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Monday, 31 August 2015

Things I've Said to My Children - A Review


THINGS I’VE SAID TO MY CHILDREN by Nathan Ripperger.

* I received this ebook at no charge via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review *




This book would make a great add-on to a baby shower gift – you know – when it’s too late for the parents-to-be to change their minds.  It would also make an appropriate gift for parents in the throes of the “terrible twos”, just to let them know they are not alone.  Of course, only if you (and they) have a sense of humor.


Mr. Ripperger is a father of four, and his idea for this book came about when he astounded even himself by what came out of is mouth in response to things his kids got up to.  He began by drawing pictures to illustrate the phrases, which led to posters (available on his Etsy site).


Now Mr. Ripperger has compiled his art and words into this book.  It is a small book that you can flip through rather quickly.  Some of the phrases I could definitely identify with and some not, although they did bring back memories of similar situations.  Some of the pages I looked at and thought “nope, just don’t get it”.  In that sense it is definitely a book for everyone, since different scenarios will resonant with different people.  And for those who have not yet enjoyed parenthood, it may bring back some fond reminiscences of childhood adventures and your own parents' reactions and spontaneous quotables.

 
The artwork is simplistic yet exactly conveys the sentiment expressed.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from BoredPanda.com

Nathan Ripperger, a U.S. designer and video producer, has come up with a hilarious way to catalog the bizarre and hilarious conversations one can have when raising children. His series of posters, called “Things I’ve Said To My Children,” shares some of the fantastic things that Ripperger has had to say to his children with us all.

On his Etsy shop, Ripperger explains the idea behind the posters: “These posters[…] feature a phrase that I believe the only reason they left my mouth was [due] to my children.” The warm colors and textures of Ripperger’s designs, as well as the completely inexplicable phrases, will bring a smile to your face.

After the posters became popular, Ripperger began selling prints of them on his Etsy shop.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Profound Shower Thinking


Saw this list written by Rudro Chakrabarti, titled “20 Most Profound Things People Thought of in the Shower” on Tickld and, well, it tickled me.

My profoundest shower thinking is hoping I get all the shampoo rinsed out before I put the conditioner on.  Oh well, that’s just me!

I just thought I’d share for some fun Sunday morning reading.  I couldn’t resist so my thoughts are in blue.

1. The object of golf is to play the least amount of golf.
Which is precisely why I have no interest in playing golf.

2. The sinking of the Titanic must have been a miracle to the lobsters in the kitchen.
See … there is a bright side to everything.

3. Instead of all the prequel and sequel movies coming out, they should start making “equels” - films shot in the same time period as the original film, but from an entirely different perspective.
??? Okay ???

4. X88B88 looks like the word "voodoo" reflecting off of itself.
Not seeing it … maybe need more coffee.

5. April Fools Day is the one day of the year that people critically evaluate news articles before accepting them as true.
There is a amusing, long and involved story in my life about the creation of Canadian’s most recent territory, Nunavut, and April Fool’s day … I won’t bore you with it.



6. Websites should post their password requirements on their login pages so I can remember WTF I needed to do to my normal password to make it work on their site.
Yeah … I just make a list.

7. Now that cellphones are becoming more and more waterproof, pretty soon it will be okay to push people into pools again.
LOL

8. I used hola unblocker to watch Argo on the Canadian Netflix. I was an American who had to pretend to be Canadian to watch a movie about Americans who have to pretend to be Canadians making a movie.
Makes perfect sense to me!

9. Maybe 'Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?' isn't a show that displays how stupid grown adults can be, but rather, a show that depicts how much useless information we teach grade schoolers that won't be retained or applicable later in life.
Like … calculus?

10. Last night my friend asked to use a USB port to charge his cigarette, but I was using it to charge my book. The future is stupid.
Welcome to the 21st Century.



11. When Sweden is playing Denmark, it is SWE-DEN. The remaining letters, not used, is DEN-MARK.
Now my head hurts.

12. "Go to bed, you'll feel better in the morning" is the human version of "Did you turn it off and turn it back on again?"
“REBOOT”

13. In the future, imagine how many Go-Pros will be found in snow mountains containing the last moments of people's lives.
I think this makes me sad.

14. We should have a holiday called Space Day, where lights are to be shut off for at least an hour at night to reduce light pollution, so we can see the galaxy.
I’d probably sleep through it.

15. Your shadow is a confirmation that light has traveled nearly 93 million miles unobstructed, only to be deprived of reaching the ground in the final few feet thanks to you.
Great … now I feel bad.



16. Senior citizen discounts should just round dollar amounts down so we don't have to wait in line behind them while they dig for change.
We have no more pennies in Canada … so not so much of an issue anymore.

17. I have never once hit the space bar while watching a YouTube video with the intention of scrolling halfway down the page.
I don’t get it?

18. Since smart watches can now read your pulse, there should be a feature that erases your browser history if your heart stops beating.
Absolutely!

19. Waterboarding at Guantanamo Bay sounds super rad if you don’t know what either of those things are.
Calling Harold and Kumar?

20. The person who would proof read Hitler's speeches was literally a grammar Nazi.
“Grammar Nazi”  HAHAHAHA

 
 

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Flesh - A Review


FLESH: THE DISAPPEARANCE OF PORTIA BARRINGTON by Keith Lee Johnson.

* I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review via AudiobookBlast dot com *
  
Portia Barrington is the 15-year-old daughter of a prominent lawyer.  Portia has been kidnapped and despite the ransom having been paid twice, the kidnappers have now made a third demand.  Something was very wrong and FBI Investigator Phoenix Barry has been called onto the case.  As Phoenix delves deeper into the kidnapping the twists and turns, as well as the suspect pool, keep growing.  As her investigation continues getting stranger and more convoluted Phoenix also has to deal with what is going on with her daughter who, totally out of character and for no apparent reason, has just beaten up a teacher at school.

This is the first book I have read by this author and the story had potential.  I grew interested in what happened to spoiled, promiscuous Portia but just as I was getting involved in the narrative the author would take a step aside and begin what I can only refer to as a "rant" about moral issues.  Mr. Johnson tried to incorporate it into the story as dialogue, but it just didn’t work.  The rants included everything from “how to be a good modern wife … work at your job but always be there for your husband” to long and involved stories about sexual abuse experienced by the characters – priests, nuns and volleyball coaches – seems no one was exempt from evil deeds.  Although these sidebars did have some bearing on the plot they were just too frequent and too long.  I want an entertaining story not a cautionary tale about the evils in the world. 

Sometimes authors get caught up in using a favorite phrase, so caught up that it becomes distracting to the reader.  I once wanted to heave a David Baldacci book through the window because of how many times I had to read the word “army creds”.  In Mr. Johnson's book it happened to be a phrase I find distasteful anyway which only added to the fact that it jumped out at me every time it was used.  He could not refrain from using “get up in that” almost every time he wrote about sex.  Some good editing would have gone a long way to making this book about half as long and a much more enjoyable read.

As I said, it had potential and it was a good story idea.  I listened to this on audio – had I been reading it I might have skimmed over the “preachy parts”.  I did enjoy the story enough that I may try another book by Mr. Johnson somewhere along the way.

The book was narrated by Lucinda Gainey whose gravelly voice, I thought, was perfect for Phoenix Barry, so good casting on that point.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from Amazon Author Page)

Keith is the author of four novels: PRETENSES, Sugar & Spice, Little Black Girl Lost, and Fate's Redemption. He's also the former editor of Insight Magazine. He attained a top secret security clearance while serving in the United States Air Force. His duty stations included Texas, Mississippi, Nevada, California, Turkey, and various other places in his four years of service. Keith graduated with honors and holds a degree in electronics and general education. Excerpts of his work can be read at his website: www.keithleejohnson.com. His email address is keithleejohnson1@aol.com.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Need a Cab?! - A Review!?


NEED A CAB?! THE WILD TIMES AND MISADVENTURES OF A NEWBIE CAB DRIVER by Yarr Wauchabey

* I received this ebook at no charge via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review *

Before I start this review … on the plus side … the cover was funny!

Our guide through this (mis)adventure is Monrovian Wuss aka Money.  He is unemployed and decides to try his hand at driving a cab.  Not the easiest way to make a living, especially since he’s given the night shift, but as Money sees it, he is a perfect fit for the job … he can drive, he’s a little bit lazy so he doesn’t mind sitting and he loves donuts.  Those are only the beginning of the clichés that are apparently supposed to make this book funny.  They don’t!

As the book begins Money walks into the cab office/garage to fill out his application and be introduced to fellow drivers.  The introductions read a little bit like the “begats” in the book of Genesis … too many names coming at the reader too fast.  I did manage to keep some of them straight, not that it really mattered, as the stories began to unfold.

On to his “Wild Times and Misadventures”; each “misadventure” was preceded by detailed street directions – which meant nothing to me, they were populated with embarrassing stereotypes – cowboys (from a rodeo) and Indians (both Native American and from India), wealthy customers – all snobs, a bingo lady – pays him with a bingo card, cheerleaders – all bimbos.  These caricatures added to any other racial or sexist slurs Mr. Wauchabey could manage to include described his customers and anyone else Money came into contact with. 

I requested this book based on the title and description expecting to have a fast and fun read.  I have family and friends who are in the taxi business and I have heard some sidesplitting stories from real cab drivers; little people sliding off leather seats at a sudden stop; husbands who are used to traveling alone on business trips forgetting their wives at the hotel and kids who can’t stop farting are a few.  Unfortunately (1) I have sincere doubts that Mr. Wauchabey has ever sat behind the wheel of a taxi and (2) His “recollections” were too over the top to be even remotely entertaining.  I know that this is a work of fiction disguised as a memoir, but even that fact does not allow me cut this book any slack.  The book is misogynistic, sexist, racist and insulting to the characters and the reader.

I was trying to explain this book to a friend of mine and she summed it up perfectly, “So the driver is like the Donald Trump of the taxi business”.

It’s very difficult for me to write negative reviews, and there may be a reader out there who finds this book entertaining … I didn’t.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 



 Nope … couldn’t find a thing on Yarr Wauchabey, so I am going to assume it is a pseudonym and this book was published on a dare.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

I Think I'm Done Now ...


As I was posting a review a few weeks ago it slowly dawned on me that I had been reviewing an awful lot of books about dogs or with cute pictures of dogs on the cover.  I nonchalantly shrugged my shoulders and carried on ... until a friend also mentioned “You seem to be on a bit of a dog binge lately”.

 
I couldn’t deny it any longer … it was true.

It wasn’t on purpose!  Really!  REALLY!!

To make matters even worse, when I had a look at my TBR pile, there were several more books with dogs as the theme or on the cover.  Was I becoming obsessed with these furry beasts?
No!  NO!!  Coincidence … that all!  Happenstance!  Serendipity!  Pure chance!

To nip this obsession coincidence in the bud, or at least get it under control, or better yet … get it over and done with … I pulled all the books even remotely dealing with dogs to the forefront of my reading list.  Today I posted my review of “Dogtology”, a fitting book to end the cycle since it dealt with why dog lovers become so obsessed – NOT saying I was obsessed ... NOT that there would be anything wrong with that.

It was somehow apropos to post my last (for now) “dog book” review today since it’s ...


It also seemed somehow appropriate, yet done with great personal fear and trepidation, to compile all the books I have read about dogs lately and see how bad extensive it actually was. 


Interestingly enough ... two of my favorite reads this year happen to be dog books.  Coincidence?  Law of averages?  I think not!  All dog issues aside, they are simply wonderful books.


I think I’m done now … on to cats!!!!!!!!

 
Just kidding!  Sheesh!

"Live ... Bark ... Believe"


 Thanks to Mr. Lazarus I can now proudly stand up
(Okay, sit down because I’m at the computer)

and proclaim loudly
(Okay, type in all caps)

I AM A DOGTOLOGIST
(Okay, non-practicing)

I must admit that I am also a little conflicted because my current living arrangements would more clearly indicate that I am a believer in “Catakism”.  Despite the fact that this dual belief system was “once a boiling pot, it has now been turned down to a simmer … this newfound détente has been the ability of some humans to embrace both beliefs”.  Catakism is nearly as widespread as Dogtology!  At least I’m not a DUD (human who Doesn’t Understand Dogtology)

Important definitions:

DOGTOLOGIST:
A practitioner of Dogtology

DOGTOLOGY:
(1) The belief in Dog, 
(2) The system of rituals, practices, and behaviors engaged in by Dogtologists.

If none of what I have written so far has elicited a small smile or maybe even a snicker “Dogtology” may not be a book you want to sniff out.  This is a tongue-in-cheek “bible” explaining the “dogma” of those people who love their furry canine friends.  During the reading of this book I have come to understand why “Dog” is “God” spelled backwards, why men have nipples, why wolves howl, and the sole purpose of cell phone cameras.
                       
The book begins with a conversation between God and Dog.  God is explaining how he created Dog to be his “avatar” in the world.  Later He came to the conclusion that Dog needed a companion and someone to scratch behind Dog’s ears, so he created man … bit of an afterthought?  Obviously Dog and man were an important combination and the rest of the book goes on to describe how man has come to “worship” dog.

I found this book funny and charming and insightful, but some might take great offense to some of the references comparing dog ownership to a religious conviction.  I am not that sensitive and like to think that I have a sense of humor.  Come to think of it some dog owners might find it a little offensive too, only because it could hit too close to home.  Every point Mr. Lazarus makes is spot on. 

On the serious side, if there must be one, despite the humorous manner in which this book is written there were “aha” moments of understanding that this is also an excellent study of human beings as a whole; covering everything from favorite sports team support to religion.  It also may have convinced me that, sometimes, dogs may be smarter than man.

“Dogtology” was a fun book to read, so thanks to Mr. Lazarus (and his dog), for getting this dogma down on paper for me to enjoy.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from his Amazon Author Page)


One night while out to dinner, the author's first-time date grabbed the third rail of dating and asked him, "What's your religion?" Without thinking, he blurted out jokingly, "Dogtology." As he later thought about his smart-ass response, he realized there was more truth to it than he'd intended--he didn't just love dogs, he adored them. All his life, he has been a dog advocate, dog rescuer, and dog whisperee. That's right; dogs talk to him. (In fact, Dog told him to write this book.)




The following video was Facebook and explains "Dogtology" quite nicely.



* I received this ebook at no charge via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review *

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Who Let the Dog Out - A Review


Andy Carpenter is a lawyer who takes cases on a “this sounds interesting” basis.  Because of a rather large inheritance he doesn’t have to work and this allows him the time to indulge in his passion … “The Tara Foundation” … a dog rescue shelter that he runs with his good friend (one time client - Andy successfully defended him on a murder charge), Willy.  When Willy calls Andy one evening to report the burglar alarm is ringing at the shelter it’s panic time.  Upon investigating they notice that the only thing missing is a dog they called Cheyenne (aka Zoe in her real life), a rescue who came in recently.  Tracking the dog they discover her sitting in a house – beside a dead body.  The police soon arrest Tommy Infante for the murder, but Andy just cannot leave it alone and once again he is drawn (seems he cannot help himself) into defending a murderer.

I am a big fan of Mr. Rosenfelt’s Andy Carpenter series so as difficult as it is to write the words I have to admit this was not one of his best.  Yes, the regular cast of somewhat misfit characters is all present and accounted for as are the requisite dog or three.  Yes, Andy's dry sarcastic wit is still spewing and in this case, possibly, saves the book.  There is just too much going on in this book to allow for me to become invested in the story.  Just as I was following along with the murder storyline Mr. Rosenfelt threw in a terrorist plot side story.  I got that in a previous book and wasn’t really interested in rehashing the "save the world" theme again. 

This is the 13th book featuring Andy Carpenter and it may well be an unlucky number for this series.  I hope it was a blip in an otherwise fun and entertaining series.  Yes, I’ll still pick up the next one, but with the hope that both Andy and Mr. Rosenfelt are not getting a bit “tired”.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from his website)

I am a writer with 27 dogs.

About fourteen years ago, my wife and I started the Tara Foundation, named in honor of the greatest Golden Retriever the world has ever known. We rescued almost 4,000 dogs, many of them Goldens, and found them loving homes. Our own home quickly became a sanctuary for those dogs that we rescued that were too old or sickly to be wanted by others. They surround me as I write this. It’s total lunacy, but it works, and they are a happy, safe group.





Monday, 24 August 2015

Read and Ride ... AWESOME IDEA!!

I am taking no credit for this post at all except to say that I think its a great idea and wanted to share it.  It is a straight cut and paste of an article posted by Upworthy and written by Mary Rindlesbach.  Now if only I could get motivated to do the same thing!!

 

Scott Ertl was reading a book while riding a stationary bike at the gym when he had an idea.

Like many busy adults, the only time he really got to read was when he squeezed it in while on an exercise bike.
 
These things are like the ultimate multitasking machines. GIF via "Reposessed."
Ertl was an elementary school counselor in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and the experience got him thinking, "I bet a bunch of kids would find it fun to read while exercising...we could get some exercise bikes and give it a shot." The principal at his school, Ward Elementary, was on board, so he hatched a plan and put it in motion.

The experiment started with a single bike in the corner of a classroom.

The solo bike was so well received that Ertl knew they needed more.
He's got legs and he knows how to use them — to get his mind and body moving! Images via Read and Ride, used with permission.

With the help of Craigslist and garage sales, he outfitted an entire spare classroom with stationary exercise bikes.

Teachers signed their classes up for 15- to 20-minute blocks of time in the bike room, and students brought a book or picked up an educational magazine. The program was dubbedRead and Ride.
Movin' and groovin' — and reading!

The kids loved it, and they were reading and moving more.

The school wanted to know if there were real learning benefits attached to Read and Ride. They compiled data that showed that reading test scores and proficiency were up — and the more time students spent in the Read and Ride room, the better they did on state reading tests.
Read and Ride programs now exist (at least informally) in 30 states across the country, and educators all over are getting behind the trend. They aren't just using exercise bikes —under-desk ellipticals, something called Bouncy Bands, and exercise balls used as chairs are showing up in classrooms, too.
Movement helps kids like these be more fully engaged in learning. It's a win-win scenario for everyone!
As an added bonus, these types of exercises are especially good for students who are, um, a little less gifted in the athletic department (*raises own hand*). Since the rider controls the speed and intensity, each student can set their own pace, and there's no scrutiny or pressure — and no one ever gets picked last. Score!
Getting smarter and more confident, one pedal at a time.
Most Read and Ride programs get their bevy of stationary bikes via donation programs. If you've got an exercise bike collecting dust in your garage, consider finding out if your favorite school would like to have it donated.

Rescue Me, Maybe - A Review


* I received this ebook at no charge via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review *

When you find a penny, superstition says that it is a penny from heaven, sent by a loved to tell you either “everything’s okay” or “watch out, something momentous is going to happen.”  But, what does it mean if the Penny you find has four legs and wagging tail?

Jane Bailey has had one hell of a couple of weeks because she lost both her husband and her dog to cancer.  What most people didn’t know (or so Jane thought) was that things were not so great in her marriage before her husband became ill and, truth be told, although she was certainly grieving her husband’s death she wasn’t sorry he was “gone” AND she missed her dog more.

Jane has decided that she is going to leave the hated city of Philadelphia (her words, not mine) and return to her beloved San Diego.  However, with little money and no job prospects it was going to be a tough move.  When her aunt and uncle offer her an opportunity to run their B&B while Aunt Sugar has some surgery Jane, while not jumping for joy, she does jump at the chance to live rent-free while she is job hunting, then plans to get herself to San Diego as soon as her aunt is well enough to resume looking after the place.  Well … best laid plans and all that.  Things soon change when an abandoned puppy, a handsome handy man, an outgoing coworker and set of unusual circumstance all fall into her path.

This book was a “feel good” read.  It had a little bit of everything; an untenable situation, a bossy mother-in-law, a pushy mom, a good dose of guilt, a little bit of love and lots of angst about what it going to happen next – all tied up with a pretty pink bow at the end.  Exactly the kind of read I enjoy on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Once again Ms. Bouchard has won me over with a lovely story where the dog melts everyone’s heart.  If you are looking for a cozy read “Rescue Me, Maybe” certainly fits the bill.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from Amazon’s Author Page)

Jackie Bouchard (jackiebouchard.com), a USA Today bestselling author, writes what she calls Fido-friendly fiction - humorous and heart-warming stories about women and the dogs that profoundly impact their lives.

She spent a long time as a creative soul trapped in the body of a practical person. When she was bitten by the writing bug, she managed to leap free of the hamster wheel of corporate America, and now spends her days walking her dog, talking to her dog, and listening for the voices in her head that want their stories told. When the voices don't talk to her, she can often be found staring into the refrigerator.

After growing up in Southern California, Jackie moved to Bermuda, where she met her husband. Now back in San Diego, American Jackie, her Canadian hubby, and her Mexican rescue mutt form their own happy little United Nations.

Can You Read These?

We've all seen these before ... notes written with random letters or just the vowels missing and the question 
"CAN YOU READ THIS?"

I would hazard to guess that most people can ... even me with my slight dyslexia distinguishing E & F's and B's and 3's.  Hmmm ... or maybe because of it.  It's really never caused me a reading problem.  I recently saw these two on Facebook posts and thought they were a little bit different with the multi-directional letters and numbers included.

Just thought I'd share ...




Saturday, 22 August 2015

The Dog Master - A Review

If I had to say one thing about Mr. Cameron’s books it would be that they certainly tug at my emotions, whether the lighter  “Dog’s Purpose” series or this latest, most ambitious to date, “The Dog Master”.

The Frightened” – a clan of incredibly shy people, often alone posing no real threat

The Cohorts” – man killers, they are the most feared tribe of the book

The Kindred” – hunters and migrators, with a strict social structure

The Wolfen” – hunters, who run everywhere they go and have a social structure based on observing wolf packs

The Blanc” – fishers rather than hunters, known for their peaceful ways and pale hair and complexions.

These are the people who populate this book.  Starting in Year One the reader follows these tribes through their day-to-day lives, becoming familiar with their hunting and living habits as well as their family and social structures.  Each tribe kept to themselves, with occasionally little but most often no friendly interaction.  It’s a hard and often solitary existence if you don’t fit in.  Even more difficult when you’re shunned and forced to live on your own … until a series of circumstances allow you to make the most unlikeliest of allies – a wolf – and so begins man’s extraordinary relationship with “the dog”.

As the book begins the reader joins the first day of Dr. James K. Morby’s class studying “Early Humans”.  Halfway through he receives a message stating simply “they found her”.  Finally, his long held belief is proven; they have discovered the skeletal remains of a human buried with a “dog”.  As Dr. Morby rushes out of class and onto an airplane to the archeological site where he and others hypothesize (off page) about the origins of the first dog, the reader is transported back to Year One where Mr. Cameron begins to weave a wonderful story of these pre-historic people and their relationships.  This book had me enthralled from this first page.  It had me smiling tenderly and nodding my head, at times frightened for my favorite characters while at other times angry at the ugliness of other characters.  A few times I even got teary, especially those parts told from the perspective of the wolf (that’s all I’ll say so no spoilers).  No matter what my emotional state while reading I never ceased to be awed by the scope of Mr. Cameron’s imagination. 

Every dog from the smallest teacup poodle to the huge mastiff carries some DNA in common with wolves.  If you have ever wondered why, Mr. Cameron gives you an, although fictional, highly believable and entertaining explanation.

I have no hesitation in rating this book at five stars.  But, with that statement comes a little warning for fans of Mr. Cameron’s “A Dog’s Purpose” series.  This book is not a cozy and charming little read.  This book is an epic and the story has guts … and blood, and hunting, and cruelty, and sex and … well everything you would expect in a book about prehistoric times when it was survival of the fittest.  I loved it and would not think twice about recommending it highly.

This book had me so totally involved that I was sad to turn the last page.  I wanted to know more about these people’s lives.  I felt involved.  So, I was quite pleased after reading Mr. Cameron’s (very humorous) “Afterword” because it left me with the distinct impression that I may get a chance to revisit with “the Kindred” and “the Wolfen” and “Dog”.  As I post this review I can only hope that Mr. Cameron is typing furiously!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from the book cover but a more detailed bio can be found on his website)

W. Bruce Cameron is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of A Dog’s Purpose, A dog’s Journey and The Dogs of Christmas.  He lives in California.

*A note to Mr. Cameron should you accidentally happen upon this review*

Gawd … I really, really hated Albi.  Please, please, let me pick the rock!

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Today's Dose of "Good News"

I love it when: (a) kids love to read and (b) kids do the right thing.

I saw the young man being interviewed on Toronto's Breakfast Television. Jackson Dowler accidentally tore a page in a comic book he borrowed from the library.  It happened when he fell asleep reading (bless his little reader heart), the book fell from his hands and the page tore.  He went to his parents the next morning and they attempted to repair the book, but he felt an obligation to pen a note to the library apologizing for the accidental damage.

This is the LINK to the video but I don't know if its viewable in all areas.

Librarians are planning to frame the note and display it somewhere in the library.  In my humble opinion this young man deserves his "five minutes of fame" for writing his apology note so I just wanted to share.  The following is the article from CTV NEWS WEBSITE.


Fan-Yee Suen, CTV Toronto 
Published Wednesday, August 19, 2015 6:19PM EDT 
Last Updated Wednesday, August 19, 2015 10:17PM EDT



An eight-year-old Toronto boy who penned a hand-written apology note to a local library branch after a comic book he borrowed accidentally ripped received a gift Wednesday for being "so conscientious."

Jackson Dowler received a number of books from library staff at the Main Street branch of the Toronto Public Library, where he had borrowed a copy of an Asterix comic.

"It's wonderful that you can come here today because we got your note in the drop-box about the book that had a torn page. And we were thrilled to get your note because it told us so many things about you," a librarian told Jackson before presenting the gift.

"First of all that you're so conscientious … and that you love reading when you go to bed," she said.

According to Jackson's note, he was reading before bedtime when he fell asleep. The book accidentally tumbled off his bed, ripping a page from it.
"I just fell asleep and I didn't know because I tend to forget stuff when I go to bed," Jackson told reporters at the east-end library. "I woke up finding pages somewhere else on my bed."

Jackson said he was worried he was going to get a fine, so he decided to write the apology note after telling his parents.

"I (went) to my mom and dad and told them: 'Mom, dad, my library book ripped in my bed when I fell asleep,'' he said. "And then I brought up the idea that I should write an apology note so the library would know."

Jackson's note, which was paper-clipped to the borrowed book, was found by library staff. It was posted to the Toronto Public Library's Facebook page over the weekend with the caption: "Here's to many more nights falling asleep with a good book, Jackson!"

The post has been liked more than 4,100 times as of Wednesday evening.

In the sweet apology note written in blue, Jackson tells the library: "I am sorry that a page ripped when it fell out of my bunk when I fell asleep reading. It won't happen again."
Jackson says he's surprised by his newfound fame. The story has been picked up by a number of international media outlets.

"I find it kind of crazy because I've never gotten this much attention in my whole life," he said. "(I'm) really freaked out that I'm getting my 15 minutes of fame right now."

The Main Street library branch plans to frame Jackson's note and hang it up for other patrons to see.

Asked what other people should do if they accidentally damage a borrowed book, Jackson says they should let the library know.

"I think you should always write a note when you wreck a book because it's your fault."

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

House Trained - A Review

 * I received this ebook at no charge from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review *

Opening line … “This morning I overheard my husband talking to his penis.”  Hmmm ... what had I gotten myself in for with this read?

Alex and Barry – to all appearances a happily married couple; childless by choice, they own a lovely home (decorated – several times – by Alex, the interior designer) and dote lavishly on their much loved and very well trained dog, Marie (named by Alex – after Marie Curie).  Although they are happily married each has their own secrets.  Alex is trying to get her fledgling business off the ground, which is not going as well as she has led Barry to believe and Barry was talking to his penis because he had something he desperately has to tell Alex.

Soon enough, Barry’s secret comes walking through the front door of their home in the form of a daughter Barry did not know he had, carrying a granddaughter that is even more of a surprise.  She’s in a bit of a bind and needs help.  

Enjoying and spoiling their nieces and nephews is one thing, but having agreed not to have children of their own, can Alex cope with this stranger who now calls her husband “dad”?

Having always felt like a second choice after “the love of his life” left him, can Alex embrace this daughter Jade gave birth to?

Can Alex keep her business afloat with the chaos going on at home?

It is certainly a bumpy road and the only one seemingly able to roll with the changes is Marie … she embraces everyone with a wagging tail and sloppy licks.  Maybe the people around her should take a lesson from that?  And when things take a (admittedly heavily foreshadowed) turn for the worse, Marie shows that love, a big heart and some bravery can save the day.

This is the first book I have read by Jackie Bouchard.  She herself refers to her books as “Fido-friendly fiction; humorous and heartwarming stories about women and the dogs that profoundly impact their lives.”  This book certainly lives up to that description and although I found it a light, easy to read book there are a lot of life-themes buried in the pages as well.  I often paused for a bit wondering about the choices Alex made and that  left me asking myself what would I do? 

I think this book would make a perfect summer read.  It was a well written, entertaining story that I enjoyed enough that I have another book by Ms. Bouchard waiting on my virtual shelf.

This book is scheduled for release October 20, 2015.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from her website)

Jackie is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning author.  She spent a long time as a creative soul trapped in the body of a practical person. When she was bitten by the writing bug, she managed to leap free of the hamster wheel of corporate America, and now spends her days walking her dog, talking to her dog, and listening for the voices in her head that want their stories told. When the voices don’t talk to her, she can often be found staring into the refrigerator.
After growing up in Southern California, Jackie moved to Bermuda, where she met her husband. Now back in San Diego, American Jackie, her Canadian hubby, and her Mexican rescue mutt form their own happy little United Nations. Jackie’s novels include HOUSE TRAINED (Lake Union, 2015), RESCUE ME, MAYBE, and WHAT THE DOG ATE.

I couldn’t resist including this quote also from her website because it made me chuckle …

Hi, I'm Jackie Bouchard: lover of books (both writing and reading them) and dogs and laughter. In fact, one of my favorite quotes involves all three: Groucho Marx said, "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." You can tell Groucho was around before e-readers. You could actually read inside of a dog if you were using, say, an iPad. It would have to be a pretty big dog though.” 

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Adult Coloring Book Freebie

The tag line reads "Rediscover your Creativity".

There are many kinds of creativity and I like to think that I have a varied assortment of creative talents.  However, I am also quite realistic about the fact that art and drawing are DEFINITELY NOT where my talents lie.  I admire people who can draw and paint and sculpt, I can quite happily lose myself in art galleries and museums for hours on end and I have a bucket list of works of art I would like to see in person.  I'm an "Appreciator"!

Truth be told, I was one of those moms who would have a mini panic attack if one of my girls came up to me and said "Mommy, can you draw me a puppy?"  I would have to admit, "No Sweetie, Mommy has a hard time drawing stick people."


But coloring?  Now that's another story.  I can certainly color with the best of them and spent many happy times coloring with my girls when they were little.  So it has not escaped my attention that lately there have been a significant number of "Adult Coloring Books" on the market.  Hmmm ... interesting concept I thought to myself.  Have I bought one?  No, because quite frankly I have enough things in my life that I can do to waste use up my precious time.  Will I buy one?  Probably, but only as a gift for that person that "has everything" or is "difficult to buy for".

In the recent issue of  "Shelf Awareness for Readers" (a weekly e-zine - free subscription HERE) they had an offer for a free downloadable sample package of pages from Perigee's adult coloring books.  Really, how could I resist?  I loaded a couple of pages of card stock into my printer and printed them out.  There are 8 pages of pictures that range from pretty simple looking to pretty darn complicated looking (to me anyway).  In the wise words of George R.R. Martin, "winter is coming", so I'll tuck them away and maybe pull one or two out some dark winter night to try while watching a movie?

If you're a frustrated artist (like me) or just like free stuff (like me) or are just curious before buying one of these books (like me) ... This is the LINK to the download.

HAPPY COLORING!!


Aw crap ... now I have to go and buy crayons and markers.