Saturday, March 29, 2014

Audio Book Review of Making the Rounds with Oscar by David Dosa

Synopsis: "A remarkable cat. A special gift. A life-changing journey. They thought he was just a cat. When Oscar arrived at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Rhode Island he was a cute little guy with attitude. He loved to stretch out in a puddle of sunlight and chase his tail until he was dizzy. Occasionally he consented to a scratch behind the ears, but only when it suited him. In other words, he was a typical cat. Or so it seemed. It wasn't long before Oscar had created something of a stir. Apparently, this ordinary cat possesses an extraordinary gift: he knows instinctively when the end of life is near. Oscar is a welcome distraction for the residents of Steere House, many of whom are living with Alzheimer's. But he never spends much time with them--until they are in their last hours. Then, as if this were his job, Oscar strides purposely into a patient's room, curls up on the bed, and begins his vigil. Oscar provides comfort and companionship when people need him most. And his presence lets caregivers and loved ones know that it's time to say good-bye. Oscar's gift is a tender mercy. He teaches by example: embracing moments of life that so many of us shy away from. Making Rounds with Oscar is the story of an unusual cat, the patients he serves, their caregivers, and of one doctor who learned how to listen. Heartfelt, inspiring, and full of humor and pathos, this book allows readers to take a walk into a world rarely seen from the outside, a world we often misunderstand."

My Review: I hate to say I was disappointed in this book. I was really looking forward to a touching book about a cat who gives comfort to patients and their families. Instead I ended up with a book from the doctor's perspective, where he questions whether the cat really brought comfort and a series of unemotional interviews with former patient's family members. The book also seemed to have an agenda as to more ethical questions about treating common illnesses at the end of a dementia patient's life. After just recently finishing Still Alice, this one fell flat on the Alzheimer and dementia view point. I kept waiting for that special, bring tears to your eyes cat moment (think Dewey the Library Cat) but it just never came. Sadly, this one just didn't cut it for me and fell short in many aspects. The on thing I did learn though, is if I ever get to that point in my life I want to go to Steere House and live with all those cats.
My Rating: I so wanted to like this book but it just didn't hit me on the emotional level I was expecting or wanted.  Even the narrator on the Audio seemed a little bored.  I can only give it One Paw and a Stump Wag.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Bedtime Story: Wet Pet, Dry Pet, Your Pet, My Pet by Dr. Seuss

Synopsis: "From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere!
This touch-and-feel book invites babies and toddlers to pet and play with the most imaginative pets of all. Based on Dr. Seuss’s celebrated classic, this book of pettable pets has fur, feathers, flaps, slide tabs, and cardboard rings to ring Dr. Seuss’s adorable antlered Gack! From the Zed with just one hair on its head and the Wink that likes to drink pink ink, to the bluehaired pet that is fun to brush–the whole family will love bringing these."

My Review: Another great Touch and Feel introduction to Dr. Seuss! Of course being Dr. Seuss there aren't any of the pets we would normally have (I honestly would have liked that a little) but they are all creative and still have hints as to the care regular pets need. Each page has a different touch and feel or activity to keep little one's attention. Munchkin really loves the rings on the Gack.
My Rating: I don't understand how they keep managing to come up with new touch and feel ideas that are unique. Both me and Munchkin enjoyed this one, we give it a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag.
Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Review of Not Just Spirited by Chynna T. Laird

Synopsis: "What would you do if your child suffered with something so severe it affected every aspect of her life?
And what if your cries for help fell on deaf ears at every turn? You'd follow your gut and fight until someone listened. And that's what Chynna Laird did. When she was just three months old, Jaimie's reactions to people and situations seemed odd. She refused any form of touch, she gagged at smells, she was clutzy and threw herself around and spent most of her day screaming with her hands over her ears and eyes.
By the time she turned two, Jaimie was so fearful of her world they spent most days inside. What was wrong with Chynna's miracle girl? Why wouldn't anyone help her figure it out? Jaimie wasn't "just spirited" as her physician suggested nor did she lack discipline at home. When Jaimie was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) at two-and-a-half, Chynna thought she had "the answer," but that was just the start of a three-year quest for the right treatments to bring the Jaimie she loved so much out for others to see. With the right diagnosis and treatment suited to Jaimie, this family finally felt hope. Not Just Spirited is one mother's journey to finding peace for her daughter, Jaimie. As Chynna says often, "Knowledge breeds understanding. And that's so powerful."
Parents and Therapists Praise "Not Just Spirited"
"Chynna's memoir is sure to encourage other parents to advocate with the same determination for their own sensational children."

My Review: Definitely a heart wrenching book to read, you can help but feel the heartache, frustration, sadness, and helplessness Chynna and Steve faced. I did like seeing that occasionally progress was made, even though a few steps were taken back and sometimes having to start from square one again the did finally find a way for things to start fitting together. The book itself at times was difficult to read because it sounded like a pamphlet you get in a doctors office with a lot of information and clinical terms shoved at you all at once, but I understand that she was trying to get the message out but maybe allowing people to do some of their own research would have worked better than forcing information into the book. That said it is still a book of almost unbelievable triumphs and the resilience of loving parents.
My Rating: While the book was very informative and you got a real feel for the struggle Jaimie's parents went through to get her the help she needed, it was just a lot of information shoved into every crevice of the book. I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Review of A Fool Among Fools by John Terracuso

Synopsis: "It's 1986. Ronald Reagan is in the White House, Molly Ringwald is on the cover of Time and 29-year-old Michael Gregoretti is a struggling, underpaid copywriter at a big New York ad agency. He'd rather be writing plays; instead, he's writing awful commercials for a moisturizer formulated to conquer that dire, life-threatening condition: handruff.

Michael reluctantly accepts an assignment on a brand-new (and very secret) product – an aerosol butter – hoping it will lead to the kind of work that will land him a better job at another agency. But there's a catch: Working on this new account will also mean working for the rigid, compulsive and quite possibly insane Gwen Hammond, who thinks that Michael, with his off-the-wall ideas and unconventional campaigns, is just too much of a rebel to work with such a conservative client.

To further complicate life, Michael meets and falls for Craig Connolly, an absolute dreamboat from the South with a voice like FM radio and a face to match. Craig claims he'd like to be in a relationship and Michael wants to believe it. The problem is, Craig is already married – to his job.

Michael survives it all with the help of his two best friends: Irene Lucca, a witty book editor with a flair for vintage clothing and an eye for the art director Michael works with, and Anthony DeLorenzo, Michael's wise (and wisecracking) roommate and staunchest supporter.

By the time A Fool Among Fools ends, Michael has battled stuffy clients and stifling supervisors, written and produced what just might be the worst commercials in the history of advertising, found and lost love, and managed to keep himself – and the reader – laughing along the way."

My Review: This was a little outside my normal reading genres, but when the author contacted me for a review I thought it would be a fun, snarky book to read for a change. It really struck me as almost a Seinfeld style humor, finding the comedy in the everyday moments. There were times that the story kind of went a little slow but then you would catch a bit of humor that you could totally relate to your life (and then you start to sound like a lunatic because you are laughing so hard about something so simple). I missed a lot of the movie and actor/actresses and they didn't add to the story for me. That said, I still thoroughly enjoyed the characters and their interactions. I really loved the ending by the way.
My Rating: This was definitely outside my comfort zone but it did give me some laughs, though some of the references went over my head.  I give this one a rating of Three Paws.
A Fool Among Fools was sent to me by the Author for an honest review.
You can find out more about Mr. Terracuso and his work on his Goodreads Page.
You can also obtain your own copy of A Fool Among Fools in digital format at Barnes & Noble.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Review of Flame of Olympus by Kate O'Hearn

Synopsis: "A young girl, a winged horse, and a war of epic proportions make for an adventurous start to an exciting new trilogy.

When Pegasus crashes onto a Manhattan roof during a terrible storm, Emily's life changes forever. Suddenly allied with a winged horse she'd always thought was mythical, Emily is thrust into the center of a fierce battle between the Roman gods and a terrifying race of multiarmed stone warriors called the Nirads. Emily must team up with a thief named Paelen, the goddess Diana, and a boy named Joel in order to return Pegasus to Olympus and rescue the gods from a certain death.

Along the way, Emily and her companions will fight monsters, run from a government agency that is prepared to dissect Pegasus, and even fly above the Manhattan skyline-all as part of a quest to save Olympus before time runs out."

My Review: While I was having trouble settling into a book, I picked this one up off my TBR shelf and it hit the spot. I could not stop reading it! I loved the fantasy, myths, and adventure all wrapped into modern day New York City. The characters developed beautifully and I ended up falling in love with them. I really enjoyed how Pegasus became such a big character himself. The story line felt so new and refreshing. It would be fun for young adult guys and girls to read, there is plenty of adventure and fantasy for all. I loved this so much that the morning after finishing it I went out and purchased the next book in the trilogy (and happened to see the third just came out but couldn't get it this time).
My Rating: This was such a breath of fresh air for me, when my reading was starting to lag this book was that spark to get things going again. I loved the storyline and the characters and am looking forward to the next book. I give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Bloggiesta Sign Up and To Do List

Gosh how did this come up so quickly?! It appears that it is Bloggiesta time again and that means time to take care of some business around here!  I already know that it is going to be busy around my non-book life so I will have to keep my to do list simple for now.
1. Order business cards for the blog - I thought about this in the mini bloggiesta and decided not to yet but then when I was at the Big Book Club Getaway some of the authors asked for a card! (it made me feel important yet embarrassed that I didn't have them yet).  COMPLETE!
2. Schedule Posts for reviews completed - I have reviews written up for about 10 books but haven't scheduled the posts yet. COMPLETE!
3. Respond to Author emails - I have several review requests that need to be responded to immediately, for some reason this always gets pushed to the side for me. COMPLETE!
4. Put books away - This sounds crazy I know but I have piles of books in every room that need to be put away, some have been read, some need to be read and some need to be added to goodreads shelves. COMPLETE!
5. Get more active - I tend to be shy in person, while slightly less so online, I am still not getting out there and talking to other book lovers like I want to. So I am going to take time to stop by at least 5 other Bloggiesta participants pages and comment. I am also going to push myself to be more active on Twitter. As COMPLETE as it can get as it is an ongoing goal!
6. Update Archive list -  Ugh, how I hate this, but I have a plan in place. I am going to alphabetize by author so I can keep series together and I am going to have a separate list for childrens books and graphic novels so they are easier to find. - In Progress and Making Headway!
7. Get Creative - It has come to my attention and realization that people are not fond of a lot of reviews so I want to add a little something else to my blog. I have a few ideas rolling around my brain and want to get at least 3 new interesting posts scheduled. COMPLETE!
So there we have it, my to do list (I thought it was suppose to be short!) and now at least I have something I can check off. I always find that if I have something to mark off a list I am more motivated to accomplish that task, so here is to motivation and accomplishing goals!
Will you be joining Bloggiesta? What is on your to do list?

Monday Reading List

Its Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey. Share what books you have finished in the last week, are currently reading and what might be coming up next!

Reviews Posted Last Week:
Links will take you to my review

To Tame a Wild Heart by LB Shire
The Collection of Heng Souk by S.R. Wilsher
Slave to Passion by Elisabeth Naughton (After Dark)
One Fish, Two Fish, Three, Four, Five by Dr. Seuss (Bedtime Story)
Tiny Book of Tiny Stories Vol. 1 by HitRecord & Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Graphic Novel)

Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

Witch Born
Making the Rounds with Oscar
Page by Paige
Thank you for Your Service
The Angel Heart
Master of the Mountain
Poems to Learn by Heart
Tiny Book of Tiny Stories Vol. 2
Cat Confessions
Ten Tiny Toes

Currently Reading:

Ophelia by Lisa M. Klein - PB - on Page 138 of 310
Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins - PB - on page 36 of 441
Knightmare by Deborah Valentine - Kindle- 4%

 Books to be Read Soon:
Taking Stock by Scott Bartlett (Requested Review)
War Horse by Michael Morpurgo (Mount TBR)
Lest the Dew Rust Them by Michael Drakich (Requested Review)
My Heart to Yours by Michelle Zarrin (Requested Review)
Show Off by Catherine Hapka (Mount TBR)
Track Record by Catherine Hapka (Mount TBR)


Ever feel like you read and read and read but never get anywhere, yea that is what I have been feeling like this week.  I am reading like crazy but I feel like I am not making any progress! Even Hubby mentioned that the TBR bookshelf seems even fuller now than it did at the beginning of the year (granted I may have added a few new books but I have read a bunch too).  I think what I might have to do is just put the books on the shelves that I want to read in the next 3 or 4 months so that I am not so overwhelmed.
I have also been working on some projects for the little man and crafts that I will have to take pictures of to show you.  It is nice to finally be making progress on that front.  I have a couple of felt board stories for him this week and try to make I Spy bottles too. I will make sure I add them (maybe Sunday will become my craft and project sharing day).
As for nails this week I thought I would get a little artsy (well at least attempt it) and tried for ladybugs. Can you tell I am really wishing for spring?! It went okay except I didn't wait long enough to add the top coat and smeared the eyes and spots a little.

Unfortunately with all the chores, scrubbing and laundry I did over the weekend the nails didn't last. So last night I decided to do a quick paint job again. It almost feels weird anymore to have 'naked' nails.  Hubby actually picked this color from my collection. It is called Spruce and I picked up from Etsy. 

I hope you all have a wonderful week!