Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Resolve to read something fun this year, and by fun, I mean 'House Trained' by J. Bouchard

You can trust me and go get your copy to read right now, or you can read this post first. Your choice. But if you choose the latter, DO NOT let me hear you complain. 

Though it might seem like it from the title alone, House Trained by Jackie Bouchard is not a step-by-step guide to house training one's pet. It is a lighthearted, witty and engaging romp, with distinct labradoodle overtones. I plowed through it in two late night sittings, but I'm thinking some people could do it in one. 

I would totally send you my copy to read, except the author (all three of whose novels I have plowed through with escapist expectancy) gifted it to me with her autograph and I couldn't bear to let it go. Note: No one *ahem, the author* asked me to write this review (though, she might have tried to send me telepathic thoughts; I can't be sure). I consider this a public service announcement to those who could use a little diversion from their own complicated existences.

Now that all that's settled, you can procure your own copy (in paperback or ebook) here (my affiliate Amazon link. I might get a penny to put in the fountain, considering the book is already priced at a steal).

Dear Reader, there is a reason I don't write many book reviews.

Because they suck, OK?! (Don't worry, I'll get back to the juicy House Trained details in a minute; I just need to unload this secret shame I've been harboring.) The truth is, I don't know how to write a proper book review. I hated the fork out of writing them in school, so I tried to quit. Not that I don't read book reviews (on Amazon and in blogs and stuff--though lately, I've pulled back from the former--because unless the book has crappy reviews across the board, it's all just so subjective. Plus, I don't want you to tell me the whole dang story before I even start, people! Where the heck was I before this tangent? Oh yeah * inserts closing parenthesis*), I mean, like I have the spare time to just read books based on their covers alone!

What I'm trying to say is: Why the heck would I write a book review--given the fact that I don't like to--unless I REALLY REALLY think y'all should read it? Especially - ESPECIALLY if you're still sitting here reading this! (Because if you are, that means I haven't repelled you with my dry humor yet, and JACKIE BOUCHARD--the author of House Trained--happens to use dry humor too! The difference is, she can write fun novels that people want to read, and I cannot! So why are you still here?) 


At which point I feel remorse and actually tell you something about the book. 

Sorry. Here is a summary of the plot:

Crap, hold up! I forgot to mention I got all the way through a third of the book before I realized that I, in fact, had NOT read the book jacket summary - or any summary anywhere. I did NOT read the back cover, people. *insert the sound of a pin drop, followed by a sigh* Let me rephrase: Based on my knowledge of Bouchard's previous two novels, I dove into the third COMPLETELY OBLIVIOUS to the plot (except that it had a dog in it and there might be some stuff about how dogs are like babies and vice versa). Imagine my surprise when I got to that first plot twist! OMG! Y'all, I haven't read a book without scrutinizing the summary since I was in primary school, and only went by the pictures! (I miss those days sometimes.) 

From the publisher:
"Alex Halstad, a childless-by-choice interior designer and dog mom, is a true perfectionist. But her orderly life turns chaotic when the teenage daughter her husband, Barry, never knew he had shows up on their doorstep...with a baby girl of her own in tow. While Alex’s dog enthusiastically welcomes the new arrivals, Alex struggles with the loss of her steady routine. She desperately needs peace and quiet to get her business back on track before Barry finds out she’s spent most of their savings. Meanwhile, the arrival of the girls stirs up old insecurities, and Alex can’t help but worry that Barry’s ex will make an entrance too. With her tidy life a distant memory, will Alex be able to learn from her dog the true meaning of love and acceptance?
From bestselling author Jackie Bouchard comes a humorous and heartwarming look at how life creates opportunities to love in surprising ways."

Did you read the summary? I hope so, because I'm not going to repeat it. I am, however, going to tell you a few things you need to remember before you start reading your own copy:

  1. Alex, the main character, is a neat freak. She's an educated interior designer and a neat freak. Being a neat freak is freaking hard. How do I know? Because I used to be one. Before corgis. No, I still had a (normal-shedding) dog, a pile of cats and 3 kids, but, despite it, I was a miserable neat freak. The corgis forced me to accept that my house didn't need to look perfect for the visitor who might show up unannounced at any given moment (or even my own family). Dog hair on things is not equal to lead in paint or BPA in plastic. No one's gonna die, OK? OK. Just give Alex a freaking break (unless you're a neat freak, too, in which case, I have some corgi hair you can sprinkle around your house for sensitization therapy).
  2. One of the main characters is a (first plot twist SPOILER alert, but only if you didn't read the summary) baby. A human baby, y'all. And SHE'S COOL! Imagine that! A dog book that also has a baby in it, and (gasp) they adore each other! It's like a breath of fresh air in dog-centric literature! (I mean, why does it always have to be dogs or babies? Weren't all us dog-loving people babies once?  Yeah, and the baby in this book might grow up to be a veterinarian, or discover the cure for dog cancer! So yeah, think about that, and let's all get along!)

  3. There's a graphic scene where Alex makes egg salad from scratch while her husband watches. I hate egg salad. And by hate, I mean I can't stand the sight, smell or thought of it. If I was actually in the FBI (like my namesake Agent Elizabeth Keen of NBC's The Blacklist), I would totally spill all the government secrets if someone tried to force feed me egg salad. I can't remember why I'm telling you this....Oh! I'm telling you just in case you don't like egg salad either. So, if you don't, have a counteracting mental image prepared. The scene's graphic (as in Food Network-quality narrative), but it's relatively short, and early in the story. You probably won't even remember it by the end.☺
And that's it! You should run over to get your copy now! Fun this easy (and inexpensive - $2 on Kindle) should not be delayed!

Hope you enjoy reading House Trained as much as I did! 

Oh, what the frell...since the thing's that inexpensive, I should just GIVE A COPY AWAY!

Except that would be kind of chintzy for a giveaway, so let's give away a copy of ALL THREE OF JACKIE BOUCHARD'S NOVELS! I've read them all (remember?) and you should too!

One winner (in the U.S. or Canada) will receive one copy of all three titles:

House Trained
Rescue Me, Maybe
What the Dog Ate 

Enter through the Gleam giveaway gadget below! Good luck! I'll announce the winner on Facebook and Twitter the morning after the giveaway closes (11:59 p.m. EST 1/25/16).

Author Jackie Bouchard Trio of Novels Giveaway

Tell me: what's the title of the last book you read for fun? Spill it in comments!


  1. Oh my gosh, LOL! I take forever to do book reviews, too! :D Right now I'm working my way through "What The Dog Knows" by Cat Warren.

  2. Thank you so much for the hysterical post. I can pretty safely say you are the only reviewer to mention the egg salad. Guess what... I HATE EGG SALAD TOO! Can NOT eat the stuff. So gross. I really can't explain why they are eating it in the book. I guess Alex likes it.

    Anyway, I'm so glad you enjoyed the book and thanks so much for having a giveaway. I'll be sure to share! (Not entering, but just to play along... the last book I read for fun was "The All of It", which I literally just finished about 5 minutes ago.)

    1. You hate egg salad? For real? If so, my mind is TOTALLY blown! How do you DO that? Write in such detail about something you hate? NO, back up. HOW do you even come up with a thought like using egg salad as the thing your character makes (if you hate it)? Is it intentional? Like a personal writing challenge? :) (If so, you nailed it.) The creativity and detail that goes into your books makes my head spin. I didn't appreciate that about novelists until I'd been blogging for a while. Makes me appreciate reading for fun more, too!

    2. Sorry for the delayed reply. (We went away for a few days!) Yes, for real - I hate it. Makes me gag. I've never even made it. I'm not sure what possessed me to write that. Sometimes when you're writing, these things just happen!

      Thanks again for the review and the giveaway and the nice words! :)

  3. And you said you can't write reviews :D This was one of the best reviews I've read! Refreshingly something new! I can't write reviews either but I still try, but they are nothing compared to this. It's a bummer I don't live in U.S. or Canada. I'll need to find those books some other way :)


    1. I CAN'T write "proper" reviews - of books or movies. I compare myself to other, "proper" reviewers and feel like a blithering idiot. hehe
      Sorry about the geographic restrictions on the contest. :( There are too many international sweepstakes laws and I can't afford to break one. Does Amazon.com ship to your country (Finland? I hope I didn't mess that up). They are so big, I'd think they would.

      Thank you for your kind comment!

    2. Yes, luckily Amazon does ship to my country, and Finland is correct :D


  4. thank you so much for the great laugh. Funniest review ever! I even forgot my cold for a few precious moment. Will look into this book for sure.

  5. It will most likely not surprise you to know that of all the information in this post, the thing that most captivates me is the fact that you have a namesake on The Blacklist. I've had that show on my list "to watch" for a while; now I HAVE to. :p

    All joking aside, with a new baby dog about to join our family, I've been reading everything I can get my hands on about dog training. Because, you know, the umpteen dogs I've had before this one apparently didn't teach me anything and now I'm devouring knowledge like a starving... well, let's just sway I've read a lot of puppy books lately. This one is next on the reading list. :)

    1. You SHOULD watch The Blacklist (start at the beginning and binge watch it, as if you have time for that nonsense). I LOVE the show, and not because I'm in it! (It's because James Spader is in it. ahem.)

      Way exciting about your impending puppy mama-hood!

  6. Haha--perfect review!! I LOVE this book (and LOVE this author), and got a big kick out of the baby/dog parts!

  7. I would enter your contest if I actually read books. #jokingnotjoking I like to hear about books. It's kind of like cliff notes with a spin. I DO read books on occasion but they have almost exclusively been self-help books or non-fiction books like science books, history books, or business books. I'll take your word for it that it's great :)

  8. Your book reviews always make me laugh! I can't remember a dog novel in which a dog and a baby co-exist either. I just finished "Show Dog: The Charmed Life and Trying Times of a Near-Perfect Purebred."

  9. For someone who doesn't write reviews this was HILARIOUS!! Not entering, but I DO review books (and am phasing them out except for certain people such as Jackie, and yes, I reviewed this book and her others too)......because people often just aren't interested! FYI I am one that NEVER reads the back jacket......EVER....and...I am also one that will give the plot and that's it.....I don't give anything away!
    I loved this book and all of Jackie's books.....she is a gifted and hilarious writer, as you are!

    1. You're so funny (and kind), Caren! Wanna know a secret? I used your review of this book as a measuring stick for my sucky-ness. NO LIE! I also agreed with everything you wrote. ;) I just feel so uneducated (in proper classroom English vernacular) when I attempt reviews. I haven't taken English since I was a college freshman (though I have always loved writing). That is why I only even consider reviewing a book if it's humorous and I love it. Plus, like you, if I tried to review any other type of book here, no one would care. ;)

  10. I am a travel book fan and just finished "Adventures of a Railway Nomad" by Karen McCann. Next up on my dog book genre list will be reading "A Three Dog Life" by Abigal Thomas. I started reading it in 2007 when it first came out but lost the book on a flight somewhere. Recently loaded it to my Kindle.

  11. Love all of Jackie's books (I already own them so I won't take the opportunity away from someone else)! She is an amazing writing and person!! Also you wrote a great review!! ;-)

  12. we do not do book reviews; it would take me and Mom L a kabillion years to read the book

  13. For a person who claims they write sucky book reviews you sure did a great job with this post! Makes me want to read it now.


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