Monday, July 12, 2010

Books, books

Today I’m doing a couple of book reviews from completely different genres.

The first book is an adorable children’s book that I won from Stephanie at Bah! to cancer. Be sure to check out Stephanie delightful blog.

STUNT BUNNY by Tamsyn Murray

STUNT BUNNY is the story of a cute grey bunny that was named Flopsy for a short while before becoming Harriett Houdini, the lovable pet of eight-year-old Susie. Harriett lives with Susie’s naughty little sister, Lily; her mother, Mrs. Wilson; her Dad, Evil Edward - EE for short; and the family cat, Smudge.

Life is pretty good for Harriett even though EE doesn’t seem to like her. That is until Susie enters Harriett into a pet show and EE realizes how much the prize is. As they wait for the show to begin they encounter a magician set up in the next tent.

While at the pet show Harriett is spotted by Gloria Goodwood, host of the television show Superpets. She invites Harriett on the show and the competition begins. Harriett is soon in a head to head competition with Doodle, an opera-singing Poodle.

Just when life is getting good, the magician pops back and attempts to steal Harriett away from her loving family.

Along the way you’ll discover why Harriett’s name was changed and laugh at the crazy stunts she pulls, especially her hutch antics. The book is also filled with beautiful illustrations by Lee Wildish.

The book doesn’t say what age group it’s designed for (Stephanie noted ages 5 to 10), but it is a wonderful book for parents to read to their children. As the child ages, they will be able to follow Harriett’s journeys for themselves. In addition, Harriett will return in February 2011 as the star of SUPERPETS LIVE.

A great book to add to your children’s library or the library of any youngster you know.

Stunt Bunny by Tamsyn Murray, Illustrated by Lee Wildish, Simon & Schuster Childrens Books, @2010, ISBN: 978-1-84738-727-1, Paperback, 112 pages

FTC Full Disclosure - I won this book and wasn’t asked to do a review of it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

MEN AND DOGS: A NOVEL by Katie Crouch

I have to be honest and say that had I been reading this book instead

of listening to it, I probably wouldn’t have finished it. That would have been my loss.

First, let me say I normally don’t read stories that have a lot of flashbacks in them. An occasional flashback woven into the story doesn’t bother me, in some cases it enriches the story. But when the story goes back and forth so much you have to stop try and remember if you’re in the past or the present, that’s too much.

MEN AND DOGS is told in continuous flashbacks and from several different points of view. However, author Katie Crouch makes it work. Flashbacks are needed to connect the present to the past.

After the first few flashbacks I thought about not finishing the book, but I was hooked and couldn’t help myself. I had to know what happened next, had to know how it was going to end, had to know if Hannah found the answers she was searching for.

When Hannah was 11 years old her father, Buzz Legare, went fishing with his dog and was never seen again. The boat and the dog were found drifting toward the sea. Hannah’s family and the town accepted that Buzz had drown, but she couldn’t. All of her life Hannah has believed that her father was still alive and would return.

Hannah is now 30-something, lives in San Francisco and has made a mess of her marriage. After falling three stories while trying to break into her estranged husband’s house, Hannah is sent home to stay with her mother and step father in Charleston, SC, in hopes of getting her life back on track.

While in Charleston Hannah begins to investigate her father’s disappearance again while reconnecting with people from her past. Her ex-boyfriend is now a pastor and married with a family. As she digs into the past she begins to uncover secrets that are best left in the past.

Seems the disappearance of their father has effected Hannah’s brother, Palmer, as well. Palmer, who is gay, is hiding secrets from his past that he doesn’t want uncovered. He is unable to completely commit to his partner, Tom, who desperately wants a baby. 

Hannah goes on a journey to discover the truth behind her father’s disappearance and almost destroys herself along the way.

I was glad I listened to the entire book. However, the ending wasn’t what I was expecting. After thinking about it, it was a fitting end in a typical Hannah fashion.

Men and Dogs: A Novel by Katie Crouch, Read by Gabra Zackman, Hachette Audio, @2010, ISBN: 9781607881834, Unabridged, 7 Discs, 8 Hours

FTC Full Disclosure - This audio book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

Author James Hayman was scheduled to be here today, but was unable to. Hopefully, he will be able to reschedule later this week.


  1. Thanks for the reviews!Stunt Bunny looks cute....and my kids like thumbing through picture books, even though they're not the right age group. :) I come home from the library with loads of them and they'll flip through them while eating lunch, etc.

    And the other author...she wrote "Men in Trucks," too, didn't she? That one is on my reading list, but I haven't heard as much praise about this one. Thanks for the review!

  2. Glad to see you enjoyed Men and Dogs - I hope to get to it soon.

  3. Mason - Thanks for these reviews. I have so much respect for people who write good children's books; anything that motivates young people to read is, per se, a good thing. So I'm glad you occasionally review children's literature. Men and Dogs sounds interesting, too. I'm usually a little wary of flashbacks, myself, but it sounds as though they're central to this story.

  4. Elizabeth, I even enjoy thumbing through picture books. LOL Guess it's the kid in me. Katie Crouch is the author of 'Men in Trucks' and I have read good things about it too.

    Kathy, hope you enjoy 'Men and Dogs.' Like to know what you think of the ending.

    Margot, the flashback are central to "Men and Dogs.' I normally don't like that many flashbacks but I guess there was no other way to do it and the author made it work.

  5. I'm not too big on flashbacks either, but it sounds like here they do have a significant intent. Interesting how the author used them almost as a tool to her plot!

  6. I love picture books - Stunt Bunny looks awesome :)

  7. Thanks for the great reviews, Mason. Stunt Bunny sounds like fun for kids. Men and Dogs ... I'm a bit like you. Not sure how well I'd handle that one.

  8. Thanks for the review. If I had small kids, I'd be looking for Stunt Bunny. Men and Dogs sounds intriguing and I think I'll add it to my list.

  9. I love children's books and enjoy reading them either to myself or my granddaughter.

    Great reviews, Mason.

  10. “Men and Dogs” sounds interesting. It sounds like a fun use of flashbacks.

  11. Stunt Bunny on the list to buy for the great-grandson.
    Men and Dogs--don't think that ones for me.
    Thanks for these reviews.

    Giggles and Guns

  12. Joanne, this is one book that the flashbacks are a major part of the plot.

    Jemi, Stunt Bunny is so cute. It's told from Harriett's POV.

    Carol, on audio it worked for me. In print, I probably wouldn't have finished it.

    Helen, hope you enjoy Men and Dogs. Curious to see what you think of the ending.

    Teresa, Stunt Bunny is a sweet book.

    Holly, the author did make the flashbacks work to her advantage in this book.

    Mary, hope your great-grandson enjoys the book. I don't think I mentioned that the author is from the UK, but it should be available to the states.

  13. Hi Mason .. lovely reviews .. and one day I expect I'll get to see both books .. Men and Dogs sure sounds interesting though .. and I'm looking forward to listening to some stories/books at some stage - I enjoyed Harry Potter that way read by Stephen Fry a few years ago ..

    Thanks for these notes - interesting to read about .. Hilary

  14. Good reviews. The Stunt Bunny sounds like something my kids would enjoy.

  15. Stunt Bunny sounds adorable. I'll have to pick that up for my nephew. And I know what you mean about flashbacks. The Pilot's Wife is like that, numerous flashbacks, but they are also handled well, and it's an excellent book.

  16. Hilary, I'll have to look for the Harry Potter read by Stephen Fry. I think I would enjoy that very much.

    LadyFi, I think kids will probably want their own 'real' Harriett after reading this. LOL

    Doralynn, welcome and thanks for following. I've seen The Pilot's Wife and wondered about it. I'll have to check on it. Thanks.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.