Ten Timeless Dog Tales

 

18734_293820354503_1930542_nSince the day I met my beloved Brandy girl (aka wigglebutt)  I knew she was special to me and for the first time I truly understood the meaning and depth a pup can bring a person. I have hoped for some time since she died 8 years ago, that I would find another dog to share a connection with and companionship with, as rich as the one her life brought me.

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I never understood how beautiful and true the love between a dog and their person/family could be, until the day I met her.
Dogs are amazing creatures and capable of bringing so much joy and love. Lately I have had such a strong desire to bring a new dog into my life, and so I decided to channel that energy into a Mini Bean dedicated to our four legged friends.

 Here are 10 Dog Tales, the timeless and the touching:

Where the Red Fern Grows
by Wilson Rawls
A beloved classic that captures the powerful bond between man and Dog. Billy has long dreamt of owning not one, but two dogs. So when he’s finally able to save up enough money for two pups to call his own, Old Dan and Little Ann, he’s ecstatic. It’s true that times are tough, but together they’ll roam the hills of the Ozarks. But tragedy awaits these determined hunters, now friends, and Billy learns that hope can grow out of despair.

Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans
by W. Bruce Cameron
Heartwarming, insightful, and often laugh-out-loud funny, A Dog’s Purpose is not only the emotional and hilarious story of a dog’s many lives, but also a dog’s-eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man’s best friend. This moving and beautifully crafted story teaches us that love never dies, that our true friends are always with us, and that every creature on earth is born with a purpose.

Check out the box set for the whole A Dog’s Purpose Series:
#1 A Dog’s Purpose
#2 A Dog’s Journey
#3 A Dog’s Way Home (forthcoming)

Rated 4.8 on amazon.com

One Good Dog
by Susan Wilson
Adam March is a self-made Master of the Universe. He has it all: the beautiful wife, the high-powered job, the glittering circle of friends. Until the day his assistant gives him a message: your sister called. No one knows that his sister has been missing for decades. Adam loses it, and he is escorted from the building. He loses his job. He loses his wife. At his lowest, Adam is assigned to community service in a soup kitchen. And this is where he crosses paths with Chance.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog Named Trixie
by Dean Koontz
A profound, funny, and beautifully rendered portrait of a beloved companion. Bestselling novelist Dean Koontz remembers the golden retriever who changed his life. A retired service dog, Trixie was three when Dean and his wife, Gerda, welcomed her into their home. She was superbly trained, but her greatest gifts couldn’t be taught: her keen intelligence, her innate joy, and an uncanny knack for living in the moment.

Rated 4.8 on amazon.com

A Forever Home Novel Book Series
by Dan Walsh
download.jpgBook 1A great read for Dog Lovers everywhere (and those wanting to Honor our Wounded Warriors.)
Book 2: Every :  How could the life of a homeless man and the life of a young boy and his dog , Riley, possibly connect? Dan Walsh is a master at connecting the dots.
Book 3: A touching story that spans multiple generations and Covers such topics as Pet Rescue and training, Self-Defense, Bullying, and Relationships.
Rated 4.8 on amazon.com

Old Yeller
by Fred Gibson
A timeless American classic and one of the most beloved children’s books ever written, Old Yeller is a Newbery Honor Book that explores the poignant and unforgettable bond between a boy and the stray dog who becomes his loyal friend. Fred Gipson’s novel is an eloquently simple story that is both exciting and deeply moving. Old Yeller stands as a beloved and enduring classic of literature

Rated 4.8 on amazon.com

Could Chew on ThisAnd Other Poems by Dogs
by Francesco Marciuliano
This canine companion to I Could Pee on This, The beloved volume of poems by cats, will have dog lovers laughing out loud. Doggie laureates not only chew on quite a lot of things, they also reveal their creativity, their hidden motives, and their eternal (and sometimes misguided) effervescence through such musings as “I Dropped a Ball,” “I Lose My Mind When You Leave the House,” and “Can You Smell That?”

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

The Dog Who Saved Me
by Susan Wilson
Rescue comes in unexpected ways for one man and his dog. Cooper Harrison, a member of the Boston K-9 unit, never thought he would return to Harmony Farms. But when tragedy strikes and he loses his job, Cooper has no choice but to return to his hometown.Can a stray dog―a wounded and gun-shy yellow Lab gone feral―teach Cooper what it means to forgive and let go of the past. . . and help him to heal?

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs
by Caronline Knapp
Author of the acclaimed bestseller Drinking:A Love Story, Carolyn found herself confronted with a monumental task: redefining her world.  She had faced the loss of her parents, given up a 21 year relationship with alcohol, and, as she writes, “I was wandering around in a haze of uncertainty, blinking up at the biggest questions: Who am I without parents and without alcohol? How to form attachments, and where to find comfort, i
n the face of such daunting vulnerability?”  An answer materialized in the most unlikely form: that of a dog.
Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

Marley and Me
by John Grogan
Is it possible for humans to discover the key to happiness through a bigger-than-life, bad-boy dog? Just ask the Grogans.

John and Jenny were just beginning their life together. They were young and in love, with not a care in the world. Then they brought home Marley, a wiggly yellow furball of a puppy. Life would never be the same.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

What would you add to this list, do you know any amazing books a dog lover would appreciate?

Tell us about the special pet/s in your life?
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Reading in The Woods

a walk in the woods with coffeeIt’s camping season! Time for stories around the fire, nature walks, campfire concoctions, and for me; Extra Reading Time! I’m always up super early when I camp; and there is nothing better than starting a small fire, brewing a hearty cup of coffee, and relaxing to the sound of the breeze and the birds, with a good book of course.

Here are my suggestions for Reading in the Woods:

Gossip From the Forest
by Sara Maitland
Fairy tales are one of our earliest cultural forms, and forests one of our most ancient landscapes. Both evoke similar sensations: At times they are beautiful and magical, at others spooky and sometimes horrifying. Maitland argues that the terrain of these fairy tales are intimately connected to the mysterious secrets and silences, gifts and perils. With each chapter focusing on a different story and forest visit, she offers a complex history of forests and how they shape the themes of fairy tales we know best.
Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

The Yearling
by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
When young Jody Baxter adopts and orphaned fawn he calls Flag, he makes it a part of his family and his best friend. But life in the Florida backwoods is harsh, and so, as his family fights off wolves, bears, and even alligators, and faces failure in their tenuous subsistence farming. There has been a film and even a musical based on this moving story, a fine work of great American literature which won Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings a Pulitzer Prize
Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

“There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more.”  ~Lord Byron

Enchantment
Orson Scott Card
The moment Ivan stumbled upon a clearing in the dense Carpathian forest, his life was forever changed. Atop a pedestal encircled by fallen leaves, the beautiful princess Katerina lay still as death. But beneath the foliage a malevolent presence stirred and sent the ten-year-old Ivan scrambling for the safety of Cousin Marek’s farm. Orson Scott Card has been honored with numerous awards, immersing readers in dazzling worlds only he could create.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

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Book Bean: Faerie Dusted Clouds
Put a handful of marshmallows in a cup, steam milk and pour half over marshmallows stir well, add the rest of the milk, top with a dollop of whip, sprinkle with sugar crystals and dust with vanilla bean powder. (For the cold version use ice cream instead of marshmallows.)

A Walk in the Woods
by Bill Bryson

Back in America after twenty years in Britain, Bill Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. The AT offers an astonishing landscape of silent forests and sparkling lakes—and to a writer with the comic genius of Bill Bryson, it also provides endless opportunities to witness the majestic silliness of his fellow human beings.
Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

download (1)Book Bean: S’more Coffee Please!
Espresso, pulled over dark chocolate chips, add steamed milk of choice, stir, top with graham cracker crumbs, lots of marshmallows, broil for a few seconds (if you can) and drizzle with chocolate


Galapagos: A Novel

by Kurt Vonnegut
A simple vacation cruise suddenly becomes an evolutionary journey. Thanks to an apocalypse, a small group of survivors stranded on the Galápagos Islands are about to become the progenitors of a brave, new, and totally different human race. In this inimitable novel, America’ s master satirist looks at our world and shows us all that is sadly, madly awry–and all that is worth saving.
This one may not be for everyone, it might have you jumping at every creak and pop in the woods!
Rated 4.2 on amazon.com

“You will find something more in woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.” ~Saint Bernard

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
by Howard Pyle

Arguably the most popular rendering of the legend of Robin Hood, the yeoman-thief of Sherwood Forest. Each chapter offers new and exciting stories, including the famous scenes of Little John and his staff besting Robin on the bridge, Robin winning the golden arrow at the Sheriff of Nottingham’s archery contest, his complicity with courageous Will Scarlet and musical Alan-a-Dale, the continual outsmarting of the Sheriff, and many others.
A great choice to bring along for the little ones, or the young at Heart!

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

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Book Bean: Leaves of Green Latte
Matcha Tea with Steamed Milk and Mint Leaves
Use Match powder to make a strong brew, add mint leaf and stevia and stir, steam milk of choice and pour over green tea, sprinkle with vanilla bean powder and garnish with mint leaves.

The Forest Unseen
11797368by David Haskell
A biologist reveals the secret world hidden in a single square meter of forest
In this wholly original book, biologist David Haskell uses a one- square-meter patch of old-growth Tennessee forest as a window onto the entire natural world. Visiting it almost daily for one year to trace nature’s path through the seasons, he brings the forest and its inhabitants to vivid life. Written with remarkable grace and empathy,  a perfect guide into the world that exists beneath our feet and beyond our backyards.
Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

Dare I mention this favorite of mine again?! Between the Quirky Radagast and the Enchanting Wood Elves, how could I resist!

Hobbit
J.R.R. Tolkien
Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. They have launched a plot to raid the treasure hoard guarded by Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. Reluctantly Bilbo joins their quest, unaware of what lies ahead on the journey to the Lonely Mountain.
Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

coffee-cup-2926638_960_720.jpgBook Bean: Muddy Mocha
Just a little bit of everything!
Espresso, cinnamon, chocolate, almond extract, steamed milk, sprinkled with nutmeg and clove, garnish with cinnamon sticks

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” ~Henry David Thoreau

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
by Cheryl Strayed
Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State, and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise.”
Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

In A Cottage In A Wood
by Cass Green
A strange encounter
Neve comes across a troubled woman called Isabelle on Waterloo Bridge late one night. Isabelle forces a parcel into Neve’s hands and jumps to her death in the icy Thames below.
An unexpected gift
Two weeks later, as Neve’s wreck of a life in London collapses, an unexpected lifeline falls into her lap – a charming cottage in Cornwall left to her by Isabelle, the woman on the bridge.
A twisted secret
Alone in the dark woods late one night, she finds a sinister-looking bungalow with bars across its windows. And her dream home quickly becomes her worst nightmare, a house hiding a twisted secret that will change her life forever…

2521_black_forest_coffee_2Book Bean: Black Forest Frappe
Brew you coffee strong, let sit, add ice to blender (or just poor ingredients over ice and enjoy), poor coffee over ice, add milk of choice, add grenadine and almond extract to taste, blend, place in cup of choice, top with whip, dark chocolate shavings and a maraschino cherry!

So if you are forest bound and unafraid of the woods, don’t forget a good book, I suggest something new and unexpected!

What are your favorite camp-out reads?

Fantasy Friday

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I am a big fan of Fantasy Fiction but I am also very particular and picky about which books and series I choose to read, and eventually which books I like.


Here are the top 2 Fantasy Fiction books on my TBR:

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Outlander
 
by Diana Gabaldon 

I have nearly started this series SO many times, and I keep kicking myself for still not having started it. I have wanted to read it for so long, and have extremely high hopes for it, I just hope that I will love it as much as I anticipate.


Outlander
 is a New York Times bestseller, and has earned the praise of critics and captured the hearts of millions of fans. The story introduces two great characters, Claire Beauchamp Randall and Jamie Fraser, in a spellbinding novel of passion and history that combines exhilarating adventure with a love story for the ages.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

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raceling 
by Kristin Cashore

This book was recommended to me by a fellow blogger, and once I checked it out, it quickly made it to my list of books to read.
Another best seller and award winner.

Graceling tells the story of the vulnerable yet strong Katsa, a smart, beautiful teenager who lives in a world where selected people are given a Grace, a special talent that can be anything from dancing to swimming. Katsa’s is killing. She is forced to use her extreme skills as his thug. Along the way, Katsa must learn to decipher the true nature of her Grace.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

Have you read either of these books,
what did you think?
No spoilers please 😉

 

Spring Fling!

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Today is the first day of Spring and it is in full swing! The sun is shining bright and I am ready to get back into gear.
Here is What I’ve Been Sipping on this Spring:

Proof of Heaven
by Dr. Eben Alexander

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com
This is a story that would be remarkable no matter who it happened to, but the unique and intriguing circumstances make it all the more enchanting. A highly trained and respected neurosurgeon contracts (mysteriously) an extremely rare brain disease, has an extensive and scientifically unexplained near death experience, and then miraculously makes a statistically impossible full recovery.
That it happened to Dr. Even Alexander makes it revolutionary. This is even truer of this new edition, in which he expands upon the lessons he learned from his experience, adding new insights and guidance for a world more in need of them than ever. Reading this book inspires a whole new way at looking at life and one’s self; that is both comforting and enthralling.

Playing with Fire
by Tess Gerritsen

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com
I bought this book completely on a whim, because while purchasing it for a friend I read the first page and instantly knew it was my cuppa tea. This musically inspired thriller was also a romantic historical fiction.
It had an air of antique ambiance that I was quickly and completely absorbed in. To my surprise it also happened to take place in pre-WW2 Italy, did she write this just for me!

This book is deeply personal to the author and her musical background, which added an intimacy to the reading experience that was wonderful. The story also inspired/compelled her to compose a peace of music “Incendio” that has been performed by international violinist Yi-Jia Susanne Hou.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven
by Mitch Albom

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com
Eddie is a wounded war veteran, an old man who has lived, in his mind, an uninspired life. His job is fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. On his 83rd birthday, a tragic accident kills him, as he tries to save a little girl from a falling cart. He awakes in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a destination. It’s a place where your life is explained to you by five people, some of whom you knew, others who may have been strangers.
One by one, from childhood to soldier to old age, Eddie’s five people revisit their connections to him on earth, illuminating the mysteries of his “meaningless” life, and revealing the haunting secret behind the eternal question: “Why was I here?”

Here is a new go to favorite of mine I tried on my trip

Book Bean: Green Tea Lemonade

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Add some old school charm to your afternoon tea! Make some iced green tea and add a splash of homemade or prepared lemonade for a lightly sweet twist. Serve with lemon slices and mint leaves. Find a place under a tree or on a porch swing to lose yourself in a book while sipping this crisp and refreshing drink, and enjoy the added benefit of a healthy boost of energy!

Papillon
by Henri Charrière

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com
A young man called “Papillon,” for the butterfly tattoo on his chest, was convicted in Paris in 1931 of a murder he did not commit. Sentenced to life imprisonment in the penal colony of French Guiana, he became obsessed with one goal: escape. After planning and executing a series of treacherous yet failed attempts over many years, he was eventually sent to the notorious Devil’s Island, a place from which no one has ever escaped .
His flight to freedom remains one of the most incredible feats of human cunning, will, and endurance ever undertaken.

The Count of Monte Cristo
by Alexander Dumas

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com
Dumas’ classic novel of wrongful imprisonment, adventure and revenge. Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantes is confined to the grim fortress of the Château d’If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and becomes determined not only to escape but to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration.

I love Dumas’ storytelling; he is romantic, witty, and poetic, and yet the way he can spin an intriguing adventure cannot be matched! This story (as is customary to his writing) has it all.

I’ve also been trying this new coffee out, and it is fantastic

BookBean: Seabrook Blend
by Grounds for Change

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A perfect match for my current nautical reading selections! Full-bodied, rich, and so deliciously smooth; with noticeable notes of hazelnut and caramel that are a pleasant delight. Each cup is interesting and full of flavor and culture, a perfect blend.

So what have you been reading/sipping? Do share!

The Luck of the Irish

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Every year on March 17, the Irish and the Irish-at-heart all over the world observe St.Patrick’s Day. It began as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland and has now become an international festival celebrating Irish culture with parades, dancing, special foods, and other culture rich delights.
Why not celebrate with literature as well.

Here is a mini literary tribute to this special day:

St. Patrick of Ireland: A Biography
by Philip Freeman
Ireland’s patron saint has long been shrouded in legend, but the true story of St. Patrick is far more inspiring than the myths. In St. Patrick of Ireland, Philip Freeman brings the historic Patrick and his world vividly to life. Born late in the fourth century to an aristocratic British family, Patrick’s life was changed forever when he was abducted and taken to Ireland just before his sixteenth birthday. He spent six grueling years there as a slave.

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Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Shamrock Steamer
Add 1/2 pack of pistachio pudding powder and 2 cups hot/steamed milk to blender and blend, add espresso if desired (can also be served cold.) Garnish with crushed pistachio and mint.

Oscar Wilde

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Born October 16th 1864 he was an Irish playwright, novelist, essayist, and poet. He became one of London’s most popular playwrights in the early 1890’s. He is remembered for his epigrams, his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, his plays. He is also as well known for his imprisonment for homosexuality after engaging in an affair with the marquess of Quensberry’s son. He spent his last three years in impoverished exile and died of Cerebral Meningitis on 30 November 1900.

“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.”

The Picture of Dorian Gray
by Oscar Wilde

Dorian Gray is a young man whose physical appearance is handsome and innocent. An aspiring artist paints a beautiful portrait of Dorian. Dorian wishes that he always look like his youthful appearance in the portrait. The wish comes true. Dorian remains the same; youthful and charming, but the portrait begins to transform itself into the image of his soul. Dorian lives a hedonistic the leads him to commit atrocities.

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Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Wilde Grey Latte
Earl Grey tea steeped dense or pulled in espresso machine, vanilla extract/flavor, steamed milk, topped with a little froth and lavender garnish.

The Irish Americans: A History
by Jay P. Dolan
Four dominant themes in Irish-American history emerge from this new study by Dolan (The American Catholic Experience: A History from Colonial Times to the Present), professor emeritus of history at the University of Notre Dame. These four are politics, religion, labor and nationalism. Beginning in 1729, when a decline in the linen trade and a poor harvest sparked a rush to America, Dolan traces the exodus to the beckoning colonies.

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Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Irish Coffee
Hot coffee, Irish whiskey, and sugar, stirred, and topped with thick cream.st-patricks-day-sayings-blessings-quotes-phrases-irish-sayings-image-1