Book Review: The Fitzy Resolution by A.D. DeSena

From Dakota’s Den:  Today I bring to you a FIRST on Dakota’s blog. This is the FIRST book review that has appeared on Dakota’s blog that I did not write. This review was done by a most special reviewer, MY HUSBANDLenny Gittleman. Why did my husband review The Fitzy Resolution?  Having two blogs and doing book reviews on both, MANY books have entered our home,  my husband was intrigued by the premise of this book, and asked to read it.  Being  more politically well-versed than I am, I felt he was the perfect “candidate” to do this book justice. The fact that he was a Special Education teacher for 36 years, and is incredibly intellectually gifted, doesn’t hurt either! So sit back and enjoy my husband’s review of Author A.D. DeSena’s:

The Fitzy Resolution

It’s a “dog eat dog world” in both a figurative and literal sense in the innovative fantasy/political thriller The Fitzy Resolution by A.D. DeSena.

To purchase click on the book cover!

To purchase click on the book cover!

Set in a futuristic society where dogs have their own governmental body called the “Central Canine Government”, the premise involves trying to discover why Yorkshire Terriers are mysteriously disappearing at an alarming rate. Other elements essential to the plot are the ever-increasing threat to the preservation of canines by a group of strays called “The Wilds”, and the ulterior motives of sinister politician dogs led by Senator Juniper.

The Fitzy Resolution is a brilliant satirical portrayal of our political system, manifested through the actions of canines and other domestic animals. DeSena accurately mirrors the many complexities inherent in running a democratic society.

Just as our country, (the U.S.), is divided along political lines that often hinder legislative progress, in DeSena’s canine ruled society, two political parties, the “Submissives” and the “Contrarians”, with two opposing political philosophies, must somehow find a way to work together to help preserve their canine society from outside forces determined to destroy it.

DeSena is adept in addressing the necessity of compromise and collaboration with opposing viewpoints to achieve the greater good. Through the actions of the protagonist, Senator Labrador-Casey, the author demonstrates that it is important to have ideals, vision and a philosophy, but a sense of pragmatism and cooperation is needed to achieve desired goals.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book for a variety of reasons. On one level it is an extremely exciting narrative that holds the reader’s interest from the first page to the exciting climax. DeSena is a genius at utilizing the technique of personification, ascribing human traits to non-humans. The author has written not only a great story, but a thought-provoking social commentary without sounding preachy, NOT an easy task.

Without reservation I would give The Fitzy Resolution four paws up. NO BONES ABOUT IT!

ISBN 978-0-9847676-0-1

To purchase click here


Book Review: Dog Trots Globe, To Paris & Provence by Sheron Long ” Magnifique!”

Hi everyone! It’s Dakota, and I am taking over the book review today! It’s only right, because today’s book: Dog Trots Globe, To Paris & Provence by Chula Wula D’ Augue (As Barked to Sheron Long) was “barked” by a Sheltie!

Photo Courtesy of

Photo Courtesy of

A few months ago Mom and I were on Twitter and we befriended a gorgeous Sheltie girl named @SheltieChula. As we interacted, Mom and I found out that Chula had barked a book!  Mom and I love doing book reviews and when we learned this we had to have a copy to review.  We are grateful that Chula got her paws on one and sent it to us, it is a book we will read over and over and cherish furever!

As many of you who live with Shelties know, it is rare to find a book about them (that isn’t a handbook), let alone one that was BARKED by a Sheltie!

This isn’t any ordinary Sheltie either! Well, not that ANY Sheltie is ordinary! From  Chula whose name means “pretty” in Spanish, is a 9-year-old Sheltie who traveled by car from Carmel Valley, California, to San Francisco where she boarded an Air France flight to Paris. Then she took the TGV, or Train a Grande Vitesse, from Paris to Saint-Remy-de-Provence and settled into her lovely village at the foot of the Alpilles Mountains. (From Dakota: For those who may be wondering, Chula traveled with her pawrents)

Chula got good at chasing French cats, hiding from wooly sheep and stealing ripe tomatoes.

Mom and I read this book together and Mom told me to tell you that it is exquisite, charming, gorgeous, delightful!

Mom and I have different reasons for loving this book. Mom says it is the perfect little travel guide where I can travel to Paris & Provence and live it vicariously through the eyes of a Sheltie.

Mom thinks this would be a perfect coffee table or bedside table book, both to read and to display.  The photographs, contributed by Robert and Sheron Long, Erick Paraiso and Meredith Mullins are breathtakingly beautiful!   The illustrations by Darius Detwiler, charming!

Mom says: this isn’t just a book, it is a visual feast, it is a work of art! She could envision herself sitting at a sidewalk cafe in Paris, relaxing, reading this book and sipping on a petit noir (an espresso), (how she can envision this I will never know, since Mom has never been to Paris but I digress, let your eyes delight in the following photos and you will see what I mean!)

Photo Courtesy of

Photo Courtesy of

In the Lavender fields by Sault. Photo Courtesy of

In the Lavender fields by Sault. Photo Courtesy of

At the market in St-Remy. Photo Courtesy of

At the market in St-Remy. Photo Courtesy of

At the fountain in Sault. Photo Courtesy of

At the fountain in Sault. Photo Courtesy of

Mom says: that the photos shown here don’t even begin to show the real beauty of the photos in the book. They are vibrant,  they leap off of the high quality paper that they are printed on, they transport you to the beauty and romance of Paris. Dog Trots Globe is a perfect size too, it can be tucked into a purse with ease!

Enough of what Mom thinks! What I love about this book is that a SHELTIE barked it! I get to read, yes Shelties read! We ARE 6th in intelligence you know, about this amazing trip from first-paw Sheltie experience!

Through Chula’s travels I got to learn  about things such as:

  • Sniffing Around Provence
  • Market Days
  • Bistros and Cafes
  • French Tradition
  • Paris Lights and City Sights
  • Inside a Paris Gallery
  • Chula’s Walk: A Tour of Saint-Remy

there is even a section of the book that tells your pawrents How To Take Your Pup To France should you ever be lucky enough to go!

Photo Courtesy of

Photo Courtesy of

Dog Trots Globe To Paris & Provence would make a delightfully charming gift that would be enjoyed and relished by Sheltie lovers, dog lovers, those who love Paris and those who appreciate superb photography. This must be added to your library!

Barks and licks and love,  Au Revoir! Dakota

ISBN: 978-1-936951-00-0


Book Review: Lost And Found, Amy Shojai’s Debut Thriller

Confession. Thrillers usually leave me cold.  It is not a genre that I normally read. I haven’t a clue why that is the case, but it is. I avoid them like the plague.  I might have avoided Lost and Found by Amy Shojai as well, had my dogs’ name (Dakota) not won the:

“Name That Dog” contest to help Amy find a name for some of the furry characters in her book.  More than 85 names were suggested with close to 800 votes!

I’m glad that Dakota won.

Had he not, I might have missed this spine tingling book.

“Dakota” was chosen to represent the “heart-dog” that lead character September Day (yes that is her REAL name) refers to often throughout the book.

FROM THE PUBLISHER: Animal behaviorist September Day has lost everything-husband murdered, career in ruins, confidence shot-and returns home with her trained Maine Coon cat Macy to Texas to recover. She’s forced out of hibernation when her nephew Steven and his autism service dog Shadow disappear in a freak blizzard. When her sister trusts a maverick researcher’s promise to help Steven, September has 24 hours to rescue them from a devastating medical experiment impacting millions of children, a deadly secret others will kill to protect. As September races the clock, the body count swells. Shadow does his good-dog duty but can’t protect his boy. Finally September and Shadow forge a stormy partnership to rescue the missing and stop the nightmare cure. But can they also find the lost parts of themselves?

Trust me when I say that this book is OUTSTANDING.

The language; full of descriptive detail, gives the reader clear and frightening images of the villains. While reading I was wondering if September embodies many of the personality traits of Author Amy Shojai? I question this because I have yet to meet Amy in person, (but I am certain that one day I will!) but I have come to know Amy a bit through our mutual affiliation with the Cat Writers’ Association and through her blog. In her emails and her writing, her personality comes across to me as being confident, vibrant, uber-articulate,  strong, determined,  knowledgeable, tough-as-nails yet somewhat vulnerable with a sense of humor to beat the band.  The more I read about September, the more I wondered how much of Amy is in this intriguing character?

Lost And Found for me, wasn’t a “quick-read.” The plot, details, dialogue and characters are well-crafted and intense.  My heart was literally in my throat throughout much of the book. Lost And Found offers a lot to digest, it is the prime rib at an all-you-can-eat buffet,  the side dishes are just filler, the meat leaves you feeling  satiated. Upon  finishing this deliciously intriguing and attention-engulfing  thriller, you will feel as satisfied.

Has Amy Shojai converted this “thriller-phobic” blogger/book reviewer?

In the case of Lost And Found…my answer is a resounding. YES.

Author Amy Shojai with Magic and Seren

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amy Shojai is a certified animal behavior consultant, and the award-winning author of 24 bestselling pet books. She is the Puppies Guide at, the cat behavior expert at, and hosts a weekly half hour Internet Pet Peeves radio show. Amy has been featured as an expert in hundreds of print venues including The New York Times, Reader’s Digest, and Family Circle, as well as national radio and television networks such as CNN, Animal Planet’s DOGS 101 and CATS 101. 


Connect with Amy on FACEBOOK, TWITTER and GOOD READS




Book Feature And GIVE-AWAY: RILEY MACK and the Other Known Troublemakers By Chris Grabenstein “Mischief Monday”

Happy “Mischief Monday” all! 

If you notice the title of the blog today, I have a “Book FEATURE”  instead of a “Book REVIEW” Why? Because Mom didn’t have time to read this book to me!!!

Instead of doing a normal “REVIEW” I am going to give you information about the book: RILEY MACK and the Other Known Troublemakers by Chris Grabenstein ( perfect for Mischief Monday!) that was sent to Mom and I by the publisher, HarperCollins, and we are going to give YOU a chance to win a copy!

From the publisher:

In this merry, mischievous romp, master storyteller Chris Grabenstein introduces Riley Mack-a twelve-year-old hometown hero with a talent for plotting schemes in the name of justice. Like an Ocean’s Eleven for tweens, this mystery-comedy features an uproarious cast of “known troublemakers” including aspiring actress Briana, tech wiz Jake, *vocab-obsessed lockpicker Jamal, and the large-but-sweet Mongo.

*FROM DAKOTA: “vocab-obsessed” Savannah and Jet they are talkin’ to YOU!! BOL!!!!

As Riley leads his gang through a series of capers that ultimately results in a foiled bank robbery and the rescue of fifty-seven adorable puppies, readers will enjoy the dramatic interplay of the characters and the unfolding of the mystery as well as the fast-paced action and humor.


Chris Grabenstein is the Agatha-and Anthony Award-winning author of the Haunted Mysteries series, including The Crossroads, The Hanging Hill, and The Smoky Corridor. He’s also the author of the adult titles Tilt a Whirl, Mad Mouse, and Whack a Mole. Chris lives in New York City with his wife, JJ, three cats, and a dog named Fred who starred on Broadway in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. You can visit Chris (and Fred) online at

ISBN: 9780062026200

Ages 8-12

Available on

GIVE-AWAY OPEN TO EVERYONE!! Want to win this book? Leave a comment (and a way for Mom to contact you, if we have no way to contact you and you are the winner, guess what? YOU LOSE!)  telling me about YOUR mischief by Monday, September 3, 2012 at 11PM EASTERN. Winner will be announced WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2012. 

Good luck!

Barks and licks and love, Dakota

Mish-Mash Monday-A little housekeeping: where we stand on book and product reviews

“The Dog That Talked to God” A Novel by Jim Kraus, Book Review And Give-Away:

While recovering from my FIFTH lithotripsy (which was a repeat litho done on my left kidney) last Friday, I decided this was the perfect time to catch up on some books that I needed to read and review.

The book I chose was one that had been sent to me a few weeks ago, The Dog That Talked to God, A Novel by Jim Kraus,  and I couldn’t have picked a better book to  read while spending my weekend  recovering.

There are some things they say that people should never discuss. Those things are religion and politics.  Being Jewish, religion is a topic I would more than likely avoid  referring to on this blog, but this book is not only an exception, it is EXCEPTIONAL.

 The Dog That Talked To God,  has a strong religious base (it is classified as FICTION/Christian/General),  but not in reference to one formal religion,  rather it deals strongly with one’s belief  (or not, or temporary separation from one’s belief in God).

Description from  the Publisher: 

Recently widowed Mary Fassler buys a Miniature Schnauzer, Rufus, and her world is turned sideways in the midst of her grief.  It seems that Rufus speaks. And not just to her. He also talks to God.  
When Rufus begins sharing advice that could result in major changes, Mary gets the feeling the pooch might not be steering her in the right direction. Or, is she just afraid to take the leap and discover something she desperately needs? Only Rufus…and God…knows.

 Author Jim Kraus is a longtime writer and editor who has authored or coauthored 20 books, both fiction and non-fiction but The Dog Who Talked to God was the first of his books that I have read. I am eager to read more.
His conversational writing style, (he wrote this as Mary Fassler telling us the story),  his  humor and uncanny ability to get inside of a woman’s brain, made me often stop and check the cover to be sure that indeed a MAN had written this fabulous story.
Anyone who has suffered a loss will be able to relate to Mary Fassler. Your heart will be simultaneously breaking  and cheering Mary on.  . You will fall in love with the “gifted” and insightful Rufus who ultimately leads Mary to where she SHOULD BE.  Wait! Was it Rufus, God, Mary’s own strength or possibly a combination of all of those things? You will have to read this gem to find out.
I normally do not print quotes that other reviewers have said, but I found two that sum up this book perfectly. They completely convey exactly how I felt while reading this marvelous book:
“I loved this story. Quirky and unusual, this unique tale wove a spell around me and drew me in. It wasn’t what I expected at all, and when I turned the last page, it left me wanting more.” – Ane Mulligan, Sr. Editor of Novel RocketThe Dog That Talked to God is a moving and powerful read, inspirational long after the last page has been turned.” – New York Journal of Books

ISBN-13: 9781426742569
 Intrigued? You should be. You may purchase The Dog That Talked to God right here
GIVE-AWAY!  OPEN TO EVERYONE! The publisher generously sent me one extra copy of The Dog That Talked to God  to share with one lucky reader. To enter, leave a comment letting me know that you would like to win this book and a way for me to contact you should you be the lucky winner. DEADLINE TO ENTER IS: MONDAY JUNE 4TH at 11PM EST, the winner (as chosen by will be announced WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6TH. GOOD LUCK!
I was not compensated for this review. I received 2 copies of this book. One for me and one for my readers. The “compensation” was reading this superb novel.

Winner Of “Menagerie” By Sharon Montrose, Illustrations And Lettering By Julianna Swaney

I love how things in life work. Sometimes coincidences are just delightful!

Today is the perfect example of that.

Author/Illustrator Wendy Wahman

Last summer I had the pleasure of reviewing two delightful  children’s books by  author/illustrator, Wendy Wahman.

The first book of Wendy’s that I had reviewed was “Don’t Lick The Dog” , you can read the review here

The second book of Wendy’s that I had reviewed was actually reviewed on my other blog, Cat Chat.  The title of the book is “A Cat Like That” and you can read that review here

You can also visit Wendy’s website here

As you have probably already figured out…

WENDY WAHMAN  is the winner of “Menagerie” (as chosen by


Please email me your complete mailing address to cgittleman @ mi dot rr dot com

Book Review: Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan

Hi everyone, this is Dakota’s Mom.  I fell in love this past weekend. I fell in love with a little black and white Miniature  Schnauzer  with a name and  bushy white  eyebrows reminiscent of a professor or lawyer, deeply knit in thought,  full of moxie, wiser than his years.

I fell in love with Atticus M. Finch as thousands of others have, for his wisdom, courage, love, devotion and willingness to defy the odds on many fronts.

Atticus and Tom Ryan

I also fell in love with author Tom Ryan who in many ways is a “dog whisperer”. He  didn’t believe in training methods that others would consider to be “normal”.   More than any other books that I have read about a man’s love for his dog and their ensuing  adventures, the title “Following Atticus” speaks volumes.  Ryan  is so keenly tied to the nuances of Atticus that he raised Atticus not to do what HE wanted him to do, (there is nobody who is hung up on who is the “Alpha” here), he raised him to be what Atticus wanted to be.

Tom Ryan, who knew little about owning a dog when he brought home Atticus based his entire upbringing on literally following Atticus’s  lead, which was also something he practiced when he and Atticus attempted the unthinkable,  exploring and conquering forty-eight peaks.

In other words, he observed, he listened, he sensed, he felt. This was a skill he was already adept at  using, being the founder of the Newburyport, Massachusetts, newspaper, The Undertoad where for a decade he was its editor, publisher and “roving reporter.”

From “Following Atticus”:

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” Joseph Campbell

The above quote sets the stage for what lies ahead in this heart-tugging,  adventurous, suspenseful, thought-provoking,  deliciously descriptive gem.

From the publisher:

“Middle-aged, overweight, and acrophobic newspaperman Tom Ryan and miniature schnauzer Atticus M. Finch are an unlikely pair of mountaineers, but after a close friend dies of cancer, the two pay tribute to her by attempting to climb all forty-eight of New Hampshire’s four-thousand-foot peaks twice in one winter while raising money for charity. In a rare test of endurance, Tom and Atticus set out on an adventure of a lifetime that takes them across hundreds of miles and deep into an enchanting but dangerous winter wonderland. Little did they know that their most difficult test would lie ahead, after they returned home. . . .”

Ryan and Atticus,  two  unlikely partners conquering mountains both literally in reference to nature and figuratively of the mountainous challenges that life has a tendency to hurl our way as well as the  mountainous burdens of our past seeking to take over our present.

The book also features photos with incredible images taken by Tom and others that document his journey with Atticus.

Following Atticus is for all of us who dare to dream, who have dreams that we think may never become a reality, for dog lovers, those who are inspired and reap strength from nature, for those who set high expectations for themselves,  for those who seek to make sense of the past and how it relates to the present.

"Little Buddha"

For those who know what it feels like to sacrifice our own wants and needs for that of our pet, and for those who dare to admit that our pet just might be a lot wiser than we are and have faith that they will lead us, to give us exactly what we need, if only we are willing to follow.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: In 2007  Tom Ryan sold The Undertoad and moved to the White Mountains of New Hampshire to write and to hike with Atticus. Over the last five years the pair has climbed more than 450 4,000 foot peaks. Tom writes the popular “The Adventures of Tom & Atticus” column in the NorthCountry News and Mountainside Guide and the blog:

“The Adventures of Tom and Atticus.” 

In November of 2008 Tom & Atticus were honored as co-recipients of the MSPCA’s Human Hero of the Year award given at their annual Hall of Fame dinner at the JFK Presidential Library.

Heroes Of The Year 2008

FOLLOWING ATTICUS: FORTY-EIGHT PEAKS, ONE LITTLE DOG, AND AN EXTRAORDINARY FRIENDSHIP  published by  William Morrow Hardcover/September 20, 2011/ $25.99/ 9780061997105 E-Book/September 20, 2011/$12.99/ 9780062101303