Children’s Book Review/World-wide Give-away: The Voltaire Book Series: The Franco-American Hipster Dog by Julia Livi

I love surprises and I especially love surprises that end up having ties to other parts of my life. Back in July I received an email from my dear friend, Layla Morgan Wilde of Cat Wisdom 101, telling me she had been contacted by Julia Livi,  a talented illustrator/author originally from Paris, who now resides in Brooklyn, NY. (Tie #1 both of my parents were from Brooklyn and I still have some family there. Tie #2 I will be in Brooklyn this November!!) who wanted to see if she would review two of her books in the Voltaire Book Series. Since Layla has a cat blog she politely declined, but was kind enough to email me and tell me that “they are so up my alley” and oh how they are!!

 

Courtesy of voltairelivi.com

Courtesy of voltairelivi.com

 

From VoltaireLivi.com:

Voltaire is a hipster who happens to be a third culture dog. He’s Franco-American and always looks forward to the word promenade as it leads to a walk in either language. He’s the narrator and main character in this children’s book series. He enjoys telling people of all ages about his family, his lifestyle and his hobbies which include costumes, fashion, art, eating and cuddling.

Voltaire se Promène

Simultaneously in French and English, Voltaire introduces himself, his confusion with bilingualism and his favorite activities on a walk with his human parents through Brooklyn Heights. Voltaire se Promène is a book destined for French, Brooklyn, dog and walk lovers of all ages. Voltaire se Promène is the first book of the bilingual book series: Voltaire: The Franco-American Hipster Dog. You can purchase the kindle  or paperback version of Voltaire se Promène here.

As you can see by the cover of one of the two books that I received, the illustrations are superb!!  Not only will they appeal to children, but they will appeal to adults as well. The books are written in English and French (they are SUPER easy to read), which in itself is delightful. What a wonderful and fun way to introduce little ones to the French language!

In fact the Voltaire Book Series was  originally created so that Julia Livi  (who is a self-described ” third culture kid from Paris, now in Brooklyn),  could help her sisters teach our languages to their children living on both sides of the pond.  Her American brother-in-law had to make up the story when her niece gave him a French book to read and her father had to do the same when English books were given to him. These books include everyone.

With the Voltaire Series, no matter what family member was asked to tell a story, there’s a language they can read. Julia later shared her books with her adult French students, and realized they really enjoyed them too. These books are for all ages, for French-lovers, Brooklyn-lovers, dog-lovers and happy-go-luckies everywhere!!

The second book I received was:

Voltaire and Tonton Joe

Voltaire and Ton Ton Joe

 

Also written  in French and English, Voltaire introduces his uncle Joe and the struggles they face as well as the silver linings when Tonton Joe is deployed in Afghanistan. Voltaire and Tonton Joe is the second book of the bilingual series: Voltaire: The Franco-American Hipster Dog. You can purchase the kindle version  or paperback of  Voltaire and Tonton Joe here.

As you can see, the illustrations  are so beautifully done that they alone make the books a worthwhile expenditure. Couple that with the fact that they are unique, and educational  books that are actually works of art, which adults will appreciate, you have a win-win!  Children will delight in the charming Voltaire and will enjoy learning words from another language, French! These books would make great bedtime stories and would also be great for library story groups and of course elementary teachers. This leads me to “Tie #3!” I have a niece who lives in Denver who has a little one who will be two in January. They are heading to France for Thanksgiving and I am going to surprise them by sending them my copies of the books. My niece is a Guidance Counselor (and a former Art History major), and I know she will cherish these always. With the holidays approaching, these would make great gifts!

GIVE-AWAY!! Julia Livi has most generously offered to give away THE SAME BOOKS THAT I RECEIVED to THREE LUCKY WINNERS LOCATED ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD!!! (An approximate $25 value!) Entering is easy! Simply enter on the Rafflecopter below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

In full disclosure: I was not compensated for this review/give-away. I was sent a copy of both books in exchange for my honest review.

Dog Book Review: Diary of an Airedale by P.J. Erickson

It is a most pleasant experience to sit down on a quiet Friday night, cup of coffee, comfy couch, my dog and cat resting comfortably, husband busy on his computer, and proceed to open a book that from the FIRST page you instantly KNOW you are going to love it.

That is how I felt when I began reading:

Cover photo courtesy of Alf's Place. Click to visit his website!!

Cover photo courtesy of Alf’s Place. Click to visit his website!!

On the first page:

“A dog has the soul of a philosopher”—-Plato

I was instantly hooked.  That quote happens to be one of my favorites, and, having minored in Philosophy I am drawn to “deep thinkers” and love to ponder all that encompasses life.

From Diary of an Airedale, a quote by P.J. Erickson:

“for everyone out there who knows what others do not, that the four-legged fur baby in their family has evolved into a thinking, feeling, individual character and is no longer-just a dog.

Diary of an Airedale by P.J. Erickson is told in the voice of “Alf”, (for those of you old enough to remember the TV show of the zany alien named Alf, yep, that is who THIS “Alf” was named after!), who just happens to be the FIRST Airedale to EVER pen (or paw), a journal!!!

Remember that I said I am drawn to “deep thinkers?” Well, that would be Alf! Diary of an Airedale is a journal about Alf’s first year of life, as seen through HIS eyes!  Let me tell you, Alf is one intelligent Airedale. He is sensitive, insightful, funny, as well as FUN. And…this dog can WRITE!!!

Excerpts from a sample chapter:

August 12th A journal? Airedales don’t write journals. Well, of course they don’t. I dictated it. Voice to text software has come a long way. Now it can translate any language, taking us into uncharted areas, like my mind. See, all things are possible. So read on, I have lots to say. Hmm, where to start? Well, the beginning might be a good place.

 

While narrating Diary of an Airedale, Alf is ever-mindful of his own superior intelligence, he is full of sass and spunk and set out to write his journal in a manner which would do justice to his breed, the distinguished Airedale Terrier tribe. Alf is respectful and mindful of the standards he needs to uphold!

Diary of an Airedale trailer

 

A puppy’s first year of life is chock full of FIRSTS! From the first memories of their surroundings, to leaving their pack, moving to their new forever home for the FIRST time, their first time learning commands, different foods, making friends, the list goes on and on.

All of these exciting “firsts” are told to us with love and the “soul of a philosopher”, in this case, the “philosopher is Alf.”

About Alf’s pack being broken up from the sample chapter:

“Everyone has to live their own life Alf. Some of your brothers and sisters have already left for their new homes. I’m sad because they went far away and we will never see them again, but it’s the way it has to be. Diane makes sure you all go to loving families who have good homes and enclosed yards, so you shouldn’t be afraid. You should look forward to a new adventure. Your dad and I expect you to carry the Airedale standard with you and make your new family proud.” I stopped talking, horrified at this news – to be taken away from my family to a strange place, so soon. I’d barely had my eyes open long enough to explore this place. This was going to be a bad thing, I knew, despite Mom’s assurances. So I said, “But I’ll be lonely without you and what if there aren’t any other pups to play with and how come you guys get to stay here? I don’t want to go.” Mom explained. “In this matter, we’re the same as a human family. We love you all and don’t want any of you to go and that’s why I’m sad but your dad and I and your uncles and aunts got here the same way.”

To read an interview with Alf after publishing his first journal, click here!!!

Photo courtesy of Alf's Place

Photo courtesy of Alf’s Place

Caption for the above photo:“This is my favorite chair. At least it was until I ate the seat. Now I have to sit on the grass. Bummer. How was I to know?”

Diary of an Airedale is PURE JOY!!

There are many things that I loved about this book, and at the top of my list is, it is BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN. There is no bizarre dog “baby talk” (translating to words that are unintelligible). Simply put, Diary of an Airedale is pure, honest, from the heart, charming, full of love and a complete joy to read.

As many of you know, I have easily reviewed at least a 100 books, and Diary of an Airedale ranks right up at the top of the list of books that provided me with sheer enjoyment.

I have to be candid, I enjoyed this book SO MUCH that each time I turned the page, I kept waiting for the book to take a turn for the worse, (as in something horrible happening to make this 200+ page book turn into a tear-jerker), and thankfully, that NEVER happened!

It was completely refreshing, surprising and a most welcome treat to read a book that MADE ME FEEL GOOD!  My ONLY complaint….there are NO PHOTOS in the book. For Alf’s next book:photos please!!!

Photo Courtesy of Alf's Place

Photo Courtesy of Alf’s Place

A WORD FROM ALF: Don’t forget to spread the word to all your Airedale friends. I need to sell lots of copies so I can pay my pack back for some of the money I cost them. Then perhaps they’ll get me a playmate.

Visit Alf on his website and on Facebook!

Ebook edition

Available from your favorite online retailer or just click here.

Price: $2.99

Publication date:  June 21, 2014

 ISBN# 9781310518805

ALSO AVAILABLE ON AMAZON (I have the paperback version)

airedale amazon

IN FULL DISCLOSURE: I was not compensated for this review. I received a copy of Diary of an Airedale by P.J. Erickson in exchange for my honest review.

 

 

 

 

Book Review And Give-Away:The Returns By M.K. Clinton

Brilliantly clever,  fast-paced, raucously funny,  sensitive and loving  are the first words that come to mind when  attempting to describe The Returns by M.K. Clinton.

the returns cover

 

It is rare that I read a 240-something page book in one sitting, but that is exactly what I did with The Returns. Ok, so an internet outage in our area  helped,  but if this book had not grabbed my attention with it’s many paws and NOT let go, I would have closed it, and found something else to do.

The Returns was influenced by M.K.’s dogs and cats that had come before, as well as some who she currently shares her life with.  As M.K. has mentioned, without the pets she had shared her life with and loved before, The Returns would not be possible.

Have you ever stopped and pondered:

What happens if you arrive at the Pearly Gates before your time?

F.B.I. Agent Bentley Clanton finds out the hard way as he is directed to a little-known area devoted to correcting glitches in the longevity system. The Returns Department specializes in finding appropriate bodies for “early arrivals” before sending them back to earth.  It seemed an acceptable solution until Bentley realizes his new body includes long velvety ears, four stubby legs with giant paws, and a tail. Helping him adjust to life as a Basset Hound is his rookie Guardian Angel, along with three other canine Returns.

Photo Courtesy of M.K. Clinton

Photo Courtesy of M.K. Clinton

The inspiration for Agent F.B.I. Agent Bentley Clanton came from Clinton’s own Basset Hound who just happens to also be named Bentley, the 4-legged Bentley even has a number seven that he was born with, emblazoned on his fur! (Agent Bentley Clanton, happens to have Badge #7).

You will have some great belly laughs as a delightful Golden Retriever with a penchant for saying prayers, and giving “high-fives” (Tucker), a feisty Chihuahua, (Jose Bones Juarez) who has “the short dog complex”, and a flamboyant Westie, (Pierre)  think Liberace !!  join Bentley to form an unlikely brotherhood of crime-fighting heroes. The Returns takes you on a fun-loving, junk food eating adventure through the exciting streets of New Orleans during Mardi Gras.

Photo Courtesy of M.K. Clinton

Photo Courtesy of M.K. Clinton

YES THESE DOGS CAN DRIVE!!

AN OBSERVATION:

M.K. Clinton has a keen understanding of some of the unique traits of the different breeds of the canine characters featured in The Returns.  In most cases, the BEST of  these breeds are featured, and those characteristics that might not be that great, are woven into their personas in a side-splitting funny way! I LOVED how the personalities of each of the canine characters were depicted, they fit perfectly with my image of if dogs could talk, the way they are depicted in The Returns, is EXACTLY how I would expect them to speak in real-life!

SOME OF MY FAVORITE RETURNS MOMENTS:

The Guardian Angel’s name is, ready for this? Faith Fullilove (I told you this book is funny!) It is also sensitive, one of my favorite quotes came from Faith when Bentley was questioning why he was “returned” to Earth as a dog:

“We must never put a question mark where God puts a period, Bentley. Only a few souls are chosen to become dogs. It is the noblest of assignments. That is why dog is God spelled backwards.” she explained.”

While Bentley had Faith as his main Guardian Angel, there was also an unlikely feline Guardian Angel, Miss Gitty:

"Miss Gitty" Photo Courtesy of M.K. Clinton's facebook page, click the photo to like the page!

“Miss Gitty” Photo Courtesy of M.K. Clinton’s facebook page, click the photo to like the page!

“She was an original cast member of CATS on Broadway. Now, she just prefers being a feline.”

Anyone that knows M.K. Clinton knows that she is first and foremost a dog lover. I would have to say that   with her understanding and love for felines as is evident in The Returns, I prefer to think of her as an ANIMAL lover! Her depiction of Miss Gitty, everything from a cat’s thoughts, body language, etc., shows a deep understanding of the feline persuasion.  Want proof? Another of my favorite quotes comes directly from Miss Gitty herself:The Returns Chapter 2: “The slender grey tabby nodded her head. “There are two ways of doing things around here… my way and the wrong way.”

SPOKEN AS A CAT SHOULD AND WOULD SPEAK!!

Last, and most assuredly not least, while there was so much that I loved about The Returns, I believe what I loved most is how M.K.’s love of the South, (her home and her roots), as well as her extensive knowledge of Louisiana, everything from the dialect, culture, food, historic haunts, and places of note,  are, along with her love of her furbabies current and past, the core of this marvelous book.  Now, if you will please excuse me, after reading The Returns I have  an incredible craving for a deliciously sinful Beignet!!! 

*Selected as an Indie Book of the Day award winner
~
**The Best of 2013 Great Weekly Reads
~
2014 Silver medal winner AUTHORSdb Cover Contest ~ Humor

ISBN-13:978-1493703678

ISBN:-10:1493703676

Available on Amazon

M.K.Clinton

M.K.Clinton

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: M.K. CLINTON: By her own admission is  a GRITSGirl Raised In The South. She has been married to her best friend for over 31 years. She has two grown children. Her other “children” include a four-legged hairy child, Bentley, who is trapped in the body of a Bassett Hound.  For the time being, she has her  grand-dog Pierre, the Westie staying with her. Her family enjoys playing, making each other laugh, and spending time together. They are also HUGE LSU Football fans. M.K. has a blog:Barking from the Bayou where she shares  funny stories, important dog information, product reviews, and dog care tips.  An active and greatly loved and  admired member of the BlogPaws Community, M.K. is a BlogPaws Ambassador and Head of the BlogPaws Conference Newbies Group for the 2015 BlogPaws Conference which will be held in Nashville, Tennessee at the end of May.

GIVE-AWAY!!! M.K. has generously offered ONE of my readers the chance to win a copy of The Returns for themselves! (Either in paper back or as an e-book)This give-away is open WORLD-WIDE! It begins NOW and will end on Tuesday, March 10th. Entering is easy!  Just leave a comment telling me if you would like The Returns in traditional paperback form if you win, or as an e-book. GOOD LUCK!

In full disclosure: I was not compensated for this review/give-away. I was sent a copy of The Returns (which came packaged in a box overflowing with confetti! One of the nicest book presentations I have received thus far), in exchange for my honest review. I would like to thank M.K. for her patience and understanding because I had to postpone this review at least THREE times before finally posting it!

 

Book Review:Fuzzy Logic by Susan C. Daffron and A Give-Away!

Back in 2013, I had the pleasure of meeting Author Susan C. Daffron at the BlogPaws Conference that May, and was thrilled when she afforded me the opportunity to review her book, Chez Stinky.   In 2014 we met again, at yet another BlogPaws Conference at a session that she and her husband, (James Byrd), helped lead that was called,  How to Get Published , with fellow presenter Penny Sansevieri. 

In late summer Susan emailed me asking if I would be interested in reviewing her latest book, Fuzzy Logic, (the second book in the Alpine Grove Romantic Comedy series), and after having enjoyed Chez Stinky as much as I did, I eagerly accepted!

A little background: In Chez Stinky, readers meet Kat Stevens who inherits her great aunt’s house along with many quirky dogs and cats. Fuzzy Logic continues Kat’s story and introduces Jan Carpenter, a librarian with a Labrador retriever named Rosa.

FuzzyLogicCover300w

About Fuzzy Logic:

Librarian Jan Carpenter likes things just so. Nestled in her tidy little cottage on the outskirts of the small hamlet of Alpine Grove, she enjoys her quiet life with her friendly, rotund black lab, Rosa.

Jan’s orderly life is turned upside down when she attends her mother’s latest wedding in San Diego. (Number six…or maybe seven, but who’s counting?) There, Jan encounters Michael Lawson, the obnoxious neighbor kid from twenty years ago. He’s still irritating, but not as annoying as his dog who has a habit of eating…everything. The last thing Jan wants to do is risk heartache on a vacation fling with a smooth-talking serial dater, even if he is sinfully gorgeous and finds her unusual ability to remember obscure facts fascinating.

Amidst wardrobe destruction, canine digestive indiscretions, and episodes of extreme mortification, Jan’s desire to avoid drama may put the brakes on her fiery attraction to Michael. But maybe being cautious and responsible isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

My Take:

Fuzzy Logic is another winner! What fun it is to curl up with a romantic comedy on a cold winter’s night,  with a cup of coffee, a cat and/or dog by your side, escaping into other people’s worlds.

Author Daffron is particularly skilled in creating  characters who are colorful, oftentimes quirky, and definitely interesting! I love that while reading Susan’s books the characters feel as if they are friends. I care about what they are experiencing, I care about what they think about, I care about  is going to happen to them. With the turning of each page, I am engaged and involved. 

Something I Love!

Being rather word-obsessed, with a penchant for delving into what is inferred rather than blatantly stated, I love that each character in Fuzzy Logic is experiencing and behaving in manners that convey that each is exhibiting their own “Fuzzy Logic!”

  • Jan-should she quiet her head or listen to her heart/passion in reference to Michael?
  • Michael-struggling with whether or not to have a bona-fide relationship or a “friend with benefits”
  • Jan’s Mom-should she divorce Michael’s Dad after just marrying him?
  • Michael’s Dad-what secret is he hiding that is keeping him emotionally distant?

 

Let’s Not Forget The Animals:

The annoyingly adorable Samoyed, “Swoosie”, who is the ultimate “chick magnet” and “if-it-isn’t-tied-down-I-will-eat-it” connoisseur. EVERYONE is dying to pet her because “she is THAT CUTE!” (Author note:Daffron’s own Samoyed, “Fiona”, is the original fuzzy white dog who was the inspiration for Swoosie)

The Rotund and slow-moving Black Lab, Rosa, (a dog after my own heart!), who loves everyone, is somewhat neurotic and is only thinking about her next meal!

It is evident when reading Fuzzy Logic, that Susan Daffron is an animal lover. Her ability to convey clearly what an animal is thinking, feeling and the description of physical movements/expressions,  that accompany these feelings. are characteristics that one who does not love animals, would ever be able to convey convincingly.

You MUST read this book!!

Fuzzy Logic is one of those books that when I reached the final page (there are 288), I was sorry to have it end!

If you love romance, comedy and DOGS, and have a few hours to spare on a nice cozy weekend, pick up a copy of Fuzzy Logic, (and  be sure to read Chez Stinky as well!)

To purchase Chez Stinky

(ISBN:  978-1-61038-019-5)

Available from the publisher, Logical Expressions, Inc. or Amazon.com.

To purchase Fuzzy Logic

(ISBN:  978-1-61038-023-2)

Available from the publisher, Logical Expressions, Inc. or Amazon.com.

Photo Courtesy of Susan's Facebook Page

Photo Courtesy of Susan’s Facebook Page

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Daffron is the author of multiple fiction and nonfiction books, including several about pets and animal rescue. She lives in a small town in northern Idaho and shares her life with her husband, two dogs and a cat–the last three, all “rescues.”

When she’s not writing novels, Susan works as the president of Logical Expressions, Inc., a book and software publishing based company in Sandpoint, Idaho.

In addition to her books, Susan has written more than 70 national magazine articles, 200 newspaper articles, about 1,200 online articles, and an online software training course.

Susan is the president of the Small Publishers Artists and Writers Networkand was also the President and Founder of the National Association of Pet Rescue Professionals (NAPRP).

Learn more about Susan’s work:

 

 

ENTER TO WIN!!! Susan is offering two of my readers who reside in the U.S. the chance to win a copy of Fuzzy Logic!  (A $12.99 Value). Entering is easy! Just enter on the Rafflecopter below! Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Book full of Mischief! Bad Dog, No Biscuit by Anthony Smith and a World-Wide Give-Away!!

Being Mischief Monday, I thought it was the PERFECT day to present a cute and funny cartoon book to you:

Click to visit the Facebook page!

Click to visit the Facebook page!

If we are being honest with ourselves, how many of us have a dog (or dogs), that ALWAYS do as they are told? C’mon, BE HONEST, there are NO perfect pooches out there!!

In Bad Dog, No Biscuit by Anthony Smith, you will chortle (quite possibly OUT LOUD!) when you see basic commands such as:

  • Roll Over
  • Down
  • Fetch
  • Stay
  • Sit

and more  depicted through a DOG’S interpretation of what THEY would like to do when we give them these commands and MORE!

Image courtesy of Souvenir Press

Image courtesy of Souvenir Press

Can you ensure that order and sanity prevails or will the anarchic hound get the upper paw?

 

Dakota is the type of dog that will do what HE wants to do, WHEN he wants to do it, so I MUST keep this book OUT OF HIS PAWS!!!

The illustrations are bright, bold and fun and were created by Anthony Smith who has worked for Marvel and numerous other comics publishers.

You can visit him on Facebook  and on the Souvenir Press website

You can purchase Bad Dog, No Biscuit and Anthony’s other books on the links below:

Amazon: BUY

Book Depository: BUY

But….Anthony was kind enough to offer my readers A GIVE-AWAY!!!! It is open to EVERY ONE!!! ONE LUCKY WINNER LOCATED ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD WILL WIN A COPY OF BAD DOG, NO BISCUIT. How? Just leave a comment telling me a command that YOU give that your dog LOVES to disobey!! That’s it! The give-away is open now and will end on Tuesday, January 13th at 5pm EST. The lucky winner will be chosen by random.org and will be announced, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 14th! GOOD LUCK!!!

 

In full disclosure, I was not compensated for this review/give-away…I was sent a copy of Bad Dog, No Biscuit in exchange for my honest review.