Review: Ice Dogs by Terry Lynn Johnson

May Contain Spoilers


Oh, dear, where to start?  I loved this book!  I received a surprise copy in the mail, and I was chomping at the bit to read it.  I had posted previously about Ice Dogs, because I think the cover is so striking, but I was worried that something bad was going to happen to one of the animals.  What if one of them died?? That would have ruined the reading experience for me.  I am STILL traumatized by Where the Red Fern Grows, and I read it when I was, what, 13.  While I can’t remember the death of every human character in A Game of Thrones, I still get upset over the death of Lady.  Ugh!  Reading stories with animals can be so trying for me!

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Waiting on Wednesday–Ice Dogs by Terry Lynn Johnson

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

I’m kind of scared to read Ice Dogs by Terry Lynn Johnson because I will be worried that something bad happens to the dogs, but I am fascinated by the premise.  Long wait on this one!

Hits stores February 2014

Victoria Secord, a 14-year-old Alaskan dogsled racer loses her way on a routine outing with her dogs. With food gone and temperatures dropping, her survival and that of her dogs and the mysterious boy she meets in the woods, is entirely up to her. Author Terry Lynn Johnson is a musher herself and her crackling writing puts readers at the reins as Victoria and Chris experience setbacks, mistakes, and small triumphs in their wilderness adventure.

What are you waiting on?

Review: Yalu and the Puppy Room by Brian T Yates


Title: Yalu and the Puppy Room

Author:  Brian T Yates

Available in print and digital

Only $2.99 for the Kindle!

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Yalu is a six week old puppy selected for a family who wants a Golden Retriever. Not only is she’s cute, fury, and brown, but has all the confidence she needs to be successful. The problem is that the family doesn’t select her, the only candidate sent in for the interview. Now she’s the dog nobody wants. Based on a true story, Yalu discovers how to stand out from the other dogs in her kennel and finds a forever home where she will become a family’s special princess.


Awww, this is a very cute chapter book that animals lovers are sure to enjoy.  Yalu is a puppy, and all she wants is a forever home, where she will be treated like the princess she is.  When all of her puppy tricks to captivate and enchant prospective owners fail to yield results, she is dejected.  Persistence pays off, though, and soon Yalu has a family of her own!

Yalu and the Puppy Room is packed with colorful, endearing illustrations that supplement the text.  As Yalu is rejected time and again, readers will begin to empathize with the little puppy.  Why isn’t she ever good enough to be chosen over all of the other puppies?  She is so cute!  She has the pathetic, love me puppy-dog eyes down pat.  Yet time and again, other puppies are picked over Yalu.  There is a wonderful sense of suspense that builds to the end, because you start stressing with Yalu.  I’d have picked her!

This  book is based on the author’s own experiences, which made the read even better for me.  The story is lovingly related, as a young couple comes to Yalu’s kennel and don’t find the new family member they are looking for, until, finally, Yalu is brought to the puppy room to strut her stuff.  If you have a young reader on your Christmas shopping list, I think that this book would made a great present.

Grade:  B+  (extra points for cuteness)

Review copy provided by publisher

Waiting on Wednesday–White Fur Flying by Patricia MacLachlan

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Words can not express how wonderful White Fur Flying by Patricia MacLachlan looks.  There is so much power in the love of a dog.  I have no doubt that with a little canine help, Zoe will be able to set Phillip back to rights.

In stores March 2013


A young boy tries to find his voice with the help of some four-legged friends in this novel from the Newbery-winning author of Sarah, Plain and Tall.

Zoe’s family rescues dogs in need. There is always the sweet smell of dog and a warm body looking to cuddle or play. There is always a new dog to be saved and loved. Fur flies everywhere. It covers everything. Zoe’s house is never silent.

But the house across the street is always silent these days. A new family has moved in and Phillip, the boy, has stopped speaking. He doesn’t even want to try.

Zoe knows that saving dogs and saving boys are different jobs, but she learns that some parts are the same. Both take attention and care, understanding and time. And maybe just a bit of white fur flying.

From Newbery Medalist Patricia MacLachlan, White Fur Flying is an endearing tale of companionship and hope.

What are you waiting on?

Interview with Nikki Logan, Author of Slow Dance with the Sheriff


Nikki Logan is a veteran Harlequin Romance author.  Her latest release, Slow Dance with the Sheriff, is the second book in The Larkville Legacy series.  Eight authors collaborated on this continuity, and I thought it would be fun to chat with as many as possible as I make my way through the series.  I was thrilled when Nikki dropped by to talk about her book.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Nikki Logan] Writer seeks reader who loves long walks on beach, toasty log cabins deep in forest & plenty of wildlife. GSOH an advantage.#AuthorPersonals

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Slow Dance with the Sheriff?

[Nikki Logan] This story is part of an eight-book series (we call it a ‘continuity’ because each story continues the central thread, adding to it in some way) based in fictional Larkville just outside of Austin, Texas (though they’re not all set there). My book is second in the series and features a never-left-New York ex Ballerina, Ellie, who comes to Larkville to personally check out the truth behind a letter she received from a woman claiming to be her half-sister. Ellie wants to suss out the truth before throwing her whole family into disarray. But, thanks to some hurtful and angry words exchanged with her mother, she leaves New York in an uncharacteristically rash fashion and arrives in Larkville only to find all the Calhouns away from the ranch for a couple of weeks. She has no choice but to accept the reluctant assistance of the town sheriff who cops the brunt of her barely contained anxiety about the downward vortex that is her life. But of course he’s gorgeous and gracious about it and she finds herself falling fast…

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Slow Dance with the Sheriff is part of the Larkville Legacy series. Can you share how you and the other authors worked together to write these books?

[Nikki Logan] Getting eight authors from all corners of the globe together to figure out the finer details of such a long and complicated family relationship wasn’t easy. The eight of us primarily used an email loop to communicate and we started with the continuity ‘bible’ which is a number of documents sent to us by our editors which gave us our essential character outlines, descriptions, info about fictional Larkville and some suggestions on what made each character tick.  Each of us got that information at roughly the same time and then a few of us launched madly into fleshing it/our characters/the setting out via the loop. But, of course, each of us had a different place in the schedule and different deadlines. Although I was book # 2, my deadline was the first of everyone and so I had to write like a demon once we had locked down the basics and then try and stay across changes and developments as I wrote.  But I was well into my next book by the time the authors of the seventh and eighth books were starting to plan theirs.  It was staggered.

So that Google group and its archives came in really handy for going back through everything and getting it right.

The most fun (for me) was creating the world of Larkville.  I’m responsible for Nan’s Bunk’n’Grill, the Larkville Chamber of Commerce and Mayor Hollis being a woman 🙂 Then it was up to each of us to insert enough of the ‘world’ into our stories. But of course not everyone got to set their books in Larkville so other authors had to try and extrapolate the ‘world’ and feed enough of it into their stories to make it nest neatly within the series.

The biggest challenge was taking a few-line outline dashed off by the publisher and bending it to fit my voice, my style of story and my interest. I’m really happy with the way the whole story worked out, it’s true to the outline provided but also true to me and characters I would have loved to write anyway. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Eleanor/Ellie?

[Nikki Logan] 3 words: On the cusp.

So much about her life is about to change for the better and she has no idea. But she’s taken her first real risk and it’s going to pay off big time.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Jed would never have in his bedroom?

[Nikki Logan] His firearm (because although he’s security conscious, being a Sheriff, he moved to Larkville to have a different kind of pace in his life, and keeping his gun in his bedroom would dishonour that intent).

His muddy boots (because his Gran raised him right and because he has a loft bedroom so that mud would track all up the stairs)

A phone (Bedrooms are for sleeping or recreation and Jed would think that being contactable wouldn’t fit with either of those things)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Ellie had a theme song, what would it be?

[Nikki Logan] “I Will Survive”.  She’s been through a lot, but she’s finding herself in Larkville and every bad thing that has happened to her has only made her stronger.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Nikki Logan] My father was an original ‘MadMen’ advertising exec type and one of the top creative directors/copywriters in his field, so the bulk of my creative genes came from him. His father (my grandfather) told the most spectacularly intricate, engaging stories that he just made up out of his head (or seemed to) and so clearly my father got it from him and his Welsh genes.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Nikki Logan] Tea – refreshing the cup gives my eyes a break from the monitor and sipping a piping hot cup of tea helps me think

Silence – I write best to silence (including internet silence) and edit best to classical music.

My dogs – there’s something about their steady breathing and reassuring presence…

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Nikki Logan] Reading is such a rushed and rare thing for me now… and it’s been a while since I read someone new (because when I do read its usually the latest installment from someone who already knocked off my socks a few years ago)… But I was totally blown away by seeing WAR HORSE in New York last year.  I picked it randomly when I had a free evening and wanted to see a NY show, and knew virtually nothing about it. It picked me up and transported me, breathless, to another world and I completely bought into every part of that experience. It was so engaging, so immersive so emotional and so visceral. Exactly all the things I enjoy about a good read. Except it wasn’t a read!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Nikki Logan] I find this impossible to answer. I grew up in a house always filled with books, and with a mother always propped up at the kitchen bench with a cuppa and a good book. I don’t remember when I started to read I just know I always have. I used to read whatever the school library had (I loved romance even then and would devour ‘Sweet Dreams’ romantic YA novels and also ‘choose your own ending’ stories) and then as I got older of course Mills & Boon (of which my mother had hundreds) and all my mum’s sci-fi/fantasy books (of which she also had hundreds, tho I was selective in what I read).

But to try and answer this I looked to my bookshelf to see what I still have from when I was very young. Two books stand out – one a book of the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen (the dark versions) which I still go back to even now for story ideas and another called “Gnomes” (Nuygen & Poortvliet) which is an anthropological examination of Gnomes as a different species. This book was such a haven at difficult times and transported me to a wonderful and mysterious place.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Nikki Logan] I’m not very good at refilling the well, I have to say. I work seven-days-a-week between writing and my day job so there isn’t a lot of down time. But I try to spend it with my man and my dogs. We like to all pile into the cruiser and go somewhere that we can all romp free together. Well, they romp and I wander sedately and catch up.  Movies, the lazy- (or busy-) woman’s book. And of course reading but there’s just no time…

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Nikki Logan] Through my website/blog (, or on my fanpage on Facebook ( predominantly. I try to reply to anyone who contacts me with questions or comments.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can order Slow Dance with the Sheriff in print or digital from the widget below.


Here is a list of the entire Larkville Legacy series, in order by release month. I have enjoyed the first two books in the series, so I plan to try and read all of them.    I love continuity series, so Harlequin once again hit my happy button.

The Cowboy Comes  Home by Patricia Thayer – JULY

Slow Dance with the Sheriff by Nikki Logan – AUGUST

Taming the Brooding Cattleman by Marion Lennox – SEPTEMBER

The Rancher’s Unexpected Family by Myrna Mackenzie – OCTOBER

His Larkville Cinderella by Melissa McClone – NOVEMBER

The Secret that Changed Everything by Lucy Gordon – DECEMBER

The Soldier’s Sweetheart by Soraya Lane – JANUARY

The Billionaire’s Baby SOS by Susan Meier – FEBRUARY

Here are all of the covers –

Lark Ville Legacy

Cheap eReads – Who Let the Dogs Out?

Here are some YA and MG Kindle books featuring dogs, all priced at below 5 bucks! Click on the title to order. 


Boys Are Dogs (Annabelle Unleashed)  by Leslie Margolis (.99)

Middle-school boys act like wild animals. 
That’s what Annabelle discovers on her first day in her brand-new life. Birchwood Middle School is totally different from her old all-girls elementary. In fact, lots of things in Annabelle’s life are totally different now that she’s back from summer camp. There’s mom’s new boyfriend, a new house, new friends—even a new puppy that likes to chew on Annabelle’s clothes. Well, at least the puppy comes with a leash and a training manual! If only she could say the same for the boys . . .
Featuring Annabelle’s hilarious take on friendship, boys, and her all-new life, this novel / survival guide perfectly captures the joy—and agony—of junior high school. And it might just teach you how to tame the wildest beast of all, the teenage boy.


What the Dog Said by Randi Reisfeld ($1.99)

Ever since her police officer father was killed a few months ago, Grace Abernathy hasn’t wanted to do much of anything. She’s pulled away from her friends, her grades are plummeting . . . it’s a problem. The last thing Grace wants is to be dragged into her older sister Regan’s plan to train a shelter dog as a service dog. But Grace has no idea how involved she’ll get-especially when a mangy mutt named Rex starts talking to her. Has Grace gone off the deep end? Or might this dog be something really special-an angel? A spirit? Either way, he is exactly the therapy that Grace needs.

Me & Jack  by Danette Haworth ($1.99)

Joshua Reed is used to moving around since his dad became an Army recruiter and the Vietnam War broke out. But their newest home, in the mountains of Pennsylvania, feels special somehow. Josh has started to make a new friend, his dad has finally allowed him to get a dog, and Jack-with his strange glowing ears and the way he seems to understand Josh’s feelings-is like no other dog Josh has ever seen. But in Vietnam-era America, conflict is never far away-even on the homefront. When a local boy is killed overseas, the town turns on the new army recruiter. And when a few late-night disturbances all point to Jack, it will be up to Josh to fight for his dog, his family, and his new home.

Dogs of the Drowned City #1: The Storm   by Dayna Lorentz  ($4.61)

Warriors and Guardians of Ga’Hoole fans have a new animal adventure to sink their teeth into!A terrible storm — and the beginning of a thrilling new animal adventure trilogy!When a hurricane forces his family to evacuate without him, Shep the German sheperd is confused. Where is his boy? Will he ever return? And what will Shep do in the meantime, now that the extra bowls of food — not to mention all those tasty things he found in the big cold box — are gone? Then another dog shows up at Shep’s window and convinces him to escape. There’s food outside, and a whole empty city to explore. Shep just wants to go home … but the adventure of a lifetime is just beginning.

The Puppy Place #1: Goldie by Ellen Miles ($3.82)

Welcome to the Puppy Place! This new Little Apple series stars a lovable new puppy in every book! And it’s Charles and Lizzie Peterson’s job to find every puppy the perfect home.
Charles and Lizzie Peterson love puppies. They want a puppy of their own more than just about anything. They know dogs are a lot of work. But their mom still doesn’t think their family is ready for a puppy.

Then, Goldie arrives. She is a sweet golden retriever that needs a home. Goldie is very young. She doesn’t know how to be a good puppy yet. Will Charles and Lizzie be able to help her?