Monday, December 17, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway of "A Dog's Life"

Book Review of “A Dog’s Life” by Ann M Martin

Review by Carolyn Mullin  12.13.12

Book Description
Publication Date: January 1, 2007 | Age Level: 8 and up
Newbery Honor author Ann Martin's "heartwrenching and heartwarming" (Kirkus) dog story, now in paperback, with After Words bonus material.

Squirrel and her brother Bone begin their lives in a toolshed behind someone's summer house. Their mother nurtures them and teaches them the many skills they will need to survive as stray dogs. But when their mother is taken from them suddenly and too soon, the puppies are forced to make their own way in the world, facing humans both gentle and brutal, busy highways, other animals, and the changing seasons. When Bone and Squirrel become separated, Squirrel must fend for herself, and in the process makes two friends who in very different ways define her fate.

Product Details
Ann M. Martin

From Wikipedia

Ann M. Martin is the bestselling author of the momentous series The Baby-sitters Club, as well as the Main Street series. Her other acclaimed novels include "A Dog's Life," "Belle Teal," "Here Today," and the Newbery Honor Book "A Corner of the Universe." She lives in upstate New York. For more information, visit

First Pages: 



I believe that there is a time and place (be it reading to your kids, be it reading for yourself)_ that young books are meant for adults like myself to enjoy.  Christmas is a time of hectic running around (like today is the day to work on the Christmas tree and it’s almost 3pm and nothing has gone up on the tree yet except for lights!)  But there is a lighted bow on the front door and today I can ask my husband to work on the outside of the house! Lol)  

This book is just incredible told from the viewpoint of the dog.  Puppies Squirrel and Bone come into this world in a tool shed behind a summer house.  Sounds like your typical stray, right?The tool shed has cats, birds and mice.  But who would say that there isn’t room a couple more?  I know that when we lived in our house inland, I said that since there was a dog house that my stray (“BEAR”) who was in her last two weeks of pregnancy and found wandering around LA.  Will tell that story on my blog sometime!

Squirrel and Bone, alongside their mother, take up residence in a wheelbarrow inside the tool shed. While food is scarce, and often hard to find, the family is warm, and safe from predators. During their short time in the tool shed, Squirrel and Bone learn the rules of hunting from their mother. She disappears one day, after setting out for food, Squirrel and Bone know that they must leave the shed in the hopes of finding a better life for themselves. 

When the two siblings are separated, Squirrel must get used to being alone. That is, until she meets up with Moon, another dog who resembles Bone. Over the course of their time together, they meet up with humans - both good and bad - and many dangerous obstacles that stand in their way to make a better life for themselves, but they never give up hope, and keep trucking, dreaming of a day when things will be better for themselves.

When I was teaching in the classroom 17 years ago I would buy the BABY-SITTERS CLUB books by Ann M. Martin.  The students were severely emotionally challenged Middle School children  in their residential facility.  These books allowed my students to travel into the lives of the ones that they were reading! 
As a rescuer of dogs back when we lived inland in a house (lost in the crash) and we moved to the beach to rent!  And we love this too ….  Because we are beach lovers!   

I’m an avid animal lover (rescued guinea pigs, rats, birds, rabbits, and  a chinchilla along with three rescues (a blind puppy that we trained to be able to live in a home and adopted her out to the lady who also wanted her but she wasn’t able to train her like we did, a Basenji with lots of emotional issues and then the Labrador Retriever who had her 11 puppies in a wonderful birthing box in our bedroom and we raised them and adopted them out through the Humane Society!)   Those were all adopted out (with incredible stories for all of them) and were strays sent to kill shelters and we rescued them, fostered them and then adopted them all out.   We now have another stray (of 8 years living at our beach house  and is 10 years old today!) and that is Sandie (Sharpei Mix) and had been returned to the kill shelter TWICE.
I was so excited to find A DOG’S LIFE.  It will make you so engrossed that you will have to finish the book in one day.  A DOG’S LIFE does tell the brutal life of a stray animal.  The abuse was as is usually happening …  at the hand of humans… kind and unkind.  And it tells what they go through on a day by day basis to simply find some food.  The story is told in the first person- rather dog person- a narrative by Squirrel.  This book by Martin will be an incredible novel for readers of all ages.  This book just touched the hearts of all, and all in the hope of someday, all animals will live in peace, and none will be left "unwanted."

At this time of year I think of the homeless and “unwanted” who are on the streets in our county who live outside in the cold in tents and down by the riverside in the next town over, and for the ones who come to the shelters it is so much better.  I am volunteering at a women with their children shelter that has steps to get out and make it on their own given time and being taught what to do to qualify for a job, taking care of their children who needed to be removed from their home.  My husband and I also put together school items and Christmas items in shoe boxes for BOYS and MOM, and GIRLS and MOM. 

We’re delivering them to the shelter soon!  And then we will go to Rescue Mission (that the women’s shelter is connected to!)  and take a boxes of food and clothes and my AVON products that have sat on the shelf for a year!    We really enjoy serving them in whatever way we can!

Maybe you  can take some time to check out the rescue shelters and if nothing else, you could go to their online sites and share pictures of the strays and unwanted online!  We have a 20 year old list called NO MORE HOMELESS ANIMALS on Yahoo groups where we do this with many others!  The response to that and the ABUSED animals list have helped so many animals all over the United States!  
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Most recently many of my summer places to visit when I lived in New Jersey were demolished...  schools.  First when I thought about this
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playing lots of games with tons of fun.  Now I am being asked to help
schools that were demolished and the teachers are starting from nothing again.  Please consider buying this also for those families who 
lost a loved one or family member in the shooting of the 20 children?
Could you buy for those teachers who are still there?  
You can do some games, activities or crafts using the Python printable games! 

If this sounds so new to you, you can check out Python Printable Games. They have different printable games for different occasions to choose from. Right now, they have a 60 Christmas printable games for $19.95 that can be very useful and handy in gatherings this holiday season. For under $20.00  each game only costs 33 cents. When you purchase the games, you will receive a link and you can download the games in PDF format. The games will then be yours with no restrictions or time limits. You can keep it forever then reuse it on any other occasions. 

I wish I had the chance to do this review in November but kidney stones kept me from joining in until today.  You will receive for free the Christmas Party Games Pack that consisted of 60 different printable games, activities, and crafts. Now I feel better about my teacher friends being prepared in January with their students!  
Below are some of the games included in the packet.

Printable Letter From Santa; Printable Thank-You Notes; Reindeer Games Right-Left; Reindeer Trivia For Kids; Santa Claus Movie Match; Santa Claus Spot the Difference; Santa Trivia For Kids Match; Seek and Find Scavenger Hunt; Shop-A-Thon Christian Gift Exchange; Snow Trivia; Spin The Bottle Game for Teenagers; Super Stars Movie Trivia. 

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20 licenses for Pictures Collage Maker Pro Special Edition Review and Giveaway!

PearlMountain Technology Logo 

Ho ho ho!  I'm happy to tell you that last time I have 20 licenses for Pictures Collage Maker Pro  Special Edition. I'm going to be giving 10 of them to the teachers in Storm Sandy.  With all that happened with their storm, I'm  sending to the schools that were wiped out.  And the the first 10 REAL PEOPLE to sign on AND tell us what you are going to do with your copy of it.  That is important and to click on ALL of the mandatory ways in.   The giveaway will start on the 20th of Dec. and last until the 27th of Dec. 2012!

collage it 400x281 Giveaway: 20 licenses of CollageIt Pro

If you use CollageIt Pro, all you need to create beautiful collages are a few photos – and anyone, absolutely anyone will be able to create beautiful collages easily. There are only 3 steps you are required to make a collage! Add photos, Set parameters and generate preview and Save collage as image file.
Other features include:

  • Click “Generate Preview” button, CollageIt will create photo collage automatically according to the added photos and parameters without any manual adjustment and let you preview the final collage in one second.
  • Easy enough for users of all experience levels to use. Pretty collage will be made by just few mouse clicks.
  • Support creating collage with few photos to 100 photos. The “Auto rotation mode” and “Sparse mode” make the collage more varied.
  • Variable parameters include Number of photo, photo space, photo frame, shadow, page margin, auto rotation mode, sparse mode, page size and background setup.
  • Save the collage in common image formats such as bmp, jpeg, png, tga, tif etc to share with your friends and family.

Pros - Crop any photo on the collage and redo it unlimited (the program always return to the original photo, so the user don´t have to reload manually)
- Support for transparent photos
- Add/remove a background after you have placed all your photos
- Add/remove photo frame and photo shadow to your photos at any time
- Save the layout to next time you need that one

*Christmas templates samples:  christmas-pack.html

- To import your own background photos you need to drop them in the “tile” folder where the program is installed
- You can´t save the layout with the photos, so you have to do the collage in one long step !
- Can´t be maximized
- Relocate all your pictures when you change the “Space & Margin” options and make the “Random Layout” button useless
- Can´t lock the photos to one place

  Further information is available at 

 I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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