Posted in Book Review, Childrens Books

4#Review- Truman the Dog – My Furry Foster Family – Debbi Michiko Florence – Illustrator Melanie Demmer #childrensbooks #animals #rescue #dogs @DebbiMichiko @melaniedemmer

“T” is for Truman, tricks, and TROUBLE! Truman the black lab might be an older rescue dog, but he’s still got enough mischief beneath his collar to keep eight-year-old Kaita Takano and her animal-fostering family on their toes from morning till night. Chewed through and through, the playfully illustrated, Kaita-narrated chapter book promises plenty of canine fun.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Capstone via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

There are lots of good things about this children’s story aimed at the five to seven age group. The story is well-paced, easy to understand and written in a fun, upbeat way. The illustrations are colourful and lovely, and they complement the text perfectly.

This book features the Takano family and their experiences, as they foster older rescue dog Truman. Told from Kaita, the daughter’s point of view, this story contains accurate descriptions of fostering a large dog both good and not so good, and manages to portray the dos and don’ts of fostering rescue animals, in an easily understandable and non-judgmental way.

This is more a diary of experiences than a story, but it is entertaining to read and does put the messages across well. It is also worth noting that the advanced reader copy I read is written in English (US), which does raise differences in spellings of keywords for the UK readers. Not a problem for adults, but may engender some confusion in young readers?

I like the sections at the back of the book, a glossary of terms, some questions to think about in relation to the story, and some activities. There is also a feature on the young girl and family who inspired the story, which is interesting.

This is part of a series of books on fostering animals, which will make educational and entertaining reading for the age group intended.

Author Bio:

Debbi Michiko Florence writes books for children in her writing studio, The Word Nest. She is an animal lover with a degree in Zoology and has worked at a pet store, the Humane Society, a raptor rehabilitation center, and a zoo. She is the author of two chapter-book series: Jasmine Toguchi (FSG) and Dorothy & Toto (Picture Window Books). A third-generation Japanese American and a native Californian, Debbi now lives in Connecticut with her husband, a rescue dog, a bunny, and two ducks.

Illustrator Bio:

Melanie is an American artist born and raised in Plymouth, Michigan. She has been drawing since she was a little girl. Back then, her favorite canvas was pavement and her go to medium was sidewalk chalk. Nowadays, Melanie likes to create artwork digitally but also enjoys using watercolor, markers, colored pencils, and acrylic paint. Oh, and sometimes a pinch of glitter too! Melanie is a 2013 graduate of the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan where she earned a BFA in Illustration. The Michigan-native has since relocated to Los Angeles, California to pursue a career in illustration and design.

Posted in Animal Welfare, Book Review, Childrens Books

Mr Dog and the Rabbit Habit – 5*#Review -Ben Fogle- Steve Cole- Illustrator- Nikolas Ilic @HarperCollinsCh @BenFogle @SteveColeBooks @nikolas_ilic #childrensbooks #childrensfiction #animals #dogs #rabbits #conservation

A brand new young fiction series by TV broadcaster and intrepid explorer Ben Fogle, inspired by his real-life animal experiences…

Co-written with best-selling children’s author Steve Cole and illustrated throughout with beautiful black and white illustrations by Nikolas Ilic.

You can always count on Mr Dog to help an animal in trouble…

When a mother rabbit is captured in a trap, he ends up playing bunny sitter

But someone wants rid of All the rabbits, not just this one, and time is running out for Mr Dog to save them…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins Children’s Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A refreshingly different children’s illustrated story with wonderful relatable animal characters and an important message, delivered in easy to understand bite size pieces, about animal conservation and welfare. The fun illustrations reinforce the text and make this book suitable for younger children too.

This adventurous and fun story has believable characters with recognisable animal characteristics. It should be a favourite of both children and adults lucky enough to read this book too.

The plot although necessarily simple does have a couple of twists and doesn’t fall into the trap of becoming too sinister or cliche for the intended audience. It deals with contemporary animal husbandry and conservation issues in a readable and understandable way.

Mr Dog is the star, and he is an instant hit with me. Adventurous, clever, courageous, fun and kind, he has desirable personality traits that resonate with children and he makes a good role model.

An enjoyable read for children and their adults and the makings of an important, yet fun series.

Posted in Book Review, Childrens Books

The Dog Who Saved The World – Ross Welford – 5*#Review @rosswelford @HarperCollinsCh

When eleven-year-old Georgie befriends an eccentric retired scientist, she becomes the test subject for a thrilling new experiment: a virtual-reality 3D version of the future.

But then a deadly disease threatens the life of every dog in the country and Georgie’s beloved dog, Mr Mash, gets sick. And that’s only the start of her troubles.

Soon, Georgie and Mr Mash must embark on a desperate quest: to save every dog on earth, and maybe even all of humanity …

… without actually leaving the room.

An extraordinary quest with the biggest stakes of all, and a huge idea at its heart, this is time travel – but not as you know it.

Amazon UK

My Thoughts…

I enjoyed this tale of courage, dogs, family, friends and time travel. Although, it’s many years since I was the age this book is aimed at. I can remember the types of books I read then and this would have been one.

Georgie and Ramzy are lovely characters, their friendship is strong and means everything to them, as friends do at this age. They both have distinctive, realistic voices and give this story its heart.

Dr Pretorius is a strange woman, seen through the children’s eyes, she is the person their parents warned them not to trust but she has a magical quality that draws them in. Although Georgie and Ramzy disobey their parent’s rules it is clear from this story they understand the value of them.

The time travelling element of the story is fun and frightening for the intrepid pair and is entertaining reading. Family life as perceived by children is explored and again gives the story its humour and poignancy.

Georgie’s love of animals and particularly dogs makes this story relatable to most children. The prospect of losing your doggy best friend and dogs disappearing from the earth is a sobering thought. Not surprisingly the children are courageous, and sometimes foolhardy to stop this horror becoming reality.

There are adult issues alluded to and explored in this story, some of which children and most adults may find disturbing and sad, but these are seen in news programmes daily and this book deals with them sensitively and allows a positive conclusion with the introduction of fantasy and time travel.

I enjoyed this book and I will enjoy reading it to my grandson when he’s older. It is fun, realistic and full of exciting imagery that allows you to see the problems of today in a futuristic way.

I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins Children’s Books via Net Galley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review

4* Review- Marion Lennox – English Lord on Her Doorstep

A storm. A stranger. A secret.

After a storm leaves handsome stranger Bryn Morgan stranded at Charlie’s farmhouse she plans to keep her distance! But the night forges a bond between —until Bryn reveals is, in fact, Lord Carlisle! Can he show Charlie that their differences can bring them closer?

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

A romantic tale of two people from differing backgrounds who find a connection in adversity.

Charlie is grief-stricken after the sudden loss of her much-loved grandmother, Bryn is reeling from trying to unravel his criminal uncle’s latest scam. A storm and an injured dog brings them together, but when Charlie finds out why Bryn is in Australia, she wants nothing to do with him. Circumstances and Bryn’s caring attitude change her mind, but trust doesn’t come easy. Bryn’s generous gesture gives Charlie a way out but he is keeping secrets from her, and romantic deeds may not be the way to win this woman’s heart.

An easy to read romance, the plot is rooted in fairytale rather than reality, but if you accept this, the sentiments are genuine, the dogs lovable and Bryn, a gentleman. The characters are realistic even if their situation is unlikely and there is the desired happy ever after a fable like this demands.

Enjoyable summer-reading for the romantics.

I received a copy of this book from Mills & Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review, Festive Read

Claude’s Christmas Adventure – Sophie Pembroke – 4*Review

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This Christmas a little dog is in for a BIG adventure…

Meet Claude. He’s a loveable, big-eared, permanently hungry French Bulldog, who loves his humans – the McCawley family of number 11 Maple Drive to be precise.

When Daisy and Oliver McCawley start using new words like, ‘ferry’, ‘chateau’ and ‘France’, Claude realises they won’t be spending this Christmas at home. Only, when he finds himself on the street, as the family car pulls away, Claude realises he is ALONE. And more importantly, he is without all the yummy treats he knows the festive season brings…

Cue the start of Claude’s Christmas Adventure. It all begins with a belly-flop through next door’s catflap, where he finds newly single and craft-a-holic Holly, Jack the ex-army postman, his arch nemesis Perdita the cat … and serious amounts of gingerbread.

Maple Drive’s cutest resident is about to bring the street together for Christmas, in ways no-one could have imagined …

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Amazon UK

Amazon

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Claude’s Christmas Adventure

I read this lovely Christmas story a few weeks ago but the characters and humour have stayed with me and I am smiling again as I write this review. Although the circumstances leading up to Claude’s Christmas adventure seem unlikely, this doesn’t stop you enjoying it and becoming absorbed in the lives of the family who leave him behind and the street who take him in when they do.
Vivid characters and events characterise this Christmas tale, it’s easy to see it as a Christmas romantic comedy film. Naughty but loveable dogs, demanding children and an overworked mum, who has forgotten who she is as she tries to please everyone at Christmas with predictably disastrous results.
The characters are strong and realistic. Claude’s pursuit of gingerbread and his lost family brings, lots of laughs, poignancy and a delicious sprinkling of romance.
A light-hearted festive read, from a doggy perspective, which is worth reading.
I received copy of this book from Avon books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Claude’s Christmas Adventure by Sophie Pembroke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Claude’s Christmas Adventure by Sophie Pembroke

Sophie Pembroke

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Posted in Author Blog Challenge

Author Blog Challenge: Things I Collect

My family definitely believe I’m a collector. I’m not particularly materialistic but  I do become attached to my things and find it difficult to  get rid of them, even when they’re old and past it.

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Soft Toys

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I’ve never outgrown my love of soft, cuddly toys. I had a vast collection when I was a child, some of which are just about in existence, in a bag in the loft. Every time we move house they appear and my husband says, “shall we get rid of these?” I open up  the bag and look at the contents and the memories come flooding back and I can’t bear to throw them away.

I also have a collection of soft toys  that my husband and children have bought me over the years, some of these are still on display in my bedroom, they’re like old friends. 🙂

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My daughter and to a lesser extent my son, loved ‘Beanie Babies’, a popular collectible in the ‘nineties’. Needless to say I couldn’t part with these either and they are in bags in various storage areas in the house. Maybe my grandson will like them, when he’s old enough?

Books

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I love reading and so books are definitely something I like to collect, although it’s rare that I read them more than once. This resulted in numerous bookcases. Then a few years ago. I discovered  Kindle and now 99%  of my books are eBooks. I still collect and read prolifically but it takes less space, which is fortunate as my current modern house is not abundant with storage spaces.

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Waifs  and Strays

 This is more of a lifestyle choice rather than a hobby. I love animals and since I’ve been married I’ve been lucky enough to have lots of animals companions. Many of these turned up on my  doorstep and I didn’t have the heart to turn them away.

 When I married in the ‘eighties’, our first house was a terrace in a rundown part of town. Needless to say, there were more than a few homeless cats and they seemed to realise,  I wouldn’t be able  to turn them away. When I was ready to move to house number two, I had five cats, two adopted from my next door neighbour as kittens and three strays .

Oby my nine year old Border Collie/ German Shepherd cross, is the latest addition to the family. My husband spotted his sad story, by chance, on his social media and once he’d showed me, Oby was always going to join  our family and we’re so glad he did. Especially  Jazz  who’s had a great time over the last three years with his new pal.

So,  I think you can gather from this post that I’m a  collector, I also love, pictures, glassware and plants. I only have a cottage garden now but its packed full with plants and miniature fruit trees. 

 

 

What about you? What do you  like to collect? Comment on my post or join in on Twitter -#LifeBooksWriting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Blogging Community, Written Fireside

Written Fireside – Part 4 by Jane Hunt

This is my first Written Fireside story and I’ve really enjoyed reading the first three parts and writing this, Part 4 of ‘Can’t You See?’

loriconnellyh_cantyousee1Noah Hale is an author suffering from PTSD related insomnia, needing peace and sleep. All he wants is to be left alone. A certain little dog has other ideas.

Amanda Bell, a teacher, is grieving the loss of her sister, Rachel. Caring for her sister’s dog is comforting until a new neighbor moves in the other half of her duplex. Suddenly, the dog starts escaping her yard, running off to the man on the other side of the fence.

Part 1 by Lori Connelly

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Part 2 by Elsa Winckler PlanB-cover-195x300Cover-Love-in-writing-367-kb-196x300Touched-small-cover_Final200-196x300Part 3 by Angela Campbell

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Now read Part 4 by Jane Hunt

loriconnellyh_cantyousee1Say something Noah. His mouth opened and shut without uttering a syllable, the words whirling around in his brain were hardly appropriate. Aroused, his body inched closer to the now slightly impatient woman, hoping to put his thoughts into action. Fortunately, common sense prevailed. He smiled and stepped back allowing her into his narrow hallway. “Sure, I’ll get my cell phone; the house phone hasn’t been connected yet.” Amanda, cast a fleeting look behind her. “Hoping for a more suitable knight errant?” The jibe tripped off Noah’s tongue without consideration and he instantly regretted it. A faint blush stained her otherwise pale face, which bore no or little make up, this wasn’t a contrived visit then.

With a slight shake of her head Amanda stepped into the dimly lit hallway. “I’m so sorry to disturb you, again but Gertie pushed the door shut whilst I was on the patio and I can’t get back in.”

Noah indicated that she should go into the lounge, wondering where he last saw his cell phone. “Quite a talented dog you have, a pity she hasn’t learnt to unlock doors too.” Remembering where he last saw his phone, he headed for his bedroom. “Sit down I won’t be a minute.”

***

Amanda perched her butt on the closest chair and sighed, her gaze drawn to Noah’s muscled legs and firm rear, as he headed out of the room. Amanda hated imposing but she had little choice in the circumstances. She shivered and rubbed her clammy arms, against the sudden chill. The tap pants and top she wore revealed more than they hid and were hardly suitable attire for visiting a strange man’s house. Gertie’s fault again. She appeared determined to throw them together. The dog’s clumsy matchmaking made her think of Rachel. Tears clouded her vision, as she recalled her sister’s persistent attempts to find Amanda the perfect man. Heavy footsteps echoed on the wooden floor, she wiped the tears away with the back of her hand, as Noah walked into the room.

He handed her his cell phone. “Help yourself, would you like a drink, I only have iced tea, milk or fruit juice, no beer I’m afraid.” Noah’s gentle voice revealed his concern; he must have seen her crying.

“Iced tea would be lovely; I don’t suppose you have a number for a locksmith?”

“Sorry, no, I haven’t but I could try my key, they may be similar?”

“The automatic lock must be on the door but it’s worth a try, if you don’t mind, thank you.” Amanda smiled.

“I’ll get your drink.” Noah brushed by her as he headed for the kitchen.

She shivered again. Amanda ignored the butterflies in her stomach; there was something about his eyes that made her think of white cotton sheet and hot steamy nights. Heat flooded her body in a blush that betrayed her thoughts, thankfully she was alone.

***

Noah opened the bottle of peach tea and poured it into a long glass; he took a juice for him and carried the drinks into the lounge.  Slim, tanned legs filled his gaze, as he stood in the doorway. Long, dark hair cascaded over her bare shoulders, as she stared out into the garden. “It’s a lovely night; do you want to take them outside?”

Amanda started. “Could we take them next door? I’m worried about Gertie; she’s really needy since my sister…died.” Tears filled Amanda’s blue eyes and ran down her flushed cheeks.

The reason for her earlier crying explained; Noah placed the drinks on the coffee table and perched on the arm of Amanda’s chair. He brushed her tears gently away with his thumb, aware of how soft her skin was. She stared at him, her gaze full of pain. It was like looking in the mirror and he closed his eyes against his own fears. “I’m sorry for your loss.”

“Thank you, I’m sorry for the tears, they creep up on me and…”

“It’s fine, she was your sister, and you need to grieve.” Noah’s thumb rested at the side of Amanda’s lips, he wanted to brush his thumb against their softness, taste their inevitable sweetness but the vulnerability in her gaze, made him stop. He stood up and passed her the iced tea. Her hands shook slightly but she took the glass. He drank his juice quickly, suddenly anxious to be alone again.” Let’s go and do battle with your door.”

Amanda nodded.

***

Gertie anxiously pawed at the glass door as they approached. She jumped up and down and chased her tail in circles, yapping pitifully, when they didn’t immediately release her.

“It’s alright Gertie, you’re not alone now. Let’s try this key and see what happens.” Noah’s deep, calm voice apparently soothed the frightened dog and she lay down in front of the door, her chin resting on her paws.

“You obviously have the magic touch with animals. I’ve never had a dog before, I’m not even sure if she likes me, only the treats I give her,” Amanda said gloomily.

“I’m sure she likes you just fine, she’s maybe missing your sister too. Give her time, she’ll learn to love you and you her, I’m sure,” Noah offered as he wiggled the key in the lock, with little effect.” It’s not going to work, you better search on my cell phone for a locksmith, unless I can hoist you through that window, you’re small enough to fit through the gap. What do you say?” Noah’s smile reached his green eyed gaze and his face became even more striking, the pain Amanda glimpsed earlier absent.

“Well if there’s no other way, I don’t have much choice. Are you sure you can support my weight?” Amanda queried.

“What are you about one hundred and twenty pounds?” Noah said.

“Yeah about that,” Amanda confirmed, “Okay let’s get this over with.”

Noah placed his hand just above Amanda’s hips trying to ignore the silk of her brief tap pants and the tantalizing split that revealed more thigh than was good for his blood pressure. “Ready, when I say go, reach for the window frame and then twist your body into the open window. I’ll hold you steady until you get into the house.” Noah slowed his breathing and concentrated on his task. Amanda trusted him, even though she didn’t know him and he wouldn’t let her down.

“Okay, I’m ready.” Amanda leaned into Noah to make his task easier.

If only she didn’t smell so damn good. “Right, Go!” Noah boosted Amanda’s slim body, up the side of the duplex, level with the gap in the window.” Now try and ease yourself into the space, don’t worry, I’ve got you.” Noah’s veins stood out against his tanned skin, with the strain but his grip didn’t falter.

“I’m nearly there can you lift me a little higher?” Amanda said as she twisted and squirmed her supple body into the tiny space afforded by the open window. “I’m in”

Noah’s arms relaxed as Amanda’s weight left them. A loud bang drew his gaze. “Amanda? Are you alright?” Inside, Gertie jumped up and ran in the direction of the noise.

“Arghh.” Amanda’s screams echoed into the night’s stillness.

Noah fought against the dark shadows and screams ringing in his ears, he needed to help Amanda. Sweat drenched his T-shirt, as he judged the gap in the window, it was too small for him to get through but at least he could see inside. He stepped onto the window sill and pulled his body up the side of the house, nearly there, another scream. Numb, he let go, lost in the shadows and falling…

Read Part 5 written by Charlotte Phillips on July 21

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