Monday, June 23, 2014


I'm going to give you a tiny hint- the special thing on the 25th has something to do with today's MMGM. But to know what, you're just going have to tune in for Wednesday's EPICNESS!

Before I spill anything important, I better start my MMGM!

WHEN DOGS BLOG is the first book in the Project Madison series by the fabulous Pam Torres. It takes us on a venture with Madison, an eleven year-old who isn't into boys and uses hash tags to express her deepest feelings.  Madison desperately wants a dog of her own, but her stepfather, Henry, thinks she's not ready for the responsibility and continues to make things difficult for her with his many "systems." She becomes friends with Cooper and together they start a blog and avoid Donald, the school bully who has taken a special interest in them.

I've pretty much told you the first half of the Goodreads blurb, but I'll paste it below.

(Oh, I blacked something out in the Goodreads thing because it is a pretty big spoiler. I'm surprised they put that on the book jacket.)

Goodreads says:

Life is getting way too tricky for eleven-year-old Madison Morgan. She’s not interested in boys, fashion, or the latest gossip, unlike her best friend Paige. Her stepdad, who she knows as Henry, has way too many systems around the house since her Mom died. To top it off, Madison and her new friend Cooper have become the “school project” of a bully named Donald. And all she really wants is a dog to call her own, but all she gets is the parental-brush-off. What is a straight-talking, spunky middle grader going to do?

Kids from ages nine to twelve years old are sure to get a laugh from Madison Morgan: When Dogs Blog, which tells the heartwarming story of the sometimes tough, frequently funny days of the wise-cracking, dog-loving Madison. When her dad arrives home with a scrawny brown terrier named Lilly, Madison is amazed to find she has an ability to understand dogs, their emotions, and often their pasts. However, her gift also leads her to uncover some extremely harmful activities that are happening in her very own neighborhood.

Frank, funny, and full of adventure, this book is a must for any middle grader, who is certain to be enthralled by this dog blogger.

My angle:

Quite frankly, I'm surprised Pam Torres isn't actually a tween. She captures the voice of a sixth grader so well. The pains of being "left behind" as her best friend joins the world of make-up and crushes sounds authentic. WHEN DOGS BLOG reminds you of the craziness tweens go through and forces you to look back to your years in sixth grade.

I wasn't super surprised when Madison put the pieces together, but I am rarely surprised by plots anymore (the worst thing about being a bookworm). I'm sure it will surprise other readers. There is one thing that makes the fact I saw through part of the plot a good thing; it shows the plot is well constructed with plenty of clues.

I've honestly never been a big dog person. I've never lived with one. My contact with dogs is limited to whatever I get when I go over to other people's houses. As a result, I'm a little scared around them (and they know I'm afraid). But this book gave me a new perspective on dogs. I think that reading WHEN DOGS BLOG has actually made me feel better about dogs. So if you are a huge dog fan, this is a great book. If you aren't a dog person, this book may make you feel better about dogs and may turn you into a dog lover (I'm not there yet, but maybe one day).

I'm surprised this book hasn't gotten more buzz, seeing how good it is. Madison is far from a cardboard character. Every character is more than a cardboard cutout! Madison's voice is fun and very addicting. You should definitely hand this book to the middle-grade dog-lover in your life. You won't regret it, unless they were like me as a child*.

This is a great book to read for fun, but it has a great amount of potential to be an amazing book to teach. 

I don't want to give it a rating because I know whatever I give it, I'll wish I'd given it something else. I'm upset over the Goodreads review I gave it just a little while ago (4.5 out of 5? What was I thinking?!).

*Let's just say sometimes other people's priorities were wrong. Books before homework, right? Apparently, they didn't think so...


  1. Great review. I read the newest Madison book and have this one on my TBR list. May have to move it up a few notches after reading your thoughts.

  2. Read this one a while back and quite liked it! And I like what you say...funny, frank and full of adventure. True that! Have not read the next one yet but will be.

    1. Thanks, Deb! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I'll be publishing the 2nd edition late July, early August in conjunction with its book birthday! So it will be worth another read as the illustrators of the It's NOT Just a Dog! are revamping the look and it will have some new features. Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. I don't normally like books about animals, but I've been hearing such good things about this series. And what's not to love about that title?
    Thanks for featuring this!

  4. Hello Jenni,
    It's great to see you! I wasn't much of a dog person as a child, even as an early adult and was never a fan of animal books. That's why it was so important to me to write something much different than your average "I love dogs, book." I have to say that my research and my experiences in the last ten years significantly changed my feelings about dogs and animals in general. I still have a hard time with the books that are told by dogs, however if they are done with enough research and believeability, I've even enjoyed them. One series I've truly enjoyed is, Kathryn Lasky's series. Incredibly believable. Thanks again for stopping by!

  5. Thanks so much for the wonderful review! I definitely will think about reworking any back blurb for the book, so it doesn't have a spoiler. Thanks for the great suggestion!

  6. The title, in and of itself, makes me want to read this book.


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