Category Archives: Book Reviews

Funny Farm: My Unexpected Life with 600 Rescue Animals – Book Review

Published Date: February 22, 2022

Publishing Co.: St. Martin’s

Pages: 256

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

“The more you cry, the less you pee.”

That was the mantra Laurie’s mother instilled in her children. It might not make all the sense, but it was enough to force you to crack a smile and push through whatever it was that was bothering you. It’s a mantra that most of us could afford to take up in our lives. It was the mantra of a family forced into poverty by domestic violence and a neglectful father.

The Zaleski family was the kind of family that made you think of the phrase, “Keeping up with the Joneses.” They had the idyllic life. Except that behind the scenes, the husband was a serial cheater and became a wife beater. When the mother had enough, she packed up her kids and moved into a house on the verge of being condemned. With absolutely nothing but their mother’s ingenuity and determination, they made a shack into a home. One of their mother’s many jobs to make ends meet was that of animal shelter employee. Her heart the size of her attitude, she would bring home the animals that were going to be euthanized and nurse them back to health. Thus began, the original Funny Farm.

When I picked this book up, I thought I would mostly be in for numerous tales of animal rescues. While there is a plenty of those, the story of the Zaleski childhood stood out as the most fascinating part for me. I binged 130 pages the first time I sat down with it.

Anne McNulty was an amazing woman, who raised good children and saved numerous animal lives. The book is a great testament to her character and the continuation of animal lives rescued in her name by that of her daughter at the current Funny Farm.

My Hilarious, Heroic, Human Dog: 101 Tales of Canine Companionship – Book Review

Published Date: September 7, 2021

Pages: 368

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My aunt purchased this book for me as a birthday present just two short months following the death of my beloved dog, Ozzy. My husband wisely said that I should probably wait a little while before I attempted to read this. So, I waited until around June/July before I took it to work as a lunch book.

It was the perfect lunch book in the fact that, the essays are only a couple of pages long. You could gobble 4-5 essays easily while taking a break.

Some stories are fun and quirky. Others bring a tear to your eye and get you all choked up when you’re supposed to go back out and deal with the public shortly. All of them remind you about why dogs are so awesome.

I would definitely recommend this one to dog lovers.

The Hunting Wind (Alex McKnight #3) – Book Review

Published Date: January 1, 2001

Publishing Co.: St. Martin’s

Pages: 352

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I’m pretty sure the two reasons I keep going with this series are as follows; my grandfather recommended it to me before he passed, and it’s set in Michigan. I’m largely familiar with the cities/towns that the stories tend to take place in and that adds a bit of the nostalgia factor I guess I would call it.

If it weren’t for those two things, I would probably drop this like a hot pasty.

The main character, Alex McKnight, isn’t all that likable. I’m not entirely sure how he manages to have any friends and I like cranky old man characters. His conversations with people are bland and sometimes he comes across as rather dumb. But, no worries, by the end of the book he will have solved whatever mystery as he is so smart and brave. Although, in reality, it’s like he stumbles his way across it and manages to not die.

Now, my reading of the series has several year gaps in between, but it also seems like he’s always falling in lust with every woman (even if it’s a client, how professional) he comes across. So, ladies, he’ll investigate your undies too if you so much as look at him a certain way.

I’m sure you’re wondering, even with nostalgia factors, “why do you keep reading this? It sounds lame.” The first part of the books always seem to take awhile to get into the meat of the story, but once the drama starts, I can binge 100 pages without trying. It is 100% a 3-star read, which means overall I tend to enjoy myself even with its imperfections. Don’t be surprised when you see me pick up the next book in a few years.

Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law – Book Review

Published Date: September 14, 2021

Publishing Co.: W.W. Norton Company

Pages: 308

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

“Are some species just dicks?”

A poignant question poised by the author. It’s rhetorical of course. Animals are just being animals whether humans enjoy it or not and this book is mostly about humans trying to stop them from inconveniencing them. Like the time some people tried to take caterpillars to court to get them off their property. It went as well as one would suspect if you had half a brain.

Humans have created a lot of the problems themselves. British immigrants to New Zealand missed their rabbit hunts back home, so they imported some. New Zealand doesn’t have any large predators, the rabbits, boinked like rabbits do and overpopulated the land. Humans then brought over stoats and cats in an attempt to take care of the problem only to ultimately be overrun by rabbits, stoats and feral cats. These imported species take up the habitat and kill the native species to the island. Now, it’s a race against time to save endangered species before they’re gone forever.

So, what I’ve learned here is that it only takes one nostalgic human to ruin everything and years and years of research to try to fix anything. Often, without any success.

The battle against nuisance species is a delicate balance. Back in the day, humans would happily slaughter any animal that was inconvenient or effected their livelihoods. Even to the point of extinction because how dare they? People are slowly becoming more cognizant to animal suffering. Less people want so-called nuisance animals harmed. Preferring relocation if possible. However, relocation doesn’t tend to work effectively according to research in Fuzz. Scientists are busy trying to come up with more humane (or less harmful) ways to manage species that get in our way or cause us problems. The results are years off but provide for a fascinating read.

And maybe, just maybe, take the time to remember to lock down your garbage properly so some bear doesn’t get euthanized for stealing your scrumptious muffins you didn’t finish. A little mindfulness goes a long way in saving lives.

This is my first Roach book. I enjoyed her writing style and extensive research. I’m sure I will check out her other publications down the road.

Assassin’s Quest (Farseer Trilogy #3) – Book Review

Published Date: November 5, 2002

Publishing Co.: Spectra

Pages: 757

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Ah, here we go. Another classic me. I claimed in my review of book two that I would be running out to buy the third book had I not just picked up several books from the library. The implication being that I would buy it after I finished them. That was 2017. Five years later, not only am I finishing the Assassin’s Quest, I’m finishing my quest to finish this trilogy.

Warning: Spoilers abound.

Fitz has been resurrected from the dead. The world besides Chade and Burrich, believes him dead by King Regal. His nefarious uncle who tortured him mercilessly in his dungeons. He’s not quite himself but what is the correct way to come back to life after narrowly escaping death?

First, Fitz must heal mentally and physically before he even grasps the concept of seeking revenge or searching out the true king, if he still lives. He does this in a cabin with his wolf, Nighteyes, and the help of Burrich bringing him supplies. From there, he travels to Tradeford to bring his revenge down upon Regal. Thworted, his efforts change to finding Verity deep in the Mountain Kingdom after being summoned to him by Verity’s Skill. Why has the true king not returned? His people suffer, both from the raiders on the coast and the complacent, lazy king on the throne. Now, Fitz must trek halfway across the world to find answers.

I love the slow burn of Hobb’s writing. It genuinely felt like I was along for Fitz’s entire journey. When I sit back and think about where the story started, to where it ended, it feels like I have read an entire trilogy in one book. We traveled the entire country, visited many people, survived many trials, lost ourselves, found ourselves, and brought legends to life. We starved, we ate until bloated, lost old friends, gained new friends, and fought many battles. It was an amazing adventure.

Hobb has skyrocketed to my favorite authors list.

April: A Month of Shenanigans

Most of 2022 has sucked (for me) but April was a great month. We traveled to California, met some online friends and had many, many adventures.

Yesterday, Mr. and Mrs. Moth came to stay the night and get into some real shenanigans with us. We hit the bowling alley in town on the request of Mr. C&M who was randomly craving attempting to bowl again. We did this YEARS ago and he was absolutely awful at it, and I made fun of him a lot. But if you play a lot of Wii Sports and now Switch sports, apparently it CAN translate to getting better at real bowling because we didn’t have to put up the bumpers this time. The Moths hadn’t played in years either (although Mr. Moth had played more recently than any of us) and they declared this was extra good fun and we need to do this on the regular.

We attempted to go to a Mexican restaurant that I had heard really good things about but unfortunately, they were not doing any dine in on the day that we decided to show up. We selected a decent looking burger joint that exceeded our expectations and also had margaritas.

Cranberry Orange and Mixed Berry. Delicious but lacking in alcohol I felt.

After that we went home and played Switch Sports bowling which was just not nearly as exciting as real bowling anymore. 😛 Then, things got really competitive, and we played some Mario Party. Moth’s present game is always on-point, and I received some mighty sweet new swag:

April Reading:

I reviewed Half a War.

4 out of 5 stars – I won this book in a giveaway hosted by Tammy at Books, Bones & Buffy. When I couldn’t decide which book I wanted, I asked Tammy to send me one of her favorites and she was kind enough to oblige. I thoroughly enjoyed my ride through space to unravel a murder mystery on the outer edge of the galaxy. I haven’t decided if I will review it or not but here it be. I recommend checking it out.

The end of April also brought my school semester to an end. I did WAY better in Intro to Probability and Statistics than I ever dreamed I would. Math isn’t my best subject. I can do it, but I hate life while I do it. I actually enjoyed this class, so I think that says something about both the teacher and my dedication to learning. I have not had more than 3 weeks off of school at a time since I started back last summer so this round, I’m taking the summer off and continuing in the Fall. I am super excited to have the summer free to do literally whatever I want. (Still have to show up to work though unfortunately.)

What adventures do you have planned for this summer?

Here’s Zelda for your extra dose of cute:

Half a War – Book Review

Published Date: July 16, 2015

Publishing Co.: Harper Voyager

Pages: 513

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This will be an overall review of the entire trilogy.

I read the first book, Half a King, eight years ago. I did not think it had been quite so long when I picked up the second book recently but according to Goodreads, it most certainly had been. I never take the time to reread anything, however, I somehow remembered a great deal of the first book. I think that speaks well of the author.

In the second book, Half a World, our petty crew of misfits is traveling the world, gathering support for the Iron King against the High King. Each book has some characters that you are familiar with and a couple new ones peppered in. In this edition, we’re introduced to Thorn, a young woman desperate to become a fabled warrior like her father, and Brand, a gentle giant doing his best to stand in the light, always. Both of them learn lessons the hard way on their journey making friends for an empire.

In the last book, Half a War, war breaks out. If you can imagine that based on the title. Half a war is fought with swords, the other half with words. Princess Skara’s kingdom has crumbled beneath the armored boot of the High King’s favorite general. She works desperately to keep together an alliance between the scraps of her kingdom, the Iron King and King Grom-gil-Gorm in their war against the rest of the land.

Most of this series feels much like a Viking tale of war however, toward the end, the elf magic is revealed to be something much more familiar to us. I won’t give it away, but it was a very interesting turn of events. Overall, I very much enjoyed my adventures with this motley crew and rated this a solid 4 out of 5 stars across the board.

March 2022 Update

*waves*

I’m still here. Being a semi-functional human being. March was rather BLAH. March BLAHNESS.

Samus is getting used to the only dog life. She misses her brother. How can I tell? When we’re not home, sometimes she sniffs his collar that is hanging within her range and then wanders around, lost. (We have a pet camera that we bought just before Ozzy passed.) Other than those brief periods, she is much enjoying the frequent walks, car rides even if it’s just up to the store and now, she has her own personal luggage for travel! Look at her! So proud to show it off. She’s ready to pack up and head out on some adventures!

Yes, in our grief, we’ve been spending a lot of money on her to make ourselves feel better lol. But seriously, why didn’t I know dog luggage was a thing sooner? Previously, I was jamming as much dog stuff as possible into recyclable bags that liked to tip over and dump its contents on the regular.

Work still leaves much to be desired. I think I’ve just lost all heart for the profession.

Reading was very slow, but I did finish the following;

In early March, I finally finished my reread with Moth of Goblet of Fire. Loved it.

The conclusion to the Fever series. It was a pretty solid ending, but it lacked the usual passion between characters that this series is known for. However, the author suffered serious brain damage in the past couple of years, so I am not holding this against her as it sounds like it was a miracle that an end was written at all.

8 years after I read the first book in this trilogy, I finally got around to the second. (Thanks library!) Somehow, I still remembered a good deal of the characters and the plot. That probably speaks fairly well of the author. I wasn’t in the mood to review it, but I really enjoyed myself.

Currently reading:

I’m impressed with myself, jumping directly into the next book in the series. No 8 year gap this time! Should I feel up to it, I’ll probably do an overall review of the series when I’m finished with this one.

April – I turn 35 and get to go to California. Another year older, another year bolder!

Do you have anything exciting planned for April?

Paddle Your Own Canoe – Book Review

Published Date: October 1, 2013

Publishing Co.: Dutton

Pages: 340

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I read this book at a time in my life when I very much needed it. While Offerman becomes his own bard, recounting his travels to success, he also offers wisdoms about life. “How to live deliciously,” as it were.

Honestly, those were the parts that spoke the most to me. It was great getting to know his origin story but those nuggets of suggestions on how to live better, buttered the bread. I knew that I wanted to focus the year on good things and Offerman handed me ideas and reminders of how just to do that.

Don’t be an asshole – easier said than done. The public these days are rude as fuck and yet somehow, I should be the nice one. No promises on this one.

Find a hobby – I need to get back to woodworking or anything creative to feed the lack of creativity in my life.

Less screen time/social media – Stop wasting my life away staring at that screen when I could be making real memories or doing something more productive.

Spend more time with friends – After the last two years, I would love to dedicate more time to friends.

This is just a snack-sized sample of his offerings.

Come for his tales and leave fed with inspiration to change up your life.

2022 Bookish Resolutions

The ONLY resolutions that I truly enjoy making are book ones. Let’s see how I did last year!

2021 Bookish Resolutions:

Continue working on my stockpile at home – CHECK. I read 19 books that I own.

Spend as little as possible on books – CHECK. In total I spent $51.13 on books last year. That’s up from 2020 but less than $100 so I consider it a win.

Mood read the entire year – CHECK.

Build a bookshelf – DIDN’T HAPPEN. I really shouldn’t be surprised on this one. That’s 3 years running I’ve failed at it.

Three out of four isn’t bad!

2022 Bookish Resolutions:

Continue/complete series that I have started. I have series ADD so it’s time to force myself to focus a little and clean up my reading habits. I continued/completed 7 series in 2021 without it really being my goal so with my new master list of FORTY series to work on, maybe I will make some much needed progress.

In conjunction with the first resolution, no spending limits this year!

Mood read for the entire year. That was awesome.

Give up on building a bookshelf. Should it happen, it will be a surprise to you AND me! Haha.

Did you make any fun bookish resolutions for 2022??