Coffee Table Book: Dogs and Their People by BarkPost


  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons (October 18, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399574263
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399574269
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds

My Review (5 Stars: Loved It!)

I’ve already written a Book Spotlight & Giveaway Contest post as well as a Mailbox Monday post about this book, but thought I would present it one more time.  It’s such a fun book!

Congratulations to Nise’ who won the giveaway contest.  Thanks to everyone who entered.

This hardcover is my new favorite coffee table book and favorite dog book.  It’s funny, has great heart-warming short stories and beautiful, truly adorable, images.

The pages have a nice weight to them.  I like the dimensions for a coffee table book (8.4 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches) and it’s not too heavy (1.7 lbs.).

Dogs and Their People: Photos and Stories of Life with a Four-Legged Love by BarkPost shows the great lengths people will go to for the love of their dogs.  It also includes many other interesting side notes.

There are so many heart-warming stories, too many to include here, but I’ll share one that gave me a laugh-out-loud moment:

“You Give Your Dog The Keys To NYC And Tell Him He’s The Mayor.”

When Hamilton Pug ventures out into his city (sometimes alternatively referred to as “New York City”), it is not uncommon for fans to recognize him and for future friends to stop and say hello.  It would be an understatement to say that Hamilton has mastered the art of the meet and great.  In fact, some people call him “The Mayor.”  It’s a fitting title, so we let him believe that he’s in charge.  His brother Rufus is his bodyguard. – Wendy, Steve, Hamilton & Rufus, New York, New York, p. 154

Read More or Purchase from Amazon (Currently on Sale)

I’d like to thank the folks at BarkPost and the Publisher, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, for sending me a hard-copy edition of this book for review.

Disclosure of Material Connection: 

I received this book free from the publisher, G.P. Putnam’s Sons. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.  

Coffee Table Book: Vincent by himself Edited by Bruce Bernard

October 12, 2016

 Edited by Bruce Bernard (purchased)

Chartwell Books, Reprinted 2014

First published in great Britain in 1985 by MacDonald & Co

I hesitated writing a post for this book as it is not the type of book I typically read or write about.  However, I highly recommend it as a companion to a novel I just completed, the historical fiction, Lust for Life by Irving Stone, which tells the story of Van Gogh’s life.

Lust For Life via Amazon
Read More or Purchase from Amazon

While reading/listening to Lust for Life, I decided I wanted to find a coffee table book to see some of Van Gogh’s works described in the novel.  Barns and Nobel occasionally offers such books at a considerable discount.  When I went to the store, it happened to be the only such book on sale!  I thought I was very fortunate to be able to pick up the last two copies, one for myself and the other for a gift.  (I have a similar book about Monet.)

Vincent by Himself nicely corresponds with Lust For Life.  I enjoyed looking at the images and now know so much more about them than I ever would have had I not listened to Lust For Life (my local monthly book club selection).  This picture book also includes excerpts of the many letters written by Van Gogh that I hope to delve into more sometime in the future.

Van Gogh wrote his brother, who was his benefactor, many letters (over 600) throughout his short life.  The author of Lust for Life, Irving Stone, used these letters to build much of Van Gogh’s story.

Vincent by himself via Amazon
Read More (Currently Out of Print)

What have you been reading or listening to lately?  Do you enjoy coffee table books?  I don’t normally actually keep these books on my coffee table, but rather keep them in my bookcase and enjoy pulling them out occasionally.

Review: Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

My Review (4 Stars: Liked It A Lot!)

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

AudioBook (Downloaded from my local library.)

Publisher: Macmillan Audio, 2014

Narrated by Robert Petkoff

Length: 9 hr.s and 3 min.

Release Date: 10-07-14

Being Mortal is an in-depth look at our views about aging and dying.

The author Atul Gawande is sometimes analytical and philosophical while at the same time he discusses our mindsets about how we face our own mortality.  The real life and death stories he describes are insightful.

I had put off reading this book because of the heavy nature of the the subject, but am glad I finally listened to it.

Continue reading “Review: Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande”

Review: Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis, MD

My Review (3 Stars: Liked It!)

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis, MD

Rodale Inc., 2014

(Trade paperback first published by Rodale Inc. in June 2014)

Author William Davis, MD, explains why so many Americans have ‘wheat belly’ and describes the detrimental effects of wheat consumption on health.  He also describes how to live wheat-free.

While I skimmed some of the book, as it was somewhat technical at times, I felt it was very informative.

Wheat Belly has caused me to be more cognizant in my choices.

Will I eliminate wheat totally? – No, not completely.  I will cut back considerably and actively seek out alternatives.

As described in this book, there are detrimental health effects caused by wheat consumption.  Dr. Davis presents reasons for those with these health issues to seriously consider giving up wheat all together.

However, I believe diet should be based on individual needs.  Each person is different.  I don’t believe one diet fits all.

I’ve included the table of contents below to give you a greater idea of issues discussed.

Continue reading “Review: Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis, MD”

Review, Author Interview & Giveaway: Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off! by Lisa Tillinger Johansen, MS, RD

Stop the Diet, I Want to Get Off! by Lisa Tillinger Johansen, MS, RD

Tillinger Johansen Publishing, LLC, 2015

Giveaway Contest Below

Win 1 of 10 copies of Stop the Diet

(one winner will also win a $25 Amazon gift card) (open to USA & Canada)

My Review (3 Stars: Liked it!)

When it comes to eating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, knowledge is power. Stop the Diet, I Want to Get Off! by Lisa Tillinger Johansen, MS, RD is packed with information.

After many years of yo-yo dieting, my personal belief is that my goal should be to make good lifestyle changes by choosing better foods and exercising.  In order to do this, I need to learn and become more aware of what is good for me.  So, when iRead Book Tours offered this book for review, I was excited to read it.

There is so much detail in this book, that I must admit, I skimmed some of it.

There are two parts to this book: Part I: The Skinny and Part Two: The Plan.

In the first part of the book, author Lisa Tillinger Johansen, gives a thorough overview of a large number of diets, including famous, fad & celebrity diets.  She goes into great detail about each one and discusses the pros and cons.  She interjects humor into her discussion which makes me think I would like her to be my dietitian.  It is obvious that a lot of research went into this part.

Part two goes into ‘The Plan’.

“Because what’s the takeaway here?  Fad diets aren’t good.  They’re not a long-term plan and they can be detrimental to our health.” p. 163

For a general idea of what to eat, we look at the plate:  Using her slightly different plate model as a guide, author Lisa Tillinger Johansen discusses how to select the best types of foods and presents many helpful and specific tips.


Portion size is also highlighted.  This plate, mentally, should be 9″.  Most real plates today are larger.  In this book we are shown visuals to give us ideas about better portion size.  For example,

“A deck of cards equals approximately 3 ounces of meat, poultry or fish.” p.187

The importance of being hydrated and fluid consumption is discussed.  Nutrition labels and nutrients are discussed.

Tips on better eating habits are given.  My husband and I eat out frequently.  I was glad to see the section on how to make better choices.  There is a section devoted to the stages of change we go through when making changes in our lives.

“I tell my clients that we don’t have to change everything overnight.  I’ve already touched on a lot of things you may want to tweak, including portion control, healthier food picks, and engaging in physical activity.  Start with a few things and then build on those.  Mix simpler ones like reading nutrition fact labels with more challenging ones.  Keep it going.  Small steps lead to big changes.” p. 275

The author mentions some diet plans that may be helpful for additional support and guidance, such as the reversal diet, the DASH diet, and the Mediterranean diet as well as Weight Watchers and Volumetrics.

I only touched on a handful of the many topics discussed.  This book will most likely become a go-to reference and reinforcement source when I have questions about my diet choices.

Continue reading “Review, Author Interview & Giveaway: Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off! by Lisa Tillinger Johansen, MS, RD”

Review: Bridges of Paris by Michael Saint James & Giveaway

Bridges of Paris by Michael Saint James

Citron Bay Press, May 2015

(Enter Contest Below: Win one of 15 print copies of Bridges of Paris. (Open Internationally) Ends May 16)

Description (from

Bridges of Paris is a large-format photography book with over 350 original color images which casts new illumination on the City of Light. The 37 bridges over the Seine River emerge as beautiful, historic destinations rather than unnoticed thoroughfares. The book features stunning portraits of each bridge as well as intimate riverside moments. Once you’ve experienced this river tour, you will never see Paris the same way again. Living as a Parisian for a year, author Michael Saint James left his American lifestyle and spent his days and nights capturing images from over, on, beside and under the bridges of Paris. With over 30 years experience as a photographer, educator and world traveler, Michael immersed himself in French culture to search out his authentic artist self. The result is a visual treasure to share with everyone.

My Review (5 Stars: Loved it!)

I am very happy to have this amazing hardcover book, Bridges of Paris by Michael Saint James for review and to offer a giveaway contest (via iRead Book Tours).  This is a beautiful, large ( 14″ x 9.5″, 280 page) color photographic collection featuring the 37 bridges that cross the Seine River in Paris.  An integral part of these photographs are the surrounding landscapes, tourists and Parisians.

During his one year sojourn to Paris, author, Michael Saint James, captures multiple images of each bridge along with life in Paris.  As Parisian culture is enchanting, so is this book.

Each bridge has a page or two with interesting descriptions about the bridge, it’s history & geography and a helpful aerial map showing location.

Image from

I’ve never been to Paris, but feel this book gives a true sense of beauty and life in the city.  Each bridge is featured with multiple color photographs over several pages, so you see multiple view points.  Most of the photos are on full sized pages, which are stunning.  (Below are two examples.)

Pont Debilly (Image from the author’s website.)
Pont Notre-Dame (Image from the author’s website.)

Bridges of Paris is divided into four sections, Island Bridges, Palace Bridges, Downriver Bridges and Upriver Bridges.  This gives a good sense of the geography.  I had no idea there were so many bridges.

This list that I’ve created is not all inclusive, but if you are interested in any of these categories, this book is for you.

  • Paris
  • Architecture
  • Bridge Design & Construction
  • Photography
  • Art
  • History
  • Geography
  • Travel
  • Education
  • People
  • Parisian Culture
  • Research
  • France

Bridges of Paris would also be an excellent gift or coffee table book.

Click here for a link to the book trailer.

Below, from the author’s website, are links to some (not all) additional images.

I would like to thank the author, Michael Saint James, iRead Book Tours and the publisher Citron Bay Press for providing me with Bridges of Paris, free of charge, for review.

Giveaway (Prizes)

Win one of 15 print copies of Bridges of Paris. (Open Internationally) Ends May 16 ~ Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Links to 37 featured bridges (from the author’s website)

Which Bridge is Your Favorite? “Paris has over 350 bridges, just 37 cross the Seine River. Each of these bridges represents a joining place between two unique neighborhoods. Each has a special beauty. Each has its place in history. Experience the bridges of Paris as destinations rather than unnoticed thoroughfares. Find your own favorite bridge. Take the time to let it reveal its beauty to you. You’ll never see Paris the same again.”

Island Bridges

Palace Bridges

 Downriver Bridges

Upriver Bridges

About the author (from iRead Book Tours)


Michael Saint James’ artistic pursuits include award-winning book design, film editing, and sound recording, as well as his first love, photography. Saint James is a world traveler, having visited more than 50 countries – doing everything from photographing penguins in Antarctica to trekking the Himalayas.As an educator with California teaching credentials, he has taught media production and technology arts as well as photography, art history and visual storytelling. He is an expert speaker on Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. Indeed, he walked in Vincent Van Gogh’s footsteps through the Netherlands, Belgium, and France in order to immerse himself in that troubled master’s vision.The father of two grown children, Saint James once owned a café in Berkeley, California. He has bicycled from Las Vegas to Washington, D.C. and is rumored to play a mean blues harmonica.

Connect with Michael:  Website


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book (ARC), Bridges of Paris by Michael Saint James, free from publisher, Citron Bay Press and iReadBookTours.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
If you would like to read more about Bridges of Paris, click here for a list of other tour stops.

Review: Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell with Patrick Robinson

Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10 by Marcus Luttrell with Patrick Roinson

Little, Brown and Company, June 2007


Description (from

Four US Navy SEALS departed one clear night in early July 2005 for the mountainous Afghanistan-Pakistan border for a reconnaissance mission. Their task was to document the activity of an al Qaeda leader rumored to be very close to Bin Laden with a small army in a Taliban stronghold. Five days later, only one of those Navy SEALS made it out alive. This is the story of the only survivor of Operation Redwing, SEAL fire team leader Marcus Luttrell, and the extraordinary firefight that led to the largest loss of life in American Navy SEAL history. His squadmates fought valiantly beside him until he was the only one left alive, blasted by an RPG into a place where his pursuers could not find him. Over the next four days, terribly injured and presumed dead, Luttrell crawled for miles through the mountains and was taken in by sympathetic villagers who risked their lives to keep him safe from surrounding Taliban warriors. A born and raised Texan, Marcus Luttrell takes us from the rigors of SEAL training, where he and his fellow SEALs discovered what it took to join the most elite of the American special forces, to a fight in the desolate hills of Afghanistan for which they never could have been prepared. His account of his squadmates’ heroism and mutual support renders an experience that is both heartrending and life-affirming. In this rich chronicle of courage and sacrifice, honor and patriotism, Marcus Luttrell delivers a powerful narrative of modern war.

My Review (5 Stars: Loved it!)

I live in Virginia near several Naval bases and was already in awe of America’s elite fighting force, The Navy Seals.  After reading Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell with Patrick Robinson, I am in even more awe.  I could never have imagined what these fighting heroes go through.

Lone Survivor is a very moving story.  I cried through many parts of it.

After reading the book, I watched the movie on Netflix where Mark Goldberg plays Marcus Luttrell.  The movie, while exciting, does not show the depth of feeling that the book does, as it does not have all of the detail that is in the book.

As reflected in the book, it seems that it is a miracle that Marcus Luttrell made it out alive.  The story of how he survived is amazing. I think most people, regardless of political leanings, will appreciate and enjoy this story.


The hardcopy that I checked out from the library had many wonderful photographs.  Marcus Luttrell offers signed copies on his website.

Review: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Vintage) by Cheryl Strayed
First Vintage Books Edition, 2013, originally published by Alfred A. Knofp, a division of Random House, Inc., New York in 2012.

Book Description (from amazon)

Release date: March 26, 2013 | Series: Vintage

A Best Nonfiction Book of 2012: The Boston Globe, Entertainment WeeklyA Best Book of the Year: NPR, St. Louis Dispatch, Vogue

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

My Review – 5 Stars

Wild is a terrific non-fiction/memoir.  The author, Cheryl Strayed is captivating from the beginning of the book to the end.  She starts out with an unbelievably heavy backpack and you feel like you are walking with her every step of the way.

She writes of the trials and tribulations on the trail and throughout her life.  She includes many good times as well, especially involving her new and old friends.  She seems to be an expert in providing just the right amount of detail.

In this story, the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), while real, in a way, is a metaphor for life in general.  This story is inspiring as it shows it is possible to overcome obstacles and keep moving forward.

This book is winner of the 2012 Goodreads Choice Awards in the Memoir & Autobiography Category.