Review: Sit, Stay, Love

Kelsey is the lead adoption coordinator for High Grove Animal Shelter, and is feeling like she’s at a crossroads in her life. She left college abruptly after a humiliating post-coital rejection from her best male friend that sent her into a major depressive episode, but has been more or less content with her job. Her boss, Megan (who’s story was in the first book), has noticed her unease and a major project has fallen into her lap, and she eagerly assigns Kelsey to the task. What is the project, you ask? Rehabbing dozens of dogs who were in a cruel fighting ring.

Of course, Kelsey can’t do this alone, and ex-Marine Kurt ends up stepping in to help after an unfortunate meeting at the warehouse where the dogs are being temporarily held. (Yep, she barfs all over his shoes after being completely unprepared to see the injuries these poor pups have.) Kurt is just as reluctant to be rehabbed post-military as some of the dogs, but Kelsey’s calm nature and the old mansion that becomes the dog rehab headquarters begin to win him over.

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Review: Follow

tl;dr: too much going on and not enough explanation in this dirty talk explosion

The Story:

Our story begins with Teresa Valentini, aspiring filmmaker and petty criminal, realizing that her younger brother has somehow gotten tied up in the seedy underbelly that had once claimed their father. Both of their parents are deceased, but while they were alive, they moved the family from New York to Los Angeles, escaping their shady past and starting over.

Teresa hops on a plane to rescue her brother, but Silas, the kingpin mafia don boss or whatever, refuses to let Nicholas go back to his former life. He instead makes a deal with her: she can retrieve his wayward son Will who took off on a road trip with his Great Dane, bring him back to New York, and only then will he allow Nicholas to leave his employ. Teresa feels she doesn’t have much choice, although she’s disturbed by Silas’ intimation that she’ll basically sex the son up enough to drag him home.

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Review: The Wingman

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was a fun romance with some minimal drama, and I was eager to finish it. It wasn’t boring, and the writing is solid.

There were a few things that confused me a little, and partly it’s because I had a really hard time placing the book until about 20% in. It takes place in South Africa, a place I am wholly unfamiliar with. The cultural aesthetic seemed to be in between British and American, and so I kept wondering over and over where exactly this story was taking place. Finally, ‘Cape Town’ was mentioned, and I got it. I think that should have been cleared up within the first chapter. And because of my unfamiliarity with South African culture, some of the words choices may have been spot on but seemed a little too formal or too crude. For example, the words ‘bitches’ and ‘bitch’ were tossing around like pronouns, and it seemed excessive for what I’m used to. But maybe the word *is* tossed around a lot in South Africa?

The middle of the book was pretty good. Lots of believable family drama, and the insertion of Mason into the family dynamics was solid. Where the book lags is in the set up and in the conclusion. The set up was disjointing because there was a lot of exposition in weird asides, things that could have been weaved into the main storyline better. The conclusion felt laggy but rushed at the same time. I didn’t quite understand Mason’s reasons for pushing Daisy away. And of course, Daisy ending up in the hospital caused them to come together which is a little tropey, but it also made sense with the story and early plot developments.

Now, what most of you are here for: the smut. Ah, it needed a little work. Most of the foreplay was great – hot, leaving the reader wanting more, just enough to push the plot forward. But the actual sex was riddled with strange dialogue/thoughts from the characters. Example: “It was crazy, hot, and sexy, and Daisy loved it!” Complete with exclamation point. Also, it takes me aback when male bodies are referred to as “furry” and that’s supposed to be complimentary (in that instance it was his balls. I mean…?).

Overall, it was a quick read and I enjoyed it, despite the minor things that sometimes took me out of the story. Also, there’s a pomeranian named Peaches and a black lab named Cooper who fall in love. That’s excellence, right there.

**free book courtesy of**

100 Picture Books: 80-76

So far, I’ve been able to track down most of these books through frugal means. Most of them I’ve gotten through the library. One (Fortunately) was through InterLibrary Loan (fancy!). But Zoom at Sea was nowhere to be found, so I bought a used copy off eBay. Total cost of this series so far: $4.
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MadelineRescue180. Madeline’s Rescue by Ludwig Bemelmans

I used to love the cartoon of this series and so I recognized the story here. It’s the one about the dog that saves Madeline from drowning, and the girls decide to keep her. Peanut didn’t enjoy this book, although I can’t figure out why. It has rhymes, and dogs, but she only wanted to read it once and then she was done with it. Too bad, I liked it.

In case you wanted to see that cartoon for yourself, here it is! This was the second Madeline book, out of 7 total, one of which was only published in 1999, almost 40 years after the previous Madelines (and posthumously). The author reportedly emigrated to the USA after shooting someone, so that’s new for this list.


79. Pierre by Maurice Sendak

I can barely count this book as having been read, because it was supposed to be delivered 3 weeks ago and either the mail delivery person left it at the wrong house or somehow it got lost while being carried inside, because I haven’t laid hands on it although it shows as delivered. (Good thing it was a free Paperback Swap trade.) So, we watched a YouTube video of someone reading the book. Twice.
Pierre doesn’t care, and he says I don’t care so much that he happens upon a lion while his parents leave him at home alone, and he is eaten. Luckily, they cart the lion to the hospital and hold him upside down and out falls Pierre, who is now reformed and cares very much.
Peanut liked it, she wanted to watch the video a couple of times. I think it would be okay to read out loud, although I didn’t care for the reading on the video. This book was part of a larger collection, called the Nutshell Library. It also spawned a song sung by Carole King, which you can also find on YouTube.
n4679078. Zoom at Sea by Tim Wynne-Jones
This book tells the story of a cat that loves to float on the water. It would be incorrect to say this cat loves the water, because he doesn’t really touch it. He likes to float around in the bathtub, and is overjoyed to discover his Uncle Roy has a connection to the sea. He shows up at an address and the woman inside, Maria, magically turns the interior of her house into the sea.
I had this book (and another Zoom volume) as a kid. I had difficulty tracking it down, and it wasn’t until I realized it was a Canadian book that it clicked. I ended up ordering an old library copy from eBay, since the copy I had is long gone. Peanut sort of liked it. While researching this book I located a puppet production of the book AND the SLJ blog about this very list!
CM_flotsam77. Flotsam by David Wiesner
At first, I thought this was going to be lame because it has no words and only pictures. But as we went along, it was pretty neat. The “story,” as it is, essentially shows a little boy finding an underwater camera with picture of a picture of a picture etc, several layers down. The boy takes his own picture, then chucks the camera back into the sea. The illustrations get the point across very well, and words probably would have been contrived and convoluted.
This makes the first book that appears to have a dedicated website, but it hasn’t been updated since 2006. Apparently there was a contest for finding actual flotsam or something, which was the purpose of the website. It’s also the first book that contains a story despite having no words – the very essence of a “picture book”.
250px-Eloise_book_cover76. Eloise by Kay Thompson

This book is kind of a stream of consciousness about a 6 year old girl living in the Plaza Hotel in New York City. It’s written in the manic breathless way that 6 year olds sometimes talk. She also repeats certain phrases like “and charge it please thank you very much,” and “for Lord’s sake,” that is obvious she has overheard adults say. I’m aware that this book is very famous and beloved, but I don’t see the appeal at all. It is really long, at 62 pages, for a children’s picture book. Peanut got bored about halfway through. I ended up skipping pages to get to the end. It’s not easy to read aloud either, as there is no punctuation. I often felt out of breath while reading.

As with Flotsam, this book also has a dedicated website, but it is more in the fanpage vein than official, as the author has passed away. Eloise was apparently inspired by Liza Minelli, since she is the author’s goddaughter. It also began its life as a book for adults, and was revised into a children’s book, and underwent many edits over the years. I thought I recognized the name of the author, and it turns out it is the same Kay Thompson as in that version of Jingle Bells made popular by Andy Williams.

The next batch won’t be late as we have already read and enjoyed most of them! The moral of THIS story is that Pierre is hard to find. My guess is that the blunt “would you like to die” from the lion is too much for most parents.