Things Your Dog Doesn’t Want You to Know: Eleven Courageous Canines Tell…

Dogs, Jeff and Hyby Jeff Johnson, Hy Conrad


This is a darling book and I was thrilled when it came in the mail.  My initial reaction when I started reading the book was one of confusion.  I was expecting essays of a more serious/personal nature, perhaps, with a little comedy on the side.  I didn’t realize that the book was going to be full of comedy sketches.  Once I tuned in on that aspect–I had great fun with it.

The graphic design is excellent!  It is brightly colored in the style of a scrapbook. Each dog has its own page design and font for the letters he/she writes to you.  Every personality has a different voice and story to tell.  The authors did a great job in matching the personality to each breed.  The breeds are: Yellow Lab, Border Collie, Boxer, Chihuahua, Bull Dog, Cocker Spaniel, German Shepherd, Miniature Schnauzer, Mixed Breed, Long Haired Dachshund, Blood Hound.

Some books you read and can’t wait to give them away.  This book?  You’ll want to pass on to other people, but only with a new copy because you won’t be able to part with its perky design and the delightful little stories.  It is a great little coffee table book, great for a gift, great for the holidays, and just a lot of fun all the way around.  Be forewarned . . . if you dare take it to work to show your colleagues–I guarantee you’ll never see it again.

**Note to Orson—don’t eat any more grapes.  They are toxic to dogs.  You’ll get sick and maybe die.

I’d like to thank the authors: Jeff Johnson and Hy Conrad, and the art director Dean Stefanides for this beautiful copy and all the joy they’ve provided with this adorable book; and, to for this opportunity to–review the book.



  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks (April 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402263287
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402263286
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 6 x 0.6 inches

A Footpath in Umbria: Learning, Loving and Laughing in Italy

Umbriaby Nancy Yuktonis Solak

Good Friends, Good Food, Great Holiday!

My trip to Umbria, Italy lasted only about a week; and I never even had to get out of bed.  It was a wonderful journey as I followed Nancy Yuktonis Solak on her year-long vacation to the center of that passionate and romantic land.  Her lovely book, “A Footpath in Umbria” is peppered with pictures of the spirited ebullient people she met and of the historic places she and her husband had visited.

Her day-to-day experiences were so much fun to read about as she and her husband took long walks meandering around the city, having dinner with friends and neighbors, imbibing in a little wine, and sharing in long leisurely conversations with the locals.  It seemed no matter whom they met—everyone turned out to be a friend welcoming them into their homes and families.

She shared bits and pieces of Italian culture and noted the differences between theirs and ours. There were visits to the library, markets, and the different Internet cafes available where she could catch up on e-mails and phone home.  It was interesting to note the hearty stock that Italians are and how they brave the cold weather; even in the dead of winter no one had a cold over there.

The only thing I didn’t like . . . my adventure is now over; the house seems a little more quiet and empty than it did before I picked up this book.  But, now I know, if I ever want to return to visit with Nancy or the people of Umbria, it is just a bookshelf away.

I’d like to thank the author for this beautiful copy of “A Footpath in Umbria”, and also to Review the for the opportunity to review this book.



  • File Size: 1219 KB
  • Print Length: 190 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1453679448
  • Publisher: CreateSpace; 2 edition (August 19, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00408A6QG

I Remember My Circus by Tom S. Figueiredo

I Remember My Circus CoverIllustrations by Sidney Falcão

I have known a few people in my lifetime who have turned into various animals from time to time.  Some have even been in my own family.  Who hasn’t heard these expressions . . . “He was surly as a bear!  She was a little minx. The women got into a cat fight last night. He’s just an ugly old toad. (With a kiss he may turn into a prince, however.  Oh, wait! That’s a frog that does that.)”  These are all metaphors that are all too common in our society relating people to animals.  So, when the circus came to town and the little ten-year-old boy was waiting to see the woman turn into a six-foot gorilla—I waited with him.

What a fun, quirky, engaging little story this was!  My day was not all that great, but after a few pages I was really giggling with some of the absurdities of this odd little circus that appears and disappears without a sound. The art work is great.  The brightly colored cartoons look like they were painted with pastel watercolors.  And, the tale was so masterfully crafted that to an adult it seems quirky and odd; but to a child, I am certain, the allusions would make perfect sense in their little world filled with mysteries and giants.

Despite the frivolity and light-hearted nature of this short, simple story there is a much deeper meaning that small children might be able to relate to if they have been a part of a separation of some type within their family. The parent becomes enraged and turns into a monster/animal (which sometimes does draw a crowd). The other parent leaves home, thus relinquishing their partner of the power to change into a giant animal, and what is left is an empty shell of sadness.  When the fighting is over one of the parents packs up in the middle of the night and disappears.  Afterwards, it is so painful that no one talks about it; they keep it to themselves. The story is so cleverly disguised that I really did not catch on right away to what the meaning was behind all the cute expressive drawings of the circus and animal acts.

In this, I think the book has great merit.  Along with being a cute, funny, and a colorful little children’s book I think this might be something that a child could connect with and make sense of during a bad situation that really does not make any sense at all to them (or anyone else for that matter).  Think about it . . . we have all heard people comment about someone, when going through a break-up, in their neighborhood or family, “It is a circus over there!”

I give this book 5-stars!  This author is brilliant!

My thanks to authors Tom S. Figueiredo, Antonio Cedraz and Sidney Falcão for providing this delightful story; and to Review the Book.comfor the opportunity to review such a fun read.



  • File Size: 1640 KB
  • Print Length: 53 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Editora Cedraz; 2 edition (July 16, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005EZ0W0Y


She’s My Dad by Iolanthe Woulff

Intriguing! Honest! Refreshing!

My first thought when I saw the high ratings for “She’s My Dad” was the author must have a lot of friends–the book cannot be that good.  And, even though I do review books I am happy to report that all the reviews are accurate.  There’s no fudging on this one.

“She’s My Dad” is not what I expected it to be.  It is not a journey of mismatched sour romances; nor it is a bShe's My Dad Coverook of soul searching, familiar movies, or transsexuals. Even though the book does have a transsexual person in it, it is not about the process or the whys and whatnots. It is a modern day allegory that shows the inside truth of people set in a northern Virginia college town.  The college openly accepts everyone through their doors who wants an education; but, there are some people who were bred in Southern tradition and are set about what they feel should be right and proper—and, they are not happy about Windfield College. And, they plan to do something about it.

This book is as fun as it is smart.  It is not written in the typical fifth-grade English that most novels today are. Actually, there are interesting words that pique one’s curiosity of how the characters interact with each other; however, not so many as to bog down the flow of the storyline. In addition to the intelligence of the book, it is witty, clever, and engaging—full of suspense and mystery.  Ms. Woulff has an amazing ability to paint the character portraits with incredible sharpness and clarity so you don’t lose sight of who is doing what.

What further surprised me was the interesting storyline.  I certainly was not expecting sub-plots that involved big ugly brutes and wealthy crime bosses who were involved in home-grown terrorism.  There are many interesting side stories that puzzle into the main characters’ lives and plot of the book.  Every one of them is clearly defined and is woven ever so carefully into the climax of the novel.  Normally, this type of literature (crime, guns, things that go boom, etc.) does not interest me; but, this was so well written I could not put it down.  The more I read, the h
ungrier I got.

Be forewarned that there are a few characters that use foul language occasionally; and, there are some scenes that are briefly sexual. That being aside, considering the sensitive nature of some of the material, I felt, it was handled with great care.

Overall, I absolutely loved the book!  Loved it!  The message it brings us is so important—so necessary, that I wish it were in every library, college, and bookstore in America.  Better than that—it really needs to be a movie.

Note: I’d like to thank both Iolanthe Woulff for this lovely copy of “She’s My Dad” and Review the for this opportunity.

SHE’S MY DAD at Amazon

  • File Size: 653 KB
  • Print Length: 471 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1432744054
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc. (November 13, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0030EG3HW