Tag Archive | pets

Mystery wind again for Pablo and Birdy, by Alison McGhee & Ana Juan (book review)

book cover of Pablo and Birdy, by Alison McGhee, illustrated by Ana Juan. Published by Atheneum  | recommended on BooksYALove.comA boy who arrived from nowhere,
a parrot who won’t talk or fly,
a shadow lurking in their town.

An unusual tropical wind brought baby Pablo to Isla, securely netted into an inflatable swimming pool and accompanied by Birdy who took care of him.

Ten years later, the wind is predicted again, but Pablo wants only to know where he came from – and why his parents abandoned him to the sea.

Ask for this August 2017 release at your local library or independent bookstore to find out how the “winds of change” affect Isla and its residents.

Is knowing the past more important than living in the present?
**kmm

Book info: Pablo and Birdy / Alison McGhee; illustrated by Ana Juan. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017. [author site]  [illustrator site] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Washed onto the island as a baby, Pablo wonders where he came from, wonders why parrot Birdy never talks, wonders why this flightless friend arrived on the raft with him in the storm ten years ago (well, an inflated kiddie pool, not a real raft).

With storm season coming soon, his adoptive dad Emmanuel and the town of Isla prepare to celebrate Pablo’s tenth birthday (well, his tenth arrival-here-day), the many wondrous birds of the tropical island continue to show off for tourists, and the annual rumors about a Seafaring Parrot who flies thousands of miles begin again.

Why is lavender-feathered Birdy suddenly fluttering about?
Who is stealing food from Pierre’s bakery and other shops?
Will the television reporter stop at Isla to search for the Seafaring Parrot?

As he hears a loud voice repeating conversations in the night and sees a shadow lurking on the streets, Pablo worries about the predicted “winds of change” and the future for constant companion Birdy and their past clouded in mystery.

Blind Guide to Stinkville, by Beth Vrable (book review) – she’s not ‘that blind’, right?

book cover of A Blind Guide to Stinkville by Beth Vrabel published by Sky Pony Press | recommended on BooksYALove.comLearning her way around a new town with limited sight,
coping with albinism in the sunny South,
wondering if Mom’s depression will ever lift…

Maybe Alice is right to think that she will never feel at home in the small paper mill town of Sinkville.
Or maybe she can find connections that will make her new life less stinky.

Travel to Alice’s new town today by visiting your local library or independent bookstore where you can find A Blind Guide to Stinkville as 2015 hardcover or 2016 paperback. Watch for its follow-up title, A Blind Guide to Normal, too (published in October 2016).

Do we let our first impressions of others make them ‘other’ to us?
**kmm

Book info: A Blind Guide to Stinkville / Beth Vrabel. Sky Pony Press, 2015 (hardcover), 2016 (paperback). [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Moving to a small South Carolina town means new challenges for sight-impaired Alice, but as she tries to get people to not see her as different, she discovers new friends and connections that are at risk when her parents discuss sending the 12 year old to school for the blind.

If people want to think that her farting Shi Tzu is a Seeing Eye dog, Alice won’t correct them.
If her best friend back in Seattle is suddenly busy with parties and boys, Alice can’t do much about that.
But when Mr. Hamlin may be forced into a nursing home, mean girl Eliza lies about Tooter attacking her, and Dad spends even more time at work as Mom retreats into depression, Alice is ready to fight!

Writing her essay for the local contest will fix everything…unless it can’t.

Followed by A Blind Guide to Normal, this story of unlooked-for changes and hopeful new beginnings finds “not that blind” Alice finding new perspectives and friendships. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Unexpected Everything, by Morgan Matson (book review) – summer plans? poof, woof & wow!

book cover of The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson published by Simon Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.comShe’s got it all planned:
internship, great college, med school…
until step one is revoked!

Andie loves her checklists, her plans to become a doctor, her best friends – and sticks to short-term boyfriends.

Then her fancy internship gets yanked away, her politician father is suddenly home from DC, she lands in a summer job far outside her experience or comfort zone, and she meets Clark…

Happy book birthday week to The Unexpected Everything!  This is a great summer read, like Matson’s Since You’ve Been Gone  (my no-spoilers recommendation here) and Second Chance Summer  (more here) with less road trip, but just as much self-reflection and heart.

What do you do when a perfectly crafted plan falls apart?
**kmm

Book info: The Unexpected Everything / Morgan Matson. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  [author video] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When problems at her congressman father’s office cause her pre-med internship to vanish, Andie is forced out of her structured life of success checklists and into a summer job as a dog-walker (never had a dog), wanting to stay around new guy Clark (never mind her 3-weeks-only rule for boyfriends), and trying to keep her best friends in sync as an outside relationship threatens to dissolve their group.

A world-famous author in their midst?
Dad home in Connecticut all summer instead of away in Washington DC?
A long-time crush keeps his distance, or does he?

An epic scavenger hunt, bridging the father-daughter gap 5 years after Mom’s death, emojis-only text message challenge, a committed relationship (wait! this is Andie we’re talking about…) – such an unexpected summer before senior year!  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

J is Juliette and Abram in Finding Mr. Brightside, by Jay Clark (book review) – death, drugs & dog hair

book cover of Finding Mr Brightside by Jay Clark published by Henry Holt Books for Young ReadersTheir parents had an affair and died together.
They really don’t talk to each other.
But sometimes, accepting an invitation really is the way to move on…

Juliette’s mom got her hooked on Adderall before the accident, Abram is zonked out on Paxil to get over his dad’s betrayal, both plan to help the other get off the meds – neither plans to fall in love.

Cue up the author’s “while I wrote this book” playlist, weigh the merits of Taco Bell vs. Orville Redenbacher popcorn, and enjoy Juliette and Abram learning more about themselves and one another while they’re Finding Mr. Brightside.

Can you still love your parents once you realize they’re just human?
**kmm

Book info: Finding Mr. Brightside / Jay Clark.  Christy Ottaviano Books-Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: A year after the accident, Juliette and Abram find themselves hanging out and possibly romantic – if they can just get past the affair that resulted in the death of his dad and her mom, the meds they take to deal with the grief, and the unhappiness of his mom and her dad seeing them together.

Being in the same school and Virginia subdivision, they’ve managed to ignore each other – brisk and efficient Juliette driven by Adderall and comfortably scruffy Abram so becalmed by Paxil that he doesn’t even play tennis anymore.

Trying to clear out their deceased parents’ clothes doesn’t really work, a road trip to his family’s rarely-used beach house in South Carolina gets strange, and maybe Juliette’s dad will finish his novel after 20 years… nah.

Moving from emotionally numb to finishing up their senior year with a wee bit of enthusiasm, Juliette and Abram tell their story in alternating chapters with growing affection, dog hair, and much popcorn.   (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Soul still here? Meet Me at the River, by Nina de Gramont (book review)

book cover of Meet Me at the River by Nina de Gramont published by Atheneum Books for Young ReadersMoving past grief means leaving Luke behind.
Tressa just can’t do that,
but she can’t find peace among the living either. read my recommendation

Puppy Love, by Destiny and Hapka (book review) – new dog, new friends, new love?

book cover of Puppy Love by A Destiny and Catherine Hapka published by Simon PulseHer rambunctious puppy +
a handsome dog trainer (with an accent!)
= a perfect match for her! (right?)

Lauren is sure she can get Adam’s mind off dogs, but can’t see how much Jamal in their puppy kindergarten class would like to spend time with her…

Another winsome book in the Flirt series where A. Destiny shares co-writing credits with several different authors; check out Portrait of Us  too (my no-spoiler review here).
**kmm

Book info: Puppy Love (Flirt series) / A. Destiny and Catherine Hapka. Simon Pulse, 2014.   [Flirt series site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: As 15 year old Lauren swoons over a cute dog trainer and wonders how can she get the senior to look at her and not just her goofy pup, she may be missing a fellow dog owner’s longing glances.

Finally getting a dog after her so-allergic sister goes away to college is a dream come true for Lauren, but if she can’t break Muckle’s bad habits… well, her best friend Robert is unhappy about the chewing and so is Mom.

Puppy kindergarten is the answer, and Adam who teaches their class for teens is so handsome. Meeting hunky Jamal is nice, but their Irish-accented leader is the one for her, she just knows!

Adam’s enthusiasm with dog agility training, plus mishaps in class and at the dog park are making it difficult for Lauren to show him how perfect they are together. And now Robert is plotting something with Jamal… is she just chasing in circles like Muckle?  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Dancing Through the Snow, by Jean Little (book review) – foster kid to real family

book cover of Dancing Through the Snow by Jean Little published by Kane MillerCanadian author Jean Little introduces us to Min, abandoned as a toddler at the fairground, knowing only her name and that the man called Bruno will hit when he gets angry. Can you imagine being bounced from foster home to foster home the way that she has? And to be ‘returned’ to Social Services just before Christmas, like a wrong-size sweater! It’s no wonder that Min bottles up her feelings and rarely speaks, not willing to be hurt any further.

As we watch Min tentatively reach out to her newest foster mother and actually talk enough at her new school to make friends, let’s remember that most kiddos are in foster care through circumstances beyond their control and that every childhood deserves happiness. Saluting foster families and the agencies that serve these children during National Foster Care Month.
**kmm

Book info: Dancing Through the Snow / by Jean Little. Kane Miller, 2009. [author’s site] [publisher site]

My Book Talk: As she waits for her foster mom, Min keeps a toddler from running into traffic. Why can’t someone rescue Min from the endless round of foster homes, from not knowing why she was abandoned as a toddler, from not knowing her own birthday? And being returned to Miss Willis’s office right before Christmas! Twelve year-old Min feels abandoned all over again.

Suddenly, Dr. Jess Hart is there, as she was when Min was in the hospital with pneumonia, and Dr. Jess says that Min is going home with her for the holidays! Her nephew Toby turns out to be the toddler’s big brother and helps Min settle in for a real Christmas.

As they are sledding one day, Min and Toby find a mistreated dog and insist that Jess take the badly injured animal to the vet. Is it a stray pet? An escapee from the suspected puppy mill near their friend’s country house?

The new year brings new worries. Will the kids at her new school make fun of Min because of her unknown past? Does Jess really want Min to stay with her? Can the little dog survive to come live with them? Has Toby’s dad survived the tsunami where he was working? How can the schoolkids help the disaster victims so far away?

The Canadian winter seems a bit warmer as Min gets to know Jess and Toby better in this hopeful story. (one of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.