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Sunday, April 20, 2014

DOG GONE, BACK SOON - BOOK TWO (NICK TROUT)


My Review:
Hyperion|April 8, 2014|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1-4013-1089-9

When Dr. Cyrus Mills returned home after inheriting his estranged father's veterinary practice, The Bedside Manor for Sick Animals, the last thing he wanted was to stay in Eden Falls, Vermont, a moment longer than absolutely necessary. However, the previously reclusive veterinarian pathologist quickly found that he actually enjoyed treating animals and getting to know the eccentric residents of the tiny provincial town - especially an alluring waitress named Amy.

So Cyrus is now determined to make Bedside Manor thrive. Not an easy goal, given that Healthy Paws, the national veterinary chain across town, will stop at nothing to crush its mom-and-pop competitor. And the rival pet practice isn't Cyrus's only competition; a handsome stranger shows up out of nowhere who clearly has a mysterious past with Amy. To top it off, Cyrus finds himself both the guardian of a very unique orphaned dog and smack in the middle of serious small town drama.

This charming sequel to THE PATRON SAINT OF LOST DOGS is a wild and delightful ride through one jam-packed week, where Cyrus must figure out how to outsmart the evil veterinary conglomerate, win back Amy's heart, solve several tricky veterinary cases, find a home for an orphaned dog, and detangle himself from an absurd case of mistaken identity. DOG GONE, BACK SOON brims with Nick Trout's trademark humor, charm, and captivating animal stories, and is proof that all dogs, lost or not, on four feet or two, deserve a second chance.

DOG GONE, BACK SOON was for me a comical, light romp through a hectic week in the life of Doc Mills. I laughed out loud at the antics that went on and couldn't help but slap my knee once in a while too. This book and the first would make great reading for teens, books that would be right up their alley. In my opinion, anyone from 10 to 90 would get a huge chuckle out of these two novels. I'll definitely be passing the word on.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

THE PATRON SAINT OF LOST DOGS - BOOK ONE (NICK TROUT)


MY REVIEW:
Hyperion||February 12, 2013|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1-4013-1088-2

Dr. Cyrus Mills returns to his hometown after inheriting his father's failing veterinary practice. Cyrus intends to sell the practice and get out of town as fast as he can, but when his first patient - a down on her luck golden retriever named Frieda Fuzzypaws - wags her way through the door, life suddenly gets complicated.

With the help of a black Labrador gifted in the art of swallowing underwear, a Persian cat determined to expose her owner's lover as a gold digger, and the allure of a feisty, pretty waitress from the local diner, Cyrus gets caught up in a new community and its endearing residents, both human and animal. Sensing he may have misjudged the past, he begins to realize it's not just his patients that need healing.

THE PATRON SAINT OF LOST DOGS is a winsome tale of new beginnings, forgiveness, and the joy of finding your way home.

I laughed and shook my head through this book as I couldn't believe the antics that went on. Poor Dr. Mills has his hands full, not just with his four-legged friends but also their two-legged owners. Trying to keep up with everything going on proves at times to be too much for poor old Doc Mills but he somehow manages to gallantly push through to a conclusion to each problem he faces. THE PATRON SAINT OF DOGS is Book One. The follow-up book to this is titled: "Dog Gone, Back Soon" which I'll be reading next. Great book for people of all ages but teens especially would love this.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

MISS BRENDA AND THE LOVELADIES (BRENDA SPAHN) A TRUE STORY


My Review:
The Doubleday Publishing Group|February 18, 2014|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-0-307-73217-0

One woman's fight to provide hope for the hopeless...

Seven ex-cons who changed her heart forever...

For Brenda Spahn, entrepreneur and businesswoman, wealth was a lifestyle-until a brush with the law threatened to send her to prison. In those dark moments, Brenda made a promise to God.

Spared incarceration, a renewed Brenda glimpsed into the lives of women serving time in one of the worst places in America-the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Alabama.

What she saw prompted a God-inspired vision.

With a heart to help and a will that couldn't be crushed, Brenda fought the system and overcame tremendous obstacles to take ex-cons into her own home and help them navigate the alien world of life on the outside.

This is the story of Brenda's journey from rags to riches to redemption. It's the story of the first unlikely year of her "Whole Way House" and of the extraordinary lives of the first seven women who came to call her "Miss Brenda." It's a story that testifies to the power of faith and how God changes hearts every day.

Brenda Spahn is a lot braver than I would have been to take on the women that she did. However, not only did Brenda teach these hardened and often unfeeling women how to be sensitive, society worthy human beings, they also taught Brenda more about herself and life than she ever knew possible. Brenda's whole outlook on life changed after spending time with her "Loveladies" and what a time it was. I read this book in one sitting as I couldn't put it down.

I had no idea that Brenda's "whole-way house" even existed in the United States and have since been to their website and what a place it is! I can't believe the number of people she has rehabilitated. People who every one else had totally given up on and cast aside as mere garbage. Brenda offered them something they'd never had in their lives before and that was an unconditional love and a place to be heard and to be themselves without fear of judgement.

This was an incredible story from the first page until the last and I'll bet any of you who choose to read about the "Loveladies", will also want to read it in one sitting!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

THE ART OF HEARING HEARTBEATS (JAN-PHILIPP SENDKER)




My Review:
Other Press|January 31, 2012|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1-59051-463-4

A poignant and inspirational love story set in Burma, THE ART OF HEARING HEARTBEATS spans the decades between the 1950s and the present. When a successful New York lawyer suddenly disappears without a trace, neither his wife nor his daughter Julia has any idea where he might be...until they find a love letter he wrote many years ago, to a Burmese woman they have never heard of. Intent on solving the mystery and coming to terms with her father's past, Julia decides to travel to the village where the woman lived. There she uncovers a tale of unimaginable hardship resilience, and passion that will reaffirm the reader's belief in the power of love to move mountains.

I was so enamoured with this story that I just couldn't put it down. This is one of the best novels I've read in awhile. I was mesmermized and my eyes were glued to every single word on the page. The descriptive narrative was so well done that I could see, hear and smell the sights and sounds as I traveled around with Tin Win and Mi Mi. I totally fell in love with this couple and will remember them for a long time to come. Don't miss out on this one, it was really very, very well done.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

FRIENDSHIP CAKE (LYNNE HINTON)



My Review:
HarperCollins|March 21, 2002|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-06-251731-9

When five women from the Hope Springs Community Church in North Carolina form a committee to create a church cookbook, they embark on a project much more meaningful than they could have ever imagined. As novice pastor Charlotte Stewart, no-nonsense Margaret Peele, maverick Louise Fisher, steadfast Jessie Jenkins, and busybody Beatrice Newgarden meet to share recipes, they begin to open their lives and hearts as well.

For the amount of arguments they get themselves into, they really do maintain a bond of friendship like no other. And opinionated, Louise Fisher takes on a sick friend dying from dementia and has a very difficult time coping with her death. But, not to worry, her friends are ever at her side.

This was a cute and easy read and apparently there are two other books that follow this one which I plan to pick up so I can complete the trilogy. Very light, enjoyable read.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

ABOVE (ISLA MORLEY)



My Review:
Gallery Books|March 4, 2014|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-1-4767-3152-0

I am a secret no one is able to tell.

Blythe Hallowell is sixteen when she is abducted by a survivalist and locked away in an abandoned missile silo in Eudora, Kansas. At first, she focuses frantically on finding a way out, until the harrowing truth of her new existence settles in-the crushing loneliness, the terrifying madness of a captor who believes he is saving her from the end of the world, and the persistent temptation to give up. But nothing prepares Blythe for the burden of raising a child in confinement. Determined to give the boy everything she has lost, she pushes aside the truth about a world he may never see for a myth that just might give meaning to their lives below ground. Years later, their lives are ambushed by an event at once promosing and devastating. As Blythe's dream of going home hangs in the balance, she faces the ultimate choice-between survival and freedom, a freedom she needs for herself and her son, Adam.

ABOVE is a riveting tale of resilience, bravery, patience, and the ultimate ability to survive. I don't know that I would of had the fortitude to survive what Blythe did. However, being locked away for seventeen years as she was, I suppose I wouldn't of had much choice. I don't think I could of handled it emotionally well. Great book which I'll be highly recommending.

VINTAGE: A NOVEL (SUSAN GLOSS)



MY REVIEW:
HarperCollins Publishers|March 17, 2014|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-0-227032-0

At Hourglass Vintage in Madison, Wisconsin, every item in the boutique has a story to tell...and so do the women whose lives the store touches.


Yellow Samsonite suitcase with ivory, quilted lining, 1950s
A small-town girl with a flair for fashion, Violet Turner had always dreamed of owning a shop like Hourglass Vintage. But while she values the personal history behind each beautiful item she sells, Violet is running from her own past. Faced with the possibility of losing the store to an unscrupulous developer, she realizes that despite her usual self-reliance she cannot save it alone.


Taffeta tea-length wedding gown with scooped neckline and cap sleeves, 1952
Eighteen-year-old April Morgan is nearly five months along in an unplanned pregnancy when her hasty engagement is broken. When she returns the perfect vintage wedding dress to Violet's shop, she discovers a world of new possibilities, and an unexpected sisterhood with women who won't let her give up on her dreams.


Orange silk sari with gold paisley design, 1968
Betrayed by her husband, Amithi Singh begins selling off her vibrant Indian dresses, remanants of a life she's determined to leave behind her. After decades of housekeeping and parenting a daughter who rejects her traditional ways, she fears her best days are behind her...until she discovers an outlet for her creativity and skills with a needle and thread.

An engaging story that beautifully captures the essence of friendship and style, VINTAGE is a charming tale of possibility, of finding renewal, love, and hope when we least expect it.

The friendship these women forge is beyond beautiful. I totally fell in love with this story and didn't want it to end.