Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015 Reading Goals

Well, the last two years I have not met my reading goals. I feel like I have a legitimate reason since my family was a much more pressing priority, but I so want to get back on track.

This year I have set a goal of reading 25 books, but I hope I blow past that number. I don't want to put too much pressure on myself, though.

Also, I'm going to participate in the Book Riot 2015 Read Harder Challenge. They have a Goodreads group set up with discussion boards to help with ideas on how to complete each task. I'm looking forward to reading books I wouldn't normally even think about picking up.

My first task of the new year is to finish the three (yes, three) books I started in 2014 but haven't finished yet.

I invite you to join me in a brand new year of reading wonderful books!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Language of Dogs by Justin Silver with David Donnenfeld-Review and Author Interview

How is your relationship with your dog? Do you understand his behavior and what he needs? How are his manners? If you want to improve on any of these topics, it might be a good idea to read Justin Silver's new book, The Language of Dogs.

In the book, Justin and his co-writer & business partner, David Donnenfeld, share their first-hand knowledge about dogs so the average pet parent can easily train a dog to be on its best behavior, be social, and be safe. These guys know their stuff; their full-service dog care company (also named The Language of Dogs) offers training, walking, and pet-sitting services. Dogs are their life. You may also recognize Justin from the CBS show Dogs In The City.

The Language of Dogs isn't a dry how-to. Since Justin is also a comedian, his humor comes through in his writing making the reader feel like one of their buddies is helping them to get their dog to behave. At the same time, he is able to convey the importance of training a dog properly. He explains the terms he uses in training so the reader can follow along without confusion. He then gives step-by-step instructions on how to train different behaviors. Near the end of the book, Justin touches on some common behavioral issues and discusses how to handle them with the training techniques he explained previously. He gives real world examples of dogs he has actually trained, making it even more understandable.

I enjoyed the simplicity of the directions Justin gave. I felt like I could read the book, then use the training tips on my dog without having to reference the book at every step. It was sensible and cohesive. There were also some phrases that really stuck with me. My favorite was when he pointed out that "Boredom is an enemy for both dogs and kids." You can add cats to that as well! If a pet parent doesn't give their pet enough to do, the pet will find something for themselves. You can bet it won't be what you want them to do.

Another great phrase Justin wrote was "Keep it fluffy." In other words, don't feel so uptight about training your dog. Be enthusiastic and have fun.

I got to speak with Justin after I finished the book. I was hoping to hear that there was going to be a book tour, but there is not. He's quite busy with the dog care business, which leads him to live a bi-coastal life-some time in New York and some in Los Angeles.

More than once he described his abilities to train dogs as a gift. He seems to be humbled by the fact that he does what he loves and is good at it. He doesn't have formal training, but his clients don't mind. He has skills and abilities that work, plus an attitude that keeps him open-minded about changing techniques if necessary. He told me that he has had clients with PhD's in animal behavior. When the theory that they know so well doesn't work, they go to him (sometimes a bit skeptical). The thing is, they need someone with a "touch", someone with real-world experience. When he is successful with their dogs, he feels validated.

You can check out Justin and his business at You can also find him on social media by searching for IamJustinSilver on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

I was given a copy of the book The Language of Dogs at no cost from Fetching Communications & PetPR for my honest review. All of the thoughts reflected here are mine.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Book #1: Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich

It should come as no surprise that my first book of 2014 is a Stephanie Plum novel. I've made it no secret that I love this series and thanks to my awesome friend Lisa in Seattle, I didn't have to buy this installment.

In Notorious Nineteen, Janet Evanovich has our favorite hazard-in-the-making bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum trying to figure out how one of her skips could have disappeared from the hospital soon after having surgery. In order to figure it out, Stephanie has to work with Randy Briggs, a little person with a big attitude.

I also got the feeling that Stephanie may be getting closer to making a firm decision between Morelli and Ranger. Of course, the next installment, Takedown Twenty could prove me completely wrong.

As usual, Janet Evanovich has provided me with a fun, light read that keeps me entertained. When I posted via Goodreads on Facebook that I had finished this book, an acquaintance of mine took it upon herself to share her negativity in the form of a comment on my post. In it, she made it clear that she does not like the series, comparing it to MadLibs. Just for the record, not everything I read has to be deep or stimulating. Sometimes I like to zone out with a familiar character and enjoy her antics, as repetitive as they may seem to some. I think this acquaintance could use some fun in her life and if she opened up to it, maybe a little Stephanie Plum could help her lighten up!

I'm glad I started the new year with a fun book. Bring on the next 29!

Another Year, Another Try

I'm not giving up on this blog! I'm once again setting a goal for reading. This year I'm going for 30 books. I haven't met my goal for the last couple of years, but they've been rough for me on a personal level. I hope a lower number and a better year help me meet my goal this year!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Book #11: Townie by Andre Dubus III

Townie by Andre Dubus III is a memoir of the author's life, focusing quite a bit on his relationship with his father. Mr. Dubus spent many of his teen and young adult years fighting. His reasons, he realized later, were selfish. He had spent so long living in fear of others that when he learned to fight, telling himself it was to protect himself and others, he actually did it to make himself feel good about not being scared anymore.

His fighting also brought about a new aspect to his relationship with his father. They began to be friends. He didn't understand a lot of the things his father enjoyed, nor did his father understand exactly what his son's life had been like since he had left. His father was proud of how he was able to defend himself and others, though. That made the author feel both happy and ashamed.

It was quite interesting to watch the author evolve from a scared boy in a poor neighborhood, to a tough guy that never backed down from a fight, to an educated, compassionate young man, to a writer.

The thing about this book was that although it wasn't the "I-can't-put-it-down" type, it was a book that after I had been away from it for a while, I was anxious to get back to it to see what was going to happen next in the author's life. Quite honestly, it was a slow read. In fact, it took me a month to read it. I'm glad I did, though. It was a peek into a lifestyle that I would otherwise have no idea about the existence of.

I would encourage anyone who enjoys memoirs to give it a try. Even if you don't speed through it in one night, it's a good story.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Book #10: Cat Stories by James Herriot

I was loaned this book by a friend who knew I would love it and she was right! Again, it's a compilation of short stories, all by James Herriot.

Cat Stories is a collection of 10 short tales, all about cats. Some are a little sad, but all are sweet.

Cat Stories would make a great gift for the cat lover in your life!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Use Google Reader?

Since Google Reader is going away soon you can start using Bloglovin to keep up with all the blogs you follow.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin