A quick, delightful tale for canine lovers who can never get enough dog stories.

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LINA UNLEASHED

A DOG'S LIFE WITH A DIFFICULT MOMMA: THE FIRST TWO YEARS

An irrepressible toy Australian shepherd discusses her human Momma as she chronicles the first two years of their life together in this debut book.

If you have ever wished you could hear what your loving, furry companion really thinks of you, Lina (“pronounced with a long i”) is here to dish the dirt from a canine perspective. Born in Florida and adopted when she was a few weeks old, Lina decided early on that her experiences with Momma were so “fur-raising” that she simply had to blog about them. This journal by Little Big Ears (a.k.a. Lina) is adapted from LinasDogBlog. Much to Lina’s consternation, she learned that her time would be divided between living “on one of the Ten Thousand Islands of Florida” and in Minnesota—the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.” Lina hates water. And Minnesota is really cold. There are some other issues. Momma gets easily confused, distracted, or otherwise frazzled. She travels frequently and plays a lot of golf. And she is a staunch Republican. Lina, on the other hand, worries about being deported by President Donald Trump because of her “Australian” heritage. Fortunately, Lina has Nanny Becky and others to pick up the slack when things get too tough for Momma to handle. Add in a bevy of playful canine friends in the North and South and Lina, in between the numerous runs to one veterinarian or another and Momma’s embarrassing behavior, is a very happy camper. Despite crossing the red line on the cuteness meter, this little romp of a read is often quite funny, filled with near disasters many pet parents will recognize. After just a few pages, it will be easy enough for readers to suspend all disbelief and enjoy the world according to Lina. Here is her cynical take on Momma’s willingness to dispense “ ‘calming aid’ treats” to deal with thunderstorm anxiety: Nanny should have realized “that Momma would use them to drug me whenever she wanted a little free time. And…I’m pretty sure the aids do not all trickle down to me.” The accompanying family photographs are adorable. Want more? A sequel is in the works.

A quick, delightful tale for canine lovers who can never get enough dog stories.

Pub Date: July 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-59298-823-5

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Beaver's Pond Press

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2019

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

THE AUTHENTICITY PROJECT

A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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