're not unconquerable...rather waiting for her to conquer them in her own unique way.

JT...the son, brother, and all around great guy.  He presents his own challenges as life does to him, but it's all in knowing how to work with him,  not against him.  I love his honesty, incredibly brilliant brain, and how he really is the heart of the family.  Oh, and how he saves that one lady...way to go, JT!

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Everett...husband (meh), father, (double meh), and classic case of...okay, I don't want to sound like a man hater here, but really...he is not a great guy.  He may have started off that way to our lovesick leading lady, but at this point, no...absolutely not, and I can't even bring up one redeeming quality.  Okay, so he did help crack the case on Frank (the long lost father aka "louse" according to Mildred) and bring to light WAY MORE than either sister ever asked for, but still...not enough to be an actual redeeming quality.

Cassie...newish neighbor, hospice nurse, and ultimately a kind and helpful soul.  She's definitely one cool cat (pun sorta intended), especially when she finds Jenna in a less than above the bar position.  I really liked her outlook on life especially considering her line of work...or maybe more so because of it.  Her ability to welcome Jenna and her "friend", to offer her friendship to Mildred, and even counsel Kate to a degree, speak to the largeness of her heart.

Mildred...mother, grandmother, mother-in-law, and shouter of the term "louse" to pretty much every man that ever existed.  There's a reason for that last bit that comes out in the end, and I can't say I blame her entirely.  Besides the strong opinion of the male species she harbors, she's actually a character who is suffering quite a bit, though one would think she inflicts more than she feels.  They say still waters run deep, well...she's not exactly a perfect fit for the stillness, but the deep part is on par with the Bermuda Triangle.

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In the end, it's a story that shares the ups and downs of a life though the eyes of the family living it.  While not extraordinary or beyond belief, it is those exact features that draw you in and keep you turning pages til the unexpected, dramatic, and traumatic end.  There's lots to love, some (people) to hate, and moments to both stop and start your heart, which all add up to a book that should definitely be on your must read list this summer.


About the author...

Cara Sue Achterberg is a writer and blogger who lives in New Freedom, PA with her family and an embarrassing number of animals. Her first novel, I’m Not Her, was a national bestseller, as was her second, Girls’ Weekend. Cara’s nonfiction book, Live Intentionally, is a guide to the organic life filled with ideas, recipes, and inspiration for living a more intentional life. Cara is a prolific blogger, occasional cowgirl, and busy mom whose essays and articles have been published in numerous anthologies, magazines, and websites. Links to her blogs, news about upcoming publications, and pictures of her foster dogs can be found at


The Story Plant

Special thanks to the Providence Book Tours team and the folks at The Story Plant for the copy for review as well as the chance to bring this tour to you.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title, the author, the publisher,  this tour or those on the horizon, feel free to click through the link provided above.  This title was released earlier this month, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing.
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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Providence Book Promotions for Cara Sue Achterberg and The Story Plant. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Gift Card and 5 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Girls' Weekend by Cara Sue Achterberg. The giveaway begins on June 1, 2017 and runs through August 3, 2017. Void where prohibited by law.


Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!

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