Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sweet Salt Air by Barbara Delinsky... A Review

Sometimes I just love to linger in the moment after I read a really good book. I just don't want to let go of the characters... I'm experiencing that right now....

I felt the passion, the betrayal, the calmness as I wrapped myself into the story of Sweet Salt Air by Barbara Delinsky. I could smell the lavender and the jasmine. I began to love Quinnipeague as though it were real. And it did seem real. Barbara Delinsky created such a wonderful story, but also one full of depth, not only with the characters that could almost walk off the pages, but with the island itself; from the smells wafting from the herb gardens of the infamous Cecily Cole to the taste of Dorey Jewett's Chowdah at The Chowder House. Every detail beautifully and effortlessly painted.

What can I say... I loved this book! I loved the story of Charlotte & Nicole and how their friendship grows and develops through the story; and how the betrayal of one has us question what is forgivable and if we ourselves could forgive such an act.

I LOVED the love story and the passion between Charlotte and her Man. No names here, you'll have to read it to see who it is! And boy was it passionate!!! I loved the way the fictional book SALT, that everyone was reading in the story, vaguely mimicked Charlottes love story. (And Barbara, if you're reading this, I was so afraid that Charlotte's romance was going to end like SALT that it made me read feverishly into the wee hours of the morning!) The book within the book was a great addition to the plot!

I could empathize with what Nicole and her husband Julian were going through (a serious medical condition), but I didn't particularly like either one of these characters. In Julian's case, maybe a testament to the writing, because if Barbara Delinsky meant for Julian to be so shallow and self absorbed, and I didn't think the serious medical condition attributed to that at all, she did a good job. But this "subplot" added such substance to the story, and served as the thread that makes this book so much more than a romance.

Favorite character? Charlotte hands down, Leo a close second! And Bear just stole my heart!

Read this book! I could not put it down at the end... Light, airy, passionate, and well worth reading! Reading groups will have a field day discussing the depths of this book too!  And that's what my reading group will be discussing in September.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Dog Days of Summer... Sunday Salon

The "Dog Days" of Summer are usually the hottest days of the year; so hot it's not fit for even a dog. It's the period of July 3rd through August 11th, when the Dog Star, Sirius, rises with the sun. It was thought that the combination of the brightest luminary of the day (the sun) and the brightest star of the night (Sirius) was responsible for the extreme heat that is experienced during that time...

Where did the summer go this year?! Already the mornings are cooler and there's just a hint of fall settling in. And I think, "Where are the Dog Days of Summer book choices?!" So before we get out of summer, let's talk about some great books when we're in a "doggish" mood!.... (BTW, that's BJ reading on the Kindle! For anyone not familiar with my little guy, here's my tribute I wrote for him last March, it really says it all!)

Unsaid by Neil Abramson... What Goodreads had to say... Unsaid explores the beauty and redemptive power of human-animal relationships and the true meaning of communication in all of its diverse forms. As a veterinarian, Helena was required to choose when to end the lives of the terminally ill animals in her care. Now that she has died, she is afraid to face them and finally admit to herself that her thirty-seven years of life were meaningless, error-ridden, and forgettable. So Helena lingers, a silent observer haunted by the life she left behind-her shattered attorney husband, David; her houseful of damaged but beloved animals; and her final project, Cindy, a chimpanzee trained to use sign language who may be able to unlock the mysteries of animal communication and consciousness.  When Cindy is scheduled for a research experiment that will undoubtedly take her life, David must call upon everything he has learned from Helena to save her. In the explosive courtroom drama that follows, all the threads of Helena's life entwine and tear as Helena and David confront their mistakes, grief, and loss and discover what it really means to be human.

I like the idea of Helena "lingering" around to see what happens after her death. I find that these type of characters usually have some great insight about what's going on in the present and are great at reflecting on their past life.

Bones Would Rain From the Sky by Suzanne Clothier... from Goodreads This extraordinary book takes a radical new direction in understanding our life with canines and offers us astonishing new lessons about our pets. From changing the misbehaviors and habits that upset us, to seeing the world from their unique and natural perspective, to finding a deep connection with another being, BONES WOULD RAIN FROM THE SKY will help you receive an incomparable gift: a profound, lifelong relationship with the dog you love.

BJ and I had a great relationship. I raised him from a puppy and it was love at first sight. I have always loved reading books that may offer some insight into the relationship we have with our furry companions, but I never had to really rely on any advice... There's a new furry girl in the house now. Her name is Pepper and she's my new hubby's dog. It's a little different not raising her from a puppy and her being "Daddy's Girl". She's three, smart and a pretty independent gal. We snuggle in the morning, go on walks and I love her. It's a new beginning for both of us. Maybe it's time to open up a book or two to brush up on starting a new relationship, so when I saw this book, I just had to buy it. Just like getting out of a rut with our human companions, I think sometimes we need to pay attention to our furry ones. I'll let you know about the book and how Pepper and I develop.

The Possibility Dogs by Susannah Charleson... from Goodreads: Charleson journeys into the world of psychiatric service, where dogs aid humans with disabilities that may be unseen but are no less felt. This work had a profound effect on Charleson, perhaps because, for her, this journey began as a personal one: Charleson herself struggled with posttraumatic stress disorder for months after a particularly grisly search. Collaboration with her search dog partner made the surprising difference to her own healing. Inspired by that experience, Charleson learns to identify abandoned dogs with service potential, often plucking them from shelters at the last minute, and to train them for work beside hurting partners, to whom these second-chance dogs bring intelligence, comfort, and hope.  
Along the way she comes to see canine potential everywhere, often where she least expects it – from Merlin the chocolate lab puppy with the broken tail once cast away in a garbage bag, who now stabilizes his partner’s panic attacks; to Ollie, the blind and deaf terrier, rescued moments before it was too late, who now soothes anxious children; to Jake Piper, the starving pit bull terrier mix with the wayward ears who is transformed into a working service dog and, who, for Charleson, goes from abandoned to irreplaceable.

When I read about Susannah Charleson and her work turning abandoned dogs into contributing members of the community and not only that buy saving the people they find as their forever person, I was intrigued. There is an organization that has developed after her work and the success of this book. Looks like an interesting read, and I look 
forward to  the stories of the turnaround these dogs and people make.

Survivors: The Empty City by Erin Hunter... from GoodreadsThe time has come for dogs to rule the wild. Lucky is a golden-haired mutt with a nose for survival. He has always been a loner—roaming the streets of the busy city and relying on his instincts to get by. Other dogs have Packs, but Lucky doesn't long for the days he spent with his littermates. He stands alone. Then the Big Growl strikes. Suddenly the ground is split wide open. The Trap House is destroyed. And all the longpaws have disappeared. Now Lucky is trapped in a strange and desolate new world with no food, foul water, and enemies at every turn. He falls in with others left behind, including his littermate Bella, a Leashed dog. Relying on other dogs—and having them depend on him—brings new dangers that Lucky isn't prepared for, but he may not be able to survive on his own. Can Lucky ever be a true Pack dog?

OK, something a little fun here. Author Erin Hunter is known for her cats and bears, but now she creates a world for us dog lovers. Now people who are true fans of her Warrior series may find fault with some similarities between this series ( I just read some reviews), but I haven't read the Warrior series yet, and I'm hoping that the dystopian world she creates for the d0gs will capture my attention, and I'll have a fun and interesting read. I'll let you know about this too...

So, there you have this summer's Dog Day reading! Funny that what I'm reading right now has a great dog character in it... Sweet Salt Air by Barbara Delinsky! Bear is a minor character, but adds a certain dimension to the story. And what a story! OMG, I could not put this down and had to urgently read the last 20 or so pages in the wee hours of the morning to finish it because I had to know how it ended. I'm not telling, but look for my review coming this week. It was my reading groups August pick and it was a fantastic choice! 

Enough of what my picks are this week, what have you been reading?! Any "Doggish" reads to recommend?! I'd love to hear about it, and if you've read any of my choices here, let me know what YOU thought!

Happy reading... Suzanne

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