Sunday, March 01, 2015

Sunday Salon - 03/01/15



If you are interested in other Salon posts, visit the Facebook page to get links. The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

Life:

Well, hello again friends! Feeling much better this week, finally. Hubby had traveled for work and brought back not a t-shirt or a keychain like normal people, but some sort of Arizona plague. Then he passed it to me. We both seemed to have survived and now, quite frankly, I am ready to move into the spring and summer germ free!!

Along with fighting the remains of another illness, this week was busy as usual. My replacement started in my old department at work, so I spent several days hardcore training and downloading my brain. She seems to be picking up quickly (she was from within the company, so knows quite a bit already) and has already, just by her presence, taken responsibility off my shoulders. I am feeling like there is light at end of he tunnel! I feel a bit more in control.


The kitties are doing great! As they become more comfortable they are starting to explore the rest of the house. A is comfortable following us to the kitchen when we prepare food for her, but L is still scared. She sometimes follows us, but then runs right back to the safety of the bedroom. We tried to feed them in the kitchen today...let's just say it was a limited success. Now if only we could get the litter boxes into the bathroom!



We are, again, expecting snow tonight, though it will not be enough to get us out of work...just enough to make the drive scarey and dangerous! But, we may actually break the record tonight for  the snowiest...winter, I believe, ever!  And, keep in mind it all dropped over the past two months only!!

Blogging:
I've spent more time on Facebook this week than reading, but I'm trying to buckle down. I"m also trying to get up to date on my reviews. Hopefully with work calming down I will have more time to focus.


Have a great week!

S


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tuesday Tunes - 2/24/15

A good lyric is like a great book...

New York, New York
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Artists
Dwight Myers, Edward Ferrell II, Donald E. de Grate, Richard Hailey, Joel Hailey, Writers




New York New York, big city of dreams
And everything in New York ain't always what it seems
You might get fooled if you come from out of town
But I'm down by law and I know my way around
Too much, too many people, too much (aha-ha)
Too much, too many people, too much, Raaah!
A castle in the sky, one mile high
Built to shelter the rich and greedy
Rows of eyes, disguised as windows
Looking down on the poor and the needy
Miles of people, marching up the avenue
Doin' what they gotta do, just to get by
I'm living in the land of plenty and many
But I'm damn sure poor and I don't know why
Too much, too many people, too much
Too much, too many people, too much!
A man's on a ledge, says he's gonna jump
People gather round, said, "He won't he's just a chump"
'Cause he lost his job, then he got robbed
His mortgage is due and his marriage is through
He says he ain't gonna pay no child support
Because the bitch left him without a second thought
He got nothing to eat, no shoes on his feet
She even left his clothes out in the street
He keeps hearing noises when he's at home
He always hears voices when he's all alone
His wife took the kids, the car and the crib
In this man's world, so much for Women's Lib
New York New York big city of dreams
But everything in New York ain't always what it seems
You might get fooled if you come from out of town
But I'm down by law, and I know my way around
Down in the Village, you might think I'm silly
But you can't tell the women from the men sometimes
They're sugar and spice and everything nice
But when you get 'em home ain't no telling what you find
Right next door is a little old man
I seen him eating dog food out of a can
He says, "I got to eat, when I can't afford meat
I barely can stand, on my own two feet
I got a bad habit and I just can't break it
Something's on my mind and I just can't shake it
I need some time, and I want some space
I gotta get away from the human race
Too much, too many people, too much (aha-ha)
Too much, too many people, too much! Raaah!
Staring at a skyscraper reaching into heaven
When over in the ghetto I'm livin in hell
Just play ball or be an entertainer
'Cause niggaz like me can't read too well
Nobody loves me, nobody cares
I dreamed about a life but I'm livin in a nightmare
Paranoid schizo, set back, snowbound
Bad news psycho, heart attack, breakdown!
Hee, Huh, Hee, Huh, Hee, Huh, Hee, Huh
Hee, Huh, Hee, Huh, Hee, Huh, Hee, Huh
Hee, Huh, Hee, Huh, Hee, Huh, Hee, Huh
Hee, Huh, Hee, Huh, Hee, Huh, Hee, HUH!
If only I could sleep just ten more minutes
I might find the strength to make another day
If I didn't have to get up and do my thing
I would probably sleep my whole life away
I messed up a nice dream, somethin' bout ice cream
Whipped cream, fruits and a cherry on top
Now I gotta get up and face the world, huh
The pressure is on, It ain't never gonna stop
I sho' gotta learn to use my mind
I don't wanna be kissing nobody's behind
Just standin' on line lookin' like a jerk
Gotta get off my butt and do a full day's work
I ran into a pothole, got into a car crash
Should'a been thinking and tried to fake whiplash
A crowd gathered round, they're callin' me fat
Who you lookin at with a face like that?
New York New York big city of dreams
Everything in New York ain't always what it seems
You might get fooled if you come from out of town
But I'm down by law and I know my way around
On 42nd Street, lookin for some action
Women standing on the corner selling satisfaction
One young punk just leaning on the fence
Tryin' to make a dollar out of fifteen cents
Really is a prankster, tried to be a gangster
Real big wheel when a gun is in his hands
Just did a stick-up, just got picked up
One dead punk, killed by the man
New York New York big city of dreams
And everything in New York ain't always what it seem
You might get fooled if you come from out of town
But I'm down by law and I know my way around
Too much, too many people, too much (haha ha ha)
Too much, too many people, too much! Huh!
A baby cries and a mother dies
And the tears fall from the doctor's eyes
Because in this room, on this day
The Good Lord has giveth, and taketh away, huh!
The gift of life really means a lot
And in the ghetto your life is all you got
So you take to the streets, trying to exist
In the trash and slime of a world like this
What you watch on TV tells you what life is supposed to be
But when you look outside the only thing you see
Is the poverty stricken reality, Heh!
Abandoned places, angry faces
Much hate and hunger throughout the races
You say, "I'm grown and I'm on my own
So why don't everybody just leave me alone!"
Now you stay at home, talking on the phone
Doin ninety miles an hour in the fifty mile zone
They never took the time to tell you 'bout sex
So you had to learn about it in the discotheques
Nine months later, the baby is there
And the Nigga that did it said, "I don't care!"
You don't have enough money to help feed two
So you have to choose between the baby and you
The sky was crying, rain and hail
When you put your baby in the garbage pail
Then you kissed the kid and put down the lid
And you tried to forget what you just did, Huh!
The muffled screams of a dying baby
Was enough to drive the young mother crazy
So she ran in the rain trying to ease the pain
Huh huh, And she drove herself insane
New York New York big city of dreams
But everything in New York ain't always what it seem
You might get fooled if you come from out of town
But I'm down by law and I know my way around
Too much, too many people, too much (haha ha ha)
Too much, too many people, too much! HUH!
New York New York big city of dreams
But everything in New York ain't always what it seem
You might get fooled if you come from out of town
But I'm down by law and I know my way around
Too much, too many people, too much (haha ha ha)
Too much, too many people, too much

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Sunday Salon - 2/22/15




If you are interested in other Salon posts, visit the Facebook page to get links. The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

Life:

Sick.

Again.

This blows.


Blogging:
Trying to read between sneezes and nose blowing.

Back next week.

S


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Last Night At The Viper Room - Edwards

Title: Last Night At The Viper Room: River Phoenix and the Hollywood He Left Behind



Author: Gavin Edwards
Published: Genre: Non-fiction
Rating:
4/5- Great. Push it on your friends and family.

Book Source: Owned, Gift

 
Recommended if you like: Stories about celebrity lives, teen celebrity information



What Its About:  
River Phoenix was a 1980-90's child actor and teen idol who made became known for movies such as Stand By Me, The Mosquito Coast, and My Own Private Idaho. Despite, or perhaps because of, a childhood which included years in a religious cult, one which supported child sexual abuse, and years of a hippie-like existence, Phoenix became embroiled in a drug culture that he wasn't equipped to handle. Edwards recounts that childhood and, more specifically, the last days of River Phoenix's life before he foolishly took his last hit of drugs at the famed Hollywood Viper Room club which ultimately led to his death at the age of 23. Edwards wraps Phoenix's story in an examination of the 1990's and the pop culture which would lead to such a promising young man to his death at too young an age.
The Bottom Line: 
This was a really well written, extremely interesting look at pop culture in the 1990's, while offering a fascinating look at the strange and varied life of River Phoenix. I found this story heartbreaking, as Phoenix never got to fully reach his potential. A perfect combination of a biography and a pop culture review. Amazing, and truly worth the read!






Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tuesday Tunes - 2/17/15

A good lyric is like a great book...

Temporary Home
Carri Underwood, Artist
Zac Maloy, Luke Laird and Carrie Underwood, Writers


Little boy, six years old
A little too used to being alone
Another new mom and dad
Another school, another house that'll never be a home
When people ask him how he likes this place
He looks up and says with a smile upon his face
"This is my temporary home, it's not where I belong
Windows and rooms that I'm passing through
This is just a stop on the way to where I'm going
I'm not afraid because I know this is my temporary home"
Hmmmm.........
 
Young mom on her own
She needs a little help, got nowhere to go
She's looking for a job, looking for a way out
'Cause a halfway house will never be a home
At night she whispers to her baby girl
"Someday we'll find our place here in this world"
"This is our temporary home, it's not where we belong
Windows and rooms that we're passing through
This is just a stop on the way to where we're going
I'm not afraid because I know this is our temporary home"
Hmmmm.........

Old man, hospital bed
The room is filled with people he loves
And he whispers "Don't cry for me, I'll see you all someday"
He looks up and says "I can see God's face"
"This is my temporary home, it's not where I belong
Windows and rooms that I'm passing through
This was just a stop on the way to where I'm going
I'm not afraid because I know this was my temporary home"
This is our temporary home
This is our temporary home.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Mondays and Monday Mailbox - 02/16/15

Monday Mailbox hosted by Marcia @ To Be Continued.
It's Monday! hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey


Now Reading: 
Landlines (Rainbow Rowell)


Just Finished: 
Singing to a Bulldog (Anson Williams)

On Deck:
Great choices!

 
Three great options came in the mail this week...



 

And two Netgalleys, the above Anson Williams memoir and one by Cindy Williams (Shirley on Laverne and Shirley).  I grew up with these shows, what fund to read about them.




Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sunday Salon - 02/15/15



If you are interested in other Salon posts, visit the Facebook page to get links. The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

Life:

So, we had another two snow days, Monday and Tuesday, this week. Unfortunately, hubby was traveling for work...so I got stuck shoveling. But I survived. Then, this weekend we got another storm and another foot and a half! Thankfully he was back and we shoveled together.  Honestly, I've lost count of the inches of snow we've gotten, but...


...need I say more?! This pic actually includes some snow hubby moved off the roof, but our regular piles are easily waist high. Word is another two storms are due this week! Not sure how much more we are looking at, but...I already can't see out of my bedroom window, does it really matter?!?

The positive of all this snow is that it's allotted us a bunch of extra bonding days with the kitties! They are coming out more often and are interacting much more. They are still easily scared by noises...not uncommon for ferals. But they are definitely trusting us more.  We actually changed their names, and they have already leaned to respond to them...especially when it involves food! I set up a new Facebook page for them...Tale of Two City-Kitties! It's open, so if you want to follow feel free!



Kitty after her mama's heart!

I also took them for their first vet visit (with us, they were well "vetted" before coming to us) last weekend and they got a glowing report. The doc even said that they looked and sounded so great he would have never known they were ferals. They even let him cut their nails with no fight! Good girls!!


Blogging:
All this snow has also given me more reading time! I hate cold and shoveling, but you'll not hear me complaining about extra days off work to read!  I'm now behind on reviews, which is actually good because I read so slowly. I like having a back up to cover those slow weeks.

I powered through Anson Williams' (you remember him, Potsi on Happy Days?) memoir, which was a freebie on Netgalley. Actually, this was a great week for new arrivals, I'll post my list tomorrow. And started another of my Christmas gifts this weekend.  Check me out tomorrow to find out which one!




Have a great week!

S



Saturday Savings - 2/14/15


**DEAL OF THE WEEK**



Two boxes of Post Raisin Bran and Gallon of Hood Milk

Regular price = 
Cereal - $3.39, Milk- $3.99

Sale price = Cereal - $2.50, Milk - No sale...

Stacked with 2 cereal coupons for $0.75 each, both doubled to $1.50 (Cereal = $1.00 each)
and
Coupon for free milk with purchase of 2 post cereals

Total cost for all $2.00!!
(Less than the cost of the milk alone!!)


Thursday, February 12, 2015

January 2015 ReCap...

January 2015
A little late this month, but here it is....
Doing a little better than last year, but still not back to my regular load of 4+ a month. Work is busy as always, but changes are coming very soon! Hopefully this will result in a major change in what else I am able to get accomplished in a day (rather than my normal come- home-from-work-and-pass-out routine lately).

This month I read: 
1. Last Night at the Viper Room (Gavin Edwards)

2. The Book Thief (Markus Zusak)
3. Almost Perfect (Debra Manning)



In numbers:
Total Read: 3
YTD: 3
Adult: 3
YA/children's: 0
Abandoned: 0



Favorite Book(s) of the Month:
Last Night at the Viper Room (Gavin Edwards)



Challenges Update:
 
2015 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge 
Books to read 2015: 50
Books read in 2015: 3
Books remaining: 47





 

7a 
Books to read 2015: 23
Books read in 2015: 1
Books remaining: 22






Books to read 2015: 25
Books read in 2015: 2
Books remaining: 23




Letters to read 2015: 26
Letters read in 2015: 0
Books remaining: 26



 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tuesday Tunes - 2/10/15

A good lyric is like a great book...

What's Going On
Marvin Gay, Artist
Renaldo "Obie" Benson, Al Cleveland and Marvin Gaye, Writers



Mother, mother
There's too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There's far too many of you dying
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today - Ya

Father, father
We don't need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today

Picket lines and picket signs
Don't punish me with brutality
Talk to me, so you can see
Oh, what's going on
What's going on
Ya, what's going on
Ah, what's going on

In the mean time
Right on, baby
Right on
Right on

Father, father, everybody thinks we're wrong
Oh, but who are they to judge us
Simply because our hair is long
Oh, you know we've got to find a way
To bring some understanding here today
Oh

Picket lines and picket signs
Don't punish me with brutality
Talk to me
So you can see
What's going on
Ya, what's going on
Tell me what's going on
I'll tell you what's going on - Uh
Right on baby

Right on baby




Monday, February 09, 2015

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

The Guys - Nelson


Title: They Guys


Author: Anne Nelson
Published: Genre: Play
Rating:

Book Source: Bought this years ago

 
Recommended if you like: Theater, Stories about 9/11, Emotional stories, Stories about firefighters


 
What Its About:  
It's fall 2011, a few short days after the horrific attacks on New York City, and Nick, a NYC fire captain, comes to Joan, a writer, to assist in his duties. Though bodies are still missing, families need closure and so the captain is called on to present multiple eulogies for "the guys" lost in the towers.

Understandably, he is grief stricken and speechless. He can barely speak, let alone eloquently, of  friends who have been lost. With kindness and understanding,  Joan manages to cajole enough information about each lost man to produce loving portraits for Nick to share with friends and families. While they work together, Nick and Joan form a bond. They find that though they have different life experiences, and might never have met otherwise, they are both New Yorkers. They are both humans. And, they are both dealing with the loss the best way they can.

The Bottom Line: 
Based on her personal experiences, Anne Nelson wrote this play in just a few short days after a  conversation with the husband of a friend who she encountered at an event dinner shortly after September 11th, 2011. The husband happened to be a director of a small, off-Broadway NYC theater near ground zero.  Due to the events, the theater was slowly dying. He asked for her help. While not technically a memoir, Nelson utilizes her recent experiences working with a fire captain, writing eulogies for lost firemen. The play was a slow building, but huge success, and helped many who lost loved ones to deal with the events.

This play is "powerfully moving and unexpectedly humorous" (Bret Fetzer, Amazon). It is a reminder that those lost were real, everyday people with loved ones who were left shattered. It is a reminder that even those Americans who did not know someone who was lost were also often deeply affected by the horrific events. It is a reminder that we are all Americans.

Well worth the very short read.


Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Tuesday Tunes - 2/3/15

A good lyric is like a great book...

Otto Titsling
Bette Midler, Artist
Bette Midler, Jerry Blatt, Charlene Seeger, and Marc Shaiman, Writers


Otto Titsling, inventor and Kraut,
Had nothing to get very worked up about
His inventions were failures, his future seemed bleak
He fled to the opera at least twice a week

One night at the opera he saw an Aida
Whose bust was so big it would often impede her
Bug-eyed, he watched her fall into the pit,
Done in by the weight of those terrible tits

Oh my god! Thar she blows!
Aerodynamically this girl was a mess.
Otto eye-balled the diva lying comatose amongst the reeds,
And he suddenly felt the fire of inspiration
Flood his soul. He ran back to his workshop
Where he futzed and futzed and futzed

For Otto Titsling had found his quest:
To lift and mold the female breast
To point the small ones to the sky
To keep the big ones high and dry

Every night he'd sweat and snort
Searching for the right support
He tried some string and paper clips
Hey! He even tried his own two lips!

Well, he stitched and he slaved,
He slaved and he stitched
Until finally one night, in the wee hours of morning,
Otto arose from his workbench triumphant
Yes! He had invented the world's first
Over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder.
Hooray!

Exhausted but ecstatic, Otto ran
Out to the diva bearing the prototype in his hot little hand.
Now, the diva did not wanna try the darn thing on.
But, after many initial mishaps,
She finally did.
And the sigh of relief that issued forth
From her mouth
Was so loud that it was mistaken by some
To be the early onset of the Seraken Winds
Which would often roll through the Schwarzwald
With a vengeance!
Ahhhhh!

But little did Otto know,
At the moment of his greatest triumph,
Lurking under the diva's bed
Was none other than the very worst
Of the French patent thieves,
Phillip DeBrassiere.
And Phil was watching the scene
With a great deal of interest!

Later that night, while the Brunhilda slept,
Into the wardrobe Phillip softly crept
He fumbled through knickers and corsets galore,
Till he found Otto's titsling and he ran out the door

Crying, "Oh my god! What joy! What bliss!
"I'm gonna make me a million from this!
"Every woman in the world will wanna buy one.
"I will have all the goods manufactured in Taiwan."

The result of this swindle is pointedly clear:
Do you buy a titsling or do you buy a brassiere?

Monday, February 02, 2015

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Sunday Salon - 2/1/15



If you are interested in other Salon posts, visit the Facebook page to get links. The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

Life:

My goodness the past two weeks flew  by!

Last week, I was glad when the weekend finally ended, and a long weekend to boot!! The week was exhausting (putting in those overtime, UNPAID hours is a bitch!). And this week, Monday was a mad rush to get enough work done that when the Blizzard2015 hit, all hell wouldn't break loose at work if we missed a day or two. And, with a grant due Thursday and a faculty candidate visiting my department Thursday and Friday, that was quite a lot!

And boy did that storm hit! I won't bore you with pictures, but we got 30 inches! Thankfully hubby was wonderful and kept up with the snow blowing and shoveling so I could sit around and read and love the kitties. And, now they are predicting another foot tomorrow!!! Oy!!

Talking of the kitties, the last week was very stressful kitty-wise (our first week with them in our home). After several days, we started to seriously consider taking them back...not because we didn't want them, but because they didn't seem to want us! They were refusing to come out from under the bedside table and, more seriously, refusing to eat!  Five month old babies must eat!

We texted the adoption team and they told us to squirt baby food into their mouths. So off to Stop 'n Shop I went to get baby food (never, ever thought I'd need that!) and an oral syringe. They hated it, of course, but it worked!  The second night I did it, I also offered them their preferred kitty food...and they ate it! Considering the options, I don't blame them...have you ever smelled turkey and gravy baby food?!? Blech!!!!  Since then, they have been eating aggressively. Score one for Gerbers!


Though they still spend a lot of time hiding, Paris (above) is a total love-hog. She is just all over you when you start petting her, snuggles and purring. She is finally coming out willingly (only when my husband comes in the room of course) and will fall asleep with me on the bed. But the minute I leave the room (even to pee) she hides...

Geneva is still hiding most of the time. We have to drag her out to interact with her (which the adoption folks said we should do) or to feed her (we have to feed her separately or Paris eats her food). But, she is beginning to come out in the morning on her own...before I get up and moving. Last night, I caught her sleeping on the bed with me and Paris, booya!  And she is purring and enjoying the love we give her. So, I do think we are doing the right thing and moving the right way!

We are definitely over the moon with these girls and are so very thankful we didn't have to take them back!

Blogging:
I took part in the National Readathon Day on the 24th and got quite a bit read. I was able to finish off The Book Thief, which was excellent, and was able to put a dent in Almost Perfect, by Diane Manning.

I also just finished Sam Harris' memoir, Ham, which was very entertaining.  I look forward to telling you about it!

Today will likely consist of some couponing during that crazy ball game no one in my family has any interest in seeing and picking a new read for the week. Are you planning on watching the game, or reading your way through it?

Have a great week!

S




Thursday, January 29, 2015

Ten Things About Kittens...

Ten Things About Kittens...

1. Not all kittens come home all cuddly and adorable like in Facebook videos.

2. Two kittens can, in fact, contort their bodies so as to fit both of themselves into a space the size of a milk jug!

3. Feral kittens, even when socialized, will likely be traumatized by a move to a new home (especially when said move involves leaving mama behind).

4.  Two scared kittens will determine the best hiding place they can find in the middle of the night is the dirty fireplace (cold, of course)!

5. Even a scared kitten will purr when given enough love and attention.

6. As much as you feed them, pet them, and scoop their poop...new kittens will always willingly come to your husband first (not that I'm hurt or anything).

7. The first time a kitten willingly decides to come out from under the bed, with you in the room, you will feel like Tom Hanks in Castaway..."Fire! I have made fire!" (Insert chest beating here...)

8. Chest beating is apt to scare said kitty back under the bed...avoid!

9. Eventually, even the most scared kitten will realize that they are safe and loved and that maybe this new home is a good place to be. This may take a while, but keep at it!

10. Rescue cats are worth every second put into loving them and giving them a safe and secure forever-home! Run, (now!) to your local pet shelter and adopt a ball of love!




Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Almost Perfect - Manning


Title: Almost Perfect


Author: Diane Daniels Manning
Published: Genre: Fiction
Rating:
3/5- Good. Read it, have a good time and move on. Or not.

Book Source: From author for honest review

 
Recommended if you like: Stories about animals, stories about ADHD/autism and children, stories with strong relationships



What Its About (publisher's)


Two unlikely friends, an old woman and a boy with special needs, take an aging champion to Westminster Dog Show, and heal their troubled families.

Seventy year-old Bess Rutledge has fantasized about winning the Westminster Dog Show all her life, but now she has decided she is too old to follow her dream. She meets Benny, an angry fourteen year-old with mild autism and ADHD, who has a dream of his own: to impress his self-absorbed mother. He becomes convinced that winning Westminster with McCreery, Bess’ aging champion standard poodle, will finally make his mother proud of him. Getting Bess to go along with his plan, however, is not going to be so easy.
 
Two unlikely friends, an old woman and a boy with special needs, take an aging champion to Westminster Dog Show, and heal their troubled families.

Seventy year-old Bess Rutledge has fantasized about winning the Westminster Dog Show all her life, but now she has decided she is too old to follow her dream. She meets Benny, an angry fourteen year-old with mild autism and ADHD, who has a dream of his own: to impress his self-absorbed mother. He becomes convinced that winning Westminster with McCreery, Bess’ aging champion standard poodle, will finally make his mother proud of him. Getting Bess to go along with his plan, however, is not going to be so easy. - See more at: http://www.cherrymischievous.com/#sthash.9I6KLTHp.dpuf
Two unlikely friends, an old woman and a boy with special needs, take an aging champion to Westminster Dog Show, and heal their troubled families.

Seventy year-old Bess Rutledge has fantasized about winning the Westminster Dog Show all her life, but now she has decided she is too old to follow her dream. She meets Benny, an angry fourteen year-old with mild autism and ADHD, who has a dream of his own: to impress his self-absorbed mother. He becomes convinced that winning Westminster with McCreery, Bess’ aging champion standard poodle, will finally make his mother proud of him. Getting Bess to go along with his plan, however, is not going to be so easy. - See more at: http://www.cherrymischievous.com/#sthash.9I6KLTHp.dpuf

The Bottom Line: 
I was inititally interested in this book because of the dog thing. I love stories about animals, espeially dogs.  But little did I know that the real treasure of the book was in fact the relationships. A finalist in the William Faulkner Creative Writing Competition, this book was very well written and well worth the read. The way the characters came to life makes it impossible to not feel connected and absorbed in their struggles.

Additionally, Manning clearly knows her stuff. So often, authors research a topic and write a book thinking they know "enough" about the subject to make due. Manning, who actually has a Ph.D. in Education and a post-doctoral M.P.H. from Harvard University, truly knows her stuff. She creates a realistic character living with autism/ADHD. This made the book more enjoyable for me (as an M.Ed).

Definitely worth the read! And, with its short chapters, its a pretty quick and easy read.