Tag Archives: Until Tuesday by Luis Carlos Montalvan

My favorite books of 2012

I read a lot of books this year, adult and children’s books, fiction and non-fiction, memorable books and others I’d rather forget (Fifty Shades of Grey, anyone?). It was hard to narrow it down to a few favorite and of course, my choices are very subjective and personal. These are books that grabbed my attention from the first few pages, made me laugh or cry or both, made me think, or made me dream by taking me to faraway places. These are all great books in one way or another.

My favorite adult fiction books of 2012

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver by Lois Lowry

1) The Giver quartet by Lois Lowry
This series includes The Giver, Gathering Blue, Messenger and Son. I’ll be reviewing the last three books later this week, and in the meantime, you can read my review of The Giver here. Wonderful, wonderful futuristic stories, full of shocking discoveries, adventure, courage, survival and hope. Lois Lowry is a brilliant storyteller and I love the worlds she created. These books are great for young adults (probably age 12 and up), as well as adults, and you can read them again and again and enjoy them just as much. I think that next Christmas, I’ll be asking Santa for these four books so they become part of my personal book collection.

The book thief by Markus Zusack

The book thief by Markus Zusack

2) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This is another young adult book that is perfect for adults too. This is the only book I’ve ever read on World War II that was told from a German citizen’s perspective. This book really touched me in many ways and will stay with me forever. Just like The Giver quartet, I think it deserves its own spot on my bookshelf. You can read my review of The Book Thief here.

The hunger games by Suzanne Collins

The hunger games by Suzanne Collins

3) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I also read Catching Fire and Mockinjay but The Hunger Games was my favorite. I found the novels very dark and gruesome, but well told. Suzanne Collins is not as hopeful about the human race as Lois Lowry but she might be more realistic. Who knows what’s in our future, right? Read my review of The Hunger Games. By the way, I do have The Hunger Games trilogy on my bookcase already.

A dog's purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

A dog’s purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

4) A Dog’s Purpose and A Dog’s Journey by W. Bruce Cameron
Alright, technically I finished reading A Dog’s Purpose last December, but since I read the next book in 2012, I’m including both on this list. I loved these books and I’m not even a dog person. I laughed, I cried, and I laughed and I cried some more. If you’re looking for a feel good story, these two books are perfect. Read my reviews of A Dog’s Purpose and A Dog’s Journey.

The invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

The invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

5) The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Yet another book that deserves a permanent spot on my bookshelf. I have never read such an imaginative book when it comes to the way the story is told. Zelznick tells Hugo’s story by alternating between words and pencil illustrations. Unlike picture books, these detailed illustrations tell a specific part of the story instead of using words, giving a full meaning to the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Selznick is a pure genius at illustrating and storytelling. Read my review of The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

My favorite adult non-fiction books of 2012

Quiet the power of introverts by Susan Cain

Quiet the power of introverts by Susan Cain

1) Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain
If you’re an introvert, you’ll want to read this book. If you’re an extravert, you’ll want to read it too so you give us introverts a break and realize we’re not a bunch of anti-social people. ;-) Read my review of Quiet: The Power of Introverts here.

Until Tuesday by Luis Carlos Montalvan

Until Tuesday by Luis Carlos Montalvan

2) Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him by Luis Carlos Montalvan
If you want to learn more about PTSD (post-trauma syndrome disorder) specifically in U.S. soldiers, this story is it. Told in the first person, it explains the various symptoms, the possible treatments (and how our soldiers are taken care of, for better or worse) and how Tuesday, the golden retriever who was about to fail his training as a service dog, helped Montalvan when he himself was on the verge of giving up. The 5 stars by almost 1000 reviewers on Amazon say it all: this is a must read (read my review of Until Tuesday). And yes, this is the REAL Tuesday on the book cover.

The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller

The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller

3) The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller
Miller has been a 6th-grade teacher for about 20 years and has discovered, implemented and refined ways to ignite the love of reading in her students. This book is not just a great tool for teachers but for parents too. Read my review of The Book Whisperer.

My favorite children’s books of 2012

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

1) The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child by Julia Donaldson
Well, don’t you know? There’s no such thing as a gruffalo. Or, is there? These brilliantly rhyming books are meant to become children’s book classics. Read my reviews of The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child.

Pete & Pickles by Berkeley Breathed

Pete & Pickles by Berkeley Breathed

2) Pete & Pickles by Berkeley Breathed
I loved, loved, loved this book (and damn it, it made my choke up!). This is a beautiful story of loneliness and friendship children and adults will love and cherish. Read my review of Pete & Pickles.

The Last Basselope by Berkeley Breathed

The Last Basselope by Berkeley Breathed

3) The Last Basselope: One Ferocious Story by Berkeley Breathed
Berkeley Breathed may be known for his comic strip Opus, but The Last Basselope is a wonderful story about searching for the unknown, finding it, discovering its priceless value and keeping it safe from the rest of the world. Read my review of The Last Basselope.

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

4) Stuck by Oliver Jeffers
This has to be one of the funniest children’s books we’ve read this year. When Oliver’s kite gets stuck in a tree, he throws everything up there, including the kitchen’s sink. My kids and I loved the silliness of this book and we laughed about it for weeks. Read my review of Stuck.

Mucky Moose by Jonathan Allen

Mucky Moose by Jonathan Allen

5) Mucky Moose by Jonathan Allen
“I’m going to eat you for my dinner” says the big wolf to the big moose. But that’s before he realizes that Mucky Moose really, really stinks. My four-year old couldn’t get enough of this story and months later, my kids still quote the book. Read my review of Mucky Moose.

Ricky Ricotta's mighty robot by Dav Pilkey

Ricky Ricotta’s mighty robot by Dav Pilkey

6) Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot series by Dav Pilkey
This series gave my eldest his first taste of independent reading of chapter books before he reached the end of kindergarten. He’s since graduated to much longer and intense books but I’ll never forget that this series of books gave him the motivation to read on his own (I wasn’t allowed to read him the books so I read them with his brother). Read my review of Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot here.

Zen ties by Jon Muth

Zen ties by Jon Muth

7) Zen Ties and Zen Shorts by Jon Muth
Muth’s watercolors are simply beautiful and his stories teach children about the principles of Zen Buddhism in a very simple way. Stillwater the giant panda is a wonderful teacher. Read my review of Zen Ties.

Back to school for rotten ralph by Jack Bantos

Back to school for rotten ralph by Jack Bantos

8) The Rotten Ralph books by Jack Bantos
Rotten Ralph is everything you don’t want your kids to be and so, kids love him! Rotten Ralph is a really rotten cat and you wonder if he’ll ever show kindness and consideration for others. Deep underneath that rotten attitude, Rotten Ralph may actually have a heart and a conscience. This is a very funny series that will make you laugh out loud. Read my reviews of several Rotten Ralph books here.

What books have you read this year that turned out to be your favorite? Anything I should put on my to-read list for 2013?

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WWW Wednesdays – June 6, 2012

WWW Wednesdays

My bookshelf

A Dog's Journey by W. Bruce Cameron

A Dog’s Journey by W. Bruce Cameron

– What I’m currently reading

A Dog’s Journey by W. Bruce Cameron, the sequel to his bestseller A Dog’s Purpose, one of the BEST books I read last year. I read the first three chapters last night and I couldn’t put it down, but I figured I did enough crying for one night. I can’t wait to see what happens to Buddy in his new brand life!
 
– What I recently finished reading

Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him by Luis Carlos Montalvan. I really enjoyed reading this book, even though some parts were tough (the horrors of war) and others made me angry (the lack of strategy during the war, the VA’s poor treatment of PTSD and our soldiers’ health and minds overall, the discrimination against service dogs and the disabled, etc). Montalvan is a true soldier, courageous in the field and on the street. Even though he’s not part of the Army anymore, he continues to fight for his fellow veterans, their rights and their well-being. And Tuesday… Well, he’s Tuesday and he’s perfect, unaware of how much he’s done to save a lost veteran and give him traction again.  Everyone should read this book to understand the struggles our soldiers go through when they come back from combat wounded and confused.
 
 – What I think I’ll read next
The Enchantress by Michael Scott, the fifth and last (GASP!) installment of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. I really want to know how it all ends, but I really don’t want it to end!
 
My kids’ bookshelf

What they’re currently reading

The duckling gets a cookie by Mo Willems

The duckling gets a cookie by Mo Willems

The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? by Mo Willems. Willems’ famous pigeon is very angry when the duckling gets a cookie just by asking politely. The ending is hilarious! The duckling kindly gives his cookie to Pigeon, but that’s because it has nuts and the duckling doesn’t like nuts!
Dinosaur Cove – Attack of the Tyrannosaurus Rex by Rex Stone. I’m not sure how I stumbled upon this book but my kids love it. What’s not to love about two boys who discover a secret entrance to a prehistoric world filled with dinosaurs at the back of a cave? This happens to be the first in the series so we’ll be reading more of them soon. The book is at the third-grade reading level but my kindergartner reads it with me out loud. An interesting topic is the key when it comes to reading!

What they recently finished reading
– We’re gadly revisiting the wonderful Mercy Watson books by the brilliant Kate DiCamillo. The illustrations are so perfect for the text, it makes reading time a delight! My favorite books so far have to be Mercy Watson Fights Crime and Mercy Watson – Something Wonky This Way Comes. Both feature Leroy Ninker, a small man who longs to be a cowboy but can’t help himself being a thief…
– I know I’ve mentioned these books before but we’re reading them again since  they’re so good and worth sharing. Regis Faller, a talented French comic strip author, entertains us with his Polo the dog books, where imagination and creativity flow, mostly wordless. My kids love to love at the books and narrate the story strip by strip. So far we’ve read The Adventures of Polo, Polo and The Dragon, Polo and Lily, and  Polo and the Runaway Book.

– What I think they’ll read next
We still have lots of unread library books and still more are coming in – not a dull moment. What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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WWW Wednesdays – May 30, 2012

WWW Wednesdays

My bookshelf

Until Tuesday by Luis Carlos Montalvan– What I’m currently reading
Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him by Luis Carlos Montalvan and  Bret Witter. I’m about a third into it and have learned how Tuesday was trained to be a service dog from Day 3 of his life. I’m now learning about Montalvan’s time in the Army and his service in Iraq. He sure doesn’t have many nice things to say about military generals and the politics behind this war in general. Quite an interesting, first-hand perspective. And yes, that’s the real Tuesday on the book’s front cover. Doesn’t he look like the coolest dog?
 
– What I recently finished reading

Mermaids in the Basement by Michael Lee West. After reading the hilarious and delightful Gone With a Handsomer Man, this book was a little disappointing. The main character is supposed to dig up some unknown information about her family’s past but by the end, nothing discovered was that earth-chattering. This is still an entertaining read, but not West’s best.
 
 – What I think I’ll read next
A Dog’s Journey by W. Bruce Cameron, the sequel to his bestseller A Dog’s Purpose. I loved the first book so much, I can’t wait to read this one!
 
My kids’ bookshelf

Wow! Ocean! by Robert NeubeckerWhat they’re currently reading
Wow! Ocean! by Robert Neubecker. The latest release in Neubecker’s Wow! series is EXCELLENT! This time Lizzy and her little sister go around the world’s oceans, where they meet lots of underwater sea creatures (all are labeled so you get to see different types of whales, turtles, seashells, etc). We love it and I think this is the best one in the series.
Secret Agent Splat! by Robert Scotton. Scotton’s newest Splat adventure features a search for disappearing wooden ducks. I love Rob Scotton’s sense of humor and my kids can’t get enough of this story.
Mr Putter & Tabby Spill the Beans by Cynthia Rylant. We’re re-reading the Mr Putter & Tabby books since they’re one of our favorite series. In this one, Mr. Putter and his cat Tabby attend a cooking class with Mrs. Teaberry and her dog Zeke  to learn 100 ways to cook beans. It doesn’t take long for the beans to spill! I love Rylant’s writing style and the hilarious illustrations always are a perfect match.

What they recently finished reading
That Pesky Rat by Lauren Child (famous for her Charlie & Lola books and TV series). A brown street rat longs to be someone’s pet and have his very own name, so he asks the pet shop owner to let him post a for-sale sign. Lucky for him, an old man with extremely poor eyesight is interested in buying this “cat” (it sure read like cat on the sign!).
Goldie and the Three Hares by Margie Palatini. As Goldilocks runs away from the three bears, she falls down a rabbit hole and hurts her foot. The family of hares tries to help her but Goldie happens to be quite a demanding, borderline obnoxious, guest they can’t wait to get rid of.
Spot It!  and Spot It Again! by Delphine Chedru. In both books created by a French illustrator, kids have to find the animals hidden in colorful patterns. Both my kids love these books, even though you’d think they’re too old for them. I think it’s because everything is very well hidden, small, and hard to find.

– What I think they’ll read next
We have so many books from the library to still read, I’m sure we’ve got lots of good reading ahead of us. What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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WWW Wednesdays – May 23, 2012

WWW Wednesdays

My bookshelf

Mermaids in the basement by Michael Lee West– What I’m currently reading
I’m still reading Mermaids in the Basement by Michael Lee West. I’ve been busy working on several projects at night and I’ve had little time to read. The book’s font size is also a little small for me, which doesn’t help with the reading speed.
 
– What I recently finished reading

Nothing new since last week. :-(
 
 – What I think I’ll read next
Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him by Luis Carlos Montalvan and  Bret Witter. With almost 600 five-star ratings on Amazon, I have a feeling this book is quite special. It tells the true story of a decorated U.S. soldier who came back from Iraq physically and emotionally injured, and how a golden retriever helped with his recovery. Tissues, please…
 
My kids’ bookshelf

Wild & Woolly by Mary Jessie ParkerWhat they’re currently reading
Wild & Woolly by Mary Jessie Parker. Wild, a bighorn sheep, and Wooly, a ranch sheep, decide to try each other’s lives for a day but find out they prefer their own after all. At the end of the story, I love asking my kids which sheep’s life they’d prefer to have and why. It gives me great insight on their thinking patterns and personal tastes.
–  Little Monkey Lost by Keith DuQuette. Little Monkey is bored and decides to find adventure in the jungle. There he meets nine different kinds of monkeys who teach him fun new things. The end of the book features many facts about the New World Monkeys pictured and my kids like sharing the names and facts of each monkey type.
The Birdwatchers by Simon James. “When I go birdwatching, things happen,” Grandad says. After hearing so many stories about birdwatching from her grandfather, Jess decides to join him one day. By the end of the day, she’s had the opportunity to seen plenty of birds, including a pair of dancing penguins! A very sweet story teaching respect about nature.

What they recently finished reading
Dinorella : A Prehistoric Fairy Tale by Pamela Duncan Edwards. What a wacky and funny story: imagine Cinderella but featuring dinosaurs. And I hope you don’t have a problem enunciating the letter D because this book is full of Ds! As in, “Dinorella is dying to go to the dance, but her dreadful stepsisters, Doris and Dora, declare she’s too dowdy and dull.” Fairy-Dactyl to the rescue!
I Dream of Trains by Angela Johnson. This is the poignant story of the son of a sharecropper who dreams of leaving Mississippi on a train with the legendary engineer Casey Jones and his black fireman Sim Webb. My kids are a little too young to grasp all the concepts in this book (slavery, cotton picker, the great migration, etc) but it was a great introduction. I also had no idea who Casey Jones was until then, but the last page of the book gives a lot of information about him and the themes in general, so this was a good lesson for all of us.

– What I think they’ll read next
I got so many books from the library this past week, you wouldn’t believe. I’m sure there’s some good stuff in there! What about you? Any books you or your kids are reading you’d like to share?

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