Review: The Dogs of War ~ Lisa Rogak

The Dogs of WarMilitary working dogs gained widespread attention after Cairo participated in the SEAL Team 6 mission that led to Osama bin Laden’s death. Before that, few civilians realized that dogs served in combat, let alone that they could parachute from thirty thousand feet up.

The Dogs of War reveals the amazing range of jobs that our four-legged soldiers now perform, examines the dogs’ training and equipment, and sets the record straight on those rumors of titanium teeth. You’ll find heartwarming stories of the deep bond that dogs and their handlers share with each other, and learn how soldiers and civilians can help the cause by fostering puppies or adopting retirees.

An incredible story of the largely unseen but vital role that dogs play in our armed forces, The Dogs of War is a must-read for animal lovers everywhere.

5 Thumbs-UpIf you are picking this up expecting a book full of personal stories about military working dogs and the unique relationship that exists between them and their handlers, you may be disappointed as this book is written more along the lines of a history of the military working dog from how they came about to their current purpose in today’s military.

It is immediately apparent when reading this book that the Author has done their research as they cover, in fine detail, the selection process for a puppy to become a Military Working Dog (MWD) right through to their retirement and transition, hopefully to a civilian life.  With so much research and detail this is a book that could easily have turned into something resembling a research paper, but the Author manages to avoid this pitfall turning the book into an informative memoir through the telling of the stories of different dogs and the roles they play as a MWD.  Each chapter of the boo k is given over to a particular dog and their handler, and this leads to a greater understanding of the bonds created between the two, and the heartbreak felt when one or the other is lost.

Interspersed with some wonderful photographs that show these dogs in action, this is a book that will surely capture the reader and pull them in from the very first page.  It is emotional, funny, and above all informative and will give many readers a greater insight into the life of a MWD, and why they are held in such high esteem not only by their handlers, but by the Service Members they work alongside.  I could write a lot more about this book in my review, but to do so would involve quoting portions of the book to illustrate what a great read it is, and I would rather the reader find that out for themselves.

I would highly recommend this book to dog lovers and those interested in the military.

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Review: Look Again ~ Lisa Scottoline

Look AgainWhen reporter Ellen Gleeson gets a “Have You Seen This Child?” flyer in the mail, she almost throws it away. But something about it makes her look again, and her heart stops—the child in the photo is identical to her adopted son, Will. Her every instinct tells her to deny the similarity between the boys, because she knows her adoption was lawful. But she’s a journalist and won’t be able to stop thinking about the photo until she figures out the truth. And she can’t shake the question: if Will rightfully belongs to someone else, should she keep him or give him up? She investigates, uncovering clues no one was meant to discover, and when she digs too deep, she risks losing her own life—and that of the son she loves.

2 Thumbs-UpThis is the first book I have read that was written by this Author, and my understanding is that they are not new to the published works scene; I’m sorry, and apologize now to the Author, but that was not the impression I received from reading this book.

From a character stand point they were written in such a way that really did not make me empathise, connect or want to get to know them more deeply.  The main protagonist is one that will have every single Mother that reads this book, painting placards and marching on the Author’s house, and scenes involving her became long and drawn out with her angst and a look at some rather dull side stories.  I felt when reading this character the Author could have made her so much more.  As a single mother the reader was left to figure out why she was motivated to do the things she did and not just rely on the ‘Mother Bear’ cliché.

From reading the synopsis this novel had all the makings of a great and thrilling read, but in the end the way in which it was executed was so disappointing to me that I was glad when I turned the final page.  There were several editing errors that normally I would have dismissed, but in this case the plot line was not that strong to begin with, and I found these to be very distracting.

If you are a fan of this Author you may enjoy this book, but otherwise it would make a great beach or poolside read, and be the kind of book you won’t mind leaving behind when your vacation is over.  I doubt that I will be reading anymore by this Author.

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Review: Fissures ~ D.L. Hodges

FissuresAndrew (Drew) Parsons, the product of an abusive upbringing by his adoptive father, has spent 7 years in jail for a crime he committed in his teens. While in the penitentiary he befriends an older inmate, John, a seasoned veteran of the prison system, who mentors Drew, teaching him the path he has chosen isn’t the one he should continue on. Returning home, after his prison release, with the desire to change his life, Drew steps back into a world fraught with conflict and misery; but also to a mother who has always been there to protect him. Soon, however, he realizes he must break away from that environment if he is to have any chance of success. Escaping his parents’ house, Drew sets out on a journey of discovery; to make a new future for himself, but also to learn the mystery of his past, to find his birth parents. As Drew begins to uncover his history he is swept into a world of lies, abandonment and violence, and the truths he finds are far from the ones he sought.

3 Thumbs-UpI doubt very much of anything will prepare the reader for what they find within the covers of this book.  Many may be put off by the title, which does seem to indicate that the contents maybe all over the pace and depressing; but once I started reading this I had to admit it was not engrossing, but a book I didn’t mind picking up when I had a few minutes.

The novel is definitely character driven, and in writing their character the Author has done a skilful job.  The main protagonist is one who realises that they have made mistakes throughout their lives and has now decided things have to change.  Through the emotions and difficult decisions this character has to make, the reader is sometimes unwillingly caught up in the emotions that seem to pour out of the character and, although this can be a good way to identify with a character in certain situations, at times I found it to be emotionally draining on myself and had to put the book down and walk away.  It is the journey to redemption of the main character that is the driving force in this book, and the reader travels every inch of this journey with them.

The storyline itself is tight and well written mystery, with some very good edge of your seats moments.  However, I did feel at times that the Author had referred too many times to his thesaurus to find the exact word they needed, but this didn’t always hit the mark and slowed the pace of the novel down considerably; this is the reasoning behind my three thumbs rating.  Some of the scenes of abuse written in this novel may upset some people, and well it should, as it serves to remind us what fragile lives we all lead and hold in our hands to mould and shape as we will.  This Author does an outstanding job of showing the reader the lives of those less fortunate; those you could almost call the lost children of society who end up in the same situation as the main character in this novel.

However, this book is definitely an enjoyable read and I would recommend it to those readers who enjoy a “bad boy turned good” tale.

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