‘When Dimple Met Rishi’ by Sandhya Menon Is an Adorable Indian Love Story


For anyone looking for a cute love story wrapped in lots of diversity, “When Dimple Met Rishi” by Sandhya Menon will certainly fit the bill. It is told in alternating third person points of view sharing Dimple and Rishi’s stories.

The different viewpoints are made very clear by labeling the narratives, and by telling the story in third person rather than in first person, the reader gets to understand how the two characters are feeling and what they are thinking, without having to think about the tone of the narration being different for the different people.

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‘Royal Bastards’ by Andrew Shvarts


“Royal Bastards” by Andrew Shvarts is the first book in a series about a kingdom made up of conquered kingdoms and the rebellion that irrevocably changes the lives of the main characters, the royal bastards.

Tilla is the main character, and she is the bastard daughter of Lord Kent of the Western Province. As the reader learns, her ancestors were the rulers of the West before the ancestors of King Leopold Volaris of Lightspire got together with his mages (magicians) and conquered the neighboring kingdoms. So now, those who once ruled bow to the ruler of Lightspire. And Tilla has no idea that some are unhappy with that idea.

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‘A Dog Called Hope’ by Jason Morgan and Damien Lewis Is the Story of a Wounded Veteran and the Dog Who Made him Whole



The story of Jason Morgan isn’t terribly unusual. He was serving in the special forces when he was badly injured in Central America. He ended up paralyzed from the waist down because of his injuries. He was despondent. Like many who serve in the military, Morgan assumed that he would always be able to do things as simple as standing and walking. When he couldn’t do that anymore, it was devastating.

Morgan became one of the injured veterans who receive a service dog courtesy of Canine Companions for Independence (CCI). And that is what makes his story special — the fact that the dog he received saved his life by giving him a reason to live. The story also includes a very important side story — that of Jim Siegfried, the person who raised Morgan’s service dog for the first 18 months of the dog’s life.

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‘The Whole Way Home’ by Sarah Creech Is a Perfect Beach Read


Longing for a bit of country lovin’ in your life? “The Whole Way Home” has country and loving to spare because the main character is a country singing star on her way to the top. Like many of the most famous and successful country singers, Jo Lover’s life has not been easy.

Jo Lover grew up in a one-bedroom cabin in a small town in Virginia. She and JD Gunn played music together since they were in fifth grade. They were best friends and then lovers. But JD left their band when he went to L.A. to make a movie, and since then, Jo has been determined to make a life — and a successful career — without him.

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‘An Elephant & Piggie Biggie!’ by Mo Willems

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What is better than one book by Mo Willems (beloved children’s author)? A compilation of FIVE of Mo Willems books.

No one will have to worry about misplacing one of these treasured stories because this big book will not just disappear into a pile. It definitely stands out.

Included are such classics as: “Today I Will Fly,” “Watch Me Throw the Ball,” “Can I Play, Too?” “Let’s Go for a Drive” and that classic “I Really Like Slop!” Each story is funny but also teaches something about life.

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Three Adorable Board Books for Toddlers from Silver Dolphin Books


Even babies a few month old often love to handle board books. They run their chubby hands along the sturdy pages and turn the books over and over. Those book-ready babies will be enthralled by three board books just published by Silver Dolphin Books. The series is called “Bright Books,” and they are written by Megan Roth and illustrated by Emiri Hayashi.

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Fredrik Backman, Author of ‘A Man Called Ove’ Talks About His Books


Fredrik Backman is the wildly successful author of “Beartown,” “A Man Called Ove,” “Britt-Marie Was Here,” and other novels from Sweden, but one would barely know that from his perfect grasp of the English language.


The “LL” book club

He met with a group of fans at the Old Orchard Barnes & Noble in Skokie, Illinois. Some fans braved terrible storms to travel hours to hear him speak and get their books signed. Backman did not disappoint.


His serious demeanor is belied by his obvious charm and self-deprecation. “I am weird,” he said when explaining that he writes about difficult people and tries to defend them, because he is one himself. He explained how the character of Ove was created. ‘Whenever I meet someone obnoxious, I think, “There must be someone who loves you.”‘ He shared that many of Ove’s characteristics come from him, and he charmingly admitted that,

“I call the internet provider a lot and I’ll end up shouting — you do this every day of your life and I expect the best. Why don’t you want to be good at your job?”

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‘Beartown’ by Fredrik Backman


beartown-9781501160769_hrSometimes you read a book that takes a long time to finish. It’s not because the book isn’t riveting or because you aren’t enjoying it. “Beartown,” for example, is not a quick read — it’s much, much more than that.

“Beartown” by Fredrik Backman is the kind of book that contains such a plethora of beautifully put together sentences, poetry almost, that the reader is compelled to read them, stop, think, read them again, and do it all yet again.

The philosophy, the wisdom, the absolute beauty of Backman’s  language is not the only reason that this book is a slow read. There is also the story — and it’s a heck of a story. It’s about loyalty, courage, love, honor, and family. It’s also about failure, losing everything that’s important, selfishness, lack of accountability, and the worst behavior of the rich and successful.

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Don’t Miss Fabulous ‘Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows’ by Balli Kaur Jaswal


In “Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows,” Balli Kaur Jaswal manages to combine several interesting story lines into one fascinating read that is in turn tender, touching, humorous, exciting, and exotic. The protagonist is Nikki, whose parents immigrated to Great Britain in search of a better life. She considers herself quite a modern woman, and contrary to her family’s very conservative Sikh principles, moved out and quit law school trying to figure out what she wants in life.

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‘A Dog’s Way Home’ by W. Bruce Cameron Is a Sweet, Loving Story of a Dog Who Loved Unconditionally

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W. Bruce Cameron is best known for his blockbuster novel, “A Dog’s Purpose.” He has followed that with several other “doggy” novels, and now brings “A Dog’s Way Home” to the many legions of readers who adore his canine capers.

In this story, a puppy is rescued from an abandoned home from which her mother and siblings had previously been pulled. She was left behind, hidden with a mama cat she had befriended. The mama cat kept her alive until she was rescued with some of the feral cats who lived under the building.

Lucas, responsible for the pup’s rescue, immediately decides to keep her and names her Bella. She is a delightful dog and quick to learn the rules. Lucas and his mother are afraid to leave her alone in the apartment they share because she barks, so they sneak her into the VA where Lucas works. There she charms everyone and acts as a therapy dog with great success.

Unfortunately for Bella and Lucas, he lives in an apartment that doesn’t allow pets. Lucas also makes an enemy of the owner of the row of abandoned buildings when he feeds the stray cats and makes a fuss about the demolition. The owner is determined to stop Lucas so the construction can commence, and he bribes a local animal control officer (ACO) to declare Bella a pit bull — a breed of dog banned in the city of Denver. The ACO picks up Bella and has his buddies certify that she is a pit bull, in spite of her sweet and loving nature.

Readers quickly learn what it means to ban a breed in a city. If Bella is picked up by animal control again, a second time, they will kill her within three days. But Lucas lives with his mother, a disabled veteran, and they cannot afford to move immediately. When Bella is picked up again by animal control, Lucas must act quickly to save her life.

While Bella is being fostered hundreds of miles from Denver, she escapes so that she can find “her person,” Lucas. Along the way, she meets many people and animals, some friends, some foes, and throughout displays that wonderful canine ability to love unconditionally. Readers will root for Bella, and their hearts will break along with hers at some of the situations she must endure.

It’s wonderful that despite the story’s unethical animal control officer, Cameron makes it clear that most animal control officers really do care about the animals they handle. Unfortunately, there are a few villains along with the wonderful ones in real life as well as in this story.

Make the journey with Bella. Meet her family and her friends, but most of all celebrate life and love with this intrepid canine protagonist you will love. You will not be disappointed with this tale of doggy devotion.

Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by Forge Books, the publisher, for review purposes.


Over 200 Feral Cats and Kittens Helped by Two Dedicated Women in Beach Park, IL


Mindy Brown and Janet Ward are determined to finish what they started. There were over 300 feral cats and kittens running around a trailer park, many of them literally in Brown’s backyard.  After a decade of stray cats multiplying, Brown decided something had to be done.


Mindy and Janet

“There were cats dying in the street. Some got run over by cars. Kittens dying from disease,” Brown said. So she called Spay and Stay, an organization that supports trap-neuter-release (TNR) in Lake County. They put Brown in touch with Janet Ward, one of their volunteers.   Continue reading