Holiday Books about Winter and Christmas are Perfect for Cold Weather Reading

A very sweet tale, “William’s Winter Nap” by Linda Ashman and Chuck Groenink, will warm the hearts of animal lovers everywhere. Told in a lovely rhyming cadence, the Williams-Winter-Nap-Cover-Draftreader meets William, who has finished his hot cocoa, climbed into bed, and readied himself for a long winter’s nap. But as soon as he gets settled, there is a tap on his window. A chipmunk is cold and seeking shelter, and William welcomes him into the snuggly bed. But a knock on the door brings a porcupine begging for “a smidge of space.” Soon, more animals (who do actually hibernate) come to the door, but the last animal is a surprise. Can a bear fit into the bed with the other five? This is a sweet tale of friendship and helping animals in need. Children will love seeing how they all manage to fit. In this day of children having their own bedroom and sleeping alone, it’s fun to imagine sleeping with a posse of friends. (Disney-Hyperion Books)

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‘Middle-Earth: From Script to Screen’ Is a Beautifully Illustrated and Narrated Book about the World of ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’

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If there is one book that lovers of “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” would love to own, it’s this book: “Middle-Earth: From Script to Screen, Building the World of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.” This weighty (literally, maybe five pounds) book is filled with photographs, information, architectural drawings, and quotes about the entire process in creating the Tolkien world.

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“La Belle Sauvage”: Lyra’s Return

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Philip Pullman’s latest beguiling novel,“The Book of Dust, Volume One, La Belle Sauvage,” marks Pullman’s return to the strange, eerie, beautiful world of Lyra Belacqua. Readers all over the world (OUR world) who loved the previous Lyra trilogy, His Dark Materials, will surely be profoundly moved and satisfied by this volume — because the novel is, indeed, profoundly moving and satisfying. Continue reading

‘The Trust’ by Ronald H. Balson Is a Thrilling, Action-Filled Suspense Novel

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In “The Trust,” Ronald H. Balson, takes his readers to Northern Ireland on a whirlwind tour of Ireland and its troubles — both current and past. Liam Taggert, the Chicago detective who, with his lawyer wife Catherine, are the main characters in all Balson’s books, must deal with the past when it comes back to haunt him in this touching, thoughtfully-written story.

When Liam’s uncle Fergus dies, he leaves his property in a secret trust with Liam as the trustee. Liam is reluctant to return to Northern Ireland for the funeral, but Catherine urges Liam to go and reconcile with the family he hasn’t seen in years. Liam, who has been estranged from his Irish relatives for almost two decades, is thrust into the middle of a maelstrom. After Fergus is murdered, other Taggerts are targeted and some are killed. Liam must use his detective skills to try to find the murderer before everyone in the family is killed.

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Sebring, Florida Dogs Have Until Monday to Find Rescue or Die

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Some of the dogs written about in “31 Dogs Have Nothing to Be Thankful for; All will be Killed Before Thanksgiving” were rescued and others were given a reprieve until Monday the 27th. That’s the way it goes in small county shelters. If enough space opens up, the dogs who were going to die get additional time to find a home and leave the shelter alive. But that also means that there is a never-ending cycle of dogs who are urgently in need of rescue.

The dogs who are still in need of rescue are Brinds, Tony, Shyla, Arie, Derby, Bailey, Howze and Plumo. There are also a few new dogs.

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‘The Great Shelby Holmes Meets her Match’ by Elizabeth Eulberg Is the Second in the Clever Middle Grade Series

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Shelby Holmes was introduced to readers in “The Great Shelby Holmes,” the first book in the series by Elizabeth Eulberg. In the second book, “The Great Shelby Holmes Meets her Match,” narrator John Watson brings to life another mystery that he and Shelby solve, and in the process gives the reader another view at the complicated genius of Shelby Holmes.

She’s a pint-sized fourth grader who has skipped two grades. Watson is a newcomer to New York City, and in the first book, Shelby shows him around the neighborhood. In this book, Holmes and Watson start school.

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31 Dogs Have Nothing to Be Thankful for; All will be Killed Before Thanksgiving

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Update: Belle, Moon, Rosa, Parker, Silver, Pork Chop, Murry and Maggie (she wasn’t posted yet) have all been RESCUED by Bishop Animal Shelter,SPCA of Manatee County, Please honor pledges at www.bishopspca.org The volunteers at Sebring, FL say, “Thank you!!!!”

Tony was caught on camera with his tail mid-wag. He’s looking sweetly at the photographer with a gleam in his eyes, his body raised up as if hoping that the person taking the picture will stop and give Tony some affection. He wants it, desperately. And now Tony is one of many dogs who will be killed on Tuesday, November 21, unless he is pulled by rescue or adopted.

Tony isn’t petite or graced with curly locks. His nose doesn’t wrinkle up like a Boston Terrier’s. He doesn’t have a long plume of a tail like a Cavalier King Charles spaniel. In fact, Tony looks like many of the other dogs at this shelter. He’s a mix — that healthy blend of many breeds that gives the lucky ones longevity and few diseases and the unlucky ones death at the local county shelter.

While city and suburban shelters receive a mix of purebred dogs and mixes, rural county shelters like the Highlands County Animal Services get mostly mixed breeds, many of which look like pit bull mixes and hunting dogs. The shelter’s director tries to learn about the dogs and their personalities, but as with  most shelters, and especially small ones with few resources, dogs’ behaviors in shelters are often quite different from their behaviors in a home. That’s why responsible shelters advise adopters to take all animal introductions slowly and give new animals time to decompress and relax. (Read a great article about this here.)

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Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center in Tampa, FL in the News for Putting Animals in Danger and Refusing to Work with Rescue Groups

 

Want to make a quick buck in Hillsborough County, Florida? If you live in Tampa or its environs, just visit the county shelter on a weekend when they are adopting out dogs for free and get a couple. There’s no adoption fee, no application, and best of all — you can sell a dog for $50 the very next day! Just say it’s a good “hog hunter.”

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‘Addison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan’ by Jonathan W. Stokes is a Humorous and Thrilling Middle Grade Adventure

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“Addison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan” is a superb sequel to “Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas” by Jonathan W. Stokes. The series is aimed at middle grade readers who love action and adventure — especially when the main characters are quirky and clever.

Stokes also includes plenty of diversity in his cast of characters. Addison and his sister Molly are joined on their adventure by friends Eddie Chang and Raj Bhandari. The story begins when Addison invites his friends to accompany him, his sister, and their aunt and uncle to China to explore a Song dynasty fortress in the Gobi desert.

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‘Even if It Kills Her’ by Kate White Is Part of the ‘Bailey Weggins’ Mystery Series

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Bailey Weggins, the main character in “Even If It Kills Her” by Kate White, is a likable character. She’s trying to make a go of a career as a writer, and in the process ends up investigating murders and putting herself in danger, much to the chagrin of her boyfriend.

Although this is the seventh book in the series about Bailey Weggins, that fact doesn’t make the book difficult to read as a stand-alone or make the reader feel like there is a huge backstory  missing. There are a few references to past crimes solved and past dangerous situations, but that doesn’t take away from the mystery or the enjoyment of this story.

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