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review 2018-11-20 02:46
A meandering mess of vaguely dog-related memoirs.
You Had Me at Woof: How Dogs Taught Me the Secrets of Happiness - Julie Klam,Karen White,Karen White

From the Publisher's Site:


Julie Klam was thirty, single, and working as a part-time clerk in an insurance company, wondering if she would ever meet the man she could spend the rest of her life with. And then it happened. She met the irresistible Otto, her first in a long line of Boston terriers, and fell instantly in love.

 

You Had Me at Woof is the often hilarious and always sincere story of how one woman discovered life's most important lessons from her relationships with her canine companions. From Otto, Julie realized what it might feel like to find "the one." She learned to share her home, her heart, and her limited resources with another, and she found an authentic friend in the process. But that was just the beginning. Over the years her brood has grown to one husband, one daughter, and several Boston terriers. And although she had much to learn about how to care for them—walks at 2 a.m., vet visits, behavior problems—she was surprised and delighted to find that her dogs had more wisdom to convey to her than she had ever dreamed. And caring for them has made her a better person—and completely and utterly opened her heart.

 

Riotously funny and unexpectedly poignant, You Had Me at Woof recounts the hidden surprises, pleasures, and revelations of letting any mutt, beagle, terrier, or bulldog go charging through your world.

 

Spend much time around this blog and you'll know I'm a sucker for dogs -- real or fictional -- if a book has a strong dog element in it, I'm sold. This should've been right up my alley. I expected to really dig it -- but the reality didn't match my expectation.

 

These meandering personal essays/memoirs are organized by lessons taught by various dogs, sure, but they didn't seem as well-organized as those from similar books by Dave Barry or David Rosenfelt (or maybe it's just guys named David that think like this). I didn't think the voice was very consistent throughout -- I frequently couldn't tell if I was supposed to be laughing with Klam or at her. Or maybe I shouldn't have been laughing at all. I didn't find a lot to relate to -- or even grab on to -- in some of the anecdotes, other than a sense of pity for the two-legged individuals in her family and life. (that came out a little harsher than I intended, but I'm sticking with it).

 

I can't point at anything in particular -- other than her unessential and unsubtle celebrity name-dropping -- that I didn't like. I guess I found the thing too unfocused, too inconsistent, and not enough about the actual dogs. It seemed to be more about her in relation to various dogs. To an extent that's true with the aforementioned books by the various David's, too -- but I don't think it's as much about them (although, I never wondered who I was supposed to be laughing at with them).

 

Is it possible that my problems with the book are in the narration? Sure, a lot of it comes down to understanding Klam's voice, and Karen White's interpretation of that could be affecting me enough to not appreciate the book. But I don't think so -- I can't imagine an audiobook director or publisher is going to let something that disconnected from the text be produced, and White seemed to match the text and context with what she was doing. Granted that's hard to know without reading the text independently, but I don't care that much. If the text is really that slippery, that's on Klam anyway, not White.

 

Oh, here's something I really appreciated about the book -- Klam talks at least twice about dog owners who will replace a beloved pet with one of the same breed and general appearance and give it the same name (sometimes several times). This answers a question I asked a couple of weeks ago. Even knowing this is a thing that people who aren't Robert B. Parker or Robert B. Parker characters do, it's still messed up. Happily, Klam agrees.

 

The concluding anecdote was good -- maybe a bit too much, really -- but it was sweet. And the section about dealing with the death (expected or not) of a dog was really strong. That's why I'm not listing this as 2 Stars or fewer. There's some really decent writing here, but the voice was inconsistent, the whole thing felt too self-serving, and . . . well, there's just something intangible that happens between the reader and the text, and I just didn't like this one. It's not a bad book, per se. But it's not a good one.

 

2018 Library Love Challenge

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2018/11/19/you-had-me-at-woof-audiobook-by-julie-klam-karen-white-a-meandering-mess-of-vaguely-dog-related-memoirs
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text 2018-09-25 12:36
Really!
The Guests on South Battery (Tradd Street) - Karen White

I listed to the audio version of this book and the narrator's voice is so wrong for today's 40 year old Charlestonian.  Lose the old Southern drawl.  Your story is set in today and I have not come across one native 40 year old white woman that talks this way naturally.  The dialect was okay for Melanie's mother, but for her...

 

So now that I have my dislike for the narrator's delivery, let's talk about this storyline. It was boring and predictable.  Not only does the author deliver one predictable outcome.  She deals three of them back to back.  Good Grief.

 

I think I am done with this series and hopefully Karen White is also unless she's prepared to turn it up a notch.

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review 2018-06-19 02:26
Good story but could have used more emotion.
Twice Burned - Karen White

I enjoyed the story but felt it was a bit rushed. I did not get a true feel for the emotions between Aubrey, Julian, and Lucas. I would have liked more connection other than the sex, which was steamy. Julian and Lucas had their own relationship and reasons for holding back. Aubrey's reasons for not believing in love were not fully explained. All around her was lasting love, but she did not believe in it. Lucas and Julian were fun and sexy.

I received a copy of this story through Booksprout, and this is my unsolicited review.

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review 2018-06-07 01:02
Dreams of Falling - Karen White

Family secrets and drama are something every family experiences.   Larkin ran from her hometown and family to escape all that but when she is pulled back due to her mother being in the hospital she starts to realize that her memories may not be quite so spot on.     What she thinks she remembers may not be the entire truth, there might be more to her family that she was never aware of, and there are friendships she left behind that might have more to tell.   I loved that the friends she ran from still had open arms welcoming her home as if she had never left.     The family that she left doesn’t push her to stay just work on reminding her what she was missing and why she shouldn’t leave again.   

 

Dreams of Falling is a story rich with family history.   The history starts with Margaret, CeeCee, and Bitty and their amazing friendship.   Add Ivy, Margaret’s daughter, to that history a few years later and the story just gets more interesting.     Then Ivy has a daughter, Larkin, and you have three generations of wonderful, strong, and smart women.    The thing with history is that there are secrets kept, hidden, or needing to be forgotten.   

 

I am a Karen White fan and recommend this wonderful Southern fiction story.

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review 2018-03-28 17:47
Dreams of Falling - Karen White

This is my third book by this author and I am so happy to say that they have each touched me and thoroughly entertained me.

I loved this saga of three generations of Darlington women and their very close friends. A small town epic centered around the rich Darlington's, whose family have lived in Carrowmore (?) for over 200 years. While the town may be small, the lies, deceit and secrets are huge.

I could not tear myself away from this beautifully written sad story and with the thrill of a mystery fire - I was in reader heaven!

Thanks to Penguin Random House First to Read program for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

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