Monday, December 19, 2016

Catherine Ryan Hyde, where have you been hiding? This story has such a lyrical, melancholy feel to it. The writing is so descriptive, every moment I felt I was there with Dr. Lucy as she took care of the gunshot wound of a thief, I was there as Pete's father berated him, and when Pete finds Justin after he gets beaten within an inch of his life, and for the tender, budding relationship between Calvin and Lucy. The writing had the feel of Kent Haruf, who has written so many great stories taking place in the west.

As a reader and dog lover, the cover seeks to be read. The eyes of the dog, that we come to know as Prince in the story, half dog, half wolf, you want to know the story behind those eyes.

The story starts in 1959, in a small Texas town. It's not often that adult fiction has a main character who is twelve years old, but Ms. Hyde has captured the voice of Pete, who is a respectful kid, but whose father doesn't appreciate him and is even cruel to Pete. Dr. Lucy is a loner and the only female doctor in town, but she prefers to take care of sick and injured animals, especially after the town's people don't take a female doctor seriously. Her farm is filled with horses, dogs, a pig, and even an owl. Pete meets Dr. Lucy when he finds the wolf/dog injured on the side of the road. Pete and Justin become unlikely friends in this unforgiving town, while Justin's father Calvin and Dr. Lucy, share a bond of loneliness, which like a flower in the dry Texas field blossoms after a summer shower.

The story takes place in a simpler time, but the relationships between the characters are more difficult in some ways. Male and female, black and white, human and animal, adult and child. While there is a feeling of melancholy, the story is a beautifully moving one and is in no way sad. You will find yourself rooting for Lucy, Pete, Calvin and Justin Bell. Say Goodbye for now is a powerful story that will tug at your heartstrings.

About the author:
Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of thirty published and forthcoming books. Her bestselling 1999 novel Pay It Forward, adapted into a major Warner Bros. motion picture starring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt, made the American Library Association’s Best Books for Young Adults list and was translated into more than two dozen languages for distribution in more than thirty countries. Her novels Becoming Chloe and Jumpstart the World were included on the ALA’s Rainbow List; Jumpstart the World was also a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards and won Rainbow Awards in two categories. More than fifty of her short stories have been published in many journals, including the Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, the Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and the Sun, and in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts and the bestselling anthology Dog Is My Co-Pilot. Her short fiction received honorable mention in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest, a second-place win for the Tobias Wolff Award, and nominations for Best American Short Stories, the O. Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have also been cited in Best American Short Stories. Ryan Hyde is also founder and former president of the Pay It Forward Foundation. As a professional public speaker, she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with AmeriCorps members at the White House, and shared a dais with Bill Clinton.

 Take a moment to check out her web-page.   
Catherine has such a diverse set of interests, travel, hiking, photography, her animals, I could spend all day exploring her site!

Thank you to the author and TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to experience the first of what I am sure will be many of Ms. Ryan Hyde's stories. One lucky follower of Baer Books blog will win a copy of the book.

Answer this question as a comment on our Facebook page, what is the name and breed of an animal that meant the most to you? Provide a photo in comments if you like, too.

I hope you all get to spend this beautiful holiday season with family, friends, and your favorite animals. Mr. Birdie says hello!




Monday, November 14, 2016

This was a great feel good story and would make a wonderful gift for friends and family. Giveaway of one copy for a lucky reader that enters via my Facebook Blog/Group, Baer Books.

Nina Popkin always knew she was adopted. She loved her adoptive parents, but she always felt somehow that she didn't belong, even though she knew they loved her more than anything. She was the child they could not have. That didn't stop her from wondering if people she passed on the street were related to her. Nina and her best friend growing up, Melanie, used to make up scenarios about people that Nina might actually be related to. Even now that Nina is an adult she still has those thoughts about who her birth mother was. 

Nina's life has gone off the rails. She's thirty-five, recently divorced, but still calls and texts her ex as if nothing's change. Dan is now remarried to Julie, whom he met six months after marrying Nina. He broke it to Nina one night by saying about Julie, "she had the magic sauce he'd been looking for. So, surely she could see that he had to leave, because even though he really, really, liked her, and maybe would always love her on some level, it wasn't the level that really counted with his shadow side and his mystical side and the side of him that wanted to turn vegan and loll about in hot tubs." Her adopted mom has just passed away from cancer, so Nina finds herself lost and confused, BUT she's still looking for answers. She WANTS to find her birth mother.

Lyndy McIntyre is focused, busy, and successful, yet suffering from horrible anxiety and a touch of OCD. Her hair salon & spa are totally successful, but somehow she just doesn't think she measures up. When Nina Popkin turns up in her life and she finds out they're sisters, that seems like the last thing she needs, but Nina keeps popping up and trying to force a relationship.

The only good thing to happen to Nina in the midst of the craziness that is her life? Carter Sanborn. He's an attractive, fun-loving guy who really likes Nina, but she can't seem to accept him. She makes a list of reasons not to fall in love with him. They include, 1)Too old, WAY TOO OLD, 2) Divorced, until very recently he was still living with his ex-wife 3) Does not support glutton-free diet (okay, she crossed that one off!) 4) Not looking for a relationship now 5) I am sad 6) My mother died 7) My ex-husband fell in love with his bank teller 8) Terrifying teenage kids.

The title says it all and you will have to read the book to see if Nina is successful in surviving her crazy life. I enjoyed the witty writing style of Maddie Dawson (this is my first book by her). Her quirky characters will certainly remind you of someone you know or you will feel like you'd like to be friends with them for sure. I found myself wanting Nina to be successful in trying to "make" her family, with Lyndy and their birth mother, who turns out to be another colorful character, Phoebe Mullen, who Nina tracks down with the reluctant help of Lyndy.

What happens, even without Nina realizing is family is not just blood & DNA, it's those people that are there for us, to dry our tears, to give us a hug when we feel alone, and provide love when we feel we are not worthy. 

Thank you TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this book.


About Maddie Dawson

Maddie Dawson grew up in the South, born into a family of outrageous storytellers. Her various careers as a substitute English teacher, department-store clerk, medical-records typist, waitress, cat sitter, wedding-invitation-company receptionist, nanny, day-care worker, electrocardiogram technician, and Taco Bell taco maker were made bearable by thinking up stories as she worked. Today she lives in Guilford, Connecticut, with her husband. She’s the bestselling author of four previous novels: The Opposite of MaybeThe Stuff That Never HappenedKissing Games of the World, and A Piece of Normal.

Connect with Maddie

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books a Million | Barnes & Noble