Cara Sue Achterberg
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About Cara Sue Achterberg
Cara Achterberg is a writer, blogger, and shelter dog advocate who writes about real life, family drama, and, of course, dogs. She is the author of four novels, two memoirs ('dog-oirs'), and a handbook/memoir of the organic life.
Cara has fostered nearly 200 animals and writes a blog about her experiences (AnotherGoodDog.org). She is the co-founder of Who Will Let the Dogs Out (WhoWillLettheDogsOut.org), a non-profit initiative whose mission is to raise awareness and resources for shelter dogs and the people who fight for them.
Her small hillside farm in PA is home to a shuffling cast of foster dogs and foster kittens, plus her three dogs Gracie, Fanny, and Otis, two horses, a barn cat named Tonks, and plenty of chickens. Cara travels to the mountains of Virginia every chance she gets. Links to all of her blogs, pictures of her foster dogs and more information can be found at CaraWrites.com.
“Achterberg throws a blinding light. This combination of personal story and heartbreaking manifesto will shock and move readers.”--Booklist (100 Dogs & Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey Into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues)
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Titles By Cara Sue Achterberg
Maxy Awards 2021 "Book of the Year"
"When the unthinkable happens, both mother and daughter are forced to look deep within themselves for the truth. Achterberg takes you for a ride that you won't forget." –Barbara Conrey, author of Nowhere Near Goodbye
In the aftermath of a fatal texting and driving accident, a mother and daughter must come to terms with the real meaning of forgiveness.
Liz Johnson single-handedly raised an exemplary daughter. Jessica is an honor-student, track star, and all-around good kid. So how could that same teenager be responsible for the death of the high school's beloved football coach? This is Texas, where high school football ranks right up there with God, so while the legal battle wages, the public deals its own verdict.
Desperate for help, Liz turns to a lawyer whose affection she once rejected and attempts to play nice with her ex-husband. Jessica faces her angry peers and her own demons as she awaits a possible prison sentence for an accident she doesn't remember.
A tragic, emotional, ultimately uplifting story, Blind Turn is a natural book club pick.
Meet the Turners - a socially awkward genius child, an adolescent cat burglar, a philandering husband, and a doormat wife in desperate need of a backbone. The Turners are doing their best to craft a happy life and face down a history they have no control over in a neighborhood where only the houses are similar. And when relationships sprout from seemingly nowhere and secrets begin to unravel, practicing normal becomes harder than it’s ever been.
Combining her trademark combination of wit, insight, and tremendous empathy for her characters, Cara Sue Achterberg has written a novel that is at once familiar and startlingly fresh.
"Does facing the truth beat living a lie? In PRACTICING NORMAL, Cara Sue Achterberg has given us a smart story that is both a window and a mirror, about the extraordinary pain ― and the occasional gifts ― of an ordinary life."
– Jacquelyn Mitchard, New York Times bestselling author of THE DEEP END OF THE OCEAN
"What does it really mean to have a normal life? Achterberg's stunning new novel explores how a family can fracture just trying to survive, and how what makes us different is also what can make us most divine."
– Caroline Leavitt, author of CRUEL BEAUTIFUL WORLD and the New York Times bestsellers PICTURES OF YOU and IS THIS TOMORROW
"PRACTICING NORMAL takes a deep dive into the dysfunctional dynamics of a 'picture perfect family.' A compelling story about the beautiful humanity in the most ordinary of lives: from first love to a marriage on the downward slide to an unexpected family tragedy. Achterberg handles each thread with tender care and we can't help but root for every member of the Turner family."
– Kate Moretti, New York Times bestselling author of THE VANISHING YEAR
“There is some major drama in this story as well as some great suspense and – a great ending to boot!”
– Wall-to-Wall Books
“This is a delightful look at family and all their failings.”
– Books Direct
“A riveting and engrossing story that I could not put down. I am the newest fan of Ms. Achterberg! I highly recommend this extraordinary novel!”
– CMash Reads
Harried Dani can't explain why she feels so discontented until she meets a young gallery owner who inspires her to rediscover the art that once made her happy.
Dependable Meg faces up to a grief that threatens to swallow her whole and confronts a marriage built on expectations.
Flamboyant Charlotte, frustrated with her stagnated life and marriage, pursues a playboy Irish singer and beachside business opportunities.
All three of these women thought they would be different. None of them thought they'd be facing down forty and still wondering when life starts. What they do when they realize where they're headed is both inspiring and wildly entertaining.
GIRLS' WEEKEND is a fun, yet poignant romp through the universal search of who we are, why we love, and what makes us happy by an author who is quickly emerging as one of our most incisive storytellers.
“By page three, I was hooked. If I could have, I would have read it in one sitting.”
– When I Grow Up
“Mom lit at its finest!”
– Mommy’s New Groove
“I really loved this story.”
– Country Girl Bookaholic
“Had I known I’d still be sitting in my favorite chair at 2am, racing to the finish, I probably would have put on my pajamas before I started. (Sometime before lunch…) Yeppers, it was that good. It was compelling, touching, and a bit soul-searching. Oh, and it was fun, too.”
– Momma on the Rocks
Both women are forced into lives opposite all they’ve ever known. Leann, at first thrilled to look and live like her favorite soap opera stars, discovers that the insecurities and desperation she’s grown up with don’t disappear because she looks like a model now. Fighting off the affections of a boyfriend she never chose and a controlling, plastic mother is hard enough, but she must fight off her own demons and figure out how to survive when her dreams come true.
Carin, suddenly fat, poor, meagerly employed, saddled with a kid, and married to a loser, must face her own – and the world’s – preconceived notions about life on the bottom rung. Carin spends her days avoiding the threats of Leann’s abusive husband, working two jobs to save money for her escape, and wrestling with her role as a mom to a precocious six-year-old. She is surprised to learn that life can be rich even while destitute. She is even more surprised when she falls for a stock boy who repairs juke boxes and drives a hearse in his spare time.
Both women are facing unknowable futures that neither could have imagined. Are they destined to live this way forever? And if so, where will it all lead?
A brilliant, nuanced, and surprising tale about the way the world sees us and the course we are on, I'M NOT HER is a remarkably assured first novel that introduces a profound new storyteller.
After welcoming her one hundredth foster dog (and her puppies), Cara grabs her best friend, fills a van with donations, and heads south to discover what is really happening in the rural shelters where her foster dogs originate. What she discovers will break her heart and compel her to share the story of heroes and villains and plenty of good dogs, in the hope of changing this world. Cara fosters her most challenging dog yet and she and her husband are pushed to the brink of what they will do to save a dog. Cara wonders why the need seems endless. She hatches a plan to head south on a Thelma & Louise-style road trip. Each stop exposes more of the realities of rural animal shelters. The hopelessness seems unsurmountable until they discover one shelter, deep in South Carolina that has found the answers and is truly a ‘no-kill’ shelter. One Hundred Dogs and Counting will introduce the reader to many good dogs, but also to inspirational people sacrificing personal lives and fortunes to save deserving animals. It will offer not just the entertaining stories of plenty of loveable good dogs, but the real problem of unwanted animals in our rural shelters, and how the reader can be part of the solution.