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pats and eds

Great news! Bill Boggs, author of The Adventures of Spike the Wonder Dog, and his assistant Barry loved my book review. They said it was amazing! I’m thrilled and have to give a shout out to Jeff Abraham from Jonas PR in Los Angeles for hooking me up with this fun read. Jeff is a terrific publicist and a total mensch.

Book Review: The Adventures of Spike the Wonder Dog as told to Bill Boggs

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Man’s best friend has often permeated the world of pop culture, literature, and entertainment. We have Lassie, Old Yeller, Benji, and Spuds Mackenzie. But I can’t think of a dog quite as unusual as Spike the Wonder Dog. And now Spike’s crazy life is brought to us in the recently unleashed book The Adventures of Spike the Wonder Dog as told to Bill Boggs.

Bill Boggs, the teller of dog tails-er, I mean dog tales-is quite the character himself. Besides being a writer, Boggs is also an Emmy winning talk show host and television producer. Boggs is responsible for the revolutionary television program The Morton Downey, Jr. Show. If memory serves The Morton Downey Jr. Show was a cross between Sean Hannity and Jerry Springer. I’m sure I disagreed with Downey on many issues, but he was entertaining in a twisted way. And Boggs is also entertaining in a twisted way and it definitely shows in The Adventures of Spike the Wonder Dog.

Spike is an English Bull Terrier. Unlike other dogs, Spike isn’t content to play with the other canines at the dog park or catch a Frisbee with his mouth. Nope, Spike is drawn to the glitz and glamour of show biz much of it due to his owner, Bud. Bud is a tv show host, but it’s Spike who is the true star of the family.

Among Spike’s crazy adventures include roaming around a tv soundstage like he owns it, looking for a baby mama to fulfill his need to breed, and kicking some ass in a dog fight. He also gets around, starting in a place called High Point in North Carolina and making his way to Tinsel Town, Sin City, and the Big Apple. He meets local characters like a rabbi who goes by the name Zebe the Heeb, and a woman named Donna Hanover who is not the ex-wife of Rudy Giuliani. But he really hits his stride when he comes across big name stars like Cher, Bill Maher, Regis Philbin, Joy Behar, and Jimmy Fallon.

Every chapter in The Adventures of Spike the Wonder Dog is rife with gossipy name-dropping and bitchy with biting humor. Spike is an equal opportunity offender, so if you’re the type of person who clutches your pearls over ribald behavior and speech, this book might make you paws-I mean pause-at some moments. If Spike was human I could envision him being a stand up comedian in the vein of the late George Carlin.

Spike really did put a smile on my face in a really tough year. There were times I actually giggled out loud like when Spike claimed he had a hangover that’s a ten on the Keith Richards International Hangover Scale.

Boggs an incredibly talented and funny writer, a complete hoot. I have a feeling The Adventures of Spike the Wonder Dog is somewhat based on real life, which gives this book a bit more relatability. So many of us have pets with very human like personalities.

Needless to say, I’m a fan of this book and a fan of Spike. So unless you are barking mad, go fetch a copy of The Adventures of Spike the Wonder Dog. And an added bonus is proceeds of the sale of this book go to animal rescue charities.

Book Review: Home Again by Mariah Stewart

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Summer is the perfect season for a light beach read, especially in the awful year of 2020. Needing a break from all the doom and gloom I borrowed Home Again by Mariah Stewart from my mother.

Dallas MacGregot seems to have it all. She’s an award-winning movie star married to a successful film producer named Emilio Baird and the mother of a delightful little boy named Cody.

But soon Dallas’s world comes apart when her husband is caught with two women in a scandalous sex tape. Dallas decides to divorce her scummy husband and escapes the tabloid scrutiny by returning to St. Dennis, Maryland where she spent her youth in the comfort of her family and close community.

Dallas is not alone in this time of upheaval. While in St. Dennis Dallas reunites with her fun-loving great aunt Beryl “Berry” Eberle. Berry was once a movie star herself during Hollywood’s golden age.

And there is also another resident of St. Dennis that has Dallas’s heart, local veterinarian Grant Wyler. Grant was Dallas’s first love. Is the spark still there after so many years apart? Maybe so.

Dallas finds solace and support in St. Dennis as she goes through her divorce and faces tabloid trash. She connects with other St. Dennis residents, even her rival for Grant’s affection. She fuels her creativity by working on an adapted screenplay of a popular book and getting the chance to make into a film.

And just as Dallas thrives in St. Dennis so does her son Cody. However, Dallas’s dastardly ex, Emilio arrives in St. Dennis. Is he going to cause havoc or try to make amends with Dallas and Cody? And what about Grant? Is he going to be a brief fling or a lasting love? Heck, even Aunt Berry might face a few changes in her life both professionally and in the department of romance.

Home Again kept my interest from the very first page. Though I felt that Dallas was written too good to be true and Emilio was too much of a cad,  I thoroughly enjoyed the story. Stewart writes in a very vivid and descriptive way that fills all five senses. I especially liked how the ice cream sold at the local shop Scoop was described. My mouth watered over the unique flavors.

And another interesting element of Home Again are the diary entries of Grace the editor of the local paper St. Dennis Gazette. These diary entries focus on Dallas and Berry’s lives. Hey, Grace is a journalist. She’s always interested in getting the “scoop” on St Dennis’s most famous residents.

And though Home Again was a bit predictable once it came to its closure, I found it a satisfying read as summer winds down.

Incandescent Visions by Lee Hudspeth

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To call Lee Hudspeth a renaissance man is an understatement. He is an accomplished writer, musician, publisher, tech guru, and so much more. Now Hudspeth can add poet to his list of accomplishments with his first book of poetry Incandescent Visions.

I have to admit I used to be hesitant about poetry. Perhaps because it’s not a writing genre I’m used to. I usually read novels, short stories, and works of non-fiction. But poetry is something I’m more drawn to these days, which is why I’m happy to review Hudspeth’s work.

Hudspeth is a man very curious about creativity and how it inspires himself and others. And he is someone who finds creativity in all that surrounds him, which is reflected in Incandescent Visions.

Incandescent Visions is divided into several distinct chapters reflecting upon the human condition seen from Hudspeth’s individualistic mindset.

In the first chapter called “Dear Reader, Hello,” Hudspeth introduces himself and welcomes us to his world of travel.

In chapter two, “Reflections,” Hudspeth muses about the different experiences we go through as we traverse from childhood to being an adult (and all the thorny ages in between).

In the third chapter called “It’s Getting Dark in Here,” Hudspeth’s poetry reflects on our agonizing days of fear and uncertainty. Though very personal, these poems pierce the heart with their timeliness.

Chapter four is about “Motion.” The poems focus on how we move in the world going in different directions and the landscapes we observe.

In the fifth chapter Hudspeth encourages us to have a “Celebration.” We must look for the good things in life that elevate our spirits.

Incandescent Visions ends in an afterward in which Hudspeth provides more details on what inspired him to write these poems.

I found Hudspeth’s poetry to be nostalgic and heartfelt. They show depth without being pretentious. His writing voice is very visual whether he writes an ode to his late mother or says farewell to Italy. I enjoyed both his free verse and haikus. But it was the last stanza in the poem “Where Before There Were Incandescent Visions” that truly lifted my spirits.

“Tear it all down/Undo the damage done/Restart the core/Rekindle the light and heat/That is you”

The perfect words in an imperfect time.

 

GenderQueer: A Story From a Different Closet by Allan D. Hunter

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In gender activist Allan D. Hunter’s debut novel GenderQueer we meet protagonist Derek Turner. Derek is one of the boys who is also one of the girls. And GenderQueer tells the journey Derek travels from an awkward and confused teenager to hard won maturity as a self-accepting adult. And believe me, Derek’s journey isn’t always a fun ride.

GenderQueer is divided into four distinctive parts. Part one focuses on Derek’s younger years, navigating the difficult landscape of junior high and high school while growing up in 1970s era New Mexico. Derek deals with the usual teen angst. He’s bullied for being different and struggles with dating. But he also finds an escape through music.

Part two is about Derek’s facing adulthood and the challenges of college, work, drinking, relationships and his not easy to define sexuality. His first foray in college doesn’t go well. He drops out and enrolls in the local Vo-Tech. All the while he’s wondering if he’s gay or straight. He doesn’t feel right in his skin.

In part three Derek is starting over, going back to college. He decides to major in music, his true passion, and focuses on original music composition. Once again he questions his sexuality and gets into therapy and self-help book. It is then Derek realizes he may have been born in the wrong body. Could he possibly be a woman in a man’s body?

And in part four, after years of struggle and strife, our protagonist reaches hard-won maturity. Derek accepts being genderqueer and stakes a claim in society. Is Derek a man, a woman? You’ll have to find out.

Though I found Derek to be an interesting character with an important story to tell, I found Hunter’s writing to be a bit unpolished at times. There are several spelling errors and quite a few run on sentences. However, this could be due to a lack of writing experience and GenderQueer could be made better with a good copy editor to give it more finesse.

Still, I’m impressed that Hunter believed this story should be written. GenderQueer is a book that will resonate within the LGBTQ community and the people who support them.

Writers Block

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Is it really August first? July just flew by and at the same time dragged on. As for me, I’m still on the path to heal myself physically, mentally, and emotionally. And though I’ve made some progress I still face difficulties in these trying times.

Yet, I do have positive things that enrich my life like books. In fact I will be posting a couple of book reviews shortly. Reading is keeping me sane. Well as sane as I possibly can be in the year 2020.