(Wo)man’s Best Friend


Instead of offering you the traditional romance fare in honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re offering you a list of books whose characters love their pets, both the traditional kind and those that are a bit more unusual. 

knifeThe Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

“The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say. About anything.

‘Need a poo, Todd.’

‘Shut up, Manchee.’

‘Poo. Poo, Todd.'”

Goodreads Summary:

Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee — whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not — stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden — a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?

hawkeye 2Hawkeye Vol. 1: Little Hits by Matt Fraction, David Aja (Illustrations), Javier Pulido (Illustrations), Alan Davis (Illustrator)


Goodreads Summary:

The breakout star of this summer’s blockbuster Avengers film, Clint Barton – aka the self-made hero Hawkeye – fights for justice! With ex-Young Avenger Kate Bishop by his side, he’s out to prove himself as one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes! SHIELD recruits Clint to intercept a packet of incriminating evidence – before he becomes the most wanted man in the world. You won’t believe what is on The Tape! What is the Vagabond Code? Matt Fraction pens a Hawkeye thriller that spans the globe…and the darkest parts of Hawkeye’s mind. Barton and Bishop mean double the Hawkeye and double the trouble…and stealing from the rich never looked so good.

messengerI Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak

“I have one housemate. He’s called the Doorman, and he’s seventeen years old. He sits at the flyscreen door, with sun painted onto his black fur. His old eyes glow. He smile. He’s called the Doorman because from a very early age he had a strong penchant for sitting by the front door. He did it back home, and he does it now at the shack. He likes to sit where it’s nice and warm, and he doesn’t let anyone in. This is because he finds it hard to move on account of the fact that he’s so old. He’s a cross between a Rottweiler and a German Shepherd and he stinks a kind of stink that’s impossible to rid him of.”

Goodreads Summary:

protect the diamonds
survive the clubs
dig deep through the spades
feel the hearts

Ed Kennedy is an underage cabdriver without much of a future. He’s pathetic at playing cards, hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey, and utterly devoted to his coffee-drinking dog, the Doorman. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery.

That’s when the first ace arrives in the mail.

That’s when Ed becomes the messenger.

Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary) until only one question remains: Who’s behind Ed’s mission?

dragonslayerThe Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

“That’s the Quarkbeast,” I told him. “He may look like an open knife drawer on legs and just one step away from tearing you to shreds, but he’s actually a sweetie and rarely, if ever, eats cats. Isn’t that so, Quarkbeast?”

Goodreads Summary:

In the good old days, magic was indispensable—it could both save a kingdom and clear a clogged drain. But now magic is fading: drain cleaner is cheaper than a spell, and magic carpets are used for pizza delivery. Fifteen-year-old foundling Jennifer Strange runs Kazam, an employment agency for magicians—but it’s hard to stay in business when magic is drying up. And then the visions start, predicting the death of the world’s last dragon at the hands of an unnamed Dragonslayer. If the visions are true, everything will change for Kazam—and for Jennifer. Because something is coming. Something known as . . . Big Magic.

dogTo Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis

“‘Could you . . .’ I said, cautiously taking one hand away from my neck to point at the bulldog.

‘Oh, of course, how thoughtless of me,’ Terence said. ‘You two haven’t been properly introduced.’ He squatted down beside us. ‘This is Mr. Henry,’ he said to the bulldog, ‘the newest member of our merry band and our financial savior.’

The bulldog opened his huge mouth in a wide, drooling grin.

‘Ned,’ Terence said, ‘allow me to introduce Cyril.'”

Goodreads Summary:

From Connie Willis, winner of multiple Hugo and Nebula Awards, comes a comedic romp through an unpredictable world of mystery, love, and time travel…

Ned Henry is badly in need of a rest.  He’s been shuttling between the 21st century and the 1940s searching for a Victorian atrocity called the bishop’s bird stump.  It’s part of a project to restore the famed Coventry Cathedral, destroyed in a Nazi air raid over a hundred years earlier.

But then Verity Kindle, a fellow time traveler, inadvertently brings back something from the past.  Now Ned must jump back to the Victorian era to help Verity put things right–not only to save the project but to prevent altering history itself.  And they have to do it while coping with eccentric Oxford dons, table-rapping spiritualists, a very spoiled young lady, and an even more spoiled cat.

As Ned and Verity try frantically to hold things together and find out why the incongruity happened, the breach widens, time travel goes amok, and everything starts to fall apart–until the fate of the entire space-time continuum hangs on a seance, a butler, a bulldog, the battle of Waterloo, and, above all, on the bishop’s birdstump.

scorpioThe Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

“I get a currycomb and a brush and I knock the dust out of Dove’s dun hide until my fingers warm up. By the time I saddle her up, she’s clean and I’m grubby. She is my mare and my best friend, and I keep waiting for something bad to happen to her, because I love her too much.”

Goodreads Summary:

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

eyreThe Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

“I had been with Boswell and SO-27 for eight years, living in a Maida Vale apartment with Pickwick, a regenerated pet dodo left over from the days when reverse extinction was all the rage and you could by home cloning kits over the counter.”

Goodreads Summary:

Welcome to a surreal version of Great Britain, circa 1985, where time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. England is a virtual police state where an aunt can get lost (literally) in a Wordsworth poem, militant Baconians heckle performances of Hamlet, and forging Byronic verse is a punishable offense. All this is business as usual for Thursday Next, renowned Special Operative in literary detection, until someone begins kidnapping characters from works of literature. When Jane Eyre is plucked from the pages of Brontë’s novel, Thursday must track down the villain and enter the novel herself to avert a heinous act of literary homicide.

ravenThe Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

“And it was not just a raven, Gansey saw. It was a tiny foundling, featherless mouth still a baby’s smile, wings still days and nights and days away from flight. He wasn’t sure he would want to touch something that looked so easily destroyable . . .

‘Where did it come from?’

Ronan’s fingers were a compassionate cage around the raven’s breast. It didn’t look real in his hands. ‘I found it.’

‘People find pennies,’ Gansey replied. ‘Or car keys. Or four-leaf clovers.’

‘And ravens,’ Ronan said. ‘You’re just jealous ’cause’ — at this point, he had to stop to regroup his beer-sluggish thoughts — ‘you didn’t find one, too.'”

Goodreads Summary:

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.


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