book reviews

Books about Animals–Love them!

I’m trying to expand from Westerns to other themes. Dogs is a perfect one. I love dogs more than westerns. Here’s my collection of books I’ve recently read about dogs:

  1. Muzzled — Andy Carpenter defends a man just because the man loves his dog so much
  2. Hanging Falls — Mattie and Robo must find a killer quickly because he seems to be killing again
  3. My Name is Danny — What does a dog think as you treat him like your beloved pet?
  4. Satin and Cinders — two horses find each other despite radical differences in their circumstances
–a note about my reviews: I only review books I enjoyed. I need to be inspired to write. That’s why so many of my reviews are 4/5 or 5/5


by David Rosenfelt


Andy Carpenter is unabashedly in love with dogs. Rosenfelt’s entire Andy Carpenter series is devoted to Andy’s experiences with dogs–taking care of them, rescuing them, or just having a life at their side. In Muzzled (Minotaur Books 2020), Book 21 in the series, Andy once again finds a good reason to be forced out of his self imposed retirement from criminal law to help a dog. A man who was supposed to be dead shows up at Andy’s home for rescued dogs–the Tara Foundation–in search of his dog. He has been hiding from the thugs who tried to kill him while succeeding in killing two of his business partners, but reveals himself out of worry about his dog. When he shows up at the Tara Foundation to claim his best friend, the dog goes nuts over his lost owner. How could Andy not defend a man who is so deeply loved by his dog?

When the police arrest him for allegedly killing his business partners, the clock starts ticking. Andy must figure out who the real killers are before they murder this man and leave his dog without its best friend.

I’ve read almost every book in this series. All are told with a sense of humor that makes even serious events a bit lighter.

“Dad, can we go bungee jumping?” Ricky asked. I’ve got to be careful with my answer. He’s asking a serious question, albeit one that horrifies me. I can’t overreact, hurt his feelings, embarrass him, or appear dismissive. I need to imagine how my response will sound when he repeats it to a therapist later in life. “Are you nuts?” is what I finally come out with. It’s possible that I didn’t fulfill my previously stated criteria for a good answer.”

“She always has a look of pure joy on her face when she finishes. I guess she and I have that in common. If I was crazy enough to exhaust myself by pedaling furiously to nowhere, I would also be happy when it was over.”

“The only word allowed to precede the reason for calling is hello.”

Most are well-paced with likable supporting characters and clever plot twists. Some aren’t up to this high bar but this one is at the top. Rosenfelt devotes lots of each book to dog events (walking them, feeding, playing with them). Dogs add color and depth to his books but not in the way, say, Margaret Mizushima does in her series, Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries, about a working dog who solves crimes (see the next review, Hanging Falls). That’s not good or bad, just what it is.

In the end, I couldn’t put the book down, finished it in record time, always wanting to turn the page and see what happens next with the wonderful dogs.

–received free from NetGalley in return for an honest review

Hanging Falls

by Margaret Mizushima


In Mizushima’s sixth book in the Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries series, Hanging Falls (Penguin Random House 2020), Mattie is a day away from leaving for a trip to meet the family she was separated from as a young child. The night before she leaves, she finds a dead body in a river and she and Robo (her working dog) frantically try to track down clues to find the killer. Before she can finish, another murder occurs that seems to be tied to the first and both have breadcrumbs that lead to a religious group living in the outskirts of Timber Creek. In an odd connection, Mattie’s veterinarian boyfriend has been treating one of their dogs and several other of their animals. With two murders and no clear evidence of the killers, Robo’s skills become more important than ever, making it impossible for Mattie to leave Timber Creek but that doesn’t stop the reunion from happening.

I’ve loved every book in this series. They are all clever with great details about crime scene dog work and lots of respect for the dogs and their relationship to humans.

“His fur was wet and matted, his Kevlar vest still in place, protecting his chest. She ran the light over his head, figuring that would be where the knife had struck. In the beam, his eyes were narrow, his brow puckered, his pain evident.”

“Robo’s limbs trembled, but he’d retreated into that space where wounded animals go to suffer.”

I can’t wait to read the next.

–received free from NetGalley in return for an honest review

My Name is Danny: Tales from Danny the Dog

by Andrew Joyce


Danny is a rambunctious young dog intent on exploring the world but when he runs away from his first home, finds out that food doesn’t appear for him without someone willing to give it to him. That’s a how he meets Andrew. This human is willing to feed and house Danny but first the dog must train his human.

This is a series of vignettes told by Danny about his life with Andrew.

“I found Andrew about thirteen years ago down in Miami.”

“I think I’ll tell you how I trained my human, Andrew. My fellow canines may learn a thing or two from my technique.”

“All us dogs know that walks are not for exercise, doing your “business,” or to enjoy the scenery. Walks are for sniffing where other dogs have gone before.”

Their adventures include stories like “Danny’s Dilemma”, “Danny and the Midnight Marauder,” and “Danny and the Alligator”. Danny writes them with an irreverence for his human, affection for the part they play in each other’s lives, and a sense of humor about everything. This is a fun jaunt through the life of a dog owned by a human. Reminds me of Sally Cronin’s wonderful dog-centric story, Sam, a Shaggy Dog Story;, W. Bruce Cameron’s series A Dog’s Purpose (made into a movie), and Terry Barca’s whimsical and beloved Rufus.

Satin and Cinders

by Jan Sikes


Here’s what Amazon says about this lovely book:

A wild black stallion has cautiously watched a beautiful white mare, from the safety of the forest for many years. He longs to be with her, and ventures close to the barn nightly to communicate with her. They share their deepest desires and secrets. Now it is winter, and the rest of the wild herd has moved on, but the stallion stays. He cannot stand the thought of being so far away from her. The scent of sweet alfalfa hay and the enticing lure of the white mare is too much for him. He must find a way to be with her. But will it be worth the risk? Satin and Cinders is a story of courage and determination.

My comment:

A delightful story of two horses from different worlds who can’t deny their affection for each other. Somehow they must make it work.





Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Against All Odds, Summer 2020. 

70 thoughts on “Books about Animals–Love them!

  1. I also love books about dogs but tend to bend more towards non-fiction ones such as How Dogs Think (What the world looks like to them) by Stanley Coren and Dog Sense (How the New Science of Dog behavior can make you a better friend to your pet) by John Bradshaw. But I did like The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein (This one was fiction).
    Your selection, Jacqui, sounds intriguing. Oh gosh, there’s so much to read!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love your list. I never really enjoyed reading until I read “Call of the Wild” by Jack London followed by “White Fang” then I read everything Jack London wrote before moving onto other writers. I’ve just published on Amazon a children’s paperback and ebook book called “Dog” about our best friend. Here’s a link:

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Hi Jacqui – some wonderful new books for this age … but over the centuries – there’s always been books from countries and different eras … (two that I can think of Black Beauty, and Jock of the Bushveld) always good to read – take care – Hilary

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I used to love reading dog stories to my elementary students. Just about everybody loves dogs, and their unconditional love back is the stuff of legend.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Terrific reviews, Jacqui, you make me want to start all four right now. Every one of these sounds like a fabulous story well told. I just added all of them to my TBR list. Are these suitable for middle school kids? I assume high schoolers can read any of these books.

    Liked by 2 people

    • There’s not a bad one among these. I’d love to read them all again! Yes, they are suitable for MS and HS. Hanging Falls does have a bloated dead body so for some youth, that could upset them. I’ll let you judge!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Well that’s odd. I just tested it and it’s fine but email is not settled science yet. I email my husband sometimes and it swears it is a bad email. Try murray2 at cox dot net.


  6. Ooooh, definitely like the sound of the first two. Have noted them but I am still on my self-imposed hiatus from buying books until my TBR pile is something vaguely close to manageable.

    Liked by 2 people

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