The Darkest Thread (The Flint K-9 Search and Rescue Mysteries Book 1) by Jen Blood – a #BookReview – #animalfiction

A buddy read with the CE—do we agree?

Book Blurb:

The Darkest Thread by Jen BloodFor fans of John Connolly, Nevada Barr, and dogs of all shape and size, the first novel in the new Flint K-9 Search and Rescue Mysteries, from the author of the bestselling Erin Solomon Mysteries!

When teenage sisters go missing in the mysterious “Bennington Triangle” of Vermont, an area renowned for its disappearances and strange occurrences over the past hundred years, FBI agent Jack Juarez brings K-9 handler Jamie Flint and her dog Phantom in to assist with the search. When Jack realizes the case shares haunting similarities with the murders of the missing girls’ aunts ten years before, it becomes clear that he and Jamie are dealing with much more than two girls who simply wandered off the beaten path.

My Review:

So enthused to find another good K-9 story, a search and rescue team in Jamie Flint, her GSD Phantom, her son Bear, and his rescue pit bull Casper. The hook at the beginning has them doing a training run in Maine and definitely got my attention and elevated expectations.

Then, she gets a call to travel to Vermont to search the Bennington Triangle for two missing teenage girls. Her son will accompany her along with his young Nigerian immigrant friend Ren and her dog as well as assorted FBI agents, local police and search and rescue. And, for me, at this point, the story goes wonky.

First, a strong paranormal element is introduced—that of her son—and to a lesser degree Jamie, disappointing for me as I thought it was to be a K-9 narrative, telling and teaching about the abilities of our canine partners and their wonderful work. Once they get to Vermont, the storyline brings in the Redfield family. Mercy! That whole family, their history, and the inter-relationships with the FBI launches some hefty disbelief.

There is backstory we’re missing and backstory we get that doesn’t jive with what is going on. Bear is shot and he and Ren taken hostage by Dean Redfield following discovery of the body of one of the girls. It just keeps getting further and further from the K-9 thing with Jamie bull-headedly pushing forward while the dogs are resting. Lots of weirded out characters, ghosts, graphic descriptions of torture, twists and turns.

While it is fairly fast paced, it ventures too far into the supernatural for me in a K-9 story. The lively conclusion pulls most threads together, but still leaves me feeling just a little disappointed. 3.0 Stars – V Williams

His Review:

The Darkest Thread by Jen BloodJen Blood creates engaging mysteries. This one touches on the paranormal and is situated in the mountains of Vermont. The narrative suggests that the mountain folk in Vermont share many traits with the mountain folk of West Virginia.

Jamie Flint has her own search and rescue service in Maine that includes her young son, Bear, and his female companion. The request for their services is on Glastenbury Mountain in Vermont. Two girls who went out for an early morning walk have gone missing. Because of the wild and rugged area on the mountain Jamie and her group have been called in.

The family the girls are related to are not strangers to some of their women going missing. This has been happening since the middle 1940’s. This is where the story gets a little difficult for me to believe.

Jamie and her son have been visited by spirits asking for their help. Because of the events going back generations, this is where the plot darkens. Can the spirits get closure from the services provided by Jamie and her son Bear? More importantly, why haven’t some of the disappearances been solved?

The story includes some interesting historical information about the topography and area around Glastenbury mountain. Seems the native Americans in the area had made some rather interesting cairns lined with limestone rocks. These cairns are not simply water wells, mounds, or monuments. Pre-European settlement makes this fact particularly strange. Many questions arise as to why these people would create the cairns.

The author includes many descriptions of tracking with dogs and the challenges faced by the handlers and the animals. As you read this book, you become very involved in the relationship of the handlers to the dogs. The symbiosis between the two is part of the endearing relationship of dogs to humans.

The FBI and some governmental law enforcement agencies are pointed out as not always the white hat hero types. One of their own is thrown into prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Circumstantial evidence and a questionable judge painted him into a prison cell! The inter-relationship and family ties to the law and the investigation team is also rather strange.

The ending is a bit surprising and again caused me to question the timeline of the entire story. It is well written and entertaining. 3.5 Stars – CE Williams

Rosepoint Rating: Three point Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Pet Dogs, Dog Care
Publisher: Adian Press 
Print Length: 353 pages
Publication Date: October 20, 2016
Title Link(s):  The Darkest Thread [Amazon]

Jen Blood - authorThe Author: Jen Blood is the USA Today-bestselling author of two critically acclaimed, action-packed mystery series: The Erin Solomon Mysteries and the Flint K-9 Search and Rescue Mysteries. Both series feature strong, independent women who dominate in their chosen fields (Erin Solomon as an investigative reporter intent on learning the truth about her own past; Jamie Flint as a single mom, small business owner, and K-9 search and rescue trainer and handler).

In addition to her career as an author, Jen is also a freelance writer and certified dog trainer. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing/Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine, is a regular blogger with Maine Crime Writers, and leads workshops throughout New England on writing, editing, and independent publishing.

Jen taps into a background in freelance journalism in the heart of Midcoast Maine to write mysteries rich with atmosphere and action, with great characters, a hint of romance, and plots that will keep you guessing until the last page is turned. Her series has been hailed by critics and readers alike for its sharp wit and well-drawn characters. For more information and to get your free copy of the Jen Blood Starter Library, visit Jen’s website at jenblood.com.

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams the CE and I

Big Kibble: The Hidden Dangers of the Pet Food Industry and How to Do Better by Our Dogs by Shawn Buckley and Dr Oscar Chavez – A #BookReview – #NonFictionNovember

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars5 stars

Big Kibble by Sawn Buckley

a CE review

Book Blurb:

A big, inside look at the shocking lack of regulation within the pet food industry, and how readers can dramatically improve the quality of their dogs’ lives through diet.

What’s really going into commercial dog food? The answer is horrifying.

Big Kibble is big business: $75 billion globally. A handful of multi-national corporations dominate the industry and together own as many as 80% of all brands. This comes as a surprise to most people, but what’s even more shocking is how lax the regulations and guidelines are around these products. The guidelines―or lack thereof―for pet food allow producers to include ever-cheaper ingredients, and create ever-larger earnings. For example, “legal” ingredients in kibble include poultry feces, saw dust, expired food, and diseased meat, among other horrors. Many vets still don’t know that kibble is not the best food for dogs because Big Kibble funds the nutrition research. So far, these corporations have been able to cut corners and still market and promote feed-grade food as if it were healthful and beneficial―until now.

Just as you are what you eat, so is your dog. Once you stop feeding your dog the junk that’s in kibble or cans, you have taken the first steps to improving your dog’s health, behavior and happiness.

You know the unsavory side of Big Tobacco and Big Pharma. Now Shawn Buckley, Dr. Oscar Chavez, and Wendy Paris explain all you need to know about unsavory Big Kibble―and offer a brighter path forward for you and your pet.

His Review:

All of a sudden she was jerking and stumbling on our walks! She would inexplicably walk in front of me. She is our 14 (almost 15) year old Bichon Frise named Frosty. Did she have a heart attack or get some poison out in the yard? My wife and I worried about her tremors which appeared to be getting worse and went on a crusade to find out what was going on.

Big Kibble by Shawn BuckleyI looked at the dog treats I was giving her after her potty break walks. One of the easiest and her favorites was a very popular brand we’d often shared with her. After I stopped them, she seemed to improve. We took her to the vet who said, “she is in great shape and very well-toned for a dog her age,” and he found no immediate neurological cause.  How would a popular dog treat cause such a dramatic event?

My wife is a book blogger and between us we review about 160 books a year. One of the most recent books is “Big Kibble.” The authors discuss the very thing that seemed to happen to Frosty. Could there have been some kind of poison or substance in the expensive brand of the dry kibble that caused Frosty to begin to have violent tremor episodes?

There are interesting animal feed discussions, feed regulation discussions, tragic dog stories and  happy dog stories. Fresh ingredients to safely allow and those “not for dogs.”

This book will open your eyes to the dilemma that is the problem of choosing healthy dog food. The book writers are interested in keeping your dog healthy and also in keeping their own business growing.

The companies supplying the majority of the pet feed (not food–there is a major difference in regulations) in the country are a monopoly. So successful companies with thriving brand identity are bought out by these large corporate behemoths who have a very sophisticated monitoring system to watchdog their market shares. According to the authors, such upstarts as Blue were bought up when they intruded into the cash flow profits of these conglomerates.

Learning the pitfalls of such disclosures as “Made in America” (not necessarily) and “whole natural ingredients” (doubtful) makes me angry. We shop for the best and try to give our dogs the healthiest (“for small active senior dogs”). We want our fur babies bright-eyed and happy. Companies putting profits before our animals are being exposed, their sources exposed, their ingredient list exposed.

CE WilliamsMy wife has been topping Frosty’s kibble with portions of meat mixtures separated from our meals for some time. We are extremely careful about her treats and monitor them. My takeaway from the book: prepare your own food for your four legged friends and lose the big corporate poison brokers. Five stars – CE Williams

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

 Book Details:

Genre: Pet Food & Nutrition, Dog Care
Publisher: St Martin’s Press

    • ISBN-10 : 1250260051
    • ISBN-13 : 978-1250260055
    • ASIN : B084M1PWLR
    • Print Length: 320 pages

Publication Date: To be released December 1, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link: Big Kibble [Amazon]
Also find the book at these locations:
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

Shawn Buckley - author
Shawn Buckley – author

 

 

 

The Author: Shawn Buckley (No bios)

 

 

 

 

©2020 C E Williams – V Williams – V Williams

Gabby: The Little Dog That Had to Learn How to Bark (A Foster Tails Story Book 1) by Barby Keel – a #BookReview

Gabby by Barby KeelBook Blurb:

A moving, heartfelt true story that celebrates the way animals and humans rescue one another . . .
Baby seagulls, mischievous ferrets, strutting peacocks…in the decades that Barby Keel has run her animal sanctuary in the English countryside, she has seen all manner of creatures. Thousands of cats and dogs have come through her doors and, with the aid of Barby and her dedicated staff, found loving forever homes. But Gabby, a small terrier with solemn, terrified eyes, is like no case Barby has ever encountered before.

Gabby has spent all eight years of her life indoors. She has no idea how to play with a toy or chew a treat. She has never dug in the dirt or rolled happily in the grass. Strangest of all, Gabby does not know how to bark. Barby can tell that the little golden-haired dog is bright and curious beneath her paralyzing fear, but coaxing out Gabby’s true spirit will be a daunting task.

Yet sometimes, a dog and a human fit together like two puzzle pieces, and so it is with Gabby and Barby. And Barby, who believes passionately in animals’ ability to help and heal those they love, will find her faith in Gabby repaid just when she, and her sanctuary, need it most . . .

My Review:

Gabby by Barby KeelI cannot lie: the cover got me. And I do so love a good doggy book as you all know. This book, while introducing Gabby, however, is a great deal more about the sanctuary located in Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, England that Barby Keel created out of her love of animals.

After some spotlighting of the origins, growth, size, and population of the Barby Keel Animal Sanctuary, including the fleshing of a number of volunteers–always the lifeblood of the organization–now an official charity, we meet little Gabby, a Lhasa Apso/Yorkshire mix. Too adorable not to love and keep, too traumatized and lost to rehome, Barby keeps her and begins the long arduous task of teaching the dog to be a dog; not the least of which was to merely romp and play with other dogs, much less be house trained, which was a MAJOR accomplishment. This was an eight-year-old dog!

The Barby Keel Animal Sanctuary logoAlong with the slow progress of Gabby was a description of the people who for whatever reason, surrender their animals, abandon, or mistreat them. In addition, there are those wild creatures who have met accidents and most need some veterinary care and meds as well as safe areas, proper food, water, and shelter. An enormous undertaking!

The discovery of Barby’s breast cancer focuses sharply on her chosen path of treatment, the post-surgery depression, and the extended timeline of recovery. The narrative obviously credits the love of the dog and the hope that Barby receives from Gabby’s progress culminating in her final ability to bark as a turning point in Barby’s healing. It seemed to side-track the story of Gabby as it became more biographical in nature.

The book appeals globally for the donations that keep the sanctuary afloat and points out the massive strides in the importance and success of the facility. There were times when I found the dialogue a bit unnatural (yes, we all talk to our animals, but…) and the repetitive theme became a little heavy. We covered that. Then we covered it again.

I received this digital download from the publisher and NetGalley and appreciated the opportunity to read and review. See additional information on the sanctuary here (and no, I’m not getting paid per click). Recommended for those interested in animal outreach and rescue.

Book Details:

Genre: Pet Dogs, Dog Care, Animal and Pet Care, Women’s Biographies
Publisher: Citadel

  • ISBN-10:080654032X
  • ISBN-13:978-0806540320
  • ASIN: B07CVR8MGF

Print Length: 256 pages
Publication Date: To be Released January 28, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Gabby

+Add to Goodreads 

Rosepoint Publishing:  Three-Point Five of Five Stars 3.5-stars

Cathryn Kemp - authorThe Author: Sunday Times bestselling ghostwriter and award-winning author, Cathryn Kemp won The Big Red Read Prize for Non-Fiction in 2013.
Her titles include Coming Clean: Diary of a Painkiller Addict (originally titled as Painkiller Addict: From Wreckage To Redemption), Jam Butties and a Pan of Scouse published by Trapeze in December 2016, A Fish Supper and a Chippy Smile and We Ain’t Got No Drink, Pa, both published by Orion in 2015. Cathryn’s recent titles include My Beautiful Struggle, published in 2017 by Trapeze, A Song for Bridget, published by Mirror Books in 2018, and the Foster Tails series, The Street Dog Who Found a Home, Gabby: The Little Dog That Had to Learn to Bark, and Will You Love Me? The Rescue Dog That Rescued Me, published through 2018 by Trapeze.

Previously, Cathryn worked as a news/feature writer across the spectrum of the British press for seven years before leaving to pursue her love of travel. She subsequently wrote several Lonely Planet travel guides and won the Peter Wilson Award for Journalism in 2002.
In 2004 she was struck down with the painful and debilitating illness pancreatitis – the experience of which led to the events described in her incredible memoir Coming Clean: Diary of a Painkiller Addict. She is now forging a career as an inspirational speaker on addiction issues and founded the UK’s first charity dedicated to raising awareness of addiction to prescribed opioids, the Painkiller Addiction Information Network (PAIN). Cathryn is Chief Executive of PAIN and a founding member of the Opioid Painkiller Dependence Alliance (OPDA).
For more information, or to catch up with Cathryn’s news, go to
http://www.painkiller-addict.com, http://www.painkillerfree.co.uk, or follow Cathryn on Twitter @cathrynkemp or on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/painkilleraddic

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Logo Attribution: Barby Keel Animal Sanctuary website

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