An often entertaining romp for passionate dog lovers.

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A cute, articulate dog named Lina is back for another round of dishing on life with her challenging human, Momma, in this sequel, credited to Little Big Ears (a.k.a. Lina) (Lina Unleashed, 2017).

Toy Australian shepherd Lina was adopted by Momma when she was eight weeks old. They’ve been together now for five years, dividing their time between lake-filled Minnesota and Marco Island, Florida—a cruel twist of fate for a pup who hates water. With a bit of human assistance, Lina records her adventures and misadventures on her blog, LinasDogBlog. This second series installment details two years of traumas, joys, and achievements, all communicated in the gently sassy voice of a wise, tiny canine. She describes Momma as “a hopeless shopaholic; she doesn’t know a hashtag from a dog tag; she has almost no social skills; and worst of all—she’s a Republican.” In March 2017, the duo is recuperating—Momma from a concussion sustained in Naples, Florida, which appears to be making her a bit scatterbrained, and Lina from the outcome of the 2016 election. For readers of the first book, there’s familiar terrain, including frequent, outrageously costly visits to the veterinarian, and the ordeal of trying to fit Lina’s carrier under an airplane seat. But there’s also new material, as when an incorrectly set house alarm sends Lina cowering under the bed: “Could this be the raid by ICE I had feared?” she asks readers. “Was this part of the new Trump roundup plan?” Overall, the author lightheartedly teases both sides of the political aisle, although some readers will take exception to Momma saying, “The term is not undocumented immigrant, Lina, it’s illegal alien.” Also, too many tales have to do with the marketing of Lina Unleashed, including book signings and the introduction of a line of notecards. Most are quite amusing, but their abundance turns an otherwise engaging sequel into a promotional tool for the original. That said, the full-color photos are consistently adorable, and in one particularly endearing vignette, the spunky 11-pound canine proudly receives her herding certificate after successfully chasing five grown sheep around an enclosed pasture.

An often entertaining romp for passionate dog lovers.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64343-909-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Beaver's Pond Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 7, 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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