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Review: I’m My Own Dog

November 22, 2014

I'm My Own Dog

I’m My Own Dog by David Ezra Stone is narrated by a dog who can take care of himself – he works and plays by himself.  He even gives himself a good scratch every morning but there’s a spot on his back he can’t reach.  He lets someone scratch it for him one day and,

The little guy followed me home.  I felt so sorry for him.

The dog takes the man in and trains him.  Taking care of the man is a lot of work for the dog, but it’s worth it because he’s gotten attached to him.

I absolutely adored I’m My Own Dog!  When Vance was young, I used to tell him that our dog owned him and not the other way around and this book illustrates that perfectly!  It shows youngsters that there is work in owning a dog but it’s worth it.  The illustrations are adorable and will help keep little ones engaged in the story.  Everyone will want a dog to own them after they read this wonderful book.  It’s a must read for all young animal lovers!

kid konnection newI will link this up to Booking Mama’s Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site tomorrow.

Review copy provided by Candlewick Press. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Giveaway: David Baldacci for the Whole Family

November 21, 2014


Baldacci giveawayHave I got a giveaway for you today – a package that include four of David Baldacci’s books!  Between his newest thriller, The Escape, and his new youth fantasy, The Finisher, there’s something for everyone in the family to enjoy this holiday season.  Thanks to Scholastic and Grand Central Publishing, one lucky winner will receive:

·         The John Puller Series including The Forgotten, Zero Day, and The Escape

·         David Baldacci’s new teen fantasy, The Finisher (ages 10+)

About The Escape:

The EscapeA prison unlike any other. Military discipline rules. Its security systems are unmatched. None of its prisoners dream of escaping. They know it’s impossible . . . until now.

John Puller’s older brother, Robert, was convicted of treason. His inexplicable escape from the country’s most-secure prison makes him the most wanted criminal in the country. Some in the government believe that John Puller represents their best chance of capturing Robert alive, and so Puller is ordered to bring in his brother to face justice.

But Puller quickly discovers that his brother is pursued by others who don’t want him to survive. At the same time, Puller is pushed into an uneasy, fraught partnership with Veronica Knox, an agent who may have an agenda of her own.

They dig more deeply into the case together, and Puller finds that not only are Knox’s allegiances unclear, but there are troubling details about his brother’s conviction. It becomes clear that someone out there doesn’t want the truth to ever come to light. As the nationwide manhunt for Robert grows more urgent, Puller’s masterful skills as an investigator and strengths as a fighter may not be enough to save his brother—or himself.

About The Finisher:

The FinisherVega Jane was always told no one could leave the town of Wormwood. She was told there was nothing outside but a forest filled with danger and death. And she always believed it – until the night she saw Quentin Herms run away.

Vega knows Quentin didn’t just leave, he was chased. And he left behind a trail of clues that point to a dark conspiracy at the heart of Wormwood. To follow the clues will attract the attention of influential people willing to kill to keep their secrets. To stay safe, Vega just needs to keep her head down and her mouth shut. There’s only one problem – Vega Jane is not the kind of girl who walks away from a fight.

Master storyteller David Baldacci introduces an unforgettable heroine who must think fast, hit hard, and defy all odds to uncover the truth.

About the author:

David BalcacciDavid Baldacci is a global #1 bestselling author. His books are published in over 45 languages and in more than 80 countries, with over 110 million copies in print; several have been adapted for both feature film and television. David Baldacci is also the cofounder, along with his wife, of the Wish You Well Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting literacy efforts across America. Still a resident of his native Virginia, he invites you to visit him at and his foundation at


Learn more:

Visit David Baldacci’s website

Find David Baldacci on Facebook

To enter to win this great David Baldacci prize pack, simply fill out the entry form.  Contest is open to those with a US mailing address only– one entry per person, please.  I will use to determine the winner.  Contest ends at midnight EST Thursday, December 4, 2014.    Comments are welcome (and appreciated) but will not get you an entry in the contest.

Review: The Undertaker’s Daughter

November 20, 2014

The Undertaker's Daughter

When she was a young girl, Kate Mayfield’s family moved to Jubilee, Kentucky where her father opened a funeral home.  Being the funeral director in a small town gives a unique perspective to life there, and Mayfield’s family saw it all.  Her father handled it all with dignity and respect even while their family faced their own struggles.

Kate Mayfield shares her story of growing up in a funeral home – the family actually lived upstairs until she was a teen – in her memoir, The Undertaker’s Daughter.  She saw and heard much of what was going on in Jubilee but it took her a while to see what was going on in her own family.

I love to read memoirs and went into this book with very high expectations.   There is a lot to like in this book – the great writing and the setting to name a few – and I did like it a great deal but I didn’t love it the way I thought I would.  I’m not sure why, but it may have been because Mayfield’s childhood was interesting but, except for the fact that she grew up in a funeral home, it wasn’t all that unique.  Still, The Undertaker’s Daughter is well worth reading, especially if you enjoy memoirs or books set in the South.

Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster.   I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Wondrous Words Wednesday

November 19, 2014

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love.  Feel free to get creative!   If you want to play along, grab the button, write a post and come back and add your link to Mr. Linky!

I found two more words in Shadows in the Vineyard by Maximillian Potter.

1. plonk – “Onto bottles filled with this plonk the négociants slapped the typical labels with négociant brand, but also, often with the name of a specific vineyard.”

I love the sound of plonk but not its meaning.  Plonk is cheap or inferior wine.


2. courtesan – “In the words of Marcelle Tinayre, a neighbor and close friend of the Poissons, Madame Poisson gave her daughter the ‘education of a superior courtesan.’”

I had a vague idea of what a courtesan was but I wasn’t sure so I thought I’d look it up.  I suspect people who read a lot of historical fiction will know this but I was rather surprised to discover a courtesan is a prostitute with a courtly, wealthy, or upper class clientele.


What words do you want to celebrate today?

Review: Taking the Lead

November 18, 2014

Taking the Lead

One of my guilty pleasures is watching Dancing with the Stars so I decided to read Taking the Lead: Lessons from a Life In Motion by one of the show’s stars, Derek Hough.   Hough writes a little about his background and shares how he came to be one of the dancers on DWTS.  At the end of each chapter, he shares “Leading Lessons,” bits of wisdom he’s learned from dancing and participating in DWTS.  There are also short pieces called “Reflecting on Derek” at the end of each chapter.  Written by friends, family members, and former partners, they’re very flattering and meant to show what a wonderful guy Hough is.

Taking the Lead was a quick read for me but I didn’t find it particularly revealing.  I thought it was a bit over-the-top at times – I’m sure Hough is a nice guy but this book makes him sound perfect.  The wisdom he shares is important but it’s nothing new or earth shattering.  I’ll admit that I enjoyed Taking the Lead but I’d only recommend it to fans of Hough and Dancing with the Stars.

Review copies provided by Harper Collins.  I am an Indiebound Affliate.

Mailbox Monday

November 17, 2014

Mailbox Monday November 17

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued, and now hosted on its own blog.   We’re in the process of getting used to a new “normal” around here.  After almost 36 years, Carl has retired from the company that hired him out of college – he’s actually taking vacation now and won’t be officially retired until the end of the month, but his last day of work was Thursday.  It feels both great and just a little bit odd – how can we possibly be old enough for retirement?  I found these books in my mailbox last week:







What did you find in your mailbox last week?

Review: Fleabrain Loves Franny

November 14, 2014

Fleabrain Loves Franny

Franny is a young girl with polio who adores Charlotte’s Web.  She is struggling to learn to walk again so is left out of many activities, including school.  Fleabrain, a very brainy flea, befriends her and takes her on adventures she never could have imagined.

I have to admit that I was drawn to Fleabrain Loves Franny by Joanne Rocklin because of its adorable cover and catchy title.  I read the synopsis and thought it sounded sweet so I decided to give it a try.  I think Rocklin tried to do too much with the book, though, so it ended up just being okay for me.

I really liked the fact that Rocklin showed the fear surrounding polio in the early 1950s.  I also liked the way she showed what it was like to live with the disease – or, really, any disability, back then.  Franny’s school wasn’t willing to, and didn’t have to, make accommodations for her and she felt isolated because of it.  Historical details were included as well, including the lengths FDR went to to hide his polio, the birth of the March of Dimes, and the discovery of the polio vaccine.

I found Franny’s relationship with Fleabrain to be a little far fetched and felt it distracted from what could have been a great historical fiction book for middle grade readers.  Having said that, I thought Rocklin’s writing was terrific and would happily pick up another one of her books.

The audio version of Fleabrain Loves Franny is narrated by Julie Marcus and she does a wonderful job!  The audio is on 6 CDs and lasts approximately 6 and a half hours.

Listen to an excerpt:


kid konnection newI will link this up to Booking Mama’s Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site tomorrow.

Review copy provided by Random House.  I am an Indiebound Affliate.

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