This is a love story of a family and their dogs. Written by national talk show host and attorney Mark R. Levin, he shares his love of dogs, particularly his rescue dog, Sprite. Already sharing their home with Pepsi, a 6 year old mixed breed, the family decides to adopt a second dog from the local shelter. They fall in love with the adorable Sprite, believing him to be between 3-6 years old. He fits right in with the family, he and Pepsi becoming inseparable. Weeks after adopting Sprite, he has an emergency and must be rushed to the animal hospital. This is followed by another incident shortly thereafter. The Levin family realizes Sprite is much older than originally believed, perhaps ten years or more! But this does not matter; he is family, and he needs them. The next few years are spent loving Sprite and caring for him. The Levin family, including Pepsi, is forever changed by Sprite and his gentle spirit. Friends and listeners of Mark Levin’s show are touched by Sprite’s life and struggle. We are reminded by the Levin family’s story with Sprite of how much animals add to our lives, and how much we can learn from them, from their simple wisdom. This is a beautiful story that will stay with you, especially if you have had the joy and anguish of rescuing an elderly dog, as I have had. It is indeed special.
Every fifteen years, trouble comes knocking on the door for the Slocumb women. First it was Virginia, and then her daughter Liza. Now 15 year old Mosey is facing this curse. Yet the trouble is fall out from years of secrets kept from her by her mother and grandmother.
As the secrets are literally unearthed in their own backyard, Mosey suddenly is forced to question not only what is going on, what secrets they have, but who she is as well. Having always been a good girl, in the shadow of her rebellious mother, now Mosey feels perhaps rebelling will reveal who she is and who she is meant to be.
With the help of a couple of misfit friends, Mosey sets out to solve several mysteries that are tightly interwoven. Nothing is as it seems, including Mosey, Virginia, and Liza. She must unravel their past to know her own.
The women in this novel are strong, feisty and warm Southern women. The other characters are all well developed, interesting and integral to the story. A perfect combination of fun and heartache, full of twists and turns, this novel is perfect summer reading.
I will be reading more by Joshilyn Jackson, very soon. I hope for more like this!
It's all about perspective. To really understand what someone is going through or feeling, you have to have experienced it. No matter how sensitive, kind, or well meaning, you cannot truly understand unless you have been in that same place of pain, of that kind of sorrow.
You cannot expect someone to feel a certain way, based upon your perception or assessment of their situation. To disregard or dismiss someone's sadness, their personal feelings, is disrespectful and beyond hurtful.
When someone is going through a difficult time, they don't need to be told to "cheer up" or "be strong". They need to be told they are cared about. They need to be validated, that their concerns and feelings matter. We need to respect what they are feeling and their right to feel it.
Each of us has a different path in life, a personal journey. We do not all have the same experiences. Some of us seem to have it easier than others, seeming to sail through life on fair winds and following seas. Others do not, forever struggling against a strong current under stormy skies.
Sometimes we choose our path. Sometimes it is laid out before us by someone else. There does come a time to chart our own course or at least the way we must navigate it, perhaps that being our journey.
1. What's your favorite day of the week? Why? I guess that I like Sundays.Sundays are usually pretty relaxed, and there is usually NASCAR, football, or both!
2. Do you have a blog? Please tell us the name of it and how long you've had it. My blog is: McGuffy's Reader, which I started about a year and a half ago. I do book reviews, musings, and animal advocacy. Cathy Kennedy just made me a new blog button, which I love.
3. What's the last book you read? If you're not a reader, please tell us about the last movie you saw. I read & review constantly! If you check out my blog, you will see a constant stream of book reviews. I do new, new in paperback, and also ones that may have been out awhile. I love reading, books, and sharing them.
4. Do you ever doodle with a pen or pencil while something else is going on? I might be writing, but I'm not much for drawing. I tend to write lists of things I need to do, or ideas.
5. Tell me about your bathroom towels. What color are they? Do they all match? Brown; they all match. I tend to go for earth tones on most things. I like neutral, solid colours.
True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America
is an important book for our time. Immigration is a hot topic in America today,
morally and politically. This book puts the spotlight on four young Hispanic
women as they deal with this issue from the inside.
meet four lifelong friends: Marisela, Elissa, Clara and Yadira. The girls grew
up together, with the dream of an education and life as free Americans, earning
the freedom from generations of poverty.
two of the girls, Clara and Elissa, have legal immigration status, however.
Yadira and Marisela do not have the required, necessary papers to be in America
legally. They become adept at working around the system, such as paying for
fake social security numbers, enabling them to work.
the four girl become adults, they are faced with the facts of the consequences
of illegal status. Though gifted and college bound, Yadira and Marisela must
have the necessary paperwork to further themselves. They cannot even fly
without papers. Deportation is a significant and very real concern. They are
acutely aware that their legal friends do not have this issue.
to the book is the fact that the author’s husband is the mayor of Denver, while
Denver is embroiled in a national immigration battle. The case involves a
Mexican immigrant who shoots and kills a police officer.
Most of us have been taught manners. It is a necessary part of functioning successfully in a civilized world. We need manners to communicate efficiently, and to get along with others. Early in life we learn the “golden rule” of treating others the way you want to be treated. We learn it at home, and it is reinforced by schools and others along our way. The idea is to “pay it forward”.
As we mature, becoming adept at learning the ways to get what we want, the rules become more distorted. Often we begin to see the possibility of adopting the “an eye for an eye” philosophy. Having a conscience, we know this is wrong; somehow we still enable ourselves to feel justified at times.
Being polite and treating others with patience and courtesy will usually get you what you want, achieving what you set out to do. This is true throughout your life, no matter the situation. Yet, we still find it difficult at times to treat others the way we want to be treated. We sometimes catch flies with artificial sweetener.
It is the squeaky wheel who gets the grease, eventually becoming unbearable enough that it will have to be changed. However things can never be changed by avoidance, by taking no action. If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. We must put ourselves in other’s positions to truly understand their place. The annoying panhandler on the road, the impatient server, the tired cashier, they each have their own set of circumstances that we cannot know.
Complaints must be balanced by compliments. Credit must be given where credit is due. Validation is a basic human need. People and their efforts must be acknowledged.
This balance is the yin and yang of life. It is the bitterness of the bad that makes the good so sweet. It is our job as humans, fellow mortals, to balance the two within ourselves and each other. We must give from the heart when someone needs it, because sometimes we do.
Charity does begin at home. We must start with our loved ones, being kind and understanding, because only then can we share it with others. Even when we are not able to agree we must learn how to be able to disagree. Even when we cannot understand, we must learn to accept.
It was the wise Mahatma Gandhi who said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” If we strive for that, we can make a difference, if only in our own lives and those around us. It is worth the effort to reach one another.
Nearer Than the Sky recounts the
story of generations of a family’s grief.
Brown has a secure and happy adult life. Suddenly she is drawn back to her
family home when her infant niece becomes seriously ill. Once home, Indie
suspects her sister Lily is harming her own baby. As the story unfolds, Indie
comes to the realization that their mother was behind Lily’s own sickly
have been cases in the media and legal system regarding Munchausen Syndrome by
Proxy. This is a complex mental illness where the person affected, usually the
mother, causes harm to her child. This brings attention to the child, but also
to herself. She becomes addicted to the sympathy and attention. Obviously, there are inevitable lifelong consequences.
book is well written in its handling and explanation of the disorder. The
treatment and respect of the characters is also well done. Their relationships
are tightly woven, exposing the fragile nature of mental illness, especially
within mother-daughter relationships.
Greenwood handles a sensitive situation well, exposing a little discussed
problem in a natural and realistic manner.
remarkable pair, Dulcy and Dee Ready have written their second book together.
Their first book, A Cat’s Life: Dulcy’s Story introduced us to not only
Dulcy, but also to Dee.
is their relationship, this book is unique. Each chapter offers practical,
common sense advice to cats by Dulcy, and to humans by Dee. The advice is
wisely called “habits”. The habits are simple, and easily to applied to daily
purpose of each habit is to become a part of a healthy, happy life for both cat
and human. When each of these practices becomes habit, the result is total
happiness, which Dulcy calls bliss.
first habit is “Practice Being Unique”. In this, we are encouraged to embrace
who we are and our place in the world. Unfortunately, this is never realized by
many. It is an integral piece of the puzzle of life. Once this is done, the rest
of the pieces fall can into place.
second habit is to “Discover Your Heartwish”. Many indeed struggle with this,
never truly knowing what makes them happy. Again, you must first know and
that follow these include choosing loved ones wisely. Much time and energy is
wasted on chasing unrequited love, in many forms. While we need to “love one
another” and respect all others, we need to choose special love with cautious
this special book are more habits to succeed. Dulcy and Dee each add a voice to
grieving, listening, acceptance, and other aspects of living life successfully.
A must for cat lovers it is beautifully written, and meant to be read often. I
am sure that I will do just that.
special novel follows the coming of age and beginning of real life for
Victoria. Having been raised in the foster care system, we meet her as she
turns eighteen. She is becoming an adult, embarking on a life of her own.
book is written in alternating parts, between Victoria’s childhood and present
day. She is having trouble moving forward in life while holding onto the
baggage of a damaged childhood.
solace has always been in flowers. She finds comfort in the meaning of them,
and symbols associated with them, the language of them. Insecure, and truly
unable to communicate her feelings to those around her, Victoria relies on this
as a sort of second language. Eventually, this does become a connection.
has long been believed by many cultures that flowers have healing properties.
This can be medicinal, physical, psychological or even emotional. This was the
case with Victoria.
story of Victoria is full of thorns and sharp burrs that stick to the reader.
Yet the author offers the reader a bouquet of experiences of a true survivor. A good Summer read, this book is memorable.
A bonus: at
the rear of the book is Victoria’s Dictionary of Flowers, in alphabetical
order. She lists the flower name, botanical name, and the meaning of the flower.
The list is long, from Abutelon (Abutelon)…Meditation,
to Zinnia (Zinnia)…I mourn your absence.
Memories and Recopies from the Great Depression”
Clara Cannucciari, with her grandson Christopher Cannucciari
well known as the grandmother on YouTube, was 94 years old when her book was
published. Her videos on the Internet made her famous for their common sense,
simplicity and wisdom. This book captures the essence of Clara.
and raised in a Chicago, IL. Suburb, Clara and her family survived the “Great
Depression”. Her stories are mostly of that time; they are filled with family,
friends, and food.
tells a story from her life, and then adds a recipe associated with the story.
There are many photographs illustrating the stories. The photos feature Clara,
friends and family, and food.
adds tidbits of her cooking wisdom throughout the book. The tips are useful and
practical, such as differences between olive oil and vegetable oil. The index
makes it easy to follow and find items and recipes.
illustrations are also listed, putting Clara’s life into perspective. Her book
is a wonderful volume of history, memoir, cookbook, and advice. It is no wonder
that she is known as YouTube’s “favorite grandmother”!
1. Do you ever go on picnics? When was the last one? Do you go somewhere with benches and tables, or do you take your own blanket? I love picnics! Admittedly, it has been awhile. Perhaps we will have one when my ankle is healed, and Bill is not on the road as much. Benches are easier at this point in time.
2. What's your favorite tropical fruit? I love pineapple, especially fresh. I love Kiwi, too.
I do like most fruit.
3. Wendell would like me to ask you if you've ever ridden a horse? Any pony rides as a child? I am not sure what you will think Wendell, but...once, at age 17, I rode on a horse. I did not like it at all. Let me explain: with my very bad knees, which began at age 15, it was painful to ride horseback. But I do like horses!
4. Describe the purse you are currently carrying. If you don't use a purse, what color is your wallet? My current purse is denim. I also sometimes use a colorful "hippie" tote/purse, that is colourful & tie-dyed.
5. Please tell me the last funny thing that you just recently remembered. This can be something funny that happened to you in the past, or just something funny that you remember. Chloe loves to chase (& eat) flies. She goes crazy when she sees a fly. She was watching one, with great intensity and interest, on the outside of the bay window. Suddenly she sprung up at it, hitting the window and almost knocking herself out! She landed on top of Maggie, who was sound asleep in the cat bed, startling her as well. They both looked so shocked and confused! Unfortunately, Chloe being impetuous, she did not learn from this and does it almost every day...at least once.
Miriam Toews wrote the memoir of her father’s life. She writes this from his perspective, in his voice. This is amazing, especially given his lifelong struggle with depression and bipolar disorder.
Mel Toews is much loved by his family and friends. He is also a beloved and popular teacher, as well as a devout member of his Mennonite community. From her father’s viewpoint, we are able to see and feel depression and bipolar struggles. We experience his daily battle to balance illness with reality. The book recounts the struggle within him.
To be able to speak for someone is difficult. To be able to speak for someone with these deep, dark, often misunderstood issues is a feat. To speak from a parent’s place in time and from their place of pain is extraordinary. Miriam Toews is amazing in her ability to do this with such heartfelt understanding, intimacy and respect. Her father would be proud.